Saw Love That Kitty! at one of my favorite New York City bookstores, The Strand. That was double cool.


Love That Kitty! is on shelf September 14, 2010.
Here's the cover and another interior page.

how to

Many people ask, how did you get your children's book published?
Again, I don't know if this is the best way to go about it, but this is what I did.

I went through my favorite books, bookstores and libraries and found books I liked that were similar in style or format to what I was looking to create (in my case, hardcover picture books with art and stories I liked). I wrote down the names of the books' publishers. I might have made a list of 20. Then I looked them up in the latest edition of Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market (CW&IM), and made sure that they:

a) didn't require agents
b) would accept unsolicited manuscripts (many would for picture books since they are so quick to read)
c) were still planning on publishing the kind of thing I was creating.

The book gave me the addresses, contact names and their submission requirements. I really can't say enough about how useful CW&IM is. Now my list was around 15.
Then I made a picture book dummy (rough art and the words together in a rough book form). Making this hand made prototype book took longer than I expected but now there are websites that will do it for you. I mailed out the dummy in a padded envelopes to the first name on my list, with a pre-stamped return envelope. I included a cover letter, a resume, the manuscript in written form, and anything else their submission guidelines required.

Four to eight weeks later, the rejection letter came. I repaired the dummy and mailed it out to the next name on the list. Sometimes there would be no response so I had to make a new dummy. All replies I did receive were rejections. I did this for over a year. All rejected or not returned.

I thought maybe I should get an agent. I looked in the latest CW&IM (I have several copies at this point) and looked at agent websites and started submitting the dummy packages to agents now. I sent to six or seven agents and they each rejected the book.

By now I started considering a new project and I got an email out of the blue from an editor who was at the top of my first list of 15. She said she was slogging through the submission pile of an editor who left her firm and found my dummy, fell in love with it and wanted to know if it was still available after all this time.

The photos above show a dummy for Love That Puppy! with an earlier title.


Saw my book at one of my favorite New York book stores, The Strand.
That was pretty cool.

another sneak peek

sneak peek

The sequel, Love That Kitty! will be released in Fall 2010.


A few kids have asked how to become an artist.
The best advice I can imagine is to keep a sketchbook, or a stack of loose paper if you prefer, and be drawing every day. The more you draw, the better you'll get. Experiment with different subject matter (what you draw) and materials (what you draw with).

Here's some examples of mine:

That's a scarecrow reporting for work in the morning, naturally.

Aquaman (copyright DC Comics) is one of my favorite superheroes for some reason.

That's Spike Jones, a comedian and bandleader from ancient times. Those are harmless cap guns, kids.

thank you!

Thanks to everyone that turned out to the 57th Street Children's Book Fair, the Next Chapter Bookshop and the Thomas Ford Memorial Library! It was a blast to meet you all.
And a special thanks to the wonderful folks that hosted the events!

Here are some photos from Thomas Ford Library. After the book reading, we played a drawing game where I would try to finish a drawing of an animal before the kids could guess what it was. It required me to draw fast and wait until the very end to drop in the details that would reveal its identity.

It didn't work. They guessed every drawing save one! And these kids knew how to draw too!

We used all the paper in the pad and then we used the cardboard. Thanks everyone!

upcoming appearances

September 13, 2009
1:00 pm at The 23rd Annual 57th Street Children's Book Fair
57th Street Books
Chicago, IL

September 19, 2009
2:00 pm at Next Chapter Bookshop
10976 N. Port Washington Rd. Mequon, WI 53092

September 26, 2009
1:30pm at Thomas Ford Memorial Library
800 Chestnut St. Western Springs, IL 60558

Hope to see you!


A few people have asked how I created the art for the book.
Not sure it was the best way, but here it is.

I sketched out the entire book as thumbnails (small rough sketches). There I worked out the final words and compositions to make sure it read easily and flowed well.

Pencilled, lettered and inked all the pages by hand. I could have created the line in Illustrator or Photoshop, but I think a hand drawn line has more warmth. I also find it easier to keep energy in the drawing with a pen or pencil.

Scanned the inks, cleaned them and then colored them up in Photoshop, using the brush tool for shadows and highlights.

The mixture of traditional and digital probably has something to do with my generation too, I expect.

thanks again!

Thanks to everyone that came out to Anderson's Bookshop today!
Great to meet and talk with so many of you.
And thanks to Anderson's for holding the event. Looking forward to next year!


This Sunday, I'll be at Anderson's Bookshop from 2-4pm.
123 West Jefferson Avenue Naperville, IL 60540

"Anderson’s is pleased to feature local authors with their latest books. Stop in to meet and support writing for children by your neighbors and friends. Several authors will be on hand to introduce and discuss their books for young readers."

Hope to see you there!


Thanks to everyone that attended the book launch party yesterday! I was humbled by the turnout and your generosity.
Thanks to Magic Tree Books in Oak Park, IL for being such great hosts.
And thanks to my wife Theresa for helping pull it together, and for baking those delicious dog bone shaped cookies. Mmm.
It was a great time!

Next weekend: Anderson's Books in Naperville, IL!