February 9-February 16, 2012:

This being my birthday week, I celebrated in many different ways. There was a dinner with the family at a lovely upscale restaurant called The Blue Heron, a dinner and movie (Truly, Madly, Deeply, my favorite, and yes, I cried!) with my friend Bob Marstall at my house; and a dinner with friends Mira Bartok and her husband Doug Plavin and the ever-present Marstall at Viva in Northampton. I have one more dinner to come at the GoTen with family and the diTerlizzis, but more about that after it’s done.

Heidi and I launched the second (and really the beginning) of a monthly segment of morning talk radio on the local station WHMP. The segment is as yet untitled–I favor BookEnds–but we will be talking about children’s books and talking to authors and illustrators. We had Norton Juster with us this time. Next up, Angela diTerlizzi.

I got myself (thanks Jody) a recumbent exercise bike and love it! I can read while cycling in the comfort of my home and the minutes tick by. I a deep into Elizabeth Wein’s brilliant World War II YA novel, Code Name Verity, and cannot recommend it enough!

May have sold a new picture book, but that is hush-hush and not set in stone yet, Scholastic has created a How Do Dinos hall costume for large conventions, and will have someone wandering around being charming in it at the IRA (International Reading Assn.) conference in Chicago this May.

Meanwhile, I have written several new chapters on The Hostage Prince (Seelie Wars Book 1) with Adam. We are getting close to the end. Also wrote two new chapters on Centaur Field, and am not quite sure how far along I am on it or if the opening has to be severely cut down. And I have been keeping up with my poem a day project. Plus tea and lunches with new friends and old. Just because I had a birthday doesn’t mean I declare myself old!

January 16-February 8, 2012:

Long delay between posts, I know, but I have been so busy with writing, I have scarcely looked up to breathe.

Between bouts of writing, I have done the following: one trip to New York, where I went to the SCBWI winter conference and announced the Jane Yolen Midlist Grant, something SCBWI and I have been planning for a while. Among other things, I said this: “In these difficult book times, even well-reviewed and honored midlist authors often find themselves stalled in their writing lives and find they are having trouble selling new work. I am no different. I have 30 unsold picture book manuscripts, most of them the kind of book I love writing the best, books that would remind the reader of my Owl Moon or my Elsie’s Bird, both of which took a long time to find the right editor. Yes, I still get lots of rejections.

“In our attention to up-and-coming authors—or pre-published authors as they are called by the Romance Writers and I do not mean this as a strike at any of you, for all midlist authors were up-and-coming once and we were all pre-published once (though Gordon Korman wasn’t pre-published nearly long enough to count, since he began his massive and impressive publication career at 13!)–we often ignore these midlist writers who struggle to remain true to their personal vision and craft. They are the workhorses and the warhorses who are never as celebrated as the dancing Arabians or the airs-above-ground lippizaners.”

On that trip, besides seeing my agent, I also had a very exciting luncheon with three amazing women about setting my book (written with Bob Harris) Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons, into a musical for the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven.

Along the way in those three weeks, I also went to the Hillside Salon and heard friend Mira Bartok speak, had brunch with friends Jane and Steve Schoenberg, went to a goodbye party for Amerhst ballet head Catherine Fair, dinner with neighbors Forrest and Amy, the Illustrators’ Guild meeting, a bunch of my writer’s group meetings, dinner with friend Ann Wheelock, worked on the set-up for a scholarship at UMass in David’s honor, did swim therapy, and did two Skype sessions (one with college kids, one with K-8 kids.)

But mostly I did book work.

First there were three book jackets to consider: one for Curse of the Thirteenth Fey, which had to be redone. Then two separate looks for the Ekaterinoslav poems, two revisions of the Curses, Foiled Again jacket.

I had to read through and comment on the entire Foiled Again page proofs, a very technical and difficult read. As well as go over the color proofs of Waking Dragons which was easy. And am now stuck into the pages answering copyedited questions for Thirteenth Fey. I saw and approved jpgs for Emily Sonnets with stunning pictures by Gary Kelley.

And I have written about 3/4 of Centuar Field, and about 4/5 (with Adam) of The Hostage Prince which used to be called Snail and the Prince and is the first book of the Seelie Wars Trilogy.

If that isn’t enough, I have also been working on an essay about Andrew Lang and the Olive Fairy Book; written a poem a day since January 1; started a picture book with Heidi called Monster K for new friend, illustrator Dan Yaccarino; and been in conversations with (and did a bit of writing on) a book project with Mira Bartok called provisionally Magnus Mikkelson’s Museum of Unnatural History. (I think I am forgetting something, but never mind.)

So, while I have done a lot it’s clear I still have a long way to go.



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