New Summer Stuff

So, it seems that after an eternal period of bad and/or middling weather, it’s finally summer! Let us celebrate, shall we?

Maybe you’ll hit a Newport Creamery sometime soon, and grab an AwfulAwful… while you’re there, pick up one of my children’s menus. This one is Block Island themed. It was fun for me to work on this one, as I spent many summers out there courtesy of my uncle, Captain Nick.




And maybe, in your beach bag you’ll have a copy of the current July/August 2014 issue of Rachael Ray magazine. If so, you may find one of my design items in there… it’s TingTing Tongs, which are salad tongs shaped like one of those cymbal-bashing monkeys. Thank you Rachael and staff for featuring it!



2014 Whispering Pines Writer’s Retreat

It’s been nearly 2 weeks since returning from Whispering Pines, a writer’s retreat deep in the woods of the Alton Jones campus of URI. Such a beautiful setting- and a wonderful time as always. The mentors, the camaraderie, the food…everything.



Here’s Lynda introducing the mentors and helpers, who all received thematic welcoming gifts…



Animated author Audrey Vernick talked about how, beyond the craft, luck has a part in the business. She also emphasized not getting hung up on the “rules”.  Kirsten Cappy talked about the various ways you can get the word out about your book, and how to connect in ways we maybe hadn’t thought of yet.

2_vernick cappy


First Pages, as read by Lynda, Mary and Jenny. I must say, the calibre of the submissions we tend to hear at this retreat tends to be stellar!

2.1_first pages

Panelists Christine Krones, Audrey Vernick, Sarah Dotts Barley, Regina Griffin. 


And then, there are shenanigans… photo fun, palm reading, and a failed attempt at levitation (at least in the bodily sense)!


(come on- you have to believe!) 



Kim, Kristen, Julie, Cameron, and Janet during one of the sessions. 


Gather ’round the inferno! The very cozy common room in the Whispering Pines lodge.




The mentors and organizers, lined up all pretty! Lynda Hunt (author and retreat co-director), Regina Griffin (Executive Editor at Egmont USA), Christine Krones (Editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Kirsten Cappy (of Curious City in Portland Maine), Sarah Dotts Barley (Editor at HarperCollins),  Audrey Vernick (author), and Mary Pierce (retreat co-director).


Christine Krones had some good advice about what today’s market needs to see in submissions, and how they can be pitched to their best advantage.

Sarah Dotts Barley talked about not revising as you go, and allowing a book to marinate for a while so you can gain perspective on it.

Regina Griffin’s talk had some great examples of the windy path that a book’s revision can take, and how nothing you write for a manuscript, even if it’s cut, is ever lost. It’s part of the process of making it better.


(I am obviously highly editing our mentors’ talks, but they were all very in-depth and chock full of good info- I took pages of notes!)


We got lucky with some nice weather that allowed us to get out an explore the grounds…





 Caroline, Laurie and Jen.


Surprise giveaways at lunch! Oh, and by the way… THE FOOD. Always wonderful here.

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Three cakes a day? Well, OK, if you insist. 


There are always good times around the table.

11_table people

Awesome table-mates: Cameron, Julia, Regina, Sally, Kirsten, Sarah, Jen, and Laurie. 


And now, lets reflect on the surroundings, the people, the work ahead. That’s what I am still doing now.










Manatea in KIKI Magazine

So, one of my recent design items has been making the rounds and getting a lot of notice lately. It’s a little tea infuser called Manatea, and yes! It is shaped like a manatee and hangs out in your tea cup while brewing the leaves. He recently showed up in the Oct/Nov. 2013 issue of KIKI Magazine. That made me happy, because not only was it my girls who discovered it while reading, but KIKI is such  great magazine! I am glad to have the shout-out in a mag that that I really respect!





(Note: Perpetual Kid is a great online retail shop that carries many of my Fred/design items. Check it out if you’re interested!)

Recent Highlights

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Here is some recently published artwork, as seen in various magazines in the Highlights family!

First up is a Find It feature from the December 2013 issue of Highlights Hello magazine:




This one came in a cute envelope that had a little preview of the feature:


Next is a Look and Look Again feature from January 2014’s issue of Highlights High Five:

HighFive_WhatsCooking_Jan2014_LO(I was really happy o get the chance to do anthropomorphic mice for this one!)

And finally (for now), here’s a rebus feature called “Family Band” that is in the February 2014 issue of Highlights:

Highlights_FamilyBand_Feb2014_LO(I have often done pieces for the younger kids’ magazines, but this is the first time doing a feature page in the “big kids” Highlights.) 

Have I mentioned lately how much I love all the Highlights magazines?