Tiny Talk Tuesdays will resume after the holidays, January 6th. Stay tuned for some great author & illustrator interviews.

Wishing you a Happy holiday from my corner to yours.



Tiny Talk Tuesday with . . . Bob McMahon


I noticed Bob’s illustrations while doing an illustrator search. Then I asked him to be my friend so I could get a first hand look at his WIP (work in progress). His illustrations have a certain quality that makes you want to squeeze the cheeks of each character he illustrates. His digital artwork is expressive and full of detail.

For 20 years, Bob McMahon’s work has ranged from advertising, toy concepts, movie posters, educational and children’s books. Bob enjoys creating his unique humorous illustrations from his home studio in Southern California. He is represented by Ronnie Herman.

I hope one day one of my manuscripts can be Bob McMahon illustrated. I’m just in love with his illustrating style.


ME: How do you want to be remembered?

BOB: I would like to be remembered as an artist who drawings make you smile a little. Maybe that’s a pretty modest goal but seeing the horrific things that are happening out there in the world it’s pretty important accomplishment.

ME: Your work brightens my day!

ME: Finish this sentence. A perfect day would involve . . .

BOB: My perfect day would involve sitting down with a nice cup of coffee and working full time on my own children’s book ideas. As fun as it is doing illustrations for other peoples books, I really yearn to work on my own lunatic ideas.

ME: And I look forward to that book that says written and illustrated by Bob McMahon.

ME: Describe your illustrating style.

BOB: Fun. I hope people can see how much fun I have doing these illustrations.

ME: Your work is definitely full of life and vibrancy.

ME: What book character would you be and why?

BOB: Most definitely I would be Harold with his purple crayon. I would love to bring my artwork to life like he does!

ME: Who doesn’t love Harold?

ME: If you could sit and have coffee with another artist dead or alive who would it be and why?

BOB: I would love to sit and have coffee with Chas Addams. I love the dark and completely original way he looked at the world.

Thank you, Bob for taking the time to chat with me. It was a pleasure, and I hope one day we can meet in person to get a photo. Good luck with all your future endeavors.

For my readers, please leave a comment if you enjoyed the Tiny Talk interview and don’t forget to check out Bob’s work.

Tiny Talk Tuesday with . . . Crystal Allen


I met Crystal during one of Houston’s SCBWI monthly meetings. When you listen to Crystal or have a conversation with her she is the real deal. She is definitely a people person with a vivacious personality. I originally thought she was a New Yorker, because of her honesty and openness. It’s quite addictive.

My first glimpse of Crystal’s writing style was when I read her first novel, How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy. The characters were so authentic and believable. Call it crazy, but I got a lesson on “tags” while reading this novel. Meaning, she mastered narrative lines. You knew who was talking when, no confusion. Besides that the writing is captivating.

Crystal is currently working on a series for Balzar and Bray featuring a young, African American girl named Mya Tibbs.  She may put you in mind of “Ramona.”  Mya’s sassy, yet funny, with a cast of family and friends that will keep you in stiches! Crystal is having a wonderful time getting to know Mya and all of the other characters.  She hopes Book 1 will be out in the Winter of 2016.

Crystal is married, has two sons and lives in Texas. She enjoys a good bowling war with family and uses some of Lamar’s bowling techniques. You can find more information about her and her books at http://www.crystalallenbooks.com.

Below, we learn a bit more about Crystal.  I hope you enjoy it and don’t forget to share!

ME: Do you have a nickname?

CRYSTAL: Yes, my family calls me Chris.

ME: Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you?

CRYSTAL: Before writing, I ran a home-based word processing business and employed women in the neighborhood to work for me. You would not believe the enormous amount of talent that, for whatever reason, was at home.  A few of those women typed over 95 words a minute! Accurately! My client list consisted of doctors, lawyers, hospitals, oil companies and news anchors.

ME: Describe your writing style.

CRYSTAL: My writing style is called “wide-open.” Characters come into my brain unannounced, fully dressed, with an idea of the story they want told. I’m not “creating characters” so, I write “wide open” allowing them to be free to act and talk in a way that represents them the best.

ME: Are you a Pantser or a Plotter?

CRYSATAL: I’m a bit of both.  I’ve tried outlining, and sometimes it’s a good idea for me to do one, but many times, I don’t follow it because usually my story ends up going in a different direction.  And that’s okay.

ME: If you could sit in a donut shop with anyone of your characters who would it be and why?

CRYSTAL: I would love to sit in a donut shop with Grandma from The Laura Line.  She is so funny, versatile, and full of knowledge and history.  I’d want it to be a Dunkin Donut Shop because they have lots of flavored donut holes and good coffee because I think Grandma and I would be there awhile!

Thanks so much Crystal for being part of my blog. I foresee a big future in writing a head of you. I look forward in learning more about Mya in your coming novel. See you at the next Houston meeting.

Tiny Talk Tuesday with . . . Joel Cook

My apologies for not getting this post out this morning, but I’ve been in the midst of moving from one house to another. I did not want to miss an opportunity to share my Tiny Talk, especially on a TUESDAY!

Joel’s self portrait

I met Joel at the SCBWI 25th anniversary conference at the Westin in Houston. This was where I got to know Joel. He not only is he a terrific illustrator but a great dancer as well.

Joel is an art teacher in Houston by day and an illustration all day long.  He is a big fan of art, archaeology, robots and strange stuff.  Some of his that he illustrated are The Littlest Vampire Story and Mayor Jalapeno Hal. He is also extremely talented as comic illustrator. Any kid would love to get their hands on these. Joel likes to work in a variety of media: from traditional to digital.


I asked Joel a couple of simple questions to get to know him a little better.

ME: Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.

JOEL: Um, let’s see. My studio is also a pseudo art gallery. I collect comic book and children’s art. I have been very fortunate to collect pieces that I have always loved…. I still have a bucket list of around 10 artists whom I would love to get a piece of original art. It’s like treasure hunting sometimes.

ME: Sounds like a fun hobby.

ME: What is your greatest accomplishment?

JOEL: I don’t think I have one that outshines the others, but I have been very fortunate to have a “normal” job (teaching art) that I love going to each and every day. This year I am also teaching sculpture and thinking that I didn’t live a full, complete, exciting life.

ME: I’ve seen some of your sculpture work on Facebook. I love it.

ME: What is your greatest fear?

JOEL: I don’t believe in being scared, which probably sounds macho…. I try to make most days count. I think if I did have a fear, it’s probably being on my deathbed one day, and thinking that I didn’t live a full, complete, exciting life.

ME: I remember teaching. Every day is an exciting adventure, lol.

ME: If you could be a book character who would you be and why?

JOEL: Hmmm. I would love to be Fone Bone. Living an adventure filled with danger, intrigue, romance, and humor… and the occasional Cow Race.

ME: Who doesn’t love a good ol’ cow race?

ME: Describe your illustrating style.

JOEL: I would say that the artists that have influenced me. I would like to think the characters that I draw have an energy that is just waiting to explode. I don’t think my characters have a quietness to them, if that makes sense. It is something I am working on.

ME: One can fully understand what you mean when they look at your illustrations. The illustrations speak volumes. There is an intensity to them, if you know what I mean, lol.

It was a pleasure Joel doing my mini interview with you. Those Houston Kiddos are lucky to have such a talented art teacher. I bet they’re mesmerized each day with your illustrations. I wish you much success and hope that we can meet up again at another SCBWI conference.