Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mark Wayne Adams ******* Award Wining Author, Illustrator and Publisher

When Tiffany Flowers, coordinator of the forthcoming South Carolina Literacy Celebration contacted me about featuring an author here, on Jeralyn Writes, I said, 'YES!' 

I waited in suspense and wondered: what author, what genre - WHO? When I found out WHO, I said, 'WOW!' 

I'm delighted to present the following interview with the nationally recognized illustrator for the Best Fairy Books Series ; Nicholas, That's Ridiculous! and numerous other children's picture books:

Mark Wayne Adams
Born in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, Mark Wayne Adams graduated college with a BFA in Drawing from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. He then moved to Central Florida, and has called Florida home for over twenty years. His work experience includes Walt Disney World Company, SeaWorld Orlando, Art Director for GSI Architectural Sign Company, and store manager for Sprint Print, Inc. Mark is now CEO of Mark Wayne Adams, Inc. and serves as President Elect for the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. 

Mark has illustrated over thirty children's books in six years winning numerous children's book awards. An unexpected reward in his publishing journey has been public speaking. Whether at professional organizations or elementary schools, Mark offers valuable insight, inspiring presentations, and a voice that reaches audiences across the United States. 

Q) It all started -  How, Where, When? 
A) Where: My mother was a librarian. Life for me was filled with books, mainly children’s books.

When: In 1996, my first publisher hired me to illustrate a fifteen-page book. I completed the project in fifteen days. My next project was a thirty-two-page book.  I completed that book in thirty days. The publisher was curious, how I finished two books in forty-five days. Especially when his other illustrators took a year per book.

How:  I draw at an animator’s pace. Animators draw hundreds of illustrations a day. As a children’s book illustrator, I decided 1-5 pictures a day meant I’d complete an illustrated picture book every 30 days. Six years later, working about 6 hours a day, five days a week, eight months a year, I’ve illustrated almost 40 picture books.

My first publisher was right, “If you keep this pace Mark, you’ll make a ridiculous amount of money as a children’s book illustrator.”

Q) Where do the ideas come from? 
A) The key for me is continually drawing in my sketchbook. I draw from life, my imagination, and from inspiring stories. As a child, Walt Disney’s animators inspired me.

Now, current award-winning books inspire me. Applying an award-winning standard creates successful books. Professional illustrations, graphic design, and editing are key for all my projects. These elements help me stay inspired.

Q) Do any of the characters pertain to your childhood? 
A) Of course! I’ve hidden countless people in my books. The characters from “Jilli, That’s Silly!” and “Nicholas, That’s Ridiculous!” are the author and her children. My entire family is hidden in “King for a Day, the Story of Stories.” And the sweetest, most important, childhood character is “The Belly Button Fairy.” The Belly Button Fairy was my babysitter, Mrs. Ila Mae Parker. She never saw herself immortalized inside the book.

Q) What part does humor play in your work?
A) I’m the illustrator of “The Fart Fairy.” Humor is a given. To set the mood for most projects, I listen to Christmas music. How can I be sad with Santa Claus coming to town! The music reminds me of being a kid and reflects joy in the expressions of my characters. The Fart Fairy came from other inspirational sounds. Ha Ha!

Q) What advice can you offer to upcoming illustrators/authors? 
A) Treat publishing like a business. I don’t push retail store sales much these days. Amazon is the largest retailer of books. Opening an Amazon account reaches the largest consumer audience. Retailers (bookstores, gift shops, etc.) collect up to 50% of the retail price. Authors and Illustrators are usually responsible for shipping costs, damages, and returns. Profit is less successful in these markets.

I focus on point of sale locations: book festivals, schools, my website, and running promotions. I make the most profit in these locations even when offering sales and discounts. Diversity in distribution is a must. Not every consumer shops for products in the same way. Be prepared by having accounts not only at Amazon, but also other large chains. Wearing a publisher hat means a book is a product, not your baby.

Q) With over 30 illustrated books, what's next?
A) I have four great new books, “Polly and Her Pigtails,” “Scribble Dee Sophie,” “Franny’s Rescue,” and “Johari’s Joy.” Polly and Johari both received medals in the Mom’s Choice Awards.  I’m currently illustrating and publishing “Parts of Speech Parade,” “Frozen Floppies,” and “The Freckle Fairy,” which is the fifth book in the award-winning Best Fairy Books Series.

I’m also releasing my first illustrated novel in the “Bothers & Sinisters Series,” Spanish print and eBook versions of “Nicholas, That’s Ridiculous!” and “Jilli, That’s Silly!,” and my first how to book,“AIM Kit, Authors & Illustrators Marketing Kit” all before July.

After July, I plan on promoting authors and books until December. Followers can also find me at numerous speaking events from Ohio to Florida.

In between writing, illustrating, publishing, speaking events, and cherished moments of humor, Mark Wayne Adams can be reached at: www.markwayneadams.com; or, follow him on Twitter: @markwayneadams 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Camp Update

In a random placement, excluding myself, all the writers in my first cabin at Camp NaNoWrimo were 19 years old and under. I debunked before I even considered unpacking. Nothing against the tykes, but I couldn't handle the steep age difference without an overbearing essence of antiquity moving in with me. 

For my second cabin-fitting attempt, I thought I'd outsmart any future random selection; I opted for a cabin full of older folks. Oops. The writers were indeed older, but most didn't know how to navigate a computer. I quickly opted out of that one as well.

My third and final cabin: Again, a random pick, with the youngest 13 and the oldest writer, 47. Other than my greeting to those cabin mates, "Grandma's in the house," not a peep out of them. So much for community!

I guess camping, like writing, is indeed a lonely ordeal.

As far as my Camp writing, my goal is a mere 10,001 words. To date, I'm at 3,134 words.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Flying My NaNoWriMo Rebel Flag

I’m itching with poison ivy to share my Camp NaNoWriMo cabin status. Hold on - I never told you where I left off with November 2013 NaNoWriMo. Yikes! Let me wrap that all up now.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Camp Foolery

I wrote part of this on April 1st. 
I just realized  - I fooled myself:
I didn't hit POST!
or, did I????

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bob Waldner* Self-Published Author

When your email inbox gets post-office full, do you find yourself doing the “Eenie, meenie, miney, mo thing?” (And, I’m not talking Justin Bieber and friends.) At times like that, are you selective and delete without reading? What if you miss something big?

The following interview is a result of one of those lucky times when intrigued, I opened the mail and discovered something big: Self-Published Author, Bob Waldner and his first novel, Peripheral Involvement. After reading a bit about Waldner and his book, I had to find out more. So, being the curious writer that I am – I asked.

Bob Waldner was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, before heading off to Duke University to study mechanical engineering. After spending two years working as an engineer in Maryland, he changed course and enrolled in the University of Michigan Law School. For the past fourteen years, he has represented banks and hedge funds as a transactional attorney in private practice in New York. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Erinn, and his two daughters, Maureen and Madeleine. Peripheral Involvement is his first novel.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


I arrived back to Nassau, or "The Rock," as locals refer to it and realized that I'm an ambidextrous driver.

What do I mean by 'ambidextrous driver?' It's simple. I can drive on the right side of the road when required; I can drive on the left, as in The Bahamas, with no problems whatsoever. Mind you, no matter what side of the road I drive, the steering wheel is on the right side - um, that's the left side of the car as I drive, but - still right, as in right, or correct for me.

Perhaps if I could write with both my left and right hands, maybe then I'd be facing a two-way street.

Confused? Try driving or writing on the wrong side.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Writer's Block of a Physical Kind

I wager that few writers escape the unwanted charms of “Writer's Block." You know, sitting in front of that blank piece of paper or computer screen without any idea of what the heck to write. If you haven't suffered from this at least once, I want to know your secret! But what about writer's block unrelated to our thought processing center where ideas develop, sentences form and pages turn into stories? What about ..... a physical writer's block?