Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ellie McDoodle, Wimpy Girl

My dear friend Ryan Hipp posted here about Ellie: http://www.ryanhipp.com/blogs/diary-wimpy-girl

Ryan's one of those big teddy-bear guys who does both cute and scary with complete finesse.
We spent a bit of time together at the Michigan Reading Association conference this past weekend in Detroit.
I encouraged him to get Patricia Polacco's signature in his Author-Illustrator Autograph Book, and he in turn encouraged me to show Patricia the quick sketches I did of her.
This one of Patricia's back is my favorite sketch in the whole sketchjournal:

The whimsy of it inspired me to draw a couple other famous people from the back, too, including Christopher Paul Curtis (who I didn't show a sketch to because I haven't read his books yet. Bought them ages ago but didn't read them yet. I am a slow reader, better suited for picturebooks).

I thought Patricia was very gracious to sign my book and Ryan's. She added this happy note to my second drawing:
Ryan and I are also in a critique group together.
Sometimes this job is solitary and the only friend I have is the character in my head whose adventures are directing my imagination.
Other times this job brings me close to lots of great people who remind me of all that is good in the world.
School visits and teacher/librarian conferences do that -- they're a lot of work to prepare for, but such amazing fun in their process of unfolding, and even more fun as I visit more schools, get to know more teachers and librarians, and then see them again at conferences.
Could this life be any better? I think not. :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fake book news contest

Be creative! Have a few laughs! Win a free book!
My pal Debbie Diesen is
celebrating the birth of her new book, The Barefooted, Bad-Tempered Baby Brigade, with a Funny Fake Children's Book News contest.
Check out the contest and some very funny entries

Hurry - the contest ends March 19.

March is Reading Month!

This is a busy time of year for many authors. In the Great Lakes area, it's Reading Month.
Here's my author visit schedule:

March 5 Fri Lone Pine Elementary in West Bloomfield

March 1-4 Charlie jury duty (whew. Called in every day but he didn't get a trial)

March 10 Wed E E Knight Elementary in Ovid Elsie

March 11 Thu Hillside Elementary in Harrison (Clare County)

March 15 Mon Central Academy in Ann Arbor

March 17 Wed Vowles Elementary in Mt. Pleasant

March 18 Thu Elmhhurst Elementary in Lansing

March 20-22 Michigan Reading Association Conference at Cobo Hall in Detroit

March 24 Wed Horizon Elementary in Holt

March 27 Sat 4 to 6 pm Michigan Author Day at Barnes & Noble in Grandville

March 30 Tu Family Lit Night at Holly Academy in Holly

April 1 Thu Bartlett School in South Lyon

April 6 Tue 2pm Ann Arbor library - Pittsfield branch

April 11 Sun fly to Texas

April 12-13 MonTues The Woodlands school visit

April 14-16 Texas Library Association conference in San Antonio

April 25-28 International Reading Association Conference in Chicago

April 29-May 2 Thu-Sun Agent's writer retreat in Chicago

May 11-12 Tue-Wed Battle Creek schools

We're halfway through March already, and so far my author visits are going well. The kids are enthusiastic and attentive, the teachers and staff are helpful and friendly, and the school walls are decorated with fabulous student art.

I'm juggling a few other things, too: I'm working on a novel about a girl who likes to read and am playing with a picturebook about a mischievous cat. (Mostly it's the novel. I promise, Erin. <- agent who asks, at the end of every email, "So how's that novel?")
The novel is going pretty well. It's a little scary because the process is very different from writing the Ellie McDoodle books. I'll be seeing Erin next month, so I don't really have a choice: I have to have a lot done before then. Yikes.

Besides being an author, I'm also busy being a mom. My daughter's middle school volleyball team has its last game on Thursday. Charlie and I have managed to go to most of the games. It's been fun cheering for the team and learning the girls' names and embarrassing our kid (by cheering for the team and learning the girls' names... sometimes I think just the fact that I exist embarrasses her).
We're off to see The Lightning Thief movie pretty soon because I managed to squeeze into this busy month the task of reading the first book in Rick Riordan's series. It's our daughter's favorite book, and I feel generally compelled to read whatever impresses her.
Very good book, worth giving up a little sleep. (Maybe I can learn a few things from Riordan)

And now, I'm off to catch a favorite tv show and then to bed. Gotta get up early; it's a long drive to Mt. Pleasant in the morning. :)