Monday, November 14, 2011

Presenting: Purple Carrot Books Website

Drum roll please! Announcing the website for Purple Carrot Books. The e-publisher for The Prisoner of Carrot Castle is on the web. Please go there and sign up for the email service so you can be notified when we launch and when we add more to the site, especially fun stuff.

Features and information on the website include:
  • Buttons at the top to follow Purple Carrot Books on Twitter and Like it on Facebook.
  • Plays the Book Trailer of The Prisoner of Carrot Castle.
  • Sign up to be notified by email when the launch happens and anything new is posted.
  • Post Purple Carrot Books to your Twitter feed.
  • Like Purple Carrot Books on Facebook.
  • Read about the app.
  • Read the mission statement.
  • Contact us with your comments and questions.
  • Download a press release, logo, screen shots, and author headshot individually or the whole package as a zipped file.
Go to Purple Carrot Books and help us spread the word about The Prisoner of Carrot Castle by tweeting Purple Carrot Books on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Prisoner of Carrot Castle Book Trailer

Grab your cape and watch the excitement grow. I'm thrilled to present the book trailer for The Prisoner of Carrot Castle. The team is working diligently to finish the app.
Please share the video with your friends, colleagues and anyone owning an iPad. Follow @prplcarrotbooks on Twitter and watch for the website launch at LIKE us on Facebook at Purple Carrot Books fan page.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Developing an iPad App: Step Eight

Yikes, we have been busy! It may have been quiet on the blog, but it's far from quiet on the actual iPad app development front. Kate has been cranking out the final scenes and animation pieces. Nur has been coding like a mad man. I've been tweeting, facebooking, Google+ing, writing press releases, working to set up the website for Purple Carrot Books...blah, blah, blah. Are we there yet?

Step Eight:
A. Run to the Finish
We are technically in alpha test phase. Nur has been sending regular app builds and we have been putting it to the test trying to break it or find issues that need tweaking. Of course passing it off to our 3-year-old mini-testers is part of that too.

Not much else to say here except this is when it gets pretty exciting. We begin to see all our hard work coming to fruition as the app comes alive with all its fun animations and interactions. It puts a smile on our faces.

B. Get the Word Out
As with all products, it may be the greatest, but if no one knows about it, how can they buy it?

I've subscribed to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) to receive requests for queries from reporters needing qualified input for articles being developed. I've done one interview with Alice Walton, associate editor for She was fascinated by my story of beating genetic cancer with my diet.

The Purple Carrot Books website is under development with hopes of going live shortly.

Meanwhile, please go to the Purple Carrot Books Facebook fan page and LIKE it to get regular updates. And please tell your friends and family about The Prisoner of Carrot Castle iPad app coming soon. Published by Purple Carrot Books.

Follow @prplcarrotbooks on Twitter to get news about the launch and watch for and tweet #CarrotCastle.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where Were You On 9/11?

Many of us will never forget that Tuesday when an ordinary morning was attacked by evil and changed America forever. It punched a hole in the fabric of our security. Up to then, most felt America was invincible.

Many families have a story to tell about that day. For those who lost loved ones, the story may still hold a painful grip on hearts—even ten years later. We have vivid memories of exactly what we were doing when we heard the fateful news. What were you doing?

Bob and I were up early that morning preparing to go to the airport in San Francisco to pick up our son, Nur, and his half-brother, Daak, returning from three weeks in Japan.

Showering and getting ready to leave, we listened to the news and made passing glances at the TV that sat in the corner between the bedroom and bathroom. We began to linger in front of the screen when the news broke that a small plane apparently hit one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Once cameras televised the scene, we were hooked—seeing thick, black smoke spew from the tower. Then watched in horror as a second plane, clearly a large plane, hit the South Tower.

I became numb, my mouth gaping as I held my hand over it. Then began to sob, realizing that we had been attacked by some horrible enemy of America. Even the news anchors claimed, "We are at war!"

Nur and Daak were in the air over the Pacific on Japan Airlines (JAL) headed for San Francisco. We learned that all air traffic was grounded and in-bound flights would be diverted. But where would his plane go? My heart pounded. God, please keep them safe.

Yes, it occurred to us that his plane could have been highjacked and now flew with a destructive intent toward the US. "I can't allow my mind to go there." I told Bob.

Our home became like a search and rescue hub. Radios and televisions were on throughout the house. We searched news sites on the Internet to gather every tidbit of information we could. Being ever mindful of the possibility of more attacks, we busied ourselves with finding our son to keep us from despairing over the state of the country.
Accurate information was very difficult to get on that day. Piecing together information from the radio and the Internet, we learned their plane should have diverted to Vancouver, Canada along with stranded passengers from thirty-three other international flights intended for the US when the terrorists struck.

We operated in a surreal world that day as did every other American. The day seemed to last forever as details of the tragedy came together. Two jumbo jets struck the World Trade Center Twin Towers causing them to collapse. Another plowed into the Pentagon. And another crashed in a field in Pennsylvania thought to have been bound for Washington DC.

No word about our son.

Finally, at 7:30 PM we heard from Nur. I heaved a sigh of relief. He called us from a pay phone at the Vancouver airport after he and Daak were allowed off the plane. Their plane had been sitting on the airport tarmac for seven hours!

"We didn't know what had happened until we got off the plane."

"What did the pilot tell you?" I wondered what kind of nightmare he might have endured all those hours.

"He told us that something happened and we had to go to Vancouver. I didn't know what to think."

Obviously confused with the situation, JAL told disembarking passengers they were “on their own” to get lodging and get home. Thank God for the Internet and airport courtesy phones. We procured lodging for Nur and Daak and paged them to communicate the information.

Then the waiting game began.

We tried to figure our what to do to get them home. We booked flights on the Internet with Alaska Airlines hoping to get them home the next day, but learned flights were still grounded. Each day we attempted to get them a flight to no avail.

Finally on Thursday September 13, we heard that misplaced flights would fly to their originally intended destination. We contacted the boys at their hotel instructing them to get in touch with JAL.

Early that next morning we prepared again to pick up our son at the San Francisco airport. On the way we picked up balloons and called the local TV station.

Waiting in the reception area for incoming international flights, we watched throngs of Japanese passengers from the JAL flight appear from behind the wall that separated us from immigration. Seeing Nur and Daak eventually emerge gave my heart a lift. He's home and safe.

After the media interviewed the boys about their experience, we travelled back home. I contemplated what I felt at Nur's arrival. Home and safe had new meanings. Yes, he was home in America, but was he safe—were we safe?

Now ten year later, I think of safety and home in a different light—from an eternal perspective. And look to the LORD for my safety and understand that heaven is my real home.

"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; 
the righteous run to it and are safe." Proverbs 18:10

Friday, August 26, 2011

Publishing an eBook

Recently I ran across a great blog post at the Blogging Bistro on publishing an ebook. Much easier to achieve than developing an interactive iPad app, an ebook can none the less be overwhelming and elusive.

Mary DeMuth, novelist and non-fiction author, has documented the steps to getting your manuscript e-published. She provides all the details (including helpful websites) to get the job done.

To view this great blog post go to 7 Simple Steps to Publishing Your E-Book.

What do you need to do to get your manuscript ready to e-publish?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Developing an iPad App: Step Seven

Things are going warp speed now. I worked on a detailed schedule for development, illustration and project management/marketing—there is a lot to accomplish to get the app out by mid fall. What do you think of our final title page? It still needs the buttons for music, read to me, etc., but here it is.

Step Seven:
A. Illustration Tasks to Complete
Settling into her new home outside Vancouver (BC, Canada), Kate is working on completing the scenes with animation elements that go with each scene—there are three types of animation in the app:
  • Happening with the narration
  • Activated by touching the screen
  • Triggered by some aspect of a game
Four scenes have now been completed with their animation elements. Way to go, Kate! Right on schedule.

B. App Development
Nur completed a draft build of the app using the rough colored scenes, built the games readers can enjoy at the end of the book, and developed a unique page turning style (passed by our 3-year-old app testers). He is putting the final touches on the accelerometer game for the tunnel scene and building the final scenes with their animations, sound, text and narration as Kate completes the scenes.

C. Project Management/Marketing
Our small yet determined and dedicated team is working hard, making my job as manager easy.

My most challenging job has been doing the sound effects. Besides knowing there are lots of websites offering sound effects, I knew very little. Finding an open-source editing program called Audacity, I was able to poke around and learn to use it effectively. I purchased sound files (.wav) from:
About half the files were perfect as purchased. Others I edited to get the right length or combined to achieve the perfect sound effect.
    I even recorded my own files with my iPod—a fountain and a branch dropping. Finding just the right owl "hoot" became a difficult search until my husband, Bob, came home and performed an awesome impression of an owl. I got my owl. Thanks, Honey!

    I would love to insert the owl for you to hear, but no easy way to do it. You'll just have to wait until the app comes out.

    This week I'm creating the narration files. Yes, yours truly will be narrating the story.

    I also put up a fan page for Purple Carrot Books on Facebook. Please go to the page and Like it. I'm connecting with people on Google+—writers, reviewers, app developers, teachers, and other interesting people.

    If you haven't been following the series, you might want to check out the previous steps for developing an iPad app: Step One, Step Two, Step Three, Step Four, Step Five and Step Six.

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    Interview with Ginny Yttrup

    Inspire Christian Writers, a writing group I'm proud to be a member of, is having their first conference on August 26 - 27 in association with ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).

    Guest speaker at the Write To Inspire Conference will be author, Ginny Yttrup. She will focus on two subjects: Finding Your Voice and Marketing For Writers. Visit the Inspire Christian Writers conference page to sign-up.

    Here's a little background on Ginny to get to know her:

    When did you first want to write a book?

    I co-authored my first book when I was in the fourth grade. The title was GINNIE AND THE JUNKYARD. I co-authored it with my best friend at the time, Ginny Bridges. We were allowed time in the teachers lounge to write and illustrate the book. My memory of that experience was more time spent bouncing erasers on the floor and convulsing in fits of laughter than actual time spent writing. The second book I attempted to write was WORDS.

    What are two of your favorite writing/craft books?

    I love James Scott Bell's PLOT AND STRUCTURE. It's a fiction writing book and I learned all I know about the structure of a novel by reading that book as I was writing WORDS. I refer to it regularly. I also love BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott. Her language isn't always appropriate but her insights are wise and I love her humor. When I'm feeling discouraged with my writing, I pick up BIRD BY BIRD.

    How important is goal-setting to you? Do you set daily/weekly word counts? How do you stay on track?

    I set word-count goals, but I rarely keep them. By nature, I'm not a goal-setter or keeper. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants until I'm close to a deadline! Then I figure out what I need to do, how many words I need to write each day, and I keep the goal. In other words, I work best under pressure-unfortunately. I don't recommend this method.

    How and when did you first grab the attention of an agent/editor? What was that experience like for you?

    I began attending writers conferences when my sons were toddlers-about 18 years ago. I learned everything I know about writing from those conferences and from reading voraciously. At year 15 (!), I submitted, through the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, a proposal for WORDS to agent Steve Laube. The evening before the conference began, I received an email from Steve asking me to find him the minute I stepped foot on the Mount Hermon property. I found him within the first five minutes of the conference and listened in awe as he talked on and on about my proposal. When he likened my protagonist, Kaylee, to Scout in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, I knew I'd arrived. :-) It was a surreal experience and is still one of my favorite memories. My writing journey was one of faith and of perseverance.

    What advice do you offer to new writers who are just getting started? What about for writers that are seeking representation/publication?

    First and foremost: read, read, read. Read in the genre you want to write. Read books that make your heart beat fast—books that stir your passion. And read with a critical eye—learn from the books you read. Also read books on the craft of writing and, if possible, attend writers conferences. When seeking representation or publication, do your research. Before approaching an agent or editor, make sure you know they're interested in the genre you write and are accepting proposals. Be professional and personable. Know your project and prepare a brief pitch that touches on the highlights of that project. Most agents and publishers have submission guidelines on their websites—pay attention to what they want and how they wanted it submitted.

    How do you go about plotting your stories? Are you a meticulous outliner? Do you just write? Or do you use some other method?

    Typically, I come up with an issue I want to address, then a protagonist comes knocking on my mind and heart. I spend time creating that character-figuring them out. And somewhere in there, I come up with a spiritual theme for the book. All of that seems to happen together. Then I sit down to write. I don't plot. Instead, I let the story unfold as I write. I re-write my first chapters over and over and over as a means of finding my characters voices. Then I write sequentially from chapter one to the end. I write one draft—editing and making changes along the way.

    What do you believe is the best thing about being a published author?

    First, interacting with readers who God has touched in some way as they've read my book. I am awed by the way God works through the written word. Second, I love getting paid for writing!

    How does it feel to have your story called "a masterpiece?"

    WordsIt feels unbelievable. Literally. I think it's hard to believe because I know myself. I know who I am and who I'm not. I'm not the writer of masterpieces—I'm simply a gal who loves God and followed His call in faith even when all seemed hopeless. He is the One who created the masterpiece and gave me the gift of doing it through me.

    Now you've met Ginny in her own words, come out to hear her in person at Write to Inspire on August 26 and 27 at First Baptist Church in Elk Grove, California. And don't forget to check out Ginny's book Words.
    Thanks to Lacie Nezbeth for the original interview of Ginny Yttrup.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    How To Find The Best Rated Apps For Kids

    In preparation for marketing The Prisoner of Carrot Castle, I did some research to find app reviewers and discovered some great sites I want to pass on to busy mom's. If you're an iPad, iPhone or iPad Touch user looking for great apps to make your busy mom's life a bit easier, read on.

    First up, Apps for Children With Special Needs:
    a4cwsn is committed to helping the families of children with special needs and the community of educators and therapists who support them. By producing videos that demonstrate how products educate children, a4cwsn provides a way for users to see how an app works before they buy—great concept. Choose apps to review by various categories (e.g., colors, creative play, etc.), iTunes category or developer. There are apps for motor skill development, autistic kids and if you're a special needs family, they currently have a campaign to give away iPads. Check it out.

    Digital Story Time creates Top 10 reviews of kid's apps in various categories (e.g., most educational, most original, best extras, etc.). You can also find ideas, such as how to have a successful digital bedtime experience with your kids.
    Digital Story Time (blog titled The Digital Media Diet) is one mom's take on kids, technology and the world of apps. This site also provides a rich resource of links to other sites for parents.

    Appcheese is a straight forward review site for kids' apps. Each app reviewed receives a cheese wedge rating and lists Platform, Price, Age Group and Publisher.
    Pictured with each review is the app's icon for the iTunes store along with screen shots and the book trailer (if available). An iTunes button below the icon allows you to order the app. Scan the sidebar to see a list of recently reviewed apps. Lots to love about this clean review site.

    Apps for Kids~kids learning (disguised as fun) is a review site by a mom in Silicon Valley. Primarily doing reviews, she dispenses some wisdom on how to balance your kid's time on technology. Providing parents a short cut to finding some real gems, is her intent, plus giving an honest opinion on a few of the popular apps that may be stinkers. Apps for Kids is focussed on making it easy for parents to find an app for a particular purpose. By the way, contributors to the site include Dad and 5-year-old son Sal.

    The Greasy Screen (don't you love the title?) discusses ebooks for kids, reading habits and stuff. Crystal, from the Chicago suburbs, blogs here and covers all things picture books—right up my alley.
    Besides ebooks, you'll find library books reviewed. Each app review shows a screen shot with app title, publisher, format (iPad, iPhone), number system rating, synopsis, current price, features (e.g., interactivity, sound effects) and a brief written review.

    Last, but not least The iPhone Mom reviews all things for kids and parenting for the iPhone and iPad. She will hunt down little known apps hidden in the deep recesses of the iTunes store (and they are deep).
    Reviews are categorized for moms, toddlers, pre-schoolers, elementary school and beyond, plus a category just for iPad. Every week a special is posted that might be an interview with a developer, navigating in the App Store/iTunes or a step by step "how to," for example, submit an app review.

    I hope this gives you lots of places to find great apps for your family fun and learning.

    Friday, July 1, 2011

    And the Winner Is...

    Drum roll, please! Ta ta ta ta ta ta ta ta taaaaaaa! Congratulations to Kathy Miles who won the drawing for an autographed copy of Just Too Busy by Joanne Kraft. Enjoy reading and check in to let us know what you learned and your favorite funny story or "Joanneism" from the book.

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    Developing an iPad App: Step Six

    The Prisoner of Carrot Castle © 2011
    Haven't heard from me in a while about the app progress, but rest assured things are moving ahead like gang busters. The work has been heavily concentrated on the illustrations, Kate working hard at painting each scene. And next month my uber illustrator is moving to Vancouver where her husband works. Kate and the boys are very excited to be together as a family again.

    Step Six:
    A. Illustrate Each Scene
    All the scenes for the book and the title page have been colored. What do you think of the title page? Some of the scenes were adjusted as Kate moved through the story scenes. You saw some of the gorgeous scenes in Developing an iPad App: Step Five.

    B. Build the App Pages and Functions
    Plugging all the colored scenes from Kate's work into a build of the app, Nur has provided a web location for us to download the progressive builds onto our iPads. That allows us to test things and give him feedback. He's experimenting with page turning styles, built and debugged one of the games and laid-out the extended scene where the accelerometer will be used. Are those teasers enough for you?

    C. Begin Foley Work & Plan for Marketing
    I have my hands full as I figure out how to put the sound together. There's narration for each scene, music that plays throughout the story (with an off/on button) and sound affects that happen either as a one-off (happening once during narration) event, or when a spot on the screen is touched usually involving animation.

    Nur's job is to make it all work, but I need to get all the sound files for him to insert. A good friend has offered his professional sound studio to do the sound work. Sound a bit overwhelming?

    Then there's marketing. I need to create a marketing program to introduce and get the market buzz going about the app. I'm convinced the app will sell itself, but the rub is people need to know its out there in the sea of millions of iPad apps.

    Just a few things I'll be doing:
    • Set-up Fan Page on Facebook
    • Look into targeted Facebook ads
    • Send out app to reviewers
    • Send out press kits to media
    Marketing gurus out there, what else do I need to do?

    BTW, the production company for The Prisoner of Carrot Castle is called Purple Carrot Books. Did you know that carrots were originally purple? The dark-colored carrots are making a comeback. Give them a try if you see them in your local market.

    It's getting exciting, isn't it?

    What is it you'd like to know about building an iPad app? Scroll down and leave a comment.

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Book Review and Giveaway~Just Too Busy: Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical

    I met Joanne Kraft about two years ago in a critique group I joined to polish my writing skills. She gave us many laughs with her witty, oftentimes, tongue in cheek comments. "Joanneisms" was a term I used for the many funny descriptions she would come up with and add to her writing. I loved reading her work for the humor, but went away with many a gem for life.

    The same is true for her first book. You'll find Joanne Kraft's book very relevant to the fast-paced life we seem to find ourselves racing through. Just Too Busy: Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical provides a private look at Joanne's own family as they un-plugged from things (TV, sports, computer, music, etc.) that tear us away from a rich and close family experience. Her humorous look at each situation will have you laughing as she pokes fun at herself with wit and sarcasm. Yes, there is someone to fill the shoes of Patsy Clairmont. Sorry, Patsy, I know you're still here.

    Read Joanne's book and you will take away ideas to bring closeness and a new approach to doing family in your home.

    Every parent in the world needs Just Too Busy. If you're a mom (or dad) trying to raise kids and make it in our crazy world, you must get this book. If you are a grandparent and have a relationship with your son/daughter where they will not be offended (happens—don't want to step on toes here), get them this book.

    Take a trip to Joanne's author website and subscribe to her blog for regular dispensing of mom wisdom. Plus, be sure to download her free leader's guide to get a blueprint for a women's study using the book.

    Just a parting word. In case you think that Joanne's husband, Paul, is a follower in this relationship and Joanne wears the pants. Think again! Paul is the rock-steady rudder and reality dispenser in their marriage. He supports Joanne 100% in the call God has on her life to encourage families to take the right path (as opposed to the world's) in raising kids.

    Want to get an autographed copy of Just Too Busy? Leave a comment to be entered in a Book Giveaway for Just Too Busy. I'll announce a winner on July 1st.

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Anatomy of a Book Launch Party

    Friend and fellow writer/author, Joanne Kraft, launched her book Just Too Busy with fanfare and flourish. Her book became available on June 1st (same date as The Dog Next Door). It was only appropriate that the the launch party took place at Caffe Santoro,  a local coffee shop where Joanne could be found hunkered in the corner with her laptop working on a chapter.

    The popular event featured 400 mini-cupcakes made by Beth Thompson, President of Inspire Christian Writers, who slaved the day making the delicate morsels frosted with colors from the book cover. The cupcakes, alluring as they seemed, were not the crowd attraction. Crowds did come, but most slipped past the pretty display in their march to see the author.

    Joanne's book about her family's experience at breaking the "busy" cycle contains advice on how to have quality family time. A little peace in a chaotic world—a message resonating with moms and dads today.

    While husband, Paul, sold books at the coffee shop entrance, a line formed inside with folks eager to get their books signed. An hour into the event, each of Joanne's children read the chapter written about them. Meghan, their eldest now in college, wrote the chapter about herself, describing her experience and lessons from the radical sabbatical her family took when they unplugged from all things electronic and stopped all sports and after-school lessons.

    Bright pink, green and purple balloons, flowers and even tissue paper added flare and festiveness to the location. For a time when the crowds were thickest, buzz and banter filled the shop, that place became Joanne's stage—her domain. She glowed as her smile beamed at each visitor approaching the pink-draped table set for book signing. The event marked a high watermark for other authors. Congratulations, Joanne!

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    The Dog Next Door Has Arrived

    A case of books arrived on my doorstep this morning. It's The Dog Next Door. The excitement overwhelmed me as a grabbed a few books and searched the contents to find my story. There it was—A Saving Transformation. Wow!

    I am arranging to have book signings in the coming weeks with two other authors from the Sacramento area. Look for us at dog events this summer.

    Contact me if you'd like your own copy of The Dog Next Door signed by yours truly.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Developing an iPad App: Step Five

    The Prisoner of Carrot Castle © 2011
    Wow! It's been a month since I posted Developing an iPad App: Step Four. Plenty has been happening. Kate has been doing color studies to determine the coloring for scenes and characters. Nur has been using the roughs and color studies to start to build the app.

    Step Five: Aiden In Color
    Here is our little hero straight from medieval knight play-acting. What do you think?
    After a few color studies for scene one, here's how it turns out. The squiggly lines represent the narration. Notice the knight's helmet, sword and shield.

    Can you see how beautiful and fun this app will turn out for the iPad. And with the even more brilliant display of the new iPad2. Yeow!

    Deep into the story, scene 13 finds our hero trying to escape capture in a narrow courtyard of the castle.
    I love the colors, don't you?

    One more sneak peek. The Carrot Castle royal family (since this is a week with eyes on royals).

    You can see why we're so excited about this project. We have lots of fun things in store for the app, such as reader participation to help Aiden in his quest.

    Look for a Facebook Fan page coming soon! 

    Please leave your comments below.

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    SCBWI Spring Spirit 2011 Wrap-up

    I attended the SCBWI Spring Spirit Conference in Rocklin last Saturday, bringing my neighbor Judy who also writes for children. We enjoyed a day of great speakers who enlightened our writing, made us exercise our skills and added knowledge to our writing journey.

    Bruce Coville, Author
    The keynote speaker was the energetic and prolific Bruce Coville, author of 95+ fantasy books for children. In his fast-talking style, he entertained as he leapt on the stage, sat on the back of a chair or stood on the seat while he passed on the following wisdom:
    • Read 100 picture books and pick the ten best. From those ten, write each story out by hand to learn structure and rhythm.
    • Writing is the art of choosing details.
    • Force your character to make a serious moral choice.
    • We write because our hearts are filled with thoughts and fears.
    • Glue yourself to the chair.
    Eve Adler on Voice
    Editor at Grosset & Dunlap in the Penguin Young Readers Group, Eve Adler, outlined what is voice using Nancy Deans' five elements of voice:
    • Diction—Choose words with meaning and connotation consistent with characters and story.
    • Detail—Put reader in story; facts, incidents, observations, reasons; create mental picture.
    • Imagery—Show, don't tell; revealing aspects of character and story not available otherwise.
    • Syntax—Technical aspect revealing feeling/personality: grammatical structure, sentence length, repetition, etc.
    • Tone—Sets relationship between writer and reader (chatty, distant, funny, dramatic, etc).
    We read several opening paragraphs from books with strong voice and were asked to speak out what we got from the passage about the voice. Voice provides the emotional pull that draws the reader into a story. It's like the personality or heart and soul of the writing.

    At the end of her session, Eve had us do three writing exercises about a character on a school bus: a kindergartner, a middle grade kid and the school bus driver. Several attendees read their exercises and received feedback.

    Quinlan Lee, Adams Literary
    Mid-day we heard Quinlan Lee of Adams Literary address issues of agenting—how to attract one, why we need one, and what to look for. Out of 300 agents, Adams exclusively represents children's authors and artists. In addition to knowledge of the industry, the agency prides itself on passion and commitment to their clients' work.

    Greg Pincus on Marketing Yourself
    The day wrapped with a session on social marketing with Greg Pincus, social marketing guru. Greg's message was lightening fast (I couldn't write notes fast enough). He based his social marketing success on the PFFT system: Prepare (have a plan), Find your home, Filter vs. search (use google alerts), and Talk (blog, give-aways, create events and establish expertise). Bottom line: pick a few favorite social networks (Facebook, a blog, Twitter) and work them to connect to people who connect you to more people.

    As always, attending a conference gives you more tools and ideas to make your writing (and all that is connected with writing) a success and this years Spring Spirit Conference didn't disappoint.

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Developing an iPad App: Step Four

    The storyboard is now well defined, coming alive with sketches and interactive features. In Step Two I laid out each scene and identified interaction, animation and sound. As we got more into the process, seeing scene sketches from Kate, we added new interactions to many scenes.
    Step Four: Merge Sketches with Storyboard
    There are two types of animation that may occur in a scene:
    • One time animation that coincides with the narration
    • Interactive animation that happens when the reader interacts by touching or moving the iPad.
    In the example scene (Scene 4) shown above, our main character, Aiden, developed during Step Three, feels hopeless finding himself in a prison cell. He just met the ugly prison guard who informed him he would face the King of Carrot Castle before the sun goes down.
    (Narrator) “What am I going to do? I have to get out of here!” he whispered, burying his head in his hands.
    A shuffling sound startled him. (1) He looked up to see a mouse scurry into a small hole in the carrot cell wall. “Hmmmm.” Aiden studied the hole in the wall. “The mouse eats carrots, but I don’t like carrots,” he said, wrinkling his face.

    (Art Notes) Aiden sitting in the middle of the prison cell with his head buried in his hands, his dinner fork in his pocket. (spot illus.) Aiden's head up to see mouse. (spot illus.) Mouse running (two views--legs stretched out, legs in).

    (One time animation) (1) Aiden looks up, mouse runs into hole

    (Continuous animation) sparkling dust flying around in light from window. Shake iPad to make it move.

    (Interactive animation) Touch hole to see mouse pop out.

    (Sound notes) shuffling sound, mouse squeaks
    At narration point (1), Aiden changes pose to see the mouse scurry across the floor and disappear in a hole. Those are the one-time animations for Scene 4. Interactive animations include a continuous animation that the reader can interact with—you see dust floating in the beam of light cast by the cell window that scatters when you shake the iPad. Also, touching the mouse hole makes the mouse appear with a squeak.

    Kate came up with several fun games for the reader to do that helps move the story along. In addition, an entertaining sidebar enlists the reader to dress a knight in his armor, making him ready for the big castle search when Aiden escapes.

    Our next actions include:
    1. Nur animating Scene 4 and 5 using rough sketches and spot poses.
    2. Kate working on color studies of Aiden and some scenes.
    3. I am putting together a payment agreement for the three of us with an attorney.
    Stay tuned for the next step when I am sure to have color for you to marvel over.


    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...