Monday, September 8, 2014

Welcome Nata Romeo and Her Alphabet Wildlife A to Z

Alphabet Wildlife A to Z invites young readers into an enchanting world of animals.

1)     Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am originally from Toronto, Canada. I lived in Italy for a while, and then graduated school from the Art Institute, and then ended up in Philadelphia, PA.  I am the proud mother of three amazing children, ages ranging from 28, 25, and 8!
I work full time as a special needs classroom assistant for the School District Of Philadelphia. Creativity and inspiration derive from my kids, and also being among hundreds of elementary students on a daily basis!
2)     What was your inspiration to write and illustrate this book? And why?
The Sketchbook Project 2014, part of the Brooklyn Art Library inspired me to write and illustrate this book. This is my third year participating with them. The original drawings are in that sketchbook, which is housed in their library. I always wanted to write an alphabet book!
3)     What projects are you working on now?
I’m currently revising another children’s book about Moon Trees, and illustrating it as well. 
4)     Are you interested in writing another genre?
Absolutely! I LOVE YA! I’ve had characters bouncing around in my head for a while, and they’re waiting to be written!
5)     Did you always want to be a writer and illustrator?
Yes, as long as I can remember! I love the power of creativity.
6)     Are you a day or night writer and illustrator?
Day for both!  Night=sleep!
7)     What is your advice to writers /illustrators?
Read, read, read, what you want to write. Learn to storyboard/dummies to see if your story flows. Join SCBWI, go to workshops, and join critique groups. Not only will your writing improve, but you will meet other talented writers and illustrators that also share your passion.  
Also, if you decide to self-publish, please avoid making the mistake I did! After my book was approved by CreateSpace and up for sale, someone I look up to and admire messaged me and pointed out that there was a typo!  I thanked her soooooooo much! I immediately fixed the BOO BOO!  
8)      Are you a coffee or tea person?
Definitely coffee fueled!
9)     Are you a lefty or righty?
After fracturing my dominant hand earlier this year, I became aware that I’ve been ambidextrous and never knew it!   Now I can alternate between the two and have two unique styles of drawings.
Actually, the Lion book art was illustrated with lefty, while the animals in the book were illustrated with righty. So yeah, no matter what life throws your way, pick yourself up and find a way to continue what you love to do!
10)  What is your favorite illustration medium?
My favorite illustration medium is combining watercolor, and pen and ink.  I love having the freedom of colors blending into other colors, creating unique effects. Detailed pen and ink is a form of de-stressing!
1          11)  Why did you decide to self-publish your first book with CreateSpace?

             The beauty of self-publishing with CreateSpace is that you can easily edit your book. I       wanted to have the freedom to make all the decisions on how the book looks. I have to admit that it was very stressing along the way. The formatting was always off! Fortunately, my son the computer genius always comes to my rescue and saves me from self-destruction!  HA HA  

       Thanks for stopping by and sharing your sweet book and yourself with us. It's available in print or Kindle. Or both. *wink*

       Want to buy Nata's book? Go here to Amazon.      

Want to visit Nata?

Go here to Nata's house! YEAH! 

You can visit her at Goodreads. 

And Twitter. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Blowing Out Some Discs and Melissa Gijsbers

I have been absent from the blogging scene because I blew out five discs in an accident here on our farm. YOUCHIE!!!!! Oh, THE pain! I'm doing this without pain meds too. YOUCHIE!!!!!!! 

But here's the real reason we're here today. 

Everyone please welcome Melissa Gijsbers. Melissa has a crowdfunding campaign going on right now for her book SWALLOW ME, NOW! Her target is  $3,500. Her deadline is September 20th. This book deals with the subject of bullying. A very important subject for all of us. Especially our kids.

This is the story of the project. Taken from Melissa’s crowdfunding project page at Pozible. 
‘Swallow Me, NOW!’ is the story of Samantha Phillips, a ten year old kid in grade 5 who relocates back to Australia after spending three years in Nepal. On her first day she meets Felicity, the most popular girl at Green Oaks Primary School, who bullies her, first with exclusion, and then escalating to teasing. The story tells the tale of how Sam overcomes the bullies and builds her confidence to find some new friends.

I first Melissa over at the chapter book challenge facebook group. This girl is full of energy and a love of writing. I knew I had to do something when I saw she was trying to crowdfund.

Melissa, what is the biggest challenge with crowdfunding?

There are two big challenges for me. One is self-promotion, not something I’ve been particularly good at, hand in hand with self-confidence. Something that many writers struggle with. The second is not bugging people all the time with posting links to the campaign!

How do you decide how much money you will need?

I looked at how much each element of the book cost – editing, layout, illustrations, printing, etc. – and then added extra to that amount for the different rewards. I also took into account how much it would be for envelopes and postage as well as the Pozible fees. I then added in a little extra for any unforeseen costs and came up with the figure.

How many rewards does an author need to have? I noticed you have seven. I’ve seen other projects that have two, and some have ten. 

I’ve seen campaigns with more rewards than what I have, and some that has less. I was going to have less. However, I know I have a lot of contacts who are outside Australia, so I wanted to make sure they didn’t miss out on getting a copy of their book too. :-)

How did you find your publisher?

I met Julieann Wallace from Lilly Pilly Press through a writer’s group on Facebook a while ago. I started looking for an editor about 7 months ago, and Julieann put her hand up. One of the biggest selling points for me was she’s a former teacher of the age group I’m aiming the book at, so she was able to edit the book from the point of view of a teacher as well as an editor. She believed in the book so much that she’s helped me every step of the way with publishing.

How many books will be printed?

That will depend a lot on how many books are pre-ordered! There will also be a box or two ready for the book launch in October.

Tell us about Swallow Me Now!

Swallow Me, NOW! was written during the 2013 Chapter Book Challenge and grew as a result of my son being bullied and hitting out. It’s based on my experiences in the late 1980s of being a missionary kid adjusting to life back in Australia and my kids experiences of bullies. One of my aims with the book is to encourage kids who are being bullied to speak up and get help.

Who did the illustrations?

Cecilia Clark ( drew Sam; you can see her on the cover. I think she’s done an amazing job as Sam looks just like I imagined her.
 My 12-year-old son is also doing a couple of the internal illustrations. He’s really excited to be involved and is trying to find a way he can pledge to the campaign….!

What can readers do to help you?

First, they can stop by and pledge. There are levels from $5 to $100, and most include a copy of the book. There are also levels where you can get a book for you and one for a friend. If you don’t have a friend you can think of, we would be happy to donate the second copy to a school or library.

Second, they can share the word and encourage their friends to get involved.

I’m looking forward to sending out copies of “Swallow Me, NOW!” to all the supporters of this campaign.

I truly hope you have your money by September 20th, Melissa. It's been wonderful having you here. 

If you want to support Melissa in crowdfunding her chapter book hop over to her home away from home and show her the love. Any amount will be appreciated. Here's the link: Swallow, Me Now! 

Melissa's HOUSE! YEAH! The House!

Melissa's hideaway (her blog) :-) Aussie hideaway

Here's Melissa's FB page: MelissaGijsbers. 

Question. Would YOU ever consider crowdfunding a writing project?