picture books

I'm back

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.

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.

Coming up for air

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 , like crazy. I finally figured out what happened to all the missing mailings of review copies and press kits and such, they were waiting for me at the Post Office because I put my new PO Box as the return address and then promptly forgot I even had a PO Box. Sigh. Oh well. Lots of books went out. Some kind words coming back in. I’m hoping for lots of kind words to cover up the not-so-kind ones from SLJ.  From an unexpected corner my Google Alerts showed me that Oliver got a favorable mention in then San Diego Union-Tribune.  I still, for the life of me, can’t figure out how to get any coverage in my own local paper, the San Jose Mercury News.

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.

Thursday, October 13, 2005|Categories: Writing Life|Tags: , |22 Comments

Whew – first review

Received the first review for Oliver’s Must-Do List yesterday. It was with Kirkus and since they are famous for their zingers I feel I have dodged the bullet. They only had a minor quibble with the illustrations which is fine because I think it is more of a style thing. (Others have said they really like the illustrations.) I can only share about 20 words for fair use which makes it hard to decide what to use for quotes. Right now I am leaning toward:

“Cobwebs, dishes and shopping will wait­children will only be children for a short while.
Adorable…a heart warmer.”–Kirkus Reviews
Color me happy even if Starbucks forgot the whipped cream in my mocha this morning.

Writing progress: Frankie is one smart kid, Max likes pickles, and I know enough about his sister to make my stomach hurt.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005|Categories: Susan's Books|Tags: , , , , , |47 Comments