Saturday, December 31, 2005

Guess Not

I was thinking this would be a good time to announce that I read 72 books this year, which is up from sixty-something last year. However, Liz at A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy read 256 and Suzi at Words, words, words read 366. So I guess maybe I shouldn't mention it at all.

Too late.

Another Fine Plan

When I was a child, up into my grade school years, I loved a book called 365 Bedtime Stories by Nan Gilbert. The stories were each a page long, though a big page, and they involved contemporary children and their neighbors living on Oh What a Jolly Street. Holidays would be worked into the stories, the family vacations, etc.

For years I've thought about trying to write something along the same idea--one page stories, interconnected, some stuff about holidays. This past year I came up with an idea to work with and just yesterday I came up with an idea for the January 1st story.

So I'm thinking, a one page story should be...what? two or three hundred words?...couldn't I do a rough draft of a story every day this next year? So I'd have a little something for each day?

Oh! Oh! I just had another idea! I could revise the book during National Novel Writing Month next November!

The book would practically write itself, wouldn't it?

That's always been my fantasy...a book that would write itself. By me.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Laundromat Musings

So I was in the Laundromat yesterday, and I was thinking about how i live now, which just happened to be what I was talking about in my last post. I was thinking about the relationship in the book that is freaking out some readers and how I didn't think it was necessary to include it at all.

And then I thought that maybe how i live now is another example of a book that tries to be about too many things. I've noticed this happening in other books like Al Capone Does My Shirts, and a few others I can't recall right now.

how i live now is about a teenager with anorexia who is thrown into a dangerous, intense situation in which she becomes responsible for a younger person. That is a very compelling story line all by itself. The book didn't need the relationship that appears to be a stumbling block for some younger readers. That relationship was big enough and intense enough to be in another book.

But both elements were thrown together in the same story. It's as if the author--and the editor--couldn't pick one situation to create a story line around. They couldn't make up their minds, they couldn't stay on task.

As I've said before, I've been noticing this happening for a while now. I can't say I've been aware of it in adult novels.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A New Term For Me

In the November 28th issue of The New Yorker (Yeah, that's right. I'm behind in my reading. What else is new?) Tom Reiss writes about "invasion novels." In "Imagining the Worst" Reiss describes the history of this literary genre I'd read but never actually heard described in those words.

According to Reiss, invasion novels appear to have been particularly popular in England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The public held them in high regard not as literature but as cautionary tales. This was before the days of H. G. Wells. The alien invaders weren't from outer space but from more mundane places like Germany.

Invasion novels exist in the kidlit world, also. The two that come immediately to my mind are When the Tripods Came and how i live now.

When the Tripods Came by John Christopher is a bit of a War of the Worlds knockoff, though I did enjoy it more than the trilogy for which it is a sequel.

The much more recent how i live now by Meg Rosoff won the 2005 Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature. The book has been discussed just this past week at the adbooks listserv.

Some of us who post there really liked this book. However, a few of the professors who've assigned the book to their undergraduates have found younger readers less enthusiastic. A person at adbooks who runs a young adult reading book had a similar experience with some of her readers. Many of these readers are fixating on a certain relationship in the book.

I have to admit, if I hadn't heard ahead of time that the relationship would be there, I might have been shocked and turned off by it, too. I definitely don't think it was necessary for the story, and it's unfortunate that it's there since it seems to be a stumbling block for readers.

Today I stopped at my local library to try to snag a copy of the book so I could force it on the college students who are hanging at my house during semester break so I could see what they thought of it. Unfortunately, the book was checked out so my plot came to nothing.

I will try again another time.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. Merry Christmas

I am getting over the self-loathing I felt last night after an absolute orgy of gift swapping and a meal that was obscenely large. Next year I'm going to be more spiritual. Really.

I received copies of Bookmarks and Pages, both of which I asked for because I like sampling new magazines. At least magazines that are new to me. I also received a copy of When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops, which I'm sure is not at all child appropriate.

Next On My Mental Agenda

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions because you can only make them once a year. If you drop the ball, you're toast until January comes again.

If you've ever tried meditating with a coach, say, a yoga or martial arts instructor, for instance, you will recall that the instructors did not say, "If you find your mind wandering away, you've blown it. You're done until next class when I certainly hope you will do better, you cretin." No, the instructors say, "If you find your mind wandering, gently call it back and continue."

You just keep continuing.

I am into setting goals, creating objectives, and writing To Do Lists. I'm into calling myself back and continuing. Yeah, I know. Ommmm.

So instead of making a New Year's resolution to go to The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, I'm putting making a vist there on my list of things to do. You can see that that is a totally different thing.

In March the museum will have an exhibit on contemporary illustration from the Netherlands. This is not a subject that I would have expected to feel much excitement about. However, included in the illustrators whose work will be exhibited is Dick Bruna, who created the Miffy books.

I only remember my family owning one of them, but it made quite an impression. On me.

Thanks to Big A little a for tipping me off about that exhibit. Kelly has been the source of a lot of kidlit info lately. She didn't let the holidays distract her at all. She called her mind back and continued!

Friday, December 23, 2005


Last night I dreamed about work, a sure sign that I've had too much Christmas and not enough press-your-butt-to-the-chair and write time.

In the dream someone at the publishing house where I've recently submitted a manuscript told my editor that my submission was exactly the kind of fiction they should be publishing. However, this and this and this was wrong with it so they should reject it. One of the "thises" had something to do with the ending. In the dream, I came up with an easy fix and changed it so I could submit it again.

Needless to say, I can't remember it now.

Gail's Selling Herself

In her December 20th journal entry, Jane Yolen discusses whether or not writing is a democratic profession in which one is judged solely on one's work. Jane says no. " adult publishing these days, and feeding into children's publishing as well, there are pockets in which race, beauty, gender, country of origin, and celebrity count far more than does mere talent. It has to do with the selling of a product rather than merely the writing of a book. Often an author's backstory trumps their actual writing ability."

I have to say she may be on to something here. Some really fine books get noticed solely on the basis of their merits. But I do think newspapers, in particular, don't find books very newsworthy. They want something else. An author with a "backstory," as Jane says, has a chance of getting into the Living Section of the paper where human interest stories live, which is a good thing since the Book Sections carry fewer and fewer book reviews. And Book Sections tend to carry the same old, same old stuff--name authors or authors who are getting a lot of buzz in other publications at the moment.

This explains why I am promoting next spring's book, Happy Kid!, a little differently. The book includes a subplot about a martial art, and I am a martial arts student. I am a female, middle aged martial arts student. In approaching general publications, I am playing the age card, God help me. This time I have a "backstory" to sell (a baby boomer with a black belt!), something I've never had with any of my other books.

I feel really cheap and manipulative about this. If it doesn't work, I'm going to feel really trashy. If it does work, I'll still feel trashy, but it won't bother me nearly so much.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Love Them Vikings

I believe I mentioned a few days back that I was reading The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer. Well, I finished it.

As I said earlier, I found the first part of the book, where the main character, Jack, is studying with a Bard, ho-hum and run-of-the-mill. In fact, if I hadn't been reading this with an on-line reading group, I might have given up. However, Jack finally is kidnapped by Vikings and things picked up.

I did research on Vikings many years ago for a book that never materialized. I grew rather fond of them, taking into consideration that they were violent thieves and murderers and all.

Sea of Trolls is strongest on Vikings and one in particular is a marvelous, powerful character. Olaf Onebrow is a genial monster and none too bright. The book comes alive when he's on the page.

He raises a question for me, though, because I think children's books should be strongest on kid characters or at least, as in the case of the Underland Chronicles, strong on characters who aren't human adults. I worked with the same children's book editor for many years, and I suspect she would have objected to my putting Olaf in a children's book.

Nonetheless, he is marvelous. I enjoyed everything about the Vikings in the book, as a matter of fact.

I think your response to The Sea of Trolls is going to depend on how experienced a reader you are. There were some aspects of the book (the crow, Olaf's wife's vision) that seemed really obvious to me. A young reader, though, might not have picked up on them.

The dialogue seemed a little too obviously twenty-first century, which, of course, makes it much more accessible to a twenty-first century reader. I feel foolish picking up on that since, as a general rule, I don't care for attempts to make dialogue historically accurate, either. There's just no satisfying me, I guess.

I definitely admire Farmer for doing an adventure/quest story after a dystopian futuristic book. She is the author of The House of the Scorpion--which I liked, by the way. The quest book on top of the dystopian book really shows range. I also appreciate that Trolls was written in the third person. I'm sure that I've mentioned before that I think first person books have been done to death.

So, over all, for a young reader, I think this book is a go.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Is This Flow? Bliss? An Altered State?

For several hours this morning I worked steadily, in an unhurried, calm manner that left me feeling as if I could work forever. No frustration over things not going the way I wanted them to. No wasting time on the Internet. It was incredible.

Unfortunately, I was baking, not writing.

December is often a bust for me professionally, unless I'm working under a deadline, in which case it's just miserable, period. This month I had two professional goals. I wanted to get a new manuscript out to my editor, and I wanted to send out two arcs with a press release and pictures. I sent out the manuscript and tomorrow I'm sending out a third and fourth arc. So I actually overshot my goal.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I can't wait for the holidays to be over so I can be frustrated and miserable in front of my word processor again. I'd love to just write in my journal.

Another Pre-Potter Wizard School

Ursula LeGuin was interviewed for a Guardian article.

I always forget that LeGuin is a YA writer because I discovered her through The Left Hand of Darkness and Lathe of Heaven soon after those books were first published. However, she's written books for younger people, including A Wizard of Earthsea, in which a character is sent to a school for wizards.

Sound familiar?

In the Guardian article, LeGuin says of J. K. Rowling, "I didn't feel she ripped me off, as some people did...though she could have been more gracious about her predecessors. My incredulity was at the critics who found the first book wonderfully original. She has many virtues, but originality isn't one of them."


LeGuin isn't the only author whose work may be a "predecessor" to Rowling's. Jane Yolen also had a book published before the Potter stories in which a character goes off to wizard school. I haven't read either LeGuin's or Yolen's books, and I still found Harry Potter unoriginal. Kids going off to wizard or witch schools just seemed to be something I'd heard before.

The feeling was even stronger when I saw the movie version of the first book. I remember sitting in the theater and thinking, I've seen this before. Don't know where, don't know when.

As far as the critics who found the first books original are concerned, well, many of the people writing magazine articles on Rowling are not versed in kidlit or fantasy for any age group. If they don't know the field, then, yeah, they probably do find Potter original.

Thanks to Big A little a for the link.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Now This Is How You Write About Your Own Writing

I finally got around to reading the November/December issue of The Horn Book, which is a good thing since I'm sure the next issue will be turning up soon. My favorite article was JonScieszka's Zena Sutherland Lecture, "What's So Funny, Mr. Scieszka?"

Recently I've talked in this blog about the way writers and readers of different genres often become defensive and lash out at one another. Chick lit vs. lit lit, is the case in point. Well, in his lecture, Scieszka talked about writing humor, which is what he does. He said that he believes humor doesn't get the respect it deserves, but, that being said, he did not go on to attack other types of writing.

Instead, he made a very interesting point. "Teachers love to dig into tragedies and problem novels, in part because they can be explained and illuminated by discussion." A few paragraphs later he said, "But it's much more difficult to explain or discuss what's so funny about anything. The very nature of humor works against explanation. In many cases, the old adage is true--you either 'get it' or you don't."

Never once did he attack writers of tragedies and problem novels. Never did he try to build up what he does by knocking down what someone else does. Instead, he simply explained the situation.

I suspect that if you really understand what you, yourself, are doing, you don't have to talk about it in relation to what anyone else does. You can just talk about your work. Period. Scieszka sounds as if he understands what he's doing. He gave what looks on paper to be a fascinating lecture on humor and the influences on his own writing.

I've never been a big Scieszka fan, myself, finding his humor a little forced. However, this article was so good that I'm going to hit the library after Christmas and haul home a whole stack of his books and give him another try.

I can't say enough about how much I appreciate a well-written, intelligible piece of nonfiction.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Fates Are Working Against Me

Last week, as I may or may not have mentioned, an editor said she'd be happy to look at a new manuscript I've completed. I've been struggling to put some finishing touches on the thing so I could get it out in the mail to her. I was printing it just now guessed it...the ink cartridge gave up the ghost. Unfortunately, the only way I can make my printer stop printing is to turn it off. Sounds simple, right? Except there doesn't seem to be any way to give the thing instructions. So when it is thwarted, it goes over the edge. When it's turned on again, it spits out pages with lines of gibberish. I try rebooting. I try rebooting again. Sometimes a day of rest makes it feel better.

Yes, I know I need a new printer. I am not a big fan of shopping, and shopping for a new printer? The word deadly has got to describe the experience.

It's That Time of Year Again

No, I don't mean Christmas. I'm already sick of that. I mean Buy A Friend A Book Week. It comes around four times a year, and the next one is the first week of January.

Remember, this isn't about birthday presents, anniversaries, or anything like that. It's about buying a book you otherwise wouldn't have bought. It's about going out and putting out some cold, hard cash for a book that you think would be the perfect match for someone.

Yeah, you're right. This is a made up event like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day...I could go on and on. But it's also a chance to support an industry that's supposed to be struggling these days. (Oh, please tell me I don't sound like a fundraiser for National Public Radio.)

Here's the thing--if we do enough to promote Buy A Friend A Book Week, maybe at some point friends will start buying books for us. And it's not as if we aren't out spending a fortune on gifts this month, anyway. What's one more?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

If Only Lindsay Lohan Were Six Years Old

Ramona Quimby is going to be in a movie.

This series of children's books is so old that I should have been reading them when I was a kid. Instead I was introduced to them much later while reading with young relatives. I can't say I was ever terribly attracted to young Ramona, but the younger members of my family were very fond of her.

All of Beverly Cleary's Ramona books will be rereleased in honor of her (Cleary's) 90th birthday. I've got a birthday coming up. I hope I get something like that, though I'm really just expecting a new CD or a magazine subcription. (Thanks to Book Moot for the link.)

Now You, Too, Can Hear J.K. Rowling

BBC Radio 4 carried an interview with J.K. Rowling. I haven't listened to it yet because it's 30 minutes long.

She is interviewed by Stephen Frye who is the voice of the Harry Potter audio books. (At least the ones sold in England.) He is also an author of a couple of novels, one of which I read and enjoyed. It was a book about a school boy that is totally inappropriate for schoolboys to read. (Thanks to Kids Lit for the link.)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Treading Water

I'm not getting a whole lot done on any front. I do hope to get a new manuscript out to an editor this week and to send ARCs to three magazines. Those are my total writing goals. Tragic, just tragic.

I'm reading The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer. I was finding it flat and disappointing and only kept slogging along because it's this month selection in the YA Forum at Readerville. Then the Vikings came. I'm much happier now.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Can't We All Get Along?

Check out the November 30th and December 2 entries in Meg's Diary, as in Meg Cabot of The Princess Diaries and other books. She clearly has her knickers in a twist over literary novelists. I've never been clear on what literary novels are, though Meg Cabot would argue that they're books with unhappy endings.

Meg gets the ball rolling by complaining that Curtis Sittenfeld called Melissa Bank's book The Wonder Spot chick lit in a review. Them's fighting words!

She seems to think Sittenfeld is a literary author (also fighting words, at least to Meg) though I'm not sure why. Because Sittenfeld's book Prep is about a private school and not a public one? Because she's a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop? It can't be because Prep has an unhappy ending because Meg hasn't read it so she doesn't know how it ends.

I want to be clear here that I haven't read Prep, either. Not because I don't like literary novels, but because I don't like books about private schools. Looking for Alaska was the last straw.

But back to Meg. She quotes Sittenfeld as saying in her review of The Wonder Spot "“To suggest that another woman's ostensibly literary novel is chick lit feels catty, not unlike calling another woman a slut -- doesn't the term basically bring down all of us? And yet, with ''The Wonder Spot,'' it's hard to resist.”" Then Meg says that she's pretty sure that Sittenfeld inferred that Melissa Bank is a slut.

If I were being catty, I'd point out that I'm pretty sure (though not positive) that Meg used "inferred" incorrectly. But I hate it when someone makes a big deal about pointing out another person's slip-ups with words. I also hate the whole chick lit vs literary lit battle. Also the highbrow literature vs lowbrow literature battle. All readers are important, valuable people. What they choose to read is what makes a piece of literature valuable, if only to them. We don't have a right to knock readers' taste by disparaging what they choose to read as chick lit or...what? Shall we call it lit lit?

The whole chick lit/lit lit and highbrow/lowbrow argument isn't about books. It's about authors' egos. Everyone wants to be better than someone else. Or, at least, not worse than someone else. Name calling (chick lit, lit lit, slut) does not make anyone a winner. This is a battle that can't be won. Let it go.

Of course, I'm speaking as someone whose work has never been accused of being chick lit or literary.

Thanks to A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy for the link.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Does This Sound Familiar to Anyone Else?

In The Fiction Machine, The Workshop and the Hacks Sam Sacks says of Best New American Voices 2006"All but one of them are written in the first person; a similar percentage hinge upon the narrator's difficulties with dysfunctional or deceased members of his or her family, or with ex-lovers. The tone is always confessional and saturated with self-pity.

Isn't this a common complaint of YA fiction? Perhaps it's not a problem specific to YA but to fiction in general. (Thanks to for the link.)

Maybe the Book is Different

Yesterday I watched Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen while I was ironing clothes. I haven't read the book of the same name by Dyan Sheldon. I definitely liked the main character, but I think it's fair to describe the movie as a formula high school story. Not very subtle in the message department, either.

Sheldon also wrote Planet Janet, which I couldn't get through because it seemed like too much of a clone of the Georgia Nicholson books.

Speaking of which, the Georgia book in which she goes to Hamburger-a-go-go Land is waiting for me in my To Be Read basket.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Let's Visit Some Other Bloggers

Pooja Makhijani, author of Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America, has a page at her website called South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora in Children's Literature. Fortunately for me, she defines "diaspora."

I lost the URL for this site and tried googling "South Asian Children's Literature." I only came up with two pages. So there's not a lot of information out there on this subject.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned Your Fairy Bookmother here before. It's one of the kidlit blogs that I'm watching. She has an entry Goodbye wardrobe, my old friend that, thank goodness, doesn't address the religious aspects of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Instead, she talks about the quality of the writing. She also makes a distinction between fancy and fantasy, which I found rather interesting. Especially since I'd never heard of writing described as fancy. At least, not the kind of fancy Bookmother is talking about.

An Interesting Evening

Last night I had to spend the evening reading over a hundred pages of a book that was overdue at the library and that I couldn't renew again. I stretched out on the couch next to the woodstove, listened to the radio, drank a cup of hot chocolate...It wasn't a bad time. What's more, out of the blue I came up with a way to end the new book I'm working on. Maybe those people who insist we should all turn off our televisions are on to something.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Here's Something Different

youngadultARCs is a website devoted to sharing ARCs. ARCs are advanced reader copies (my publisher refers to them as bound galleys) that are distributed before publication to reviewers, librarians, booksellers, etc. The idea is to give reviewers an opportunity to read the books and write a review that will be published around publication time, to give librarians an opportuntity to decide whether or not they want to purchase the book for their collections, to give booksellers...well, you get the point.

ARCs are not for resale or for use in library collections. They are bound from uncorrected galleys so there may be all kinds of printers' errors, the authors and editors may make changes, and they may not include illustrations. To treat these as a finished book is unjust both to the author and publisher and to the reading public. The book just isn't finished.

So what should people with access to arcs do with them after they've read them? Well, the folks at this website came up with an idea for sharing them. The site looks as if it serves primarily young adult librarians. It looks to me as if this is an attempt to pass arcs around to exactly the people who should be reading them.

Arcs shouldn't be sold on ebay, people!!! They shouldn't be shelved with library collections!!! (I saw 3 arcs on the new book shelf at a nearby library last September. One of them wasn't going to be published until next month.) They should be passed along to librarians, teachers, booksellers, anyone who is in the business of talking up books.

Good luck, youngadultARCs.

I found youngadultARCs through bookshelves of doom, which I found through Kids Lit.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Kidlit in the News

The Brits are still going on and on about Narnia. Perhaps nothing much is happening over there right now.

We, on the other hand, tend to drone on and on about what children's literature should be. In Reading Kids Books Without the Kids in The New York Times, Edward Rothstein objects to what he calls teen pulp.

He quotes Dr. Alison Gopnik, who he says is a cognitive scientist who has studied children's learning, as saying "that children read the way scientists work: they experiment with different ways of ordering the world, exploring alternate modes of understanding." But then he objects to teen pulp (which he doesn't actually define, by the way), because "Those books are meant to be close reflections of their readers, mirrors of their fantasies. The characters are just different enough from the readers to spur curiosity and sexual interest, and just similar enough to guarantee identification."

If by teen pulp Rothstein is talking about "realistic" teen fiction or what Moira Redmond at Slate calls dreadlit, then I think he's got it totally wrong. Books about teen angst and suffering definitely give teen readers an opportunity to explore alternative lives. Come on, how many real kids live like the teens in Looking for Alaska?

In the very next paragraph of his New York Times article, Rothstein says, "A great children's book, though, does not reflect the world or its reader. It plays within the world. It explores possibilities. It confounds expectations." Maybe to an adult that's a great children's book, but don't kids want to read about people like themselves just the way adults want to read about people like themselves? They may enjoy having their expectations confounded, but so do adults. We're not talking about something unique to children here.

Rothstein's take on kidlit seems like another example of romanticizing children and their reading. And there's something about romanticizing children that seems both patronizing and controlling to me.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I Don't Know Why I'm Doing This

For someone who didn't get The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I'm spending an awful lot of time reading about its author. This article doesn't seem to have anything new to say as far as I can tell.

I Do Know Why I Did This

As part of my never ending quest to become a better human being (by which I mean a more productive one), I just finished skimming Organizing for Your Brain Type: Finding Your Own Solution to Managing Time, Paper, and Stuff by Lanna Nakone. I don't know if reading the book is going to help me (one family member suggested that instead of reading it I should have used the time to clean the kitchen counter), but it may have clarified my problems with disorganization.

According to Nakone, there are four brain types. I took the quiz in her book, and the results indicate that I am a maintaining style. That means I am "organized--in the traditional sense of the word." (Does anyone else get the feeling that that is a bad thing?) Maintaining style types like myself have all kinds of wonderful characteristics--we're detail-oriented, practical, accurate, disciplined, able to think ahead. I could go on and on about how wonderful we are.

All of which leads me to wonder--how come I'm not writing a book a year, cranking out publishable essays and short stories, and coming up with highly original and successful marketing schemes for my writing?

Here's my theory: The quiz showed that I have a lot of characteristics of the innovating style thinker. I'm artistic and all that, but I'm also easily distracted when I'm not too absorbed in one thing. (Usually something like reading magazines or surfing the net.)

So what I think is happening is that my innovating style self is torturing my maintaining style self.

Nakone talks a lot about to do lists and calendars. Hey, she doesn't have to convince me. A couple of years ago I had about six weeks when I was really organized and doing well. I was working with three to do lists--a weekly list for the house and family, a weekly list for work, and and a daily list that combined both. I also had two calendars--one for the house and one for my purse. I'm going to try to go back to that system, but add a third calendar dedicated specifically to work.

Today I will be able to finish all but one item on my to do list. That was figuring out what we're going to be eating this week so I'll be prepared and not have to take time making the decision each day. If you can't get to one item on your to do list, that's the one it should be. Because who are we kidding? Of course you're going to eat every day anyway, right?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I Guess I Won't Tell You About That After All

I was going to tell you about how my bound galleys for Happy Kid! arrived today and my plans for publicizing the book. But then I went to The folks there linked to a San Francisco Chronicle article that included the following: "Writing is not an inherently interesting profession. It's very boring to watch...It's paint drying." So I thought better of my plan.

The author of The Chronicle article also said, "Writers do not dress well, and they frequently mumble." All too true, I'm sorry to say.

Perhaps Not the Best Time to be Writing a Picture Book

Over a year ago, my editor rejected my picture book submission saying it wasn't a good time for picture books. Publisher Weekly says she wasn't just blowing me off. As luck would have it, in the next week or two I'll be contacting my new editor to see if she's interested in taking a look at the chapter book that picture book manuscript evolved into. Oops! More boring writer stuff. (Thanks to Chicken Spaghetti for the link.)

Sometimes a Kid Just Isn't in the Mood for Art

Yesterday I was getting all teary-eyed while writing about my family's experiences with The Berenstain Bears. Bet the guy who wrote this "appreciation" didn't have that problem.