“Ink Drawing Techniques DVD & Art Book” Kickstarter is LIVE!

Inking Instructional DVD and Art Book Kickstarter Now Live

I am super excited that my husband’s and my “Ink Drawing Techniques DVD & Art Book” Kickstarter is  LIVE! It’s already 77% funded in just 7 hours. If you or someone you know loves ink drawing, then this DVD and art book is for you.

Please visit the following link to pledge/pre-order.
https://tinyurl.com/y8pdysp7

Some background: my hubby, Jeff Miracola, is a professional illustrator who also teaches hundreds of other artists through his popular YouTube channel and in-person art retreats. I’m videographer of the series and either the disembodied voice or the on-camera partner who asks questions.

Please consider pledging and share this post with your friends.

Writers Getting Together AND the Michigan-Indian Writers & Illustrators Retreat

Silvia Acevedo and Valerie Biel

There is so much good to be said about getting together with other creative people. Other creative types “get” you. They support your efforts, share your work in the world, and are all around great fun.

Window View

Today I have the privilege of hanging out and writing with my good friend and fellow critique partner Valerie Biel at her home in the countryside. We may move our writing at some point from the porch extension to the cornfield. Or lakeside. Either way, we can thoroughly enjoy each others’ company even while taking breaks to type away. It’s awesome.

SCBWI-Michigan-Indiana Pokagon Writers & Illustrators Retreat

Another retreat I’m looking forward to is the SCBWI-Michigan-Indiana Writers & Illustrators Retreat in October. I’m presenting on world building, but I’m also excited about it because the format allows hours for afternoon writing. The mornings are for learning/sharing, while the afternoons are for more creating. How great is that? Registration just opened up today, August 1st, so get on it if you love the idea of creative comaraderie.

Thanks for letting me crash your place, Val! Happy writing, everyone! 🙂

Point of View with Asst. Editor Catherine Laudone of Simon & Schuster

Silvia Acevedo at SCBWI-WI Spring Luncheon 2018

 

 

Clarity and Joy come with every SCBWI Spring Luncheon. This year, though, the organizers pitched those benefits in the event title.  That’s a big promise, and I think the organizers did a great job delivering both.

 

 

 

 

 

The Spring Luncheon of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators-Wisconsin is an annual half-day conference that always seems to come at the right time, when I’m starting to get a bit of the winter blahs and am happy to connect with other writers and illustrators. This year’s was held in Sturgeon Bay, which is still wintery, but features a beautiful bay.

Sturgeon Bay, WI

Sturgeon Bay, WI

Catherine Laudone, Asst. Editor, Simon & Schuster

 

Assistant Editor Catherine Laudone of Simon & Schuster spoke about the pros and cons of the various forms of points of view in writing. You remember POV from middle school, right? First person uses “I.” Second person uses “you.” And then there’s third person with its options (limited, omniscient, etc.). Laudone spoke about how different POVs offer varying levels of emotional connection and descriptive opportunities. POV is important, and it was helpful to dive into the intricacies of the many types of narrative voice.

 

Miranda Paul, Author and SCBWI-WI Regional Advisor

 

 

The event also marked a transition for SCBWI-Wisconsin. Fearless leader Miranda Paul is stepping down after three years as co-Regional Advisor. She and Andrea Skyberg have done wonders highlighting our work to literary and educational leaders around the world. Southeast WI Area Rep Rochelle Groskruetz, who’s organized great events for years, steps in.

 

 

 

As usual, some of my favorite moments were catching up with fellow writers and illustrators, seasoned and newbies. If you’re aspiring to write or illustrate a book someday, come to this inspiring event! It’s great to hang around with creative people.

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators-Wisconsin 2018 Spring Luncheon

 

 

 

 

Deadline Looming for 2018 SCBWI-WI Mentorship

2018 SCBWI-WI Mentorships Flyer

Hurry, aspiring writers and illustrators! You have just 18 days to apply to SCBWI-Wisconsin’s 2018 mentorships.  The deadline is November 30, 2017, and this is an opportunity not to be missed. I am deeply honored to be among the six authors/illustrators who’ll be mentoring up-and-coming creators in 2018, along with Jamie Swenson, Jane Kelly, Pat Schmatz, Deb Gross, and Jeanne Styczinski. I’ll work with an author of middle grade or young adult work who’s interested in self-publishing.

First, here are the mentorship basics:

The 2018 SCBWI-Wisconsin Mentorship runs approximately six months, January to June. The amount of interaction between mentor and mentee will be decided between the pair.

Next, the rules:

You must be a current member of SCBWI and have attended at least one member event in the past year, unless applying for the Diversity Mentorship with Pat Schmatz.

You can only apply for one category of mentorship unless you qualify for the Diversity Mentorship, in which case you could apply to more but only win one.

You must yet to be traditionally published in your category.

Finally, the application details:

Follow the guidelines on this online application form and email the requested documents to wisconsin-ra@scbwi.org by November 30th.

 

I’m really looking forward to this adventure. Please apply if you’re interested and spread the word to the creative people in your life who you feel might benefit. Thanks! 🙂

 

Playing at the SCBWI-WI Fall Retreat

Silvia Acevedo Presenting at Wisconsin's Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

How often, do you suppose, have you fallen into a rut? Even when trying to be creative, do you find yourself slipping into familiar routines and say, meh, the writing or artwork is good enough?

Whoa boy, let me tell you. If you were feeling that way before the SCBWI-WI Fall Retreat, you left feeling like a new person. Superhero-ish even. There’s no way any uninspired, humdrum, or worse, corrosive thoughts could creep into your creative sphere that weekend. And if you haven’t yet made it a part of your creative journey to connect with others at a conference, I’d highly suggest you do.

Wisconsin’s Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Fall Retreat was meant to be an antidote to stifling routine. This years theme was “experiment and play,” and what a great thing to  do to help us create.  I was incredibly honored to give three presentations: how to slant the truth through an unreliable narrator; how to bring back the thrill of creating (in case the joy’s become a grind); and using art as inspiration.

Anyone who knows my writing knows that I love a good unreliable narrator. I could talk about that all day. I didn’t, though, to allow attendees time to work on their writing prompts. See? Proof.

Writing at SCBWI-WI

Writing…writing…writing…

And we had an open, dynamic talk on how to banish the blahs. Author Melissa Gorzelanczek not only inspired everyone during her talks, but she came up with the idea of Journey Stones weeks ahead of our workshop. I designed a hundred.

YES to your journey! YES to challenges! YES to bravery! I think the attendees liked them. 🙂

Journey Stones - Silvia Acevedo

Journey Stones

My final presentation really revved my engines. Author Valerie Biel and I talked about the gazillion ways we creative types use other art for our inspiration. I’m talking literature, visual arts, music, theater, or dance. I’m big into the visual arts, and there’s no shortage of it referencing mythology, so I was absolutely in my element. Here are a few pictures I shared: me hanging out with Cupid at the Milwaukee Art Museum and then imitating Bacchus, the god of theatre and wine, at the Louvre. We’re buds, ya know.

Silvia Acevedo with Cupid at the Milwaukee Art Museum and Bacchus at the Louvre Museum

Silvia with Cupid and Bacchus

And again I made a little memento: crocheted bookworms. I hope they crawled their way into someone’s heart. 🙂

Silvia Acevedo's Bookworms

Silvia’s Bookworm Bookmarks

Others got artistic, too. Check out these handmade bags for the faculty, made by the “Freakin’ Happiness Fairy,” Author M.J. Diem. And can she rawk a tutu or what?

Freakin' Happiness Fairy M.J. Diem and her fabulous bookbag

M.J. Diem and that *gasp* gorgeous bookbag

Oh, and the talks. And the amazing guest faculty (Lin Oliver, Mary Amato, Carol Hinz, I’m looking at you!). The cruise. The book title contest. Yes, yes, yes, and yes!

Keith Pitsch, Silvia Acevedo, and Valerie Biel

Keith Pitsch, me, and Valerie Biel

Heaps o’ Books for Hurricane Relief

Once in a while you get to experience something really special, and that usually involves helping others. For the third straight year, I’ve taken part in the Novel Cuisine Luncheon put on by Wisconsin Author Liza Weimer and Blogger Extraordinaire Heidi Zweifel. The luncheon brings literary types together to collect and donate books to organizations that need them but don’t have financial means to secure them. We also dine on book-inspired foods. The recipients of donated books typically include classroom libraries and women’s shelters, offering the traumatized children there a desperately needed diversion. This year, books collected also went to areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

The awe-inspiring gathering of community-minded authors, publishing professionals, teachers, librarians, book club organizers, bookstore associates, and bloggers donated and shared hundreds of books. I know our small contribution to this cause will bring someone a moment of relief in truly trying times.

Here are some photos of the 6th annual event. I hope you enjoy them. A special thanks goes to the event organizers and volunteers for taking on such a worthy cause.

Author Gayle Rosengren donates books at the Novel Cuisine Luncheon

Author Gayle Rosengren donates books at the Novel Cuisine Luncheon

A small sampling of the hundreds of books donated at Author Luncheon 2017

A small sampling of the hundreds of books donated at Novel Cuisine Luncheon 2017

Authors Silvia Acevedo and Liza Wiemer

Me and Liza Wiemer

Ten Years Blogging

http://www.silviaacevedo.com

Milestones trigger emotions, and this one is no exception. Today marks ten years blogging. My website and blog is mostly about the creative life (writing, publishing, media in general) and occasionally sports. I’ve experienced growth in all those areas, and I hope something I wrote added to your insight on a subject.

My very first post was about inspiration, specifically about shooing the Muse. You can read it here:  http://www.silviaacevedo.com/a-writer-writes/muse-schmuse/ I feel pretty much the same way today. If I waited until I felt inspired, who knows when I’d ever get around to it? The funny thing is, once I start, it’s the writing itself that inspires me to write more. What inspires you?  And what topics should I hit in the next ten years? 🙂

Play Date! at the SCBWI Retreat

YesMy engines are really revving for the SCBWI-WI fall retreat. You should come. Really! You have just three short weeks to sign up, and I’ll tell you why you should (and then how to maybe get in for free!).

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is the premier association for creators of children’s lit (and one of the largest organizations for writers and illustrators in the world). If you want to learn more about writing or illustrating for kidlit, these are your people.

Wisconsin’s fall retreat is three days of amazing networking, creating, and communing. This year’s lineup is impressive as always: the society director, three editors/directors, an art director, an agent, two leading authors/illustrators/creators, along with 11 local presenters, myself included. My involvement isn’t why I write today; I’ve been praising the association for more than ten years. This is the place to go to build your craft.

I am proud, though, of the two presentations I’m doing. Both are collaborative.

Friday’s Intensive with Melissa Gorzelanczyk is four-fold: Honing in on images; Focusing on plot; Unreliable Narrators in your writing and illustrating; and Bringing Back the Thrill. Plus we’ll have a memento for attendees. The picture gives a hint. 🙂

My second presentation, with Valerie Biel, highlights how music, dance, theater, literature, and the visual arts can inspire your creations. And attendees get another memento.

So you’re convinced. I can tell! Sign up by August 31st here.

Aaaaand if you want a chance to get your registration fee reimbursed, apply for the DIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIP BY AUGUST 14. SCBWI is inclusive in what constitutes diversity, so you may well qualify. Find out and apply here.

If you’ve been dreaming about creating for children, this may be your moment. Hope to see you there! 🙂

TODAY IS RELEASE DAY for Fantasy Art Workshop’s “Oil Painting Techniques” Video

I am so thankful and pleased to say that today is finally the official release day of Fantasy Art Workshop’s Oil Painting Techniques DVD. You may wonder why I’m excited about that as I’m not an artist, but I actually have a couple of huge reasons: the Fantasy Art Workshop is my illustrator husband and my creation, and this video is now our second successful feature-length instructional set to hit the market. It’s getting great reviews, and I’m honored that the first video (the Workshop’s Acrylic Painting Techniques) is not only highly recommended by Video Librarian, but it’s also award-winning, having won ImagineFX Magazine’s lauded Artist’s Choice award.

So, why is it garnering such nice attention? Because my husband so generously shares his knowledge. Jeff Miracola‘s got more than 23 years in the fantasy art industry working for the biggest entertainment names. Our little YouTube channel grew more than we expected. It’s now got more than 65 videos, 31,000 subscribers, and 1.4 million views. The feature-length DVDs/Digital Downloads came to be because people wanted more. We delivered; he by showing the world his form of magic, and me as videographer and occasional disembodied voice / cameo artist. Ha!

If you are an artist or have an artist in your life, I invite you to check out the series. You can read reviews on Amazon for the Oil Techniques here and the Acrylic Techniques here. We’re honored that our work has taught and inspired others.

So check them out, please, and remember: Draw, Paint, and Always Create! 😉

A Captivating Literary Weekend

I spent the latter part of this week presenting with the Wisconsin State Reading Association, an organization that’s all about literacy. Their concerns: how parents and teachers teach kids to read, helping students strengthen their reading skills, and encouraging all of us to make our society well read.

Literacy is a cause dear to my heart. I taught my children to read at an early age, and I feel that literacy skills are absolutely vital to success. I was honored to present at the association, but I decided to do a bit more by donating 100 books to established and/or fledgling school book clubs. I hope the kids who get them enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Below are some pictures of the event. If you like the idea of encouraging literacy, consider supporting your local literacy agency with a financial gift or a donation of your books or time. 🙂

Silvia Acevedo at Gateway to the Wisconsin State Reading Association

At the WSRA gateway

Silvia Acevedo Presenting at the Wisconsin State Reading Association

Enjoying the presentation

Silvia Acevedo's Set Up at the Wisconsin State Reading Association

My set-up

Silvia Acevedo's Book Giveaway Jar

Slips in the Jar. Five names were drawn to get 20 books for their book club! 🙂

A crowd gathers for Silvia Acevedo's book giveaway

Hopefuls Awaiting the Draw

A winner for the God Awful Series of Books

Whoo hoo! I won!

A winner for the God Awful books

Another winner!

Gubernatorial and Mayoral Proclamations for WSRA

Proclamations

Silvia Acevedo and fellow authors at the Wisconsin State Reading Association 2017

Serious Wisconsin talent here. Left to right: Melissa Gorzelanczyk, Liz Czukas, Tricia Clasen, Stephanie Golightly Lowden, me, and JoAnn Early Macken.