Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I know I've probably complained about this before, but I feel the need to do so again. I am really bothered by reviewers who write certain things about artwork that is completely wrong. The latest I read was something pertaining to digital artwork. The reviewer was talking about it like it wasn't... talking about the "brush strokes." Um... digital artwork doesn't have brush strokes. It's digital. Am I just being too technical? I don't know. I think the reviewer really thought the artwork was done using traditional methods. But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the brightness and perfectness of the digital will blow reviewers and award givers away and traditional methods will become obsolete... or maybe no one will know the difference between the two methods anyway (except for curmudgeonly people like me).

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I'm working on the author's note for my book and I want to quote from some 1950s women's expectations of the day. This is from HOUSEKEEPING MONTHLY, 1955:

The Good Wife's Guide
l Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome home.
l Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
l Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
l Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.
l Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dustcloth over the tables.
l Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
l Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
l Be happy to see him.
l Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
l Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
l Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment, without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
l Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
l Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
l Don't complain if he's late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.
l Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
l Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
l Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
l A good wife always knows her place.

Below are a few joke youtube videos on the topic:

And here is a REAL 1950s VIDEO. EEK.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


While working at the bookstore the other day I found this stuck on the outside of one of the teen books: 

It fell off so I wasn't sure which book it came from. If I'd known I would have left it there because I really think it's great that kids are that inspired by books to leave these notes!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I was reading some reviews today on amazon for a bike. The bike got great reviews except for two. One review was two sentences and said that the bike had plastic on it but I saw no such plastic so I sort of discounted that one. The other reviewer knew what he was talking about. The only problem is that the reviewer didn't buy the bike from amazon! Um... The other issue is that the reviewer was reviewing another bike entirely! Um...

This is an issue I also see in books. I'm sure you all have seen it. I love the one star reviews because said reviewer never got the book! Apparently it never occurs to the reviewer that this one star will taint the author's record and won't look good for them. If the person didn't get the book then they should take it up with UPS. The sad thing is that I see this constantly.

An example of something that's happened to me is this: Someone liked one of my books well enough but their complaint was that the book was for kids. Um...  Perhaps it is because I write about unique topics such as Charles Atlas, etc., but seriously, look at the description before you buy it! Don't write dumb reviews if you make a mistake! Keep your dumb comments to yourself!

Friday, July 6, 2012


I was working on the endpapers for my book last week and it killed me! Well, you know, not literally, but perhaps spiritually... in a small, small, small way. I've recovered now. But it was hard. First I painted the whole page a yellow/orange because I thought that would be the thing to do.  I thought that would be a great color to go with. Well... it wasn't. It didn't go well with the cars for some reason. So I tried all sorts of versions of a purple and blue until I found the right one. Then I had to paint around all of the cars and shapes. It would have been a LOT easier if I had that base color originally and didn't have to do that! Alas. Sometimes you have to know what's right and go with your gut. I was at my parents' house when I started working on this piece and my mom said, "Don't give yourself extra work. The orange color is fine." "Fine isn't good enough," I said. 

Then I hit another snag. I painted an airplane in the top right corner. You can kind of see it below... only I painted over it. I painted over it after painting it and repainting it dozens of times. It wasn't the right size... or shape... or this... or that... until I realized that I just didn't want an airplane there at all. So even though it came out well - I SLASHED it out. Ugh! Sometimes I drive myself crazy. I really do.

Below is a bad photo of the finished product. Many, many hours on this one!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


I have been silent because I have been painting... and painting... and painting. And it hurts. I have been painting for so many hours at a time - one day for maybe 15 hours with maybe a couple of short breaks, that I have developed a very bad shoulder pain. This is in addition to the fact that I sprained my ankle - tore two ligaments, bone contusions, blah blah (this was is a running injury, not painting). So sitting in one place at the stool is painful for the foot and ankle. But now with the shoulder and arm pain, well, geez! This seems to be some sort of nerve impingement because the pain is traveling down my arm when I keep my arm out for too long. Agony. I think if you ask any illustrator if they start to get pains like this they'll probably tell you about some. And most people who don't have to sit for long, long stretches at a time in odd positions probably wouldn't think about this.

Well now when you look at a nice children's book: think about THE PAIN!!!