Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Sunday Inspiration

Photo by Angie Quantrell

Yakima Valley


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Kitty Bioré Strips for Shedding Season

What do furry kitties and people noses have in common?

Both sometimes need de-furring (or de-zitting). I doubt that last is an actual word. But you know what I mean.

I’ve personally used the Bioré strips on multiple occasions, to some success. But after a week of so of poofs of kitty fur falling from Monet (our hunting monster girl cat) and floating around the RV, I was getting pretty tired of wearing gray itchy hair.

After one snuggle session, I accidentally wiped my fur-covered hands on my navy shorts. Oops. So off I went to get the lint strips, which quickly took care of the problem.

. . .

And then. Could it be that easy? Let’s try and find out. (With Monet, this is risky business, trying stuff like sticky lint strips on her body. I could be putting myself in the way of scratches, bites, or hisses. Such is the personality of Her Highness.)

. . .

But it worked! For a few times. And then she was done. But oh, the wonder and delight of cat-ching that much fur before it was displayed around the RV.

Go ahead. Try some kitty Bioré strips this shedding season. Let me know how it goes.


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Happy Book Birthday Interview with Paddy Donnelly, Author-Illustrator of The Vanishing Lake! Plus a Giveaway!

Happy Book Birthday to The Vanishing Lake!

Hello, dear readers! Welcome to a very important blog post featuring a special book birthday for The Vanishing Lake by Paddy Donnelly!

Be sure to read to the bottom to learn how you can get your name in the hat to win a free copy of The Vanishing Lake, compliments of Yeehoo Press (US only). Thank you, Yeehoo Press and Helen Wu, for this opportunity!

Let’s get right to it.

1. Welcome, Paddy! Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a picture book illustrator and author, originally from Ireland and now living in Belgium. I’ve had seven picture books published so far, with my debut author illustrated one, The Vanishing Lake, being my 8th. I also illustrate covers for middle grade novels, as well as a bunch of other things. My background is in web design and I did that for a number of years following university, then I transitioned into doing kids’ apps for the iPhone. That introduced me to illustrating for kids and I really enjoyed it. For the last two or three years I’ve been focusing on children’s publishing and I really love it.

You have had a very a fascinating career path!

2. Congratulations on your new book! What was your inspiration for The Vanishing Lake?

Thank you! Well, it’s actually based on a real vanishing lake close to my hometown! It’s called Loughareema and it actually does disappear and reappear every few days. While my book contains a few more magical elements like mermaids, giants and narwhals, Ireland is a place full of mythical stories, so I was always surrounded by that growing up. When I was coming up with a few picture book stories a couple of years ago, the real vanishing lake from back home popped into my head and I thought it’d be an interesting premise for a picture book.

It certainly is interesting! I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Vanishing Lake! It’s such a fun, imaginative story!

3. What was the writing and illustrating journey you took as you wrote this book? As both author-illustrator, how did that impact your creative process?

I started first with the basic idea – a lake that would mysteriously vanish and reappear and vanish and reappear. Then I needed a main character – a child for the reader to identify with. I wanted the character to be searching for the reason for the mystery and ended up with a Grandad character who would tell fantastic stories. Having the main character, Meara, refuse to believe the stories allowed me to keep pushing them to be bigger and more unbelievable. That was the premise and then I started sketching out the roughs, knowing that I had a certain number of pages to work with and that I wanted a few different beats to happen through the book – the lake gone, then flip the page and it was back, then gone again, and then a double page spread for each story, and conclusion. Once I had all of that lined out, I started to write the actual words. Then it was a real back and forth process, with the words informing the illustration and vice versa. This is certainly different to the usual process when I’m illustrating someone else’s story, and I really loved the creative freedom it gave me to have full control over both aspects.

I’m fascinated by the process you used for The Vanishing Lake. How fun to be able to switch back and forth between writing and illustrating, and to have total control over the whole project.

4. Everything is different right now with COVID-19, but how will you celebrate the book birthday of The Vanishing Lake on April 20?

I actually have a few virtual events lined up with bookshops in the book’s birthday week, so that’s going to be lots of fun! I guess one of the silver linings of the pandemic is the emergence of virtual author events, so I’m looking forward to doing a few storytimes, drawalongs and Q&A sessions with bookshops and their customers. I would of course absolutely love to be doing something in-person in a bookshop, so hopefully when the world goes back to normal I’ll get the opportunity to do that for a future book. I have been trying to take the time to celebrate the good moments more and more this past year though, so I may have to raise a glass at home on publication day.

Sounds like the perfect combination of events to make the week very special! We have learned some new tricks and skills in the days of the pandemic, haven’t we?

5. I love the joyful imagination that is such a huge part of The Vanishing Lake. How do imagination and your childhood experiences impact your creativity?

I definitely had (and still do I think) a vivid imagination as a child and used to draw my own stories so much. Growing up with natural wonders like Loughareema and the Giant’s Causeway on my doorstep maybe made me take them for granted, but I think I’ve now got a renewed appreciation for them now. And definitely the rugged cliffs, mountains and magical greens of the Irish landscape have an influence on my illustration style. As imagination is the centre of this story, it allowed me to keep pushing to come up with more extravagant stories for Grandad to tell.

Ooh, perhaps there will be a future picture book about the Giant’s Causeway! 😉 One of my bucket list items is visiting Ireland.

6. What are you working on now?

I’m working on a lot of picture books at the moment. I’ve got a few more coming out later this year and next year. And I’ve got a few middle grade covers on the go too. Lots of different projects happening at once, but that’s the way I like it. I like to hop between projects as it helps keep my imagination going and I don’t get too bogged down in one set of illustrations for months on end. I think I need that variation for my creativity.

So, you also work as a professional project juggler? LOL. I like to juggle writing projects as well. Like you said, it helps keep my imagination and creativity fresh.

7. Surprise us! What else would you like to share?

Perhaps the most exciting project I’m working on is my second author illustrated picture book, Dodos Aren’t Extinct, which I’m illustrating right now. That’ll be coming out in Spring 2022. Very exciting!

Congratulations! That is exciting! It sounds like another captivating story!

Thanks so much for stopping by to visit, Paddy! Best wishes on The Vanishing Lake and all of your other projects.

Readers, you can purchase your own copy of The Vanishing Lake by clicking the following links.

The Vanishing Lake links:

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-vanishing-lake-paddy-donnelly/1137974866

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/the-vanishing-lake/9781953458032

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1953458033/

Paddy’s social links: 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/paddy

Twitter: https://twitter.com/paddydonnelly

Website: http://lefft.com

— Paddy

http://lefft.com / https://www.instagram.com/paddy/

Here are 3 ways to get your name in the hat to win a copy of The Vanishing Lake (US only). A winner will be randomly chosen in one week on Tuesday, April 27.

1. Like and comment on this blog post. Please make sure I have your email address so I can notify you if you win.

2. Follow this blog and tell me how you follow. Please make sure I have your email address so I can notify you if you win.

3. Visit my Twitter page @AngieQuantrell for more chances to win a copy of The Vanishing Lake.

CONGRATULATIONS TO Janet Frenck Sheets! You won a copy of The Vanishing Lake!


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#inktober52 February Drawings

Prompt: monster (my monster is actually the drained fly; I prefer spiders to flies)

#Inktober52 is a weekly ink drawing challenge, one ink drawing a week for the entire year, 52 weeks a year.

I know I could never do #inktober for October, it just gets too crazy when I try to do something EVERY single day. But I am excited and challenged by the #inktober52. I think I can manage 52 weekly drawings inspired by prompts from https://inktober.com/. The part about having a week to complete a drawing helps me out.

Jake Parker created Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.”

Here are my February drawings.

Prompt: dragonfly

Prompt: camping

Prompt: egg

Are you enticed to join me? It’s fun to play and use my imagination. And maybe I’ll learn a new trick along the way.


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Outstanding in the Rain: Book Title Poem

Outstanding in the Rain: A Book Title Poem (on the day before the library closed [again] for COVID-19)

Dear Zoo

What If?

Five Minutes

Outstanding in the Rain

Wet

Still Stuck

Very Hairy Bear

Outside Over There

There’s Nothing to Do!

I Love You JUST the Way YOU Are

Look!

Nobody’s Duck

In the Night Kitchen

Where Are You?

I Went Walking

Why?

That Is NOT a Good Idea!

You Are Home

Honey

For fun, on the very last day of the library being open for limited in-person visits (again), I decided to use my 30 minutes to write a book title poem. I was limited only by time, hearing the clock tick away in my head, but I quickly scanned and grabbed titles. Poor library workers. To avoid leaving a mess, I checked out the entire stack!

Go ahead. Try it. What book title poem can you write? I’d love to read it!


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Haiku Moment: not happening

let go, pink monster

not happening, not ever

I will get you. hiss

not happening by Angie Quantrell

irritated cat: Monet


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Haiku From Two #Haikufromtwo by Amanda Davis

On Day 29 of Storystorm (https://taralazar.com/2021/01/29/storystorm-2021-day-29/), Amanda Davis shares a fun way to get your creative juices flowing. In the post “Amanda Davis Keeps Creative Juices Flowing with Haiku from Two,” she tells how she started a process of using two books she is currently reading, choosing one word from each, and then creating a haiku from those two words. The resulting haiku sometimes leads to new writing projects.

How fun! I love writing haiku, though I usually pair it with one of my photos. I was immediately on board with trying this creative idea. Thanks, Amanda (https://www.instagram.com/amandadavis_art/)!

First word: solitude

Book: The Powerful Purpose of Introverts, Why the World Needs YOU to BE YOU by Holley Gerth (Revell, 2020)

Second word: moonlight

Book: Lemonade Lemonade and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word by Bob Raczka (Roaring Book Press, 2011)

What a fun creative writing exercise! Let me know if you decide to try this one. I’d love to read your haiku!


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Haiku Moment: shovel cats

heavy snow blanket,

mountains to build, but first it’s

time to shovel cats

shovel cats by Angie Quantrell

Yakima Valley


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Sunday Inspiration

Photo by Angie Quantrell, Yakima Valley

Text by God