Saturday, May 28, 2011

What's On My Desk: The Crazy Month of May Edition

Tra-la!  It's May!  The crazy month of May!  (Okay, so in Camelot, they sing different words...but this is a G-rated blog, so no Lusty Month of May here!)

So, let's take a look at what's on my desk, metaphorically speaking, of course.

To-do this weekend:

30-50 more pages of line-edits on Trinket.  (Yeah, I know.  I did line-edits already.  But sometimes, there are more.)

Clean junk off of desk, remembering to put important junk in a place I will find it again.  (Yes, I am talking about you, June 23rd SDSU parking pass!!)

Clean out fridge (ugh.)

Clean out pantry (ick.)

Paint hallway (hahahaha!  Good one!  Like that's going to happen!  Why is it that hallways are white and people's fingers are grimy?)

Get rid of stupid looking table in the backyard.  It is never, EVER used.  It looks ugly.  If I do nothing else this weekend, I will feel good if at least the table is GONE.  (Sometimes, I wish my husband read my blog...just sayin.)

Go to final Show Choir performance.  Bring kleenex.  (Last high school show for my senior.*sob*)

See new Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Write 3-5 pages of *new* book.  (When life gets too hectic, every writer needs a safe place to play.)

Do about a thousand loads of laundry.

Clean out Cave of Wonders (or Pit of Despair, as I think of it now.  It is a closet int he laundry room...big, deep and scarily full of junk.)

Make a nice dinner (maybe Sunday night.  We've had little time for family dinners as of late.Maybe a Thai curried doesn't sound that good now, but maybe it will tomorrow.)

Eat a hot dog.

Film the next reading of a Good Knight book and post it.

Plan party favors for book signing on June 7th.  (Thinking of making cookies...and having goodie bags..just don't know. But definitely must finish making book marks.)

Strategize the packing of the classroom.



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer Plans...and Happy Birthday!

A few months ago, a very cool librarian from the Chicago area contacted me and wanted to know if I would be interested in coming to do a "Library Tour" to help celebrate their summer theme of A Midsummer's Knight's Read.  Amazingly, everything worked out with my schedule (they were willing to wait until after my job finished for the summer and after my daughter graduates from highschool *sniff*).  So, I'm going to Chicago, baby!

So far, it looks like this:

Thursday, June 16
Des Plaines

Friday, June 17

Saturday, June 18
Gail Borden
St. Charles

Monday, June 20
Gail Borden

Tuesday, June 21

I'll put more details up on my events page on my website.  But I am so excited to go!  Never been to Chicago before and I am planning a little deep-dish pizza exploration.

Also, Looks like I will be teaching a Young Author's Class for the Carlsbad Educational Foundation again this summer.  This year it is from July 5-8, 9-12:30 p.m.  You can email me for more information.  storyqueen at

AND I will be visiting the libraries of Camp Pendleton on July 13th, for their Midsummer's Knight's Read, too!

And then there is this:

 Yes, Mikey the dog tried to eat another puppet!  This time it was a monkey named Oreo.  He is hopeless.  If you listen, you can hear him barking a few times in the background.  We filmed outside this time, just because we could, you know?

I am usually not concerned at all with blog-stats or anything, but my videos have been watched on youtube over 100 times!  (combined number, of course.)  I know that is nothing in the youtube world, but in my little mind, I imagine that I have just read bedtime stories to 100 kids.  (Yeah, I know, it's probably not even kids at all.  Just people who somehow got there by mistake and are thinking, "Well, now, what in the world is this?  Who is that old lady?  She looks like Lucius Malfoy with a crown on.  Why does she keep letting that dog eat her puppets?")

Oh well.

But if you do have kids, bring them over! Let the ol' StoryQueen read to them!  I mean, this last video is 9 minutes long...that's enough time to shower. Just sayin'.

And then there is this:

 Coming out on June 9th.  (Except that Shhhhhh....we are having a pre-release party at Barnes and Noble in Oceanside on June 7th.)



See, my daughter graduates on my release day, and school ends the next day sooooooooo.....what's an author supposed to do?

This post is too long.  Sorry.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fried Day


What a busy week!!

I am trying to hard to keep up with my one-page-per-day goal on my WIP, but that is just not happening today.  Sigh.  It's been a week of giving school tours, attending important meetings, writing up proposals, writing up reports, compiling data, glueing 100 books together, going to school open houses, and attending school related dinners.  (I have to go to a fancy-schmancy dinner tomorrow night, what with being a finalist for district Teacher of the Year.  Oh, don't feel bad for me that I didn't win...there wasn't a sash or anything so I didn't mind so much). My kids call it the Mom Prom, since everyone has to dress up.  Problem?  SHOES.  I wore nice shoes whilst hosting our visitors from China on Tuesday and I STILL have blisters.

Somehow, I just don't think clogs will go well with the little black dress.

Tomorrow I am presenting a workshop for San Diego County Librarians, so that should be fun.  Librarians are cool.

And this weekend I will be posting something really ultra-cool that I am doing in conjunction with some librarians in the Chicago area in June.  I am really looking forward to it....provided I survive 'til then! The great thing is that I made it to today.  Back on Monday, I had my doubts.

It looks like this post is just kind of a big, fat whine.  So feel free to whine with me.  Let it all out in the comments.  What do you need to whine about?


Edited to include:  HA!!  I just reread over what I wrote and I am covering up the vulnerability big time!  I am trying to make the week sound all glamorous.

But it wasn't.

It was hard.

And busy.

And if I could find a way to lay in bed all day tomorrow and not feel bad about it, I probably would.
But I can't.  So that's that.

I find one of the things I really appreciate about bloggers is that many are so  able to place complete honesty in the seat of honor.  I am not.  I am too guarded.  I don't want to admit sometimes how completely uncharmed my life feels.

Monday, May 16, 2011

But Wait! There's More....

Here is the next installment of Story Time with the StoryQueen.  In addition to placing them on my video page ( they are also on my youtube storytime channel.  If you type in hrhstoryqueen on youtube  or (click here) the videos will come up.

Some things about this particular adventure in filming:

1.  I used Cali's room because of all the color.  We had thought we might do it outside, but too much wind (and wet grass from earlier rain) made it not seem like such a good idea.

2.  Mikey the Dog cannot deal with my puppet voices!  Every time he hears them, he shows up and wants to eat the puppets.  (Please don't worry about the Old Wizard.  I wiped the slobber off with my cape.)

3.  My daughter (Noel), has a pretty steady hand, considering a dog was crawling all over her half of the time.

4.  This story was inspired by Isabelle not wanting to take her pink eye medication and my trying to tell her that she was being a big baby.  I tried to show her the the ointment wasn't going to hurt by trying it myself.  Um. Yeah.


P.S.  Penguin is re-releasing this title (and Good Night, Good Knight) as part of a new easy-reader program! Yay!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Kids with the Words

Today I was working with my First Grade After School Writing Club and a little girl came up to me and asked, "Where are the kids with the words?"

She was referring to my helpers.  I have two young gentlemen, Ethan (grade 4) and Tobias (grade 3), who meander through the throngs of little first graders armed with post-it notes and pencils, helping the six year-olds spell the words that elude them.  I loved that way of thinking about them, the kids with the words. 

How lucky I am to have them!  (And are their names great or what?  Ethan and Tobias.  It's like I have squires who will someday be knights in the StoryQueen's army!)  Of course, they were where they always are, between the bookshelves of the library, helping some kid sound out Squidward or the like.

The kids with the words.

Earlier in the week, I had my 4th and 5th graders write about why they liked to write.  I read their papers and teared up a bit.  There are kids among them for whom writing is like breathing.  I understand that.  Maybe I was kind of like that when I was a kid.

And then there is a little boy in second grade named Darren who says that Tuesday is the absolute best day of the week because he can come to Writing Club.  He claims he could write all day.  Actually, he probably could.  Such an imagination!

The kids with the words.

And then, folks, there are the realities of a bad economy and budget cuts.  And the truth is, there will come a point when it will be impossible to offer all that we are currently able to offer to our students.

But words.  Words.

If we do not help children find words, then we silence them.

And that is wrong.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Queen's Speech

Okay, so it's not really a speech.  More of a reading actually.

You see, I have a new book that comes out in one month:

I am so excited!  This is the perfect summer road trip picture book.

So, I thought I'd do something to celebrate.  Kind of.'s the story:

A few months ago, a student at my school and I had the following conversation:

Kid:  StoryQueen, guess what we did today?

Me:  I don't know.  What did you do?

Kid:  We watched Jan Brett read her book on her website.  Why don't you ever read your books on your website?

Why indeed?

So...without further ado and absolutely no fanfare, I present the first of the Good Knight books, as read by me.

So, if you have little kiddos, have them pull up a pillow!  (and have them watch for special appearances from Mikey the Dog, a baby dragon, and my husband, the Story Prince Consort, peeping his head around the corner.)  The next video, GET WELL, GOOD KNIGHT will be released next week.  There will be a new one each week until the release of A GOOD KNIGHT'S REST.

And if you have any ideas for the location of the next video, leave it in the comments.  This first one was filmed in the office area of my house (notice the blue wall...that's my corner.)

And do you like the theme song?  That was composed and recorded by my nephew.  He is awesome.

And I will be keeping these videos (so that you can enjoy them again and again...ha!) on my website on the video page. Click here for webpage.

Let me know what you think!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jedi Mind Tricks

Happy Star Wars Day (on May the 4th....get it?  May the Fourth...May the Force....)

I missed this day last year, so I have been looking forward to it for 364 days!

So, a Star Wars inspired post seemed appropriate:

Sometimes, you open up the laptop with the intent to do something important, like work on your WIP.  But first you have to check a few things, you know, just to see...

And the next thing you know, you are totally off track.  Maybe you are distracted by your emails or maybe it's even worse than that.  Maybe checking the internet (twitter, blogger, facebook, what-ev) has made you feel like you've been fooling yourself.  You?  A writer?  Hahahahaha!  If you were a writer, you would have agents fighting for your attention.  You would have books auctions with HUGE advances.  You would be a Best Seller.

And none of those things are your reality.

And so you leave the internet all discombobulated and confused, thinking, Those aren't the droids I'm looking for.  You step away from your computer (and your WIP!!!) and eat too much ice cream and it doesn't help.


THOSE ARE THE DROIDS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR!  Right there, sitting under your nose!!  Don't let Obi-Wan get all up in your grill and mess with your head.  You know what you need to to--WRITE.

Don't EVER let stuff you read online make you feel like you can't...or that you are doing it the wrong way.

Or you will end up with this guy:

So, go on, go wrangle up your droids and get cracking on that WIP!


Queen's Note:  I resisted the urge to write this entire post in Yoda-speak.  (or, The urge I resisted....hahaha).

Be glad you won't be seeing me tomorrow.  Speak like Yoda all day I shall.