July 7-30, 2013:

The writing theme goes on. In these three weeks, I managed to work with Barbara Diamond Goldin to hand in (at last!) our mss. for Girls’ Bible. Adam and I totally redid the first sections of the sagging second Seelie Wars book and moved to within five or six chapters to the end. I wrote two new picture books, one a total surprise–Bird Boy which is sort of what happens when the child in Owl Moon grows up and meets a boy with a similar bird-watching passion. (My agent loves it.) And The Demon and the Midwife A Jewish tale from Yemen, which my agent asked me to revise and then loved it when it was re-done.

I also worked some more on the graphic novel Stone Cold and sent it o to the editor so he could look for an artist. Reworked some poems (titivating really) for Grumbles from the Forest. Edited slightly Jason’s revamp of the story of Smokey the Bear for the family’s National Geographic Animal Stories book. And totally surprised myself with about thirty plus poems (still working on it) for my first ever  novel in verse, Finding Baba Yaga. Wrote a poem or more a day for my subscribers. And a bunch of other pokings about in the first chapter of Plague of Unicorns which has been sold to Zondervan Kids. Plus another rewrite of How Do Dinosaurs Stay Safe which has been bought by Scholastic.

At the same time, I made a quick trip up to Aberdeenshire (just a single overnight) to celebrate Susan Gassaway’s 70th birthday, bringing along the two birthday cakes and getting incredibly lost both ways because the usual bridge I go over just a few miles from her house had been washed away and I got into a bunch of tiny villages, some with only one way in and no way out that I could find!

Also went on the annual Wormistoun House tea and garden open house with Christine, a Mozart concert with the other Christine and Debby, my first and then second painting-on-pottery class, saw “Despicable Me 2 (Wah–I want Minions!!!!), had tea with the Pizdziora Brothers, tea with Austin Hackney, dinner at Deb and Bob’s, a visit with friend Nora just back from hospital, etc. And worked extensively in the garden during the gorgeous summer we’ve been having, as well as hacking down the ivy growing wildly on the stone walls of Wayside because lovely as it was, it was destroying the stuff between the stones and even some of the stonework itself.

Missing my kids and grandkids, though. Glen and her Jason are hard at work on their first house together in the same town–Conway–where David and I had our first house. Heidi getting ready to send Maddison off to college but first teaching her to drive so well, she passed her driving test first try. Alison is now as tall as her dad, wee David not so wee any more and singing in the Minneapolis children’s choir. And the twins and their dad and mom going on another grand trip into the Smokies seeing bears and catching fish. I miss them all so much here in Scotland and yet get so much writing done it’s worth it.

More anon.





July 1-6, 2013:

Channeling my inner Jerry Lee Lewis, I have to say: There’s a whole lot of writin’ goin’ on!

First, I have been working away on the final stuff for Girls’ Bible which Barbara Diamond Goldin, my co-author, has been feeding me. We have gone back and forth on each chapter about four times so far, compromising on some stuff, absolutely agreeing on the rest. I hope the book itself will be deliverable by July 15.

Then there’s the Afterword of about 2500 words for a Signet reprint of Kipling’s Captains Courageous which I hadn’t read since I was a child.

I worked on a picture book that surprised me as I fell asleep about a week and a half ago, called Bird Boy. it kind of crosses the opening of the animated  movie UP! (which I loved) with my long and loving marriage to my late husband, who was also the original Pa in Owl Moon. Probably needs a half- dozen more go-rounds before I am ready to send it to my agent.

Poems, too, one or more a day. Here are two of the latest, ones I quite like:


“This is a doorway; if you’re lucky, you go through it

as a child, aurally, before you can read, and if you are

very lucky, you become a free citizen of an ancient

republic and can come and go as you please.”

–Sara Maitland

There is a knob, of oak
or ceramic if you must;
a latch of bronze, never iron
for it would burn a fairy hand;
a golden key hidden behind the ivy
or under the gnome-shaped rock.
Grasp it firmly, or it will bite,
keys hate the sweaty palm,
the half-attempt at poking
through the waiting keyhole,
those heartless and artless tries.

The magic words begin:
–and the door itself trembles.
Upon–there is a puff of white smoke.
A–take a breath, for you will need it.
Time–which is all time and no time at all
for the door has sighed open
and all of the world awaits within.

© 2013 Jane Yolen all rights reserved


July 4 Celebration

We remember, oh we remember,

mustering the underlings,

mastering the overlords,

compromising the constitution,

comprising a nation

stating the obvious,

mis-stating the devious.


And here we are, celebrating it all

by blowing things up


after year

after year,



©2013 Jane Yolen, all rights reserved

Also I sold a new middle grade novel with religious elements to Zondervan Kids (A Plague of Unicorns), several poems to Asimov’s, and managed to squeeze in hilarious and gossipy Afternoon Tea with friends Janie and Pam on a glorious summer day in a formal garden; tea and scones with one of my poetry editors where we discussed poetry, publishing events, and his upcoming Viva; dinner with friend Elaine at which she told me some wonderful but surprising news; visited the local Farmer’s Market, and managed to help stave off some terrible misinformation that someone had stated as fact on one children’s book listserve, making me feel a bit of a cyber hero. (Not easy for someone who is basically a Luddite!)

More anon.

© 2013 Jane Yolen all rights reserved



June 17-June 30, 2013:

Who knew Scotland could be so glorious? Two solid weeks of sunshine. One rainy midnight. Perhaps, I began to muse, I turned right when I should have turned left, and have ended up in Spain. Ah, but they speak such good English here!

I have used the time wisely–writing a lot, weeding the garden, seeing movies, going to hear a medieval opera in which my cello-playing friend Claire played in the baroque orchestra, wrote some more and some more and some more. Went antiquing with friend Debbie (scored an Arts&Crafts box for the house and some presents for others); went around the St Andrews garden scheme with friend Christine.

But mostly I wrote.

And what am I working on? As usual, a variety of things: fixing a HUGE sagging middle in the second book of the SEELIE WARS trilogy with Adam; worked on the first book of a graphic novel series (also with Adam) called STONE COLD: Hounds of Hell; worked on several parts of THE GIRLS’ BIBLE with Barbara Goldin; revised the revisions of  NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S ANIMAL STORIES book with all three of my kids. Backed and forthed with J. Patrick Lewis on a proposal for a second LAST LAUGHS book. Revised my poems (while waiting on Rebecca Dotlich’s poem) for a new book proposal called THE TEAPOT GOSSIP. Managed a proposal for a new BAD GIRLS type book (with Heidi) for Charlesbridge so fingers crossed there as well.Of course, the problem with working with others, is I get frustrated when they are not as fast as I am.

So I worked on some new stuff of my own, a picture book called BIRD BOY and another picture book called WILD IN THE CITY but both are pretty saggy in the middle so slow going there.

Wrote a lot of poetry–for my now 260+ subscribers to the daily poems, and reworking two major adult poetry books. (Well, major for me, not for anyone else.) THE BLOODY TIDE political poems for HolyCow!–mostly titivating and moving poems around. And a book of poems about the writing that began life as THE BLUE LINE, morphed into THE TREES COMMIT, took a side jaunt as SISTER COYOTE’S FIELD GUIDE TO THE WRITING LIFE and seems to have found its voice as SISTER FOX’S FIELD GUIDE TO THE WRITING LIFE: Poems About Being A Writer.  About fifty poems in each book. Both editors–Jim Perlman and John Patrick Pazdziora have been incredibly attentive and helpful as I flap about trying to write the poems and then write them better and then fall about in passionate fits trying to make them better still or move or remove them or adding new material. I can hear them muttering to themselves, “Finish, damn you!” but both of them are just plain too nice to say it aloud.

Saw the first glorious full color picture for THE STRANDED WHALE as well as the dummy. Candlewick will be bringing this out, I assume ither late 2014, or early 2015.

And saw the book dummy for a proposal for a book I wrote, HOW TO TAKE THREE TROLLS TO TEA with pictures by Tara Chang. And a couple of other projects are moving closer to being contracted for (I’m looking at you, Bonnie V and Yolanda!)

More anon.




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