Now featuring Dannie Deeptown and Counting Sheep.
Check out our interview with Dannie Deeptown. He’s the perfect illustrator for COUNTING SHEEP. Danny lives deep in the the British countryside where sheep can be found.
Now featuring Claire Sedovic and Odd Animal ABC's
Check out this interview with Claire Sedovic. She made each piece of artwork speak to you.
And check out our Summer Book Releases:
Three Great Picture Books for you!
Check out this interview with Stephanie Fizer Coleman. Every bird in her illustrations counts!
Check out this interview with Gareth Llewhellin. I love how his illustrations gave this book energy!
Before Gareth, Wendy Leach was On the Scene in her interview about illustrating ice cream.
I love how her illustrations brought this book to life!
Before Wendy, we featured Steve Page in his interview about missing pencils.
Check out his interview. I can’t wait to peek inside the book when it comes out!
And the first interview, with Neil Armstrong's illustrator, Cole Roberts.
Batter up! Here’s that first illustrator interview with Cole Roberts.
This is not a summary of Elizabeth’s book. I jotted notes as I read. I turned them into a top ten list.The words that are bolded are what Elizabeth said about writing. My reaction is in regular font.
10 - Writing should be a vocation. I never planned to be a writer. I grew into it. For the last ten years of my teaching career, I wrote a newsletter each week for my parents. I got used to writing and editing. I like doing it. It fits me!
9 - Make sure you write for something beyond money. Enjoy your words, your story! I’m lucky I don’t need to write for money. I already had a job and earned a retirement. I’m happy to write just for the pure joy of it. Last night I couldn’t write this newsletter. Tonight it’s easy-peasy, AND it’s fun!
8 – Don’t look to others to find success/failure. I could be sad about getting a late start, but 2007 was the right time for me. Two of my kids were in high school, and the other was in college. Writing was easier with older kids, but I only wrote on weekends. Teaching was enough during the week. It’s so much easier to write now that I’m retired.
7 – Writing doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m a recovering perfectionist. I’ve learned over time that your best has to be good enough. It’s ALL you have to give! My middle school English teacher found 4 mistakes in February. I was finished, and I’d done my best, but when I looked at her comments, I changed 3 of them. They were easy fixes that made the story better. I didn’t change the last one. It added extra words to the story. Extra words are usually not a good thing.
6 – You have to be persistent. I am! I have been writing since 2007, without a single published book. I didn’t quit, and now I’ve done it! I self-published my first book!
5 – If you spend over 10 years at your craft, it equals a PhD. I believe this! Practice makes perfect. It helps you do your best! Each year
over the last 12 years, I’ve grown as a writer. Last year I learned even more from writing and self-publishing Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream.
4 – Don’t spend a fortune on a writing degree. Elizabeth said other writers should be your teachers. For 12 years SCBWI conference speakers, other writers, and children’s books have been my teachers. I listed 16 writing friends on my acknowledgement page. They helped me put my best words into Neil.
3- Other writers are great advisors. A year ago I said I’d stop writing when I was 65 if I wasn’t published. Did you know Laura Ingalls Wilder
was 65 when she published her first book? I changed my mind when another writer said what if. What if you’re still having fun? What if you go another month and you publish that first book? I listened and took her advice. Now I don’t have to worry – I’m 60, and I published that first book with 5 years to spare! YAY!
2 - There are magic ideas and ordinary ones. I’ve written other stories that are still sitting in my computer. They were good solid ideas, but Neil was magic! I hit hurdle after hurdle, but something kept me going. In November I quit when I lost my third illustrator. The next day a book club gave me 3 names and pushed me forward again. That’s when I found Cole. This story about Neil was meant to be, and I was meant to publish it. I know, BIG MAGIC!
1 - Writing is Magic! There was something about Neil! I’ve never said goodbye to a story, to a character before. This time I did. I remember the last edit I made on Neil. I felt like crying. I realized I was losing a friend! Writing Magic is the only way I could ever become friends with Neil Armstrong. He died in 2012. I got to know him as a person, as a character, and I’m grateful. I hope you read our story and find your own reading magic!
Follow along as I paint a footprint on the moon. This is what I wanted my painting to look like, like my teacher Melanie Sunderland Fullenkamp.
This is how I started, with a blank canvas. Then I added black and gray. I made my own shade of gray by mixing black and white together.
Next I added in texture with moon rocks in shades of gray, gray-blue, white, and black. I painted in an earth with a white base.
Then I added a blue-gray edge to the moon. I swirled blue and green to color the earth. Finally I started working on the footprint in shades of gray. Then I added light with white, and shadow with black.
I finished off with lettering in silver and gold. It wound up better than I thought, but I was still not happy. Up close I can see the footprint, but not farther back.
This is my final version. I didn’t have paint at home so I used my black sharpie to outline the footprint. It’s not perfect, but it’s better, and I have a unique souvenir to remember this 50th anniversary. That, and my book about Neil and his wind tunnel dream.
Have you ever seen thumbnails? Not the ones on your hands, the ones for a book. A thumbnail is a sketch, a plan for the illustrations, and they WILL change.
Here are the first illustrations Cole sent. They’re in red. I thought they’d be in black. Cole sent them as an email PDF. I opened them and told Cole what I thought,
PDF’s don’t work on Weebly so I printed them out, first in the original red, then in black. I took photos so I could share them with you.
Take a look – did you notice the first two are clearer than the rest? The reason? Cole wanted a firm idea on how to start the book. With the others, a quick sketch was all he needed.
Chapter 1: Neil’s throwing a model airplane out the 2nd floor window. It’s what he did when he wanted to get rid of a few model airplanes.
Chapter 2: No characters! Cole suggested using a notebook with sketches of the materials Neil used for his wind tunnel.
Chapter 3: The drawings are sketchier so I checked in with Cole on what I was seeing. In this one Neil was imagining how he’d put the tunnel together
Chapter 4: Cole drew the inside of the wind tunnel. It’s the only illustration I questioned. As a teacher, I thought kids would see this as a fun geometric shape, instead of as a model airplane hanging inside the wind tunnel.
Chapter 5: Neil finally showed Mom his finished wind tunnel. Unfortunately it blew Mom’s robe loose and smash-crashed the model airplane through the window.
Chapter 6: Neil told Mom about his scholarship to Purdue AND getting to fly Navy fighter jets. Mom was so shocked that she dropped a jam jar on her foot.
Stay tuned! Cole worked through 5 more sets of illustrations before the illustrations were done.
It’s been a week of interviews! Monday Cole’s came out, and today I woke to find this one up for me. I talked to Brooke Van Sickle way back in late April, and she sent the questions then, but I had to put everything on hold till I reached a permission agreement with Purdue. I finally finished off the interview a week or two ago, and today Brooke emailed to say it’s live.
If you’d like to learn about the ins and outs of self-publishing, click on the link below!
Meet my illustrator, Cole Roberts. He’s the first illustrator to be interviewed for our Blog. Congratulations, Cole!
This is where Cole makes magic, where he made a young Neil Armstrong come to life.
Neil and I would like to say thank you, Cole! We also hope you’ll check out Cole's interview.
Please check out our book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. If you’ve already read it and liked it, please consider sharing an honest review on either site. We're up to 10 . . . YAY! Did you know the more reviews a book has, the more searchable/find-able it is? My next goal . . . 15.
Here's my book link WITH a free coloring sheet for you. I hope you'll check it out!
Here it is! Times three!
A week ago I was offered the Liebster Award by one of my On the Scene Partners, Jarm Del Boccio. Jarm writes in a way that changes hearts. Her debut book is also titled THE HEART CHANGER. Here’s the link to her blog: https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/blog. Thanks, Jarm!
I blog across a week, and I’m ready to start a new one. I was looking for something that inspired me. The Leibster is a perfect fit! Jarm wrote that the award has been around for a while, evolving as it’s passed from writer to writer. If you’d like to read how it started, please click on wordingwell.com. I used three of Jarm’s images and found two more.
So, why is there an award? To share blogs and bloggers you admire. Jarm said “Liebe” is the German word for love. So like Jarm, I want to share my love of words and blogs by introducing you to a few new ones.
Here are the rules that Jarm gave me. BTW, the rules change the same way words change when you play telephone. By the time the message gets to the end of the line, it’s morphed into something new, something fun.
Here’s the Leibster Award rules, as of tonight:
Here are my fellow nominees. Jarm went with a heart theme, and I’m honored to be in this company!
Vivian Kirkfield — for her giving heart. She always seeks to encourage others on her blog or in person.
Edie Melson — for her helping heart — offering a variety of tips for writers. I look forward to her posts every day.
Betsy de Cruz — who has a heart for God’s Word. You will be mightily encouraged by her newsletters and latest book.
Rinda Beach — a new author friend to has a love for life and enthusiasm to spare! (Wow! That’s me! Thanks Jarm!
Rachel Dodge — who has a heart for Jane Austen as I do, but knows much more about her since she’s done copious research on her life and novels.
Here are Jarm’s questions, and my answers . . .
1. Give us a link to your favorite post of all time (on your blog, of course).
I picked this one. It’s about the grandmother I’m named after. She died when my mother was two, way before I was born.
2. Which book do YOU wish you had written?
I loved this book and gave it a great review. I lost my dad to Alzheimer’s. My favorite line is “Dads get it. They just get it.” My dad did, and I’m grateful!
Link : http://www.rindabeach.com/my-reads/review-of-dad-and-the-dinosaur
3. If you could jump into any novel, and become a character, which one would it be?
I’d leap into any Harry Potter book. J.K. Rowling is brilliant! I’d be happy to be either Harry or Hermione, but I’m probably more like Hermione with all her book knowledge and rule-following. It’s probably the teacher/principal’s daughter in me.
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why? (This counts as one question 😊)
I’m lucky . . . we bought a house in my favorite place, Norris Lake. This is the picture from my window – the lake and the mountains. It’s gorgeous. I love to travel, but coming home is even better.
5. If you were on a stranded island, which food could you not live without?
CHOCOLATE! I love chocolate! It’s good for your endorphins, at least that’s what they say, and I’m happy to believe them!
6. If you were driven from your home, and had five minutes to pack, what would you take? (This is a question I asked at my book signing, since it relates to a scene at the beginning of my novel).
I’d grab my kindle and my purse. That’s all I need. With my kindle I have hundreds of books at my fingertips. With my purse I can buy anything else I need. I’m ready for adventure!
I hope you enjoyed reading my post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Now it’s time to share the Liebster and pay it forward. I’d like to nominate the following bloggers — if you feel overwhelmed and not able to contribute, no problem. Let me know in the comments below, and share a link to one of your favorite blogs:
Donna L. Martin
https://storycatcherpublishing.com/ She puts out 5 different blogs a week, and I love to read each one.
Jamie Sumner -- https://mailchi.mp/c536e9e86c58/readlaughlisten-gives-a-special-needs-shout-out?e=d96357bd8a Everyone needs to read, laugh, and listen!
June McCrary Jacobs -- https://authorjunemccraryjacobs.blogspot.com/ I’m a big fan of her Middle Grade Mondays and Friday Fiction Features.
Ladies, here are your questions:
1. Share the link to your favorite post from your blog.
2. What is your favorite color, and why?
3. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go, and why?
4. Who is your favorite author, and why?
5. Where would you like to be in 5 years?
6. Which fictional character are you most like? How are you similar? Different?
BTW Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream has 5 reviews so far on Amazon. Could you help me get into double digits? If you’ve read Neil’s story and can give me an honest review on Amazon (most important), Goodreads, and Barnes and Noble , I’d appreciate it. You can copy and paste the same review to each site. Easy-peasy!
I usually avoid having my picture taken but the last couple months I’ve grinned and said ‘cheese.’
This is me at the Rose Blenn Literary Festival. Neil wasn’t out yet, but my critique partners talked me into going. They said it was good practice for the future. They were right!
You can’t see Debbie and Rick, but Donna’s behind me, to the left of the Story Catcher Publishing sign. She’s been my self-publishing guru. I couldn’t have made this journey without her advice!
This is me at the Marvelous Midwest SCBWI conference. I’m with my friend and conference roommate, Aileen. Without her, Neil might never have been published.
In November I was ready to quit. Then I went to the Helen Hunt Circle to talk about being a writer. I told them about losing my 3rd illustrator. Those ladies wouldn’t let me give up. Before I left, they gave me three names.
I also decided to reach out to Aileen. She had an illustrator she thought would be great, It was Cole Roberts, and that’s how I met my illustrator.
These pictures came from that same SCBWI conference in early May. I took my proof of Neil so I could get pictures with a few writing friends, BUT I couldn’t share them.
Why not? Purdue has a trademark on Neil’s name and his image. I found out in early April that I had to get permission from Purdue to use them in my book. Without that permission, I couldn’t sell my book, and I couldn’t share these pictures with you.
BUT I saved them, and now I CAN share them. The first friend is Jarm. She’s in my debut group, On the Scene in 2019. Her debut book, THE HEART CHANGER, was for sale at the conference bookstore. She didn’t have a copy so she used her tablet. I think it’s a great photo!
The second friend is Shirin. I met her last year in The Children’s Book Academy class, the 12 x 12 writing group, and my Writing Magic critique group. I hadn’t met either Jarm or Sharin in person before, but it was great to meet both of them!
Donna, Charlotte, Carolyn K, Carolyn C, Alex, Mira, Callie, Melissa, Candice, Candace, Sandra, Theresa, Nancy, Patricia, Karen, and Shirin. They are my writing community, and my book is better because they commented on what to keep, what to change, and what to delete.
It meant the world that two of my school friends made time to see me and my book. I’ve known Laura and Fran since I moved into Elida Elementary back in 1999. Fran is in the first picture. She was the school secretary, and she took great care of me and my students. Thanks, Fran!
The second is one of my 2nd grade teaching friends, Laura. I remember the 1st time I met her . . . she smacked me/my arm. I was so shocked! Normally that’s not how you make friends, but with Laura it was like becoming an honorary sister.
I owe another friend an apology. Becky came down to Wapak, and I forgot to get a picture. I’m so sorry! Becky taught me how to be a teacher back in 1983 when I was brand-new. She was one of my mentors, and I’m grateful for everything she taught me. Thanks, Becky!
Here are a few more shots from this month’s Meet the Author/book signings. Thanks to my hosts at the Wapakoneta library, Riverside Art Center, and Casa Chic. They welcomed me in and made each event special.They made sure I left with photo memories that included a smile. I am grateful to them for the opportunity to share NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM.
An Interview with Susan Edwards Richmond
Meet Susan Edwards Richmond! She was a California girl till age 4 when she moved to upstate New York. That’s where she discovered woodlands, mountains, and rivers. It awakened a lifelong love of nature. Susan grew up to become a teacher and curriculum director. Now she has the perfect job – working in a wildlife sanctuary in a nature-based preschool. For her debut picture book Susan took her love of nature and translated it into a book about her annual adventure, The Christmas Bird Count with the Audubon Society.
Now Susan and her husband live west of Boston, Massachusetts. They have 2 adult daughters. Susan is a published poet and member of an SCBWI critique group that she adores. There’s nothing like having someone you trust tell you what they love, but I think it’s more important to have someone tactfully tell you what isn’t working or doesn’t make sense.
I love Susan’s cover! I can’t wait to follow Ava when she gets to be a citizen scientist for the annual Christmas Bird Count. She has a huge job, using her eyes, ears, and binoculars to identify, count, and tally each bird she sees along the way. I can’t wait to see what Ava spots. Go, Ava, go!
Susan’s Interview Link:
An Interview with Jennifer Buchet
Meet Jennifer Buchet before she breezes by! She is one busy lady! She’s an award-winning author, major foodie, and a pre-kindergarten teacher. She also coaches softball and manages book fairs. When work is done, Jennifer hunts down the most elusive creature of all, ‘spare time.’ That’s when she can enjoy reading a good book, making a magical meal, or crushing her family at Catan. I had to Google it! If you’re curious like me, click on this link. Catan sounds like fun!
Jennifer has been writing since her days reporting for her 4th grade newspaper and her anxt-filled childhood diaries. She moved onto a career writing advertising copy and blogs, but her heart remained in children’s lit. She’s been a feature contributor to Cricket Magazine since 2011, and she’s written over 50 articles and interviews for AppleSeeds and Faces Magazines.
She’s also an active member of many writing communities including SCBWI and 12x12. I met Jennifer a year ago through Mira Reisburg’s Children’s Book Academy and then through 12x12. The writing world really is a small world after all!
This is her temporary cover until the real one’s finished. Hint- there are snakes and a Medusa from Greek Mythology in this story. I’m dying to read it!
Little Medusa comes from a long line of snake-loving, serpentine-wearing Gorgons. When she gets her first snake, she discovers having it slither and slide through her hair isn’t as great as she thought. PLUS, does she really want to turn her friends to stone using her scary new forever-friend? How will Little Medusa please her family, her best-pet snake, but most of all herself?
Read Jennifer’s interview to find out where she came up with this stone-cold idea! Link: http://onthescenein19.weebly.com/blog/an-interview-with-author-jennifer-buchett
An Interview with Tina Shepherdson
Meet Tina Shepherdson! She’s from Upstate New York, and I’ve known her electronically for a year or two through Children’s Book Academy and 12 x 12. Both are great places to connect with other writers.
Tina has been sharing books with kids forever! She started as a teenager. She wrote her own books, tied them together with string, then read them to the kids she babysat. Tina still reads to kids as a 6th grade teacher. She’s been teaching for 30 years and has won awards for her work. When Tina’s not teaching or writing, she’s walking her akitas with her family, spending time at camp, eating chocolate, and enjoying winter snowstorms. Life sounds perfect!
This is an early thumbnail/character sketch for Tina’s debut book, WALKOUT. It’s based on a true story, and it’s democracy in action. Maddie wants to organize an anti-school-violence walkout like kids in other states. She perseveres even when the principal announces their school won’t participate, and her BFF Stella is afraid to join her. Read to find out if Maddie helps Stella find the courage to walkout. This is the perfect story for today’s schools, and Tina’s the perfect writer to tell it.
Tina’s Interview Link: http://onthescenein19.weebly.com/blog/an-interview-with-author-tina-m-shepardson
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!