Turbo Monkey Tales is a group blog focusing on the craft, production, marketing and consumption of Children's Literature. We are illustrators, writers, animators and media mongrels. We are readers! We are published, unpublished and self-published; agented and searching, and 100% dedicated to our Kid Lit journey, no matter where we are on the path. Join our Tribe and grab a vine. The more the merrier!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year! Turbo Monkey Resolutions

by Ellen

It’s that time of year again.  You know, that time when we reflect on the past year and make promises to ourselves for the New Year . . . a resolution!

People have been making resolutions since the time of Julius Caesar, way back in Ancient Rome. The Romans believed in a god called Janus. Janus had two faces, one looking backward into the past, and one looking forward into the future. The Romans would ask Janus for forgiveness if they had done wrong in the previous year, and then make resolutions for behaving better in the New Year. And if you didn’t know, our month January is named after the Roman god, Janus.

Resolutions come in all shapes and sizes. Some are based more on luck, like resolving to win the lottery. Others are more realistic, like resolving to save money for a special writer’s conference that you really want to attend. And then we have the most popular resolution: to lose weight. But we won’t go there, not on New Year’s Eve, with New Year’s Day Dinner still ahead.

What about writers and illustrators and their New Year’s resolutions? Most people visiting the Monkey tree house are writers, so perhaps you’ve given a resolution some thought. The Monkeys have, and I’d like to share them with you.

Amy:  I resolve to create a writing schedule and write regularly . . . instead of only when the mood strikes me.

Craig:  I resolve to make a million dollars this year by creating a Trans-media company that creates printed books with Augmented Reality, wildly enhanced e-books, whimsical apps and web based TV series.

Ellen:  I resolve to move on and write a new book.  T.S Eliot best put it, "For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning."

Hazel: To finish more often.

Julie:  My resolution stems from Terri Farley's wise words about how people around us will only take our dreams/efforts as seriously as we ourselves do. I want to draw some more boundaries and shake up my schedule to mesh with my goals. I need to make the pie chart that represents "how I spend my life" be more in line with the pie chart you'd see for "what matters to me."

Kristen: I hope to finish a rough draft of my current WIP by March 20th.

Marilyn:  In 2013 I want to finish the projects that I began in 2012, take a class in an aspect of writing I've never explored before (e.g., screenwriting), and read more than I do now in the genres I write. This all means that I'll need to use my internet time more efficiently and cut down on my TV obsessions (i.e., Shark Tank, Real Housewives). Or maybe I'll record them instead ;) 

Sarah:  My resolution will be to write through more than I have. I've always been that person who revises and revises those first few chapters. Pounding out the rough draft of Valiant last summer drove home the value of getting the entire draft down before revising. (Of course, I spent a lot of time thinking about it before I wrote it.)

So there you have it, our New Year’s Resolutions over here at the tree house. We hope you drop by next year, but for now, all the Turbo Monkeys are wishing you and your loved ones a very healthy, happy and prosperous New Year! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Monkey Favs: Writing/Illustrating/Kidlit Related website

We monkeys are taking a lil' holiday, going swingabout for a week to hang with our tribes. We wish you healthy, happy and inspired Holidays and a truly wonderful New Year! If you have a little quiet time between your festive frolics, you might check out some of these great websites...

Amy:  Querytracker—not only helps you find which agents or editors might be interested in your ms, but also helps you keep track of who you've queried and their responses. And Harold Underdown's The Purple Crayon website. Tons of info on the kidlit publishing process and a "Who's Moved Where" of the publishing industry.

Craig:  DrydenBooksFacebook page—Emma posts great daily links to kidlit articles, news and websites

Hazel:  Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and Turbo Monkey Tales (Yay for Monkeys!)

Kristen:  Verla Kay’s Message Board --nearly every question you've ever asked yourself about kid lit is answered here, somewhere, on this message board. Take a few hours to poke around and you'll probably make some new friends.

Marilyn:  Amazon – because I see all my favorite authors there and I can have their books in my hand or on my Kindle in seconds or a few days. I also enjoy simply shopping for the latest tools and resources for writers without having to leave the house. (I also love going to bricks-and-mortar bookstores and browsing and buying from them.)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Monkey Favs: Favorite Book on the Craft of Writing/Illustrating/Kidlit

We monkeys are taking a lil' holiday, going swingabout for a week to hang with our tribes. Wishing you healthy, happy and inspired Holidays and a truly wonderful New Year! If your Santa is sweet, maybe you'll find one of these great books in your stocking!

Amy:  Alexandra Sokoloff’s Screenwriting Tricks for Authors

Craig:  Save The Cat by Blake Snyder

Hazel:  Stephen King – On Writing

Julie:  Bird by Bird, Annie Lamott

Kristen:  Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon

Sarah:  I find I fall back more and more on what I learn in workshops than what I read in books…the Nevada SCBWI Mentorship and Patti Gauch’s amazing Heart of the Fantasy Novel workshop through Highlights were both wonderful.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Time to Say Goodbye ... (to an old manuscript)

by Sarah

This year, I said goodbye to a manuscript. 
I worked on The Looking Glass for years. That manuscript taught me how to write. When I wrapped my mind around a new aspect of writing, I applied to it to the whole novel. I rewrote it many times, and every rewrite tackled a specific issue:  made my main character more active, fixed a sagging middle, or built a believable world. 

The Looking Glass was the manuscript I rewrote (again)  while I was in the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program. I met my Monkeys because of it! My mentor, Harold Underdown, taught me so much as I worked on it.

All the rewrites changed it for the better.

Until they didn't.

By the end of last August, I had a feeling that things still weren’t right. Consultations with agents at two SCBWI conferences confirmed my fears. The worst part was that I didn’t know how to fix my story. The portions I did try to revise didn't show any real improvement. 
Amy wrote a great post about when it’s time to stop revising and send a manuscript out. My manuscript met all those criteria. Except it wasn't time to send it out. It was time to put it away. 

While I dithered about whether to set The Looking Glass aside, I remembered a conversation I had with one of my sisters, a classically trained singer.

During the last year of her degree for vocal performance, she gave a senior recital, singing several difficult arias. After she graduated, she continued to improve, but she told me later that all her growth disappeared when she revisited some of those first arias. Her breathing would change. She’d loose her range. She’d carry more tension in her voice.
She couldn't return to those songs without reverting to the skill she had when she first sang them.

I was doing the same thing with my writing. 

Continuing to work on The Looking Glass limited me to the skill I had when I first began crafting it. I’d built weaknesses into the characters and the plot. All my newbie decisions were so intrinsic to the story that I couldn’t see them, let alone undo them.

I needed a new start. A partial scholarship* to a Highlights Foundation workshop gave me the impetus I needed to dive into a new manuscript. The three-month deadline for a rough draft kept me from looking back.

I was surprised at how much easier the first draft of Valiant was to write.  I knew what needed to be done. I knew the questions I needed to ask about the plot and characters. I knew the mistakes I tended to make and worked to avoid them.

Don’t get me wrong: what I had at the end of three months was rough– really rough. But the bones were good. I used every bit of craft I'd learned over the years ... instead of working around all the mistakes I'd made over the years.

Isaac Newton, speaking of his accomplishments, said, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Granted, the giants he referred to were the intellectual greats that came before him. But the metaphor holds: I am convinced that a new manuscript stand on the shoulders of all the other stories we've spun. Those old stories give the new one height and depth and wisdom. 

So... if it's time, wave goodbye to your old manuscript. Give yourself permission to write the story all your earlier stories prepared you for. 

And in the meantime, have a Merry Christmas! I pray it brings you warmth and friendship and joy. 

*If you've been considering a Highlights workshop, but can't afford it,  apply for a scholarship! Now is the time of year to do so.

***Next week, the Turbo Monkeys will be on holiday with their tribes, but we've prepared some newsy little posts for you, so be sure to stop by, between the presents and the turkey. Love to you all!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Manuscript First Aid – Notes from a contest judge

by Marilyn Hilton

In the last few years, I've served as a judge in the children’s categories of many writing contests. I'd like to share some of the recurring problems I've noticed, in hopes that if you're beginning to write for children—or thinking about it—this list might help as you write and revise your manuscripts.
Missing or unclear story arc. Just as with stories for adults, stories for kids—picture books included—need to have a story arc, driven by characters’ desires, motivations, and challenges. What do your characters want and why, and what obstacles do they face reaching their goals? Then, what do they learn? What do they have at the end that they didn't expect?

Adult characters or narrator/storyteller. Make the story a child’s story instead of an adult's. If Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, Dad, the teacher, or any other adult who, by their nature, will protect, defend, help, teach, preach to, save, or sacrifice for the child, keep that character out of the story as much as possible. As adult writers, getting the grownups out of the way in children's literature is one of the hardest things to do.

Backstory. Readers don’t need to know most backstory, and it’s not interesting to them. If you have to tell some backstory, weave it into the story where it’s needed most, instead of at the beginning.

Main character as observer. A main character who gets into the deepest pit of trouble and then finds a way out of it is far more interesting than the character who learns a lesson from watching his or her friend get into the deepest pit of trouble.

Unclear direction and unimportant details. Get to the point of the story quickly, and then stay on track. Avoid details that don't matter.

Mechanical and style errors. Proofread carefully for punctuation, style, and grammar, because they do matter. Hire a professional proofreader if you don’t feel confident about editing yourself.

Incomplete synopsis. A synopsis summarizes the story from beginning to middle to end. A synopsis isn't the same as back-cover copy or a book review.

Perfect characters with no problems. Childhood is as challenging, frustrating, and disappointing as adulthood can be, but we adults often forget that when we look back nostalgically and write children’s literature. Adult problems are really just kid problems in grownup clothes, and the boardroom is simply the playground in mahogany. Kids have intense problems with friendships, power, autonomy, loss, jealousy, insecurity, loneliness, anger, worry. You don't have to have kids or grandkids, or work with kids, to write well for that audience. Remember that child inside you who couldn't stay up all night, whose best friend left you for a new best friend, who didn't have enough money for that thing you wanted more than anything else, whose mom was scary-sick, whose cat disappeared, who got separated from the group in the woods in the middle of the night, who dreamed of one day doing whatever you wanted, who was teased to tears by someone you admired and trusted.

Issues unique to picture books.
- Picture books don’t have to rhyme. In fact, don’t write a picture book in rhyme unless the verse works seamlessly and with surprise. If you had to force the verse into fitting the meter or rhyme scheme, try writing the story in prose.
-  Picture book characters—just like characters in books for older readers—should be fully fleshed, allowing readers to know and identify with characters by their personalities as well as their appearance.
-  Because text and art work together in a picture book to tell the story, remove any text that can be shown by the art.

One last piece of advice. If you're not a member of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), join! It's the premier organization for authors, illustrators, agents, and editors of children's literature. You’ll meet lots of people who love children’s literature as much as you do.

What in this list resonates with you? What would you add?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Elements of a Successful Writing Retreat

By Kristen

Last month thirteen writers (including five Turbo Monkeys) got together in Virginia City, Nevada (where most of us met during the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program) to reminisce and write. It turns out successful writing retreats and good novels have a lot in common...


Photo credit: Ellen Jellison
A place with atmosphere, favorable weather conditions, and room for lots of writers.

A former hospital, built in 1875 by the Sisters of Charity, "St. Mary’s Art & Retreat Center is a place where creativity can be explored in an atmosphere of quiet beauty…Recharge, regroup and reconnect with yourself and others under expansive views, blue skies, clean air and the incredible light of the high desert at 6200 feet elevation."


Photo credit: Hazel Mitchell
Example: A view of the town of Virginia City from the porch of St. Mary's Art & Retreat Center.


Photo credit: Dawn Callahan
Example: Cook, chauffeur, reluctant hero, girl next door, geek, jock, Southern belle, dark lady, monkey, etc.






Or shopping?


Example: Resident ghost?


Example: Cozy living room + 13 writers = awesome conversation.


Example: Meet your wordcount and you get chocolate!

Monday, December 10, 2012

One Gift

Christmas Bunnies

by Julie

It's the last week of school, which means I'm pretty much up to my  face in essays and grades, so I hope you won't mind my sharing an essay of my own! I picked this one because it has a bit of Christmas in it, and also because it reminds me of how in both of my two most favorite "jobs," parenting and writing, the failures and successes seem forever wrapped up together into one "gift". I wouldn't return those gifts for anything.

The Mark

It's snuggle time with my four year old, those minutes when the rest of the day fades into the darkness outside the reach of her ladybug night light.

I whisper, "I love you so very big. As big as the whole sky."

She smiles, not letting on if she knows that I'm entirely unoriginal. The words just fit now. I plant a kiss on her round, sticky cheek. I guess a bath was in order, but it's too late now.

"I love you a google. Sixty four google," she says, clearly proud of her newest word. "And you can get me a bunny for Christmas."

"Let's put that on your list," I agree. Ah, the magical list. It doesn't exist, not physically, but the mention of it gets me out of a good many whine-a-thons. That random toy in the checkout line? Let's put it on the list! All those things you circled in the catalog with Sharpie? Let's put them on the list!

"How many days is it now?"

Today is April 6th.

"Maybe a couple hundred." It's too late for math, too. Most times are.

"What is a couple?"


"Two hundred?" she moans. That is a lot to a four. Anything past "the next day after this day" may as well be never.

I begrudgingly count on my fingers and perform feats of multiplication. "More like two hundred seventy."

She is forlorn.

I remind her that if we skipped right to Christmas, we'd miss Easter (stuffed animals and sugar), summer (swimming and sugar), Halloween (costumes and sugar), and a ton of other neat stuff.

Her face relaxes. I knew that would work. I'm getting good at this parenting thing.

"So what else can you get me for Christmas?"

"Well, honey," I launch into another lecture, "you know Christmas isn't just about presents. It's about family and love. We can spend time snuggling by the fire, and we can sing all those Christmas songs. We can make crafts for people. We'll bake cookies, go look at the lights, and just have fun, you know, being together.And there's doing stuff for other people, of course." Not so eloquent, but it'll do.

I lean in to kiss her goodnight one last time.

"So I can get a bunny AND cookies...cookies with a Santa face," she says dreamily, tired eyes suddenly bright with the idea of frosting and sprinkles. Her supreme loves are sugar and stuffed animals. And she's a master negotiator with those eyes. This grows increasingly problematic as she's now wise to the fact that grapes are not technically a dessert. They can even get me to buy her a stuffed animal at the store--her holding the elephant/monkey/dachshund/hedgehog tenderly but fiercely, big upturned grey eyes glistening, saying, "But, Mommy, I loooooooove her."

In those moments, I develop amnesia. I forget the garbage bag full of jilted animals we just sent to the thrift store. I forget the magical list...

My "spirit of the season" lecture has entirely missed the mark and the parenting skills I was just patting on the back recoil from the jab to their self-esteem.

Still, the mark cuddles up to me, eyes closing, visions of sugar bunnies dancing in her head.

Oh, but I looooooove her.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful, love-filled holiday season! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Making a list - checking it twice - yep, it's postcard mailer time!

Postcard Promo's by Hazel Mitchell

Illustrators, here's where we have a major advantage. Postcard promo's. Whether you are published, unpublished, agented or unagented the likelihood is you have/are/will be mailing postcards at some point in your illustration career.

If you're new to the business of children's illustration and considering mailing out postcards, here're some basics to get you started. 'But wait!' (I hear you cry) 'A postcard is a postcard, surely?' Yep, it's a piece of card with a stamp, but it's what you put on it and where you send it that matters.

More often than not, when considering a first mailout, we tend to think: WHAT IS GOING TO MAKE THE MOST IMPACT SO I GET SEVERAL FAT CONTRACTS FIRST TIME AND NEVER HAVE TO DO THIS AGAIN!!!

Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. (Well, not for me anyway). The high-faluting-all-singing-all-dancing-die-cut-embossed-with-a-resume-included-and-portfolio-plus-recipe-for-chocolate-chip-cookies rarely gets much attention. OK, so they will eat the cookies. Because we all know chocolate gets you what you want, right?

Reasons include
1. The time the recipient has to look at your submission. If it's too complicated, it will likely hit the area of the office called - trash can. That is, if it even gets ONTO the slush area. Even opening envelopes takes up precious time, and with the amount of mail constantly hitting publishing offices, you don't want to aggravate the lovely people straight off.
2. You are trying too hard - let the images speak for themselves, with minimum info.

So here's some good rules that I have learned along the way, from people better qualified than I.

And yes, check it twice. In fact, check it every time you mail out! Because people move around and addresses change. All the time!! And rule 101 ... use a spreadsheet. It's SO MUCH EASIER.
Make sure you are targeting the right publishers and the right people. There is no point mailing to companies who won't be interested in your style/genre of work. When you begin compiling a mailing list, there's no way around it - it's a lot of work but if you do it right you'll benefit for many years to come. You may want to compile more than one list. Art directors in one, editors in another. The companies you mail to may include publishing houses, magazines, multi-media companies, game and toy manufacturer's. What ever floats your boat and whatever part of the industry you want to work in. You may also want a separate list if you are looking for an agent or art rep. Later on, you may have lists for schools, libraries, reviewers, readers. Did they tell you about this in art school. NO! (At least not in mine).
No easy way. Sorry peeps. Trawl through the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market and read the publisher's section. You'll find addresses and names. Join SCBWI, their yearly guide includes a market guide to publishers and their national and local bulletins always include publishers looking for submissions, info on editors etc moving houses, new imprints. Attending conferences can also bring you a wealth of info for your mailing list (makes the cost doubly worth it). Harold Underdown's website has regular updates on the work movement of editors and art directors. Check places like Publisher's Weekly, Publisher's Marketplace for new info. There are a myriad other resources ... Jacketflap etc. Go to your local bookstore and look at the kind of books you want to do - sometimes the editor is listed on the verso page info. I mention editors because they also have a lot of input on the illustrator they would like for their books. So it really is worth mailing out to them too. All I can tell you is ... keep your list up to date and if (when) you get returns CHECK the person and the address. You can always call the company if you need to! Bottom line, a name on the card will give you a better chance of getting you out of the slush pile of DOOM. As will a stunning image, of course!
One way to make keeping a mailing list easier is to share the burden with a trusted group, or one other illustrator. Then you can share keeping it updated and adding to it. Better like those buddies though ...
How long is a piece of string? My AD list is about 250. With editors it's well over 500. But I have a 'I really want to work with these people' list of 100. Which is more affordable. You also may keep a list that is international. Hey, who has time for illustrating? I am too busy keeping lists.
I like the standard 4" x 6" printed both sides. Boring? Possibly. But what AD's and editors like to do is pin the cards to their noticeboards (if they like your card!) so that they are in view for that certain manuscript. This size doesn't take up a lot of room. I have tried different sizes, and it doesn't make a lot of difference to the result. You can get bigger, smaller, narrow, blah blah blah. All I can say is I like to keep the cost down - it's important!
Colour is about the same cost as black and white these days. Printed both sides is usually more expensive, but worthwhile. With digital print you can get as few as 25 cards. Often 1000 is the same cost (practically) as 500. Then you have cards to give away at visits and conferences. (I always collect cards at conferences - got to keep abreast of what the competition is doing!) Different companies offer different finishes - gloss, satin, matte and some have different card stocks. It's a personal choice. Also printing on different stocks can make a difference to colour output. Check the specs - does the company require CMYK, JPEG, what resolution, bleed etc. If you are not tech savvy, try and find another illustrator or pay a graphic designer to help. Or feed them cookies. But make sure you have a GOOD image to print on your card. There are an abundance of postcard printers online, or maybe you have a good place in town that can help? Pay for the best quality you can. Ask for samples .. they should send you a bunch free. When you order, make sure you have given enough time for the cards to get to you. Who needs nasty surprises if you need those cards next week??
Some of the companies are:
Just put in 'postcard printing' in a search engine ... you'll come up with a bunch. Plus, ask your friends who they use. If you don't have friends who send mail outs, network!!
You may also want to use a mailing company who will print, merge your mailing list, stamp the postage onto each card and then mail them for you. Sometimes this can even work out cheaper! But watch the quality.

What to stick on there? The first card I sent out I thought was hilarious! Unfortunately it had nothing to do with kid's illustration. What was I thinking? I didn't get to read a blog post like this, that's what. So, make it relevant, make sure it is representative of what you do and who you are. If you don't want to work in that style, don't send it! Send your best work. If you do a larger card you might want to include one big image and a couple of smaller ones on the front. Include your website address on the front, (what? make a website NOW!!!)  so it's easily seen when the AD or editor pins it in the middle of their board. On the back keep it simple. Again, I used to put a whole lot of info. Now I just put my website/portfolio address, name, address, email, telephone at most. Let this be about the artwork. I often add a small spot in black and white/grayscale on the back related to the image on the front. Some people do colour both sides, but I am from Yorkshire and we like saving money. Remember - the card usually has to make it through the GATE KEEPER (dun-dun-duuuuhhhh) possibly a design or editorial assistant. If you can make them go awww ... or wow ... you might make it to the BIG DESK OF AUTHORITY.

It's up to you. Most illustrators do a quarterly mail out. Or bi-yearly. Or yearly. Or once a month ... or ... argh. See? Very personal. You can mix it up and do a quick double/treble hit just to shake up that publisher. But just make it professional. Also, depends on how rich you are. Like I said, I don't like spending money.
What can I say? Good work speaks volumes. (So does bad work). If you are too ostentatious you might stand out for the wrong reasons. However, postcards are NOT the only way. I have heard people talk about sending small booklets of illustrations, or a pack of cards, or a mini portfolio or a concertina gizzit. You might include a short bio ... or a pitch on a book related to the image. This is where we stick it to the writers. In the end you might make a big splash with it and be set forever. These things cost $$ and are a biggish investment. But for ongoing 'hi, it's me, I'm still out here, working and ready for your great m/s' you can't beat the good ol' postcard.
If you did what I said and kept a spread sheet, then printing labels is a doddle. I print on to Avery labels and use the easy to use software online from Avery. Of course, there are lots of other programs you can use on your computer.
Yep, some more advanced publishers don't want us using the world's resources up and ask for email's only with a couple of jpegs. It's great - you can start making a new list RIGHT NOW. Please send it to me on completion for checking ;-).
Here's to them! All I can tell you is over the years postcards have gotten me work. I believe in consistency and persistency. (sp?) Your first mail out may bring you NOTHING. Also: the second ... but, here's the thing, that postcard may be pinned to the middle of that notice board, waiting .....

Thanks for listening! If you have any other ideas, please feel free to add them to comments. (But don't be surprised if I nick them).

Find me on Facebook

PS - I will be teaching workshops at the NESCBWI conference in Spring 2013

and my new book is '1,2,3 By The Sea' by Dianne Moritz from Kane Miller publishing Mar 1st 2013.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Craig Lew's Writer's Gift Guide

So, you’ve completed Nanowrimo, yet with all those words you’ve written, you probably forgot your letter to Santa and Hanukah is roaring up on you like the Hogwart’s Express.  

No worries my Turbo Monkey tribe.  I’m here to help jump start that long list of “gimme me” stuff because you’ve been a good writer monkey and deserve something more than a week-old banana peel.

Let’s start with the obvious big stuff.

The latest thing from the fruit stand.  Glorified Ipod Touch?  Yeah maybe, but you can write stuff with it, read books and it fits in a large clutch. (not talking 'bout auto mechanics).  If you don’t need to check Facebook while driving down the freeway at 90 mph, then save some bucks and get the wifi only version.  

If too much fruit gives you the runs, then here are some other options.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 - 10.1 $299.00 (on sale)
Android powered, it has iPad functionality and a ton of apps and is larger than the ipad mini.

Nook HD 16 GB $229.00
7 inch screen, color, tons of books, now plays movies and also has email and calendar.

Kindle Fire HD $199.00
Less expensive yet approaching the iPad functionality, the Kindle Fire HD 7 is the smaller version of the latest Amazon offering.

Now if you’re like me and have a Splenda Mommy instead of a Sugar Daddy, here are some interesting fun writer-monkey gifts at a reduced investment.

Thai Pad $49.00

No, this is not endorsed by Suzanne Sommers, nor will it help with those unsightly bulges.  The Thai Pad is a reading pillow for your book or tablet.  Made in Thailand by Thai peeps and "with every purchase a donation is made to the International Reading Association's literacy programs in Thailand, so that hands such as those that crafted this bookrest can now also hold books."

Space Pen/Tablet Stylus $25.00

Here is something that has served me very well for decades.  The key feature is that it writes upside down.  So when you dream that next Harry Potter concept, you can jot it down (or up) without leaving the bed.

I keep my space pen in this leather note pad.  Large enough to hold business cards, it's perfect for jotting down story ideas, notes at conferences, or to log contact info from those who claim they’ve run out of business cards.  

  • Comes with an extra pad of paper
  • Pocket for business cards
  • Comes with a mini ballpoint that fits in the locking pen loop
  • Pebbled, full-grain leather with contrast stitching
  • 3W x 1/2D x 4 3/4H
  • Available in black, red, or saddle

Last but in no way least is a gift I am sending to you. 

The gift that keeps on giving.
The gift that motivates me to get out of bed and switch on my laptop.
The gift that has no price tag because it is priceless
and the only gift where to receive it, you are required to give it back...
the gift called FRIENDSHIP.  
Happy Holidays my Turbo Monkey Friends.