Thanks for the Meme-ories

My lovely critique group pal Kim tagged me for the 8 Things meme recently- and I am finally doing it! I am suposed to list 8 habits/facts about me, then tag 8 others to do the same at the end of the post. Here goes:

1. Almost everything in my house is handmade, reused, reconfigured from parts, or just plain old.

It’s more interesting that way. The studio does have a lot IKEA in it though (for practical puposes).

2. I love bagpipes. The louder the better!

Bombardes and binious rock, too.

3. On a similar note, I love pennywhistles.

I have at least 10 of them; I can play a few tunes on them, too.

4. I usually read at least 3 books at once. Which one I read on any given day depends on my mood du jour.

5. Even though I write for children, almost everything I read “for fun” is nonfiction. Here is a current selection of books pulled from my nightstand:

Yeah, Tasha Tudor and Adam Ant are two of my favorite artists- there are even some interesting similarities between them! Related to #4 above, I am currently reading The Tipping Point, Omnivore’s Dilemma, and Don’t Eat This Book. I haven’t started the WalMart one yet.

6. I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t take drugs, and never have.

They don’t interest me. It’s not easy finding other adults with this philosophy!

7. I am not particularly girly, and the only jewelry I wear is made out of seed, wooden, stone, or shell beads. Maybe a little silver thown in. I have at least 100 seed bead necklace variations that I have made myself. One for every possible occasion!

I’ve been making them since I was a pre-teen.

8. I luv compost!

That’s a THREE-BINNER, baby! Handmade by the talented Eric.
Alas, the bins are currently empty- the compost is doing it’s job in the garden now. But we’re starting a new batch.

OK, so now I am suposed to harrass 8 more people into participating- and I am going to gang-tag the PBI group.
I challenge you all!
Post on the PBI blog!

Book Release, Country Style!

Good pal Barbara Johansen Newman had her
book release/birthday/multiple anniversary party last night- what a blowout!
I took some photos as best I could, but there were lots of people and lots to look at!


Here’s Hopalong Barb, with her book Tex and Sugar, A Big City Kitty Ditty.


The dolls were appropriately decked out.
So were the Elvises (Elvi??)


The tacos were flowing!


And so were the beverages. Here’s Shennen moseying up to the bar.


Barb did manage to sign books during the hoedown!


4 members of our illustration crit group:
Laura, Carlyn, Mary Beth, and Me.


This is why adults shouldn’t be allowed to play with toy guns!


Impromptu art was happening at all times: Here’s Eric working on a cowboy picture, and Carol (aka Mom) working on her dream boots drawing.


Here’s Janet, the Fastest Pen in the West (and one o’ the best!)


Some of the cool decorations, and one of the food tables before it got wrecked!


Speaking of cute girls, here’s Nancy and her Mini Me!


More cute girls, and a good-lookin’ guy to boot: Shennen and ALL of her kids in one place!


Great eats, great atmosphere.


Here’s Monica and her Boy Band. Monica didn’t dress up special for the party, she always looks like this!


Mary, Julia and Linda in the Big Tent.


Monica, Sharon and Me blabbing in the back yard!

Thanks for such a great time, Barb and Phil!

BEA Aftermath

Here is Flo the Cat with a portion of the Expo booty we brought home (minus the things the kids absconded with instantly).
It’s in the process of being “organized.”

Yeah, that’s it. Organized.


This is my favorite non-book souvenir from the Expo-


Thanks, Scholastic– that’s a rockin’ promo!
It turns out that a Deathly Hallows bookbag fits a flute and a music book very handily- we just tried that out.

BEA 2007- To the Book Expo, and Back Again

The planets aligned and Eric and I were able to go to the BEA (Book Expo America) in NYC for a day.
We left on Friday afternoon, for the usually 3-hr. ride into the city. It took about 4 and a half hours this time because of traffic. Oh, well, you can never bet on what the ride will be like.

We walked down to the Landmark Tavern, where Fuse 8 had mentioned a Kid Lit Drink Nite. I haven’t been to the Landmark in a long time, so I thought it would be fun to check it out again. Here are some interesting scenes on the way there:


That bathtub window “decor” is about the creepiest thing I’ve seen in a while! But the diner sign was neat. There used to be a good diner between the Javits and the Landmark called, interestingly enough, The Good Diner. It’s a Starbucks now- wah!!

Here’s Eric outside the Landmark:


We were sort of late getting there, but saw the always effervescent and slightly wacky Meghan McCarthy and met Jeannine Garsee, a new YA author who’s book Before, After, and Somebody in Between is coming out in 2 weeks. Jeannine is also a full-time nurse, which I thought was fascinating. It seems so different, and mentally taxing, from writing! My editor was surprisingly there, too!
We had a good dinner while there, and 2, count ’em 2, cranberry juices because it was party time, oh yeah!

Here’s the view from our hotel that night:


We coulda had McDonald’s, DVDs, OR drugs at any time, they were all available 24 hours a day!
I woke up at 3:15, and yes! The shops were still open! So weird compared to the frog noise I’m used to at night.

Now, I have been to NYC many a time for shows. I have been to the Javits Center for the Toy Fair, Gift Fair, and Stationery Show lots of times.
But I have NEVER seen any show like this! It looks unassuming on the outside:


But look out, inside! This is the multi-tiered lobby:


Lots of people milling around, wondering where to go (like us) or devising a plan of attack (which seems impossible).
It’s hot in here, the Greenhouse Effect on a somewhat smaller scale. I think this adds to the confusion of the experience.
It also adds to what I like to call JCH, or Javits Center Headache, which I get every time upon walking in here. Is it the heat? The air? The complete sensory overload? I’m not sure, but I don’t leave home without Tylenol.

But, oh! The wonders within! Picture hundreds and hundreds of people handing you free books, often times signing them on the spot. Not just books, but bookbags, bookmarks, cds, catalogs, pins, magnets, all kinds of promotional things.


There were probably about 50 people signing books at any given time (probably more, now that I think of it). The “official” lines looked something like this:


Yup, there were a lot of famous people there, all with books coming out. There’s Tiki Barber signing, but the lines were very long for some people, and short for others- a real mixed bag of participants! I did manage to get a lot of signed books, but a sort of random assortment based on where we were at the time, and who was doing them at the time.
I have to say, I do like the totally random nature of this expo!
It is impossible to do everything you think you want to do here, but everywhere you go is interesting and unexpected.


No, we didn’t expect to see Dora the Explorer and Diego, but I am not the type to miss a chance at posing with a giant-headed cartoon character.
Speaking of which, we met Phil Yeh, too (hehehe):


Phil is a very fun, very chatty cartoonist who’s been making good, positive comic books for a looong time. He’s got a lot of ideas about spreading literacy and generally hopeful messages to kids to counterattack the commercial assault they are hit with every day.
Yay- I’m all for that, big time.
Check out his Winged Tiger website for lots of great comic book options for kids.

Here’s another unexpected sight:


Nope, we didn’t expect to see twin retired teachers who wrote abook about The Teacher Who Would Not Retire. Here are the fun Sustrin Twins and their book, which they signed to our twins!

Here’s the very well-regarded (in our house) author Valerie Tripp, writer of the American Girl “Molly” series, amongst many other AG books. We’ve got ’em all!


Also at the AG booth was Megan McDonald, who has written the new books for the not-released-yet 70’s doll, Julie Albright.


Megan also writes the Judy Moody series, so this was a pretty big occurence according for our girls.
I also happen to be excited about the 1974 doll, I just might need that one myself- if only for the miniature bell-bottoms and ponchos!
Ah, sweet childhood.
I am not sure how I feel about 1974 being referred to as “historical”, though. Does that make me an antique? Hehe.
It’s actually brilliant. They will capture the imagination of not only all the girls out there, but the MOMS.

Shout out to my awesome Critique Group!! Looky what I found:


Here’s the CarolRhoda/Lerner Books booth, with both Joe’s and Anne’s books on display. I didn’t even notice the poster until I saw this picture, Joe! Anne’s books just so happen to have about 5 different award bookmarks sticking out of them!

And there’s Becky’s book, Morris and Buddy, in the Albert Whitman booth! It’s the first time I have seen the real book, and it’s a beautiful thing!

It was really fun seeing friends’ books out there…just rounding a corner, and going OH!! I know that book!
Also seen at the Expo:


Many people exercising their rights to secure rights!
Not quite sure what kinda deals were going down in there, since we didn’t attempt to go in.


I was feeling a bit MAD by the end of the show, in the insane sense.
As fun as it is, I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
How do people do THREE DAYS of this??
If you go to the Book Expo, you will end up like this:


That was a pretty nasty sidewalk, but I couldn’t stand up for one more second with the 100-lb. bags on my shoulders.
The pretzel guy in front of me was laughing, but I didn’t care.
I would definitely do it again, though!