Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Only One

There is a game I like to play from time to time. I guess I could call it; I’m the only one. It works like this. You see something that other people can see; only you are the only one who sees it. You could tell people, even point it out. Instead, you keep it to yourself.

For example, say you are sitting on a bench in a park. From a tree branch above, a small leaf falls to earth. Other people are in the park. Other people could have seen it. But they didn’t. You’re the only one.

Remember the seen in Stand By Me when Gordie sees the deer?

“The freight woke up the other guys and it was on the tip of my tongue to tell them about the deer. But I didn't. That was the one thing I kept to myself. I've never spoken or written about it until just now.”
Good Things, Bad Things

After reading the lastest chapter of my current MS to my daughter, she turned to me and said, "You remind me of Louis Sachar." She paused, then added, "That's a good thing. He's my favoirte author."

What a roller coaster week it’s been.

My hockey team, the Jackals, won the FAHL C Division Championship: A Good Thing

I lost the Hot Men of Children's Literature according to Fuse #8: A Bad Thing

I helped a snapping turtle cross the road: Good Thing

One of my pond turtles died: Sad Thing

I received a letter of rejection on a manuscript I thought for sure was a winner: Sad Thing

It was a very positive and personal rejection letter: Good Thing

I have some wonderful, supportive people in my life: Priceless

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Writing For Your Turtle Carrying Protagonist

Driving home from work yesterday I noticed a lady standing in the middle of the road. I slowed. At her feet rested a larger snapper.

“Nice turtle.” I said.
“Can you help me get it across the street?”

So I pulled off the road.

photo showing proper way to handle a snapping turtle

As I hopped out of the jeep, I noticed a student from my school who had arrived just prior me. He was reaching down to lift the turtle... by its shell (insert gasp).

“Grab it by its tail. Its tail! I shouted.”

The snapper reached back with fire in its eye and hatred in its belly (Wow, isn’t that the worse thing you have ever read? I should write romance novels!)

I never saw hands retract so quickly as the boy stood at attention.

“Uhm, you want to do it?”

I was glad too. I live for this stuff. I lifted the snapper firmly by the base of the tail and carried it safely across the road (with no gratitude from the ticked-off turtle I might add).

The lesson learned:
Snapping turtles have powerful jaws and long necks that can reach way back. The only safe way to carry a snapper is by the tail.

If you are writing a story and your protagonist has to carry a snapping turtle, make sure your hero carries the turtle by the tail not the shell (or have your hero get bit).

Friday, April 27, 2007

OK, I lost!

So when Fuse # 8 announced the winner of the Hot Men of Children's Literature was I surprised I hadn’t won? Well, maybe not, considering I didn’t even make the list.

It’s ok. We can’t blame her. For one, I wasn’t even on the list. For two, she doesn’t know I exist. The only question is, is there still time? I mean, I’m not getting any younger or hotter.

They say it takes two years to get a book published and that’s after a publisher has accepted you. I might need to face the hard fact reality that I might be 50 before I am ever even eligible for the list. And who will want me then?? Who I ask!

Gym, here I come. We have a long road ahead.

Sour Grapes

PS on the bright side, I am a championship goalie! See you on the ice Magoon! :P

No, not really. It was the summer of 1971 according to my mom’s handwriting. I was 6. Funny how mom’s save all this stuff. She has an apple tree that I painted when I was 4.

The other funny thing is, my art hasn’t changed much in the last 35 years. Only I didn’t stress over it so much then. Didn’t worry about style or composition. I just painted. Someday, I’ll get that back. Check back in another 35 years. :P

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Jackals Win FAHL C Division Championship

From staff writer Michael Brantley.

For the second time in three seasons, the Bella Italia Jackals overcame the suspension of a key contributor to win the FAHL C Division Championship. The Jackals (13-4) dominated from the opening drop to defeat regular season champ Vincent’s (14-3) 7-2.

Center Patrick Zarb had 3 goals and 2 assists and center Marc Haberkorn added 2 goals. Both players had shorthanded markers in the second period.
Forwards John Matthews and Paul Reid had the other 2 goals as well as an assist, while Chris Reed and Mike Brantley each made the scoresheet with assists.
Team captain Mike Brantley attributed the win to a total team effort, and great preparation. The Jackals jumped out to an early lead and never let up.

“I attribute our win to a total team effort,” Brantley said, “not to mention we had great preparation. We jumped out to an early lead and never let up.”

Haberkorn started the scoring two minutes in on an assist from Reid and before the period was over Zarb and Matthews added scores to make it 3-0 after the first period. However, it was the second period that really made the difference, with both shorthanded goals being scored.

“It was the second period that really made the difference,” Zarb said. “Both shorthanded goals were scored.”

The two shorties were wrapped around a goal from Reid to make it 6-0.
“[expletive] yeah, [expletive] [expletive] yeah,” Reid said. “It was [expletive] awesome.”

Vincent’s picked up 2 goals in the third, but Zarb’s empty netter made them largely ignored.

“We largely ignored them in an elongated way,” said Adam Floyd, who missed the last championship game with a torn labia. “My nut hurts.”
In addition to the momentus win, what might have been more remarkable was the fact that Paul Holmes and Bruce Stevens made it two games without taking a penalty or an assault charge.

“Is Jonah really coming back?,” Stevens replied when asked about the remarkable fact.

When asked about his new calmness Holmes added, “Well, if that’s the case, I quit, I’m not playing this summer.”

Goalie Ian Sands, modeling himself after legendary Jackals goalies with porno names Neil Blazer and Kevin Universal did an awesome job of not sucking. He had 29 saves on 31 shots and blew bubbles after the game [insert joke here].
Vlad Potapoff, everyone’s favorite former Soviet Socialist Republic citizen, was unable to play due to preventing manslaughter in the first playoff game. However, he managed the bench while looking very distinguished and even apologized to the ref afterwards.

“I apologize in Russian,” Vlad said. “But we shall see who gets apology. I know people who do things.”

Also missing from the game was Mexican immigrant Martin Roxo, who showed uncharacteristic toughness last week, finishing the game on two broken legs, a dislocated shoulder and severe gas.
The win was also exciting for Greg Codges, who at age 72 could not contain his excitement.

“I can’t contain my excitement,” Hodges said. “Hey, I think I just wet myself. Is Truman still President? Where’s my crackers! I like turnips.”

click here to view larger image

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bring Out The Vote

What's the deal with the Hot Men of Children's Literature according to Fuse #8? Peter Brown, Scott Magoon. Magoon? Is she kidding?

Listen, let's get down to the REAL Hot Men of Children's Literature. Bear in mind that we are not voting on level of intelligence, the ability to have a secure and healthy relationship, or how well they do their job. This is a quiz based on surface appearances alone. Vote before midnight on Monday the 23rd and I'll announce everything bright and early on the 24th.

Here are your choices:

Ian Sands
Ian Sands
I Sands
Ian M Sands
Pony Wombat
Ian Sands

Let the poles role!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

How many times should I have to wash that Jeep in one weekend??

You ever have one of those days... or weekends??

I tell no lie; I had just washed the spring pollen off this jeep half an hour before.

The story goes like this:

My kid is invited to a birthday party on Saturday afternoon. The people live way out in the woods and I had to go down this long, narrow one-way driveway to get to their house. Well everyone was coming to pick up their kid from the party so I thought, I have a Jeep, I can pull off to the side.

Now, the spot where I pulled over use to be a big ditch. The party people had some trees chopped down and filled the ditch with the wood chips. Now mixing that with all the rain we had last week, made for a fairly nice sink hole.

My Machine She's a Dud, All Stuck in the Mud

Some boat rope and a truck later and we were good to go. As Toby Mac say, Booming out the stereo system. This goes out to anyone listing.

I go home and wash the Jeep, again.

But wait, there's more:

Same kid get's invited to another party on Sunday afternoon. After the party we are driving home and well, I guess it was a little too much cake, or a little too much ice cream, or maybe too much soda, or maybe all three... cause out the side of the Jeep... At least I had the top off.

I go home and wash the Jeep, again.
Not Ready for Prime Time Cow

You ever wake up wanting to create a piece of artwork but not really being in the mood to create a piece of artwork? Then you force yourself to create the said artwork and when you are done, you're not really happy with it? Then you try to take a decent photo of the not so decent illustration and you find the only camera in the house is your camera phone, which for some reason can't capture a decent image to save its life, if it had a life?

So them you post it anyway...

The idea was to create an illustration for this week's Picture-Bookies Showcase, a new blog specifically for showcasing the art of Picture Book Illustrators. This week’s topic is "Change of plans".

I had a few ideas all revolving around a large creature being in a place where kids might want to, or have to go. Some ideas included a dragon on a swing set and a monster on a teeter totter. I settled on a cow. So the kids suppose to milk the cow but the cow has other ideas, change of plans.

However the whole thing fell apart from the get go so this is as far as Mr. Cow is going today.

Maybe next week.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Design your Website for a Target Audience
An excerpt from the SCBWI Pen & Palette
by Ian Sands

You’ve just completed a wonderful story for early readers. You seal the envelope and mail it to your chosen publisher, Harlequin Romance. Three months latter you’re surprised to receive a form letter from Harlequin saying thanks but this work is not for us.

When designing intranet sites for organizations, I often receive a package of content the management deems important to electronically distribute to their employees. The package usually contains a letter from the CEO, the company’s organizational chart, as well as biographies and photos of upper management.

Corporations might believe employees are going to rush to their newly designed intranet to read a poorly constructed CEO welcome message but that is far from realistic. In truth, the employees are more interested in finding out what days they have off, how they can order a more comfortable office chair, and what the cafeteria is serving for lunch. Just like the early reader manuscript sent to Harlequin, the CEO and the management have failed to realize who their target audience is.

When designing your website, the top two questions you should ask yourself are: Who is my audience? What are their needs?

Identifying your target audience’s needs is the most important factor in making sure your site is designed to achieve maximum potential. With the exception of your mom, nobody is visiting your website to meet your needs. Be it a potential art director searching for the right illustrator, a publisher seeking more information about an author, or a dad looking for a new picture book to read to his child, the needs the visitor is trying to meet are theirs.

Learn more about the SCBWI.
Learn more about the Pen and Palette.

Friday, April 06, 2007


click here to view larger image

I received an invite, which I graciously accepted, to the Picture-Bookies Showcase, a new blog specifically for showcasing the art of Picture Book Illustrators.

Although the objective is not to create new art, I decided to illustrate this week’s topic: "By Appointment Only". Then when I saw that this week's Illustration Friday word was "Green", I felt like I hit two birds with one rock.

(Side note: No actual birds were hurt in the creating of this illustration.)

click here for more views of this work in progress

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Want to know how much I hate chalk!

So here are a few shots from an illustration I’m creating for this week’s Picture-Bookies Showcase theme, "By Appointment Only".

I scribbled in colored pencil over the paint and chalk pastel. It looked swell. Then I noticed a lot of debris on the illustration so I tipped it up. All the vibrant color ran off the page and left nothing but the dull colored pencil. So disappointing. I tried to scrub the pastels back in but…

I still have a lot to go but my hand is tired from scribbling. I think I’ll go outside and feed the turtles.
The Picture-Bookies Showcase is a new blog specifically for showcasing the art of Picture Book Illustrators. I was fortunate enough to receive an invite, which I graciously accepted.

There are weekly themes to which all contributors of the blog may post an illustration. Although the objective is not to create new art, but to show off the skills with whatever artwork we have that fits the theme, I thought I would take this opportunity to once again, reinvent myself (or at least my art).

This week’s topic is "By Appointment Only".

Step 1:

Create this sketch while sitting on the beach on Monday.

Step 2:

Got back home today and redrew the sketch on large happy paper.

Step 3:

Roughed in some paint and chalk pastel.