Picture Book Mania

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Today is the start of Picture Book Month (Watch the video above to learn more!), and here at T.A.A., we’ve found a fun way to celebrate that you can benefit from. Throughout November I’ll be spotlighting some of my favorite picture books and the authors/illustrators who bring them to life. From  world famous series to the first-time efforts, and all the (Once hidden) gems in-between!


Today also marks the start of PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month)-




The goal is to have 30 ideas for picture books. Remember, these are IDEAS, not drafts of picture books, unlike NaNoWriMo, the goal is just to have a basic concept for what could be a picture book, drafting them at a later date. Learn more 

If you register by November 4th, 2013, you can enter in a drawing to win various prizes, including (But not limited to)-

Books signed and/or personalized by the author and/or illustrator

Picture Book Critiques by published authors


You must be a registered participant to win the prizes.

Click the link below to learn how to register-




Whether your a pre-published author, a teacher,  devout reader or all/any of the above, there’s a lot to love about PiBoIdMo, even if you choose not to take part in the challenge. 

Your literary rat’s taking part this year (Wish me luck!) and while picture books have never been my strength in terms of writing them, I know I have the ideas, and I’ve already come up with several on the first day alone! Not bad for my first official year.

If you’re participating in PiBoIdMo, let me know in the comments below, I wish everyone the best of luck.


Today is also the start of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)-

2013-Participant-Facebook-Cover (1)

Like PiBoIdMo, I’m taking part in this year, and while I’ve come up short my last four attempts, this year I will draft a book to the end, and with work on my debut novel GABRIEL slowing down as we near the end of 2013, I need something to aid the wait time….


But in addition to all the fun challenges going on in November, I’m pleased to announce our next spotlight project for “T.A.A. CARES”-



This is an initiative that started earlier this year to give support and awareness to various content creators whose projects need money and/or word of mouth to 

Our first spotlight was for FETCH, a picture book written by Adam Glendon Sidwell, who started a Kickstarter campaign to earn the needed funds to pay his illustrator and printing costs. After missing out on a project that didn’t meet it’s funding goals (You can read about that story here: http://talkinganimaladdicts.com/how-i-met-a-kindred-spirit-on-kickstarter), I HAD to do what I could to spread the word. So, in addition to making a donation, I also spread the word via Facebook and Twitter. 

That project met it’s funding goal is well on the way to publication. 


This time, our spotlight is on a book that while not as far along as FETCH yet, author Julie Hedlund (Founder and host of the 12×12 picture book challenge and contributor to CBI [Children’s Book Insider’s CBI Clubhouse]) is taking the plunge with crowdfunding her next picture book via Kickstarter, an eBay-like fund-sourcing social network that allows authors and other content creators a viable way to earn money needed to bring their projects out of the proverbial drawer and into the hands of the consumers. 


Her Kickstarter Campaign isn’t live yet, but you can share your support on her blog post linked below-




You can also buy her first published effort, the storybook app “A Troop is a Group of Monkeys” published by Little Bahalia Publishing. Now available in print too!


As Julie explains in her series of five videos (The first of which is found in the link above), while many authors long for a traditional publishing experience, and/or have a preference for print over ebooks and story apps, for many authors (Herself included) we sometimes need to take less traveled roads and take (Reasonable) risks to get there. 


For authors who just don’t have the money (On their own) needed to self-publish at the needed level of quality to be taken seriously by readers and potentially agents and/or publishers, crowdfunding projects via platforms like Kickstarter is one way for authors to get the needed funds to get a book out of the office, onto the presses, and into reader’s hands, physically and/or otherwise. 

But as Julie warns in the videos preceding the one linked above, this isn’t a shortcut to publication, but a way to earn funds for the things we as authors or author/illustrators can’t do alone, or need help to do, but that said-

At times, I do feel  people in general confuse “Lack of Money” with “Lack of Will” because there’s a difference between “Not able” and “I don’t want to!” Those of you who are parents and/or teachers, you get what I mean, it’s like when you need to teach kids that HOW you say something is just as important as what’s actually said.

“Can I PLEASE have a Cookie?” is more respectful than “I Want a cookie NOW!”

Whether or not you give the cookie, you’re more apt to at least give the first response more consideration and courtesy than response 2.

Authors who are successful on Kickstarter or other alternate roads to publication come to it from a “Not able” (i.e. Can I PLEASE have a cookie?) frame of mind. That mindset is critical. 

While authors do what we can to support each other, there’s a difference between asking for a critique of a query letter or manuscript, and money to fund a publishing venture, both require commitment and trust on the part of the donor and beneficiary, and let’s be honest, the current world economy doesn’t help make financial generosity easier, never mind any personal/professional reasons we may have.

For this reason alone, I won’t be doing a Kickstarter campaign anytime soon. I know it will be an option for me at some point, but not until I’ve done all I can on my own first, since projects on Kickstarter need to be approved, and you only get one shot to earn your funds, you don’t want to leave anything on your end to chance. 

In the meantime, I urge you to help me and T.A.A. CARES, support Julie as she soon embarks on her Kickstarter adventure, and if you missed out on supporting our first T.A.A. CARES spotlight, this is your chance to if not spare money, at least some time to spread the word to those who can, online and off.


Check back soon to learn more about Julie Hedlund, and since no one entered the FETCH grand giveaway, stayed tuned for how you can still win a personalized signed copy of FETCH and my debut novel GABRIEL in a new giveaway.

As always, I appreciate comments from my readers, don’t be shy, I’m trying to build a community, and your comments and feedback is appreciated. We’re on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, too!




Until next Time,

May the fantastical fauna be with you.

Taurean J. Watkins: Nickname: Taury Literary Rat/Founder of Talking Animal Addicts

Taurean J. Watkins: Nickname: Taury
Literary Rat/Founder of
Talking Animal Addicts



I’m Back From Camp!

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Hi All, 

Sorry for the downtime, AGAIN.


I was having one of those “Tech Happens” periods.

As such, I needed to move the site to a new sever (Landlord Maintenance for websites 

for you non-techies) among other things…


I also had to take a break from blogging last week because I was at camp-


7736437820_f55cd78a55_o CAMPING 1


No, not Summer Camp.  


4583505380_0871677cde_o CAMPING 2


Definitely NOT a family camp-out!


(It’s hard enough to engage with my more emotionally reserved

relatives with the comforts of home,never mind in untamed



Besides, Pepper (My canine alter-ego) is in no shape to protect

me from a bear in his golden years.

(12 human years = Older than 70 in dog years, I think…)




 -My  Sweet Pepper, Photo by Me-

(Doesn’t look “Geriatric” does he?)

That said, he snores now, but I’ve adjusted easier

than the relatives I live with to that development this




Anyway, the embedded video at top of this blog post is my new welcome video for



If any long time T.A.A. readers ever doubted what my site was about after

three years, now you know for sure. (LOL!)


Seriously though, this video is what I learned to do at “camp.”


But I didn’t have to head to some shoddy cabin hideaway in the mountains,

where the breeze has to be just right to get a strong internet connection or

cell phone signal, and lots of luck to avoid unwanted guests-


316240_364169667028049_1160620348_n - WILD BEAR

Hey, Hey, Hey! Yogi, that’s not…



This camp I could do at home and where I learned to create my welcome

video for T.A.A. I’m talking about “Video Idiot Boot Camp.” An online, on-

demand training course that teaches even the most tech phobic souls how

to create videos.


Whether you’re a writer like myself, or another type of entrepreneur, you

NEED video as much VITAL as having a  professional (But NOT sterile)



That said, for those of you  who find just moving your site from Blogger or

some other more kitschy blog or site platform to WordPress (Whether that’s the curated, less customizable WordPress.com, or self-hosting your WordPress site like I am) is/was a battle all by itself, the idea of making video sounds like yet another task that asks WAY to much of you.

I get that, and while I’m more tech savvy than some of my relatives, I

couldn’t, for example tell you how to “Master HTML 5.”


Or ANY form of HTML period.


I don’t know HTML or CSS as intimately as I do a book I

love reading (and RE-reading…) or preaching my gospel on the variety

and depth animal fantasy offers beyond picture book land.

(Much as I love and respect picture books as a reader, even if the writer in

me can’t yet give the skill and brevity those books demand…)


But let me tell you, folks, with Katie as you guide, all you have to do is show up

and do your best.


You WILL get a decent video at the end of this 8 lesson

course. But don’t just take my word for it, let Katie give you the lowdown,

in her own words below-


[sz-youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9gsAE-IkS4″ userdata=”Taury” /]

You’ll also find out how to take the first lesson of V.I.B.C. FREE before you decide to buy! (Take advantage of that sample, it hooked me enough to slap my money down) and I’m glad I did.


While there’s always more to learn in life, you CAN reach a level of competency that works for you, I FINALLY believe that for real, after a decade of trying to get my writing career off the ground, and while I’ve sold my first book, that’s not where I can, and most importantly, WANT to stop. Keeping in mind I‘m also trying to get my new novel drafted, on top of running T.A.A.

 Making sure my blog reasonably up to date, launching my e-mail newsletter (Which I hope you’ll subscribe to for fun and exclusive content you won’t get elsewhere), and learn how to make videos, which put a lot of other things I need/wanted to do this month on hold, often looking overly flaky to my family, but that’s what I had to do. But keeping busy was important, so I could patiently wait to hear back on edits for my upcoming middle grade novel, GABRIEL (Title subject to change), and I did that and still doing it.


Well, that’s all for me today, and I’m taking yet another hiatus, this time it’s onMY terms (As opposed to outside interference, like my site giving me headaches every other week this month!)


As long as “Tech DOESN’T happen again” I will be back Monday.


Until then, please subscribe to “Bites From the Cheese Shop” the official newsletter from T.A.A. (Talking Animal Addicts) Also, by subscribing, you’ll also be the first the learn when my novel is set to release, and have a chance to win a personalized, signed copy, by your lovingly frazzled literary rat, trying to hold me dreams, responsibilities, and sanity together, one day, one blog post at a time, among the other writer-centric things I do.


Your frazzled literary rat (and 1st gen VIBC graduate)

Taurean (Taury) 



P.S. Please comment on my welcome video when you can. I’ll be revising it s

on and I may use your suggestions. Be honest, but kind. That said, for my

first serious attempt at video, it’s okay.


Revisions aside, I EARNED this badge-









P.P.S. (I’ll share my diploma picture later…)



Anniversary and a BIG Announcement!


Talking Animal Addicts



Cupcakes for me!
Photo Courtesy of Kupcake_Killer

It was 3 years ago today I began Talking Animal Addicts, and like my haphazard attempts in NaNoWriMo, I jumped into the world of blogging blind, but unlike NaNo, I’ve made better strides on the blogging, infrequent and wishy-washy as my blogging’s been this year. Thanks to those of you who took the time to comment and spread the word.

While I’m still on hiatus, there are some big things happening at T.A.A. for 2013, and today I’m announcing the first big step.

After much thought, I’ve decided to move T.A.A. from Blogger, to a self-hosted WordPress platform, so I can better customize the experience with the loyal supporters of this blog, and attract a wider audience and while I tried to have the relaunch done by today, it’s taking more time than I hoped, so bare with me if the blog has some serious downtime. I’ll announce the stable re-launch on the
T.A.A. Twitter Feed so please follow it to know when the re-launch hits.

I’ll have more to report in January. 
Have a safe and joyous holiday.

Until Next Year,
May The Fantastical Fauna Be With You
Taurean (Your Frazzled yet Unflappable Literary Rat)

Swinebert Swaggers In!

Yo, Chicks and Chickies! 

I’m Swinebert, one of the new faces on T.A.A. 

Well, I haven’t uploaded my photo yet, but I will, just trying to find a good one.

As the Boss (Taurean) told you in his last regular post, I’ll be helping him out by contributing to T.A.A. 

But not to worry, he’ll be back, eventually, and I’m not just a temp fill-in. I’m part of the new forming staff here, and even with the Boss Rat on pilgrimage leave, we’ll be communicating offline on how T.A.A. will make the rest of 2012 a more fun experience for you faithful and patent pals who’ve enjoyed the earnest yet emotional roller coaster we’ve been riding so far.

I met Taurean the first time a few months ago, out of respect I won’t get too personal, but let’s just say he gave the phrase “Compulsive Eater” a new meaning. 

Quickly, I saw he was a guy after me own heart, not that I swing that way, mind you. (LOL!)

Anyway, he told me and my pal Dempsey about his blog and we knew we had to get in on this. 

After learning of his recent writer-related trauma, he asked me Dempsey to fill in for him while he takes the time to overcome his ordeal. We both agreed, and I’m first up to introduce myself.

Check back tomorrow with another update from me. Dempsey and the other new folks on T.A.A. will be arriving throughout the next few weeks.

Hoggishly Yours,

The Daily Squeak (Week of 4/2/12)

Hi All,

A new week, and a new look for T.A.A. Please let me know in the comments what you think of the new design, if something hard to read or access.

Also, welcome to “The Daily Squeak.” Since my posting’s been erratic as life offline and non-blog writing is getting hard to balance, I’ll use The Daily Squeak to update you on new posts and features on T.A.A. I will still try to meet my original schedule deadlines, but if not, The Daily Squeak will keep you from missing new posts and future contests and giveaways, which is another reason to follow T.A.A. on Facebook (Twitter Coming Soon!), and follow me at my Google+ page.

I updated the Future Headlines section.
There’s a new “Letter from The Editor, which I’ll do regularly once a month, versus separatism as I’d done before, since they take a bit of time. Hope you like this month’s one.

Musical Musings may be a bit late, but it will be a review this time, as per our usual format.

Ciao for now.