Pinching Myself

ALA Mid-Winter was in Seattle this past weekend, and I was thrilled to be invited to a reception at the Space Needle hosted by Holiday House, who is publishing TURKEY TOT, written by George Shannon and illustrated by me (my first book!!!). It was very exciting to see a mock-up of the book (not quite a galley yet---it’s on their fall 2013 list) on their display table at the reception and at ALA! George was my date for the evening (even to a SCBWI/WWA Kidlit Drink Night), and really, he is a rock star--no fewer than four librarians approached him in the first 20 minutes to reminisce about past kid lit adventures.

Needless to say, just feeling the buzz at the ALA Mid-Winter conference was thrilling! I toured the exhibits with critique pals Margaret Nevinski and Dawn Simon. Fun to go with friends! Saw lots of other kidlit pals there too, including Paul Schmid, and Deb Lund, among many others.

Here is a photo of me, the book mock-up, and editor Grace Maccarone of Holiday House, on the floor at the ALA Mid Winter 2013 Exhibition and Conference:

And here is a little preview of the art from Turkey Tot:

In other news, tonight I am taking a red-eye to Vermont, where I will attend the Kindling Words East retreat for authors and illustrators! I am very excited about this--and I am lucky enough to go because I am a (soon-to-be) published author/illustrator of children's books (and I made it through the lottery)! The retreat is held at the The Essex/Vermont Culinary Institute, I wonder if food and merriment might be part of the alchemy! I heard a rumor that the oatmeal is outstanding. I think that this is a kidlit retreat tradition.

Kindling Words East happens to coincide with my birthday. Another author/illustrator-retreat-attendee Jennifer Goldfinger will be celebrating the exact same birthday there too. This is a milestone birthday for us, so we may be raising hot toddies in the pub to celebrate!!

And, best of all, I also get to spend a little time on the front end with my dear brother who lives near Essex, VT, and on the back end with my dear dad and step-mom who live in Western Massachusetts. And with my dear little boy (not so little at almost 12!) who is travelling with me to play in the snow for the weekend with his uncle. Hope there is snow!

And finally, I am nearing completion of the artwork for the first picture book written and illustrated by me. It is called TWO SPECKLED EGGS, and will be published by Candlewick Press in the spring of 2014. Here is a sneak peak at that art (which some of you may have seen in an earlier incarnation):

Can I just say that I am beside myself with excitement to be able to call myself a (soon-to-be) published author/illustrator, and partake in some of the privileges that go with that moniker? Truly, a dream come true. Pinching myself.