You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2008.

Just a note-

Editorial Ass, Moonrat, is helping out a friend with lymphoma and no insurance by holding a SUPER AWESOME RAFFLE.  Want a full manuscript consultation?  Query letter critique? A book from her library?

Go win one, and support a good cause.  

That’s it.  I’m going back to my revisions now.  Good luck!

I can say it now.  We capped off the Portland Kid Lit conference with a sock puppet video full of zombies, werewolves, vampires, and the delightfully agreeable Betsy Bird.  I say we, but I was just a semi-drunken bystander with a case of the giggles.  It was all Jaime Temairik.  She’s creative, talented, and very odd.  Is there a better combination of traits?  I think not.

Watch the video!


Ok, here are a few peeks behind the ol’ scenes.  Jaime explains what will happen to Betsy, and she’s understandably frightened…maybe a little confused.  But, she already ate some bribe chocolate, so there’s now an obligation.










Jaime sweetens the pot with an original Jaime Temairik toucan painting (!).













Jaime gives some direction…









While Kirby Larson and Jolie Stekly play.










Jaime commands respect with a “1,2,3!  All eyes on me!”













Betsy and Jaime make the video, and Jaime doesn’t allow any cameras on the set.  

Post-video puppet carnage.







I don’t know why, but there was an attack.  One of the zombies turned on Betsy Bird.  Laurie Thompson was attacked by something that jumped out of Betsy’s bag, and Dana Arnim got gnawed on by the werewolf (too graphic for pictures).  It was brutal.




















Sadly, no one noticed because the rest of the zombies threw a doozy of a wrap party.  Here’s Jolie getting the evening started right.













The surviving zombies, vampires, werewolves, writers, illustrators, and librarians made their way down to the bar and partied the night away.  

Many thanks to Jaime and Betsy for making me laugh so hard.

*Everything posted above is true, except the parts that I made up.

Alright, I am STILL recuperating, but as Pam Coughlan reported- the kidlitosphere waits for no woman.  Plus, I have incriminating photos.

You know the weekend is kicking off to a great start when one of your roommates (Future blogger Dana Arnim) busts open a mini-bar disguised as a toiletry carry on.


You know the weekend is going to be noisy when you glance out the window and see a runway.  It wasn’t as noisy as you would think.  Overall, the Portland Airport Sheraton was a lovely facility.


People think blogging isn’t glamorous, but check out the fabulousness of Kidlitosphere attendees like Suzanne Young and Lee Wind.

Or how about Readergirlz divas Holly Cupala, Lorie Ann Grover, and Dia Calhoun?  Congratulations to Holly, the newest diva!









And we can’t forget the lovely conference organizers, Laini Taylor and Jone Rush MacCulloch.  Thanks, ladies!

Here is the charming Gregory Pincus bestowing wisdom upon us.  Natural. Born. Speaker.

Who knew a purple wig would look so dashing?  Deb Lund did!  I think she was going for monsterous, but I say glamorous!

I don’t know what Lee was saying to Mark Blevis here, but it looks important.










And the newest and most enthusiasic blogger to Kidlitosphere, Jolie Stekly, taking a break to…ummm…blog. 


After all the conferencing we had a lovely dinner.  I was lucky enough to be at the aptly named “Woo Hoo Table.”  Matt Holm and Suzanne Young already blogged about it, and I’m sure other people will mention it.  We were big winners.  We were gracious in the beginning, a bit cocky in the middle, and nervous at the end.  We made out like bandits, and I think Mark Blevis was organizing a posse to kick some ass.  

We were worried, so we ditched Suzanne and Matt.  We coerced Kirby Larson into luring Betsy Bird to our room.  There was chocolate involved.













I can’t tell you what happened next (YET!), but Betsy was doing something fabulous with Jaime Temairik, and the rest of us were intrigued.  Who knew there were paparazzi in kid lit?









That’s all I have for now, but really.  Could you handle any more?  I have more pictures, but I can’t reveal them yet.  It was great to meet everybody, and I wish I could have met more of you.  Maybe I did.  I don’t know.  I’m STILL hungover.  

This weekend fondly dedicated to Chuck Van Pelt!

You can read much more at the conference from the link list here.

Kidlitosphere ’08 is over, but it’s been tons of fun.  I was going to post some pictures and links, but I am worn out and hungover.  I’ll do it tonight when I get home.  We met so many great people, and had so much fun!  Thanks, Jone and Laini!  You guys rock.

More soon…

Carl Hiaasen and Mike Lupica are making a pilot for HBO?  You had me at Hiaasen (via The Longstockings).

Speaking of Longstockings, Cynsations interviewed editor/author/supermultitasker Lisa Graff.

Sara Crowe, kid lit agent at Harvey Klinger, has started a blog.  Go visit Crowe’s Nest.

Neil Gaiman works out of a shed, too.  

I’m not working out of a shed.  Yet. The shed is still in progress.  Our carpenter said he’d be done in a week, but it was not to be so.  They should finish the roof today, and start working on the interior.  I’m ready to move in!  I bought a lamp!

Ok, here are some more progress shots.  I’ve lost track of time, but this is what’s happened in the last ten days or so.
































My shed has a porch! And it will have a green roof.  Yay!  We’re debating what color to paint the outside.  My husband says he should get input on the exterior colors.  HA! HA, I say (Hi honey!).  I want it to be bright and artsy.  I’m thinking periwinkle blue with a yellowish green trim.  He likes red.  What say you?

Off to exercise, and then write. My manuscript is shaping up nicely and I’m anxious to get back to it.

I have been reading a few picture books lately that remind me how important it is to be in touch with what is truly happening with your reader at that age.  My son started kindergarten this month and has been gobbling up the new fall releases about starting school.  If you’re writing a book with this type of setting you should know what many writers do not:  Preschoolers and kindergartners are not typically snarky, sarcastic, or cruel.  There is a common theme of mockery, namecalling, and belittling, that is becoming popular.  It is false.  I’ve spent my share of hours in classrooms as a co-op parent and a teacher, and the early classrooms are not that hostile.  Really.  Middle grades?  That’s another ball of wax- and another age.  

Just had to get that off my chest.

Alright, moving on.  

The Cybils have a new category, and have announced the new panelists for it.

Ask Daphne liveblogs her reactions to a whole lotta queries.  Take notes!  Part one, and Part two.

Writers are not the only ones that get neurotic when the rush of new love with a manuscript wears off.  Editorial Ass outlines the editorial cycle.

Loose your page?  How about Orange has origami bookmarks that are easy peasy.

Shed update:  The carpenter took the weekend off, so there was no progress on the shack this weekend.  I’ll post some more progress pictures in a couple of days.  I hear sawing and hammering as I type. Yippee!  I did get some flooring and researched installing an extensive (lower maintenance) green roof.  We’d probably have to change the pitch a little bit and reinforce it a tad, but it sounds doable.  I found this picture on ecogeek, and now I can’t stop daydreaming about a herd of tiny goats troptroptropping over the roof of my tiny studio.  Like chihuahuas, only more likable and with bah bahs instead of yap yaps.

Maurice Sendak- not really a people person, but a good secret keeper .

Yuyi Morales made a book trailer out of the lovely presentation she gave at the Golden Kite Awards Ceremony last month in L.A. (via Cynsations).  

There’s a new Notes from the Hornbook available.  You can sign up to have new notes straight to your email. 

In other Horn Book news, Roger Sutton points out that the Palin banned books list is false.  Phew! I’m still not voting for her.

Are you a writer or illustrator who gets hassled on the streets by your legions of adoring fans when you just want to duck out for a donut?  I may have the solution (via Craft blog).





Speaking of craftiness, Heather Ross has a new fabric line that makes me want to write stories about mermaids. I like the aqua best, but I couldn’t get a good shot of it.  I bought a bunch, but I don’t know what I’ll make with it yet.  Perhaps something for the shed.



Kidlitosphere is a mere two weeks away!

Ok, here are some before shots of the site of my studio-to-be.

Day one:


The back fence is being rebuilt as well, in case you were worried that a squirrel might push it over.

The back fence is being rebuilt as well, in case you were worried that a squirrel might push it over.












Day two, a few pieces arrive:










Day three- even more pieces!:









Today the contractor emailed to say that nothing was left to deconstruct but the base, and that my office to be is a marvel of shed strength.  They say it’s taking longer than expected, but it should still be done within the week.  The roof couldn’t be reused, so I’m going to ask them about an extensive green roof.  

I’ll post some more shots later as progress is made.

I haven’t been blogging.  I’ve been soaking up the last bits of summer to carry us through the soggy winter.  Hiking, playing, kayaking, sewing, watching baseball, lazing around.  Bliss.  Now we have one off at kindergarten, and one taking advantage of the quiet house to catch up on napping.  Time to write!

So, we moved and I’ve been working out of the dining room and at coffee shops.  A laptop certainly makes it easier to be flexible with writing in general, but to get down to the meat I need to have piles of notes, post its, a bulletin board- basically a big mess.  We’ve been working on the basement, but I’m not very patient, and the area we had planned for my office never felt right.

I’ve always admired garden studios.  I’m kind of a hobbit by nature, so having a cozy little den for work appeals to me.  I ordered the plans for Readymade’s mod shed a while back, but they’ve been gathering dust.  I’ve coveted Denise’s studio, Marla’s studio (click on the moon), and then Jaime made an awesome studio out of her shed.  There was a little bit in Sunset Magazine on lovely garden studios, and I started doing a little research.  Long story short:  In the interest of green-ness (and cheapness!) we procured a cute old shed on Craigslist that someone is moving and rebuilding in a corner of our garden.  It should be here in parts tomorrow, and all ready to go next week.  Yeehah!  I’ll post some pics of the process.

If you’re thinking:  You don’t need a garden studio, you fruitcake! You’re not an artist! Writers do it, too!  

There is a whole movement of people who work in their sheds in the U.K.  The Brits are on to something!  There’s a great site devoted to shedworking.  Here’s a messageboard thread full of inspirational pictures.  

Just in case you need even more studio porn- here’s a peek at some before and after shots of S.Britt’s Portland studio (via Drawn).

And some other stuff:

Plot This pointed me toward an interview on AdLit with Kate DiCamillo.

Where are the parents in YA?  Librarilly Blonde looks for them (via Under the Covers).

If you’re around Seattle:  It’s September!  The new season of  SCBWI WWA professional programming has begun.  Tomorrow we’re featuring Alexandra Penfold from Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster.  Come a little bit early for the announcement slides and you might just get a sneak peek at our faculty for the spring conference.  See you there!

I leave you with an experiment in healthier brownies and a picture of my kayak-loving pooch.


P.J.- Captain of the kayak.

P.J.- Captain of the kayak.

I write stories for kids while volunteering as the Assistant Regional Advisor and Conference Coordinator for the western Washington chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

I live in Seattle with my family and a small zoo of animals. I drink copious amounts of coffee and assign complicated life stories to passing strangers. I'm currently working on a middle grade novel.

There's a wee bit more on my website. You can also follow me on twitter.


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