The Next Big Thing Blog Tour

According to Eric A. Kimmel:”The Next Big Thing is an author blog tour. What’s a blog tour? A blog tour gives those on the tour a chance to meet different authors by way of their blogs. The Next Big Thing began in Australia. Each week a different author answers specific questions about his or her upcoming book. The answers are posted on authors’s blogs. Then we get to tag another author. On and on it goes. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Next Big Thing went around the world a couple of times.”

The next Big Thing for me is Baby Bear Counts One.

I hope bears can hop, because this is my 1st “blog hop” posting on what is still a “baby” blog.

I was 1st tagged for this by my Hollins friend, Jan Godown Annino, invited me to write a post that addressed this specific set of questions. She wrote about her book about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, still in progress.

My Author/Illustrator friend, Nina Laden, tagged me the 2nd time. She wrote about her new poem picture book: Once Upon a Memory. She was tagged by Eric A. Kimmel, who wrote about his new fractured fairy tale: Little Red Hot, a chili totin’ Red Riding hood straight from Texas!

I’m going to write about a book that is already finished, but not yet pubbed.

What is the working title?

The working title of my coming book is also the final title: Baby Bear Counts One.

The cover image, minus type looks like this:


Along the way I toyed with changing it to Baby Bear Counts Two, so as to rhyme with Baby Bear Sees Blue, but eventually lost the urge to be too cute. Two being such a versatile word, some suggested calling it Baby Bear Counts, Too.
Where did the idea come from for the book?

I got the idea after publishing Baby Bear Sees Blue. This cub seemed endlessly curious, so I wondered how he’d react when confronted with multiple animals preparing for winter.

I DO know that bears, unlike dogs, can see colors and there is scientific evidence that they can count too!
What genre does your book fall under?

This book, like all my books, is a picture book. These pictures are done using linoleum blocks, printed with black ink on Arches Cover paper, which are then painted with gouache.

The unprinted blocks look like this:


Most of these blocks were carved and printed at Hollins University where I teach in a fabulous Summer Certificate Program. If you want to take your illustration skills to the next level in a highly creative and fun learning environment, check out Hollins.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

If there were ever an animated movie of Baby Bear, (and I can’t imagine this, since there is no possibility of a chase scene,) I’d choose Meryl Streep to play Mama Bear and some young actor with a little growl in the voice to play Baby.


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

As winter approaches, Mother and Baby Bear search for food, while noticing all the other animals doing the same.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

If I have a good idea, a 1st draft can be fast. What is slow are the hundreds of revisions that follow. That being said, as the author AND illustrator, the pictures are what really take the time!
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Baby Bear Counts One and its predecessor: Baby Bear Sees Blue, both owe a huge debt to my favorite book from childhood: Blueberries for Sal.



I was way more interested in the bears than I was in Sal and her Mother, though I looked just like Sal as a kid!


Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Life works in mysterious ways. I was working through multiple problems on a different project, one stage of which involved researching and drawing bear cubs. I kept the page of sketches on my wall and it, along with other visual alchemy, eventually inspired Baby Bear Sees Blue.

A true “silver lining” story.

Now I get to tag an author and I choose my dear friend Christy Hale; an extraordinarily talented author, illustrator and teacher.

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