Thursday, October 29, 2009

Literary Pumpkins!

Check this out: Pumpkins modeled after kids' books.
And -- bonus -- one of the books is the brilliant and wonderful Debbie Diesen's fun rhyming read-aloud book, The Pout-Pout Fish!
'Tis the season to carve a pumpkin; why not get your inspiration from a kids' book like the kids at that cool school did?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vote for All The World - in Cheerios!

Vote for the fabulous ALL THE WORLD (or another favorite) to be in Cheerios boxes! once a day thru Oct. 30.

Liz Garton Scanlon is the author and it's a wonnnnderful book, poetic and lovely with a universal message. Plus Liz is a great friend. :)
Marla Frazee is the illustrator and she did a beautiful job -- I've admired her work for ages and she's great fun-- I got to hang out with her a bit at a local conference. Together, they make this book a tour de force.

It's a huge honor for their book to be considered for Cheerios. I hope they win. :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The SCBWI Conference in my region

This past weekend SCBWI-Michigan hosted Author/Poet Ellen Hopkins (link leads to my pal Kerry Madden's blog post, Ellen's recent poem about censorship) and Author-Illustrator Matt Faulkner and Editor Harold Underdown and Art Director Loraine Joyner of Peachtree and Literary Agent Jennie Dunham and Author Leslie Connor and Editor Tim Travaligni of Putnam. The whole weekend was outstanding. I advanced both my writing and my art, learned a lot and had a fabulous time.

Best take-away tip which was made clear right before the conference and then reinforced all weekend:
Do what you're best at. Pick what you want to do and pursue only that. Be persistent, never give up, but especially be yourself. Don't lose sight of that thing that you have that nobody else has -- because it's valuable.

Here's an interesting thing: The stuff my portfolio critiquers liked best was the wolf art from last month (pencil sketch here) -- and this picturebook art from 2 years ago --
and this piece I did wayyy back in 2002 -- for my very first picturebook. It didn't sell (didn't win the Margaret K. McElderry contest I entered it in) but it's nice to know the art still works. I always liked it. Maybe I'll revise the book and sell it someday. After reforming into a molehill that mountainous To-Do pile on the desk...

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's been three months! Where ARE you?!

No worries, I am right here. :)

Here's an update for the kids who've been writing me, asking why there's nothing new on the blog.

I've been busy. I have two new picturebook ideas, one new novel idea (which it sounds like my editor loves, so far), and I'm working on the third Ellie McDoodle book (still).

I have only one puppy now, but a second lives here with daughter Katie who will move to college in spring, and a third puppy visits often, with my son, and three others come by every couple of weeks. The seventh puppy came to stay with us for a few days last month. The eighth puppy we haven't seen since the day he left us back in July.

Here's the cool thing about the puppies that visit: They remember me! They run up to me and cover me with kisses and I always tell them they're doing a good job growing up big and strong and amazingly cute.

They really are big now. Well, most of them. Two are very short: Clarence and Iggy (formerly Feisty Helena). Iggy is short and skinny. She lives with my friend Diane. Clarence is our puppy and my husband says he looks like "a clawfoot bathtub with a head." This cracks me up. Clarence has very short legs and a long body (we don't think he's part dachshund, but we don't know for sure...) and a very long whippy-waggy tail, and a wide stocky head. He's funny looking and I adore him.

I'm thinking of putting him into the next Ellie book.

My first dog is in the second Ellie book, the fuzzy little guy on page 7. He was usually a happy dog, so I had to imagine sadness for that picture. I miss him; he died of old age this past summer.

I'm glad we had puppies after that. It was a welcome distraction.

I'll post more about my summer soon -- it was long and adventurous.

Speaking of adventure, I'm headed up to Michigan's Upper Peninsula very soon. It's beautiful up there. Lots and lots of hills, forests, waterfalls... breathtaking natural beauty. Copper and iron mines, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Lake Superior (a.k.a. Gitchigumi), the Soo Locks, Whitefish Bay (have you heard the Gordon Lightfoot song about the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald? It's a haunting tribute to a crew of sailors on a ship that sank when I was a teen).

I'm not sure how much we'll see up there, because I'll also be busy with 4 school presentations, a library appearance and a conference.
Marquette, here we come! (Katie's staying home to watch the puppies but we're bringing Emily along)

One more thing I've been busy with: Art. This is my granddaughter, Isabel, taking her first steps and learning to run about 15 minutes later.

Yikes! Hide the fragile stuff!