Monday, February 20, 2017

Things you might not know about me

Some things you might not know about me:

1. my age. I've never looked my age. When I turned 21, my family took me out to dinner - and I was CARDED and the restaurant refused to serve me drinks. On the other hand, at this same dinner, my younger sister was served without question! This kept happening to me until I reached my 30s. When I reached the age when everyone younger than me had hair turning white while my hair stayed brown, I decided that maybe this looking younger than I actually am is a GOOD thing. 
2. Mrs. Schroeder, the English teacher in my Junior year of high school was the first person who thought I was a good writer. I only wish I could have shown her my published books, the first of which happened 30 years later. 
3. I often say that I was a 10-year overnight success - between the time I began writing seriously and the publication of my first book. Which proves that you have to be stubborn and keep on writing. This obviously overlooks the fact that I was writing for magazines and the local newspaper during those 10 years.
4. Everyone in my family loves seafood - except me. So who married a guy who lived by the ocean? me. (My parents and my sister did manage to move close to the Gulf later, joining my brother who was stationed there. But my baby sister has always lived in the middle of the country, far from the ocean. Which is probably why she vacations at the ocean. My poor brother, however, now lives in the desert where everything is brown.)
5. I used to sew most of my children's clothes, up until they began school. Couldn't manage to sew jeans, though, so limited myself to tops and swimsuits after that.
6. I have no dining room in my house. The condo I bought only has 2 bedrooms and no extra rooms, so I took over the "dining room" space in the condo and turned it into my writing office.
7. I am not fond of dogs. Or spiders. (hmmm. people who really know me, already know this last fact.)

8. Although I wrote a book about the celebration and history (and riddles and a party plan) about Groundhog Day, I never managed to get to Punxsutawney to meed Punxsutawney Phill.  Nor did I meet the other famous groundhogs mentioned in that book.  But I did get great pleasure whenever people walked up to me at conventions where I was signing copies of this book who were convinced that I didn't have their groundhog in the book to be able to open the book and show them the page where their special groundhog was mentioned.   Oh, the benefits of doing extensive research when writing a book.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Harbingers of Spring

Okay. It's 45 degrees out (cold for southern California) and I'm hearing the song of birds that usually announce the arrival of Spring in Maryland (in March or April). It's a sound that always made me happy when I lived there. So, my initial reaction is -- Maybe they are announcing that it will finally get warmer here?
(of course my first reaction was, What are they doing being so cheerful in January?)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Un decorating the house

Time to take the 'artificial' tree down.
It's undecorated.
All the decorations are put away.
But we can't get the tree apart so that we can put it back into its box.
I tried.
Teen tried.
I think it will take a strong man to do it.
I bought artificial so that I could do everything myself without straining my back. But NO. It's not gonna happen.
Welcome to The Tree that Stayed up all Year.
(For you non-children's librarians -- that's the name of a book.)

Actually, my little tree is only 4 feet tall, nothing like the tree shown here on the blog.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Writer's Quotes

Advice from the best writers around:
"Patience. Persistence. Passion. Publication."
Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple

Monday, January 2, 2017

What I did on Christmas Vacation

I had plans, I tell you. 
I had plans.
The teen was going snowmobiling and I would have a whole week to myself before the new year. To do self-things. I was going to see movies. I had tickets to a Mannheim Steamroller concert. I was going to walk the beach and maybe even take the train up the coast and back.
But it turned out that I had pneumonia, instead.
Mostly in bed.  
Taking medicine.
When I felt somewhat better, I did manage to visit the after Christmas sale at Macy's (bought nothing) right before seeing Dr. Strange. (it was wonderful)
Took more medicine.
I saw half of the Mannheim Steamroller concert.
Went back to bed. 
The car needed work, so I spent some time sitting at the car dealer.
Never did get up the road to the BBQ place to get the trip-trip dinner I had wanted. (but did find some nice pea soup at the local grocery store.)
Now the teen is back. (she had a wonderful time) And school begins tomorrow.
But I learned today that one of the car's headlights is out. So I've got to get to the car dealer, again, to get that fixed. 
After I get out of bed.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 - The Year of the Book

Trent Reedy - soldier/ scholar/ author/ and all-around nice guy declared that 2016 would be the year of the BOOK.  He aimed to read over 100 books in 2016 and challenged the rest of us to also do so.

(His latest book - The Last Full Measure - came out in time to prepare us for the election results in November.  Here's hoping the things he predicted in this Divided We Fall trilogy don't actually come true.)

In his honor, I hereby list the books I've read this past year.
(no, I never reached 100, and I've probably forgotten to list some.)

Here are the books I read this year:

Austrian, J.J. Worm Loves Worm. Illus. Mike Curato.  NY: Balzer & Bray, 2016.   
Andrews, Troy. Trombone Shorty. Illus Bryan Collier. NY: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2015.  (ghost writer = Bill Taylor)
Charlip, Remy. Fortunately. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1964.
Gag, Wanda. Millions of Cats. NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1928. Newbery Medal honor.
Henkes, Kevin. Waiting. NY: Greenwillow Books, 2015.
                        Caldecott Honor 2016
Rohmann, Eric. My Friend Rabbit. NY: Roaring Brook Press, 2002.  The Caldecott Medal, 2003.
Savage, Stephen. Supertruck. NY: Roaring Brook Press, 2015.

I Can Read
Adler, David A. Don’t Throw it to Mo! Illus Sam Ricks. NY: Penguin young readers, 2015. Geseil award
Fenske, Jonathan. A Pig, a fox, and a box. (level 2) NY: Penguin Young Readers, 2015.
                        Geseil award
Hoover, P.J.  TUT, the story of my immortal life.  NY: Tor, 2014
Willems, Mo.  Several in the Elephant and Piggy series.


Britt, Paige. The Lost Track of Time. Illus Lee White. New York: Scholastic Press, 2015.
Burnham, Molly.  Teddy Mars, Almost a World Record Breaker. New York: HarperCollins, 2015.
…..  Teddy Mars, Almost a Winner.  (book 2) New York: HarperCollins, 2016.
Coville, Bruce. Diary of a Mad Brownie – with Supporting Documents. (The Enchanted Files)  Illus. Paul Kidby.  NY: Random House, 2015.
….. Goblins on the Prowl. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2015.
Cuevas, Michelle. Confessions of an Imaginary friend, a memoir by Jacques Papier as told to Michelle Cuevas. NY: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015.
Federle, Tim. Better Nate than Ever. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2013.
Hannigan, Kate. The Detective’s Assistant. NY: Little Brown and Co, 2015.
 …. Cupcake Cousins. NY: Hyperion, 2014.  (not as good as the one above)
Jones, Diana Wynne.  Dogsbody. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1975.
Mass, Wendy.  The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase.  NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2016.
Messner, Kte. The Seventh Wish. NY: Bloomsbury, 2016.
Sylvester, Kevin.  MINRS.  New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2015.
   ….  MINR2S.  New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2016.
Time, Nicholas (pen name for multiple writers)  In Due Time (series)
              Going, going, gone. (book 1) NY: Simon Spotlight, 2016.
              Stay a spell. (book 2)  NY: Simon Spotlight, 2016.
              Wrong Place, (really) Wrong Time. (book 3) NY: Simon Spotlight, 2016.                                     (actual writer = Caroline Smith Hickey for book 3.)
YA Fiction:
Axelrod, Amy. The Bullet Catch, Murder by misadventure. New York: Holiday House, 2015.
Carter, Ally.  All Fall Down. Embassy Row novel 1.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2015
                        ….  See How they run. Embassy Row novel 2. New York: Scholastic Press, 2016.
Jamieson, Victoria.  Roller Girl. NY: Dial, 2015.  (Graphic novel)
Korman, Gordon. Schooled. NY: Hyperion, 2007.  (Commune boy meets Middle School)
Lackey, Mercedes. The Collegium Chronicles.  NY: Daw Books,. Vol 1-6.
 …. The Herald Spy series.  NY: Daw Books,. Vol 1- 3
 ….. Hunter. New York: Hyperian, 2015.
 ….  Elite (a Hunter novel)  Hyperian, 2016.
Nielsen, Jennifer A. Mark of the Thief.  Book 1. New York: Scholastic Press, 2015
   ….  Rise of the Wolf (Book 2 of Mark of the Thief) New York? Scholastic Press, 2016.
Papademetriou, Lisa and Chris Tebbetts. M or F?  New York: Razorbill/ Penguin, 2005.
Patrick, Cat.  The Originals. NY: Little Brown, 2013.
Westrick, A. (Anne) B.  Brotherhood. NY: Viking, 2013.

Kulling, Monica.  ZAP! Nikola Tesla Takes Charge. Ill Bill Slavin.  Canada: Penguin Random House, 2016.
Reich, Susanna. Fab Four Friends; the Boys Who Became the Beatles.  Illus Adam Gustavson.  New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2015.
Weatherford, Carole Boston. Voice of Freedom, Fannie Lou Hammer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. Illus. Ekua Holmes. Somerville, MA: Candlewick, 2015.


Anderson, M.R.  Symphony for the City of the Dead, Dimitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad.  Sommerville, MA: Candlewick, 2015.
Sheinkin, Steve. Most Dangerous, Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2015.
Sweet, Melissa. Some Writer! The Story of E.B. White.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.

976.044 BRO – Brown, Dan.  Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.  Graphic Novel format.

Lackey, Mercedes.  From a High Tower. New York: DAW books, 2015.
 ….  A Study in Sable.  New York: Hyperian, 2016.
Putney, Mary Jo. Once a Soldier. NY: Kensington Books, 2016.
Schwab, V.E.  A Darker Shade of Magic. NY: Tor, 2015.  v-1 of a series.

331.48107 Povich, Lynn.  The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek sued their bosses and changed the workplace.  NY: Public Affairs, 2012.
791.4372E  Elwes, Cary with Joe Layden.  As You Wish: Inconceivable tales from the making of the Princess Bride.   NY: Simon & Schuster, 2014.  (second time reading – just as good)

824.914G  Gaiman, Neil.  The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction.  NY: HarperCollins, 2016.