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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: cat, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 266
1. Wrapping Presents


I've been doing more black and white work lately.
This was drawn with a black colored pencil (well, three, actually).

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2. Wrapping Presents


I used three black Polychromo pencils on this one. Almost - two are total stubs, and one has a little life left in it, barely. This was a lot of fun to do! Its all colored pencil - no digital at all. All I did at the end was use Photoshop to clean up around the outside edge (erase the paper texture), and a weird blob that's on my scanner that I always have to clean up on everything I scan (sigh). This stayed remarkably clean, otherwise. I resisted the urge to 'nudge' a few values here and there, because I figured I'd end up redoing the whole thing once I get started. That's the good and bad of being able to fuss with things digitally - you can go on forever. No, I decided this was done, and left it alone. Onto the next one!

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3. OLD by Zsolt Vidak

old

Submitted by Zsolt Vidak for the Illustration Friday topic OLD.

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4. raining cats and dogs

Still keeping up with #inktober (just about) and the last few days have been all about cats and dogs.
Not sure where it came from, some dark recess of my mind no doubt. Actually this poodle has been trapped inside trying to get out for ages. 
I've also been trying to work outside of the sketchbook. Not that I'm giving up in the sketchbook. NOOOOO way. I'd never do that, my sketchbooks are my favourite places to draw and that was the problem.
I just felt I couldn't draw outside of the sketchbook. And when I feel like that about some drawing related thing, these days, I challenge myself to....well....challenge the 'I can't' thoughts and feelings. 
So, with that in mind, I've decided to use up all of the scraps of paper I have around the house. It started with my bicycle challenge (the one where I felt I could never draw a bike so I drew fifty in a few weeks. Actually, I'm not sure I've blogged about that yet) I gathered every bit of blank paper in the whole house and have started drawing on them. 
A friend of mine bought this 1920s music paper for me so I drew on that. I drew on the cardboard backs of sketchbooks. And on brown paper. On old water colour pads. Anything that's been hanging around. It's getting drawn on.
 Like this poodle, if it's a bit of paper that can be drawn on then it won't be hanging around for long. It's going walkies.
 
Cat and dog drawings available HERE.

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5. TA DA! Sparkles!

...SOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...

https://www.threadless.com/forum/post/967021/something_is_not_quite_right/

Notice anything different? 

Huh? Huh? Huh?

http://s255.photobucket.com/user/hayati_h2/media/tumblr_lfpwofja2W1qdwbyvo1_500.gif.html

If you didn't, you might consider getting glasses.

Yep, I changed my blog. I'm still trying to decide how I like the colours. I was getting over the dark green, so I decided pale green. Yeah, pale green was good. Then I thought, grey. Or maybe pale blue. So I'm not totally sure what colour I've ended up with here, but it's definitely not what I had before.

I like my new header. Sparklies!
 
https://www.tumblr.com/tagged/glitter-sam


Okay, so what's been going on with you for the past... 53 days? (*Stage whisper* - Has it been 53 days? *Not so stage whisper* - YEP! *Stage whisper* - I iz ASHAMED! I 'pologize. Oh well.)

I haven't done much. Writing, reading, writing, reading, writing, reading. Rinse, repeat.

I do confess to a sudden huge adoration to James Blunt. Most of his songs speak to my soul. I don't recommend watching his music videos - they can be a little we'rd - but my goodness, his songs are GOOD! Here, see for yourself.

 
You should also listen to "Carry You Home" and "She Will Always Hate Me." Oh, and "Bonfire Heart." And "Postcards." And, "No Tears." Okay, I won't post anymore. I like him. :-)

Also, I have a sister who does videos. She's rather good, you know. I requested a music video to Eleven, since his catchphrase is "Geronimo" and this song is called "Geronimo." QED, this is Eleven's song. I quite loved it. But then again, Eleven (and the Ponds) are my favorite:


Oh, and I did go to this thing called WordWave. I heard tell about it by Bona Fide Books (our independent small press in Tahoe, which is cool) and it was quite a lovely event. It was three days - Friday and Sunday were both more of "events" that you had to pay for, but Saturday was a free day, so my mother, three sisters, a friend and I went on Saturday. There were some workshopping conferences (more conference than workshop, unfortunately) and booths where you could make your own simple journals, a printing press, a booksale, and agents.

Yep, agents.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/embo1771/you-know-youre-a-supernatural-fan-when-e6ju

Not in the booths, of course. Just, there. Offering 10-minute pitch sessions. So I did what any self-respecting writer with two books written would do. I signed up for a 10-minute session, a one-on-one pitch, if you will, with an agent from Fuse Literary (formerly Foreword Literary). It ended up being more than 10 minutes - the agents were really chill on time, which was cool - so I had more like 20-30 minutes where I pitched my story to Laurie McLean and got awesome feedback on a query and synopsis. I tell you, I haven't felt this good about a query and a synopsis since... like, ever.

https://www.pinterest.com/kindleaholic/gifs/

So now I've changed my blog. Because, it was time to change my blog. FACELIFT, PEOPLE!!! I'm also trying to figure out what I want to do with this blog. Like, it's sort of drifting in La-la land, poor thing. It's just sitting here patiently, going, "Oh, don't mind me. I will come when you caaaaaaalll!!" Sort of like a chorus line from Les Miserables. So I guess 2016 resolutions would be:

1.)  Submit to more magazines.
2.)  Blog more.

A hesitant extra would be: 3.)  Get the keyboard in working shape and start playing music again.

'Cause I miss that.

And draw. That would be #4.

That's starting to feel like a lot of resolutions, and it's not even 2016 yet.

That's all for now, peeps. Until then, ciao!

"The road to hell is paved with adverbs." - Stephen King

God bless! ~The Cat

https://www.google.com/search?q=Lolcat+gif&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAWoVChMIkr7Nju_XyAIVDNNjCh2ALwSL&biw=1200&bih=617#imgrc=NR2MJuZaw9iduM%3A

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6. two week sketchbook challenge

 The good thing about not blogging regularly for a period, is that you build up lots of work to post when you finally get back on it. Here's a project I completed earlier in the year.
So, I saw this post on the rather excellent Doodlers Anonymous where somebody completed a sketchbook in two hours. TWO. HOURS. I loved the idea.
 And, I had a couple of new cheap sketchbooks that I'd got in some sale. It gave me an idea of what to do with them. I should say that they were quite big sketchbooks (over 70 double page spreads) and so I set another goal; TWO WEEKS.
Which would pretty much mean taking the sketchbook wherever I went (including Ikea) and drawing even more obsessively than normal.
I started the sketchbook at a life drawing session that I used to attend weekly. It was a good place to start as that week we were focusing on drawing body parts, which meant I could fill up quite a few pages of feet and hands and, well, other bits.
And whilst I was totally pissed off that my washing machine was playing up, I did get a few drawings done waiting around at the laundrette.
I drew my friend's dog and I drew photos of my friends on my window sill.
The thing you have to do while speed drawing in this way is to ditch the fine liner pens. I pretty much used thick pens for the most of it.
I was also going to say you need to forget the detail, but I seemed to capture quite lot at my friend's gorgeous canal boat home - in both the one above and below.
Now it comes to something when you get home from another trip to Ikea, drop your bags on the floor and draw that, but I was determined to get that book finished.
The cat was not impressed.
Obviously these are just a tiny selection of the drawings I made. And they'll never be my best. But that wasn't the point.
It was a challenge, and I wasn't going to give up. I kept on pedalling.
In some places I had a field day.
Like at the antiques auction.
Where there was no shortage of things to draw. I was even sketching whilst bidding.
And I did it. And one of the things that pleased me most about finishing the book was that I finished it exactly two weeks to the day, at life drawing. And with the same model that was posing when I started.
So, if you're ever stuck for something to do, start yourself a two week sketchbook. Give it a go. And yeah, sometime in the near future I'll be giving the two hour sketchbook a bash.

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7. Neary there! #cat #comics #illustration #ink #Sketch (at 17th...

0 Comments on Neary there! #cat #comics #illustration #ink #Sketch (at 17th... as of 3/11/2015 11:38:00 PM
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8. All prepped for the #HartfordMFA! #comic #cat #illustration #ink...

0 Comments on All prepped for the #HartfordMFA! #comic #cat #illustration #ink... as of 3/16/2015 12:02:00 AM
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9. Ginger the Cat and Benny the Bee

Attempting some basic animation!
I might try to animate my picture books, eventually.

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10. I’m enjoying working on this #PetPortrait #Commission of a...

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11. Mau and The Book of Dares for Lost Friends


Dear Two-legged One,

You're welcome. I have successfully inspired you to create a cat who is a cat, and not a fluffy fashion accessory. Because of my insights, Mau will take her place among literature's other masterful cats, such as The Cheshire Cat, Crookshanks, and Mr. Mistoffelees.

Mau's book will be in stores on July 14. Then everyone can admire her wisdom and her grace. There are some human characters in the book too, for those who like reading about "middle-school cruelty, the heartache of abandonment, and the supple bonds of friendship."  (from Publishers Weekly) Of course, my favorite parts were when Mau was hunting for rats near the Obelisk in Central Park.

I believe that you will be giving a reading at 7 pm on July 16th at  Community Bookstore in Brooklyn. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend. But I know that there is a cat in residence there, so all should go well.

I have arranged for 5 copies of Mau's book to be given away from Goodreads. LINK to the GOODREADS Giveaway  If you haven't joined that group of readers, you should. It's free and fun.

And so, dear Two-legged One, my work here is done. 

Sincerely, 

BLACKBERRY

The Cat


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12. Movies and Writing and Front Sight, Oh My!

Since I last posted (pretty much a month ago exactly) I have seen two movies in theaters, written about three quarters of the first half of a novel, remembered how much I enjoy baseball, started watching Avatar, and signed up for hand-to-hand combat classes at Front Sight.

What's... Front Sight, precious, eh? What's Front Sight?

For all y'all who don't know what Front Sight is, basically it's a gun school. You go there, they teach you how to safely use/carry firearms, so you don't go out literally half-cocked and accidentally cause mayhem rather than assistance.
That could be awkward.

It teaches you how to be a responsible gun owner. MmmHmmm.  Anyhoozle, so I'm signed up for the hand-to-hand combat part of it (because it is my first time and I'm a little intimidated at the idea of doing guns first) and I shall be heading down to Pahrump tomorrow - along with my sister Amanda, and our "sister/friend" Sammi. I am trying to figure out how to wear pants. As I am strictly a shirt and skirt kind of girl, pants are a whole 'nother kind of ballgame. But one simply cannot wear skirts to a martial arts type of setting. Awkward.
Unless, of course, you're Golden Sparrow.

I saw MINIONS and ANT-MAN.

I gotta say, I was a little disappointed with the Minion movie. I enjoyed the bits with the actual minions, but there was some stuff in there that I thought was totally unnecessary and inappropriate for kids - such as that disgustingly overweight sumo wrestler wearing next to nothing and leaving NOTHING to the imagination. The Cat did not approve. Also, I kind of would have preferred that the Minions met Gru earlier, and worked together to bring down the baddie Scarlet, even though Sandra Bullock voiced Scarlet and I could just "see" her getting into the role. I felt they could have done MORE with the movie, but instead relied on people being such fans of the minions they would overlook some loose plotting.

There really was some funny stuff, like Stuart and his fire hydrant:

But overall, I thought it could have been fabulous rather than just good.

ANT-MAN, however... yeah, I liked Ant-Man. Instead of being like the Avengers (WHICH I ADORE, BY THE WAY! IN CASE YOU THOUGHT I DIDN'T), Ant-Man sort of goes back to the "simple" Marvel movies, focusing on small but important bad guys, and instead of saving the world focusing more on just bringing down the single villain. Plus, Scott Lang (Ant-Man himself) was freakin' hilarious, and his stupid criminal friends were adorable idiots. The script was spot on, and I surprised myself by actually liking Michael Douglas. Normally, I don't like anything about him, but he was a really good character in the movie and I quite liked him. So, I would recommend you watch Ant-Man, but I would advise you to wait on Minions until it comes out on DVD. :-)
It was brilliant, you guys! I love Marvel.

As for my writing, I'm knocking out the first half of my novel quite rapidly. It's going to be told from two points-of-view, but since the timeline is a little "weird" for one character, I'm having a hard time switching back and forth, so I'm doing one character at a time, and I'll fit them together later. (All hail the revision process!) Besides, the second half will need a bit more research into the landscape, and mapping out the world being travelled. So, I'm procrastinating on the part. But the completed project will be great, I promise!


That's all for now. Hope y'all have a great day!

God bless!

The Cat
Byebyebyebyebyebyebyebye!!!!!!!!!!


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13. For those of you who said my previous image should have had to cat lying ON the writer's papers, not beside :-)

Posting this comic for my friend Joanne Levy and others who just told me that the image at the top of my previous post should have had the cat lying on TOP of the writer's papers, not beside. You cat people! ;-)

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14. Pick of the Week for POINTY and This Week’s Topic

plain+nose-1

Happy Illustration Friday, fellow artists!

We’re ready to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the wonderful illustration above by Studio Lolo, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of POINTY. Thanks to everyone who participated with drawings, paintings, sculptures, and more. We love seeing it all!

You can see a gallery of ALL the entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:

HEART

Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the public Gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!

HAPPY ILLUSTRATING!

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15. Interview with Beverly McClure, author of 'A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat'

When Beverly Stowe McClure was in eighth grade, her teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and she was soon a published writer in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry. Today, Beverly is a cum laude graduate of Midwestern State University with a BSEd degree. For twenty-two years, she taught children to read and write. They taught her patience. She is affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats.

Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices in her head tell her. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps photos of clouds, wild flowers, birds and deer. She also enjoys visiting with her family and teaching a women’s Sunday school class at her church. Her articles have been published in leading children’s magazines. Two of her stories are in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL ANTHOLOGIES, and she has nine novels published, two of them award winning novels at Children’s Literary Classics and other competitions.

Connect with Beverly on the net:


Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, A Pirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat. What was your inspiration for it?

A: One summer, on a visit to our son and his wife in South Carolina, we went to Folly Beach, not far from where they lived, to watch the sun rise over the water and lighthouse. It was a beautiful sight. But what caught my attention more than the sunrise was the lighthouse sitting in the middle of the inlet. It was deactivated years ago, but was used during the Civil War. A lighthouse must have a ghost, right? My mind started chasing different scenarios as to who the ghost was and why he was a ghost. What kept him from finding rest? A blockade runner worked nicely, since the ships came into the harbor bringing supplies to the city. Other ideas popped up, too. Pirates were quite active in the area although in earlier years. But, if they were ghosts they could have been around for years. So I added a couple of pirates to the story. And what’s a good ghost story without a cat? My MG/Tween novel APirate, a Blockade Runner, and a Cat was born.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: Thirteen-year-old Erik Burks is a typical young teen. He plays baseball and likes to hang out with his friends. When his dad leaves home, Erik’s life changes in ways he could never imagine. First, his mom takes Erik from Texas to South Carolina where they move in with her sister. Second, he meets the weird twins that live down the street and that claim they’ve seen a ghost ship in the harbor. Third, Erik doesn’t believe that ghosts exist. Fourth, he soon discovers he might be wrong.     

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: I had fun creating Erik and the twins, typical teens, if you count a girl who can read mind dreams typical. The ghost pirates are based on real pirates, and I did a lot of research to learn about them and their ships so the historical facts would be accurate. I am a slow writer and it took probably two years to write and edit the story. No major bumps along the way. I had visited some of the places in the story, like the lighthouse, and tried to remember what they were like.

Getting the pirate language just right took some research too, but was a lot of fun. Avast, matey. I discovered fascinating information about the two pirates that ended up in the story.

Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A: I try to put the characters in exciting circumstances. In novels for MG readers, the kids like action. They’ll stop reading if they’re bored. Forget description unless it moves the story along. I let the characters get in trouble so the reader will wonder if they’ll get out of it. At this age, friendships are important. And they need trouble. Lots of trouble. Ghosts are just right to cause trouble, along with a cat that Erik hates, and the feeling is mutual.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: Sometimes, I look at the blank screen on the computer and think, Okay, where do I start? Will anyone like this story? Can I even write it? The only way to deal with anxiety is to start typing. Yes, there will be many changes, at least for me. I usually rewrite the beginning a jillion times. If I don’t get those first words down, I’ll never have a story. So I go for it and hope I’m headed in the right direction.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: I’m a morning person. Usually I work on my WIP from 9:00 AM to 11:30 or 12:00 noon. Then I take a lunch break and maybe check emails or look at blogs. (I’ve done some mail early in the morning before I started writing.) Around 2:00 PM I do edits if I have a manuscript that’s been sold, or else I check my blogs and post on other blogs. Evenings, I write reviews, do critiques for my critique groups (I’m in two), and whatever else needs to be done.

I’m retired from my teaching job, so I have no outside work to interfere with my writing. I’m a playmate for my cats, but other than that, my time is my own.

Q: How do you define success?

A: Success to me is writing novels that help young people enjoy reading, and if they take anything away from the story that makes their lives happier or more understandable, that’s an added bonus.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: It’s hard when your family doesn’t support you, but I feel we each have the right to pursue our dreams. I’m not saying neglect your significant others. Don’t neglect yourself either. Let them know how important your writing is to you. They may surprise you and understand. If they don’t, find time when you’re alone, or make time to be alone, even if it’s only 30 minutes or an hour. Maybe while they’re at work, or anytime they go out for whatever reason. Don’t give up. Follow your dreams. You only have one life.

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: Oh, yes. A writer has to be driven; otherwise, why would we sit in a chair for hours a day, typing our hearts away, for pennies a day (at least in my case)? Perhaps we’re a little insane. And the beauty of it is we don’t care. We’re doing what we love.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: Just thank you for hosting me today. Thank all you awesome readers for your comments and thoughts. You’re the ones that keep us writing, you know. If you have a chance, stop by my blog and see what’s happening. http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com.



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16. A Sketchy Catch Up Post

If you're not following me on Instagram, you might have missed a few things.

First of all, I've decided to participate in Inktober, a daily challenge for the month of October. I've got some crazy deadlines, so I'm not sure I'll manage it each day, but I'll try.
Day 1: Meet Zelda P. Bird modeling her best cape and hat.

I really love all things Halloween, so my sketching has been centered around that.
Nibbles has a wicked sense of humor which Stubby does not appreciate.



Dance like there's no one watching.



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17. Inktober 6

Inktober 6

 

Inky was such a scaredy cat!

Micron Brush Pen Black & Graphite pencil

#inktober #inktober2014

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18. Inktober Day 2, 3, 4


I've gotten a little behind with #Inktober, but that's ok. I'm doing it for fun, so no harm. 
Last night I had so many ideas! I love it when that happens.


I have a spiffy new sketchbook from my birthday that I'm using. (Thank you Tracy!)



My St. Louis is showing. Go Cards!


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19. there's always room at the top...

there's always room at the top...for a hug!
©the enchanted easel 2014
for a hug!

~HAPPY 40TH BIRTHDAY TO THE ADORABLE AND ALWAYS FABULOUS, MISS KITTY WHITE....BEST KNOWN OF COURSE AS HELLO KITTY!!!~

hard to believe it's been 40 years since this sweet little character made her debut. i have been a sucker since day one. i love sanrio and their adorable characters...but she reigns supreme!

this painting features tiny chum, her cute little bear companion, as they embrace in what else? a hug, of course. one of hello kitty's favorite things...hugs. also, the 3 apples represent her weight (as she is said to weigh approximately 3 apples and be about 5 apples high and the 4 bows? well they represent 4 decades of sheer fabulousness!)

{this painting kind of reminds me of candy (must be the confection of colors i chose)....and that always makes me happy! :)}

PRINTS AND OTHER SWEET TREATS ARE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SHOP LINKS FOUND HERE:

happy birthday hello kitty...you are FABULOUS! still!

there's always room at the top...for a hug!
©the enchanted easel 2014



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20. SkADaMo 2014 Day 21

catfishes

A pretty obvious one, but hey…

Wondering what SkADaMo is, check this out.


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21. back in the old folky days

Happy New Year folks!
As I said in a previous post, I've been making some changes to my business (and life) recently. Some leaps of faith. Which all ties in nicely with the New Year and new leaf/chapter/beginning.
Here's something I've never tried before; bespoke, made to order original drawings. Not just bespoke drawings, but, bespoke pet portraits (and that's something I never thought I'd hear myself saying). They are, of course, pet portraits with a difference. They are kind of like drawings of your pet's ancestors. With a little imagined (by me) biography of said pet ancestor.
 
Where and how the hell do I come up with these ideas?
Anyway, you can get a bespoke, Victorian, made to order, portrait of YOUR pet HERE!
No, really.

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22. Hello, From Your Favorite Nonexistant Blogger

How have you all been?

Here's a random squirrel gif


Aside from catching a miserable cold and a 'flu pretty nearly at the same time, I've been good.

Pretty much just like this

Not too much has been happening.  I have an agent list going for a manuscript.  Once I get an acceptance on that....

source

...I'll let you know.

We watched the Lord of the Rings this week.

Screaming, crying, perfect storm...

I always forget what an emotional rollercoaster that is.  I cry every single time over every shattering event that occurs, and over the characters:  Frodo and Sam, Merry and Pippin, Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, Boromir, FARAMIR!!! Eowyn, Eomer, Arwen, Theoden.... If there is someone I can weep for, I weep, and prodigiously.

Source

Fun fact:  One of our bestest friends has never read the books nor seen the movies.  She has only seen the last Hobbit movie (and let's be honest, friends.  Peter Jackson could have done those so, so much better.  What was wrong with keeping it just a bit more to the book?!), but anyway, we have told her frequently that LotR was WAY better than the Hobbit.  So FINALLY we got her to watch the trilogy with us... the extended edition, of course.  REAL fans watch only the extended LotR.

TRUTH!!!

Not only did she cry as prodigiously as the rest of us (and this is a girl who rarely, if ever, cries over shows), but she now wants a cape and has been obsessively pinning Lord of the Rings on Pinterest and is reading the books now.

SCORE!

So I feel like we accomplished something this weekend.

In the meantime, I'm going to going the way I'm going and hope I figure out how to make more time in a single day.  I need a TARDIS and some timey-wimey magic, I think.

You always suspected. :-)

Until my next emergence...

le moi

BYE!!!

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23. Fancy Sardines Valentine


A little Valentine from a kitty love by Paula Pertile.
This was done with 100% colored pencils. 

0 Comments on Fancy Sardines Valentine as of 2/4/2015 1:36:00 AM
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24. I Want a Dog by Darcy Pattison


PB&J: Picture Books and All That Jazz: A Highlights Foundation Workshop

Join Leslie Helakoski and Darcy Pattison in Honesdale PA for a spring workshop, April 23-26, 2015. Full info here.
COMMENTS FROM THE 2014 WORKSHOP:
  • "This conference was great! A perfect mix of learning and practicing our craft."Peggy Campbell-Rush, 2014 attendee, Washington, NJ
  • "Darcy and Leslie were extremely accessible for advice, critique and casual conversation."Perri Hogan, 2014 attendee, Syracuse,NY


Today launches two new books for me.

9781629440118-ColorPF-alt.indd 9781629440323-Case.indd

How the Stories Started. For years, I’ve taught writing. I teach everything from kindergarteners to advanced novelist, gifted-and-talented kids to reluctant writers. I’ve developed techniques for helping people write stronger and they usually involve either revising or prewriting. In schools, it’s hard to get kids to revise; they see it as torture to copy out a perfectly good essay again. Too often, it’s an exercise in handwriting instead of real revision. So, I started flipping the process and putting more emphasis on prewriting. A rich prewriting environment gives a student a better chance at a good first draft (which is often the only draft). A single prewriting activity isn’t enough; instead, you want a rich environment with multiple ways of thinking, discussing and drafting about a topic.

Everything I’ve learned about teaching writing an opinion essay to kids is instilled in these two books in just 500 words (Dog) and 750 words (Cat). Cousins discuss the type of dog/cat they want for their family. They use about ten criteria (and another 5-6 criteria are suggested in the back matter) to decide what breed of dog/cat is best. Then, they write an opinion essay. And because all writing should have a real world effect and be successful, they get the dog/cat of their dreams.

Characters. I knew that I wanted to write something helpful to teachers about writing essay; however, first and foremost (as always) I wanted to write a fun STORY. The relationship between cousins Dennis and Mellie was important to develop. Each has a different family life, so their priorities on a pet differed drastically. Creating interesting characters helped ground the information in a story.

Research. Do you research topics for a fictional story? It was crucial for these two stories that I had the facts right about the dogs and cats. The American Kennel Club (AKC) regularly publishes information on the most popular breeds of dogs for a particular year. I used the latest data from 2013 and decided to feature the top 20 breeds of dogs: in order of popularity – Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, Boxers, Poodles, Rottweilers, Dachshunds, French Bulldogs, Doberman Pinschers, German Shorthaired Pointers, Siberian Huskies, Shih Tzu, Great Danes, Miniature Schnauzers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Pomeranians, Australian Shepherds.

Then, it was a juggling act to slot each breed into a criteria for deciding for/against a breed. I used the Animal Planet’s Dog Breed Selector Tool as a beginning point, and filled in with research on each breed. Many dogs are friendly; some dogs are better at being a guard dog than others. Each criteria needed a matched pair, one dog included by the criteria and one breed excluded by the criteria. It was impossible to satisfy every breed enthusiast, but the AKC went through the manuscript and approved the way the breeds were described.


10BreedPoster500x500x150


For the Cat Lovers. I was pleased with the story and sent it around to a couple editors. One was very interested, but eventually rejected the story, saying, “A dog story just isn’t for me. I’m just a cat lover.” That weekend, I wrote the companion book, I WANT A CAT: My Opinion Essay. It went through a similar process using the Animal Planet Cat Breed Selector Tool, and generous input from Joan Miller, Chair of the Cat Fancier’s Association Outreach & Education efforts.

The CFA statistics say these are the top 20 cat breeds, in order of popularity: Persian, Exotic, Maine Coon Cat. Ragdoll, British Shorthair, Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Sphynx, Siamese, Devon Rex, Norwegian Forest Cat, Oriental, Scottish Fold, Cornish Rex, Birman, Burmese, Tonkinese, Siberian, Russian Blue, Egyptian Mau

I was unfamiliar with some of the breeds, so Miller’s input was invaluable–thanks, Joan!

Illustrator: Ewa O’Neill

These are debut picture books by European illustrator, Ewa O’Neill. She’s got an eye for color and design! A dog-lover, she studied the twenty dog breeds and twenty cat breeds to create active, interesting collection of pets.

Free on Kindle for 5 Days

Amazon allows certain promotional events and I’m happy to say that I WANT A DOG: My Opinion Essay will be a free Kindle book from February 8-12. Get it during these five days and spread the word to your friends.

Free on KOBO and Apple: I WANT A DOG and I WANT A CAT will be free for your iPad or Kobo reader on February 13-17. Check the iBookstore and KoboStore then. Sorry, a Nook version is not available. You can also find ebook copies at MimsHouse.com – Dog and MimsHouse.com – Cat.
Both books are available in paperback and hardcover.

Coming Fall, 2015: My Crazy Dog: My Narrative Essay

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25. You know what the problem is with “slow progress”?…...

0 Comments on You know what the problem is with “slow progress”?…... as of 3/8/2015 6:36:00 PM
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