Archive for April 2008
Hush, Little Dragon: "Sweeney Todd for the sandbox set"
The San Francisco Chronicle
, and specifically Regan McMahon, just
"What's more important to a mother than making sure her little one is well fed? We see to what lengths a mom will go in Boni Ashburn's playfully murderous "Hush, Little Dragon."
Well, right there is something quite unique, isn't it? Have you ever seen the word "murderous" in a picture book review before? I don't think I have. But the best
part of the review is this:
"...hilariously deadpan, as if this were the most normal diet in the world. It's "Sweeney Todd" for the sandbox set."
I saw Sweeney Todd
for the first time a few weeks ago. I loved it! It would not surprise you, I bet, that A Little Priest
is my favorite scene. That's the one where Mr. Todd and Mrs. Lovett are contemplating just who will make the best pies. And by "make," I don't mean cook, if you know what I mean. I have been recommending it to everyone I know (while cautioning appropriately that it is NOT a movie for children). And then I see this fabulous review of Hush, Little Dragon
and my new favorite movie is mentioned in it! It's like a gift.
Thank you, Regan McMahon!
Dragons On Tour
So I finally have all the details for my book tour to Wisconsin. I am so excited!!
Well, okay, yeah, I'm totally nervous, but I'm excited too. I put the details up on my What's New? page
on my website. And if you will forgive me my Newbie Enthusiasm and indulge me a bit, I will cross-post the info here on my blog next week too.
I've been getting together some cool little promo items for my signings and school visits. They are very
cool. I might take pictures and put them up here.
Or you just might have to hoof it over to one of my appearances to check them out :) Did I mention they are very
Why yes, I am demented, thank you very much!
Anyone who knows me is aware of my "demented" sense of humor. My husband suffers it with endless eyerolls, my parents are slightly bewildered and appalled by it ("Where on earth does she GET it from??"), my children (much to my glee) are developing it in themselves and are keenly aware of where it comes from every time I laugh out loud at a picture book which they already know at their young age is unusual for the genre. I enjoy nothing more than surprising them with the unexpected and then dissecting what is funny about it. They love that tears of laughter ran down my face the first time I read Tadpole's Promise
to them. They love that the ugly duckling (in The Stinky Cheeseman
) just grows up to be a really ugly duck. The world of "slightly demented picture books" is not one of unachievable perfection- it is one of reality and if you can't find the fun in reality, what kind of life are you going to have?
My particular writing specialty, as every single one of my writer friends will tell you, is food-chain books. Besides Hush, Little Dragon,
I have a few others I have written. Lots of animals and/or characters eating other animals and/or characters. All in great fun, of course, with a little dose of reality on the side. And yes, as a matter of fact, my current WIP has a little bit of a carnivorous bent as well.....Ha! Does it ever (said she with an evil cackle)!
The ladies over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
have a FABULOUS post up on this very topic today. It is terrifically extensive, so pour yourself a cup of coffee before heading over there- then settle in for some great reading and insight on my favorite topic.
Oh, and I just might be even MENTIONED in it!!! Woo-hoo! They probably have no idea how much this means to me- but you all do. Yes, it is a very, VERY good day :)
p.s. Thanks Jules and Adrienne!!
We interrupt the current lack of posting with breaking news:
It looks like I'll actually be going on my OWN REAL Reading Roadtrip (is Scholastic clairvoyant??!!)
May 8th and 9th, I'm going to be in the greater Green Bay area on a book tour! The wonderful people of Wisconsin want me to read and sign Hush, Little Dragon for them :)
I love Wisconsin!
I just hope I don't have to wear one of those cheesehead things (I don't look good in orangey-yellow, I really don't).
I'll post the nitty-gritty details closer to the date, but I'll be visiting a few schools in Green Bay and DePere on May 8 (and doing a storytime/signing at the Green Bay Barnes and Noble at 7pm) and I'll be doing storytime-and-signing at Conkey's Bookstore in Appleton and Apple Blossom Books in Oshkosh on May 9!
I'm thinking this is going to be one VERY cool trip. So, mark your calendars (anyone-who-reads-my-blog-and-lives-
See you there :)
A Reading Roadtrip, you say?
A couple of years ago, a woman I sort-of knew as a mother at my kids' school cornered me at Field Day and said those words that make a parent tremble: "Say, would you be interested in volunteering for-" I know, that's usually when my eyes start to glaze over too. Don't get me wrong, I believe in doing our share. And we do. But that just makes us more visible to people and they seem to think of us more often when they're in need of help than they think of those people who never show their faces anywhere. So we get a lot of requests and we turn some down because, y'know, we like that our kids actually recognize us.
But when that woman asked me, fortunately I was curious, because I didn't know her that well and didn't know what she was involved with. So I listened as she said words that were poetry to my ears: "Say, would you be interested in volunteering for the BOOK FAIR committee chairperson?"
WOULD I????? Hmmm, let me think about that for a se-
YES, I'd LOVE to! I get to sell books to people? I get to unpack boxes of books, almost like a giant book-themed Christmas morning? I get to promote reading and literacy? I get to display the books and decorate and hand-sell my favorites? I get to raise money for the school AND get kids excited about reading? I get to share reading and books with every kid in the school? I get to be the Book Fair Lady????? How fast do YOU think I signed up???
So thanks to Susan-the-mom-who-cornered-me (thank you Susan!!!), I'll be book-fairing this week. I'll be on a Reading Roadtrip (our terrific theme this year, courtesy of Scholastic Books and wonderfully illustrated by Ted Arnold) to my idea of heaven.
See you Sunday :)
For the first time ever, I think, in history, I have TWO WIP's going. That is TWO picture books-in-progress simultaneously rumbling around in my brain at the same time. Two RHYMERS, no less. (And I shouldn't even tell you this, but they got into a fistfight today- both wanted to use the notoriously-hard-to-rhyme "teacher" in their own manuscript, but like any good writer, I denied them both. We just don't NEED that kind of stress, do we?). TWO books on two very different topics. And, I might add, TWO books that are now, well, not exactly stuck, per se, but sort of stewing about 3/4 of the way done. They just need some endings! Which I will get to (in the words of the immortal Watty Piper, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....)
But the big question here: Does this recent development of my ability to work on TWO books at the same time signal my growth as a writer, or that I'm becoming schizophrenic?
THAT is a good question!!
The picture-book world...
Some days, I wish I was a novel writer. Like my crit partner. It sounds so exotic when she talks about her "process". She uses phrases like "character motivation" and "dramatic conflict" and "chronological scenes" and writes thousands of words and then revises those words thousands of times and the whole thing just seems so big and involved and important.
Me? I've been examining the pros and cons of using "and then" or "until" in a certain spot in my current WIP, which is a rhymer, for the last two hours and fifteen minutes. It's been really back and forth, with both options being in the lead at some point. I mean, they both work meter-wise, but have obviously different connotations and I'm just not sure which one works better in this particular spot. I need to figure out which one is funnier.
So, you see what I mean? Crit partner = big, important writing. Me = just a little bit crazy, huh?
But seriously, I wonder which one sounds better.....
In addition to the weather and who your parents are, there are other things you simply can't change.
I wish I was inspired to write by reading good books. I love to read, probably more than anything, and am addicted to that wonderful feeling of reading (and finishing) a really good book. Ahhhh. Nothing like it! But that never inspires me to write. In fact, it makes me feel like a complete hack. Untalented. A fraud. Nothing brings on a case of Writer's Doubt faster!
No, I get my inspiration to write from reading really crappy books. Boy, do I wish I didn't, because crappy books depress me and who actually wants to have to go find crappy books to read and then spend time reading them? But I know that if I'm screaming about an inane plot or premise or poor structure while reading a book, or a bad ending right after finishing a book, inspiration soon follows. Which is a good thing, right? Although it makes me feel a little like the princess who has to kiss all the slimy frogs to find the prince. Or open way too many oysters to find the pearl. Or whatever cliche fits. Ugh. See? Hack writing- you can tell I've read way too many good books lately :) Fun and satisfying, but not very inspiring...
Favorite Spring-Break Joke In Our House
So, this guy is at the emergency room and the doctor says, "How'd you get that burn on your face?"
The guy says, "Well, I was ironing, and the phone rang, and I got the iron confused with the phone."
The doctor says, "Well, how'd you get the burn on the other side of your face?"
And the guy says, "Well, I had to call the ambulance...."
I WAS RIGHT!!!!!!!
The Pigeon Wants A....
I like being right. I really, really do.
Will it ever end?
Contrary to popular belief, summer solstice is not the longest day of the year.
No, that honor belongs to April Fool's Day, if it happens to fall during spring break and you have an 11-year-old boy in the house.
And it's only 9:30am.