Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Here's a new topic: Piracy

I've had an unsettling two days as it recently came to my attention that electronic review copies of my forthcoming book The Raft are being downloaded illegally. I won't expand here, but if you are interested, head over to my own blog http://latteya.livejournal.com




I'm looking forward to going over to my community garden and picking asparagus. It's one of my favorite foods and fresh asparagus coming up in the garden still feels magical. I'm looking forward to planting basil, tomatoes, eggplants, and squash. I've got lettuce and radishes in and am looking forward to planting the rest of the garden.

I'm working on new picture books while I wait word on a new young adult novel. I'm also looking forward to writing something new, something that I don't even know what it is right now.

This summer I've been asked to teach about writing for children and teens in a program in Lithuania. I've never been there and I've never been to Denmark where we're staying for a week on the way. I'm excited about both and hope to return with some stories.

I'm also looking forward to the wedding of a family friend in August. It will provide an opportunity for me to be together with my brother and sisters as we approach the one-year anniversary of my mother's death. It feels significant that we will be able together to share stories about the past and to talk about what we're looking forward to.


Around the Bend

Just last Sunday I began a list of what I am looking forward to doing as soon as I finish the illustrations I have been painting for the past three months. The list so far goes like this:

  • Clean playroom (my kids are grown, but we still call it the playroom. Everything we do seems to be done in this room. It needs some help.
  • Re-hang art in stairwell. (It was all taken down to film a dystopian version of MacBeth over spring break.)
  • Garden. (I have hardly noticed spring, locked up in my studio. I dream of plunging my hands into black dirt.)

It is not a long list, but it is the beginning of hope. At the end of a long focused bout of illustrating a book, I always look forward to returning to ordinary things like picking up the house, clean laundry, hot coffee with a friend, reviving the garden, and walks around a lake.

I am looking forward to finishing the illustrations.

I am also looking forward to this book coming out in the fall:
I am looking forward to finally updating my website and blogging on my own blog about this book. I look forward to working on activity sheets to go with it and planning publication events. I look forward to reading it out loud to a listening audience for the first time.

All of these things I look forward to, but sometimes we look forward and we don't know what is around the bend that could change everything for good or bad. This is what happened to me a couple of weeks ago and luckily for the good! Last fall I finished a manuscript to submit for the biannual McKnight Fellowship in Children's Literature. Two weeks ago, I received a phone call telling me that I had been chosen for the Fellowship! Around the bend came fantastic news  and a whole new list of things to look forward to! The list looks like this:

  • Plan a trip to Venice, Italy to research a middle grade novel set in Venice that I began during NaNoWriMo .
  • Plan a trip to California to stay with an author friend there for a week of writing.
  • Buy an iPad and begin learning how to design and make apps for my picture books.
  • Enjoy a year of breathing easily about finances.
That is my list so far and it is a dream list thanks to the McKnight Fellowship. The story I submitted to the McKnight is called When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky. I look forward to telling you more about this story. It will be published in May of 2013. Since I am still in the midst of painting it, I will stop here and let you look forward to reading more about it in future posts. The posts I look forward to writing when my house is picked up, my laundry is clean, and my garden is planted.



What am I looking forward to this year?  Well, unlike my fellow spuds here at One Potato…Ten, I do not have any books coming out this year.  But I am excited about other stuff, such as:

*Waiting to hear when my poem will be published in Ladybug (this year or next) and also anticipating the artwork that will accompany the poem.

*Wondering if I will make the Top 3 in the Highlights 2012 Fiction Contest. Yes, that’s right: in spite of the fact that the contest was open to ALL writers on the planet (which I figure makes the odds of placing in the top 3 slightly better than the odds of winning the lottery) I gave it a shot.  After all, what’s the old adage -- someone has to win, right?  But the real reason I did it was because I needed something to jump-start my mid-winter writer’s funk, and working on a 700-word story every night for over two weeks gave me the renewed confidence to return to my longer projects.  So in that way I’ve already “won” something just by the process of writing the story and entering it in the contest.  They are scheduled to announce the winners in June and if by some miracle my story makes the cut, I’m sure you will hear the hooting and hollering from Whidbey Island….

*Cultivating the friendships I began at last weekend’s SCBWI – Washington conference.

*Finishing, revising, polishing, and then submitting a novel to some of the agents and editors from the conference.

*Ditto for two picture book ideas I have been mulling over the winter.

*Finally, on a personal note, I am looking forward to the upcoming sailing season.  Our boat was in the shop most of last summer and so I missed my usual quiet time on the water -- time I spend refilling my well and pondering story ideas.


Looking Forward

I'm looking forward to reading all of your new books and following your career pathways wherever they take you. It has been a joy to follow my own pathway into teaching Children's Lilterature to some really wonderful college students at CSUSB.

I have two books coming out in the next year - I Want to Help! and Two Hands to Love You. The publishing houses (PeachTree and Chronicle) have been great to work with and I'm excited to see the final illustrations. The photo that I used for this blog will be on the jacket flap of I Want To Help! The little girl is my neighbor Emily, about whom I wrote I Can Do It Myself! and I Want to Help!

Overall, I'm looking forward to writing some more and to opening my students' eyes to the value and complexity of children's literature. I'm also looking forward to a potential trip to Barcelona. Carmen, any suggestions on where to stay??