Snuggle Up with a Crawdad (48 hours only!)

Rockabyebaby Blog

Would you ever think you would be snuggling up with a crawdad? haha When I read the title of the book Jason and The Crawdad King by Joey Dee Light, I thought it was so interesting, fun and unique.  I couldn’t wait to find out what it could be about.  Blake and I snuggled up and read it before bed and he was quiet for the first time EVER.  

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Children’s Author Interview – Joseph Drumheller

Children’s Books, Picture Books

I’m very proud to announce my latest author interview with book reviewer, Trisha Sugarek.  I clouldn’t  have done it without award-winning illustrator Lili Avakem.  Thanks Lili! 🙂

Check it out here:

Joseph Drumheller Interview

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 Guest blog host, Joseph Drumheller, is an award-winning author and energy healer.  He creates children’s books for Golden Bell Entertainment.

If you’d like to guest blog or want more info into the worlds, books, meditation, healing, and spirituality, please visit my website at:

www.josephdrumheller.com

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Help support our lastest Kickstarter project and receive a gift!

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How to Boost Children’s Book Sales – Redesign Your Cover!

Children’s Books, Picture Books

Welcome to my weekly guest blog series:

Success in the Arts – Touching the Lives of Children

This week I’m featuring Shana Gorian, author of  Rosco the Rascal series.

A Visual Step-by-Step of a Cover Redesign

I had a problem. While reviews for my three chapter books for kids ages 6-9 were overwhelmingly positive from kids, parents, teachers, even librarians—without fail, my book sales just weren’t hitting the mark.

After much discussion and research, I knew it wasn’t the writing or the editing, or even a lack of promoting them that was behind it. Instead, I realized I had a very simple problem—my book covers just didn’t look like the other book covers in my market.

#1I realized my covers lacked mystery, emotion, danger, and action, all staples of the covers of today’s best selling chapter and middle grade books. My covers were mainly posed pictures of a cast of characters. They didn’t make you wonder what’s ‘just around the corner’ or make you want to open the book to see what would happen next.

My solution was simple—to have them completely re-illustrated. Yes, it was going to cost money, but I was determined. I found a new illustrator, Josh Addessi, http://joshaddessi.blogspot.com/  and so far I’ve been thrilled with the results.

Here, I’d like to take you on a short, visual, step-by-step journey of the project.

Book Cover Redo 1:

Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp, the original cover spread

#2

While this one did have some action, it’s unclear what’s really going on, and the faces lack emotion. The watercolor style is also a problem.

#3

New cover, initial sketch: Despite the problems, I thought this scene was a great way to depict the setting of the summer camp using a scene from the book, but that it could be enhanced.

#4

The second draft: This was to show the color as well as a few details. We decided to use the original back cover layout for each book so that my designer would be able to drop the same text into the same spot, saving me money in change fees.

#5

The final cover: realistic, exciting, clearer and with greater dimension, plus a touch of mystery.

Book Cover Redo 2:

Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch, the original cover 

#6

The original cover depicted the main characters, Mandy, Rosco, and James, smiling at the camera. There isn’t much to clue the reader in on what might happen in the story. Nothing evokes that need to open it up to see what happens!

#7

New cover, initial sketch: We have mystery—a scene out of the book in which the kids are lost in the corn maze—and an interesting layout full of movement.

#8

The second draft, in rough color. I asked Josh to brighten the cornstalks with more greens and yellows.

#9

Third draft: Here is the nearly finished version. I love the realistic details, the colors, and how the large cornstalk will become the book’s spine. Rosco is turned to a slightly different angle so that we see more of him and his grin is friendlier than in the first sketch, lightening the mood just that necessary little bit to keep it from being ‘too scary’ (since the age range for these books are 6+, after all. My books are all very G-rated).

#10

Final cover: a light outline on most of the text makes it very easy to read, despite the colorful background.

I’m over the moon with the way it turned out! My other book, Rosco the Rascal In the Land of Snow, will be re-illustrated next, so please stay tuned!

If you’d like to receive a FREE PDF version of the first two chapters of Rosco the Rascal Visits the Pumpkin Patch, please visit my web site at shanagorian.com and sign up for my mailing list, and I will email it to you. By signing up, you’ll also be notified of giveaways and special promotions, new releases, and other freebies!

The pumpkin patch book is really fun for autumn, and I’ve been told by several teachers that it’s great as a read-aloud book in classrooms as well as fun and easy for parents to read with a child at home, one chapter per night. Check out the reviews here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NS2F5BQ

Do you agree that a book cover filled with action, emotion and/or suspense appeals to kids today? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Shana Gorian is the author of the Rosco the Rascal series, chapter books in which a sometimes rascally German shepherd uses his true heroic nature to help his pals, James and Mandy, find adventure and overcome obstacles. Find her at www.shanagorian.com

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 Guest blogger host, Joseph Drumheller, is an award-winning author and energy healer.  He creates children’s books for Golden Bell Entertainment.

If you’d like to guest blog or want more info into the worlds, books, meditation, healing, and spirituality, please visit my website at:

www.josephdrumheller.com

Joe headshot color

Help support our lastest Kickstarter project and receive a gift!

bit.ly/crawdadking

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How to Illustrate Your First Children’s Book

Children’s Books, Picture Books

Welcome to my weekly guest blog series:

Success in the Arts – Touching the Lives of Children

This week I’m featuring Mariana Flores (a.k.a maria mar), a freelance illustrator living in Portugal.

How I Illustrated my First Children’s Book

When I thought about telling the story of how I illustrated my first (and so far only) children’s book, I didn’t think there was much to share. I was wrong. There were so many heartwarming moments and wrong turns, someone may learn from it. Not to do as I did.
955x960Before I decided I wanted to be an illustrator, I went to art school to study animation (that was my first love). When I graduated I was offered a job doing industrial design and I took it. I was in awe with the pay checks and stability. I realized my mistake a few months into the job. It just wasn’t my world and I needed to pretend like it was.

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What I did next shocked everyone around me. I quit that well paid, stable job, and took a part time job as a cashier. People thought I was done. I could see the pity in their faces. But I had a grand evil plan. And I was just getting started… I took the extra time to work on a portfolio and look for opportunities doing illustration.

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An opportunity presented itself in the simplest manner. An author needed an illustrator to draw her story. She couldn’t pay much, but I fell in love with the story. It was my story and I had to draw it.

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Her name was Daniela Caprichoso. She is a children’s psychologist and she had written a story intended to help both children and parents going through the changes of separation or divorce. It’s called “My parents are separating… what now?”. I cried and laughed and cried again the first time I read it. I came from a broken home and knew the characters all too well. I could feel them in my fingertips.

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So I got started. I had little experience, so I did mistakes. I didn’t do as much thumbnails as I know I should now. The character designs could be bolder. The colours could be richer. Looking back, the illustrations are charming, but I would have done them so differently now. Of course, at the time it was just the best I could do.

I’d work over eight hours on that cashier. I wasn’t allowed to have a chair or to keep a bottle of water with me. I had to make serious physical work and smile through it all. Then come home and work as much as I could on the illustrations. Then do it all over again the next day. Once I actually fainted on the job. They dragged me to the kitchen and the cleaning lady handed me a pack of sugar. Ten minutes later they were calling back to work.

I couldn’t afford to quit and just do art, so I kept on doing both. Eventually I finished the book. There was a bit of a struggle with the editors, because they wanted to paint bucket each page of the book a different random color. Imagine that. I did my very best to make sure the book would be printed in good taste and eventually, it did get published.

It was a great victory for me and Daniela, a dream come true!!! We did one book release and felt like we did something wonderful. I still believe we did.

I kept on working on that portfolio and got myself a job doing art for a game company. I learned a lot there. Now, four years later, I’m back to freelancing. Full time this time, no cashier uniform. My heart is still set on that children’s book and on all the books to come.

 Mariana Flowers

Hi, my name is Mariana Flores (a.k.a maria mar). I’m a freelance illustrator with a passion for children’s books and fantasy novels. I live in Portugal with my nerdy boyfriend, in a house filled with books, medieval swords, pets and plants. I love reading and playing d&d. 

You can contact me via email at mfa.maria.mar@gmail.com. I’m available to do illustrations and would love to hear if you have a project. You can see my art on my portfolio: https://mariamar.artstation.com/. I also have a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mariamarart/?fref=ts

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 Guest blogger host, Joseph Drumheller, is an award-winning author and energy healer.  He creates children’s books for Golden Bell Entertainment.

If you’d like to guest blog or want more info into the worlds, books, meditation, healing, and spirituality, please visit my website at:

www.josephdrumheller.com

Joe headshot color

Help support our lastest Kickstarter project and receive a gift!

bit.ly/crawdadking

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Children’s Internet Channel Seeks Authors and Illustrators

Children’s Books, Children’s TV, Publishing

This blog is an extension of my thanks to Storytime Pup, the children’s internet TV channel, for featuring me in their latest newsletter.  I also want to extend a hearty congratulations for their great review in kids magazine, Story Monsters Ink.

Do you have a children’s book you’d like to have aired on Storytime Pup?  Just contact Bill!  http://www.storytimepup.com

Read STP’s review on page 46:

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 My Author Profile from Storytime Pup:

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Help support our latest Kickstarter project and receive a gift!

bit.ly/crawdadking

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Five Steps to Create a Children’s Book

Children’s Books, Picture Books

Welcome to my weekly guest blog series:

Success in the Arts – Touching the Lives of Children

This week I’m featuring African/British/Canadian children’s books author, Mandy Eve-Barnett.

Rumble1.  The Idea

This may seem like the easiest part of creating a children’s book – right? Not as easy as first appears as it turns out. Your idea has to convert onto the page in a language that your target audience can understand word usage is vital so take note.

1.  What age group are you writing for?

2.  Will you target pre-schoolers or an older age group?

3.  Will the story contain a moral or lesson?

My children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare began life as a prompt for Halloween. I did not want to write the usual monster narrative but something more unusual and fun. So I wrote the story from the young monster’s point of view. Younger children love Rumble and monsters are not so scary.

2.  Finding a Publisher

There are numerous avenues to research when it comes to finding a publisher.

1.  You can follow children’s book agents.

2.  Submit your story to contests with a book contract attached.

3.  Attend conferences and find an interested agent/publisher.

4.  Research local or regional publishing houses and submit your story.

I was fortunate to find a publisher locally and this made my publishing experience a more personally tailored one. Dream Write Publishing did an amazing job and I was part of the process all the way through.


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3.  Illustrations

The amount of illustrations is dependent on the age of your target group, the younger the age group the more pictures are required and less text.

1.  If you are a talented artist you can illustrate yourself.

2.  Do you know an artist that will collaborate with you on the project?

3.  Does your publisher offer this service?

4.  There are many artists on social media you can approach.

My Rumble character was the culmination of my imagination and crude drawings and a wonderful artist friend, Matthew McClatchie, who made my idea of what Rumble would look like into reality.

claw scratches4.  Text

Again the amount of text needs to be balanced for the target age group. For example, if the books are for very young children the text needs to be simple and sparse with great pictures, but for independent readers, illustrations can be on the chapter headers only.

1.  Do you want the story in rhyme form?

2.  Choose simple pronounceable names for your characters.

3.  Wrap the text around the pictures or along the bottom of the page.

4.  Keep exposition to a minimum.

5.  Extra Pages

1.  The publisher will require your author bio and a photo

2.  You will create a ‘blurb’ – a brief description of the story – for the back of the book.

3.  If you wish you can have a dedication page.

4.  The publisher will allocate an ISBN and the legal disclaimers and permissions for duplication.

Sharing my little book with friends and family was stupendous. The moment any author is handed their first book is overwhelming emotional. It is the closest an adult comes to childish delight. The reality that your words are now published, that many people will read it and your words will outlive you delighting generations to come is a heady feeling.

After your book is published your work is not done. Promotion becomes your master. Be creative and say ‘Yes’ to any and all opportunities that come your way. The more your book is noticed the more sales.

To promote Rumble I created a soft toy of Rumble, which was so much fun. Once I showed my writing group they all announced I should make miniatures for each book, I declined!  Rumble accompanies me to readings and events and is always popular. As I had a good deal of promotion to manage without sewing into the wee hours, I did commissioned Rumble hats, and ordered T-shirts, which are a lot easier to handle.

Bio:

Mandy currently lives in Alberta, Canada but is originally from England. Her background is diverse and gives her rich experience to utilize in her writing. Mandy has been a nursing professional, a business owner, and a sort after administration expert. She has traveled throughout Europe, parts of America and Canada and was born in Africa.

Email photoAlways creative, I came to writing later in life. A chance visit to a writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, propelled me into the written word in a way I could never have imagined. I delve into all genres expanding my writing muscles and with several books published; I am certainly making up for ‘lost’ time.

As a free flow writer, my stories lead me rather than the other way round, delighting me with plot twists and turns. Writing is my passion, the source of new found fellowship and most of all fun.

Annual Colouring Contest:

I arrange an annual colouring competition prior to Halloween for Rumble fans. The picture is in pdf format and downloaded from my publisher’s website – http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca. Once all entries are in I choose the winners. Prizes include Rumble hats, T-shirts, monster orientated toys and games.

My newest book will be launched this fall – Clickety Click  is a YA monster story. Why do I have a propensity for monsters?  I have no idea!

Contact:

Blog: www.mandyevebarnett.com

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/Mandyevebarnettcom/

Twitter: @mandyevebarnett

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 Guest blogger host, Joseph Drumheller, is an award-winning author and energy healer.  He creates children’s books for Golden Bell Entertainment.

If you’d like to guest blog or want more info into the worlds, books, meditation, healing, and spirituality, please visit my website at:

www.josephdrumheller.com

Joe headshot color

Help support our lastest Kickstarter project and receive a gift!

bit.ly/crawdadking

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5 Star Book Review – Jason and the Crawdad King

Children’s Picture Books, Publishing

We’re proud to announce a recent review of our children’s book, Jason and the Crawdad King by artist, illutrator amd author, Kate Kennedy.

Author:  J0ey Dee Light (aka Joseph Drumheller)  www.josephdrumheller.com

Illustrator:  Lili Avakem                                                             www.liliavakem.com

Publisher:  Golden Bell Entertainment              www.goldenbellstudios.com

Now Live on Kickstarter!                                                        www.kickstarter.com

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“A charming and delicious book.”

 Jason and the Crawdad King is well written and imaginative tale.  It inspires a desire to  join Jason on his adventure and float down the river.  I read the book to my kindergarten aged niece, and she was enamored with the story, and wanted to touch the illustrations to see if she could feel the water.  It’s sure to be a favorite bedtime story for children.  It captures the attention with its positive message and flowing, rhythmic story.

“This book is definitely a keeper.”

I look forward reading more of this author’s wonderful stories, and seeing more yummy illustrations too.”

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Book reviewer, Kate Kennedy is an artist, illustrator and author of The Sound Prince & The Pocket Dragon.  She worked as a Art Consultant, Artist and Gallery owner for the first part of her career, and is happily authoring and illustrating children’s, middle grade and (YA) young adult books now.

Kate Kennedy

Kate Kennedy

www.kmkennedybooks.com

 

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