Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Cover Reveal: The Last Rabbit

What can I say about this book?  

There is an adorable rabbit on the cover—but this book isn’t about rabbits—not really.

 It’s about mistakes and hope and determination. It’s about guilt and redemption. It’s about sisters and magic and the magic of sisters. It’s about everything that lives in my heart.

 You see, when you are writing, there are some books that break you.  They leave little pieces of you behind—that’s all that is left of you after you’ve wrangled them into place. By the end, you doubt everything you’ve ever known about yourself as a writer. The story didn’t mean to destroy you, but hey…

And then there are books that save you. Books that let you put your whole heart and soul into them. Books that let you play with your ideas about yourself and the world. Books that let you risk everything to write them.

THE LAST RABBIT saved me. I was in a place where I was very doubtful I’d write another novel. Poetry still called to me to write picture books, but as much as I longed to write another middle grade, the books I tried to write were trying to break me. I can blame the books, of course. It’s easier that way. But the truth of it is that I was trying to write like a writer that I wasn’t. I was afraid of my method (haha—what method?). So I wrote things that I tried to make work. I tried so hard. But they didn't work out for me so well.

And so, I don’t even remember how I got interested in Hy-Brasil. It’s a Celtic legend, so sometimes that’s all it takes for me. And I read a report that the last visitor to have supposedly landed on this this vanishing island encountered a magician and some large rabbits.

Curious, those rabbits.

“I wasn’t always a rabbit, that much I can tell you.”

That was the first line that came to me. And thus, Albie’s tale begins.

Albie’s story was a joy to write—but I warn you that not everything that happens is joyous. There is heartbreak as well as laughter—because isn’t there always? Within the pages of Albie’s adventures, I allowed my imagination free reign—often having no idea what I’d written the day before when I’d sit down for an evening of Albie and her sisters.  I just gave myself over to story and, well, it saved me. 

Learning to trust a story again---that is perhaps the most magical feeling ever. 

So, here she is:

And here is her pre-order link:

I can't wait to share this book with you. It is the most magical thing I've written.



Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Happy Earth Day!

Earth from space: 15 amazing things in 15 years – Climate Change ...

My favorite pictures of the Earth are those taken from space. What an amazing miracle to have photos of our world taken from the darkness among the stars.

Today, though, since I can't travel into space (yet), I thought I'd take my camera outside and take some pictures of our planet, the part of it that is right in my front yard. Then, I thought maybe I could write the Earth a small note, letting her know how much I appreciate her.

Maybe you can do the same, and write your own, DEAR EARTH letter.

Here are my pictures and my letter:

Dear Earth,

Everywhere I look, I am filled with wonder at your wisdom and beauty. 

This little hummingbird mother reminds me to stay close to my nest and protect those who most need me. She tells me to trust that someday there will be hatching, and emerging, and even flying again sometime soon.

The little succulent in the shadow of the big succulent (look, it is as if they are holding hands) remind me that we all need each other. Some of us are stronger, and it is our responsibility to help the little ones along.

Ah, Earth!  Look at the gorgeousness you give us every single day!  These flowers remind me that new life blooms all the time. And oh, how wonderful new life is!  It takes a person's breath away.

And finally, Earth, you remind me that everything has its season and time. Sometimes, pods must fall to the ground for new seeds to grow. This is the way of things. 

I appreciate you, my planet, and I hope you can have a little time to heal as we all ponder the miracle that is Earth.



Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Writing Fun, April 1

As promised, here is my pupperfly!
And here is what I wrote about him:

Pupperfly was small for a dog with wings.
He was smaller than an orange.
He was smaller than a plum.
He was even smaller than an apricot.
He was actually only about the size of a walnut.

Pupperfly loved being small.
He loved flying in and out of bird nests
and between the stems of flowers.
He loved flying above houses
and churches
and stores.
And he loved flying just underneath the clouds.

He loved most everything about his life.
Until the day he was captured....

Maybe some of you want to complete the story for me!
Otherwise, you'll have to wait to discover who captured him...and why.

But, on to other things.

This week's writing challenge is inspired by Dav Pilkey, who mixed up a policeman with a dog to get DogMan.  Your challenge this week is to write about a dog with a job. Maybe it is a doctor dog. Maybe a hound teacher. Who knows what you might think of!!

I can't wait to hear about your amazing ideas.



Wednesday, March 25, 2020

March Writing 1: School in the Time of Coronavirus

Times are strange right now.

But even in strange times, it is good to do some writing and make some art. One of my favorite series right now is NARWHAL AND JELLY and the amazing author, Ben Clanton, is doing something really cool. If you click on the link: you can see that he is doing animal mix-ups. Like something that is part Jelly, part Wizard (this is one of my favorites). Also, he's got a Narwhal + T-Rex drawing that is very awesome.

So, I thought it might be cool if some of my young readers did something similar.

Step 1:  Think of an animal (any animal)

Step 2:  Think of another

Step 3: Mix them together!!

You can do three or four animals if you like!

And then, if you are really feeling like it, you can make up a story about it!

I think I am going to mash up a dog and a butterfly. I would call it a Pupperfly!  It would be tiny and look like a dog, but with wings like a butterfly's. And it would get into all sorts of TROUBLE, haha.

So your task is to make your creature (or you can illustrate mine) and write your own story.

I'll share mine soon.

Love to you all,


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Let's See If I Remember How to Do This

It's been a long time since I've clicked on the "new post" button on my blog.

I wish I could tell you why.

Maybe it was that it felt like there was so much noise in the world that I probably didn't have anything worthy to add to it.

Maybe it felt like if I did add something and it was kind of frivolous, it would seem like I didn't care about big things.

Maybe there was just a lot of things going on behind the scenes of my life and there were no words I could even give to the blog. Maybe I needed every word I had left inside of me to say to someone who needed it or to write something that needed to be written, lest I lose my mind.

I am not even sure myself, but I am fairly certain it was a potent mix of all three.  And for some reason that I don't even understand myself, I clicked "new post" just to see if it still worked.  And it did.

So here I am. Here we are.

And I find that actually, I have a lot to say. And I am trying to be less afraid of things in every aspect of my life. I am trying to be brave about sharing pieces of myself again. Because that's all we can do sometimes, isn't it?  Attempt to make connections with other humans so we won't be alone. So we can somehow stay together and weather the storms to come.

See you on the open seas, my friends.



Thursday, August 2, 2018

Coming Soon (Sort of)

Image result for from tree to sea

This is the gorgeous cover of a new book!  It won't be available until February 2019, but I just didn't want to keep all of the loveliness to myself until then.

Sometimes, we write books from inspiration of one sort or another, never realizing until later how much our own true heart really needed this book. It's as if Past-Shelley wrote it as a pep talk for Future-Shelley. And who knew, when I first wrote this poem years ago, how much children might also need to read these words and let the gentle lessons of our home planet take root, flourish, and blossom.
Anyway, the words would be so much less without the amazing illustrations. 
 Christopher Silas Neal's work fills me with joy.
I am so proud of this book.

Can't wait to share it with you!


Monday, April 2, 2018

Best Laid Plans

I keep meaning to post something, but somehow I just haven't.

I've been cutting myself a little slack because I have needed to. Sometimes life is like that. Sometimes you just need to be kind to everyone on your journey, including yourself. And the truth is that I am not certain how much more slack I will need in the next bit. But I have been writing still, filling journals and word docs, and that is a good thing.

I have a couple of picture books coming out in the future, probably 2019 and 2020, which sound SO FAR AWAY and yet I have seen some art work for both already--AMAZING--and I have been visiting some schools (So. Much. Fun.) Basically, just still plodding along in this teacher/author/storyteller existence in which I find myself.

So, in case you are wondering about what I am working on, here we go:

1. Editing a middle grade novel. This book is perhaps the best thing I have written. But it is not yet as good as it could be. Hopefully I can get it to where it needs to go this spring.

2. Writing a new middle grade. I would love to crank out a finished draft in the next few months so it can sit and await some revision this summer. I have been working on this on and off for a year, but the off time has gotten too long. I really need to reconnect.

3. Revising a picture book that seems a little preachy.

4. Writing 3 new picture book drafts. I have some really great titles (most of my picture book ideas start with a title, then I figure out what is it really about) but I haven't had the courage to put pencil to paper. There's something so lovely about having a great title for a book--so full of promise!  My fear is that I will write the wrong stuff, the wrong words, and ruin my idea. I am sure I am not the only writer to have this fear.  But I need to get over it. Soon.

So, that's what fills my writing days.

More soon, I hope!