Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Early Tuesday morning (very early)

I woke up early this morning -- very early.
My daughter and her husband are hiking in France and called us -- forgetting the time difference. Yawn.

Couldn't get back to sleep. My mind had pinpointed something wrong with the last chapter of a book I'm working on and wouldn't let me go back to sleep.

Nag. Nag. Nag.
Don't you just hate it when a story is nagging you like that?

So, just to stop the nagging, i got up and re-wrote that last chapter from a completely different point of view. hmmm. much improved. nagging stopped. I tried to get back to sleep. But all sorts of alarms kept ringing. My husband's. The 8-year old's. And finally, mine.

All right. I'm awake. (sort of)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Poetry Monday

Today at the Bluebird Cafe: A Branchful of Birds by Deborah Ruddell. Illustrated by Joan Rankin. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007.

Funny, thoughtful, and lyrical short poems about birds. Anyone who has seen these birds in action knows this poet has captured them beautifully.

Describing the Cardinal in one word -- valentineSantaClaustotallyred. Yup. That's the color of a Cardinal.

Rankin's watercolor illustrations sweep across the page. The Eagle needs a double page spread to capture its flight. And the tostled head Kingfisher is a "blue-streakin' flash" as he dives from one page to the other, catching fish.

"It's all-you-can-eat at the Bluebird Cafe," so enjoy.

Wow. Talk about international publishing. The author lives in the USA and the illustrator lives in Johannesburg, South Africa!

As I write this, The Bluebird Cafe is a bargan book at Amazon.com. If you hurry you can get this normally $15.99 book for just $6.99. What a deal!

For more Nonfiction Monday entries, click here.

This is probably going to be the last Poetry Monday -- until next April. Next month I'll go back to doing Nonfiction Monday book reviews and articles. However, if you want to know what I've been doing in the nonfiction area lately, just check the previous post. I spent the weekend working on nonfiction stuff.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Report from my writing life

What did I do this weekend?

Got two more copies of a manuscript ready to be mailed on Monday. This time I made sure that not only was the manuscript enclosed, but also a synopsis, an outline, a timeline, a long bibliography, and multiple chapter notes.

I was all set to mail it on Saturday afternoon, but when I got to the Mail Stop (store), they had just closed.

On Sunday, after recovering from the rain-induced headache, I polished up another manuscript, discovering to my surprise that it was closer to being ready to send out than I had supposed it was. I should be able to send that one out on Tuesday.

What with getting most of the laundry done and being able to make beef stew for the family, it was a most successful weekend.

Now, for my next miracle, I need to get out in the flower border and dig up the thistle that thinks it belongs there.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Oh ALA, Look what you've done

When I go to ALA, I'm right in there with everybody else picking up the goodies the publishers and tech people hand out. A lot of the goodies I'll use as prizes during the library's Summer Reading Program. Others I keep for myself.

--sun screen lotion in when ALA was in Florida? sure.
--free ARCs? sure. (Advanced Reader's Copies of books the publishers want librarians to know about and buy, buy, buy)
--posters? sure.
--A make-your-own airplane? sure.
--bookmarks? love them.
--pencils? pens? rulers? other office supplies? great!
--A cell phone?

Huh, you say?
What do you mean, cell phone?

I passed this one by several times before I actually picked one up. Through the packaging I could see what looked like a pool of lip gloss or chapstick. "Oh cool," I thought. Just the thing the 8-year olds at my library and my 8-year old at home would love. A play cell phone full of chapstick.

So I gathered it up and dropped it into my goodie bag. (supplied by the ALA registration desk)

This whole past week the 8-year old had been waking up early because she wanted to go early to the before-school daycare with my spouse. Because she was making something special for Mother's day and needed the extra time there. Meaning I could sleep in and take my time getting to work.

Yesterday I was awakened by a crying 8-year old. And an irritated spouse who told me that I would have to take the 8 year old to before-school daycare because he wasn't going anywhere with this painted lady.

When I finally took a good look at her, she was indeed highly made up. Bright red lips/ rosy cheeks/ eyeshadow. hmmmm. where did she get her supplies?

It turns out that this innocent looking cell phone/ lip gloss/ thingie wasn't so innocent. She had discovered another layer to it which held little pools of various shades of lipstick. (the eye shadow she had lifted from my bureau.)

Many tears. How could we tell she had makeup on?
After a good scrub with Noxima (TM) and a long talk about how we older people used makeup so that we could look like she already looked, I finally managed to get her to daycare and me to work.

I'm going to have to take a good look at the rest of these ALA goodies before I hand them out to children this summer.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Poetry Monday -- Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky, the classic poem from Lewis Carroll's Through the LookingGlass and What Alice Found There -- reimagined and illustrated by Christopher Myers. Hyperion Books for Children, 2007

Another poetry post on Nonfiction Monday -- just because Poetry is in the nonfiction collection.

I always thought I could understand the poem Jabberwocky -- if only I listened hard enough. It almost sounds as if it makes sense. Boy goes off, is warned against a monster. (the Jabberwock) Actually, not just one monster. There's also a Jubjub Bird and the Frumious Bandersnatch! Defeats same and comes home to celebration.
That's a simple enough medieval warrior explaination.

But Chris Myers goes beyond that. He decided that it might be related to ancient hoop games similar to our basketball -- and illustrated it in modern basketball terms.

Wow, he's playing with our head.

The Jabberwock is now a huge basketball player with 14 fingers on his huge hands (the claws that clutch) which the local boy must face and defeat on a city basketball court.

"Calllooh! Callay!" (Hoorah, Hooray!)
He does!

See -- the poem almost makes sense.

To read more Nonfiction Monday blogs, click here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Mother is Running for President

It's Friday, and I hadn't planned to post a message (What me post messages almost every day? Unheard of! Happened this week, tho.)

Fiona Bayrock over at Books And 'Rocks has tagged me with something a little different---a book meme.
Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people

Okay. Put down that Adult romance book. What Children's book (or YA) would have that many pages?
In my "you gotta read this next because you are bootalking new books when you go to the schools in May to advertise the Summer Reading Program at the library" pile -- is -- AS IF BEING 12 3/4 ISN'T BAD ENOUGH, MY MOTHER IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT! by Donna Gephart.

The title caught my eye what with this being presidential election year and a woman is running, etc., etc., etc.
Gotta read it.

hmmm. page 123:
you lose = there is no fifth sentence on this page.
It's the end of a chapter and has only three sentences on the page.

Will it count if I quote those sentences?
okay --
"We walk out together, Mom with her shoulders back and Grandma with her head held high: Team Rothrock. We walk right past those nosy reporters and get into the car. And even though I just lost the Regional Spelling Bee because of a cookie, I feel surprisingly good."

(clue -- this is where the protag stops focusing on her spelling bee competition and tells her mom that she'll help her with her political campaign.)

page 123 (or close to it) is a turning point in this book.
I wonder if that happens in other longer books?

I'll tag:
nobody right now -- I have to put a kid to bed.
I'll think about who to tag, later.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Poem in your Pocket Day

Who knew?
It turns out that this week, which is National Library Week, is also Young Person's Poetry Week.

And today, Thursday the 17th, is National Poem in Your Pocket Day.

So remember to print or write something out and put it in your pocket so you can pull it out and read it to everyone you meet today.
Just becuz!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Writing under a Pen Name

Many writers write multiple books under pen names.
They have various reasons for doing this.

Some reasons:
-- 1) They write several books a year and their publisher doesn't want the books competing with each other.
-- 2) They write very different types of books under separate names -- such as nonfiction under one name, Adult Mysteries under another, and Children's books under a third.
-- 3) They have writing partners and decided to combine their names. There's an adult writing team that took the first names of each writer. (It might be Fern Michael, I can't remember.) And then there is me.

Some years ago, two writer friends and I wrote several books together. We did it for fun -- but when we were done, we liked them so much that we sent them out to publishers. Rejections, and rejections, and finally they were accepted. When it came time to decide on the author's name, we tried several things.

Putting all three names on the cover and spine just wouldn't work -- no room.
Mary Bowman-Kruhm
Wendie Old
Claudine Wirths
-- I don't think so.

So we tried mooshing our names together. Mary W. Wirths? No good, I said, knowing from my librarian experience that the books at the end of the alphabet were not checked out as often as the books in the A's and B's.

Publish it under one of our names?
Not fair to the others.

We combined the names.
Claudine's first initial.
My first initial.
And shortened Mary's Last name. Really, really short.
Introducing -- C. W. Bowie

Great idea -- this puts the books right between the Berenstain Bears and Marc Brown's Arthur books!

Do you have a pen name?
How did you create it?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Poetry Monday

Yes, another Nonfiction Monday featuring poetry.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game, a pop-up book, Illustrated by John Stadler. S&S Little Simon
(Found in the Picture Book section of our library -- your results may vary.)

Surely everyone has, at one time or another, sung that wonderful baseball song, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Written by two guys who had never been to a baseball game, it has become the theme song of the event.

Welcome to Howler Stadium. Open the double page flips and you find yourself up in the peanut gallery watching a baseball game. (words to the song on the right -- chorus illustrated in the following pages.)

The ball players and the cheering crowd are portrayed as various enthusiastic animals. As you read, you are smack-dab in the middle of the action. ("One, two, three strikes you're OUT" The batter turns right before your eyes.)

Great blurbs on the back cover:
Beary Bonds says, "A honey of a home run, this is THE book to break hibernation for!"

Just in time for baseball season, a perennial favorite.
(Links to more Nonfiction Monday blogs can be found here.)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday the Thirteenth

Friday the 13th came on a Sunday this month.
And with it came a drastic change of temperature.

This past week, each day got warmer and warmer -- almost reaching 80 degrees on Friday. Still nice, in the 70s on Saturday. So why then would a cold front come through and crash the daily high to 52 degrees on Sunday? brrrrr.

It's not fair.
It's not fair to tease us with the hint of warm weather and then....

For years I've been a weather junkie -- always trying to predict tomorrow's weather; always checking the weather at the place I'm planning to travel to. Always reminding my kids to dress for Today's weather; not for the weather they remembered from yesterday.

I even wrote a picture book story about this very thing -- called Yesterday's Weather -- where a child constantly charges outside and discovers s/he is not prepared for today's weather because they dressed for yesterday's weather. poor kid. I made the story circle around the child's attempt to play a team game with friends, but is always stymied by the weather. (However, a soccer mom informed me that that wouldn't fly -- teams play in ALL weathers. hmmmm. Perhaps that's why the story never sold.)

You know, I finally did sell the story -- when I transformed it into a nonfiction book about Groundhog Day. (The animal who predicts the weather.)

Maybe someday I'll hit upon another way to revise Yesterday's Weather (the original story) that will make it salable.

-wendieO (the weather nut)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Not-so intelligent machines

Intelligent machines? hmmmmm.

For example, those clocks that will automatically change when Daylight Savings time changes. However, they never got the word that we changed the DATE to do this. They still are automatically changing on the old date. (This MAC, on the other hand, gets its messages from someplace else, because it changed it's time stamp at the new, correct date.)

We finally had to throw out our daughter's alarm clock, because it refused to let us adjust to the correct time. For several weeks it showed the wrong time -- and then suddenly changed. Pretty useless when you are using the clock to help the child learn how to tell time and when to get up in the morning/ go to sleep at night.

This past Monday, (April 7th) I glanced at the clock in the children's room of the library, noticed that it was 12 noon, felt hungry, so I left the Information Desk and went back to my office to eat lunch. When I finished, I happened to look at the clock on my computer and -- yikes -- it was only 11:35 am.

I was convinced that some of the teens had pulled a late April Fool's joke on me. Until the head of circulation pointed out that several other clocks were an hour off.

When Daylight Savings day came, we had put all of the library clocks ahead, not knowing that some of the newer clocks were semi-intelligent. These newer clocks had simply jumped another hour forward on Monday -- the day they had been programed to do it.

Well, at least these clocks allow us to do our own time changing on the correct days. And now we know to watch out for things to happen to these clocks on the old Daylight Savings time days. (cue music from Twilight Zone)


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Online Magazine

Kelly Herold, who blogs at Big A litte a, is also the editor of the online magazine, The Edge of the Forest.

She says:
The March/April 2008 issue of The Edge of the Forest is now available -- here.

It contains many exciting features for for fans of children's books as well as interviews, reviews, and much, much more. In short, here's what's in store:

An interview with Peter Cameron, by Barbara Shoup
Spring Book Recommendations from the Editorial Board.
Fairytale in the Forest: A Friendship, by Candice Ransom.
A YA Review Bonus Section.
Barrie Summy is this month's Blogging Writer, interviewed by Becky Levine
Sounds from the Forest is back.
Reviews in all categories—from Picture book to Young Adult

If you're interested in submitting an article or review, please check out the About Us page for details.

The next issue of the Edge of the Forest will be out the first week of May.

p.s. And after you read the magazine, whip right over to Big A little a to enjoy an interview with Scaredy Squirrel and his creator, Mélanie Watt who are touring various blogs this week.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Beverly Cleary

Interesting article about the new Ramona book from Beverly Cleary can be found here.
Quite a change for the kid who failed Kindergarten.

And here's another article -- from Fuse #8 about J.K Rowling's eighth Harry Potter book to come out in 2010.