Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lily in China

Wow, Lily awesome trip!

Patrick, Lily and Kathryn

I taught Lily's children, Kathryn and Patrick (now grown)
when I was an art teacher at Ganada.  Lily has remained 
a dear friend. Lily just got back from a month in China with
her children and other family members.  Her husband Paul
had to work.  I would have quit my job! 

Even though Lily was born in Taiwan, this was her first trip 
to China.  As a fiber artist (she makes beautiful quilts) 
I'm sure she was inspired by the gorgeous colors and patterns
of Chinese textiles.  Lily also loves pottery. She threw pots
before working over a potter's wheel threw out her back!

Here is the link to view the photos of their trip.

Home Garden Tour
My friend, Trish and I, toured ten private home gardens 
in Webster yesterday.  It was a perfect day to walk 
and enjoy the richness of nature.  Color, texture and 
sweet smells everywhere.  I took many pics to use as 
reference for Marco in the jungle. So many flowers can
look tropical, exotic or "jungle-like" with a little exaggeration.

Trish (with coral bag)

Me (love yellow and purple together)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Adventures of Marco Flamingo 
in the Jungle
I just signed the contract for the third book in the 
Marco series.  The next step is working with my editor 
to finalize the text and start the cover art.  I have already
submitted the initial sketches for the interior illustrations.
There aren't too many hippos and warthogs in my back
yard even though it looks like a jungle from all the rain!
So, I will work from photos in my files, and photos I will 
take at the Seneca Park Zoo. When I am working on a 
book I am zoomed into anything I can use for reference.
And lo and behold my friend, Karen came to our pool 
get together in a safari hat.  I had her pose and got the hat 
from different angles.  It was a rare, sunny, warm day and
Jennifer and her three kids and Karen and her two girls
swam, read and played independently while Karen, 
Jennifer and I discussed our summer reading.  We did
carefully watch the kids in the water and  provided pretzels,
raspberries (from my patch), and cheese and crackers for 

I also took breaks from my writing to enjoy the Canandaigua
festival.  My friend Cricket and I also spent that day browsing 
garage sales.  I picked up a lot of mid grade readers.  The 
Salvation Army had books for 39 cents.  Got some Newbery 
books there.  I also discovered "The Unique Toy Shop"
in Canandaigua, 120 South Main Street.  I showed the owner
my book---she loved it and will be ordering Marco books.

I have been pouring over books this summer. 
Some suggested reading:
The Horse Boy (adult book) a father's quest to heal his autistic 
son of some disturbing elements of his condition. They go on 
a trek through Mongolia.
Still Alice (adult book) A highly accomplished woman is
diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers.
I Love You, Miss Huddleston (adult book) Philip Gulley's
memoir of his coming-of-age in small town, Danville,Indiana
at a time when childhood was less monitored.
Losing Everything (adult book) autobiography of author's
reclaiming his hope, authenticity and spirit.
Savvy by Ingrid Law (mid grade) wonderful blend of
realism and the fantastic.
The Midwife's Apprentice (mid grade) a 1996 book I hadn't read.
Now, one of my favorites!
Wing Nut by MJ Auch (young adult) loved learning about
purple martins.
Tarra and Bella will be out soon.  Unlikely friendship between
an elephant and a dog.  Reviews out and a clip on you tube.
Elephants are my favorite animals and I am familiar with the 
elephant preserve in Tennessee.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Family Stuff
My son, Erik, Emily and granddaughters, Anna and Taylor
were here  from Atlanta for a week.  We were busy!
Spent some time at our cabin on Keuka.  The kids went to the 
Strong Museum, visited the retired race horses up for adoption,
swam, ate ice cream and played, played, played.  My daughter, 
Michele, stopped over almost every night to visit.  
Her golden retriever,TJ and their black lab, Beni became
fast friends.  My cat, Hunter, was not too pleased with the 
intrusion on his quiet life. 


My son, Erik, Emily, Anna and Taylor on Erik's lap

My son, Erik,  daughter, Michele, and dogs, TJ and Beni

Michele with Taylor and with both girls for their B'day cupcakes.
Taylor B'day in July and Anna's in August

Anna, at the cabin, with her play dough bakery!

One of the things I love to do with the kids is painting.  
They love working in my studio and think my writing room 
is a library.  I do have hundreds of picture books!

Taylor painting

Anna painting

Erik painting (Can you guess his profession?)

A painting Anna did in Kindergarten that I love!

Presentation at Nest Things
Webster, NY 
On Saturday evening, June 27, I gave a presentation on 
the process of creating children's picture books.
Nest Things is located at 11 East Main St. in Webster. 
The owner, Gail Maier, sells next to new children's clothes, 
maturity clothes, home decor, and children's books. 


The 1906 historic brick building was restored for the shop 
on the first floor. Gail's husband, Bob, then restored the 
second floor as an apartment.  Once a month, Gail hosts 
events in the living, dining area to promote women in 
business.  Call Gail (585-265-9240)  if you are interested
in presenting a topic of interest to women or to get on
her email list for updates on future events.                                             

Bob (light blue sweater) and Gail (white sweater) in background

Such a cozy space for a presentation

Monday, July 13, 2009

SCBWI Poughkeepsie, NY Conference
June 13, 2009

Cynthia, me, and Jennifer

This was my second time to a SCWBI conference in Poughkeepsie.  
I went with Cynthia Iannaccone and Jennifer Burrows.  Linda Sue Park 
was the keynote speaker.  Her presentation was personal, insightful 
and inspiring. 

Linda Sue, center

As always going to conferences hits me with a sense of reality, magic, 
and a touch of craziness!  (Me? Real? Never!)

Cynthia and I 

After conferences I am eager to get back home and get right to work
improving my submissions. 

I had a critique on my story, "Eli's Wings," with author, 
Elizabeth Cody Kimmel.   I valued her insights and perhaps might revise 
this story as a middle reader. 

At the Mercury Grand Hotel where I stayed (conference also held there),
Jennifer and I went to Bananas Comedy Club at the Hotel.  We saw 
Dave Coulier's performance.  It was quite "impressive."  Dave is most 
familiaras Joey in the TV sitcom Full House.  

Me, Dave Coulier, Jennifer