It’s official- Olive’s apps are now available on iTunes!

August 21, 2012 at 10PM (Pacific Standard Time) Olive the Woolly Bugger and Chuckin’ Bugs 101 are officially available for download!

For detailed information about the apps, please check out this page HERE.

App descriptions are also available when you visit the App Store.

For Olive the Woolly Bugger, click this link.

For Chuckin’ Bugs 101, click this link.

Obviously I’m very excited to finally launch the apps. I would appreciate if you’d take time to review the apps once you’ve downloaded them.

Thanks for your continued support as Olive spreads the word that fly fishing is fun for kids!

App Update, once more

Beta versions have been tested…

Bugs have been eradicated (hopefully, every single one of those nasty little pests)…

The apps have been submitted to Apple for their blessing…

And now we wait…

In hopefully less than ten days, it’ll be launch time!

Here’s what the past 4+ months of hard work have resulted in:

Olive the Woolly Bugger

Olive the Woolly Bugger (paid version)

This is the full meal deal which includes the entire 41-page story, complete with a narration mode (or read by yourself), interactive pop-up screens, animations, and the game, Chuckin’ Bugs. The app price will be a very modest $1.99 at the time of launch.

 

Olive the Woolly Bugger Lite

Olive the Woolly Bugger Lite (free version)

This is the scaled-down app that includes half of story (22 pages). It also includes a narration mode (or read by yourself), interactive pop-up screens, animations. The idea here is that people will download this app without a second thought, and get hooked on Olive. Naturally they’ll then proceed to the App Store and purchase the full version.

 

Chuckin’ Bugs (101)

Chuckin’ Bugs 101

This game is a standalone app (included in the paid version of Olive) that will also be free to download. It’s a simple, 4-level game that will provide some challenges for younger players. Older kids may master it fairly quickly, but achieving a perfect score will take a bit of effort. The ‘101’ designation is indicative of plans for a more robust version of the game in the future. Chuckin’ Bugs 201 will have additional levels and a greater degree of difficulty, plus a lot more.

Thanks once again for your continued support, and stay tuned for the formal announcement within the coming days!

If you want to see some screen shots and more detailed info, please go HERE.

App update, again

The book portion of the app, Olive the Woolly Bugger, is just about completely ready for launch. The most recent beta version will be going out to testers within a day. I’ve been through it over and over and haven’t found any bugs.

The game portion of the app, Chuckin’ Bugs, is not quite on par with Olive as far as readiness. Everything is in place and working for the most part, but there have been some nagging “bugs”. This is to be expected, particularly with an app titled, Chuckin’ Bugs 😉 Once Chuckin’ Bugs is deemed clean, it will be integrated into the Olive app, and ready to go. I’m hoping that by the end of the first week of August, the developer will be ready to hand off the app to Apple for inclusion in their App Store.

There will actually be three separate apps available for download:

• Olive the Woolly Bugger–the full meal deal which will be a paid app (very attractively priced)

Olive the Woolly Bugger Lite–a scaled down, free version that does not include the entire story or Chuckin’ Bugs

Chuckin’ Bugs–the game as a standalone app

 

Stay tuned for the formal announcement when the app is ready for public consumption!

 

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

Olive the Woolly Bugger app update

As many know by now, Olive’s Kickstarter campaign was very successful, exceeding the goal and allowing for additional features in the app. Many thanks to all who supported the project and a very special thanks to the corporate sponsors: Angling University, FlyFishMap.com, Redington, Orvis, Mill River Fly Rods, Fly Fusion Magazine, Peak Fishing, Montana Fly Company, Blue River Fly Company, and Al Ritt Flies.

Development is nearing completion for the book part of the app, which is a condensed version of the stories from Olive the Little Woolly Bugger and Olive and The Big Stream (books 1 and 2 of the 3 book series). In addition to the illustrations and story that have made the printed books popular, there are many additional features in the app that make it a more robust learning tool for young readers. For example, kids will be able to tap an object or a word and the definition will pop up. In this instance, the words “woolly bugger” are highlighted in the text. When tapped, this screen will load:

Another example is the word “trout”, which when tapped displays this screen:

Many of the illustrations have simple animations that play when the reader taps an “animate” button. Not all pages are animated as I didn’t want animations to become too distracting or gratuitous. The animations are very short and simply bring a little bit of added dimension to the reading experience. But kids will be kids, and no doubt they will want to play the animations over and over. I know I will.

This is going to be a popular button.

I’ve really enjoyed creating the graphics for the app and it’s been a thrill seeing it take form through several beta versions. I guesstimated that I would spend about 80 hours on the app myself. I passed that mark a looong time ago. It has been much more work than I originally estimated, but it has really scratched my creative itch. I’ve gotten to wear many hats during the process: animator, illustrator, interface designer, etc. Working with the guys at The Pixel Rebel, the app developer, has been great. Their suggestions, expertise and enthusiasm has really helped the app take shape into something we’ll all be very proud of. Kudos to Jonathan Foos for his technical wizardry in being able to implement everything I’ve wanted to do. I hope I haven’t driven him crazy, yet 😉 We’ll see. The next phase of the app will be really cool once it’s completed and I can’t wait to see how it turns out…

A bonus feature in the app is a simple game called, Chuckin’ Bugs. It’s really just for fun although there are elements of real world fly fishing as a basis for the game. For example, the fish don’t always cooperate and there is always the threat of getting skunked! Kids love games, there’s no denying that. As an author and someone who worked in educational software development years ago, I really want to offer kids something with some substance. But when I got the idea for this game I just couldn’t help but indulge myself. Besides, if kids are going to be playing a game, it’s best that it be something that gets them thinking about fly fishing, right?!

If all goes as intended, the app will be completed within the next few weeks. After de-bugging (a term that seems oddly fitting) the app will be submitted for approval by the powers that be at Apple. Once that has been accomplished the app will be available on iTunes. At least that’s how I think the process will go. Once all is said and done, then comes the vastly important part of the app’s success: spreading the word.

You’re going to want to acquire an iPad if you don’t already have one.

 

Author visits are cool, but recess is cooler!

This past week I had an opportunity to visit a local Montessori school and give an author presentation to about 30 kids, kindergarten through 3rd graders. Both of my kids attended kindergarten at this school (many years ago), so it was a homecoming of sorts for me, and a lot of fun.

As is the case every time I visit a school, the enthusiasm level of my audience ran very high. Because kids are easily excitable, sometimes I think that an author of a book titled, “How Paint Dries” would be a big hit with a youthful audience. But then I realize that kids are fascinated by fishing and fish.  When I asked the group to raise their hands if they like fishing, nearly the entire room was filled with up-stretched arms. Not all of them had gone fishing, but they were all enthralled by the prospects of fishing.

Some of the audience members had even been fly fishing before, and while my presentation obviously emphasizes fly fishing, it’s really more about fishing in general. After all, the chances are much greater that kids will have dunked a worm or salmon egg than wet a line with a fly on the end.

The first phase of my presentation is Powerpoint slide show in which I reveal the great things about fly fishing: Having fun with friends and family; seeing beautiful new places; seeing cool things in nature, like wildlife; and of course fish. Then I talked about the process of writing and illustrating the Olive books. This always gets kids in the mood to do some drawing, so next up I drew Olive on a whiteboard.

It’s always fun to hear the kids’ reaction as I do this. Then, much to the horror of my audience, I erased my drawing!  Next, I drew Olive again, but this time step-by-step as the kids followed along with each stroke of the pen. I love to see the widely-varied results of their efforts. Kids are very creative.

Lastly I asked the kids to each draw something having to do with fishing and write a short description of their artwork. Again, this was very entertaining and the subject matter ranged from a military tank made to look like a fish, to a fish tank with goldfish, just like the one in their classroom. One little boy even drew his own fishing fly in the style of Olive.  One little girl named Brooke signed her name to her drawing, Brooke Trout!

At 2:44pm (my visit was scheduled to conclude at 2:45) one little boy, who had been particularly engaged throughout my presentation, came up to me and reminded me that I had to leave soon. I looked at the clock on the wall and told him that I didn’t have to dash out the door right away–I was enjoying the chance to observe all the creations the kids had just finished. He insisted that I had to leave at 2:45. Then I realized why he was so concerned that I leave right on schedule: recess began at 2:45.

 

Canada likes Olive the Woolly Bugger

A couple of months ago I posted about Olive receiving a nice nod in the 2012 Fishing Annual issue of Outdoor Canada magazine. The books, as well as the fly box and nippers by Montana Fly Company, were given the Best New Gear Award for Kids. The accolade was quite a welcome surprise.  Wayne Phillips is the writer behind the gear reviews, and while I did know from correspondence with Wayne several months ago that he was going to review Olive, I didn’t know when or exactly what the review would entail. I’m grateful for Wayne’s interest in Olive, which you can see here.

Photo by Outdoor Canada magazine

 

As it turns out, Wayne is a good guy to know because he also writes a weekly column for the Saskatoon Sun. In the October 23, 2011 issue his column discussed the value in teaching kids about fishing and getting outdoors, and featured Olive. Wayne sent me a nice letter with a photocopy of the article:

From the Saskatoon Sun, October 23, 2011

 

Thank you, Wayne, for your interest in Olive, and for the really nice things you had to say. With your help,I hope that Canada will get hooked on Olive!

Help Kickstart Olive’s app

Recently I’ve been talking about Olive’s plans for an iPad app, and it’s officially in development. Olive has also launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise awareness and hopefully funding for the project.

As a fan of Olive, I hope you’ll take a look and consider backing her project, which can be found HERE:

Thanks for your support!

 

 

There’s an app for that

In our modern, fast-paced world where mobile devices reign supreme, apps have become exceedingly popular. Unless you live under a rock you know that there are apps for just about everything imaginable, so the catch phrase, “there’s an app for that” isn’t really much of an exaggeration.

And soon, you’ll be able to say that about Olive, too.

Olive will be entering into the mobile world with an iPad app that will be a digital book featuring a condensed version of Olive the Little Woolly Bugger and Olive and The Big Stream. If your kids already gotten hooked on Olive’s print books, not to worry—this isn’t going to be just the stories translated to a digital medium. There will be interactive features so kids can learn about additional elements pertaining to the story. The text will scroll so that kids can read the story by themselves, or they’ll be able to switch on a mode whereby the story is narrated, with words high-lighted; a feature that will help early readers. There’ll also be some game play, including a fun little number called Chuckin’ Bugs.

A key point of the Olive books is to get kids interested in learning about fly fishing, and outside away from video games, cell phones and yes, iPads. So, you may be asking, ‘why jump on the bandwagon and become part of the nature-deficit problem?’  I don’t see this as becoming part of the problem at all, rather adopting the technology that kids (and everyone) have already embraced, and using it to communicate the value in getting outside. If kids are going to be sitting around playing with their iPads, they may as well play with something educational and entertaining that still encourages outdoor activity. There’s no app for actually going out and exploring a stream, turning over rocks to look at bugs, and wetting a line—but soon there will be an app that celebrates that.

By the way, if you’re a fly fishing company and would like to sponsor this app, I’m fielding inquiries.

No, seriously.

 

Writer gets hooked: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Simon Beaufoy is the Oscar-winning screenwriter for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, which will be officially released on March 9th in the States. As someone who had never partaken of fly fishing prior to his involvement in the film, Beaufoy has some very interesting thoughts about fly fishing in this article.

“Before I started I thought fishing was kind of a stupid sport. It never really attracted me… They have all this gear and they stand there and do nothing.  But I thought I better go fly fishing because that’s what the book is sort of about and I need to understand where this strange meditative sense comes from in the Sheik and his fishing. I was absolutely hopeless at it but I could completely see how it becomes incredibly addictive and incredibly calming. I understood that this is a metaphor for peace and calm and harmony and tolerance and sort of being at one with nature,” he says.

Beaufoy says the experience of the movie now even has him taking his kids fly fishing with him, that is when he has a break between projects which is rare since his Slumdog Oscar win.

This just goes to show that fly fishing can have very broad appeal, and that a film about fly fishing can make a positive impact– it’s great that Mr Beaufoy has gotten his kids involved in fly fishing as well.

Hopefully they’ll get a chance to see Olive on the big screen one day.