Happy Book Birthday, TYRANNOSAURUS WRECKS! (and a Double Giveaway!)

In honor of the book birthday of my newest picture book, TYRANNOSAURUS WRECKS!, I have such an awesome treat for you! First, a guest post from my incredible illustrator, Zachariah OHora, about his creative process. Then,there is an awesome giveaway where two lucky winners will get some great prizes (scroll down to the end for more information on the prizes, though you don’t want to skip over this great post, do you?)

Tyrannosaurus Wrecks, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Zachariah Ohora

Tyrannosaurus Wrecks!

by Zachariah OHora

When I first heard about this project I was super excited to work with Chad (creative director at Abrams) and Sudipta.
That excitement quickly turned to fear when I realized I’d never really drawn dinosaurs before.

Not even as a kid.

Plus there seemed to be a whole lot of dinosaurs I’d never heard of.

Gallimimus?!
Really?!

I think there were like five dinos when I was a kid and half of them don’t even exist anymore, er, I mean, they ALL don’t exist anymore, but uh…you get the point.

I realized I couldn’t just fudge through with a vague lizard creature.
So I started where all ignorant people do, with a Google search.

Fear turned to terror as I collected images. NO WAY WAS I GOING TO PULL THIS OFF!!!

Then I had an idea. One that might appear brilliant enough to fool everyone into NOT noticing I can’t draw dinosaurs. What if it was kids DRESSED as dinos instead?

TrexColorpalette 1

This seemed like the perfect solution as it allowed me a good deal of creative license.

TrexStudy 2

(Left: One of the first sketches for T Wrecks Boy. Right: Then I thought since he was always wrecking stuff perhaps he couldn’t see out of his mask)

TrexStudy 3

Then Abrams politely showed me a book that already had my “brilliant” idea in it that came out two years earlier.

Illustrator gulps.
Illustrator whines.
Illustrator wrecks!

Illustrator practices and practices drawing dinosaurs!

Until finally the characters ended up having some human qualities but were most definitely dinosaurs!

TWrecksNewNEw-1

Fortunately everyone was happy with the new version and that’s what you see in the book.
Fear of failure forced me to get my proper dinosaur education on. And best of all Sudipta was happy with them too.

Sometimes in a collaboration you have to go way out of your comfort zone.
And that’s a good thing.

zauthorphotoZachariah OHora is an illustrator and author of a number of children’s books. His debut STOP SNORING, BERNARD! was awarded the Society of Illustrators Founder’s Award and was chosen as the PA One Book for 2012. His book NO FITS NILSON! was awarded a Kirkus star and was the Huffington Post Book of the Year for 2013. He lives and works in the tiny village of Narberth, PA with his wife, two sons, and two cats.

Sudipta wasn’t just “happy” with these illustrations — she was thrilled! (Why am I referring to myself in the third person??)

Thank you, Zack, for such a great and insightful post. And just so you know, I hadn’t heard of a Gallimimus either — not until my then 4-year old son educated me on that and all the other dinos in the book (except the Tyrannosaurus — I had heard of that!).

And now, for the part you’ve all been waiting for…

THE GIVEAWAY(S)

In honor of TYRANNOSAURUS WRECKS, we here at Nerdy Chicks Rule are going to give away TWO prizes to one lucky winner.

First, the winner is going to score a copy of TYRANNOSAURUS WRECKS! signed by both Zach and me! And second, the lucky winner will get an original sketch from the book, signed by the illustrator himself!

Book and art — how can you not like that?

How do I win? asks my faithful blog reader.

It’s very simple.

1. To register, fill in the form below with your name, email, and Twitter and/or Facebook handles. (Don’t forget to hit ‘Submit’!)

2. Tweet or post about the TYRANNOSAURS WRECKS! release with the hashtag #TWRECKS and tag Sudipta (@SudiptaBQ on Twitter or Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Children’s Book Author on FB) AND tag Zack (@ZachariahOHora on Twitter). Don’t know what to tweet/post? Cut and paste one of the suggestions below:

  • Happy book birthday to TYRANNOSAURUS WRECKS! http://wp.me/p126Z2-N4 #TWRECKS @SudiptaBQ @ZachariahOHora
  • Do you know #TWRECKS? http://goo.gl/m28AnO @SudiptaBQ @ZachariahOHora
  • Got #TWRECKS? http://goo.gl/7nd3xU  @SudiptaBQ @ZachariahOHora

3. Every time you share using the handles you’ve registered, you’ll get one entry. The contest will close on April 7, 2014 at 11:59pm. At that time, we will gather up all the entries and choose a WINNER!

GOOD LUCK!

ORANGUTANGLED Book Birthday! (and Giveaway!)

We have a winner in the original art giveaway! Everybody put your hands together for

@BookishAmbition!

Thanks to everyone for entering!

 

Have you ever had a day that starts out bad…and then gets worse and worse and worse? One of those days where you know it’s one disaster after the other no matter what you do? And you know that fighting it won’t make it better…but you fight it anyway?

It was a day like that that inspired ORANGUTANGLED. I’m proud to announce today is this darling book’s birthday!

orangutangled coverIn honor of this book, we have a very special giveaway.

Illustrator Aaron Zenz has very graciously created an original piece of ORANGUTANGLED artwork.

orangutangled art Aaron Zenz

(I’ll tell you the truth — I want to cheat and just declare myself the winner so I can keep this gorgeous piece.)

I’m sure you’re all wondering How do I win???

This is how:

1) Required. Fill out the entry form below. (Don’t forget to hit ‘Submit’!)

2) Copy one of the following blurbs and post it to Facebook or tweet about it. Here are your choices:

ORANGUTANGLED is here! Original art #giveaway! http://goo.gl/KXLKJa @SudiptaBQ @AaronZenz

(This one links to this blog post)

Have you ORANGUTANGLED? http://goo.gl/WDQHL0 @SudiptaBQ @AaronZenz

(This one takes you to Sudipta’s ORANGUTANGLED page)

Meet @AaronZenz on @MatthewWinner’s great Busy Librarian podcast http://goo.gl/35eQTw @SudiptaBQ

(This links to the Busy Librarian’s podcast with Aaron)

ORANGUTANGLED is here! http://goo.gl/ctLX6h @SudiptaBQ @AaronZenz

(This takes you to the publisher’s ORANGUTANGLED page)

3) Every post or tweet will count as one entry (make sure you make your Facebook posts are public so we can give you credit! Even better, tag Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Children’s Book Author on the Facebook posts!). Keep spreading the word, increase your odds of winning.

The contest will close on February 17, 2014 at 11:59pm. At that time, we will gather up all the entries and choose a WINNER!

GOOD LUCK!

REMINDER:

Do you like winning? Want to win more? Check out Corrine Jackson’s giveaway, too!

Winner! Winner! Winner!

graphics-fireworks-655059We have reached the end of our week-long Moose Day Celebration.

Did you enter the MOOSE DAY Giveaway?

If you didn’t, I bet you regret it.

And if you did, you’re probably waiting with bated breath for the announcement of the winner.

I’m here to un-bate you. Because I’m just that kind of girl.

Just as a reminder, here is the lovely TRIPLE Prize:

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So, are you ready?

Really ready?

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OK, I won’t keep you waiting any longer….

The winner of the triple giveaway is:

@Loveofxena

CONGRATULATIONS!

Thanks to everyone for entering, celebrating, tweeting, posting, ducking and moosing…Mostly, thank you for helping me to welcome DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE into the world with all the love that I was hoping for. You’re the best!

DDM cover

(and if you’re REALLY disappointed, get a copy of your own at IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local independent bookseller!)

#MooseMoment

Our week of MOOSE DAY celebrations continue…if you haven’t registered for the TRIPLE GIVEWAY, there is still plenty of time! Click here to fill our the official registration form, and remember, any tweet or Facebook post about Moose Day with the hashtag #DuckDuckMoose is an entry to win! (Don’t forget to tag Sudipta, too — @SudiptaBQ on Twitter or Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Children’s Book Author on FB.)

ddm balloonsWe’re going to sweeten the deal, though — add the hashtag #MooseMoment to your posts/tweets, and get TRIPLE the entries!

What is a Moose Moment? you might be wondering.

We’ve all witnessed a Moose Moment. We’ve also all experienced a Moose Moment — probably many more than one.

A Moose Moment is a moment of disaster. When you accidentally back your car out of the garage — while the passenger door is still open. When you leave the house so early and so tired that you don’t notice you’re wearing two different types of shoes (this one I have done personally!).

If you have children in your life, you’ve seen plenty of Moose Moments. Here’s a fairly common one:

100_0108-001Toddler + chocolate bar = MOOSE MOMENT

Once, I left my daughters with a babysitter…who thought it would be fine to let them play with a ballpoint pen. Which lead to this Moose Moment:

Bella left alone with penThen there was the time I didn’t notice my daughter sneak the baby powder into the playroom:

3429 (2)Another memorable Moose Moment…(She looks so happy! So blissfully unaware of the MESS!)

So, why should we celebrate Moose Moments? After all, they just cause trouble, right?

NO!!!

Moose Moments are the best moments of life. They are the ones we remember for years, the ones we laugh about time and time again. They bring us joy in times of trouble and they put things in perspective when life gets too serious. Moose Moments are crystallized drops of inspiration.

DUCK DUCK MOOSE wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t witnessed hundreds of my children’s Moose Moments.

As we continue our Moose Day party, can you share your favorite #MooseMoment?DDM cover

Please enter the official MOOSE DAY GIVEAWAY and win a great triple prize!wpid-20140107_094935.jpg

 

 

 

It’s a MOOSE DAY Party! (And a TRIPLE GIVEAWAY!)

THIS CONTEST HAS NOW ENDED. (But keep celebrating Moose Day anyway!)

It’s MOOSE DAY! It’s MOOSE DAY!

Shockingly, this is not an official, national holiday (though it should be!), so you might be wondering what Moose Day — today — is.

Simple.

Today is the book birthday of DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE! Hooray!!!

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It is a day of joy! Of celebration! It is a day for all ducks and all mooses to put aside their differences and celebrate the true meaning of friendship! (The true meaning of friendship, coincidentally, is the theme of the whole book.)

A lot of people are already celebrating DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE.

It has been selected for the CBC’s Hot Off The Press.

It’s on the Winter 2013-2014 Kids’ Indie Next List — “Inspired Recommendations for Kids from Indie Booksellers” in the General Listing.

Kirkus says, “Two ducks plus one moose equals mayhem, mischief and true friendship.” YAY!

Publishers Weekly says, “Moose’s pratfalls provide short-term entertainment and an opportunity for dramatic read-aloud performances.” Wow!

School Library Journal says, “Good fun that gives a whole new meaning to the word ‘duck.'” Woo-hoo!

Booklist says, “Though this silly story has a lot of well-earned laughs, the sweet ending is a touching reminder that clumsiness is easily forgivable.” HOORAY!

The lovely Robin Newman is celebrating Moose Day here. The fabulous Matthew Winner’s Moose Day Festivities are here. The most creative Creative Bookings is celebrating here. The adorable Darlene Beck Jacobson has her Moose Day party here.

The internet is just a-twitter with Moose Day Festivities!

Which brings us to the GIVEAWAY.

The TRIPLE GIVEAWAY.

In honor of DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE, we here at Nerdy Chicks Rule and going to give away a TRIPLE prize to one lucky winner.

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Doesn’t that look lovely? (Oh, did you notice the hand-made paper rose decorating the gift bag?)

Let’s break down the swag:

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One signed DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE

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Another signed DUCK, DUCK, MOOSE

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Cleaning supplies for the Moose in your life!

Yes, that’s TWO autographed copies for your ducks, and some cleaning supplies for your Moose (because you know he’s going to need it, right?).

How do I win? asks my faithful blog reader.

It’s very simple.

1. To register, fill in the form below with your name, email, and Twitter and/or Facebook handles. (Don’t forget to hit ‘Submit’!)

2. Tweet or post about Moose Day with the hashtag #DuckDuckMoose and tag Sudipta, too (@SudiptaBQ on Twitter or Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Children’s Book Author on FB). Don’t know what to tweet? Use any of the links above or copy the pic below of the book cover and share that!

DDM cover

3. Every time you share using the handles you’ve registered, you’ll get one entry. The contest will close on January 14, 2014 at 11:59pm. At that time, we will gather up all the entries and choose a WINNER!

GOOD LUCK

and

HAPPY MOOSE DAY!

PiBoIdMo Wrap Up: Let it Be

Duck Duck Moose by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

My upcoming picture book!

Now that Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month is over, I thought it would be nice to reflect a little bit on what we’ve accomplished in the past few weeks. If you participated in PiBoIdMo, first off, CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve made great progress on your writing journey. Publishing is an art where creativity and magic come together to make great books. But publishing is also a numbers game – the more manuscripts you create, the more likely it is that some of them will get published. And how do you create manuscripts? Well, it starts with ideas. And now you have lots of ideas – at least 30 if you got through the month! (More if you followed my PiBoIdMo advice.) So you’re all set!

Except…

I’ve got some bad news. Well, potentially bad news. More like bad reality, actually. Except that reality is never bad.

Here’s the reality of the situation: not all of the ideas you have so carefully thought up during PiBoIdMo are picture book ideas.

I know you want them to be. I know that’s what you intended and planned for. I know you have great dreams for these ideas, dreams that are so good that you want to will them into existence.

But for some of your ideas, those dreams will never come true.

I’m not saying these things to upset you, or to de-motivate you. You shouldn’t lose your momentum. I just want you to focus your energy on the best paths to maximize your ability to succeed and get published.

Here’s the thing: your story ideas are like your children. You give birth to them, you nurture them, you guide them toward the goals you have carefully set for them. You know what’s best and you will make that happen.

For those of you who have children, you’re probably already guessing where this is going to go.

With our children, no matter what we have dreamed for them when they were helpless babes in our arms, those kids who once needed us for their very survival somehow end up being the people they choose to be. Not necessarily the people we intended them to be.

This is the kid who was supposed to grow up to be a doctor…

My parents wanted me to be a doctor. They even bought me a $100K science education from Caltech. And in the end, I write books about talking pigs.

With our characters, our story ideas, they will also be who they are, regardless of what we want them to be.

Early on, I said that not all of the ideas you have so carefully thought up during PiBoIdMo are picture book ideas. That is reality. Some of those ideas will turn out to be chapter books, or middle grades, no matter how hard we push them to be something else. (Just like some of our children will become kidlit authors, no matter how hard we push them to be doctors.) That’s ok.

Some of those ideas will turn out to flounder and struggle, will find it difficult to ever realize their full potential. That’s ok, too.

Because the reality is that some of the ideas you have are picture book ideas. They need you to cultivate and develop them, but with your help, they will grow to be wonderful picture books.

The key here is to let your characters be who they are. Let your stories be what they are. If they grow into something different than you thought, follow them on their path instead of forcing them onto your own. The end result will be truer, will have more heart, and will be better written.

Good luck to everyone and see you next PiBoIdMo!

(In case you missed it, here is some more PiBoIdMo advice from Kami and from me from earlier this month.)

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen Has Nothing to Write About

This post was originally published on November 29, 2010 at Tara Lazar’s blog in honor of PiBoIdMo. We thought those of you participating in this year’s picture book idea month might find it useful.

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen Has Nothing to Write About

by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

pirate princessIf you’re like me, writing is work. By this I mean it is my job, my primary source of income (therefore, work) but also that it is just plain HARD. There is nothing so depressing as trying to come up with something new and fresh to write about—and coming up with nothing.

That happens to me a lot.

So what do you do?

Well, I really don’t know the answer. But here are some tricks I use to muddle through those times when I have nothing to write about.

1) Start with character. I truly believe that the most important aspect of a picture book, what drives its popularity the most, is a charismatic main character. The premise, the setting, the cutesy word play and rhyme—all of these are secondary to character. So if you need to brainstorm only one thing, work on that viable character list.

The trick to creating a truly charismatic main character is to blend flaws with flair. Don’t just come up with fifty cute character traits. Give your main character some faults, some defects—he will be infinitely more interesting.

2) Something old into something new. There are so many examples of authors who take an old idea and make it into something modern and fresh. The entire genre of fractured fairy tales is built on the premise that recognizable is always a benefit for marketing, but recognizable AND fresh is money in the bank. Now I’m not at all recommending that all you do is read a collection of Grimm’s fairy tales and add a hippopotamus to each story (don’t do that, because it was my idea first). But if you can take inspiration from something your audience will recognize and then take it to a brand new place, where is the downside?

quackensteinSome examples of this in my own work:
THE HOG PRINCE – we know it’s a frog prince, not a hog prince, but Eldon does not.
QUACKENSTEIN – isn’t every monster story better with a duck?
THE TWELVE WORST DAYS OF CHRISTMAS – believe it or not, in addition to a Christmas song, this is a sibling story

3) Look at your own life. And I mean this as way to eliminate bad ideas. When you’re having a hard time with inspiration, there is the temptation to use your own children or grandchildren as your muses. Trust me, this is a bad idea. Because as cute as their latest antics are to you, they very rarely make for good picture books. Save yourself. Don’t do it.

4) Exercise. Well, do a writing exercise at least. When you’re really stuck you could reinforce your writing ability by taking a book that is perhaps not one of your favorites and then rewriting it the way it should be. Obviously, you can’t then try to publish your version of Dora the Explorer (because Nora the Explorer or even Eleanora the Explorer is simply not going to be fresh enough to merit a whole new franchise!). But the exercise will show you that you are not only able to create a new story but one that is better than something that was actually published (which means there is hope for you yet) and, again, you never know where that road will lead.

Hampire_jacket5) When all else fails, take a breath. Sorry, guys, sometimes the ideas are not going to come. No matter how much you force it. When you are really and truly stuck, stop trying so hard. Instead, work on revising older manuscripts—maybe you can whip one of those into shape. Or perhaps the something old that you will turn into something new will come from your own pile of older ideas.