Children’s Book

Diary of a Hungry Dog

Many years ago, Gunther kept an online diary.

Because he was a dog, I did all the typing for him.

All these entries are completely true.

slide1

FOOD OR NOT FOOD

Current Mood: Hungry

sometimes i eat things that aren’t food. i ate a cassette tape, a bilbo baggins action figure and a stuffed alligator head. then i go for a ride in the car to visit the vet.

 

 

FLOOR TREATS

Current Mood: Hungry

everything that falls on the floor is mine to eat. i can hear a crumb drop from the other end of the house. sometimes i find small pieces of paper, pen caps and furballs instead. i eat them too because they are on the floor.

 

 

 

slide12DIGGING HOLES

Current Mood: Hungry

i like to dig big deep holes in the backyard. then i stick my head in the hole and bark.

 

 

 

slide4EATING CACTUS

Current Mood: Hungry

when i was a puppy, i ate a row of aloe cactus. they tasted pointy. the vet said that the cactus didn’t hurt my mouth at all and that my fur was very soft and shiny.

 

 

slide11OUTSIDE TREATS

Current Mood: Hungry

i like to bark at pigeons. i eat birdseed and gravel in the backyard.

 

 

 

dog1CHRISTMAS TREATS

Current Mood: Hungry

i have a cat friend. last christmas she pushed a chocolate santa off the table and onto the floor for me. it had crunchy tinfoil on the outside.

 

 

gunthermanGARBAGE TREATS

Current Mood: Hungry

i like peanut butter. i like to eat things out of the garbage. i have one head, three legs and a tail.

 

 

 

slide5UNDERGROUND TREATS

Current Mood: Hungry

i can smell mushrooms growing deep under the ground. i dig them up and eat them and then i get in trouble.

 

 

 

birthday dogGOAT TREATS

Current Mood: Hungry

i chewed on my goat hoof all day long. it had peanut butter in it but i licked it away. i take hoofie outside with me. i hold it in my mouth when i pee. hoofie smells good and stinky.

 

 

001RECYCLED TREATS

Current Mood: Hungry

i ate dog food and some carrots. when i threw up the carrots were back so i ate them again.

 

 

 

 

 

me and guntherALLIGATOR TREATS

Current Mood: Hungry

i ate a taxidermy alligator head i found on the bookshelf. it was crunchy and tasted like a mummy. mama thought it was a chicken carcass or maybe one of the cats. she screamed and took it away.

 

 

JAN42008 001SHINY TREATS

Current Mood: Hungry

i ate a sheet of aluminum foil covered with chicken grease and crunchy burnt things. the vet said i would be okay, but to call them if i threw up or made sparks.

 

 

MONKEYTOY 010BREADY TREATS

Current Mood: Hungry

i found a piece of bread on poppa’s plate. i had to jump up to reach it. i ate it real fast. poppa got another bready piece to make his sandwich.

 

 

slide9REFRIGERATOR TREATS

Current Mood: Hungry

i push people into the refrigerator so they will give me food. i know that’s where the carrots live.

 

 

 

beggingBEGGING FOR FOOD

Current Mood: Hungry

this is my begging face. if i do this long enough someone gives me food.

 

 

 

My beloved Gunther makes a cameo appearance in The Secret Kingdom..

I miss him very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Picture Books and the Shelf Life of a Faraway Aunt

secret angelina3     secret angelina1    secret angelina2

I am fortunate to have 2 of my sisters living just a few miles from my house..

but, my third sister lives over 2,000 miles away.

So we stay in touch with phone calls and video chats

and I watch my nieces and nephew grow up through pictures posted on Facebook.

I click “Like” and “Like” and “Like” – but, it’s just not the same as being there.

Recently, my sister posted pictures of my niece, Angelina.

Angelina had taken The Secret Kingdom off the bookshelf by herself and started looking at the pictures..

She said, “Night night!” to each one.

Staring at those photographs, I must admit I choked up a little..

Not because I was sad, but because it was a revelation.

Although I am far away, I am still there with them.

I have become a part of their childhood in the form of a well-loved book.

 

The Enemy Within and the Art of Fighting for Your Life

like clockwork 2

“Like Clockwork” by Michele Bledsoe

 

A couple of years ago, I experienced a home invasion.

I was alone when a man kicked in the back door and entered our house.

To make a long story short..

As we confronted each other in the middle of my living room

I did not feel fear – I felt anger.

And in that moment of fight or flight.. I chose to fight.

Eventually, we ended up in the laundry room where I tried to chop his face off with a pair of branch loppers.

He managed to stumble outside, shouted “Sorry, wrong house!” and ran for his life.

When I started working on The Secret Kingdom, I faced an even greater enemy…

Myself.

Not a physical fight, but an intensely psychological one.

This enemy had powerful weapons: Self-doubt. Procrastination. An arsenal of laziness, distraction and fear.

What was at stake was not the death of my physical body, but the death of fulfilling my life’s work. The loss of my creative life.

Every day I worked on my book was a fight to the death.

The day The Secret Kingdom was published, I realized that I had won… for now.

Truthfully, the fight never ends.

In The War of Art Steven Pressfield writes: “Fear doesn’t go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.”

This is so true.

Now I am fighting for the life of my second book.

Having lost before, it seems the enemy within has stepped up her game.

I am ready.

Giant Lincoln and The Art of Conquering Fear

VA21

Just got back from The Secret Kingdom book signing event in the beautiful state of Virginia.

Being that we were so close to Washington, D.C., we hopped on a train and spent the day sight-seeing, visiting the museums and walking around our nation’s capital surrounded by cherry trees in bloom.

I must admit I was a little anxious, because I knew at some point I would encounter the dreaded Lincoln Memorial.

Yes, dreaded.

It is a little known fact that I have a bizarre and somewhat embarrassing fear of unnaturally large things.

In an attempt to lighten the mood, my husband Richard told me that the giant Lincoln comes alive at night and eats tourists. Although that mental image actually made me shudder, I figured we’d be okay as long as we got out of there before nightfall.

Standing at the base of the stairs leading up to giant Lincoln.. my heart was pounding, my legs felt weak and I broke out in a cold sweat.

In this picture, I seem to be leaning slightly to the right.

Actually, I was cowering in fear at the terrible sight of enormous Lincoln.

It is always good to conquer your fears and do something that scares you..

But I swear I saw his finger twitch.

Zombies, Inside Jokes and the Art of Naming Paintings

 

CLEAR (2)

“Clear” by Michele Bledsoe

Richard Bledsoe, my husband and co-author of The Secret Kingdom, does a lot of writing on the subject of art and culture.  Apart from containing major spoilers on the first 3 seasons of the series, his article “Clear: Artist Symbolism of The Walking Dead” also includes a peek into my creative process…

“My wife and I are both painters. Because art is such a priority for us we’ve converted the front room of our house into our art studio. We spend many happy hours there, working back to back, her sitting at her easel, me standing at mine. We play music and talk and laugh a lot; we’ve found interacting with each other while we work does not break our concentration on our art. It’s a very creative environment.

Our methods of making paintings are very different. I work from visions—my imagery comes from fully formed pictures that suddenly appear in my mind, usually with a title attached. My wife Michele Bledsoe on the other hand generates her subject matter using a stream-of-consciousness approach. She just starts painting and lets and the forms arise spontaneously.

Since Michele’s pictures come from a more intuitive process, they usually don’t suggest a specific title. What we often end up doing is naming her paintings after whatever we are experiencing in our lives while she is creating them. Her paintings have been named after oblique references to song lyrics we’ve been listening to, or quotes from movies or books we’ve been obsessing over, or private jokes we share. It’s part of our secret language as a couple, and also documents the moments in time that the painting happened in.”

 

Tunnel Vision and Upside Down Paintings

upside down

I often develop tunnel vision while I am working..

I become so focused on the details

that I can’t even see my painting any more.

My solution to this is to turn the painting upside down

look at it a different way

find a new perspective..

and then I can see it again.

Such is life.

Peculiar Tales of Lemon Bee and Finding Lost Stuff

lemony bee

After The Secret Kingdom, I immediately started working on the illustrations for Lemon Bee and Other Peculiar Tales by author, Patricia Lynn Dompieri. Naturally, I did the painting for the cover sitting at my beloved easel.. but, I must confess, I did all the interior illustrations sitting on the couch drawing pictures while I watched old horror movies.

I sure do love Vincent Price.

Patricia is my sister, and “Lemon Bee” is a story she first wrote when she was just a little girl.

Years ago, Lemon Bee made a cameo appearance in my painting “Lost and Found Again”… along with my sister Sherry’s lost doll, my sister Julie’s little house and my dog Gunther’s missing leg.

lost and found

Nothing is truly lost as long as it lives within you. As an artist, it is an amazing gift to have a way to let it out again.