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Showing posts from 2015

Goodbye 2015 It's Been Great!

Happy New Year!!
2015 has been amazing for me in so many ways.



Mostly because I have put everything on hold and spent thousands, literally around $16,000 on SCBWI events, conferences, workshops, the Highlights Foundation, plane tickets, hotel expenses, online writing classes with top people in the industry, all to make my goal of getting traditionally published in YA.

With that came working literally every single day on my novel-writing every single day without exception. That sounds easier than it is when you work full time, have a boyfriend, and a dog, and go to the gym, etc., but I did it!

This year and giving up so much time and money, was/is scary as hell, as I have basically only paid min payments to bills, and not saved a dime for taxes because every extra cent I have is going to my young adult writing.

When I decided to stop acting and go into animation, this is what I did. Yes I was offered a job by Disney at an audition from doodling on my call sheet-this is true, but I turn…

Facts and Myths About Suicide

There are many resources out there in today's world. Here is just one article with facts and myths about suicide that I found in less than 5 minutes of searching...http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20507781,00.html

I think it's important for people, especially in the days of social media to do some research before getting on the internet and stating things as facts when they are either completely wrong or just opinions. 

Suicide is one of the things that is so often stereotyped, and that is hurting people not helping them.

 For example, saying that all suicides are caused by clinical depression is wrong, it also makes people afraid to admit they have thought about it, or gone through a rough patch.

 The only fact about suicide is that when people do it they are doing it for one reason, and that is,  a way out, that's it. A way out of pain, a way out of a situation, a way out of a life they don't want.

 It's a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and while ye…

AT LAST: *Press Release* RFP to Construct Suicide Deterrent on the Golden Gate Bridge‏

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District requests proposals from qualified bidders to construct a suicide deterrent on the Golden Gate Bridge.  The details of the RFP may be found here:http://goldengate.org/contracts/documents/2016-b-01-notice.pdf “This is an important and vital step in building the suicide deterrent,” says Chief Engineer Ewa Bauer.  “We have been in the planning and design phase of the project for several years, with a lot of work happening behind the scenes.  Today signals a change to the construction phase.  We are all eager to put this deterrent in place and diminish future tragedy from suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge.” The bid process will take several months to complete.  Interested bidders must sign a non-disclosure agreement, submit identification for background checks, and tour the property with District staff.  After the pre-bid, information gathering time passes, the District will begin accepting bids in January.  The District will vet v…

GREAT YA-NOT AFTER EVERYTHING by Michelle Levy

Do you want a GREAT YA novel about a truly sad, messed up kid dealing with overwhelming grief? Read NOT AFTER EVERYTHING by Michelle Levy *I chose the above photo because to me, it says everything about the main character in this story. I found it on the internet, but here is the actual cover. This book is the BEST book with a boy lead that I have read in years. I can say that immediately it reminded me of S.E. Hinton’s THE OUTSIDERS, and J.D. Salinger’s THE CATCHER IN THE RYE. I was obsessed with both of these books as a middle school kid going through more than any kid should-and they are why I became a writer. When I opened Michelle’s book I couldn’t stop reading it. Although since I was on a plane headed to a workshop for writers, I had to. I picked it back up on the return flight and finished it. The day I finished it, I started again from page one and read it a second time. I rarely reread a book the same day that I finish it, but I wanted to savor every single word because it’…

Yup, You Know You're A Southern Californian When....(I am)

I have been fighting, and not sure why, the idea that I have become a true Californian, and more importantly, a Southern Californian. I guess stereotypes exist for a reason, and that doesn't mean that I, or anyone, walks around saying "dude" or "like" all day long-that said, many do, and sometimes I do say like, but I rarely say dude.

It means that I have lived here so long that things that seem normal to me in everyday life, really aren't in the rest of the country.

I do belong to two gyms, yes TWO, most of my friends belong to at least one, and then go to a specialized yoga, zumba, piloxing, cardio barre or something. I belong to two that covers all that. OMG I am such a stereotype!


Recently I was at a week long writing workshop in the middle of the country, and not in the middle of America, in the middle of the rural countryside of PA. It was awesome, but Oh. My. God, It was so quiet, that it freaked me out.

Growing up in New England for the most part, e…

Social Media Blunders

Sometimes social media can be difficult, mostly because people do a lot of things that they wouldn't do in an office or social event.

For example:


Last week a long time FB friend deleted and blocked me, since I have known her for a while, I asked her why via email, and she said. "you posted about the confederate flag and.. yadda yadda."

I replied "Nope that wasn't me, I never posted about it on my page or replied to a comment on someone else's."

She said that it was on her friend's page-someone I don't even know. I replied back telling her that, and she said, "I don't have time to deal with this, I'm not even reading it." so.. now guess what?

 She deleted the wrong person. It doesn't bother me, but my suggestion for people who do this kind of thing, be sure you are paying attention to who you are deleting etc. This kind of behavior causes unneeded drama. Now I don't care, whatever, it's her life, but what if she did…

I Posted About Equality Today and What Happened Next Shocked Me

Today something amazing happened in this country----yup you know it. Finally equal rights for everyone on marriage. This is a huge and I'm so happy to call myself an American-FINALLY, I can stand up tall and be thrilled with news. I was so excited in fact, that I posted three articles about it on Facebook.


Little did I know. 

Three words often used in literature to lead into something bad... little did I know that..

I was about to be sent a friggen' ISIS video to "teach me a lesson" from a fellow (aspiring) teen author.

This person actually deleted me from FB, because I posted the news, but before she did that, she sent me this HORRIFIC video, that I can't ever get out of my mind now to show me what non Christians (her words not mine) do to Christians, and the world needs to be rid of people like me. (again her words.... who does that sound like? WOW--rid of people like me... the words are raw, stale and full of hate.)

 Now, I'm not sure how me posting article…

RIGHT TO WORK Contracts & Copyright, What it Means for Artists

RIGHT TO WORK Contracts & Copyright, What it Means for Artists

(mostly in this blog I'm talking about children's books)

 Earlier this week on Facebook,  there was a discussion from an artist about taking work for hire work as an illustrator and whether or not she could ask for royalties, it was/is a great discussion, but it did get side tracked and turned into a conversation on copyright.

I am just sharing information.

 One of the persons in the conversation said that artists automatically keep the copyright and just look in any book on the shelves-those are NOT "work for hire" books, they are from big publishers and yes that is the case, artists do retain the copyright. It is standard for artists to retain copyrights, but if an artist is signing a "work for hire" contract they do need to add in a "right of use" clause or just have a right of use contract instead of the work for hire.

I am talking specifically about WORK FOR HIRE here, not tra…

Will Terry on Doing Test (FREE) Illustrations for Jobs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q2KP0kVNsE&feature=em-subs_digest

I am posting this video today because I really like what my colleague-Will Terry has to say.
Some artists get really upset with this kind of thing, but it's part of being an artist.
In animation and illustration it is common and for the most part I don't mind doing a test image.
Sometimes companies, or people will pay for the test and sometimes they don't. It really depends, so before you decide to do it, you really have to ask yourself a few questions.

1. Do I have time to do a professional test?
2. Is this job worth it for me?
3. What is the likelihood that I will get the job?

The last one is because sometimes in animation, the studios will give 100+ people the same test and then it really is just a Craps shoot on whether you will get the job or not. Usually, these days, I stay away from those. I used to do them, but one animation studio-who I won't say which-I passed the same test 9 times, yup NI…

What I Realized at a Book Signing-Teens LOVE Characters Like Real People

I chose this photo just because the book I am working on now is set in a private school, well that and a hospital, and the city of Boston. :) I love photos and just like to have them in my posts. I have never thought about killing off my characters more than, this is what I need to tell this story. It has to happen. I don’t sit down and say, “hrm? How can I make people cry?” Or “I want to write a boo-hoo (as a fellow author friend of mine calls them) book.” I went to a book signing and talk last night that a friend and fellow author was giving for her book-All The Bright Places- (Jennifer Niven). It was great, and I love supporting my friends, and great books. What was especially cool was sitting in the room with about 100 teenages. Watching their reactions to the book and how the book made them feel really hit home with me. I thought. Oh. My. God. “They are going to hate me, I kill of characters in every book.” They didn’t hate Jennifer, but a lot of them were sad, and some destroye…

Yay, It's OKAY to Be CARTOONY and ME!

OMG guys, I was just at the SCBWI Houston conference and I am happy to say that I have beeing feeling so insecure (you may not know that I actually am insecure about my work, even if I appear confident due to years as a professional artist) about my "cartoony" style for children's books. Even though I have done many, I still get the "your style won't work for children's books" comments etc, from more "artsy" folks in the industry. Well I received AMAZING comments in my portfolio which was on display. I always get good comments, and at every conference, including New York and Los Angeles, I have gotten calls about work from them, but I am ALWAYS NERVOUS-because of the aforementioned cartoony-ness of my work. So it was great to talk with a fellow cartoony illustrator, who is doing really well in children's books with her debut book, that just came out this past year, and I had a critique session with, who has a similar background to me and k…

Da Beers-Blood Diamonds & Engagement Ring Scam

http://www.diamondboycott.com/


I rarely am political on social media, but this is something that I really believe in. It's ridiculous-the whole diamond industry. I am shocked at how many people are okay with it, and also argue that no one died so they could wear that big rock on their finger.
Especially my vegan friends! Come on, it's not okay to kill a chicken for food, but it's okay for CHILDREN to constantly be slaughtered, or arms cut off, or forced into slavery so you can wear a diamond? It boils my blood.

In 2006/2007 I did volunteer work AGAINST Da Beers and the diamond industry.
I can't stand diamonds, I can't stand the ads that run all the time about them and I can't stand that people turn their heads and pretend that what's happening isn't.
Also why should a guy spend so much on a ring? It's stupid. I'd rather go to France or Italy for a week, put a down payment on a condo/house. Seriously I don't get it.
http://expandedconsciousnes…

Don't Blame Lufthansa

This plane crash thing is just a nightmare-but I am seeing a lot of posts on social media to boycott Lufthansa/Germanwings-I disagree-the guy clearly hid his illness. I understand that people are angry, but Lufthansa is historically a great airline. The whole situation is just tragic. My Westie Finnegan and I flew Lufthansa back from Denmark. We flew KLM over-they are both great for that as well as Air New Zealand to Sydney. KLM actually flies horses a lot and Finn was on the same level as we were in the back.  But I feel terrible for Lufthansa and everyone involved. I understand the rage, but I think boycotting is not the way to go. It could happen anywhere. I think changing the way of only having one person in the cockpit is the next step for all airlines. Yesterday people were posting saying that in the US all airlines do this, but it's not true, on the short hops (like this flight was) sometimes one person is left up there. That said, I am sure the FAA will make more changes. …

Luck? No It's Hard Work

Yes it is possible to make 100% of your living as a creative-artist, writer, musician, actor, etc. You can do it. 

Hey everyone so this is a carryover from a discussion on FB about working as a writer and artist or one or the other.

I write this blog today because it seems that people are misunderstanding some things that were said at the SCBWI winter conference in New York earlier this month. One of the editors made a comment that it always scares him when his first time authors say the words, "I quit my day job." Now everyone is on social media freaking out saying that it was said at the conference NOT to quit your day job because you can't survive as an artist or a writer. Funny, I was there and didn't hear that at all.

What I heard was an editor being truthful about his part in the publication process and how much stress that puts on him when someone does that. The truth is, that editors work too, and if a book is successful or isn't, it affects them as well.…

YA For Boys

So many of you know that I write from the male POV. I am not trying to change the way things are done in teen fiction or any of that, it's just what comes to me. I do, however, feel that boys are grossly under represented, in that most of the teen fiction that have strong male leads are MG action adventure-not that there is anything wrong with that. I LOVE the Maze Runner and Percy Jackson books as much as the next person.
I write contemporary YA fiction from the male POV. Maybe it's because I was obsessed with S. E. Hinton in middle school or that I just like boy driven stories better, but that is how I write. I am writing for the teenage boys. Hopefully girls will like my books too. Recently I was at a SCBWI convention and someone said to me, "you are writing Boo-hoo fiction like John Green" because yes in my first book there will be some deaths. I don't think of it as Boo-hoo fiction, I look at it like intense there are consequences to your actions stories fro…

Great Article - Advice for New Illustrators

Hey everyone, I know, I know, I know, there is nothing worse than a blog that gets no love for months. I apologize, I got slammed with work and also finishing both my MG and my YA, really working hard at both in revision workshops and classes, and of course the writing.
So it won't happen again. I promise.

I came across this article today and I think it's great so I am sharing it here.

http://www.shauntan.net/images/essay%20Advice%20for%20New%20Illustrators.html

Andreas Deja's Book on Disney Animation

Andreas Deja's Book on Disney Animation Yay! How cool is this? Andreas was my first supervising animator at Disney on Hercules. When I met him I was clueless about who anyone was in the industry, I just thought he was the hilarious guy I met in my friend Jacquie's cubicle when I was getting my drawings looked at. LOL.. He was an amazing friend to me when my mom was dying. He is one of the best people I have ever met.

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/books/focal-press-to-publish-andreas-dejas-book-on-disney-animation-techniques-103487.html

How to Make A Living As An Artist

Hey everyone! Happy Thursday. How are you? I am doing great. I wanted to share something with you all because I think that it's important if you want to make a living as an artist. When I say artist, I don't just mean someone who draws or paints, I mean any creative. As you know I make my living as an illustrator AND a writer. For illustration slash "artist" I work in many areas. That is how I make a living.
People always ask me for advice on how to do this, what's the trick, secret, etc? Well the truth is, IF YOU REALLY WANT THE TRUTH, and most people don't, is that making your living as an artist is HARD. Do you hear me? It's hard. It's one of those careers that has a lot of rejection and sometimes months where you don't have any work coming in. 
I started my art career in animation. I worked 80-100 hours a week and put in 110% giving it my all on 10 films back to back to back... and I thought, "well I'll always have work because I work s…