Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekend in Pittsburgh 
(Nov 12, 13, 14)

Gary, my husband, and I drove to Pittsburgh on 
Friday morning to enjoy a weekend in this three 
river city. The weather was an unexpected treat 
for this time of year.  Dry roads and clear, sunny 

conference on Saturday, Nov. 13.  Click the link 
to view the schedule, presenters and workshops. 
One of my manuscripts, Asha's Journey, was 
critiqued by Deborah Vetter.  She offered many
suggestions that guided me in a fresh edit which 
I did when I got home.  I did feel overwhelmed 
when I got home from all the input and, yes, 
discouraging news about the economy's affect on 
the publishing business, but energized none the less.  
As Pat Easton, regional advisor, stated in her opening 
address, she writes in the basement so that she doesn't 
jump out the window!  It was great meeting her and
connecting to all the organizers, new writers, illustrators, 
editors and agent, Quinlan Lee of Adams Literacy,
that I met.

I had the added pleasure of sitting next to Ms. Vetter 
at lunch.  I learned a lot about her life and her 
experiences as executive editor for Cicada.  We had 
a humorous conversation about "green burial."  How 
and why I brought up that topic is gratefully forgotten.  
But, actually, everyone at the table had fun with the 
topic.  No one had ever heard of green burial as an 
option to casket or cremation.  And Ms. Vetter was 
delighted that it existed!  Here is a link for those
interested in reading an interview with Deborah Vetter 
(Sept. 2006).

I have also been researching agents, and have submitted 
to one, but after going to Quinlan Lee's talk, I am very
interested in submitting to her.  I felt a connection and 
loved her energy.  She also made a clever analogy that 
an agent is sometimes a stager.  Before selling a house
one must present the house in the best light.  Maybe 
some repairs are needed.  Or updates.  Or coats of fresh 
paint.  Maybe a few new items.  Well, manuscripts need 
to be staged for the editors she feels are right for the 
manuscript and often manuscripts need a little work 
before she sells it.  I like that and I like that she is on top 
of all the editor moves in the industry, negotiates contracts 
and manages one's career.  All worth 15% in my opinion. 
Quinlan Lee stated that she is a middle grade junkie, so 
I'm eager to work on my MG novels. 

Saturday night, Gary and I went to Heinz Hall to hear
Rags to Ritzes:  The Music of Irving Berlin.  Conductor,
Jack Everly, led the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in a
rich selection of music with vocalists Ashley Brown, Ted
Keegan, Natasha Yvette Williams, Tony Desare and Eric
LaJuan Summers.  There truly is "No Business like Show 
Business."  What would this world be like without music!
That's what I dislike most about winter.  No birds signing 
in the dawn.  Well, where I live, anyway!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


(Rochester Children's Book Festival)
11/6/2010  Monroe Community College

I had a fantastic time!  There were many authors new 
to the event.  How lucky can I get being in one place 
with so many authors and illustrators.  The energy was 
electric.  I meet friends I haven't seen in awhile 
and former students.

Below are some of the authors and illustrators at the
festival and some friends and children I met.

My third year at the book festival.

A little 3 year asked me for my autograph, then I
asked her for hers.  Carly not only gave me her 
autograph, but her drawing of a flamingo!

Paul Zelinsky, illustrator

Author/illustrator  Will Hubbell
aka Morgan Howell

Barb and her Daughter Val ( Barb and I worked together
at the Gananda School district.  I taught her daughter.
Now she's married!!!)

Kathy and her Grandson Alex (taught Alex art).

Robin Pulver, author

Rose Kent, author

Suzanne Bloom, author/illustrator

Faith is one of my 5th grade students at PalMac 
where I sub.

Author Jane Yolen and author/illustrator Mark Teague

London Ladd, illustrator

Author, James Howe

Riley, 3rd grader, loves Marco!


Holiday Event 11/4/2010
at the Fairport Pharmacy
122 Fairport Village Landing

Fran Wells directs the art gallery at the store.
She has done a fantastic job of promoting area
artists and artisans.  Come and browse and perhaps
find that perfect gift!

My Marco book and prints are available all year long.

It was great to see Christine again.  We had taken
painting classes together in the past.  She does wonderful 
watercolors.  I bought one.  I love having art in my home 
created by friends.  Here is her website.

Gary and his exquisite shorebirds and other bird carvings.

Met Lorraine that evening.  She is a wild
and crazy woman.  Her art work is very expressive too!
Check out her website.

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Fourth Marco Book

I finished the cover illustration for the 4th Marco book,
The adventures of Marco Flamingo in a Cave. 

It has been approved with no changes. Yes!!

November Events

Fairport Pharmacy Holiday Sale, Nov. 4, 6-8PM  
Located above the Fairport Library, the Pharmacy features 
a gallery of original art by local artists.  I will be selling my 
first two Marco books and prints from the original illustrations.
Stop by and get some wonderful gifts for the Holidays.

Come and meet area authors and illustrators.  Activities for 
the kids and author readings.  I will be selling and signing 
my books.  My prints available also.

Shopper's Showcase, Nov. 20, Canandaigua Academy Cafeteria
Venders will be there with their merchandise--jewelry, crafts, 
books, art and much more.  I will be selling and signing my books
and prints.   This is a big event with a unique variety of products.

Two New Critique Members 

Rosalie Gabbert and Deb Cote are the newest members 
of our writing critique group.  Now we are five.  I think 
it's a perfect number--great for getting various viewpoints 
and insights.  We meet once a month which gives us time 
to send new work electronically, review the work and
then discuss at the meeting.

Rosalie brings her years of educational experience and
and down to earth good sense and Deb brings her business 
experience and ability to craft the tightest of manuscripts.

Welcome aboard, Rosalie (left) and Deb (right)!

Author Sharon Creech

I am in the process of writing two YA novels.  It is a
daunting task to complete when my characters run in 
every direction and I lose the momentum of my story.

When that happens I turn to successful children's writer's 
who have somehow learned to reign in their characters 
and complete a novel with clarity, direction, lively pacing 
and a plot without 100 sub plots.

I chose to read Sharon Creech's novels.  After reading 
Walk Two Moons (1994), The Wanderer (2000)
and Granny Torrelli Makes Soup (2003) many years ago, 
I felt very connected to this writer's style, dialog and humor.

So, I just recently read: 
Bloomability (1998)
Chasing Redbird (1997)
Absolutely Normal Chaos (1990)
Love that Dog (2001)
Hate That Cat (2008)
Ruby Holler (2002)
Replay (2005)
The Castle Corona (2007)
The Unfinished Angel (2009)
Heartbeat (2004)
Pleasing the Ghost (1996)

I am amazed at her creativity!  If you want your kids or 
students to love poetry, introduce them to Love That Dog 
and Hate That Cat (sequel).  The little boy, Jack, starts out 
hating and feeling intimidated by the teacher exhibiting his 
poems.  He grows to become enamored by poetry and 
poets.  Eventually, his own poems give him an avenue to 
express his feeling, process his grief and gain confidence 
in his endeavors.

Reading Sharon Creech gave me the confidence and 
inspiration to forge ahead in my own writing.

I'm on to reading Karen Cushman's books.  I loved 
The Midwife's Apprentice. She is a master at character
development and historical setting.  She has six more novels
that I need to read.  Winter in New York State is a great time
to sit by a fire and read!  (I will throw in a few adult books 
as well).

Love Corning, NY

In September we took a day trip to Corning during their
Fall Festival.  Cousins Karen and John joined us.  We walked 
the retail area, had lunch at "Donna's and went to antique shops.

Cousin Karen and I outside "Donna's" Restaurant.  Below:
Karen and John, Gary and I, and Donna, the owner (purple blouse).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Newbery author Linda Sue Park

The year I joined RACWI (Rochester Area Children's 
Writer's and Illustrators)  Linda Sue, a member of the 
group, won the Newbery (2002) for A Single Shard.  
Since then Linda Sue has inspired me (and I'll bet,  
everyone in the group, published and unpublished) 
with her talent, warmth, intelligence, and unbounded 
energy.  She continuously helps others hone their
writing skills and shares what she has learned.  I found
this section of her website about writing helpful.

There was a article in the Democrat and Chronicle 
recently about Linda Sue that illustrates her world now 
after winning the Newbery.  Whew!  She sure is busy! 

Sunday, August 15, 2010


My friend and member of our critique group,
Jennifer Burrows, just signed a contract for her first 
chapter book, Most Beautiful, with Royal Fireworks 
Press in Unionville, NY.  Congratulations, Jennifer, 
on this outstanding accomplishment.  You have worked
hard and you deserve it.  No details yet on the release date.
It will be exciting for me to follow the process of this book.

Family Time

Gary and I enjoy having friends and relatives visit at our cabin.
Last week cousin Alice from Cleveland, came for a few days. 
She loves fishing.  Even though the catch was released (too small)
just being on the serene lake was a much needed vacation for her
before starting back teaching in a few weeks.

Michele, our daughter, enjoyed time with Alice and spending a 
relaxing day.  She is a very creative artist and designs flower 
arrangements and wreaths for Preferred Plants in Rochester.

Palmyra Pirate Days
Again this year, I signed books, along with other authors, at 
this yearly event in Palmyra


Some little pirates.

Me and some of the other authors signing books at the event.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Contract
I just signed the contract with Raven Tree Press for a 
fourth Marco adventure.  This time Marco and his friends 
will have a cave adventure.  Marco has become so "real" 
to me that I breezed through the manuscript and sketches 
in one weekend. This is not the norm.  But, I was at our 
cabin on the lake where I have few distractions and the 
soothing sound of the water kept me in a rhythm. 
Marco's adventures in the Jungle will be out in March 2011 
and Marco's adventures in a Cave is planned for Fall 2011.
Life is good!

After getting back from Hilton Head, Savannah, Atlanta and 
a cousins reunion in Cleveland, I spent the last two days
sending out manuscripts to various publishing houses.  I get
intensely committed to staying "on track" with my writing 
after a respite.  But, enjoying life and family and friends
gives me a rest from thinking about stories and actually
living a story. 

Hilton Head:  Me and my granddaughter, Anna

Hilton Head: Ty is only 10 weeks old and already enjoys 
looking at books.  I read this book to him three times before 
he lost interest!

Hilton Head: Granddaughter, Taylor



Savannah Riverfront


Cousins reunion in Cleveland:  Alice, Me and Karen

New experiences also feed my soul. And taking time to really 
look helps me appreciate the beauty and design in nature. 

I have never seen lichen in bloom.  This design reminds me of
a Christmas wreath.

I really want to paint more this month. Thank goodness I have 
a husband who loves to weed or I would be living in a jungle!
We have both been eating out of jar of mixed nuts for dinner
rather than take time to cook anything.

Gary finished another carving.  He's amazing!


USA Book News Best Book Award
Jeannie Patchin, Vice President of Delta Publishing / Raven 
Tree Press, submitted my book, Marco Flamingo Under the Sea 
for this award.  Meanwhile, my book is now one of the books 
featured at their website.  As Jeanne states:  
"This listing will be live for 5 months.  The National “Best Books 
2010” Awards are specifically designed to garner media coverage 
and book sales for the winners & finalists throughout the 2010
holiday retail season and 2011! Winners & finalists will be 
announced October 2010 and I will let you know the outcome. is currently listed on thousands of book related
-websites and welcomes thousands of visitors per month!  
Great publicity!"

Thank you, Jeanne, for submitting my book! 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Busy May and June

We traveled back to Atlanta for a few weeks for the birth
of our third grandchild, Ty Daniel.  It was such a joyful time!
Unfortunately, I somehow erased all the photos on my
digital camera, so I'm posting some from my son and 
daughter-in-laws blog.  I have learned that there is a way 
to retrieve the files on the memory card, but that is beyond
my know-how.

Baby Ty on Birth Day May 13

Anna and Taylor with their new brother

June photo

Fairport Canal Days - June 5th and 6th

I sold my books and prints from my book illustrations,
Stephanie sold her puppets and Lori sold a variety of her 
art creations.  Her Mother, Carol also sold her art work.
The weather was touch and go, but we had a blast!

Our booth:  Art Mash (Stephanie, Lori and Me)

Steph's puppet and my Marco had a lot to talk about!

Sunday was a wash out-wind and rain kept the crowds away
until the afternoon -- Carol and I had to amuse ourselves somehow.
We had stopped over to the Fairport Library Book Sale and got
bags of books for two dollars.  One was a biography of 
Susan B. Anthony which Ms. Puppet read to us. 

I was tried and fell asleep in the chair, right after telling Carol
I could never sleep sitting up.  I must have been exhausted.
The gang took full advantage of my unconsciousness and
parked puppets on my shoulders.  Too funny!  Thank you
ladies for being so playful that day.  It made for a great
time together!

Ode to my Editor
I was heartbroken to learn that my editor, Dawn Jeffers of
Raven Tree Press resigned.  We had established a wonderful 
professional and personal relationship.  How can I thank her 
enough for launching my career in Children's Books. 
I am grateful for the time we spent in the publication of the
first two Marco adventures.  She had a role in the third book 
also, but now I am working with Linda Bruell on the 
completion.  Here is one of the spreads from the adventures
of Marco Flamingo in the Jungle which will be released in
Spring 2011.  I am now going to be working with Linda
on the 4th book in the series.  Thank you, Linda.

Marco playing ring toss