Friday, September 16, 2011

Cheers to 35 Years! Where Were You in 1976?

Last week my hubby and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. We went out to eat and had a nice quiet celebration. Just like our wedding, which was a small family wedding on my folks' patio.  

Tied the knot in September 1976, the year of America's bicentennial. 
Best man, Jim George, a Vietnam war hero.
 Maid of honor, my sister, Pam, holding back sentimental tears. 

And the two shall become one.

Then three...

Then four...

Then five...

And, finally, six!

Kelley Crew in 1989

And in 2008
"Families are like fudge, mostly sweet with a few nuts."
(Author uknown)

A lot has happened in 35 years.
Our family has grown. 
Three have married. 

And we have a granddaughter - Little Twinkle Eyes!

And three weeks ago, our grandson, Punkin, was born!

Here we are on our anniversary, a happy, old married couple. 

How did we do it? It's been so long, I honestly can't remember! 
But lots of clownin' helped, for sure.

“Laugh a lot, and when you’re older, all your wrinkles will be in the right places.”

Let Your Love Flow by the Bellamy Brothers 
One of the top songs in 1976

Where were you in 1976? If you weren't born yet, do you think you would have liked living back then?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tommy Kovac - Graphic Novelist

Meet Tommy Kovac - Writer - Illustrator - Graphic Novelist


Tommy Kovac is one of the most interesting, talented people I know. Before sharing a really cool childhood story about Tommy, let's look at some of his first publications.

First comics series, "Stitch"

He's been writing and illustrating these comics since 1999. 
Published by SLG Publishing. 

Links to his website are below.  

Tommy describes these three series as "very edgy with lots of mature humor."

"Forget & Sever" is an illustration for his trade paperback, "Stitch."

Here are his latest writing projects, two five-issue graphic novels:  
"Wonderland," SLG/Disney, illustrated by Sonny Liew


an Oz-related series, "The Royal Historian of Oz,"
SLG Publishing, illustrated by Andy Hirsch.
Both graphic novels are for all ages.

I met Tommy at Books Born Here, our writers' group that meets in Riverside, California. One time he shared a memory about his childhood. I asked him to retell it so I could post it on my blog because it says a lot about who he is and why he was the perfect one to write Wonderland, even though his publisher didn't know it at the time he asked him to work on it!

The rabbit hole story and other reflections from Tommy Kovac, in his own words:
     "I was little, maybe around 5 or 6, and I loved Alice In Wonderland. We always had lots of books around the house, and it was one of the first books I learned to read all by myself. I used to read it out loud to my parents. I was also pretty obsessed with the ride at Disneyland. I got my dad to dig me a big, deep 'rabbit hole' in our back yard so I could pretend to be Alice crawling in and floating down to Wonderland. I spent hours in that hole, imagining.
     "When my publisher at SLG first asked me to write 'Wonderland' for the Disney project, I excitedly told him how much I love the original story and even blurted out the thing about my dad digging me a rabbit hole in our back yard.

     "My publisher said, 'Wow. That's pretty f*&#%d up. Maybe you're TOO into it.' (That cracked me up.)
     "I was an only child, and my parents were totally awesome. Still are. Can you imagine a dad going along so easily with his son pretending to be ALICE IN WONDERLAND?! And my dad was a total football jock in high school.
     "I remember him trying to throw the football around with me in our back yard. I think he only tried ONCE, and quickly realized I was better suited to drawing and other 'artistic' pursuits. Interestingly enough, my dad is a well-rounded guy and also used to draw and sketch a lot. I remember watching him and being fascinated by the special pencils and the crumbly eraser.
     "Both of my parents are very artistic, but in different ways. My mom has a total Martha Stewart streak. Not the insider trading kind, or the scary ice queen kind, though! What I mean is that my mom has a real knack for design and color, and a great eye for visual balance. Her house is always beautiful, and she can make really cool handmade things. She has superb taste, which is a quality I'm not sure can be taught. What I'm trying to say is that I totally get whatever creative talent I have from both parents.
     "My mom gave me my first typewriter when I was about 9, an old manual kind that clacked when you hit the keys and chinged when you hit the carriage return. She taught me which fingers are supposed to go with which keys, and I immediately started typing my own little stories. It would be hard for me to talk about my creative pursuits without also talking about my parents, because they've been so encouraging and supportive all the way through.

     "You know, I work with teenagers in the school library, and there are plenty of kids whose parents tell them exactly what they should be and what they should do with their lives. It's sad. You see these poor kids who have been convinced to go to law school, or to become doctors, when they really want to dance, or sing, or paint. They've been taught to equate success with money, which I think is wrong.

     "Some people WANT to be lawyers or doctors, which is great, but there are also some of us who have that burning need to create stories or pictures or whatever, and to share them with other people. And most of us don't make very much money from it! But that's not the point, either, is it?  :)"

Thanks for sharing your memories and insight with us, Tommy. 

To read an interview of Tommy Kovac by Stephanie Jefferson, go here.

Read the awesome reviews of Tommy's work:

Some of his artwork is for sale on his website. 

Here are his other links:
library-themed blog:
everything else-themed blog:
Amazon’s page for my upcoming graphic novel release (October 11, 2011)
My comics publisher’s online shop with my stuff

A question for my readers:  What do you think about graphic novels? Do you have a favorite comic book series? Or did you as a kid?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Blogger's Insight Re Blog Awards

Do you jump for joy when you receive an award?

I received the Liebster Blog award from Gene Lempp the other day. What an honor, since I value his opinions and admire his writing. In fact, his Wednesday "Designing from Bones" posts are some of my favorites, chock full of fascinating info and cool writing prompts. Check them out when you get a chance. If I was a teacher, I'd use his writing prompts with my students. Great for any age, elementary school through college. Perfect for us, too!

"Liebster is the German word for friend."

Anyway, part of Gene's post shares reflections on blog awards that I thought others might find interesting. So, with Gene's permission, here's a partial quote from his 9-3-11 post:

"Over the course of the last week I received two blog awards. The first was the Versatile Blogger, given to me by Amanda Rudd. This is my second of these. The other is the Liebster Award from Marie Andrews, a new-found ROW80 friend.
"After receiving the awards, I had several conversations with a few of my blogger buds and gained some interesting insights. Some bloggers see awards as a type of chain letter. Others meet them with a 'nice, but one more thing on my plate I don't have time to deal with' choice. Some are excited to be given an award, others, well, not so much.
"As I considered the words of my friends, I came to a realize that the value of the award was based on point-of-view. Given that our goal is to build author platform for our work, how do the awards help?
"Let's consider the points of value that come with being given and displaying awards.
"1) While the award may be of little personal value to a veteran author/blogger, our blogs are not for us, but for our readers. If we are truly building platform then not all of our visitors are author/bloggers, some are readers. Displaying our awards adds a sense of "expertise" to our site and posts for our non-blogging guests. You know, the ones that we want to buy, read and enjoy our books.
"2) Not all bloggers are veterans. In fact, blogging does not come easily to everyone. It took me four attempts over the course of six years to finally start the blog you are reading. In honesty, if it wasn't for Kristen Lamb, Jami Gold and my wife, I wouldn't be here now.
"Blog awards are a simple and effective way to offer our support and appreciation of those we visit and read. It can make all the difference in another bloggers world. When Sonia G. Medeiros gave me my first Versatile Blogger award, it let me know, much to my surprise, that at least one person out there enjoyed my writing. It gave me the boost I needed to keep going.
"The rules that are attached to each award are what make them appear to be chain letters. I do not think that we should allow ourselves to remain trapped in, or trap others into, having to comply with these rules in order to receive an award. If we are going to show appreciation, then show it. No strings attached. Hey, I love your work. You deserve this. Great job."

Thanks for your thoughts on blog awards, Gene. And thank you for the Liebster Blog award and for telling us that Liebster is the German word for friend.

I personally love to read all the interesting facts bloggers share about themselves when answering questions that came with an award, but I have to agree with Gene that for some bloggers, it might seem burdensome. That's why I made it optional the last time I passed on some awards, so the recipient could enjoy the award and answer the questions and pass the award on if they so chose.

Last week I also received an award from the awesome C. Lee McKenzie of The Write Game. It's the One To Follow award.

I'm choosing to pass these super cool awards on. I would like to give the One to Follow award to these bloggers:

Gene Lempp - As I said above, his "Designing from Bones" posts are fascinating. Not only that, Gene is always helpful with tweeting and blogging and is an all-around nice guy.

Tiffany A White of Tiffany A White's Ooo Factor - I was up in the air about whether to give Tiffany the Liebster award or the One to Follow award. She's a Twitter friend and also has a cool blog with posts featuring Tele-Tuesday and Why It's Worth a Watch Wednesday and Friday FabOoolousness. She's a fun one to follow.

Ellie Ann of Navigating Through the Week - She has a wild imagination and features any commenters in her Tall Tales posts who are game to be mentioned in the next Tall Tales Tuesday fun. She has other worthwhile posts, too, but her Tall Tales is one of my favs.  

As for the Liebster award, I'd like to pass this on to these new friends that I've met in the blogosphere:

Robyn Campbell of Putting Pen to Paper - We haven't been following each other's blogs very long, but we became instant friends. She's supportive and enthusiastic. Her love of life bubbles up in her emails and comments. She has seven kids, runs a farm, and somehow finds time to write! 

Misha of My First Book - Misha is another new blogger friend. She shares great info and tips, asks for advice, and offers kind words. 

Bish of Random Thoughts - She grew up on the Virgin Islands and now lives in Texas and is dealing with one of the worst droughts they've ever had. I'm just getting to know Bish, but she admits to being a bit of a prankster, so I consider her a kindred spirit! 

I'd like to give the award recipients the option to share something about themselves with us in the comments or on their blog. How about sharing a favorite childhood memory or an embarrassingly funny memory? SHARE IF YOU DARE! Hee-hee! And feel free to pass the award on to someone who deserves it.

How do you feel about blog awards? 
Do you love them? 

Or not?