Saturday, December 25, 2004

The beauty found between lines of Christmas letters

I'd like to recommend "The beauty found between lines of Christmas letters: For those of us who have forgotten to mention Jesus" by Stephanie Marshall from yesterday's Houston Chronicle. Stephanie is a gifted writer and dear friend.

Merry Christmas!

What Greg gave me: three scoops of bath ice cream (you must try it); nambe salt and pepper shakers that look like vampire hunting weapons.

What I gave Greg: cat-themed bowls; a book on writing comedy; and a Swiss pen (perfect for a writer-lawyer-engineer!).

What we gave each other: an arts-and-crafts bookcase for the library.

It was an honor yesterday to receive cards from Little Brown and Harcourt. Speaking of Harcourt, they have an interview up with Caldecott-illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon--gotta love those husband-wife teams!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Sushi Keilbasa

Some Leitich Smith holiday factoids:

tonight we're having sushi keilbasa, using the recipe in Tofu & T.Rex;

tomorrow we're having lox and bagels for breakfast;

dinner will be tortilla soup, turkey with whole wheat stuffing, French green beans, and berries for dessert;

Greg also picked up a tiny bottle of caviar (la ti da);

the theme of our tree is music;

we have a kissing ball hanging from the parlor entry;

red and green pillows are on the chairs and daybed;

Cyn's favorite pillow says "Dogs Have Masters; Cats Have Staff."

Many Holiday Blessings to you and yours!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Bloomsbury Buys Walker; New At The Purple Crayon

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc of the UK, the adult, children's, and reference book publisher, announced today that it has acquired Walker Publishing Company, Inc of the USA. Walker is a 45 year old New York based publisher of adult nonfiction and children's books. The business operations of Walker and Bloomsbury USA will be combined although the book imprints of both companies will remain as separate divisions within the US company. Completion of the sale is expected to take place on Dec. 31.

Also some neat new features at The Purple Crayon, including:

The Purple Crayon Blog: Questions about Children's Publishing Answered by a Children's Book Editor, and Current Children's Publishing Links;

Children’s Writers: Who Mentors Them Today? "Musings" for December 2004 by Margot Finke (part one of three). Check back in January for Finding The Perfect Critique Group and in February for Starting Your Own Critique Group.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Devon A. Mihesuah

Heard today from Devon A. Mihesuah at American Indian Quarterly who was interested in my writing an article.

Her novel, Grand Canyon Rescue: A Tuli Black Wolf Adventure, won the Oklahoma Writers' Federation Award for Best Young Adult novel; see the Book Locker to read an excerpt and purchase your copy. Also keep an eye out for her spring 2005 release, So You Want to Write About American Indians? A Guide for Scholars, Writers and Students.

Some promising picks from the spring/summer 2005 Harcourt catalog: Kitten's Big Adventure by Mie Araki; Hide & Seek by Janet S. Wong, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine; Starry Safari by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Jeff Mack; The Hubbub Above by Arthur Howard; Kindergarten Rocks by Katie Davis; Searching For Oliver K. Woodman by Darcy Pattison, illustrated by Joe Cepeda (companion to The Journey Of Oliver K. Woodman, which I highly recommend); Hotel Deep by Kurt Cyrus; Please Bury Me In The Library by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Kyle M. Stone; Fold Me A Poem by Kristine O'Connell George, illustrated by Lauren Stringer; The Librarian Of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter; Each Little Bird That Sings by Deborah Wiles; The Spoon In the Bathroom Wall by Tony Johnston; Help Wanted by Gary Soto; Pinned by Alfred C. Martino; Funny Little Monkey by Andrew Auseon; among others!

Link of interest:

Advice on Voice from HarperCollins editor Antonia Markiet by Kelly Milner Halls.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

My Penguin Osbert

Received the world's cutest cared from Candlewick Press, which featured illustrations from My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, illustrated by H.B. Lewis (2004) and the Harcourt catalog as well as Let's Talk about Race by Julius Lester (my most searing intellectual crush), illustrated by Karen Barbour (Harper/Amistad, 2005).

In other news: editor Michael Stearns is leaving Harcourt for Harper; Random House is selling its own books (much to the annoyance of B&N); and Louis Sachar has left Frances Foster to do his Holes sequel at Delacorte.

Ick thought of the day: The mid list is disappearing faster than the middle class.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Why I Write

Writers are eternally fascinated with just about everything—hence, our role as observers, commentators, and storytellers. Perhaps then it’s no surprise we spend a fair amount of time pondering—for better and worse—ourselves.

One reoccurring question on writing lists is why one writes. It seems to me that people write for the same reasons they read: to learn, to imagine, and to escape.

It’s not uncommon to hear a published author say they’re not writing for the money—though women tend to say so far more than men and I strongly urge all of them to keep such altruistic thoughts far from their contract negotiations.

That said, I write to lose myself in story, to find myself in story, to better understand the world. I write because writing is my shelter, my guiding light, that which beckons to my strengths and demands they become stronger.

I write because, like life, writing is filled with uncertainty—both in terms of the process and the product. Writing makes me more alive. When I ache or soar in the midst of crafting a story, it is in every way like being in love.

I submit my writing for publication because the best thing to do with love is to share it.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Ararat, Lamont, Singer, and Stone

Dined at Ararat Middle East Restaurant for the first time last night, belly dancers and all. Will definitely be back.

On the much-discussed Lamont article, I suppose I'm more of an optimist. The truth is that I have become published, it did make my life better, and I am a happier person because of it. I've been moving steadily toward making a good living, and I'm certainly intend to make a great one because if that's not part of the goal, odds are, it won't happen. Dream it, achieve it. Bill Gates started out with a dream and a garage. I at least get to write on the daybed. I know there are folks who need a good kick to get them going down the craft road. And it is about craft first, last, and always. But I also know there are those who're just dreamers, and I'm not sure what's so wrong with that. Just by showing up at a conference, they're flirting more with their dream than most people do. Most set them aside or say "someday." Dreams can be scary. So, if they're dancing along the edge of a more self-revealing reality, who am I to judge? I hope they enjoy the dance and gather the courage to cross the line. It's worth it.

Links of interest:

What Makes A Good Young Picture Book? from author Marilyn Singer.

Calling All Teachers!/Peace Project from author Tanya Lee Stone.
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