Tag Archives: THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT

Covers, Covers, Covers

Elly Swartz’s Finding Perfect just got a cover last week (see it here) and that reminded me of how exciting (ok, and nerve wracking) seeing your cover for the first time can be. A lot is riding on that cover design. In spite of the proverb, we all judge a book by its cover.

The perfect cover isn’t only beautiful, it delivers the right book to the right reader. So I thought I’d do a roundup of four books that I’ve had the opportunity to read whose covers do exactly that. The first is Penny Parker Klostermann’s There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed A Knight with art by Ben Mantle.There Was an Old Dragon cover

From the minute you see that big, old dragon with the dinner napkin around his neck, you know he’s trouble. Funny trouble. And the book delivers that funny again and again both through text and pictures.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 11.51.40 PM

The cover of Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s Book Scavenger tells you, “Hey, if you like books, if you like mysteries, if you like to solve puzzles, this is your book. Sarah Watt’s did the art and April Ward designed the cover. And when you read the book, it absolutely delivers on the cover’s promise. Books, mystery, puzzles galore.

CharmedChildrencover (1)

Janet Fox’s cover of The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, with art by Greg Ruth, is fabulously sinister. You can’t help wanting to go into that lighted door and yet, at the same time, thinking “I am not sure those kids should go in that door. I do not have a good feeling about this.” Janet’s book comes out in March but I’ve already read an ARC and let me tell you, it’s both worth going in the door and sleep-with-the-lights-on scary. It delivers on the promise of the cover.

talker25

And finally, there’s the cover of Joshua McCune’s Talker 25. Gorgeous color combinations, all that texture, the stylized nod to dragons and the the tagline below the title. The cover is gritty, tough. You know the book will have a dark side. And that’s exactly what you get when you read it. (Plus the realest dragons I have read in years.)

If you’d like to read more about the thought process behind Talker 25, there’s a great post about how Paul Zakris, art director at Greenwillow, and Sammy Yuen, the artist, worked through that process here.

So here’s to the artists and cover designers who do such a brilliant job telling a reader in one image what’s waiting inside that cover.

Which covers that you’ve seen lately do you think do the job of delivering the right book to the right reader?

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under cover art

After Awhile, Crocodile! A Thankful Emu Bidding Farewell

I’m leaving! Wah! I can’t believe it! Heck, I still can’t believe I got the chance to be here. But even though I’m saying good-bye as as Emu blogger, it’s not like I won’t be around. I was reading this blog long before I got here and I will be reading it long after I’m gone. This blog has had an impact on my writing journey and I’m thankful for that. I know I can’t mention all the reasons I’m thankful because it would go on forever, but I’ll mention a few.

I’m thankful to Emus Debuts for leading me to EMLA and to my agent, Tricia Lawrence. How did that happen? Well, let me tell you. When I started reading this blog I didn’t even realize the bloggers were connected by EMLA. I thought they were just a bunch of writers that got together to blog. I know. All I had to do was click on the “About” tab, but it took me a while to do that. When I finally did realize all the bloggers were with EMLA I thought that was super cool. I thought it was awesome that they were choosing to go through the debut experience together. This put EMLA on my radar. Then one day the Emu’s  Debuts blew it out of the water. They were celebrating the release of NERVE by Jeanne Ryan with Truth or Dare videos. All of the videos were fun but when I saw Tara Dairman’s I cracked up.

I found this so funny that I’ve come back to watch it several times. It was the so-called “icing on the cake” (sorry about the lame pun!). I loved the way they supported each other and I loved their sense of humor. I moved EMLA to the top of my list and when I was ready and had the chance, I queried. A few months later I signed with Tricia.

I’m thankful to Emu’s Debuts for letting me be a part of their celebrations. It has been so much fun to geek out with my fellow Emus when their wonderful books hit the shelves.

I thankful to Emu’s Debuts for the wisdom they shared in their blog posts and in private group communication. Emu wisdom was there for big things and the small things, like suggestions for the perfect pen to use when signing books and suggestions for designers and printers for bookmarks, postcards, etc.

I’m thankful to Emu’s Debuts for allowing me read their ARCs. Confession: When they first talked about an ARC, I didn’t know what it was! See how much I’ve learned by being an Emu! I’m thankful for that! And no one made fun of me when I asked dumb questions! I’m thankful for that!

I’m thankful to Emu’s Debuts for celebrating with me. They celebrated about The Call and The Cover Reveal. And my release party was an amazing week. The Emus supported, spread the word, and partied down! They shouted about my old dragon near and far!

I could go on but this is already getting long. I think you get the idea . . . it’s been wonderful, but it’s time to go. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Emu’s Debuts 😀


PPK_0615_RGB_HR_02Penny Parker Klostermann’s is the author of  THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House Children’s Books) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (coming from Random House Children’s Books Spring 2017). You can follow Penny on on her blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Pinterest. She is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

 

25 Comments

Filed under Farewell

“I’ve Always Wanted to Write a Picture Book”-Getting Started

I have a lot of people ask me how I got a book published. Because . . .

They’ve always wanted to write. Or they have an idea for a picture book. Or their daughter has an idea. Or their mother always wanted them to write about the goose that lived in the shed across the street. Or they wrote a story years ago and they have a second cousin who could illustrate it.

I know other writers get asked the same thing. Many times I’ve found that the person asking is just making conversation. Because the minute I say “writing journey” they don’t seem quite so interested. I think they thought the “journey” was really just a “jaunt”. And then when I mention SCBWI (of course I say the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), their eyes glaze over. TMI! I know it’s time to stop.

There have been a few, though, that want more information. I email them links and information I think they would find helpful. Usually I don’t hear back. But, recently, I shared information with someone who has written professionally for years. Now she wants to write picture books. And she’s a member of SCBWI! She’s attended conferences. She’s serious, folks! And I had a ton of fun sharing resources and talking picture books. It reminded me that of all those who say they want to write, a few REALLY do!

It seems that most of the people who read our blog are already on their writing journey. But I imagine we have a few that visited this site who are just getting started. I know I visited this site regularly when I was new on my journey. So I thought I might address the “How did you get a book published?” question for those who are truly interested and would just like a starting point and places to gather information.

Note: There is no way to list every resource and website. These are only a few of the ones that were particularly helpful on my journey as they include challenges, etc. that inspired me to write. On top of these, I read many blogs. When you check out KidLit411 below, I will provide their link to a list of wonderful blogs.

SCBWI: Click HERE to browse their website. It is chock full of all things KidLit. I strongly advise becoming a member. My membership is invaluable. There is a forum available. To read all of the boards in forum, you have to be a member of SCBWI. You can get a taste of the valuable information on the forum without being a member.

Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo: PiBoIdMo stands for Picture Book Idea Month.This takes place in November. Each day you will be inspired by amazing posts by authors, illustrators, and other KidLit lovers. This challenge is free and if you participate you’re likely to end the month with a list of new ideas for picture books. You’ll also get a glimpse into the wonderful, sharing KidLit community. You don’t have to wait until November if you want to be inspired. Follow her blog and check out the archives for wonderful posts. You can find out more information HERE.

Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog: Susanna always has something going on over at her blog. I met her early in my writing journey and her blog has been a huge plus for me. Her Perfect Picture Book Friday series will clue you in to excellent picture books. The series features reviews by a variety of picture book lovers. Her Would You Read It Wednesday series focuses on picture book pitches which are extremely important for writers when they have manuscripts ready to pitch to agents and editors. Susanna also hosts amazing contests with amazing prizes. Click HERE to browse Susanna’s blog.

Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12: This is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months. If you’re wanting accountability, community, and resources it is well worth the fee. Registration for next year will be in January. In the meantime, follow Julie’s blog and you will benefit. Find more information HERE.

Then there is the site of all sites-KidLit411: Elaine Kiely Kearns and Sylvia Liu have gathered KidLit resources from all around the Internet on their website. It is AMAZING. It includes all the sites I’ve mentioned and many, many more. Many more! HERE is the link to their list of Blogs to Follow. Click HERE for their home page and prepare to spend hours immersed in all things KidLit!

And, of course, follow us here at Emus Debuts where we were all once beginners. Join us as we talk about how, with hard work, our dreams became reality.

I’m far from the first person to blog about these resources. But I hope they’ll help someone on their writing journey.


penny edited

Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHTis coming from Random House Books For Young Readers August 4, 2015. Also, coming from Random House Books For Young Readers is A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE, Spring, 2017. You can follow Penny on on her blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Pinterest. She is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

 

24 Comments

Filed under Advice - Helpful or Otherwise, Picture books

Writing in Reverse

In one of my earlier posts, I talked about the fact that my car was totaled in a June hailstorm. That unfortunate event necessitated a new car. My old car had a backup camera, but this car has a BACKUP CAMERA! It’s amazing. It has this beeping-warning system that lets me know if someone is passing behind me or if I’m getting close to backing into something. The other day I was backing out of my garage, looking at the view in the backup camera, when the phrase Writing in Reverse just popped into my head. You may have noticed from my posts here that I love analogies. So when I thought about Writing in Reverse, I knew I had to use this for a post.

Before Writing in Reverse, I have to get my my story down. So I just drive/write a first draft. Yes, I do need to have a destination in mind­—a character, the semblance of a plot or structure, events to drive my story forward, etc. I need to keep the Rules of the Road/Genre in mind as I write. I need to be aware of traffic/the audience I’m writing for, and I need to watch my speed limit/word count. OK, sometimes I do go a few MPH/WPM (word per manuscript) over knowing I can probably get by with it, but I don’t want my speed/word count to get completely out of control. So, pretty much, I just drive/write on. The first draft is a hugely important part of writing. If I never do this part, I’ll never get anywhere. My ideas will be stuck at home and never see the light of day. Never get out into the world. And once the first draft is finished, I do feel like I’ve been somewhere. But I know this same journey will become very familiar . . .

. . . because now comes Writing in Reverse/revision.

Screenshot 2014-12-20 19.58.47

It’s time to take the same drive using my backup camera. It will be much slower. I will cut my speed limit to a crawl. Each twist and turn will require my complete attention. I will be more cautious and more aware of any obstacles that will hinder my story. I will listen to my internal beeps. I will listen to my critique group who will make me aware of my blind spots. This journey will take much longer than my first draft, but it has to be taken to get to that “sweet spot” for submission. I know this. It’s tough. But it must be done. And it’s worth it.

Recently my second deal was announced. A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE sold to Maria Modugno at Random House Children’s who also bought THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT. It will be illustrated by Ben Mantle who also illustrated my dragon story. Talk about Writing in Reverse! I had 102 “Saved As” files of A COOKED UP FAIRY TALE. Not all were complete rewrites, but all had tweaks. Some major, some minor. That’s a lotta Writing in Reverse. But it served me well. When I emailed Tricia (love my agent) that 102nd file, she deemed it “ready to go”. In two days, we heard back from Maria. She wanted my story 🙂

So make sure you use a BACKUP CAMERA! A really good one. Take that slow, Writing-in-Reverse journey where you pay attention to every detail and find that “sweet spot” before submitting. It will be worth it!

writing in reverse final

 


penny editedPenny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHTis coming from Random House Children’s Publishing August 4, 2015. Also, coming from Random House Children’s is A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE, Spring, 2016. You can follow Penny on on her blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Pinterest. She is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

17 Comments

Filed under Picture books, Uncategorized

Cover Reveal: THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT

The Cover Story

Actually, my cover story is very straight forward. I have a brilliant editor who chose a brilliant illustrator! When Maria Modugno at Random House Children’s Books read my text, she thought Ben Mantle would be the perfect illustrator. I knew from working on revisions with Maria that she “got” my text and knew what was best for the book.

And boy oh boy! Did she know what was best! Ben’s vision is wonderfully perfect and I can’t wait another minute to share it with you.

Well…maybe long enough for a short intro 🙂

There once was an author who let out a squeal

when the day came around for her cover reveal.

She loves it! Adores it! And can’t wait for you

to love and adore it and squeal along, too!

Are you eyes open wide?

Are you ready to squeal?

What a wonderful day. . .

. . . the cover reveal!

DRAGON cover

A knight,
a steed,
a squire,
a cook,
a lady,
a castle,
a moat,
plus one very hungry old
dragon add up to an hilarious
and rollicking tale about a
dragon who just can’t keep his
mouth closed . . . at least not
until he eats almost everything
in the Kingdom!
It’s not polite!

Available August 2015!!!


 

penny3

Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, is coming from Random House Children’s Books, August 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @pklostermann and visit her website HERE. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

44 Comments

Filed under cover art, Happiness, Picture books