Sunday, May 24, 2009

Take a Look at my NEW WEBSITE

Thanks to wonderfully-talented web designer Dana Arnim (who is also a fellow SCBWIer) my new website is up and running as of today. I'm excited to unveil it, and I hope everyone reading this post will check it out. I also now have a link from my site to this blog.

On Tuesday I leave for a three-week trip to Europe--southern Italy and Norway. (My daughter Emily lives in Oslo.) I won't have my laptop with me while I'm gone. I'm going to try to unhook from technology AND writing for a while, and just enjoy the sights and some R & R. I'll post again after my return.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day to All of Us Mothers

My daughter Emily celebrated her 23rd birthday on Thursday, only three days shy of Mother's Day this year. Somehow, that seems appropriate. After all, her birth made me a (second-time) mother.

My firstborn, my son Ward, turned 26 on April 15th--Tax Day. Somehow, that seems appropriate too, given the expense of raising children. But no matter the cost, I wouldn't for the world have missed out on the opportunity to be their mother. I'm guessing that those of you who also have children feel the same way about yours. And for those of you whose children are still young and at home I can tell you that your children will always be your children.

No matter how old they get, you will still worry about them (with or without cause), and rejoice in their happiness and their successes. Even as adults they will continue to be your favorite topic of conversation with relatives and friends--at least, I presume, until the grandchildren come along...

"Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What's that suppose to mean? In my heart it don't mean a thing." ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Retail Therapy

First let me say that I am not a compulsive shopper. Far from it. In fact, most times I'd rather tackle a disagreeable task like cleaning out my file cabinet than go shopping. But for the last few days, I've been thinking I'd like a new spring rain jacket to take on my trip to Europe at the end of the month. What tipped the balance today, and sent me out the door in search of the perfect jacket, was a densely-packed email from co-writer Joan Holub, filled with suggestions/ideas for changes in the book we're currently working on. Don't get me wrong, they were excellent suggestions, but the thought of all that work ahead suddenly made me feel tired. To perk myself up, I headed for the nearest REI.

The first jackets I looked at weren't quite right. Some didn't come with a hood. Others came with a hood, but no inside pocket. A few had both a hood and an inside pocket, but I didn't like the feel of the fabric. With the help of two wonderful store assistants, however, I finally found just the jacket I wanted. It has a zip-off hood, zippered inner and outer pockets, and a soft inner lining. Plus, it's waterproof, windproof, breathable and--as an added bonus--a good color for me.

I happily made my purchase, and drove on home. Then I called Joan to thank her for her email. I'll wait until tomorrow to start on a rewrite. That way the ideas she sent can roll around in my brain for a bit. Right now our current manuscript is a lot like those first jackets I looked at. It has some of the things we want, but not all. But I'm confident that, with another draft or two, we'll have just the story we want--with all the features we'd hoped for.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Fun of Foreign Translations

I love it when a book of mine gets translated into another language. I usually get 3 - 5 complimentary copies of the translated book after the foreign edition comes out. It's fun to see my words transformed, even when I can't read the language. And since the artwork for chapter book/middle grade novels is usually redone, it's a treat to see how my characters are changed to "fit" a country's culture.

Titles are often changed too. The book covers at left are for the German and Japanese editions of the first book in my Princess Power series: The Perfectly Proper Prince. In German, the title translates approximately as The Enchanted Princesses and the Speaking Frog. I love that the dresses the princesses are wearing look like dirndls.

The Japanese series title is The Princess Club, which, coincidentally, was my original title for the series until HarperCollins decided to change it because they already had a series called The Tiara Club. (They thought Princess Club was too close in name.) The Japanese cover and interior illustrations are done in the style of anime and are very detailed. Of all three editions, including the American one, they're actually my favorite.