Thursday, February 23, 2017

New Author Spotlights

I had the great pleasure of meeting these two upcoming authors and asking them some questions.

Mrs. Nan Whybark

 


My real name is Nanette, not Nancy. I like the informality of Nan though; as my grandpa always called me Nan Louisa (Grandpa pronounced it Loo-eye-za).  I had a golden childhood, and sadly I hear that is rare these days.  My grandparents were a huge presence in my life. From them I learned sewing, bread making, quilting, piano skills, how to ride a bike and play marbles, and the wonderful taste of homemade root beer on a hot summer day.  I learned to love the smell of roses, crisp, ironed linen sheets, fresh bread and warm apple pie. There’s so much I could tell about my grandparents!

I had lots of pets too. Hamsters, mice, rats, rabbits, dogs, cats, fish, ducks, snakes, lizards—all wonderful in their own way. But I’ve always wanted a dragon. I have a room full of dragons now, but still none of them are truly alive. Maybe someday!

.  I have lived in Washington State all my life and truly love the Pacific Northwest. For almost 45 years I’ve been married to my eternal companion, Harold. We have five children and 21 grandchildren. This year I will complete my goal of making a quilt for each one of them.

I taught reading for 25 years in the public school system. I also got to teach art, writing, and theatricals. I love teaching, learning, nature, swimming, writing, reading, art, music, and dragons, of course. Lunch and recess aren’t too bad either.

I write plays, poetry, short stories, chapter books and I’m working on a young adult novel and a poem book, as well as my Earth to Irth fantasy series. I fell in love with language when I was quite young while my mom read poetry and stories to me. I love the sounds of rhymes and descriptive words! They are magical to me. I feel like a wizard sometimes when my words flow forming pictures in my mind.

My father first got me interested in drawing when he drew tiny pictures for me during church. I loved how he could use just a few lines to make something marvelous appear. I asked him to teach me and he did. My first drawings weren’t very good, but I kept trying! Of course, art classes really helped too. I got an art degree later in life and would still like to pursue more art education.

Now my dreams of being a book author and illustrator have come true! Never give up on your dreams!
Questions

1)    What inspired you to become a writer?

When I was a child, my grandmother and mother read to me often. I loved the sound of rhyming words and the sing-song rhythm of poetry. Stories carried me away to fantastic places. As I grew older, I wanted to create some of those rhymes and rhythms myself. I have a good imagination, and so I started writing poems, puppets shows, and plays for the neighborhood children. My friend and I even started a street newspaper when I was about 12.

My father is a wonderful writer with an immense vocabulary. I love the sound of big words as they flow so easily from his mouth. He has always challenged and encouraged me to write and learn more about words and how to use them.         

2) What kinds of books were read to you as a child?

My mother read classic poetry to me, along with other poetry for children. I loved the illustrations! Both she and my grandmother read animal stories to us, simple picture books with memorable characters and plots. Some of my favorites were “Jelly and George”, “Katie No-Pocket”, The Elephant’s Child”, McElliot’s Pool, and “Scuppers the Sailor Dog”.

3) What makes a good writer?

Imagination and the ability to accurately build mind-pictures with words. In picture books, the illustrations create the story scenes. As one advances into chapter books, the scenes and characters must be built and created in the mind. It doesn’t have to be the same mind-picture for everyone, but the words must stimulate some scene and sense of character in the reader’s mind.

Story weaving is important too. Taking individual characters, places, and events and weaving them together in an interesting way. Some of those threads, when twisted or turned produce wonderfully different outcomes.

4) Who are your favorite authors?

Some of my favorite authors are David Shannon, Shel Silverstein, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Paolini, Diana Wynne Jones, Karma Wilson, Steven Kellogg, Colin McNaughton, Dr. Suess, Ray Bradbury, Jules Vernes, Terry Brooks, Anne McCaffrey, C.S. Lewis, and Elizabeth Keatly Speare, and many, many others!

5) How did you come up with the idea for your book?

When my youngest daughter was in 4th grade, we had to drive to the school where I worked. She would get bored and soon asked me to tell her a story. So, I began a story and continued it a little more each day. I realized one day that this was becoming a really great story, and I had better write it down. My first chapter book was created! Of course, then she asked me, “Well, what happened after that?” Pondering that question led me to continue the story in a series. My Earth to Irth fantasy series for middle grades began in earnest.

 “Mr. Weasel and the Wizard” was published in 2011, more than 20 years after it was first told to my daughter. In 2016, my fourth book in the series, “Thairyn and the Thieves” was published. The other two books in the series are Book 2- “The Serpent and the Sorceress” and Book 3- “The Matriarch and the Magic”.


6) Describe an inspirational event in your life that encouraged you to go into the children's books business?

As a young mom I took a writing course through the mail. (This was before computers were common place!) When I started, it didn’t think I would ever have enough ideas to be an author. However, by the end of the course, I realized I had more ideas for stories than I could ever write in my lifetime! I was amazed and encouraged to pursue my dream. I was able to write many short stories based on my own and my children’s experiences, several of which were published in an e-mag in the early 2000’s. This was even more encouraging and I continued writing and looking for more ideas in everyday life.


7)  Talk about the process you go through to put a story together?

My writing process is much like that taught in school. Brainstorm, outline, rough draft, edit, edit, edit, and final draft. I go through these steps several times during the writing of a book. Each chapter is like a smaller story in itself. I often move chapters around or take parts of one and move it to another. I have to make sure the time-line works when I jump between scenes. Creating characters is challenging. I don’t want them to be stereo-types or boring. Coming up with names for them is fun though.

The plot is usually outlined, but the details are filled in as I write the rough draft, and even more filled in though the editing process. Sometimes I get stuck and have to do more brainstorming. I ask myself, “What could happen here?” I try to think of several possibilities, and then select the one I like best that is consistent with the story line.


8) Do you think that children's books will become extinct or will they grow? Please explain why you think this way?

I don’t think children’s books will ever go away completely. The format might change to e-books, but children need the imagination stimulation that books offer. If they don’t have stories, they will create their own. It has been so for centuries. Our language is based on words with meaning. Reading and writing those words are inseparably connected, and form the basis of our communication. Using those words to create and share things only imagined is part of our growth as a society. If this type of communication were lost, that would be tragic indeed.

9) What are your future plans as a writer?

            I am currently working on Book 5- “Jewl and the Jinx” in my Earth to Irth series. I hope to finish my Earth to Irth series with Book 6- “Phyre and the Phoenix” by 2020. I have also started a YA sci-fi/fantasy novel, and would like to publish my illustrated dragon poem book for children called, “I’d Rather Have a Dragon Than a Dog”.

              I have a idea for a realistic fiction series based on my adventures as a child living in a neighborhood on a dead-end street. I have many others ideas brewing, so I’m sure I’ll keep busy with my writing.          

10) What are your dreams and goals? How will you achieve them?

            I would love to be picked up by a traditional publisher! My current books are self-published through a you-pay-for-it publishing company. I am working on publicity, getting my books into the hands of children, and establishing a more visible presence on the internet. I have an author page on amazon.com, an “Earth to Irth Series FAN CLUB” page on Facebook, and I am working on several other venues. Perhaps I can find an interested agent as well!

            One of my goals is to sell books in all 50 states and eventually Europe. So far, I have sent books to or sold books in 15 states and Canada. My writing goal is to create fun, adventuresome books that are free of swearing or other things inappropriate for young audiences, and to have characters that have strong traits worth emulating. Also show that both boys and girls can do hard things.


11) Tell us about your newest published book and where it can be found?

My newest book is “Thairyn and the Thieves”, Book 4 in the Earth to Irth Series. It is available through me (nw.toolsofcreation@yahoo.com for signed copies), amazon.com, or iUniverse.com. It is available in soft cover or e-book.

The story is about Thairyn, young, crown patriarch of en’Edlia on the world of Irth. Everyone there is born with inherent magic, but Thairyn’s has not surfaced. As he is past the age of showing, his parents fear he will have no magical birth-gift.

The rebellious Xens of Irth are against rulers without magic, and so plan to kidnap Thairyn to rid the realm of that possibility. A ransom message demands the family’s exile, while other internal crises are threatening both the ruling family’s safety and the order of the realm.

In the clutches of his kidnappers, Thairyn steals a secret that will change all their lives, if there is time for it to unfold before the kidnappers execute their vengeful plan completely.

I hope you enjoy this book, as well as the rest of the Earth to Irth Series!

Mr. Will Holland

 

 
 
William K. Holland is a freelance writer from Lake Jackson, TX. As an avid artist and a creative thinker who wants to inspire children, he self publishes children’s books and cutting-edge articles about families who game together. He graduated from Campbellsville University in Campbellsville, KY. He learned about God’s purpose for himself and about using his gifts to help children live lives that would bring honor to their Creator.
So if your kids have ever
Dealt with being bullied
Been made fun of
Swept away with the media attention on police and violence
Or just need a funny song to sing
He is your guy.
 

 


Other Titles Include:


Fight Breast Cancer: THE COLORING BOOK: A Coloring Book for all Ages

Pencil Ninja Presents: The Shark Song and the Secret Origin of the Pencil Ninja: Pencil Ninja Adventures: Volume 2
Time to Play the Game: The Ten Year Anniversary
Hero Needed
Questions
1)      What inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve written and or told stories of some kind as long as I could write. In elementary school, we used to have to write stories and do small books every year for the local young author’s conference in my hometown. I wanted to become a writer to create stories to help kids learn life lessons. Whether you are trying to teach kids about how to deal with bullies, thankfulness, how to deal with the police shootings, or a song to help them giggle more in life; I want to help kids learn how to be great people. I pray that I can inspire kids to grow closer to God and their families.
 
2)      What Kinds of books were read to you as a child?
As a child, I read Curious George, Charlotte’s Web, books about Folk Legends, Bible stories, and as many comic books as possible.
 
3)      What makes a good writer?
A great writer has to have creativity. They have to be able to see the characters as living beings. They must be able to see the beginning and the end of the story.  Once you get that part down, then you can work out how to get there. A good writer must be able to engage the person and connect with them. The most important thing that a good writer must have is the heart to stick with your writing plan. If you plan to write for an hour a day, then follow through with that.
 
4)      What are your favorite authors?
Dr. Dana Carson, Max Lucado, Frank Peretti, Tony Evens, Brad Meltzer, and Steven King are a few of my favorite authors. They either speak to spiritual ideas and how to live or they feed my imagination.
 
5)      How did you come up with the idea for your book?
For my first book, I had to look at my life. When I was growing up, I was bullied by multiple kids. I was taught to deal with them in various ways. Physical altercations were always a last resort. I wanted Pencil Ninja, the main character in most of my stories, to help the picked on kids to see how they could help win the game. I wanted to have the hero, who is a sugar-powered robot  boy, help the other kids find the hero in themselves as they stand up to the group of bullies. It is the most intense kids football game ever.
 
6)      Describe an inspirational event in your life that encouraged you to go into the children's books  business?
I was in a season of prayer. I was searching for some direction. As I was doing this, I was asked the question, “What do you have that you can use to share what you know? I was also challenged by a publisher to see if I could write a book a month for the rest of the year. So I wrote my first book in June of 2016. I wrote a book a month until November. I just released the newest book this week.
 
7)      Talk about the process you go through to put a story together?
I draw a lot of pictures first. Then I write the main story out. Once I do that I send it to my editor to get it looked at for grammatical errors and layout.
8)      Do you think that children's books will become extinct or will they grow? Please explain why you think this way?
Children, in my experience, always love a story. The genre may be different, but kids want to be told stories. “Mommy, read me a story, please…” I heard it growing up and I heard many stories myself. I want to be a part of that tradition.
 
9)      What are your future plans as a writer?
I am, slowly, working on a series of stories about folk heroes and Bible stories. I am also working on a series of short stories based on cartoon ideas I have for Pencil Ninja to watch.
 
10)  What are your dreams and goals and how will you achieve them?
My dreams and goals are to be used by God and teach children in some sort of way. I will continue to build a devoted audience to show children, from all walks of life how to treat each other.
 
11)  Tell us about your newest published book and where it can be found?
My newest project is entitled “Pencil Ninja Presents: Captain Fluffypants Tries to Take Over the World”. It has alien invasion, robots fighting, and ice cream. This is story about thankfulness and friendship. It is currently available in print at https://tsw.createspace.com/title/6952511 for $7 . It is also available in e-book form here at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06WVPMKPG?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660 for $4 preorder.  It will be sent out on the 27th.  The print version will also be on Amazon around the same time.
 
Thank Both for answering my questions. It has been a pleasure to interview both of you.  
 
 
 

 
 





Thursday, January 12, 2017

Author Spotlights

I welcome you all to this new update. We all know how the Children's book publishing has grown. I had the honor of interviewing two new artists that are starting to become popular in the industry. please enjoy.  This month's update will spotlight them, Thanks

Mr. Stan Yan

 



Stan Yan is a Denver-based writer/illustrator, caricature artist and instructor. Growing up in Denver, Yan, a self-taught artist, went to school at the University of Colorado in Boulder where he got his bachelor’s degree in accounting, where Yan’s life took the tragic turn into sales for the securities industry, where he wallowed in ethical poverty on-and-off for thirteen years. Yan takes his frustrations out by penning graphic novels such as The Wang. In 2005, Yan has gave up on financial security and become a full-time freelance cartoonist, illustrating SubCulture for Ape Entertaiment and Action Lab Danger Zone, creating comic strips for the financial and sales industry, drawing zombie caricatures, and picking up odd illustration and teaching jobs when folks are feeling agonizing pity for him. Stan teaches Summer camps, after school programs, workshops, and helped to develop a degree program in graphic storytelling as an adjunct faculty member at the Community College of Aurora. His recent credits include art and colors for Show Devils (Mother Mind Studios), writing and art for Vincent Price Presents (BlueWater Productions / Storm Comics), and writing and art for There’s a Zombie in the Basement (Squid Works Kids). But, he’s probably best known for doing zombie and pony caricatures. Upcoming projects include development of a graphic novel about his best friend’s battle with cancer.




1) What inspired you to become a writer/ illustrator?

It wasn't really an active decision that I made. For as long as I can remember, I've been a writer and illustrator. Some of my earliest memories of my childhood were of me holding a pencil and drawing series of images of the same character doing things. I was drawing comics before I even knew that's what I was doing.

2) What kinds of books were read to you as a child?

I remember being read a lot of Dr. Seuss and "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak. Those were the most memorable of the many stories I was read as a child, and they definitely informed the writing of my own book, "There's a Zombie in the Basement."

3) What makes a good writer/ illustrator?

In my own mind, a good writer/illustrator connects with readers in some way and knows how to marry image to text so it's not redundant and communicates what it needs to quickly and effectively.

4) What are your favorite authors?

Currently, I'm loving J.K. Rowling, Raina Telgemeier, Jeffrey Brown, Dav Pilkey, David Wellington, and Robert Kirkman.

5) How did you come up with the idea for your books?

Every book I've written has a seed of truth from my own life or those close to me. So, while most of the things I've written can be described as slice-of-life books, even my more fantasy-based stuff tends to borrow a lot from real life events or people.

6) Describe an inspirational event in your life that encouraged you to go into the children's book business?

My son was 3 years old when one day, he refused to come down to my basement studio. When his mom asked him what was wrong, he replied that he was scared. When she asked what he was scared of, he pointed at all of my zombie caricature artwork (which is what I'm primarily known for) decorating my walls. Over the subsequent hour, I drafted the fast draft version of my manuscript for my book, "There's a Zombie in the Basement," my first picture book. I'm happy to say that he's no longer afraid of my artwork, and in fact, he has been writing and drawing his own zombie comic books, and as of last August's Denver County Fair, my now-6 year-old son has authored and sold his 3rd book at my event booth.

7) Talk about the process you go through to put together a story?

My process has evolved over time. For the most part, my current process focuses on developing a compelling character and building a story around them. Then, I will plot out story threads and then develop dialogue, text and panel or page direction. If I haven't already, I'll come up with character designs. Using the script, I plan out my rough page layouts and insert text in Photoshop and import them into spreads on InDesign so I can look at how the spreads connect. After making layout adjustments, print the pages out, light box them onto watercolor paper in pencil, ink the text and line work, erase the pencils out from under the inks and add the watercolor washes and colored pencils. I then scan the finished watercolor pages back into my computer and import them into my InDesign file.

You can see a lot of my process via my YouTube tutorials channel: http://bit.ly/2iEsaiY

8) Do you think that the children's books will become extinct or will they grow? Please explain why you think this way?

Amongst the turmoil in publishing, the one area that seems to continue to grow seems to be children's books. I think this is because children's books are a timeless medium that utilize the magic of storytelling entertainment to feed children's learning minds. Parents are more than willing to purchase books for their children because of the educational aspects as well as the fact that we parents don't want our kids messing with our phones and iPads, so we're going to do our best to delay their interest in these electronics, and books are a good option. Plus, they're something tactile, especially for young toddlers who are still trying to learn to master use of their hands.

9) What are your future plans as a writer/ illustrator?

Since my son's interests have brought me to read him middle grade novels and graphic novels for bedtime stories, which we seem to enjoy equally, I'm likely to try to push my career in the direction of middle grade and young adult graphic novels as something that will be much more satisfying to me as a storyteller. This will allow me to explore more complex story lines, and get back to my roots as a purveyor of toilet humor. I'm also finishing up a graphic novel about my best friend's battle with cancer.

10) What are your dreams and goals and how will you achieve them?

My near term goal is to complete 3 manuscripts and submission artwork and have them submitted to agents and/or publishers by the end of 2017. I dream of being a well-established writer/illustrator in kidlit, sharing my stories with more people than I ever envisioned, which is my true passion. Where that might take me is less relevant, since my ability to elicit a reaction with my work has always been my primary interest.

11) Tell us about your newest published book and where can it be found? 

My newest published book is the LitPick 5-Star Review Award-Winning, "There's a Zombie in the Basement", a whimsical, rhyming bedtime picture book, which I describe as, "If Dr. Seuss and Tim Burton got together to write a book, this would be it." It's available at www.theresazombieinthebasement.com among many other places online.
 

Mrs. KW Penndorf

 
Mrs. KW Penndorf

biography

Story time had always been KW Penndorf’s favorite ‘subject’ in school. 
But when her second grade teacher opted to read from a tattered old 
diary, KW’s view on books changed forever. Books were now alive, with 
adventures, dilemmas, far away locations, heroes, villains, drama, and 
quite frankly, story. Everything was so real, well at least in her 
imagination at any rate. She wanted to live in those stories… and she 
has.
In her senior year of high school KW interned at CBS three days a 
week, making sure to keep her grades up or the gig would be off. By 
sheer nature of the job, stories surrounded her there. In college, she 
spent a semester abroad living with her sister and brother-in-law in 
Denmark – where, yes, one can only imagine the crazy stories two 
sisters conjured up! Then after college, she moved to Germany and at 
the age of 25 she opened her own company – a language school, full of 
(you guessed it) stories abound. At 29 she moved back to the States, 
bringing home with her the greatest story and souvenir ever – her 
husband.
On a train ride into NYC, a vision came to KW’s sleepy commuter mind: 
a girl finding a dragon egg in the middle of a Viking graveyard. 
Presto! The premise for her debut novel was born. A story, which KW 
hopes, will change a child’s view on books forever.

--
KW Penndorf
Freya and the Dragon Egg
www.kwpenndorf.com



 



1) What inspired you to become a writer?

I have always loved story-telling. Not “lying” lol, but the art of entertaining others through narrative. Honestly, I wanted to be a news reporter when I was younger because I loved writing and grammar.


2) What Kinds of books were read to you as a child? 

I’m the youngest of four, and I think I got shafted in the ‘read to your kid at night’ department. Perhaps my older siblings stole that time away from my parents hahaha. I do remember my parents reading books with me and teaching me to read though.


3) What makes a good writer?

I think a good story makes a good writer. If a writer can get the reader involved in the story through emotion, memory, or some other connection, then I feel that makes them a great writer.

 

4) What are your favorite authors?

       Oooh, that’s easy: L.M. Montgomery and J.K. Rowling. For me, both authors excel in their ability to world-build. Yes, I understand Anne of Green Gables isn’t quite the ‘fantasy’ world building as in Harry Potter, but seeing how Anne’s world is 100 years away from mine yet I’m able to visualize it perfectly makes L.M. Montgomery amazing. When I open her books, I can feel the soft summer breezes from the ocean surrounding Prince Edward Island, and I am transported into the world of Anne Shirley.


5) How did you come up with the idea for your book?

       I was commuting to work by train when an image flashed in my mind. In it, I saw a young girl holding a round oval object. The girl was in the middle of a Viking graveyard – a graveyard I had visited in my travels to Denmark some thirteen years prior. Sleepy and bored on my way to work, I decided to roll-play in my head who the girl was, why she was in the graveyard, what the object was, and so on. Then I worked out how to make it a Viking story, since I just knew it had to be due to the vision’s setting.


6) Describe an inspirational event in your life that encouraged you to go into the children's books business?

       Basically the vision above is why I chose to go into children’s writing. I had tried dabbling in writing a historical fiction and a family memoir, though neither project ever got completed. Then came the Viking vision. Once I figured out how its storyline and plot, I couldn’t let it go.



7) Talk about the process you go through to put a story together?

       My process is a little bit all over the place. I do a lot of research for my series which sometimes helps drive storyline and build character backgrounds. Other times, it helps me simply visualize the world Vikings lived in so I can build my own world. I then turn to outlining my series, book by book. My favorite form of organization is using over-sized sticky notes. I lay out 15 of them to represent a potential number of chapters for the book I’m currently working on. At the bottom of each, I write “cliff-hanger.” This helps me focus on how to wrap up my chapters. Afterwards, I jot down ideas on each sticky note of how to get from point A to point B (ie the cliff hanger). While I’m coming up with ideas involving plot and the addition of the research I’ve found, I make sure to bridge everything together through ‘character-driven’ storyline. If the action doesn’t build my character, then it doesn’t build my story and therefore it’s out.


8) Do you think that children's books will become extinct or will they grow? Please explain why you think this way?

       I don’t think children’s book will ever become extinct. The imaginations and creativity of young kids thrive when hearing and reading stories. Aside from energizing and feeding their brains through this freeing form of education, I also believe books bond parents and their children. Reading to a child, or having a child read to an adult builds a long lasting and rewarding relationship.


9) What are your future plans as a writer?

       I’m still working on my current series and plan on getting those out to a growing number of readers before starting a new series or book.


10) What are your dreams and goals and how will you achieve them?

       I write with the dream of others reading my words, and as my adventure into publishing grows so too do my goals. Each event I do, I network with other vendors, authors, customers, you name it. This is how I learn about new and exciting opportunities. It’s really amazing how events can shape the direction of one’s path. For example, a friend had told me about the Viking Exhibit at the Field Museum, so I called and asked two things: 1) if I could meet and talk to a curator (my series has a character who works at a museum and this would be awesome research on the ins and outs of being an archaeologist) and 2) if they would be willing to sell my book in their gift shop. They granted me both requests! Now I’m able to use these experiences to build my resume. As a result, my book is currently up for consideration at other museums across America. If they say yes, who knows what door will open next? Hopefully the one to a movie deal lol.

11) Tell us about your newest published book and where it can be found? 

       My newest published book, FREYA AND THE BATTLE AT THE AAL THING, is the second in my FREYA series and is actually set to release this May. My local Barnes and Noble is super supportive by willing to hold the launch where fans can buy it in store or online. Readers can also buy it on Amazon and are always able to follow the adventure at wwww.kwpenndorf.com.

Thank you everyone and please enjoy this update.