Welcome back to my special series of Lost Resumes!
To celebrate the release of my picture book, HELP WANTED, MUST LOVE BOOKS (illustrated by Courtney Dawson), on Monday, March 2nd (next week!), I’m sharing 5 Lost Resumes from characters who both did and didn’t make it into my story.
I hope you enjoyed the first three Lost Resumes. But if you missed, I’ve included a link to all of the resumes at the bottom, so be sure to check them out.
Today we are moving on to Lost Resume #4: King Midas!
I had to do a bit of research for this one. I mean, who didn’t grow up hearing the story of King Midas? But turns out, I was pretty clueless. I’m certain I must have learned his story came from the Greek Myths at some point. But adult me had completely forgotten that tidbit.
When I mentioned this at the dinner table, my kids (ages 16, 13, and 10) went off on a deep discussion of a plethora of minor gods, comparing the Roman versions to the Greek, and I clearly need to start reading more Rick Riordan. My husband and I just sat there with mouths hanging open. Okay, not really, because we were eating dinner, but mentally, our mouths were definitely hanging open.
As I keep saying, I don’t actually know why my publisher did or didn’t choose each resume. But I feel fairly confident that King Midas didn’t make it in because he is from the Greek Myths, and not from the fairy and folk tales they were going for. And I suppose it’s also possible that this resume isn’t as funny as the others. Maybe. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Be sure to come back tomorrow when I share Lost Resume #5! The final one. In the meantime, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win a copy of my book, and a copy of a book by one of my fellow Debut Crew members! And if you want to check out the other resumes, follow the links:
Lost Resume #5
Have a great day!
Good morning! This week I’m gearing up to celebrate the release of my picture book, HELP WANTED, MUST LOVE BOOKS (illustrated by Courtney Dawson), on Monday, March 2nd!
For those who were here Monday and Tuesday, welcome back to my special series of Lost Resumes!
As a reminder, I’m sharing 5 Lost Resumes from characters who both did and didn’t make it into my story. I hope you enjoyed Captain Hook’s and Snow White’s Lost Resumes! I’ve included a link to all of the resumes at the bottom, so if you missed them, be sure to check them out.
Today we are moving on to Lost Resume #3: Grandma Sweets!
Wait. You don’t know who she is? No, no, no. Of course you do. She is none other than the witch from Hansel and Gretel! Though really I should have made you guess based on the resume itself. Ahem. But here we are:
This one was a lot of fun to write. I mean, it’s Grimm, but there we are. A lot of fairy tale characters are a bit Grimm. (I know, I know, I’m so punny!) Maybe I shouldn’t admit this part, but it was really fun to put myself in the witch’s shoes and think about what she might do to get the job. We already know she’s pretty cunning just based on the fact that she lives in a consumable house.
Like I mentioned yesterday, I don’t actually know why my publisher did or didn’t choose each resume, but I’m guessing there were a couple of reasons for this one. First, the witch has no real name to speak of. I tried to look it up. But even if I had found something, no one would have known it. “Call me ‘Grandma Sweets'” was the best I could do.
Second, the Grimm factor. Maybe they worried parents don’t want to read a resume to small children about someone who wants to eat them. I don’t know. Just a theory.
Be sure to come back tomorrow when I share Lost Resume #4! In the meantime, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win a copy of my book, and a copy of a book by one of my fellow Debut Crew members! And if you want to check out the other resumes, follow the links:
Lost Resume #4
Lost Resume #5
Have a great day!
Hello, friends! I know it is a Tuesday, and I am not normally here on the blog, but this week is special, being the lead-up to the release of my upcoming picture book, HELP WANTED, MUST LOVE BOOKS (illustrated by Courtney Dawson).
This week I’m sharing 5 Lost Resumes from characters who both did and didn’t make it into my story. I hope you enjoyed Snow White’s Lost Resume from yesterday. If not, you can find it HERE. Today we are moving on to Lost Resume #2: Captain Hook!
I really liked this resume. The tricky part on this one was that I needed to be careful not to confuse the Captain Hook character from J.M. Barrie’s book, with the one from the Disney movie. As such, I was forced into the extra work of reading the original PETER PAN (sometimes an author’s job is tough,* but as a professional, one carries on).
The reason this resume was not included,** is because after I sent in the eight resumes for consideration, I was asked to replace another character in the book. They felt the original character was too controversial for schools.
Can you guess who that character might be? I’ll give you a hint. It involved hygiene, and it was a male character. (I’m going to be honest here, I don’t think you’ll guess who it was! 😂) Anyway, Captain Hook became the replacement. Since we wanted resumes from characters who were not already in the book, the resume fell out of the running.
Yesterday, I said I might tell you who Snow White (and the 7 Dwarves) replaced, but since no one parried a guess, I will hold off until the end of the week. I gave no hint yesterday, but I’ll give one today. She replaced someone who also brought along a group, and who was in a nursery rhyme instead of a fairy tale. (My hints don’t make it easy, do they? 😂)
Have a wonderful week! And be sure to come back tomorrow when I share Lost Resume #3! In the meantime, don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win a copy of my book, and a copy of a book by one of my fellow Debut Crew members!
If you don’t want to wait, and just want to pre-order a copy of my book (I can hardly blame you for that!), you can find it on bookshop.org, which helps support local indie bookstores. Or if you don’t have a local indie, you can always find it on Amazon or B&N.
*I’m kidding, this part of the job is not tough at all. I LOVE when I’m forced to read a good book. 😉
**Well, one major reason, anyway . . . I don’t actually know all the reasons my publisher chose the four they did. I can only guess.
I don’t know how this happened, but my picture book, HELP WANTED, MUST LOVE BOOKS (illustrated by Courtney Dawson), officially releases in exactly one week from today! (Aaaaaahhh!!) With the countdown to release day in full-swing, I wanted to share a little behind-the-scenes fun (and then host a giveaway!).
The first time I chatted with my editor at Capstone, my editor asked me what I thought about possibly including some back matter in the book. She couldn’t have known, but I am a BIG FAN of all things back matter in fiction picture books. I leapt at the chance!
Ideas came swimming into my head immediately. I told her I had a lot of characters who didn’t make the cut in the book. What if we did some character resumes for those lost characters?
She loved the idea, and so I got right to work, and sent her a sample later that week. That sample—a resume for Pinocchio—is now published in the final pages of my book. In fact, there are FOUR character resumes at the end of my book. I hope you’ll love them! (Here’s the tiniest sneak peeks.)
But guess what? I wrote way more than that. Yep. I wasn’t sure what Capstone would like, so I sent them 8 to choose from. But I wrote even more resumes than that . . . because I only sent them the 8 best ones. So over the course of this week, I’m going to be sharing FIVE of those lost resumes! Eventually, they will be available for download on my website, but for now, here is LOST RESUME #1 for your viewing pleasure. May I present SNOW WHITE!
Snow White did not make the cut because I didn’t think this resume was quite as amusing as the others. Thus, I never sent this one to my editor. In the end, it was just as well because Snow White, who hadn’t been featured in my book at the time of that initial phone call, went on to replace a different character. Oh, the intrigue in the fairy tale world!
Who got replaced you ask? Take your best guess in the comments! I’d love to hear. And maybe I’ll answer that question when I share the next Lost Resume!
But now, on to more fun stuff. With my release date being so close, I must, of course, celebrate with a giveaway!
So, to one lucky winner, I am giving not only a copy of my book, but a copy of a picture book written by a member of the 2020 Debut Crew (one book of your choice!)!! You can find a list of the authors and their books HERE. If the book you choose is not yet released, I will pre-order a copy of their book for you.
For any U.S. followers, I will gladly send a signed copy of my book upon request. If you win, just let me know!
Just use the handy dandy Rafflecopter link below to enter. Good luck, my friends!
<a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/139b69055/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”139b69055″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_cv4x3o2p”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
I’ve always said that one of the best part about being an author is meeting other authors and getting to read their books and stories (sometimes a little early!).
With my own picture book coming out in 2020, I was fortunate to meet several other debut picture book authors. One of them is Aya Khalil. Her book THE ARABIC QUILT: An Immigration Story, illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan, releases February 18th.
I got to read her book in advance, and am so excited to have her on my blog today. So please welcome Aya Khalil! (As always, I’ll be in bolded green text.)
Hi! Thanks for having me.
I’d love to learn more about you. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Sure, I am a freelance journalist and educator with my debut picture book coming out in February. I live in Northwest Ohio with my three children and husband.
Wow, three jobs (counting author)! That is not easy, especially with kids. And huge congratulations on your book. I’m so excited for it’s release. Please tell us about it.
My book is about a beautiful girl named Kanzi who recently immigrated to the US from Egypt. She tries so hard to fit in but the teasing really gets to her. With the help of her teacher and mom, she learns to appreciate her language and culture.
It’s so hard to remember what’s important when you’re young . . . especially in the face of teasing. I loved that Kanzi had so many supportive adults in her life. Kids need that! I’d love to know what inspired you to write The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story.
My picture book is based on true stories growing up as an immigrant. I moved to the US when I was one with my parents and brother. We attended a mostly all-white school in a rural town in North Dakota. We had incredible teachers there and especially this one teacher who thought of this lesson one day. She asked me, with the help of my mom, to write down our classmates’ names in Arabic. My classmates thought their names in Arabic were so cool! So they each copied their names on their own and the teacher hung them up as a quilt. This happened over 20 years ago and just comes to show how powerful teachers can be, especially to their minority students.
What a lovely and inclusive lesson plan! Teachers have such an influence and can do so much good. And I love that you used your own life stories to inspire you. What advice would you give to beginning writers about finding ideas?
Write down ideas all the time! Whether it’s a blog or even on your Notes app, write down encounters or situations. Maybe you will end up making it into a book some day.
Great advice! You never know what might inspire a story.
Above you mentioned you do freelance journalism. Have you always wanted to write? And how did you get into writing picture books?
I read to my kids often and used to review picture books and I always thought it would be so neat to get my words out there to young children. With my background in journalism my published work was usually geared towards adults.
Well, I’m so glad you took the plunge! The Arabic Quilt is a beautiful story that will no doubt resonate with a lot of kids!
As a new author what is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about being an author?
That it takes A LONG TIME! I was always so used to the fast-paced world of journalism and quick responses and quick edits and quick publishing times! Ha! That’s not always the case in the picture book industry.
Haha! No, it is not. Such a stark contrast between the two industries. Patience is definitely needed for the book publishing world.
Okay, one last question. Here on my blog, I have a fascination for personalized license plates. What do you think Kanzi would put on her license plate (even though she’s definitely too young to drive!)?
QuiltTheHate (Like quit the hate but with the word quilt instead)
How perfect! And I’m guessing that after your book releases, there will be a lot of classes making their own quilts, just like Kanzi’s class.
Thank you again for stopping in and answering some questions!
Thank you so much for asking these great questions!
Best wishes for your book! And to all my readers, please find Aya’s social media links below, as well as links for where you can get your own copy of THE ARABIC QUILT!
Aya Khalil is a freelance journalist and educator. She holds a master’s degree in Education with a focus in Teaching English as a Second Language. THE ARABIC QUILT is based on true events growing up, when she moved to the US from EGYPT at the age of one. Her articles have been published in The Huffington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The Post & Courier, Toledo Area Parent, and more. She’s been featured in Yahoo!, Teen Vogue, Verona and more. www.ayakhalil.com
Over the holiday break, my boys and I had a chance to do some rock climbing on a climbing wall. You pull on the harness. They clip you in. You choose “Easy,” “Medium,” or “Hard.” And off you go.
It sounds so simple, and really, the wall isn’t that high. But about halfway up, I caught a glimpse of the down. I had to refocus myself on simply finding the next handhold. Conquering my fears one step at a time.
Now, I knew he was safe. He was buckled in. The rope and mechanisms would catch him if he fell. I’d already done it myself, and I knew he could do it.
So I called to him, “Keep going! You’re almost there. You can do this!”
That is too hard for you.
You should stick to what you know.
But those are lies. If we refocus ourselves, take things one step at a time, and stop thinking about those fears, we can conquer them! Maybe not on our first try, but if we keep trying, it will happen.
Sometimes we need outside support, and that’s okay! That’s why you should surround yourself with people who build you up. People who believe in you. People who can see things from a different perspective. Find those people! Search them out, then hold them close. I know it’s made a huge difference in my life.
Conquering fears is hard. It can be scary. It can take time. LOTS of it! But I tell you what, that feeling you get when you finally make it is worth it.
You ARE good enough!
Nothing is too hard if you’re determined.
Learning new things is amazing!
What fears are you hoping to conquer?
Good morning all my wonderful friends! I hope you had a fabulous weekend and a terrific holiday break, whatever you may celebrate.
With the new year (not to mention new DECADE), it’s certainly a time of reflection. Looking back over the past ten years, a lot has changed for me. I moved from DC to Missouri, to Oregon, and now Utah. I began taking writing seriously. I signed with an agent. I sold a middle grade book. I broke up with my agent, and signed with another agent. I started writing picture books. I sold a picture book.
But life is way more than just books. I raised three kids from toddlers to teenagers (well, tweenager for the youngest). I struggled with feeling lonely and like a failure. I left my job of 15 years as translator. I watched my mom go through a stroke. I lost my last two grandparents. . . .
Life is full of ups and downs, and stress, and hard things. And while I used to turn to writing to escape it all, writing has become it’s own kind of stress now that I’m published. It took me a while to realize I needed a new creative outlet, but I do.
In the past I’ve done scrap-booking. I’ve played piano and guitar. I had a brief stint at taking violin lessons. I’ve tried wood-carving, cake decorating, toll painting, and even photography. There are so many options. I certainly don’t expect to become a master at any of these, but trying new things brings so much joy. It gets me excited. And just for an hour or two, it takes me away from the hard things of life.
Most recently, I signed up for a lovely webinar titled Watercolors with Jessixa Bagley, through Storytellers Academy. I haven’t gotten to the watercolor part just yet, but it’s been so fun (and humbling) to learn just what goes into an illustration.
She has us block in the basic shapes using bluelines. Did you know there was a pencil color called “Non-photo Blue”? I did not know this. But it’s a shade that can’t be detected by graphic arts camera film, or can be made to disappear by adjusting the contrast and brightness. Here is my attempt (covered with the mess of my transfer attempts from later on, so just ignore that). Hard to see, yeah?
Once we had the general shapes, we moved to more detailed sketching. I mean, mine could definitely be worse.
Next we used tracing paper to capture the main elements. Tracing is also a time to clean up your lines. Haha! Well, I did try.
And finally, we transferred the image to watercolor paper, and commenced with inking.
These efforts may not look like much, but that was a time-intensive activity! Major concentration involved, and all kinds of new appreciation for what goes into illustration. I haven’t completed the course, but I’ve already learned so much. AND I’ve had fun doing it. Seriously, I highly recommend Jessixa’s class. Check it out at the Storyteller Academy page.
But let’s get real: I’m never going to be an illustrator (because frankly, I don’t intend to put in the time to hone that ability . . . it just doesn’t call to me the way writing does). But trying makes me happy. It relieves my stress. It makes me appreciate illustrators even more . . . and it makes me appreciate writing even more.
If you find yourself in a funk, don’t be afraid to try something new! Maybe it’ll be sketching and watercoloring, like I’ve chosen. Maybe it’ll be dance. Maybe it’ll be gardening or ice sculpting or baking macaroons. Whatever it is, allow yourself to be imperfect and just enjoy the doing. Because the art of trying something new is not about being or becoming an expert. It’s about finding things that bring you joy. And who knows? Maybe you’ll discover something that you do want to become an expert in. 😊
What new things are you trying lately?
We decorate a fake tree every year, and we collect ornaments everywhere we travel to remind us of all our adventures.I will be busy spending time with my family for the rest of December, so I won’t be posting here on my blog until January. My family celebrates Christmas, and here are some of our traditions:
I’d love it if you’d share about the holiday you celebrate, and any special traditions you have!
Many moons ago, I was at an auction to raise money for some youth camps. One of the offerings was an animated image done by Ira Baker (who happens to be THE GUY who works with Sandra Boynton on her very fabulous videos). Cool right??!
Well, at that time, I did not have a book out. I had a very recent book deal, but for middle grade. I didn’t see how I could use this offering, but my husband is a visionary. Without telling me, he bid on it and won.Ira and I chatted about ways I could use it, but I just didn’t have the right project, and he very kindly let me put it on hold. Fast forward five years (yes, FIVE), and I finally had the perfect images from HELP WANTED, MUST LOVE BOOKS, my upcoming picture book.
He was brilliant!
I think I watched the clip he sent for a good half-hour on repeat. And guess what??! Not only will I be sharing that clip with you, today, but when I learned Ira also does book trailers for other authors, I convinced him to answer some questions about computer animation, book trailers, and more.
On to the interview! (Like usual, I’m the one in bold green type.)
How did you get started working with computer animation?
I enjoyed animation as a child but never thought it could actually be a career path for me. However, I was very into making videos which eventually led me to the BYU film department. While there, I tried to get exposure to all aspects of filmmaking, and even became proficient in 3D animation. I was struck by how I could tell a story all by myself, and that story would be a simpler and “purer” representation of my ideas than I could achieve in live action. After college I went on to have a career as a video editor, but it was my new ability to create imagery through animation that proved to be the most valued skill to my clients. After a few years, I realized that I was rushing through my edits just so I could get to “the fun stuff.” I wondered “why can’t I do the ‘fun stuff’ all the time?” So I made a few tweaks to my career path and became a full-time animator.
I love that you figured it out and made changes. So tell us more about the “fun stuff.” What is your favorite project that you’ve gotten to work on?
Sandra Boynton’s TYRANNOSAURUS FUNK – Sung by Samuel L. Jackson.
Okay, I may have watched this video two or twenty times. I love Tyrannosaurus Funk so much! Samuel L. Jackson is amazing. His voice!! And wow, Sandra Boynton is a brilliant writer. How cool is it that you’ve worked with Sandra Boynton on so many projects! How did you get that gig?
I worked for a time with a company in Provo called Kaleidoscope Pictures who handled the film production for Franklin Covey. Kaleidoscope wanted to use a song that Sandra had written to illustrate one of the Seven Principles. I was the only person on staff at the time that had any animation experience, so the whole production fell on my shoulders. For one whole gloriously creative month, I lived and breathed 2D animation and became forever enamored with it’s aesthetic and charm. When the animation was finished, we all held our breath and waited for Sandra’s approval. She loved it! After a few years she wanted to do some animated projects herself and she called me up. We’ve been working together ever since.
Talk about being in the right place at the right time. I think it’s so inspiring to see how giving something your best can lead to opportunities you never could have foreseen.
So I’d love to know more about the process of making a book trailer. When you work with an author to create a book trailer, how does the collaboration work? Does the author plan it, and then you carry it out? Do you help coordinate the content? Or something totally different? Tell us about it!
Sometimes the author has very specific ideas, sometimes I’m given more free reign to tell the story as I see it. There’s no right way to do it as long as we’re both proud of the end result. The important thing is to keep the author constantly informed of my progress and showing him/her everything as it is finished.
Communication is so important! It makes all the difference. So how much new art do you have to create for a book trailer?
Usually the animation is based on the book illustrations, because that’s all that exists. I go through a lot of Photoshop work separating the characters from the background and then breaking the characters down into layers that can be individually moved. After that, I rig the characters so they can go through the full range of motions and/or expressions that each scene demands.
I usually approach each illustration as a frozen moment in time and ask myself “what events brought these characters to this exact moment in time?” and “what happens immediately after this moment?” Then I make the characters do what those answers suggest; always trying to infuse as much charm, personality and storytelling into the process. If the author and I disagree, I will make adjustments until the author is happy with the result.
So fascinating! As an author, I ask a lot of those same questions when writing. Story is so important. I love that it’s at the heart of a good book trailer.
What advice do you have for any future computer animators out there?
There are so many resources available now that I never had! You can take courses online and watch free tutorials on YouTube if the college route is not for you. The secret is to find a story to tell and then start making animation right away! Even if you don’t fully understand the software, you can learn quickly as you go if you are passionate about your ideas.
Where can authors contact you if they are interested in having you create a book trailer for them?
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on instagram @iratheanimator.
Thank you so much for your time! Computer animation is such an interesting field, and I’ve really enjoyed learning more about what you do and especially how it connects to books and stories.
Hi all! I hope you had a lovely weekend and Thanksgiving. Today, I’m in the hot seat over at Melissa Roske’s blog as part of her Ask the Author series.
If you haven’t visited before, definitely check it out! She uses the Proust Questionnaire, and some of those questions are hard! It’s so fascinating to see how authors respond. And to try to figure out how YOU would respond.
In fact, if you want to come back and tell me how you would respond to any particular question, I would love that. Put yourself in the hot seat!
Have a lovely week, and be sure to come visit next Monday, December 9th. I’ll be interviewing Ira Baker, the computer animator who works with Sandra Boynton on her super fun videos. He also does book trailers. So excited to have him stop in!
(just a beautiful picture of the Tetons to send you on your way to making it a wonderful week)