Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Ad for Publisher's Weekly

I've been working on a little animated GIF ad for Publisher's Weekly. I'm struggling to get the file size down to an acceptable number without sacrificing the image quality too much. 

I think I'm losing the battle...

Hopefully they won't notice that I'm WAY over the limit of 40K. But at 197K, it's significantly smaller than my original 720. And that should count for something, right?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Is it any good?

Great review from Common Sense Media for Build Dogs Build. It's always nice to be compared to the classics!

"James Horvath has another hit read-aloud with BUILD, DOGS, BUILD. As in his first book, Dig, Dogs, Dig, Horvath leads readers through the process of construction, with the added fun of demolition this time around. The rickety building comes down with a satisfying "BOOM" -- "Wreck, dogs, wreck!" He presents a parade of construction equipment including a crane, a dump truck, a trencher, a pumper, and more to take kids from the laying of underground pipes to the placement of glass on the highest floors of the new building. 

Like Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day and the classic Go, Dog. Go!, this book is packed with humorous touches and helpful details. Definitely a keeper."

You can see all the details here: 
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/build-dogs-build-a-tall-tail

Monday, December 2, 2013

School Library Journal Review

Just received a great review from School Library Journal.

HORVATH, James. Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail. illus. by author. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper. Jan. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780062189677.

The canine crew from Horvath’s Dig, Dogs, Dig (HarperCollins, 2013) is needed again, this time on a demolition job, so foreman Duke and his enthusiastic pack head downtown. There’s an old building there that has to come down to make way for new high-rise homes at Bark Avenue. Their wrecking ball crashes into the structure with a gigantic “BOOM.” The yellow bulldozer clears “piles of rubble, and/bricks and concrete/without any trouble,” while the red and blue dump truck hauls it all away. 

Working dogs deserve a treat, so they grab a quick snack at the “R-Coach,” which features hot dogs, corn dogs, chili dogs, and the like. The work isn’t finished yet; there are trenches to be built for pipes and drains, a foundation to pour, girders to weld, and cables to run. The afternoon break involves a good game of fetch before installing the finishing touches on the interior. All in all, the penthouse, with its terrace and pool, is perfect, and tomorrow the mutts are off to another job. 

Horvath’s cartoonlike illustrations were created digitally, and the dogs are reminiscent of a beloved old Saturday-morning character, Augie Doggie. Youngsters who can’t get enough books with pictures of heavy equipment will be attracted to this one. Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA

Friday, November 1, 2013

Best Books of 2013


A friend just sent me a great link to Atlanta Parent Online. They selected Dig, Dogs, Dig for one of their "Best Books of 2013" in the preschool to Elementary category. 

Thanks Atlanta, I've just selected you as "One of my Favorite Cities"! Here's the link to the online article.

http://www.atlantaparent.com/article/detail/best_books_of_20131

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Build, Dogs, Build Giveaway on Goodreads!

It's getting closer to the release date for Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail. So I set up a Giveaway on Goodreads. I'll be giving away 5 signed and personalized copies of the new book once it releases in December. So follow the link and sign up for a chance to win a copy of my next book!






 
 



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How to Draw Dig, Dogs, Dig


In preparation for the Orange County Children's Book Festival this coming weekend I created a simple "How-to" page to show everyone how I draw my dog characters.

The festival is this Sunday, September 29th from 9:30AM - 4:30PM at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa California. Hundreds of children's authors and illustrators will be there signing and selling their books. If you get a chance, come on down and stop by my booth. I have activity sheets, stickers, books and a raffle for some signed and personalized copies of my next book Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail.

I'll be on the illustration stage at 1:00PM and again at 2:45PM giving a live drawing demonstration and showing you all just how easy it is to draw your favorite dog characters. But if you can't make it, no problem. I've created this little "How-to-Draw" activity sheet that will walk you though the steps.

Hope to see you at the festival!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Play, Learn, Share... Dig!


I'm almost always online so when I ran across a blog post by Taryn and her kids on how much they enjoyed Dig, Dogs, Dig I couldn't help but respond. As a parent of home schooled/un-schooled kids I love reading about other parents who are fully engaged and excited about sharing wonderful learning and growing experiences with their kids. At this, Taryn is an expert!

So I couldn't wait to share some activity sheets and a special unbound copy of my next book Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail. I'm so pleased they loved it as much as the first. With me, flattery will get you everything! 

Thanks for the great post Taryn.


http://playlearnshare.blogspot.com/2013/09/dig-dogs-dig-surprise.html

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway!



I'm giving away 3 signed copies of Dig, Dogs, Dig: A Construction Tail on Goodreads. The giveaway ends on September 30th so follow the link and sign up for a chance to win a free book. Dig, Dogs, Dig Giveaway.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

New Ad in Shelf Awareness



Running an ad this week in Shelf Awareness to see if I can reach a few more people. The book has been getting great reviews and selling really well. But since I'm not a household name... yet, every little bit helps.

The ad links over to the HarperCollins page with all the buy links and my book trailer. I'm curious to see what the response will be.





Order your copy today!
Amazon: 
http://amzn.to/XXcDvz 
Barnes & Noble: 
http://bit.ly/10dCkoc
Books-a-Million: 
http://bit.ly/ZOZSzW
IndieBound: 
http://bit.ly/17iDVQ1

To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/12IqdEQ 


Thursday, July 11, 2013

San Francisco Book Review


I just found two great 5-star book reviews for Dig, Dogs, Dig on the San Francisco Book Review. What makes these two reviews great, aside from the 5-star ratings is they're written by two five-year-old boys. Talk about getting direct feedback from your target audience.

Thanks Adam and Hayden. I'm glad you liked my book, and hopefully you'll like my next book, Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail, scheduled for release December 31st, 2013. 

Here's a couple quick quotes:

"I really liked this book because I liked reading about all of the different construction vehicles. I also liked how the words rhymed on each page. I noticed that the black cat was hiding on each page. I thought it was fun trying to spot the black cat! While the dogs were digging they found something hard. You will have to read the book to find out what it was! This book is one of my new favorite books!" - Adam, age 5

"I like this book because there is a kitty in it.  There is a dog in the book that looks like my dog so we called him Tucker.  The dog I call Tucker is friends with the kitty I like. I also like the illustrations.  It was fun to find the kitty on every page hiding among the dogs.  I liked when the kitty was spying on the ducks in the pond.  Kids who are my age (five) or younger would like this book.  I give it five stars." - Hayden, age 5

Check out Adam and Hayden's full reviews.

I love my job!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Children's Book Review


I'm featured in an "Authors Showcase" on theChildrensBookReview.com this month. You can check out the interview here.

I'm also doing a promotional give-away of 3 signed and personalized books. You can go to this link and register for a chance to win. The give-away ends on July 31st.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New York Times highlights Dig, Dogs, Dig.


Building a Playground
‘Construction Kitties’ and ‘Dig, Dogs, Dig’




By PAMELA PAULPublished: May 15, 2013


Great new article in the New York Times today. Click on the link below to get the full article. Here's a quick quote: 

"With its punchy rhymes and Hanna-Barbera panoramas, “Dig, Dogs, Dig” hops along with the bouncy effervescence of P.D. Eastman’s “Go Dog. Go!,”


 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/books/construction-kitties-and-dig-dogs-dig.html

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Launch Event





We had an amazing launch event for Dig, Dogs, Dig on Sunday. Lots of people dropped by to purchase and have their books signed and I got the chance to do a fun reading with some of my biggest fans!

The event was held at Coalesce Book Store in beautiful downtown Morro Bay. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Levon "Lemon" Horvath Interview


So my youngest sone, Levon, although he prefers to go by the name "Lemon" has been very helpful to me during the process of writing and illustrating Dig, Dogs, Dig. So helpful, that he's pretty sure he did most of the work himself. 

We decided to interview him and see what he had to say. He does eventually give me a little credit. And truth be told, he was a very big part of Dig, Dogs, Dig!

I dedicated the book to both my boys, Levon and Ezzy. And you can see them on the inside credits page.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dig, Dogs, Dig Official Book Trailer

My good friend, Mike Dietz, from Pencil Test Studios just finished my official book trailer! Check out Mike and his amazing work at Pencil Test Studios.

I'm very excited. I hope you all like it and share it!


Friday, April 19, 2013

NEW Activity Pages Added!



I haven't posted anything for a little while. But I just completed some new activity pages you can download. Just click on the images above to download a printable PDF file. 

Have fun!
James

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Publishers Weekly Review

Another great review for Dig, Dogs, Dig.


Dig, Dogs, Dig: 
A Construction Tail



Fans of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site will eagerly dig into illustrator/designer Horvath’s vehicle-centric debut, first in a planned series. Early one morning, the dozen or so canine workers hit the ground running, driving a fleet of big machines to an urban construction site. Horvath’s punchy verse both describes the vehicles (“The loader picks up/ a rocky big bite/ and moves out the rubble/ with all its might”) and spurs on the laborers (“There’s trouble in the pit,/ We’ve hit something big./ Get down in the hole and dig, dogs, dig!”). The high points of the story are the unexpected excavation of a giant T. rex bone and the revelation of the finished project: an inviting park whose centerpiece is a display of the prehistoric fossil. Buzzing with activity, Horvath’s crisp, cartoon-styled digital art includes numerous details to pore over (including the delivery of a truckload of ducks for the park’s pond and a cat that darts mischievously around the worksite), giving the book a light comedic punch. 


Ages 4–8. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/08/2013


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dig, Dogs, Dig hits the Target!

My publisher informed me this morning that Dig, Dogs, Dig is being picked up by Target. 

Target has approximately 1765 stores nationwide. I'm told Target is very selective in which titles they carry so this is a great sign that they like the book and think it will sell well. It's scheduled to be in Target stores by mid-May.

Can't wait till April 30th when the book is finally released. Hopefully, this is only the beginning of great things to come for Duke, and the crew!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kirkus Review

Another good review for Dig, Dogs, Dig.

Here's the review:

"A dozen dogs and one black cat work hard to build a playground in this amusing story that will please kids who love excavators, cranes and dump trucks.

The dogs wake up in their dormitory as the sun rises, and after breakfast, they're off to the construction site in their heavy-duty trucks. Each type of construction equipment and its function is described in the rhyming text as the dogs dig a huge pit and excavate a dinosaur bone. As the day goes on, the dogs work cooperatively to construct a playground complete with a dinosaur-bone display, landscaping, trails and a duck pond. Computer-generated, cartoon-style illustrations show cheerful canines and lots of activity at the site, but these dogs are pros, as their heavy equipment is carefully researched (and they always wear their hard hats). The entire construction process is conveyed in an energetic manner that is both entertaining and educational. The crew is identified by name on the endpapers, from Duke, the "top dog" boss, to Jinx, the black cat mascot.
No new ground is excavated here, but these cheerful canines build up a charming bond with their intended audience. (Picture book. 3-6)"

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Taking on the Classics

I just saw the first review of my book Dig, Dogs, Dig: A Construction TailHere's the link: bookaunt.blogspot.com.

It appears about a third of the way down, subtitled, "Taking on P.D. Eastman". It's a nice review and, I hope, the first of many to come. Although, I'm not actually "taking on" P.D. Eastman. I appreciate the reviewer's association. I really love P.D. Eastman's work and have always been a huge fan. And I'm honored to have my book compared and associated with Go, Dog. Go!

Here's a small excerpt:

"…I can happily recommend Dig, Dogs, Dig. It has real verve, and I think young readers (especially boys) are going to like it. Try pairing it with its mentor and predecessor, Go, Dog. Go!"


If you're a P.D. Eastman fan as well, you'll discover I pay homage to his work in a dozen small ways throughout my soon to be released series. In my mind, Go, Dog. Go! is the premier "dog book" of a generation. I hope my work only adds to the genre in some small way.



 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail


The Epson Prints from HarperCollins arrived today for book number two: Build, Dogs, Build. Very pleased with the colors and textures. Everything looks like it came out just the way I expected. It's nice when there are no surprises!

This one is scheduled to release in the fall of 2013. I'll post more updates as the book moves through the process. Still working on the cover. I need to finish it soon, it's almost time to start working on the final art for book number three!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Advance Copies


I just got my advanced copies of Dig, Dogs, Dig today. It's a real book!!!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Meet Jinx



Jinx is a small black and white cat who belongs to the crew. He tags along with them wherever they go. Duke discovered him at the shelter sleeping under a ladder on Friday the 13th and decided to adopt him and name him "Jinx". The whole crew takes care of him and they love bringing him to all their job sites. He's very curious and can be found peeking in and out of all sorts of interesting places. You'll have to see how many times you can find Jinx throughout the story. I think Jinx is Levon's favorite character and searching for him is one of his favorite things to do.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Coloring Pages!



Some of my friends with "little ones" asked if I could create some downloadable coloring pages. Of course! I'll add some more later. Hope you like.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Build, Dogs, Build




I just sent off the final art for book number 2 Build, Dogs, Build: A Tall Tail. Here's a peek at the opening endpapers. I was inspired by that iconic photo "Lunch atop a Skyscraper". The photo was taken in 1932 during construction of the RCA building, (later renamed the GE Building in 1986) at Rockefeller Center in New York.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Banjos and Dogs just go together.



Go. Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman is one of my favorite children's books of all time. And it's no surprise that it was one of my inspirations for writing and illustrating Dig, Dogs, Dig. My favorite scene in the book is the one where three dogs are on the boat at night. Two of them are playing checkers and the third is playing the banjo. I love the banjo, and to the exasperation of my family and neighbors I play it as often as possible. In Dig, dogs, Dig there's a banjo playing dog. I won't tell you where he is in the story, so you'll have to look for him. But he's also in the next two books coming out later this year: Build, Dogs, Build and Work, Dogs, Work.

And if you needed any further proof, Charles Shultz agrees with me too.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Getting Published: My "Tail"

Last week, I wrote to Will Terry thanking him for his video series How to Illustrate Children’s Books. His video series played a key role in helping me get my first book ready to submit to a publisher. The course outlined everything I needed to know about creating and submitting my book, and his real-world experience and knowledge gave me the confidence to finally go for it.

Since then I’ve often been asked, “How did an unknown author/illustrator get a book dummy to a major publisher, have them actually look at it, and sign a 3-book contract in under a week?” Good question.

I realize my success is fairly rare, like finding a cache of pirate gold buried in your back yard, or getting quick and friendly service at the DMV, but, it’s not impossible to do what I did. And I am not someone who has a brother or a sister-in-law working in the publishing industry. What I am, is someone who did his “homework”.

So unless you actually have friends, relatives or somebody high up in the publishing world, you’ll need to do your homework too. And the videos and tutorials on FolioAcademy.com are a great place to start.

So here’s the story

I’d been working as a children’s illustrator for about 12-15 years. Mostly doing “work-for-hire” stuff in the educational markets. Occasionally I’d pick up some advertising and/or packaging work, but I always had the dream of writing and illustrating my own children’s books. As most of you know, everyone has written a children’s book. You can’t throw a wet cat at a party without hitting someone who wants to tell you about a great children’s book they, or their 12-year-old daughter, wrote that you should help them illustrate. They’re sure it would be a guaranteed “best-seller”. Heck, I’ve even written a few guaranteed “best-sellers”. No one has ever heard of them of course, because they’re still in a folder on my hard drive labeled, “reallycool_futurebookprojects”.

Finally in January of 2011, I was determined to get off my butt and take my shot. I was either going to be a published author/illustrator or I would join the ranks of the rejected. Either way, getting in the game was better than warming the bench.

A flash of ignorance

It all started with an idea, one of those rare “light bulb-over-the-head” moments. I swear it really should look like that. An actual giant light bulb should magically appear over someone’s head when they’re struck with a really good idea. It would sure make it easier to distinguish between a truly good idea and a run-of-the-mill one. But there it was. I had my flash of brilliance. And you know it’s good when you sit down and the story practically writes itself. So I sat down and began to type and scribble phrases and rhymes as quick as my fingers could go. This idea was not going to be filed away in the “reallycool_futurebookprojects” folder.

I’m stoked. I have my story. I’ve written, edited and rewritten it three or four times. I’ve shown it to my spouse (very important step). If you don’t have one of these, you should look into getting one someday. There was a moment when I knew it was ready. As I was reading the story aloud to my wife, my 4-year-old son stopped playing with his toys and came over to peek at the pictures but saw only blank pages. I told him I hadn’t drawn any yet. He replied, “Daddy, draw some pictures. I want to see this book.”

Infused with the confidence and expectations of my youngest child, I went to work on the illustrations. I drew three or four pages, sketching quickly then rendering final art in record time. I didn’t even start at the beginning. I started drawing page nine first then page three, then four. Page eleven flew from my Wacom tablet with equal parts inspiration and ignorance. The work was pretty good. I was onto something. Light bulbs were flashing over my head and magic was happening.



Suddenly it all stopped. Page five had no real meaning. Thirteen looked like it belonged in totally different story. Page six was unimaginative. I needed help. Inspiration and excitement had taken me as far as they could, but without a plan and some structure this book really was heading into the “reallycool_futurebookprojects” folder, and quickly.

That’s when I discovered Will Terry’s video course. As I followed his process it filled in all the structural blanks. I rewrote some pages; fixed the things that were wrong; made my very first folded paper book dummy; sketched out the entire story; and made the appropriate changes to some of the final art I had been so inspired to create. It was still good art, but now it actually worked!

So there it was. I had actually created a book. Well, it wasn’t a book quite yet, but it could be a book. If only someone would give it a chance it could be one of those “best-sellers” I’d often heard so much about. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What to do with a “dummy”

Years earlier, I had joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. They are, without a doubt, one of the best organizations in the world for aspiring children’s writers and illustrators. The information and contacts their organization provides are priceless. They have a wealth of information about publishers, what they accept, who to contact, and how to submit stories and book dummies to them. I went to their website and saw that they would be holding their annual L.A. summer conference in a few months. I had roughly 24 hours before registration would close. This was it. Everything had been leading up to me going to this conference. Los Angeles is about a 3-hour drive, and I was able to find a modestly priced hotel nearby. The Hyatt was full. Undoubtedly booked by hundreds of other hopeful authors and illustrators and, hopefully, hundreds of publishers all dying to see my book and sign me to a big fat contract.


In the weeks before the conference I put together a full-sized book dummy. I also had some business cards and postcards made with some of the final art from my book and interesting bits about me and why I’m so dang wonderful. These would surely seal the deal!

If you’ve never been to one of the SCBWI conferences, either the summer one in L. A. or the winter conference in New York, you owe it to yourself to go. They are well worth the cost of attending both in content and in the access you get to very important people in the industry. Plus, they’re just a whole lot of fun. Interesting, funny, and creative people surround you. The energy is inspiring.

The SCBWI Conference was an amazing three days of shameless self-promotion and information gathering. I met dozens of fellow illustrators and writers who I have kept in touch with and will be long-term friends and collaborators.

While at the conference I was in constant self-promotion mode, which is very difficult for me. Like most of us I’m a hermit by nature, preferring to spend long hours in dimly lit studios writing, tinkering and doodling away. Email, facebook and blogging are my communication tools of choice. I own an awesome iphone but never use it except for ordering pizza or as a GPS on those rare occasions I find myself more than 3 miles from home. My phonebook has two entries, my wife and me. I’m not sure why I would call myself, unless I was experiencing some existential crisis.

But there I was, outgoing, positive and infused with new-found networking energy. By day three I had met a hundred people and was starting to hone my pitch. But I still hadn’t landed any one-on-one time with that elusive of all creatures, the Children’s Book publisher.

The right place at the wrong time

Late in the evening on day three I decided to attend the portfolio display. Since I registered late, I missed the opportunity to have my portfolio included. Under a huge tent, a hundred amazing portfolios from talented illustrators were laid out on long cloth-draped tables for art directors and publishers to drool over. They would pick up business cards from their favorites and contact them later begging them to illustrate their latest and greatest children’s book.

Tired and hoarse I edged my way through the crowd to look with envy at all the wonderful artwork spread out before me. About halfway through the portfolios I stopped to take a closer look at one of the artist’s books. I don’t recall whose book it was now, but the artwork was absolutely wonderful. Beautiful colorful illustrations jumped off the page and sang with life and emotion. I commented out loud, “Wow, this guys work is really amazing.” A woman standing next to me looked over and replied, “Oh yes, we’re currently working on a book with him.” To which I replied, “Oh, and who are ‘we’.”

The woman introduced herself as the Creative Director for HarperCollins Children’s Books, at which point I became a monosyllabic, lobotomy patient. I had just spent three days searching for a needle in a haystack and upon its discovery, was unable to pick it up. I mumbled something semi-coherent like, “I draw stuff ”, and, “have book dummy”, (managed two syllables on that one). And handed her one of my postcards before embarrassing myself further. She said, “Very nice, hope you enjoy the rest of the conference”, or something equally polite. At that point my brain was experiencing a complete systems shut down. I grunted, drooled and quietly slipped away through the crowd.

After three days of extolling the prolific virtues of my creative genius to anyone who would stand still for 30 seconds and listen, I was rendered mute when it actually mattered. I was tired. I called the other person on my phone list and told her how I had just totally screwed up.

Dig, James, Dig

Not only did I completely blow it with the one person I was hoping to meet at the conference, but, in an attempt to get away before exposing myself as a total idiot, I didn’t get her business card or contact information, enshrining me in the Idiot’s Hall of Fame. But I had a name, a company and a title. And with that, even an idiot can elevate himself to, well, less of an idiot.

I went home and started digging, trying to find, online, what I could about the “Creative Director who got away”. I could find her name, I could see her in various directories, and I found wonderful articles about her but nothing with a phone number or email address. I had almost given up when I discovered we shared something in common, a certain social media group.

Up until then I viewed social media with some level of skepticism. For me, It fell somewhere between annoyance and disdain. But now, all that connecting, “friending” and “liking”, was finally going to pay off.

I sent her a message, mentioning our brief meeting. I was hoping she had met other artist that evening and might confuse me with someone who had the ability to speak in complete sentences. And I asked if I could send her my PDF book dummy. A huge perk of attending the SCBWI is that if you attend these conferences you’re more likely to get a response from a publisher or an art director. It’s a courtesy they often extend to would-be authors and illustrators who’ve shown initiative to get involved and learn about the business. It’s no guarantee, but it does increase the likelihood of them actually looking at your book or manuscript. The creative director told me I could go ahead and send my PDF dummy, and she’d take a look when she had some time. Cool, she didn’t remember me!

You have Mail!

I sent my dummy to HarperCollins on a Monday afternoon. The next morning I had a response in my inbox. I really wasn’t expecting to get a reply for a few weeks, so I figured it was an auto response saying, “I have received your submission and if you don’t hear back from me in 8 weeks or so, have a nice life.” What I got was a personal reply saying how she really liked my book and could she let me know in five days whether or not they were interested. Uh, OK, yes - back to my single-syllable vocabulary.

Friday morning at roughly 8:30am, my normally quiet iphone rings. HarperCollins loves the book, and they want me to write and illustrate a series of three, to start. I promptly got an agent as I quickly realized I was in over my head and needed an expert. So now, I have a lot of very talented and amazing people working with me to help me build my dream. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Yes, it does happen, even when you make mistakes along the way. I know for my story, there are hundreds of other stories that don’t end the same way. But there are many that do. I started the process with passion and determination, and it has paid off. I feel very lucky, but I think we make our own luck.

My advice to would-be authors and illustrators is: educate yourself to the process; learn everything you can from all the great online resources out there; join and participate in organizations like SCBWI; build a social network; and always do your best work. Lastly, if you ever get a chance to talk to someone influential to your career, try and use words with more than one syllable.

Now go out there and make some luck!

My book Dig, Dogs, Dig: A Construction Tail is out for pre-orders right now at all major online booksellers. Please visit my facebook page and “like” the book.

James 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dig, Dogs, Dig: A Construction Tail

Those of you who have known me for a long time, know it's been my dream to write and illustrate my own children's books. Some of you even had to read very early drafts of books about a child loosing an eye, or a wheeled duck trying to find his way home. Well, you're not off the hook yet, those are still in development...

But for now, I'm very excited to announce my soon to be released, first children's book, Dig, Dogs, Dig: A Construction Tail. The book will be in stores and available on-line to ship as of April 30, 2013.

Top-dog Duke leads a busy work crew to a new construction site. All sorts of dogs have plenty to do before the day is out. These clever dogs will dig, haul, push, plow, and even bring in a crane to build a new park. But what happens when they find something unexpected buried deep in the ground?

The story brings a new perspective to the construction "tail" with this hilarious crew of colorful dogs. Bright, detailed illustrations beg to be looked at again and again, with readers discovering something new each time.

The book is currently accepting pre-orders on AmazonBarnes & Noble and most major on-line book sellers. It's been a long process and I can't wait for April 30th. It's the first book in a series of three scheduled to be released over the next year from HarperCollins.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sample Pages

Just wanted to share some images from the new book. As of right now, I don't have the "Search inside" feature set up on Amazon.com. So this is the best place to see some of the interior art. Hope you like. 

And if you do, please click over to my Dig, Dogs, Dig Facebook page and click on the "like" button. It helps me to see how many fans there are for the book.