Tag Archives: Mothmans Curse

Gifts and Talent

Mothman's Curse Final CoverFirst of all, an announcement: the winner of the Mothman’s Curse giveaway is TheSmitlyJotter! Congratulations! Christine will be in touch soon to arrange delivery. Thanks to everyone who commented and followed along with us through Christine’s launch. We hope you had as much fun as we did. If you didn’t win last week—stay with us! There are many more launches ahead this summer.

Next, I have a confession to make.

I forgot that I was supposed to post today.

Fortunately, the talented, helpful and far-better-organized-than-I Mylisa Larson sent me a heads up. That got me thinking.

If we remove the far-better-organized-than-I bit from the list of attributes above then we’re left with two traits: talented and helpful. I think there’s something about those two qualities, and the relationship between them, that merits some attention.

We all know people who are talented. We all know people who are helpful. But I think that if we were all to construct a Venn Diagram detailing the people in our lives who are talented and who are helpful then a good number of people would be listed in the in-between area—that special place reserved for people who are not just one thing or the other, but both.

That’s not a revolutionary thought, of course. Obviously we all know people who are talented and helpful. But I know that in recent years I’ve been developing a whole new appreciation for such people and how much good they do.

I think this awakening started when I began pursuing my Master’s in Children’s Literature. I had been away from writing and scholarship for a long time. I was (at least) ten years older than most of my classmates, who were all inconsiderately clever and creative and made me very conscious of my insecurities about moving from the education field (where I knew a thing or two) to the field of children’s literature (where I did not).

But as anxiety inducing as my classmates were, I was most influenced by my professors. And I quickly began to notice that the professors that seemed to be the most knowledgeable of their craft or area of scholarship were also the professors that were the most generous with their time and encouragement. I don’t think that’s a coincidence, or an observation born of gratitude. I think there’s a connection between talent and helpfulness. Maybe it’s because the most talented people are the most secure, and therefore the most open. Maybe talent demands growth and kindness nurtures growth—within and without. Maybe it’s more complicated than either of those thigns (or more simple).

All I know is that, since entering the world of writing for children, the people that have impressed me the most with their talent and skill have also been the people who are most inclined to encourage and support the growth of others. I think that’s true of the community here at EMU’s Debuts. I think it’s true elsewhere.

So what’s the takeaway from all of this? Maybe it’s a reminder to myself to remain appreciative. Maybe it’s a note that while I may not ever achieve the level of talent possessed by those that inspire me I can still aspire to match their generosity and level of encouragement. It’s so easy to forget to do both those things. Life is busy. There are weddings and honeymoons and medical tests and deadlines and new Batman video games to play. It’s easy to forget to be grateful and generous. But I genuinely believe it’s worth the effort, both for ourselves and the people around us.

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Celebrating MOTHMAN’S CURSE

Mothman's Curse Final Cover

If you haven’t read Mothman’s Curse yet, (Wait, why haven’t you read Mothman’s Curse yet? Get on that!) you’ll find that it features siblings that manage to get themselves into some outsize trouble. To celebrate that spirit, we’ve rounded up some tales of sibling shenanigans from our own Emus.

My sister and I were about 3 and 5 when we got into our mom’s baking cabinet, took out the flour, and poured it over one another. Unfortunately we were standing on top of the floor heater vent (an old Victorian house) so when the heat came on, it blew flour EVERYWHERE. My mom said she had to keep from laughing after scolding us because we were so flour-encrusted all she could see were the tear-tracks down our cheeks. Janet Fox

220px-Whole_wheat_grain_flour_being_scooped

To the artist, everything is a medium.

My three sisters and I did a lot of things that would’ve gotten us into trouble had we been caught. Here’s one instance where we felt we really got away with something. We all four loved to climb the trees in our apple orchard. Our parents told us in no uncertain terms that we were to avoid smaller branches because they couldn’t hold our weight. You guessed it. One of us took a chance and used a smaller branch to reach a higher branch and it broke. We snuck inside, grabbed a roll of masking tape and carefully taped it back together. Believe it or not that branch healed and grew to be a sturdy climbing branch. We couldn’t believe we’d gotten away with it because there would’ve been consequences for sure! Penny Parker Klosterman


Yep. That's gonna fix it.

Yep. That’s gonna fix it.

My brother, my friend Patti and I often played together outside, while my sister and our other neighbors, two different sets of sisters, played inside. We were a bit mischievous, and our favorite thing to do was to play ring and run. We were having so much fun! When they stopped answering the door, then we started running our knuckles down the shutters and hiding. Another time when there was a backyard sleepover in a tent at another neighbor’s house, we pretended to be ghosts to try and scare them. Then we pelted the tent with crabapples until we got caught and scolded by the girls’ very unhappy father. Maria Gianferrari

My brother and I were about 14 and 9 when we had to muck out the pig barn. We’d neglected it for far too long, so it was really, really nasty at that point. Somehow, we started singing about our work, which evolved (devolved?) into us taking turns attempting to use the s-word expletive for manure in every line of song, each of us trying to be more clever than the last. Whether or not our parents heard, I don’t know, but luckily they didn’t try to stop it. I don’t think I’ve ever sworn–or laughed–so much in my life, and I know the barn never got cleaned so quickly. Laurie Thompson

When my sister and I were in grade school – on the rare occasions when our parents went out alone for a couple of hours – we would make fudge and try to hide the evidence but the smell and mess always revealed we had broken the rule about never turning on the gas stove! Carole Gerber

800px-Vegan_Chocolate_Fudge

Fudge? I don’t smell fudge.

This is a story of why certain kids should not have access to surgical tubing. My two oldest boys tell me that if your parent is both trusting and a deep sleeper and if you have access to a certain gauge of surgical tubing, you can sneak out of your house at night and set up to launch water balloons from two cul-de-sacs away from a poker game that is being played outside in the summer in someone’s garage. And possibly because by 2 AM the people playing are a little impaired, they will never figure out what hit them or where it’s coming from. Mylisa Larsen

Best thing ever.

Water balloons. Best thing ever.

When I was growing up, we lived on a farm on a long dirt road.  It was quite hilly, and there was a huge hill above one side of our driveway. Cars were always speeding down it too fast and my dad was always lamenting that fact.  One day my sister and I were out for a walk along the road (I was, maybe, 12…so she was 9).  I don’t know how far we walked but we came to a speed limit sign.  We commented on the fact that my dad would love that sign right at the base of our driveway.  We made a joke about bringing it to him. We laughed about it.  And then we decided to do it.  I want to say it was my sister who came up with the harebrained idea, but I think it was mine.  I was the idea girl back then and my sister was the conviction and brawn.  So it probably went something like:

Me: We could dig it up and bring it to dad!
My sister: Let’s do it!
Me: No, we can’t do it…
My sister (already on her hands and knees, fingers in the dirt): Oh yes we can…

We dug that speed limit sign out of the ground–don’t ask me how–and we lugged it back to our house–don’t ask me how–and we re-stuck it at the bottom of our driveway.

My dad was not too pleased.
(I’m pretty sure moving a speed limit sign is, like, a federal offense…) Tam Smith

I know you've always wanted one of these.

I know you’ve always wanted one of these.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s celebration of Mothman’s Curse. Tell us about your own sibling shenanigans or comment on any post this week to be entered in a drawing for a signed copy.

Or pick up your own copy from Amazon, IndieboundBarnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and Powell’s.

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An interview with MOTHMAN’S CURSE illustrator James K. Hindle

Another day for celebrating MOTHMAN’S CURSE by Christine Hayes!

Mothman's Curse Final Cover

Just look at this AMAZING cover!

Really, how cool is this cover? Right? The mighty illustrator behind its awesome creepiness is James K. Hindle. And he’s got sweet black and white illustrations inside the book too. He was kind enough to answer some questions for me, so without further ado, here’s James…

You’re an illustrator and a designer, right? What do you design?  And then what do you illustrate? 

Image

One of James’ comics.

During the day, I work as an art director at a creative studio where I do a lot of different kinds of graphic design work for colleges, businesses and non-profits. Then, when I’m not there, I work as a freelance illustrator. I’ve mostly done editorial work for newspapers and magazines, but I was excited to work on Mothman’s Curse, and I hope it leads to more book illustration in the future. I also draw self-published mini comics.

How did you get connected to Christine’s book?

I was contacted by a designer at Roaring Brook Press. I met him at a comic book convention several years ago.

When you first read the manuscript for Mothman’s Curse did you take some time to decide if you wanted to illustrate it or did you know right away?

As soon as I read the description, I knew it would be a fun project to work on. It’s exactly the kind of spooky book I loved to read when I was a kid.

What were some of your favorite books?

6a00d83451fdc069e2017ee9b5e432970d

By Edward Gorey, from The House With a Clock in Its Walls.

My most favorite book that I can remember reading as a kid was The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs. The gothic story combined with Edward Gorey’s creepy illustrations left a lasting impression on me.

 There are illustrations within the book? How do you decide what gets illustrated in a novel?  Why black and white?

Yes, the book is filled with spot illustrations. They were required to be black and white, probably because of printing costs, but I enjoy working in black and white, so it was great for me.

Why do you enjoy working in black and white?

I enjoy the simplicity of black and white line drawings. That’s the kind of artwork that I’ve always gravitated towards, and the kind of artwork I’ve always enjoyed making.

For the most part, the publisher let me decide what to illustrate. It was a lot of fun to read through the manuscript and pick out scenes to draw.

Because you are also a designer, did you have any creative say in the design of the book?  The chapter heading art details, for example?

The book’s design was done by Andrew Arnold at Roaring Brook Press. I think he did an awesome job.

I do too! How did you create the cover? Was it a long process?

The cover process didn’t take too long. I started by making a few sketches of different ideas. Then, after they chose a direction, there was some back and forth about the poses of the characters, to get the movement and gesture just right. I love to illustrate covers, so this was a lot of fun.

Image 1

The different stages of MOTHMAN’s cover. So cool!

What was the most challenging part of this process?  What was the most rewarding?

The most challenging part of the book was deciding what to show, and how to show it. I wanted to make pictures that would set the right mood, but not show every detail of the scene, so that the reader could still use their imagination.

The most rewarding part was seeing all of the illustrations together after they were finished.

Have you illustrated other books?  Which ones?

This is the first real “book” that I’ve illustrated, but I’m looking forward to doing more in the future.

Do you have a general process for creating illustrations?  What is it?

 I start by making some sketches in pencil, and I send those to the client. They’ll pick one, and maybe have some changes, and I’ll make a revised sketch. Once they’re happy with it, I make the final drawing in pencil and then ink it. Then, I scan the ink drawing into the computer and color the illustration in Photoshop.

Do you use a sketchbook?

Yes, I always have a sketchbook with me. I use it to sketch ideas, write things down and draw from life.

What’s up next?

I have a few projects I’m working on at the moment, but nothing specific to share.

Well, we can’t wait to see what they are!  Thank you so much for sharing some of your process, James!

 

Image 5

James draws James!

James K. Hindle is an illustrator and a designer. His illustrations have appeared in numerous publications, including The Boston Globe, The New York Times and others. When he’s not drawing, he spends his days working as an art director at a graphic design studio. He lives in Western Massachusetts.

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Don’t forget to comment on this post and you will be entered to win a signed copy of Mothman’s Curse!  

Or pick up a copy for yourself or a friend at the following retailers: 

AmazonIndieboundBarnes and NobleBooks-A-Million, and Powell’s

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Celebrating MOTHMAN’S CURSE by Christine Hayes!

Mothman's Curse Final CoverWe are on a celebratory roll here at Emu’s Debuts with another book launching into bookstores and libraries near you this week. And you don’t want to miss this one, especially if you are a fan of spooky stories! Mothman’s Curse by Christine Hayes is about three kids who discover a polaroid camera that prints pictures haunted with the ghost of the local town recluse. The kids are quickly sucked into a mystery that involves cursed jewelry, an unhappy spirit, and the legendary Mothman.

Kirkus Reviews gave this middle grade mystery a starred review saying, “Along with a red-eyed, winged monster who is not at all shy about appearing, even over crowds of terrified onlookers, Hayes folds sudden blasts of bone-chilling cold, conversations with the dead, and plenty of other thrillingly eerie elements into a tale that winds suspensefully to a wild, scary climax. An ectoplasmic extravaganza . . . tailor-made for reading beneath the bedcovers.”

Comment on any post this week and you will be entered to win a signed copy of Mothman’s Curse!  Or pick up a copy for yourself or a friend at the following retailers: Amazon, IndieboundBarnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and Powell’s

Before we get to the festivities, we have two winners from our previous launch weeks to announce:

Congratulations Ann Bedichek Braden! You are the winner of a signed copy of My Dog is the Best by Laurie Thompson!

and

Congratulations Bridget R. Wilson! You are the winner of a signed copy of Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman!

 

And now to kick off the Mothman party, we decided to share some photos and talk about what scares us, but something seems to have gone awry with our cameras because these photos don’t seem quite right . . .

 

Jennshark

Here I am enjoying a nice tranquil day by the ocean, thinking about what a great read MOTHMAN’S CURSE is, and appreciating being OUT of the water since I’m terrified of what’s in it, and surely I will be safe if I’m on dry land.

 

Mariaclown

Uh, Maria? I know you and Becca are happily celebrating MOTHMAN’S CURSE but you might want to back slowly away from that fence. On second thought, I’d run if I were you!

 

MeganSamara

I think Megan may have noticed there’s someone else in her reflection besides herself . . .

PennySpider

Penny is being haunted by a spider as big as her head!

Susan

This photo was taken at the Old Asylum where Susan works. Those are stairs in an observatory tower with restricted access where nobody was supposed to be. The stairs were empty when Susan’s coworker snapped this photo, but when he got home it appears the stairs might not have been as empty as they’d originally thought.

TamSnake

Tam has a fear of snakes, so I think you should keep drawing happy pictures, Tam, and whatever you do DON’T look over your shoulder.

 

Carole

Carole wants to wish Chris a happy book publication week, but she’s trapped in a phone booth in London, and it looks like she has company.

ChrisMothman

Here is our lovable author, Christine, on vacation with her husband but wait . . . What’s that shadow coming over the mountain? Oh no–it’s the Mothman!! Quick! RUN!!! Run to your nearest bookstore or library to pick up a copy of MOTHMAN’S CURSE!

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Cover Reveal: MOTHMAN’S CURSE

The path to publication is long and twisty.  There are many opportunities along the way to pause and ask yourself, “Is this really happening?”

You may try to convince yourself that you imagined the whole thing: the phone call, the contract, the weeks of revisions fueled by Diet Coke and M&Ms. Maybe someone is playing a huge cosmic joke. Maybe the nice book people will come to their senses and fling your manuscript out a window of the Flatiron Building, exclaiming: “Whew! Glad we dodged that bullet!”

But then the day will come that the nice book people show you a completed cover, and you think to yourself, “Ha! They can’t back out now!”

Okay, maybe you will think that for like a second or two, but then you will be awed and honored and so dang excited! I am thrilled to reveal the cover of MOTHMAN’S CURSE, illustrated by the talented James K. Hindle:

 

Mothman's Curse Final Cover

 

Mr. Hindle has also done interior illustrations, which are fabulous and spooky. I wish I could show them to you right now! His art really captures the flavor of the book, which, if you couldn’t tell by the title, is about Mothman. And a curse. And some other spooky stuff. Here, this might help:

Josie may live in the most haunted town in America, but the only strange thing she ever sees is the parade of oddball customers that comes through her family’s auction house each week. But when she and her brothers discover a Polaroid camera that prints pictures of the ghost of local recluse John Goodrich, they are drawn into a mystery dating back over a hundred years. A desperate spirit, cursed jewelry, natural disasters, and the horrible specter of Mothman all weave in and out of the puzzle that Josie must solve to break the curse and save her own life.

In all seriousness, seeing my cover art has been my favorite step so far, and I’ve heard it only gets better from here! Someday soon there will be actual books out there in the world!

Until then, if you feel so inclined, here are the links to add to Goodreads, pre-order on Amazon, find on Indiebound, or peruse my new web site. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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ChristineHayesauthorpicChristine Hayes writes spooky stories for middle grade readers. Her debut novel, MOTHMAN’S CURSE, is due out June 16, 2015 with Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

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