Monday, June 30, 2008

Brooke Shields, Billy Crystal and Jennifer Fosberry!

So I have been sending the book out for awards, reviews and the like. One place that I sent it to, Readers Views has accepted it for future review. It is in the pending section. I am not exactly sure what this means. I think it means that they have the books available for review, if anyone is interested. It will probably be a wait.

Still, the first time I looked I was on the list with Eric Carle and Jane O'Conner (of Fancy Nancy fame) who are two well known children's book writers and Brooke Shields and Billy Crystal, two superstars who have recently published in this genre. Pretty good company. As you can see, it has since changed. These things are pretty dynamic. I still feel pretty famous right now.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sound of Music our family style

We recently watched The Sound of Music. As a family. I forgot how good and how long it is. It is really long by today's standards. Did kids used to sit still this long? I ran into the same situation with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Pete's Dragon and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Seriously?

But Sound of Music was a winner.

It was an opportunity to talk about listening and obeying with respect (ala frogs in the nanny's bed being a big "no no") and that not everyone has lots of clothes. That there are some bad people (the soldiers) and that family should stick together. All good stuff. Although explaining WW II and the German occupancy/influence over Austria to a 6 year old was a little touchy.

It was also an opportunity to learn some rockin' cool songs, old style. Bella has been singing the "So long, farewell..." song for days. My favorite line

"I'd like to stay and taste my first shampoo.....do da da do da do da do da, do da da do da do...."

Are we a classy family or what?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

7-8-9

I LOVE the Barenaked Ladies. From way back when I had a million dollars. And this is a great play on that old joke from childhood. And they pick on Pluto.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Story Time Reading at The Wooden Horse

On my long and eventful trip to California, I managed to get the book into a few stores. The FIRST store that accepted it and liked it and kinda made a fuss (which felt oh, so nice) is The Wooden Horse in Los Gatos, California. Here's a picture of their display.

The Wooden Horse is a beautiful store with many toys that you just can't find in the mega-stores. Most don't even require batteries. I bought the kid's gifts there (and probably need them to sell many more books to make up for it).

They have sold out of the first delivery, are almost out of the second delivery and asked for ten more books (which my sister-in-law delivered for me yesterday). I feel like a success.

On top of that, once a month they host a storytime. Tonight they will be reading My Name is Not Isabella. I am pretty excited. I hope everyone loves it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Operation HMFAAT

Operation HMFAAT went pretty darn well. Here's the executive summary. I'll go into more detail on key things later:

Day One: Travel day. Things got a little dicey due to thunderstorms in the Dallas area. Landed late. Supposed to fly to Austin, then on to San Jose, CA. Luckily, because we are late and because it is international flight for which I had to go through immigration/customs, I have all my luggage with me. Smart enough to go to the help desk and I am on a flight directly to San Jose, to get in one hour earlier. So lucky break on that and connected with my brother-in-law with out too much trouble (considering I had no cell phone). Settled in at my mother-in-law's house. Pretty sweet set up for me. I got a bedroom/bed, internet access, a car (my old volvo), a borrowed cell phone, most meals when around and laundry. I'm still not sure why I gave that up and came home.

Day Two: Business stuff, banking, hair appointment. First attempt at a bookstore. Didn't do well. All buyers are in LA at Book EXPO (duh!). And I get referred to the consignment buyer (here is the start of fighting that bad self-published reputation). I look beautiful, but feel a little lost. I knew it was going to be hard, but need to buck up. Get to talk to my family. Bells kindly asks that I call again tomorrow.

Day Three: CA Resale license, visit with my FRIEND, M. She has been big BIG help during this process. Has seen all the steps, helped critique things, set me up with a copy editor. She is to see the book for the first time! She loves it. Hang out with her all day. Go to her daughter's softball game. She drags out the book for all the other softball mom's. We take orders for over 10 books. Pretty good day. I call home too late and kids are asleep. Good book day, feel guilty.

Day Four: Hang out with M some more. Show/talk to people about the book. Chit Chat. She calls this "media training." I am a little skeptical, however it is interesting to have these questions thrown at me. There starts to be similar questions. I start to refine, simplify, and make consistent my answers. I try the Milpitas Library and get referred to a central buyer. I try the Santa Clara library and manage to leave a sell sheet.

Day Five: During breakfast, my father-in-law has some kind of episode. Mommi, J and W take him to the hospital. He is admitted and hydrated. I spend most of the day worried and on the computer. We meet up with other family for dinner.

Day Six - Nine: Time spent with M, time spent at home on the computer. Preparing packets. Getting bookmarks made for school visits. Mostly waiting for the DARN BOOKS to arrive.

Day Ten: School reading at Challenger School. My sister-in-law works there as kinder teacher and got me in for all the kinder classes. My first reading for native English speakers. I got to do it for two groups (one of 3 classes, one of 2 classes). It goes well. They like it. I learn some things about how to do it better. First grade is run by different principal. I have my sister-in-law introduce and we ask if I can just try to read a book to a first grade class to see the difference. The principal is looking for a way to say no. It's late. It's almost the end of day/week/year. It's unannounced. I ask if he wants to see the book. He begrudgingly accepts, and flips through. He says, "I see nothing objectionable here." Then it dawns on him that I am the writer. His whole attitude changes. "Let's go see if we can get you in." It felt good. I am glad I did it. First grade is different.

Day ELEVEN: Books FINALLY arrive. Now we are off to the races.

Day Twelve - Sixteen: A total madhouse. Busy Busy Busy. I can no longer recall what I did on what days. I stuff envelopes for award submissions. I stuff envelopes for reviews. I spend time and a small fortune at the local post office. I visit many, many stores, libraries. Some successes, some lukewarm, some not so good. More on that another time. I do another school reading at Stocklmeir Kinders. I spend time with my friend. I spend time with my family. I shop for the essentials to take back to Costa Rica (toys for the kids, replenish my paperback stack, new underwear for everyone - yippee).

Day Seventeen: I pack until midnight and am up by 3am for my flight. I get home exhausted, but without event. And I got to watch 28 dresses on the plane. By myself.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blogging You

I have been back in Costa Rica for over a week. When I left, I had a long list of things I wanted to write about here. I had energy to write. I had a passion to write.

While in California, I thought of new topics to write about. I also have lots to tell about my reaction to California after being away, and all the details of the HMFAAT trip, which was very busy and pretty darn successful for a first go around.

Then I got home. And I got lax. And I got caught up in other things, like unpacking, arguing with my husband (remember he was alone with three kids - ages 2, 4 6 (no 8) - but who do we appreciate - DAD! umm I didn't remember that), getting the kids through the last week of school, responding to many emails that were lying neglected in my in box, straightening up, and just in general...life.

I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for writing this blog. I seem to have lost my momentum for book promotion. I need to get both those things back.

So I must apologize for not writing sooner, but it kind of feels like this. I am sure you have all done this before. It is like when you have a friend you are supposed to call. But you get busy. And you don't. Then something bad happens and you need to call. But you aren't sure what to say. And you don't. Then you figure you have to let some time pass so you don't look like an idiot for not calling when you knew what was happening, so you can play dumb or ignore it. And you don't call a little longer. Then it has been really long and you are afraid to call, I mean what do you say? Are you even still friends? I mean she didn't call you either, right?

I promise I will blog again soon. Really.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

It has been a whirl-wind since the books arrived. I am in California for another two days and it shows no sign of slowing down. Somewhere in this crazy mess I need to get gifts for the kids and pack.

Today I am going into a local Cupertino elementary school to read the book. To about 175 kinders. Only a little nervous.

So much to tell you that I have been up to. But it will have to wait until the CA time is over, because pounding the pavement is what it is all about.

But, I am supposed to have six (count them...six) hours in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport to layover. If I am not dozing in a corner, I will be writing about what has happened. The good and the bad....

Wish me luck today.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Haiku Friday - They're Here!!

Haiku Friday
Many false starts AND
A miscommunication
AND NOW WE HAVE BOOKS!

It was a little dicey for a while. Kept waiting for the call. Then they tried to deliver EVERYTHING to the house, (2/3 or shipment is to go to a warehouse in New Hampshire). But now we have it somewhat straightened out. And we have BOOKS!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Waldo

If you loved Robert Ludlumn's books. If you like Matt Damon. If you have found memories of finding Waldo. This is for you...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Barry BDAY

SUPRISE BIRTHDAY BOY!


He Looks Suprised, huh?
Here's a video of what he lets the kids get away with. Dad? Toy? Jungle Gym?



So I wanted to put together some photos of you and what you mean to our family. Hard to find too many photos of you. Usually you are acting wacky, climbing a tree, getting bit by an exotic bird, or hanging with the kids. Anyway, a look back:



Just wanted to let you know you remain one of my most favorite people and I love you. Hope you have a good birthday and remember how much I love you.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I am really a writer?

This weekend I was visiting friends and of course I was showing off my new baby book. I wound up speaking with a 13 year old nephew. A boy I haven't seen since he was about 4! It made me feel old. It also impressed me. He is growing up to be an articulate, intelligent, and kind person. Bravo.

But now to the point. He asked me a question. A question that took me back a little at first. A question I had to think about how to answer. A question that made me think about the question itself. A question that I had better figure out how to answer.

It started like this:
"As a writer......"

As a writer? Am I really a writer. Why yes I am. And I better learn to own that.

The question went on to as such:
"As a writer, what do you think is the most important part of writing for kids?"

I blathered on about the kids as heroes thing. I mean I spoke clearly on the topic of writing for children.

So already this blog has paid off. I may only have three readers. I may not be able to even get my family to follow along. BUT I can answer a question on the spot. About what I do. About being a writer. About me.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My New Look

So Day ONE of Operation HMFAAT was for beautifying myself. Here's the result:



This shot doesn't show the hair the best, but look at those brows and the Momitude.

Remember - this was done by a professional and should not be attempted at home.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Operation HMFAAT - Reminder what it is all about

This is the first time I have left my kids for an extended period of time by choice. Sure I have had those relaxing spa-like long weekends at the hospital when I was popping out the next little bugger. But I am not sure that those count. I also had one overnight with my husband on an anniversary. And there was one writer’s conference that I got to attend. Things felt a little strage, so as soon as I arrived I took the old pregnancy test and learned that #3 was on the way. That changed my head for that relaxing time away.

So this is really the first time that I have been AWAY. It is exciting. It is guilt-ridden. It is exciting.

I will be away for over two weeks. First day back and I will be getting beautified – hair and a quick tweeze. Then I am turning to book stuff. Some administrative issues: set up to take taxes, banking, shipping supplies. Some marketing stuff: visit stores, libraries, send out review packages and award submissions. Some fun stuff: school visit, media training, and visits to friends. I worry that I have planned too much time. I worry that I have not figured enough time. I am sure that it will work out.

But no partying – I will be staying with Bars Parents.

 
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