Monday, December 2, 2013

The Cow-Pie ChroniclesThe Cow-Pie Chronicles Meet and greet with author and Illustrator.

The Cow-Pie ChroniclesThe Cow-Pie Chronicles by James L. Butler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This delightful children’s book is about the adventures of Tim Slinger, and his sister Dana, on their Midwest Farm in the 1960s. Life on a farm is hard, but children always seem to find a way to make the dull a little more exciting. When his mother tells him that they have to move to town, Tim is devastated. Can he ever learn to adjust to city life? Find out in this delightful book that I would recommend for all age ranges.

I received this book as an early review copy for my honest review and I have given it. The opinions expressed herein are my own.


View all my reviews

I would like to welcome James Butler and  Lonnie Millsap to my blog today.

James L. Butler Author

1)      What genre do you like to write?

Science Fiction has been my primary fiction genre for most of my writing career. It is what I enjoyed reading most when I was young and I have always been intensely interested in the progress of science in all fields. In 2008 I switched to the children’s genre in an effort to get my nine year old son more interested in writing. I found it very rewarding and have stuck with it since.

2)      How long have you been writing? What prompted you to start writing?

Writing always fascinated me, even in grade school. In 1963, in sixth grade I attempted to write a book about traveling to the moon for an English assignment. I got a “C” because the assignment was late and unfinished. But I kept writing, getting “A”s in English and winning a writing award in college. As I grew up, he would often tell funny stories to friends and relatives about things he did on the farm with his sister that got them in trouble or put them in danger. One day, about five years ago, he wrote a couple of the stories down and sent them to a story publisher. They loved them and asked if he had more! He had a lot more and those stories became the basis for The Cow Pie Chronicles, his best book yet.

3)      What inspires you to write?

At the heart, it is the escapism. I enjoy being able to create a world then enter it and get away from the challenges and difficulties of day to day living. Having other people enjoy their escape into the world I created is a bonus.

4)      When a story idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to write it (from start to finish)?

That depends entirely on what type of story it is and what the objective of the story is. I can bang out a quality 1,000 to 2,000 word short story or non-fiction article in an afternoon.  But since I have a professional sales career and family commitments, anything longer is a matter of time management and priorities. Quality is more important than speed. I once wrote a 70,000 word sci-fi story in six weeks. It did not get published. It took three years to complete my first children’s book, Raptor Ravine. It is excellent. My most recent book, The Cow-Pie Chronicles, took about a year.

5)      What did you find to be the most difficult part of the writing process?  Easiest?

The most difficult part of writing is the third or fourth editing pass on a long manuscript. I want to get the project finished and move on to the next. The easiest part of writing is power writing the first draft, or the concept draft as I call it. I become immersed in the world of my characters and they take control of me then the words just flow like water. 

6)      Of all your characters whom do you most relate to?

Since The Cow-Pie Chronicles is based on my childhood, Tim Slinger is basically me as a child. Aside from that, Tricklen Morris in Raptor Ravine shares my values and priorities. In my sci-fi works, Dr. Charles Freeman in the novel Gravity shares many of my professional life frustrations, attitudes and dreams.

7)      Is there one of your characters that you did not like when you started writing about them, but found yourself liking by the end of the story?

In Raptor Ravine, the main antagonist is Dr. Habeeb, a paleontologist driven by the need for recognition in his field. As his involvement in the story grew, his determination as a scientist began to grow on me and he gradually became more of a sympathetic character. My editor said he thought Dr. Habeeb was more effective as an antagonist. I agreed and had Dr. Habeeb deported (he was British) in the second draft before he turned nice.

8)      What is your least favorite part about writing? The Most?

My least favorite part is technical editing, also called proof reading. It is boring. My favorite part is power writing the first draft without caring at all about the little grammar things.

9)      When you are not writing or editing what do you do for relaxation?

I do a lot of things; golf, ski, swim, go out to eat, go to movies, (saw RUSH last night. It is great!) travel, go watch football with the Portland Notre Dame Club. (My son is a freshman there and on the rowing team.)

10)   What types of books do you like to read?

I still enjoy a good science fiction novel; hard science fiction, not the fantasy stuff. I have has little time to read in recent years though. Only so much time in the day.

11)   What author(s) do you enjoy reading?  Why?

Arthur C. Clarke is my all-time favorite author. His approach to science fiction, stretching current facts and technology toward their potential unknown limits wrapped in compelling human drama was superb. Kurt Vonnegut would be a close second, because he knew how to break the rules for a genre and get away with it, even win a Pulitzer prize doing it. 

12)   Tell us about your books where can people find them?

The three books I have in print currently are Gravity, a science fiction novel, Raptor Ravine, a middle grade adventure novel, and The Cow-Pie Chronicles, a children’s chapter book adults love to read as well. All are available on Amazon.com and many other online retailers in paperback and Kindle formats. Gravity and Raptor Ravine are available to bookstores, etc. through the distributors Ingram and NACSCORP and to libraries, schools, etc. through Baker & Taylor. The Cow-Pie Chronicles is available to bookstores, etc. through Small Press United from INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS GROUP and has a free Teacher’s Guide available directly from Publishing Syndicate.

Full contact list:
Amazon Author’s Central site for James L Butler:
www.amazon.com/author/coastrangepublishing
Author’s Facebook:  www.facebook.com/raptorravine
Publisher: Publishing Syndicate, LLC   www.publishingsyndicate.com
Illustrator, Lonnie Millsap, Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/LonnieMillsapCartoonist
Distributor: Small Press United from INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS GROUP
www.smallpressunited.com
Questions for the author, appearances, readings, book signings, ability to provide signed copies, interviews, email to: raptorravine@comcast.net

Lonnie Millsap (Illustrator- Cow-Pie Chronicles)

1) What prompted you to start illustrating?

I was always one to draw a lot when I was younger. My cartoon-like style always led to positive feedback from people. That was all it took me to start illustrating...and to continue.

2) How long have you been illustrating?

I've been a professional cartoonist/illustrator for about 3 years. I consider myself a cartoonist whose work style at times fits stories that need illustrations that require drawings that show a sense of humor. On my own I've been drawing forever.

3) What inspires you to draw?

The fact that I am able to make people laugh with my drawings inspires me a lot.  The fact that I can make money from my drawings helps too...

4) When a illustration idea pops into your head, how long does it typically take to draw it (from start to finish)?

If an idea pops into my head and I'm near a pen and paper, I can have a line drawing of it finished in a few minutes. To bring in to completion in a computer might take between 1 and 3 uninterrupted hours.

5) What did you find to be the most difficult part of the illustrating process?  Easiest?

The most difficult part of the illustrating process for me is composing the space that I draw in. The easiest part is coloring it.  

6) Of all the characters you have drawn whom do you most relate to?

Of the characters in the 'Cow Pie Chronicles' I relate to Tim the most. Even though I wasn't raised on a farm I can relate to some of the experiences he encountered in the book. I think he is the universal 10-year old.  

7) What do you do for fun or relaxation when you're not drawing?

For fun I like to play basketball and tennis, but drawing is also fun and relaxing to me.

8) What types of illustrators do you like most to do?

I think I like to draw animals the most. Giving them human thoughts/traits and putting them into absurd situations make me laugh.

9) Are there any illustrators that you admire? Why?

I admire lots of illustrators. I like Sergio Aragones, Gary Panter, John Callahan and many others. I admire them because their work is expressive and can tell a story. They have great senses of humor that comes through their work and I would like my work to have the same vibe.

10) Tell us about your illustrations other then this book where can people find them?

I have three single panel cartoon books available online. They are titled 'My Washcloth Stinks!' 'I Hate My Job!' and 'I Stepped On A Duck!' They can all be found on my website www.lonniemillsap.com, www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com. The upcoming book 'My Pickle Tastes Funny!' is due to be released in January 2014 and will be available on www.amazon.com.