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Viewing Blog: Stephanitely, Most Recent at Top
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Here you will find doodles, ramblings and goings on from my life as a writer and illustrator of books for children.
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1. Me and my Pookie

Today we drove to the south end of the island. Tristam took this picture at a little Indian restaurant by the beach. 

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2. Ahem...

My editor suggested that I start keeping a journal here. She thinks that something will come of it- a book in the future. So in the morning, I do some sketching, some writing- not all of it about Mauritius and our experiences here- some of it about another book I am writing (which I am SUPER excited about). 

You what is so interesting about the topics for these books? They seem to find me. My last book -STAR STUFF: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos- (available in November- I will be plugging this labor of love for a long time, so get used to it :) ) started tapping me in the shoulder when I was 12...it took until just over 2 years ago for me to have the skill set and to see a need/opportunity to create it.  The next book has a similar pattern- I got my little tap on the shoulder when I was a kid too and the tapping has not let up. Now that we have gotten to Mauritius the tap has turned into a rather insistent, "you need to write about this." 

I've always been a little mystified abut writers' assertions that the characters of novels, for example, come into their lives. As they write the narratives, the events seem to surprise the writers- I am now having this happen to me... funny. 

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3. Catching a GLIMPSE of the Milky Way

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4. Quote

Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive.

                                            -Elenore Roosevelt

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5. Bill Nye: I Took Astronomy From Carl Sagan

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6. Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos- Advanced Reader Copies!

Here they are! Sitting on my editor's desk in Manhattan, ready to go out to reviewers, book buyers and some special Carl Sagan fans. 

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7. San Luis Obispo California Travel: "Roads to Romance"1949 Chevrolet

A time capsule from 65 years ago of our little neck of the woods- the opening sequence seems to show where our neighborhood is just off the 101.

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8. COSMOS Introduced by President Barak Obama

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9. Date Night

The sky last night was even more over the top gorgeous than this little image can convey

These little holes are the homes of crabs on the beach- tiny ones. 

The pattern of the waves on the beach

Fred took a picture of me taking it all in. 

Afterwards we went to a French restaurant and had a really lovely dinner. There was a saxophonist and the most charming woman singing jazz standards in French.  

It was the first night in many weeks that we truly relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. i finished another Princess Posey book last week, started another one and am working on my next biography (another surprise subject- another fascinating and impactful person- SO excited about!!)

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10. Birds

It's my fault. I started to feed them bread when I was having breakfast outside in the morning- and now...

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11. Bikram Yoga SLO

Missing my yoga friends in SLO- so happy to see this!

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12. Odes and Ink

Gorgeous work from Alice Jeffries and Joe Worthington. Here. 

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13. STAR STUFF: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Universe

It has been well over two years since I started work on this picture book biography of Carl Sagan- the first picture book biography about him. I am proud to announce that it will be published in November of tho year- in time for Carl Sagan Day! 

I first heard of Carl Sagan from my dad. He gave me a book he was reading at the time- Broca's Brain by Carl Sagan. The Cosmos television series followed soon after- my world was changed forever. I was 12. 

This book is about finding our place in the Cosmos- about the great vastness of space, about looking up at the stars in wonder...about the BIG questions and about a young boy named Carl living in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York looking up at the night sky and becoming enchanted by the stars...

I'm super proud of this book. A labor of love. 

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14. Sketchbooks 1

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15. Work Arounds

This morning my French class met at a local cafe instead of at Tristam's school because there is yet another school break. The ladies in the class may not know this, but just knowing that there are other expats going through the ups and down of adjusting to life here is a great comfort. Our French teacher was not at this gathering, so all of us guiltily admitted to not having done our homework and just chatted. It was nice.

You would think that a place of which Mark Twain said in 1896 (quoting and islander)"Mauritius was made first and then heaven; and heaven was copied after Mauritius" - would be easy to adjust to. I have friends who are expats in places like Bangladesh and my experience here is nothing like theirs. I have all of the convinces here- internet, electricity (although that can be spotty) , internet (although the bandwidth is low), there are grocery stores with products from all over the world and there is a definite western footprint here.  But, I do miss home. Especially Bikram (hot) yoga, my friends,  my garden, the smell of the Pacific Ocean, sushi (!!!!) organic produce and privacy- and mobility (freedom). 

Purple carrots from our garden at home.

Privacy and Peace.

High speed dependable internet and electricity in my very functional, dialed in studio.

SUSHI!! Here at Goshi's SLO- after doing Bikram Yoga class.

Gosh- this really seems like I'm bitching about things- there are so many great things here. First, the opportunity to reinvent and to see the world through a different lens. Challenging old habits and routines, assumptions... see another part of the world- and it is gorgeous. See a very different culture- the Indian-Mauritians- I am constantly confused and surprised by interpretations of events and daily things as seen through this culture. I am making lots of new friends here- all very different from so many places on the globe. Mostly Franco-Mauritians, but many expats who have adopted the world as their home and have a nomadic life style.  

At the moment California is still very much home, but I'll be back there to visit soon enough and often enough. Life is good. 

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16. Learning to Find a New Rhythm

We have been here for about 2 months. 

Before leaving to come here I read Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things- or more accurately, listened to it while I worked. I had no idea what it was about before beginning it. I knew it had something to do with a woman who was  botanist in the 18th century and little else. Spoiler alert in case you plan to read it- she winds up in Tahiti with a pile of possessions including the equipment she needed to do her studies and some books, papers and other odds and ends. She is plunked into an entirely unfamiliar place with unfamiliar customs and values- in the last 3 months, I have thought of this book often. 

When Fred and I came here we brought what we could in suitcases. My illustration equipment well packed, no books, except the bare minimum I need for reference for the next 3 books I'm working on- well and I did photograph my favorite picture books for reference and have them digitally-  some paints, a stack of moleskine journals, pencils and then just some clothing and odds and ends. That's it.  There are very general parallels with the book- we certainly don't live in a hut, and we have all of the stuff of modern life- like computers and the internet, but there are a lot of parts of the book that I do relate to. 

 Banana trees in the from yard.

 A full moon in the southern hemisphere- the familiar stars, not so familiar. 

Sunset over the sugarcane fields with the ever moving,ever changing,  ever present cloudscapes. 

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17. Neil deGrasse Tyson on the New Cosmos

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18. Please Help Support this Amazing Woman

Up until last week, I didn't know this about a woman that has been in Fred's and my life for the last couple of years. We first met in San Diego in 2011 and she never let on that anything like this was going on in her e life. Pleas click this link and if you have even the tiniest bit to give, it would mean the world. Big thanks in advance. 

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19. Princess Posey at ALA

Princess Posey at the American Library Association in VERY good company at the Penguin/Putnam display area (Roald Dahl!!!).

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20. Henri 2, Paw de Deux

From our dear friend Terry- a welcome good laugh- thank you Terry xo!

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21. Island Time....

We are settling in nicely.

Our neighbors have been so wonderful in navigating the logistics of setting up a workable routine. Living in a third world country (albeit a very nice one), takes inside knowledge for sure. So far they have taken the time to make introductions, steer us clear of making mistakes and have been invaluable- as well as being genuine and lovely to spend time with.    

The clouds here are amazing. The cloudscapes shift so quickly that they look like a time-lapse film. 

Doing yoga has become super important to me over the last number of years, so incorporating it here has been important. I try to take a break in the hottest part of the day and do some yoga outside. It's hot enough to get a sweat going- which I love. We also found a studio a little ways away that we go to for a vinyasana flow class taught by a free spirited woman. Fred and I both love her class. Her yoga studio is on the lower floor of her home and there are big french doors that open up onto her garden. The other night during some of the poses I looked out to the tropical night sky with the clouds drifting by the moon framed by palms and banana trees. It was almost surreal.

Work is busy as always and now my process (which is still pretty new to me) is half digital. It's still not up to speed with the California studio, but getting there. 

More soon...

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22. Our Pale Blue Dot from the Moon!

A view from the Moon!!!click here. 

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23. Today is....

It is January the 13th here, and just an FYI it is International Make Your Dream Come True day and also International Blame Someone Else Day...perfect combo, right? Can't make those dreams come true- you can blame someone else. 

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24. Clouds...

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25. Neil Gaiman on Writing: From The Nerdist Podcast

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