Sunday, July 20, 2014

Re'and

My good friend Victoria is self publishing a young adult fantasy novel and has commissioned me to illustrate the cover!  As illustrator I got to read the book before it is released and I found it exciting, fast paced, and full of surprises.  It will be coming out this fall and if you like fantasy I highly encourage you all to read it!  If you'd like to find out more click Here.




Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Best Literary Villains Bracket

I have the weird hobby where I like to make brackets of favorite authors, movie couples, soundtracks, etc.  I've been doing it for years, but today I am coming out publicly with one.  It is a bracket of all the best literary villains (at least in my opinion).  Feel free to print out a copy of the bracket and declare a champion.  I am interested to see who the majority of people choose, so please post your winner! Once I've collected a large sample of brackets I will declare the winning villain and post a blog entry about him or her.  If the bracket is hard to read or you can't remember what books certain characters are from I have posted all the entries below in the order they are placed on the bracket.  Have fun!




Villains from Childhood

General Woundwort - Watership
Mrs. Minchen – A Little Princess
The White Witch – The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
The Warden – Holes
Cluny the Scourge - Redwall
Mrs. Coulter – The Golden Compass
Lord Voldemort – Harry Potter
IT  - A Wrinkle in Time


Two Faced Villains

Count Foscoe – The Woman in White
Jack Torrence – The Shining
Gollum – Lord of the Rings
Dorian Gray – A Picture of Dorian Gray
Amy – Gone Girl
Montressor - – Cask of Amontillado
O’Brien - 1984
Richard III – Shakespeare’s Richard III

Bad to the Bone

Assef – Kite Runner
Joffrey Baratheon – Game of Thrones
Anton Chigurh – No Country for Old Men
Martin Venger – Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Cathy – East of Eden
Serena - Serena
Professor Moriarty – Sherlock Holmes
Smaug – The Hobbit


Classic Villains

Frankenstein’s Monster – Frankenstein
General Zaroff – The Most Dangerous Game
Mrs. Danvers - Rebecca
Sikes – Oliver Twist
Mordred – The Once and Future King
Cardinal Richelieu - The Three Musketeers
Javert – Les Miserables
Chauvelin - Scarlet Pimpernel


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Utah: A Foreign Land


Utah is my homeland. It is where my grandparents and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins live.  It is where I learned to ride a bicycle, play soccer, how to read, and become a decent human being.  I will always love Utah and the person it has allowed me to become, but after living 6 years in Kentucky, returning to Utah feels like visiting a foreign country.  I shall attempt to explain this by describing mine and Keith’s weeklong trip to Utah this summer.


Food

            Probably the number 1 hardest thing about visiting relatives in Utah is the lack of coffee and whole milk.  Seriously, we’ve been to five different houses and every single one of them had only 1% milk on no coffee makers! Keith and I drink whole milk and coffee almost religiously so this took some adjusting.  We got by with Dr. Peppers and Coke Zeros until my Grandma Ann (who doesn’t drink coffee, but took pity on us) came to the rescue and took us Island market where we purchased some much needed instant coffee and hot cocoa to survive the remainder of our trip. 

Despite their lack of coffee and horrible taste in milk our hosts in Utah took very good care of us.  We ate like kings the entire trip.  Everything in Utah seems to be homemade.  We had homemade sushi, homemade hummus, homemade raspberry jam, homemade guacamole, homemade oatmeal pancakes, homemade chocolate chip cookies, homemade everything!  It was delicious!  The people of Utah know how to eat right!


Language

When coming to Utah it really helps to know the Mormon language.  As someone who grew up as a Mormon you’d think it would be easy for me, but once you start talking a certain way it’s hard to go back.  Apparently I’ve developed a bit of a Kentucky accent as my Aunt Catherine likes to point out whenever we see her.  I also have a difficult time not swearing.  I don’t swear a ton, but Mormons don’t swear at all!  They especially don’t like it when people say, “Oh my God!” They call it taking the Lord’s name in vain.  I let this slip a few times, and while I was never confronted I felt the discomfort. 

When you talk movies, and TV shows with Mormons this generally means you have to keep the conversation at a PG-13 level.  They don’t watch HBO, and they don’t watch R-rated movies.  When asked what my favorite movies are, and I list off Pulp Fiction, Little Miss Sunshine, Away We Go, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, they have no idea what I’m talking about.  When asked about my favorite TV shows I am careful to say that I like Seinfeld, Firefly, and Freaks and Geeks excluding my other favorites like Game of Thrones, The Wire, Breaking Bad, and The Sopranos.  There are exceptions.  I was delighted to learn that my cousin Ashley and her husband have watched Breaking Bad and have watched several R-rated movies including one of my favorites from last year American Hustle.  Thank goodness!  It’s so nice to not put a filter on these conversations.  It shouldn’t be such a big deal to me, but it is.  Movie and TV show talk is the one things I’m good at.  It’s so frustrating not being able to show off my expertise!

Religion

Sundays in Utah are the worst.  The family members wake up and get ready for church while Keith and I bum around the entire morning in our pajamas. This last Sunday was fast Sunday which means that Mormons forgo breakfast and lunch and don’t eat until dinner.  While the rest of the family starved themselves Keith and I sheepishly ate the boxes of cold cereal left out for us on the kitchen table.

As Keith’s 12 year old cousin Landon straightened up his tie for church he looked at me in my tank top and pajama bottoms and asked, “Aren’t you guys going to church?”

I said, “No.  We’re just going to stay here.”

Landon being the inquisitive boy that he is asked, “How come?”

I hesitated for a moment before answering, “Because we don’t believe in the same things you do.”

To my relief Landon was satisfied with this and asked no further questions.



I love my family.  They have shown nothing but love, kindness, and acceptance for who I am.  The same goes for Keith’s family as well.  Just because we have cultural and religious differences does not mean we cannot find common ground.  It’s easy to pick at all the petty little differences, but life is a lot more fun when you can just let them go and just enjoy each other’s company.  Keith and I are lucky to have such wonderful families on both sides and we had a fantastic time with both of them this week.  I look forward to visiting them again next year!   

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Picture Book Dummy Complete

The rough draft sketches for "Lucy and Her Friends" are now complete.  The hard part is over.  I finally get to start painting!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fairy Garden

So apparently their is this cool hobby where people create miniature gardens/houses/villages in flowerpots.  They are called fairy gardens.  It's been on my Pintrest to do list for quite some time now so I collected a bunch of rocks at the creek, mastered my fear of the hot glue gun, and got to work.  Not bad for a first attempt!

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Wonderfully Chaotic Creative Process




My creative process is complete and utter chaos.  There is no daily routine, no peaceful workspace, no money to buy quality art supplies or pay for childcare.  There is only me and the desire to create.  The where, what, when, and how vary from day to day, but I always find a way.  Here is a glimpse into the where, what, when, and how of my creative writing process.  It's far from perfect, but it works well enough for me.  Enjoy.

Where

·      On the front porch on warm summer evenings getting eaten alive by bugs.
·      In the home of a beloved professor, Libby Jones, at one of her fabulous writing retreats.
·      Locked in my room with the fan on full blast trying to shut out the rest of the world.
·      Sitting on the sandy bank of a small creek as my son buries toys in the sand.
·      In the kitchen with paints, paper, and children’s books strewn all across the table and while eating a bowl of Greek yogurt, berries, and granola. 

What

·      Random thoughts and ideas in my writing journal
·      Illustrations for my Aunt Linda’s picture book “Lucy and Her Friends.”
·      Caricatures for family and friends
·      Poems that insist on being written
·      Endless revisions for picture books I’ve written and hope to one day publish

When

·      An occasional morning when I miraculously wake up before my son, Samuel, between 6:00 and 8:00 am.
·      Evenings when my husband is watching a basketball game and Samuel has just gone down for bed.
·      As my Samuel watches one of his favorite TV shows on Netflix including: My Little Pony, Dragon Tales, or Magic School Bus.
·      The minute Samuel gets lost in his little world of pretend and no longer needs me to entertain him
·      Moments I simply have to jot down an idea before I forget it, regardless of time or place.

How

·      Watercolors with the brushes and paints my husband gave me two Christmases ago.
·      On my computer while listening to relaxing solo piano music on Spotify.
·      Sketches with a mechanical pencil on regular printing paper
·      Notes scribbled into my writing journal given to me as a present from my dad.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Shopping with Mom


Yesterday was my mom's birthday and I felt inspired to make a draw a her a list of all my favorite clothes that she's bought for me throughout my life.  I love my mom and I know this is a weird way to express my appreciation for her, but shopping with her has been an important part of my life.  She has always tried to make sure I felt good about myself and my wardrobe.  Shopping is not a favorite activity for either of us, but we've made some good memories from those shopping experiences anyway despite our lack of enthusiasm for the task.