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I’m in Austin at the Texas Association of Library Administrator’s conference where I enjoy meeting new people and reconnecting with colleagues from all parts of this great state. We went to dinner tonight with the Mackin group where we heard Chris Wood speak. He is the Library Director for the Genessee Valley Educational Partnership. This is an educational service agency in western New York. Chris is a national leader in the school library community so I was very interested to see him at this dinner and hear what he had to say. Chris announced that tonight was the national launch of Here Be Fiction. He said that Mackin and the Big 6 publishers have reached an agreement and a limited beta release of their new fiction titles is underway.
He said the Big 6 have agreed to provide discount access for multiple users (you may have to buy more than one title), agreed to provide off line access with no Internet needed and can reach our special needs readers. Kitty Heise, co-owner of Mackin, said that School Library Journal is helping to sponsor this new program by having their reviewers review some of the titles they will offer. We librarians are anxious to see if our expectations are met.
Peppa Pig’s school roof needs repairing. Again. And poor Daddy Pig ends up having to buy his chair back at a fundraising fete. That was the gist of our daughter’s latest bedtime story. I’ve read “Peppa Pig’s Daddy Is Made … Continue reading →
For those of you concerned, I did not die. I simply got drawn away from my passion and wasted many weeks doing things such as checking Facebook, and watching movies, while wondering why I have been so bored. Its funny how one can get into such a state of apathy. It becomes the usual to sit around, and think about doing something, only to leave it until the tomorrow that won't ever come. Well no more I tell you! I will not do it. I am never happier then when I am busy and so I am getting back on this blog, poor Mary has been waiting to continue her marriage, and I have been denying her.
I guess it is fitting that I had such a long state of absenteeism before I started talking about Phillip. For Phillip spent most of their marriage away from Mary. But we will get there. Because the marriage caused panic in the country, a marriage contract was drawn up to try and ease the peoples minds. This contract allowed for Phillip to have the title of King of England but only while Mary I was alive. Everything he proposed had to be accepted by her first, and England would not be required to spend money on wars to benefit Phillip and his family. Obviously these restrictions were not the most appealing to Phillip but the benefits of such a marriage outweighed these cons and so he conceded.
Coin used in Mary's time Photograph by Lara E. Eakins
Phillip was in the marriage purely for political reasons, while Mary had fallen hard for Phillip based on his portrait before she even met him. She was searching for a loving husband, who could perhaps fill the void, that had been empty of love for years. After it was decided that she would marry the spaniard plots to put Mary's sister Elizabeth on the throne started propping up endlessly. The main participants of these plots included Sir Thomas Wyatt the younger, and Henry Grey. Yup you read that correctly, the same Henry Grey who had been released from the tower after plotting to put the nine day queen on the throne. Mary realized that she perhaps was to lenient with those involved with Lady Jane Gray, and so she went to the other end of the spectrum. She had around 100 traitors hung, her sister arrested, and Lady Jane beheaded. Although it should be noted that she forgave over 400 of the other people involved in these plots.
Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger
Eventually the marriage took place, July 25th 1554 to be exact, and Mary reached one of her goals. And like many women her other main goal was to become a mother and continue Catholicism in England. It did not take long for Mary's doctors to announce that she was pregnant. The happy queen began to swell in September. Thinking she had her successor in her belly Mary turned towards her final big want, to bring England back into Catholicism.
Mary I and Phillip II
The heresy laws were reinstated, meaning that anyone could be declared a hieratic and burned at the stake. And in January the first three men were found guilty and condemned to their toasty fate (yes, I know that was distasteful). However, England had many protestants who did not want to ever return to Rome's teaching. Instead of the burnings causing fear and subjection in her subjects they simply increased their hatred. But even if her country hated their queen she still had the child on the way. Or so she thought.
Burning at the Stake
For some reason people thought that a pregnant woman, of royal blood, needed to sit in a dank room for the final months of her pregnancy and Mary followed this custom. The babies due date came and went and still Mary lay there waiting to give birth. Soon another month passed and no signs of a delivery were to be seen. It is believed that Mary, wanting to be pregnant so much, caused herself to have what is known as a phantom pregnancy. Her body displayed all the signs of being pregnant but no child was within her. Mary was heartbroken and her spanish husband didn't help matters. That August, after those at court were well aware of Mary's failed pregnancy, Phillip left the country. A distraught Mary would write to him, almost daily, in order to beg for him to return to her.
Eventually Phillip did return, but shortly afterwards another war against France was declared. I think they should never have declared peace between the two countries, for it would have saved a lot of time. And as if the hatred for Mary was not enough, it would only increase when England lost Calais there last bit of land in France. Mary's reign was now officially regarded as a complete failure. Mary did have some good news, however, she announced that she was pregnant once again. This time convinced it was the real deal.
It wasn't. Another phantom pregnancy took place, but this time Mary would not recover. Her health deteriorated until she had no choice but to declare her half sister, who she had imprisoned for treason, and who was a stanch protestant, as her heir. On November 17th 1558 Mary died, ending her short reign and sorrowful life.
Queens' Mary I and Elizabeth I Tomb
And finally one final slight occurred to Mary when her tomb became so covered in rocks that her half sister was placed above her and they now share a tomb, rivals even in death.
*Most of these pictures are in the public domain. If I have failed to give credit where credit is due, please let me know. The first cartoon has an artist that I don't know of.
Hungry little Bear would love some honey, which he’s kindly being offered, but he’s afraid of upsetting the dangerous bees. He thinks he knows what bees are: they are “terrible monsters. They are big and they have large teeth, and they have sharp claws, and they never share their honey!” The kindly critter offering honey points out that Bear is the one who’s big, with large teeth and sharp claws (“Poor me! I am a bee!” cries Bear), and then reveals himself to be an actual bee—who does indeed share his honey. Oversized fears are something kids can definitely relate to, and the book gently and tacitly addresses the topic while making an excellent layered joke that’s easily within youngsters’ grasp. They’ll enjoy knowing from the start what silly Bear doesn’t, and his moment of wrong-headed self-identification is preschool comedy gold. Ruzzier’s cozily uneven, very handmade lines are filled with opaque planes of soft digital color over full-bleed backgrounds to make a simple but warmly welcoming landscape. As usual, he has some subtle otherworldly touches (the botanicals are a little Seussian, and the bear’s imagined bee is pretty Martian), but those elements are counterpointed by the everydayness of both characters’ footwear (Bear in simple sandals, Bee in gym shoes) and their childlike gestures (Bee expressively deploys all four arms). This friendship-not-fear tale is a natural for storytime or laptime, especially if followed up by a nice honey-touched snack.
A few years ago, I scribbled a book called The Neglected Holiday Songbook. The premise was that some holidays had never had songs written for them, because certain other holidays hogged ALL THE GLORY.
We never really sent it out, and the idea fizzled. In retrospect, I’m not sure how many people really need songs for Arbor Day. But today, in honor of my own Irishy heritage, and the wearing o the green… I offer an outtake:
St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
I’ve hunted four leaf clovers,
and worn a bit of green,
I’ve never seen a leprechaun
(they don’t like to be seen).
But Granny says St. Paddy’s Day
is actually the day,
Some fella went to Ireland
and drove the snakes away.
This might be fine for Irish folks,
and squeamish sisters too,
But I like snakes, and think they’re cool.
I know what snakes can do.
I’ve seen them shed their scaly skins,
I saw one eat a mouse.
I catch them in the backyard,
(I lose them in the house).
So maybe old St. Patrick
should keep away from me.
I like it here here, inside my room,
where snakes (and me) roam free.
Sergio Ruzzier’s illustrations always manage to be soft and fluffy and kind toward children — without slipping into saccharine gauziness. In two new picture books, one written and illustrated by Ruzzier, the other written by Eve Bunting, Ruzzier’s spare pen-and-ink pictures charmingly enliven animal stories in just the way preschoolers like.
BEAR AND BEE
Written and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
48 pp. Disney-Hyperion Books. $14.99. (Picture book; ages 2 to 6)
HAVE YOU SEEN MY NEW BLUE SOCKS?
By Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
32 pp. Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 3 to 7)
Both tales concern befuddled yet lovable animals, trying to bumble their way out of confusing circumstances. The pleasure for young listeners is getting to laugh at these characters, while at the same time feeling at once superior to and affectionate toward them. Isn’t it comforting to know that other creatures forget things, make mistakes and generally have the wrong idea?
For example, children derive great pleasure from those moments when a grown-up who can’t lay hands on his hat or keys or gloves finds the missing object close at hand. In “Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?,” observant readers will notice halfway through that the hapless green duck is wearing his sought-after socks inside his shoes; they’ve just kind of sunk below the heel. (Come on, it’s happened to you.) This isn’t the only story to make much of this particular silly-goose premise; another new picture book, “Mister Whistler,” by Margaret Mahy and Gavin Bishop, concerns a man whose lost train ticket is held all the while between his teeth.
In this bighearted landscape, everyone wants to help and no one is made to feel stupid or foolish — even at the inevitable moment of epiphany. As they did in their earlier book, “Tweak, Tweak,” Bunting and Ruzzier work together well, capturing preschool fears and uncertain sentiments but, in the end, making it all O.K.
While “New Blue Socks” is about mishap, “Bear and Bee” is about misunderstanding. [...]
When Bee points out that Bear actually fits this description, the stunned beast is forced to confront reality. “Poor me!” he wails. “I am a bee!” Ever the busy helper, Bee points out the error in Bear’s thinking. All is cleared up, honey is shared, friends are made. On the surface, this is a simpler tale than “Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?” though young readers who still haven’t completely distinguished their bears from their bees may be as mystified as Bear. But it does all get sorted out, sweetly, in the end.
Yesterday I was at Books of Wonder in Manhattan for the first signing of Bear and Bee and Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? Thanks to all the nice people who came by and to all the staff! If you want to get a signed and doodled copy, you can get it from BoW’s website, clicking on the titles of the books in this post, above. Here’s what I saw as I entered the store.
Patrick hurls the book through a (closed) window. At four o’clock in the morning
Then, he charges into this parents’ bedroom to debrief the tragedy:
“The whole time you’re rooting for this Hemingway guy to survive the war and to be with Catherine, the woman he loves… and he does! He survives… after getting blown up… and he escapes to Switzerland with Catherine… but now Catherine’s pregnant. Isn’t that wonderful?”
Patrick, just released from a psych ward, wants to fix his broken marriage but he’s obviously deluded. Positive thinking, he thinks, is going to win back his wife.
“And they escape up into the mountains and they’re gonna be happy, and they’re gonna be drinking wine and they dance… [but] you think he ends it there? No! He writes another ending. She dies.”
Hemingway’s tragedy has poisoned Patrick’s mind.
“Dad! I mean, the world’s hard enough as it is. Can’t somebody say, “Hey, let’s be positive? Let’s have a good ending to the story?”
Patrick’s rant predicts the climax—it could stand as the subtext of our hero’s actions as he resolves key personal issues in the closing minutes.
The tone of the film is mildly comic, so we know from the get-go that it’s going to end well enough. But if Silver Linings has one weakness, it’s exactly that—the Hollywood ending.
And it comes as the expense of A Farewell to Arms lying in tatters outside in the dark amongst shards of glass. I dislike the notion that only gushing happy endings nourish readers.
I challenge Patrick to retrieve his Hemingway and revisit that ending. Look again at the protagonist in that Swiss hospital room where his wife has just died. He’s just died, too, so to speak. He stands at the window, looking out.
That’s how it ends. It’s terribly sad, and at the same time, according to Nikos Kazantzakis, the story isn’t over.
“We know that though the hero may die, may be reduced to bloodstained mire beneath some invisible heel, there is something within him that will not die.”
Look again at the Hemingway character at the window. What’s he looking at? Keep watching as Kazantzakis explains how we might appreciate this tragic scene:
“Apparently there is a power outside and inside man which has one aim and only one—to rise. Where? Up towards what? No one knows.”
Is this the silver lining of failure?
The “unforeseen relief at the end of the tragedy”—is this the nourishment imbedded in a good tragedy?
The writer would seem to be asking us to conjure up the “relief” in our own hearts.
Kazantzakis suggests that we instinctively understand this mystical aspect of tragedy. We might even yearn to be a Macbeth or an Othello, but the demands of everyday life steer us well clear of any such possibility.
As a result, says Kazantzakis, it’s our fate to be left behind “in the tepid mud to limp through life, limp through love, limp through desire.”
And limp off to the movies. Yikes!
Let’s end this gloomy post with the final lines of Patrick’s rant. Visualize his parents cowering under their covers:
MOM: Pat, you owe us an apology.
PATRICK: Mom, for what? I’m not going to apologize for this. You know what I will do? I will apologize on behalf of Ernest Hemingway, because that’s who’s to blame here.
“By believing passionately in something which still does not exist, we create it.”
You know, I just can’t quite get my head around that kind of mumbo-jumbo.
“The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”
Who am I to refute such optimism? Neither am I able to promote it.
That said, just last week I began a talk by telling a personal story that seemed to prove the truth of that aphorism. I was speaking to an audience of writers and readers at our local library:
“Years ago, while I was living in an alternative community in Oregon, my girlfriend dumped me. Heartbroken, I begged off work, parked my sorry ass at a café and picked up a periodical that featured a commentary on a Buddhist sutra about “Loving Yourself”.
“‘Love Yourself: this can become the foundation of a radical transformation…’
“Under the circumstances, I was willing to consider the thesis. Love yourself. Hmm… I read on:
“‘Don’t be afraid of loving yourself. Love totally and you will be surprised: the day you can get rid of all self-condemnation, self-disrespect…will be a day of great blessing.’
“The more I read, the more I liked it. It seemed so do-able. Just, ‘love yourself’. I read it again and again. The day went by quickly with this dictum reverberating in my cranium like a mantra. ‘Love yourself, love yourself, love…’ My spirits lifted.
“By evening this sutra is circulating in my blood stream. Love yourself, of course! When I love myself to overflowing, there’s some for others. I am finally able to love others.
“Who can love others, who hates himself?
“Love yourself, love yourself, love yourself, love…
“I’m walking home in the dark feeling fine, as you can imagine. On any other night I would have detoured into the disco for an hour, but on this night I just looked in the window, careful not to disturb these insights about ‘loving yourself’. A woman appeared at my side and took my hand. I didn’t know her from Eve.
“‘What’s your name?’ she asked. I told her. ‘What’s yours?’ I said. She replied with one of those Sanskrit names everybody seemed to have back then.
“‘What’s it mean?” I asked.
“She said, ‘It means Love Yourself.’”
End of story.
I won’t speculate upon how I conjured Ms. LoveYourself out of thin air. Perhaps Nikos Kazantzakis is right when he says it’s a function of desire. Here’s the rest of what the author of Zorba the Greek had to say about manifesting what you want:
“The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired—whatever we have not irrigated with our blood to such a degree that it becomes strong enough to stride across the somber threshold of nonexistence.”
Desire “irrigated with our blood”, I hadn’t thought of that. Desire figures strongly in my story theory. Only the strongest desire takes the protagonist all the way. All the way to her own undoing. Which is her awakening.
By building a protagonist with such a fatal desire, that’s how a writer loves his hero. That’s the writer’s obligation.
That’s what I wanted to talk to the audience about.
Okay, so I LOVE Valentines Day. I always have. I think it’s something about how GENERAL the love is. How vague. Like, “Wow, the world is full of things to appreciate. Let’s remind each other about that, and say nice things, and OOH! CANDY!”
Last night I sat up and painted cards for the boys. Then, this morning, I (who never make a hot breakfast) crafted heart-shaped-chocolate-chip-pancakes. With whipped cream.
There were balloons…
I’ve always really wanted to do a Valentines Day picture book, but the idea has never come to me. However, I do have a retired manuscript, a book I’ve given up on, The Neglected Holiday Songbook. In it, Valentine’s Day gets a little ditty. So I’m enclosing it below, in case you want something to sing this morning…
Valentines Day (February 14)
I will not give you candy,
Or roses, or my love.
But if you keep on kissing me,
I might give you a SHOVE!
I did not make a card for you,
All red and white and pink.
But if you try to hold my hand,
I might just make a STINK!
I don’t want you to be my dear.
I don’t like you that way.
I really only want you, please,
To quickly GO AWAY!
Valentine’s Day or Saint Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated by many peoplethroughout the world. In the English-speaking countries, it is the traditional day onwhich lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine’s cards, presentingflowers, or offering confectionery. The holiday is named after two among the numerousEarly Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic lovein the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtlylove flourished.
Thought, actually, I never know what to do on a pub day.
Some folks ride around, visiting bookstores, and making sure their book is actually there. Maybe they ”face out” their books on the shelves, move things around to highlight it better. Which makes good sense.
But that stuff feels funny to me. And it feels weird to say to a bookstore person, “Ummm, yeah, so, I’m an author. DO YOU HAVE MY BOOK? SHOW ME MY BOOK!”
What if they don’t have it? They might feel bad. NOT how I want to celebrate.
So I’m home today, working on something new, a picture book about aloneness. I’ll probably eat something yummy, to celebrate.
But at the very least, I can do this. I can post to my blog and tell YOU. About The Longest Night, which is indeed out today. I’m very very very proud and happy.
In part, The Longest Night is special to me because I’m been pondering this text for twenty years, in one form or another. I’ve always been a little obsessed with Exodus, and with the plagues most specifically. When I was a kid, I loved them. Is that weird? Probably. I liked the frogs best.
But in college, I began trying to write about the plagues. I wrote poems, several of them. They were okay, but they didn’t make me happy. I performed one of them onstage, in an actual theater, in a round with other readers. It was interesting… but not quite there. In grad school I tried again, and I think I got closer, but still… it wasn’t quite right either. It went something like this…
But when I started to tinker with The Longest Night, something clicked. It felt right. It felt like this, a poem with very heavy meter and rhyme, was the form I’d been wanting. It seemed like a picture book was the best way to present these images I’d carried around since I was a kid. It felt like approaching the story through the eyes of a little kid gave it a whole new slant. Like sitting under a dining room table makes a room feel different.
It’s a crazy nutso bonkers story, after all. Many people told me I was nuts to try writing the plagues for kids. Rivers of blood! Lice and locusts! Ravening beasts and frogs hopping all over. And then… the sea SPLITTING! I mean, yowza. Intense. But picture books are the best medium for crazy nutso bonkers stories, in my opinion. Picture books can really do intense well. Largely because of the art. (You can see some of the interior art here.) But also, because of the openness of the reader.
I’m so incredibly pleased with how the book came out. I really am. I hope you’ll check it out, and that if you do, you’ll like it.
If you want to help me celebrate, you can of course purchase a copy in many places, in person or online. If you happen into a bookstore that doesn’t have it, you can ASK THEM NICELY TO ORDER IT. And the same goes for libraries and schools! You can always request a book!
If you belong to a church or synagogue with a sunday school, you can suggest it as a title for the kids there too. I’d be grateful.
If you use online resources that offer consumer reviews, like Goodreads or Shelfari or various online bookselling sites, you can add/rate/like/star/review it. This matters!
If you blog or write reviews or interviews or profiles or anything, for pretty much anyone at all, you can request a copy from my publicist.
But always, and forever, best of all, you can read it to a kid!
I had the honor of being commissioned by Author Susanna Leonard Hill to create the email header for her new writing course,”Making Picture Book Magic“. If you have always wanted to write a picture book, or wanted to learn more about creating one, then sign up today for this very affordable four week course. Each day, for four weeks you will receive a lesson in your inbox. Most lessons only take 15-20 minutes, so this is a perfect course for the busy schedule. To learn more, please visit Susanna’s website. But, hurry, the course starts Feb 1!
It’s probably still going to need some more work, but I feel pretty sure the heavy lifting is done… and now it’s in my editor’s hands. She’ll help me trim and polish it, and then it will get cleaned up by smarter people than me (all hail copyeditors and fact checkers!). Talented artists will make a pretty cover for it, and someone will write flap copy, and all that good stuff.
This book. THIS BOOK. I’ve spent years on it. I’ve written it five times over again, made so many dramatic changes it’s a completely different book than it was when I started. I almost lost faith in it. I cried multiple times when I couldn’t work out the time travel elements. But in the end…
Like most middle grade novels, it begins with a quote from Anais Nin:
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Good stuff right? Now if only the book can live up to that.
I hope you’ll read Seven Stories Up, and like it. And when you’re done, I hope you’ll sneak down to the kitchen in a dumbwaiter, under cover of night, and make yourself a Sneakypie, like Molly and Annie did in Chapter 17!
Totally worth it.
Now I’m off, to sleep, and dream, and wake up in the morning. Because I have to figure out WHAT ON EARTH I’M GOING TO WRITE NEXT!
I have updated both my Imagekind and Zazzle shops with new art. Imagekind is having a promotion for 25% any purchase using the code KISSKISS25. Zazzle is also having a discount promotion of 15% off any product using the code HAPPYLOVEDAY.
I’d created a Word document, which, after closing, I couldn’t reopen. The file extension was beyond the ability of my Word program to open. How the heck does that happen?
Two hour’s work down the e-drain.
With a debilitating feeling of being hard-done-by, I donned my trenchcoat and went for a walk in the fog.
A speech about “The Advantages of Adversity”, that’s what I’d lost. How ironic! All my first thoughts, my raw material, memories, facts, connections, a web of meaning—all vanished in the e-ether.
Fresh air usually revives me, but on this especially funky day, every step marched me deeper into despair. I’m going on a retreat, I thought. Deep country, unplugged, that’s what I need. Since I’m a digital idiot, this kind of funk overtakes me not infrequently. Uphill I trudged under a canopy of spruce into the foothills of Mordor, trudge, trudge, trudge…
I enjoy climbing. Peaked cap pulled down so that I can’t see the slope, I perceive the road as level. It’s a little mental trick that never fails to thrill me.
Unable to reference the incline, there is no hill, no hill working against me. My organizm is working harder to walk, yes, but there is no hill trying to defeat me, no antagonism, no psychology of struggle, just the indisputable facts of physics. It never fails, I feel quite unlike myself, as if I were on Jupiter under the influence of a more powerful gravity field.
Moving about on strange planets takes me out of myself.
Suddenly, a thought out of nowhere: “The rewrite will be better.”
Rewrites are always better.
What just happened? I knew immediately what had happened because I’ve been exploring it on this blog for years—our belief systems. Good things happen when our “B.S.” outlives its usefulness. My belief system (victim mentality) had been left behind at the bottom of the hill.
I didn’t need it on Jupiter.
Wow—self-pity was weighing on me like an evil spell, which is what belief systems are. They are strategies, structures, rules, biases, attitudes, fears, all the necessary limits by which we negotiate this gloriously superficial life on planet Earth. When I shed the B.S., I became available to the truth:
My rewrite will be better.
Fictional protagonists, same thing.
The best fictional characters are cursed with belief systems that are not so easily jettisoned. The degree to which they hold fast determines the intensity of the drama. Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. Listen to him: “I stick my neck out for nobody.”
That’s the screenwriter telling us what every reader needs to know at the outset of a story—what’s the hero’s belief system?
With that pitiful attitude, Bogey’s trajectory is set. Events will conspire to undo his belief system. Bogey will eat his words or we’ll demand our money back.
Sure enough, the love of his life (Ingrid Bergman) shows up and ushers Bogey to the depths of self-loathing. Remember the scene where she pulls a gun on him to get the letters of transit to America. He says, “Go ahead, shoot. You’ll be doing me a favour.”
He doesn’t care if he lives or dies. Now he can jettison his belief system. What good is a belief system if you’re on death’s doormat? Ilsa notices him waking up, lightening up. Now she’s in his arms. Look at Bogey, he looks a little lost, but now it’s all flooding back, the noble guy he was at the start of the war. You can see it in his eyes. He’s catching a glimpse of the truth, who he really is.
He’s rewriting his script.
The rewrite will be better!
As we know, Bogey sticks his neck out as far as a neck can go. He shoots Major Strasser, sacrifices his one true love, orders her to escape Casablanca with her husband so together they might bolster the Resistance against Hitler.
And, look… there goes Bogart in his trenchcoat, walking into the fog, a living martyr.
Time for me now to man-up and rewrite this speech.
(Btw… what the heck is a “docx” file? Is it, like, some kind of curse?)
Each Month I try to give Writers and Illustrator a chance to be noticed and further their craft. Writers can use the picture prompt below by Lisa Anchin to help inspire their first page for Free Fall Friday or they can submit a first page from something they are currently writing. Lisa was featured on Illustrator Saturday on October 27th last year. Take a look to see more of her great artwork. http://wp.me/pss2W-5yi
WRITERSSending in a First Page: Please attach your double spaced, 12 point font, 23 line first page to an e-mail and send it to kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail. Put “December First Page Critique” or “February First Page Picture Prompt Critique” in the subject line. Make sure you have your name on the submission, a title, and indicate the genre. Also let me know which steps you took, so I will know how many times to put your name in the basket. If you end up doing more things to get additional entries, then e-mail me by February 23rd. The four chosen and their critiques will be posted on March 1st.
AUTHORS: If you have a new book coming out and want to be considered for a post, please e-mail me at: Kathy.temean (at) gmail.com
Call for illustrations for February: You can send anything, but it may not get used for February, unless I have a post that will go with it. I will try to use all illustrations that reflect the month. You do not have to wait, I will post the illustrations as they come in. Please make sure the illustration is at least 500 pixels wide and include a blurb about yourself and a link to see more of your work. Please send it to kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com and put “February Illustration” or “General Illustration” in the subject box.
It’s not a very “me” thing, getting into a holiday like this. Generally I don’t do much for holidays, and I know it was invented by Hallmark or whatever
But it’s got crafts and candy. Crafts and CANDY!
When I was a kid I took it SERIOUSLY. My best friend and I spent weeks planning and making cards for each other, and our families. So much fun.
So today I still play cut and paste, and make cards for random people. Glitter and glue and doilies and markers and tin foil. I MAKE the boys lovingly craft the cards they give to their classes each year. Though we use shortcuts I’d never have taken as a geeky little kid myself. (photocopiers, stickers)
I do NOT celebrate VALENTINES DAY as a romantic holiday. I’ve tried it, and found it to be:
A. a potential disaster for a relationship, since high expectations for holidays often result in disappointment, in my experience.
B. expensive (and I’m cheap)
C. like something one might focus on when the relationship isn’t going so well on a day to day basis
But as a friend and mom and nostalgic goofball, I take it seriously. I feel a breakfast table on Valentines Day should have a tiny heart shaped box of chocolates on each plate. It’s just a small great pleasure that takes little work and sets a day aside.
This year, I got an early Valentine, which I’d like to share with you. A friend posted to Facebook that her daughter had crafted a Bigger-than-a-Bread-Box themed Valentine mailbox for herself. Which is about the cutest, most flattering (and lovely, really, very well done!) thing I’ve ever seen.
Just try to tell me that didn’t make you say, “Awwwwwwww.”