April 4-May4, 2012

A full month gone by? I can scarcely credit it. I have been so busy, I barely noticed it happening. But here I am, back with news, some musing, and a poem. Enjoy.

First book news:

I now have copies of BUG OFF! and LAST LAUGHS: Animal Epitaphs. I have seen a blad of WAKING DRAGONS. Have seen some of the artwork an the full dummy for GRUMBLES FROM THE FOREST: Fairy Tale Voices with a Twist. Yeah, it has been a happy book time.

As far as writing goes, Adam and I finished the first full draft of THE HOSTAGE PRINCE which is the first book of the SEELIE WARS TRILOGY and then I took the first revision pass on it after we sat down and discussed stuff that needed attention. It’s in Adam’s competent hands now. When he is done, I will go over it one last time after which it does to agent and editor simultaneously. The thing about these last revision passes (we revise each chapter several times as we go along so technically, ever chapter has been heavily revised a dozen or more times along the way already) is that it is the first time we really see the entire book whole. As I went through it, I took careful notes about things that needed re-threading throughout, making sure that hair color, emotional concerns, and even landscape remained consistent. Though of course I’m sure I have forgotten lots of stuff. Editor and copyeditor who will be seeing this stuff cold will catch most of the rest. Also, the editor and I discussed cover concepts and I sent them two (not guarantee either will be used, however.)

I am also about four chapters from the end of CENTAUR FIELD. Most of the work this month was on HOSTAGE PRINCE, but now I have returned with renewed enthusiasm to this book. Managed a new chapter, brought in an unexpected villain, (well, unexpected to the reader, not to me) to give a bit more plot twists. Will have a horsie friend read it for those kind of horse details I may have screwed up since it has been years and years since I have ridden. And then I will send it off.

Been working on some new picture books–THE STRANDED WHALE, GARGOYLE’S HALLOWEEN BALL, THE FAMOUS OTTER’S WRITING CIRCLE. Other stuff.

Saw Tara Chang’s dummy for THE TROUBLE WITH TAKING TROLLS TO TEA, a book we want to try and sell together.

Have been writing a lot of poetry, and seven poems just came out in Horn Book, and a long, multiple part poem called “Objectifying Faerie” came out in Asimov’s.

And of course along the way I had several picture books and a novel rejected. It’s all part of the greater plan to keep me humble!

 

Travel:

I went to Chicago for IRA (International Reading Assn) and was on a panel/workshop/reading of humorous poetry with J. Patrick Lewis, Marilyn Singer, and Sylvia Vardell, plus did 8 signings, all of which went splendidly and we ran out of books! Scholastic debuted the dinosaur hall costume and many photographs ensued!

I went to Minnesota for Minicon, an sf convention, but also to see son Adam and his family. Adam and I talked books. I snuggled with my grandkids Alison and David, and Betsy and I went out shopping for her birthday clothes.

Mid month I went to Hattiesberg, Mississippi where I was awarded he deGrummond Medal at the Un of S Mississippi. Spoke several times, the silver medallion is gorgeous, with my face on one side, and an owl flying across the moon on the other side. And the people–the people were all so warm and welcoming and lovely!

I also went down (not much travel time at all) to the New England SCBWI conference which this year was being held in Springfield, MA, just 25 minutes from my house. I spoke a couple of times, gabbed with everyone, but got to sleep in my own bed.

 

Heidi and Me and “Once Upon A Time:

We host a monthly radio show for WHMP and converse/interview local children’s book creators. This month it was Scott Fischer. Gorgeous artist, lovely man. We had a marvelous time.

 

Being Social:

Lots of tea dates and dinner dates with friends, movies dates, went to Annie Boutelle’s poetry reading, hosted the WMIG monthly meeting, spoke at Betsey Harris’ folklore class at Smith, went to a wonderful dinner celebration for visiting children’s book writer/scholar Betsy Hearn and heard her presentation at the Carle.

 

Valedictions to two friends:

It was so hard saying a final farewell to two friends–Peg Davol and Anna Kirwan, both dead too soon of cancer. I had mentored both of them, called them friends, colleagues, admired their work and work ethic. And loved them both. They both died serenely, comforting those around them. And they both will be missed terribly.

 

And here is the promised poem:

 

A Specific Gravity

Sometimes a poem,

sometimes merely a thought,

reaches a specific gravity

and greenness begins.

Like a fingerling swimming

against the pool’s pull,

dark green question mark.

Like the uncurling fern,

the top of a fiddle,

never to be played

except in the retinal memory.

Like the quick thrust

of daffs before the winter

is quite over,

before spring quite begins.

Quick green thoughts.

Sometimes just like that.

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