Saturday, November 22, 2008

My First Picture Book

What do children think when they hear an adult tell them they have a cowlick in their hair, or other, similar expressions? In the opening stanzas of my first picture book, There's a COW Under My Bed! we meet a boy who explores this confusing world of invisible creatures:

My name is Oscar Ollie Brown
And there are things that make me frown
That irk, annoy, and puzzle me
Because - they're things I cannot see!

The first one is especially strange
For cows live on a farm, or range
And yet each night when I'm in bed
One sneaks in here and licks my head!

The idea for this story came some years ago, and, while I wrote the original version then, it was a long time before I polished it and sent it to Tuckamore books, along with some sample illustrations by David Jardine.

Sending artwork isn't generally recommended when submitting picture book stories, but it was the right fit in this case. In the fall of 2007, the publisher offered contracts to both David and I and a little over a month ago
There's a COW Under My Bed! hit the bookstores.

I love David's richly coloured, zany illustrations, which can still make me laugh out loud.

If you'd like to hear a short interview with Oscar and I, please visit our Youtube here:

We had a lot of fun doing this (and thanks to David for putting it all together!) and hope you'll enjoy watching it.  You might need to turn up the volume on your computer.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Different Kind of Reluctant Reader

Yup, I admit it. I'm a lousy blogger. (Is there a support group out there?)

So, it's been more than a year since I've been here. In that time I've had one (that's right - one) person comment that she'd read my blog and it was all about cats. For some reason, she sounded unimpressed.

I keep hearing about how I'm supposed to use this golden opportunity to promote my books. Maybe I should give it a shot.

I suppose I could mention that a new Shelby mystery hits the shelves this month. Searching for Yesterday - book 6 in the series. I haven't seen it yet but it should be arriving soon. I actually thought it would be here last week but no such luck. Good luck, as it turns out, for my dad, who actually groaned out loud a couple of weeks back when I told him I'd have a new Shelby for him soon.

Out loud! With me standing right there. "You don't have to read it," I said. I smiled to show him I meant it.

"That's the problem," he sighed. "I have to read it."

I can't persuade him that it's not necessary. I know these are books for teens and even if they weren't they're not the genre he'd normally read. It would be all right if he skipped some of them. But in his mind duty demands that he supports me by reading every book I write.

It's amusing to see the doomed-man look on his face when I pass him a new volume.

The feedback wouldn't inspire a novice to a career in writing either. I've lost track of how many times he's patiently explained that my work is "kind of juvenile."

That's the point isn't it - when you write for teens? I tell him so. He says he knows but I can tell he's not getting it. : )

But then, sometimes he calls me and says something quite different. Like when he read Speechless, and commented, "This book should be in every school in the country." It doesn't take a genius to translate that. He liked it.

And even when he doesn't ... even when he groans and proclaims something 'juvenile' he keeps on reading them. One sentence at a time, if you'll pardon the pun.

And that's something. It's more than something.