Check out the cover reveal for VACATION FOR DEXTER, book 3 in the Dexter T. Rexter Series! I’m so excited to share Dexter’s next adventure with you all!
Dexter T. Rexter is on a plane—for the very first time.
Dexter can’t wait to go on vacation with his best friend, Jack. Supercool orange sunglasses? Check. Nifty travel hat? Check. Plane tickets? Uh, what? Dexter may be the toughest, coolest dinosaur around, but everyone knows T. rexes don’t fly! If anyone could do it, he could. It’s just that he’s suddenly feeling a little hot. And maybe a little nervous. But just as he starts to melt down, he notices Jack looks upset. Dexter realizes he has to be brave enough for both of them. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll start to have a bit of fun in the air.
Both nervous and funny, Dexter tells the readers what he’s feeling and even asks their advice as he comes to understand that being brave with a friend makes everything a little better. And hey, those cookies during the flight don’t hurt, either!
Available April 16th, 2019!
To pre-order your copy of VACATION FOR DEXTER, click here!
Today is the day! My newest picture book, BROBARIANS, is officially out and I’m so excited to share it with all of you. To order, click here.
Making the cover for any book is stressful. So many things factor into the design and overall look. And of course there is the ultimate question bouncing around in the back of your mind…Will this cover sell this book? For most books I work on, I go through many revisions before I settle on the right look for the cover. So far my record is 40 cover sketches (When Blue Met Egg). Thankfully Brobarians didn’t require quite that many. Here’s a look at the sketches that lead up to the final cover I chose for Brobarians with the wonderful team I worked with at Two Lions:
Brobarians Cover Sketch 1
I think I was a little gung-ho on this one. We ultimately didn’t go with this option because we didn’t want to give away the fantasy scenes included in the interior of the book. This is where the reader sees how the brothers actually see themselves in their imagination.
Brobarians Cover Sketch 2
Although this really conveyed the action and energy of the story through the movement of the brothers running, we wanted readers to connect with the characters, which is tough through a profile image.
Brobarians Cover Sketch 3
Now we were getting somewhere. We could see the brother’s environment, we had a head on perspective to connect with them. But, by closing Iggy’s eyes, the reader loses the connection with him. So this cover option didn’t make it either.
Brobarians Cover Sketch 4
I tried a variation on Cover Sketch 3 by doing more of a close-up on the brothers. Obviously Iggy’s eyes closed was still an issue, but I wanted to see if a close-up would make a difference. Ultimately, we felt that we understood the context better if we could see more of the background and the objects they were holding on to.
Brobarians Cover Sketch 5
Again, super gung-ho. I loved the idea of this cover, but it would have given away too much. And this spread in the book is one of my favorites. Having gone this way for the cover would have taken away from the climax of their battle scene.
Brobarians Cover Sketch 6
While I was sketching all of the cover options, this was one of my favorites. But after some back and forth over it with the team at Two Lions, we decided the attitude the boys had was a little too much and didn’t really reflect the feel of the book.
Brobarians Cover Sketch 7
Finally, we had a winner! I say finally like seven sketches is a lot, it’s really not. But I was thrilled with this sketch and so happy that the team at Two Lions loved it too. It showed the environment, the brother’s personalities, and the feeling of the book. It was the whole package! You’ll also notice we dropped the hyphen in the title. We thought this would be much easier for readers when looking for the book in a search engine. Next, we had to make the jacket…
Brobarians Cover Sketch 7 – Final
Here’s the final sketch.
Brobarians Jacket Sketch
Then I created the rest of the art for the jacket. Now I needed to add color…
Brobarians Jacket – Color Finish
This is how the art looks when I send it to my editor and art director for approval. Everything is taped down so that I can still make changes. I had run out of drafting tape at this point and all I had left was floral wasabi tape, thus the patterned tape everywhere. I don’t glue anything down until the very end.
Then the book designer goes in and lays out all the copy on the flaps and spine of the book. We went through a few changes with this until we settled on the perfect one. I’m thrilled with how it all came together. I worked with an amazing team of people at Two Lions.
Brobarians – Final Cover
Ta-da! Here’s the final cover! I’d come along way since the cover I submitted with my book dummy during the submission process:
Brobarians – Original Book Dummy Cover
So all that for one cover – no big deal right? I hope you enjoy Brobarians as much as I do. For more information about the book or to pre-order Brobarians, click here.
Until next time, Happy Reading!
ink on paper
This week I had the pleasure of returning to Burlington, Iowa for some author presentations at The Art Center of Burlington, Danville Elementary School, and the Burlington Public Library. This was my second trip out to Burlington, my first was two years ago. And let me just begin by saying how lovely the people of Burlington are! I met so many wonderful kids and their families in the past few days. It was awesome to have the opportunity to share my books and teach students about the process of writing and illustrating a picture book. Check out some of the photos from my visit below:
I was invited to Burlington by The Art Center of Burlington to speak with their “Meet the Masters” fifth graders. Each fifth grade class from the local elementary schools learns about an artist and creates a project in the theme of the work or style of that artist. It’s a very cool program. Check out some of the amazing artwork the fifth graders of Burlington created:
Vincent van Gogh
During my presentation, I spoke with the fifth grader’s about how some of the same fine artists had inspired my work:
Vincent van Gogh
I had such a great time discussing art and books with the fifth graders of Burlington! I also had the chance to visit the Burlington Public Library again on Tuesday night. Check out some of the photos below:
We read The Importance of Being Three, Pelly and Mr. Harrison Visit the Moon, When Blue Met Egg, Please Bring Balloons, AND Rosco vs. the Baby, which I have only read a couple times aloud.
Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday were spent with the students at Danville Elementary School where I talked about how to make a picture book and ran some writing workshops with all the kids. Danville is filled with some very talented students!
I had such a wonderful visit in Burlington. Huge thank you to all the people who planned my visit (especially Tammy and Lin!), The Art Center of Burlington, Danville Elementary School, Burlington By the Book bookstore, The Burlington Public Library (shout out to Debbie!), and all the families who came out to support my books. Burlington rocks!
Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate the release of my new book, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING THREE. It was great to see all of you! I’m very excited about the release of this book as I hope all of you are. This reading was particularly special for me because it was the first time my son, Jackson, was present to listen to his mama read. Thank you to Kate and everyone at the Learned Owl Book Shop for hosting me and supporting my books!