Saturday, July 21, 2007

Santa Fe, the good and the bad

Santa Fe
At left is
how it
my body.

(Below is
how my

my attitude)

Work in Progress

I've been working on a new book, for a younger audience than the Ellie McDoodle books. Here's a sneak peek at the protagonist. Sometimes she has a bit of an attitude -- like any normal kid, right? But she's creative and that's what makes her lovable.

More Santa Fe

New Mexico looks very different from Lansing, Michigan.
You can see the polka dot trees from the sky.

And the art is different, too.

I want to go back!

Harry Potter party!

I've been a Harry Potter fan since 1999, when a friend implored me to buy the first book because her family loved it and she knew mine would too. So I bought it, and we were hooked. We bought every book since then, usually on the day of issue.

This year I signed up to get the book at my local independent bookstore, but was intrigued by what the newspaper billed "The largest Harry Potter party in Michigan." My kids weren't available so I begged my reluctant husband to accompany me to it -- the Aria Bookstore Diagon Alley party in Howell, Michigan.

I picked him up from work at 10:30pm (he works crazy retail hours) with a picnic dinner and we drove to Howell, about a 45-minute drive.
It was worth it. Here's one of tonight's sketches:

(click to see it larger)
This is Aria Bookstore from across the street at midnight when they first opened the doors and let fans in to buy the book.

Charlie and I had fun walking the street and admiring the antique stores that were still open (for the party). Scavenger hunt questions dotted store fronts, and many stores featured Diagon Alley signs, props, and sidewalk drawings. It was pretty cool.
The way we see this, it's history.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Why I don't often bother with cameras

I sketch a lot. I rarely had a camera on me, for many years. But I always had a sketchbook on me, so all those school field trips and parties and campouts are pretty much represented by quick sketches rather than photos.

A few months ago I bought a digital camera, thinking it'd be handy for capturing things to eventually paint or sketch.

And I thought I might finally get some group shots of my kids.
How nice it would be to send real photos to friends so they could see how the kids are growing, rather than just sending cartoons.

I didn't realize trying to get photos of all of the kids together, smiling nicely, would be like herding cats.

Here are my kids in the best photo I could find to send to a dear friend who travels a lot and hasn't seen them in a few years...
(the one in the middle, who is almost behaving, is my grandson. Obviously this goofiness is inherited)


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

No Fear of Flying

Actually I was nervous to fly. I haven't flown since 1999 and wasn't sure I could remember all the new regulations and such.
with a little help from my friend, it was easier than I thought it would be, and it was fun.
I discovered my favorite part is right before liftoff, when the plane speeds up and races down the runway. Then, when the wheels leave the ground, euphoria.
Here are a couple sketchbook spreads from the flight to Santa Fe.

Santa Fe Sketchbook

I visited Santa Fe for a writers' retreat this summer. It was wildly entertaining, inspiring and instructive. Here's a couple spreads from the sketchbook. I'll upload more tomorrow.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A keener sense of fairness

That's what this world needs: Fair play. I hope I never get so successful that I forget where I came from or what fair play is.

Why is it the people with the least amount of money have to pay the most for things?

Phone company deposits. Utilities deposits. Insurance penalties. Those aren't paid by rich people. They're paid by people who have trouble paying their bills -- the very people who have trouble coming up with the money are forced to come up with the money.

If you're rich and famous (or an influential politician), people are happy to give you things for free: couture gowns, jewelry, appliances. If you're broke, pay your own way.

Three times on her tv show on Bravo, Paula Abdul asks ordinary citizens around her for a few bucks because she's hungry.
1) Does she pay these people back? Or do they forever bask in the glory of having helped a rich person get something for free?
2) Can't she pay one of her entourage to always have 20 bucks of her own money on hand, for such impulse buying?
I'm sure she's a good person. Maybe she should make an effort to show compensation so that people like me don't get the wrong idea.

Rich people can buy their way out of jail and prison. Witness that French-named inheritor to the hotel fortune. Does access to such riches and special considerations build character? No -- in fact maybe it makes it harder to be good. TV shows seem to glorify the wild side of the rich and famous and their progeny.

Bookstore returns? Simply rip off and send the covers back to the distributor, to get credit for the books. Be sure to destroy the remains: Don't give away books without their covers, not even to poor people who might really benefit from them. It's against the rules.
I learned this when my husband worked at a college bookstore 25 years ago and it still grinds me. Surely there's a better way to handle this.

Leftover restaurant food? Don't give it directly to the hungry. It's unsafe!

Can't afford to buy a tv or a new couch? Just rent one, paying by the month until you own it. But -- it'll cost you extra. Maybe twice as much as if you had the money to buy it in the first place.

Need a couple hundred dollars to get you through until the next paycheck? Simply take out a loan -- those paycheck loan shops are proliferating around here! You'll pay back the loan... plus a hefty rate of interest.

This is the American way.
But if you ask me, it's twisted.

I like to sing-a

This from my friend, Kim Norman:
I've got a new song, folks.
A parody of the old song, "Baby, it's cold outside."
This version is a dialog between a harried editor and a pushy, newbie writer.
A warning, there is one tiny, slightly naughty word at the very end of the song.

I listened, I laughed. Upon the third time hearing it, I snorted while laughing. I urge you: Go listen to Kim's song. It's funny.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Put down the scissors!

Today I cut my hair.
I do this whenever I get a peculiar sort of restlessness that is only made better by doing something drastic and permanent.
The good news is I am getting better at this, having done it for, oh, gosh, about (counting fingers), well, ever since college.
The bad news is I am still not a professional.

BEFORE the fit of pique:

admittedly it is
and too long.

AFTER the fit of pique:

Well, it's
messy but
it's no longer

Right after cutting a few inches off my hair, I found the exact right words for the first three sentences for the picturebook I have been pouring my heart into for the past six weeks, PLUS a title.

Obviously, then, this strategy works.

But I have revisions for the Ellie McDoodle sequel due this summer.
And I am running out of hair.