Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Critique Group
The three of us formed a critique group in March '09 
and the dynamics is amazing!  Karen (center) is a 
published illustrator and Jennifer is a published writer.  
Her three non-fiction books will be out next year. 
Our motto is "JUST DO IT!"  Don't procrastinate,
don't doubt, don't fret---just do it--by just practicing 
every day the writing gets better, the painting gets better.

We are all challenging ourselves and reading, reading, 
reading (mostly picture books and middle grade novels).  
I just finished M.J Auch's Trilogy (Journey to Nowhere,
Frozen Summer, and The Road to Home) and 
Linda Sue Park's The Kite Fighters. Both M.J. and 
Linda Sue are with RACWI as are Karen and I--
Jennifer will be joining in September.  RACWI
(Rochester area Children's Writer's and Illustrator's) 
has given me connection to the writing/illustrating 
community and has helped me attain my goals.

Our critique group tries to meet once a week, but 
because the summer is hectic for all of us we decided 
to set summer goals and meet together in September.  
I am working on a mid grade novel, a picture book 
and finishing the text/dummy for the third Marco
Flamingo PB.  Jennifer is also writing a mid grade
novel and keeping a journal on kid's dialog (she has 
three kids, so I think this is a brilliant idea).  Karen is
revising and illustrating previous work.  Karen and I 
are going to meet occasionally this summer to explore 
technique and paint.

A few quotes to keep the summer creative for all of 
you who read this blog:

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; 
it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of 
creative effort.

The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. 
You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the 
wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be 
wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself.

Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. 
And never hope more than you work.

Sheila Jarkins, Karen Malzeke-McDonald and Jennifer Burrows
enjoying lunch at Karen's home.
BEA (Book Expo America)

This was my first time at the BEA and I thought it 
would be overwhelming, but it actually was so
organized that it was easy to maneuver.  It was held 
at the Javitts Center in NYC which is conference 

I signed books for an hour for Raven Tree Press 
and met many librarians, teachers and other 

There is so much posted about this event that I'll
link a few.  One is on Flickr, another on BEA

I flew with two friends, Cricket and Mary Kay,
and we had an amazing time! Stood in line at 
Times Square for half price tickets, took bike ride
through Central Park and wined and dined.

On the flight home we were delayed on the runway 
for over an hour because Obama was "in the sky."
All air traffic ceased in the area until he landed.
We made the best of it and got to know the flight
attendant who supplied us with free wine and snacks.
Love Jet Blue!

Here are a few pics from my camera.  Mary Kay took
many, so when I get those I'll add more.

Can't wait to go back to that "town"!

This is the Raven Tree booth.  J.D. Smith, author of The Best Mariachi
In The World followed me for his one hour book signing.  The next pic
is some other publishers booths.

Eli, a music student, chauffeured us around Central Park.  Here we are below
enjoying the beautiful afternoon at the Park's many attractions.