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Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, dated 11/30/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 253
1. Herta Müller: a life in books | Books | The Guardian

Herta Müller - A Life In Books

Herta Müller's latest title available in English, The Hunger Angel, can be bought from our In Translation page...

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2. Christmas gifts 2012: the best children's books | Books | The Guardian

Christmas gifts 2012: the best children's books">

as picked by Julia Eccleshare

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3. Holiday gift guide: Children's books - SFGate

Seasonal Recommendations

from the San Francisco Chronicle

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4. If not the Golden Age of latino writing, no importa

Some of my Saturdays are harder than others and the person responsible is Friday's bloguero Manuel Ramos who I have to follow biweekly. This is one of those weeks. I won't tell you all of what he wrote yesterday. I will say you should go here and read his essay that Ramos should get published in some significant, landmark collection of essays on Chicano lit. It's that good, comprehensive and the start of bigger questions that will be addressed, of necessity, but not only by me.

Below this post you'll find some evidence of how today can be termed some kind of Golden Age for Chicano/latino writers. I heartily agree with Ramos that if this is the golden times, La Bloga--beginning its ninth year--helped in more than spreading the word, and that our work has just started getting to be chingos of fun.

I can't add a significant contribution to Ramos' points. He begins from an Esquire Magazine article that posits: more U.S. readers are reading more and there are more of them. He then applies that observation about mainstream lit to the specifics of latinidad. Below is my personal take on that.

Golden age of writing para nosotros? Para mí.
  1. Like Ramos, I can't keep up with my pile of books by raza writers.
  2. That pile is neither current nor comprehensive.
  3. It's my golden year: 1 novel published by a small press, 1 children's fable in a national Spanish magazine, 1 SW fantasy reprinted in a Romanian anthology (in English), 1 sci-fi short accepted by icons of the SF (non-latino) world, 1 magic realism tale in an East Coast journal.
  4. A fantasy novella about ancient Mexico possibly published next year.
  5. My Chicano fantasy has received great reviews in the non-Chicano realm.
  6. I wrote 40k words in Nov., of a Young Adult fantasy novel.
  7. I've given up trying to get schools systems to let me teacher and am retiring to write full-time. 

What's above sounds like it's all about me. It is to the extent that I'm some prototypical Chicano writer, whatever that is in a raza that's as varied-loco as our Global-Warmed climate.

In truth, what I listed above is not all rosas and fame. I didn't get reviews from places like Kirkus or NY Review of Books. Financially, I'll probably only be in the hole a few grand, after royalties, etc. My YA novel may not get published for a while and is not complete, either. Likewise the historical mexicano novella.

But I am prototypical in the sense that I've been writing forever, it sometimes seems (decades in my case), getting stories published specifically since 2008. That means that in four years I went from nada to mucho más. I don't believe I'm atypical. Lucky. Super gifted. I'm just a regular old Chicano spec writer. Writing up una tormenta this last month. So, opportunities that have been there for me are there for others, especially those who can become more successful than me because of their superior writing. So, it can't be just my golden age.

I am driven. Some days I write 8pp., on good days, 16pp. The ideas, plot, characters flow, easily. I don't think that comes only out of the addiction, which I confess to. Nor out of my own fantasy that through some milagro more of my art will see the lights of a bookstore shelf. In some esoteric, even ethereal sense, other writers' accomplishments--some of whom Ramos mentioned yesterday--are guiding, pushing and leading my labors of love. Otherwise, I can't explain all the sources for inspiration and production.

Another point, to Ramos and everyone. Si no es the Golden Age para la gente, qué importa? We're gonna write, anyway. We're gonna read it out loud on the back patio to our bilingual dog. We're going to read it at open mics, like Tía Chucha's. Some of us will self-publish it and qué importa there, either?

Lastly, what if la gente aren't reading us? In this consumer society, everything is about marketing. But I won't go there and say you have to become a marketing puto/a that many advocate to get your book noticed. Do it if you have the time/money and ganas.

I did become a marketing puto for my first book and I highly recommend it. Not because it produced incredible sales and wondrous reviews. But because after you sink half your life into months of active putoismo, it will drive you to make your next book a blockbuster so you can hire a publicist, secretary and chauffeur with your obscene royalties.

MORE importantly to Ramos' points, if la gente no está leyendo our stuff, maybe we need to reconsider our audience. Writing 101: Remember your audience. Now that you remembered you'd like more of your gente to pick up your story or book, ask: am I doing anything to NOT attract more raza readers? What do our people need in literature to drive them to read more, more often and books of more variety? If you have that answer, contact me so I can at least hire the publicist.

If there's enough gente to push Obama-of-the-little-results over the top, then there's more than enough to get several brown books in the top-ten best-seller lists. In the same week. For weeks. And then, again, in the same year. Since you're reading this, one of them could be yours.

Abstracts of An American Pageant:
Reality Principle of an Aphasic Metempsychosis

Jim Lopez of AntiqueChildren.com has a collection of essays with the above title. Below is his synopsis of this series of profound, abstract essays that is not for those unwilling to navigate the thoughts of one loco dude. But an educated, talented and intelligent one.

"Perhaps this collection of transgressive abstracts is the liturgical confessions of a man whose life is snug on coin; nevertheless, he may have found but then abandoned love in Italy, only to return to a perfidious life in the United States, where his childhood memories revealed the true meaning of value: Woman. It's possible that his predisposition for freedom was in opposition to a relentless hysteria that tried to distort his concept of worth, so perhaps he killed a man and became a tosspot toastmaster honoring crack whores to remind himself that there were worse things he could be. Heroin may have slammed through his friends who never overcame their addictions. Perhaps a new world lover in a DMT universe touched him as the pangs of aging surprised his trousers. Or, maybe, he simply joined the Shoe Shine Cowboy Express.

You can also click here to see the book trailer that gives you an idea of what lies within.

Tolerance in today's America

Go here to read a serious essay from Jimmy Franco Sr. of LatinoPOV. It's entitled: Thanksgiving: From Witch Hunts to Increasing Tolerance.

Walmart and Jon Stewart

In reference to my post last week, Support Walmart workers this holiday season: Protest, go watch this episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It's funny. And saddening, gente.

Buy a cheap Closet for Xmas gifting

If you're wondering what to get your nephew who's pieced more than Julius Caesar, or your best friend who retired from accounting and now sells Zuni fetishes at the Burning Man event, look no further. During Dec. you get 25% off the Chicano fantasy novel, The Closet of Discarded Dreams, ebook format only (reg. price $6).

At check out, enter coupon code: 12PE9NGO4MDS
Good until 12-31-2012.
Available formats : epub (Nook compatible), pdf, mobi (Kindle compatible), lit (Microsoft Reader), and pdb (Palm)
To get the paperback 25% off (plus shipping), go here.

NaNoWriMo Consultation relate to you?

If you're like me and began a NaNoWriMo novel, you can spend $15+ to get a "consultation" report from the literary publisher Black Lawrence Press. I'm not endorsing this, but it's an avenue that might be of use to some. If anyone has experience with that press and needs to share it, I'll add the info here. What that report details is explained below by the publisher.

How to Participate
Step 1: Go to the Black Lawrence Press website and order any three novels priced between $5 - $12.
Step 2: Submit an excerpt of your novel or novella. Excerpts may be up to 25 double-spaced pages in length. Please feel free to include specific questions and requests for advice in the cover letter field. When you send your excerpt, our submissions manager will prompt you to include the PayPal Transaction ID number. You will receive this number after placing your order for three novels
Step 3: Black Lawrence Press editors will read your MS and send a consultation report. These reports will address questions or concerns that you send in with your excerpt, discuss issues that need to be resolved, highlight the elements that work well, and offer advice for development. 
Offer ends Nov. 30 and consultations completed by Dec. 31.

Es todo, hooy
RudyG, aka Rudy Ch. Garcia author of The Closet of Discarded Dreams and patron of the loco book trailer.

2 Comments on If not the Golden Age of latino writing, no importa, last added: 12/1/2012
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5. Gift Idea - Travel Booter

Today's gift ideas are all about making the Holidays easier, and hence a little more fun.

Gift Idea - The Go Anywhere Travel Booster Seat

About - The Go Anywhere Travel Feeding Booster Seat is lightweight and the only seat to comply with ASTM standards.

We've never actually used a traditional high chair for any of our kids, but have always used the kind that straps to our dining room chair.  Since this is a similar idea - but portable - we were curious to see how it would compare.

It was super easy to install.  There is an adjustable strap around the top, and one around the bottom which makes it fit almost anywhere.

The 5 point full front harness system keep him upright, and prevents him from leaning out of the seat.  Which is good, as he has plenty of leg room and can be scooted right up to the table.

And it's portable!  The seat actually folds up into a messenger bag, which means you can take it anywhere!

To buy - The Go Anywhere Booster retails for $39.99 or $45.99 (depending on style) and can be purchased online at aparentcompany.com

This black and red seat features
  •  a five point restraint harness, 
  • two sets of adjustable straps (which makes it secure to almost any chair)
  • handy pocket in the boosting part of the seat to keep small items
  • 12+ months, but suitable for a child who can sit unaided
  • Maximum weight 40 lbs
You can also find A Parent Company on Facebook or twitter - @aparentcompany

I received a product to review from the above company or their PR Agency. Opinions expressed in this post are strictly my own - I was not influenced in any way. I received no monetary compensation for this post. 

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6. A Fun Event, A Thank You & The Next Thesaurus Book

Wow, November is over. What a ride! Despite many, many November mishaps (our blog feed exploding, Amazon pulling our book by accident, family illnesses and more) I did pull off my 50K and officially barely scraped past the finish line  killed Nanowrimo. Woot! I know today, a ton of NANO folks are breathing a collective sigh of relief that life is going to get back to normal.

And of course, there were many crazy happenings on the blog here as well! People all over the world reported odd sighting of well, ME, doing strange things.

If you missed it (you know, because you were eating, breathing and sleeping 50K worth of words), Jessica Bell caught me Dancing With The Stars, Nicōle Olea Discovered I was raising Elvis from the dead, Tabitha Olson caught me terrorizing the Canadian countryside on my hunt for brains, J.H. Bográn found me amassing an alien horde to take over the world and Danyelle Leafty spotted me taking out bad guys as my alter ego, Ms. Marvel.

Very strange, I say. After all, I was writing my new Nano novel! How could I do all those things?  *wink*

Big Fat Squishy Thanks 

Huge thanks to all these awesome folks who helped make it a fun November while I was in my writing cave. And a super big bacon-glazed thank you to AMBER WEST, the master of photoshop, who helped with all those great pics. Each one had me howling, I swear!

Throughout this post you'll see some book covers, just a few of the offerings from these talented authors. I hope you'll check them out if you're looking for a new read!

The Next Thesaurus Book

Now, some big news! I know many of you who have The Emotion Thesaurus book have been patiently waiting to see which Thesaurus Becca and I would tackle next. We've finally decided to let the cat out of the bag. And guess what? We're releasing a PAIR of books! 

Right now, Becca and I are hard at work on 2 books centering on Character Traits. Because this is such a massive topic, we needed a way to split it into two books in order to keep printing costs down. So, the new books will each cover a side of Character Traits. One will tackle Character Flaws while the other will take on a Character's Positive Attributes. We hope these books will help you create strong, unique (yet flawed) characters that will leap off the page. Becca and I are aiming for a summer release.

Got Body Language? Meet Becca in Person!

And speaking of books, and Becca...did you know she will be offering a workshop at the 2013 Miami SCBWI-FL conference? So if you live in the area and are attending, mark her workshop down, because Becca really, really knows her nonverbal communication. You'll learn how to better show Emotion through your character's body language and more. There are many great speakers like Bruce Coville and Ellen Hopkins and it looks to be a really great event. Ah! I wish I lived closer so I could go. 

Liked Random Acts Of Kindness For Writers? Stay Tuned...

We have something super fun planned for December that we would love, love, love you to participate in. Our next post on MONDAY, Dec 3rd will give out ALL the details, so please stop in and if you like, sign up. We are looking to spread some holiday cheer and hope you will too!

The Process From Blog To Book

Today Becca is over at Nina Amir's blog talking about the process of how we took our Emotion Thesaurus and expanded it into a book. This is something we are seeing more and more bloggers trying, so if you are interested in doing something like this yourself, please check it out! Make sure to poke around Nina's blog as well, because it is a wealth of information on blogging and how to go from blog to book. Really great stuff. 

Okay, whew! This was quite the update--lots of things happening, and more to come. I hope everyone is looking ahead to December with as much joy and good cheer as I am. Becca and I both feel blessed to know so many wonderful people online, and we are sending vibes to every one of you for a wonderful December, and an even more amazing 2013!

20 Comments on A Fun Event, A Thank You & The Next Thesaurus Book, last added: 12/7/2012
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7. February Authors Only Kindle Fire Giveaway Sign Ups (Bloggers Needed Too)

The January Authors Kindle Fire Giveaway filled up fast so I'm going to do another one in February for those who missed out or want to participate again.

Are you an author looking for a way to promote your book?

Can't afford a blast or tour?

Join this Group Authors Only Kindle Fire Giveaway.

The giveaway will take place in FEBRUARY.

Bloggers will be able to put up the giveaway for their followers to enter.  There is no charge for bloggers.  Every blogger who posts will be entered to win prize packages consisting of an Amazon gift card + copies of some of the participating authors books.





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8. December 2012 Events

Click on event name for more details

National Year of Reading~ Australia

Salon du livre et de la presse jeunesse~ ongoing until Dec 3, Montreuil, France

A Journey Without End: Ed Young~ongoing until Dec 30, Omaha, NE, USA

The Illustrators’ Journey Art Exhibition Featuring Art by Shaun Tan, Matt Ottley and More!~ ongoing until Dec 31, Fremantle, Australia

Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children’s Book Award 2013~ submissions accepted until Dec 31, United Kingdom

2012 South Asia Book Award~ submissions accepted until Dec 31

SingTel Asian Picture Book Award 2013~ submissions accepted until Dec 31, Singapore

Exhibition of Artworks from Jeannie Baker’s Innovative Picture Book, Mirror~ ongoing until Jan 2013, Blacktown, Australia

Reflections… On the Work of Jeannie Baker~ ongoing until Jan 2013, Blacktown, Australia

17th Annual Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature~ ongoing until Jan 1, 2013, Concord, MA, USA

23rd Annual Children’s Illustration Show~ ongoing until Jan 13, 2013 Northampton, MA, USA

Appleton Museum of Art Exhibit: Sendak & Co: Children’s Book Illustrations Since Where the Wild Things Are~ ongoing until Jan 20, 2013, Ocala, FL, USA

Exhibits of Winning Entries from the 2012 Growing Up Asian in America Contest~ ongoing until Feb 2013, USA

Nami Island International Illustration Concours for Picture Book Illustrations~ submissions accepted until Feb 15, 2013, Korea

Tall Tales & Huge Hearts: Raúl Colón~ ongoing until Mar 29, 2013, Abilene, TX, USA

Skipping Stones Youth Honor Awards Celebrating Multicultural Awareness, International Understanding and Nature Appreciation~ submissions accepted until June 25, 2013, USA

The Children’s Literature Centre at Frostburg State University Presents Storybook Holiday~ Dec 1, Frostburg, MD, USA

The 92Y’s Children’s Reading Series Presents: An Evening with  National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Walter Dean Myers~ Dec 1, New York. NY, USA

The Foundation of Children’s Books Presents a Special Book Group Party with Grace Lin~ Dec 1, Brookline, MA, USA

“Dreams of a City” SCBWI Greece Illustrator Exhibition and Book Event~ Dec 1 – 22, Athens, Greece

Iconic Images: Ten Years of Collecting for The Carle. Gallery Tour with Curator, Nick Clark~ Dec 2, Amherst, MA, USA

Asian Festival of Children’s Content Book Club Presents the Singapore Launch of If I Were A Blue Kangaroo by Dave Seow~ Dec 5, Singapore

Puppet Show and Book Presentation at the SCBWI Greece Illustrator/Author exhibition~ Dec 8, Athens, Greece

So You Want to Choose the 2013 Caldecott?~ Dec 9, Amherst, MA, USA

Summertime Stories Family Event~ Dec 10, Blacktown, Australia

The Best of the Best in 2012 with Susan Bloom~ Dec 15, Amherst, MA, USA

Children’s book reading of “The Giant’s Star” by Marivita Grammatikaki. Music by Nikos Xanthoulis~ Dec 16, Athens, Greece

Chapter & Verse’s (A Book Club for Adults Discussing Children’s Lit) Mock Newbery and Caldecott Discussions~ Dec 11, USA

The Literature Centre (formerly Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre) Exhibits and Programs~ Fremantle, Australia

Dromkeen National Centre for Picture Book Art Exhibits~ Riddells Creek, Australia

Books Illustrated Events and Exhibitions~ Middle Park, Australia

International Youth Library Exhibits~ Munich, Germany

Tulika Book Events~ India

International Library of Children’s Literature Events~ Tokyo, Japan

Newcastle University Programme of Talks on Children’s Books for 2011-2012~ Newcastle, United Kingdom

Seven Stories (the National Home of Children’s Books in Britain) Events~ Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Discover Children’s Story Centre~ London, United Kingdom

Arne Nixon Center’s Children’s Literature Book Clubs for Adults Events~ USA

Events Sponsored by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress~ USA

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art~ Amherst, MA, USA

The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature Exhibits~ Abilene, TX, USA

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Events

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9. Book Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Book: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour
Author: Morgan Matson
Published: 2010
Source: Local Library

It was supposed to be a simple road trip. A cross-country trek for the purpose of getting the family car from California to Connecticut, carefully charted out by Amy's mother for maximum speed. Still numb from her father's recent death and the sudden changes in her life, Amy doesn't make a peep of protest, even when she's saddled with an unwelcome co-pilot in the person of her mom's friend's college-age son. Fine. Whatever. Someone else to do the driving.

Then Roger suggests a detour. Which turns into a bigger detour. Then they're off the map entirely, and journeying through all the dark places in their own hearts, with nothing to hold on to but each other.

So, this book was not what I was expecting. (I say that a lot in this blog. I like the books that surprise me.) I thought it would be a cute road-trip romp, with hijinks, and maybe wildlife, and definitely smooching. I didn't expect this quiet, reflective book, shimmering with pain, which gets worse before it gets better. (Okay, fine, there was smooching, too, and more. Just in case you were wondering.)

The road-trip-as-emotional-journey metaphor is a classic for a reason. You get out of your rut, you see new things, and of course, you change yourself, so that by the time you get back to your regular life you're able to see it more clearly. While the title references both Amy and Roger, this is really Amy's book. Roger has his own arc--a relationship that ended badly, some closure sorely needed--but Amy is front and center. We see her almost catatonic at the beginning, unable to muster up the energy to care about anything. As they trek on, encountering places and things that were special to her dad, we're treated to flashbacks that slowly assemble themselves into a picture of how Amy's dad died and why she's laboring under so much guilt. We also see her come back to life, learning to enjoy it again and also to accept what happened.

I couldn't decide whether I was disappointed or not by the source of Amy's guilt. On the one hand, she wasn't directly responsible for his death. A car ran a red light and slammed into the car she was driving, with her dad in the passenger seat. In some ways, it felt as if she was blowing it up far too big. On the other, that's precisely what she needed to realize. It was one of those horrible, awful things that happen sometimes. Living, really living, isn't a betrayal of the person you loved--it's a tribute.

I really, really wanted to go on a road trip after reading this book, and also download pretty much the entire soundtrack (chapters are punctuated by mixes assembled by the characters).

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10. First Time


Today I picked a toy out of my toy box for the very first time. All by myself. I stuck my head in and pulled out …. none other than the dreaded mechanical hamster.  I wasn’t confused by the toy box , and I wasn’t afraid of the hamster. Mom said, “Look at you!” and “What a smart, brave girl!” and “Now what?” 


Nothing. That’s what. I didn’t actually DO anything with the hamster. I just sat with it. But it’s a start.


Mom is a first timer, too. This month, she joined a bunch of other writers in PiBoIdMo. That means she got a story idea every single day in November. It’s her first time ever doing that and she did great at it, except for writing down the same idea twice. Luckily she caught the double yesterday, and got a final idea just in time. She didn’t DO anything with her ideas. She just sat there with them. But it’s a start. 


Someday soon, I will pick another toy out of the toy box. Maybe I’ll even play with it. We’ll see….


Someday soon, Mom will pick out one of her new story ideas (probably the one she wrote down twice) and make it into a story. Maybe it’ll be Book #2. We’ll see….

next to toys

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11. Nov. 2012 IBBY European Newsletter Now Online!

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) European Region’s November 2012 newsletter can now be read online by clicking here.

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12. Seriously wondering...

...is there honestly any way to carry both a purse and lunchbag gracefully? I still can't quite get the hang of it.

It's even harder when trying to lead a three year old by the hand.

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13. My Digital Photography

















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14. My Digital Photography

Malibu Canyon Horse shot from my Album "Roadography"

Malibu Canyon Horse shot from my Album “Roadography”















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15. Tweendom's Top Ten of Twenty-Twelve

How's that for alliteration!

This has been a phenomenal year for books.  For picture books, middle grade and YA.  I don't envy those folks on award committees because those discussions are going to be *fierce*!  This year, I simply couldn't pare things down to 5, so here are my favorite reads of the year.  If they haven't appeared on Welcome to my Tweendom before now, they will shortly!

Splendors and Glooms, by Laura Amy Schlitz  
        This creepy Victorian story had me reading under the covers deep into the night!

Liar & Spy, by Rebecca Stead
        A NYC mystery slash family story that is incredibly authentic and thoughtful.

Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
        Pitch perfect graphic novel about crushes, theater kids and family life.

Starry River of the Sky, by Grace Lin
        Lush and magical storytelling matched with extraordinary pacing.

See You At Harry's, by Jo Knowles
        A family story that packs an emotional punch.

Three Times Lucky, by Sheila Turnage
        A countrified mystery filled with characters to love.

The Great Unexpected, by Sharon Creech
       A genre busting layers story that is simply beautiful.

One Year at Coal Harbor, by Polly Horvath
       Horvath is back with signature quirk and memorable characters.

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
        A first novel that speaks to kids and adults alike...it will leave you thinking.

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16. my vintage book collection

In the shop.... some Christmas-y books

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17. Illustrator Saturday – Betsy Snyder

BETSY SNYDER_HEADSHOT_1_LOBETSY E. SNYDER is a seasoned illustrator-designer of children’s greeting cards in addition to writing and illustrating children’s books. Her work has been recognized with the Please Touch Museum’s 23rd Annual Book Award, a Silver Addy Award (Cleveland—2006), and has been selected for the Society of Illustrators Annual shows.

Here’s Betsy’s Story:

Once upon a time there was a little girl from Ohio who loved to draw on sidewalks and make wishes on stars. One gray afternoon when she was five-ish, in a spark of creative genius (or rainy-day boredom), she intently scribbled on an old piece of cardboard with a bright orange marker. She titled her masterpiece “The Invisible Lady With One Orange Leg”and dreamt of becoming a REAL artist someday.  

And she did! After lots of marker doodles, the proper schooling and a full-time gig as a designer, illustrator and trend consultant at American Greetings, Betsy made the decision to leave the corporate life and go solo…and she’s been working in her slippers ever since.

Though Betsy is all grown up now (mostly), she loves to create smile-inspiring art for kids and the young at heart. You can see her colorful collages and cute characters on all kinds of things, from children’s books to board games to stickers to greeting cards. Her work in publishing and social expressions has won numerous awards, most recently a place in the Society of Illustrator’s The Original Art 2012 exhibition for her illustrations in the book Tons of Trucks. 

Betsy still lives in Ohio and shares a studio with her graphic-designer husband, where they keep drawing on sidewalks and wishing on stars (because clearly it works).

Betsy creates her art from hand-painted and found textures that she scans into the computer and collages digitally. This process gives her the freedom to mix and match until things are just right.  Here she is explaining how she creates her magic:

My process for illustrating a book begins with ideas. I always start with thumbnail sketches.  Sometimes I just dive in.  Other times I need to do research too, pulling visual reference, inspiration or information about a certain subject. Sometimes the memory of a moment makes it way into my books, like this image that inspired a spread in “Sweet Dreams Lullaby.”

When I have a basic idea for composition worked out, I choose my favorite idea and move on to a full size sketch. If I like the feel and gesture of my thumbnail, I’ll enlarge it to full page size and sketch over it on tracing paper. My sketches start out rough.

I focus on finalizing the composition before tightening up details. Sometimes I cut out the best pieces and parts from different sketches and move them around like puzzle pieces.

During the sketch phase, it’s not just thinking about how each sketch works on its own, but also the sequence of how they all work together to tell a story. Hanging sketches on a wall helps me see the flow of the book better. Doing this helps me see how the pacing and scale works from spread to spread. When I get everything just right, I scan in my sketch and make final tweaks on the computer. When my sketches are approved, it’s time to start final art.

I make my textures first. This is my time to be messy. Using watercolors, dyes, acrylics, gouache, pastels—anything, I paint large textures that FEEL like the things in my sketch—in this case, grass, sky, bark, speckled eggs, blossoms, etc. Then I scan all my painted textures and other found scraps of fabric or paper into the computer.

Next, I use Photoshop to build my collage. With my scanned sketch as a guide, I use the path tool to draw my shapes and block in flat color. I keep every shape on its own layer. With the sketch layer turned on, it looks like this

And with the sketch layer turned off, it looks like this.

When I have all the shapes created and I am happy with the overall color feel, I add my painted textures, using my paths to create texture masks—the effect is like cutting out paper with scissors. I use the brush tool for smaller details and layer in bits of tissue paper to soften edges or add shading. I sometimes play with layer effects and opacity to give the illustration more depth.

Much like a real collage, I end up with many layers (hundreds) of textured shapes. Collaging digitally allows me to change the colors and scale of my textures and handle edits easily. This is the end resul.

This is a thumbnail sketch for a spread about fireflies like nature’s night-lights.

This is the final sketch for the firefly scene. You can see that I made some changes from the original thumbnail above, but the basic idea is still there. When all the sketches are approved by the editor and art director, it’s time to move on to the final art. I scan in all my sketches and compose my final art on the computer. Using my sketch as a guide, and working with lots of textures I paint by hand and later scan, I slowly layer up all the colors, shapes and textures into a “digital collage” (at least that’s what I call it). This way, I am able to move things around, adjust colors and make changes. And after a lot of noodling, the art comes to life. Color mood was especially important with this lullaby book, since it starts in early evening and ends later at night. I needed to think about how the sky colors would slowly transition as the sun set and the moon rose.

So, here’s the final piece for the firefly scene, which reads:
dream of tiptoes through the grass
and fireflies that blink and flash,
catching night-lights floating by–
then sending them into the sky.

Below is the final cover image.

How long have you been illustrating?

Officially? Since I studied illustration in school and graduated in 1998. Unofficially? Since I could hold a crayon.

Did you go to school for art? If so, where and what did you study?

Yes, I have a BFA in Visual Communication Design (with an illustration concentration) from the University of Dayton. Go Flyers!

What was the first thing you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

My first “job” out of college was a freelance project for a local wallpaper company. I answered an ad in the newspaper and was so excited to get the gig. It was a 12′ long (yes, I mean foot) wallpaper border that I illustrated in pen, ink and watercolors in one continuous scene. Looking back, it definitely helped prepare me for the scope of bigger picture book projects.

Please use your imagination here. This is so great that I had to include it, but being 12 foot long made it impossible to show the whole thing in one illustration.

I didn’t want you to miss all the wonderful detail, so I cut Betsy’s border apart.

What a wonderful piece to be able to point to and say, “This was the first thing I got paid to do.” Great start to a long career.  Good job, Betsy!

Hope you could appreciate it viewed in pieces.

How many books have you illustrated?

13 (I think)

I see that you have won awards for your books and illustrations. Which one is the most cherished?

Any recognition, big or little, is great affirmation to keep doing what I’m doing. Some of my favorite feedback comes from parents and little ones. But as far as official awards go, it has meant a lot to be a featured artist in this year’s Society of Illustrators Original Art show for my illustrations in “Tons of Trucks”. WOW. Getting that recognition was a huge honor because it put me in the company of other artists and talent I really respect and admire.

You are represented by Painted Words. How long have they represented you?

I’ve been working with Painted Words since 2005. I found my agent when I was looking for someone experienced to review my contract for “Peanut Butter and Jellyfishes”. A friend referred me to Lori at Painted Words, who not only helped with my book contract, but also offered me representation moving forward. Again, serendipitous.  

Do you feel you have gotten more work because of that representation?

I think I have gotten more opportunities more quickly because of my representation—it’s been a good match for me. Having an agent focused on children’s publishing has helped align me with clients that are the right fit. That agent partnership has opened some doors for me earlier than I expected, and the steady work has made it possible for me to pursue publishing opportunities fulltime. But each person’s experiences and needs are different, and I do think it’s very possible to succeed without an agent—it’s all about finding the right path for you.TONS OF TRUCKS_TAR TRUCK_RGBCan you tell us a little bit about being represented? Do you talk regularly with your agent or do you just work as usual, until they call with a project?

My agent and I email a lot and usually talk a few times a week, whenever we need to work out schedules or the details of a new project.  

Don’t Throw That Away was published by Little Green Books. Could you tell us a little bit about this publisher and how they found you?

Little Green Books is an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All Little Green books have earth-friendly themes and are made from recycled materials. The publisher found me through my agent—they saw some samples of a newer style of mine that they felt would work well with the chipboard paper stock and special inks they were using. They also needed an illustrator that understood the printing process. I had just discovered Little Green Books a few months before they found me, and really wanted to work with them, so it was perfect timing. 

It looks like you have done a number of board books. Do publishers pay as much money for illustrating a board book?

No matter what the format, compensation should depend on a number of factors—the amount of work involved, experience and previous book sales, work for hire vs. advance + royalties, etc. For me, the pay has been pretty similar for picture books and board books. The advance may seem like less for a board book, but the page count and size is usually smaller as well. So, it makes sense that a shorter, smaller board book might have a lesser advance than a longer, bigger picture book that would take more time to execute.


How many pages is your typical board book?

There hasn’t been a standard number of pages on the board books or novelty books I’ve worked on—it has always varied. For “Haiku Baby” and “Have You Ever Tickled a Tiger?” (Random House), it was 6 spreads, but for “Tons of Trucks” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), it was 10 spreads.

Do you have an office in your house?

I share an office space with my husband, who is a designer and motion graphics artist. Our little, old  house has needed a lot of renovation through the years, so having a separate office space only a few blocks away gives us a quiet, convenient place to work and keeps us safe from construction dust bunnies. 


What is your favorite medium to use?

It kind of depends on my mood and the project, but I really enjoy more gestural watercolors. I’d also like to practice more printmaking, like linocuts and woodcuts—not necessarily for client work, but just because.


Do you try and spend a certain amount of hours every day working on your art?

I don’t consciously dedicate a certain number of hours to making art—it just usually happens that I do something creative every day since I stay pretty busy with projects. When I’m not busy with client work, I use the extra time to write and doodle new book ideas.

What was your first book?

The first picture book I illustrated was “Peanut Butter and Jellyfishes: A Very Silly Alphabet Book” by Brian Cleary, published by Lerner Books (Millbrook Press).

How did that come about?

Brian Cleary and I both worked at American Greetings—he as an editor and I as a staff artist. In 2005, Brian saw some of my work and asked if I would be interested in illustrating his next manuscript, which was already under contract with Lerner. It was very serendipitous, because I had always wanted to illustrate children’s books and had just decided it would be a good year to move in that direction. So, I jumped at the opportunity, sent my portfolio in to an editor at Lerner, and was fortunate enough to get matched up with Brian’s book.


Could you tell us a little about Millbrook Press?

Working with Lerner/Millbrook Press was a great first book experience. I was lucky to be given a fun manuscript full of possibilities, along with tons of creative freedom, from the cover to the end papers. It was an opportunity to really explore and refine my style…and get published! I will always be grateful that Brian and Lerner took a chance on me for that first book.


Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

It’s definitely helped people find my work and connect me with resources more efficiently. It makes communicating with clients anywhere easy–I send my sketches and final art via email or ftp sites. It’s also a great place to engage and learn—I was able to take an online textile design class with people from all over the world. How cool is that?


This is the Pitch Piece that Betsy made up to help sell the book.

Many of your books have been published by Random House? Did you know anyone there before you started illustrating books for them or was it your agent that got that ball rolling?

Yes, all four of the books I’ve written so far have been with Random House.  I had the idea for “Haiku Baby” floating around in my head for quite a while. When my agent told me of an opportunity at Random House, I finally took some time to get it on paper and to an editor. I also worked up some additional book ideas at the same time, so my first writing venture turned into a 3-book (now 5-book) contract with Random House.

Did you write and illustrate haiku baby or was the text written in house?

“Haiku Baby” was the first book I both authored and illustrated, so it is very much my baby. But I also have to give kudos to my editor and art director at Random House, who really helped nurture my idea into a reality.

Was some of haiku baby done with cut paper?

Sort of. The final art was created digitally, but I wanted give my illustrations the handmade feel of cut paper and collage. Since haiku poems are Japanese in origin, it felt natural that the art should have nuances that reflected its Asian roots, but in a way that felt true to “me”. I studied the textures, colors and mark making in Asian woodblock prints, and incorporated those influences into my digital collage style.   


Not counting your paint and brushes, what is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

My windows. And my husband. (Don’t make me choose)


What greeting card company did you work for?

I worked at American Greetings for 6+ years. I loved it there and learned so much from so many talented artists that also became good friends. I didn’t intend to leave so soon, but book opportunities took me elsewhere.
Do you still illustrate greeting cards?

Yes, I still illustrate cards and other fun things like stickers , tattoos, and games. I’ve also licensed some of my book art for cards and other products.


Do you use Photoshop with your illustrations?

Yes, almost always, for sketches and finished illustrations. Sometimes if I get stuck drawing something by hand, I will try sketching on the computer instead, and vice versa. I have found that changing the medium helps me get out of a rut.

How do you market yourself?

My agent takes care of a lot of the marketing when it comes to finding new clients. But I schedule book events and appearances and work with publishers on promo ideas to get the word out about new books. My husband and I have started making trailers for my new books. Social media has become an important promotion tool as well—I have a blog, a website, a Twitter account and a Facebook page.

Do you own or have you ever tried a graphic Drawing Tablet?

Yes, it is a must-have for me. I never use a mouse (ever).

Do you take pictures or do research before you start a project?

Yes, I begin by collecting all kinds of visual reference—photos, color inspiration, art techniques, subject matter information. Sometimes I go back to a photo I have taken and tucked away, and incorporate that moment into a book.

Do you have any material tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tired – A how to tip, etc.

I keep a digital library of all my scanned textures and patterns. That way I can quickly pick and choose textures while I’m collaging on the computer.

Do you think your style has changed over the years? Have your material changed?

Yes, most definitely. I experimented with collage in college, but it took me several years of playing in lots of different ways to develop my process of painting textures by hand and collaging on the computer. The nuances of the style I work in are dictated by the project’s needs, so sometimes I need to try new materials to get the effect I want or make stylistic adjustments that feel right for each book. Every book project helps me grow my style in a different way.


Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

Okay, I’m putting it all out there into the universe (sometimes it works!):

1. Keep making books.

2. Collaborate (with my husband) on content and animation ideas for children’s programming and apps.

3. Design a quirky line of kids’ fabrics or products.

4. Team up and work with an aquarium or children’s museum.

What are you working on now?

My husband and I are working on an animated trailer for my new picture book “I Haiku You” that comes out on Dec. 26. I also just finished up some fun Valentines for Peaceable Kingdom.

I see that you illustrated a book coming out written by one of our favorite former New Jersey Girl – Dianne Ochiltree which is coming out in May 2013. The cover of the book is up on Amazon and they are taking Pre-Orders. Are all the illustrations completed or are you still working on them? What is the book about?

“It’s a Firefly Night” was actually finished in 2007, but the publisher was sold, so the picture book didn’t get published. When the original contract expired, my agent was able to shop the finished book around to new publishers as a complete package. I was so excited to have Blue Apple pick it up. The book is about a girl and her dad catching (and releasing) fireflies one by one—it’s a bedtime story and a counting-up-and-down concept all in one!



Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful illustrator?

If you have a big goal for yourself, like illustrating children’s books, set smaller goals first. Reaching big goals can be overwhelming and even paralyzing, but breaking them down into smaller milestones feels a lot more achievable. Use your tiny goals as stepping stones to hone your skills, gain experience to build on, and ultimately guide you to where you want to be. And remember, one little opportunity can lead to the next in unexpected ways. For example, I did a gift card for Target, which was a fun gig on its own. But that one gift card illustration in my portfolio also landed me several greeting card commissions and even a book deal for “Tons of Trucks”. So, you just never know.

Thank you Betsy for sharing your multiple talents, journey, and process with us.  For those who are wondering about the awards Betsy has won.  Here they are:

Winner Society of Illustrator’s Original Art Show (2012), Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year (2011), Dr. Toy Best Green Product Award (2011), Scholastic Parent & Child—Best of 2010, Children’s Indie Next List (2010), CCBC’s Choice for “Best-of-the-Year list (2009), Parents’ Choice 5 Board Books for Baby (2009), Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award (2009), Please Touch Museum’s 23rd Annual Book Award.

Please take a minute to leave Betsy a comment – Thanks!

If you would like for follow Betsy, here are the links you can use:






Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, children writing, illustrating, Illustrator's Saturday, inspiration, Interview, Process Tagged: Betsy Snyder, Painted-Words Agency, Random House, sweet dreams Lullaby

6 Comments on Illustrator Saturday – Betsy Snyder, last added: 12/4/2012
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18. Take the PiBoIdMo 2012 Winner’s Pledge!


Happy New Month!

And you know what that means, right? November’s over. (Already? Geesh, where did the month go? Oh yeah, I did spend some time in a blackout.)

So, do you have 30 new picture book ideas?

You do? Well, you beat me to it. That’s one of my well-kept PiBo secrets—I’ve yet to complete the challenge myself! (Did I mention a blackout?)

But YOU—I KNOW you did it!

You can qualify for one of our AMAZING prizes just by taking the following pledge:

I do solemnly swear that I have faithfully executed
the PiBoIdMo 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge,
and will, to the best of my ability,
parlay my ideas into picture book manuscripts.

Now I’m not saying all 30 ideas have to be good. Some may just be titles, some may be character quirks. Some may be problems and some may create problems when you sit down to write. Some may be high-concept and some barely a concept. But…they’re yours, all yours! Give them a big, fat, juicy smacker! SMOOCH!

You have until December 5th at 11:59:59PM EST to sign the pledge by leaving a comment on this post.

Remember, this is an honor system pledge.You don’t have to send in your ideas to prove you’ve got 30 of them. If you say so, I’ll believe you! Honestly, it’s that simple. (Wouldn’t it be nice if real life were that straightforward.)

If your name appears on both the registration post AND this winner’s pledge, you’ll be entered into the grand prize drawing: feedback on your best 5 ideas from a literary agent. There are four grand prizes! Thanks to Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency, Teresa Kietlinki Dikun of Prospect Agency, Marietta B. Zacker of Nancy Gallt Literary Agency and Susan Hawk of The Bent Agency for volunteering their time and talent to PiBoIdMo.

Other prizes include picture books, manuscript critiques, original art, jewelry, plus all the stuff you saw during the month. All winners will be randomly selected by Random.org and announced on December 9th.

And guess what, PiBoIdMo doesn’t end here! From now until December 8th, stop in for daily posts about how to organize and flesh out your ideas. We’ll even teach you how to make a picture book dummy!

Plus—you can claim your first prize now: a winner badge for your website, blog or social media site, designed by Ward Jenkins. You can make it larger or smaller to fit anywhere. And if you want it on a mug, don’t forget to stop by the PiBoIdMo shop where every purchase benefits Reading is Fundamental (RIF).


So start signing the pledge and patting yourself on the back for a job well done.

And if you can do both at the same time, that’s even more impressive!

10 Comments on Take the PiBoIdMo 2012 Winner’s Pledge!, last added: 12/1/2012
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19. Premio Cervantes to José Manuel Caballero Bonald

       The winner of the 2012 Premio Cervantes, the leading (and worth €125,000) Spanish-language author prize -- see the impressive list of previous winners -- has been announced, and it will go to José Manuel Caballero Bonald; see, for example, the brief AP report (here at The Washington Post). The Spanish press, of course, has much more extensive coverage: ABC's Caballero Bonald, Premio Cervantes 2012 by Antonio Astorga provides a good overview.
       Among other contenders for what is generally a prize reserved for those very advanced in age were, apparently, Eduardo Mendoza, Antonio Muñoz Molina, and brothers Juan and Luis Goytisolo.
       Caballero Bonald is, of course, not well-known in the English-speaking world, and appears to be more or less untranslated -- his contribution to the art-book: Botero: The Bullfight (Rizzoli, 1990) looks like more or less the extent of it. On the other hand: good timing for Ross Woods' just released Understanding the Poetry of José Manuel Caballero Bonald: The Function of Memory in a Spanish Writer's Art; see the Mellen Press publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

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20. Richest Chinese writers 2012

       As Mei Jia reports in China Daily, the Richest Chinese writers of 2012 revealed -- and:

Mo Yan has reappeared on the Chinese Writers Rich List for the first time since 2006, snaring second place for having earned 21.5 million yuan ($3.45 million) in royalties this year
       You can find the full list (in Chinese) here, while at Paper Republic Helen Wang compares the Chinese Writers' Rich List 2012 - The Top 10 and their rankings in the previous four years.
       Note, however, that the numbers themselves are hardly BookScan-precise, as the methodology involved:
The team interviewed 200 professionals in the publishing industry around the country, and made the list according to the price of the book, the number of copies released, and the ratio of writers copyright gains.
       So, while the rankings probably provide a decent general impression of relative success, the actual earnings look like pretty rough estimates.

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21. That Cat Can’t Stay by Thad Krasnesky

Cat Writers' Association Muse Medallion Winner World's Best Litter-ary Award Winner Nebraska Golden Sower Award list 2012-13 Illinois Monarch K-3 Readers' Choice Award list 2012-13 NY State Charlotte Award list 2011-12 Delaware Diamond Award list 2011-12 Storytelling World Award Honor Title 2011 Bank Street Best Books for Children 2011 Wanda Gág Best Read Aloud Book Award 2011 Honor Book Society of School Librarians International Honor Book 2010 Smithsonian Notable Books for Children 2010 NSW Premier Reading Challenge Book (Australia) 1st grade Read-Aloud Choice, 25th Annual Read-Aloud Day, Bridgeport, CT

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22. We May Be Funny Runners But Call Us Joggers And The Laughing Stops There!

The other night one of my friends asked me, “When you see people running, what are some of the things you judge them on?” Okay, so first off I guess I DO have to admit to being maaaybe just a bit judgmental of some of runners I see, but c’mon you know you’ve seen some things that made you giggle!
twitter catoon
* Texters/talkers/phonies: *Disclaimer* I know I open myself up to some blogger hate here, so I apologize in advance, and if you fall into this category I’ll still love you and maybe you can share how/why you do this. So, I do not understand how during a run people can get their thumbs texting and provide this crazy awesome spread of photo’s. I’ve seen people update their Facebook/Twitter accounts while supposedly in said run. I just don’t get it, and perhaps it is my insane LACK of coordination, but a part of my brain sort of thinks if you can text and tweet you probably should be running faster???

* Attire: Don’t get me started on the chaffage wonder of running in jeans, I’ve seen people sporting cargo pants loaded with TONS of things even a key ring so large I could hear sleigh bells. There are people running around in Converse (love the brand, not for running though) and it makes me full on cringe when I imagine the injury risk.

* Fuel-belters: Look, there are certainly times and places for fuel belts but a four miler is not one of them. Unless of course you’re running on the sun, any able bodied person should be able to make it through an easy run in the single digits without needing re-inforcements.
vibram shoes
* Form Freaks: HERE is a list of some of the common form maladies, and I’ll open up and share that I don’t feel too bad judging people because I can totally poke fun at myself for my own form faux pas. When I first started I looked like a T-Rex who had her arms jacked up so high I don’t know how I didn’t punch myself in the face. When I see people running like the Hunchback a part of me wants to catch up to them and puuuuuull their head up straight. [Core work really can help improve your form.]


* Dropping the J-Word:

I wound up telling my friend that really, I may poke fun at people I see running but all of that is all well and good and PALES in comparison to the ultimate runner offense. It’s not something you see, it’s something that is only heard, like the worst curse word in the books: jogger. You call me a jogger, it’s GO time…I’m a runner, thank you very much.

The thing is, runners are awesome, even those who may do some wonky things…hey, I’m probably Queen of Wonky. I support all people getting out there and doing it, so don’t get me wrong there, I mean I have said on numerous occasions I live in the Utopia that is sarcasm.

Get running, be happy, be sweaty, be injury-free…just be on watch for any poor souls who dare to call us joggers!
Tomorrow is your last day to enter my Ambler Heat Beanies Give-away! :)

1) What are some of the funny things you’ve seen people do while running that make you chuckle?

2) Last time you got thrown the j-word and did you do anything about it?
It’s been a while, but I make a little joke about it, “Oh, hey now, you didn’t see me jogging I was running!” :P

3) Worst running attire related offense you’ve committed?
When I first started, I admit to just running in whatever kind of shoes that were the cheapest.

best running shirts

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23. The Shell Collector by Christopher Golden

Looking for a spooky story to read on this rainy evening? Get The Shell Collector by Christopher Golden. It's FREE to download on Kindle until midnight EST tonight, Friday, November 30th! Get it now!

At just over 100 pages, with a story that takes place over just a few days, this novella is a quick read. The narrative closely follows the protagonist's journey as he learns of the grave disturbances in his coastal town. Gloucester, Massachusetts is a wonderfully cinematic setting. (Wikipedia informs me that it boasts the motto, "America's Oldest Seaport.") If there were a creepy-cool anthology TV show on the air right now, this would make for one solid episode, with some meaty scenes for the fortunate actor cast as the lead, Richie Feehan. Richie's a guy basically just trying to make ends meet, painting houses most of the time and catching lobsters a few days a week, and it's while he's working that second job that he comes across a rather curious collection of shells stuck in a lobster trap. Also factoring in: Richie's long-time on-again, off-again girlfriend, Bree; her brother, Pete, who's a cop; and Richie's brother and sister-in-law.

The fact that Richie's family runs the local funeral home allows him access to certain goings-on and information without having to make the character himself involved in the business. He seems far more suited to his job as a lobsterman than as his brother's job as a mortician. Richie's seafaring job also sets the story's first waves of action in motion, and helps us get to know the character right away. This line of work also runs in his family, and while I personally would never, ever go into that profession - I'm a vegetarian and supporter of animal rights - I like how it makes him feel connected to those who came before:

With the ocean breeze and tang of salt in the air...he felt as though his father and grandfather were still with him somehow. He liked that feeling.

My favorite line of the story is as follows:

The rules of the world as he'd understood them had been broken.

Official Book Flap Summary

It's October in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where Richie Feehan was born and raised and has lived his whole life. He's a part-time lobsterman and full-time painter who sells his art at galleries in Rockport and Newburyport. Between the two jobs he makes enough money to get by, living in an in-law apartment in the family home owned by his brother Jim. Jim runs Feehan & Sons Funeral Home, a business started by their grandfather in 1921.

All in all, despite the tension with his brother, and despite the grumbling of his friends, whose business has suffered because of a lengthy red tide and a spectacularly bad overall fishing season, Richie enjoys his life very much. He's content, and believes that's pretty much all a man can ask from his life.

That is, until a horrible mystery begins to unfold in Gloucester.

Out lobstering, Richie sees something nightmarish in the surf one day, catches a bare glimpse of it beneath the surface. He doesn't dare speak of it for fear of what others might say - he doesn't want to become the town crazy. But he's having a hard time sleeping at night, and several days later, while out hauling in his traps for the winter, Richie finds one of them stuck on something. When he finally hauls it up, there's a corpse attached, a corpse that has been eaten at by sea creatures, including something large . . . the corpse of Greta Wagner, a woman who had been waked at Feehan & Sons two weeks earlier and buried a couple of days later.

Someone stole her corpse from the ground.

And her grave won't be the only one disturbed.

Booklist Review

"Golden's chilling novella is set in the fishing town of Gloucester, Massachusetts, where Richie Feehan divides his time between painting houses and trolling for lobsters, as the men in his family before him have done. One day, out on the sea collecting traps, Richie encounters a terrifying sight: a group of shells with glowing orbs that appear to be eyes resting in one of his traps. Richie throws it back into the ocean, but the memory of it haunts him. But when he spots his brother, Jim, who runs the other family business, Feehan & Sons Funeral Home, talking with police about a body disappearing from the graveyard, Richie never imagines the two things would be connected. A horrifying graveyard encounter with the entity known as the Shell Collector proves they are, however, and Richie realizes he must take action or risk losing someone close to him. Despite the tale's brevity, Golden vividly evokes life in a small fishing town and builds the suspense to a terrifyingly vivid conclusion."

Visit The Shell Collector page on Christopher Golden's website.

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Artie’s poem Ceiling to the Stars was published in the November print edition of California Kids! To read the poem online, please click on the illustration below.

Artie’s children’s story The Hummingbird Who Chewed Bubblegum is being published in a book collection by the Oxford University Press in India. More to come.


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25. December Drawing


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