Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Public Speaking... YIKES! By Mike Ciccotello

I can trace my fear of public speaking back to my sixth grade student council elections. As I walked up to the podium, I tripped and fell over a bunch of metal folding chairs. My heart started pounding. I was so embarrassed. I barely got through my speech. The same year, my mind went blank during my piano recital. I could only get through the first stanza of music. After three attempts, I got up, walked away from the piano and started crying my eyes out. Those two incidents set the stage for my fear of being singled out in front of a crowd. 

It's not a comfortable thing to watch. I start talking and inevitably my voice cracks. My eyes glaze over as I stare blankly into the audience, and then my arms start shaking. 

Last year, I insisted on getting over this fear. It took many conversations with friends and loved ones. This past year, I ran a workshop for NJ SCBWI, I hosted a Lunch and Learn at Johnson & Johnson headquarters, I spoke at my county library, and I did a full day school visit for 300 children. I decided that the only way I was going to get over it was to keep doing it. I will be the first to tell you, its not easy, but it's getting better. 

On Thursday and Friday this week, I'll be leading four Character Design workshops for the NJ Teen Arts Festival, hosted by Monmouth County Arts Organization at Brookdale Community College. I'm somewhere between excited and terrified. 

I'm not too worried about the speaking part, I just hope to connect with the kids, and let them know that nurturing their talent and following their dreams is absolutely worth it. 

Don't Let Go, by Mike Ciccotello

Represented by Rachel Orr
For more info contact 

Instagram: @ciccotello 
Twitter: @ciccotello 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

It Really Does Take a Village - By Deborah Cuneo

Little Dragon and the New Baby/Back Cover - Sky Pony Press March 20th 2018

To say that the journey to publication has been somewhat of a roller-coaster ride, would be a complete understatement!  Being totally honest, at times, it took every ounce of my being to be able to continue forward. 

Fortunately, I have had the best support system in my family and friends, my faith, my crit group and special people, who have known me since I started the journey into Kid Lit, who virtually held my hand while listening to me sobbing endlessly, as my deadline approached and my computer completely choked, destroying more than half of my final art files. There is a piece of each one of them in this book. 

Little Dragon and the New Baby/Interior - Sky Pony Press March 20th 2018

And on the other side of the desk, there was the amazing editor, who saw something in my scribbly little storyboard I presented at one of the always awesome NJ-SCBWI conferences. She believed in me and my vision enough to take this on, even though it was a risk.  And as she passed the baton, each one of the editors and support staff that I've had the pleasure of working with, also had a supportive hand during the course of this project, sometimes during some of the toughest hurdles in the production. 

I always thought that I would just sit down and draw and presto...a book, but it's really not like that at all. Each and every one of the people I mentioned, all played an important role in how this came to be. There is no way it could have happened without their involvement, and I'm truly grateful for them all!

So ... on behalf of myself and my "village", I'd like to present OUR debut book...

  Now Available for Pre-order!

(Click on the link below to Sky Pony's page for more information) 

Blog: Creating Out Loud
Twitter: @debcuneoart 
 Instagram: @ataleof2studios