Story Painter is a blog for newbie author/illustrators to learn more about their craft. I have lot to share about writing for children and a lot to learn about illustrating. Perhaps we can share the journey together.
This Christmas I was contacted by a sweet couple who wanted to make a dollhouse for their grandkids. They had seen the folding dollhouse on Etsy and wanted to use it as part of the design. With their permission I've included some photos of how it turned out.
This is what they said about putting the dollhouse together and how they plan to use it:
I had your prints printed onto heavy
printer paper at our local FedEx Print Store. The Mod Podge went on very
smoothly with a foam paint brush over your color prints. This open
dollhouse floor height was build around the size of your prints. The
grandchildren can play with all size dolls from Fisher Price Little People to
Barbie size. Love it - thanks again!
It's so fun to see the doll house used in a different fun way.
To find your own copy go to Etsy and look for Storypainterdesigns. Have a creative New Year!
Mette Ivie Harrison has written some amazing young adult literature, so when she speaks, I listen.
Recently she posted a list of 10 Things You Need To Believe To Write. I thought they were pretty good stuff so I've posted them here.
10 Things You Need to
Believe to Write
Only you can write this.
You were born to write this.
People need you to write this.
The world is waiting for you to finish this.
One day, someone will tell you how much they needed to read this.
You can write anything you set your mind to.
This has a glimmer of brilliance in it.
The crappy words will fall away in revision.
My vision of the world matters.
I see people in a new way.
She also went on to say:
don’t need to believe that this is going to be a bestseller. You don’t need to
believe that you’re going to be a household name. You don’t need to believe
that someday people will study your book in college. But you do have to work to
counteract the relentless voice of defeat in your head that says:
I have opened a new shop on Etsy. It is called Story Painter Designs and it features the folding doll house I originally designed for P.J.'s Forgotten Children. What is P.J.'s you may ask. It is a non-profit organization that puts together back to school bags and Santa bags for underprivileged kids.
See - pjsforgottenchildren.org
Last year with the help of the community we filled 900 bags. It was amazing.
I volunteer with the organization as their book person. I make sure we have enough books on the shelves to give at least one book to every child.
Last year, as we were putting barbie dolls in bags, it occurred to me that it would be really fun if the girls could have a house for the doll to play in. But how do you put a house in a bag. Voila, I designed the folding barbie house. It can go anywhere. And to make it even more fun, I made the kind that you can color over and over.
Then it occurred to me that it needed furniture. We couldn't really build furniture for every child and put it in their bags, so I made a sheet of DIY instructions for furniture so kids can make it themselves.
This has been a fun project and kids at P.J.'s will be getting these in their Santa bags. But it costs me every time I have to print and laminate and purchase erasable crayons. To help with the cost I am donating a portion of the purchase of these doll houses on my Etsy Store to P.J.'s.
Come take a look at the printable folding doll house. It could be a traveling toy or gift for someone you love. It also come in a fully colored version for kids who just want to play and skip the coloring.
I am so excited, I was told my story would be coming out in August, but here it is in the July issue. 'A Big Wind and A Small Voice' is on page 8. I got a funny call a few months back from one of the editors asking me if it would be okay if they change the name of the main character in the story. When I asked why, they said that there is a story about 'Tommy Monson' just before my story and they didn't want kids getting confused when my stories main character is a Tommy as well. So I changed my Tom to Tyler. Now the story is about Tyler, Brad and Adam.
I kept my kids real names in the story. I wondered if Tom would be sad that his name was changed, but he's 18 now and he said, "It's all good,". He's kind of easy going that way.
The story is about a burst of wind that blew down a forty foot box elder in our back yard when the boys were in elementary school. Tom listened to the still small voice and moved from the monkey bars just before they got crushed by the tree. Now Tom is a tree. At 6 foot 7 inches, he tall in many ways. He is one of the most reliable, dependable kids I know. I'm so grateful to be his mom.
Another fun thing about this issue is that my cousin Elder Randal K. Bennett of the Seventy has a story in it as well. It's kind of a family issue. The story is called, 'He Gives the Best Answers'. Lauren Mortensen wrote the story after an interview with Elder Bennett.
I hope you enjoy the fun stories in this issue of the FRIEND. Maybe you will have a story there some day.
Esther the Queen is biblical fiction written with sensitivity and historical detail. I love reading fiction where it’s obvious the author has taken time to research facts that build a realistic setting and add depth to the description. Here’s an example:
One of the dishes held meat that looked like pork with an orange glaze, which Esther couldn’t eat because of the law of Moses. There was also a milk mixture with bits of meat—probably squirrel or rabbit. Esther bypassed that one too. She reached for the moist figs and scaled fish, both of which were permitted. Every thing inside Esther seemed to have shrunk, and she could only eat a little. Fortunately, Nan didn’t comment on her food choices.
Heather has a gift for creating characters that are believable and likeable, or downright despicable. I found myself caring for Esther and her people and wanting to know more of her story even when it ended. On the flipside, characters like Biniti, one of the king’s concubines, leave you wondering who put sour milk in her cereal.
“The boy is awake,” Bitini said, her emphasis on boy.
Following the woman to the basket, Esther peered down on the tiny infant. Another innocent child of the king. Biniti picked up the child and thrust him at Esther.
She nearly grappled to hold on to the child; he was so light in her arms. Even Samuel hadn’t seemed so small as an infant. Esther looked down into the babe’s murky gray eyes. She didn’t exactly know what she was supposed to say or do, but perhaps Biniti didn’t either. “What’s his name?”
“Ramin,” Biniti said in a proud voice. “It means warrior.”
Biniti’s tone stung. “I know what the name means,” Esther said.
This is a mixed tale of romance and political tension. Although it mentions concubines, harem life, and even a wedding night, these topics are handled briefly and tastefully. As for politics, the timing of events is explained at the beginning of the book, and events that occur as the story proceeds are clear and well defined.
I would recommend Esther the Queen to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or fiction in general.
My friend, Andrea Pearson, has just had the fourth book in her young adult fantasy series published. In celebration, the first book, The Key of Kilenya, is available for free as an eBook, and the second book, The Ember Gods, is available as a $0.99 Kindle eBook until March 3rd.
The Key of Kilenya has been in the top 100 for teen fantasies on Amazon since last May and has been very popular with young (and adult) readers. They compare it to Harry Potter along with Brandon Mull's Fablehaven and Beyonders books, with a hint of Narnia and Lord of the Rings.
To download a copy of The Key of Kilenya for Kindle, click here. Check out Andrea's blog post for other formats of the eBook.