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thanksgiving_escape

Sorry about yet another post about my new book, The Great Thanksgiving Escape, but here’s a review that was forwarded to me from a great blog.

From the review:

“The ordinary surroundings of grandma’s house and the slightly comatose over-fed pooches create a perfect foil for the dangerous mission and these superheroes determined to have a good time.  The tension mounts as they face one challenge after the other.  They are after a good time and they deliver one for us with all the trimmings.

This book is going to be a new family tradition at Thanksgiving and it may be grandma who ends up turning the pages.”

The book is almost out, so order a copy today. Or tomorrow. Really any day this week or next. Even pick one up at the end of September. But you must be ready for the new tradition of reading this aloud every Thanksgiving morning.

 

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The Great Thanksgiving Escape has escaped. I received my author copies – which is always a fun thing to find waiting for you at your door. More fun than a rabid raccoon, that’s for sure.

Barnes and Noble has the book for a great price. I’m sure Amazon will match that or have it for less. Or order it locally, or find a copy locally.

Order now so you can start reading it before the Holiday. And make sure you get gift copies for everyone in your building and on your block.

Time to start thinking about crafts to go along with this book…Hummmm.

Books without paper.

Summer’s coming to an end. All the flowers in my garden are dying. And the school buses are about to roll again.  I just got the proofs for Tommy Can’t Stop, the picture book I illustrated for Hyperion written by Tim Federle (He of Better Nate Than Never fame!). They look great. The designers at Hyperion did an awesome job with it.

I am also finishing the scripts for the animated shorts I’m working on (more on that when I have art to show). And I’m continueing to work on a new picture book that I will deliver by the end of the year.

But…I’m planning some macabre ebook fun for Halloween this year!  I will be releasing two eBooks on the iBooks Store (Well, that’s the plan anyway. Just technical issues left so I should make that deadline).

You will be able to buy and read them on a Mac or an iPad. Why release them on Halloween? Well, other than it being one of my favorite holidays, both books are a little – creepy, scary, unsettling…but all in a good, kid friendly way! Below are the covers. Striking, no?

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And two sample pages.

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The Thing with No Head is based on the animated short I made that ran on Nicktoons (On Halloween) but this is an expanded story. It’s in verse which is why I have been editing it for 5 years. I’m not kidding. And I know…verse is a no-no. But this story, it just doesn’t work any other way.

The Boy Who Was Swallowed by A Tiger is a short story that I have been playing with for a year or two.

I write a lot of material that is not the right page count for a traditional picture book and is perhaps not the kind of content a major publisher would want to take a chance on. Or they suck and I’m the only one who likes them…it’s a possibility. They also give me a chance to draw in different styles, using more of a pen-and-ink look which I love. Anyway, I expect to release an additional ebook each quarter in 2015.

The first two books will be available for $1.99 on the iBooks Store around Halloween. If you want to write about them on your blog, or talk about them to your friends drop me an email. I believe I can send out codes for a free download once they are posted. By posting this I really do have to get them ready now. On to beta testing!

 

 

 

A new review from Publishers Weekly for my picture book The Great Thanksgiving Escape. And no, it’s not about turkeys per se. It is about Turkey Day and being an grandmas, stuck in the ‘kids’ room.

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The Great Thanksgiving Escape should be available anywhere you buy books in mid-September. Or you can order it. Or stop into a Barnes and Noble and ask them to order it for you.

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The first few reviews are in and are very good. Except for one on a blog I found. I don’t usually read reviews. I tend to scan them very quickly if I must. But they still freak me out a bit. But that’s just part of this job I guess. It’s a perk. “Look, those people saw my work! And they want to talk about it! And they think it sucks!” Oh…

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I’ll be in Minnesota talking about picture books including my newest in a few weeks. Saturday, September 20th to be exact. I’ll be there with a bunch-a great writers and illustrators. Should be fun for all!

I haven’t been posting much but it’s not for lack of stuff to post about. More to do with being tired and on allergy meds. And lazy.

I recently finished up two new projects for the kids market that will go to various editors soon. I often get asked what I ‘send out’. Well, what my agent sends out. Here’s how I do it. For picture books I have a manuscript and a very rough book dummy in PDF format. If the project is a young reader novel, it’s just a manuscript usually as a PDF. With a graphic novel or hybrid project it’s a manuscript and a few pages of rough sample art, perhaps one finish in PDF format.

These projects have kept me busy in-between the 2 books I illustrated so far this year (Dilly-Dally Daisy and Tommy Can’t Stop) and the picture book I am starting to illustrate. I am just about finished with the rough drawings and page layout. Another few weeks and I will have a dummy for the editor to review.

I’ve also been working on a series of three animated shorts I’m creating (writing, designing and directing). This is pretty exciting and I will share more when I have something to show and of course when and where you can see them. The animated shorts are about a minute and a half long. So the scripts are short (though not by picture book standards!) but still take a lot of time.  They are kid friendly and focus on the world of books. More precisely book reports by my cast of characters. Wackiness ensues.

But when I have a ton of deadlines to hit that occupy a similar creative space I need a ‘something else’ to keep me creatively awake. So I wrote the first draft of a very odd detective story, not especially kid friendly and I am almost done illustrating two short stories I wrote (that are kid friendly)  that I think I will release on Halloween this year on the iBooks store. They are both sort of funky and edgy and not what any mainstream publisher would want. But doing these projects ‘on the side’ so to speak help me stay excited and challenged. The creative process is never domesticated completely. It can be tamed. And if you throw yourself at it you can keep it moving forward and performing – for short periods of time. But it’s just as important to let it run wild and see where it takes you.

 

The issues facing schools and teachers are near-and-dear to me. I work with a local high school and review art department candidates, I visit schools and libraries around the country and I have a 7 year old who reminds me about what happens ‘on the ground’ every day. I was recently talking with a friend who is a university professor about the issues facing teachers at every level. And in my presentations I often talk about how the teachers I was lucky enough to have made a huge difference in my life.

This is a very good article in the New York Times by David L. Kirp called: Teaching Is Not a Business. it examines what’s at the core of a good school experience and looks at various reform fads. What makes a great school experience? It’s not free-market mumbo-jumbo. It’s not vouchers. It’s not computers. It’s good teachers with the time and materials to spend time with students. 

I don’t mean to belittle the issues facing education these days. They seem ominous and complex. But I think a rational discussion starts with admitting the high value of teachers and the importance of the time a teacher gets to spend with students. It seems that we should examine the education system issues by agreeing on this bedrock principle.

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I am thrilled to be a guest at the 15th Annual Celebration of Minnesota Children’s Authors and Illustrators! It’s at the Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota on Saturday, September 20th. So if you are in Minnesota and want to party with the cool-kids stop by. Even if you are in Wisconsin, drive over. It’s not that far. And from Iowa – not a bad drive either. It’s a longer drive from South Dakota, but worth it!

I’m also visiting some elementary schools in Minnesota while I’m there – including the elementary school I attended – which should be great fun. BTW  in The Book That Eats People there is a school library stamp on the inside back cover that shows the bad book once spent time at my elementary school.

The event is host to a ton of great authors and illustrators and I think it will be the first chance that my new book, The Great Thanksgiving Escape will be available. So if you buy one, I can sign it, draw a picture in it, sign someone else’s name in it. Whatever.

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And of course I will be happy to sign copies of How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans with David LaRochelle who will also be there! I will be giving a 30 minute talk about picture books and showing some early art from Martha and The Great Thanksgiving Escape.

I’ll post more about this as the time approaches. I’ve been looking forward to this for months! Oh-Yah? OH-YAH!!!

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