March 3-March 14, 2010:

Apologies. Really, life just got away from me. Or ran away with me! Here is a round-up with a boatload of observations. Mostly, though, I have been gallivanting around giving speeches, fulminating, potificating, and any other gerund that means I have been standing on soap boxes and lecturing folks.

Books:

Along the way I have been doing a bit of writing. Mostly revising CURSES, FOILED AGAIN. It is a slow process, with a lot of retrofitting and rethinking how the characters can–in my editor’s words–“earn” their ending. But also doing a bit more humor amidst the mad-dash of the terrifying plot. (Well, maybe more mad-dash than terrifying, if I want to be absolutely honest.) Also along the way a new picture book about tea with an old giant surprised me.  I shall read it tomorrow to my writing group in the hopes that I am nearly ready (enough) to send it to my agent.

The main thrust of my writing, though, has been to work on the above lectures.

Books Take Two:

I received the f&gs of Elsie’s Bird which are lovely. David Small is a brilliant minimalist illustrator and has captured this small tale of a widowed Boston father who drags his young daughter west to make a new start in Nebraska where at first the girl is overwhelmed by the bigness and silence of the prairie.

Also, I was sent Scholastic’s first attempt at a sticker book for the Dinosaur brand. The stickers are fun but the problem is that it has lost the peppiness and the bad/good manners play of the series. So I have told them we have to rethink it. And I need to be more involved.

Bob Harris and I have had an offer for a theatrical production of our Hipployta novel. Mark Teague and I are fielding a possible movie/tv offer for the dinosaurs. All this takes energy and time, even while it sounds like a great deal of fun.

I have been nominated (“It’s an honor just to be nominated”) for the Fantasy Poetry Society of America’s Grand Master award. A Mirror to Nature won the John Burroughs children’s book prize. Never a bad two weeks when this sort of thing happens!

Everything else:

Doctor’s appointments (am doing much better, thanks), and then off to Spartenburg, SC for their enormously successful “Jamboread” festival in which I gave a presentation to  standing-room-only crowd, and signed a gadzillion books. OK, not by actual count. But it felt that huge. Also I had two dinners with Lois Lowry and we bonded at the hip.

Then there was a reception for four authors and four illustrators (though one–Leonard Baskin–was a posthumous no-show!) because of a gallery show at Mt. Holyoke College of our work.

Several days later I was off to Honesdale, Pa, where I did a 3 1/2 day picture book workshop under the auspices of Boyds Mills Press. I had ten students, all of them published, some with books, others with magazine or newspaper credits. There was a waiting list, but I had specified only ten. The writers came from nine different states, including Oregon and California. I think there will be–after serious revisions–some very publishable books coming out of the group.

Now I hve three weeks at home or within driving distance of any speechifying. I hope this means I will finish this draft of Curses, Foiled Again and some other revisions. I hope it means movie dates and theater dates and dinner dates all with my neglected friends and family.

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