Thursday, August 27, 2009

lacking zest...wotw

Insipid: (adj) Lacking flavor or zest; not tasty. Lacking qualities that excite, stimulate, or interest; dull
Used in a sentence: Tree-ear was surprised to find Ajima had packed him a packet of sweet, luscious gokkam which far surpassed the ordinary, insipid rice cakes he’d been eating.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

maurice sendak facts

Because I'm so excited for the movie, Where The Wild Things Are, to come out (based on the book by Maurice Sendak), and so we can all learn a little more about this great talent, I'll be sporadically posting fun facts about him and his work until the release date on October 16th. Let's start simple:

Maurice Bernard Sendak was born on June 10, 1928 (let's see, that would make him a quick-witted Gemini) in Brooklyn, New York. Mr. Sendak decided to become an illustrator at the age of 12 after viewing Walt Disney's film, Fantasia.

Monday, August 24, 2009

encouraging rejections

Rejections are good, they make us try harder, make us reevaluate our work, make us fight for what we really want! - they also can be, admittedly, kind of a bummer. But, I am determined to look on the bright side. I finally received my first response from a publisher for my query about Avondale, and, in terms of how rejections go, this one wasn't all that bad.
First, the letter was personalized (in the past I've received just a form letter for another book); secondly, the editor who read it said she enjoyed reading my imaginative story but that it didn't meet her company's publication needs at this time; and lastly, the letter ended wishing me luck with finding the right publishing house.
Publishing is, after all, a business just like everything else, and sometimes, even if your book is amazing, if it's not at the top of a list of books that an editor needs at that point in time, then it will be passed over (this is what I tell myself anyway).
In the Sept. issue of my favorite magazine, Writer's Digest, there is an article called,"What to Do After an Encouraging Rejection." Fitting, especially for me. Well I read it last night, and was happy to learn that if a writer receives a Personalized Rejection, then it most likely means that your manuscript is head and shoulders above the majority of submissions... Okay, I'll gladly take that, because to me, it signifies that I'm actually getting somewhere...even if it is at a snail's pace.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

what a fifth grader thinks...about Avondale

My wonderful, favorite sister ;) finally sent me back the much anticipated, fully-completed questionnaires answered by her fifth graders who read the first three chapters of my book, Avondale (hopefully to be published one day soon). I'm still going through them all, but so far the responses have been great, and I'm getting valuable insight into the minds of fifth graders as well as learning what they like to read - for the ones who do like to read, that is.

As soon as I'm done categorizing all of the answers I'll be posting their thoughts here - promise!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

the invention of hugo cabret

I've mentioned 2008 Caldecott medal winner, Brian Selznick before, who wrote and illustrated, The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic Press), but now that I've read the book I wanted to share some of the amazing illustrations I enjoyed in it. This book really is a little treasure, well...not so little, over 500 pgs., but as you read it, you actually feel like you are watching a classic French movie. Mr. Selznick has an uncanny way of lassoing the mind and dragging it into the magnified black & white illustrations where you find yourself nose-to-nose with his characters, and can better absorb and appreciate their growing and changing emotions. Go buy the book!

Monday, August 10, 2009

a bad day for sadie

Today was Sadie's birthday, and she spent it at the Vet's. Poor Sadie woke up with a bad tummy which thankfully is better now, but it was a rough day for all of us. At least she got to celebrate over the weekend at the river with her cousin Happy, whose own birthday is on Friday.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

leave it to vote

I'm trying to create a fictional-scientific name for a character in the new book I'm currently writing (tentatively titled, Red Balloon, and six other possible names) and I need your help. The character is a strange, kind of obnoxious, obtuse creature, who leeches onto the flying balloons for free rides, since he can't get airborne himself. He's a combination of two flightless birds; a Cassowary, and a Penguin. I'd like to marry the two words so I scribbled down some ideas. I won't say which one I'm leaning toward, but I like the shorter ones of the bunch that are easier to pronounce. Any ideas? I welcome your votes and thoughts.













this is san francisco

I'm sure you've seen these books at one point or another when you've been in a bookstore, or even at Anthropologie where they sell them. Author and Illustrator M. Sasek (1916-1980), created these fun, beautiful, classic books on great cities of the world (Paris, New York, San Francisco). I fell in love with his illustrations and keep this one, This is San Francisco, on my coffee table to peruse from time to time. These books also make great gifts or house warming presents for people who live near, or in one of the cities, or for those who just love art!
Sasek, Miroslav. This is San Francisco. New York. Universe Publishing, 2003.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

marcel ayme

At any given library, there is usually a cart of free books. These are books that are worn down to the bone. Covers missing, pages torn, spine flimsy.... but the words inside are still good. It was on one such cart that I found - now one of my best children's books resources - The World Treasury of Children's Literature, Volume II (I can only hope that Vol. I will find its way to the cart one day too). In this book I keep discovering more and more writers and illustrators that I've never heard of before. One writer in particular, Marcel Ayme (1902-1967), a French author, born in a town called, Joigny, in Burgundy, France, won me over with his story, The Elephant, which comes from a book of stories called, The Wonderful Farm (originally published in 1951) and illustrated by the amazing, Maurice Sendak (who I've mentioned in an earlier post).
The Elephant, is about two little sisters, Marinette and Delphine (don't you love French names), who are left at home one rainy day while their parents go visit their Uncle Alfred. With the ceaseless rain, the little girls pretend that they are preparing for a great flood, so they gather the animals on their farm - an ox, cow, horse, sheep, a grumbling pig (my favorite), and a hen, who they ask to play the part of an elephant - in their tiny kitchen which they pretend is an Ark. The pig fears that they will run out of food, and the hen grows to the size of an elephant while inside their parent's room. You can imagine what happens next....
I hope to read more stories by Marcel Ayme, and one I'd really like to get my hands on is the English version of, Le Passe Muraille (loosely translated, A Man Who Can Pass Walls).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


When I buy a new book the first thing I like to do is write my name on the inside cover - yes, I'm a nerd - but now I can make it pretty! Check out these cool Bookplates I found at Copperfields Books that you can stick inside your books, or wherever, and personalize. I thought the book-tree suited my style nicely, but the company,, has a whole array of other designs, hopefully in one you like too.


I've been seriously slacking in the wotw area, so here is a word dedicated to the character, Jacob Black, from the Twilight Series. And speaking of....I'm on the last book, Breaking Dawn. Spoiler alert!!! I accidentally read on Wikipedia that Jacob "imprints" (falls in love) with Bella and Edward's daughter, so I ruined that surprise for myself, but now I've just hit the part where Bella's become a vampire. Not that anyone needs to hear another opinion about this, but I'll be posting what I thought about the whole series when I'm done... So without further ado, I give you, the word of the week:

Antipathy: (n) settled aversion or dislike.
Used in a sentence: Jacob Black’s nose was severely antipathetic toward the smell of the vampires.