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I'm not unhappy to see Shellless at #94 on the Amazon Best Sellers... even if it is in the top 100 free section! But that's good cause it means you get to read it for free! And that's good because it's a good story and it needs to be read!
Shellless is the story of Jirst Bluefin trying to overcome his biggest problem, being ignored. After befriending Kacelia Middleton, the one person in the world who is never ignored, Jirst discovers that it's better to be ignored for no reason than to become popular for the wrong.You can read the entire story from beginning to end, Free!
This weekend, starting Friday, July 12th thru Sunday, July 14th, Shellless will be available as a free download! How exciting!!
After befriending Kacelia Middleton, the one person in the world who is never ignored, Jirst discovers that it's better to be ignored for no reason than to become popular for the wrong.
Jirst Bluefin is a quirky, loner who spends his afternoons talking to imaginary dinosaurs that swim in a pond. The dinosaurs look like turtles that lost their shells. He calls them the Shellless.
After a chance meeting, the intelligent and sophisticated Kacelia Middleton befriends Jirst. Taking note of Jirst's major problem, being ignored, Kacelia encourages him to come out of his shell.
Jirst tries a few funny, yet failed attempts at gaining popularity. Desperate to acquire recognition, Jirst resorts to telling his classmates the tale of his make-believe, dinosaur friends. However, he inadvertently leaves the impression that the Shellless are real. Believing that extinct plesiosaur swim in the pond of the local park gives Jirst the boost of popularity he covets.
The week after that will be the launch of the long anticipated release of Crushing Turtles!!
Meanwhile, here is an excerpt from chapter one of the not yet released book...
CRUSHING TURTLES by Ian Sands
Tori crushes turtles. Sometimes she smashes them with a rock. Sometimes she takes them home and whacks them with a hammer. Her favorite way is to simply step on them till their shells crack beneath her feet. It really doesn’t matter how she crushes them as long as they smush.
She crushes box turtles and painted turtles, sliders and musk turtles. She secretly wishes she could go to the beach and step on baby sea turtles as they leave the nest… but the beach is far away. Besides, there are plenty of turtles to crush at the lake and she can walk there.
The only turtle Tori hasn’t crushed yet; the only one she wants to crush lives in that lake. They say it has a three-foot wide shell and a four-foot long tail. It waits in the mud at the bottom of the lake. That’s why Tori has never seen it. But she knows its there and she hates it.
I have to say, with the exception of Crushing Turtles (coming Summer 2013), if you ever wanted to get inside the head of Ian Sands, Shellless is the story.
Shellless is the story of Jirst Bluefin the First as he tries to overcome his biggest problem, being ignored. After befriending Kacelia Middleton, the one person in the world who is never ignored, Jirst discovers that it's better to be ignored for no reason than to become popular for the wrong.
For a buck 99, Shellless is well worth the the price and is certainly the read. Though written as a children's book, like all of my stories, there is certainly element written for adults.
Working on the cover art for this summer's block buster read, Crushing Turtles.. coming soon!
This book is something different then much of what I've written before. A strange title, a strange subject matter and a little dark. I like the characters, especially their voice. In fact, it was probably the character's voice that originally masked the dark storyline.
The turtle on the cover is a musk turtle painted from an observational sketch like this one -->
If a freak milk accident that sparks life to a half cow, half stegosaurus isn’t weird enough, imagine how strange it’s going to get when Trip Stanley’s class starts drinking the milk! Trip Stanley’s best friend Jules spills a glass of creamery milk onto his uncle’s dinosaur machine and activates the contraption. A creature hatches and grows rapidly into a black and white spotted stegosaurus with and an udder. A stegcowsaurus. When the last bottle of creamery milk that Jules had planned to bring to school for show and tell is knocked over, Trip decides to milk the stegcowsaurus. Everyone in class is given a taste and the reaction causes spots and horns. One classmate even grows a tail. It’s up to Trip to figure out how to de-dinosaur his classmates and keep from getting kicked out of school, all while preventing his mom from discovering the stegcowsaurus in his bedroom. With angry classmates and an upset teacher in his living room, Trip finds a solution in his own advice, when life give you lemons you make lemonade. Realizing the correlation between milk and lemons, Trip reverses the beverages and changes his classmates back into classmates and his dinocow into a cow.
Shellless Jirst Bluefin's biggest problem is being ignored. Kacela Middleton is the one person in the world who is never ignored. Jirst is about to discover that sometimes it's better to be ignored for no reason than to become popular over nothing at all. Shellless is the story of Jirst Bluefin the First as he tries to overcome his biggest problem, being ignored. After befriending Kacelia Middleton, the one person in the world who is never ignored, Jirst discovers that it's better to be ignored for no reason than to become popular for the wrong. Jirst Bluefin is a quirky, loner who spends his afternoons talking to imaginary dinosaurs that swim in a pond. The dinosaurs look like turtles that lost their shells. He calls them the Shellless. After a chance meeting, the intelligent and sophisticated Kacelia Middleton befriends Jirst. Taking note of Jirst's major problem, being ignored, Kacelia encourages him to come out of his shell. Jirst tries a few funny, yet failed attempts at gaining popularity. Desperate to acquire recognition, Jirst resorts to telling his classmates the tale of his make-believe, dinosaur friends. However, he inadvertently leaves the impression that the Shellless are real. Believing that extinct plesiosaur swim in the pond of the local park give Jirst the boost of popularity he covets. Coming Soon! ---------
The Metal Marble
Tucker's Aunt Nyce is his mom's little sister only she isn't that little and she isn't that nice. He has to get used to it though because he's stuck working at her beach restaurant The Crab & Grab for the next two weeks. While hauling boxes of stinky fish from the dock, Tucker and his 11-year-old cousin Trist discover a golf ball size, transparent metal "marble" floating in the sea. Ignoring the warnings from salty dog Chef, Tucker and Trist leave the marble in the sunshine until it dries. The marble hatches into a half real, half robotic mechanical turtle. From the moment the marble opens, Aunt Nyce places Tucker in charge of the turtle. He soon realizes the biggest threat comes from his aunt's schemes to use the unique creature to draw customers.
Coming Soon! ---------
The Critter Cube Book There are three sections of the Critter Cube book. The first section introduces the characters. Since the Critter Cube Book is designed to be interactive, this section allows the reader to decide what characteristics each character will have. The second part of the book allows the reader to write his or her own story. There are prompts that the reader can use as helpful guides but they will determine the story. The third section of the book is a flipbook that allows the reader to change not only the story line, but also the characters by simply flipping the pages. The Critter Cube Book is sponsored by the Graham Johnson Cultural Arts Endowment; a non-profit organization whose purpose is to develop, promote and coordinate the arts and cultural experiences for the community of Wake Forest as well as North Carolina. The Critter Cube Book Available on Amazon! --------
Ligers, Tigons And Pizzlies
When two different kinds of animals, which are very closely related, create a new life, the baby animal is called a hybrid. For example, if a zebra and a horse have a foal, the yearling is a hybrid called a zorse. Zorse is a cool name. Hybrid however, is a boring name that sounds more like a way to create electricity by pouring water through a turbine than it does a combination of two living creatures. From now on, I'm going to refer to hybrids as newimals. Though some are rare, all of the newimals in this book are real.
Tuesday, June 25th, I presented at the Art Of Education 2013 Online Conference.. How very exciting! Yes, I know! And not only presented but I went first! Feeling pretty good about being the opening act :)
There were two parts to this conference. The first part was a pre-recorded video that went live for attendees at 11am EST. There was also a live chat during the same time where I tried to answer questions.
The second half is ongoing as the presentations have been posted to the Art Of Education Ning site. There is also a forum where attendees of the conference can post questions.
Above: A photo I snagged off of Twitter
So what was my presentation about? Well, here is the intro...
Art Vs Education!
Art teachers are creative beings. We teach a creative subject with creative materials. However, the bureaucracy of education; pacing guides, standards and even the curriculum can jab, punch and often KO an art teacher’s creative endeavor. In this presentation we’ll toe the line with the issues that put art teachers up against the ropes and we’ll learn how to knock those concerns out of the ring. Let’s get ready to rumble!
New paintings! And no, they are not digital. I found some of that stinky paper in the storage room at school. I mean stinky, literally. It smells really weird!
It doesn't have a good texture and it doesn't have a very good weight but for whatever reason, I like to draw on it.
So I'm working on some new stuff, which is really old stuff cause I always draw the same thing over and over again and that's ok cause it makes me happy. Took these pics on my phone so they are not very good but you get the idea...
One of the iPad apps I've started playing around with called 123D Sculpt. It's like having a little virtual ball of clay and pulling on it till it looks like something.. or sort of looks like something :)
I don't much like to fly. Well, that's not true. I don't mind flying. i'm more afraid of crashing. Something about not being in control and being squished into some little tube going 500 miles na hour doesn't sit well with me.
To avoid panic, i like to draw on my iPad. Here are a few from my Flying Plane series... Above: Draw to NYC
Flying back to Raleigh from NY. I was pretty tired ;)
I think I made this one flying back to Raleigh from the NAEA conference in Texas
Pretty sure this was painted on the way to Texas, going to the NAEA conference.
One of my students told me she had to write a speech for her Speech 2 class. She needed to write the speech based on a quote. I said the only quote I know is one I made up..
“Love is better than pancakes, and pancakes are really good.”
To my surprise, she used this quote for her speech. Today, she received her grade. 100. :) Below is the speech she gave.
Hello my name is Katelynn W and I wanted to start off talking about one of the art teachers at our school, Mr. Sands. He teaches Art 1, computer art, and art history.He is very creative, fun, supportive, and is one of my favorite teachers. So after I was given this assignment to talk about a motivational speech, I asked him what his favorite inspirational quote was.He replied with a quote he made himself which is:” Love, is better than pancakes.And pancakes are really really really really good.”
So naturally after hearing that, I started daydreaming about pancakes.I imagined waking up on a Sunday morning to the smell of freshly made warm pancakes, and after getting out of a nice warm bed, I pictured an endless table FULL of every type of pancake you could imagine.Fresh chocolate chip pancakes where the chocolate chips are still warm and melty, and it’s piled with whipped cream, or maybe pumpkin spice pancakes with a little bit of cinnamon and powdered sugar or those little Mickey Mouse pancakes with the cute little ears.There are SO many different types of pancakes; from the batter recipe to all the different toppings the possibilities are endless.
And think of ALL the different people who would be at that table.People who you never would have thought you had something in common with, probably people you never thought you’d get a long with. But there you all are surrounding each other, while you’re all enjoying freshly made pancakes, being happy. Together.
Love is a lot like pancakes. Love is what connects us all together, it is what inspires us, what drives us; it’s what makes us human.Love is made up of so many different emotions, experiences, and “recipes” .Love is different for every person, just like how every pancake is unique.I also think that everyone loves differently too, and in order to experience love to its fullest beauty, we have to accept love in all of its different, odd, and wonderful ways.
You can find love for everything and everyone. I know personally, I find that people can get really annoying, frustrating, and can be just plain stupid. However, I also know that every person has a quality that makes them brilliant.Every single person on the planet deserves love, and ONLY YOU have the power to give your love to someone, and to make the difference.Remember, you don’t have to like people; you just have to love them.
I’d like to leave you with, what I believe to be the most important part of that quote. Where it says: “love is better than pancakes”. Better. Love is what we need to share with everyone. What you can share with everyone and what will be shared with you in return.Love is what lasts, love is what brings happiness, and love is what will bring out a radiant and a rarely seen beauty that will last much longer than any pancake ever will.
Over the years, Critters have done there fair share of traveling. They've been as far north as Canada, as far south as the Caribbean, as far west as California and as far east as Korea. These have all been very exciting places but I'm not sure I found any of theses places as exciting as the place I received today.
Critter visits the Mona Lisa!
I guess in the art world this might be as big as it gets. After all, the Mona Lisa is to art what Ke$ha is to music!
Lately, I've been really into the CrittaColor concept. I lik the interactivity and letting people help make he art, but i can't help feeling nostalgic about the old Critters after seeing this photo.
So here below are a few of the places "Old Critter" has been. if you'd like to follow any of the Critters, including the latest CrittaColor, check out Critters on Zonkey Street!
This little Critter traveld further than any other Critter. Here he is at he Biltmore Estates in NC.
Here he is again on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, CA.
In Seoul, South Korea.
Enjoying the weather on the sandy beaches of St. Johns.
This is a project we did back in 2009. however, the post has since lost it's images so I'm reposting what I've got. I was looking to do some sort of biodegradable art project and came up with the idea of filling water balloons with colored water. we used food coloring. Next we hit the beach.
We were spending the week on Emerald Island in NC. The ocean was nice and left us seaweed to play with. The seaweed made really nice nests. We set up nests up and down the beach and laid :) the eggs in the nests.
A lot of people didn't even pay attention to the nests. They just walked on by.
Not only am I going to the convention, I am presenting. And, not only am I presenting once but twice. How exciting, yes, I know!
To add to the excitement, an article I wrote for SchoolArt's Magazine is being published that same month and that means it will be part of their give away stuff at their booth. That means my article could potentially be placed into the take home bags of thousands of art teachers across the country. That's pretty neat.
So, after seeing that some of my fellow art teachers from my PLN are purchasing business cards, I thought I too would do so as well. I designed this little post card. It comes complete with all my contact info as well as a black and white Zonkey ready for coloring. I'm even gonna tape a few crayons to the back of each card.
I know, I said I wouldn't do shows anymore but this was a special exhibit for Apex High students. I created this piece called Zonkey Says which really, really helped me decided to stop making these pieces. Time to move on.
The Zonkey Army was another attempt by me to recreate the excitement and enthusiasm I created with my foam Critters. These were cute and fun to make but fell short of my goal. I'm telling you, 2012 was a rough year.
Renoir's Red Hat is a silly poem/story I wrote about a kid who goes to the art museum and steals art.. not really steals it, sort of imaginary steals it. You sort of need to read the poem then it makes sense.
I was asked to create a video presentation for the 2012 K-12 Online Conference. When I first put this video together I thought I had made a big mess. But I got a lot of nice compliments and retweets on it. So maybe it's not as bad as I first thought.
Did it really take me a year to get back to my roots? Will these CrittaColors produce the enthusiasm and excitement that my original Critters did? Or will they fade to the wayside like the short lived Zonkey Army or the even shorted lived Magazine covers??
Released the first batch of CrittaColors tonight starting in Raleigh, NC.
CrittaColors are blocks of wood with coloring book style art on the front and instructions for photographing and posting to our Facebook fan page on the back. Hot glued to each side are 3 crayons so you can color your CrittaColor.
Our first stop, the Tir Na Nog Pub in Downtown Raleigh NC. Released two CrittaColors there. Look for them next to the free magazines when you first enter the restaurant.
Second stop, Cafe Luna. Cafe Luna is an Italian restaurant right around the corner from the fore mentioned pub. It is also right next to the bus depot where two other artworks have previously been displayed as part of the Art-On-The-Move program. Look for this CrittaColor right on the seat when you first enter the Cafe.
Last stop for the evening was the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Apex, NC. Left on the table right by the fireplace. This is also part of the breakfast area so someone will have something to do while enjoying their morning coffee.
Two years ago, while taking a vacation on Bald Head Island, I started a chapter book titled Crushing Turtles. This book was something much different then anything I had written before. A strange title, a strange subject matter and a little dark. I liked the characters right away, especially their voice. Of all the parts of writing, voice has always been my favorite part. In fact, it was probably the character's voice that originally masked the dark storyline I was writing.
Not long after starting the story, I stopped. I thought to myself, "Self, this isn't the type of thing you write." I was right of course. All of my previous chapter books had been whimsical. The topics were playful and the characters, though witty and perhaps charming, didn't discuss anything too deep.
Since that time, I tried my hand at writing several other books. Two failed attempts at writing art history books. Another incomplete chapter book and even an incomplete romance novel (though I still have it in my heart to finish that some day.)
It wasn't until I saw a tweet about NanoWritMo that I decided to pick up where I had left off. Even though it was deep or dark or whatever, I just wanted to see where the characters would take the story. I revised the old plot outline and began writing.
I wrote a lot in November but it soon became clear that I would not finish this book by the end of the month. December rolled around. I had a decision to make. Shelf this book for another year or push through. I continued writing.
Chapters took forever. Where I had previously raced through a chapter in one seating, now took four or five nights just to write a few sentences.
Then, the night before last I made a break though. I realized I had just written the second to last chapter. The most important chapter. The chapter that brings the story to it's ultimate climax. The rest was easy.
So tonight I put the finishing words on a 5,000+ word chapter book that has taken me two years to write. That might seem a less than heroic accomplishment to brag about....
CrittaColors are starting to get out there. Sure these things always start local. Like the CrittaColor above, caught and colored right here in Apex, NC. However, it doesn't take long for these things to start traveling....
This guy showed up in Cary, NC. OK, not that far of a stretch. Cary is right next door to Apex but still it shows they are on the move.
What about this one? Which Wich is in Raleigh, NC. OK, we are still in the ballpark but at least this one os a double, right? :)
How about this little guy all the way in Boone, NC! Sure it's the same state but if this CrittaColor had traveled north or south instead of west, that distance would have put him in VA or SC respectfully.