Friday, December 19, 2014

Writer’s Digest Awards Commonplace Mouse

If you’ve ever written a book of your own, or even just dreamed about it, then you’ve likely seen Writer’s Digest.  It’s a printed magazine and online resource for people at any stage in their writing careers, complete with writing prompts, lists of grants and retreats, and an online forum where fellow writers can share their literary triumphs and troubles.

One of the ways Writer’s Digest encourages quality self-publishing is through its awards programs. We entered some Dromedary Press titles in their most recent Self-Published Book Awards competition—which accepted titles from the past five years—and were delighted when Commonplace Mouse received an honorable mention!

Here are some of the comments the Writer’s Digest judges had for Dromedary Press:

“I’m in love with this book!”


“Outstanding and beautiful production! The best looking self-published book I’ve ever seen!”

The entire list of winners in the 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards will be published in Writer’s Digest this coming March.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Grand Transformation: Crescendo

We’ve been in Venice all year at Castle in the Air, in spirit if not always in the flesh. It seems like ages ago we were stood in Piazza San Marco dressed head to toe as birds, jesters, and mysterious dames, so much has happened here at home in the meantime.

Like the water lapping the walls of Venice, the Grand Transformation occurs in waves. As visitors pass between the striped gondola pillars at our front door they witness the latest wonders—glass ornaments piled on trays as high as their heads, like desserts in a dream…the pyramid decorations spinning in the breeze…the incredible array of holiday cards…

A stone archway topped with the lion of Venice beckons friends into the classroom upstairs, where our teachers lead the final classes of the year, give crafting demonstrations, or just spend the day working quietly on their own, happy to share their knowledge with the curious.

Castle in the Air has taken on an even more festive mood than usual over the past few months, hosting many merry evenings for artists near and far. The masks on the walls take our thoughts back to Sergio Boldrin’s visit and the magic of that night.

In unexpected ways, our magnificent masquerade of a year has led to our dropping some of the masks we’ve worn in the past. We were so happy to see John McRae unveil his Dresden jewelry collection, and what a crowd came out to cheer him on and take home some of the treasure. Our launch for The Stumpers was equally festive, the song, dance, and feasting lasting long into the night. Gatherings like these seem to affirm the importance of letting down our guard a bit and sharing more of ourselves with the world.

And there’s still so much more to discover! If you’re nearby and haven’t yet come to swim in the spectacle, I hope you will. This really is Castle in the Air’s most amazing year yet, and all of us are so grateful for your help as we ferry our dreams across into this world.

Monday, November 10, 2014

We Grow Better Together: “The Stumpers” Book Launch 11/20

It makes me so happy to share my latest creation with you—perhaps you can come to the party?

The Stumpers is my new children’s picture-book about togetherness and the joy of working toward one’s dreams. It follows the life of a cozy family of gnome-like people and all the good things they enjoy as they live in harmony with their world. The the tale grew organically out of making the dolls and their forest home in my studio. Here’s a link to a video that tells more of how they came to be.

Music is an important part of my life, and it’s part of the Stumpers’ world too, so it was such a treat to include an original song in the e-book version of The Stumpers. “The Stumpers’ Frolic” is played by the talented Laura Cortese, who also narrates the e-book. As an added treat, Laura will be at the launch party, where she and I will chat about creativity, making art, and working together on this project.

The Stumpers is my sixth book with Dromedary Press, a publishing company I started with the goal of making beautiful books exactly the way I envisioned them. No one, whether they’re an independent or one of the big houses, knows what the future holds for book publishing, but one thing that’s clear to me is that great things are possible when we work together. If you enjoy The Stumpers, my wish is that you’ll spread the word by sharing it with your friends, both in person and online.

Gnomevember starts a grand season of merrymaking. I hope you’ll join me to celebrate The Stumpers and its themes of togetherness, joy, song, and dreams made real. Bring a friend!

The Stumpers Book Launch
Thursday, November 20, 5:30 – 7:30 pm
Castle in the Air, 1805 Fourth Street, Berkeley
5:30: Autumnal feast with warming cider
6:00: Fireside chat with Karima Cammell and Laura Cortese
6:30: Book signing and live music
A special a free gift with purchase of The Stumpers at the event!

Whether or not you can make it to the party, I invite you to visit, where you can not only order the book and some magical moving postcards, but also send your friends an email greeting straight from the Stumpers themselves!