Monday, August 31, 2015

Day #219: One Picture Book VS. 15 Editors

So, my fourth picture book is in the hands of fifteen different publishing houses. The last time I had a book so widely solicited it resulted in a small bidding battle between two publishers... And that book was ultimately sold to Candlewick!!! Needless to say, I'm very interested in seeing what will happen with Book #4.

Keep your fingers crossed and soon as I get a response from one of the fifteen, I'll post information on the blog. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Day #218: Little Writing Projects

It's funny how little writing projects can turn into a big detour. Right now, I'm trying to focus on two things: work and Duck Town. (And you can guess which of the two is my favorite.)

However, not long ago I said that I'd write a little article about children's theater... Should be easy... But I keep getting writer's block! 

Then, one of my play publishing companies asked me to write a pair of monologues... I keep meaning to do it, but every time I sit down to write it, the words don't come. I really just want to develop the graphic novel -- but then I think about these little commitments I've made, and I just get stuck. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Day #217: Camp Omigosh Needs Campers

Right now, my book
Camp Omigosh isn't selling very many copies. It's my own fault. When the book was first released, lots of friends, family, and a few fans bought hard covers. But a month later I was doing zero publicity, and now it's been out a whole summer and I'm still not doing anything to generate momentum.

The thing is, I've moved onto other projects, mainly my graphic novel "
Duck Town." The semester has begun, I've got five classes, and very little free time. I've chosen to use my free time focusing on "Duck Town." I hope this isn't a mistake. Camp Omigosh still needs love. It needs to have more proofreading to weed out the last of the typos. And it needs to have an audience, which means I need to invest time and maybe some money so that the book can gain more attention.

On the plus side, Laurisa White Reyes has featured the cover on Middle Shelf, so that's cool! 

Day #209 - 216: Work and Loneliness

Let's do another flash forward to catch things up.

If I was more ambitious, I would try to tediously go through each day during my first week of school, but instead allow me to summarize:

My family went to Hawaii for a one week vacation. I stayed home in the sweltering heat and taught my first week of fall semester.

I did not work on Duck Town. I spent most of my time at home prepping for classes, finalizing schedules, and proofreading curriculum.

Yeah, I was lonely, but time went by quickly. The dogs kept me company. The worst thing has been the heat. Our house is way too hot. Blah!

Fortunately, after my family returned from their tropical paradise, I managed to return to my creative life, so Duck Town is in production once again.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day #208: Big News! Illustrator for "Around the World in a Bathtub"

Yes, it's official... Charlesbridge has asked the incredible artist Micha Archer to illustrate my picture book, Around the World in a Bathtub, and she has accepted!

Based upon her previous work, she seems like the perfect choice. Check out some of her images:

I'm not sure what the release date of the "Bathtub" book is... but as soon as I find out, I'll let you know! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Day #207: Back to School - Fall 2015

I just finished teaching my second day of classes, meaning that I have officially met each of my students, and so the semester is underway.

I love teaching, but it's going to be a challenge to be a full-time instructor and remain on task creatively. For the second day in a row, I haven't produced any new pages of Duck Town!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Day #206: Book #4 Begins Its Journey

I believe I've mentioned a little bit about my most recent picture book... I'm calling it Book #4 (for now) and hopefully more will be revealed about the title in the near future. I am hoping that it will follow in the footsteps of its siblings (Why Do I Have to Make My Bed, Around the World in a Bathtub, and There's A Dinosaur on the 14th Floor) and become a real live book -- you know, the way Pinocchio becomes a real live boy.

My wonderful agent sent the book to 15 different publishers on Friday, and so now I play the waiting game... And as we all know, according to Homer Simpson...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Day #205: Strangers - A New One Act Play

Just sent the final draft of "Strangers" to Heuer Plays. This is one of my more personal stories, which is ironic since it's about two people who don't connect.

I'm very interested to see how schools and theater groups respond to my latest work. It should be available at www.hitplays very soon... I'll post think link as soon as it's available.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Day #204: Saying Goodbye to Summer 2015

Ah, summer vacation... how did you go by so quickly? I tried to make those days of freedom last... But they flew on by. Fortunately, I had a lot of fun, and I accomplished quite a few things.

The whole family helped make West Side Story a hit show. Cheri won a Goldie for with direction, along with her partner Patti Finley. Mackenzie won for lighting design -- partnered with John Morris -- and Emily did a bang up job as the spotlight operator... And then she stepped in during the last weekend to become a Shark girl!!!

We put installed new flooring in Mackenzie's room, and we ordered new carpet for the stairs and second floor hallway. (Lucky for me, we had professionals do the install on that project!)

The girls and the Perry children went on an incredible spy adventure, that involved creepy villains and a drone attack.

We spent three weeks in
Washington state, including a surprisingly relaxing camping trip at Lake Chelan State park... Oh, did I mention I rode a wave runner for the first time?

When we returned to
California, I attended back to back conferences. The first was VidCon with the girls. The second was the SCBWI conference, which I'll probably spend the rest of the year blogging about, bit by bit.

All in all, an awesome summer that flew by way too fast. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Day #203: Countdown to Star Wars: Episode Seven

It's hard for me to explain how much I love Star Wars. I'll try. First let me say, that I may not be the number one fan in comparison to people who stand in line for months or dress up in an authentically designed Stormtrooper uniform. At the same time, I feel like a huge fan because the movies bring me so much joy. When I was a little kid they made me feel like a Jedi Knight, and now that I'm an adult the movies make me feel even better than a Jedi Knight, they make me feel like a kid again.

I even liked the prequels. Actually, although they aren't nearly as awesome as the original trilogy, I loved the prequels. I think the reason there were so many haters is that many of those so called fanboys became cynical and overly-critical as they got older... And whatever child-like wonder they had for the original wasn't dwelling within them by the time The Phantom Menace came out.

Hopefully the new movies will be at least as good as the prequels. Part of me is worried that the movies will be slick, polished, nicely paced -- like an Avengers movie -- but will ultimately be empty and soulless, lacking the weighty mythical qualities of the first six movies. That's only a bit of the worry -- I fear that the movie will lack the things I admire, but that all of the FANBOYS will LOVE the J.J. Abrams version. (I'm not too pleased with what Abrams did to Star Trek... Those movies are fun to watch and then after they are done, there's nothing to think about. It's like McDonald's French Fries, they taste good if you consume them while their fresh and you don't think about what they're made of.)

Despite these fears (which are just part of the fun and anticipation), I am counting the days until Episode 7. I am so happy to have been born in the early 1970s, so that I have experienced the original as a child, the prequels as a young adult, and the upcoming sequels as a father.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Day #202: My New Daily Routine

I'm still processing the many lessons I've learned from this year's SCBWI conference. I plan to distill many of those lessons in future blog posts -- though to be perfectly honest I think I say that every year and have yet to deliver,

However, I did take away one clear message that was delivered again and again, one keynote speaker after the next. The message is simple:

Do the work.

Some of the authors and illustrators have been putting in the work for years, getting up early and staying up late, all the while constantly honing their craft. I've certainly put in my 10,000 hours, but that doesn't mean I'm a master. I've got to double my efforts, especially now since I have two projects in the works. I want to turn the two into four, eight, and beyond.

So, how do I plan to apply this lesson to my life? I'm dedicating my mornings and or evenings to
Duck Town. I am planning to draw and ink at least a page and a half everyday from now until December 18th, the day Star Wars: Episode Seven opens.

Wish me luck... Or should I say, wish me duck. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Day #201: Dummy Completion!

After a long and productive day (in no small part due to my darling wife's support) I finished drawing and inking the second half of "Goats in Coats on Boats." I'm happy with the results. The art isn't great, but I think the story is pretty funny. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that someone important at the conference will read it and fall in love with it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Day #200: Developing a Picture Book Dummy

During the next few days I will be printing highlights from the first chapter of Duck Town. I went to Staples, but the color was a little bit wonky.

So, I'm headed to Office Depot... I've had better luck there when it comes to color printing. I am also trying to create a full length picture book dummy of my story: "Goats in Coats on Boats."

Here's a sneak preview:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Day #199: Royalty Checks

Call me a Scrooge McDuck, but I love dollar signs -- especially when I see them in the mail attached to one or more royalty checks.

Three arrived on one day. One of them (the smallest at a modest $240) is from I no longer write articles for them, but I am thankful that I still receive residuals for the many blog entries, monologues, and essays I've written for them over the years.

The other checks were from my favorite play publishing companies: Heuer and Eldridge. The Heuer check was in the mid 2000s, which is about 1000 less than previous years. It seems the ten minute plays aren't selling as frequently as they used to.

The Eldridge check was above average, thanks mostly to The Actor Games, but also in part due to Camp Omigosh which received six productions in its first year.

For those of you keeping track of my $20,000 challenge, know that these royalty checks don't go toward that challenge. (Unfortunately!)

They are already calculated into our regular income. If I want to reach my goal, I need to do something besides writing plays!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Day #198: It's Too Darn Dry!

I miss the rain so much! Right now, the California drought continues. but we aren't the only ones who are hurting. When I was up in Washington it rained only once! (And that was in the middle of the night when we we in a tent and Emily had to throw up!) The grass in my mother's yard has tuned yellow. 

That just shouldn't happen in Washington state! (Go away, climate change!) At least Washington has cooler summers, though, and lots of lakes and rivers. 

The desert of Southern California really gets me down this time of year. It makes me daydream about moving back to the Pacific Northwest. It's hard to be creative when you're sticky from sweat.

Day #197: Getting an Awesome Illustrator

It looks like Charlesbridge may have selected an illustrator for my picture book, Around the World in a Bathtub. Nothing is definite, no contracts have been signed, but with a little luck my tale of bath time rituals around the globe will be illustrated by someone who creates beautiful art such as this...


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Day #196: Countdown to SCBWI Conference

We're back from VidCon. The girls didn't want it to end, and I totally understand. That's how I feel about the SCBWI conference.

This afternoon and evening I focused on coloring the remaining images of Duck Town -- Chapter One. It's now a race against the clock to see if I can produce enough polished material to warrant entering the portfolio showcase.

I think I'll be able to have the lettering down for all of the word bubbles, but I was also hoping to have one or two picture book dummies...

On top of the rush to finish, there's also the nagging feeling that I just don't belong in the showcase. My work is very amateurish in comparison to 99% of the entrants -- and I don't want to embarrass myself or my agent.

On the other hand, my experience with SCBWI over the years has been nothing but friendly and encouraging.

And, my goal isn't to show off my art but to show off my concept for Duck Town. Speaking of which, I better stop blogging and get back to the drawing board!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Day #195: Biting Off More Than I Can...


I couldn't even finish the title of this blog post.

That's how much work I've given to myself by signing up as an illustrator for the upcoming SCBWI conference. I actually believed that it would be feasible to create enough professional looking illustrations to put together a portfolio.


Day #194: Duck Town - World Building

A large portion of my trip to Washington involved me sitting around my Mom's house working on my graphic novel, Duck Town. I've been going through the painstakingly slow process of coloring the black and white images.

(Actually, I don't think this would be painstaking if it was done by a person more skilled than me.)

Here's a glimpse at Duck Town in color!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Day #193: Vacationing in my Home Town

Let me tell you about my trip to Washington state. The family and I (including two dogs and a bunny) drove up north, two days before the Fourth of July.

I guess the only thing I want to talk about today is how much I am in love with the natural surroundings of the Pacific Northwest.

The trees are hypnotically beautiful. I have loved the green of Washington ever since I was a child -- the golf course of my youth instilled the love of greenery.

But as a 43 year old, the peaceful, blissful realm of Camano Island replenishes my soul.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Day #192: Back on the Board

I totally forgot to mention this. I'm once again a board member for the Canyon Theater Guild. I'm looking forward to another three years of service with this creative and communal organization. 

I'm happy to be back, but I did want to return later on in my career, when I was filthy rich. That way, whenever I'm sitting at the board and people are discussing problems I could just take out my checkbook and provide the solutions with a few dollar signs and a whole lotta zeros.

Day #191: Challenge Total Update

I wish that this update would end with a new improved total, however my dollar amount has sadly not increased this last month.

Back in January I gave myself a goal to earn an additional $20,000. I am pathetically far away from that goal. More to the point, I'm apathetic about that goal. Around Christmas time I was stressing about spending too much money, and I was thinking about the girls' upcoming college tuition...

But during the past couple months I've been telling myself, "Don't worry, Wade, it'll all work out." The source of the trouble is my happiness. I've been in a really good mood this summer...

And it's hard to keep your nose to the grindstone when you're just so happy. Maybe I will get feisty again when the semester begins.

Anyway, so far I have reached this measly amount: $683.70

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Day #190: VidCon Overview

So, what did we do at VidCon? We met and listened to a whole bunch of Youtube icons, including -- but not limited to the following:

Hank Green (we not only watched him present the opening ceremonies with his brother, but we also watched him in concert with the Perfect Strangers.)

Glozell Green ( no relation to John and Hank) who announced that she'll soon be a mother.

Wheezy Waiter -- aka Craig Benzine, one of the wittiest/smartest Youtubers I've seen. The guys from VSauce (probably even smarter than Wheezy)

Josh Sunquist -- with whom I briefly mentioned SCBWI. I hope he joins our organization because he's an inspiring author and teens love his work.
JacksFilms -- I was worried that this guy would be snarky with his fans, but he was awesome. According to Emily, he's the "most energizing Youtuber I met at VidCon."

Mackenzie and Emily also met lots of people, many of whom I'm a bit clueless about -- but the girls have really good taste in what they watch, and I have a feeling this time next year I'll be watching new people on my computer via osmosis.

Day #189: Nerdfighters and Vlogbrothers

Let me tell you about VidCon. Two words: 1) fun 2) friendly.

The source of this event stems from the Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green, so most of the people here are Nerdfighters -- or at the very least very open minded.

The atmosphere seems very inclusive, even though most of this event is about young people getting to meet their YouTube idols.

Speaking of youth, or its opposite, I felt very old at this place. The typical attendee is a fifteen year old girl. All in all, I've gained even more respect for this blossoming new medium. The possibilities are inspiring.

What will YouTube be like in ten years?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Day #188: I Met a Narwhal at Vidcon

Bad things happened.

Day #187: VidCon Recap!

Today is our third day at VidCon, a convention that loves all things YouTube. My daughters and I have had an incredible time here. 

This was my (and Cheri's) Christmas present to the girls, and judging from the smiles on their faces, it might be the best present ever. The girls are very inspired to start working on their own YouTube project, and I've been thinking more about my lackluster social media presence. This generation makes connecting with audiences look so easy; it makes me want to try harder to develop a small fan base to help expand my writing career. 
As I sit here in the Kia Arena waiting for the girls to dance their butts off at the VidCon prom, I've been reflecting on my failed attempt to create a blog post for everyday of the week. And you know what? I can still do it retroactively. So, instead of dancing, I'm going to be blogging my butt off to get back on track.