Virtual Book Tours

Not too long ago, when you wrote a book and got a publisher, you would take a tour of bookstores and other venues that the publisher set up for you. Sounds nice, right? Well, number one those publishers are traditional publishers and they are harder...

Please see my entire post at http://reachmorereaders.com.

 

Interview with Helen Davis

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Helen R. Davis is an award winning author, who is also an editor and proofreader at Savant. Her debut novel, CLEOPATRA UNCONQUERED, explores the myth, legend, and history behind Cleopatra VII, the final queen of Egypt, and imagines how the world would have been different if she and her second husband, Marc Antony, had triumphed at the Battle of Actium, which was an important naval battle in the 1st century B.C. She has previously been featured online at http://buckrail.com/176398731699027968/casper-is-home-to-a-budding-historical-fictio, which is an online news source for her hometown of Casper, Wyoming.

cucoverHelen’s writing journey began in 2001, although she did not know it at the time. She became fascinated with reading every biography she could on Cleopatra and imagining living her life. This culminated in a senior research paper on Cleopatra that she did in high school, which involved deconstructing the woman behind the legend and myth and the true historical facts of her reign. In 2009, she had completed college and was jobless. She had a dream about her Cleopatra manuscript, which she had been stuck on at that point. Originally, she was going to write a story about her the way it truly happened-- opening and ending on her deathbed with the snake in her hand. However, a dream about Cleopatra winning at the Battle of Actium influenced her: CLEOPATRA UNCONQUERED was born. She spent 2009-2011 working on the first three novels in the series, and 2012-2013 presenting the idea to agents. Then, she finally found Daniel Janik at Savant in January of 2014. She and Daniel I have been working together ever since. CLEOPATRA UNCONQUERED was released in December of 2015 and from here on, she hopes this book gives readers a new perspective on history.

To find out more about her books, go to http://www.helendavisbooks.org/en. To contact Helen directly, e-mail her at  davishelen0@gmail.com

To listen to her interview, press the arrow key on the audio player below:

 

Illustration Options for Children’s Books

LowResdestiny-mer-kdpPart of the joy of reading Children’s Books to my children and the children at my various churches or libraries has been the beautiful illustrations that many books have. Art is something that just about everyone appreciates, sometimes without even realizing it.

Not everyone is an artist in the sense of drawing or painting. While I have some crude drawing skills, I don’t actually have that level of expertise unless I’m drawing on the computer? However, I’m not totally unartistic, because if it’s made out of fabric or paper, in some instances, I’m good.

So where do my let’s-say-passable artistic abilities allow me to do? Quilts are a beautiful way to illustrate. They don’t have to be big enough to cover your bed or even your lap, because many quilts are decorative and intended to be wall hangings. It is these smaller decorative quilts that are quite doable. They are small enough that in a few days, you can complete one. Naturally, if you are illustrating an entire book, you’ll probably be making many more than that. The number of quilts will depend on the number of pages, which might also be dependent on the minimum number of pages for a printed book. Also, double page illustrations add to the nature of a book.

Quilts can be done several ways. One make them the size of the page that you want them to fit on. For double pages, double the size. Don’t forget to leave a lot of blank space around the edges for cropping and bleeding, if you want them to go to the edge of the page. Otherwise, choose whether you will want them to go horizontally or vertically on the pages. This could even change for every page. It is best to be completely finished with the writing part and then, you can begin creating your page breaks and making notes for each illustration.

Don’t be afraid to create a scene with each picture. Remember this, too: There is a lot of leeway for children’s book illustrations. It depends on the flavor or tone of the book, of course, some books just lend themselves to more child-like drawings with stick people and big sun’s in the corner of the pages.

I usually combine those elements, which makes planning the graphics more fun. Whimsical art tends to be easier to do. It means that things don’t have to be precise. Felt pictures can also be fun ways to master creating your art. This is especially nice if there is a basic scene.

An easy way to do felt pictures is to create a flannel board, which is somewhat of a misnomer: it’s simply made from felt. Felt is inexpensive and often comes in 72-inch wide fabric. Cover a foam board or corrugated cardboard in a large enough size that will accommodate your scene. Most things can be scaled to fit. However, I’ve found that a bit larger flannel board allows for more creativity in the individual pictures. The downside to this is that you need to shoot the photos after you’ve created the scene.

I’ve gotten around this by creating an illustration list with descriptions of what should go on each picture, as I format the book. I make page breaks in the text files at logical breaks in the text. (NOTE: This varies with the type of book you are writing.) And in a separate file, I make a note about which characters are in the scene and what action and background should be included. In this way, I can group making my photos using the same background scene. I also make all of my characters with moveable arms and legs, which means that I cut them out separately and connect them with a single thick thread, which makes them flexible. Clothes are made similar to paper doll clothes in that they are one-sided. Embellish the characters, clothes and all items in the background with embroidery thread, which gives the pictures some texture. If there is too much thread on the back of any piece, I simply cut another identical piece and sew with regular sewing thread around the outside edges. This gives a nice solid backing that will stay up on your flannel board.

Create your scene with the appropriate background and characters posed appropriately and wearing the appropriate clothes. Then, take your photo.

To take a good photo, you need the best lighting. One way to get great photos is to do all the work in creating the scenes and characters is to practice putting the scenes together, making sure you take good notes on what items go on which photo. Then, go to a professional photographer’s studio and have your photographer set up all the appropriate lighting and shoot the photos. This will give you the best photos possible. You will need to make sure that you have the right to use these photos in your book. This should be negotiated ahead of time.

I pay my photographer. He usually gives me a good rate. I also give him illustration credit, as well.

You can do the same thing with puppets and dioramas or backdrops.

Interview with Daniel Janik

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Daniel S. Janik is a physician, educator, publisher, and multi-award-winning photographer, artist, poet, author and independent movie producer.

 

In college, he majored in pre-medicine with a special interest in water chemistry, eventually earning Master of Public Health and Doctor of Medicine (MD) degrees, after which he specialized in public health/preventive medicine. In later life, he conceived the idea of "transformative learning" where learners nurture curiosity and discovery, pursuing knowledge and wisdom throughout their lifetimes. In 2005, he published a neurobiological foundation for transformative learning entitled Unlock the Genius Within. In it, he claimed that contemporary "teaching" had become anachronistic, and argued strongly for changing the role of educators to being resource providers and mentors-by-example.

He is the recipient of numerous literary and art awards, his documentary, "Clean Water, Common Ground" receiving two Telly awards. He is an avid ballroom and Latin DanceSport competitor, with his dance partner representing the USA and Japan.

His authoring career began in high school with the completion of the science fiction novella, The Hyperbolic Curve. Throughout his life, he has written and published poetry and prose, his poems, including "Everyday" and "Water Faucet Man" winning regional and later national recognition. In 2008, he began Savant Books and Publications (http://www.savantbooksandpublications.com) to help introduce new authors to the public.

Listen to Daniel Janik talk about his perspective on the Publishing Industry.

Keep Writing

messydesk-2400pxI’ve been very busy this summer. I’ve been putting together a series of 12 Personal Goddess Journals, a companion course for the journals, and a  course, as well as working on what will become illustrations for my next book in the series for Destiny Has Two Grandmas. And among all the writing and hand sewing of the puppets (for illustrations), I had an “Aha” moment. I love it when that happens…

You are my greatest supporters. I realize that I’ve been a bit remiss in my job to keep you writing. Some of you are fiction writers and some of you are non-fiction writers. Whatever genre that you are writing, the most important thing is to keep writing.

It is so easy to slip into bad routines during the summer. The beach beckons and you go. This is not a bad thing, because we all need R&R (rest and relaxation). However, we still need to work a bit of writing into your schedule.

One of the best ways to do that is to schedule it on your calendar like it was an appointment. Make sure to give yourself enough time. I like big chunks of time, so that I can get totally immersed in whatever I’m writing. If you write this way, make sure to give yourself enough time on the days you plan to write. However, shorter time slots every day can still get you to the same spot. It really depends on your own work rhythms.

Happy Writing!

I’ve been very busy this summer. I’ve been putting together a series of 12 Personal Goddess Journals, a companion course for the journals, and a  course, as well as working on what will become illustrations for my next book in the series for Destiny Has Two Grandmas. And among all the writing and hand sewing of the puppets (for illustrations), I had an “Aha” moment. I love it when that happens…

You are my greatest supporters. I realize that I’ve been a bit remiss in my job to keep you writing. Some of you are fiction writers and some of you are non-fiction writers. Whatever genre that you are writing, the most important thing is to keep writing.

It is so easy to slip into bad routines during the summer. The beach beckons and you go. This is not a bad thing, because we all need R&R (rest and relaxation). However, we still need to work a bit of writing into your schedule.

One of the best ways to do that is to schedule it on your calendar like it was an appointment. Make sure to give yourself enough time. I like big chunks of time, so that I can get totally immersed in whatever I’m writing. If you write this way, make sure to give yourself enough time on the days you plan to write. However, shorter time slots every day can still get you to the same spot. It really depends on your own work rhythms.

Happy Writing!