Practical Obsession

I am sure I am not alone when I say I love office supplies. Post-Its, pens, Sharpies, folders — I love them all. But my favorite thing of all are notebooks. I cannot get enough of notebooks. I used to buy them willy-nilly, but after over 15 years of buying/collecting notebooks, I’ve figured out what kind I like best.

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The bottom row are Studio Oh! notebooks with canvas covers. They lay flat when opened, and are not so small that I can’t scribble freely and not so large that they intimidate with too much open space. They are my notebooks of choice. The two on the top row are different brands, but will be used lovingly as well. The other thing I love about the Studio Oh! notebooks are the endpapers. Check them out:

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Gorgeous, right? Okay, so yes, pretty things attract my eye. But, what good is an obsession if I can’t use them to fuel my love for writing? Fortunately, I have figured out a system. One notebook per project. Ideas, notes, character names, brainstorming, timelines, everything having to do with that project goes into one notebook.

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I date the notebook and any new entry. It ends up being a journal of the journey of my WIP. Anytime I have a new idea, I start a new notebook. Sometimes I fear I get new ideas just so I can use a new notebook!

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These are all the notebooks that are currently in use for different projects. There are A LOT! But I never have to dig through a bunch of notebooks, flip through pages of notepads, or shuffle through loose paper or scraps to find notes for a WIP. If I do scribble something pertinent for a WIP on a scrap paper, it gets transcribed into the proper notebook.

Recently, at my local indie bookstore, I discovered these gorgeous notebooks by Bindewerk, a German company.

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They cost more than I normally spend on notebooks, but I couldn’t resist. I loved the cover art, and the pages are thick and luxurious. I knew I’d save them for something very special. And that something very special happened. The one on the left is for recording all my conversations/communications with my editor. The one on the right is for recording all my conversations with my agent. This way, I have everything in one place should I need to recall when a certain something happened or what was said specifically about a draft, or even more importantly, when I need encouragement and a reminder that my editor and/or agent really do like my work, my writing. It’s easier than having to scroll through a ton of emails. A bonus was getting to use the special bookmarks I bought during my last trip to Paris, for these notebooks.

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Ah, but my bookmark obsession/collection is for another blog post. Happy writing!

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authorDebbi Michiko Florence writes full time in her cozy studio, The Word Nest. Her favorite writing companions are her dog, Trixie, and her two ducks, Darcy and Lizzy.

The first two books of her debut chapter book series Jasmine Toguchi will be coming out from Farrar Straus Giroux in Spring 2017, with two more books to follow. She is also the author of an early reader chapter book series, Dorothy & Toto (Picture Window Books/Oct. 2016).

You can visit her online on her web site and her reading blog. She’s also onTwitter.


 

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My Empty Literary Nest

IMG_2992It wasn’t long ago that I fledged my one and only beautiful child – off to college – out in the world. I anticipated becoming an empty-nester with trepidation approaching dread, but when it actually happened, I was surprised how much the joy and pride of seeing her flourish helped me get used to the quiet house.

Now, as I get ready to send a book out into the world I’m a little dazed that I’m feeling that same trepidation. It’s not the fear of “will it do well?” and “what are they going to say on Goodreads?” Those are the fears I expected. What is surprising is how it will feel for this manuscript not to be a manuscript. It was over a decade ago that this idea grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. Then it was a few chapters, then a rough first draft, then dozens more – a little less rough each one. Characters were added and subtracted, one character I actually had to kill off.

Over all that time it has been My Manuscript. A bulging folder transferred from old computer to new – passed around my critique group and to beta readers – hopefully sent after full requests from editors or agents. Always My Manuscript. But soon, very soon, it will be that no more. It is already more my fabulous editor’s manuscript than mine. Soon it will be an Advanced Reader Copy and then – gulp – a book-that-can-be-bought! It’s strange to admit that there’ll be a hole in my life where that manuscript has been. Yes – there are others coming up behind it, but this was my first to be rejected (many times) and my first sale – in short – my first to fledge out. I’m confident that, like my other empty nest experience, I’ll be proud watching this book fly on its own, but right this minute, indulge me in a moment of sweet nostalgia.

DarceyHighResDarcey Rosenblatt’s debut novel will be published by Henry Holt/MacMillan in spring of 2017. Her story is historic fiction, telling the story of a 12-year old Iranian boy sent to fight in the Iran Iraq war in 1982. With her critique group she runs the Better Books Workshop – an annual small deep craft conference held in Northern California. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fabulous husband and perfect daughter, some fish, a cat and the best dog in the world. By day she is an environmental planner and when time permits she paints and costumes for a 5-8 year old theater. darcomatic on Instagram and darcey_r on twitter.

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Unexpected Moments

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” —The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

As my first book is nearing publication, well, 5 months away, but who’s counting, I think a lot about this quote. I knew when I got my YES, the yippee-woohoo moments would fill my soul and explode with joy at every moment on the path to publication. What I didn’t expect was the moments of sadness that have, at times, crept in. Now, don’t get me wrong, these are not languishing moments, just times of missing. Because in my world, Pooh’s tomorrow is here. My mom died twenty years ago at the age of 55. She was quite simply, my hero. She made me believe I could do anything. She was the one who showed me how to color outside the lines, be brave, have fun, and, maybe most importantly, love unconditionally. So as my dream to become a published author is about to come true, I miss her. It’s simple. I want the people in my life who I love the most to be here when Finding Perfect becomes a real book with a real ISBN and real readers who aren’t related to me. Topping that list is and always has been my family. I am beyond grateful and downright giddy to share this journey with my boys and my husband. Just wish my mom was around to share it with, as well.

So, I hope with all my inner twelve year old enthusiasm that Pooh is right.  That my mom will be with me as I traverse down this wonderful path. That she is somewhere with my father-in-law and my gram, drinking her white wine, smelling the lilacs, and reading my story.

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IMG_9552  Elly Swartz is a middle-grade author whose debut novel, FINDING PERFECT, comes out October, 18, 2016 (FSG). FINDING PERFECT is a middle grade story about a girl named Molly, friendship, family, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. It took thirteen years, numerous drafts, many Twizzlers, loads of hugs, and much unconditional love, to find her way to YES. Through the years, Elly’s been a Sesame Place ride operator, messenger, lawyer, legal author, and college essay adviser. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two sons and beagle named Lucy. If you want to connect with Elly or learn more about what she’s working on next, you can find her at www.ellyswartz.com, on Twitter @ellyswartz or Facebook.

 

 

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Step Away from that Keyboard!

I had the pleasure of participating on two panels at this past weekend’s Austin SCBWI conference, where one of the questions posed was about writing advice. Very wise tips were shared: Read a lot, write a lot, find critique partners, attend conferences and workshops, be willing to revise, etc. While the mic slowly passed my way, I flashed back to the past couple of crazy-busy years and how the isolation of work, work, work, and school, school, school has taken its toll. All this sitting! All this staring at a computer! All this time away from life! Of course, it will all feel worth it once books are in my hand and I walk across a certain stage in a matter of months. We’re allowed to feel exhausted sometimes, right? My extended crunch time has been filled with so many wonderful things. But, it occurred to me that, though I have stockpiled project ideas the way people stockpile batteries during wartime, even those ideas could be jeopardized by my hyper-focus.

Our best ideas come to us when we are NOT trying to create something. There’s a reason little gifts of wonder hit us when we’re driving, in the shower, at a yoga class, or miles away from our work space. Creativity comes during down time, which happens to be when our brains stockpile sensory, logical, creative, and social memory. How else could we remember the thrill of our favorite childhood games, or the sound of wind through trees, the smell of rain , the velvety touch of a calf’s muzzle, or the thorny stems of the neighbor’s forbidden rose petals?  What does it feel like to zip-line down, climb up, run away? What are the emotions of seeing Niagara Falls, or riding a roller coaster, or the heartbreak of teen break-ups? And what about the many ways people act and react with each other? The more life we live, the more energized we will be. And, bonus, those experiences will infuse the stories we write.

My inarticulate advice to the 200-plus conference attendees was actually introspective advice to myself, and I’m determined to take heed:

Step away from that computer!

 Experience new things. Allow yourself time to be aimless. Do something silly with your family and friends. Do nothing at all. People-watch. Embrace a new hobby. Get lost!

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Explore. Allow yourself to imagine.

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Leap out of joy.

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Make new friends

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Be awed by life.

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Be still and observe.

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Look for whimsy everywhere!

Give yourself a break, physically, emotionally, and creatively. When you return to the page, you will be more energized and full of the stuff of writing magic.


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Donna Janell Bowman is the author of the forthcoming picture book biography, Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Taught the World About Kindness (Lee and Low Books, October 2016), in addition to En Garde! Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words (Peachtree, 2018), and King of the Tightrope: When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagara (Peachtree, 2019). You can learn more about her work at http://www.donnajanellbowman.com.

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Purposeful Patience

We each see the world through our own very particular lens and use our inclinations and experiences to help us make sense of life. Most people, I find, have distilled these influences into a sort of personal metaphor, something that can be held up for comparison  to everything else.

I have two such metaphors. I can make anything connect in a logical, natural way to either:

Horses    

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or Childbirth

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Today’s a childbirth kind of day.

When the idea for a book is…um… conceived by a writer, all things seems wonderfully possible. The future book is soft-focused, as if seen through a dusting of talcum powder and hope. It’s a maybe-baby. chinchilla

 

 

 

 

 

 

But unless the writer has the remarkable talent and good fortune to be an author-illustrator, a picture book cannot be born until it has complementary artwork made by someone else — an illustrator who will create a visual counterpart to the text and bring the whole into glorious being.

In other words, the writer’s adorable book-baby is going to have another parent.Bird gif

I think embracing this truth is one of the first steps to becoming a serious picture book writer. The sooner you understand that both the process and the end result are a shared enterprise, the better. No matter how much time you have put into crafting your (under 500 word) story, when it’s bought by a publisher, it’s only halfway finished.

Illustrations can take — I’m just going to say it — years. That can feel like a long time to wait. Breathless gif

It’s critical to remember that the chosen illustrator has only just begun to nurture the manuscript. To them, it’s still a maybe-baby and needs a lot of time and attention to come to full fruition.

Some things are worth the wait. Like babies. And picture books. As I wait for BABYMOON, I trust the process. Everyone who has taken an interest in my manuscript has its best prospects at heart. I will be purposefully patient. I will keep working. I will wait in talcum powder hope for a happy book-birthday. It will arrive when it’s ready, and I’ll be waiting with open arms.

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Enjoy the day!

Hayley


 

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I write for young people and live to make kids laugh. My debut picture book, BABYMOON, is coming from Candlewick Press. Come hang out with me on Twitter @hayleybwrites, Facebook, or in the meadow: http://hayleybarrettwrites.wordpress.com.

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Stepping Back

Sometimes, you’re just too close to your project.

Sometimes, you are your own worst stumbling block.

Sometimes, you just gotta step back.

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…And sometimes, stepping back just happens TO you, whether you’d like it to or not.

I’ve spent the last two weeks not writing. Not revising. Not even scribbling out notes. Now, this hasn’t been by choice–life has been busy! I haven’t had any time to sit and work on my Book 2. And while this had been stressing me out beyond belief, it turns out it’s actually been a blessing in disguise.

Without the pressures of a blank page in front of me, I have had time to think. Both consciously and subconsciously. I’ve taken all the tidbits I had rattling around in my head, and merged them into nuggets of pure creative gold. Thanks to this forced break, I now know not just what my main character’s biggest passion is (something I’ve two dimensionally known for ages), but how she acts on it and applies it in the real world. I also know the backstory on my antagonists–where they align with one another and where they definitively do not. And there’s so much more. I know which characters need to show up when. I know at what point I can throw in the twists I have planned. I know when I need to bring in tension, and when to bring in conflict.

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I had time to sit down and work on writing today for the first time in two weeks. I chose to spend that time with blank scrap paper, rewriting my outline chapter by chapter. When I was done, I read it over, and sat back, amazed.

I have what (at least on scrap paper) sounds like…a book.

This means tossing out the draft I’d been working on up until now, but it also means the next draft is likely going to kick serious butt. I will take it. Yes!

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Feeling stuck or overwhelmed? Take some time off. Step away. Breathe. And watch what happens. You might surprise yourself.


Katie Slkatiemarsivensky’s debut novel (THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY) tells the story of a 13 year-old robotics whiz who is thrilled to be chosen to train for an international mission to Mars, but soon finds herself and her fellow cadets in a situation far more dire and deadly than any of them could have imagined. Publication is set for Summer 2017 with HarperCollins Children’s.

Katie is a science educator at the Museum of Science in Boston, where she coordinates school visits, does live presentations, and runs the rooftop observatory program.  She lives in a suburb of Boston with her two completely absurd cats, Galileo and Darwin, and is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette.

Visit Katie on Twitter (@paleopaws) or at her website, www.katieslivensky.com.

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Sidetracked by Track Changes

Like Katie, I also turned in my final manuscript to my editor recently. But unlike Katie’s novel, my picture book manuscript has far fewer words. Like, almost a couple of orders of magnitude fewer. Including the back matter, my book will have about one thousand words. (And that’s considered L-O-N-G for a picture book these days.) So editing it should be a piece of cake, right? There are only a limited number of times you can read a thousand fairly simple words, right?

Nope. No cake. No limit.

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Even though my editor had relatively few comments (yay!), revising the manuscript took a lot longer than I anticipated. It was also much more interesting than I expected. From the first round of edits to the (hopefully) last, we were having a dialogue through Track Changes. Our comment-bubble conversation led me down side roads, some I had already traveled, most I had not.

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Side roads? Oh, yeah!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE NIAN MONSTER is a Chinese New Year story, a folktale retelling, a trickster tale, and a foodie story. It’s also set in Shanghai. One editorial comment, asking about whether the word “chef” would be used in China, took me down a historical path. I ended up writing a long-winded, horribly didactic, reply-comment-bubble about Shanghai’s history as an international port, the French Concession, and whatever other justification I could come up with. When my editor commented back, “Fascinating,” my inner geek did a little jig of joy. Or maybe just arched an eyebrow. (Note: I got to keep the word “chef.”)

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Addressing another comment sent me back to grammar school — Chinese vs. English grammar, that is. The comment was about using the word “the” in front of names of landmarks. We don’t say “the Times Square,” but is it appropriate to say “the People’s Square?” How do English-speakers in China refer to these places? I didn’t know how to respond to this. The little Chinese I know, I absorbed from listening to my parents and suffering through Sunday Chinese School. I knew when something sounded right in Chinese, but I could never explain why. It turns out that there is no equivalent of “the” in Chinese — it’s a language without a definite article. That answer allowed me to choose where to keep and where to delete the “the’s.”

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Keep this one?

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Or this one?

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Or this one?

 

I did more research and thought harder about my story during the editing process than I had when writing it. None of the history or the grammar I learned will make it into the book. But I don’t regret any of it. More knowledge is never a waste, right? And I love that when I read the text, I see the fingerprints of my mentors, my critique partners, and now my editor. I hope that kids will come up with their own questions after reading the book. Or maybe even the same questions. I know they’re just dying to learn about the French Concession.

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I’ll have a cafe au lait, please!


Andrea Wang

Andrea Wang’s debut picture book, The Nian Monster, is a Chinese New Year folktale retelling set in modern-day Shanghai. The Nian Monster will be published by Albert Whitman & Co. in December 2016. She has also written seven nonfiction books for the educational market.

Andrea spent most of her first grade year reading under the teacher’s desk, barricaded by tall stacks of books. At home, she dragged books, chocolate chips, and the cat into her closet to read. Not much has changed since then, except now she reads and writes sitting in a comfy chair in a sunny room. With a lock on the door. Before embarking on the writer’s journey, Andrea was an environmental consultant, helping to clean up hazardous waste sites. She lives in a wooded suburb of Boston with her very understanding husband, two inspiring sons, and a plump dumpling of a rescue dog.

You can find Andrea online at http://www.andreaywang.com and on Twitter under @AndreaYWang.

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Interview with FINDING WILD author, Megan Wagner Lloyd

In a world full of ringing cell phones, honking cars and screaming talk show hosts, what’s a person to do to escape the hubbub and appreciate nature? Read FINDING WILD, the debut picture book from fellow EMU, Megan Wagner Lloyd, that’s what! I was lucky enough to get to chat with Megan about her new book, looking for fairies in the forest, deer dancing in circles and all things wild! 

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JG: What inspired you to write FINDING WILD?

MWL: I’ve always loved spending time outside. Some of my best memories from my childhood include experiences like looking for fairies in the beautiful flower gardens my mom grew, gazing up at the starry sky by the Grand Canyon with my dad, spying on a blue heron that visited a creek behind my house, and walking among the fall colors on the Appalachian trail.

When I had my own kids, I really wanted them to feel connected to the outdoors as well–in big ways, like enjoying hiking and camping and exploring–but also in little ways, like stopping to notice flowers and bugs and just spending time playing outside in the fresh air.

So I think FINDING WILD grew out of my own love for the outdoors and my yearning for my kids, and other kids, to feel the connection and peace and respite that can be found in nature, in what can be a really harsh and stressful world.

Do you have any fun/exciting/scary stories from your own time out in the wild?

One of my favorite fun experiences with the wild lately was when we lived in a rental house right next to a wooded park. We could look right out our back windows at the woods and see red foxes curled up in the sun, white-tailed deer running and eating, the occasional Barred Owl, squirrels and chipmunks dashing around, and many cardinals and other birds. I learned that foxes are usually alone or in pairs, deer sometimes dash around in circles together (I don’t know why!), and chipmunks make a super-cute chirping noise. It was like having a front row seat at a nature show every single day!

One scary thing that happened during that same time was when an absolutely massive tree fell in the middle of the night. It made an incredibly loud rushing and slamming noise, shook our house, and took out several trees on its way down. I woke up thinking that the house was collapsing–that’s how loud and jarring it was (but fortunately it didn’t hit our house!). It was a reminder to me of the raw power of nature.

Were there any major changes from the manuscript you initially submitted to your editor and what we read now? What was the editing process like?

There weren’t any huge changes, but lots and lots of little ones. We shifted some of the lines and were very deliberate about the word choices. Working with my editor, Julia Maguire, was great, because she’s awesome, and she had a wonderful vision for the book from the beginning.

Abigail Halpin’s illustrations are gorgeous and really make you feel like you are out in the wild. What went through your mind when you first saw her illustrations accompanying your words?

YAYYYYY!!!!

But, really, from the first moment I saw Abigail’s initial sketches, I knew I was going to adore her illustrations for FINDING WILD. I absolutely LOVE her work and am so thrilled to be working with her on a second book, FORT-BUILDING TIME, which will come out in the fall of 2017, also with Knopf/Random House. I’ve already seen some sketches for that one, and had a similar YAYYYYY!!!! reaction!

I loved when Elaine Vickers asked this question of Pat Zietlow Miller in a previous EMU’s Debuts interview, so I’m going to steal this question from her:) Finish this sentence: the perfect reader for this book would be…

Anyone who needs the magic of the outdoors in their life (so pretty much everyone!).

 

FINDING WILD releases on May 10th from Knopf/Random House. You can find it at IndieBoundBarnes & NobleAmazon, or your favorite bookstore!

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IMG_2512 - WEBJason Gallaher is a picture book and middle grade writer who loves to create stories that mix the flamboyantly whacky with the slightly dark. His debut picture book, WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE, releases in Summer 2017 from Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster. When not writing, Jason zips between Los Angeles, California and Austin, Texas. His favorite experiences in the wild include unearthing stegosaurus fossils in Wyoming, handing out snacks to pigs on Pig Island, and swimming in the ocean hoping to run into mermaids. Jason is a self-described Hufflepuff, and he is actively looking for an Andalite friend. Anjelica Huston, if you’re reading this, let’s grab coffee. (Photo Cred: David-Gabe Photography)

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A Week of Kids, Kids, Kids

Last week was action-packed for me – a writer whose usual day consists of trips to Starbucks, the library, the grocery and periodic lunches or dinners out with my husband and/or friends. On Tuesday, I drove 180 miles round-trip to and from a school author visit. I have no clue about how this principal stumbled across my web site, but I am glad she did. It was a long but fulfilling day spent with lively students. They were great listeners, excellent questioners, and good readers who laughed in all the right places at my PowerPoint presentation about my books, Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More! Poems for Two Voices (for grades 3-5) and Little Red Bat (for grades K and 1).

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The older kids were excited to step up to the microphone in pairs to read my poems aloud. The younger ones were fascinated by my slide show about the amazing characteristics of red bats, and the devotion of the man featured in my presentation who feeds and rehabilitates injured bats before releasing them.  The little kids also loved petting my life-size little red bat puppet. Later, using my lesson extension activities, all the students worked with their teachers on brainstorming and writing their own (non-rhyming) butterfly and bat poems.

On Friday, I spent the morning with a group of kindergarteners celebrating Earth Day at Stratford Nature Preserve, a 200-acre working farm where I volunteer one morning a week. It was a dreary, muddy, sloppy day. But that didn’t stop us from pulling on our boots and planting a tree before moving onto other adventures:  visiting the new piglets, tossing bread to the fish in the pond, playing on a makeshift teeter-totter, and petting the baby goats. IMG_0912

Saturday was the Ohioana Book Fair downtown, where 120 Ohio writers and illustrators who’ve had books published in the current year gather to sign and sell their wares, serve on panels, and meet our readers. I sold a fair number of books, met the Cincinnati illustrator of my book, The Twelve Days of Christmas in Ohio, and shared a table with a woman who illustrated my Little Red Bat and Annie Jump Cannon, Astronomer books. Despite editors attempts to keep us from directly communicating while the books were in progress, we became friends and have kept in touch via email. We hadn’t spent time together in two years, though, so it was fun to spend eight full hours catching up.

We even found time to befriend a large mouse. Not sure whose book he was attached to, but he was certainly photogenic!IMG_0913 It was also fun to meet in person the parents and teachers who buy my books and the children who read them. After thumbing through the five titles on my table, a grandmother bought Tuck-in-Time for her toddler grandchild who has night terrors. She felt the loving words spoken by the mother in my book, that ends with a goodnight kiss, would help make bedtime less of a struggle.   

Please understand that the purpose of this post is not to talk about myself. (Since I’m the writer I know best, it is – by necessity – all about moi.) The point is that all of us need to be reminded that our work matters. Whether our books are funny or heartfelt, true or figments of our imaginations, adults are reading them to young children and older children are reading them for themselves.  Now and again, it’s nice for introverted writers to meet and greet our “peeps.” It makes all those hours of sitting alone and thinking, writing, and revising (and revising some more) worthwhile.

 

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Thanks

I have been an emu now for almost three years. (This comment would need considerable clarification if made in any other venue.) So I’ve had plenty of time to say the things I wanted to say about this space in the publishing journey between contract and actual published book.

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Wait, she’s been a what?

Except for one thing and that is how grateful I feel to be working in this industry. Yes, it has oddities (not a few) and frustrations. But it also has some beautiful benefits. I’m grateful to work with people who value creativity and collaboration. I’m grateful to work with people who care about words and kids.

 

Emu’s Debuts is one of those groups that has an expiration date built in. Once you’ve published that first book, you’re no longer a debut author. So while I’ll still be around cheering on the books that are coming (because, oh, I so love some of these books that are coming), I won’t be here in the day to day way that I have been in the past couple of years. As I’ve thought about leaving, there are a few things that I’d like to thank the rest of this Emu mob for.

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Thanks for the fun. From going all out opera to celebrate Adi Rule’s debut to taking Tara Dairman’s character Gladys out to lunch to calling a number in Switzerland hoping to interview the lovely Anne Wilsdorf (and hoping that whoever answered the phone would have more English than I had French), there have been a lot of moments that were just fun. Those of you who read the blog, sometimes get to see the some of the fun in the post but a lot of it is backstage. And I value the backstage moments the most.

 

Thanks for the books. It has been so much fun to get the ARCs and F&Gs of new Emu books in the mail. I’ve read and loved books that I might never have picked up otherwise. I have my often visited shelves of the library but sometimes I need to branch out a bit. It’s been a pleasure to do that as books of fellow Emus arrived in the mail in the weeks before their launches. I’ll miss that. But I plan on actively looking for them as they’re published. So keep me posted.

 

Thanks for the honesty. It was so refreshing to be able to ask all the newbie questions in this group (everything from “is it normal for a contract to take this long” to “where is the best place to get bookmarks” to questions about craft) and always have them answered with both kindness and honesty.

 

Kindness, creativity, honesty, fun. Can’t really beat that.

 

 

 

Mylisa Larsen has been telling stories for a long time. This has caused her to get gimlet-eyed looks from her parents, her siblings and, later, her own children when they felt that certain stories had been embellished beyond acceptable limits. She now writes children’s books where her talents for hyperbole are actually rewarded.

She is the author of the picture books, Instructions for Bedtime (Katherine Tegen Books) and If I Were A Kangaroo (Viking.)

You can visit her online at http://mylisalarsen.com

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