Sunday, November 16, 2014


I love the posts over at Tara Lazar's site every November during PiBoIdMo! Some inspire me by presenting a new way to look at creativity, and some are reminders of things that I already knew, but seem to forget about when trying to create.

The last few on not censoring yourself inspired me to write this post. Back in the days when I was a graphic designer in the advertising/communications field, we would have brainstorming sessions for new projects. We would have to repeat the rules about 10 times each session because someone would say, "that's stupid," or "don't write that one down!" That breaks the first rule – anything goes – NO CENSORING! You gotta get the bad ideas out somehow!

Here's a quote from the great Chuck Jones about creating art:


Switch out ‘drawings’ with ‘ideas’, or any creative endeavor.

Here is my list of Brainstorming Rules written in deference to the Movie Fight Club, and the Rules of Fight Club:

  • 1st RULE:  You do not censor ANY ideas in BRAINSTORM.
  • 2nd RULE: EVERY IDEA gets written down in BRAINSTORM.
  • 3rd RULE: No Judgey Judgersons! If someone says 'that's stupid' or 'don't write that down' BRAINSTORM is over for them, and escort them out of the room. (This includes your inner voices!)
  • 4th RULE: Only 15 minutes for each BRAINSTORM. (If nothing comes out of it, take and break and come back to it.)
  • 5th RULE: In BRAINSTORM, quantity trumps quality. The more ideas, the better.
  • 6th RULE: Build upon other ideas. Take an idea you wrote down and add to it.
  • 7th RULE: Sketch you ideas out. If you just thought 'but I can't draw' please leave the BRAINSTORM. (Back to 3rd RULE of BRAINSTORM!)
  • 8th RULE: Wild ideas are welcome. This is the time to think of the wildest ideas you can imagine! Having toys and puzzles around may help get your juices flowing.

Good luck with your ideas!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

It's PiBoIdMo Time Again!

It's that time of year again – the leaves are turning, the weather is colder, and it's Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo)!

PiBoIdMo is a writing challenge for picture book writers and illustrators. The idea is to come up with one picture book idea every day in November, so by the end of the month you'll have 30 new ideas to help you throughout the year! I just love the adorable banner for this year, designed by Vin Vogel!

Don't miss the daily posts on Tara Lazar's site from authors, illustrators and picture book professionals to help you along on your 30-day idea journey this November.

Participants who register for PiBoIdMo and complete the 30-idea challenge will be eligible for prizes, including signed picture books, original art, critiques, Skype sessions and feedback from one of eleven picture book agents! You have until Nov. 7th to sign up to be eligible for prizes.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hug a Book Week Day 7

Saving the best for the last day of Hug A Book Week. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak, which won the Caldecott in 1964.

This book has had a profound effect on me. Every time I think of it, I go back to being a kid, and feeling those warm fuzzies it always gave me. There's just something magical about this book! ‪

For more info about Hug a Book Week:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hug A Book Week #4

Today, we're hugging the graphic novel Jane, the Fox & Me written by Fanny Britt, a Quebec playwright, author and translator. She has written a dozen plays (among them Honey Pie, Hôtel Pacifique and Bienveillance) and translated more than fifteen. She has also written and translated several other works of literature. The book is illustrated by one of my current art crushes,  Isabelle Arsenaut.

After reading this book, I realized that I never read Jane Eye (which is the "Jane" in the title), so I read that, too. So it was a twofor.

For more info about Hug a Book Week:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hug A Book Week #3

Today, I'm posting my art instead of me - I'm not really a "selfie" type person, so it's a little weird for me to keep posting pictures of myself!

Today, it's all about last year's Newberry winner Flora & Ulysses written by the wonderful Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by KC Campbell. This book is so hilarious, it had me laughing out loud the whole time I read it. I mean, a vacuum attacks a squirrel and gives him super powers – what's not to love? And the illustrations are so quirky and fun. Squeaky the squirrel loves it, too, since there aren't a lot of super-hero-squirrel books out there for him to read.

For more info about Hug a Book Week:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hug a Book Week #2

Image if Joan Rivers were here to ask:
Who are you hugging?

Today, it's one of last year's Caldecott honor books, Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen. I could stare at this book for hours!

For more info about Hug a Book Week:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hug a Book Week!

Have you hugged a book today? 

Simon and Schuster is celebrating the release of the adorable book Hug Machine by promoting this week as Hug a Book Week! I have actually hugged books in real life, so this is really nothing new to me, other than the act of posting the photos for the world to see.

So, for every day this week as part of #HugABookWeek, I'm going to post a photo of me hugging a book I love.

I'm playing catch up as the Missouri SCBWI conference had me a little busy this weekend - so today I'm posting two!

First, is me hugging Kelly Light's new release Louise Loves Art. I've been following Kelly online for several years and am so happy for her and her debut book as an author/illustrator. 

Second, is me hugging Dan Yaccarino's Unlovable. This is such a sweet book that is VERY lovable and just begging to be hugged! And I got it autographed this weekend at the conference!

For more info about Hug a Book Week:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New Illustration - Stealing Ideas

I've been experimenting with a new style that incorporates my pencil sketches into the final illustration, instead of creating it all digitally. This is a new piece done in that style, based on this quote from Mo Willems: 

"A lot of people think of ideas as objects or animals that you hunt. You go into the woods, you find an idea, you capture it, and you bring it home. And ideas really are more like gardens. And every day, you're planting lots and lots of ideas. Some of them get eaten by birds, and never go anywhere. Some of them grow up to be really horrible things. Some wither and die. Every now and then, over time, some idea grows up to be big and beautiful and filled with fruit."

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Still Rhyming!

I have having so much fun at this rhyming stuff, I can't stop! Like Gloria Estefan says, "the rhythm is gonna get you!" It got me, all right!

I wrote a poem to enter the poetry contest that The Children's Book Academy is having. The theme is "Why Do Kids Love Poetry?"

Why Kids Love Poetry
by Lynn Alpert

Poems are pretty things to hear –
a sweet song from a wren.
They make me want to dance and sing,
and do it all again!

When I read a poem out loud,
I feel I’m in a trance.
It’s like my tongue and words
come out and do a little dance.

Clap and sing and read along,
it’s hard to not join in!
The rhyming party has begun –
try not to tap and grin!

Why do kids love rhyming texts?
I’ll speak for all us kids –
it’s fun to hear and say the sounds –
that’s it, that’s all there is!

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Final Week of RhyPiBoMo

Books I read this past week:

A bittersweet ending to a wonderful month learning tons of stuff about poetry. I'm sad it's over, but I got great news this morning: I received an honorable mention for my poem Please Don't Make Me Eat Those Peas AND I randomly won one of the daily prizes! Yay!

There were some really good entries in the contest – check them out here!

I am now a graduate of the first annual RhyPiBoMo and I will proudly display this here:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Speaking of Books . . .

I have been exposed to a lot of new writers during the last month, and I want to share a book that I just fell in love with! It's not really a rhyming book, since it has only 2 words in the whole thing, but Boy, Howdy! is it adorable!

It's called Mine! by Shutta Crum. First, you gotta love her name (and it's her real name, too!) and second, Patrice Barton is  an illustration genius! The story she tells in the images are priceless! And that dog it so stinking cute! If you want a good does of charming, read this book!

Monday, April 28, 2014

RhyPiBoMo End of Week 4

Here are the books I read this week:
I love looking at these little squares of awesomeness! It just makes me happy!

I also have a poem to share with you –  the poem I entered into the Golden Quill Poetry Contest. Angie said she had over 40 entries! I'm excited to see the finalists!

Please Don’t Make Me Eat Those Peas

Please don’t make me eat those peas –
they stink and make me gag and wheeze.
I have a strong aversion to
those squishy globes of greenish goo!

I try to feed them to our puppy,
the hamster, and the family guppy.
They try a pea and spit it out –
they hate them, too, without a doubt!

I wish you would respect my wishes–
I promise I will do the dishes
if you don’t force me to consume
that evil, little green legume!

I’ll clean my room and make my bed
and make sure that the pets are fed.
If you love me, I’m beggin’ please,
Please don’t make me eat those peas!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

RhyPiBoMo End of Week 3

Still plugging away on RhyPiBoMo and learning A LOT! I don't have any poems to post, but I'm almost finished with one that I'm going to enter into the Golden Quill Poetry Contest. In the meantime, here are the books I've read last week.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

RhyPiBoMo End of Week 2

I am learning so much about writing poems. There sure is a lot that I didn't know that I didn't know!

One of the things that I didn't know about is a 5-line poem called a Tanka. It's similar to the Haiku, in that it has rules about how many syllables each line has:
Tanka- a 5-line poem

Line 1 has five syllables

Line 2 has seven syllables

Line 3 has five syllables

Line 4 has seven syllables

Line 5 has seven syllables

Here’s my Tanka:

Spring has sprung just overnight
Mother Nature just pressed ‘go’
Trees abloom with white flowers
We revel in the beauty

Books I read this week:

Sunday, April 06, 2014

RhyPiBoMo - Day 8

One of the rules of RhyPiBoMo is to read a rhyming picture book every day. Here are the books I read in the fist week.

One week down and 3 to go! Today, we learned about the different quatrains and the different rhyming patterns they can have. Here is one with the ABAB pattern:

    Buddy is a crazy boy!
    He jumps on everyone around,
    because he can’t contain his joy.
    He’s such a wacky, happy hound!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

RhyPiBoMo Day 5

Today, we learned about Haiku and Limericks. Here is a fitting Haiku for today since a tornado touched down about 2 blocks from my house this morning and I didn't even wake up!!!

Wind bursts barrel through,
So strong and powerful, then,
Eerie quietness.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

RhyPiBoMo Day 3

    April Fool
    They say don’t write your book in rhyme,
    but I still do it all the time.

    I don’t set out to do it –
    the editors will boo-hoo it!

    I guess I’m just a foolish fool
    who thinks that’s such a ghoulish rule!

    If I can make a kid laugh –
    with a rhyming paragraph –

    Then a fool, I guess, I’ll be
    along with Seuss, and company!

Monday, March 31, 2014

RhyPiBoMo Day 2

I'm a dork, and I love cats and silly poetry. Here's a poem/song that I wrote about my cat Squeaky:

Squeaky, Squeaky, she runs around the house
squeakin', squeakin', just like a mouse.

Squeaky, Squeaky, she's sweet as can be,
but she'll turn around and bite you if you touch her belly.

Squeaky, Squeaky, her tail's a ball of fur,
I really like to cuddle her and listen to her purr.

Squeaky, Squeaky, it really does seem
that we make a pretty darn good cat and mommy team.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

RhyPiBoMo - Day 1

Scanson, anapest, iamb, oh my!
Will I get this before I die?

This is the start of a month full of learning
To become an expert of something I’ve been yearning
to be

Wow that rhyme sucks,
But not to fear,
Because Angie Karcher
 and RhPiBoMo are here!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014 Picture Book Dummy Challenge Steps 1-3

I'm excited to be participating in the Picture Book Dummy Challenge. I finally wrote my first picture book with the help of the Children's Book Academy's online class The Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books.
If you need help with starting to write, I highly recommend this course! There's a new one starting February 10th. 

So, I'm in the process of developing my main character (a dog) – right now I'm just sketching from real-life photos of dogs, (and my real-life little Westie) to get the hang of what really makes a dog a dog. Then my next step is to stylize the character and give her personality!

How is everyone else doing?

I've posted the schedule here to help me keep track.
The Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books Highly Interactive e-Course Will be Starting
February 10th 2014 - See more at:
The Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books Highly Interactive e-Course Will be Starting
February 10th 2014 - See more at:
The Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books Highly Interactive e-Course Will be Starting
February 10th 2014 - See more at:
The Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books Highly Interactive e-Course Will be Starting
February 10th 2014 - See more at:

STEP 1: Pick your project (1 week) Jan 12-18

STEP 2: Draft the story (4 weeks) Jan 19-Feb 15

STEP 3: Develop the characters (2 weeks) Feb 16-Mar 1

STEP 4: Storyboard text and art (2 weeks) Mar 2-Mar 15

STEP 5: Render tight, full-size sketches (8 weeks) Mar 16-May 10

STEP 6: Produce final art of two spreads (4 weeks) May 11 - June 7

STEP 7: Assemble the dummy (2 weeks ) Jun 8-Jun 21

STEP 8: Research submissions; prepare dummy package(1 week) Jun 22-Jun 28

STEP 9: Submit (1 week) Jul 6- Jul 12 (Because of the July 4th holiday)

STEP 10: Celebrate! July 17 #kidlitart chat Wrap Party