Writing quote

Sure, it's simple writing for kids...Just as simple as raising them.
— Ursula K. LeGuin

Sunday, September 25, 2011


   Just got an email today from the director of the Short+Sweet Festival Singapore that my ten-minute play, "Offing the Witness" has been selected for their 2011 festival. The festival runs the first two weekends in December, so unfortunately, I won't be able to see it. Besides, I was just in that part of the world, so even if I was available, probably wouldn't incur the expense to fly out there.
   However, I've passed it along to my family, and they in turn have passed it along to Singapore relatives/connections. It's also close enough to Kuala Lumpur that my Mom said she might head down to Singapore to see it. 
   I'm hoping that I'll get a taping of it so I can post it here. 
   I'll be posting updated show times when I get them. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


   Beautiful day at the Sonoma Book Fair today! Last year, it was blistering hot at this event. We had a good spot under a shady tree, but I felt sorry for those who appeared to be sweltering in the heat. This year, though, it was so cool and breezy that I had to keep my sweater on most of the day.
   Goosebottom Books shared a booth with K.O. Books, the publishing imprint of author/illustrator, Kathryn Otoshi, the author of the popular One and Zero books, and publisher of our very own goose, Liz Hockinson's (Marie Antoinette, Madame Deficit) first book, Marcello, The Movie Mouse. Dastardly Dame Goose, Mary Fisk Pack (Cleopatra, Serpent of the Nile) arrived in full Cleopatra garb and looked absolutely fab. Cleopatra was definitely our big seller today!
   At noon, I headed to the Redwood Writer's Circle where I got to set up at a book-signing table. Not much in terms of sales there, but I had fun chatting with the two writers at the tables next to me. I did sell one Otto's Rainy Day though. Ah well. One is better than none.
   Mary and Liz did a reading of their books at the children's circle. It was very fun to listen to. Great job, Lady Geese!
   I think overall, Goosebottom Books had a decent day in sales, and we all had fun wallowing in the literary atmosphere.

Monday, September 12, 2011


   This retreat is always such a "treat". Since March, when I stayed the extra Thursday night for the first time, I've decided to stay the three nights whenever I can. It makes a huge difference having that additional day to write uninterrupted, and it doesn't feel as rushed. It's hard to get much writing done on the first day because I'm trying to get settled in, and I'm tired from the drive. So, it's nice to get two whole days of writing time in. 
   This time I was scrambling trying to complete my picture book manuscript so I could send it to the SCBWI Fall conference for the manuscript critique. But I was really stuck. This is why writers need conferences, workshops, and retreats like Green Gulch—you get to connect with other writers. YA novelist Lisa Schulman (her new book, League of Strays, is coming out in fall 2012 from Amulet Books/Harry N. Abrams) was in the room next to mine. She read my manuscript and offered many great insights, and ideas which got me unstuck enough to complete the manuscript, at least to the point where I could send it off for the manuscript critique.
   Lisa also read Cixi, The Dragon Empress, and came up with really good ideas to use in book readings and school visits, such as having a "secret box", like the emperor of China, in which I can have kids put their names, then draw out the "emperor" at the end of the event, and playing "telephone" with the kids (if the group is small) as a precursor to a talk about the effects of spreading rumors. Thank you, Lisa, and keep the ideas coming! If anyone else has great ideas for school visits, please post them here. I'd love to hear about them.
   As usual, we had a collection of wonderful writers, both frequent attendees of Green Gulch and new ones. We were a particularly chatty group, and there were many informal social gatherings in the atrium living room. The meals, usually stellar, was disappointing at times (some dishes were way too salty), but as always, I'm appreciative anytime someone else gets to cook.
   I set out copies of Cixi, The Dragon Empress, and postcards and flyers for the Oct. 8 book launch in Corte Madera. Everyone took a postcard, and quite a few said they would come, so I'm hoping we will get a good turnout at our big event.
   The rest of the time I worked on my Sacajawea manuscript. I checked in with home every night on Skype. Love Skype! So, I don't have to trudge in the dark anymore to the spooky phone booth tucked behind the Green Gulch Farm office. Brian juggled all the soccer schedules like a champ. He's such a wonderful, supportive husband when it comes to giving me my writing time. But he's a terrible first reader. Ah well...that's what writing friends are for.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


   My agent recently sent me another rejection for my picture book manuscript, but no word yet from about 8 other editors we've sent it to. Well, I guess I can take solace in the fact that Charlesbridge Publishing hasn't outright rejected it yet. It's still sitting with them, and hopefully will go back to acquisitions in the fall for another round of discussions. 
   For all of you who've been in the same boat—the Black Hole of publishing, waiting for what seems like eternity for responses that may or may not come, collecting countless rejections, just remember that perseverance is the Name of the Game. And does reap rewards—sometimes big ones.
   Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, received 60 rejections from agents before  agent Susan Ramer took her on, and sold it to a publisher three weeks later. Read her story here. It became a bestseller and now a movie.
   Here's another one of my favorite articles about famous writers who have been rejected: http://www.examiner.com/book-in-national/30-famous-authors-whose-works-were-rejected-repeatedly-and-sometimes-rudely-by-publishers.
   So don't despair, don't give up, believe in yourself, your story, and good things will come. Most importantly, keep writing!