A Talk with Author A.F. Stewart About Her Science Fiction/Fantasy Stories, AND More.

    

Author A.F. Stewart is fond of good books, action movies, sword collecting, geeky things, comic books, and oil painting as a hobby. She has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories.
She has always had an overly creative mind, and an active imagination. She is fond of good books (especially science fiction/fantasy), action movies, and oil painting as a hobby.
Ms. Stewart has been writing for several years, her main focus being in the fantasy and horror genres. She also has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories. She has authored and published several books, including Fairy Tale Fusion, Gothic Cavalcade, Ruined City, the Killers and Demons series, and Chronicles of the Undead. In addition, she writes and publishes poetry, her latest volume being Colours of Poetry.
Her short stories have been published in the charity anthologies, Coffin Hop: Death by Drive-In, Christmas Lites III, IV and V. Also, tales from her pen have appeared in three anthologies by Xchyler Publishing, Mechanized Masterpieces, Legends and Lore, and Beyond the Wail.

Hi A.F., so glad to get this opportunity to speak with you on my blog.
I have some questions your fans, 
AMAZON
and I, would love to know!

 
Other than writing a story when I was about twelve, it was someone else asking me to help them write a book which really got me writing. What circumstances inspired you to pursue your writing?
What circumstances... Hmmm, maybe because I didn’t have enough talent to be a professional artist or a ballet dancer. But seriously, I’ve always been writing something or other since I was a kid, so I think I simply moved into writing as a career naturally.

Was it earlier than when you started writing that you realized you were a storyteller but wasn’t sure what to do with it?
It wasn’t so much that I wasn’t sure what to do with it, (I knew I wanted to be published), as where to go and how to get there. I submitted things here and there, but the traditional sea of publishing was vast and deep. It was the start of indie publishing that really launched things for me.

Who are the authors and books that inspired you most?
My best inspiration is Ray Bradbury. The man was brilliant when writing short stories and captured emotional essence beautifully. All Summer in a Day is one of my favourites. I’ve been a Neil Gaiman fan since his days writing Sandman and his book The Ocean at the End of the Lane was stellar. And the books of Guy Gavriel Kay are just amazing, especially the two book Sarantine Mosaic, consisting of Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors.

Was it these authors that drew you to write fantasy and horror genres?
I think so. All their work is extraordinary, filled with beautiful, fantastic imagery, but also very much laced with tragedy and darkness. For me, it’s very appealing to write. But I have to  say all those murder mysteries I read as a teenager may have also helped with the horror writing.
AMAZON

A.F., I know you have a great sense of humor, does it sometimes interfere with something you are writing?
I would say, no. Generally my stuff is either mainly serious or mainly humorous, although I do try to keep the puns to a minimum in whatever I write. Of course, you do have to mix a bit of lightness and humour into your characters, but I try to stay in the mood of the story I’m writing. And most of my humorous stuff tends to be short fiction, the novels and novellas are normally where the darkness lives.

What was your original goal to achieve as an author, and have you reached it?
My original goal was just to see if I could publish a book and have people interested in reading it, so in that sense I’ve accomplished my first goal. You always need new goals though, so upward and onward.

How often do you produce a story?
That depends on what’s happening in my life; if my non-writing life is busy, then story production slows down and I might get very little writing done. But in a good month I could be
working on one or two (or three) stories for submission to magazines or anthologies, plus whatever book (or books) I’m writing.

When I write my mind moves quickly and I have to jump around writing notes here and there about one scene and then another so that I could be working on two, or even more scenes for a book at a time. What is your method of writing and how does your imagination fit into you it?
I do jump around quite a bit, writing this scene or that, working on notes and outlines as I go. Although quite often with writing a short story I tend to take a more linear approach; not a lot of jumping room with shorter fiction, especially with pieces 1000 words or less. My imagination is very visual, so whatever scene I happen to be “seeing” at the time is what ends up on the page.

How do you approach starting a new project?
It begins with a an idea, usually a first line, and the impression of the main character. Then I head straight to the ending and work out a rough outline of how the story concludes. Of course, when connecting the dots between the middle and the end, plot points change or those characters of mine go off on unexpected tangents. I think with any approach flexibility is key, never get too attached to the plot, or characters (you never know when they’ll need to get killed off).

Have you worked with other authors on a story, and was it a good experience?
I’ve never collaborated with other authors (unless you count editors that also write) on a story. I’ve worked with fellow authors as part of an anthology (which I’ve always enjoyed), but never on a story. It could be interesting, and would certainly be something I would be open to doing.

Tell us about your latest project? 
I have two books that came out in the last couple of months, my latest poetry book, Horror Haiku and Other Poems, and I have a story in the charity anthology, Christmas Lites VI. 
Horror Haiku and Other Poems is my indulgence of macabre poetry, inspired by the Twitter hashtag #HorrorHaikuesday. Here’s a little blurb snippet: Words linger... In the darkness of shadows, in the distant screams. They whisper past the drip, drip of blood. The strange beauty of words hide, waiting for you. Embrace the horror. 
Christmas Lites VI is the latest book in this charity anthology series and all proceeds go to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. My story, Fate and Faerie, is a tale of one faerie with a tragic history, a human with a secret legacy, and the legendary Snow Queen. They all collide in a fateful Christmas Eve encounter.

Do you have an upcoming project/s and can you tell us a little about it?
AMAZON
I do have an upcoming book that I hope to have ready next year, called Ghosts of the Sea Moon. It’s a seafaring fantasy novel set in the world of the Seven Kingdoms and the Outer Islands, a place of sailors and scalawags, of seaports and fishermen. And under the full moon, a land of darker things… The book follows the adventures of Captain Rafe Morrow, his ship manned by the living and the dead, and the dangers posed by his mad sister, the Goddess of the Moon. It’s all about Ghosts, Gods, and Sea Monsters.

Where can readers find your books and follow you?
The best place to check out what I’m up to as an author is at my website, Welcome to Avalon. My books are listed there, plus interviews, my social media, updates and posts, and a few freebies. You can follow the site either through the WordPress reader or through email, and I also have a mailing list you can sign up for to receive event and book release announcements.

Thank you so much, A.F., for doing this interview, my friend. ~JD

 

Other BOOKS by A.F. Stewart:   https://www.amazon.com/A.-F.-Stewart/e/B00653FUOW
 
  

Places to find A.F.:
https://afallonblog.wordpress.com/

Guest Blogger: Carmela Dutra Interview with Lise Chase

Author and Illustrator, Carmela Dutra interviewed in November for Picture Book Month, Author and Illustrator, Lise Chase.
Enjoy  reading about this talented KidLit author!
 
picturebookmonth
November is Picture Book Month, and I want to help share pictures books!
 
Since this month only comes around once a year, and given the fact that I am an author and illustrator of picture books myself this hits home with me. I want to have a full share in this month, so I will dedicate this entire month to blogging about picture books. I will be having interview’s with some fellow KidLit authors and will share their books with all of you.
Since this month only comes around once a year, and given the fact that I am an author and illustrator of picture books myself this hits home with me. I want to have a full share in this month, so I will dedicate this entire month to blogging about picture books. I will be having interview’s with some fellow KidLit authors and will share their books with all of you. I would like to introduce all of you to Lise’ Chase. Lise has been writing and illustrating for the last four years. After raising her children, she reenergized and started on her new journey. Proud mother of 4, all of her children are college graduates. She has a daughter with her CPA and currently in law school with an academic scholarship from UCLA. A son who has ten books published traditionally. A son that is a business manager for a large corporation and her youngest son is attending UGA graduate school on a full academic scholarship in mathematics. Her passions are the outdoors and children. She loves going to schools and sharing her stories with the kids and seeing their faces as they fall in love with Wally and Warren. There is no better judge of her book writing skills than to see the children fully engaged as she weaves the stories of friendship, with valuable lessons intertwined into the rhyming tales.

When did you decide to become a writer and why?
pic-for-carmela-dutra  After I turned 50 several stories came to me in a short period. I decided that I wanted to illustrate them to show children simple drawings that they could recreate easily.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book?
It takes me about four months to illustrate the story from beginning to editing to publishing.

  What is your editing process like?
  Editing the story and illustrations takes me much longer than it does to do the original. When you are debuting your book with teachers, you want it to be perfect! I use a professional editor, especially since I have no grammar skills at all! I also have someone that makes sure the pictures are in sync with the written story.  

Do you have a particular time to write?
 I am very fortunate that the stories come to me quickly, even the rhyming. The illustrations I do in short sets, usually doing many pages in a few days, taking time off, then another short spurt.

wallywarrenHow has your product evolved over the years?
 The first year that I reached out to schools in fall of 2014, I read to about 300 students, in the autumn of 2015 I read to over 2000 and in total over 10,000 in the last few years. This year I have schools calling me to set up readings. I have parents and schools that buy the books and the Wally and Warren stuffed animals. Wally and Warren have been featured in an Elementary school yearbook on the “Kindergarten Rocks” page and have had over a thousand children download books in just a few days on Amazon. Wally and Warren are also proud to be on Barnes and Noble.com; we have no idea how that happened, but we are very proud! I am a self-published author, so I didn’t even know that was possible.  

What have you written and can you tell us a little about it?
  I have eight books in The Adventures of Wally and Warren book series. The Adventures of Wally and Warren book series are tales of friendship weaved into stories that teach valuable life lessons to children in fun rhyming fashion while they fall in love with Wally and Warren along the way.

Is there anything you are working on right now that you would like to share?
 The Halloween Surprise was released in September. It introduces children to a scary tale in fun filled rhyming fashion and introduces them to geometric shapes and of course, it’s all about friendship.  

Any advice for aspiring authors?
 I have been fortunate to know already that I have inspired several writers to achieve their goals in writing. My goal with this series has always been to inspire many young readers to write and illustrate their stories. In fact, I leave the brush strokes in my simple drawings so that young readers can see that they can do this too! My #1 tip – Finish your book – So many authors get stuck in making their story and then reworking and reworking, only making it different, not better. JUST FINISH IT ALREADY! I help students who have a story with pictures by making it into an actual book for them, just like the Wally and Warren books.  

Give us an insight into your main character.
Wally and Warren are the quintessential polar opposite duo. Wally, the penguin, is the adventurous one that is always getting into trouble while Warren the polar bear is the one that tries to keep Wally out of trouble. They not only entertain but they also teach kids valuable lessons while they observe this opposite polar friendship.

Thank you so much for joining us Lise. It has been my privilege to share your stories here for Picture Book Month. If you would like more information you can visit Lise at the links listed below. As always, thank you in advance for comments! Lise or I will get back to you lickety-split! See you all next week. ~Carmela
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Facebook
Goodreads

You can find Carmela Dutra at: http://carmeladutra.com/

A Short Look at Typewriter History. NO, Really! In A NutShell.


In A Nut Shell!



            
 
 
 
 
  A Short Look at
       Typewriter History
       by J.D. Holiday

Another Stoles' Prototype
 
              I have always loved history of all types. It's usually inventions that I take the time to look at.
Sholes' One Key Prototype
I know, most people find this of no interest. But what can I say, I think if someone takes the time to come up with anything that would make others lives easier, they deserve to be admired. Even if it's just by me!
             You might not believe this, but there are quite a lot of articles written about the typewriter.
I found some articles that say that it all started in the 1900's when Christopher Latham Sholes, whose work on the typewriter is undisputed, asked for carbon paper at the Milwaulee Wisconsin Telegraph Company to use with his early gizmo he, Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule would called the 'typewriting machine' in 1867.
A Christopher Latham Sholes's
machine
           As with many inventions that we so take for granted; the telegraph, the automobile, and telephones to name three, many people contributed to the invention of the typewriter. And many of these machines were listed as the 'first typewriter,' and almost all were slower than handwriting!
          I found that the whole invention really goes back as far as the fourteenth century. But in 1575, Francesco Rampazzetto, an Italian printmaker, invented a machine to impress letters in papers. And in 1714 the first patent was issued by Henry Mill, an English engineer. Many printing or typing machines were patented by inventors throughout the centuries. All those who worked on its invention that leads up to the present day took no less than one hundred prototype and more that 50 inventors worldwide. Amazing! Will we ever know all of these inventors names?
These Italians are among them:
              In 1802, Agostino Fantoni developed a particular typewriter to enable his blind sister to write.
Pellegrino Turri machine
              In 1808, Pellegrino Turri invented a typewriter along with carbon paper to provide the ink for it.
              In 1823, Pietro Conti di Cilavegna invented a different model called the tachigrafo or tachitipo.
              And then in 1829, William Austin Burt patented a machine. This machine used a dial rather than keys called an 'index typewriter' so unlike the other keyboard typewriters. He was never to find a buyer and the invention was never produced.
             Charles Thurber developed multiple patents starting in 1843 to aid the blind.
VinegarValentinePoem
The TypewriterMYER c1910-Postcard
            Another Italian inventor, Giuseppe Ravizza created a prototype his called Scribe, a harpsichord machine for writing with keys that the person could see what they were typing in 1855.
In 1861, a Brazilian priest, Francisco João de Azevedo, made his own typewriter using wood and knives.
              In 1865, a Rector from Denmark, Rasmus Malling-Hansen invented his Hansen Writing Ball which was manufactured in 1870 and was the first typewriter sold commercially and still in use up to 1909. Malling-Hansen was consided to be the inventor of the first "electric" typewriter, though the world would not see the REAL “first” electric typewriter which was produced by the Blickensderfer Manufacturing Company, of Stamford, Connecticut, until 1902.
(I had to add this since
 I write books!)
              Two of the men and staunch supporters of the typewriter as well as their own work on it leading to the eventual success of it in the 1880s were James Densmore and George W. N. Yost. They recognized the great result Sholes’s had made back in 1867 and purchased Sholes’s patents for about $12,000. Not a small amount in their day. They were successful in convincing Remington and Sons in New York who made guns, sewing machines and farm aquipment in their factory to manufacture the first typewriters known as the Sholes and Gliden Type-Writer. It was a QWERTYT keyboard and the one we still use today. At the time the Sholes and Gliden Type-Writer cost $125 each.
              I know there are many names I do not name here because to do so, I would be writing, or typewriting a book. A great thanks to all those who continue to image what could be for up until this inventions all writing by writers, authors, novelists, historians, speechwriters etc was written by hand.
© 2016  by J.D. Holiday
 
If you took the time to read this you might want to read more about the typewriter.
Here are some link for you to visit.
 
 
 
 
I added for fun. :D
 

My Janoose picture books are out!

Both my Janoose picture books are out!
The NEW version of JANOOSE THE GOOSE and JANOOSE AND THE FALL FEATHER FAIR.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

An Interview with Illustrator Traci Van Wagoner



 
 
 
  Traci Van Wagoner is an artist and a children's illustrator with over 18 years experience designing and illustrating in the publishing, toy, and game markets. Traci’s artwork has been called - striking - enchanted - wonderful and her characters have their own unique personalities.
She was farm bred girl turned city slicker living in NYC. Traci loves children's books; reading, writing and illustrating them designing products, gardening on my roof, walking in the park with her dog and husband, playing pool.

http://www.imaginethatdesignnyc.com/post/152073981492/final-illustrations-for-booker-t-bears-4th-and?is_related_post=1
 

 
Her Clients Include:         
                 
 -International Masters Publishers  
-Silver Editions
 -Ten to Two Children’s Books     
-Highlights Magazine 
-Jacob Packaged Goods                 
 -Nancy Hall Associates
-Herman Agency                           
  -SCBWI Bulletin
-SCBWI Metro NY Newsletter      
-Once Upon a Time
-EB Brands                                    
  -Leap Frog
-Moose Entertainment                   
-New Moon Magazine                  
-LOONY          
-Highlight Magazine             
-Pauline Books & Media          
-Puddle Duck Publishing   
 
 
Hi Traci,  Thank you for being here. I love your work!
 
 
What circumstances lead you to pursue your art?
That’s an interesting question with a convoluted answer starting way back in the olden days when I was a jus a kid. My mom and dad always supplied us (I have three brothers and four sisters) with fun art supplies crayons, pencils, watercolors sets, colored construction paper. Both of them were artists of sorts. My dad painted various things, and I remember my mom drawing horses for me during church. The first tips of art I learned from them, like the eyes in a human face are halfway through the oval of the head great stuff like that. Everything has always come back to drawing and art for me. At Utah State University I majored in Advertising Design. That didn’t’ seem so scary. I took a huge leap and moved to Boston, but I soon discovered that advertising was not right for me. Children’s books captured my attention while living in Boston. I fell in love with Make Way for Ducklings, spent a lot of time at the park with the adorable sculpture of those ducks. The idea of writing and illustrating all paired up into fun book package took hold. I was hooked. I’ve had a rocky road with this career path, but the passion has driven me.
While kid lit has been my overall drive since those Boston days, I’ve had many distractions. I got a 2nd Bachelors degree from Fashion Institute of Technology in Toy Design, and I created Imagine That! Design with my husband and we worked several clients creating toys, games and giftware products for many, many years. This took most of my focus for a long time until our main client disappeared during the worst of the recession. We were left pretty high and dry and scrambling for more jobs and clients to fill the void. Which lead to one and then more and more children’s book illustration jobs.
Why children’s books?
I love the world’s that can open up for children through books, from the earliest experiences with bedtime stories and lap time with parents to middle grade and young adult. I love them all. Picture books are wonderful with the interplay of text, illustration and imagination, mixed with together-time that’s a beautiful package.
Who are the artists and illustrators that inspire you most?
There are so many. I studied a lot of Art History during my first degree at USU, and I have been influenced by many artists through the ages. To name of few at the top of my list of artists from history: Monet, Cezanne, Michaelangelo, VanGogh. I also love many of the
illustrators from the Golden Age of Illustration: Maxfield Parrish, NC Wyeth, Norman Rockwell and so, so many children’s book illustrators and writer/illustrators. These few are merely the tip of the iceberg for inspiration: Lane Smith, Ezra Jack Keats, Maurice Sendak, Joe Cepeda, Will Terry. Also Mary Grand Pre’s Harry Potter covers reignited my passion and desire to create such beautiful and fun imagery at a time when I needed some inspiration to follow my dreams.
What was your original goal to achieve as an artist, and have you reached it?
To get the things in my head onto paper (so to speak since I work mostly digital now). I feel like I’m always reaching my goal, but when I get there, the goal has leaped higher. I think that’s what art is and an artist is and should always be learning, growing, developing. I think most of us are hardly ever satisfied with our own work. With every illustration I do, I reach a happy point at some point where I think, “Wow, this looks really good, professional. Yeah.” But then, as short as 5 minute later, I feel like a fraud and wish I could create things as beautiful and wonderful as (see list above, plus so many more amazing illustrators and artists.)
I use to do my art in oil and watercolor but now I do most of my art work digitally. What mediums have you worked in and does that include digital?
I was trained in traditional media, oils and acrylic mostly. I tried gouache and watercolor during college, but they are not to my taste. I prefer working from dark to light. I work mostly digital now although I work as if I’m painting using my own brushes, paper textures and color palettes that mimic the colors I used with real paints. My sketches are pencil or pen, and then I scan that in and paint in Photoshop. I used to use Painter, but I found it too fussy and annoying overall. However, there are still things I can do with that program I can’t do anywhere especially my graphic paint brush using my signature texture which came from a special paper I got while on Safari in Africa made out of matusa dona, which is elephant dung. Ha, you gotta love that.
 
 
 
Can you describe your over all style?
Hmm, that’s a tough question. I had a friend describe my style as a urban Norman Rockwell — I like that.
Bright colors, values, textures with characters (animal or human) who are not realistic and not cartoony, but some of my books are quite cartoony. So I’ll stick with the bright colors and fun textures. How about whimsical?
How do you work with an author? Does the author tell you what illustrations they want to see in their books?
A variety of ways depending on the client. Self-published clients, I always ask if they have specific thoughts in mind for characters or setting, but for the most part I have free reign. Self-publishing authors tend to have more of an idea of the types of characters they want. The least hands-on with any expectations has been Pelican Publishing. They had very few directional notes other than they wanted artwork that was a bit more realistic than my usual style and from the samples I had sent them when pitching for the job.
How do you approach a paintings or drawings when you start a new project?

I start with pen or pencil and a sketchbook, sit on my couch cuddled up with my dog and doodle until images start to solidify in my head. Then I can sketch for real. With a picture book job, I start with a text dummy book and loose, quick thumbnail sketching. Often I’ll take my loose doodle sketches, scan those, clean them up in Photoshop and print that out for an underlay to make clean and better pencils. But, I do also tend to approach each job a bit differently which drives my husband crazy. I don’t like to get bored. Or I like to make things hard for myself — guess it depends on your POV.
Where can people find your art on display?
I have various pet portraits out and about and some posters and canvases from my gallery at Zazzle.
What type of illustration services do you provide?
In addition to illustrating picture books for myself and publishers, I work alongside my husband and business partner design and illustrating a variety of projects, mostly focusing on the children’s industry of books, toys and games. We offer a range of services for self-publishing authors from book illustration, some amount of editing, and book layout and design, providing print-ready files.
Here’s a link to a post I wrote about Hiring an Illustrator that has some helpful information for writers and hopefully other illustrators: http://tracivanwagoner.blogspot.com/2016/09/hiring-illustrator.html
                                                              
 
 
What are your upcoming projects?
I have just finished the fourth book of the Booker T. Bear Let’s Go Series by Jen Jellyfish for The Library Story. The first book of 4 (hopefully more) will be coming out at the end of this year.
 
I’m in the early sketch stages of another graphic novel for Ronnie Sidney, Rest in Peace RaShawn. This is the third in the series of books about serious issues kids are facing today. I will be sharing regular updates on social media as the project progresses, showing various stages of my process.
 
 
Where can everyone find your art work and learn more about you?
 
 
 
I post regularly to social media. This month I’ve been doing #inktober with a focus on dragons. It has been a great challenge, proving that I can draw fast sometimes.
instagram: tracivwcreations
twitter: @TraciVanWagoner
My design company Imagine That! Design: www.imaginethatdesignnyc.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Thank you so much, Traci, for doing this interview. I enjoyed talking to you!   ~JD 
 
Some of Traci Van Wagoner Illustrated Books:

Daddy Did I Ever Say? I Love You, Love You Every Day, 10 to 2 Children's Books, 2007
Candy Canes in Bethlehem , Pauline Books & Media, 2012

Jack and the Beanstalk, You TELL Me Stories, 2013 (in process of being released)
Anything Can Happen in Mrs. Whynot's Room, Puddle Duck Publishing Fall 2014
Moose's Big Day, Come Along Critters, Summer 2015
The Mermaid's Gift, Pelican Publishing, September 2015
Nelson Beats the Odds, September 2015
Cody and Grandpa's Christmas Tradition, Pelican Publishing, Fall 2016
Tameka’s New Dress, Creative Medicine, Summer 2016
 
 
 
 

JD's Artwork!

www.flickr.com
Jd (Jan) Holiday's itemsGo to Jd (Jan) Holiday's photostream

MY SITE!