July 13-26, 2011:

It has been a while, mostly because I have been mammothly busy with writing and friends and visiting relatives. So here’s a quick catch-up.

Writing:

I had written in the Interstitial Moment above, saying that having many manuscripts and proposals out at once can mean you get many rejections on one day (been there, done that, got the tee-shirt) or you can sell that many all at on a single day. Well, on a single day, I won an award, got a grand review, and SOLD THREE PICTURE BOOKS. The picture books were all sold to the same publishing company–Boyds Mills. They consisted of two poetry collections, one a sequel called Grumbles from the Town with Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and one of just my own poems called Thunder Underground. The third is a picture book in rhyme with my daughter Heidi called You Nest Here with Me which has a long and interesting history. Short version: editor Liz Van Doren of Harcourt originally bought the manuscript close to ten years ago. We spent a couple of years revising it for her. Then Harcourt hiccuped, was vastly undercapitalized, solved this by dumping editors right and left (including the wonderful aforementioned Liz), and sold itself to Houghton Mifflin. The few editors left were either not interested in the book or kept passing it around in a kind of editorial shell game. But nearly five years later, we were able to get the mss. back from them. Meanwhile Liz (are you following this?) had several editorial posts elsewhere, not appropriate to children’s books, and eventually ended up at Boyds Mills which only produces books for young readers, a good fit. She called me up and said, “The committee agrees with me that this is a wonderful book and we are buying it!” There’s a moral here. You figure it out.

Also got my first copy of my graphic novel Last Dragon. The color proofs of Take Two, the book of twin poems by J. Patrick Lewis and me arrived, as did a copy of Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers which is the Chagall poem that Pat Lewis and I also wrote. And the ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of Things to Say to  Dead Man, my book of adult poems about my hisband David’s last days and the aftermath of mourning arrived.

I have begun the massive revision of the novel The Thirteenth Fey which the editor sent back with many notes. (There is likely to be a title change, too.) It will take me a while. But in the interstices, I was surprised by a picture book based on a picture posted by an illustrator friend on FaceBook, Tara Chang. So I finished about five drafts in record time (it rarely happens, but when it does, I adore it) and she is busy working on a book dummy and a finished picture. It is called The Trouble with Taking Three Trolls Out to Tea. And in-between the interstice (are you still following all of this?) Rebecca Dotlich and I have been shooting poems back and forth for the Grumbles collection.

Yeah–a LOT of book stuff these fourteen or so days.

Other Stuff:

Of course life goes on as well. So in this two weeks I  saw the Harry Potter movie (thought Neville was about to jam the sword down on the bridge and proclaim YOU SHALL NOT PASS! ala Gandalf). Had a dessert party here at the house for fifteen or so friends. Hosted my young cousins (second cousins? thirds?) Paul and Ellen Vercesi and their delicious young daughters Ava and Francesca (Chezie) for five days. Had several meals at Bob and Debby’s and a lovely meal out that the Vercesi family took me to. And the building began on the garden room. So lots going on outside of bookmaking, book writing, and being bookish.

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