Hemingway’s Squirrel

A sketch from – Hemingway’s Squirrel.

The Heartwarming tale of Hemingway and a spunky squirrel who showed up one day looking for whiskey. The squirrel acted as inspiration and foil often telling Hemingway his writing sucked just to see what happened. They went on edge-of-the-seat adventures around the world developing a deep bond while experiencing golden sunsets and heartwarming realizations…


OK. That’s not a real story. This is just a sketch from my sketchbook. And it kind of  looked like Hemingway. And a squirrel.




My new ebook, The Thing with No Head, is posted to the iBookstore. It’s for sale as of today, October 20th. You know, just in time for some Halloween reading!

If you have an iOS device or a Mac with iBooks Installed you can download and read a sample (the first 6 pages). So download and take a look!

As I’ve mentioned before, making this book has been a good learning experience and illuminated some of my limitations as a book creator. I broke the experience into a film title.


The book looks great on iPads and in iBooks on a Mac.

I love to crosshatch. Mission Accomplished.

I like stories with a bit more edge and that mix genres in ways that make it difficult for mainstream publishers to comfortably sell.

It’s was a great creative opportunity to try something that doesn’t fit easily into the expectations and genres in publishing and bookstores.

The ‘antique’ look of it is really a design decision that adds another dimension to reading it.

While you might think doing this allows you to make every creative decision, I still got a lot of feedback and editing from friends which helped a ton.


There is no easy way to get his ebook in front of any particular audience who might like it. By picking categories and keywords you limit exposure as powerfully as you position it.

It’s a bummer to not have a printed version of it to hold in my hands…I know, I’m an old fashioned book guy. I’m just saying…

Making my ebook allowed me to be the author/illustrator as well as salesman – and fill every roll in-between including marketing. Which isn’t a top skill of mine.


The process of creating an ebook is not craft and not art. It’s still a technical battle with odd bugs and format issues. If I didn’t have a 20 year span of my career when I worked in interactive design, online games and websites I would have been lost in how to get it working. The tools are getting better, but after doing this I have to say that the process doesn’t allow one to concentrate on the final product but forces you to tackle construction and architectural issues.


Originally posted on This Kid Reviews Books:

Happy Friday! Before I get to my Perfect Picture Book Pick, I wanted to ask that, after you are done here, click on over to The Write Chat, the Vlog that Felicia (kid author and creator of the Stanley and Katrina blog) and I started. We are hosting our first guest – Author Michelle Isenhoff!

While you are there, please sign up for our newsletter to be notified when we post a new Vlog (we only post once a month). You can also check out the AWESOME line-up of authors we will be interviewing.  CLICK HERE TO GO THERE !

Now on to Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because I love the story idea (and there are evil…

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A new review popped up for The Great Thanksgiving Escape. 

I don’t always read reviews. The bad ones can really put a dent in your day/week/month. And being from Minnesota I tend to not believe in the good ones. But I am happy that this reviewer seemed to catch on to the big idea that motivated me to write the book in the first place. And that’s why we do all this stuff isn’t it? To try and communicate something more than what ends up on the page.



My new picture book, The Great Thanksgiving Escape is available at the Apple iBookstore so you can read it on your new iPad or giant new iPhone or on a Mac. BUT you can also LISTEN to it.

It’s also going to be released over on that Kindle store at Amazon.

“What?”, you say. “Listen to it? It’s a book! Didn’t Lane Smith spend an entire book explaining how a book is supposed to be? I mean, I READ a book but … but I can’t … wait. It has super awesome narration you say?”  Yup, it’s an enhanced ebook and you can buy it on the iBookstore right now. It’s not 8 times the fun, I’d say it’s 5 times the fun. Of course you could buy a dead tree copy AND get the iBook version and you know, it would be a multimedia extravaganza…I’m just saying.

It’s an audio book but with pictures. Or buy the dead tree book and call me and I’ll read it over the phone for you.


Halloween is almost here and the bad books like to dress-up with other book covers. Those dust jackets are easy to hide behind.

Beware if any popular books you didn’t know you had and hadn’t checked out from your local library show up on your doorstep.




eBook adventures.


I recently finished and submitted an original ebook to the Apple iBookstore (which I will talk more about once the book is available). It was a great exercise – having to consider a book from start to finish where I didn’t have editors and designers and marketing people helping. From cover to marketing copy to price – I had to figure it out. I had several good friends who reviewed the work and helped edit the copy and advised on the art direction. Their help was very much appreciated. I learned plenty about my limitations.

The Thing with No Head is darker than your average picture book, but it’s not inappropriate for any age. It was inspired by the Edward Gorey work I read as a kid and was influenced by Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman’s work. And yet – of course – it isn’t exactly like their work either.

This project is a hobby. I try and write several picture book manuscripts each year and sometimes I have ideas that don’t fit into any traditional category. Not comics, not graphic novels, not picture books. I was wondering if these stranger, slightly odder projects could find a place on digital shelves. But I had a lot to learn and I realize now how difficult it is to present a project that does not fit easily into a genre or historical market. What is the demographic? Who will want to read this? How can I find those people? Those are questions that too often authors and illustrators don’t consider at all.

I don’t develop ideas based on a demographic. But I’d be dishonest if I said that I don’t have questions about demographics and appropriateness of ideas floating around in my head when I start a project.  I don’t think you should limit yourself too quickly when an idea jumps out at you by thinking it’s ‘not right’… Yet, success (if we define success as having others want to buy, read and look at your work) comes about because your work finds an audience. And as a commercial artist we do need to consider our audience.

The Thing with No Head will be out on Apple’s iBookstore soon. I’ll write more about it before then. Oh yes I will…




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