All posts for the month August, 2014

Many Thanks to the Television Stations That’ve Spotlighted IMAGINATION REIMAGINED and an Exciting New Project!

Published August 15, 2014 by glgiles

Here are the stations and the clips:

***WCIV-TV (ABC) in Charleston, SC:

***WHTM (ABC TV 27) in Harrisburg, PA:

***KATV (ABC TV 7) in Arkansas:

***WSET (ABC TV 13) in Roanoke, Virginia:

***ABC TV 33/40 in Birmingham, Alabama:

And, I’m happy to have lost about 40 lbs. since this clip first aired—in part due to an exciting project I’m thrilled to be a part of! Many thanks to my incredibly amazing and loyal friends who’ve been with me throughout the journey! I so appreciate and LOVE you all!

Here are some new pictures of me, for the project, taken just today (all copyrighted 8-15-14). I won’t be on social media for some time to concentrate on the work ahead, but I will certainly miss my wonderful friends—and maybe even a few fiends. 🙂

With love,


First pic.:  Hopefully, I’m #krakenlackin’ now. 🙂

Gia on 8-15-14

2nd pic.: Sometimes it’s fun to be pea-cocky (talking ’bout my hair, of course:)

Gia on 8-15-14

3rd pic.: You don’t say?! 🙂

Gia on 8-15-14

4th pic.: Thinkin’ about cyberbullies (we, my friends and me, like to make up our own minds:)

We can think for ourselves, thank you very much. :)

We can think for ourselves, thank you very much. 🙂

5th pic.: So excited about all the adventures that await with that special someone in my life! 🙂

Gia on 8-15-14

Interview with an Exceedingly Accomplished Artist: Laurie Lee Brom!

Published August 9, 2014 by glgiles


Laurie Lee Brom grew up in the historical town of Charleston, SC, the local ghost stories and folk tales of the swampy Low Country and rich gullah culture stirring her imagination. She studied illustration at Parsons School of Design in NYC. After a long sabbatical spent raising two boys she returned to the inspiration that first stirred her imagination and paints a spooky brand of imaginative realism. She regularly shows at Roq la Rue gallery in her current home of Seattle, WA.

Q. What subject matter most piques your interest these days? And, does that translate into your artwork?

A. I seem to always be stuck in the past! History really piques my interest. It’s not that I kid myself into thinking times were better then, but I tend to spend a good bit of time surrounding myself with things that have had past lives with previous owners. Often when I paint I look at things in my studio and come up with a story about it, and often incorporate stuff I’ve found into my work. That and nature are my two biggest inspirations. We recently moved to what feels like the country (but really isn’t), abutting a forested wilderness. The flora and fauna, the changing of seasons, my soul really feeds on it.

Q. Mine, too. Switching gears, how did you hear about the ‘Baby Tattooville Event’ and will you be attending this year? When and where is it held?

A. Bob Self (owner of Baby Tattoo publishing) runs the event with his wife, Rani, and they invite a bunch of artists as guests and sell just 50 tickets to people who spend the long weekend together as an immersive experience. We’re really excited about participating in it!

Q. Awesome! Please tell readers about ‘Boxes of Death’ (traveling art show). Will you be contributing to the show?

A. Boxes of Death is something I was chomping at the bit to do because it was pretty far out of my comfort zone. Each artist is given a little coffin to paint. The show tours like a pop up event, I think, down the West Coast with stops in Seattle, Portland, San Fransisco and LA. At first I thought I’d do something over the top and flowery, but then I settled on the idea of the duality of the cat. Lover and killer, adored and feared. The cat in mine has been lovingly arranged by his owner and the little critters are dancing on his grave on the sides of the box. It’s an issue close to home for me!

Q. With 7 cats as anipals, I love that you settled on that! Is Brom contributing to the ‘Boxes of Death’ show?

A. Nope. No Brom in this show, though it does seem right up his alley! He’s busy writing.


Q. Now for a fun question: What’s your fondest memory of the Lowcountry?

A. Oh man is that a tough question! I could never choose just one, especially having grown up there and returned many times as an adult. One would be a moonlight swim with my cousins on Isle of Palms. The water was filled with marine phosphorescence. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. But I loved living somewhere so full of history and SO many ghost stories! All of which seem perfectly believable in the context of Charleston. I miss the smell of pluffmud, the dripping Spanish moss, the cemeteries and churches, gaslamps, that stuff gets into your soul and doesn’t let go no matter how long you live away from it.


Q. This Charlestonian couldn’t agree more! So, what else is in the pipeline heading into 2015?

A. Well, I have several group shows lined up including the annual Women Painting Women held at the Principle Gallery in Charleston. Super excited to have a piece heading there! I also have one going to the Copro Gallery in LA next month, Babytatooville in October and then I’m taking some time and coming up with a new body of work.

Q. Where can readers go to connect with you and your darkly delightful work?

A. I’m finally on Instagram and am just getting that going, on facebook and I have prints for sale on my website


Interview with Author, Illustrator and App. Creator Jamie Stevens!

Published August 7, 2014 by glgiles
Jamie Stevens

Jamie Stevens

If you are looking for that spark of silliness that touches your heart and makes you smile, look no further than the author and illustrator of the Peep and Friends series. Ms. Stevens looks at life with unabashed joy and believes in living in the here and now. It is her belief that by doing so leads you onto a path of happiness. She will readily admit that she is very good at daydreaming and isn’t afraid to get up in a crowd and do the funky chicken. Is it any wonder that she is a children’s writer and illustrator? A lifelong artist, Ms. Stevens has always dabbled in writing as well, and her desire only grew stronger when her daughter came along. She found that sharing stories with her daughter, reading picture books, and creating memories deepened her passion for writing. It is not surprising that the values she finds in relationships has found its way into her writing style. She is extremely influenced by the bonds between children, children and adults, children and animals, the way animals interact, and even our own personal relationship with the Universe. Ultimately, it is about how to be happy in the moment, something children are so naturally predisposed to.


Q. Why were you inspired to create “Peep and Friends” (the series of interactive book apps)?

A. Some years ago when my daughter was very young and sick in bed, I was reading poetry to her from “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein. It was Spring break and our house had sweet Easter decorations around. The combination of Shel’s playful poetry, the decorations and my desire to help my daughter feel better, all conspired to have me peep out “Peep!” She giggled! Pretty soon a natural rhythm fell into place as I began each stanza by saying “Piper, Penny and Peep.” The ideas really started forming then and the stories grew. The Peep stories incubated for years! The characters went through a few different looks before I settled on the illustration style you see today. The inspiration for creating interactive book apps came to me in 2009. I was inspired by the movement, narration, music and sound capabilities that an interactive app can provide the reader and the appeal of the reader engaging with an interactive app. I set out to find a way to create my own book apps.

Q. Brilliant! So glad you did. Which was the most difficult – writing, illustrating or building the book apps?

A. Every part of creating the series has had its own challenges. First of course, was the writing. I had already set a certain level of difficulty by limiting myself to words that rhyme with peep. There just aren’t that many that are a true rhyme. Also I wanted the stories to be fun, repetitive in the structure, and have simple early word recognition. The stanzas needed to be in a logical sequence in order to make sense as individual stories. Illustrating the Peep and Friends stories is a long drawn out process, especially so when it comes to creating all the individual graphic elements that are required for an interactive app with frame animations. I paint with water color on paper and edit in Photoshop. I’m currently working on the second app and it is much more involved in the illustrations and animations then the first app “Peep’s Spring Surprise!” Building my first book app, especially in the beginning, had a definite learning curve. I use the InteractBuilder. Like any new software, there is the time spent in understanding the language and getting to know your way around. Fortunately the InteractBuilder is a design tool so I didn’t have to learn coding. It is very rewarding to see my characters moving around, interacting with the reader and each other. While I’ve had my “moments” building the apps, all in all it is a lot of fun to see my ideas taking life. Out of the three, I’d say illustrating is the most difficult because of the volume of illustrations required.

Q. That’s so cool…thanks for sharing! Switching gears, what kinds of trials and tribulations must Peep undergo along the way?

A. Since the stories are for ages 2 to 5, the trials are very mild. “Peep’s Spring Surprise” is absolutely free of any difficulties. There’s a tiny amount of drama that shows up in the second story of the series, “Piper, Penny and Peep”. Peep gets himself into trouble by climbing up stairs that are too high for little Peep. But don’t worry, he has help to find his way back down. Also, in the same story there is a bit of crankiness between Peep and his friends Piper and Penny, because they need their milk and naps! In the third story, “Bo and Peep”, Peep and his friends find themselves consoling Bo Peep, and it’s not because she lost her sheep!

Q. LOL! Does Peep get a lot of help from his friends?

A. My answer may be a bit of shock, but no he doesn’t! My books are basically little adventures of Peep and his friends. The trio are always together. While Peep is small in size and only has one word to say, he is right in there with his friends. There aren’t any morals or lessons to be learned.

Q. Nice! I’m sure many readers will appreciate that, too. So, who are Peep’s primary “anipals?”

A. There’s Piper, who is a boy dog. He likes to be first, but he’s not pushy about it. Piper’s not as brave as he thinks he is. He’s a sweet one. Penny is a girl cat. She’s smart and adventurous. Penny is independent but kind. Supporting background anipals are what I call “The Stormy Sheep.” That’s because of how their wool looks and has nothing to do with their disposition. They are in all three of the stories and are a big part of “Bo and Peep.”

Q. Awesome! Speaking of pals, how has being part of the KLA community helped you get the word out?

A. Kid Literature Authors is a very supportive FB group, website and twitter community for kid lit authors and illustrators. KLA was founded by Karen Emma Hall. This community helps to get the word out because it is a community. Everyone does their best to support each other. I’ve met many wonderful friends through KLA. I had largely stayed away from social media because it was overwhelming, but along came Karen and here I am! KLA has been a huge blessing in my life, otherwise I would be sitting all by myself and nobody would know about Peep and Friends.

Q. I couldn’t agree more: love Karen and the community! Now, obviously chicken nuggets make Peep shudder, but are Peep’s friends “veggies” too?

A. Absolutely! Except that they do drink organic milk from happy cows when it’s nap time.

Q. Are you currently working on the second book? If so, then what can readers look forward to?

A. All three stories in the series are written. Currently I’m in illustration and animation mode as I build the second story app “Piper, Penny and Peep.” The second story takes place in their playroom and they are busy playing with their toys. Their imaginations take them on different types of transportation; train, tug boat and car, which are interactive frame animations. Peep has a very special toy that also keeps watch over him and helps him out when he gets in a bit of a pickle. After such a full day of play, the trio are in definite need of a nap. The story ends with blissful sleep.

Q. What’s on the horizon for the remainder of 2014?

A. A big push to complete the “Piper, Penny and Peep.” When that is completed I will also release an updated version of “Peep’s Spring Surprise.” Both book apps then will have text highlighting, which I’m very happy about. Also, I’ll be submitting the Peep and Friends series to publishing houses as I’d like to see the stories in print.

Q. Where can readers go to connect with you and your wonderful work?

A. If you would like to learn more about my work and how I have blended the “traditional” story book with technology, explore my interactive book app, “Peep’s Spring Surprise!” on iTunes. Hereʼs all of the links to all things Peep and Friends: mt=8

Review of “Leaping at Thorns”

Published August 5, 2014 by glgiles
"Leaping at Thorns" by L. Andrew Cooper (TBR BlackWyrm Publishing)

“Leaping at Thorns” by L. Andrew Cooper (TBR BlackWyrm Publishing)

“Leaping at Thorns” is a collection of 15 unputdownable tales of terror by L. Andrew Cooper. I was reminded of the quote by Abraham Lincoln: “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” However, in the case of this book there’s no either/or fallacy/scenario, as the thorns themselves are the roses. Cooper both frequently and brilliantly focuses on the human element in his tales with the protagonists’ flaws and pains exposed for the reader to vicariously revel in while the darkly delightful antagonists/‘archfiends’ of all shapes and sizes are oftentimes taking a back seat in the storylines which many would argue is the hallmark of great writing. Plus, there are humorous touches added to break up the bleakness with great wordplay throughout—the titles “Zero Patients” and “Worm Would” come to mind. Highly recommended!

G.L. Giles, author/reviewer