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Posts Tagged ‘Children’s books’

And the Steamduck RISES!

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Kevin and I have been working hard. Plotting, planning, rhyming, drawing…. We have a frame for a new Coal City Stories book, and the plan is good. Take a look:

I know. Kevin does FANTASTIC work. So charming.  He really sold me on that ice cream parlor font. Before I get all into what’s coming next, I want to take a second and thank ALL the folks – and especially the kids – who have made HME such a success. Now, before the media swarm…. Here’s today’s announcement press release:

Press release June 27th 2012

Author Emilie P. Bush and illustrator William Kevin Petty are proud to announce the release date of the follow up to their bestselling children’s book Her Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story.  On October 10, 2012, the waddling hero of HME – Steamduck – returns with another adventure in Steamduck Learns to Fly! 

 In this new tale, the plucky mechanical duck discovers that REAL birds do more than swim. He turns to his old friend and maker – the Otter – to learn a few things about flying. They try and fail with propeller contraptions, hot air balloons and more. Despite all the mishaps, the pair eventually defy gravity and take to the sky.

“With the success of Her Majesty’s Explorer, we thought long and hard about where we wanted to go with our darling characters. Steamduck has quite a following, and we wanted to make sure he was true to his heroic nature. Kevin is a pilot, and a huge fan of flight history, so we went with those ideas for our second Steamduck story,” says Emilie P. Bush.  “So, as he tries and fails with many different types of flight, he never gives up, and he never stops learning.”

Fans wanting to keep up with details and sneak peek images from Steamduck Learns to Fly! can follow the project on Facebook – as Steamduck has his own fan page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Steamduck/108061409309296

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Working through the stoopidest rhyme scheme ever….

In Uncategorized on March 13, 2012 at 10:37 pm

As a writer, especially one who deals in fanciful worlds, one has to make rules for their universe and then STICK WITH THEM.

I find, most of the time, that it works out better that way, you have to get more creative than usual to keep up with the limitations of your world. Chenda’s world has no radios – so communication is often slow and a bitch. My rule and I had to live inside them.

Children’s books go the same way. Kevin and I have a bit of a loose rule for stories that no one can solve the hero’s problem for him. He’s got to save himself – more or less. It’s a good rule; kids can connect to that. It’s better if the hero grows and learns that he had it in him all along to do what must be done. And then I was stoopid, STOOPID, StOoPid and added a CRAZY rhyme scheme with the latest one I am writing.

14 line stanzas: the internal rhyming for lines 1 and 2, double internal rhyming in the first half of lines 3-14 with rhyming end couplets.

For example:

Opening lines -

What the world knows of mechanical ducks is they paddle through streams and in lakes.

And the waddling tales of mechanical ducks are for splashing while trailing through wakes.

Pattern for other lines:

First they inspected  through parts disconnected until they found just the right things:

flaps and a motor, two skids and a rotor, a scoop of cogs, sprockets and rings.

Uh, huh. That’s rough, but since I’m 3/4ths done, I guess I am stuck with it.

She sat all alone as her brains turned to stone and the rhymes dribbled out of her ears.

Hope Kevin can sketch, as my marbles I fetch, Oh, these rhymes are a pain in the rear.

Amazon’s 4-for-3 deal – the math of the thing — BRILLIANT!

In Uncategorized on February 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm

So my friend David said, “I totally got suckered into the 4-for-3. If you’re gonna get 2, you might as well get 3 to get the free shipping. And if you pay for 3, you might as well get 4-for-3! Well done, Emilie!” Like I planned that? Well, just that first part. The “if you get two you might as well get three and the free shipping… The 4th was Jeff Bezos’s little gift to you and me. And I tell you what – it’s really a deal.

And you may ask yourself, “Do I need 4 copies of Her Majesties Explorer?” If you have a kid in preschool, you do, evidently. A playground mother today says to me, “I got 4 – and I am set for the next 4 birthday parties – whoo hoo!”

I have encouraged several libraries to purchase the books today and / or Friday on AMAZON, as it’s ACTUALLY cheaper and faster to get the 4 books from Amazon with this deal and the free shipping than it is order the same number from me wholesale.

Also, to the price goes up Saturday. It’s a decision we had to make in order to get broader distribution of the book – as in Canada and Europe. BUT! It is a great deal – and those who can get it… BRAVO! YOU’RE SET!

Here’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/7cbwscm  Shop happy!

Thanks to ALL who have helped us to make SEVERAL bestseller lists on Amazon in the last two days.

Please – if you have a copy ordered – TWEET OR FB about it when it arrives!

The Last Day…. We LAUNCH at Dawn!

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2012 at 12:15 am

Tuesday – We Launch.

I’m asking you all to help us.  Kevin and I are hoping to make this book an Amazon Bestseller tomorrow. We think we can do it, with help from our friends and ALL of the Steampunk Community. If you fancy our little mechanical man and his trusty bathtub ducky, show your support. Buy it from Amazon, tweet to your friends, maybe change your Facebook picture to Steamduck, help us get the word out in any way possible. It’s a great story, and if we can generate just a little bit of solid buzz right off the bat, we will be set. Like Mary Poppins said, “Well begun is half done!”

So let’s begin….

THE LINK TO AMAZON:  http://www.amazon.com/Her-Majestys-Explorer-Steampunk-bedtime/dp/0984902805/

… and Kevin and I thank you.

Feel free to use either of these images on your Facebook page, or as any avitar that is yours to play with:

Thanks for your support

Her Majesty's Explorer - COVER

Here are the links you might want to share:

The Launch Page:  http://www.facebook.com/events/347525985265865/

The Her Majesty’s Explorer Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/HerMajestysExplorer

The blog: http://coalcitysteam.wordpress.com/

The Video Book trailer: http://youtu.be/kHb3Wpe3F2o

The Tease Read by Captain Robert of Abney Park: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=2931604900935

Chenda and the Airship Brofman: http://www.amazon.com/Chenda-Airship-Brofman-Emilie-Bush/dp/1449542549

The Gospel According to Verdu : http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-According-Verdu-Book-Brofman/dp/1461026466/

AMAZON UK Kindle link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Her-Majestys-Explorer-Steampunk-ebook/dp/B007AV8LVC/

AMAZON GERMANY Kindle Link: http://www.amazon.de/Her-Majestys-Explorer-Steampunk-ebook/dp/B007AV8LVC/

Amazon Italy Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.it/Her-Majestys-Explorer-Steampunk-ebook/dp/B007AV8LVC/

Amazon France Kindle Edition: http://www.amazon.fr/Her-Majestys-Explorer-Steampunk-ebook/dp/B007AV8LVC/

11 days to launch – The books of my childhood AND YOURS!

In Uncategorized on February 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Yesterday, in the day 12 countdown post, I commented about how I loved looking for The Gold Bug in Richard Scarry books. That got me to thinking about a questions I was asked this week in an interview:

What would you have loved about Her Majesty’s Explorer:  a Steampunk bedtime story if it had been given to you as a child?

Here’s what I said:

My first blush answer to this question was a glib, “My parents reading it to me.” That’s what kids love – their parent’s Big. Fat. Quantity time. But it’s more true than that. Kids love to have a part of what their parents do. I see a lot of people at conventions who HAVE kids, but leave them at home for any number of reasons (sometimes mommies need to get away, wear a corset and get their drink on, ya know? No mommy wants their kid to see THAT.) Like I said, there are some aspects of Steampunk that very small kids just won’t understand. BUT, there is a theory of development out there that says it is VITAL for kids to go play in their parents closets in order to become adults. They need to dress up in the hats and scarves, and in our case, goggles and boots, in order to LEARN to become adults. They play at being like their parents. That being said – I think the parents get as much out of sharing a Steampunk picture book with their kids as the children do. I’ve gotten several comments from reviewers who have said they shared it with a child (ones of their own, a niece / nephew, or the kids of friends) and were thrilled to finally be able to share this aspect of their lives in a way that the child could understand and get excited about. The kids REALLY feel that joy of connection coming from the grown up, and that makes them want to do more. My daughter wants to dress up as an airship pirate, because *I* dig the scene. She bops with Captain Robert and Abney Park because I play it on my laptop. Now, she has her OWN book – and it connects her to mommy.
I have a feeling that this story will be what some adult Steampunks show their own parents to show the gentle side of the movement… or to their “other” friends…. or their co-workers.  (The WHOLE interview will be on M.K. Hobson’s blog on the 28th – and I will get a link up about that in time, but let me plug her right-here-right-now! Read her novel The Native Star. It is one of the BEST Steampunk books I’ve ever read – a very American tale as well. Go on; I’ll wait…)
This Q&A got me thinking about my favorite children’s books:
  • Like I said, anything by Richard Scarry
  • Who’s Mouse Are You? (Wacky / creepy book in shades of orange)
  • How High is UP? (A quite book in shades of blue – but some of my FAVORITE images – ever)
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • All the Dr. Seuss EXCEPT Cat in the Hat
  • The Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  • The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (It has no words – only pictures!)

Alternatively, books I hated, and still do:

  • The Bernstein Bears (It’ s the primer for gender roles)
  • The Cat in the Hat
  • Curious George (He always get’s rewarded for doing the wrong thing.)

I’m glad my list of likes is twice the length of hates. So, what’s on your list?

15 days to go: The Steamduck Duo’s Third Man…

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Theresa Curtis - Layout goddess

… who happens to be a woman. The Beatles had George Martin. Football teams have the 12 Man. Whitney Houston (rest her soul) had Clive Davis. Even Holden had Banky (and he wasn’t just a tracer!). The world is full of those undersung heroes that make average people (like me and Kevin*) extraordinary.

We have Theresa Meihwa Curtis, our layout designer.

Theresa is an avid collector of children’s books -and the opportunity to lay out a book was something so tempting to Theresa that we suckered into working like a dog for us  got a pro designer to help us sort our mess of words and drawings into a real book-like thingy.

What does the layout designer do? First, Theresa proposed the overall shape of the book – she pointed to Neil Gaiman’s Instructions – saying it was the size we were thinking about, and a particular page in the book that had a shading scheme that seemed to be what I was babbling about. (She never said it like that – she’s about the nicest person I’ve ever met – and I have never seen her cross – not ever. I bet it’s scary if she gets in a snit, but I doubt it ever happens. Seriously.)

Her pointing out that picture truly saved 1000 words, and we were off and running.

The layout designer chooses the very letters on the page. There was a long discussion about what font to use, and I wanted an ‘A’ that looked like a circle with a stick. She politely blinked at me, trying to decide if I’d lost my mind, and said, “Ah, you want a ‘single story A’, as opposed to a ‘two story A’. I see,” and trotted out several fonts to try – including the one we decided on: Treasure Map Deadhand.

So, that’s what it looks like!  The other thing Theresa did was to color William Kevin Petty’s pencil sketches. When I first babbled explained to Theresa what I wanted, I said I wanted it to be something like OLD film. Sepia-tones. I had played with several of Kevin’s sketches with the crappy image software I have on my little lappy, and I found that I liked several of the earth tone tints. Theresa and I picked the basic background tone and then decided that we would only use varying intensities of that tone. Okay, she suggest it and I blinked and nodded a whole lot. In the end (with ONE exception – the rainbow butterfly) there are only 4 colors in the book: gold (the background color), orange, blue and green. The overall effect was similar to the hand painted celluloid of George Melies:

Now, let me show you! The picture on the left is Kevin’s original scan, and the right is the layout as it appears in the book:

Neat, right?

She’s made of awesome. AND – she did the whole book in a WEEK!

So, much like Luke never would have been able to use the force without that sweet little R2-D2 running the X-wing, we owe a good bit of respect and appreciation to our Theresa. She rocks.

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*Correction: Kevin is not ordinary. Kevin actually rocks in every possible way.

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