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Archive for the ‘author/illustrator interviews’ Category

Happy Almost Spring!

1. Don’t you love our current blog header?  The collage of pretty tea-themed images is by April Rose Illustration, the brand of UK-based watercolour artist and illustrator Siobhan Harrison. Siobhan graciously granted me permission to share a bit of her work, and it makes me happy every time I click on Alphabet Soup and see that lovely teapot, teacup and those yummy cakes.

Copyright © 2014 Siobhan Harrison/April Rose Illustration

Siobhan’s delicate watercolour florals have been used on products ranging from note cards, packaging, gift wrap, greeting cards and book covers, extending through to homewares / kitchen ware and table top ceramics. She’s also illustrated over two dozen children’s books which have been published worldwide.

You can find out more about her work at April Rose Illustration, Siobhan Harrison Illustration, April’s Illustration Blog, and Siobhan’s Sketch Blog. Crafty types may also wish to check out her product page at the Trimcraft website, which features lots of craft supplies and project ideas. Of course you can also follow Siobhan on Twitter and Facebook.

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2. I enjoy keeping tabs on all our Indie Artist Spotlight interviewees. Love this teapot and teacup lamb watercolor by Deidre Wicks at Water in My Paint,

Original watercolor available at Etsy.

and these adorable wee bunnies by Bossy’s Feltworks:

Adopt a bunny at Etsy!

Both are perfect to get you into the Spring/Easter’s coming mood!

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Extremely cool cover art by Kevin Slattery

I’m just sitting here tickling the ivories, tickled pink that author, poet, fellow blogger and online friend Barbara Etlin has just published her very first book of poetry! Hoo Hoo!

In between tending her tulips, perfecting owl calls and waiting on HRH Echo (genius good-looking-poetry-writing dog), Barb has managed to cook up 33 mostly humorous, tickle-your-fancy poems exploring “the crescendos and diminuendos of life.”

Call Antique Piano & Other Sour Notes a quirky smorgasbord, a recital of finely-tuned off key musings and amusings about everything from “broken hearts to broken appliances.” It’s fitting that she’s chosen a musical theme for this collection, since she loves to play with lyrics by parodying popular songs and referencing favorite artists like Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles.

Barb’s fave art deco vase.

Writers, especially, will appreciate the ode to an electric typewriter and the memo to Lewis Carroll from the Seven Maids’ Union. For minimalists, Barb has included four haiku; for mind-benders, a conversation between refrigerator magnets; for pet lovers, two barks and a meow; and if you’re feeling spacier than normal, check out the “Etiquette for Astronauts.” For the first time ever, we get to hear the Moon’s side of things (and it’s a little dark)!

I asked Barb to share some tips about humor writing and self publishing, and I was curious about the antique piano. Of course I also asked for a favorite recipe (yes, it’s chocolate!). And, as a special added treat especially for you animal lovers, we’re serving up a sample poem from the book by Echo himself (it’s a good thing Barb takes good dictation). Ruff!

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Emma modeling an Orla Kiely for Uniqlo floral t-shirt.

I can’t remember whether it was “La Petit Patisserie” or “The Flower Shop” that initially caught my eye, only that it was love at first sight and I wanted more.

I soon discovered that the artist behind these winsome and enchantingly feminine illustrations was none other than 20-something-year-old Emma Block of London, England.

Click to see the process behind “The Flower Shop”

Inspired by vintage clothing, 30′s jazz, 50′s illustrations, old photos, travel and people watching, Emma’s work is delightfully retro and thoroughly modern at the same time. Using paint, colored pencil, ink, cut-paper collage and Photoshop, she creates charming, spritely, a little bit quirky, always refreshing pictures in an inimitable style that has a distinctive handmade quality about it.

“La Petit Patisserie” is available as an archival print via Etsy.

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Who wants pie? Did you save your fork?

In a perfect world, there’d be a poetry pie shop just minutes from home, where the heavenly aroma of freshly baked double crust fruit pies would lovingly call your name at precisely the right times.

Willingly seduced by juiced up sour cherries and rhubarb dallying with sugar, nutmeg and almond extract, or golden ripe peaches yielding to clover honey and ginger, you’d eagerly float on over, happily anticipating that blissful moment when you can wrap your mind and lips around a good helping of emotional truth.

Although most of us aren’t lucky enough to have such a magical shop nearby, we can still feast on the next best thing: Kate Lebo’s, A Commonplace Book of Pie (Chin Music Press, 2013), an uncommonly quirky, thought-provoking collection of 25 prose poems, cool ephemera, baking tips, and mouthwatering recipes stunningly illustrated by Jessica Lynn Bonin.

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I’m tickled pink (and red, green, yellow and blue) to welcome newly published author, faster-than-lightning reader, This Kid Reviews Books blogger and budding philanthropist Erik Weibel to Alphabet Soup today!

Eleven-year-old Erik is beloved in the kidlitosphere (he started blogging when he was just nine!), and continues to impress everyone with his consistently incisive and candid book reviews and irrepressible enthusiasm for reading and writing.

He worked on his new chapter book, THE ADVENTURES OF TOMATO AND PEA – Book 1: A Bad Idea, for 3 years (i.e., 1/4 of his life). It is the first in a planned trilogy featuring tiny aliens called Smidges from the planet Oarg, and is notable for its cast of colorful, quirky characters, lively narrative with hilarious rapid-fire dialogue, vivid descriptions, and enduring themes (friendship, cooperation, courage, the triumph of good over evil).

In Book 1, super crime-stopper Tomato, his techno-savvy sidekick Pea, and two other Smidges find themselves tricked, then trapped aboard the rocket ship S.S. Poofy with the evil Wintergreen and his unsavory cohorts. After they crash-land on planet EAR-TH, they must all learn to work together to ensure their survival and find a way to return home to Oarg.

Erik displays remarkable writing chops in this fun, quick read, and it’s exciting to see someone so young accomplish so much.

Yet one question remains:

Can this boy cook? :)

After all, he did include a character named Skew in the story, Tomato and Pea’s yellow friend who is a good, resourceful cook. Erik has said there’s a bit of him in each of his characters, and that he loves to cook. You can see why I had to investigate. :) :) :)

And so, my hungry readers –

*drumroll*

for the first time on any blog anywhere –

*trumpet flourish*

Erik the Great Weibel dishes about food in The Adventures of Tomato and Pea, his plans to take over the world, his personal food preferences, and then (*drool*) cooks up two mouthwatering, out of this world, Smidge-approved recipes with his alien friends (including notes and tips). Intergalactic Yum!!

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