Showing posts from May, 2008

A (Seven Question) MEME in Times Square

Well, well, well. It appears I’ve been tagged. And since Bill at Literate Lives gave COOL DADDY RAT such a rockin’ review, I can’t resist joining the game. So here’s how it goes:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

3. At the end of the post, the player then tags people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.

4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

So, let’s begin:

What were you doing ten years ago?

Ten years ago my oldest son had just been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age seven. It was a life-changing event for our family. It’s strange looking back on those days, since today my two sons with the disease are almost entirely independent in their care. But back then I was watching the clock and testing my boy’s blood sugar, filling syringes with insulin, and injecting hi…

In Memory of Abraham Lincoln

For some reason, our family has really been into Abraham Lincoln lately. I happened to watch this fantastic documentary on the History Channel about our sixteenth president and was so moved, I determined that my kids needed to watch it-- that every American needed to watch it. I mean, you can't really be an American and not know this tragic, powerful story from history. Right? Just call it one of my bizarre motherly crusades. So I bribed my kids with Hagen Daas and said if they watched the whole thing, we'd go out to ice cream. They moaned and groaned a bit, but the ice cream was a good lure. In no time they were absorbed. We've since had many spontaneous discussions about the great Abraham Lincoln, his assassination, and the hangings that resulted. So many interesting facts. For example, we often discuss the awful plight of Mary Surratt, hung for conspiracy to commit the President's murder based on evidence that was questionable at best. Just prior to her execution, s…


In my childhood there were fireflies. Magical flecks of illumination and wonder.

I would sit in the grass and watch them flit and fly, trying to guess when the next one would light up. I was a born dreamer--a child who constantly imagined. I talked to trees and named them, invented stories about the squirrels, and believed there was an invisible moat surrounding my back yard. I envisioned the hill by our house was the place the king of trolls spoke to his followers. And I dreamed about my future.

One of the gifts I’d like to give my children is the power to dream. I hope they see their future selves creating, dancing on a stage, designing, building, writing, researching, parenting, and doing what they desperately love. My desire is that they start to envision it now—whatever they hope for. Too many children today don’t know how to dream, or even believe they have permission to do it.

Every kid should know the joy of watching fireflies flit around the back yard on a summer night.

Westmore Elementary School is WAY Cool!

Last Thursday, I had a terrific experience. I got to do an author presentation for a whole bunch of fabulous fourth graders. When I first arrived at the school, I was standing in the hallway when a student approached me and said, "Hey, aren't you Kristyn Crow?" Then a few other kids said, "There she is!" I couldn't believe it. I mean, it's not often I'm recognized by strangers. The teachers had prepared their students for my visit by viewing my website together as a class on their big screens. So after receiving a warm welcome, I talked about how I became an author, what picture book authors do, and how picture books are made.

I also got to visit individual classes, where we invented identities for the "fat cat" in COOL DADDY RAT. Some of my favorite suggestions were that his name be "Toothpick Bob" and that he could be both a sumo wrestler and the president of a jell-o factory. Great, creative stuff. In one class we had enough ti…

The 28th Drawing Board

Sigh. BIG sigh. I am now starting my 28th version of a manuscript I’ve been working on for eighteen months. Yes, that’s right. This is a picture book manuscript for young kids, and it will be my 28th complete re-write of it. But I’m motivated, because it looks like there’s some serious interest in it. I won’t give you the details about the story at this point because it’s both on the chopping block and under the microscope. (Hey, neat--two clich├ęs in one sentence.) But imagine trying to reconstruct all the motivations of a certain character, and doing that within the confines of a precise rhyme scheme and meter. I’ve got to put every “at” “to” and “but” in the right place, and get all my stressed and unstressed syllables just right, saying what I need to say within a few beats per line. That’s the task at hand. My brain is a little bit fried.

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting Westmore Elementary School in Orem, Utah. Should be fun. You never know how these things will turn out, but I’m looking…


Here I am at today's "Authorpalooza" book signing at the Orem Barnes and Noble. (Thanks, Sara Zarr, for taking this picture.) Book signings are fun--I really enjoyed getting to know some of the other local authors I hadn't met before, especially Wendy Toliver, Sara Zarr, and Jessica Day George, whose brains I got to pick. I asked them, "How do you work past the middle of a novel when you're burned out?" And, "How long does it take you to finish a novel?" They wanted to know how long it takes me to finish a picture book manuscript. We had lunch together, about twelve of us, and that was nice. My family came in droves, and I really appreciated their support (even when mashed potatoes and beans were being discussed loudly at my table).

It's always a little humbling going to these things, because I'm a newbie, whose book just got released. But I'm so grateful for the opportunity I've been given to hang out with such intriguing peop…

I Just had the Coolest Dream...

When you’re an unpublished writer, you dream of your first book release.

You imagine walking into any random bookstore, and immediately a band begins to play. There are balloons everywhere you look. Confetti is flying. A crowd has gathered and the line winds around the perimeter of the store. Each person is clutching a copy of your book and salivating for you to sign it. The manager of the bookstore comes waltzing over and rolls out the red carpet. You’re offered a frothy drink with a little red umbrella. There are whisperings of …will there be a sequel? When will it be available? Can I order an advance copy?

No writers will admit they dream this, but we all do.

And here's the bad news. Only five out of every quintillion authors get to experience it.

So sometimes it's good to think about why we write. It's not really about achieving super-fame and fortune (or is it)? No. Don't we write because we hope to captivate, inspire, touch, terrify, transfix, enlighten, move, a…

Sombreros and Stuff

My son’s elementary school called me this morning and asked if I’d teach a group of fourth, fifth and sixth graders about how picture books are made, and anything else I'd like to say about writing. They want me to come tomorrow, and the Friday after that, and the Friday after that, and the Friday after that—an hour each day. Good grief. So here is my tentative agenda: First Friday: powerpoint on what picture book authors do, and how picture books are made. Second Friday: Talk about characters, how to make really fun picture book characters and put them in cool settings. Third Friday: Dance around in a Sombrero, do the chicken walk, play bingo and tic tac toe. Fourth Friday: Do impersonations, jokes, and sing the Star Spangled Banner.

Okay, so I have no idea what I’m doing the last two Fridays. I’ve been preparing school visit material for a long time, so I’ve already got stuff for the first two lessons. But I never thought I’d need four hours worth of instructional material. Time …