On the Feeding of Trolls

It’s been a privilege to have our son home for a few days; I learn something new every time he’s here. For example, I was telling him about a particularly snarky email I’d received from a Hattie reader and how I agonized over my reply. Tyler’s terse advice: “Mom, don’t feed the Trolls.”Everyone but me… Read more »

Patrick “Tiger” Jennings

Patrick Jennings, looking eager to answer all of my interview questions I first met Patrick when I was in charge of a local SCBWI event called The Inside Story. It’s a twice-yearly salon celebrating area book creators’ new books and Patrick was talking about his then-new title, The Wolving Time, a compelling take on persecution… Read more »

Books on the Brain

(Pardon any typos but this is my trial post using my darling Sweet Pea eee — the keyboard is about half size and my fingers aren’t as nimble as they used to be!)A favorite Groucho Marx quote: “Who says TV isn’t educational? Every time someone turns it on, I pick up a book.” There are… Read more »

The Playing Cards on the Bicycle Spokes of My Memory

Over at her Drift Record, Julie Larios points us to a New Yorker article (or is it NYTimes?) lifting up the habit of memorizing poetry. Her posted sent my feeble mind drifting in several directions: Compass Point A: My grandmother spent her last three years in an “adult care home.” One of her housemates was… Read more »

Hard Lessons Learned

When I began poking around to find out if my (step) great-grandmother had really homesteaded by herself in Montana as a young woman, I had no idea I’d be writing a novel. So my research records were, to put it mildly, slipshod. At the end of that four year project, I had piles of paper,… Read more »

Words, words and more words

My beloved and dog-eared copy, bought in my college days In Elements of Style, E.B.White warns “not to be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy, ready and able.” I get that. But I’m also all too aware of the limitations of my vocabulary. And it is during the revision process… Read more »

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller

I’ve never jumped out of an airplane, climbed a mountain peak or dived into the ocean’s mysterious depths. But I feel adventurous, all the same. My tattered Webster’s defines “adventurous” as “disposed to seek adventure or to cope with the new and the unknown.” Doesn’t the latter half of that phrase capture the writer’s life… Read more »

Fan Mail

Fan mail is fun mail! I love fan mail! Some of it has led to wonderful new friendships, like the one formed with Kaelen, mentioned here a few posts back. It’s also responsible for my big trip coming up (which I am going to talk more about soon). In February, I met for coffee with… Read more »

The Match of the Century

Today, I am celebrating the wedding of the soon-to-be wildly famous illustrator, Jaime Temairik, and her kind and adorable sweetie, Aaron. Here is the ginormous envelope the invitation came in. and here is the fabulously clever invitationcreated to look like an old boxing match broadbill. Can you see the spot near the bottom where it… Read more »

Fingers on Fire

Kathi Appelt at the National Center for Children’s Illustration, Abilene. Photo by Sujata Shuhane First, Kathi, CONGRATULATIONS on the Newbery Honor and National Book Awards! I first heard about The Underneath at a conference in Utah last March, where illustrator David Small showed some of his drawings. He was so proud to be part of… Read more »