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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Caught Snowflake!

     If you read below, my snowflake, "Give a Little Push," was in the first round of auctions for Robert's Snow.
     LindaBudz was kind enough to leave a comment that she is the "winner" of my snowflake! She blogged about it as well.
     Linda made the highest bid for my snowflake, so this was an expensive "win," but Linda's generosity will go towards funds for the Dana Farber Cancer Research Institute, a highly worthwhile cause.
     Linda, thanks so much for your kind words about my work, but especially for helping raise money to find a cure for cancer. I can't think of a better way to kick off a season of good cheer. My warmest wishes for a happy holiday go out to you, your family, and your new little nephew.
     I'm so pleased my snowflake found a great home.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Barnes & Noble - Northpoint November '07

     I'm way late getting this up, but I had a great time reading to kids at Barnes & Noble Northpoint a few Saturdays ago. Here I'm reading Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese: "No, young lady. You come sit down in your chair. You eat all your lunch before you go anywhere." (Hence the grim expression!)
     I know I've talked about this before, but a good bookstore (chain, indie or otherwise) is determined by their people. Cindy at B&N is an amazing advocate and supporter of local authors and illustrators and an amazing hand-seller (she's a pro at putting the right book in the right hands). I have signed more copies of my books at her store than anywhere else - she keeps selling them all!      She says there's no predicting which books children will connect with, but every time she pulls out Glitter Girl, the children edge in closer and their eyes light up - they definitely connect with Glitter Girl.
     I swear, I teared up hearing that! As such, she forever has my loyalty and gratitude.
     In fact, I'll be back next Spring to read my forthcoming picture book, Paco and the Giant Chile Plant ~ Paco y la planta de chile gigante! I'm sure it will be much fun, so if you're in the area, mark your calendar. Or better yet, plug your zip in to and find out which authors are touring in your area at any time!


Robert's Snow Auction Begins Today

     I know I've been blogging about this a lot lately, but it's important. The auction, Robert's Snow, to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, begins today in three installments. My snowflake is available in the first group - check it out. If you don't bid on mine, maybe you'll fall in love with another snowflake. It's all good, because it all goes to raise money for a very important cause. (Click a snowflake to get to the auction.)
     Click on the Robert's Snow poster to the right to read interviews with the illustrators done by bloggers all over the blogosphere or go directly to my interview at sruble's world. You can see my snowflake in progress, here.
     Once again, I want to say how honored I am to participate in such a worthwhile and important cause. Cancer has impacted so many of our lives, let's work to find a cure.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Snowflake featured at sruble's world today!

     As many of you know, the bloggers at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast came up with a great way for those who didn't create snowflakes for Robert's Snow to participate in their own way with "Blogging for a Cure."
     Bloggers have been featuring snowflake illustrators in wonderful interviews for weeks now. Today, it's my turn. I've been interviewed by Stephanie Ruble at "sruble's world." She asked some great questions which I had a blast answering. So go check it out!
     Follow the interviews of the other illustrators by clicking the Robert's Snow poster to the right (or go here). I've been updating all the links as they become live.
     And be sure to check out the Robert's Snow website for the important cancer research fund-raising event. Maybe you'll fall in love with a snowflake and help raise money for this worthwhile cause.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

An Interview by the National Writing for Children Center

     As an interesting segue to my week at the Muse Online Writer's Conference (unrelated events), Wednesday at 2:00pm cst I will be interviewed by Suzanne Leurience, head of the National Writing for Children Center, for her Book Bites for Kids LIVE radio show at! I'll talk about inexpensive marketing tips to help illustrators break into children's publishing. The show is 30 minutes long and will be archived if you're not able to make the actual LIVE broadcast - but I hope you will. I'm looking forward to some great questions! The number to call during the show is 1-646-716-9239, at 2:00pm central standard time, October 10, 2008..
     Hope to hear you there!

Update: Hear the interview!


Muse Virtual Writer's Conference!

Kicks off today!
I'll be giving a talk about breaking in to children's book illustration Wednesday night and I'll be available to answer questions in the forum all week.
It's too late to sign up this year, but if you didn't know about it, mark your calendar for next year. This is a fantastic, free event and a great new way to use this cyber-universe of ours. I'm thrilled to be a part of it!

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Decatur Book Festival '07 - Sunday

     Okay. So, it's Monday morning and I'm still tired from Saturday and Sunday, but wow was it a great weekend!
     I began Sunday at a special SCBWI Southern-Breeze sponsored event at Little Shop of Stories. We were treated to a private breakfast with Melinda Long (author of How I Became A Pirate) and Judy Schachner (author/illustrator of the fantabulous Skippyjon Jones). They shared their work, work habits, and roads to success with us and were, of course, highly entertaining. Several of my fellow Southern-Breezers were there like Robyn Hood Black, Barbara Schneider, new friend Lola Schaefer, Hester Bass even drove all the way in from Huntsville! - we're quite a pack these days. So it was great to hang with friends and talk the biz. What a great kick-off to a great day!
     Here we are being Judy's adoring fans: Lauren Zimet, Me, Diane Z. Shore (thanks for pulling the breakfast together, Diane!), and Liz Conrad.

Here's Me and Liz hanging with Melinda:

And this was such a great pic, I had to include it. It's Lynn Cullen, author of I am Rembrandt's Daughter, and Melinda:

     So Sunday was a work day for me, if you could call it work, as I was MC for the Target children's stage all day. I had the honor of introducing all the stars, which also means I got to hang out with them backstage before they went on - woohoo!
     First was Melinda Long. The kids had a blast saying, "Arrrrr" and "Scurvy Dogs" as she read her pirate books. I'll bet her school visits are so much fun! I also got to meet her awesome husband, Thom. Melinda and I agree the real secret to success in children's publishing is a supportive spouse (here's mine being a ham with the Target dog).
     Next was the illustrator's panel, which I also moderated.
     Side note: Fabulous illustrator, Bill Mayer, stopped by to enjoy the panel too. Look for his latest illustrated work, The Monster Who Did My Math, written by our own Danny Schnitlein, author of one of my favorite books, The Monster Who Ate My Peas - coming soon!
     Obviously, I couldn't get a picture of the illustrator's panel onstage, as I was onstage asking them questions, but here's the gang still glowing from our brilliant affair, Judy Schachner, Chris Raschka, Laura Knorr, Liz Conrad, and me.

     Afterwards, we gathered around a lovely outdoor table in the shade at Sage for lunch and watched the crowds mull by - ahhhh. Well, ahhhh for them. I kept having to bounce up to go introduce the next speakers. Rough life, I know.
     Next were storytellers from The Wren's Nest. They specialize in telling the classic Uncle Remus Tales.
     I then had the enormous honor of introducing the illustrious Holly Black, author of the Spiderwick series (look for the movie coming soon - here's the trailer - chills, eh?). She had an enormous crowd of adoring fans, wow, and then signed books for a gazillion years - the line wound a long, long way.
     In the interim, Peter Kuper shared his new picture book, Theo and the Blue Note, along with his cartoon method for Mad Magazine and his many graphic novels.

     And then, the incredibly energetic and generous Holly Black returned to the stage to talk about her young adult novels, Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside. Honestly, I don't know how she did it. She presented at Dragoncon before coming to DBF and was going back to do yet another presentation that evening. We got to talk quite a bit when she was signing stock back at Little Shop of Stories. Holly is one nice, nice person - I wish we had more time to hang.
     Diane (owner of LSOS) and I ended the day back at Sage where we drank some wine and talked about what a wonderful success the festival was and how great it feels to bring reading into children's lives in such a fun and meaningful way. That's what it's all about after all. Reading creates better, more educated citizens which makes the world a better place for us all. Makes me so proud to be a part.
     Once again, thanks to the incredible volunteers and especially the staff of Little Shop of Stories, Diane, Dave, Terra, Justin and more. All you're hard work paid off with a smooth running, wonderfully engaging and exciting festival. We are so lucky to have you all here in Decatur - you've had a enormously positive impact on our community!


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Decatur Book Festival '07 - Saturday

     It's the second annual AJC Decatur Book Festival this weekend, and in its second year it's already one of the top five largest book festivals in the country! In no small part due to the efforts of Diane Capriola, owner of Little Shop of Stories and cheif organizer of the Target children's stage - gotta love on our generous sponsors!
     Festivities actually started Thursday night when Diane invited me to join her, Chris Morris (Penguin Rep) and Judy Schachner for dinner. As I expected, Judy is a warm, intelligent and quirky lady - lots of fun!
     Friday, Judy and Chris Raschka did special performances for the local school children who walked to the square to enjoy a great time.
     Saturday started early with a parade and reading of Where the Wild Things Are, so the children's tent was already overflowing capacity (250 seats!) when Judy Schachner took the stage with Skippyjon Jones' latest title, Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble! All the kids joined in to say, "Holy Guacamole!" and went bezerk over the fun spanish. If you're not familiar with Skippyjon Jones, rush out and buy a book right now. And then keep some kleenex handy, because you will laugh until you cry! (I didn't get a great picture, but I'll see Judy today so I'll try again.)
     Chris Raschka took the stage next, and I have to say, he took his presentation to a whole new level. He presented his book, Mysterious Thelonious, as music. With a jazz singer, bassist and guitarist onstage with him. Chris switched between drawing on the easel, teaching kids about the twelve basic colors on a color wheel and how they correspond to the twelve notes in an octave (chromatic) - hope I'm getting that right. Anyhow, the musicians played a piece by Thelonius while Chris played along on a small accordion and read the story with the beats of the music. It was genius. Pure, absolute genius. And Chris is just SO cool.

     Hubbie and I caught up with fellow illustrator buddy, Liz Conrad and her husband, so we had sushi for lunch - yum! Liz will be on the illustrator panel I moderate later today (it's Sunday morning). I also saw memoirist (and good friend) Jessica Handler walking by, so she popped in to join us for a bit.
     Next came the amazing Rick Riordan with his Percy Jackson and the Olympians books. If you ever doubt the impact one person can have on society, this was the author to see. He asked questions about mythology (had the kids in the palm of his hand, let me tell you!) and every hand in the place went up. Not one child gave a wrong answer, from "who is the goddess of war" to "what is the name of the creature who is half bull, half man"? I wish these books had been around when I was a kid as I have always been fascinated by Greek mythology and never had the chance to really explore it. And here, Rick has an entire generation comletely educated on the subject under the guise of having fun. Brilliant!
     After Rick, we quickly ran over to catch Frank Turner Hollon and Joshilyn Jackson. Frank is a highly successful adult author (look for the movie "Life is a Strange Place" based on his best-seller), he also happens to be the author of Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese illustrated by yours truly.

     Back to the children's stage, I got to hang with my buds before they went onstage for the "Historical Fiction Authors Panel." One thing I love about the children's book business is how truly supportive everybody is and how you end up being friends with so many great talents. Here's Susan Ross Spain (author of The Deep Cut), Vicky Alvear Schecter (author of Alexander the Great Rocks the World, moderator and writing buddy), Me, Lynn Cullen (author of I am Rembrandt's Daughter) and Alan Gratz (author of Something Rotten) in the back, before they went onstage.
     And here they are doing their thing:

     Saturday was a great day of play. Today (Sunday) I go back to work as MC at the children's stage all day and moderate the illustrator panel. So, more fun adventures to follow!!


Monday, August 20, 2007

e's News - August '07

e's news - August '07
     Hi All! It's been a few months since my last newsletter. This year has truly turned into a "nose to grindstone" kind of year for me - work, work, work. The good news is, it's paying off. I have SIX books coming out in 2008 (two trade picture books, two parenting aid picture books, and two educational picture books). I'll talk about them more in upcoming newsletters. I also have an article in the upcoming "You Can Write for Children" issue of Writer's Digest Magazine on my "Path to Success" - ha! No secret there, just b.i.c. as Jane Yolen likes to say (butt in chair). I believe it will be the October issue, but it hits shelves September 25th, so look for it! In the mean time, scroll down to see my great news from and don't miss the Decatur Book Festival where I'll be moderating this year's illustrator panel.

Good News!

     I was named the Grand Prize W.I.N.NER in this year's 2007 Competition for my illustration, "Lula's Brew"

     This was the first year an illustrator won this competition (and my first trophy - ever), so I was incredibely honored. (That's my lovely trophy in the front.) Winning this competition also ended up being a huge boon when I attended my first Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) National Conference in Los Angeles this summer. Read about my experiences on my blog.

It's time again for the

I will be moderating the illustrator panel on Sunday, September 2nd at 1:00pm with Chris Raschka, Judy Schachner, Mark Braught, and Laura Knorr. Be there for a good time!

One of my SIX books coming out in 2008 is


Raven Tree Press, June 2008
(My Spanish lessons continue . . .)

Want me to visit your school or event? Read about my visits at my website:

As always, you can order signed copies of my books through my local independent children's bookstore:

Little Shop of Stories
Call (404) 373-6300,
or visit their new website for more information.

Visit MY BLOG for COLORING PAGE TUESDAYS and download free activity pages at MY WEBSITE

Thanks Y'all!
Elizabeth O. Dulemba

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

SCBWI LA Summer Conference - Monday Run-Down!!

     I know, hard to believe the conference kept going. Honestly, it could have been the three previous days and I would have felt I got my money's worth. But Monday still had treasures to share.
     The very thorough, much appreciated, Connie Epstein shared her market report. She mentioned that Marshall Cavendish will be increasing their line from 35 to 50 titles over the next year, again stressed the growth in MGs, and she closed with, "The market is looking good." I thanked her in person for all her hard work, but must thank her again. She does a great job keeping us all in the know.
     Just to illustrate the earlier point of how a talented editor can turn an illustrator's work into "That Great", Marla Frazee and Allyn Johnston (Harcourt) spoke next. Allyn showed us the original final illustration for Everywhere Babies. Marla had created an adorable image that Allyn thought "just wasn't there yet." I wondered how that could be true until she showed us the final, final image and the entire auditorium sighed and laughed, "Awwwww!!!" It was perfect, truly perfect. That is what a great editor can do. I also loved that Allyn sends Marla funny postcards and bits of inspiration on ideas she thinks she should pursue. They obviously have a great relationship. I was so glad to hear Clarion is reprinting Mrs. Biddlebox, but bummed to know, I had an original and had not brought it for Marla to sign. Why oh why did I pack clothes instead of books?
     Awesome lady, Kirby Larson spoke next. I was touched by the story of her Grandmother and her inspiration for Hattie Big Sky. I had read about some of it online, but to hear it in person made it more real. Kirby has definitely climbed the rungs of this ladder to success, without a miss, and I am so, so happy for her.
     For the break-out session, I attended Krista Marino's talk about the editor/writer relationship. Odd fact I learned about Delacorte, even though they are an imprint of Random House, they have three floors of their building and their own separate elevator, so are definitely an entity unto themselves. They don't do picture books, but feel they can take risks with their MG and YA because of the money brought in by their mass market and highly commercial accounts. She also mentioned that an editor will usually read a project 7 to 10 times before it's finished, so they really have to love a manuscript. Kind of sheds light on just how much, eh?
     Finally I had a true lunch, and a treat at that. I joined my online friend, Tracy Grand, creator of my beloved Jacketflap. (Click here for a great interview Cynthia did on her website.) I've been a beta tester for Tracy ever since I discovered Jacketflap in its early days. Having spent my original four years in this business researching information all over the internet, I was thrilled to find it all in one place. I just wish Jacketflap had been created earlier. Tracy has made it into an ever-expanding resource - a true hub for the children's book community. If you somehow don't know about it yet, go check it out!
     Back to the ballroom, Lisa Yee gave an inspirational talk about writing from her "suddenly Chinese" perspective. She said, "Write about what you want to know about." Although she did add, if you're going to write about a culture other than your own, "You better get it right!"
     Another wowsa panel of powerful women was next. Dinah Stevenson, Emma Dryden, Rachel Griffiths, Julie Strauss-Gabel, and Allyn Johnston talked about their "perfect book" although they all hope there isn't such a thing (they'd be out of work). Dinah wants a story to make the hairs on her arms stand up. Julie (who claims her age of arrested development as 14 to 16) wants an older, contemporary yet literary YA novel. She also said something that really stuck with me, "There's not much you can do to sell yourself, much more to hinder yourself." Emma claims her arrested age of development to be 6 - which you can see when she reads her picture books - she just glows. Most claimed to be generalists, liking all children's literature. As Rachel said, "They're reading hussies." :)
     They did mention some things they could live without ever seeing again: stories that begin with waking up; stories that begin in a dream; stories that begin with looking in a mirror; too much alliteration; and too much character description.
     They also all use the New York Times Best Seller List as a barometer by which to measure their progress. Hmmmm. And the message they keep getting: fewer, better books.
     During one of our quick breaks, I was finally able to track down Anastasia Suen, author of Picture Writing which I have recommended forever in my article, "How Do I Get Published." She is just as energetic as I knew she'd be. Unfortunately, I was about out of energy, but I wish we'd had more time to talk.
     Back to our seats to let our brains soar as Lee Bennett Hopkins shared beautiful poems with us. He has such a strong presence and musical voice - he was a pleasure.
     Finally we reached the end. People scattered for book signings and cupcakes then disappeared. I imagine many caught flights or collapsed in their rooms.

     That evening, hubbie and I hung out on the patio with two more Southern Breezers, this time from Mississippi. Katie Anderson and Sarah Francis Hardy - we had breakfast one day too - great gals! We had wine and exhaled from our inspiring, albeit exhausting, weekend.
     Along with the fantastic advise and insights into the publishing industry and everybody I've already mentioned, I also made some new friends. Anna M. Lewis - we gotta talk! Steve Harper - thanks for the Photoshop tip! Lisa Albert, wish you'd been called to sing during the luncheon! Katie and Sarah Francis - thanks for all the easy smiles. Leslie Muir - when are we doin' lunch?
     Lin and Stephen and the rest of the SCBWI staff - you did a great job, thanks SO much. We learned a lot, had a great time, and I can't wait until I can attend again.


SCBWI LA Summer Conference - The Ball and Sunday!!

     I'm sure you've heard about the "Under the Light of the Silvery Moon Ball" by now (and Jay Asher's incredible outfit!), and since I don't have embarrassing pictures to share (dang!) I'll glaze over it. Just let it be said that Kevan Atteberry had a harem of admirers (why do women go nuts for teddy bears?). Actually, he had reason to celebrate as he just found out his forthcoming picture book, Frankie Stein, has already gone into a second printing! Congrats Kevan! We all boogied our butts off far longer than I thought we'd be capable of standing.

     As I mentioned, I had a great breakfast with Cynthia Leitich Smith who gave me some great avenues to research for my next novel (no hints).
     Mark McVeigh and Laurent Linn gave a fascinating look into the workings between an editor and an art director. Much is affected by the say of the sales team as to whether or not they think they can sell a book, which can send an art department through some serious hoops. But everybody truly seems to have the best interest of the book at heart. Btw, I tried speaking French with Laurent, but my head is so full of Spanish right now, it didn't work very well. He was quite kind about it.
     The captain of the Nerd Fighters spoke next, John Green, winner of the Printz Award. He lived up to every bit of his reputation. He is smart, irreverent, hilarious, and incredibly satisfying to listen to. He talked about how writing is translating ideas into text and said, "The truth does not lie in the facts" and that "Great books do not happen by accident." Great speaker.
     Emma Dryden kept my attention for the next two break-out sessions as I listened to her "Guide to Writing the Novel" and her views on picture books. I liked her comment that a good story, "must resonate with a reader's inner world." She's also been quoted as saying, "Embrace the weird." She also wouldn't mind seeing a story about a moose . . .
     But between these break-out sessions was the Golden Kite Luncheon. I was thrilled when my bud, David Hohn, won first runner up in the portfolio competition! Ashley Mims won the coveted trip to New York and meetings with Art Directors. Wowsa!
     Sunday wrapped up with an entertaining panel discussion between Linda Sue Park (can I just say, she is a super nice person and I was floored that she actually knew who I was!?) and her publisher, Dinah Stevenson (VP and Publisher at Clarion Books). Dinah said something that especially resonated with my ever-distracted brain, "Focus your energy on your craft." Linda Sue loves endings with "unexpected inevitability." They were fun to listen to.

     Hubbie was hanging with friends until late, so I hung with my Southern Breeze peeps that night (joined by Greg Fishbone). We headed for the Santa Monica Pier and Bubba Gumps!

     This was the view while we ate - no lie! And boy, did we need the break. Because believe it or not, we weren't finished yet!


SCBWI LA Summer Conference - Portfolio Show!!

     Ever feel like a debutante? Even though I've been in graphic design my entire life, and in children's books for six years now, Saturday night in LA felt like my coming out party. I mean, I advertise, I send out postcards, I have my online portfolio, but for some reason, I felt like many of the people there were seeing my work for the first time . . . and they were oohing and ahhing!
     My Fairy Godmother and head of the W.I.N. Competition (I was this year's Grand Prize winner!), Roxyanne Young, made a point of introducing me around like a super-star.
     I spoke with Tim Gillner, Art Director of Boyds Mills Press, for quite a while - what a down-to-earth, nice guy. Laurent Linn (pronounced the French way), Associate Art Director for Henry Holt Books, spent quite a bit of time with me and my portfolio and said wonderful things (yeah!). So did Rachel Griffiths who graciously offered me a mini-critique after making sure I wanted to hear it - of course I did!
     Y'know, I overheard someone quote an editor, "If a book is this great (hands held apart), it can be THIS great (hands stretched wide)." I know it will mean a lot less sleep and frustration at times, but I'm really looking forward to being influenced by talented art directors and editors to bring my work up to a level I never would have thought possible. To make my work THIS GREAT!

(Fellow SmartWriters winners: Leslie Muir, Jay Asher, Me, and our mutual Fairy Godmother, Roxyanne Young)
     And there was more! I got a hug from Lee Bennett Hopkins who kept one of my bookmarks, and I met Caldecott winner, David Diaz. I met Alice Pope, editor extraordinare of The Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market (part of my SmartWriters prize!). I was especially thrilled to meet Cynthia Leitich Smith, who's website has been such help to me over the years, and whose latest book, Tantalize, had my mouth watering. In fact, we had a great breakfast the next morning.

(Kirby, Me, Alice, and Roxyanne)
     I got to hang with several of my fellow Picture Book Artists Association members: Kevan Atteberry (awesome dancer); David Hohn (we actually hung out a lot, he's a strong advocate for illustrator's rights and a great guy!); and Laura Jacobsen.

     I tell ya, the conference could have ended right then for me, I was so wired and excited about all the great comments I received.
     But we weren't finished yet!


SCBWI LA Summer Conference - Saturday Run-Down!!

     Okay - I'm going to post these separately because it is a LOT of information to share - I'm trying to be thorough. And I think it's going to take several posts - blogger is being cranky.
     I met fellow illustrator, David Hohn, at the Starbucks watering hole that morning. More on this talented guy later.
     The morning began with a panel of agents Tracy Adams (Adams Literary) and Kate Schafer (Janklow & Nesbit Associates). The contrast of a small agency vs. a large agency was interesting, as was the internet embracing vs. not approaches. Tracy has a strong reputation in the children's book business and said she chooses clients carefully because they become like family. Janklow & Nesbit is new to the children's side of the business and Kate prefers to work with MG or YA authors on a book by book basis.
     Caldecott Honor winner, Coretta Scott King Award winner, illustration legend, Kadir Nelson, spoke next. Imagine walking through the Louvre with Leonardo by your side describing why he did what and how, and you start to get an idea of Kadir's talk. His work is tremendously powerful and leaves me speechless. Just follow the link and prepare to be wowed if you're not already familiar with his work. I especially liked his comments, "Beauty denies negativity" and "People always want to get there, but there's really no there. You have to keep working." Yup.
     For my break-out session, I attended Lisa Wheeler's talk about rhyme in picture books. I know this was just the tip of the ice-berg, especially compared to the poetry track with Lee Bennett Hopkins, but I love Lisa's work. She read several examples of her favorites using different methods and forms. I wish I could take a full class!
     Again, lunch was a joke as I was scheduled to drop off my portfolio right in the middle of the allotted time. (Can you say "hoover"?) I was a bit flustered when I got to the drop-off just under the wire!
     Tamora Pierce played a joke on us at the beginning of her speech which we all fell for hook, line, and sinker. I won't tell you what it was in case you ever get to hear her talk, just leave it to say, she had us in tears from laughing so hard.
     Rubin Pfeffer, Senior VP and Publisher at Simon & Schuster Children's Trade Publishing (can you say "big wig"?) was next. We learned about the state of the industry straight from the guy in charge. While he is obviously passionate about children's books (as is everybody involved in the industry) he was our reality check that it IS a business after all and that a bottom line in the black allows us all to continue doing what we love. He was guardedly optimistic, although the continuous message from book buyers is that there are too many new books every season. There are less readers out there, but they are buying more hard-covers these days (yeah!). Profits seem to be going up despite a declining demographic. MGs are the largest current growth area, but he expressed the importance of back lists. Not sure what it all means really, but Rubin presented his information with humor and smiles. I loved his line, "A good book is one that inspires to go read another one - a ripple effect." I'll bet he's a nice boss.
     I attended Rachel Griffiths' (formerly of Arthur A. Levine, now Editor at Scholastic Press) break-out session on how to catch an editor's eye. It was a good look into what not to do as she read a few of the truly awful, but sadly common, query/cover letters she receives. There's definitely a difference in a letter from somebody who's done their homework! Keep an eye out for her upcoming collection of stories by authors with very strong voices, "Click." She's obviously very excited about it and a portion of sales will go to Amnesty International. She's also the editor of "Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer" (which is the next up on my "to read" stack and has been getting GREAT reviews). I also met the author, Laini Taylor, who recently dyed her hair bright magenta (check it out on her website) - she was easy to spot!
     The nicest surprise for me was Ellen Wittlinger's talk. I am sorry to say I was not familiar with this acclaimed author's work, but after hearing her speak, I rushed to buy a copy of Blind Faith. Ellen speaks honestly and believably about teen struggles with sexual identity. She was so well spoken, I was moved by her attempts to make a difference in the young lives which have at times been saved by her work.
     With all the new books that come out, it is nearly impossible to stay on top of them all (and I say this to what I know is a very well-read audience), but please add Ellen to your list of "must reads."
     The portfolio show was next and was such a HUGE event, it deserves a posting all its own. So, keep reading!


SCBWI LA Summer Conference - Friday Run-Down!!

     Here we go! It may take a few attempts to get it all in, but I'll try to make you feel like you were there too . . .
     We (Hubbie and I) arrived in LA and I would have said we weren’t in Kansas anymore, but the rooster in baggage claim had us wondering. However, the sight of palm trees floating above us like giant green bubbles soon convinced us - We're in L.A. BABY!
     After settling into our room, I headed for the lobby where I immediately hooked up with several Blue Borders including Candie Moonshower (The Legend of Zoey), Linda Joy Singleton (Don’t Die Dragonfly) and Verla Kay (Rough, Tough Charlie) herself. (Everybody was so ready to have a good time!)

     That night, still on Atlanta time, I tried to make myself sleep past 4 am, but I was too excited to get going. Friday thrust us into high gear conference mode.

     I had emailed Kirby Larson when I finished reading her Newbery Honor book, Hattie Big Sky, and she was gracious enough to meet me for breakfast. On the way there, I ran into several of my fellow Southern-Breezers (Robyn Hood Black and Paula Puckett) and they joined us.

     I asked Kirby some questions about strengthening voice, and what she shared in those few minutes was so incredibly helpful, I later attended her talk on the same subject. She asked me a great question, “What are your main character’s faults?" She said, "We often love our MCs so much, we make them too perfect.” I have to say, it was the most informative talk I attended, full of creative revelations to help with my w.i.p. novel, “A Bird on Water Street.” If you ever get a chance to meet Kirby, make a point. She is a treasure.
     With the welcome and introductions I was tickled to learn that Lin Oliver is one funny, funny lady. She shared some amazing statistics: of the 964 attendees, 466 were already published! Talk about being among equals.
     Walter Dean Myers opened, and it was a pleasure to listen to his deep, poetic voice. He spoke of the importance of details in your work and said, “Recognize details as truth.” But I especially liked his comment, “Nobody pays me to daydream, but when I write it down . . .”
     By the way, it was especially nice to have my Southern Breeze peeps to hang with during the conference. It's great to meet new people, but it's intense and tiring too. We saved seats for each other and became a mini oasis hang-out for each other. Here we are: Donna Bowman, Jo Kittinger (who gave a talk on Easy Readers), Me, Robyn and Paula.

     Next, Peter Brown entertained us with a slide show of his beginnings and method to create Chowder and Flight of the Dodo. I so love his work. He’s only 28 years old, but this guy is off to a roaring start with his career. Makes me wonder where I’d be if I started earlier . . . (honestly, I don’t think I was ready back then).
     Break-out sessions followed and I went to see Allyn Johnston, Editor in Chief of Harcourt Children’s Books. Many of the editors joked about where they arrested in their early development, Allyn claims age six. It’s reflected in the work she likes most, young picture books, although Harcourt also publishes PBs through YA. She shared the stage with several of her staff: Andrea Bebe Welch, Editor; Beth Jacobsen, Allyn’s Editorial Assistant; and Jessie Dzundza, Editorial Assistant. I found their specifics interesting. Twelve editors and Assistant Editors report to Allyn, five directly. She edits 10-15 books a year. In her later talk with Marla Frazee, I also got a sense of how inspired and inspiring she can be as an editor. She’s got a strong eye to take an idea from great to wowsa!
     Lunch was a joke as my manuscript critique was scheduled right in the middle of it. (I wasn’t kidding about missing meals.) I met with Kelly DiPucchio who gave me some great suggestions to bump up my picture book, "Queen Bea" (which has won two honorable mentions in writing contests but has yet to sell).
     The great speakers continued with Emma Dryden, Vice President, Associate Publisher of Atheneum (pronounced Ath'e nA'um) BFYR and Margaret K. McElderry (pronounced MAC'el DERR'y) Books, both imprints of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.
     More break-out sessions followed where I learned so much from Kirby.
     A panel - panel - followed with (drum roll please): Arthur Levine (of his own imprint at Scholastic); Elizabeth Parisi (Art Director, Scholastic); Mark McVeigh (now Editorial Director of Aladdin Paperbacks at Simon & Schuster); and Krista Marino (Editor at Delacorte/Random House). Gads, could you ask for a more impressive line-up?
     They spoke about accepting and giving critiques . . . graciously. The one thing I understood from all of them is the great respect they have for their authors and how once one is published, they see themselves as equals with their authors (okay, Arthur - whatEVER!).
     The Wine & Cheese Party was a blur as I had to leave early to enjoy dinner with my cousin's husband. Bruce is from New Zealand and has a fabulous accent which we (Hubbie and I) enjoyed over some kickin' Mexican food on Sunset Boulevard.
     And that was just Friday! Click here to read about Saturday!


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

SCBWI LA Summer Conference - Here I come!!

     Well, tomorrow I'm off to the 2007 SCBWI summer conference in Los Angeles! It was time, y'know? I've been at this crazy career for six years now and while I've attended and spoken at conferences all over the southeast, I've never done national. And I am so excited!
     The list of talented speakers is dizzying and the parties and get-togethers . . . well, they start at 8:30 in the morning and go late into the evenings and they overlap completely. Let's see if this social butterfly can keep the energy level up!
     I also get to show off my new SmartWriters Grand Prize W.I.N. - how exciting is that!? Well, I don't have the award in hand yet (aren't they l o v e l y ? That's mine in front there.), but I'll have a sticker on my name tag. So y'all say "hi" if you see me!
     I'm going to try to keep a running commentary as it all unfolds, so check back to find out what's going on. Not sure I'll be able to include pics at first, those might have to wait until I get home, but we'll see. Anyhow, we head for the airport early tomorrow after a good night's sleep - ha!

Well, it's Sunday morning here in LA and I have a confession to make. I was going to try to comment as the conference unfolded, but have hardly found time to even eat (and I'm not generally one to skip meals!) So, please be patient with me, because I plan on posting a very thorough round-up - with fabulous pictures - upon my return. This has been a wonderful, intense conference with amazing talent, fantastic speakers, and a crowd of equals. I can't wait to share the details!

I had to break it into parts - so to read my run-down of this incredible event - CLICK HERE! and click through at the bottom of each post,
or go to a day or event:
The Ball & SUNDAY
Post Conference Play Day


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm the SmartWriters 2007 Grand Prize Winner!!!

     OMG OMG OMG I'm still reeling!!! The email came in about 6:00 this evening - silly me didn't put my phone number on the entry form. I honestly didn't think I'd win! At first I thought Roxyanne meant I'd won the illustration category (which would have been good enough!). But no!!! I won the SmartWriters 2007 W.I.N. Competition Grand Prize!! OMG.
     I can't tell y'all how much this means to me. I started in this business cold turkey right before 9/11. Like everybody else, I had all the stereotypical misconceptions about how it all works, and I have learned just about every lesson the hard way. But with every failure, I just grew more and more determined to keep trying. (Yes, I'm a bit stubborn).
     Things have been going well lately, I must admit. But I work so hard, no violins, just truth. I needed some reassurance that this was all going somewhere. And my dream is to write and illustate my own books. That's the goal. It's so frustrating to know what you want sometimes, and know that you have a lot of work ahead of you to jump the hurdles that need jumping. Sometimes it flat out gets you down.
     One of the things I find I have in common with others on this crazy journey is the conscious decision to stay positive, move forward, and not resent the need for growth.
     But it's a much needed shot in the arm to receive recognition like this. It's confirmation that you are supposed to be on this path, that it's the right one.
     I'm so pleased, so thrilled, so honored to be on this journey with all of you. What a funny quest to embark upon, but somehow it is so, so worth it.
     Thank you to Roxyanne Young, Verla Kay, Kelly Milner Halls and SmartWriters for such a well respected competition, but especially for everybody's kind comments and support. This is not a stand-alone honor, I assure you. I am on the shoulders of so many friends.

     Btw, one of the prizes in this year's competition is a copy of Anastasia Suen's "Picture Book Writing." I already have a copy, dogeared from the treasure it's been to me. Reading it at different stages of my career has revealed new and just as relevant information. So, I am "paying it forward." Email me below if you'd like me to forward you my winning copy. I'll hold a drawing at the end of the month. (Make sure you don't sign anonymously so I can get in touch with you if I draw your name.)
     Keep writing, keep dreaming, don't give up!!

Here's my winning entry (click to see it larger):

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Visit at the Scottdale Child Development Center

     Last week I had the great pleasure of visiting the teachers and children at the Scottdale Child Development and Family Resource Center of Central Dekalb.
     I spoke to two groups of the most well-behaved children I have ever visited in that age group. We talked about simple shapes and I walked the children through putting them together to draw their own versions of Glitter Girl from GLITTER GIRL AND THE CRAZY CHEESE. I was so pleased with the results - lots of budding artists.
     Best of all, before I left, we gathered for a group picture on the floor. Instead of saying "cheese" I had everybody yell, "SMOOSH!" because that's what was happening!
     We had a great time, and the Scottdale CDC is a wonderful resource for our community. I look forward to visiting again.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Southern Breeze to the Maurice Sendak Show!

     Sunday, a group of writers and illustrators from the SCBWI Southern Breeze gathered at the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum to see the Maurice Sendak exhibit.
     Wow. I already admired Mr. Sendak's work immensely, but I had no idea the history and depth in his art.
     Being a first generation Polish immigrant (like my hubbie's grandparents) during the depression and WWII, Sendak had a difficult childhood. Rather than fluff his work up into a fantasy world of lovely, skinny mothers serving pink frosted cupcakes, he told stories using what was familiar to him, children wise beyond their years, frustrated parents, and scary relatives who didn't speak English. Childhood was a terrifying place, and he introduced an escape, a way to deal with harsh realities.
     Perhaps that's what makes his work so memorable. His stories emit an honesty, sometimes a tough honesty, which modern stories often avoid. Heck, he was the first to do it in his day too.
     It was a wonderful exhibit if you can make it by, and we all reverted to our inner six-year-olds when faced with a giant bowl of chicken and rice soup!

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Monday, June 18, 2007

My Teleclass: The Nuts & Bolts of Children's Book Illustration

     Author, Suzanne Laurience, has started a fantastic organization to help beginning writers in the children's industry, The National Writing for Children Center.
     She has invited me to speak in a teleclass this Wednesday evening, June 20th, at 8:00 pm eastern standard time. You do need to be a member to attend, but membership is free for one month. Go to The National Writing for Children Center website to learn more details, and come join me for "The Nuts and Bolts of Children's Book Illustration".
     I'll cover how to prepare and create an online portfolio, how to create a mailing list and send promotional postcards. I'll discuss my path to publication and what makes the art form of picture books unique.
     Hope to see you there!


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Door for the Decatur Arts Festival!

     Have I been quiet lately? Seems like it from this side. Why? Because I've been incredibly, insanely busy of late (14 hour work days, no lie). I won't bore you with the details but I do want to share one of the projects I just finished.
     Diane at Little Shop of Stories roped fellow illustrator, Liz Conrad, and me into painting a door to be auctioned off at this year's Decatur Arts Festival. This turned out to be quite the project when the old, stripped, mission-style (aka heavy) door arrived. It took five coats of primer and paint to cover each side - no small task!
     After days of prep, it was time for Liz to come over. We set up a great work space in the garage with hubbie's stereo blasting awesome tunes (yes, it's his favorite room). The weather was beautfiul and our supplies were plentiful. Now, what to do?
     We decided to lean on the bright colors both our illustration styles share and created a rainbow palette on the inset panels. To those we added cut-outs from our books (the galleys and such). Here's Liz doing her amazing cutting thing (cut paper is her preferred medium, so she's a whiz).
     We ended up using a combination of paint, collage, decoupage, 3-D, you name it. Here's me painting antennae on one of the carrot butterflies from Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese.
     The cool thing was, collaborating and working with paints and modge podge was something neither Liz nor I had done in a long time. We worked well together and it ended up being a fun break and a wonderful creative exercise. We really enjoyed it.
     It took two days to complete and we were pretty darned pleased with the finished door, must say. We both agreed it would be a fun, colorful addition to a child's bedroom. (Hope the purchaser sends a pic if they come across this blog post.) Here's the finished product:

     It will be included with the other colorful doors around the gazebo downtown during the arts festival. I'll be teaching Creating Picture Books at the John C. Campbell Folk School, so won't be there to hear the oohs and aahs, but Liz promises to share pictures. In other words, more to come!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kick-off Summer Reading at River Eves Elementary!

     In April I had the pleasure of addressing a room full of readers dressed in grass skirts and hawaiian shirts. It was the "Kick-off Summer Reading" party for River Eves Elementary School hosted by my favorite Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta.
     The kids had a blast coloring, playing limbo, and helping me draw Glitter Girl. Can you see the two girls catching the pastel dust as it fell while I colored? It was like rainbow rain. How cute!
     I sold mucho books to kids who just looked like readers. What does a reader look like? Intelligent, interested, engaged. I'm telling you, it was a bright crowd.
     And once again, B&N Northpoint came through like champs. I've learned that it's not always about the store or even the chain, it's about the people. The north side of town is lucky to have the vibrant store they do. I've started to keep a short list of bookstores run by passionate children's book buyers. They always make my events such a joy.
     So, in the spirit of things, I hope you get lots of time to read this summer. What are some of your reading goals?


Sunday, April 01, 2007

e's News - April '07

Hi Y'all!
Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese sold over 12 million copies . . .

April Fool's!
(although that is the number of the new Harry Potter books being printed - WOW!)

It's been a while since my last newsletter, but rest assured, it's not been for lack of activity! I have several projects in the works which I can't share too much information about just yet, including new picture books and my first novel.
2008 is looking to be a very big year for me —
so stay tuned!

One project I can share with you is
I'm busy illustrating it now and it will be released in June 2008 by Raven Tree Press

I've been taking Spanish lessons at the Latin American Association to prepare for my multi-cultural audience.

Also coming in 2008 is

from Harcourt Educational.

In the mean time, it's time to register
for my classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School
coming up this May.

I'm teaching two weekend classes this year:
Beginning Drawing, May 4 - 6
Creating Children's Picture Books, May 25 - 27
For those of you not familiar with John C. Campbell, it's just outside Murphy, North Carolina in the beautiful Appalachian mountains. The camp has been teaching folk/craft skills for almost 100 years and is a magical camp for adults. It's a great mini-vacation (even for the instructors) and allows you the chance to learn something new or hone a craft you don't usually get time for. The food is fantastic, the people are friendly, and it is a true mini-escape.
Read more about the camp at
Hope to see you there!

Along with John C., I'm looking forward to the Kick Off Summer Reading Festival at River Eves Elementary School in April.

Want me to visit your school or event? Read about my visits at my website:

As always, you can order signed copies of my books
through my local independent children's bookstore:

Little Shop of Stories
Call (404) 373-6300 or
email for more information.

For free coloring and activity pages,
visit MY WEBSITE at or
sign up for my newsletter here.
To view this newsletter in its original formatting, go HERE.

Thanks Y'all!


Monday, March 05, 2007

SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle Conference

     Tired and Wired. That’s what I am. I just finished an intense weekend at the SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle conference.
     I don’t care where you are in your children’s book career, conferences are FUN. They are opportunities to hang out with lots of people who just plain “get it.” They get how difficult it is to break into this industry. They get the passion for children’s books, and they get the desire and work it takes to contribute.
     And we’re odd birds, y’know. I’ve never met a children’s book author or illustrator who wasn’t intelligent and curious about the world around them. It makes for easy and interesting conversations no matter who you end up sitting next to.
     Along with being an attendee this year, I also gave portfolio reviews, which is something I love to do. My history in graphic design and illustration makes this a fairly easy exercise, and the teacher in me loves to give what I hope is helpful advice and pointers. Some artists’ work I had seen before and I was happy to see growth in skills. Go illustrators!
     This year’s conference had some great speakers too.
     Gretchen Hirsch, Assistant Editor at Harcourt Children’s Books, shared interesting perspectives as an Assistant Editor who works with picture books. Especially helpful was her break-down of the hierarchy at Harcourt: Editorial Assistant > Assistant Editor > Associate Editor > Editor > Senior Editor > Executive Editor > Vice President and Publisher. She suggested targeting Assistant Editors with submissions as they are starting to acquire their own manuscripts (with guidance from their Editor) and are eager to establish their own list.
     Claudia Gabel, of Delacorte Press, has a background in book packaging and therefore presented a more formulaic approach to the structure of mid-grade and young-adult novels. She stated the importance of establishing a “hook,” an unusual twist in plot or structure of a book that makes it commercially viable.
     I found her advice of dealing with a plot driven story in three Acts extremely helpful. It’s based on the classic Shakespearean structure, but she shared page counts per section and what stage of a story should be happening where within that structure.
     In Act I set up the story and end with an inciting incident in no more than 50 to 70 pages. In Act II, the meat of the story, end each chapter with a mini-cliffhanger, something to make you want to turn the page, and end the act with a high stakes situation which is nearly impossible to get out of. This section should be about 100 pages. Finally, in Act III, resolve the story, but make sure the resolution is not by coincidence. Readers want heroes - give them one.
     She said your character should want something in the beginning, but by the end realize what they need is something else.
     Barbara Seuling, Grande Dame of children’s book writing and illustrating, was delightful. She was well-spoken and knowledgeable as she shared her thoughts on the business as one who is highly established. She never forgot her roots however, and makes a point to visit every region of the SCBWI and share her experience with beginners. What a generous spirit.
     And finally, Michelle Poploff, author, VP and Editorial Director for Random House’s Yearling and Laurel Leaf imprints and Executive Editor of Delacorte Press, a true heavyweight in the business. She looks exactly like you would expect an established editor to look, intelligent, sharp and comfortably confident.
     I couldn’t believe what I heard as she described what she was looking for, basically describing my book, “A Bird on Water Street,” until she mentioned she was currently working on a book about mining (my book centers around the closing of a copper mine). However, I was thrilled (notice that manic-depressive pattern I talk about in this business?) when she sat down with me and my new friend, Shelli Johannes-Wells, and said she had read my book.
     Turns out she was one of the editors to whom my agent sent my book (go Faith!). Ms. Poploff talked about my book and the characters and asked me about the setting (can I tell you what a strange experience it is to have your creation quoted back to you?). She mentioned it needed some work in places, which I expect, but said she didn’t think Faith would have trouble selling it.
     OMG. Do I need to explain how validating this was? Can you blame me for being a bit freaked out that one of the top editors in this business read, remembered and said kind things about my First novel which took me almost four years to write? Wow.
     So, along with getting to hang out with my buds Liz Conrad, Vicky Alvear Shecter, and new friends, I received some wonderful feedback, and much needed validation.
     Kudos to Jo Kittenger, Donna Bowman, Robyn Hood Black, and all the volunteers for pulling together yet another fantastic conference (and to Tina Bilbrey who created the great logo).

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Talking at SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design)

     Yesterday, I had the pleasure of talking to children's book illustration majors and graduate students at the SCAD Atlanta campus downtown. Rick Lovell invited me and fellow children's book creator, Ami Blackford, to share our different perspectives of breaking into the industry and self promotion. We spoke to students from Rick's class as well as Jay Montgomery's and Julie Meuller-Brown's, all master illustrators themselves. It was so interesting discussing with them how the business has changed over the years, from the "golden days of illustration" to the present.
     I met Rick through Illustration Friday when he asked me to do portfolio reviews for the last graduating class of the Atlanta College of Art (which was absorbed by SCAD). There I met Ami, who was graduating and had already nailed her first book contract through Red Cygnet Press's student publishing competition. So, our perspectives were "starting out" and "been there, done that." Ami and I made a great team as we hopped back and forth on various subjects and answered questions. I truly love passing on information and experience to those starting out, so had a great time.
     Rick gave us a tour of SCAD before our talk, and I have to say I was impressed beyond words. In fact, my jaw scraped the floor through most of the building. Everything was so well designed, clean, and above all, professionally handled, I was blown away. This is a serious institution. The impression I got was they are not trying to turn out "just" artists, but working professionals who will be able to make a living with their crafts. In today's competitive illustration market, that is a directive of the highest standard. I was highly, highly impressed.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My Classes at John C. Campbell

I’m often asked if I have classes on my methods, so I’d like to share two courses I will be teaching in May at the John C. Campbell Folk School.

Beginning Drawing, May 4 - 6
You can create art with just one dark lead pencil. We will study the very basics of drawing including shading, composition, line quality, and perspective. Start with an easy subject - hard-boiled eggs - move up to simple shapes, and finally progress to the all-favorite still-life. There’s nothing like starting at the beginning. Give it a try!


Creating Children’s Picture Books, May 25 - 27
”Writing a picture book is like writing ‘War and Peace’ in Haiku.”—Mem Fox.
Come learn the art of creating a strong story through plot, tension, good characters, and delivery. We’ll discuss the difference in writing for children versus writing for adults. Learn the rules of a good critique, then trade manuscripts. The instructor will also cover the nuts and bolts of the children’s publishing industry. By the end of class you will have the tools to make your story the best it can be, and the knowledge to submit it to publishers once ready.
Note: This class will be for writers and illustrators. I will go over much of the same information from my “Nuts and Bolts” talks at recent conferences, but will go much deeper into the subject matter.

The John C. Campbell Folk School is basically camp for adults set just south of Murphy, North Carolina (it’s beautiful!). I like teaching the weekend courses because you get a nice mini-break from the real world, although they also have intensive week-long courses in everything from basket weaving to forging. You can request a catalogue or learn more at their website: Learn about my classes specifically HERE.

Hope to see you!


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mercer University Author's Lunch

     I was invited to draw on stage while Frank Hollon talked about the inception of our picture book, GLITTER GIRL AND THE CRAZY CHEESE, at this year's Mercer University Press Author's Luncheon (Saturday).
     Imagine my happy surprise at finding my name on the docket with chef extraordinaire, Nathalie Dupree! Hubbie and I met her at the Decatur Book Festival where he told her, "You taught me it was okay to be messy in the kitchen" - he's a great cook.
     Several acclaimed authors were in attendance with their books, but Frank and I had the only children's books. We signed copies until our hands cramped. It was so much fun.
     One of the guests got to my drawing of Glitter Girl before the organizer of the event could, so I need to draw another one for the Press. Too funny!


Children's Book Week Virtual Book Fair!

     Yesterday kicked off Children's Book Week! This celebration of children's books begain in 1912 and is still going strong today. You can read about it's history here.
     In celebration I have two things going on this week. The first is the Children's Book Week Virtual Book Fair hosted by Fandangle magazine.
     I'll be the guest speaker for a virtual chat tonight at 8pm EST, so if you'd like to ask me questions about my digital illustration technique, my books and upcoming projects, or how you can best dive into the business of children's books, come join us! And stick around this week as there are over 60 authors and illustrators represented, more chats, and opportunities to buy some great books for the holidays.
     I'll also be reading GLITTER GIRL AND THE CRAZY CHEESE at my favorite children's book store, Little Shop of Stories, this Thursday at 7pm. Bring the kids!


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

e's news: November '06

I send out a newsletter about every other month. If you would like to sign up, click HERE. Here is my latest:

Hi Y'all!
Well, it's been a crazy and exciting Fall.
Here's what's coming up:

I've been invited to present
with the author, Frank Hollon, at the
Annual Author's Luncheon at
Mercer University next weekend.

November 13th-19th is

In honor, I have two events planned:
I will be the guest speaker for an online chat in the First
Children's Book Week Virtual Book Fair.
If you have any questions about illustrating for picture books,
come join us on
Tuesday, November 14th at 8:00 pm.
To learn more, click the logo:

at my favorite independent bookstore

during the Evening Storytime,
Thursday, November 16th at 7:00 pm
Author Anne Ginkel will also be there to kick off her new book
Come join us for a fun time!
Call (404) 373-6300 or
for more information.

Along with working on
(Raven Tree Press, June 2008)

I have a new contract in the works.
I'll share the details as soon as they're confirmed.


That's the new stuff,
here's a recap of the last two months!

I had a great time at the Decatur Book Festival
which turned out to be a bigger hit than anybody expected.
To read my summary of the event on my blog, click the logo:

I had several book signings in September:
at the Barnes & Noble Northpoint;
the Barnes & Noble Edgewood;
and the Imagine It! Children's Museum of Atlanta
What a blast!

My logo design graced the
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
Southern Breeze Fall Conference
in Birmingham a few weekends ago.
The SCBWI is the umbrella organization
that holds children's writers and illustrators together.
I was happy to give a talk about the "Nuts and Bolts" of this
business and do several portfolio reviews.
If you're an aspiring children's writer or illustrator,
look for the southeast region's Springmingle
event in Atlanta next March.


As always, you can order
signed copies of my books through:

Call (404) 373-6300 or
email for more information.

I'll be talking to media specialists and librarians
about doing School Visits at the upcoming
in Kennesaw this December
(more info on this soon).
You can learn more about inviting me
to your school at my WEBSITE.

For more information, additional events,
upcoming books and free coloring pages,
visit MY WEBSITE at

Thanks Y'all!
Elizabeth O. Dulemba

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Monday, October 23, 2006

SCBWI Southern Breeze Fall Conference

     Wow. I arrived home Sunday, unpacked, then fell on my bed. That was all she wrote.
     What a great weekend. This is going to be hard to cover (and I'm still tired so please forgive the sloppy writing), but I'll try.
     My traveling buddy, Liz Conrad, arrived about 2:00pm on Friday and we headed west. The party in Birmingham started almost immediately after we reached the hotel with a faculty dinner followed by a dessert party. The room was filled with fellow writers, and I was surprised and thrilled at how many were already friends, such as Alan Gratz, Robyn Hood Black, Diane Z. Shore, Hester Bass, and Vicky Alvear Shecter. (Pooh, I know I'm missing somebody!) For the rest, I put faces with names from the message boards, and made some new friends too. Ami Blackford was assigned as my "Angel." Too funny, they didn't know we were already friends!
     Saturday started early. I shared a quick breakfast with the dynamic and highly-respected literary agent, Rosemary Stimola. Mary Ann Taylor drove several of us to the school to start our busy day. Editor Alexandra Penfold (of Paula Wiseman Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster), gave a great keynote, and the speakers for the day were introduced. . . including me. I have to admit, I was honored and incredibly humbled to be introduced with this group of amazing speakers. Wow.
     We headed to the classrooms and I gave my "Nuts and Bolts" talk first thing. My handouts were waiting in the classroom, which was soon full of attendees. It's so fun to share this information, and there's so much I want to share! I definitely got my "teacher fix." It's not an "I know so much, I must teach you!" kind of feeling (I swear). It's a "isn't this cool!?" kind of feeling. I would be a teacher if I wasn't doing children's books. I really do love it. Several people came up to me afterwards saying how much they appreciated my talk, so I was glowing.
     From there I rushed in to John Margeson's talk on creating characters. John is the talented book designer for Darby Creek Publishing and designed the award winning "Wild Dogs" written by my bud, Kelly Milner Halls.
     We filled the cafeteria to overflowing for lunch. Afterward, we had a book signing. Each of the published authors (and illustrators) had an assigned seat, and I signed several copies of "Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese." While we were signing, they announced the winners of the recent Southern Breeze Writing and Illustrating Contest. I was surprised and thrilled when they mentioned my honorable mention for "Queen Bea." They also did a call out for Liz's Third Place Illustration contest win. Wippee!
     Back to the classrooms, I attended Alexandra's talk, "Nothing Wrong with Self Promotion." Alexandra came to editing from a background in publicity, and it has made her an astute editor. Kind of like my years of graphic design which help me enormously in my current career, I imagine she has an edge above other editors with her background.
     I also attended Jen Weiss Handler's "Pitch Letters" session. It was a laid back exchange of valuable thoughts and opinions, and I was surprised I learned so much. (Thought I was an old pro - ha!)
     We headed back to the auditorium for a panel discussion with Rosemary, Jen, John, and Alexandra. Again I was humbled as I joined this group to go to our classrooms early for our professional critiques. We ended up with quite a bit of spare time, so hung out talking. I actually had a manuscript critique with Alexandra first, and she was generous with her time and positive comments. How nice!
     I gave three portfolio reviews, all very different. It's such an interesting thing to take a moment and really get inside somebody's work. This is when my seventeen years of experience really shine. It's fun to have to find the words for my opinions. I always have a reason for doing things the way I do them (or believing something), but having to put that reason into words for somebody else is just as educational for me as it is for them. And then again, there's that "teacher fix." I hope I helped them out some. I think I did.
     Back at the hotel, I scraped myself off the bed for yet another party. This time it was at Joan Broerman's house (Joan is the founder of the SCBWI Southern Breeze chapter). Turns out she opens her home every year for a "fall apart" party after the big day. We all signed her guest book (I was so tempted to hang out and see what groovy names were in that book). We spent more time just hanging out and getting to know each other over a great lasagna dinner. After dinner, Hester Bass did a blues number - an adaptation of Queen's "We are the Champions": "We will be published!" - with a young guitarist (son of one of the organizers), and y'know what? She's really good! What a trip! Not that I'm surprised. We finally did a swap of "Glitter Girl" with "So Many Houses," her new book.
     We piled into the party van to return to the hotel, where I slipped into a coma until the next morning. Ahhhhh.
     The drive home was easy and Liz and I compared notes and reminisced about the conference all the way back. What a great time, what a successful event, what an amazing thing. I love that writing has become such a social event with such valuable activities. If you missed this one, try to make the Southern-Breeze Springmingle Conference in Atlanta next March. I'll see you there!


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Off to B'ham!

     I leave for the SCBWI Southern Breeze Fall Conference in Birmingham, Alabama tomorrow. Now you may ask, why would anybody voluntarily go to Birmingham, Alabama? (I have lots of family from there - I'm allowed to say that.) Well, to learn new things, meet great people, get some valuable feedback, and most of all - to be inspired.
     I was an attendee at this conference two years ago, now I'll be giving the "Nuts and Bolts" talk and doing several portfolio reviews.
     This will be the third time I've given this talk now, so I'm pretty comfortable with it. I basically hand over five years of research in one inconspicuous handout. It's overwhelming, and I imagine most people won't recognize it for the treasure it is. In it are links and information that I dug for during my years of research into how this business works, how to get published, and most importantly, how to be the best writer/illustrator you can be. I would have loved this information when I was starting out.
     I love giving this talk. It's part of that whole "pay it forward" mentality, although I'm paying it backwards. I've had so many kind people help me along the way and share good information. If I can keep that flow of positivity going, that makes me very happy.
     I'm traveling with fellow illustrator Liz Conrad and I'm sure we're going to have a great time. She's very cool.
     I'll report back at the end of the weekend (and what I imagine will be a much needed nap).


Monday, October 16, 2006

"Moi and Marie Antoinette"

     Saturday, hubbie and I stopped by my favorite independent book store, Little Shop of Stories, to see Lynn Cullen sign her new picture book, "Moi & Marie Antoinette" (illustrated by Amy L. Young, Bloomsbury).
     Lynn and a friend were dressed to the nines in bustled pink dresses and wigs. I honestly didn't recognize her when I first walked in. They looked great.
     The store played baroque music and served petits fours . It was a most refined event.
     There were even pugs! Of course, there had to be pugs as the star of the book is Marie Antoinette's pug. I bought a copy for my sister and her pug, Geisha.

     OMG - you get to see! Lynn sent me a picture of her with the pugs and the petits fours. Ain't it great?


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Imagine it! Children's Museum of Atlanta

     I had the pleasure of reading "Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese" to a crowd of little ones and their parents at the Imagine it! Children's Museum of Atlanta yesterday. The museum is so fun for kids - there are all kinds of activities for them to expend their energy. The parents seemed to appreciate a moment to sit. The children colored Glitter Girl print-outs while I did a demonstration drawing. It's so fun to watch the responses - sometimes I'm not sure who's more interested, the children or the parents. 'Twas fun.
     It was my last speaking engagement until the SCBWI Southern-Breeze Fall Conference in Birmingham. I can focus on just writing and illustrating for a few weeks - a good thing!


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Barnes & Noble - Northpoint!

     Just got back from a fabulous book signing at the Northpoint Barnes & Noble. What a well loved store!
     The red hat ladies were coming later, so for the kids that morning, we had a pink hat party. Katie (the regular storyteller) started storytime, then handed them over to me to read Glitter Girl and draw, while Shannon (the Community Relations Manager, or CRM) and her soon to be replacement, Dan, handed out the 84 glitter cheese sammies I made. (That was an adventure – my kitchen is still sparkly). There weren't many left over.
     Then it was time to color. The kids were so cute as they laid about the stage coloring Glitter Girl. Obviously, they are comfortable in this store. (It's a very loyal crowd.)
     It was so fun just hanging out:
If you're in one of the pictures (Hi!), please leave me a note!
     Cindy (the children's department head and a bookselling legend in her own right) had me sign an enormous stack of books. She said she'd already sold more than that before my visit - thank you Cindy!

     I tell you, I have yet to meet somebody who works with children's books who isn't passionate about them. It's a different kind of animal I think. The nice thing about the Northpoint store is how much a part of these kids lives' it is. It's cozy and personal and the obvious passion of a loyal staff and neighborhood. You guys ROCK!


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Barnes & Noble Edgewood!

     My first book signing at one of the "biggies"! Today I read from "Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese" to an enthusiastic, young audience. The first thing we saw when we arrived, was a sign with balloons in front of the store, another just inside, another in the kids book section and yet another on the storytelling stage! John McGee, the Community Relations Manager, did me up right! He made announcements in the store as storytime grew closer (so fun to hear your name announced over an intercom - even though I could see John standing there doing it - heehee). He sang a song with the kids, read a book, then turned the stage over to me. My feather boa always goes over big with the little ones, especially when I tell them it's magic. Of course, I left a trail of purple feathers. John had me sign several copies of Glitter Girl for the store and add "autographed copy" stickers. Very cool. What a sweet children's area.
     I have to say, even though Barnes & Noble is a big chain, I get the feeling that each location is very much its own entity and that the Edgewood store is really trying to become much more than "just a store," but a real resource for their community. Everybody I met there is passionate about books, and obviously proud. It was very, very groovy.


Friday, September 01, 2006


     Here we go! Today kicks off the first annual Decatur Book Festival!
     My favorite independent book store, Little Shop of Stories, tied in with the Atlanta Journal and Constitution and the Georgia Center for the Book to pull together an amazing cast of authors and illustrators. It's a free event starting tonight with keynote speaker, Arianna Huffington.
     Saturday brings lots of fun activities for kids, starting off with a parade led by the Cat in the Hat. I'll be speaking on two panels. The first at 11:30 am is called "Cheese and Peas" - Cheese for my book "Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese" and Peas for Danny Schnitzlein's book "The Monster Who Ate My Peas." The second will be at 4:30, a panel of illustrators including last year's Caldecott winner, Chris Raschka! I am honored to say the least.
     Sunday I'll be giving a drawing demonstration at Little Shop of Stories and Carmen Deedy and Alan Gratz will have the stage. The entire event finishes off with the fireworks that were rained out on July 4th. It's going to be amazing, and free! So don't miss it!
     I'll post my experiences here, so check back to get the play by play!

Lunch with Chris Raschka, two time Caldecott winner!
     What a nice guy! Chris Raschka has been writing and illustrating picture books for sixteen years and has experienced every kind of success there is to be had in this industry. I talked to him about his history, his life as an illustrator in New York, his experiences with the different publishing houses, and the stories he shared about the good company he keeps from his years in the biz. He was very thoughtful and kind, a true gentleman.
     He struck me as very European looking, or is that because he's from New York? Either way his look seems to fit his art, which to me has a European feel with its graphic shapes and sense of high design. I find his work both whimsical and cutting edge. It's hard to believe I will be on a panel with him tomorrow, I am humbled but excited.
      This is the cover of his Caldecott winner, "The Hello, Goodbye Window."

     Okay, this one's going to take a bit to recall properly and pull together. I had a great time, but I'm exhausted too! In the mean time, there was a great article in Sunday's AJC (Atlanta Journal and Constitution) by Staff writer Jennifer Brett (who interviewed me behind the stage): ARTICLE.

     Ohmigosh. Okay, let's see if I can relay the whirlwind of Saturday. What a spectacular day!
     I am sorry we missed the parade. Supposedly all the children were in it . . . with kazoos!

     We arrived in time to see Chris Raschka's presentation. He read several of his books and drew his two cats - which the kids just roared with laughter over.
     Then it was Danny's and my turn. Danny sang a song and read his wonderful book, "The Monster Who Ate My Peas." It's one of my favorites to read to kids too.I read "Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese" and did a drawing demonstration (click the images to get a closer look). The crowd was huge, and I have to admit I was a bit nervous, although it might have been the microphone. It's so strange to hear yourself . . . amplified! Gads, the kids were fantastic. They screamed so well and I never get tired of seeing all those smiling faces. It was so fun!
     Afterwards we signed books, gotta luv it.
     Several friends dropped by for the event including illustrator buddy Liz Conrad and newly published author/illustrator Ami Blackford.
     Next, I was interviewed by Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPTV) for an educational video they're creating. They fussed over me to get the microphone right - bizarre! Never done THAT before! The interviewer sat to the side of the camera and asked questions, this is during the interview.
     In between events we hung out at LENZ, a marketing firm downtown (they created the fabulous event poster) who set up a VIP rest area in their offices for the authors. Thank you Lenz!
     Back to the children's stage we watched Deborah Wiles talk about her books, including the award winning "Each Little Bird That Sings" and "Love Ruby Lavender." Then we stayed to hear my friend Kelly Milner Halls talk about "Tales of the Cryptids" with the illustrator Rick Spears. Kelly has such a great voice and weird sensibility, she was a joy to listen to!
     And it didn't stop there folks! At 4:30 I was on an illustrator panel with Chris Raschka, Mike Lester, and Michael Montgomery! Just before we went on, I had the pleasure of meeting yet another great in our business, Bill Mayer. Turns out he lives just around the corner and will be illustrating Danny Schnitzlein's new book, "The Monster Who Did My Math."

     After a quick rush home for showers and a sandwich, we headed back to the courthouse for a VIP party where we hung out with our bud, Karin Slaughter and met Natalie Dupree. (Stan told her she taught him it was okay to be messy in the kitchen!) We also hung out with some of the amazing organizers of the Decatur Book Festival, Daren Wang, Bill Starr, Alice Murray (of the AJC), Tom Bell (freelance writer), and Joe Davich (Georgia Center for the Book), and of course, Diane Capriola of Little Shop of Stories.
     Wow. So it was amazing, and I do mean AMAZING!! It was a huge success, more people showed up than anybody expected, but it all went smoothly. I'm smiling, but exhausted, and we're not even done yet. In fact, I need to go grab a shower (it's Sunday morning) so I can see Carmen Deedy at 12:00 and give a drawing demonstration at Little Shop of Stories at 1:30. To be continued! . . .

     Tired! Oh so tired, must . . . be . . . lively!
     Carmen Deedy opened this morning with a wonderful story about a beautiful cockroach. She really is a master storyteller, completely engaging and so animated. Everybody adored her.
     Stan and I walked around a bit before my next gig. It was a little overcast, and while still crowded, it was a little quieter than Saturday. Very nice actually.

     At 1:30 I headed to the Little Shop of Stories activity tent to do a drawing demonstration. Here I am with another talented storyteller, Rob Cleveland. He is also director of development of August House, a publisher dedicated to folklore and storytelling. Since he MC'd many of the panels, I got to talk to him quite a bit, what a nice and dynamic person.
     Shortly after this picture was taken, the skies opened up and dumped a river on us. I heard someone comment, "I'll bet they're complaining over at the adult author venues." At the children's stage, everybody was soaked, smiling and jumping in puddles.
     Mary Ann Rodman and Hester Bass were quite brave as they continued their presentation through the very loud storm. Nobody wanted to leave! Hester read her new book, "So Many Houses," and Mary Ann read her latest, "First Grade Stinks." Mary Ann won the Charlotte Zolotow award (best picture book text) for her book, "My Best Friend."
     They did move into Little Shop of Stories to do their signing. The store was packed and everybody was soaked, but still having a good time. Parents were reading to their kids all over the store. Art Roche did a cartooning demonstration in the front room - standing room only! Meanwhile, I mingled with friends Elizabeth Lenhard (and family), author of the "Chicks with Sticks" series, and Alan Gratz (and family), author of "Samurai Shortstop," and new friends, Lauren Myracle, author of the "ttyl" books, and Vicky A. Schecter, author of "Alexander the Great."
     The rain finally stopped and Lauren, Elizabeth and Alan continued their YA panel on the children's stage once again.
Update: Elizabeth wrote a nice bit on the festival and included a great pic of the four of us and her baby "La la" hanging out before their gig on her BLOG.

It was very interesting hearing their different approaches to writing and writing styles, as well as how they often pull the familiar into their stories.
     And that was the wind-up for the day. We headed home to relax a bit before going out for a quiet and celebratory dinner, then found ourselves at Cafe Lily just in time to enjoy the fireworks over downtown Decatur (they had chairs set up out front). What a show. What a great capper to an incredible weekend.
     The organizers did an amazing job. Most I mentioned above, but I have to give a special call out to the people at Little Shop of Stories. I don't think anybody expected the crowds that showed up, especially for the children's events, but there wasn't a single hiccup. Diane Capriola, Dave Shallengberger, Terra McVoy, and thir cast of supporters pulled off an event that can only be described as MAGIC.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Oakhurst Elementary School!

I had so much fun reading "Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese" and talking about my art techniques to the 2nd and 3rd graders at Oakhurst Elementary School today! The school is absolutely charming, built in the early 1900's and updated for modern day. The halls were filled with color and good vibes. The teachers worked with the students beforehand on how to ask questions, and they asked some really good ones (some of the teachers did too). I was so flattered the media specialist, Suzanne Jerol, purchased my books for all the classrooms, and many of the teachers asked me to personalize their copies. I even read my book dummies, "Queen Bea" and "Lula's Brew," to the kids (the first public audience to hear them) and I was so pleased with their responses. I'd say that was one of my best school visits yet! Go Oakhurst Elementary!


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

School Visits with Dumb Bunny!

The Decatur Book Festival is this weekend (more on this coming soon!) and to help promote the children's portion, I visited two elementary schools this morning (Clairmont Elementary and Winnona Park Elementary) with Little Shop of Stories owner, Diane Capriola . . . dressed as Dumb Bunny (Dav Pilkey's funny character)!! The kids went wild nutso when she entered the room - it was so cute! She hammed it up completely and wagged her tail at them - the kids grabbed for her like wild Beatles' fans!! At Winnona, I read "Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese" in the round (yup, I had to turn in circles while reading) to about 250 kids - they were so cute. I tell ya, when I got to the "Ahhhh" page in "Glitter Girl," it was deafening! So much fun! Tomorrow I visit Oakhurst Elementary - can't wait!


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Book Signing at Barnes & Noble - Edgewood!

     Update! I've scheduled a book signing/storytime at the Barnes and Noble Edgewood location (just south of Little 5 Points, Atlanta) for September 9th. The CRM there sounds like a huge supporter of children's books and storytime, so I'm looking forward to a really fun event! Of course, I'll share more details as we get closer to the date, so SIGN UP for my newsletter!
     In fact, Fall is starting to look really exciting, kicking off with the Decatur Book Festival September 1-3, Barnes & Noble, the ImagineIt! Children's Museum of Atlanta, and the SCBWI - Southern Breeze Fall Conference. *whew* I'm glad I'm having a nice quiet summer, I'll be ready for all the excitement. You can see my entire SCHEDULE HERE.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Georgia Center for the Book - Author Talk

     I was the speaker at the Dekalb County Public Library last night as part of the "Author Talks" series hosted by the Georgia Center for the Book as part of the Decatur Arts Festival this coming weekend.
     I showed my illustration method with my brand new Power Point Presentation - what a fun thing that is, drew Glitter Girl which they will frame for the library gallery, demonstrated my writing/editing process with my "bad sentence" demonstration, and shared my journey into storytelling with some Jack Tales and stories about the National Storytelling Festival. In this image I'm showing my thumbnails. Notice the swoops I add to show how the image will "move" on the page and allow room for text?
     Joe Davich and Bill Starr were incredibly warm and I was honored they invited me to speak. (See their logo on the podium?)


Monday, May 15, 2006

Ice-Cream Flavor Contest for the Georgia Special Olympics

I had the honor of judging a new ice-cream flavor for Jake's Ice-cream last Saturday. Although all the flavors were completely yummy, the winning flavor, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, will be held in all the store locations with a portion of sales going to support the Georgia Special Olympics. Also judging were: meteorologist John Wetherbee; multiple medal winner Special Olympics athlete Katy Wilson; and the head of Tiny Tots, Angela Maxie (and her husband, Atlanta Falcon's Coach Brett Maxie). Pictured here are John, Katy, Jake, and me.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Little Shop of Stories - Book Signing

My book signing was on April 20th - but I just got the pictures the other day when I judged the ice-cream flavor contest at Jake's Ice-Cream (they share a space with the book store) for the Georgia Special Olympics. Rough life, y'know? I had to go eat ice-cream on a Saturday for a good cause. Oh, the sacrifices I make - HA!!

Anyhow, I just love these. This is why I love my book signings. We read stories and I drew Glitter Girl. The kids are so cute. They all wore their PJs since it was a bed-time story event, not that anybody was tired when we were finished! My storytelling experience at the Fannin County Library sure does come in handy for these. I felt like the Pied Piper!


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Atlanta College of Art - graduating class review board

     Rick Lovell, head of the illustration department at the Atlanta College of Art, recently invited me to review portfolios of the last graduating class (ACA is being absorbed by the Savannah College of Art and Design/Atlanta, aka SCAD). I was honored to share the responsibility with two masters in our field: Dave Clegg and Gary Overacre. To give you an idea of what I mean by "masters": in college we were shown art slides and tested to name the illustrator of each slide - Gary's art was part of the test!
     I also enjoyed meeting Jay Montgomery, another of the talented faculty guiding the students to success.
     I'll be sorry to see ACA go - what a fantastic facility - and right across from the High Museum of Atlanta. Can you imagine a better location? Still, they will be moving on to a very fancy facility at SCAD.
     There were five graduating seniors and their styles were completely different from each other. Rick really let them push their true loves artistically and I think he did them a huge favor. Most of the students are well on their way to finding their artistic voices. I so enjoyed seeing their outstanding art, but especially their enthusiasm. I will be honored to have these students join the illustration field:

Ami Blackford - Get used to this name, she's
already got a children's book under contract and it is SPECIAL!!!
Semin Chun - wonderful torn paper/collage work - her fine art is really captivating.
Ester Wilson - Beautifully unique style, she likes to paint on wood - watch out New York, she's got "book designer" in her scopes, and she's going to be GREAT!
Jetuan Reeves - Jetuan's passion doesn't lie in illustration, but her trees are something truly worth enjoying.
Anthony Hicks - another one who's name we need to listen for as he comes up in the very hip art scene of LA. Disturbing, dark and proficient work, Anthony is truly a "FINE" artist.

     The program that nurtured these talented students obviously did a wonderful job letting them express their passions and create portfolios that are much more mature than many I've seen from recent graduates. I think they will all do very, very well. What a joy to review all their hard work and skills!
     Here's a picture Rick took of me with Ester and Ami at lunch.


Monday, May 01, 2006

SCBWI-NY Portfolio Show

     My pilgrimage to Mecca.
     When I went through school, the internet didn't exist yet. The only way to get work as an illustrator was to pound the pavement in New York.
     While I spent fifteen years in corporate graphic design, the internet came along and the entire business changed. "Doing" New York has been replaced by quarterly postcard mailings and websites. You don't have to go to New York to be an illustrator nowadays - ever.
     But I'm old school. I knew I wouldn't feel like a "true" illustrator until I "did" New York. So, now I'm bonafide! What a great trip.

     I met up with several illustrators who I talk with regularly on the illustrators board and the SCBWI board (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators: We invaded New York sumthin' proper. We ate at a real NY deli. (I have to say, New York pickles are so far beyond any pickles I've ever had, they belong in their own elite class.) We ate at a lovely French restaurant in Murray Hill where I indulged in a fois gras terrine. We swapped portfolios and oohed and aahed over the annual show at the Society of Illustrators, another place I've always wanted to visit.

     The conference itself was interesting. It was held at the Society of Illustrators, a narrow, five story building with a red door. Portfolios were displayed on one floor, portfolio and dummy critiques were on the top floor and in the basement (my reviews were back to back, luckily from top to bottom and not the other way round). They kept us occupied with speakers while art buyers drifted in and out all day checking out our work. Robert Sabuda moderated a panel made up of Editor Michele Burke (RH), AD Lily Malcom (Dial), and Agent Edward Necarsulmer (McIntosh & Otis); illustrator Ed Young talked about his method; animator Jerry Lieberman showed us "The Parrot and the Plumber" (one of my faves as a kid); and Paulette Bogan entertained us talking about her career. I do have to say, there were several technical difficulties and obvious time killers which nobody appreciated, but I still defend my opinion that what was really important was happening in another room (the art buyers viewing our portfolios).
     I was surprisingly pleased with my reviews. Both agents offered new perspectives that really helped me. The agent reviewing my portfolio, Mela Bolinao of hk portfolio, blew my mind. What a firecracker! She seemed to crawl right into my head and "know" my art brain almost immediately. I was wowed, must say. Didn't expect that.
     The highlight for me, however, was rooming with my buddy Karen Lee, and meeting and hanging out with such great illustrators as: Ron Chironna (who organized our whole meet-up - what a doll), Inga Poslitur, Amy Hamberry, Barb Eveleth, Jennifer Merz, Olga Rogachevskaya, Robyn Gecht, and Beth Jones. I also enjoyed meeting Amalia Hoffman, Giselle McMenamin, Susie Lee Jin, Matt Watier, and Stephanie Ruble.
     Thanks to Karen Lee for use of the group photo - my camera battery died the first day there, dagnabbit!

Read about my thoughts on New York.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Kick-off Book Tour for GLITTER GIRL!

     What a fabulous weekend and a wonderfully successful kick-off book signing for GLITTER GIRL AND THE CRAZY CHEESE at Page and Palette in Fairhope, Alabama! Saturday was a whirlwind of smiles and glitter. We sold all one hundred of the books in stock. I even sold the two personal copies I brought to help with demand - amazing!
     Frank Hollon's MIL made glitter cheese sandwiches for the event which were a huge hit, everybody had glitter on them by the end of the day. I hope to post the recipe to my downloads page soon.
     The room filled twice (standing room only each time), so I did two readings. Frank was kind enough to let me read, which I positively LOVE to do (I'm a bit of a ham).
Here are some pics:
Filling up and discussing last minute details:

Starting to get crowded - the table with the sandwiches was hard to get to . . .

Mary Grace (co-author) helped show the book as I read. I wish you could see the crowd from my vantage point - it was so fun. I loved seeing the silly grins on the adult faces as well as the kids. Future book signings have a lot to live up to after this great day!

Here we are after the first reading - I drew a picture of Glitter Girl and Pearl as a demonstration.

And here we are, Me, Frank (author), Mary Grace (co-author) holding the sandwiches, and Lilly (the namesake of the main character - she's even wearing the same flip-flops!):

     It's going to take days to wipe off the perma-grins from this day! Thanks to Page and Palette for a fantabulous affair!


Monday, March 27, 2006

e's news - testing

Oh, this is cool. I just sent out my latest newsletter today, announcing the release of GLITTER GIRL AND THE CRAZY CHEESE and listing book signings. I'm using a new newsletter company which I love: Your Mailing List Provider. It's inexpensive and gives me all the bells and whistles I want. You can sign up for my newsletter here.

Also, I recently downloaded Firefox. It functions much better than IE (which I use for some side-searching purposes). I mostly use Safari, but the Google Toolbar is not available for Safari, only Firefox. I've just downloaded it, and there's a cool button I was able to add which allows me to add posts to my blog through my browser. So, this is a test. Very cool.

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Findley Oaks Elementary

     I had the honor of speaking at the Special Events Day at Findley Oaks Elementary in Duluth Thursday. There were about 30 professionals in a myriad of fields giving talks that day.
     It was interesting how completely different the ages were from year to year. I had to adjust accordingly – I had all grades, 1st through 5th, in 30 minute stints throughout the day. What a whirlwind! After two classes I said, "Oh this is a breeze." By the end of the day, I had a whole new appreciation for elementary school teachers. Those kids are ON, 100%, all day! I was exhausted. Smiling, but exhausted.
     I read GLITTER GIRL AND THE CRAZY CHEESE about a hundred times. (My shoulder was sore the next day from holding it up all day - how out of shape am I? Ha!) I tell ya, I can read that book now. I know where to have the kids help with sound effects, where to ask silly questions, etc. It is such a fun book to read, I'm so excited about it.
     So to top off the day, I returned home to an email from the author of Glitter Girl, Frank Hollon. The books have been shipped and are on their way! Woohoo! I received several F&Gs (folded and gathered) last Saturday, which I started giving out to my local indie bookstores, but there's nothing like the real thing - I can't wait!!


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hear Me Out! Teen Writer's Cafe

     Sunday was a huge success, what a great event. "Hear Me Out!" was the first of what I hope will be many panel discussions about writing and illustrating held especially for teens interested in these businesses.      The event was so crowded, people were sitting on the floor. The teens (and their parents) in attendance were inspired and bright. Many of them weeped creativity out their pores. Many of them reminded me of me at their age. Some mentioned projects that sounded so far beyond their years, we made sure to find out their names, as I'm sure we'll hear of them again.
     My fellow panelists were awesome and we seemed to click wonderfully. One attendee commented, "Y'all need to take this act on the road!"
     I especially enjoyed meeting Elizabeth Lenhard, author of many series such as "Spy Kids, Charmed, and Witches." Check out her newest book, Chicks With Sticks. It's a really cute book, especially if you are into knitting.

     Other panel members were: comic book artist Brian Stelfreeze; AJC journalist Bo Emerson; and Cartoonist Leslie Harris. The moderator was author Greg Chagnon. The whole amazing thing was pulled together by Barbara Schneider.
     I have to admit, I love speaking on panels. There's not so much pressure on one person and it's a wonderful opportunity to meet peers and make new friends. I also loved hearing everybody's responses to the interesting questions. What a great time!


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Talking at Agnes Scott

I had the pleasure of talking to a class of teachers, Teach for America students, this evening at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia. I spoke about "Living Story," finding the story thread that runs through our lives, bringing story into the curriculum to make information easier for students to absorb as well as putting information into a context that relates to them directly.
It was a great class and they asked some great questions. A few were really fired up and looking out at their smiling faces just made my day. I tell ya, if this is the future of teachers, our kids are in good shape!


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Imagine It!

     I had the pleasure of reading "The Prince's Diary" at the Imagine It! Children's Museum of Atlanta this past Saturday. What a great place. The museum is featuring Arthur right now, along with a focus on literacy. All of the activities circled around these themes, and the kids were having a blast.
     I had my storytime in the "purple room." The museum is basically a large warehouse space chocked full of movable walls and displays, so it's rather loud. I had to wear a headset while reading - that was odd.
     Most exciting to me, I made a dummy of "Glitter Girl and the Crazy Cheese" and read that for the first time (it comes out in the Spring from MacAdam/Cage). It went over great! It's a fun rhyming story right in line with the age group I usually get at these types of things (young, young), and they ate it up. I can't wait to dive into marketing Glitter Girl when it's released.
     We also read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" with sound effects. Had no idea it was such a noisy story? Try it sometime. The museum provided jingles and jangles and clappers, the kids loved it.
     Funny ditty, on the way to the museum, a 30 foot tall Emo suddenly floated across the road in front of us. Turned out they were having a parade downtown - we had no idea. It did create some issues getting to the museum, as several roads were closed. Luckily my husband knows downtown like the back of his hand. And in our navigating, I also saw a giant Power Puff Girl and a parade of llamas!


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

SCBWI-Carolinas Conference

     Was this past weekend. Wow. What a well-done and educational event. I gave a talk on "The Nuts and Bolts of Illustrating Children's Books" on Friday, along with giving four portfolio reviews. They went very well, and I got to see some wonderful talent. I also talked about "Two for One: The Illustrator as Writer" on Saturday. That was a much less tangible subject to cover, but the group really participated and I felt like it ended up being a highly worthwhile discussion. Hope everybody enjoyed everything as much as I did.
     Of course, the best part was I finally met one of my critique buddies, Karen Lee, face to face. We talk almost every day, and yet we'd never met. The internet is so strange that way - but wonderful too. She was just as awesome and easy to talk to in person as she is online. Check out her wonderful art at her website: Karen Lee.
     We got to spend some great time with Donna German, Editor of Sylvan Dell Publishing. If you aren't familiar with them, check them out. I was so impressed with their dedication to high quality work and fair contracts for all involved. Expect to hear a lot more from this house, and especially to enjoy "One Odd Day" (illustrated by Karen Lee) when it comes out in October of 2006.
     We also spent some good time with Mark McVeigh, Senior Editor of Dutton Children's Books. What a genuinely nice guy. He was very honest about the business, even the bad parts, which was extremely helpful to everyone. And just to have the viewpoint of someone so experienced in the business was worth the trip all by itself.
     So, all said, it was a thoroughly enjoyable event. If you have the chance to attend next year, I highly recommend it. SCBWI-Carolinas is top notch.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Teaching at John C. Campbell Folk School

This weekend. I'm about to leave actually. I've got to set up my classroom and familiarize myself with campus. John C. Campbell is a great place, kind of like camp for adults. I'm teaching "beginning drawing" this weekend. Then I teach a week long class in "intermediate drawing" in November. This will be a nice segue, and two of my friends have signed up - so it should be a lot of fun.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Storytime - Dragons, Dinosaurs, and Monsters

Wow. So I had 30 kids and 17 adults show up for story-time yesterday. What a crowd! Can't tell that school is out - ha. My "theme" was Dragons, Dinosaurs, and Monsters. I read several poems from THE DRAGONS ARE SINGING TONIGHT by Jack Prelutsky and Peter Sis, RAISING DRAGONS by Jerdine Nolen and Elise Primavera (had to reduce down some of the text in a few areas on that one - but what a great story), BUS-A-SAURUS BOP by Diane Z. Shore and David Clark was a HUGE hit, THE LAST BASSELOPE by Berkeley Breathed (again, I had to reduce down the text), OT: MRS. BIDDLEBOX by Linda Smith and Marla Frazee, and HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY GOOD NIGHT & HOW DO DINOSAURS GET WELL SOON? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. I also handed out coloring pages of a dragon I'd drawn (which you can download for coloring by clicking on the image above). It went very well, and the kids had a blast. Since I'm now getting a slightly older crowd from school being out, I may forego a theme next week and just read some favorites. It will be my last story-time for now. :-(


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Storytime Yesterday

     Yesterday's theme was "Animals" - leaning towards the more exotic. I read GIRAFFES CAN'T DANCE by Giles Andreae, MRS. CHICKEN AND THE HUNGRY CROCODILE by Won-Ldy Paye, I, CROCODILE by Fred Marcelllino, CAT YOU BETTER COME HOME by Garrison Keillor, and here was the big surprise - SKIPPYJON JONES by Judy Schachner. All of the books received smiles and intense interest, although I didn't get as much out loud laughter. The fun thing is, the kids are starting to know me and trust me. They've usually been several feet away, scattered on the carpet. Yesterday, they were all bunched up together at my feet. That was very cool.
     But, for the big surprise. I had the library order in SKIPPYJON JONES because it looked interesting. Well the book is HILARIOUS! I read it several times out loud just to myself because it had me laughing so hard. I was worried it wouldn't make sense to the kids, it jumps around a bit, and the alliteration is to die for. Truly I'm not sure they did follow it, but the text is so fun (not easy) to read, and the rhythm SO great (and of course, you have to use a spanish accent) - it ended up being their favortie book that day.
     Skippyjon Jones is a Siamese Cat who thinks he is a Chihuahua. He ends up in a spanish speaking world where he must save a whole bunch of other chihuahua's from a giant bumlebee who has eaten all their beans. Everything rhymes with "ito." Here is an example:
     "¡Ay, caramba! Who goes there?" asked Skippyjon Jones.
     "We go by the name of Los Chimichangos," growled Don Diego, the biggest of the small ones. "Who are you?"
     "I am El Skippito, the great sword fighter," said Skippyjon Jones.
     Then the smallest of the small ones spoke up.
     "Why the maskito, dude?" asked Poquito Tito.
     "I go incognito," said Skippito . . . etc.
     I'm telling you, it's difficult to read out loud, but if you can nail it, it is hilarious!!


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Hobbit Hall!

I will be at Hobbit Hall in historic Roswell, GA this Saturday at 10:00 am, signing copies of THE PRINCE'S DIARY written by Renee Ting (illustrated by Yours Truly) for Shen's Books. I'm so excited. Hobbit Hall is a fantastic children's bookstore. For more information, call: 770-587-0907.


Monday, May 09, 2005

Storytime at my Library

I am fill in storyteller for the month of May at my local library. What a great thing. School's not out yet, so I have lots of young ones, average ages are 2 - 6. Last week the theme was "Acting Out." That went over Great. I read a poem from Peter Sis' THE DRAGONS ARE SINGING TONIGHT (beautiful book if you haven't seen it), EXCUSE ME! by Lisa Kopelke, NO, DAVID! by David Shannon, THE MONSTER WHO ATE MY PEAS by Danny Schnitzlein (one of my favorites to read to kids), KNUFFLE BUNNY and DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS by Mo Willems (the man is a genius), WHEN SOPHIE GETS REALLY REALLY ANGRY by Molly Bang, and OLIVIA by Ian Falconer. What a great theme. I actually could have read a dozen more.

Tomorrow, my theme will be Farm Life (and creatures therein and abouts). Again, I've got quite the stack of books: Some funny songs from TAKE ME OUT OF THE BATHTUB AND OTHER SILLY DILLY SONGS by Alan Katz, MUNCHA, MUNCHA, MUNCHA by Candace Fleming, THE STORY OF FROG BELLY RAT BONE by Timothy Basil Ering (this would maybe fit with "Urban Living" too), MISS SPIDER'S TEA PARTY by David Kirk, CLICK, CLACK, MOO, COWS THAT TYPE by Doreen Cronin (that's a given, isn't it?), TINKA by Rainy Dohaney, PIGSTY by Mark Teague, EPOSSUMONDAS by Coleen Salley, and Maybe JOSEPHA by Jim McGugan, and THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS by Jon Scieszka.

I also have two coloring pages to hand out, a cow and a pig. I hope the kids have fun, I know I will!


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Celebrate! An Appreciation of Children's Lit Conference

   We awoke at 5:00 am to make sure I got there on time. It was a two 1/2 hour drive to the Dekalb County Library. If my husband hadn't driven me down there, I never would have made it. I've grown way too accustomed to these country roads.
   When we arrived, there was reserved parking and I was immediately greeted and led to a "green room." Gotta love the special treatment. I did listen to the opening speaker, Carmen Deedy. She really is as wonderful as I've always heard. I met with the other illustrators on the board before our talk, and we all got along wonderfully. What talents:
   Sheila Aldridge
   Laura Knorr
   Michael Montgomery
   The talk went well and had a nice turn-out. Book signing afterwards was fun. Books were on sale by Chapter 11.
   All in all, it was an incredibly slick event and I imagine will grow in popularity over the years.


Monday, March 21, 2005

Speaking at the Blue Ridge Writers Conference

This was a wonderful first experience. My talk was "Picture Books and the Journey - PB&J." Everybody was extremely respectful and nice. I didn't get cornered by anybody. There were a few bees (hovering, waiting). I noticed them because, well, I’ve been a bee too. There were probably about 100+ people there total, and I met several fellow writers. We ended up talking quite a bit while waiting for our time slots. I sold a few books and signed a few autographs (so strange). I felt pretty comfortable giving my talk and the audience seemed appreciative of the information I shared. I don't know if it all sank in, but they've got a great resource there if they keep the notes. I tried to be honest about how hard the business is, but encouraging too. It's a fine line. I would love to hear some direct feedback though. All in all, it was a wonderfully gentle and positive break-in to talking at conferences. So, all good!


Saturday, January 08, 2005

To the Bookstore!

Well after two days of the flu - and I mean non-stop drill in your skull flu, I'm back and almost fully functioning – woohoo! We had lunch with relatives north of Atlanta today and tied it in with errands to buy some things we just can't get up here. Have I mentioned I live in the country? I'm talking out there . . . lots of cows . . . no mailbox . . . no Starbucks!
So, one of our treats today was to hang out in a chain bookstore for a while (Barnes&Noble). Of course I b-lined for the children's section - which covers the entire back of the store. Gotta love it. Being a Saturday - it was stuffed with kids and parents. Whirligigs and whistles were going off the entire time a poor storyteller was trying to hold their attention. I browsed the displays and smiled every time I saw a friend:
Friend - a book I am incredibly familiar with, an author I am incredibly familiar with, a book written by a fellow critique group member, a book written by a fellow message boarder, a book illustrated by one of the above. It surprises me how familiar all the books end up feeling. I Love hanging out there.
I bought THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION by Nancy Farmer (the cover is plastered with awards) and HIS DARK MATERIALS box set by Philip Pullman, which I have wanted forever. Two more things I can Xnay off my Amazon wish list, which is a ridiculous six pages long! I'll write my opinion when I've read them.


All Artwork © Elizabeth O. Dulemba,  - Y'all play nice, okay?