Monday, August 25, 2003

Someone I Haven't Thought About for a While

I happened to find this site for an author of a book that was a big hit at my house a few years ago--Galax-arena.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Cleaning Day

I'm in the middle of cleaning my office. Actually, I've been in the middle of it for days, but I'm just beginning to make progress. This morning I found folders from two kidlit conferences I attended over a year ago. Ah, they brought back fond memories. Mainly of how, at the second conference, I had to struggle to stay awake after lunch during the keynote address. To make things worse, there were only maybe three of us at my table. And I was supposed to be the celebrity guest among us. How lame was that.

I've got to do a better job of throwing things away as soon as they come into the house. Better yet, before they come into the house. I need a big trash bin out in the driveway. Better yet, before I get into the driveway. I need a big trash bin out by the side of the road. Actually, I ought to just throw away a lot of this stuff away before I leave conferences. Or never pick it up in the first place. Or never go. Or something.

I also found a Captain Underpants decoder ring--still in the package. I gave it away.

I am now working on the Big Stack. You may be hearing more about this.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Remainder This!

Some of you who follow my life (Ha! Even my mother doesn't follow my life. And my kids? They don't know I have one.) will recall that I recently was notified that two editions of my books will be going the remaindered route soon. This weekend while shopping (instead of writing in my journal or writing or...well, let's not go into that) I visited two different bookstores that specialized in remainders. One of them was the grungy, shudder-type hole I have remainder nightmares about. But the other was very well-maintained, attractive, and full of the works of big name authors. Hey, books are like everything else. They have a lifespan. Unless we're named Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, we're almost all going out of print by way of the remaindered bin. If I can end up in a classy bookstore like this place, I'll have no complaints.

Wish I knew the name of the bookstore, but both the places I went were chains and those places all sound alike to me.

Oh. I saw Porkenstein, which I wrote about on August 7, there.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Today's Mail

Today I received a new review from my publisher for Saving the Planet & Stuff. It was a very good review or I wouldn't be mentioning it, of course. I'm bringing it up not to brag (it just seems that way), but so I can talk about the publication that published the review.

KLIATT publishes reviews of books and, I believe, software written for young adults. The magazine is directed toward librarians and teachers.

I think I may have been vaguely aware of KLIATT. Now that I really know what it is, I'm intrigued because it's devoted to YA. Usually the little cuties seem to get all the attention in the publishing world.

That's just my opinion, of course.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Fan Mail

I just wrote a response to one of the half dozen fan letters I get each year. Hey, it's a chore to keep up with that level of fan mail, but I feel a responsibility.

By the way, though I used to keep all my fan mail--a little self-esteem enhancer--I have destroyed it all and discard all fan letters after I've written a response. Does this make me a hard, nasty person? On the contrary. We keep no records on the people who contact me by e-mail, especially through my website. There's some kind of law about not maintaining that kind of information. (Of course, I can't remember what the law is.) So it seemed to me that I shouldn't be holding onto letters with names and return addresses. Especially since they are almost always from kids. And I'm an adult.

It just seems wrong.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

This Can't Be Good For My Self-Esteem

Yesterday I received official notification that two different editions of my books are going the remaindered/out of print route. (I'd been forewarned about one of them.) I am an extremely good-natured person, but I feel that's sort of pushing the envelope.

I finally finished a rough read of The Artist's Way and yesterday began writing the morning pages she recommended. Actually, I began on vacation over a month ago and then stopped. Anyway. I began yesterday and didn't get to it today. Sigh.

Then at the doctor's office this morning I was told that I don't have a hearing problem. In fact, my hearing is actually very good. I may, however, have an attention problem.

Which suggests that instead of reading books on creativity in an attempt to increase my productivity I should be readng books on paying attention and staying on task.

Hmmm. Guess I'll go on Instant Messanger for a while and see if there's anyone there.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

More My Speed

Porkenstein by Kathryn Lasky is a clever spin on both The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. This picture book is definitely directed toward kids like me.

The story begins with the surviving pig from The Three Little Pigs. He is a lonely scientist, friendless now that his brothers have been eaten by the Big Bad Wolf. He doesn't want to face Halloween by himself so he creates a friend. Well, scientists always louse things up when they try to mess with nature and create life so, of course, our poor pig ends up with a monster. However, when the Big Bad comes trick or treating...well...

This story will be particularly enjoyable to kids who are already familiar with the original stories.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Tales of Jack

I've been toying with an idea for a picture book. The inspiration came from my niece's Venus Flytrap. So I've been taking a look at some picture books. Venus Flytraps are like beanstalks but different, so I started with a book I thought was going to be about Jack and the Beanstalk.

Jack Outwits the Giants illustrated and adapted by Paul Brett Johnson is what is known as a Jack Tale. In an author's note, Johnson explains that Jack Tales came to America in the 18th Century with European settlers. They're about a crafty boy, usually named Jack, and they're common in Appalachia.

That's all very interesting, at least to this adult. But the giants involved in this particular Jack Tale are stupid, and Jack is one-dimensional. His solutions to the 3 problems he faces come out of nowhere. That may be the case with the traditional Jack Tales, but 21st Century children may expect a little more depth.

A couple of interesting related sites deal with covers of books dealing specifically with Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack/Giant classroom activities.