You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2009.

Book Nut presents a solid list of picks for the top 100 middle-grade books of all time. I don’t agree with all of them, but it’s a nice mix of new and old.

MotherReader explains why the upcoming KidLitosphere Conference is way cooler than BlogHer09.


Kirby Larson interviewed Karen Cushman.

Adam Rex and Mac Barnett collaborate well (as seen here on 7-imp), and I think The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity is an awesome title.

Lee Wind interviews Ellen Hopkins.

At least three of those people will be at the SCBWI Summer Conference next month.

I LOVE my critique group  (Unless they voted to kick me out at the last meeting, which I had to miss. In that case, they’re a bunch of rotten chum buckets.). I’ve had other groups in the past, but I think my current group’s dynamic works really well.  We have a mix of illustrators and writers in different genres. Their feedback is fabulous, and I can’t imagine trying to write and revise without the benefit of a group.  I’m dense. I need help.

I was at a lovely party a couple of nights ago chatting with a circle of successful authors, and critique groups came up. A couple of the authors mentioned that they don’t have a critique group, nor have they ever had a critique group.  They are each published and well-regarded, so that’s what works for them.  I find myself constantly curious about the writing process of others, and the various methods people use to reach publication.

What works for you? Do you think critique groups are important? What’s yours like? If you don’t have one, do you do anything else for feedback? Dish!

Carrie wins! Congrats, Carrie!  Send me your address and I’ll get those lovely cards out to you Monday.

Here’s a  short video of Maurice Sendak on Spike Jonze’s adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are,  shown at ComicCon.

I finally read The Hunger Games this week.  Am I the last one in the world to read it? It feels like it.  I’m not generally crazy about futuristic, dystopian settings, so I kept resisting the recommendations.  Silly me. I couldn’t put it down.  She lost me a little bit with the mutts, but otherwise I was totally engaged in the story.

My writing weekend went very well.  My goals were a little lofty, so I didn’t actually finish the draft, but I’m much farther along and the rest is pretty much planned out. What a fantastic gift to have such a big block of time just to focus.  It was wonderful. My goal this week is 10,000 rewritten words, and I think I’m getting pretty close.

Publisher’s Weekly has their Fall Children’s Books on stands now.


That clever Martha Brockenbrough made a new blog for SCBWI Western Washington, The Chinook Update.

Sometimes I like to write with a different font in my working draft, just to mix things up and tweak my perspective a little bit.  I’ve been playing with the free fonts at Font Squirrel lately.

If you’re marketing some kid kit this year you should probably pick up the 2010 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market guide. Even if you don’t need it for marketing, look at the list of fabulous features and articles.

Do you use iGoogle?  They have a new group of comics themes, like American Born Chinese and Robot Dreams.  Also, Ziggy.  You know, if you’re into that.

Justine Larbalestier addresses the controversial cover choice for her new novel that has everyone upset. Grrr. Whiskey tango foxtrot, Bloomsbury?!?

The Horn Book gets the blue ribbon for speedy printing. I received my copy in the mail on July 20th, complete with acceptance speech transcripts from ALA on July 12. Well done!

I’m going to bed now, so I can kayak tomorrow with both eyes open.

So, I’m going to have a marathon writing session this weekend. Saturday and Sunday I’m holing up to pound out a draft.  Away from the distractions and interruptions of home! My sweet husband volunteered to care for the kids and pets, so it will just be me and my new computer in a hotel room. I’ve never done this before.  I’m giddy!

Revision might be too weak of a word. It’s somewhere between a revision and starting from scratch.  Same characters, big changes in the story. Let’s just call it a rewrite.  Anyway, since I’ve never done this before, I have no idea what to expect.  How many words can I possibly pump out over two days, if I’m only stopping to eat (or take a quick brain-refreshing swim)? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out!

I’m not even going to watch the new Harry Potter movie, which I’ve been really geeked out about, until I’m done and heading back home on Sunday. I mean business, people! No more distractions.

Alright, maybe a few for you.

Watch the awesome video Betsy Bird made.

Can you spot the Pacific Northwest authors and illustrators making cameos?  Name one in the comments, and I’ll pick someone on Wednesday to win a prize made by yet another talented local author & illustrator!  I’ll send one lucky commenter a set of recipe cards from Jaime Temairik‘s new Kitchenette line on Etsy.

recipecardsAren’t they snazzy?  I ordered a set for myself, too. Now I can transfer the recipes I’ve jotted down on the back of old envelopes to lovely little cards. If you don’t cook, you can give the cards to the loved one who cooks for you. They deserve a gift, preparing all your meals like that. Or pass ’em out to friends and relatives to give you instructions for their tastiest dishes!

I thought I knew my way around the kitchen, but it turns out I didn’t even know the easiest way to peel a banana (via SwissMiss).

Good grief, it takes me a long time to get into the flow of writing.  I used to blame it on my sporadic writing schedule, but I’ve been writing pretty regularly for a while now and I still can’t just jump into it.  I have to warm up for a while and then slooowwwwwlly I get into a flow.  Once I get into it I can go as long as time permits, with a few dud days here and there. I was discussing this with a certain ambassador at our regional conference.  First, he laughed and made fun of me (in a warm, ambassador-y kind of way).  Then he said most of his writing is in spurts of a few minutes, whenever he has time to spare.  Parenthood and teaching conditioned him to work this way.  I’ve got the teaching and the parenthood, but I don’t have the ability to work in short surges.  Oh, well.

How do you work??

I just received a new computer (!!!), so there should be more pictures and video in the near future.

Look what Nathan Bransford just did.  Amazing.

I want to go to Peru!  Over the next six weeks I’ll be in Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, and Colorado.  I might not want to go anywhere after that.

Jen Robinson made a pretty great list of series’ featuring adventurous girls over at Booklights.

The Vermont College of Fine Arts has added a children’s literature section to their Hunger Mountain journal with the likes of Sara Zarr and Susan Patron.

What happens after your book is acquired? Check out the new blog by someone in a publishing house’s sales department- Pimp My Novel.

Everyone is twittering. The Shrinking Violets made a long list of publishing pros last month, and now, even the Pigeon.

I don’t know why I’m blogging.  I finally have a copy of When You Reach Me to read!

Let me know about your process!

It’s been a month!  Sorry about that.  My kid got out of school, my computer’s dying, and everything is out of whack.  But, life is good.  We were on Vancouver island last week.  If I wasn’t a city girl, I might consider relocating. The sweet potato fries are crispy, and the scenery is incredible.


I did not put my manuscript in the circular file!  I’m making some changes, and I hope to have a new draft by the end of the month.  I’m excited about it again, which I think is a good sign. I have plans in Portland next week, so I’m just going to stay over and hole up in a hotel room for the whole weekend and write.  I’m very, very excited about it.

The SCBWI Summer Conference is less than a month away!  I’ll be there.  Who else is going? It’s going to be fun!

PLUS, I signed up for SCBWI Western Washington’s 2009 Fall Retreat-Weekend on the Water with Cheryl Klein and Ruta Rimas.

Ok, I better get this post out there before I get distracted again.  I’ll have some giveaways soon to make up for my absence.

Meanwhile, the very clever Martha Brockenbrough and Jaime Temairik examine what would happen if Harry Potter were on Twitter.

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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