Monday, March 23, 2020

Adventures with famous people

We got to talking on FB about famous people we've met and this was my story:
I was waiting in a small airport a few years ago and realized that Garrison Keillor was going to be on the same plane! So when I passed him, I ever so casually said, "Hi."   This was after I had spent a week at a writer's retreat with Bruce Coville and lots of other well-known writers. I had been sitting with Bruce at the airport and he pointed Garrison out to me.  
In the 1990s one of my co-workers was a huge Moody Blues fan and she won some backstage tickets and we got photographs with the band. It was run very quickly. group of four. stand by one of the four band members. picture taken. move along please for the next four. Well, since I also was a local newspaper journalist, I tried to come up with one comment or question for each member as I passed him. And they graciously responded.  
(and one summer we went on a Moody Blues field trip and attended four or five concerts, following them from near Washington, DC, to the Taj Mahal casino (where we exited the venue behind Trump's wife, her daughter Tiffany) and on to the venue near Philadelphia. At which point I had to go back home and go back to work. The others followed the band to some other venues.  
That was a fun time being groupies.)

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Adventures as a Children's Librarian

Insects in the library.
One day I brought a praying mantis cocoon into the library and left it - in a jar- on the Information Desk for patrons to observe. But when I arrived one afternoon for my evening shift, I found it gone and the staff in hysterics. Bugs! Bugs! all over the library. Hmmmm. evidently it had hatched and the babies were small enough to crawl out of the holes I had punched in the lid. oops.
And then there was the ant farm I put on display -- also a failure -- I used wild ants from around the library and they crawled out the holes. Should have tried to find larger ants.
Trials of a children's librarian.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Adventures with Hummingbirds

I finally set up my hummingbird feeder.
After a few days, one hummingbird discovered it and seemed to like it.
Then her spouse showed up.
Gradually other hummingbirds discovered it and suddenly there was a big hummingbird fight. Much spreading of tail feathers and slowing down of their wings so they can be seen, in order to seem larger than the others. Much ducking in and out.  The first hummingbirds tried to defend the feeder doing the same.
Much twittering.
Much shaking of my head.  Stupid birds.  There are four feeding access points.  You all could share.  But NO.  Duck. Twitter. Defend.
Nowadays, the usual hummingbirds come, settle down on the perch and feed, occasionally backing up to check for danger around them.
I can tell when it's not a 'usual' hummingbird because that bird doesn't perch and take its time. It will keep its wings fluttering almost invisible, ducking in and out of the feeding area, keeping lookout for other hummingbirds and other danger.
This feeder is right outside my kitchen window and I can watch them while I eat in the dining nook.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Friday, February 28, 2020

11 kittens and two moms

In our old house with leaky walls, mice would come visit during the winter months to keep warm. (besides, there was food in our kitchen, so...)  Therefore, we always had cats.  They were working cats as well as cuddle cats.
We once had two mama cats and 11 kittens.  Now That was fun.  We set up two nursing boxes for them after the kittens were born.  Came downstairs the next morning and discovered them all jammed together in One box with no idea which kittens belonged to which mom.  So we set up one huge box for the families and both moms shared the nursing chores.
The vet called them - Dolly Parton Cats, because their teats developed so very large.
Once the kittens became teenage cats, it was up to our kids to find homes for them -- which they actually managed to do.  Naturally we kept a few for ourselves.
Because -- kittens.  (love)


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Will I come do a free presentation about writing books? Probably not.

People say to me - This couldn't have taken very long to write.  
It's true.  
It only took me a half hour to write this 200 word picture book.
But it took 3-5 years to revise/ submit/ revise/ submit/ revise/ etc. etc. etc. (and some picture books take even longer to "write.")  
And then there's the 5-year wait for the illustrator and art director to polish up the book.Plus revisions to support the art.  
And now books are being delayed because most picture books are printed in China and there's an epidemic over there.  
Eventually, after the Advance has been paid off, the writer begins to get royalties from each book sold. (I get 2% for two of my books because I share the royalties with a co-writer, 4% on all of the others. Famous writers get 5% to 10%.)
(don't get me started about requests for free school visits or lecture for adults with no compensation except sometimes they buy ONE of my books for their library, which means eventually I'll get about $0.87 [cents] six months later when my royalties arrive. For that all day/ 4 or more group sessions, plus that 40 miles away drive to get there - and to get back, exhausted.


Monday, February 17, 2020

Minor characters in your story

What do you do with a walk on (walk off. probably never seen again) character?
Patricia Wrede has a good discussion about creating various characters at her blog.
Click on over and learn lots.