Sunday, September 28, 2014

What I Am Working on Right Now

It is not unusual for me to work on multiple projects at a time.  Right now I am working on FOUR!  But since they are not all in the same genre, it seems to work out okay.

1. Picture Book--This books is about a narwhal.  I love narwhals and have been dying to write one into a picture book.  Right now, I have gone two different directions with the same narwhal character in two separate manuscripts.  I am just not sure which one is better.  Yet.  I will eventually.  That is the thing about picture books--like a fine wine, you have to give them time to breathe.  I have opened the cork on these two attempts, and they smell pretty good right now, but I am only going to use one of them, so I have to wait and see which will end up tasting better.

2. Easy Reader--I am SO excited about this book--well, this is actually a planned series.  It is a book with friendship at the heart of it, kind of like Frog and Toad (which I LOVE!).  But my characters are NOT very Frog and Toad-like, which makes it different in all the right ways.  I have one of the books completed, but after a few conversations, it was decided that they needed an "origin" story, so that is what I am working on now.

3. Chapter Book-If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I am dying to write a chapter book.  (It's the kind of books that happens between an easy reader and a middle grade novel.) Seeing as I have written both in the past, it seems logical (to me, anyway) that I should be able to write this type of book, too.  Also, I teach third grade, which is a hotbed of chapter book love.  It would please me so much to write something accessible to the majority of my students (my middle grade novels are a little too hard for some.) Anyway, I have been waiting for the right vehicle, the right idea to come along that I could work with in this format.Finally!!! IT IS HERE!!

4. Middle Grade- I am about half way through a middle-grade sci-fi that is warming my little eleven year-old heart.  Growing up, I was shaped by Lost in Space, Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Gallactica, the X-filess (okay, I watched this as a grown up, but still).  I have been wanting to write something out of the box for myself, take some real chances and write the book that my younger self needed.  But here is the rub:  It has been HARD!  I have struggled with the voice, just recently deciding to change the point of view.  Climbing out of the little, comfortable Celtic box I've built for myself is risky.  But worth it, I think.

So, here are a few pictures that I find inspiring as I work on this stuff. I am not going to tell you which picture inspires which book--you can figure that out on your own!


Saturday, September 13, 2014

What's New, Pussycat?

I am slowly crawling out of the craziness that is my life at the beginning of the school year.  I seem to have a mental block against remembering how I manage to get everything in the classroom (and out of the classroom) into the "groove." Daily schedules, packing lunches, dinner time, homework--those kinds of things, always throw me for a loop.  I never seem to recall how long it takes me to be able to sit and take a deep breath again.

But things have calmed down a bit (not really, actually--spent yesterday in the ER with my teen, as it were) and I am finally ready for Fall*.

That being said, I have a few AUTUMNAL ANNOUNCEMENTS (nifty alliteration, I know.)

First off, here is the cover for my latest book, out in March.  Are you ready?  It is so adorable!!  It is a picture book about a very cute but subversive kitten.

Wait for it.....

Wait for it......

Ta Da!!

Oh, Kitten!  I do so love you!
The pictures were done by Lori Nichols.  She is awesome!! Here is her website if you want to check out some more of her stuff: .  Maple, which came out this Spring, was just so sweet.  I am anxiously waiting for her follow-up, Maple and Willow.

Second, I wanted to let you know that if you are interested in booking me for a school visit, my contact information has changed,  Please contact Catherine Balkin at  She is taking care of visits for me this year, which will be a great help, believe me. I've only a few spots available during the school year (since I am a teacher, too!), so let Catherine know soon if this is something you are pondering.  She has information regarding the types of performances offered (anything thing from wacky storytelling with puppets to more authorly types of things for older audiences).  Again, my availability during the year is pretty small and my calendar fills up quickly.

That's it for today!  

Hope you are getting into your Fall groove!


*Hey, SoCal, if you could change the weather a bit, you know, make it a little less hellishly hot, that would be awesome. Thanks!