Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Dragon And The Princess - A Counting Book - Now on Kickstarter!

Hey, folks!

So, Logan Uber, my brother-in-law, has a publishing company.  And recently he had good success with an alphabet book he published, S is for Ska: A Musical Alphabet Book by Geoff Munn, author of the comic Kiosk Life in Neutral.

The book had good success, so Logan wanted to see if he could repeat it with a counting book.  He recruited me to write the thing, and Mina Sanwald, an illustrator and animator out of New York, to draw the thing.  She's pretty awesome--she's worked with Bill Plympton and does a lot of work with Copic Markers-- I don't mean drawing, I mean stuff like how she's taken over the Copic marker twitter account this weekend to cover New York Comic Con.

Naturally, me being me, I wasn't going to turn in "One apple. Two dolphins" and call it a day.  I wanted this book to actually have a story.

But I also knew the book wasn't really going to be about the words--it was going to be about the art.  Logan actually got his start selling prints, and part of the goal of this project was to produce a lot of pictures that people would also want to buy to put on their wall.

The result was a lot of fun.  It was a lot like comic book writing in the sense that I was trying to create visuals that would be interesting, but not get so in-depth about the visuals that the artist just felt like they were drawing my picture.  In some ways, this project was about restraint.  Tell the story in few words, because it was really about the pictures and the counting, and evoke cool pictures, but leave enough to the artist that she could have fun with it.

You can get Mina's thoughts on the project here.

Because this is 2013, we're launching the project on Kickstarter.  You can get the eBook version for $5, and there are still some chances left to get the softcover and eBook bundle for $15.

Go check it out.  There's even a video where I talk about why I decided to go with a Dragon and a Princess and a couple other things.  There's sketches of the artwork and a bunch of other things to see.

Any support you can give by backing, linking, or sharing is super appreciated.

Check it out at

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Drama Showcase Performances

The girls have been taking a beginning drama class.  They loved it!  They want to sign up for more next school year! 

In drama they learned all the theater lingo, like stage right, downstage, etc.  They also learned how they needed to use their whole body to convey what their character is thinking and feeling.  They learned how to project their voice, memorize lines, and how to audition.  They also learned that everyone has butterflies and how to overcome them, Emma was especially pleased to hear that everyone gets butterflies!

All the kids taking the class were paired up and given a scene to work on for 5 weeks.  They then performed their scenes at their final showcase.  They both did a great job.  I forgot to take a camera so I taped it on my camera phone, so the bad lighting and sound is because of the camera not the performers.

The following is Emma's scene from the the play The Boy Who Talked To Whales.  Her scene partner was not able to make it, so one of the teacher's filled in her part.

The next one is Mia's scene from the play, The Portrait The Wind The Chair.

Both girls did an outstanding job!  We have some actresses in the family!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Piano Lessons

Mia has been taking piano lessons from Mammy.  She is doing great!  And is almost done with the first book.

Emma can't wait until Mia is done with the first book, because she then gets to start taking piano lessons as well.

And I can't wait for Emma to finish the first book because then I get to start taking piano lessons.

Watch out world, pretty soon we will be concert pianists!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Addition To The Family

We got a puppy!!!  Her name is Sarah.  The girls and I love her while Erik tolerates her like he does the cat. 
He is a good man that sacrifices a lot so we can be happy and have what we want.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Utah And Idaho Trip

Better really late than really, really, really, really late, right?

In February made our annual trip to Utah for the Life The Universe And Everything Symposium, affectionately called LTUE.  This is were we get to meet author, illustrators, comic book writers, movie makers, screenplay writers, costume makers, photographers, etc.  We get to sit and learn from these people who have made in their field, or at least starting to make it.  Erik is in heaven when we go. 

Every year there are a bunch of different classes going on and a lot that happen at the same time, so Erik has a hard time choosing what ones to go to.  In the past the girls and I have gone to a few to take notes for him, this year the girls and I decided that we would sit in on more for him, okay I decided and the girls went a long with it.  They are great sports!  We also got a digital recorder so I didn't have to worry about taking notes and worry if they were the right ones that Erik would like.

But before we went to LTUE we spent the night at Grandmother Peterson's.  We had dinner with her and just talked and visited.  The girls played in the snow and got to see the animals and pet the cows.


We then continued on up to Rexburg, Idaho to visit with my brothers Isaac and Vaughn who are attending BYU Idaho.  Isaac was staying with Vaughn, his wife Tasha and their four kids.  We had not met their two youngest before so this was a fun time to see family.  The girls got to see and play in a lot more snow and Mia has decided that, "She knows why we live in California, no snow."  After a while we all pretty sick of the snow.  We stayed with them for  a couple days, and were there on Valentine's Day so the kids gave everyone valentine's and decorated heart cookies.

After that we headed back down to Utah, but before we left Idaho we had to make a stop in Napoleon Dynamite's hometown of Preston.  This was an unscheduled stop we didn't realize that our directions would take us through Preston on our way to visit friends in Logan Utah.  Erik would have plotted out many things for us to stop and see had he known. 

We then stopped and saw the Schofields.  They use to be in our ward before we moved to Rialto.  They moved around the same time as us, though they went further.  I use to visit teach her and the girls loved to come with me so they could play with their dogs.  The dogs and girls were reunited and got to have a chance to play.  They also have had a beautiful baby girl since they have moved and I am afraid that I monopolized the baby during our stay.  And dork that I am forgot to take pictures, they all look great.

We also stopped in Bountiful to visit an old friend of Erik's, Robby Hall.  (I can't say his name without wanting to say the whole thing, Robby Hall.  Whenever they talk about him they use his full name, so he will forever in my mind be Robby Hall.  Even when we were there I had to stop myself, in my head I would complete the whole name though.)  I finally got to meet Robby, his wife, and three boys.  (They might have been at our reception but lets face it, everyone there were new names and faces so please forgive me for not remembering.)  I have heard many storied about Erik and Robby!  So it was great to put a face with the name.  Again I forgot to take pictures, if the camera is not in my hand I will forget to use it!

We then continued on to Highland, our last stop.  We stayed with friends, Lori and Derek White and 5 of their 6 kids, that use to live in Pennsylvania.  Lori was in the Young Womens Presidency with my mom when I was in Young Womens and I use to babysit for them.  And now I am going to date myself, their oldest son Jason who I babysat just left for his mission!  They graciously allowed us to use their beautiful home as a base of operations!  They didn't get to see us much, which can be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.  You can decide that one.  We did have an excellent dinner with them and the girls spent some time playing with their youngest two kids.  I didn't get any pictures with them either.

We also got to visit with our friend Frank Livingston, from when we attended BYU.  Frank was one of the coolest guys we knew!  He and Erik both love movies and would have movie nights.  It was at Frank's house that I watched all three original Indiana Jones movies!  And the food Frank would make.  Mmmm, I get hungry just thinking about it.  I did get a picture of Erik and Frank together at Frank's house. 

The girls and I went to a playground in Provo while we were there.  Don't ask me the name of it we just passed it in the car and decided to get out and play. 

We also visited the Museum of Art on BYU campus and got to see the huge exhibit of Christ paintings done by Carl Bloch. This was a awesome exhibit and if you are in the area and get the chance I highly recommend checking it out.

Then there were three days of the symposium.  Three days of classes.  Some interesting and some not so much, especially for the girls.  Did I mention that they are troopers? 
We were also able to get a bunch of books signed, Erik if you don't already now is a collector of books and loves to get them signed if possible. The girls even got a comic book signed by Jake Black, I think it was a Batman comic, but it was a month and a half ago.

Mia and Emma both caught a tiny cold, each of them had a day that was the worst but they kept plugging on.  We have great girls!  They did have books, and paper to draw on, and some toys and such as well as schoolwork in their bags.

One of the days we were in a class that had tables set up so the girls were excited because they could lay their heads down and rest.  So they had laid their heads down and the speaker, screenplay writer, MichaelBrent Collins, started his lecture.  And looks over and sees the girls with their heads down and makes a comment on how cute they were.  And then he looks at Emma and asks her, "Am I boring you?"  To which Emma nods her head yes.  Everyone laughs and he tells them, "Go ahead and go to sleep.  But if anybody else in the class goes to sleep I'm going to throw something at you."  Everyone laughs again.  Leave it to Emma to tell the truth when someone else would have told a white lie.

Mia, Emma, and I skipped out on some of the classes and went to Carl's Jr to meet up with a Sister Missionary that served in our branch when I was baptized.  Sister Montgomery, the boys and I called her Sister Montgomery Moose after some cartoon character.  She brought her mission album and we looked at old pictures, reminisced, and I got her caught up on everyone's lives in Slippery Rock Branch.  Thanks mom for keeping me updated!  Again no pictures!

Mia, Emma, and I were also able to attend an event at the Smith Fieldhouse.  They had all the womens sports teams there to meet everyone.  And they had little stations set up where the kids could try out different sports.  Cosmo, BYU's mascot was there.  Mia even caught one of the t-shirts they were flinging into the crowd.

On Sunday we went up to Salt Lake and watched Music and The Spoken Word.  Took a tour of the conference Center and visited the two visitor centers on Temple Square.  There was a lot of snow and we were even driving and walking in a snowstorm.  The girls certainly got to see their fill of snow this trip.

We then stopped at Erik's friend Andy Meisenbacher's, I probably butchered the name I'm a phonetic speller sorry about that!  We had a wonderful dinner at Andy's beautiful house with his wife and kids and another old friend of Erik's, Larry I forget his last name and his wife and kids. 

We then headed back to Grandmother Peterson's for another visit.  Where we again talked and hung out.  It was great to see her. We try to split our visits up so we don't wear her out or overwhelm her.  We spent the night again and then headed back towards California.

We did pull off in Vegas to drive through the strip and see the casinos but we didn't get out this trip.  Then homeward bound.

We made it home safe and sound, just worn out! 

A big thank you to the Frosts who took care of the animals and house while we were gone!  They even hung up a welcome home banner.  Thanks you guys, we love you!

I think I covered everyone and I apologize if I forgot anyone, it was not intentional.  There were a ton of people we didn't get to see this trip, we hope we can catch you next year!

Erik's Getting Published!

For those of you who haven't heard yet, Erik is going to be published in an anthology of short stories this fall!  Yay, Erik!!!

The name of the book is Monsters And Mormons, and should be coming out in October, just in time for Halloween.  All stories in this anthology have to have both monsters and Mormons involved somehow in the story plot.  There are a couple bigger name authors whom will have their stories in the book as well.  Namely Dan Wells and Eric James Stone. 

Erik's story entitled, Bichos, is about a returned missionary who with his new wife have returned to Brazil where he served his mission.  (Erik served his mission in Brazil and has a great love for Brazil and the people in Brazil)  While the characters are honeymooning they run into some of the monsters from Indian legends from Brazil.  That's all I'm going to say.  We'll let you know when and how to buy the book so you can read it yourself!

Mia, Emma, and I are so proud of Erik and all the hard work he has put into his writing career!  His time and effort has started to pay off. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Okay, I know I need to do a post about our Utah/Idaho trip as well as our trip to Disneyland with the Peterson ensemble but I just had to post this quick one about the girls' haircuts.

I decided that I had put off trimming the girls hair long enough.  I pulled out the haircutting stuff and asked Mia what she wanted, usually she chooses as little off as possible, but today she surprised me.  She said, "Maybe about shoulder length."  Looking at how long her hair was I had Emma run and get a ruler.  I showed that if we went a little shorter she could then donate her hair to locks of love, but told her it was totally her choice.  I know how much she loves long hair so I didn't think that she would go for that, but to my surprise she said, "Let's do it!"  I gave her a couple chances to change her mind but she said no. 

And then as soon as I started cutting she said maybe not, but it was really too late.  She teared up a little but has since been smiling.  She then said, "At least those who don't have hair can have some, and my hair will grow back."  She's such a sweet sweet girl.

Then it was Emma's turn and she has always liked short hair and I was the one that told her she should grow it out a little bit so I thought for sure she would jump all over donating her hair.  But again I was surprised, she decided she wanted it about shoulder length. 

I think that they both look really cute with their new haircuts!