Sunday, October 30, 2005

Thoughts on the Festival

Well, the festival wrapped up today and I've caught my breath. WOW! I'm just blown away with the reception my book received. We sold around 65 copies, way more than we anticipated. In fact when we broke down the booth there were only 10 books left that the publisher brought for the festival. And all but five or six of those 65 books were bought by complete strangers.

I guess I'm going to have to get used to that shock, that people will buy my book! It's a very gratifying feeling, but part of me is like, "Are these people ever going to find out I was painting this book in my penguin pjs while watching Kill Bill?"

And while I probably talked to more parents, it was the kid's reactions that I was really excited about. I mean the parents can appreciate the aesthetic of the Chinese brush paintings and things like that on a mature level, but the kids were the true critics. In fact the kids scared me to death! That nervous part of me was waiting for them to pull a "children of the corn" and come after me, but the kids all loved it.

I was surprised with the range of ages, too. I had little 3 year olds all excited about the kung fu kicks and chops, and I had early readers around 7 and 8 who liked reading it and the cuteness of the characters. That's a plus about the size being more narrow, it doesn't look like a kiddie picture book for the early readers.

And not a single person passed on it because it wasn't in color. In fact a lot of people commented on how beautiful the illustrations were then later realized it was done in black and white. I've always thought that if black and white is done right, you don't even notice that it's missing color because the black and white are so rich. And the book was printed so well, that there is wonderful range in the grays and blacks.

Eric Rohmann was one of the highlight author/artists and I had him sign a couple of books, and showed him my book since his rabbit book won him a Caldecott medal. He was so encouraging and thought my book was "fantastic." He also liked that it was in black and white, and told me the next hurdle is dealing with the critics.

Well, now to plan my school and library visits (yikes!). I've also got a couple of storytime engagements in December at several Barnes and Nobles. Whew!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

For the Story to make sense, read from top to bottom, thanks! Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

Read from top to bottom... Posted by Picasa

Read from top to bottom! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 27, 2005

LBKF to land in Austin tomorrow!!! I'm just a little excited! Posted by Picasa

These are hard, but they're very popular right now. This is supposed to be an easy one, but I I haven't figured it out yet! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I have a buyer for this painting. It was on display with some headless horseman books and a lady called today for it. I was hoping someone in the area might be having a theme party or something and want to have it :) Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 24, 2005

Food Poisoning

Never eat a cinnamon bun at a movie theater... I don't know what I was thinking and I suppose I've brought this on myself. It's like one degree less stupid than eating a tuna salad sandwich out of a vending machine.

The following transcript was taken from Regan’s body starting at about 4am…

Stomach (S): What is it Lt. Small?

Small Intestines (SI): I’m sorry sir, but we’re not going to be able to accept your next shipment.

S: What?! Are you kidding?

SI: No, sir.

S: Did you try to digest it? Did you use-

SI: Sir, we’ve tried everything.

S: Well, that don’t make a lick of sense. *goes to printout* All she had to eat was a nice well cooked steak-

SI: Oh yes, we were looking forward to that-

S: And some potatoes… a Chi latte and a… oh.

SI: Sir?

S: *sigh* Yes, Lt. Small I think I see the problem here. A cinnamapretzel.

SI: Excuse me sir, but what the hell is that?

S: *picks up the red phone* I don’t know but I’m calling the Brain.

SI: At this hour? Aren’t we in sleep mode?

S: Not for long, Small. Hello, Brain? Come in, Brain.

Brain (B): Bloody hell, Stomach, what the devil are you thinking waking me at… gracious me, 4 am?

S: Sir, what exactly is a cinnamapretzel?

B: Oh, um… Well it’s rather a mix of a cinnamon bun and a soft pretzel. Why do you ask?

S: The small intestines isn’t having any of it, sir.

B: Oh dear. Can’t this wait? I’m not going to be able to perform satisfactory if we have her up at this hour.

S: Sir, I suggest you get this body into the bathroom so we can evacuate this cinnamawhatzit ASAP

B: Oh bother. You don’t understand how much she hates to evacuate food. Hey do you think?

Womb: Ain’t nobody in here, sir.

B: Rats. How did this happen? *picks up red phone* Eyes. Come in, Eyes. Explain the cinnamapretzel.

Eyes (E): Sir? It looked good. The illustration had gooey icing and rings of yummy cinnamon goodness.

B: Hold on, Eyes. Mouth? Respond to that please, Mouth.

Mouth (M): I knew that would be trouble, sir. Tasted kind of slimy on the outside and that icing came out of a little plastic cup that was room temperature.

S: Brain, what kind of mess did you get us into?

B: Shut up, Stomach. Do you have any idea how much information I have to process?

S: Well, process this. I’m hitting the “Purge” button.

Colon (C): Whoa, guys. Let’s just calm down now. No one wants that. I’m not scheduled for work until about 10 am, if you purge that will knock my whole schedule off.

S: Sorry, Colon. It’s a Brain failure. I’ll try to expel as much as I can from here.

B: How bad is it going to be, Stomach?

S: I’m alerting the toenails, sir.

B: Well, let’s get this over with, then. Man, this baby used to be able to process anything.

S: Think it has to do with the upcoming birthday?

B: No, she’s never been right ever since college.

Everybody: Tequila.

B: Well, sorry chaps. I shall endeavor to avoid this in the future. Good night, and good luck.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Here are some fun pics with our new digital camera... Mike seems to have developed a slight cough and a little heartburn... Posted by Picasa

Here's a better idea of what the finish cover will look like. It's texture/cloth bound with the image inlaid in the front. I can't wait to see it!! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 20, 2005

something for the kids :) Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 17, 2005

Here's the illustration I did for Lester Morris (aka Santa). It's really a great true christmas story. Lester was a British orphan, and one year he asked Santa for a pet, but he and Santa both knew that the orphans couldn't have pets, so Santa gave him Harry... the invisible cricket... See? Great story... Posted by Picasa

Barefoot in the Park

I'm working and watching Barefoot in the Park, and I'm cracking up... I loved it as a kid, but oh god, I'm laughing so hard now that I'm married I guess it's even better. The poor mother, I just envision my mom, the trooper, coming to our fun house.

And Mike is so like Redford, game for any wild idea his wife comes up with. I really must drive the poor guy nuts.

I recommend everyone go rent it again and think of Mike and me...

Friday, October 14, 2005


Invitations to my first signing will be going out soon, and the publisher's going to have 300 books drop shipped to my parent's house. God willing they'll be there in time. There isn't any indication now that they won't, but there is the element of unforseen catastrophe's and I won't feel totally at ease until they're there (Miriam says she perpetually feels like I feel now!).

The proofs looked great, just like the "dummy" book I made. As for the Library of Congress, I'm listed under [1. Rabbits--Fiction. 2. Behavior--Fiction. 3. Animals--Fiction. 4.Kung fu--Fiction. 5. Stories in rhyme.] I'm listed under Kung Fu!!! How cool is that?!

I got to go with the publisher to fedex the proofs. It was right in the middle of five oclock traffic, and I felt like we were rushing to the hospital only we were mailing, not delivering. I watched Miriam initial and sign away on about 8 packets of papers, all of it confirming the end papers, the jacket material, the spine, the pages inside, the colors... there's a lot that goes into making a book.

And the rabbits are underway, but may not be ready for general purchase until early next year. They have to arrive on a boat and that takes like 3 months. We're having a few airmailed just for the book festival, and if there are any left over, I'll try to snag them for my signing maybe as door prizes. We'll see...

I'll also be tackling some publishing marketing. We're targeting 2 hour radius' around places we're from. Schools, libraries, martial art studios, you name it!

Very happy and excited. I'm doing this weird hopping thing when it all hits me at times... must be the "bunny" thing ;)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

It was hard getting the sword back from LBKF... heehee Posted by Picasa

here I am with my prototype Little Bunny Kung Fu toy. We're in matching kung fu outfits, and that's my decorative katana sword in my lap... Ah, the kid's will love the bunny (sword sold seperately!) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Our degu Bilbo here... our camera takes really good up close pictures of our hard to sit still pets... Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

This is my new wallpaper on my computer desktop. I had to replace poor Twoser's picture, and I figured LBKF will cheer me up. I like the design of this one, I may have to find a use for it... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 09, 2005

some pictures of today with our new camera... Posted by Picasa

The Conference

The Austin SCBWI conference went great!

I met with David Caplan of Harpercollins and we had a great critique of my work. He really loved my animals, especially Little Bunny Kung Fu. He gave me a good tip about background space and how to promote yourself when you're wearing so many hats (illustrator, writer, designer...). He also gave a talk about the behind the scenes craziness of a children's publishing house. He said people hear what he does and think he must skip down the halls and pick flowers, when really there's blood, sweat and tears on a boardroom table over a book cover.

Another big surprise was that they nominated me for the Illustration Chair of our chapter. This was something I thought I might want to do, but I really didn't pursue it, thinking I'd need more experience (that was before LBKF). I accepted and they'll announce it at the meeting next month. I've started working on some ideas already to get the illustrators more involved.

And today Mike and I went to the Wildflower Center and joined their membership. We got a free plant (a coral honeysuckle), and we can go there anytime we want for free.

Another surprise was our new digital camera. Finally we've got a real camera again, and Mike took some great photos.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005