Sorry to lump a bunch of things together in one post but I am playing catch-up. Yes, I know that’s the same old game I always play but hey, when it’s a core competency, you work it.
Many thanks to
Also Lerner’s website shows several reviews up for Robert Smalls Sails to Freedom.
“Newly competent readers are likely to thrill to this well told story of the Civil War hero, Robert Smalls…. a valuable addition to a reading tutor’s collection as well as an excellent selection for a classroom…” –Children’s Literature Network
“Brown makes this an exciting, well-told story that may spark readers to search for more information.” –The Horn Book Guide
“Offers full-page color illustrations and provides believable text that captures the story of the slave boy who grew up to be a free man.” –MultiCultural Review
And last but not least, a while back Mother Reader tagged me for the 5 interesting things about me meme. Interesting is such a relative term (in my case it is probably just plain weird) but I hope these will do the trick.
#1 I roller skated competitively back when roller skates had four wheels. By that I mean the fancy dances similar to what you see people doing on ice skates in the Olympics only for some reason we never could get roller skating to be an Olympic event. We used to have an “anything you can do I can do better” challenge that went back and forth with the local ice rink. People would think it was easier on roller skates but in a lot of ways it was more difficult because the skates were heavier and when dancing, it was common to lock wheels with a partner (or useful) and crash. Usually in a very unflattering manner. I went to the rink just about every day after school and was pretty dedicated until I discovered boys. Then it was hormones fighting with skating lessons and the hormones usually won.
#2 My first boyfriend was the one who told me it was time for me to start shaving my legs. We were at the rink and a bunch of girls were all crowded around him and he was looking at everyone’s legs and he made a face. Later (after the makeout session behind the Foster Freeze) he told me it was time to shave my legs and to be sure to above the knees because the skating outfits were really short.
#3 My favorite comfort food is creamy Jif peanut on fresh white bread with thick slices of sweet pickles. I invented it when I was about 10 and have been eating it ever since, especially when I am feeling down.
#4 I once crashed my motorcycle on the lawn in front of the police department. Okay, crash might be a bit extreme. I was at a stop sign and when I hit the gas, the bike did a rooster tail sort of hop out of my hands and landed on the lawn. I had had the bike less than a day. I don’t remember driving it much on the street after that.
#5 I have a weird thing about shoes with laces. First, when I buy new shoes I have to take all the laces out and relace them so they start with the even part under the holes so the laces come UP and not go DOWN. I have no idea why but I can’t stand to wear shoes until I have fixed them. And if I retie one shoe I have to retie the other one at the same time so they both have the same amount of tightness.
Yep, I was right. More weird than interesting. Sigh.
I’m back, mostly. Exhausted? Very. Writing much? Not a word. I know, I bet some of you thought I was off writing the really really bad thing I mentioned a couple of weeks ago but you know life sometimes gets in the way of what we want to do. Actually I realized I had a major problem with the pivotal scene because there would have to be some legal ramifications dealt with in the book and it wasn’t where I wanted the focus to go. Plus I realized it would probably remove the mom from the story which wasn’t what I wanted to do. But then, in that way that plots do, it all turned on me and it might work after all but I need to talk to a cop and a lawyer to find out what would happen in that particular situation. Is all that about as clear as mud?
I’ve been so busy that there’s not been a lot of time to think about writing. The end of the fiscal year at work meant tons of long days and lots of working with numbers (and you know how much I don’t love numbers.) My husband who never travels for work is now bouncing all over the globe for a week gone, a few days home, then gone again. He just got back from Sydney and left this morning for France. I think it’s Singapore after that. Because he doesn’t usually travel things have gone all topsy turvy around the house.
Then there’s still the publicity stuff which is really a full time job that I can’t work on full time because I already have a full time job. All the brochures and flyers are printed. I’ve almost finished sanitizing the mailing list. My focus was to hit California hard because I figure I need to make a name for myself in my own backyard. I’ve figured out who gets what in their envelopes. Schools that are within an easy driving distance from me get the full packet including my brochure. Bookstores get the Oliver announcement postcard. Ditto the libraries. Schools not within driving distance will probably get the promo stuff plus the traveling Oliver flyer. But wait, there’s more. I got my copies of my new book from Millbrook, Robert Smalls Sails to Freedom which meant that I had to quickly design a new postcard, order it, then go back and refigure who needs to get both postcards. Then I had to factor in new places to send to since the book takes place in South Carolina and Robert Smalls who started life as a slave went on to become a congressman for South Carolina. So back to the mailing list to build up the south and Civil War angles and oh, Black History month. The result is that I am about to start stuffing close to 2,000 envelopes and will send out about 1,000 postcards on their own. It’s exciting having two books come out so close together but it’s a lot of work too. Robert Smalls is out officially in January though it looks like Amazon says they are shipping now. I know the first batch of books have gone out for review and now we’re at the waiting process again. Felicia Marshall, whom I believe lives in Texas, did all the illustrations and I just love them. Here’s the cover:
Cynthia Leitich Smith posted an interview with me and the illustrator for Oliver’s Must-Do List. I have to say that being interviewed is much harder than it might look. I love the way interview questions really make you think about the process.
Haemi Balgassi sent me a big batch of love when she blogged about reading Oliver with her daughter Lousia and then the divine Miss Princess Hello Kitty blogged about Oliver herself which gave me a wonderful warm fuzzy when I needed it most.
I’m off to start printing mailing labels but in-between I’ll try to catch up on everyone’s life for the last couple of weeks.
Funny thing about taking a day off from LJ, all of a sudden it becomes easier to skip the next day and the next and then suddenly it has been days since a posting. This is the same thing that has always happened when I try to keep a journal or a diary (two different things) with any amount of regularity. I am not going to feel guilty (okay, I’ll TRY not to feel guilty). Truth be told, I have been overwhelmed with way too much to do and not enough hours to do it in. The cold slowed me down, of course. They always do. I want nothing more than to crawl into bed and sleep for a few days but I don’t want to use up any of my precious PTO at work on sick pay. Ick.
What I’ve been doing – Oliver’s publicity
Oliver left this morning for Harlem, NY. Whew! It’s his first time away from home. I hope he does okay. I was up way too late last night putting together a photo album for him to take with him. It has pictures of him, of course, but then pictures of me and where I live and pictures from my childhood. It was fun putting it together but I have to quit getting these bright ideas late at night when I have to get up at 5am. I also have to learn to triple the amount of I time I think anything will take because I am such a poor judge of time.
Next week I am off work and hope (okay, NEED) to finish up the revisions on Hugging the Rock. They’re doing pretty quick. For the most part they are going okay but I am stutter-stepping in a few places and hope for inspiration when I am away from the day job next week.
Alright, time to go get caught up on all the hundreds of posts I have missed while I’ve been away.
Maybe I have a working title for the WIP. Maybe.
PLEASE SAVE MAX
What do you think? Max is the dog, not the main character. I’m not sure but I’m playing with it right now and maybe it will make me think of something else.
In somewhat related thoughts, anyone have any guesses as to how much weight an eleven-year-old boy could carry and for how long? Said boy is a slight build, always hungry (probably because there’s not a lot of food in the house.)Weight I’m thinking of having him carry is about 75 pounds.
And in still yet other news, I’m excited that Oliver over at
Thanks to friends everywhere who keep spreading the word.
Color me tired. My house is 3 houses from the sound wall for the freeway. The freeway isn’t much traveled at night and, actually, for the last year we’ve been really pleased with how quiet this house is. Until last night. Oh my gosh! CalTrans – the company that does the California state road repairs, must have been working on some stretch of 85 last night because about 10:30 some big machinerary started up REALLY LOUD and kept it up until 4am this morning. Since I get up at 5, well, let’s just say I had a lot of time to think about my WIP. It’s a good thing today is Friday because I know that by noon, I will be barely able to hold myself up at the keyboard. Yawn.
On the publicity side of things,
And I think Oliver “might” have his first visit all on his own real soon. I should know something next week.
Writing progress? Like I said, lots of thinking time last night. I know something happened at the amusement park and I’m not looking forward to that research. And there’s a dentist, who would have thunk it? Frankie said he needs a bike.
as in THE Oliver of my new picture book Oliver’s Must-Do List. He has his own blog called, appropriately enough,
This has been a busy weekend as I’ve been working on the Oliver publicity. I made some magnets to hand out at the NCCBA meeting next week.