You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2009.

I’m leaving tomorrow, and I am really, REALLY excited.  The next few days are going to be a whirlwind of awesomeness.  Today has been one of those days with whining, phlegm, laundry piles, cat vomit, getting locked out of the house- that kind of stuff.  It’s all fine and dandy because I am going to New York tomorrow and the stress of the last couple of days just makes the trip that much lovelier.  

I’ll try and blog a little bit from New York.  

Later, alligator!

The random number generator has spoken.  The bird is proud to announce that he’s moving on, and will soon be arriving at the home of Kleiosbelly!  Thank you to everyone who commented!  Now, I need to go make the other five.

Wow, I had no idea how many people would be interested in my little map bird! Thank you!   I’ll close the comments tonight and announce his new home in the morning.  I think I’ll have giveaways more often. Maybe some books next time.

Back to the kid lit!

Powell’s presents an original essay by the lovely and talented Sara Zarr on recurring themes in fiction. 

Through the Tollbooth has been focusing on middle grade.  There’s more here.  Yay, for me!  

How about a Scrabble keyboard?  You could work out a point system for your manuscript!  Triple word score!

A while back I blogged about cloud lights, and now Swiss Miss has showed me cloud cushions!  I need a cloud room.


My friend Kjersten Hayes is a paper artist.  She made a lovely video on making a book dragon illustration.   

I ordered some new business cards from Moo.  They were good fun to make, the price is good, and I like the quality of the ones I’ve seen.  The only problem is, I put my new unfinished website on the card.  So, if I want to give any out I should probably finish the website.  Sigh.

I’m getting ready for the SCBWI Winter Conference next week in New York.  I’m really looking forward to it. I haven’t been to New York for a few years, so a trip is overdue.  We’re leaving a couple of days early for a few meetings and a secret mission.  If you’re at the conference, say hi!

Creative Kismet organized a bird ornament swap, and I signed up.  My month isn’t crazy enough, so I agreed to make five birds.  Scratch that, SIX birds.  There is a direct correlation between my manuscript needing revisions and craft projects I feel compelled to take on.

Six birds!

Anyway, I made a test bird, and here it is.

Giveaway birdHe’s migratory, so the underside of his wings are made of maps.  

A bird with map wings needs to fly, so he’ll fly off to someone else’s house (If anyone wants him).  Just leave me a comment and, uh, name one of your favorite books from your elementary school years.  Or name a kid’s book with a bird.  Or say something else.  

I’ll pick someone randomly on Thursday morning, and you’ll get a bird!

There are lots of birds being given away, just go here






Do you know where you will be on May 16th & 17th?  

I know where I’ll be.  I will be at the same place as Ellen Hopkins, Grace Lin, Adam Rex, Ambassor of Literature for Young People Jon Scieszka, and a whole slew of other marvelous authors, illustrators, editors, & agents.  It is truly an amazing line up.  We will all be just across the water from Seattle conferring and having a jolly ol’time for TWO SOLID DAYS of kid lit creativity at the SCBWI Western Washington’s 18th Annual Conference.  We put on a mean conference.  Mean, but welcoming.  We’re very friendly.  Plus, there’s carousing.  I can practically guarantee carousing.

Kevan Atteberry designed this handy dandy poster, with thanks to Adam for lending us his Frankenstein.  








I promise it will be fun.  Go find more information and register here.

Do agents get more candid when you ply them with Mexican food and wine? Yes!

Daphne Unfeasible shared that link while live-blogging queries again. 

The Newbery has been kicked around a lot lately, and now a Newbery winner is responding.  Susan Patron wrote an op-ed piece for the L.A. Times this weekend, and what an eloquent response it is.

Barbara O’Connor reflects over some dead matter, and is that much wiser for it.  

That’s it.  Nice and short today.  I’ve been trying to do things the hard way lately, and it’s been sucking up my time.  This morning I whined to my husband, the video game programmer, that I’m having trouble with spreadsheets and websites.  Sometimes I get so caught up in a project that calls for some technical brain power that I don’t have, I just try and sludge through and  forget who I live with.  He knows these things!  A few tap, tap, taps and I’m back in business.  We’re a good pair!  Together our left brainedness and right brainedness make a complete, functional brain!  Now if only the kids had inherited his British accent, but I guess that would require another move.  I don’t think so.

alaska-035-tiltshiftI’m in a very bring-on-the-weekend mood.

I am digging away at my manuscript.  I took a little break last night and the ideas kept coming.  I think I might have worked through my block!  Now, I just have to stick to the two hours per day.  This month, it’s a challenge.

Maybe the end is near, and two hours of revisions per day isn’t enough.  Maybe I should start typing faster.


Parade Magazine’s “What People Earn” Grimms’ Fairy Tale Edition, ala McSweeney’s

Do you ever see an artist’s work and bet they could make a pretty gorgeous picture book? You’ll see what I mean

Ramona-the movie!  Thanks to Confessions of a Bibliovore for the info.

I have a whole lotta muppet love.  I was sad at Christmas because we no longer have a VCR to play my worn out Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas tape.  Then I unwrapped the new dvd version (with bloopers!) of Emmet that my sweet sister sent, and Christmas was saved.  So, I think it’s pretty amazing that Betsy Bird got to do this.  

Not at all related to kid lit, but share-worthy none the less.  2008 in pictures, via the Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog.  Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Cory Doctorow gives advice on writing in the age of distraction.

That came from Boing Boing, as did the thing that is currently distracting me from writing!  The TiltShift maker!  Here are a ton of fabulous examples to inspire you.


Excuse me, I need to go miniaturize my kids.  May your weekend strike the perfect balance of play and productivity.


I dreamt about grizzly bears last night.  I’ve had a weird insomnia lately that leaves me with a night of wakefulness and vivid dreams.  Last night I was on a trail in the woods in what I already knew was bear country.  I don’t remember where I was going, but I knew that I had to get there.  Around every few curves there would just be a bear or two grazing, and I would tread softly past with my heart hammering against my ears.  I woke up feeling edgy and anxious.  It seemed like one of those dreams I was supposed to grasp some symbolism from, but I think I’m just too tired.  

So, the obligatory resolutions post.  I am a sucker for new year resolutions.  There’s so much hope in the prospect of change and success.  I always make the cliche’ ones with exercise, more veggies, blah blah blah.  I’m going to list three here that are directly related to my writing that I can review in a year.

  • Fix up my work-in-progress
  • Sell it.
  • Fix up work-in-progress #2.
  • Repeat.

Simple, right?  Let’s come back in 2010 and see how it went.

Let’s make a simple resolution just for January.  I resolve to get out of my writing funk and devote at least two hours every day just to revisions.  Starting today.  That should get me in ship shop shape for the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York.

Nathan Bransford asks you not to mention the SASE you’ve included in your equery, among other things.

Indy bookstores need to stay competitive.  How about the Seminary Co-op in Chicago? They’ve started a blog with the covers if books from their front table, thus titling their blog- The Front Table.  When you hover over a cover you get a mini-window of information, and you can click to buy the book online with Booksense (via Slog).  Neat-o!

Kirby Larson has a new blog!

A teenager in Chile is making flipbooks from animations she made in Flash (via  Wouldn’t that be a nifty promotional tool for an illustrator to use? I seem to be a little obsessed with illustrator promotions lately.  Oh, well.  I’m in an artist mood today.

Jen Stark is a sculptor.  One day she was brainstorming for some budget-friendly material, and started cutting up a stack of construction paper.  

















You can watch her talk about her process in this video.

New blog feature:

Hook of the Week!

“In the late 17th century,  famed pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with the dust of 100 dogs. Three hundred years later, after one hundred lives as a dog, she returned to a human body—with her memories intact. Now she’s a contemporary American teenager, and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.”

Intriguing, no?  That is from the soon-to-be-released The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King (via the Flux blog).

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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