Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Retrospective

As the last minutes of 2008 tick away, I'm thinking about what a grand year it's been. I launched my new book series (Who Lives Here?), travelled to China (see photos below) and had the enormous pleasure of meeting my lovely twin grandbabies, born two weeks ago. I'm so grateful for it all! 

Happy New Year, everyone!

Here I am in Shanghai, on the famous river walkway, called the Bund.

Here's me with the Big Guy, who kindly invited me along on his conference trip to China. This was a shopping day at the Old Town Bazaar, Shanghai's version of Granville Island.

Here I am with Betsey from Boston, another conference attendee. Behind us is a view of the Huangpu River and downtown Shanghai (known as Pudong).

This photo was snapped in a beautiful park in a serene area of Shanghai, known as the French Concession. People come to the park to practice Tai Chi, and spend time among the lovely greenery.

A busy Shanghai shopping street called Nanjing Lu, similar to Vancouver's own Robson Street. There were huge crowds the day we strolled it. It's not an experience for the faint of heart!

This is People's Square, a large open area where Shanghai locals congregate, and listen to music or sit on benches and eat their lunch. The Shanghai Museum and Art Museum are near.

We were amazed to see this bamboo scaffolding on many buildings. Apparently, bamboo is an incredibly strong material. It seemed ingenius!

China is a wonderful place, and although I only saw a small bit of Shanghai, my appetite has been whetted for all things Asia. I can hardly wait to return. Maybe in 2009! :-)

Happy New Year! Health and happiness to you all!

Monday, December 29, 2008

8 Great Blogs of 2008!

I know I announced I'd be taking a blogging pause until 2009, but I'm breaking the hiatus, because my blogging buddy, kc dyer, has kindly invited me to be a guest on her blog. She's rounding up fellow bloggers to post their Lists of 8 for 2008. As a relatively new (and keen!) blogger, I thought I'd post my list of 8 Great Blogs that I've enjoyed over the past year. In no particular order, they are:

1. Alice's CWIM Blog
Alice Pope is the editor of the wonderfully informative Children's Writers and Illustrators Market, published annually.

2. Children's Book Biz News
Anastasia Suen is the talented author of 110 books, and the writer of a series of blogs. This one gives you up-to-date info on US editors, agents and books.

3. Miss Snark, the Literary Agent
Although this blog has gone "dark", you can read the archives which are full of funny and interesting anecdotes about submissions to a "snarky" literary agent and her amusing replies.

4. Fuse #8
Elizabeth Bird, Children and Youth Librarian at the New York Public Library, writes this blog on the School Library Journal site. It's full of timely info about new books and also has a long blog roll with links to numerous authors, editors and publishers.

5. Editorial Anonymous
This is the blog of an anonymous children's book editor, with entertaining anecdotes about the slush pile.

6. The Rejecter
"I don't hate you; I hate your query letter." is the tagline to this clever blog, written by an assistant to a literary agent.

7. INK: Interesting Nonfiction for Kids
Here, American authors take turns blogging about issues related to writing quality nonfiction books for kids.

This is the inspired and inspiring blog of my local writer's association: Children's Writers and Illustrators of British Columbia. My blogging mentors can be found here: kc dyer, Kirsti Wakelin, Tanya Kyi and James McCann, to name a few. I also follow the blogs of talented local authors, Shelley Hrdlitschka, Jacqueline Pearce and Fiona Bayrock, all hard-working members of CWILL BC. Check the Cwill BC website to find links for them.

Warm thanks to kc dyer for inviting me to guest post on her blog!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Wishes!

I'd like to keep blogging over the next few weeks, but I'm beginning to see that with Christmas around the corner, helping out with the newborn grandbabies, and keeping my sidewalks free of snow, I'm simply going to be too busy. So, today for your viewing pleasure, I have posted a piece of Christmas art created by my talented niece, Alexandra.

I will say adieu until after the holidays. Warm thanks to everyone who has been kindly reading my blog over the past few months. I appreciate it so much!

See you in early January. Til then...

Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Twins!



I'm delighted to announce the birth (today!) of my precious grandsons: Jack and Finn, weighing 7 lbs 3 oz and 7 lbs 10 oz, respectively. They are beautiful little boys. We are over the moon!

I can hardly wait to write them a book!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Guest Blogger

Today, I'm the guest blogger on the CWILL BC website. If you'd like to check it out, please go here.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

To Do List...

In spite of my resolve to blog a minimum of twice a week, I find myself lagging behind. Lest you think that I'm lying on the couch, eating shortbread and watching old Christmas movies, I'd like to let you in on my To Do List. I started this list last summer so that I didn't forget any pressing work assignments that were pending. 

The list is divided into 2 sections: "To Do" and "Done." Each time I finish a task, I move it into the "Done" section. It gives me a lot of pleasure watching the Done section grow. There are such items as: get a new author photo, revise Savanna Animals manuscript, write cover copy for Forest Animals, proof the art for Desert Animals, critique a friend's story, update my school presentation, create a new bio for an upcoming speaking engagement, write a profile for Canscaip News, do my taxes, and on and on. All "Done." Wow! That feels good!

What's slightly troubling, however, is watching the growing number of items in my "To Do" section. Today, I see: develop a Power Point presentation, research 3 book ideas, write a proposal for one of them, create a sheet of Teacher's Tips to accompany my recent series, conduct an interview for a new book, write a current blog entry, and more... Every day I add to the list. 

I don't exactly feel like I'm running on a hamster wheel. I'm very grateful to have so many interesting things to occupy my time. But... there are times when I wonder if life was a little less daunting before I created the To Do List. Facing it each morning is like taking an invigorating dip in a very cold lake.

Just wondering...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sneak Preview...

Here's a sneak preview of the cover for my newest book in the Who Lives Here? series, published by Kids Can Press. It's a spring release and will be in the stores in early February. Don't you love the little black-capped chickadees? They live all winter in our boreal forests, singing their cheerful songs. Amazingly, their feet and legs are strong enough to let them hang upside down on tree branches as they hunt for insects in the bark.

Pat Stephens is the series illustrator and Katie Gray is the series designer. They are the wonderfully talented duo who created this lovely cover. A big thank you to both!