Words, lost and found

Have you ever had so much to say that you are at a complete loss for words? That is how I have felt lately when I think of this blog. My apologies. It’s been a long time. And I’ve had so much to say that I’ve said nothing at all. And I've also been working hard in a quiet room.

Time to emerge from my cave! But, rather than flood you with all that I could have been saying, let me tell you just a few small newsy bits.

Last week I sent off a signed contract for another picture book to be published by Candlewick Press!! This one won’t be out for about a hundred years (well…2015. Not THAT far off I guess.) I am over the moon to have a second picture book written and illustrated by me, join my first one under the roof of Candlewick Press, and in the caring hands of its amazing book creators.

I recently attended one of the best SCBWI Conferences ever, right here in Western Washington. I am sure that this year’s annual conference glowed from outer space! The weekend was filled with generous, funny, moving, genius, glittery contributions of the likes of Melissa Sweet, Rachel Vail, Bruce Hale, Bonnie Becker, Lucy Cummins, Scott Magoon, Tammi Sauer, Nancy Conescu, and many many more. Three things really stuck with me from that conference:
  1. As a writer or an illustrator, you’ve got to develop really good habits, and stick with them if you’re going to get your best work done, get published, stay published, and make the world different.  And you have to have grit. And thick skin. And determination. And feelings!
  2. Children’s books can really make you cry! Even hearing other people’s stories about how a book touched them can make me cry. (I almost had to be a jury member for a murder trial, right after the conference. But when I told them that I write books for children, and I am kind of a crier, they dismissed me. True story! I would have done my service if they wanted me...!)
  3. Children’ book creators comprise a wonderful, emotional, generous, passionate, creative tribe, of which I am very proud to be a part. 

I recently stepped into the role of Illustrator Coordinator for SCBWI Western Washington, so stay tuned for news of upcoming events designed especially for illustrators of children’s books. And of course, if you have any ideas or feedback for me please don’t hesitate to contact me!! I am so looking forward to being a part of the outstanding leadership team that makes our region stand out in SCBWI!

I’m just about to start the finished art for my very first picture book, TURKEY TOT, written by George Shannon, to be published by Holiday House. It’s very exciting to be at this stage—wish me luck!! And I just finished the revised sketches for my own picture book TWO SPECKLED EGGS, to be published by Candlewick. Meanwhile, I’ve been madly trying to program my children’s summer, because I have a lot of work to do! Any tips, anyone?

Finally, I read and adored this book: Children’s Picturebooks:The art of visual storytelling, by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles. If you love and are fascinated by picture books, and are especially drawn to European picture books, then READ THIS BOOK! It’s academic, insightful, compelling, and filled with gorgeous illustrations, many of which you have probably never seen.

That's it for now. More soon.