Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday Tidbits and the LAYTON AUTHORPALOOZA

It’s interesting to be working with three different publishers. It seems like there’s always something different going on with each one. Right now I’m sending some receipts to Putnam for the postcards I ordered, and I’m waiting for a disk with digital images from Harper, so I can read Bedtime at the Swamp on the big screen when I visit schools. Scholastic just contacted me, welcoming me aboard, which was great fun. I cannot WAIT to see who they select as illustrator for that book. (No, I don’t get to choose. They did ask for my suggestions, which is a huge compliment. But they have final say.) I did make a couple of recommendations, and we’ll see what happens.

I am helping to set up an “Authorpalooza” at the Layton, Utah Barnes and Noble. It should be fun…I always worry that there will be a snag and somebody’s books won’t arrive on time or something. Hopefully all will go well. But there will be (so far) THIRTEEN authors there, signing their books. YA GOTTA COME! The date is Friday evening, October 24th, 2008. Here are the list of authors planning to attend:

Ann Cannon
Randall Wright
Sharlee Glenn
Rick Walton
Will Terry (Illustrator)
Becky Hickox
Anne Bowen
Wendy Toliver
Ken Baker
Kristyn Crow
Carla Morris
Mette Harrison
Greg Newbold (Illustrator)

Come spend a Friday evening with some cool authors (I know, I know, I’m only a tiny bit cool, and that’s only when I buy my kids something) and get some signed books!

I’m also setting up some school visits. I’m going to have kids clunking and clanking out a beat to my book, Bedtime at the Swamp. Splish splash rumba-rumba bim bam BOOM!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Mother's Letter

When my mother died I used to wish that a letter would arrive mysteriously one day in the mailbox. It would have no return address, and would say all the things I needed to hear for reassurance. Now that my stepdaughters have lost their mother so tragically, I want to fulfill that wish for them.

My Dear Babies,

Your stepmother Kris is writing this letter for me only because I cannot. There is so much that I need you to know and understand, and mothers have a deeply spiritual connection. So I hope you will understand if my words must come through her. Otherwise, I am silenced.

I did not mean for this to happen. This was not my choice. I did not ever choose to leave you while you're still so young. Sometimes in this life we are forever changed by the poor choices of others. You are my babies, and will always be. My death doesn't change this. I have loved you from the first moment I knew you were growing within me and will always love you, forever, without end. I have enjoyed every moment we've shared together, every laugh, every song, every recipe, every errand, every snuggle. I loved watching you grow from tiny babies into toddlers, and from toddlers into little girls, from little girls into beautiful young ladies. I am so very proud of who you both have become. It was especially wonderful to see you be such caring big sisters.

I hope you know that I will continue to watch you grow and learn and experience life from my new perspective. I am here with Bo and Sam and they are happy and at peace. We miss you so very much, but we are with you in spirit at all times. In the quiet moments, close your eyes and you will feel us close beside you. Our love has not been extinguished. Love is a force far more powerful than death. You have three guardian angels that will be watching over you for the rest of your lives, loving you.

It is important for me to tell you that I will see you again. This life is not the end. It's just a short moment in the scheme of eternity. There will be a joyous day when I will get to hold you again and see your faces and tell you about the many wondrous things I am experiencing. I will tell you all about the milestones I saw you reach in life and how I helped you from afar. I will tell you funny stories of Bo and Sam and they will be so very glad to see you. What a wonderful day that will be!

Until then, remember I am with you. Remember that I love you. Have a good life where you make good choices. Help other people and give service. Do the things that bring you true happiness and peace. Follow your dreams. Use your talents. Think carefully before you act. You are my legacy, which means that your good lives will honor me, Bo, and Sam. Be sure to show respect and gratitude to all the people who care for you and provide for you. Always be grateful. There is so much to appreciate in life. You have so many people who love you.

More than anything else, I want you to be happy.

And remember me.

With all my heart,


Friday, September 5, 2008

A Tragic Event

A phone call can change your life. Yesterday I got two.

The first one came in the afternoon, a cause for celebration because I had sold a manuscript I'd worked on for a very long time.

The second phone call came at 1:00 in the morning. It was the grandmother of my two step-daughters, letting me know that their pregnant mother and two-year-old baby sister had just been killed in a head-on collision. Their mother was killed instantly, but the toddler survived for one hour. My husband got out of bed and came hurrying down the hall when he heard the sound of my voice. He knew something terrible had happened. When I told him his former wife and her daughter had been killed, he fell to his knees and sobbed. The two of us spent the rest of the night awake, surviving bouts of crying and holding each other. My husband knew that when morning came, he'd have to tell his daughters their mother, baby sister, and unborn brother had all died. How does a father do this? How does he break their hearts? How do parents guide their children safely down a path of horror and anguish?

And then I was struck with the notion that I had now become the only mother these girls would have on this earth. The reality of that hit me hard. Surely I would fall short of their expectations and needs. Would they see me every day and be reminded that their real mother wasn't here? How could I come through for them in this devastating time?

Here is the news link to this terrible event.

There is sorrow in our home today. But there is love, and there is hope.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

From Beneath the Graveyard Mist...Comes....

My agent called today to let me know that Scholastic had made an offer to purchase my picture book manuscript, THE SKELETON CAT! I am incredibly happy!

They've even got an illustrator in mind. He's someone who has done a lot of work for them. However, my agent is suggesting another one. (I didn't know agents could suggest illustrators. Interesting.) I'll let you know when that has been decided. Now, THIS is strange, but they actually were asking my opinion about an illustrator. Wow. That's new. Usually I'm informed after the fact. Most people are surprised to learn how little say we authors have in the art portion of the book.

From what I hear, my agent is currently negotiating audio rights and other stuff. I don't know about all that. I'm just glad she handles this contractual things so I don't have to.

So who is the Skeleton Cat?

THE SKELETON CAT has already lived out his nine lives, and gets ONE more chance (now as a skeleton) to finally live his dream! But will he make it in the living world? Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Bedtime at the Swamp Review: School Library Journal

I just received the review for Bedtime at the Swamp from School Library Journal. Very cool! Thought I'd share:

CROW, Kristyn. Bedtime at the Swamp. illus. by Macky Pamintuan. unpaged. HarperCollins. Aug. 2008. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-083951-2; PLB $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-083952-9. LC number unavailable.

PreS-Gr 1–In this swampy tale set “’neath the fat gold moon,” a boy describes what he repeatedly hears: “Splish splash, rumba-rumba, bim bam BOOM!” With shaking hands and a pounding heart, he races through the “sludgy slime” with the mysterious creature at his heels before taking refuge in the branches of a willow tree. The boy’s siblings come to retrieve him, followed by two cousins, but all end up high in the tree out of reach of the monster. Then just within arm’s grasp of their dreaded adversary, the boy’s mother calls for everyone to return; she understands all too well a kid’s playful imagination and orders everyone, including “the monster,” to get home and take a bath before bed. Lively, colorful cartoon characters set in inky black or deep blue moonlit scenes and offset by crisp, white pages add energy and suspense to the story. The repetitive chorus, a simple rhyming story line that will draw readers in, and the perennial appeal of books that are just “scary” enough make this title an appropriate addition.–Marian Creamer, Children’s Literature Alive, Portland, OR

Monday, September 1, 2008

BREAKING DAWN - What's the Deal?

So, I’ve heard that BREAKING DAWN is a huge disappointment. Hate groups. Death threats. "Return 'em, don't burn 'em." Why? Is it the quality of the writing, or what happens to the characters, or both, that have people's nostrils smoking?

If you hated the book, I’d like to know why. I haven’t read it yet, so I’m assuming with the negativity there must be a SERIOUSLY un-happily ever after for Edward and Bella. Give it to me straight.

Or if you L-O-V-E-D it, what do you think all the fuss is about?