Tag Archives: THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON

Dragon Versus Knight! The Age-Old Fight…

In days of old, when knights were bold…they fought the dragons that plagued the stained glass of cathedral windows. The knights usually won.Rogier_van_der_Weyden_-_Saint_George_and_the_Dragon,_NGA,_Washington

I rather like dragons, myself (scaly, slimy, fire-breathing beasts that they are), and wondered how many other EMUs shared my sentiments. In honor of Penny Parker Klosterman’s There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight launch I thought I’d pose the question. Here are the interesting results:

Maria Gianferrari said, “In dragon vs. knight battles, I’d always be in favor of dragons. And the dragon in Penny’s book is so cute! I especially love his purple horns, and expressive eyebrows.”

Debbi Michiko Florence agrees: “Dragon. I have always had a soft spot for animals (I have my degree in Zoology).”

Jason Gallaher added, “I’ve got to say I’m very pro-Dragon. I think they’re just misunderstood critters. Plus, everyone has got to eat, so we can’t really blame the guy for wanting lunch.”

Mylisa Larsen also: “Dragon. Because the knights often seem to be asking for it in a lot of the tales and there’s just nothing cooler than a dragon. Even when a dragon is of the evil variety, it ends up being more interesting than the knight somehow.”

Tamara Smith said, “All I can think Dragon Cover High Res copyof is Toothless, who I adore, and who has brought my already love and support for dragons rise to the surface. They are like dogs or whales, aren’t they? Such wise souls…Sorry, knight, but my heart is with the mighty dragon.”

Luke Reynolds declared, “I would root for the dragon unless the knight is a kid!”

Laurie Thompson said, “I must confess I would root for the dragon. I’m too much of an animal lover not to.”

And Hayley Barrett added, “My heart is with the dragon for I love them and want one of my very own.”

(I’m with you, Hayley.) On the opposing team:

Luke Reynolds favors knights, and said, “My all time favorite knight: the young protagonist in The Sunflower Sword….”

Donna Janell Bowman added, “I would vote for the knight because dragons do not have opposable thumbs, which are required to hold the credit card that pays for the keyboard, that requires thumbs to hit the space bar, which is important for typing stories about knights and dragons.”

Carole Gerber replied, “I’m rooting for the knight because he’s the victim in this tale. I’m sure he was miserable while stuffed inside that dragon’s belly with all those other critters and things! However, the dragon is by far the cutest I have ever seen. (Though his innards are probably not attractive.)”

And then there were those who waffled (maybe waiting to see whether the dragon or the knight has the greater charm…):

Megan Morrison said, “It depends on the tale. I would rather BE the dragon than the knight, that’s for sure. One of my favorite knight-and-dragon duos is Hiccup and Toothless, from How to Train Your Dragon. I cried when Toothless first touched his head to Hiccup’s hand, and their relationship of trust really began. I loved that Hiccup made him a prosthetic fin that gave him the ability to fly again. I can’t wait until my son is just a little older, so that I can share the story with him.”

And Adam Shaughnessy said, “Trick question! Dragons and knights are both awesome, so they would totally team up and take on all challengers. (I can’t choose—I loved King Arthur stories and the Dragonrides of Pern series as a kid, so I can’t bring myself to take sides.)”dragons weapons fantasy art robes artwork spears veil 4158x2339 wallpaper_www.wallpaperhi.com_27

So, dear reader, what do you think? Dragon or knight? Certainly the dragon won this round. Don’t you want to read Penny’s charming book and find out what she thinks?

For personalized signed copies of There Was an Old Dragon, you can order from Texas Star Trading Co. and give your dedication details in the Gift Message box. You can also contact them by email at texasstartradingco@sbcglobal.net or call  (325) 672-9696.

You can find one at YOUR local indie bookstore here: Indiebound

Or, you can order online through Barnes and NobleAmazonBooks-A-Million, or Powell’s.

Of course, you can also try your luck: Comment on any post this week for a chance to win your very own SIGNED copy of There Was an Old Dragon.

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Interview with THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON Illustrator Ben Mantle

This week on Emu’s Debuts, it’s all about the dragons! We’re celebrating the debut of Penny Parker Klostermann’s delightful debut picture book, There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight. Today I’m thrilled to have snagged an interview with the books incredibly talented illustrator, Ben Mantle, who had some great insights into a part of the process we writers often know little about.

Elaine Vickers: Can you share with us the process of how you came to be the illustrator of There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight?

Ben Mantle: This was pretty straightforward really. My agency sent me the text. I read it. I loved it. I think I then read it another 10 times just because it was such fun to read, as the rhythm was so good. I really liked that it had a slightly dark storyline too. I emailed my agency and said – I would love to illustrate it and then I read it more times, faster and faster each time. Again, purely because it was such fun to do!

EV: I adore thisimage 1 dragon! Did he always look like this, or did he change throughout the process?

BM: The dragon was the first character that I tackled as he is the main driving force in the book. My first initial few sketches didn’t quite catch what I had in my head. After all, the Dragon is ruthless, but more than that he is just incredibly greedy animage 2d not to mention a little bad. I mean, he does just go around eating people. In my original design he just doesn’t have the manic look that I wanted or that look of desire of a very hungry person who has just sat down for an all you can eat buffet. I knew that a lot of his character would be in the eyes, which is why they are one of the main changes. His new Beady little pupils really gave him something and the curving brows are a sure fire sign of a baddie. All good baddies have large eyebrows.

EV: What is your artistic process? Tell us a little about the creation of these illustrations!

BM: Not long before the text for There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed A Knight came througimage 4h, I had been feeling that I really wanted to stop relying on the computer so much and get back to painting again and I thought this book in particular with its fantasy setting, would suit being painted.

Equally, because the story has that hint of darkness, along with being very funny, I thought that it would be a nice contrast to have the artwork more traditional. Long before the painting stage though, I start making lotsimage 3 of little thumbnail images to capture the key moments in the book. I then scan these in and enlarge them to the correct size and start neatening them up. I do this because I often think my original sketches are more fluid and uninhibited by detail.

Next there’s a few stages of printing out, re-drawing, tidying up until everyone is happy (designer and editor). In order to then paint the final art, I print out the roughs, which have been tidied up by now, and use a drawing board I converted into a lightbox (Ok, not so much me, but a guy who is actually handy with tools), I trace the rough shapes with watercolour, adding in a little shade/texture at the same time. As you can see by the image, I paint each bit separately as this gives me more flexibility, as well as knowing that if I make a mistake, I haven’t just ruined everything! Having said that, I love the mistakes you get with paint, especially if, like me, you haven’t used it for ages.

image 5 image 6

image 8 image 9

EV: Can you share with us any particular challenges or funny incidents that happened while you were working on this book?

BM: For me, the real challenge of any book, is knowing what to show and what to leave out. What is the ‘moment’ that needs to be illustrated? With this book, I had decided that you would never actually see the Dragon eating a person, but it would be implied by the image. Plus, I felt that it was funnier to show that moment just before or just after.

Do you have a favorite character or illustration from the book?image 10

BM: Oh, my favourite character has to be the cook. I have a real soft spot for him and my favourite illustration (and I think one of Penny’s too) in the book is the one of the cook being seasoned by the Dragon as the cook seasons his own pot of food. After all, the Dragon is just doing what comes natural to him and this is a nod to that.

EV: You’re such an accomplished illustrator, but I know you’re a picture book author yourself. How has that changed and informed your illustrating?

BM: I’ve just finished writing my third book, so now the main thing I have realised, is just how hard it is! It has definitely made me appreciate the relationship between the text and the image and that the best text knows exactly what to not say. It’s a very reciprocal relationship. The image can really add to the story, but only if the author/text is confident enough to leave breathing space. Penny is a whizz with text, as soon as I read this book I loved it and I’m looking forward to cracking on with our next book, which I can honestly say is absolutely fantastic.

Thanks so much, Ben, for sharing your time and your amazing artwork with us!

Comment on any post this week for a chance to win your very own SIGNED copy of There Was an Old Dragon.

Or buy a copy right away. You can find one at YOUR local indie bookstore here: Indiebound

Or, you can order online through Barnes and NobleAmazonBooks-A-Million, or Powell’s.

For personalized signed copies of There Was an Old Dragon, you can order from Texas Star Trading Co. and give your dedication details in the Gift Message box. You can also contact them by email at texasstartradingco@sbcglobal.net or call  (325) 672-9696.

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Filed under Book Launch, Celebrations, Illustrators, Interviews, Picture books

What would YOU feed a hungry dragon?

There Was an Old Dragon cover

It’s launch week here at Emu’s Debuts for Penny Parker Klostermann’s delightful picture book, There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight! Yesterday, Calista brought you an insightful interview with Dragon’s editor, Maria Modugno. And today, we’re bringing you… FOOD!

I asked my fellow Emus what they would offer a hungry dragon to convince it to eat that instead of them. And, let me tell you, if we Emus were all together in a mob, it would be a mighty fine feast indeed! (For added fun, try to spot the new Emus who will soon be joining the flock!)

For appetizers…

Garlic BreadLuke Reynolds would offer the dragon a full loaf of garlic bread, with extra butter melted and nuzzled within the rich, warm doughiness. The dragon would certainly have no choice but to remember how deeply satisfying melted butter is, and the soft dough would be so much more amazing than a crunchy, yucky human being!

Darcey Rosenblatt would try not only to save herself but further humankind, so she would offer a recipe for yummy roasted vegetables and engage her dragon friend in the cooking process. Never heard of a vegan dragon? Darcey is sure it happens!

I myself (Laurie Ann Thompson) would offer up some steaming crab macaroni & cheese. I just hope that old dragon knows how to share!

We have quite a few main courses for Dragon to choose from:

Sweet & Sour Pork Belly w/ pickled gingerOne of the most delicious things Megan Morrison has ever eaten is pork belly with crispy crackling skin. She was at Beppe in New York and asked the waiter for a recommendation. It sounded so gross, but oh. It was not. It was bacon on crack. She and her husband still talk about it with reverence. Surely a big slab of pork belly would be far tastier than Megan!

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman would serve the dragon the largest turkey she could find with a side of stuffing and an extra dose of tryptophan in hopes that he’d fall asleep.

Carole Gerber did her research first: Komodo dragons–the kind in zoos–eat deer, according to the fact sheet she read. The dragon first knocks the deer off its feet before killing and eating it. Carole would distract the dragon with a heap of deer toenails to confuse him as she made a quick getaway.

UntitledJason Gallaher would offer this hungry dragon a nice rare steak. Not only would it serve as a talking point about something they have in common (Jason likes his steak mooing), but the slab of meat would really save this guy a lot of trouble. He can still get his craving for meat satiated, but he doesn’t have to worry about chewing through all Jason’s clothes, his shoes, the change in his pockets, etc. Plus, deodorant. Jason applies deodorant regularly, and who in their right carnivorous mind would want to eat a creature that just lathered himself in Old Spice? Not Jason, that’s for sure.

Adam Shaughnessy would try to distract the dragon with guinea pig. Not because it’s particularly delicious (it’s fine), but because it might alleviate his guilt to share it. Adam had guinea pig while he was in Peru. It’s good to try new foods when traveling, but when he came back to the elementary school where he was working, a colleague shared Adam’s tasting adventures with a kindergarten teacher—without thinking about the fact that the teacher’s entire class was lined up behind her. They walked past Adam with looks of horror and an obvious terror that he was coming for Mr. Whiskers, their classroom pet, next.

Mmm... pulled pork with slawOne of Debbi Michiko Florence‘s favorite meals her husband makes is pulled pork–North Carolina style (vinegar-based). She would offer the dragon a giant plateful of pulled pork sandwiches piled with her husband’s cole slaw, because even a carnivorous dragon needs his greens!

Indian food is Christine Olson Hayes‘ first choice whenever they go out to eat. So many amazing flavors and textures! She’s pretty wimpy and usually orders things on the mild side, but she’s sure the dragon would appreciate a nice Indian curry, super extra hot and spicy!

And, of course, we mustn’t forget dessert!

StroopwafelMylisa Larsen would offer up stroopwafels! They’re these lovely thin waffle cookies sandwiching a layer of caramel. Best eaten warm. When her husband travels to the Netherlands, their children greet his return not with “hello” or “so glad you’re back” but with “Did you bring stroopwafels?” For Mylisa’s sake, she’d be hoping the dragon felt the same enthusiasm.

To make a hasty escape, Maria Gianferrari would douse the dragon with honey so he’d be in sticky straits. Or if he were in a friendlier mood, she’d serve him some goat cheese since it tastes so delicious when baked.

Vanilla Milkshake @ Lori's DinerHayley Barrett imagines something simple and refreshing… Something to cool a scorched palate…. Something to tame the fire in the belly…. She’s got it! A double-thick vanilla milkshake! Slurp!

If there was a dragon alert, Donna Janell Bowman would make a marshmallow vest with giant chocolate buttons and dragon fruit all over it, then she would trick the meanest bully into thinking it had invisibility powers. When the bully snatched it from her and put it on, she would say, “don’t you dare touch my super powers milkshake!” and, “Hey, back off from that graham cracker wand. Or else!”  Of course the bully would steal it, without realizing that she had lured him into the dragon’s lair. Gulp! And she wouldn’t feel guilty at all because mean bullies are not “nice humans.” Two problems solved.

Bubblegum with bubbleIf Elly Swartz were in danger of being eaten by a dragon, she would offer the dragon a tub of Bazooka bubble gum to ensure her safety. You see, not only would Sir Dragon find Bazooka gum sugary and delicious, but he’d also surely want to learn how to blow a bubble. And Elly would need all of her body parts to teach him. So, she would, of course, offer to teach him how to blow a bubble, saving herself and all her body parts in the process!

S'Mores!Janet Fox knows just what she’d give our hungry dragon: S’Mores! Sweet and tasty and so easy for a dragon to cook in an instant. Plus…chocolate. Did you hear her, Dragon? Chocolate!

Rebecca Van Slyke thinks dragons would prefer ice cream to a tough teacher like her! (Probably chocolate ice cream, but maybe a nice raspberry ripple.) Besides, if he DOES eat the ice cream, it would put out his “internal combustion” and she could get away!

Peanut ButterTamara Smith‘s great idea is peanut butter, of course! Have you seen dogs eating peanut butter? Their jaws get glued together and they make that slurpy, smacking sound as they try–for just enough time for, say, a person to get away–to open their mouths. Tam would definitely give the dragon peanut butter. Plus, it’s the most perfect food on the planet!

For her part, Penny is glad her dragon didn’t encounter the Emus Debuts before he encountered the kingdom… His story would be one of frustration instead of gluttony! And the meter would be all screwed up…

There was an old dragon who swallowed a stroopwafel.
I don’t know why he swallowed the stroopwafel.
It isn’t lawful!

There was an old dragon who swallowed raspberry ripple ice cream.
I don’t know why he swallowed the raspberry ripple ice cream.
It seems extreme!

(“See what I mean? There’s no need to go on!” –Penny) 😉

What's for lunchSo, how about YOU: What would you offer a hungry dragon to entice him to eat it instead of you?

Comment on any post this week for a chance to win your very own SIGNED copy of There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight!

Or buy a copy right away. You can find one at YOUR local indie bookstore here: Indiebound

Or, you can order online through Barnes and NobleAmazonBooks-A-Million, or Powell’s.

For personalized signed copies of There Was an Old Dragon, you can order fromTexas Star Trading Co. and give your dedication details in the Gift Message box. You can also contact them by email at texasstartradingco@sbcglobal.net or call  (325) 672-9696.

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Filed under Book Giveaway, Book Launch, Celebrations

There Was an Old Dragon, and he’s HERE!

confetti

Photo from ADoseOfShipBoy on Flickr

Get out your confetti cannons and toot your horns: it’s time for another week-long Emu’s Debuts book launch party!!!

This week we’re celebrating the launch of Penny Parker Klostermann‘s There Was an Old Dragon. We’ve had dragons on the blog before, thanks to Joshua McCune’s Talker 25 and Natalie Dias Lorenzi’s Flying the Dragon, but this dragon is for the younger set (and everyone else who loves jaunty rhyming text and colorful, clever artwork!). I mean, just look at that face!

Dragon Cover High Res copy

This particular dragon is up to a bit of no good, though, as you might expect from the title.

Here’s what some early reviews had to say about it:

“No matter how many swallowed-fly titles you own, this one belongs on your shelf too.” — Kirkus

“The author has used a broad range of words—savory, shady, fattens, tassel, guzzled, bloat, quote, perchance, amass, and billow. These will add depth to the young listener’s vocabulary.” — School Library Journal

Penny has been busy pounding the virtual pavement to get the word out about this fantastic book. In addition to what we have planned for you the rest of the week, don’t miss the ongoing “There Was an Old Blog Tour.” Here are the list of places this very hungry dragon has visited or will be visiting soon:

And you can click HERE for the free downloadable activity guide From Random House!

For personalized signed copies of There Was an Old Dragon, you can order from Texas Star Trading Co. and give your dedication details in the Gift Message box. You can also contact them by email at texasstartradingco@sbcglobal.net or call  (325) 672-9696.

You can find one at YOUR local indie bookstore here: Indiebound

Or, you can order online through Barnes and NobleAmazonBooks-A-Million, or Powell’s.

Of course, you can also try your luck: Comment on any post this week for a chance to win your very own SIGNED copy of There Was an Old Dragon. And don’t forget to come back to see what’s cooking for tomorrow: it’ll be delicious!

 

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Off To Grandma’s House

I remember when my husband and I took our son to the airport to fly to his grandma’s house. We had to leave him with those in charge of unaccompanied minors-those who would help him get to his grandparents without a hitch. I felt a bit sad that he was ready for this adventure. He was my little boy and he was growing up. I felt nervous that he was going on his own without me to see to his needs and interpret his moods…because Momma knows best. Momma notices every little nuance and expression. She doesn’t have to guess at their meaning. I also felt excitement that he was “ready” for this adventure. I knew this was part of his maturation and the process of preparing him for the world. I knew that his grandparents loved him. I knew how much they were looking forward to this. I knew the importance of his relationship with them and I knew the importance of their influence in his life. I knew that grandparents add a layer to a his life experiences that is important.

As writers we give our stories life. We are the mommas and daddys of our stories. We know every little nuance. But we have to leave them to those in charge-those who help our stories on their journey. We have to leave them with agents and editors and illustrators. It is very emotional. We are excited about this because how else would our stories get out into the world. But we are also nervous. We are hoping that those in charge of our stories will pay close attention to every word. Every mood. Will they notice that expression on page six? What about the humor I see so clearly on page two?

Right now, my debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon, is at Grandma’s house. It is with Ben Mantle, the illustrator. He will add that extra layer to the story. But before the manuscript arrived, it had to be left with those in charge. First it had to be with Tricia Lawrence, my agent. She got it! She so got it! When she called about my story she mentioned my favorite things. She loves this story and I knew it was in good hands. Then the manuscript spent time with my editor, Maria Modugno. Her excitement was inspiring. She suggested some edits that would make the visit at Grandma’s house more beneficial. She loves my story, too. It’s in good hands. So how am I feeling about the visit with Ben Mantle (Who may not appreciate being called a grandma because . . . well, he’s a man . . . and he’s way younger that me!) I’m feeling especially good! Not because I have a Mommy-cam. I haven’t even seen sketches. But my editor, Maria Modugno, and I talked last week. We talked about changing a few words in manuscript. A few words  . . . but Oh So Important Words. We had this conversation because she had been talking with Ben Mantle about the same few words. He called her to discuss the few . . . but Oh So Important Words. He is paying attention to each expression and mood. Every little nuance! Do you know how good that makes me feel? How confident? He sees the importance of these few words so clearly that he wanted to discuss them. So I know he is adding a layer to the life of my manuscript that I couldn’t add. I know he is taking it very seriously.

I have a feeling I’m going to be very pleased to see my manuscript’s growth and change once it gets back from Grandma’s house. Ben’s influence on the story will make this our story! His and mine. A picture book that is prepared for the world.

_________________________________
penny3Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon, is coming from Random House Children’s Publishing Fall 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @pklostermann and visit her blog HERE. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

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If the shoe fits…it may end up at the castle

I’m doing revisions on a fractured fairy tale. I want to get it all polished up and out on submission. Revisions are hard for me. I’m slow! It really is like scrubbing floors and sweeping cinders. And at times I hear voices in my head that sound very much like an evil stepmother and two cruel stepsisters telling me I can’t do it.

But, I love this story and I know for it to have a happily-ever-after that it can’t just show up at the ball. There’s going to have to be some magic involved and guess who has to wave the wand?
Not my critique group!
Not my agent!
But, me! Hard or not, I’m going to have to wave the wand and write the magic words.

Don’t get me wrong . . . my critique group and my agent are an important part of this. They may suggest the mice or the pumpkin. They may remind me to add tension…like a clock striking midnight. All of this will help move my story toward the ball. But I’m the one whose words will have to waltz with Prince Editor. I’m the one who will have to have that spit and shine that will make Prince Editor fall so in love with my story that when I leave the hint of a glass slipper, he will see a perfect fit for the castle (publishing house).

So, hard or not, I’ll scrub the floors and I’ll sweep the cinders. I’ll block out the nagging voices. I’ll keep revising until my words waltz. And somewhere between a pumpkin coach and midnight, the glass slipper may be just get my book into the castle and out into the kingdom.

_________________________________
penny3Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon, is coming from Random House Children’s Publishing Fall 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @pklostermann and visit her blog HERE. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

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The Call…yes…THE Call!

Please indulge me while I sing a bit and skip down the yellow brick road. I promise I will get to The Call.


Now my rendition.

If I’d Only Get The Call

Why if I’d get The Call I could…

♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪
I could weather a tornado
while cooking shrimp Alfredo
and knitting up a shawl.
Though the house would be whirling,
I’d be polishing my sterling
If I’d only get The Call.
♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪

Well, I did get The Call. The day was clear and sunny. No tornado in sight. Thank goodness because I wouldn’t have time to cook shrimp Alfredo or knit a shawl or polish my sterling while my house was whirling. That’s because this call, although very promising, was all about revisions. I thought I had revised the heck out of that manuscript. But the editor’s notes were genius. I knew my story would be stronger. It was just a couple of lines…but the lines were key to my story. The lines were in rhyme. The lines were repeated.  And I knew The Call of my dreams would melt away like a witch doused with a bucket of water if I didn’t come through.

It was nerve wracking. I wanted to work with this editor so badly that at first I got a case of…
Flying-Monkey Brain. Translation: Rush or it will be too late!
“Hurry, Penny, hurry or the flying monkeys will carry you away to the castle where you’ll never get to email your revisions because there is no way the witch will give you her Wifi password!”



Then I got a case of…
Wicked-Witch Brain. Translation: It’s too scary.
“She’ll reject you, Penny. You and your dragon book, too.”



Then I got a case of…
Lollipop-Guild Brain. Translation: Speak Munchkin, eat a big lollipop, and shake your booty in that Lollipop Guild sort of way.
“Hey! I think I want to go with this one!”



But in the end, I didn’t need anything from Oz. I knew if I was going to get The Call that I would have to use my brain, write with my heart, and have the courage to send off my revisions.

The editor loved them.

Then it happened. Tricia called one evening to tell me we had an offer. Even though I felt The Call was coming due to our positive email communication, it was completely awesome to actually hear the words. I’m still waiting for it to sink in…
…my book…
…MY book!
In bookstores…
at the library…
being read at bedtime!

And the dream that I dared to dream really did come true!

_________________________________
penny3Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon, is coming from Random House Children’s Publishing Fall 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @pklostermann and visit her blog HERE. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence.

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Filed under Introduction, The Call