Thursday, January 30, 2014

Weekly Reading

Andy Warhol, Mike Venezia
Andy Warhol: The Life of an Artist, Carin Ford
Uncle Andy's*, James Warhola
Andy Warhol: Pop Art Painter, Susan Goldman Rubin
Fabulous! A Portrait of Andy Warhol, Bonnie Christensen
I loved all these books on Andy Warhol and there's value in studying more than one since every author has their unique focus and opinions. It's reported that Andy liked to make up things about his pre-fame past and childhood so who really knows what it's fun to see what the different books bring out. The standout in the group was Uncle Andy's by James Warhola. It was just a very unique experience to see the artist through a nephew's eyes and also to see the talent passed down in the family. The illustrations are wonderful.

Stretch*, Doreen Cronin/Scott Menchin
A cute, imaginative, simple book along with Wiggle. There are probably more I haven't discovered yet.

Princess Addison Gets Angry**, Molly Martin/Melanie Florian
A nice little lesson about what to do (or rather what not to do) when you're angry, emphasizing that everyone does indeed get angry. My kids saw the other Princess books pictured on the back and now they want them all. It's okay to have a seven year old boy fascinated by princesses, isn't it?

Pink!**, Lynne Rickards/Chamberlain
A penguin with a complexion problem. An inventive way to actually do a little bit of nonfiction with a storyline attached, though it wasn't what the kids were expecting.

Re-read The Boleyn King*, Laura Andersen
If I re-read anything, you know it's worth it. Did you see my name in the acknowledgements twice? I've re-read that bit possibly 300% more than the rest ;)

*Highly recommended.
**Highly recommended by my children.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Weakly Reading: Oh NO!

WeAkly reading...get it? Get it!?

Okay, bad joke.

Truthfully, I haven't finished reading any new books this week, but I'm in the middle of reading four, so next week's post should be nicely filled out.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Weekly Reading

I found this little gem in the library this week. My childhood dreams have come true!

The Dot & the Line*, Norton Juster

I saw the academy award-winning short film of this book as a little girl and thought it was the most clever thing I ever saw.  I never saw it again, or even knew it was originally a picture book written in 1963. And then there it was in the little board book section of the library, even though it's not a board book. I actually attempted a very long time ago to write a book based on that film I'd seen but I just couldn't get it to work out quite right. Good thing!

This book is subtitled Romance in Lower Mathematics, and my kids don't understand a word of it, but they love it all the same. I had to dig the library's copy out of my 4 yo's bed where she ferreted it away last night.

Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star*, Petr Horacek
A very cute and intriguingly illustrated Christmas book. Yes, my kids insisted we check out a Christmas book in January.

Boo: Little Dog in the Big City, J H Lee and Gretchen Le Maistre
If you have a puppy lover, this book is for you. Photos of a fluffy puppy in all sorts of clothes doing all sorts of things...quite a long book, actually.

Little White Rabbit*, Kevin Henkes
My Garden*, Kevin Henkes
Simple, beautiful picture books by one of my favorite author illustrators. Both of these feature beautiful color pencil drawings and focus on imagination. My kids wanted to talk about each of these when I was done reading.

How Many Fish?, Caron Lee Cohen and S D Schindler
Hello Kitty: What Will You Be A to Z?

*Highly Recommended

The Thing About Writing Goals

The thing about resolutions and goals is that if you make them, AND go so far as to write them down, AND THEN actually make a stab at accomplishing may still not reach your goal. It's the sad truth. But you will do something, and it will be more than you would have otherwise. And by "you", I of course mean, "me".

So by way of accountability, here's my little roundup of the goals I posted in the cabinet last January.

What I said I'd do:

Writing Time
I wanted to write ten hours a week, but said I'd at least write every day. I have been writing daily for months now and make at least ten hours a week. YAY ME! Sorry. I'm a little proud of this little success. I can't tell you the juggling and balancing...

I wanted to submit at least one fiction book. Well, that died on the vine, but it did get me writing a great deal last January. A friend said that a nonfiction book has to include things not easily found on the internet, and then it just all seemed like too, too much work. What's not on the internet? Okay, that's a cop out, I know. Really, my fiction urges flooded out the rest. That's the truth. I did write an outline and three chapters and get a critique.

Write The Truth About...Something
Yeah. Not feeling it. I did ponder and outline and such, but all my ideas were much bigger stories. I promise, I did give it a stab though.

Submit Sophie's called Pig Art (a picture book)
Done, to several agents. An important truth: you can write and submit, but you can't make someone publish you, that's out of your control. So, though things didn't turn out the way I'd like, I'm happy that I've done what I can do on that.

Write up my 30 Picture Book Ideas
I think I did this...not sure anymore. What I do know is that I wrote up about eight of my best ideas and sent four or five to an agent who is holding on to them but not marketing them. They are my best picture book work so I figure if they're not grabbing attention then I'll not bash my head on that brick wall any longer. I do promise myself to write any picture books that come forcefully to mind but all my ideas have been novel ideas for a very long time.

So with all that writing time I promised myself and no nonfiction or picture books to write I have been working on a YA novel which brings me to my 2014 goals.

Writing Time
I'd like to bump it up to twenty hours a week. One or two of the children may have to go into foster care...KIDDING! Sort of.

Publishable Novel
I want my novel in publishable shape by summer at which point I'll start submitting it and outlining a second book in that series (a girl can dream...especially a writer girl) and a completely new book--I have lots of possibilities I'm excited about there. I will start writing the completely new book in the fall when the kiddos head back to school.

And that's it. Easy.

Oh, and I have a super secret goal. If it works out, I'll let you know... Shhhh. I'll write that one down in private somewhere.

So now you. What's your goal? Write it? Try it. Or be Yoda and do don't try. No matter what you'll be farther down your path than otherwise. May you enjoy the journey.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Weekly Reading

I read the BEST book today that I just can't stop thinking about.

Cozy Classics: Moby Dick* by Holman and Jack Wang.


It's a board book. It's twelve pages long. It's twelve WORDS long. Favorite book of the month!

I laughed so hard when I read it that people around me in the library backed away. These authors have a sense of humor and serious editing skills, not to mention a way with felt. My favorite word? Leg. You'll just have to check it out for yourself, if I ever take it back to the library that is. Actually, I'm going to buy it and only then take it back to the library.

These authors have also happily written Pride and Prejudice, Les Miserables, and many, many more.

Other books have included:

The Kings of Clonmel, John Flanagan

Number Eight in the Ranger's Apprentice series. Looking forward for promises to be fulfilled in the next book. This series is a wonderful fantasy adventure (much more adventure than fantasy) set in medieval England (more or less). Total escape books with characters you can't imagine not actually existing as flesh and blood after you read them.

The Last Siege, Jonathan Stroud

Completely different than anything I've read by him. Contemporary teens dealing with loneliness all together in a ruined castle. I love reading authors' other works to discover how they've developed and changed over time, or what they can do with different topics.

Artists in Their Time: Andy Warhol

Hey, sometimes you just need to know more about Andy. Now I do. I have several more nonfictions to read about him. Considering dying my hair white because, you know, if it's going to happen anyway, why not pretend it's what you always wanted?

And let's not forget the picture books:

Lots of Spots**, Lois Ehlert
Leaf Man*, Lois Ehlert
Warthogs Paint, A Messy Color Book, Pamela Duncan Edwards/Henry Cole
Diary of a Fly*, Doreen Cronin/Harry Bliss
Lilly's Potty
Wiggle*, Doreen Cronin/Scott Menchin
Cool Daddy Rat*, Kristyn Crow/Mike Lester
Roar, A Noisy Counting Book**, Pamela Duncan Edwards/Henry Cole

*Highly recommended.
** Highly recommended by my 4-year-old.

Must. Write. New. Posts.

There. Now it's a goal.