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Monday, June 21, 2021
Illustrations in Fantasy Novels
I’m always considering ways to make the characters in my story more realistic. Illustrations seemed like an effective way of doing that, but I never practiced drawing or painting. My sister-in-law is an artist and I asked her if she’d be willing to try making some images for the novel. She gave it a shot and completed images of Flarence and Claire, but they’re not in the book because she didn’t want them to be public. That’s why she gave me the contact information of Lothar Speer, who is an old friend of hers.
There were a lot of aspects of illustration production that I wasn’t aware of when I requested it to be done. My sister-in-law didn’t want her work in my book because she prefers still-life and the kinds of images I asked for required the characters to appear as if they were in motion. I realized that she excelled at still-life, but I’ve seen her use human figures in her paintings before, so I didn’t expect it to be a big deal. It turns out transitioning from stationary to movement is difficult because the techniques require completely different uses of shading since portraying movement is done by having some sections lighter and making them gradually darker (that’s probably a simplified summary, but that was my takeaway when it was explained to me).
Another lesson I learned is that when working with illustrators there isn’t any room for partial ideas. You need a clear image in your mind and be prepared to stick with it. This wasn’t an issue when developing the inside pages. As expected, Lothar asked a ton of questions about where the scene took place and how the characters should be positioned. It became an issue when finalizing the cover. Lothar spent a lot of time on the image, but he didn’t include the text. The deal was that once the cover image was complete I would email it to the publisher who would add the title and author information. Based on the cover of the first book, I speculated that the title would be on the top and my name would be on the bottom. The problem was, I didn’t tell Lothar that was just speculation and I didn’t confirm with the publisher that it would be the case. The first version of the cover was reversed, with the words “Public Display of Aggression” on the bottom and my name on the top. I didn’t expect it to be a big deal because the characters were still visible. Once again, I didn’t grasp the difficulties that accompanied this change. Lothar was under the impression that the top of the cover would be filled with the long title, so he dedicated more time to the details of the bottom portion. When he saw the title on the bottom of the cover blocking the parts that he’d spent days perfecting, he took it as an insult. It took a few panicked conversations with both Lothar and the publisher to change the cover but thankfully we were able to come up with an image that was agreeable to everyone.
I realize that my experience isn’t representative of everyone who has worked with illustrators, but if anyone is considering hiring an artist I hope this post provides some advice. Decide if you want the image to be stationary or portray movement and ask the artist if they are adept in one or both. If the artist is not going to be putting in the title themselves, make sure you’re able to tell them exactly where it will be placed, how big the font will be, and, if you can, what color it will be. These are things I didn’t dwell on because (pardon the cliché) I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Since I’m not an artist I didn’t realize that it isn’t enough for an image to be visible; some portions of images are given more attention than others and are intended to jump out at the audience. I also can’t appreciate how much a single picture can mean for an artist’s career. As a writer, I’m accustomed to taking a step back. There may be a chapter that a reader doesn’t like, or somebody may notice a plot hole, but I’m not bothered by those kinds of specified issues. It’s unlikely that someone will pick up a book and read only one chapter, and people can find plot holes in any work of fiction if they look hard enough. I’m concerned with my book as a whole, not individual paragraphs, and I’m interested in the overall audience response instead of a few isolated nitpicks. For artists, I’ve learned, it’s different. Somebody may only ever see one of their works, which means they may only be known by that single project. That’s why it’s important to be crystal clear with artists about what you want when hiring them, and to be patient when they take a long time to complete it. For all they know that project may be the only thing a patron will ever associate with their name.
Sunday, June 20, 2021
In this full collection of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred, we have included all six stories from volumes 1 and 2, a bonus story "Looking Inside" by Margo L. Dill (only available in this collection), and a foreword by Margo also. Each story has an illustration to start the story along with a question for children to consider while the story is being read aloud to them (or older children can read to themselves). These stories are perfect for parents and grandparents to read to the children in their lives.
The stories are:
"Looking Inside" Join a kindergarten class as they learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and how he believed all people were the same on the inside.
"Ben and the Terrible Red Card" Ben is always getting in trouble at school, but he feels his teacher just misunderstands him. He's trying!
"The Hobbling Hermit" The hermit's feet hurt, and he takes out his grumpiness on his new housemate, a small, smart mouse.
"Sammy and the Cross-eyed Crow" Sammy lives in the jungle and talks to animals! What happens when he meets a crow who can't fly straight?
"Ben and the Bully, Billy Bob" Here's another Ben story, and this time, Ben's in front of the principal's office for a run-in with Billy Bob the Bully!
"The Cheerless Chairmaker" Fred Olds has written a new fairy tale with a poor, sweet chairmaker and a smart, savvy princess!
"Sammy and the Royal Rabbit" Sammy is back in the jungle with Jonathan the crow, and this time, he is visited by a rabbit who thinks he's a king!
This is a very special collection of short stories by two experienced children's authors. Don't miss out on getting this collection today!
About the Author, Fred Olds
Fred Olds has crafted dozens of stories over the years and has been involved with various writing and critique groups. At the age of 92, he is a devoted husband and proud father and grandfather living in Central Illinois. After retirement from the Postal Service as an electronic technician, he finally has time to concentrate on writing. A true storyteller at heart, his first love is writing children’s books with an occasional murder mystery thrown in for a change of pace. Check out his kids’ short story books, Read-Aloud Stories with Fred, Vol. 1 and then Vol. 2, and his first book for adults, The Hobo Who Wasn’t, an exciting detective story. He's also the author of The Dog and the Flea: A Tale of Two Opposites and The Cat, the Mouse, and the Neighbors' Dog, two books of the Perky Pet Problems picture book series.
Book Summary of Only My Horses Know
Life on a Montana horse ranch has always been the best for twelve-year-old Kylie Hannigan. She bonds with the horses, rides them with her friend Joey, and helps her mom train them. Plus she barrel races her favorite horse, Kiwi, and with plenty of practice and grit, they will definitely beat her rival Olivia this year.
But then, something starts happening with Kylie’s mom. She sleeps all the time, and Kylie has to do the chores, the training, and all the care for the horses--and it’s too much! At least it’s summer, so she doesn’t have to worry about school, and she can spend time talking to her favorite animals. One day, a strange-behaving horse with an even stranger name shows up for
training but is only ignored by Kylie’s mom. Training a difficult horse used to be a fun challenge Kylie could share with her mom, but that’s not even happening now.
Then her mom changes again, and she’s up doing everything—including cooking and cleaning in the middle of the night. Kylie still gets no rest because Mom thinks Kylie should be able to do it all, too. So when school starts and Mom’s behavior goes back and forth and back and forth, and then embarrasses Kylie in front of Joey more times than she can count, Kylie decides the only thing she can do is hide everything from everyone—accept her horses.
Kylie’s life spins out of control along with her mom’s. She can’t train for the barrel races with Kiwi or keep up with homework or talk to her best friend. What will it take to get her life back to the way it used to be? Or is that even possible?
About the Author, Cinda Jo Bauman
Cinda Jo Bauman lives in Central Illinois with her husband and dogs. During her high school years, she took every art class offered along with every child development class. After a class where she spent part of the day at a daycare, child development won out over art. Years of story time led to a love of children’s picture-books, which made her wish she had stuck with art.
Flash forward to today, and she still loves children’s books! After researching and much study; learning about writing and illustrating children’s books, she joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and found her passion. Besides writing children’s picture books and middle-grade novels, Cinda also creates with cut paper sculptures and paints in oil and acrylic. She loves iris flowers and the color purple.
Only My Horses Know is her debut middle-grade novel.
Find out more about Cinda:
Cinda's website is: https://kidsillio.com/
Cinda's YouTube Channel is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spQ7Vyc-4ZA
About the Author & Publisher, Margo L. Dill
Margo L. Dill is the CEO and owner of Editor-911 Books in St. Louis, MO. She is also the author of the American Civil War Adventure Series with two books, Anna and the Baking Championship and Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg, for middle-grade readers. Her other books are That's the Way It Always Happened and Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire: The Case of the Missing Cookies, which are illustrated picture books, and she has a short story about kids learning about Martin Luther King Jr.'s teachings in Fred Olds's collection of short stories, Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Vols. 1 and 2. Her next book is for teachers and parents and is out in June 2021, It's Not Just Academics: A Guide To Teach Kids' Health, Communication, and Social Emotional Skills. She lives in St. Louis with her tween daughter and lively rescue dog, Sudsi.
Find out more at:
Her website: www.margoldill.com
Editor-911 Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoDill.author.editor
Editor-911 website: https://editor-911.com/editor-911-books-1
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
By Hugh Fritz
Magic has always been limited to living things. Throughout his life, Soleil has never come across an object with supernatural capabilities. Now, a human has somehow constructed guns with the ability to fire spells. Genies are normally resistant to offensive magic, but Soleil knows from experience that the enchanted revolvers harm all creatures equally.
Resurrection is one of the few limitations to a Genie’s abilities. Not even magic should be able to bring a person back from death. Recently, though, Flarence saw a corpse not only rise but also fight. Endowed with incredible speed and strength, the revived man seeks revenge on his murderers.
To make matters worse, Darren (the third member of the Genie “family”) is still missing. He's been lying low, biding his time, but hasn’t forgotten about Officer Tymbir, and has every intention of settling their score.
Darren, the revived corpse, and the man with the magic guns have a list of people to kill, and are eager to spill blood. With the help of Mohinaux and Claire, Soleil and Flarence rush to locate them, uncover the sources of their powers, and find a way to stop them.
This book is perfect for adults who want to get in touch with their inner child!
About the Author Hugh Fritz:
Hugh Fritz is a fan of monsters, mad scientists, sorcerers, and anything that involves beings with incredible powers beating each other senseless. After years of writing research papers, he decided it was time to give reality a rest and let his imagination run wild.
Find out more at: