Monday, April 26, 2010

BotH for Kids and Teens Chats with Suzanne Williams about the Goddess Girls

I think I look kind of goofy, but I did have a good time answering Misa Ramirez's questions for Books on the House for Kids and Teens. (Click on the link to find out more about the services she offers authors, and to check out her other author interviews.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Computer Senility

For several weeks weird stuff's been going on with my computer--images not loading, odd shadows when I click on links, error messages showing up a lot, etc. My husband, a computer expert, (I recommend that every household have one!) diagnosed "computer senility. " Took him a day and a half this weekend to put a new hard drive in and reinstall all my programs. Now everything's loading faster and working better. Yay!

As I get older I often feel sluggish and can't remember stuff. Wouldn't it be great if people could have their memories refurbished and reinstalled? I'd like to sign up for the procedure!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Looking for Sound and Trustworthy Financial Advice?

The financial scandals of late have soured many of us on financial advisors, banks, and investing in general. That's unfortunate because saving and investing are important if you ever hope to pay for your children's college education, become a fulltime writer, or eventually retire. For sound and trustworthy advice, check out my son's blog: Words of Ward. There you will find a wealth (pun intended) of information on all kinds of topics related to money management.

Allow me to brag a little. My son is a guy who practices what he preaches. He has always been a saver and prudent investor, as well as a generous giver to several charities. In ten short years he's managed to build a retirement nest egg that would be the envy of many people twice his age.

As I remember, he was savvy about money even at an early age. For example, I recall one occasion--he must have been about ten years old--when he wanted me to pay for something he wanted, probably a set of legos or a Masters of the Universe action figure:

Me: Why should I pay for that?

Ward: Because then I can save my money. It's called smart shopping, Mom!

Seriously though, my son has been responsible for his own smart shopping for a very long time. He can help you to become a "smart shopper" too.

Ward's birthday is tomorrow: April 15th. Doesn't that seem like a fitting birthday for someone with a special interest in money management?

Have you filed your taxes yet?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Goddess Girls Blog Tour Continues!

Join Joan Holub and me in celebrating the release of our new series. Just three more tour days remain!:

April 6: Cynsations (Guest blog and book giveaway; Learn how we came to write the series, challenges we faced and how we solved them.)

April 7: Little Willow (Interview and book giveaway; We reveal more about our collaboration and inspirations, and our favorite books of all time.)

April 8: Zoe’s Book Reviews (Q&A and book giveaway with both of us authors, our editor, book designer, cover artist, and Zoe herself!)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

An Interview with Goddess Girls Editor, Book Designer, and Cover Artist

It takes more than authors to create a book. It also takes illustrators and cover artists, and a whole host of people at a publishing company. Joan Holub and I interviewed three of the wonderful people who contributed their time and talents to Goddess Girls: Editor: Emily Lawrence, Book Designer: Karen Paprocki, and Cover Artist: Glen Hanson.

Joan & Suzanne: Emily, what made you want to acquire the Goddess Girls series? Was it a gut feeling or something about the market or something else?

Emily: I’ll admit it – I’m a nerd. I took 7 (extremely useful) years of Latin! The idea of a fun, modernized setting -- but still mythically correct -- series about the Greek pantheon really appealed to me. And, my imprint, Aladdin, focuses on kid-friendly, commercial fiction for young readers so Goddess Girls was the perfect fit in a both a business and personal sense. It doesn’t hurt that the Percy Jackson movie released in the same season as the Goddess Girls, and interest in classical mythology is on the rise… We’ll just call that a hunch since I signed the series over a year ago.

J&S: What do you give a cover artist to help her or him illustrate a book? A synopsis of the book; the manuscript; a description of a scene you’d like to see depicted?

Emily: Glen Hanson, our amazing cover artist, was given an early draft of the manuscript to work from. Turns out that Glen is a HUGE myth fan as well (kismet, anyone?) and we didn’t need to direct him at all. He is also super talented and creative, so he came up with the elements you see on the coves – you’ll notice that Athena even has owl earrings! And, there was a long conversation about what were the correct columns to use on the MOA to be historically accurate. I find the best artists bring a lot of themselves and their ideas to a project, therefore enriching it for the better.

J&S: Karin, we think Glen is the perfect cover artist for Goddess Girls. You designed the look of the series and picked Glen as the illustrator. How did you find and choose him?

Karin: I stumbled upon his website one day and I was really impressed with the witty, sassy personality that came through the perfectly-executed characters. I bookmarked his site and came back to it when I received the first Goddess Girls manuscript. He seemed a perfect fit to create an appealing, slick, age-appropriate cover, and Emily and I were excited to see what he could do. Once I called him to discuss the project, I was pleased to find out that he was a huge mythology buff, as well as a genius with color. And he is truly a breath of fresh air to work with.

J&S: Glen, we were truly delighted with the cover illustrations for Goddess Girls. Your style fits the series to a “T”. You added so many fun details that are true to the actual myths, so we wonder if you have a personal interest in mythology or if you are just really good at researching these things?

Glen: Thank you. I’m so complimented that you both feel I did your book justice with my illustrations. Creating the covers was a complete joy because I’ve been obsessed with Greek Mythology since my early teens.

J&S: Can you briefly describe how you work from inspiration to sketch to final art? For instance, do you sketch on a digital pad or on paper?

Glen: I start by doing a rough pencil sketch on paper working out the basic design. I then refine the elements locking in the details, scan it in and send it to the art director and authors. Once they have approved the pencil rough, I trace it off onto good paper in pencil and hand ink the linework. That is scanned in and the image is colored in layers in photoshop.

J&S: Interesting! Thanks, Glen. Karin, is there anything else you can share with us about the process of designing this book?

Karin: Well, I have to say I really enjoyed reading through the manuscripts. I find the stories fun, light and full of appealing characters. The concept of the series is fresh and I have high hopes that girls everywhere with relate to the Goddess Girls (and appreciate their hunky crushes). I especially enjoy working on series’ for tween girls, and I was geared up to find some cute art/graphics, girl-centric fonts, and work with Glen’s gorgeous palette for this series. I think all the elements work very nicely together to marry the adorable cover image with the fun modern-meets-myth story.

J&S: How about you Emily? Anything else you’d like to tell us about your involvement in this series?

Emily: It was a new challenge for me to work with two authors (I’m sure Joan and Suzanne will talk more about this process at some point). While one author wrote one book, taking turns in the series, we needed to make sure their individual writing styles were consistent across the series, and that all the books related to each other. When editing, I kept an eye to make sure things were consistent in style, plot, and characterization/storytelling. Luckily, both Joan and Suzanne have a casual, conversational, and fun tone that shines through all four books. It helped that, while 1000s of miles apart, they worked closely together, reviewing and editing amongst themselves before it got to me – the open lines of communication between the 3 of us helped make this series shine in the end.

J&S: We appreciated how you kept us all on the same page :-). Glen, we have two more questions for you. First, we wondered what your studio is like.

Glen: My studio is set up with a large drafting table, lamp, drawing utensils, scanner, and a large computer monitor hooked up to my trusty laptop!

J&S: Anything else you’d like to share about your experience working on this series?

Glen: The Goddess Girls covers kind of dropped out of “Mount Olympus” for me because I have always loved Greek Mythology and have numerous books on the subject. Since I also work in animation quite a bit, my dream would be to be involved in a cartoon version of the series. I’m sending my prayers to Athena on that one!

J&S: From your lips to Zeus’s ears. I can absolutely see your illustrations in a tween graphic novel format, Glen. Our hopes go to Mount Olympus along with yours. Thank you again for your fabulous covers!

Monday postGoddess Girls giveaway at readertotz! We're giving away one copy of Athena the Brain (#1) and one of Persephone the Phony (#2) at

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Goddess Girls Blog Tour

It’s time for the Goddess Girls Blog Tour!

Co-author Joan Holub and I are celebrating the release of the first two books in our Goddess Girls series with five fab days of interviews, guest blogs, and book giveaways, April 4 – April 8. We hope you’ll drop by to help us celebrate, join the fun, meet some of our favorite bloggers, and maybe win a book along the way!

About the books:

Join the class at Mount Olympus Academy with Goddess Girls, a new series that puts a modern spin on classic Greek myths!

by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams (Aladdin paperbacks) Ages 8 - 12

Athena the Brain (April 6, 2010) ISBN: 978-1416982715

Finding out she’s a goddess and being sent to Mount Olympus brings Athena new friends, a weird dad, and the meanest girl in mythology—Medusa!

Persephone the Phony (April 6, 2010) ISBN: 978-1416982722

Hiding her feelings works fine for Persephone until she meets a guy she can be herself with—Hades, the bad-boy of the Underworld.

Aphrodite the Beauty (August 3, 2010) ISBN: 978-1416982739

Sure Aphrodite is beautiful, but it’s not always easy being the goddessgirl of love.

Artemis the Brave (December 7, 2010) ISBN: 978-1416982746

She may be the goddess of the hunt, but that doesn’t mean Artemis always feels brave.

Five-Day Goddess Girls Tour Line-up:

April 4: Bookmuncher (Interview and book giveaway)

April 5: Readertotz, Suzanne’s Place, Joan Holub Author of Books for Children (Expanded interview with the Goddess Girl team at Aladdin: editor Emily Lawrence, book designer Karin Paprocki, and cover artist Glen Hanson. Have you ever wondered why an editor decides to acquire a series? Here’s one editor’s take.)

April 6: Cynsations (Guest blog and book giveaway; Learn how we came to write the series, challenges we faced and how we solved them.)

April 7: Little Willow (Interview and book giveaway. We reveal more about our collaboration and inspirations, and our favorite books of all time.)

April 8: Zoe’s Book Reviews (Book giveaway and Q&A with both of us authors, our editor, book designer, cover artist, and Zoe herself!)

We look forward to seeing you!

--Suzanne and Joan