Monday, June 8, 2020

The Spider's Song...completed

Between working full-time, being a mom, freelancing, and writing my novel, I haven't been able to blog much for years. On Mother's Day/my birthday this year, I typed the most beautiful words to a writer--THE END. It was a gift. With the help of critiques and beta-readers, I wrapped up THE SPIDER'S SONG feeling the highs and lows of the journey. I fell in love with my characters and enjoyed their world while the pandemic swirled outside our windows.

My 85,000-word young adult novel has been cathartic to write. The beauty of being the director of a story that has some personal truth to it is I get to change the ending. I get to craft what I would have loved to happen in my life and relationships and in a way it's healing.

Here is the pitch I've been working on that I plan to use in my query letters for my first round of agent submissions.

Most people would rather die than give a speech, but they get by and do it anyway. If you’ve got glossophobia though, speaking in front of others is like Death whispering in your ear, causing you to freeze, or throw up, or faint. Charlotte Reed, a freshman in high school, has glossophobia. It’s not only caused her to feel abnormal; it’s shattered her dream of singing on Broadway. It was going to happen; everyone told her so, everyone but her mom, who, for some reason, hates when she sings. Four years and three psychiatrists after being diagnosed, Charlotte can’t even stand up in class to introduce herself without severe consequences. She’s completely given up on singing outside the shower until her Aunt Jess, straight out of prison, moves in with them and tosses the stable, quiet Reed home upside down. The last thing Charlotte expects is for her mysterious, tatted aunt to be the one that offers to help her sing again.

Image by Benjamin Balazs from Pixabay 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Back to Painting Endangered Animals

San Joaquin Kit Fox
I'm four illustrations away from completing the draft of my next endangered species book focused on 15 endangered species residing in deserts all around the world.

I've taken a break from painting for the last few years to focus on returning to the professional work world. I combined my love for graphic design and teaching and went back to school to receive a graduate certificate from UC Irvine in eLearning Instructional Design. I focus on creating engaging adult learning experiences.

I'm excited to update this blog with my illustration progression. I'd love to be able to announce a title release date here too!

Now more than ever we need educational materials out there to stress the importance of biodiversity, species survival, and habitat restoration. I'm fully invested. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

What Moms Returning to the Workplace Have to Offer

I know many moms that choose to stay home during the early stages of their children’s lives. Many of them were professional women first, and moms second. I made that decision when my children were starting elementary school. I wanted to be there when my kids were learning how to feel secure in multiple environments; home, school, camps, sporting endeavors, friend’s houses, etc. I will never regret the choice I made to be home with my most precious assets. 

Now that my children are in middle school and high school I’ve returned to the workforce. It has been an eye opening experience. There is a six year block of time that my professional development came to a screeching halt and employers recognize this. I’m now competing with younger, more flexible and focused people for jobs.

I was making a high salary, and moving up in the company I was in when I decided to scale down and be at home, again a decision I don’t regret. I had 14 years of professional experience in Marketing, PR, and Graphic Design under my belt. And the longer I was in a position the more diverse my skills became. 

Fast forward ten years, the changes in technology and marketing are great. Although I freelanced to keep at least my Graphic Design skills fresh and I was active with social media, I now compete with 20-something candidates that will accept a lower wage and have few commitments outside of their own lives. The fact of the matter is, the skills I do have are valuable, and being a mother has added to that value.

Mothers learn the following to be successful:
  • Multi-tasking
  • Time Management
  • Negotiation
  • Communication
  • Event Planning
  • Psychology
  • Teaching
  • Coaching
  • First Aid
  • Networking
  • Social Media
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Tolerance
  • Short-order Cooking
  • Team work
  • Budgeting
  • Flexibility
  • And so much more...
So when asked, why I am qualified to take on a Marketing, Graphic Design, and Public Relations position, I shouldn’t hand them my old resume from my time in a corporate environment, I should hand them my mom resume which would certainly say, I can do just about anything handed to me.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Is Being Creative a Dying Art?

When a primary or secondary school budget needs cutting what is one of the first subjects to go? Art. I believe cutting programs like art and music from our children’s curriculum will hurt their ability to think outside the box. It seems that people are recognizing the importance of creative thinking in education and why we desperately need to recognize it not as an extra-curricular but rather a necessary-curricular activity.

E-learning needs to use the element of creativity for the development of content-rich training and gives learners a whole experience versus one driven to the left brain.

Extracurriculars Are Central to Learning

Learning to Think Outside the Box

Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Consumer Experience Online - How to Make it Successful

I’m about to purchase what I think is a perfect pair of sunglasses online. I hesitate, unsure if I can trust they’ll look good on me, or if they don’t, that I’ll easily be able to return them. 

We’ve all been there, ordering merchandise online wondering if we’re making the right purchase. But what makes the experience five-star or one-star worthy? Can I, as a consumer, trust a company to take my money and deliver the product that I’ll be satisfied with, without actually touching it or speaking to a human? That is the eternal online shopping question. Even when I’m able to choose the product easily and add it to my shopping cart without fail, there is so much more to having a positive experience. 

Where is good help when you need it? If I have an issue or a question about what I want to buy, somehow it needs to be answered. Whether it be a thorough FAQ page, a live person available to text chat, videos, or a forum, the answer should be there. 

Back to my sunglasses. So, what would help me feel confident that I’m making the right decision about the sunglasses I want to purchase? A few things. If the technology allows, I’d love to virtually see what I look like with the sunglasses on, make sure they fit the shape of my face. Beyond that, it’d be nice if there were comments or photos from others that made the same purchase and had either a good or bad experience themselves. Because, let’s face it, word of mouth is one of the most powerful methods to drive the success or failure of a business. 

I close my eyes and with a press of a button, I jump. I ordered my sunglasses. The checkout experience was easy, no one tried to upsell me a Ferrari to go with my glasses, my credit card processed quickly, and I was able to do it all as a guest. What will put me in a happy place is if the company holds my hand until delivery: send me an email to say they’ve received my order; tell me when it ships with a tracking number; and when that wonderful box arrives, thank me for my order because I could have gone to a number of other vendors for the same pair. 

Now, heaven forbid something is wrong with my order, the consumer experience still needs to be sprinkled with warm fuzzies. I want it to be easy to return my unwanted merchandise for free, and receive a full refund. Perhaps an email or text asking how things could go better next time will continue me on a positive path.  After all, if the merchandise return goes as well as my ordering experience, then I’ll come back again, and tell my family and friends to do the same.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Upcoming Speaking Engagement

This coming weekend, I'll be a featured artist and presenter at the California Art Educators Conference in Sacramento. My one hour presentation for the art teachers will be about how words inspire my artwork. Illustrations tell stories, but often times the images are a reflection of the story told.

Please visit my Web site for print outs useful to teachers.

Included is a handout that I'm giving to the teachers: a formula to the type of poetry I write in my books.