August 23-28, 2013:

You want a busy week? I’ll give you a busy week! This one included running a book launch for a friend at Wayside; the fifth (I think) annual YA fantasy writers’ luncheon at Wayside; a day trip to Glasgow to have lunch and a visit with cousins; a guest here at Wayside for two nights; finishing the decoration of a small platter in my pottery decorating class–oh yeah, and some writing.

The book launch was for the publication of Bob Harris’ first solo novel in six years, a delicious fantasy romp for middlegraders that takes place in St Andrews when two local boys mix it up with the Norse trickster god Loki: The Day the World Went Loki (Floris Books). Yes, the Robert J. Harris with whom I wrote eight novels and several short stories who is married to one of my bestest friends, fantasy writer Deborah Turner Harris. We had between 40-50 people at Wayside, Bob gave a reading, sold a number of books, autographed them. There were drinks and nibbles and laughter–and three children came as well. With parents, of course. It was a grand time.

The Fantasy authors luncheon was also at Wayside, and this year there were just seven of us: aforesaid Harris duo, Lisa Tuttle (the guest who stayed over two nights), Elizabeth Wein (with her new novel Rose Under Fire, a brilliant sort of-sequel to the brilliant Code Name Verity, and yes, I am in the middle of it right now), Elizabeth Kerner, Annmarie Allen, and me. Much eating, much drinking, much hilarity. And book/publishing gossip as well. I love these folks!!!

The day trip to Glasgow was a bit fraught, with my losing my rail card, and then an unexpected diversion getting to the station because of roadworks which took me fifteen minutes out of my way (luckily I had started fifteen minutes  earlier than I’d planned) and the station closed which meant having to buy a ticket without explanation from a kiosk, etc. But I got to Glasgow when I thought I would, had a lovely luncheon with cousins Janet and Nigel Fabb and Janet’s mom Bea (my first cousin). The ride back was two hours of bliss as I began reading the above brill Rose Under Fire.

As for writing: finished and sent off both the verse novel Finding Baba Yaga and the book of humorous bird poems, Rocking with the Birds. Worked on a new chapter for the second Seelie Wars book. And wrote a number of other poems including this:






Launching a friend’s book does not mean

flinging it against the wall like spaghetti,

hoping it sticks. Does not mean

aiming it at the moon, expecting a shortfall.

Does not mean hitting it with a bottle of champagne

while reaching for the lifesaver.


It means reading the book and marking passages,

calling in markers, and sending invitations,

making lists and making promises.


It means cleaning the house, buying cakes,

cooking eggs and deviling them, setting the table,

lining up wine bottles, arranging flowers, tables, chairs.


It means getting up early, going to bed late.

It means setting up, tearing down.

It means worrying first, worrying after.


It means sleeping with a conscience

whose slate has been wiped clean at last.


©2013 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

August 1-22, 2013

So all my promises about keeping up with my journal have been broken and I would be willing to bet I have lost readers because of that. But do not despair, Constant Readers (or as Dorothy Parker called it when addressing children’s book review in her Contant Reader column: “Tonstant Weader”) here is a three week catch up. And what a three weeks it has been.

I have been both host and guest these busy first 22 days in August. Hosted tea for Mark (one of the poetry editors at Pirene’s Fountain, an online journal that has published a number of my poems) and his wife Hazel and their “kids,” a delightful pair of well-behaved dogs who fell in love with Wayside’s garden. Went to the Pittenweem Art Festival opening with Bob and Debby and son Matthew and their friends, where luckily a painting I fell in love with–over my summer budget–got sold before I could come back two days later for another trip about, this time with friend Christine.

I gave a house tour to a Lorimer scholar, hosted my How Do dinosaurs editor Bonnie V and her son for four days, even driving them around the Highlands and through Glenn Shee for about eight hours. Did a day at the Fringe Festival with friends Elizabeth and Steven, then four days in Devon at my old friend Terri Windling’s house with her delicious husband Howard and their bouncy dog Tilly. Met many of their artist friends and one, the ineffable David Wyatt, had a painting of a bunch of owls as rock stars in a recording studio that so tickled me, I wrote 19 light verse poems about birds as rap, jazz, karaoke, brass band etc musicians for (hopefully) him to illustrate. And I reworked part of the first two chapters on the Holocaust novel, House of Candy.

And of course I wrote: Adam and I inching ever closer to the end of the second Seelie Wars novel, and edging ever closer to finishing book 1 of Stone Cold, the graphic novel trilogy for Lerner. And I have revamped the Baba Yaga novel in verse, written a poem a day (sometimes a LOT more) for my subscribers, begun reading the poems as the judge for the SFPA (Science Fiction Poetry Assn) big contest. Some 60+ poems to be read and judged.

On my plate before returning to the States: hosting Bob Harris’ launch party for his new children’s novel, The Day the World Went Loki; a birthday luncheon for 8 at the house for Christine, hosting (and cooking for) the annual children’s fantasy writers luncheon, a day trip to Glasgow to see cousins Janet and Nigel and Janet’s 90+ year old mom, my cousin Bea. And a three day visit in Aberdeenshire with friend Mike and Susan. Also a lunch in town with the head of the STanza poetry festival, a couple more pottery decorating classes to finish up my pieces, and I’m sure a bunch more lunches and dinners and Afternoon Teas before leaving.

And that’s why (excuses, excuses) I didn’t write in the journal for 22 days! Oh and the cat ate my homework. (Just kidding.)




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