Tag Archives: books

Introvert with Extrovert Tendencies

Yup, that’s how I often describe myself.  I’m like a malfunctioned Ying/Yang as well.  What sucks about it is that I’m also an author sooooo, when I am advertising/marketing anything goes.  It also depends on how much sleep I’ve had and how the mood swings with the lack of sleep.  I do like when the “I don’t care, I’m exhausted so it WILL work” mood kicks in.  It’s the “Why do I keep doing this, no one seems to be paying any attention and I obviously suck” mood that really bites.  It’s not that I don’t believe in myself or my work.  Far from it.  I love my characters and stories so I could never be embarrassed or ashamed of them.  If anything, I want people to meet them.  They are, after all, a part of me so in a way, my characters/stories introduce me.  Yes, even the villains are a part of me.   

In crowds or at large social gatherings or even the small ones…well, let’s just say I’m a wrapped up nerve about to burst if I can’t find a quiet corner to hide…er exist in until the event is over.  Of course, if books or writing is mentioned….well then, there is no off switch and that bundled nerve unravels (so run).  So why do I find it so hard to market/advertise via social media?  Well, I’m not a pushy or ‘assertive’ type (I’m the horrible meek, quiet, you don’t see me).  Stupid, right?  Yes, it bothers me too.  It’s this annoying little malfunction or glitch in my programming that says it is impolite and people don’t want you to shove your ‘wares’ (in my case, books) down their throat-mention maybe, but don’t suffocate them.  I really don’t mind seeing Tweets or FB posts where others are presenting/selling their work (even if it is like every five minutes)–if anything, I will retweet/repost for them (well, not every five minutes). I seriously want them to do good and I hope my wee bit helps.  I always hope they do the same for me (for which I’ve learned that most don’t) and I, for some annoying reason, feel embarrassed at asking them to do the same for me (I have this silly notion in my mind that people should do things because they want to and not because they were asked).  Yes, I’m afraid that I am really that simple and silly.  I probably need to see a shrink for this defect.

Ah well, my psyche will always be an issue I guess and writing/drawing will always be my therapy.  I just need to work A LOT more on the ‘speaking up’ part and maybe learning to ask people for things.  Fortunately, we are all ‘works in progress’ so there’s still time/hope.  So with that said, while I am in the ‘just give it try’ mode, I will beseech those that read this to aide me.  Lulu (who I mostly publish through) sent an email saying that if the author gets family/friends to Tweet about their book then they will add the author to their giftguide.  I really don’t know how many Tweets must be tweeted before they decide or even if there is an end date.  I don’t imagine the same Tweeter posting loads of times would be of any help so one tweet per tweeter would most likely do.  So if you have a Twitter account and could, please, copy/paste/tweet this for me: 

Please RT @Luludotcom http://www.lulu.com/shop/christy-condoleo/pell-shade-and-the-mysterious-paper/paperback/product-18622243.html?mid=cjaffiliate #lulugiftguide for “Pell Shade and the Mysterious Paper” to be in their gift guide
I always return courtesies so if you are ever in need, I will definitely assist! Thank you!
Just so you know what your tweeting about: “Pell Shade and the Mysterious” paper is a middle-grade chapter book about a little girl who has discovered that there is something more to the origami paper her aunt gave her as a gift. It has received really wonderful reviews.  You can check them out on B&N, Amazon, and (of course) Lulu — unfortunately, each site has different reviews (I wish I could group them together so people didn’t have to site skip).
Here’s what one reviewer wrote on B&N (Author Anna del C. Dye for Readers Favorite) : “What a riveting tale is found in Pell Shade’s story! It is a must for elementary age, tween and young adult homes. It will receive their parents’ and teachers’ complete approval. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the most interesting plot I have seen in a long time. It has a refreshing new concept, one that will be loved by many readers as they discover this new well-written series. Aunt Syne is looking for a gift for her niece Pell. She wants something special and finds it in the “Rare Find Store.” The owner doesn’t want to be paid, and he knows exactly what she needs. When she gives it to her niece, the girl isn’t very impressed. The gift only consists of origami paper and a thick, probably very boring, instruction book. Everything changes when Aunt Syne makes a bird with it, and the creation starts flying. Well, all is swell and fantastic until a very disagreeable man wants Syne to give him the stack of paper. He says the papers belong to him and he won’t give up until he gets back what is his. More problems arise when the man kidnaps one of the two heroines and wants to exchange the papers for the person in his hands. Their only hope lies with two unlikely friends they find in kids that have nothing but each other.
This tale is quite unique and will be very compelling to many readers. I know you will love it, as I did. It is, without a doubt, a page-turner. I can’t wait for the next piece in the series. Well done.”
Statua Magis = Imagine More
(In Pell Shade, it is what brings the origami paper to life)

Random tidbits…

When I write, I constantly research.  I may write fiction/fantasy, but I feel I should know the truth of the subject matter that I am focused on before I write or better still, alter.  No matter how tiny or seemingly inconsequential the matter.  Yes, I’m that annoying.  I’m currently working on a picture book (over 500 words) and a pic book (only 500 words) for a contest entry.  Yes, yes, children’s stories, but that doesn’t mean that there can’t be some fact in them.  For example: In my children’s pic book, “Something Greater Than Fear”, my dear Ms. Figgs takes some spider web and applies it to the owl’s wound to stop the bleeding.  That’s a fact.  Also, spiders to me are fascinating yet they also freak me out.  While these websites aren’t the original source I discovered it, they too support the fact. http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/The-Amazing-Spider-Web-319037.html and  http://www.livescience.com/1094-spider-silk-repair-human-ligaments.html .  I always check more than two or three sources and always check the source itself.

So…did you know birds have the sense of smell, but some rely more on their eyes and sense of touch than smell? I was researching crows for this one. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110412201724.htm  and http://www.birdsandblooms.com/Birds/Summer/Can-Birds-Smell-or-Taste/  Also did you realize that only male crickets chirp? http://cricket-breeding.com/how-and-why-do-crickets-chirp/   Some seaweed…have air bladders in it to help it float. http://nature.ca/explore/di-ef/isap_e.cfm  Also, ‘ginormous’ is actually a word despite my 2003 copy of Microsoft Word’s spell checker!

Also, a fun fact…I research any name that I give my characters.  Some may be gaelic and some may come from what the story is centered around.  For example, in Pell Shade, almost all of the names come from paper, writing tools, or ink.  Mnemosyne was the Greek Goddess of Memory or Mother of the Muses.  Awl Blott, well since he is the bad guy…Awl – a pointed instrument used for piercing small holes and Blott – take off the extra ‘t’ and you have a spot or stain, especially of ink on paper.  I feel a name is just as important as the character.  To quote Boingo from “Hoodwinked” :

“Dolph, tie up the brat; Liesel, hold the book; Vincent, get the truck; and Keith… darn it change your name, please. That’s not scary and I’m embarrassed to say it. Boris, try that. Keith, ya know, OOOO Watch out for Keith!”

Story Time!

I’m having a blast!  At the beginning of the year, author J.D. Holiday asked me to co-host a Blog Talk Radio Show that would highlight authors and their books by reading them on an online type of radio show.  I’d only heard of and was involved with Blog Talk Radio once.  I was interviewed on Book Bites for Kids which is hosted by Suzanne Lieurance.  It was fun and then done so I never had any thoughts of actually being a part of one.  Now, I can’t think of anything more fun.  I not only get a chance to meet new authors, but I can help them as well.  We offer free advertising (we use Twitter, Facebook, Blogspot, GooglePlus, Pinterest, LiveJournal, and GoodReads).  Also they can post coloring pages from their storybooks on our Coloring Pages Gallery that we have on Photobucket-if they don’t have uncolored pages, we even try to help clear the color for them.  So far one author has decided to turn the tables and help us out as well-she made up flyers about the show to take to an event she was going to!  There you go.  That’s what it’s really all about–helping each other.

Here’s a looksee at our blog: www.itsstorytimeforkids.blogspot.com , our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Its-Story-Time-Gather-Round/254265851336655 , Pinterest http://pinterest.com/jdholiday/it-s-story-time-gather-round/ , Twitter @ItsStoryTime1 , Photobucket http://s932.photobucket.com/albums/ad167/coloringpagesgallery/ , and GooglePlus https://plus.google.com/b/104115631459873708375/# .

Even after their shows are finished, I still make references to their books and sites when I post on Twitter.  Hey, just because the shows over doesn’t mean I want to stop helping.  That’s not how I work.

One of my favorite parts is to read the stories on the show.  I love jumping into the tales.  So far, I’ve only been able to read one, but it was a sheer blast!  I do have another reading episode coming up in May.  This time, I’m reading one of my own.  ‘Something Greater Than Fear’.  I mention it on this blogsite–it’s the post titled ‘It’s the Tiny Details…’  .  I was really pleased with how it turned out and I’m even proud to say that a little boy made it into a class project-a dioram!

Oh yeah, no author could want a better gift than to see a reader make a project from their book.  I mean to be chosen and then for the child to spend time thinking of the book while making the project…well, there’s no warmer feeling!

I’m getting off track with this post so I guess that means it’s time to close it on up.  Check out the links and if you are an author of children’s storybooks or even chapter books email us if you’d like to be on the show.  It’s only a 30 minute show so ideally we like to have stories that are 8-12 minutes long.  However, we have made allowances for longer or even shorter books.  If it’s a chapter book, we do what I like to call a ‘teaser’.  We read the first couple of chapters and hope to hook the listener into needing more of your story so that they go and buy it.  If it’s a short pic book (less that 8min or even 5min), then we match yours with another one.  We also archive the shows, which I think is cool.  BTR provides an ’embed’ code which in turn allows us to give the authors a little radio device to place on their blogs, websites, etc.  So come on, whether you plan to listen or be on the show we welcome you.

It’s the tiny details…

that always draw my attention.  I find that with each book I publish, I am paying more and more attention to those and I am finding ways of making the book not ‘so plain’ looking.  I’m not up to my ‘grande’ expectations yet but I’m reaching and will keep doing so.

I wanted to ‘add’ something special to my latest picture book so I decided instead of the usual drop case lettering, I would make one.  Since the book is ‘fallish’, I chose to draw a moon and a vine that would surround the letter.  Eh, that description is a bit awkward–

I started with a capital ‘A’  drop case ltr s1

Then used the drawing tool (felt pen selection) to draw a thin vine.  After I was satisfied w/the leaves, I used the ‘fill’ to color them in with fall colors.

drop case ltr s3

On my Corel program it allows you to ‘blink’ (in other words, you can temporarily shut the layer you were working on so you can add a new one without it getting in the way).  I drew a circle, I didn’t want it to completely surround the letter.  I then used the fill to color in the moon–a deep golden yellow is my favorite for a ‘harvest-type’ moon.

drop case ltr s2

Drop Cap

  “At a breath past midnight…” Only the ‘A’ (of course) is the drop case picture.

I also decided on the text pages that I wanted a border.  I’m a fan of all things celtic so here’s a bit of my interpretation…

border v2
Text page border

Okay, it looks less blah with the words incorporated and it gives a weird 3d-ish type effect.  Now, how I did the effect is a mystery to even me but each time I look closely at the finished page (maybe it’s the text being on the page too and it does a mind/eye trick) it looks like there’s more to it than my mere little lines had originally thought to give off.  This was a tricky design but I found a way to ‘fix’ my inability to have ‘equal’ or ‘even’ lines–do one portion (which was the top) and then ‘copy’ and ‘paste’.  I did need to use the ‘rotate’ and ‘scale’ on my Corel Painter to flip the one strand for the sides and even the bottom (notice how it curves in the middle to the inside?).  I also corrected any flaws from the original design–I can’t walk a straight line let alone draw one so trying to make things even or equal is very much a task for me-luckily I’ve a bit of knowledge and a decent drawing program that helps.

Ok, next is my little page number ‘details’.  I didn’t think a plain look would make me happy.  I wanted to dress up the plain text pages–they can’t compete with the picture pages but they can look ‘dressy’.  I used three leaves from my yard.  One leaf I was really quite impressed with (the first one).  If you look closely at it’s shape, you might see an ‘owl’.  The story is about an owl by the way.

Start w/a simple leaf    Different leaf, I know, but same concept (I had to do the same steps for each leaf)-I did not want a ‘background’ so I erased the shadowy background.Leaf before numbering


I did decide to leave ‘a little’ shadow and ‘trimmed’ a bit off here and there.  On the ‘owl leaf’ I emphasized the holes a little more.

leaf blog 3
Ready for numbering
Adding the number

On this leaf, I also emphasized the holes a bit more.  I used ‘chiller’ font – stretching and twisting it to fit inside the leaf.  Ok, despite the book being 32+pages, I only made leaves for the text pages (thankfully–after a while it can get tedious changing, then saving, then repeating).

Voila!  I’m still thinking to add a bit more.  I did put a few bare sketches on the copyright page–those tend to be too plain for me but I don’t feel they need color to be catchy.  I’m still compiling, copy/pasting, etc.  so there may be more to add later on.  Actually, I’ll upload a ‘finalized’ text page next.

Draigs jump from storybook to real life!

Being a writer, a self published writer is hard enough–you wear all the hats that a traditional publisher pays at least 10 or more people for.  So, if you’ve book in hand (your dream) then you must get it noticed or else your hard work is for naught.  Draig leapt from the storybook pages at a chance to help me out.  Seriously, I had been gearing up for a festival book signing and wanted to do something eye catching.  I still don’t know how I thought this up and my kitchen is still recovering!

I started out w/a small table top version and somewhere in my thoughts, something demanded that I do something greater/more eye catching.  Well, what could be more eye catching than a  seven foot long, 3 foot high water dragon?  Ok…the materials were mostly household items that were destined for some kind of recycle or reuse–brown kraft paper (that I had received from a book order), magazines (my sister no longer wanted so gave to me), and card board inards (cut the lids off boxes, strip off the outer paper and you find the corrugated ridges).  Then of course the paint (I had from other projects but did have to purchase more), packaging tape, glue, paper mache (water, salt, flour), and white foam pages (for the horns, teeth, and spikes along the spine).  That’s about it…I did learn later that a wire skeleton would’ve been nice.  Eh, my first paper mache endeavor of this magnitude so next time.

Here is a detailed account of this wonderfully messy (it was in my hair for days!) adventure and yes, I would do it again!