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).