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1. Gen Con Wrap Up

This time last week the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis was jammed full of 60,000+ gamers and I was happy to be among them.

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I haven’t attended “The Best Four days of Gaming” in over a decade and was delighted to see how it had grown in numbers of attendees and game companies. Our family loves to play board games and I was delighted that there were so many to choose from. (We’ve been playing Rumble in the Dungeon every day since our return home).

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I created all sorts of new gaming goodies to feature at my booth along with copious amounts of REALMS.

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I was thrilled to reunite with old fans an meet new ones, drawing and signing hundreds of books, prints and portfolios over the four days.

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Below are some photo highlights from the DiTerlizzi booth:

FullSizeRender(1)That’s me and Jim Ludwig (owner of Dark Sword Miniatures) geeking out over Jessica Rich’s painted samples of the “DiTerlizzi Masterworks” mini line, scheduled for release this fall. I can’t wait to game with these little guys!

IMG_2623 Cosplayer Clare came dressed as the “Portrait of a Young Tiefling” complete with pet Displacer Beast! The tag on his collar revealed his name as “Thaco”. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

IMG_2658Speaking of cool stuffies, Angela purchased this Owlbear muppet for me from the folks at The Puppet Forge. It is two of my favorite things mashed together in one awesome ball of dyed fleece and fake fur.

IMG_6347 We had plenty of visitors at our booth, including this Drow Elf. I had no idea my books were popular in the Underdark.

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This Shambling Mound (or is it Swamp Thing?) shuffled over to say hi to Ang. (There was no fire at our booth so he felt comfortable.)

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While we are talking of monsters, this is Tim Beach. He was the Project Developer at TSR responsible for hiring me to work on the AD&D Monstrous Manual back in 1993. A book which certainly changed the course of my career as an illustrator.

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…and here’s another person who changed my career. This is Peter Adkison, founder of Wizards of the Coast and publisher of the card game, Magic: the Gathering.

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This is David LaForce, also known as “Diesel”. He’s helped run the Gen Con Art Show for years and is one of the original illustrators for Dungeons & Dragons. Here’s a favorite from the AD&D Dungeonmaster’s Guide:

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Not all visitors were necessarily game designers. Here’s Holly Conrad (“Commander Holly”) getting her copy of The Planewalker’s Handbook signed while I flip over her Lady of Pain tattoo:

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In fact, there were a few tattoos that were shared at our booth. Holly’s Lady of Pain brought out longtime fan, Ian’s:

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…which inspired another fan to show off her AD&D sylph (from my rendition in the Monstrous Manual):

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My favorite tat was displayed on another longtime DiTerlizzi fan, Randy, who has been rocking this Mr. Moon from Jimmy Zangwow since the book was published in 2000!

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I was honored and humbled by the many visitors to our booth who came by to shake my hand and share thier stories. By far, my favorite visitors for Gen Con this year were these two guys:

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The fella on the right is Rob, whom I have known since 2nd grade. He loaned me his AD&D Monster Manual back in 1982 to copy pictures from and we often hung out and painted minis while obsessing over all things D&D. The guy in the middle is Mike. He encouraged me back into gaming and to send samples to TSR back in 1992. I dedicated REALMS to both of them and was super-psyched to have them join me at Gen Con–for their first time!

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Many thanks to the organizers of Gen Con for having me back and featuring me as Guest of Honor. It was an amazing moment for me, Angela and my friends. For those who traveled far to visit us, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those who could not attend, we are working on offering some of the overstock at an online store. I’ll post news of it once we sort it out. In the meantime, I’m off to another round of Rumble in the Dungeon.

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2. Gen Con is Next Week!

The Gen Con game fair begins next week and I am as excited as a halfling in a dragon’s hoard.

As mentioned earlier, I haven’t attended this gaming convention in over a decade. So I am thrilled to be returning as the Artist Guest of Honor where I will be exhibiting in a dedicated booth, presenting a slideshow and holding a drawing workshop. What has me bouncing like a beholder is celebrating the release of REALMS with fans who have supported me from the beginning of my career.

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To celebrate we are giving away 50 signed “Borderlands Kobold” prints each day. One print per person, no purchase necessary.

REALMS limited

Along with the trade and limited “Critical Hit” edition of the book (shown above), I am offering special items that can only be purchased at Gen Con. Being a fan and collector of many artists myself, I created goodies I thought you’d want to own in your collection, such as:

PC Sheets

Player Character Record Sheets, which I have created before (and offer as a free download), however; these are a newly designed layout with new characters and a short backstory prompt for each persona. If that were not enough, all twenty of the characters featured in this pack will also be available as a miniature this fall from Dark Sword Miniatures.

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Speaking of miniatures, Dark Sword will showcase the DiTerlizzi Masterworks line at their booth and have a selection of minis for sale. You can find them at booth#1036.

Prints

I’ll have plenty of signed “Vintage” DiTerlizzi Prints of your favorite images from Planescape, Changeling and Magic the Gathering. All are digitally printed from new high-resolution scans on 11×14 natural white Bristol board.

Playmat

For players of Magic the Gathering, I have three different 14×24 Magic Playmats featuring art from the years that I contributed to the game. The “Gen Con Edition” mat is limited to 50 and will only be available at my booth during the convention.

Bag of Holding

For you fellow old school D&D players, I’ve created a Bag of Holding. This lined 6×8 pouch keeps your lucky dice or cards safe from goblin pickpockets.

Portfolio

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One of my favorite newly created items is a 1970’s, Frazetta-inspired 11×14 portfolio of 10 pen & ink Dungeon Drawings. This edition of 200 is printed on heavy Canson paper and is signed and numbered. It includes new artwork as well as art featured in REALMS.

We’ll also be offering a pack of DiTerlizzi Stickers and, yes, vintage Original Art from Planescape, Dungeons & Dragons and Magic the Gathering. Below is the full price list of my Gen Con pop-up shop (click image to enlarge):

Prices

Of course I will sign any books, games and cards that you bring from your collection.

I’ll see you in Indy!

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3. An Action-Packed Day at American Heritage Summer Camp in Delray Beach, FL

I had the pleasure of visiting American Heritage Summer Camp in Delray Beach yesterday, where I was welcomed by many friendly staff members and hundreds of campers. The library there, which was built two years ago is the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen in any school, with it’s beautiful resin trees and skylights that change colors. There’s even a choral reef story time room! Who wouldn’t want to read in here?!?!?!?!

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Thank you  Sally Schleifer and Ally Stein for inviting me and making me feel very welcome at your beautiful school. And an additional thank you to the extra friendly Mr. Jim from the library for helping me carry my props out to the car.

 

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4. SUMMER UPDATE!

It's SUMMER time!  That means lots of vacation and fun, but also a whole bunch of appearances and theater and exhibits and movies and stuff to do. BOOKS! June 2 sees the publication of a brand new Elephant & Piggie adventure, I WILL TAKE A NAP! Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are

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5. Celebrating Children’s Book Week at Miami Children’s Museum

I was invited to share The Travel Adventures of Lilly P. Badilly with visitors at the wonderful Miami Children’s Museum on Saturday May 9 in celebration of Children’s Book Week.

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Miami Children’s Museum is located on Watson Island along  the MacArthur Causeway, overlooking the port and downtown Miami. It’s one of the country’s largest children’s museums and includes 14 galleries, a wide variety of impressive educational outreach programs, an auditorium, a pre-school and a charter school. You can even have an awesome birthday party here. The building is so uniquely beautiful; check it out . . .

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Parents and their kids stopped by to see what Lilly Badilly was all about.  We had a great time dancing and learning about the animals of the rain forest. Children are never too young to love maps! Each child at the presentation received a free copy of the book, courtesy of the museum. Everyone is so nice and accommodating here, and I’d love to come back for another visit.

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I want to thank Ashley Harrison, Public Programs Manager for inviting me to Miami Children’s Museu and Laura for helping me bring in all my props, setting up and taking photos.

If you’re in Miami and have children, you’ve got to visit Miami Children’s Museum:

980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, FL 33132

305 -373 -5437

 

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6. MAY UPDATE!

MAY is a busy month of appearances, theater, and a big exhibition.  I look forward to seeing you if you're in the area. EXHIBIT! The big news this month is the opening of SERIOUSLY SILLY: THE ART & WHIMSY OF MO WILLEMS at the HIGH MUSEUM in Atlanta, GA opening on MAY 23 and running through January of 2016.   The exhibit is based on the 2013 solo show at the Eric Carle Museum, with added

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7. Summer Events

This weekend I hop aboard a Rebel Cruiser and zoom off to Anaheim, California for the STAR WARS: Celebration.

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I’ll be speaking on a panel Saturday talking STAR WARS with some other great authors. Here are the details:

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM PT
“New Adaptations of the Star Wars Saga”
Hear how the classic Saga comes to life through adaptations by these bestselling children’s book authors: Tom Angleberger, Alexandra Bracken, Tony DiTerlizzi and Adam Gidwitz.

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM PT
Mysterious Galaxy, Booth #960
Signing for Tony DiTerlizzi of The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight.

Of course you can bring additional books, cards and games which I will be happy to sign for you.

This event is the first of many that I will be attending this summer in continued support for my STAR WARS picture book as well as the release of REALMS: The Roleplaying Game Art of Tony DiTerlizzi (due out in June). Listed below are my confirmed dates, with more to be added this fall.

May 2, 2015
“Why We Write Middle Grade”
Panel discussion with Jeanne Birdsall
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Amherst, MA

May 14, 2015
Inspired by: Tony DiTerlizzi
StarStruck Theater
Stuart, FL

May 27–29, 2015
BOOK EXPO AMERICA
Jacob Javits Convention Center
New York City, NY

June 20, 2015
REALMS Book Launch
Gallery Nucleus
210 East Main Street
Alhambra, CA

June 25–30, 2015
ALA Annual Conference
Moscone Center
San Francisco, CA

July 9–12, 2015
COMIC CON INTERNATIONAL
San Diego Convention Center
San Diego, CA

July 30 – August 2, 2015
GEN CON Game Fair
“Artist Guest of Honor”
Indiana Convention Center
Indianapolis, IN

October 8–11, 2015
NEW YORK COMIC CON
Jacob Javits Convention Center
New York City, NY

I hope you can make it to one of these events. I shall see you this summer!

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8. APRIL UPDATE!

APRIL UPDATE! April is a fun month, the beginning of Mud Season here in central MA. I've got a few appearances and lots of theater happening this month, all of which I hope you enjoy if you get the chance to pop by. ANNIVERSARY My first book, DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! was published 12 years ago on April 1st thanks to the efforts of my agent, Marcia Wernick, editor, Alessandra

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9. Gen Con Artist Guest of Honor

Its been over a decade since I attended the biggest gaming convention in the country, but this summer I am thrilled to be returning to one of my most favorite cons of all.

Gen Con was where I got my start as an illustrator. The first one I attended was back in 1993 and it totally blew my mind. Look at the size dice they use:

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Throughout the 1990’s Angela and I attended the con every year to celebrate gaming, meet with fans, and have an all-around great time.

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By 2003, I was mostly out of the gaming industry, so it was my swan song appearance. However, it was there that we launched a series of middle-grade books call The Spiderwick Chronicles with Holly Black (seen left, below…and as a pinup model above my noggin).

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With the upcoming release of REALMS, I had the perfect excuse to return. I was delighted and honored to hear that the organizers chose me to be the Artist Guest of Honor. So, I’ll be doing a couple of presentations on art as well as a drawing workshop! Of course, I’ll sign whatever you bring (just don’t bury me with 9 million Magic cards).

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I’ll have more Gen Con news throughout the spring. Hopefully I shall see you in Indy!

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10. FEBRUARY UPDATE!

APPEARANCES/EVENTS! Lots to do this month.  Hope you can make it to one of these events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Amherst. Thursday, Feb. 5, Pasadena, CA 11 am- READING & SIGNING AT VROMAN'S BOOKSTORE   695 E. Colorado Blvd Pasadena, CA 91101 I'll spend the morning reading, answering questions, & signing books in my only LA area appearance for a while.  If you're in the area,

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11. JANUARY UPDATE!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Thanks for making 2014 such a great year at Knuffle Manor.  2015 promises to have lots of exciting events, theater performances, books, and more.  Here's a taste of what's scheduled this year as of now. Productions of ELEPHANT & PIGGIE'S WE ARE IN A PLAY! in Nashville, TN; Syracuse, NY; Orlando, FL; and Washington, DC plus a production of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical

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12. DECEMBER UPDATE!

December is here and there's lots to talk about, including an appearance and exciting new stuff! BOOKS! Elephant and Piggie's WAITING IS NOT EASY! came out last month and the response has been nice.  Thanks to you, the story debuted at #2 on The New York Times Bestseller List. (Not to be left out, THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH! joined Waiting is Not Easy! on the next 2 weeks). The New York Times

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13. NOVEMBER UPDATE!

November is going to be a busy month, with a new book plus appearances in Amherst, MA, Northampton, MA, & Brooklyn, NY. So let's get to it. NEW BOOK! November 4th, 2014 will see the release of Elephant and Piggie's newest adventure, WAITING IS NOT EASY!   Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have

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14. Author Spots for Schools is in Session for the 2014-2015 School Year!

Here's a great way to connect children's authors and readers, and it's a WIN-WIN-WIN for schools, authors and school book fairs everywhere!


AUTHOR SPOTS FOR SCHOOLS!

Author Spots are FREE mini-commercials created by children's authors which schools can broadcast to promote their book fair to kids and parents.

I'm not talking about anything fancy here - just a 30 second to 1 minute webcam, YouTube video of a children's author giving a shout-out about his/her books along with a personalized promotion for a school book fair. It might be something as simple as:

"Hi, I'm Jean Reidy, children's author! I'm super excited that TOO PURPLEY! is coming to the Abraham Lincoln Elementary book fair. (MAYBE ADD MORE ABOUT THE BOOK HERE) Don't forget to stop by and check out all the awesome books on sale. GO LIONS!"

Here are 2 sample Author Spots for you to view.  See what I'm talking about?

Author Spots could be shown in morning video announcements, during library time, in the classrooms, at PTO meetings, at the school entrance, or loaded on the school's website ... the possibilities are endless.

It's simple! Here's how it works:

Teachers, Principals, and Book Fair Volunteers: Review the authors and their books listed below and decide who might be a good fit for your school book fair. Authors who have books specifically at Scholastic Book Fairs are noted with an "S" after their name. Their names link you to their website. Choose a few options because not every author will be available at all times. Then contact one or more -- can you imagine a whole week of AuthorSpots? -- of the authors below, requesting a FREE AuthorSpot. If the author agrees, tell the author how you'd like it personalized - school name, school mascot, etc. And when the video is posted, the author will send you the link. It's as simple as that.

Children's Authors and  Illustrators:
If you're interested in recording Author Spots for Schools, e-mail me your name, your 5 most recent book titles, genres and your website link and I'll add you to the list. Send your information to reidy(dot)jean(at)gmail(dot)com. If you know that one or more of your books is offered specifically at Scholastic Book Fairs, please let me know, and I'll put an "S" after your name. Then, when a school contacts you, record your Author Spot, upload it to YouTube and send the link to the school. If you'd like to participate but you'd prefer to record only one generic book fair promotion video that ANY school can use, let me know. I'll start a separate list and link to your video. If we get enough authors participating, I'll even host a website specifically for Author Spots.

The following authors are interested in promoting your book fair! And here is just a sampling of their books. Please check their website for contact and other information.

FICTION PICTURE BOOKS:
Jean Reidy (S) -  TOO PURPLEY!, TOO PICKLEY!, TOO PRINCESSY,  LIGHT UP THE NIGHT, TIME OUT FOR MONSTERS!, ALL THROUGH MY TOWN
Mirka Breen - THERE'S A TURKEY AT THE DOOR 
Jean Gralley - HOGULA, DREAD PIG OF NIGHT, VERY BORING ALLIGATOR, YONDERFEL'S CASTLE, THE MOON CAME DOWN ON MILK STREET 
Tara Lazar -  THE MONSTORE, I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK, LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD
Tammi Sauer (S) - MR. DUCK MEANS BUSINESS, ME WANT PET!, BAWK & ROLL, OH, NUTS!, PRINCESS IN TRAINING
Liz Garton Scanlon (S) - ALL THE WORLD, THINK BIG, A SOCK IS A POCKET FOR YOUR TOES, NOODLE & LOU, HAPPY, BIRTHDAY BUNNY!
Judith Snyder - WHAT DO YOU SEE?, STINKY FEET 
Deborah Underwood - THE QUIET BOOK, THE LOUD BOOK, A BALLOON FOR ISABEL, PIRATE MOM
Audrey Vernick (S) - SO YOU WANT TO BE A ROCK STAR, IS YOUR BUFFALO READY FOR KINDERGARTEN?, TEACH YOUR BUFFALO TO PLAY DRUMS

NONFICTION PICTURE BOOKS:
Alison Ashley Formento (S) - THIS TREE COUNTS, THIS TREE 1-2-3, THESE BEES COUNT, THESE SEAS COUNT 
Audrey Vernick (S) - SHE LOVED BASEBALL, BROTHERS AT BAT

MIDDLE GRADE FICTION:  
Ruth McNally Barshaw (S) - THE ELLIE MCDOODLE SERIES 
Mary Bartek FUNERALS AND FLY FISHING 
Hélène Boudreau (S)- REAL MERMAIDS DON'T WEAR TOE RINGS, REAL MERMAIDS DON'T HOLD THEIR BREATH, REAL MERMAIDS DON'T NEED HIGH HEELS (SPRING 2013), REAL MERMAIDS DON'T SELL SEA SHELLS (FALL 2013) 
Mirka Breen -THE VOICE OF THUNDER 
Danette Haworth (S) - VIOLET RAINES ALMOST GOT STRUCK BY LIGHTNING, THE SUMMER OF MOONLIGHT SECRETS, ME & JACK, A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY
Lynda Mullaly Hunt - ONE FOR THE MURPHYS 
Natalie Lorenzi - FLYING THE DRAGON 
Michaela Maccoll (S) - PROMISE THE NIGHT 
Jennifer Nielsen (S) - THE FALSE PRINCE, THE RUNAWAY KING 
Audrey Vernick (S) - WATER BALLOON 
Danette Vigilante - THE TROUBLE WITH HALF A MOON 
Diane Zahler - THE THIRTEENTH PRINCESS, A TRUE PRINCESS, PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS

MIDDLE GRADE NONFICTION
Cynthia Levinson - WE'VE GOT A JOB
Sarah Albee (S) - POOP HAPPENED! A HISTORY OF THE WORLD FROM THE BOTTOM UP

YOUNG ADULT
Penny Blubaugh - BLOOD AND FLOWERS, SERENDIPITY MARKET 
J. Anderson Coats - THE WICKED AND THE JUST
Michaela Maccoll (S) - PRISONERS IN THE PALACE
Peter Salomon - HENRY FRANKS

And if an Author Spot is not enough ... So many authors, including me (see my Time Out for Teachers page), do free 15-30 minute virtual visits with schools.  And that's FANTASTIC! You can find that list right here on Kate Messner's blog or check out Skype in the Classroom and the Skype an Author Network.

Wishing you a VERY successful book fair!
Jean 

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15. New York Comic Con, Star Wars Reads and Additional Fall Events

Next week is the release of STAR WARS: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. To celebrate, I’ll be doing events in my hometown, New York City, Boston, Austin and Miami.

Along with some familiar faces from “a galaxy far, far away”, I’ll be presenting and signing at my favorite hometown indie bookstore, The Odyssey Bookshop. Space is limited, so you’ll need to RSVP sooner than later. If you cannot make it the shop can take your order and ship a signed book to you.

From there, I’ll zoom down New York for NY Comic Con where the STAR WARS fun continues. As well, I am signing at the Dark Horse Comics booth and giving out a FREE promotional print for my upcoming book, REALMS: The Role Playing Game Art of Tony DiTerlizzi. Here’s the New York Comic Con schedule:

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Autographing: Promotional Print for “REALMS: The RPG Art of Tony DiTerlizzi”
Saturday 12PM – 12:50 PM, Dark Horse Booth

This image of a classic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons kobold marks a return to my roots as an illustrator for the beloved roleplaying game. Along with collecting my artwork from Planescape, Changeling and Magic the Gathering, REALMS will also feature a series of new paintings of some of my favorite monsters and characters from the game that started it all. We’ll be giving out this 12×18″ print FREE at the Dark Horse Comics booth, so come on by!

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Panel Name: STORMTROOPERS vs. RED SHIRTS
Sunday 11AM – 11:45 AM ET, Room 1A18

Conflicts in galaxies far far away have entertained us since the dawn of science fiction, but it we owe it to Star Trek and Star Wars helped to bring science fiction to the forefront of pop culture. Tony DiTerlizzi (The Adventure of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight), Jack Campbell (The Lost Stars: Imperfect Sword), Karen Bao (Dove Arising), Tony Abbott (Copernicus Legacy: The Serpent’s Curse), Emmy Laybourne (Monument 14), Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam (Etherworld) discuss skiffy upbringings and these two influential classics. A formal autographing will take place immediately after the panel at Table 19 in the autographing area.

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While in New York City, I’ll be participating in “Star Wars Reads Day” at Books of Wonder along with some other notable Jedi, including Tom Angleberger.

STAR WARS Reads Day
Saturday, October 11th, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Join us for this spectacular event in a galaxy far, far away…

TOM ANGLEBERGER Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus (Origami Yoda #6)
TONY DiTERLIZZI The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight
PABLO HIDALGO for Star Wars Rebels: A New Hero
MICHAEL KOGGE for Star Wars Rebels: Rise of the Rebels
MATTHEW REINHART for Star Wars: A Pop Up Guide to the Galaxy

Later in the month, I’ll be attending several book festivals, including:

Boston Book Festival
Saturday, October 25th, 12:30 – 1:00 PM ET

First Church of Boston Auditorium
66 Marlborough St.
Boston, MA 02116

* I will be pre-signing books at 11:30 AM prior to my presentation

Texas Book Festival
Sunday, October 26th, 2:45 – 3:30 PM CT

The Capitol, Extension Room E.2.028
1100 Congress Avenue, Between 11th and 12th Streets
Austin, TX 78701

*I shall be signing at the book signing tent immediately following my presentation.

Miami Book Fair
November 21-23rd

Angela and I will both be presenting and signing at this favorite Florida fair. Look for schedule and details soon.

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16. Children’s Writing Workshop at Fairway Park a Big Success!

Today I conducted a simple writing workshop at Fairway Park in Miramar, FL. This was my fifth visit to the park’s after care program as a teaching artist. With the first group of 30 kids, ages 5-8, the children wrote 1-3 sentence stories entitled, “My Best Day Ever” and drew pictures to go along with their stories. Then they read them out loud to their peers. There were lots of spelling questions, and one impressive six-year-old boy seemed to know how to spell just about every word. Stories included themes about Disney trips, Christmas day presents, birthdays, family outings and getting good grades at school.

Kindergarten through second graders

This adorable five-year-old’s handwriting was perfect, as was his grammar and spelling for his birthday party Best Day Ever story.

 Sharing his artwork of a bus with superpowers with the group

Time to show off their hard work!

With the older group of 35 children, ages 9-13, the assignment was to write a letter to someone they know who has had a positive influence on them. First I read to the group a personal letter of thanks I wrote to my late grandfather as an example and so they were not the only ones pouring their hearts out.

I am happy to report that overwhelmingly the children wrote thank you letters to their parents and a few to teachers,- a few with impressive detail. Some were so incredibly thoughtful, I’m sure it will bring tears to the recipients’ eyes. It takes courage to stand up and read a personal letter to a large group of peers – especially at this age – and I’m proud of all who did!

Concentration!

Some lucky people will be receiving this kind, thoughtful letters!

A letter from a nine-year-old boy to his dad

What I learned today is that children want to be good writers. Some decided not to read their work out loud, and some others wanted me to read for them. All the children listened to the stories being read by their peers with respect. What surprised me most is that the children were excited to write by hand, although all printed and none used cursive.

The message I left with the children is, “Reading is the number one factor in determining your financial success in the future. The only way to become a good writer is to read a lot and practice writing a lot. Any worthwhile writing requires numerous revisions. No matter what career you choose down the road you’ll be a lot more successful if you are a good writer. Read what others have written and decide what you like – or don’t like – about it Then get inspired to write something amazing yourself.”

What a rewarding and fun day we all had. A big thank to Site Supervisor Randy Kaiser for inviting me back to visit today and to the dedicated teachers there who keep the children focused and learning. I look forward to another visit with Fairway kids!

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17. Time for a New School Year of Author Visits

I’m excited to start a new year of school author visits, returning to some I’ve visited before and many new schools and aftercare programs. In anticipation of this season, I’ve spent a great deal of time updating my author visit materials and presentation. I’ve got a pile of new posters I’ve hand-painted too. Check them out!

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

© Copyright by Debbie Glade – Cannot be copied or used without permission

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18. SEPTEMBER UPDATE!

COMIX! One of the real fun things about my last year in Paris was being able to share sketches, gags, and photos from the trip on uclick as a comic strip called PARIS DOODLES. In fact, it was so fun, I've decided to keep sharing drawings and ideas on uclick with a new strip called FROM THE MO WILLEMS SKETCHBOOK.   I'll be sharing drawings from my sketchbook, dining room dinner doodles,

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19. MAY UPDATE!

COMIX! I'm on sabbatical for the year.  While I will be making various appearances in Europe and beyond, mostly I'll be spending time at the home base in Paris, France drawing and doodling.   You can check out my experiments over at Universal U-Click for a comic-strip-doodle-thingie called PARIS DOODLES . The strip runs drawings, dining room dinner doodles, and photos on weekdays.

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20. JUNE UPDATE!

COMIX! I'm on sabbatical for the year.  While I will be making various appearances in Europe and beyond, mostly I'll be spending time at the home base in Paris, France drawing and doodling.   You can check out my experiments over at Universal U-Click for a comic-strip-doodle-thingie called PARIS DOODLES . The strip runs drawings, dining room dinner doodles, and photos on weekdays.

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21. What a WondLaful Tour

The Battle for WondLa tour is over, and though I am exhausted from travel, I also feel honored, blessed and inspired.

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My tour began in Southern California where I visited the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with WondLa’s audiobook reader and award-winning actress, Teri Hatcher.

Teri

From LA, I traveled east visiting bookstores in Phoenix, Kansas City, Austin, Atlanta, Chicago, Milwaukee and even in my town in Western Massachusetts. I spoke at numerous schools and connected with scores of readers. We chatted mostly about stories and some of our favorite books and characters.

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In a couple of stops, authors came to support me–like Adam Gidwitz (below, center) posing with Topher Bradfield (left) after my event at Austin’s premier indie shop, BookPeople.

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To be honest, travel wears me down and it is tough being away from home, my wife and daughter. But the families who took the time to come and see me speak validated why I do this and inspired me (especially when my public event fell on a school night). I don’t usually stop to ponder how many lives my books touch, so I was often overwhelmed with emotion by the turnouts at my events. I was moved by the kind words and wonderful gifts given to me after readers had waited in a long line to have their book signed.

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So, for today’s “Friday Fan Art”, I thought I’d share some of the amazing drawings, and other goodies, that were given to me while on the road. Check out Aeden (above), who delivered a whole mess of artwork from Spiderwick to WondLa.

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Brittlesnick

Them there was Medelyn who brought me this lovely sketch of Eva Nine at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville.

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Medelyn

At Little Shop of Stories, near Atlanta, recent art school grad, Katie, gave me this wonderful watercolor of Eva and Rovee.

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Katie

I love Austin and was blown away by the talent during my visit to BookPeople. This is a Bull Goblin, from The Spiderwick Chronicles, made from felt!

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In fact, Tomoko, one of the booksellers at BookPeople created this beautiful image from the climax of A Hero for WondLa.

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Tomoko

In Milwaukee, I was given “Christopher the Cupboard Pixie” from Janice who runs an Etsy shop called Sew Sweet Monsters. Christopher now watches over my books in the studio,

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Janice

Back in Mass, Rob and his son, Ben, are both artist. They gave me drawings of their favorite characters from the WondLa books.

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Ben

These little tokens of appreciation will all be cherished. It is surreal and inspiring to see others celebrate my characters through their art.

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Knocker

Parker

Thank you for coming out and making this tour so memorable for me. I hope to see you again, next time.

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Keep dreaming, keep drawing.

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22. Three Memorable Visits to United Cerebral Palsy After School Programs

I was invited to visit three separate After School Programs this week for United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida. This generous organization serves over 1,800 children and adults in South Florida with Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, autism, spina bifida, prematurity, hearing, intellectual disabilities and speech delays with a variety of programs such as occupational, speech and music therapy, skills courses, respite care, counseling, after care and much more.

I discovered that most authors decline invitations to visit organizations that serve those with special needs. I suppose it is because they feel their books are not geared toward that type of audience. I was happy to visit these children knowing  they would simply enjoy listening to my cartoon voices, looking at the colorful pictures and dancing to the music. Some may not understand the story I am telling, but that’s not what enrichment is all about.

All the participants enjoy my world map and were proud to use the pointer to show others where their favorite places are in the world.

We learn about the animals of the Costa Rican rainforest.

The kids cheer when I tell them the book is recorded on CD with music and sound effects, and of course they want to know all about the story.

What I realized this week while spending time with the program participants is that they teach us how to live in the moment and be truly happy from the inside out. Dancing is the best!!!

And they sure like to give great hugs!

Teacher, Mr. Albert wanted to get in on the hug action too! LOL!

Ah, learning about the magic of watercolor pencils!

The teachers and assistants who work in the UCP After School Programs are equally as inspiring as the children. Their energy, dedication and love for what they do are truly remarkable. I wish to thank Allyson Nanny for inviting me and Site Directors Pat McGee and Lakeya Hariott as well as all the other wonderful staff members.

For more information about UCP programs, be sure to visit the United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida website.

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23. Decatur Book Festival

I am happy to announce that Ang and I will both be presenting and signing at this year’s Decatur Book Festival, near Atlanta, Georgia.

In fact, I designed this year’s Bookzilla poster for the event, which I will be happy to sign!

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Details for the festival are at the official site (including a list of other attending authors such as Jon Scieszka, Loren Long and Tom Angleberger).

If you can’t make this event, fear not, for I shall be adding select dates this fall as I travel to support the upcoming picture book, The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. Stay tuned.

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24. Comic Con 2014 Schedule

For those attending next week’s Comic Con International in lovely San Diego, California, here is my schedule of events:

*** BE SURE TO STOP AT SIMON & SCHUSTER (booth 1128) TO RECEIVE A FREE COPY OF The Battle for WondLa LIMITED EDITION SKETCHBOOK!

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Thursday, July 24th
10:00 am -10:30 am
Booth 1119
Book signingMysterious Galaxy Book Store presents Tony DiTerlizzi. Many of my titles will be available for purchase or bring your books and cards to be signed.

12:00 pm-1:00 pm
Room 32AB
Fairy Tale Remix — Toto, I’ve a feeling these aren’t your typical fairy tales… From cyborg Cinderellas to swashbuckling pirates, fairy tales are just full of possibilities for retelling and reimagining. A fantastic line up of authors will discuss how they take very well-known stories (such as Rapunzel, The Wizard of Oz, Tam Lin) and remix them for a new audience, and how they create their very own fairy tales! Moderated by Shannon Hale (Ever After High series), this panel featuring Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles series), Katherine Harbour (Thorn Jack), John Peck (Charming Series), Cornelia Funke (Mirrorworld Series), Tony DiTerlizzi (Search for WondLa), Ben Tripp (The Accidental Highwayman), and Danielle Page (Dorothy Must Die) will give insight to the fairy tales of old, and new!

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Autograph Area AA09
Group Signing: Fairy Tale Remix
*I’ll have the FREE WondLa III sketchbooks on hand for the signing after the panel discussion.

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Friday, July 25th
3:00 pm-4:00 pm
Room 7AB
Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight — Ralph McQuarrie’s art for the original Star Wars trilogy is introduced to a new generation of young readers in Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight. Join New York Times bestselling author Tony DiTerlizzi as he talks about the conceptualization of this project and the process, challenges, and privileges of writing to the works of a legend; along with Troy Alders (Art Director, Lucasfilm), J.W. Rinzler (Executive Editor, Lucasfilm), and Joanne Chan (Children’s Book Editor, Lucasfilm).

*We will have a promotional postcard wallet of amazing McQuarrie art that we will be giving out at the panel, so stop on by!

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PS –For those not attending this year’s comic con who wish to nab one of the limited edition The Battle for WondLa sketchbooks, fear not. Stuart Ng Books (on of my favorite places to spend my royalty checks) will be selling them after the convention.

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25. Comic Con International Recap

I’ve attended San Diego’s Comic Con International off-and-on since the 1990′s and I’ve watched it grow to become the daddy of all geek conventions. Despite the long airplane flight, long lines and 200k+ crowd, it is a fun four-day ride.

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I’ve always felt that I am a bit of an odd puzzle piece as a participant in the programming for Comic Con. Compared to other massive conventions, like BookExpo, there are far fewer kid’s lit author/illustrators present–and many that do attend are either current bestsellers or their book is Soon to Become a Major Motion Picture. I suppose my books fall somewhere in this category and I am thankful for that.

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As Angela and I shuffled past the decorated booths, I was reminded that Comic Con is a grab-bag cross-section of pop culture in media. Film, television, nerdy apparel, toys, games and books were all featured prominently. About the only thing that wasn’t front and center were good ol’ comic books, which seem relegated to the outer fringes of the convention floor.

But, because there was such a mix, I bumped into all sorts of creative types: like fellow artists and writers, sculptors and film-makers.

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Next to me are Vicki and Allen Williams, director Kirk Thatcher, and artist Travis Lewis sits front and center.

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HBO’s ubiquitous Game of Thrones series dominated the con. Here, I met the book’s author (and the winner of the Game of Thrones) George R.R. Martin at the Weta booth (there’s Weta Workshop founder, Richard Taylor, right behind us). After stalk-chatting with George for several minutes, he had some of his characters remove me from the premises:

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But I was remembered by my old friend, artist Donato Giancola–who used my likeness as one of the Night’s Watch in the 2015 Game of Thrones calendar. Scratch that one off of my bucket list.

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I participated on a couple of panels, including “Fairy Tale Remix” moderated by the award-winning author, Shannon Hale (who may, or may not, be part of a crime-fighting duo).

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The conversation on the influence of fairy tales in modern storytelling was lively and the audience’s questions were thought-provoking. (Lytherus.com has a nice, detailed write-up on the panel).

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Above are authors aplenty (from left to right): Katherine Harbour, Shannon Hale, Cornelia Funke, Marissa Meyer, Danielle Paige, Ben Tripp, T-Dog and John Peck.

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Friday was “Star Wars Day” at the con (in DiTerlizziland, every day is “Star Wars Day”) and I presented the upcoming picture book The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight (featuring illustrations by the legendary Ralph McQuarrie). Along with Exec. Editor of Disney Publishing, Michael Siglain, and Lucasfilm historian and author, Jonathan Rinzler, we talked of how this book came to be and offered up inside stories of the development of the first screenplay as well as Ralph’s place in Lucasfilm history as the visual genius who presented the first glimpses into a galaxy far, far away.

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I had a moment when Jonathan told me that he thought Ralph would have liked how this book turned out. That meant a lot to this ten-year old kid and I am still beaming from his comment.

The Star Wars fun continued when Ang and I reunited with film effects dungeon master, Phil Tippett, who was not only responsible for bringing to life childhood cinematic moments (like the AT-AT attack in The Empire Strikes Back or the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park) but goblins, trolls and Hogsqueal in The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Phil

After my authorial duties were completed it was time to spend some hard earned royalty money. For many nerd collectors, Comic Con has become a one-stop-shop of the weird and rarefied. In fact, there were one-of-kind props from some of my favorite films, like Marty McFly’s hoverboard from Back to the Future II. (price tag: $30k):

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…or one of the puppets from Beetlejuice:

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If your a 70′s kid trapped in a man’s body (like me) then you’ll love these Kenner-styled Alien figures. Sure, they’re about 30 years too late, but you know what they say…(in 1979 no one can hear you scream…for Alien action figures?)

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Speaking of toys, Sideshow toys melted my brain with a new line of incredibly detailed creeptastic ghouls and demons called “Court of the Dead”. If you were a fan of McFarlane Toys or Wayne Barlowe, you’re gonna love these. Take a look:

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Lastly, I nabbed a few limited edition artist’s sketchbooks. By far, this is my favorite sort of thing to hunt down and purchase at the con. Fortunately, booksellers (like Stuart Ng Books) had many to choose from like this reproduction of Claire Wendling’s sketchbook.

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…and, yes, I dropped off a handful of signed The Battle for WondLa: Sketchbook III to Stuart who should have them for sale on his site very soon. I’ll share a link once they’re up. In the meantime, “Stay classy San Diego. I’ll see you next time.”

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