Fanny just sent me a couple of the color illustrations of upcoming Curlilocks book, Curlilocks and the Sleepy Giant. Super excited. I introduced a new character, Nelson. He’s Curlilocks best friend. I love the texture of Nelson’s hair :). Hoping to get this picture book out by Summer 2017.
This past December my illustrator created several images for me for the upcoming Story Bird Dance Journal. I’m in the middle of designing the lay-out. Readers of Story Bird Dance will be able to write their daily thoughts and complete how they were
There’s also a space for the next days goals.
I made the questions and layout with my 7 almost 8 year old in mind. Looking forward to seeing how she and other fans of Story Bird Dance use the journal.
I’m so in love with the cover of the newest book, Story Bird Dance and The Snowbird Ballet and the mini ballet. I wanted to incorporate black, grays and whites in the Snowbirds ballet costume. So often the main character is in all white.
I wanted drama and my illustrator delivered! She rocks!!! I sent her a picture of an actual bird because the colors inspired me along with a possible costume and she produced a work of art for the dancers.
The entire story is about the two of the dancers, Nia and Jada facing some fears around the performance. A back story includes a mini Modern Ballet story I wrote (as Ms. Kenya, the students dance teacher). My family has been a total trooper as I kept running ideas by them.
The ballet is about a Snowbird that flies from her snowy home and crosses a dessert to lay her diamond eggs once a year. She says goodbye to her friends the Arctic Hares (for some reason I leave out the first “c”) Polar Bears and the Forget Me Not Fairies. She has to pass the Lizard King and give him one of her diamond eggs. This year the Lizard King decides to imprison the Snowbird. I love it!
Ok… I’m so excited, just started writing a “winterish” story for the next Story Bird Dance book. I was heading in a different direction. Originally, I was going to do a party story, but another fabulous author, Marti Dumas (of the Jaden Toussaint series is putting together a winter writing bundle. Fingers crossed that I can get it done in time and illustrated. If not, it’ll be great when it comes out.
LOL, in addition, my house remodel deconstruction is finally underway. YES!!!! Meeting with the builder shortly for next steps (please stay on budget). Life is crazy, time is precious, family is love.
Putting together the final tweaks for ….the first book in Story Bird Dance series.
Something’s going on in that house… Sky, Jada and Nia love their dance studio and their instructor, Ms. Kenya. But when they learn that their studio is being moved to an empty old house, their excitement turns to dread. While exploring the house’s second floor, they encounter a ghost! They have to get rid of the ghost before the other students find out it exist. Who’d want to dance in a haunted studio?
It’s summer. My kids are home. We’re having fun and making messes, big messes, that I only seem to clean up. A little venting never hurt. I’m birthing several projects and having to make sure I’m present in my daily interactions. First, I’m excited about my new website. The hubby has been helping big time. Thank you babe! Web design takes time.
Secondly, my latest book project is Storybird Dance, a series written for 1st-4th graders. OMG they’re so cute. I found a fabulous illustrator. We’re about half-way through with illustrations and I need to start formatting… soon. There are four main girls and the stories follow their daily lives in and around the dance studio. I’m envisioning 3-6 books in the series and debating publishing as they’re complete or waiting until at least 2-3 books are complete and then start publishing.
Also, my third Curlilocks book, Curlilocks and the Sleepy Giant, is in the hands of my illustrator now. Woohoo! 32 full color pages of fun. I introduced a friend called Nelson for Curlilocks. She plays the cello and he plays the violin. They use the power of practice to make it across the Sleepy Giant Bridge. Can’t wait to see the first sketches. I’ll share as they start coming my way. Full color- picture book production reminds me to be patient.
Oh and did I mention, I’m be elbow deep in sewing this week and next. I usually sew their Halloween costumes after weeks of planning. This time, I have a week to create. The kids are in a half day acting camp, that’s putting on the musical version of “Matilda” by Roald Dahl, a favorite in this house. My youngest is The Truchbull and Doctor. I’m making a burlap jacket, wide belt and tie. My son is playing Mr. Wormwood. Wish me luck with thrift store shopping for green plaid jacket, blue vest and orange tie (I may make his tie too) and may pick up a bargain for myself.
Writing my latest Curlilocks story and I’m slightly frustrated by the box I’ve created for myself. The inspiration for this one comes from my daughter and her cello lessons. I’ve fallen in love with a title and now writing to the title, Curlilocks and the Wicked Cello.
This is the third Curlilocks book. I’ve decided to give her a friend (traveling companion), a talking cello and a mountain to climb. Realizing how much I’m doubting all of these adds to the this 32-36 page picture book. I don’t want to overcomplicate the story. I’ve started journaling daily, and that’s helping me with my writing and allowing me to loose the clutter of voices that can override the creative process. The Hobbit had lots of obstacles, a traveling companion and a longer time to tell the story. Ok, this can be done.
When I wrote the first book, I didn’t intend to write a series but now it is and my reflections are showing trends. Ugggg, I need to stay true to the character and focus on her development. Or go back to my original notes about who she is, what she likes to do and why. A completed first draft is on the way. I can feel it. I’ll continue waking up to journal and then write. Even 30 minutes a day makes a difference.
I finally got the coloring book storyboard out to my illustrator. Curlilocks and the Pink Panda’s and Curlilocks and the Big Bad Hairbrush will both have an Activity/Coloring Book. I did an outline for each of the pages and took some advice from a friend and made two coloring books instead of one. Originally, I was concerned with having lots of pages in one book. It makes sense to h
ave an activity/coloring book that pairs with each Curlilocks book.
The books contain, coloring pages, activities (what’s different, rhyming words, crosswords, mazes etc), and free form drawing pages. Fanny, my illustrator thinks it’ll take about two months. My hope is it’s done by the end of September early October. This will allow me time for book formatting and testing with a sample group. Looking forward to a November publishing date.
I’ll keep you posted.
Curlilocks and the Big Bad Hairbrush is available on Amazon.com and BN.com. Yes! This one took a little longer on the production end, but it was worth the time. From start to finish it took about eight months. That’s writing, editing, illustrations, final edits and dun dun duuuuu formatting.
I was able to assemble most of the same team from the first book (Curlilocks and the Three Pink Pandas). I found them on oDesk. I’ve had success using oDesk. A couple of people have not come delivered, but you figure that out quickly and move forward.
My editor was ready. She gave great feedback and her edits and suggestions made the story stronger. My illustrator is a star. I storyboard the book and provide her with a history/composite of each character. I try not to over direct, because she’s the illustrator and I picked her because of her talent. I insist on small details that I believe help readers connect and she’s wonderful at representing my words.
The kicker was this year, my formatter wasn’t available. He may be on a break, but for now he’s not available. I had a major panic moment (lasted about 48 hours) when I didn’t hear from him. I started looking for other picture book formatters but with a heavy heart. Formatting picture books can be a beast and I wasn’t looking forward to the search or figuring out who could really do the job. I put out a search, but didn’t have any bites. I decided to do it myself. My awesome husband used to test all types of software in college. His goal was to find the weakness in the drivers. This 20 year old experience has come in handy many times and this was no exception. He and I took on the task of formatting this Curlilocks.
I’m proud of the finished product, both Kindle version and printed. I learned how to use Photoshop (at least the parts I need for formatting) and InDesign. Yay! There was a steep learning curve, but I made it past that point of pain. And to make things better, last year Amazon created Kindle Kids Book Creator. When I’m ready to publish to other eBook platforms, I’ll have to figure those processes out, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.
My new favorite iPhone app is the 5-Minute Journal. It’s helping me get things done. For months I’ve needed to do a few final touches on my second book and make different health choices. They were small things, but I continually found more interesting things to do instead. Like clean the bathroom mirrors, or dust the laundry room blinds.
I heard about the Journal while listening to a Podcast- I think it was Underground Wellness. Side-note- highly recommended Podcast about healthy living/choice. What I’ve found to be true is putting words in print and taking them out of my head is a game changer.
I’ve written the beginnings of many books in my head, or while running had great ideas. But keeping them in your head is just that, in your head. I found that to be true when I wrote my first book. I decided not to publish that one, but I got it on paper. Yay! That first writing was the push I needed to move ahead and write Curlilocks and the Three Pink Pandas.
It’s been about two weeks since the Journal has become my thing. I wake up in the morning, preferably before everyone else, while the house is still and quiet. In those moments, I write 3 Things I’m Gratful for, 3 Things that would make this Day Great and an unlimited number of Affrimations (I usually do 3-5). With that I’ve set the course of my day.
A few Goals I’ve accomplished….
1. Completed my 1st Blog entry
2. Make boards on Pinterest
3. Have sugar-free days :)… I’m also on a health journey
4. Create/write Front Matter for book
5. Assign ISBN’s in Bowkers
The Journal is available to write 7 days a week. I still go into the weekend with my fabulous kids schedule moving us along and no true goals for my self other than be a fabulous mommy and wife :).
I’m loving being intentional and accountable to me.