Sunday, December 3, 2017


JOY! Such a short statement for a large order. Wanting to create giggles, smiles and joy take a dream, dedication, lots of work, and a few prayers to becoming a picture book writer and illustrator.


Declaring that I was an artist from the very first moments of conscious memory was the start. Combine my love of creating with the fact that I adore getting a laugh, created a dream that “Someday I would like to write and illustrate picture books”.  That is a very COMMON statement I have heard it countless times from countless people. I was dreaming like so many others. It could be compared to dreaming of being a Rock star or Movie star, because many dream, some try, few transcend and most important unless you try you will never succeed in achieving. Therefore it is just dreaming.


Puttering and stuttering to a start writing and illustrating, searching the internet, reading, joining, conferencing, paying for critiques,  and working at developing talent into craft. Rinse with tears. Repeat.

Lots of Work

Journeying into the unknown is not an easy task and always full of pitfalls, wonderful surprises and a lot of hard work.

A Few Prayers

I remember a few prayers that I have made along the way: First I prayed for a critique group to help me grow my craft; Secondly I prayed that I would be able to get my work made into actual books. 

The first prayer was answered shortly after when a small Picture Book critique group formed close to home.  Putting my work in front of other writers was scary but I met some great writers who critiqued and praised helping me develop not only craft but confidence.

Prayer two is in the home stretch of being delivered as I finish final illustrations for my debut picture book.

JOY is the first three letters in the delivery of those prayers.  Thank you Joyce Shore Johnson for forming that critique group and then asking me to be part of Kid Lit Publishing. Let’s spread JOY!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Beauty and the Beast: The story of two professional critiques

I was granted a special learning opportunity having my work critiqued by both the beauty and the beast.
As I checked in for my first professional critique nerves took hold and tears tumbled out. Sally and Cindy, the gate keepers, calmed me and bolstered my spirit. When the bell rang twice I walked in and sat across from the very calm presence of Linda Camacho from the Prospect Agency.

  •  Nice sparse illustrations that children will like (Check, she saw and identified my style choice)
  •   Nice sparse wording (Check, identified the writing style I am working at.)
  •   Cute story with marketable qualities (Check, I am trying to choose marketable topics)
  •   BUT (ok)
  • The page turns need improvement in places (ok)
  • The story needs more adversity and the rule of three (Hmmm, I saw it more as a straightforward growth theme, but ok)
  • “What you have done is not a waste of time.” (Nice to hear)
  •   Brainstorming a fix, I pitch an idea. “Intriguing” she said.

I walked out feeling good and within 15 minutes great about being coaxed into working towards a stronger story. This wonderful experience allowed me to calmly walk into my second critique with dry eyes and walk out knowing that the critique method of agent X was abominable.

It was like a blind date with a very off putting man who at the end said, “If your boobs were bigger and your butt was smaller I would date you again. “
  •   “You’re obviously not an illustrator.”  ( A kick to the face would have left me less stunned)
  •   A missed opportunity (Still stunned)
  •   Overused theme  (Can’t think)
  •   Passive aggressive voice (feeling kind of aggressive myself)
  •    Main character creatively stifled by mother  (the book is about creative imagination)
  •    I don’t know what is going on in your drawings (WOW)
  •   Negative  (you sure are)
  •   Clean = good art / messy = bad art   not a marketable message ( not my message)
    I could not have felt more shredded up and spit out. This was exactly the critique that has frightened me for so long. I am proud to say I never cried or became unwound during the critique. The tears and frustration came later, thanks to anyone who commiserated with me and to Super Hero Sally, who informed me this critique was inappropriate and not a standalone incident for this Agent. 

    Knowing I can survive a horrible critique has given me the courage to facing future criticism. Linda’s critique left me inspired to grow and with a new agent on my wish list.