Showing posts from July, 2008

Baby Book Big Laughs

This Brian Regan clip made me laugh. His delivery is so great. Note 1: With this kind of supremely-basic baby book he's referring to, in real life the author is probably also the illustrator, so s/he created not only the text but the whole book concept. Either that, or a staff writer or editor chose very simple text for a specific type of baby book the publisher wanted to make. Note 2: To my (somewhat limited) knowledge, there is no millionaire out there whose claim to fortune was writing the text for board books at two words per page. Unless he owns the whole publishing house, too. Note 3: Owls absolutely do say "hoot." You just have to listen really, really, really hard, at night, in a forest surrounding a dark medieval castle.


"Then OUT of the darkness stomped my dear old MA! She burst through the cattails and she cried, 'AHA! I've been tryin' to get you children home to bed, and I find you a-hidin' in this tree instead!"

(If you haven't read "Bedtime at the Swamp" you won't get that.) Anyway, we went camping this week and slept in a tent by a number of enormous ponds, where dragonflies darted around and frogs croaked, catfish slurped, and cattails grew. Kinda swampy.

It was a fun getaway from everything...and kinda strange to only have one child in my charge instead of seven. Although, my youngest daughter can be quite the drama queen at times. Five kids in one.


Hangin' Out Wid Da Peeps

This is the cool crowd of authors (and one editor) I got to hang out with at the "Writing for Charity" conference at the Salt Lake City Library. (Thanks, Shannon, for letting me copy this photo from your site.)

Front row from left: Kimberly Heuston, Shannon Hale, Chris Schoebinger, Brandon Mull.

Middle row from left: Ann Cannon, Me, Sydney Salter, Becky Hickox, Anne Bowen, Laura Hickman, Mette Harrison, Ann Dee Ellis and baby-to-be.

Top row from left: Scott Francine, Wendy Toliver, Mike Knudson, Tracy Hickman.

So I went to Barnes and Noble today, to look for Bedtime at the Swamp. Wasn't there. On their computers, it still says "Not Available, Pre-Order," which means they don't even have it at their warehouse yet. Hmmm. So much for these release dates. I've learned they don't mean a whole heckuva lot. That's okay, though, because when B&N realized I was the author of the book they made arrangements for a story time/book signing. Fun!

The Provo Lib…

This Widget will Self-Destruct in One Hour

I remember it was about three weeks before Christmas, 2005, and I was sitting in my living room decorating the tree, when the telephone rang. It was a long distance number--looked like California--but I wasn’t sure.


It was my agent, with her distinctive voice that I knew about as well as Charlie’s Angels know the voice of their boss. (Like the angels, I still have no face to put with the voice.) “Merry Christmas,” she said, and I thanked her…thinking she was just making a friendly call. But then again, she’s far too busy for friendly calls. “I just sold Bedtime at the Swamp to HarperCollins,” she said, and told me the amount of the advance. I was absolutely stunned. “That’s wonderful!” I said, my voice cracking with emotion. “Oh my gosh…that’s just wonderful! Thank you! Thank you so much!” I heard her voice respond with a bit of emotion, too. Afterwards I came into the kitchen, crying, and hung up the phone. My husband hadn’t heard my conversation and immediately felt fear—that…

Writing For Charity a Wheelin' Success!

Today was the writing for charity conference at the Salt Lake City Library. It was great! There were about 100 people in attendance. We started out sitting together as authors for a panel discussion where Shannon Hale guided us in some questions about writing, getting published, and dealing with writer’s block. Then we broke into workshop sessions based on our particular writing genre. It was fun hearing the conference attendees read their manuscripts and giving each other feedback. I had a touching moment where I read a manuscript written by a young girl—I’m guessing she was twelve or thirteen. Her manuscript was quite good, especially considering her age. She had these beautiful eager eyes and I could feel her dreams of being an author beaming through. It reminded me of the dreams I had as a young girl. Oh how I hoped I would be published! Her mother was right beside her, supporting her in every way. I will be very surprised if she doesn’t have all her wishes come true.

Today’s confe…

Writing for Charity - THIS Saturday!

THIS Saturday, come hang out with a whole bunch of children's book authors!

If you haven't registered yet, just show up and pay at the door. This is a fabulous opportunity for anyone interested in writing for children, and it's all for a good cause--The Wheelchair Project.

When: Saturday, July 19, 9 am to 1 pm
Where: Salt Lake Main Library, 200 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, Utah
Cost: $45 (should be tax deductible!)
Event breakdown:
9:00 am -- Registration
9:15 - 10:15 am -- Panel discussion in the auditorium
10:30 - 11:15 -- Break out discussions in topic groups
11:30 - 1:00 -- Small group workshops


Realistic fiction: Mike Knudson, Sydney Salter, Anne Cannon
Picture Books: Kristyn Crow, Rebecca Hickox, Anne Bowen, Rick Walton
Fantasy: Brandon Mull, Shannon Hale, Tracy & Laura Hickman, Mette Harrison

First Bedtime at the Swamp Review

I was excited to find the Kirkus review today, and wanted to share:

"Sitting in the moonlit swamp with his West Highland white terrier, a boy hears, "Splish splash / rumba-rumba / bim bam BOOM!" and knows it's a swamp monster. He high-tails it up a willow, but his sister comes to tell him Ma wants him home for bedtime. When they hear the monster again, she joins him up the tree. Each time a relative arrives to fetch him home, they end up in the tree. Even the monster is frightened into joining them by the strange sound-and then Ma herself appears to march her brood off to bed. They all go "splish splash" in the bath, "rumba-rumba" with their toothbrushes, "bim bam" up the stairs and "BOOM!" into bed. Crow's rhythmic chant and rhymed text are nicely brought to life by Pamintuan's bright, swampy, expressive art, the clean lines and colors making the most of the absurd situation. Bedtime and monsters haven't gone toget…

Two Weeks 'till Bedtime at the Swamp!

I just looked at my countdown widget and I can't believe we're two weeks from the release of Bedtime at the Swamp. I remember when that widget showed hundreds of days. Time really flies! As far as I know, we still don't have an official review of the book. Reviewers must be incredibly busy. COOL DADDY was reviewed months before its release. It'll be hard to compete with the two stars that book received, but hopefully all will be very positive. I think Macky is incredibly talented.

At the ALA conference I made some contacts and am planning to do some local readings and signings this fall. I'd love to arrange some school visits, too. I'll post a schedule when I have one.

If you're interested in writing for children and want to meet with local authors to get tips, manuscript feedback, and all kinds of publishing advice, please sign up for the "Writing for Charity with Shannon Hale" event on the nineteenth of this month. It's not very expensive--and…