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1. Dublin

DUBLIN

Stone statues view strangely the sights below

Copper dye melts around the hallowed heads

And drips down to form pools of green.

They sit upon the ancient stones

And watch the urgency far below.

Tram tracks now covered deep.

The old ways  buried with layers of seasons past.

Dublin watches with her dons of old

Her Georgian facades hide songs of older times

She moves within her cast of sculptures; frozen.

Rusty steel arches stands proud and red above the fray

Placed over swirling Liffey, green. A path for trade and friends alike

They join her North and South.

Welcome lines hide ages in their grace.

Many crossed its spans for love or on the run.

Pillared columns stand haughty against the ages

They define the day. They fix the view.

The cut stone gates of Trinity.

The cobbled stones of streets of old.

Where iron shod feet once plied their trades.

Fanlights now illuminate the carpets thick.

In rooms where tailored suits and money meet.

The tea maids are gone. The scones are cold.

The silver set, now frozen behind the water glass.

Portraits watch with moldy eyes, from plastered walls.

Ireland April 2012 412.jpg large webNew blood moves quickly beneath her veins.

Her structure hardened by shells of old.

Her nature, pure, for all to see.

Her ancient stones laid stately, by the Norse.

Her history still defines her course.

Denis Hearn 2002

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2. The discipline of writing.

Is there a write (pun) way  to procrastinate or does it come naturally?

Yes. I do it while I’m thinking about the next rush of words that fills a sentence or paragraph.

Procrastination helps me look at a sentence from many points of view. Does it stop me writing?

No. I think it makes me more focused. So why am I writing this post instead of finishing my novel?

I am doing both. If words are coming out of me: its a good day.

My job is to put them in the correct order and keep pumping life into my characters.

Denis.

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3. For the Fear of Failing

I wrote this piece for this year’s illustration issue of The Horn Book. They graciously let me post it here as well.

 

I don’t like to experiment.

I know it sounds pusillanimous, but I’m just being honest: I don’t like to experiment because I am afraid of failure.

But at least two times in my life – at the very beginning of my artistic life – I found enough courage and determination to take risks. I was a fearless teenager then.

Being already passionate about picture books and comic strips – in particular those of Maurice Sendak, George Herriman, Elzie C. Segar, and Charles Schulz – it was clear to me how important would be to master pen and ink, if I wanted to be in that business.

Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak

George Herriman

George Herriman

Elzie C. Segar

Elzie C. Segar

Charles Schulz

Charles Schulz

Each of those artists had a very sophisticated and personal way of using the pen, and I wanted to find my own.

I remember going to the stationary store to buy my first two nibs, one very flexible and the other stiffer; then returning home and try them on the paper, keeping my hand from trembling; realizing I had to go from upper left to lower right to avoid; understanding how different pressures produce different lines; learning what kind of paper had the best surface for the kind of line I wanted to make.

In time, I did find my own way with pen and ink, which became my favorite and, for a few years, my only way of drawing. Most comic strips, at least the dailies, were in black and white, and I knew that even Sendak’s illustrations for Little Bear – a crucial source of inspiration for me – were colored mechanically. Because of all this, I didn’t think the lack of color in my drawings would be an obstacle in my future career as an illustrator.

Of course there was a hidden reason why I didn’t use color: the fear of failure. I had a fascination for Hieronymus Bosch, medieval frescoes and illuminations, so how could I not realize how important color can be for an artist? In fact, I had timidly attempted one or two small acrylic and a few oil pastel paintings, with very disappointing results, at least according to my overpowering superego. Those painful experiences kept me from seriously trying for years.

Once I became more conscious of the necessities of a professional illustrator, I couldn’t hide anymore, and had to face the challenging task of finding myself a method to add color to my pen drawings.

The most natural way to do that is watercolor, and so one day I went to an art store, bought a few half-pans of Schmincke watercolors, a brush or two, some Arches paper, and began testing the technique and my own resilience. For what concerned the techniques, I was set.

Maybe one day I will venture into buying a new kind of nib, or a new brand of watercolors, or even be audacious enough to try a paper with a slightly smoother surface. Who knows. For now, more than twenty-five years later, I’m still recovering from that initial double stress.

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4. Seriously, I’m Working on my Novel

SeriouslyYou won’t believe me but…

As this shot was taken I was mining deep thoughts:

The price of freedom is death. ~ Malcolm X

I read it in a book called Death, the Last God.

All this death business relates to my work-in-progress, The Writer in Love. In this personal essay I suggest that “paying the price” is precisely what proves the fictional hero’s heroics.

The Writer in Love concerns itself exclusively with this “death” that takes place at the heart of a story. This is the scene where die-hard protagonists undergo a radical change of heart. They find themselves in such a deep dead-end that they have no choice but to surrender. Everything. Especially who they think they are.

We writers should be clear about our responsibilities to the protagonists we create—the hero must die. While most writing manuals mention this “Act II crisis,” I seem to be alone in suggesting that here is the reason readers read and writers write.

It’s worth a book!

But how do you write about something as amorphous as death? I’m trying to write about death as a station on the hero’s journey, but how to sound convincing? Death is without dimension or language. It has no shape.

A book needs shape. It needs limits and dimension. Otherwise, what are we spending $4.99 on?

Anyway, I badly needed to step away from the keyboard and spend the day processing new insights about how death makes life worthwhile.

My left footI must have been in a trance when I took this pic—why else would anyone snap a shot of their foot? I was probably musing over another quote from Death, the Last God:

“Ideas of finding happiness and serenity away from the inevitable suffering of death are the superficial desires of spiritual materialism. We have to find happiness and serenity in the inevitable suffering of death. And that is a very different journey from seeking happiness by getting what we want.” ~ Anne Geraghty

I love it. Happiness in death. Talk about a tough sell. It’s killing me!

DSCN5273Here I am having a heart attack. Just kidding. The shutter caught me bending down to examine what appeared to be my doppelgänger lying in the surf—a dead jellyfish.

I know what you’re thinking, that PJ is all spoof and superficial happiness on this Mexican beach, but the truth is I’m in agony. I’m stuck. And it’s not writer’s block, it’s worse. I’ve written myself into an existential crisis.

I didn’t plan it, but my essay morphed into fiction and I became the protagonist trying to write a book. (Yes, very meta, I know.) It’s a book that takes the shape of a journey to the story heart. I only wanted to be the narrator, but I have become a fully-fledged protagonist.

Es horrible!

You see, if I’m a protagonist, I can’t permit myself to escape the facts of fiction. Starting with, the price of freedom is death. As in, I’m going to fail so miserably at this book project that I lose all faith in myself. As in, this book is going to be the death of me.

Well, folks, it’s happening!

I’m proving the existence of the story heart by my despair at failing to finish this book. Fantastic! Of course, now there might not be a book. Which might have explained why I’m on the beach, had I not been refreshed by these latest musings on death.

Un amigoHere’s a friend I met farther along the beach. He was plucking out that Nat King Cole classic… Smile though your heart is aching / Smile even though it’s breaking…

What’s Nat saying here?—even though you’re dying, be happy, don’t worry, smile.

Talk about serendipity. I came to the beach mainly to digest a passage from When Things Fall Apart, written by that irrepressible little Buddhist nun, Pema Chödrön

Ms. Chödrön has calculated how long a person is required to “die” in order to disable the matrix of habits we mistakenly identify as “me.” Astonishingly, Chödrön has calculated it to the tenth of a second…

1.6 seconds.

One point six seconds!

Is she being facetious? Who cares? This is something I can run with. One point six seconds, that’s how long the hero is required to keep his eyes open in the blinding light of utter annihilation. (Sounds like no time at all, but consider that the mystic Nikos Kazantzakis called this the “supreme human achievement.”)

One point six seconds—suddenly I have the framework for my book.

My whole book concerns 1.6 seconds of time.

Now, that’s shape!

The price of freedom is death, and in 1.6 seconds you’re paid in full. And the price of my book will be only $4.99. That might be the best five bucks a writer will ever spend.

Dos cervezas por favor!

If not, you get your money back.

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5. Tracking webpage hits.

I noticed that traffic to my webpage from Brazil has dramatically increased.

Why is that?

Why the interest?

I need some feedback.

 

Thanks.

 

Denis

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6. The Christmas Owl Hardback Giveaway

OwlCover_Kindle_optimized

You can enter to win a signed hardback copy of The Christmas Owl December 4 – December 12. Two lucky winners will receive a copy of these beautiful keepsake books and the hardbacks are only available here. Visit a Rafflecopter giveaway to get your entries in.

Also, during 12/4 -12/6 our Christmas Owl kindle book will be discounted to $.99 on Amazon (reg $3.50).  Happy Holidays from 4EYESBOOKS!

 

Christmas_Pine_Cones_PNG_Clipart


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7. Crazy wonderful news…

 

I can’t BELIEVE I sold this book.  It feels impossible, a book like this. And yet there it is, on Publisher’s Marketplace…

Author of BAXTER, THE PIG WHO WANTED TO BE KOSHER Laurel Snyder’s HUNGRY JIM, about a kid who wakes up feeling ravenously hungry and gobbles up his mom, instead of the pancakes she’s lovingly made for him, to Melissa Manlove at Chronicle Children’s, by Tina Wexler at ICM (World).

It feels funny, that my next 6 books will be picture books.  I’m still at slow work on The Orphan Island.  But I’m not rushing it.   I’ve gotten used to doing novels now, but picture books feel like poems to me, when I’m working on them. And poetry is where this all began, for me…

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8. Zazzle Shop Update

I have updated my Zazzle shop with more product. Keep checking back as I will be adding more in the next few days. If there is something that you would like to purchase that isn’t in my shop please let me know and I can customize one for you of previous created art. Last year I had a mouse pad request, and within a couple of hours the customer was able to purchase the item. SALE: Until NOON Pacific time you can get an additional % off. Use code SUPERFUNDEAL to save at checkout!

 

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9. Zazzle Black Friday 2014 Sale!

Zazzle is having a sale today only for Black Friday. Use the code ZAZBLACKDEAL to receive significant discounts on Zazzle products. I have added a new Christmas card to my shop:

 

Thank you for checking it out and happy shopping!

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10. ZOO DIARY: THANKSGIVING TURKEY's DILEMMA


ZOO DIARY –THANKSGIVING – TURKEY’s DILEMMA

 
SCENE: CITY ZOO

Thanksgiving eve. The zoo denizens are upset with the zoo directorate having not been included in the Thanksgiving celebrations

RAT

Once again, we’re not included in Thanksgiving festivities

ZEBRA

Did you really expect to? I mean, why should they? Who are we? Merely the tools in which they make money. That’s all - and how do they thank us? Closing the zoo for the day so we can’t even expect extra treats from visitors. This is so typically…human
 
SOUND: GOBBLE-GOBBLE… GOBBLE-GOBBLE….

RAT

What’s that noise?

ZEBRA

Noise? What noise? Are my stripes straight?

RAT

You don’t hear that?

ZEBRA

‘You are magnificent… Those teeth…those sparkling eyes…’

RAT

Maybe if you’d get your face away from that mirror and stop admiring yourself…

ZEBRA

A person has to make sure that he looks good from every angle. Being the sole representative of the zebra specie in this zoo comes with a responsibility. A daily body examination is necessary to ensure that all my black stripes are evenly spaced on my perfectly white skin. ‘Yesssss! Perfection personified!’

RAT

Far be it to burst your bubble, Zeeb…

ZEBRA

…I am not zeeb - or zebby - or zeeby-baby. I’m a zebra. Z-E-B-R-A!

RAT

Gotcha Zebby-boy – like I was sayin’ – the way that I see it, the stripe on your upper right leg doesn’t well…match the left

 ZEBRA

What?! You must be mistaken. It’s not possible… How could this be? I just checked it not two minutes ago and it was perfectly aligned

(MANNY, the boa constrictor slithers in)

Hey – how ‘ya doin’?

RAT

Manny – you’re out. Free. Did you eat lunch, yet?

ZEBRA

Yes Manny – I do hope they’ve fed you some nourishment. I mean, it’s important to keep up your strength. We don’t want you slithering around hungry looking for anybody, heh-heh…

RAT

That’s the last thing we want…being that we’re your friends and all…that is to say, we don’t want you to experience hunger pangs…

MANNY

As I remember, I had a nibble a month ago. Sure is quiet around here. No humans to knock on the glass of my enclosure

NOISE: GOBBLE-GOBBLE  GOBBLE-GOBBLE…

RAT

There it is again. Sounds familiar-like…

(a turkey suddenly drops down from a tree)

TURKEY

Save me!

ZEBRA

A tree chicken. Never knew chickens live in trees.

TURKEY

I am a turkey who requires sanctuary

RAT

Listen chicken…

TURKEY

…turkey…I am – um – an endangered specie. Yes – that’s it and am declaring myself on the extinct list thus requiring sanctuary

ZEBRA

You must be someone important judging by your extensive vocabulary. All cultured and important species have an extensive vocabulary – and a beautiful body, of course

 TURKEY

I am. In fact, I can state with absolute knowledge that I am number one on everyone’s hit list, today

MANNY
(slithering closer)

Well I for one, believe you. You do look very appealing – in an endangered species way of course

RAT

Wish we could help, turkey, but we live out in the open

ZEBRA

I could send a protest letter to the Zoos of America if that could assist you in any way

TURKEY

I am doomed!

MANNY
(slithering almost directly in front of TURKEY)

Well turkey – really feel for you, in the true sense of the word. I just happen to live inside in a huge glass enclosure that has lots of hiding places.  Why don’t you come back to my pit and check things out? I live alone and there’s nobody to bother or see us

TURKEY
That’s a very generous offer on your part –

MANNY

-          Manny –

TURKEY

Manny

MANNY

Anything for a friend in need.

(the two start to make their way to MANNY’s place)

(cont’d.) Did anyone ever tell you that you have a beautiful, full body. I bet under all those feathers, you have nice firm flesh

TURKEY

The farmer takes good care of me. You can see for yourself when we get back to your pit.

 MANNY

Oh I intend to

TURKEY

Can I give you a hug?

MANNY

Later…when we’re alone…they’ll be plenty of hugging to go around…

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11. NaNoWriMo - Do You Love It Or Hate It?

Those of you who follow my blog will know that this year has been a little patchy for me so I thought a good way of giving myself a kick up my creative backside was by taking part in NaNoWriMo - yes, I really thought that writing 50,000 words in one month would be a good idea... Emma from NaNoEssex asked me to write a post for her blog and I thought it would be nice to share with you.  So here we go - this is my NaNo blog, I hope you enjoy it!


NANOWRIMO – DO YOU LOVE IT OR HATE IT?

A couple of days ago an author friend of mine wrote this simple statement on Facebook: “I don’t understand NaNo”.  He just threw it out there and I read the comments first with interest and then with an open mouth because I couldn’t believe the ferocity of feeling it generated – it appears that you either love NaNo or you hate it, there’s no middle ground.  None at all.  Nada.  Nothing.  And there was me thinking authors were a balanced bunch who could see other people’s point of view.  Tsk.  Silly me.

The comment which surprised me the most was this from an indie author:  “I always think if you can write that much, just do it all the time.  Plus a lot of people turn out garbage to keep up the word count. Just my opinion, but I think it’s ridiculous.”  Ridiculous?!  At least with Marmite if people say they don’t like it then the chances are they’ve tried it.  How can anyone say it’s ridiculous without ever having tried it?  My hackles were raised I have to say, so I feel I have to stand up and explain to the doubters why NaNo is not ridiculous and, in the process, also explain why it’s not always possible to ‘just do it all the time’.  In a balanced way of course.

I happen to love Marmite and I love NaNo (although there are times when I’m struggling I could cheerfully smack the creator of NaNoWriMo with a large wooden spoon for having devised such a torturous event…).   My good friend Stuart Wakefield introduced me to NaNo in 2010.  From that one small initial NaNo meeting in Nero we met Brigit and Jane and the four of us started Writebulb, a writing group, in Chelmsford.  Our very first speaker was Penelope Fletcher, a young indie author, who spoke to us about self-publishing.  Heavens above, what a revelation that was!  As Penelope talked I just knew it was something I wanted to do and as soon as I left the meeting I started self-publishing – me, who barely knew what a Kindle was!  Here I am four years later – over 190,000 of my books have been downloaded and I’ve loved every step of the journey.  Yes, that meeting in Nero’s four years ago was a catalyst like no other!  Way to go Nano.

There is another reason why I like NaNo so much, but it’s more personal. This year has been very been busy and sometimes difficult.  I’ve moved house, leaving the home I’d lived in for 24 years, into a house that needs a lot of work done to it.  In addition, my father’s Alzheimers has deteriorated rapidly; he still lives in his own home but I am responsible for him and most evenings after work (I commute to London) I go and check on him and see how he is.  I’ve tried to write, to keep up on social media but have failed miserably throughout the year – by the time I get home, unpack yet another box or paint (or even knock down) another wall, go to help my dad find whatever he’s lost, and then have some supper I’m usually too tired to do anything other than go to bed!  When Emma contacted me to see if I would contribute to the blog it was like a ray of light shining through the dark (thank you Emma!) but then I thought hold on, I’d better sign up to NaNo if I’m going to write about it and immediately I did that panic set in.  How would I cope?  When would I find the time?  Would stress finally overwhelm me?  Nuhuh.  Not one bit.  The only feeling that’s overwhelming me is that I’m finally back doing something I love.  I’m not stressed by trying to write 50,000 words because if I don’t make it the target, I don’t make it.  That feeling of creating something has made me feel happy.  Simple.  

So – do you love NaNo or do you hate it?

If you still think you hate it then I’d ask you read this blog again because what I’m saying in a nutshell is that NaNo will give you the opportunity to go on a journey, to meet interesting people, to find support and encouragement, to learn new things, to spark that creative fire inside you and to give you a sense of achievement.  It’s pretty damn good stuff.

If you already love it then hold fast – you’re now just over half way through and we will all celebrate together when it’s over.  I’ll bring the toast and Marmite!  Good luck everyone J

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12. A political post.

We need new leaders in Congress and the White House, I don’t see any in either arm of the government. We need leaders who lead according to conscience, not religion. Defending our country, Cutting spending, Not writing legislation for the people who paid to get them elected. Considering ALL the people not just the rich or the poor but all of us. There are leaders in other countries that see us a weak nation. We are NOT a weak nation and we need to stand up and prove it.

Denis.

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13. My Shop at Big Cartel

Many of my long time fans know that I do not usually sell my original artwork. Since I am mainly a digital artist, a watercolor or ink drawing by me is a rarity. I recently opened a small shop on Big Cartel to sell an original painting here and there. You can view what is available here. These paintings can be purchased through Paypal and will be shipped to the buyer via USPS. I will sign and date them upon mailing. Please check back as I will try to put up a few more pieces before the holidays.

 

 

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14. New cover!!!

I’ve never had a paperback cover that was different from the hardcover before, but for Seven Stories Up, we decided to freshen things up.

What do you think???

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15. Fiction, Freedom and the Meaning of Life

Zorba text“The superior virtue is not to be free but to fight for freedom.” ~ Nikos Kazantzakis

I know writers who would argue, “That’s just a man talking.”

Seriously, you’d spend $12 to watch a movie called The Valley of the Happy Free People?

No one has made such a movie and for good reason. Audiences don’t pay to vicariously experience being free, but rather to suffer the personal crises that open us to freedom.

Which explains why screenwriters write movies like Zorba the Greek, Casablanca, Thelma & Louise, and Good Will Hunting.

And American Beauty, Moonstruck, A Late Quartet, A River Runs Through It, Up in the Air, Out of Africa, The Artist, A Room with a View, and A Passage to India.

And Rocky, Sideways, Nebraska, The Matrix, Disgrace, Ordinary People, Of Gods and Men, On the Waterfront, The African Queen, Silver Lining Playbook, American Graffiti, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, and Labor Day.

Labor Day I saw just last night.

If you’re like me you don’t just watch movies, you examine them for how the writer does it. Does what? Frees the protagonist.

It happens in all the best fiction.

Every protagonist is on a trajectory toward freedom.

Let’s look at Labor Day.

Labor DayJosh Brolin plays Frank, an escaped convict. Ask him about freedom. His bid for freedom will intercept the lives of a mother and son living in small town USA.

Kate Winslet is Adele, who has lost all faith in herself in the aftermath of a divorce. She’s a prisoner of the belief that she’s an utter failure. She can hardly get out of bed. Don’t ask her anything.

Henry is Adele’s adolescent son. Since Henry is not the protagonist, he is not required to behave as though he were fighting to be free. However…

Henry has to bring his poor depressed mother breakfast in bed, for goodness sake. Ask Henry if he’d like to be free of the responsibility that weighs so heavily upon him?

Labor Day is unique for depicting a trio of characters who each find freedom early in Act I.

Most stories depend upon a merciless plot to beat the hard-headed protagonist into an awareness of how to solve their problems, but in Labor Day the miracle takes ten minutes.

Five minutes into the film, Frank shows up to kick-start the story. Injured from his leap out a prison hospital window, Frank politely but firmly inserts himself into the lives of Adele and Henry. The violence and trauma you’d expect to characterize an abduction are quite unnecessary in this case.

Adele blows convention out another window by acquiescing almost immediately to this stranger’s demands. She wants nothing more than to escape her sorry life. Perhaps to end it.

(To die and be reborn—there’s a freedom trajectory!)

Frank, Adele, and Henry foresee their salvation in this strange and sudden togetherness. But wait! They haven’t arrived in Freedom Valley yet. Not only would that be utterly boring, but it ignores Kazantzakis’ aphorism:

The superior virtue is not to be free but to fight for freedom.

The manhunt!

Kazantzakis will be happy to know that the police are closing in on Frank. The story becomes a fight to escape the forces that would annul these newfound freedoms.

Suffice to say that Adele, Henry, and Frank must remain freedom fighters into the foreseeable future. And I think that’s an accurate portrayal of the human condition.

However many jail breaks we execute, the walls of our human condition keep us under house arrest. The fight for freedom is an ongoing battle.

Which explains why The Valley of the Happy Free People strikes us as a bogus premise.

Freedom isn’t a place, it’s an attitude. Good fictional protagonists earn this perspective only after the plot has beaten the apathy right out of them. Now we realize that there are two ways to live, just as there are two ways to die.

“Free or not free—this is our choice in every moment.”

And that’s a woman talking, by the way—Pema Chodron.

Just had a thought…

Why doesn’t someone write a story about an escape from Happy Valley?

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16. Day 31 #inktober Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

 

Halloween 31

Today is the last day of the project Inktober. I have finished it with a drawing every day for 31 days! Thank you to everyone that has visited my blog to view my little sketches. November is the start of Picture Book Idea Month which is a project I have participated in every year since 2009. I will post along the way to let you know my progress. Sometimes I draw as well for the ideas I get.

Thanks for visiting!

 

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17. Announcing the Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions!

I’m thrilled to announce that  my good friend and colleague, author and 12X12 Picture Book Challenge Founder Julie Hedlund, and I have officially launched our new course, The Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions!

Julie and I have poured everything we know about writing query letters and the process of submitting picture books into this course. We are proud to say it is a one-stop-shopping source for EVERYTHING a picture book author needs to know about submitting picture books successfully to agents and publishers.

In fact, we guarantee that every possible question about the picture book submissions process is answered in this course. How can we make that promise? Because if anyone purchases the course and finds, after going through all the material, that a question they have is NOT answered, we’ll both answer the question AND add it to the official FAQs.

And for this weekend only, we are offering an early-bird special of $50 off the retail price of the course, bringing it down from $197 to $147. (That’s actually $3 less than my professional Query Critique service… and in true “teach-a-man-to-fish” fashion, empowers picture book authors to polish their own queries with confidence forever more.) In addition, those who purchase the course before the early-bird deadline expires will receive a BONUS gift – our comprehensive list of publishers that accept un-agented picture book submissions.

This is NOT a mere ebook, but a complete soup-to-nuts resource for crafting flawless submissions to land an agent or a book contract. Those interested can take a short video tour of everything that’s in the course HERE.

(But remember – the early-bird offer expires at midnight on Monday, November 3.)

To your submissions success!

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18. Every Story Is an Escape Story

Escape Title shotHere’s a story theory of mine worth checking out:

http://writetodone.com/facts-of-fiction/

…published today on the Write to Done website.

I mean it when I say, “Check it out.” The next film you see or novel or read, examine it for the escape story it most probably is.

And if you’re writing a story, see if your protagonist isn’t escaping from some kind of prison. Of the different kind of escapes possible, one of them is the key to writing fiction that gives readers their money’s worth.

I’d love to hear your thoughts once you’ve read the post. You can comment here below, or on the Write to Done site.

I’m living in both locations for a few days.

Cheers.

PJ

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19. SCBWI Bulletin Cover

SCBWIcover

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20. Inktober Catch Up Post #inktober

I’ve fallen behind on posting for Inktober! I have been drawing and inking, just not posting :( Sorry about that! Life happens and I have been way busy. Here are #21, 22, and 23.

 

#21 is a tribute to the albino white tailed deer that was shot by a 12 yo in Michigan. I was very sad to hear about it so I drew a sketch in its honor.

Inktober 21

#22 is a tribute to one of my favorite artists, John Lennon. It was just a doodle I started and then thought it was cool enough to ink and put on the blog. I really enjoyed creating it. I hope to do more like this in the near future.

Inktober 22

#23 is a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. I would like to watercolor this one. Again, this one was really enjoyable to research and create, so I think I will do more rock artists in the future. I love music (my minor is Popular Music) , so it is great to combine two of my loves.

Inktober 23

 

All drawings were sketched with a Papermate sharpwriter 02 pencil, a Micron brush pen in black, and a Micron Pigma 05 black pen.

Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned tomorrow for the next three to catch me all up!

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21. New shop up selling original art!

Inktober 8Hi everyone! I have looked a long time for a place that I could sell my original art. I finally found a venue that I liked. Big Cartel lets the artist sell on their site and all money from the sale goes to the artist. This is much better than my other shops where I only receive a small portion of the sale. Please visit and check back as I will be adding more originals. The first two up are “Cats of Many Colors” and a watercolor I did from the Inktober Day 21 sketch, “Scarecrow”.  To visit my shop at Big Cartel, please click here.

Thank you for your interest in my art, I greatly appreciate it!

:)

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22. Scarecrow process

Many of my fans, especially the younger ones, are interested in my process of doing my art. Today I would like to show you how I created the #inktober Scarecrow painting that is for sale in my shop at Big Cartel.

Inktober 8

First, I took the original sketch and using my light table, I traced it onto #150 lb watercolor paper. I taped it as securely as possible as I didn’t want either paper to slip! I traced  this very lightly as I didn’t want the pencil to show through too much on the completed painting. I only did the the main frame, as this is just a guide for the paint. When it was traced to my liking, I placed the traced sheet on a board. I secured it to the board using painters tape all around the edges. Using a brush and water  I really soaked the paper. This makes it so it stays nice and tight for the painting later.

 

I let this dry about a half hour to an hour. Once it was dry, I was ready to paint. Hooray! That’s my favorite part. I tried to use very little water, as I wanted nice bold colors for my scarecrow. Also, too much water could cause a disaster of it running. Note: If I had too much water, I would take a tissue and gently soak up some of it. Luckily, this didn’t happen this time.

Once my scarecrow was painted to my liking, it was time to let it sit and dry. I waited about 2 hours just to make sure. I took the sheet off of the board and placed it back on the light table over top of the sketch again. I lined it up perfectly and made sure to tape it securely again so the papers wouldn’t slip.

 

I then traced the outlines, using Koh-I-Noor black permanent ink and a thin, small paint brush. You have to go very slow and be very careful. One slip could mean disaster. I take a lot of breaks at this stage and try not to go too fast.  And here he is, Mr. Scarecrow, all ready for sale in my shop!

 

Thanks for visiting, stop by again!

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23. Catch up post – Inktober Day 24 and Day 25

 

 

Inktober 24

“Do you know which way?”

Micron brush pen black, graphite pencil, and Micron Pigma 05 pen black

Inktober 25

Buzz, buzz, buzz…

Micron brush pen black, graphite pencil, and Micron Pigma 05 pen black

Still playing catch up! Sorry for the delay in posting these. Only two more to go and I will be finally caught up. I am hoping to finish inking 27 tonight and posting in the morning. Happy Monday and thanks for visiting!

 

 

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24. Why is a re-write so important?

As a writer you spend months writing the first draft of your manuscript.You type the last word and part one of the process has been completed. That is a huge accomplishment in itself, but it’s not over yet.

Now you have something to work with: something to edit and polish. Will it change? Will the story hold up to scrutiny and to the feedback of editors, readers and critiques? Time will tell.

This is the best part of writing. The polishing and detailing of the work. The excitement grows. The anticipation of an agent. The rejections of some agents who like to live in their own comfort zone and play the odds to put money in their pockets OR the acceptance of your manuscript by an agent who sees a new writer emerging from the throngs of formatted prose and  safe subject matter.

Writing is not for the faint-hearted. It is all about persistence. It is all about great characters and a fast-moving story. But primarily it is all about the prose.

We as writers need feedback. We hunger for it. We need it to grow. If we didn’t write anything then there would be nothing for the critics to extol their criticisms as non-writers. They are the ones who buy books. Let’s not forget that.

 

And keep writing.photo

Denis.

 

 

 

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25. Catch up post – Inktober Day 26, 27, 28 and PiBoIdMo!

Here is my catch up post! A 3 in 1 :) We are getting down to the wire now, only a few days left of Inktober. I will miss it, but I will have PiBoIdMo to keep me occupied. What is it? It is Picture Book Idea Month. Every day, for 30 days, participants come up with an idea for a picture book story. It is a wonderful, creative project that I have participated in every year since 2009. More details at Tara Lazar’s blog!

Inktober 26

Morning bird & bugs 

Micron brush pen black & graphite

Inktober 27

Witch hat 

Micron brush pen black & graphite

Inktober 28

This isn’t scary…

Micron brush pen, micron 05 black, graphite

 

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