One Potato...Ten!

Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Welcoming the New!

This old potato has started the new year out with a bad case of pneumonia. However, sometimes even resting in bed can be productive. During the first two weeks of 2014, I have sat in a mist filled room, taking antibiotics and cough medicine, drinking lots of tea and building a new website along with a new blog. I am feeling accomplished! Take a peek here.

If you read the blog, you will see that I like to-do lists. I also like to spend time at the first of the year planning and imagining the year ahead. Let me clue you in on some of the highlights while I am here:

  • I have a new book coming out in May. Deer Dancer, written by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by me. You will hear more from me about it as that day comes near. 
  • It looks like the Minnesota Orchestra might have finally come to an agreement after a horrendous year and a half lock-out. What this means for me is that in April, if all continues well, there will be a series of school and family concerts featuring my book, When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky. Again, you will hear more from me if this happens.
  • This is my last year of script writing and set design and painting for Circus Juventas, since it is also my son's last year of classes with Circus Juventas. This summer's show is Neverland, a variation on J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan. The script is finished and the sets are in the process of design and construction. From June through the end of July, you will find me painting daily in the arena while performers rehearse. My son is "Hook" this year-- a wonderful role for him!
  • I am also beginning sketches for a new picture book written by Cynthia Rylant. The title is Everyone Loves Leaves. Updates will follow as things progress.
  • My writing continues as well-- lots of stories in the works. 
My son graduates from high school this spring and we are waiting patiently to hear from two Circus Colleges in Canada. 2014 will be a year of great changes in my family life and professional life. I welcome it!


On the Verge of 2014

Just on the verge of 2014, I sold another book to Chronicle.  They are also publishing my book, Two Hands to Love You, in May of 2014.  It has been a lovely year with them!
We also added two new pets to our family, Caramel and Colonel.  They have added great joy,
                                                  and lots more clean-up duties, to our lives.

The entire Adams side of our family (plus our son's girlfriend - far left) got together for a family photo at Thanksgiving.  Our severely autistic nephew (far right) was in a good mood and did great for all the photo taking.  It was good to be together again over the holidays.

I'm thankful for family (especially Chris and Scott), warm weather, teaching great students at Cal State, and for friends near and far - some whom I hope to meet in April.


2013 had some big milestones, most notably our daughter’s high school graduation and subsequent entrance into the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon. I did so much anticipatory grieving that the actual transition was easier than I feared. Pictured here at the end of this first semester, it is evident that she is happy.
I hardly had a moment to feather my empty nest before I was off to Boston for school visits and to receive the Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Award for Dreaming Up.

I continued on to NYC to visit publishers and pitch some new projects. This was a fruitful time. I came home to work on sample art at an editor’s request, and am pleased to report that I have a new contract to illustrate a picture book biography of a notable photographer for Christy Ottaviano Books/Holt. 2014 will be a year of further development of writing/illustration projects potentially of interest to other publishers. Doors are open, but I have my work cut out for me to make things happen.


Our Lady of Guadalupe Day

Today is Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe. May all of you be showered with book miracles.DD


Three books in '13

 For me, 2013 will be the year of having three new picture books published, including
How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans...
 Arlo's ART-rageous Adventure!
(the first book I both wrote and illustrated)
and Moo!
My own writing and illustrating seemed to get pushed aside too often. If I want to celebrate future books, I need to take a lesson from Stephanine and ramp up my productivity in 2014!


A look back at 2013

For me, 2013 was a little crazy on the personal side, with a move from Oregon back to the Midwest. The relocation is still a bit of a nightmare, but it is fun to think about the highlights of the year where the writing is concerned. Here we go, a countdown:

5. My first-ever book tour for The Fallout. The Fierce Reads tour sent me to eight cities in nine days and I had such a great time getting to know the other Macmillan authors and meeting avid readers at every stop. Here I am at the Austin Teen Book Fest.

4. Receiving the ARCs of my middle grade novel Shipwreck Island, the first in my four book series.

3. I got to see some of the Spuds this year! John and Christy at ALA, and David at The Red Balloon. I am so excited for 2014, and the first ever All Spud Retreat.

2. I wanted to be more productive in 2013. I wrote five entire novels this year (2 MG, 3 YA). Not including all the revisions, I estimate that I wrote about 240,000 words. Three of those novels are under contract, two aren't yet. Fingers crossed.

1. Two days ago, I signed contracts for my ninth and tenth novels with Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. The first is my YA novel The Detour. I drafted it last month, during National Novel Writing Month, and it will hit shelves Fall 2015. Which will be here before we know it... 



I didn't celebrate Halloween when I was growing up in Puerto Rico. Instead I celebrated Día de los santos, Saints' Day (November 1st) and Día de los muertos, Day of the Dead (November 2nd). In Puerto Rico, those two days, we visited the cemetery. Here in Oregon, I love the altars, the yellow flowers, and the singing from other  Latin American cultures, especially from Mexico. Here is an altar in Coravllis, Oregon, reminding us of the struggle with breast cancer:

  Photo: You do not stop being a woman because you only have one breast.