Monday, March 31, 2008

Weather Logic

This morning we woke up and it had snowed again. Sigh. I actually had to scrape the car windshield for ten minutes. It started last night, and my sweetheart son with autism said a prayer. “Please make the snow go away. Immediately.” That made us all smile. So when he woke up and there was even more, he seemed distressed. “Why is there snow in the spring?” he asked. “That doesn’t make any sense.” He huffed loudly as he put on his coat. “Snow in the spring. That’s illogical.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Friday, March 28, 2008

To Market, To Market

How does that rhyme go…To market, to market, to buy a fat pig? Anyway, I’ve entered the marketing phase of this picture book joint. What I’m doing right now is sending out postcards to every music school, music store, jazz museum, jazz store, and music-for-kids foundation I can find. It’s a whole lot of research and time. This was a part of the process I had no idea I’d be involved in.

It’s a bit early for my book to be displayed on bookshelves, (or even carried at all in some places) but according to my fellow published authors, it just takes time. If you’d like to go into a bookstore and ask for a copy of COOL DADDY RAT, and then throw a giant yelling fit if it’s not available, I’d love it. (Just kidding, of course. Sort of.) But if you do ask for a copy, the store will order them, and more will be visible and available. That would be really, well, cool!

Here are my upcoming events:

Monday, April 7th - 6:00 p.m.
Weber State University
Children’s Book Presentation

Saturday. April 19th - 9 am-5pm
Rick Walton’s Home
Picture Book Workshop

Saturday, April 26th - 1 pm-3pm
West Jordan Barnes & Noble
Book Signing

Saturday. May 3rd - 11 am-1pm
The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City
Book Release Party

Saturday, May 10th - 1 pm-3pm
Orem Barnes and Noble
Book Signing

Saturday, May 17th - 1 pm -5pm
Provo Children’s Library
Children’s Book Festival -Read-aloud, Signing

You can purchase a signed book at any of these events. I would be delighted to see you!

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Book Release Party!

Thursday is the official release of COOL DADDY RAT! I can’t believe it’s so close. I remember when the date was three years away, instead of three days. The wait seemed so unbearable then, and I worried that maybe an awful catastrophe was going to prevent it. Now in just a few days it will come, quietly, without any fanfare, and it’s likely the book will not be available yet in many stores. It takes time for distribution to get going.

I'm having a book release party at the King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 3rd, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. I’ll be there with Rick Walton, my mentor, who’s written more than 75 books for children, and Sharlee Glenn, an award-winning author and good friend. The three of us all have picture books being released in March and April. So we’ll have book signings, read-alouds, oh…and cookies, too. (I make a mean chocolate chip.) So please stop in and say hello.

My editor says we received another great review from the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. The best part is: "Crow's text swings with scat-along possibilities and Lester laces his agile line-and-watercolor pictures with plenty of visual humor. This packs more punch than many jazz picture books of the earnest or informative variety, and it would easily harmonize with any musical story time, or even Take Your Child to Work Day programming."

That was one angle we hadn’t thought of from a marketing standpoint. Little Ace gets to see what his musician Daddy really does on the job. (And Mike Lester portrayed such awe in his expressive eyes.) So a Take-Your-Child-to-Work slant could work well.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fun Stuff and Cool News

Hey! Look what arrived in the mail today. My print of the COOL DADDY RAT "Times Square" spread! Isn't Mike Lester talented? It really turned out great. The kids are all debating with me about where we should hang it.

And if that wasn't fun enough, my editor just informed me that COOL DADDY got a "starred" review from School Library Journal! It also received a starred review from Publishers Weekly! Hurray! I'm really excited!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Signs of Spring

This is a duck my daughter photographed by our house. I got a little artsy with it for fun.

It looks like spring may be here. Here are the signs: My oldest boy is trying to plan how he's going to ask his girlfriend to the prom. You see, the asking has got to be some sort of big production--an event all by itself. For example, his friend just had my husband supposedly "arrest" his date and take her by handcuffs to his car, where inside a big poster said, "PROM or PRISON? YOUR CHOICE." My son finally determined to make a photo puzzle of his face that his girlfriend will have to put together. It took two days to get a photo he approved of and format it correctly with a typed message. Then we had to overnight it to the house. Sheesh. I think I liked it better when a guy just handed me a flower and said, "Wanna go to prom?"

Another sign: My kids suddenly want to go swimming. Yesterday they went to our local indoor beach (a huge wave machine pool) and swam for several hours. They're also asking about taking the guinea pigs outside. They're throwing balls in and out of the house.

Another sign: I feel like cleaning things thoroughly and getting more organized. I want to redecorate the house and relandscape the yard. Whether or not I can (and will) do it is a different matter.

Another: I can actually maneuver the van out of the driveway without hitting a huge block of snow or spinning on a patch of ice.

Another: Copies of my book are starting to arrive (it's on the "spring release" list) and my editor is asking me to begin doing some marketing research.

My husband ordered a box of my picture books a while back and a few days ago they were sitting on the doorstep. Hmmmm. He got his copies before I got my advance copies? He always knows the tricks. I guess his copies were part of a promotional pre-release deal. So he had me sign them for his friends, but insisted that the get the "first signed copy."

I remember how years ago he urged me to submit a package of my manuscripts to a literary agent. "They're not ready," I kept telling him, so he set a deadline. I was irritated with him the day I mailed them off, because I still believed they weren't ready and I felt like he was forcing me. "Today's the deadline, remember?" he said, smiling. I'm so grateful for him, because I don't think they would ever have been "ready" enough for me to send. It's so nice having a spouse who believes in me--I can't even put it into words.

Oh, another sign of spring: I've got my taxes.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Making WHOs.

Yesterday I read an article about David Catrow, the illustrator for “The Middle Child Blues,” a picture book I wrote which is scheduled to be released Fall of 2009. Apparently he designed some of the Whos in Whoville in the movie, “HORTON HEARS A WHO.” Adhering to the style of Dr. Seuss, he was able to create new characters we didn’t see in the book, and helped create the overall "look" of the movie. Wow, I’m impressed. I’m really looking forward to seeing his sketches for Middle Child. And I think I’ll take my kids to see “Horton” this weekend. Should be fun.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Unexpected Storm

It’s been a tough couple of days. I spent Thursday first sitting in one hospital with my son, then trailing an ambulance which transported him to another hospital. It started with him complaining of "not feeling so good," and escalated to his being barely able to walk. The rest of that night, from about 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m., I was sitting in a metal folding chair next to his gurney in a loud, chaotic emergency room, stooped over with my forehead resting on the edge of his mattress. Fortunately he was able to rest and get the IV fluids he needed, but by 4:00 a.m. I was so tired of sitting awake in that metal chair I thought I would faint. By 5:00 a.m. I was pretty loopy. They kept apologizing “but the room’s not ready,” they said.

Apparently a day or so earlier my son caught some bug that was going around (possibly strep) and it threw his diabetes into a tailspin. He developed ketoacidosis, where the blood becomes acidic, and was severely dehydrated. Our local hospital didn’t feel equipped to handle the situation and transported him by ambulance (via five burly fire-fighters) to the Children’s Hospital on the hill. Fortunately a few days there have set things right, and my boy is nearly himself again.

Spending time at Children’s hospital is always eye-opening for me, because I’m reminded of the countless families out there coping with worry and grief. I pass them in the hallways, or see them in the cafeteria, or get a glimpse of them in their child’s room. For some of them, the hospital routine is old hat, as their son or daughter has continually battled a disease or condition. There’s a certain look in these parents’ eyes that is all too familiar. It’s a wise, weary, hopeful-but-guarded look. They smile at me, and I smile back, and we share a brief, silent, electrical connection. It’s a single instant that says, “I empathize with whatever you’re going through. Best wishes.”

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ode to a Bonsai

I had a little bonsai tree.
I liked it.
It did not like me.

I gave it water, sun, and air.
I spoke to it.
It did not care.

I pruned it with a careful touch.
I fertilized it--not too much--
and added one glass fisherman
who sat beneath it in the sand.

It had a running waterfall
and one revolving marble ball.
It was the coolest bonsai tree
that you or I could ever see.

But then it went and died on me.

Oh stupid, selfish bonsai tree.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

When, Suddenly...

I like how you can just hit a button and shuffle the colors on these blogs. I'm in a blue mode today.

Earlier I was listening to a radio program where a letter was read over the air from a woman whose husband had recently died of a sudden heart attack. He was 49, with no prior history of heart problems. Suddenly one day his life was just over. Their youngest child was only four, and will probably now grow up with few memories of her Dad. In this woman’s letter she urged husbands and wives to appreciate one another and take time to say “I love you.” She also told us to go home and hug our kids, because, “you never know.”

I came home and found my oldest son sick with an upset stomach and unable to go to school. He's a diabetic, with a few early signs of kidney troubles. For some reason his illness really hit me hard. I started thinking about complications from diabetes and how many years he’s struggled with the disease. And I also thought about my other younger son who is a diabetic, too, and his challenges. Health is something we all take for granted. I’m amazed by the courage of my kids and how they seem to take everything in stride. It’s hard being a parent and constantly having to worry about the well-being of my children. But that’s what love does to us.

Have I shown it enough? My love, I mean? It’s something to think about and frequently reevaluate.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Yesterday Macky Pamintuan sent me a hi-res disk of one of my favorite illustrations in Bedtime at the Swamp. I plan to make a print out of it. He was also kind enough to send me a signed copy of his book, I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track by Joshua Prince. My kids were all marveling at how talented Macky is. I’d love to watch him at work.

I’ve got a busy schedule coming up in April and May. In May, especially, I’ll be at book signings at various locations every Saturday. The dates are already finalized, but I’ll post a schedule when the exact times are set. Only 23 days until the release of COOL DADDY RAT!

Monday, March 3, 2008

How Many Things Can You Put in Spaghetti?

by Kristyn Crow

Oh how many things can you put in spaghetti--
like some pasta
and some spices
and your little brother’s teddy?

Could you add some zesty sauce
with some bits of dental floss
then your father’s old shoelaces
and some yarn your kitty chases
rubber toys your puppy plays with
silly-string your sister sprays with
paper scraps you like to glue on
bubble gum you love to chew on
then some playdough, green, that glows
and the junk between your toes?

Oh how many things can you put in spaghetti--
like some greasy pencil shavings
twenty pennies from your savings
extra grass from papa’s clippings
with a dash of haircut snippings
then add meatballs, just for thrills
and your granny's daffodils?

Oh how many things can you put in spaghetti--
are you ready?
Get set!

Splosh! Splat!


I did NOT mean me.

Just goofing around. Happy Monday! (, no, no...this is not the manuscript I was referring to last post. Not enough story there, you know.)