Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Hello, hello!

Today, when I realized I hadn't renewed my SCBWI membership since Who Knows When, I realized I also hadn't updated my blog in about two years. Holy moly!

Since my last blog post, a lot of Life changes have occurred. My husband and I had adopted two more shelter kitties (definitely an adjustment), purchased our first home (a new build, and wow was that ever a project), moved (never doing THAT again- we're living here forever), and now we're expecting our first baby in January! (a boy, and we're thrilled!)

And to top off all that goodness, I got a book deal!

So now I am currently illustrating a non fiction picture book for Tilburyhouse. It has definitely been both a challenge and a learning experience. The final art is due next February, but Little Baby Chan is due in January, so I am trying my hardest to finish everything before then.

I have a LOT to do before January comes! But I will be back again, when I can share more about the book. (And eventually tidy up the blog and website!) See you soon!


Thursday, May 8, 2014

YES, I'm Still Here!

Hi There!

Just wanted to pop in and say "Hello!" as I'm busy working on a bunch of things all at once right now. These past few months I've been working on: logos, custom tees, Save the Dates, wedding invitations, classroom visits, blogging for Little Raindrop, writing and drawing for Little Raindrop, etc, etc, etc! Plus, I've been painting the house, finished putting together the Standing Studio, doing weddingy things for my cousin's upcoming Big Day, AND we have our first kitty in the family now, which is a big deal for us! Busy busy!

So come on over to Little Raindrop's blog to see what we've been up to lately! http://littleraindropsblog.blogspot.com/

LR Stickers and Book Plates!
A wedding Save the Date magnet!
A wedding invitation!
My parting gifts from some super cute 3rd graders!
Our "new" kitty adopted from the shelter!

Thanks for keeping tabs on me! ;)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Recent Updates and #PiBoIdMo Strikes Again!

Art by Joyce Wan
Well, hello there!

It's been some time, which is my now usual thing lately. It's bad, I know. But I'm not going to fight it! Plus, if you've been paying attention, I'm keeping up with Little Raindrop's Blog on a regular basis. So that still counts as blogging, doesn't it? (I "help" Little Raindrop write his posts. His spelling is still on the elementary level!)

A couple of updates on what's been going on...

Art copyright 2013
Melanie Linden Chan
-I will soon be sending out Little Raindrop's manuscript to my parent, science, and teacher helpers for revisions, ideas, and overall hawk-eyeing! This step is important, as Richard and I need some fresher eyeballs to look over this now EIGHT CHAPTER graphic novel/journal hybrid. After that, we will do some finishing touches on revision, and then we'll be sending it off to our editor, Marlo!

-I made some nifty buttons for our helpers, too! ->>>>

-I'm currently researching, sketching, and planning the full color double page spread for Chapter 3 of Little Raindrop's book: the pond habitat! (I will be working on all the double page spreads, as well as the Activity Pages, for each chapter as I wait for our text to be edited.)

-Last weekend, I attended SCBWI's Encore presentation. It was FABULOUS! Usually Encore has more talks on writing children's books versus illustrating, which is exactly what I need since I already have a slew of illustration knowledge stuffed in my brain.

-Due to the lovely talk given by Karen Day at Encore, I have been spurred on to finally FINISH that draft of my MG/YA environmental fantasy novel. It's no longer going to be sitting in the back of my brain, but truly in the foreground. I'm really dying to get this story out!

-Also, thanks to the tips from Lynda Mullaly Hunt, I am also now renewing my search for an agent. I've sent out 3 submissions in the past, and obviously no one has bitten just yet. But it just wasn't meant to be, I think!

-I have a new client that I am doing graphic work for their business. Logos and business cards and all that stuff. I sometimes like doing things that pay the bills! ;)

-I am still in the middle of turning my sitting studio into a standing studio. It's been on the bottom of my to-do list, but as I am sitting here typing, I realize I need to hurry up and do it!

-In crafty/homey news, I custom painted a few tees, painted our hallway a lovely teal color, finally hung up all our awesome vacation photos, and I'm in the middle of creating some fun art for the walls as well.




It's only a month away and I totally can't wait! It's like my brain goes dormant all year long, and then- bAnG! The juices start flowing and I get all sorts of ideas and inspiration! Woo! Last year, I made up all these awesome idea journals, and it's about time I rip off the shrink wrap and start using one of them!

And I'm totally in LOVE with this year's theme art by Joyce Wan! Check out all the cute stuff on Tara Lazar's blog! Wheeee!

So, that'd be all for now, Folks! Sorry for being away for so long... Life has been sending our family through a lot of hoops these days. But where there are bad things, there is always some sort of good to come, too. And I'm really digging the good stuff!

Keep on being creative!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Book Review: "Johnny Graphic and the Etheric Bomb" by D.R. Martin #amreading

Hi! How has your summer been?

Mine has been BUSY. Full of work, work, work, and some more work. Ugh. But I am not really complaining, I'm just a little tired is all. Plus, I was able to have enough time here and there to finally finish up a great little book I had been reading! There is nothing like a good book to distract you from your boring everyday life. :)

Oh, oh, oh! Aaaand I have been super inspired to write more of my fantasy novel! (My muse came out of hiding or wherever she was.) So that has been taking up some of my time, too.

So! Back to the book!

How do you like my Mike Wazowski thumb? :)

Firstly, I’d like to say- I really loved this story!

As a fan of the mysterious world of the ethereal, (though not of scary spooks), I enjoyed reading about a place where ghosts not only exist, but they are also a part of one’s everyday life. These ghosts were once live people who have since passed on, but are still here on Earth. However, in this world, not all who pass on become ghosts, so death is still a tragedy. Those ghosts who remain are able to live on with the world they left behind by working, “living,” and integrating themselves in everyday communities.

In “Johnny Graphic andthe Etheric Bomb”, it is the 1930’s and twelve year old Johnny Graphic lives in that very kind of world. Not everyone can see ghosts, but Johnny Graphic sure can, and he also isn’t the kind of guy to discriminate against them or treat them badly like some other people do. But during his quest to become the youngest star news photographer as he tries to uncover the mystery of his parents’ disappearance, Johnny and his sister Mel soon discover a bad batch of ghosts with a really bad plan- a ghost-powered bomb that could kill everything in its path! And it just so happens that everything, and everyone, that Johnny cares about lies directly in that path. It is up to Johnny and his unique team of family and friends, both dead and undead, to expose the ghostly plan and save millions of souls. That’s IF he can!

I found it both interesting, and a little bit cathartic, to explore the idea of a world where it is possible to still have your loved ones by your side, even after they have died. The blow of losing someone you love is a lot less harsh if there is a chance they can become a ghost and still be there with you until the end. I also like how the author didn’t even attempt to explain the whole “what happens after you die” topic. In Johnny’s world, there is still some mystery as to how or why some people become ghosts, and how or why some people move on into the afterlife, Heaven, etc. This may change, of course, as there are more books to come in the series, but for now the book is still pretty lighthearted on the topic, and not at all controversial in my opinion. It is very simply put, and matter-of-fact.

I not only liked the “otherworldly” quality of this story, but I also enjoyed the 1930’s setting, and that it was done consistently well throughout the book. It takes place during a time where life was much simpler, where people were just a tad more decent, and the media was only just beginning to influence the world, (versus ruling it, as it does today). Not once single mention of texting, Facebook, etc. can be found within its pages, because those didn’t exist yet, which is very refreshing!

Overall, this book was just good, clean fun!

I was even surprised to find myself caring about the characters- and in the end, wanting to read more about Johnny’s quest to find his parents. I say “surprised” because often when I read a book from this age bracket, I will not necessarily want to read the next book in the series as I don’t feel compelled enough to know or care about what happens next. The characters would be too shallow, too selfish, or too dumb to bother reading more. Not so with this book. Martin’s characters have enough depth and humanity to them that I understood their points of views and wanted to see Johnny and Mel solve their problems so they can go find their parents once again.

In conclusion, I say- bring on the next Johnny Graphic book! 

For anyone interested in reading the story themselves, the book is available on Amazon.com. It was edited by my friend and teacher, Marlo Garnsworthy, who is SO SMART when it comes to story editing. She is amazing. If you ever have the need for a good editor, or the opportunity to take one of her CE classes at RISD, definitely do so!

Also, a side-discovery, if you will...
I had originally started reading "Johnny Graphic" ages ago, on my tablet, via the Kindle app. (I also have an actual Kindle.) Three quarters of the way into the book, something happened where I had to put away my tablet (perhaps we were having company or something), and just like magic- POOF! Out of sight, out of mind... totally forgot I was reading a book. Don't you start to think it was the story's fault, either- I am known for doing this. I not only forgot about the "Johnny Graphic" book, but also some really good classics, such as Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland... it's pretty sad, actually. So far I have only been able to completely finish reading ONE digital ebook because it was super short, not counting picture books, of course. So it wasn't until months later, when I rediscovered my tablet, that I remembered poor Johnny. I immediately ordered the real book online and finished it in a day. My point is, now that I realize this, I will FOREVER choose the regular book over the ebook, no matter what book I am reading! Some things in life are just good to know! 
That is all, for now! I have some Little Raindrop work to do, so I'll see you later! Keep on creating! :D