Aaaaaaaallll the books!

I’ve written and illustrated a lot of books. Many of them are very short. A lot of them are easy readers that are only 8 to 16 pages long. Some of them are Spanish translations that were not even translated by me. When people say Wow, you’ve written over 80 books! I have to shrug it off.  It isn’t that many.  I just kept plugging away, you know? That’s what you do when you are a single mom, working from home. You plug away.  I could have written a lot more and I am still working on more… I could have written more masterpieces and spent more time on the details. I hope to do that in the future.

In the meantime, I’m looking for reviews. Reviews can make or break a book and where these books are sold (Amazon and Barnes and Noble online) books without reviews are books that are lost in no man’s land. They are just sitting out there all sad and morose in the dust with the tumbleweeds, wishing someone would read them.  Poor books. So I’m asking my friends and family and you guys for some love in the form of a review or two!  Just a few sentences. You don’t even have to write nice sentences though that would be best, of course. People do sometimes actually read the reviews and sometimes bad reviews can be more helpful than good reviews. Though bad reviews kill me slowly and painfully so don’t leave one if you don’t have to.

The nitty gritty is that the more reviews there are, the more of a chance my books have of moving up the chart on Amazon.  I admit not a lot of these books bestsellers but some of them could be. Some of them I’m really proud of. I’ll go on about them below if you have the time to keep reading.

If you have Kindle Unlimited you can read these books for FREE on most days!   Just a few sentences and I would be eternally grateful! I wish I could offer something in exchange for a review but that’s totally frowned upon and probably illegal.

Without further ado, may I present:

THE BIG LIST 

Professor McNasty’s Collection of Slimes
Be Mine
Secret Agent Josephine in Paris
Colors
Hey, Kitty Kitty!
ABC Flashcards
Secret Agent Josephine’s Numbers
Good Night, Kitty Kitty!
Snackle the Snake Likes to Snack
My Good Dog
My Cat is Sad
My Cat, My Dog
My Cat is Fat
My Cat Sits
Cody Eats
Cody Eats Everything
Cody Poops
Cody Poops Everywhere
Cody Sheds
Cody Sheds Everywhere
Cody Barks
Cody Barks at Everyone
Knock Knock Boo Who?
It’s Snot Fair!
Knock Knock, Moo Who?
Knock Knock, Lettuce In!
Knock Knock, Blub Blub!
You are the Coolest
Fart-tastic
Knock Knock, Red, White, and Blue!
Too School for Cool
Knock Knock, Woof Woof!
Knock Knock, Olive You!
Knock Knock, Meow Meow!
Merry Christmas, Little Hoo!
Who’s Coming for Dinner, Little Hoo?
Happy Birthday, Little Hoo!
Who’s There, Little Hoo?
Little Hoo Goes to the Beach
Little Hoo Goes to School
Happy Easter, Little Hoo!
Little Hoo has the Flu
Little Hoo Gets the Wiggles Out
Little Hoo Goes Camping
It’s Not About You, Little Hoo!
Good Night, Little Hoo (Coming soon!)
Little Hoo Makes Valentines
Time to Get Ready, Bunny!
Time for Bed, Bunny!
Time to Eat, Bunny!
Time for Bunny (A bundle of all three Bunny books)
Kat Wears
Kat Makes
Kat Goes
Kat Likes
Kat Reads
Nat Plays Baseball
Nat Can Code
Kat Rides
Nat Can Help
Raj Pets
Buddy Licks
No, Bandit!
Raj Gets a Puppy
Raj Plays Soccer
Last Day of School
Bandit Plays
Lemonade Stand
Where are You?
Ballet Lessons for Su
Su Sings
Su Sees
Nat Visits the Museum
Ready for the Test
Buddy is a Puppy
Su and Kat
Bandit Naps
Wet Dog
Buddy Plays Fetch
Raj Cleans Up
Nat and Raj
Bandit Eats Grass
A Bath for Bandit

Let’s talk about them!

 

Professor McNasty’s Collection of Slimes. This book was written by my co-partner at Mettaprints’ husband, Chris Bickley. I told him I wanted to write a book about slime because my girls were really into slime back then. Joon used to beg for it daily. I hated slime because it got on everything. It stuck everywhere, I was constantly trying to get it out of backpacks, clothes, sheet, and rugs… it was such a pain in the neck trend back then. Do you remember? Chris turned out to be a pretty good poet and he turned out this yarn quickly. Illustrating it took a lot longer but it was fun. I only wish steam actually worked on slime. Wouldn’t that be amazing? We were inspired by Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat story where the parents leave the house and all hell breaks loose.

Be Mine is literally a book form of the “valentags” I made way back in the day. I tried to find a link to those old Valentine tags but it seems to be missing. Some people have given this book a bad review because it’s super simple. Just one phrase and one picture on each page. When I made it I imagined it would be swish-through electronic book that you would send your sweetheart over the phone. Good idea but maybe not worth spending money on for the print version. I wish it was a board book. It would be fabulous as a board book that toddlers could chew on. Sadly, my publisher doesn’t make board books.

Secret Agent Josephine in Paris  Ah, an oldie but a goodie. This was my first real story book and a labor of love. Sadly it didn’t sell well. I’m super proud of the illustrations though and the story is cute. Writing a spy story is tricky because spies can be well, to put it plainly: very bad people and I didn’t want to write about SAJ poisoning someone or sneaking into government buildings to take pictures of top secret documents. I also didn’t want to write about the blueberry caper stealing pies so I was kinda stuck plot wise and maybe it shows. But I do love that I got to include so many real life references. My brother is the evil art thief. Bug comes with me on a trip to all the touristy spots in Paris… it’s fun. I think it’s cute and definitely worth it for the print version if you collect picture books about Paris like I do.


Colors I like this one. It’s simple but I love the illustrations if do say so myself. I was working with gradients a lot back then.  I’ve kinda let gradients and shading go by the wayside in efforts to speed up the illustration process. That’s the thing about me, I’m a quick illustrator. Oftentimes too quick. But when we were making these books, the digital book industry was brand new and we had to act fast to stay at the lead. It was good advice for back then. Now I’d probably go a lot slower and add more detail but at the end of the day did emotion I wanted to convey come across? I think so. Quick can be good too.

Hey, Kitty Kitty! Funny fun fact about this book: the artwork I have says “Here Kitty Kitty.” That was the first version of this book but they changed it to “Hey Kitty Kitty” after it was published. Maybe there was already a book called “Here Kitty Kitty,” I’m not sure. Also, the Kindle version of this book is black because black looks really cool on screen but not so great in print. We decided pink was nice for print. I don’t have many pink books so this one is special to me. I also love this book because some of the spreads are designed vertically and you have to turn the book to read them. Other readers hate this. I think it’s cool. I also like that the color palette is very simple. What can I say? I was a graphic designer before I was an illustrator. Simple lines and colors mean a lot to me. :)

ABC Flashcards Remember the flashcards I made for Bug and all you readers chimed in and we came up with what I should illustrate for each letter together? Wasn’t that amazing? I think that was one of the best things I ever did on this blog. Of course, that was a million years ago and probably not many of those original readers and commenters are still here but oh, the memories!  That was something else. They hit right at Christmas time and it was before the big crash of 2008 when we all lost all our money. Oh, those were good times. Back when pandemics were things of fiction… Sigh.  Anyway, this book is just those cards made into a book. If you want to keep all your alphabet cards in a book, it’s handy! If you want to swipe through the alphabet on a tablet and not play 26-card pick-up, it’s handy!  If your toddler likes to eat alphabet cards…well, you know where I’m going with this.

I’m going to stop there because this is the mother of all posts and I’ll come back tomorrow with another grouping of books. To those of you who are just here for the tea and gossip, I’m sorry. We’ll get back to our regularly scheduled posting in about two years.

Just kidding! I’ll be back.

In the meantime, be a pal and leave me a review. I’ll love you forever. (I already do!)

 

Life in My Fast Lane

walks-with-dad

It’s been a busy few Mondays so I haven’t really shown up here as I’ve planned. I’ll just ramble through these pictures to catch up.

First up: since summer vacation started (and I don’ have to play Muber and take Bug to school every morning), I have been popping my earbuds in to talk to my dad and walking the nearby park. It’s great. We’ve walked every morning for two weeks straight. We both are early birds and we both like walking and talking so we get a lot of gabbing and steps in early in the morning. Sometimes afterward I get some more steps in and hit the local Starbucks for a latte in a *glass* cup because everybody knows coffee tastes better in a glass cup.  It’s not my favorite mom-and-pop coffee shop but at least it’s a little more charming than the usual to-go routine.

banyan-tree-of-orange

One of those days last week Bug and I went to Orange Circle for some thrifting. Lately, I’m on the hunt for “fabulous” costumes for my upcoming birthday party. (I’m planning a photoshoot as part of it.) I’m super nervous about everything and trying desperately not to spend too much money in the planning stage. It’s just what I do. Over-think, over-spend. It’s a really bad habit to break. Kind of like biting your nails.

puzzling-2022

In other news, I have started a new puzzle. Leah told me about this really cool puzzle board that you can use to keep your puzzle contained. It’s great! All you have to do is slide the side panels in and then close it up tight with special velcro flaps and no pieces can escape. Unfortunately, the puzzle board arrived a little banged up in the mail and it’s warped in the middle. It still works but it would be nicer without a hill in the middle. I’ve got an email into them but so far no response.

huntington-gardens-1

Bug and I are crossing off summer bucket list adventures. Our first adventure was to The Huntington Gardens. I love the gardens so much. We’ve got an evening stroll planned too. I would definitely get a membership here if it wasn’t a two-hour drive away. (crying face emoji here)

huntington-gardens-2

We took Bug’s boyfriend and a friend with us. I love hanging out with teenagers. They are so funny and we have the best car conversations.  They put up with me surprisingly well, of course being the one with wheels keeps me in close proximity. That might change once they  get their driver’s licences but for now I’m basking in their youthful energy and approval. Funny how it’s such a priviledge to be appreciated by the young. It makes me want to rush out make more older friends and let them know they are just as fabulous.

mazestone-village-street-fair

Oh yes, the street fair at my parent’s mobile home complex. It was a blast. I sold a lot of books! Who knew! I’ve done craft fairs before and made no money. Of course having my parents as my number one fans and advertisers helps a lot and the fact that a highschool friend dropped by and scooped up quite a few. Shout out to Jenny!

It was also 103 degrees F. Yowzers. We stayed in the shade much of the time but had to close up shop before the fair ended so we didn’t get heat stroke.  Dry desert heat is much more bearable than humidity but even this desert rat has her limits.

happy-auntie

It’s been a busy few weeks as you can see. After the street fair we went back home and hosted a double birthday trip to the local zoo for my great nieces! I am a double great aunt to my niececompoop’s two daughters. I LOVE these babies!!! They are so adorable. Whenever one of them wanted me to hold them I did not say no.  How could I???  Their mamas were more than happy to have me hold them. I got my baby cravings filled and they got a little rest. And then I got a backache the next day! Shout out to all those older mamas hefting 20 babies out there. Stay strong!

santa-ana-zoo-1

Our local zoo is very small but that’s about all the bandwidth we had anyway. Between heat and toddlers attention spans, a small zoo is perfect. We saw some birds and some monkeys, an ocelot and some camels and that was great.

santa-ana-zoo-2

Then we went home for dinner and cake!

b-n-b-in-vegas

The following weekend I took a road trip with some friends to Las Vegas for a Sting concert. I couldn’t quite swing a hotel stay (they are mucho expensive right now) but that was fine because one of my best friends, Bethany (not BethanyActually but my highschool bestie since 9th grade!!), lives in Henderson which is just a hop from the strip. I love staying with Bethany. We’ve been friends forever (and roommates during college ) so it’s like having a sleepover with your best friend and spending all your time laughing and talking non-stop. She also has several reptile pets so it was kind of like staying in a zoo. I got to watch her feed her snake and let her bearded dragons out for a morning sun bath and constitution. I can now add “lizard farts” to my strange story collection.

sting-concert-in-vegas-2022

The Sting concert was awesome of course. I’m not as huge fan of Sting as my friend Teresa (she’s a die-hard fangirl) but I definitely enjoyed hearing my old favorite songs and watching him interact with the crowd. I love how some musicians seem to be energized from the audience. It was his last concert in residency for the year and you’d think he’d be exhausted after playing the same songs night after night after night, but no, he was loving every minute. Seventy years has not slowed him down much at all.

And that’s that! All caught up. Now it’s time to get to work!