Friday, 5 September 2014

Blogging From The Heart Tour

I was recently asked if I would like to take part in this blogging from the heart tour and not one to say no to new experiences I readily agreed. I am still a newbie to this blogging malarky but figured it would be a great way to get my feet wet in the blogging world. It seemed like an ideal way to network with others and to hopefully learn a thing or two along the way, so why not eh!

So what exactly is involved in this blogging from the heart tour? 

Well the jist of it is...
  • Meet Blogging from the Heart sponsor, children’s book author Cat Michaels.
  • Meet fellow creatives s on the next tour stop, who will post their Blogging from the Heart Tour on 19th September.  
  • Then I answer four questions from the heart about my work and why I put myself through this he he.

So first bit, everyone please meet my lovely sponsor Cat Michaels

Blog Sponsor Cat Michaels

I have met Cat on good old twitter through the Kid Literature group where a bunch of us creative types support / inspire each other and have a little chin wag along the way. I thoroughly enjoy reading Cat’s blog posts and am usually nodding in agreement with her experiences she has with the fun world of social networking. 

So a little bit about Cat… After earning an M.S. degree in special education from the University of Kansas, she spent two decades helping students from kindergarten to college reach their potential. She also managed communications and staff development programs for an international high-tech company. She then returned to her education roots, serving at a community college as a writing coach for students with Asperger’s syndrome and learning disabilities. She writes illustrated chapter books for young readers and the young at heart. Cat's books can be viewed on this link: Amazon linkTo connect with Cat and learn more about her books, please visit her website and you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Step two I would like to introduce you to my nominated peeps who I will pass the blogging torch onto

Blog Sponsor Leigh Shearin

Leigh Shearin and her husband are new farmers; transplanted from a suburban existence in search of a cleaner, more independent lifestyle. Leigh has two blogs that cover their adventures in their new exciting way of life with the aim to encourage others who think that farming and living a sustainable life is beyond their means. Her blog is full of delicious recipes and certainly made me hungry going through it! The other blog gives you an insight into their farm life. You can also follow her on Facebook 

Blog Sponsor Sherri Gaillard

Sherri Gaillard is an introverted optimist, artist and writer of short stories and prose poem ramblings on deep emotions, personal growth, and coping with depression. She belongs to the Holly Springs Writers’ Guild and has 2 published books Scribbles, Grumbles, Rambles & Rants and Break the Surface You can follow Sheri’s work via her website and facebook  

Blog Sponsor Sandra Harvey

Sandra Harvey grew up in a house overlooking the sea, with a Russian fortune-teller for a mother, and a Irish storyteller for a Dad, it is not wonder that Sandra was naturally lead down the path of being an author. She writes stores for children with a Gothic twist and in here exact words " I write because I just can't help it, I seem to have a vein running through all of my stories of loss, loneliness and sadness as key. There is always a happy ending but a wee melancholy" On top of her writing she is also a  fashion designer, designing elegant fitter apparel for women chef and cooks, quite the talented lady I am sure you will agree.

You can connect with Sandra at:

Now the bit where I answer a few questions… 

What am I working on?

I have just completed the 3rd Volume for Animal Stories For the Young, written by Mr Herbert C Burrow. This is a delightful little collection of animal stories for the younger readers. You are introduced to a wide range of different animals and he throws in many fascinating facts about them throughout the book. He has a great love for animals and his aim with these books are to teach children to respect animals and to be kind to them. The remarkable thing about Mr Burrow is that he will be 100 in December, can you believe it! A remarkable man and it has been a very interesting experience working with him. I have dedicated a blog to him if that’s of any interest out there. 

As from next week the plan is to take things a bit easier and to focus on being a mum again. I have been working flat out for the past 4 months and my poor children have had the words “when the book is finished” said a few times now. My son wants me to teach him how to cook and my daughter how to draw so it’s time to give them some mum time back. Off course I will still be drawing, the main focus will be to complete my own book “Animania”. This is an utterly ridiculous animal alphabet book in rhyme. It is very silly, colourful and very me. Not sure if that is a good thing or not he he. There are other projects coming up but this will be the main baby. Here is a sneak preview into what the book is about.

How does my work differ from others in its genre? 

The main thing I have noticed is that I seem to dabble in most areas of art and constantly flitting between different styles. I am always told that my portfolio looks like a bunch of different artists rather than all being painted by the same person. I am not sure if that is a compliment or not. People are always saying find one style and stick to it, I don’t really do that. Experimenting is what keeps the passion alive for me. Saying that my illustrations now do have a style of their own and I don’t think this will change much more but who knows with me. One thing that will never change is my use of colour, I can’t get enough of it! 

Why do I write/create what I do? 

Get ready for the cheese…. I do this because I love it but the main thing is to spread a bit of happiness….pass the bucket lol It’s true though, I think that is why I have naturally been drawn to illustrating childrens books. I remember the joy I got as a child reading books and looking at the illustrations, they were so magical…. I want to be part of that. To know someone is smiling or even better giggling because of something you have created or said is what makes me do this. I also want to make my children proud of me and to inspire them that they can be whatever they want to be in life

How does my writing/creating process work? 

The usual process to my illustrations is that I will read the manuscript given to me and then jot down the scenes that immediately come to my head. The publishers tell me how many pages I have to work with so I come up with an appropriate number of illustrations to fill the book. I will present my list of illustrations to the author and we will discuss what needs changing / adding etc. Once the illustration ideas are agreed I then crack on with doing a pencil draft. Once I have the thumbs up for that then I will proceed with the colour work and do this one by one until all illustrations are complete. A book usually takes me around 4 months to complete. I then send all completed illustrations over to the publisher. I would love to fully design and lay out a picture book one day as the layout of the book is something I haven’t been involved with before. 

Well that's all folks, hope you enjoyed my attempt at this. I am slowly getting there. Please do stop by again to read Leigh, Sherri & Sandra's blogs.

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