Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Blog hopping!

Thanks to Naomi Kinsman for inviting me to blog-hop with her! I loved thinking about these four questions and the opportunity to peek inside the writing process of my author-friends. And please don’t miss the three talented authors I’ve featured at the end of this post!

And without further ado, a little Q and A…

What are you working on right now?
I’m always working on multiple projects at once, but when I pick one, I work on it in bursts and make good progress, even if I put it aside to work on later. I’m working on 3 different picture book manuscripts right now, all vastly different from each other. One features the days of the week, one is about the sea, and the other is about appleseeds.

How does it differ from other works in the genre?
The one about the sea speaks directly to the reader, which is different for me, and less common in picture books than other points of view. I’m having fun with it, and am feeling good about how it is creating a sense of wonder for the reader.

Why do you write what you do?
I consider myself a writer’s writer, if that makes any sense. I enjoy writing many different things: children’s books, personal essays, corporate copy, and articles. I think out of all of those types of writing, the children’s picture book is what I’m most drawn to. It’s the ultimate challenge! I love trying to create a story that children see themselves in, or can relate to on some level, in roughly 500 words or less. Then there is the separate joy and satisfaction of seeing that story illustrated in ways more brilliant than I could have ever imagined. 

What is the hardest part about writing?
For me the hardest part about writing is not getting distracted by new ideas. Oh, and maybe bringing a new project to my critique group for the first time. Fortunately, I eventually get around to all the ideas that I started. Not all of them become actual stories, but it’s a great feeling to have many to choose from when I sit down to write.  That process is also helpful when my group thinks one of my ideas isn’t that strong, because I can turn to other projects while that one idea marinates some more.  

Here are some other authors' blogs I think you should check out: 

Turbo Monkey Tales (a group blogging site) 

Word Disco (a group blogging site)

Hopping away now...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Books (When It's Done), a bookish Pitch Perfect parody of Anna Kendrick's Cups (When I'm Gone)

I wanted to share with you a video I made that I hope you'll enjoy! I've sung a parody of that fun Anna Kendrick Cups (When I'm Gone) song, called Books (When It's Done). I gave it some new writerly lyrics. I even learned the pattern (it took awhile!).  Fellow SCBWI-er and my new ARA Tim McCanna, graciously helped me record my singing of the song in his studio. The rest was up to me, so I hope you like it!  If you enjoy it, please like it, share it, tweet it, or whatever you want. I figure once it’s out there, there are no quitsies, so may it take on a life of its own….

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I was interviewed on Part-Time Author Podcast!

In case you ever wanted to hear me talk for almost an hour straight, now's your chance!

In all seriousness, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Genny Heikka and Aaron Robbins for their Part-Time Author Podcast last week. It was so much fun! They asked me such interesting questions, I can only hope I came up with interesting answers.

Also, a peculiar thing I noticed that probably only I have ever noticed: both Genny and Aaron have two sets of back to back double letters in their name--first and last. NOW who's paying attention?

You can listen to it here.

Hear their other podcasts too.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

It's okay to say no. Set your limits!

I'm delighted to share with you that my personal parenting essay is running in the parenting/lifestyle blog of the Huffington Post this week.

We're all so focused on not over-committing our kids...but do we treat ourselves with the same respect? I certainly wasn't. But I'm trying to change that. 

Read my essay The Year of The No: One Woman's Journey to the Dark Side of Yes. See you on the other side!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Google Hangout Interview and Reading

I'm finally getting around to posting my Google Hangout interview with Inspiration Laboratories. The technology is very cool, and hopefully the my responses will keep you from pressing that pause button. There is a slight echo--which we didn't have during the interview, but it is in the Youtube posting, so not sure what happened there. I'm sure the Goog is on it. Anyway, enjoy my talking head, and Tons of Trucks!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Jennifer E. Morris, you've been tagged!

I'm tagging the very talented Jennifer E. Morris, the illustrator of our book that comes out this fall from Albert Whitman & Co., A Gluten Free Birthday for Me!, for the Global Blog Tour (see my previous post). Check out Jennifer's blog post to learn about all of her other exciting book projects, and see the wondrous things she can do with clay!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Next Big Thing: A Global Blog Tour

My first blog tour! I was tagged by my wonderful Tons of Trucks illustrator, Betsy Snyder, to participate in a blog tour. So the deal is I answer some questions about a recent or upcoming book and then pass it on to some author and illustrator friends. Still with me? Okay, here goes:

1. What is the working title of your next book?
The title of my next book is Robots, Robots Everywhere! and it will be illustrated by the talented Bob Staake, and published by Random House's Little Golden Books on August 6, 2013. I am still pinching myself that I am the author of a Little Golden Book! I have such fond memories of that shiny black and gold binding. I always knew that if my Mom or Dad pulled out a Little Golden Book at bedtime, that it would be one I liked. And now my story about robots will join that family. I'm thrilled! Here's the adorable cover:
 2. Where did the idea for the book come from ? 
I had been toying with the idea of a book about robots, but wasn't exactly sure how to go about it. I loved the idea that there are all of these robots in our world that we often don't even recognize or realize help us with things every day. Robots that milk cows, build cars, assembly line robots and the like. Most people think of robots as the metal boxy toys, and there are so many more! My first attempt at this robots book was actually as a novelty book, because I'd just come off of revising Tons of Trucks, which is a touch and move book. My agent and I were getting some nibbles, but no offers. Then we showed it to Little Golden Books and it resonated with my editor there. She had me revise all the more abstract scenes from it and focus 100% on real robots in the world. The book took shape and I'm hopeful that kids will love learning about robots in rhyme!

3. What genre does your book fall into?
This is a picture book, aimed at ages 2-6, but I think adults who like robots will like it too!

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
What a hilarious and fun question. In the book, different children explore the world with robot helpers, and they observe real robots in action. So in that case, I would have to say my sons Owen and Wyatt, my niece Erin, and my nephew Jack.

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Robots, Robots Everywhere! is a fun, rhyming book showing kids all the real robots in our world today.

6. Who is publishing your book?
Random House Little Golden Books -- wow!

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft?
Well, because I consider first drafts to be just the bare ideas on paper, first drafts usually don't take me too long. After the initial draft, it took me a couple of months -- letting it sit for a bit at times -- until I felt it was in good enough shape to share with my writing group. After they made some recommendations, I revised again. But after we got an offer, it took me another month to revise (back and forth with the editor) to get it just right. So maybe 6-8 months?

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It's always hard to compare without sounding arrogant, but if you make me...Sandra Boynton's books and maybe Nancy E. Shaw's books -- Sheep in a Shop, Sheep in a Jeep, and so on. Just buoyant, rhyming fun.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I love robots and my kids love them too...I have a small collection going to prove it. (an ornament, robot salt and pepper shakers, a wind-up robot, and a key chain!).

10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
How about a stanza or two?

Under couches, over rugs, 
Vacuum robots have no plugs.

Working robots drill and grind.
Rescue robots seek and find. 

And the fact that it is illustrated by Bob Staake - his art style is so fun, colorful, and vibrant!

Thanks so much for reading!

And I'll be tagging 2 other authors/illustrators soon, so come back and check!