Monday, June 19, 2017

New Clear Fork Challenge- What was the moment you decided to be a writer?

It's a good question with a really boring answer.

I have always been writing.  Even with bad spelling, horrible grammar and all over the place plots. 

Why, because it's fun.  I LOVE creating things, worlds, people, voices that need to be shared. I really started with poetry.  I LOVE poetry.  There is something so spiritual about being wrapped up in a poem- a moment, a tear, a laugh and tingle of skin.  Poetry is magic.

Sharing my writing, that's different.  Putting my writing out there to be judged, critiqued, held up to others.  That isn't new new, but it's new on this level. 

And it's HARD. 

So far, I am surviving.  So far, I have been able to convey the worlds in my head well enough to other's that I am not being skewered.

But it isn't always rainbow and sunshine. 

Sometimes, putting work out there is terrifying and painful.  No matter how much success you have.

I made it through two critique groups last week.  And now, this Monday I am going to sit down, after letting things sit for a day or two, and work through all of the comments. 

There are good comments. There are- boy I must not have done my job well enough because the comments are from another planet, comments. 

It's all good feedback.  What I do with it... which ones I focus on... that's my job, that's part of writing that no one really talks about when they ask you-  What was the moment you decided you decided to be a writer?

Because being a writer, being a creative isn't always about being creative (I have that in spades), it's about the willingness to do the work.

To Read.

To Read lots.

To Read things that make you uncomfortable.

To Read things that you don't understand.

As much as you read the things that make your heart sing and make complete your world.

To honestly answer the question- What was the moment I decided to become a writer?

I'd have to say, the moment I fell in love with books.  And I fell in love with books before I could read. 

My love for books maintained even when I couldn't read, because I had a learning disability.

Even when after my Master's degree I couldn't pick one up because my brain was TIRED.  I knew, like a home, they would always be there for me.

So now, off to work.

-Laura





Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Most Fabulous Egg Book Launch!

And a great time was had by all!

Saturday June 10th was packed full of great and supportive people and lots of WHOMPBOOMS!

There was cake!


And, Egg's! 





And lots of Rrrraatttttllleeesss and...


WHOMPBOOMS!




The room was full of lots of fabulous kids and parents!


And my talented and wonderful Critique Group!


Thank you all for helping to launch Egg! 

Egg is currently sold out.  But new copies have been ordered and will be on their way.  So, if you didn't get one at the launch, email me- lauranclement@yahoo.com  and I will make sure you get your copy!


Next on the Egg tour- A couple school visits!  See you later this week West Woodland Elementary

and next week, Pathfinder K-8!

Interested in a visit from an author?  Please visit my website's contact page: contact me here




Monday, June 5, 2017

A fun new review for Egg!

I was recently contacted by a fantastic site- Savvy Parenting Support

They were excited about Egg, so I send an early copy.  Check out what they had to say!
Egg Review

Also parents have been posting some fun new Egg readers!



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sharing a beautiful book with you- The Book of Mistakes

I bought this book at the most recent SCBWI conference.  I fell in love with it immediately.  And although I bought it for my daughter, I really bought it for me.

Today I had a moment to visit the podcast All the Wonders and got to listen in on her interview with Matthew Winner and was once again enchanted by her and her talent.

Podcast of All the Wonders- Corrina Luyken

Blog Post with Images

My favorite part about this book, a book to experience is all of the room, the white parts of the book leave room for the reader to continue to imagine.  It's beautiful.  And I hope you get a chance to check it out and enjoy.

-Laura

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Why do I write? Why do I want to be published?

My publisher is doing a 30 day media challenge. The first day was simple.  Show your workspace.
I have two from yesterday.
This is my, at my computer with Griffin on my lap, laying over my arms as I try to type.  Yes, I work at the kitchen table, that is my office.  And the cats, are always up in my business.
Later that day I posted another photo, cat still included.

Earlier I had posted that really, my workspace is everywhere.  I had gone on a walk that morning and posted many pictures of beautiful flowers as Seattle is finally in Spring and in Bloom!

Today, the challenge question was: Share why you write and why you wanted to be published.

I sat with this for a while and came up with this-

Writing is a moment where I breath in life. When a live photograph of emotions imprints on my spirit, on my soul and I, in order to be, breath out onto paper the curious imaginations that sweep in and out of my day. I write for my daughter, for that beautiful moment of childhood when magic is real and nothing is impossible.

Just this weekend I shared a piece I was struggling with, with my Dad.  I read it to him. Told him my dilemma and his response was THE reason I write.  Somehow, what I wrote had touched him, emotionally to the point he was almost speechless.  I could hear him wipe away tears over the phone and knew, even before he told me with words, that I shouldn't change anything about the story.

I made a moment, a precious moment, shared between us.   

THAT is why I write. 

I love photography.  I miss doing it most days.  Writing is just another way to catch a moment, to hold it dear and then as a gift, give it to someone else so cherish, to experience.  All art should tap into this BEING.  Writing is just one of the ways I can do that, for myself and for others.

Why do I want to be published? So that I can give out as many moments/gifts as possible.  I would love to bring that BEING into a day, an hour, a minute for another person, so that they can then in turn, pass it along and bring about more joy. 

-Laura


Friday, May 12, 2017

That MOMENT when you meet your literary hero and hand him your published book.

That moment-

I had that moment last night.  My friend Heather, who is a light and joy in my world has been taking me to see Sherman Alexie talks all year.  Last night was my third (and yes, I do know how very fortunate I have been.) 

I have talked with Mr. Alexie before, about my daughter, about special needs kids in the public school system, and yes, about my writing.  Last night, I got to walk up to him and hand him EGG.  He smiled and seemed genuinely excited for me.  It was magic.

To say that THAT moment was an important one for me would be an understatement.  Mr. Alexie is something of a Neil Gaiman American God to me.  A strong voice of humanity that pulls at my soul.  His words, so deeply thought out, yet fresh as a new heartbeat affect my BEING.

I am in constant amazement of him. To be so smart, so sharp and so real, with such an ease on the stage, and understanding of any subject.  So yes, last night my little EGG found it's way into the hands of one of my hero's and it all feels right.

As per usual these last weeks, I could not fall asleep so, turning over I reached for my phone to write down a poem.  It whipped through my head like a flash Seattle rainstorm, heavy with wind and sideways rain.

It is not perfect.  It is rough and rolls around still, but it is real and it is my head and heart in this moment.  So I am going to share it with you.

Sherman-


You stand, crackling

Like air before thunder-

Your wit,

Simultaneously tracing multiple paths to,

One destination.



A whip of air,

Roll of words,

Sharp,

But, so softly human,

Near the tender underbelly of hope.



Hope that is not lost,

Not forever,

Not in echoes.

Not yet frozen in data like salt crystals on the lips of our children,

Who,

Are forgetting how to BREATHE, air.



Air that is forgetting how to be AIR.



You stand crackling,

And we hold,

Our hearts,

While everything changes.

Like mud,

Into vessels full of water,

Water we so desperately need to drink.



You stand crackling,

And the air around you is LISTENING,

Waiting,

Wanting more.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

It's EGG's Hatch Day!!!!!!

May the 4th and the EGG be with you!

Welcome to the world EGG!

Egg wanted me to tell you-
"You are destined for greatness!"

Make sure you take all of your friends on your adventure.



And be sure to explore everywhere for it!

Be sure to visit www.clementcreations.net for your order.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How to help Egg reach as many kids as possible? Other than buying the book?

Book sales are good, but reviews are good too!  Egg is now up on

Goodreads-

Barnes and Noble

Amazon-

And you can request the book at your library!

Support your local authors!  Review books!!!!


Monday, May 1, 2017

On May the 4th EGG will be with us!


EGG!  Will be out on May 4th!!!

Until then enjoy the book trailer
Egg Book Trailer 1

Book Launch date still TO BE ANNOUNCED.

While you wait check out my critique partner Maria C. Marshall's blog- My very first interview.

The Picture Book Buzz- Laura Clement interview 1

The Picture Book Buzz- Laura Clement interview 2




Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Interview with Illustrator Sunny J. Choi! Part 1




Bio- “Sunny” Joung Sun Choi is a children's book illustrator currently living in San Francisco. She was born, raised and studied Oriental painting in Korea. While she was exhibiting and teaching in college in Korea, she had a chance to illustrate children’s books and fell in love with it. She came to San Francisco to study children's book illustration at the Academy of Art University, and graduated with an MFA in Illustration. Sunny has been a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) since 2008.  Her two sons are her biggest inspiration and she recently adopted a furry daughter named Lily.





LNC-    Sunny you are amazing. I knew that the first time I set eyes on your portfolio. I even have your first Clear Fork book- Iggy Loo by Maria Ashworth, which is lovely and beautiful.
            But, I think for this first interview I am going to be selfish and ask you all about what working on Egg was like.  Yay Team Egg!
           
            So... What were your first thoughts after reading the story?  Wait… did you even read the story before you signed the contract?  I guess I don’t even know that…

SJC-      I was so happy and really enjoyed working on the project. Our wonderful publisher didn’t really show the manuscript before I was completely done with the previous work, but she let me know that there’s an author who is interested in me for a collaboration.

I was really happy to hear that, and couldn’t wait to see what the story would be like. When I first heard of the title ‘Egg’, my instinct said that I would love it, and it turned out to be true.

LNC-    Did you have images in mind as you read it the first time?  If so, did some of those images make it into the spread?

SJC-      Absolutely. As I read the manuscript I had an instant, vivid vision of almost every scene. The scenes with the three duckling siblings were clear in particular, and every initial scene with them made to the final spread.



LNC-    What was it like finding” the image of Egg? 

SJC-      A dragon isn’t a character I normally deal with, so I did a lot of research for the main character development. It was the part that took the most time in this project. I searched reference images from the realistic fantasy dragons to very stylized manga style ones, and did lot of sketches until I felt her personality from the character.


I got a strong impression of the story arc for Egg.  And I really loved the overall feel of giggling and fun throughout the story. So, I tried to keep the upbeat positive tone as much as I possible.



LNC-    I know I felt really …really… really (yes three really’s) lucky to have had some say as an author in the art portion of the story. What is it like for you as an artist to work Egg? To give it life and color?




SJC-      I felt the same on my side, while I worked on Egg. I think being an illustrator for a picture book project is the same as being another story teller on a different track. It must have come partly from my fine art background.  I tend to visually narrate the story and the emotions I feel from it, rather than literally illustrating what the manuscript describes. It’s what I learned from not only my previous work experience but also from some classes.

I was lucky enough to meet and learn from wonderful artists. Joy Chu was the first one who changed my life and career very much. I took her class from UCSD’s extension program. I’ve illustrated some books before but it was the first time that I learned that illustration has its own visual narrative.  I still feel excitement from the moment Joy introduced the book “Officer Buckle and Gloria” by Peggy Rathmann.

LNC-    So, let’s back up.  You read the story. You sign the contract.  Then what?  What were your first steps? What were your middle steps?  And how did you wrap everything up?  Was it helpful to have author input?

SJC-      When I make up my mind to join a project, I first get the physical environment ready. I set up the drawing table and tools, create a new folder and photoshop template according to the dimensions of the book on my computer.

Last but not least, I stock the pantry, as if an apocalypse were about to happen. Then I start from a very rough storyboard, and do the research for the character and environment design at the same time. I usually make several options for each scene then discuss it with the publisher. When the storyboard and character design is confirmed, I move on to the line drawings, scanning and coloring them digitally. I prefer to finish every image at the same time to keep the images coherent. Most of the time it’s easier for me to think of the cover art in a later stage with the same reason.

CFP has a system where the author is involved in the illustration approval, which is kind of unique in the American publishing process. I’m familiar with the system from my previous experience with Korean publishers and I think it’s not a bad idea to have another set of eyes for the illustration. Because children’s book authors are surely children’s book lovers, I’m sure that they have a great taste in art. I have to say I really appreciate your clear response and great taste; it wasn’t only helpful, but very delightful!!!


LNC-    Are the deadline’s stressful? How do you meet them?  Do you organize the book illustrations a certain way?

SJC-      Every deadline makes me nervous, and it’s helpful to make as very detailed of a work plan as I can to minimize social life and distractions. However unexpected things happen sometimes and it doesn’t work out as I planned. It’s always good to have bumper time but what I most focus on is the quality of the work.  For me music I listen to while I work plays a big part in my productivity. One of my friends said she listens to The Tron sound track when it’s close to the due date, and I very agree that a fast beat is helpful to speed up work.

Organizing illustrations has become a new challenge as I worked throughout the years. When I used to use traditional media, I collected them in big portfolio bags, but now, I more use digital media, organizing image files to the hard drive folder by year of completion.


LNC-    What were your favorite things about working on this book? What was your hardest challenge?

SJC-      My favorite part was the variety. In this story, there are various characters in size and texture, various environment settings such as the deep oceans, farms, day, and night, and various emotions such as joy, sadness, cheering, and self-doubt. I really enjoyed trying different things.


The biggest challenge was the main character design, who was Egg the Dragon. It took me some time to familiarize myself with dragon anatomy. I did a little survey about the it when I met children and parents who would’ve been interested in the picture book, and it was really helpful.


LNC-    Tell me about the Egg- Your Egg.  I would love to hear how she made her stamp on you and you her.

SJC-      When I worked on Egg, I found myself in each character’s shoes (except the snake). It made me think about good parenting, and having faith in one’s self in particular is so important.

Being an artist for two decades, sometimes I feel like it’s a constant battle with self-doubt. The mindset of believing in oneself is more required than good art skills.

For the Egg, I was cautious about illustrating her not to be too scary in the climax scene. I want her to be herself in any circumstances. Her dragon feature is her strength and power but I didn’t want her to turn into a complete monster because of her fear and anger.





LNC-    What about your other books?  How did this Egg adventure pair up with those?  Would you like to work on another book with me? (Please!!!!)

SJC-      My previous books were more about the relationship with other people or things. Egg was very special in that Egg is about independently overcoming self-doubt. It was really a significant experience for me.

LNC-    What are your future projects?

SJC-      First, our second collaboration!! And then, I’m talking about some projects with a Korean publishers and a local author. They all have a little boy as a main character. I’m going to do them through a traditional medium, so I may need to get a new portfolio bag for organizing in the near future.

LNC-    Are you writing a book?  Will you illustrate and write or choose to have someone else illustrate?

SJC-      I’ve been trying to write my own story for years but I found that I have so much to learn. I have one story in particular I would really love to make for the world that would be based on my personal experience with my children. I would definitely love to illustrate the story myself, and have a San Francisco cityscape as the environment, as a little tribute to my second home city.


LNC-    Oh Marketing-  Your thoughts on Marketing and materials.  What’s it like to set up images for that?  Is it fun or just more work? 

SJC-      I must confess that I’m not a super marketing guru. However, I enjoy designing marketing material. It’s a bit different work even though I use the same application, Photoshop. It’s fun but at the same time it’s a pretty time consuming job for me.

I must say, I loved working with you.  I can’t imagine a better dipping my toe into this world with a better partner.  I love your art, it’s so joyful and lively and I love that you really wanted my opinion on some of the details.  You are such a warm and wonderful person and I am thrilled to have you in my life, for what I hope will be a long and lasting friendship.   




LNC- I SO feel the same.  I can’t wait until we meet in person and I am really looking forward to our next project.  Thank you so much for illustrating Egg and making her shine.

To learn more about Sunny visit website at: http://sunnyjchoi.com/




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Even teachers like getting Egg swag!

More fun pictures from soon to be Egg readers!  Thank you Nancy for your excitement and support!




Monday, April 24, 2017

That moment when you type in your name on Amazon and find your book!

Squueeeee!!!!!!


Even though I am still waiting to hold my book in my very own hands.  I can find it listed on Amazon. A place that I go to weekly to order things I need in my every day life.

Now, you can find one of my creations there!

https://www.amazon.com/Egg-Laura-N-Clement/dp/1946101133/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493067712&sr=8-1&keywords=laura+clement+egg


It's amazing to see Egg, peeking out from under her egg hat.  So beautifully illustrated by Sunny Choi, I know that people will want to get to know her.   She's just too cute not to make a few clicks, read the synopsis, and realize that Egg's story is perfect for their child or for a child they know.

So while I wait I know that there is an cute Egg end in sight.  That kids and parents will have access to my Egg, to her joys, her adventure of self discovery and inner strength. 

And this... this makes me so happy.

-Laura