Read a good picture book lately? Well, you should! I spend a lot of my day reading picture books to my son
(because if I don't I have guilt and imagine that he will be mentally stunted). But also because we both enjoy them. Have you seen some of the latest and greatest picture books? Like Russell the Sheep, who thinks so hard that his hat goes ziggy-zaggy? Or the adventures of Coco, the little chick. The Boy is a big Coco fan. These are photographs of one of those little pipe-cleaner Easter chicks, posed in a variety of situations as she makes her way to Grandma's house. Love it. And of course we are big Mo Willems fans. Edwina, the dinosaur who didn't know she was extinct, the adventures of Trixie and Knuffle Bunny, and the immortal Pigeon. Remember, kids: Don't let the Pigeon drive the bus! Yellowbelly and Plum Go to School is the perfect blend of word and picture to evoke a hilarious story, and so is How to Be a Good Dog. Writing a good picture book must be the most stressful thing ever. How to get your story told through the fewest words, and make it work with the pictures? Gives me a headache just thinking about it. And now I'm getting out the Christmas books too, like Santa Calls, Auntie Claus, A Wish for Wings that Work, Red Ranger Came Calling, The Polar Express, and other favorites. And speaking of Christmas books, if you want something meatier than a picture book, I've got recommends coming out my ears. Sammy Keyes and the Runaway Elf, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The Legend of Holly Claus, Miracle and Other Christmas Stories, and the classic A Christmas Carol. Enjoy, people! 'Tis the season to enjoy a good book, with or without pictures.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
What are we thankful for this year? Let's see: Barring a few times when he was sick, the Boy has slept through the night for a whole year now. Dragon Slippers arrived in stores, and is doing very well. It was a Booksense pick for the summer, and one of Amazon.com's Best Books of the Year So Far! We finished half of our basement, giving my parents a real bedroom to sleep in when they visit, and the Boy a place to strew toys about with abandon. I finally took a cake decorating class, and I'm not bad at it! We had our tenth wedding anniversary! This is a lot of exclamation points! But to continue, I'm thankful for: pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, Naomi Novik's fourth Temeraire book, Stardust in movie and book form. Fabulous sequels like Love is a Many-Trousered Thing, Titan's Curse, and Knuffle Bunny Too. My family, who retain their greatness and move up to new heights of awesome all the time. Happy Thanksgiving!
Monday, November 5, 2007
You know what I've discovered over the last week? Authors, famous, best-selling, awe-inspiring authors are NICE. Seriously. Okay, I knew that Shannon Hale was nice, but she's with my same publisher and lives like five blocks away, so she kinda has to be nice to me, right? But this weekend I had the opportunity to be the newbie, surrounded by people like L.E. Modesitt Jr., and George R. R. Martin, and Charlaine Harris, Sarah Beth Durst, Bruce Coville, Craig Shaw Gardner, Garth Nix, and my idol, Guy Gavriel Kay. I was terrified that one of them would turn out to be mean, or arrogant, or otherwise unpleasant. Nope. NICE. All of them! Okay, so I knew that Lee Modesitt was nice, he's also from Utah and I have known him going on three years now. But everyone was so supportive of each other and of me. There was a lot of, "You wrote a book too? Congratulations! Welcome to the club!", which just thrilled me to no end. And Guy Kay . . . . I mean, the man is absolutely the MOST gifted living writer. Hands down. No contest. Had me join him for a little sit down so that he could ask about my books and give me some great advice. Charming. Friendly. I nearly passed out. My sister and I were talking about how this is the way things should be: authors should be nurturing and supportive of each other. I've always been rather competitive, and I know quite a few aspiring writers who are as well. But once I got published, I started to relax. Let's face it, there's always room for more books, so why think of other authors as competition? They're colleagues, brothers and sisters of the pen! (Or quill if you want to be poetic. Laptop if you want realism.) There were two aspiring writers that I ran into at the conference who really were looking out for number one, obviously and annoyingly, and I found it quite upsetting. Being unpleasant to people is no way to promote yourself! That's why it was so wonderful to chat with Bruce Coville and his gorgeous daughter Cara, who are extremely cool. And Garth Nix, who gets extra cool points for having that Australian accent. Tim Powers, who is not only a fabulous writer, but also tells hysterical stories about his friend Philip K. Dick (the author behind Blade Runner and Minority Report), and is married to a striking redhead. And Craig Shaw Gardner got a kick out of my telling him that "Hoopen Groopen Beverly" has become a catchphrase in my family, thanks to his Cineverse Cycle books. Authors are just neat!
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Hello! Here I am at my sister's lovely friend Sarah's very cool apartment! World Fantasy Con 2007 was . . . full of strangeness and wonders and delights and chocolate (because wherever I go, there must be chocolate). I'm going to the happiest place on earth this morning: the Bloomsbury offices! More blog later, pack bag now.