Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Amazon and Publishing's Ecosystem

If you haven't seen this article yet, it's worth a read. Depressing yes, but lays out how Amazon has influenced publishing in clear terms. I knew they were a threat to brick and mortar booksellers, we all know that, but I didn't realize to what degree.

On a side note, the article says there are a mere 1500 independent booksellers left in this country. So finite! That just makes me want to cry.

Monday, January 30, 2012

NY SCBWI conference

This past weekend I spoke at three different break-out sessions at the NY SCBWI conference on "Narrative Fiction". As I said during my speech, I was a little perplexed about the topic, but decided to focus on the three aspects of the narrative I felt were the most important: 1) narrative voice, 2) structure, and 3) plot. I basically summarized options and gave some examples, and some things to think about when choosing your narrative voice and structure. For the plot section, I talked about Libby's post about plot from last Fall, which I had always really liked, and read a few of her plot summaries and had attendees guess the book, which was fun. For a great write-up of my session, check out the SCBWI blog here. (that's where I borrowed this picture from)

I also participated in the GLBTQ&A session, where we discussed the market for GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) literature. It was a wonderful discussion led by my buddy Lee Wind who I met at the Nevada SCBWI conference. Also participating was author Ellen Hopkins, agent Jennifer Laughran, and my former colleague T.S. Ferguson who is now an Associate Editor at Harlequin Teen. One disheartening thing we discussed was that even though T.S, Jenn, and I have all stated that we're open to and looking for submissions with GLBTQ characters and content, the truth is that less that 5% of the submissions we receive fall in that category (Jenn originally estimated just 1%). We discussed the fear that writers have for writing outside their own experience, and one writer very aptly said something to the effect of, "I don't live in a dystopian world, yet people don't criticize writers for writing about that kind of world." We encouraged writers to write outside of their own experiences, but to do so sensitively, and when in doubt, make sure to get beta readers who may be more intimately familiar with the content.

We capped off the night with some Karaoke (of course). It was a wonderful day, and I had fun making new friends, seeing some familiar faces, and talking books! (although considering the three-hour nap I took in the middle of the day on Sunday, I was pretty worn out.) But, I would highly recommend the NY SCBWI conference for writers of all levels. The keynote speeches are always wonderful, the break-out sessions enlightening (I hope!), and it's also a great networking opportunity to meet editors, agents, authors, and illustrators of all different levels.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Books and money

Someone made a comment on Meghan's post yesterday that she was concerned not so much about the awards, but about "limitations that are put on new artists and authors BEFORE their work goes into print."

Changing the rules of awards wouldn't change that, though it would change the lives of the (few more) people who won. Publishing is moving more towards books the publishers think will sell large numbers of copies. For those of us who don't write those books (though to be optimistic -- who can ever really predict which books they are?), awards have huge financial consequences. Unless we win a major one, we can't make a living from our books. We have to work at other things if we and we alone are responsible for supporting ourselves.

Yes, it would be nice to win a big, life-changing award (when THE PENDERWICKS won, the author was able to buy a house for the first time in her life!) and live on advances and royalties. Who wouldn't love it?

But if you're a published author, is not being able to support yourself from writing really that bad? Anyone who is passionate, disciplined, and creative enough to illustrate or write books can think of other ways to earn money and make them work. Yes, it takes some time and energy away from books; and for most of us there isn't as much money in it as there would be in a "good" full-time job -- but it gives you more freedom than a full-time job does.

Maybe working at other things is even good for writing in the long run? Unless we have something to pull us out into the world, for many introverts (and most writers I know are introverts! Most illustrators too for that matter!) it's all too easy to stay home, do your writing, and only see a small number of people. And what do you have to write about if you spend your life doing that? Most novelists whose work has lasted were intensely engaged in the world in some way -- sometimes in really fascinating ways (Somerset Maughm and John Le Carre both worked for British intelligence, to name just two).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012



I suggested this on my blog and now I'll do it here. We'll see how it goes. Here's my thought: What if a person could only win an honor or win twice or three times - I think twice would be enough actually. Then this would leave room for new artists to win instead of the same people winning over and over again. This is not a comment on the winners' talents or anything like that... I just think the awards would be more vibrant and fun if there was a limit.

What do you think?

Happy Chinese New Year and Thanks for Coming!

Phew! I made it!

It's the Chinese New Year, which means I had my Dumpling Days Book Launch! If you haven't noticed, my postings on this blog have been a bit spare lately. That is because every spare moment has been used to make over 100 Pocket Pacys:

the two large pocket pacys are the special "winning" ones;  the people who got them won an original piece of art at the book launch

These are the special edition Pocket Pacys I did just for the launch. They are all wearing pink dresses because in Dumpling Days, the three sisters are forced to wear matching pink dresses when they travel to Taiwan (to make it easier for their mother to keep her eye on them). This is based on a real-life experience:

We put one of each of these  Pocket Pacys in the booklaunch goodie bags, along with a red envelope that had a special URL to download exclusive deleted chapters and a dumpling recipe card. Because the Pocket Pacys were a bit time-consuming + having even less time then usual (work, visits + Rain Dragon!), I wasn't able to bake special cupcakes this time around. In fact, the baking had to be given up altogether and replaced with Japanese gummy candies.

And after assembling 100 bags (much thanks to my sister, niece & Sasquatch) I was a little worried to wake  up on book launch day to snow. The most snow we've had all winter! Would people come?

Yes, they did!

I talked a bit incoherently--I did not prepare my talk as well as I would've liked (those Pocket Pacys took a long time!) and I admit I am more self-conscious than usual with my baby bump:

But it was lovely to meet so many of you! I think most people liked the Pocket Pacys so making them was definitely worth it! I hope to see many Pocket Pacy travel photos in the future!

Thanks so much for coming! Happy Year of the Dragon to all!

PS--Congrats to all the ALA Media Award Winners! Glad to see some of my favorites made the list!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It shows up

I've been back at writing regularly post-baby for a few weeks and feeling frustrated that it's taking so long to get in the flow. I feel like I've been writing and writing, but not getting anything done. Now this is not the first work I've done since I had Tilly a little over a year ago, but it's the first time we've had a babysitter. So I've had concentrated amounts of time to focus, which is totally different. I've been so anxious to get to this point, it feels like there is a big bubbling pot of ideas that will explode if I don't give it a way out.

But then there is the terror of that big blank screen. And as I said above, miles and miles of writing that seem to go nowhere. So I was chatting with Libby and she said, "don't worry, if you keep showing up, the work will show up." I've repeated that to myself several times in the past week and decided to just show up. It's all I can do to get back on track and it's what I have to do. So I have. And then, last Thursday, it showed up. I got so lost in writing that I barely noticed the baby coos and shrieks of excitement coming from downstairs. The hours flew by. And now I remember how it feels, and why I needed to get back here.

Even if my career goes in a very different direction now that I'm a mom, I'm committed to showing up and seeing what happens.

(Graphic from Ben Silbermann, the founder of Pinterest, photo by A Practical Wedding)

Monday, January 23, 2012

The results are in!

Newbery Medal:

“Dead End in Norvelt,” written by Jack Gantos, is the 2012 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Farrar Straus Giroux.

Two Newbery Honor Books also were named: "Inside Out & Back Again," written by Thanhha Lai and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers; and "Breaking Stalin’s Nose,” written and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, and published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

Caldecott Medal:

“A Ball for Daisy," illustrated and written by Chris Raschka, is the 2012 Caldecott Medal winner. The book is published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Three Caldecott Honor Books also were named: “Blackout,” illustrated and written by John Rocco, and published by Disney · Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group; "Grandpa Green" illustrated and written by Lane Smith, and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership; and “Me … Jane,” illustrated and written by Patrick McDonnell, and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Michael L. Printz Award:

“Where Things Come Back,” written by John Corey Whaley, is the 2012 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

“Why We Broke Up,” written by Daniel Handler, art by Maira Kalman and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group; “The Returning,” written by Christine Hinwood and published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group Young Readers Group USA; “Jasper Jones,” written by Craig Silvey and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.; and “The Scorpio Races,” written by Maggie Stiefvater and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.

Coretta Scott King (Author):

Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans,” is the King Author Book winner. The book is published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Two King Author Honor Book recipients were selected: Eloise Greenfield, author of “The Great Migration: Journey to the North,” illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist and published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; and Patricia C. McKissack, author of “Never Forgotten,” illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon and published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:

Shane W. Evans, illustrator and author of “Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom,” is the King Illustrator Book winner. The book is a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership.

One King Illustrator Honor Book recipient was selected: Kadir Nelson, illustrator and author of “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans,” published by Balzar + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

See the rest here. Congrats everyone!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

from the BRG archives: Does anyone do both brilliantly?

Quite often when adults hear that I write for children their first question is,
“Are you going to write an adult novel?”
This is always said very nicely, even eagerly, or in a slightly encouraging tone – as though children’s books are training wheels for the real thing.

I thought it was just something about me – but on NPR a few days ago Katherine Paterson said that people often asked her that, too. Why do people do this? Obviously, they think it's easier to write for children -- but do they realize how insulting the question is? That it implies that people only write for kids because they aren’t good enough (yet is often implied, too -- that's where the encouraging tone comes in) to write for grown-ups?

It’s not easy to write ANYTHING good – but I don’t think the age group that you’re writing for has anything to do with a book’s difficulty. It just takes a different kind of talent, or set of interests – and if anyone doubts this, think of how few people there are who have written great children’s books AND great adult novels. I really can’t think of anyone!

The closest is probably C.S. Lewis – I at least really like That Hideous Strength and Out of the Silent Planet; but are these books as good as the Narnia books? Louisa May Alcott and E.Nesbit both wrote trashy books for grown-ups, I’ve never been able to even finish any of them, and I’ve read their kids books over and over and over.

If you think this just proves the point that kids books are easier: Thurber's adult stories make me laugh (and still are read in literature classes), but I don't think anyone would still read the book about the Princess who wanted the moon(Many Moons ) if it weren't for the great illustrations. And Dickens and Thackeray would be out of print today if their children's books were their only books.

Robert Louis Stevenson did write for adults, and actually, some of his adult stories are pretty amazing (if you like well-written, well-plotted adventure stories) – but are they as good as the best poems in A Child’s Garden of Verses? I don’t think so. If you count YA, then I can think of one person: F.Scott Fitzgerald. His Basil and Josephine stories still make me laugh out loud. I especially love the ones about the ten-year old, totally obnoxious Basil (based on Fitzgerald himself), with his best friend who – no matter how crazy and impossible Basil’s ideas were -- responded to each one with an immediate:
“Let’s do it!”

But those aren’t BOOKS. Maybe there are people who write brilliantly for both age groups that I just haven’t read. If you can think of any, please put them in the comments! And another question: what do YOU say when adults ask if you’re going to write for adults? I usually just mumble no. No child has ever asked that question, by the way: they just say “Have you written any other books?” and of course, “other books” means – for kids. As it should.

Originally published February 24th, 2007

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Proof! Reading fiction makes you smarter!

I've argued sometimes with friends who think novel-reading is a waste of time that reading makes you more empathetic. People who can't imagine how someone else feels on their own, or in a social situation, CAN when they read a novel, in which all the clues are laid out for them.

Now there is scientific proof that this is so! In fact, some social scientists have gone father and said that reading fiction makes you smarter.

readingfiction makes you smarter (STAR)

reading fiction hones social skills (SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND)

Also too (as Sara Palin would say), great artists have great insight -- even Freud said that his theories had been known to "great artists" for hundreds of years. Do you remember the scene in Emma in which Mr.Woodhouse keeps telling his son-in-law what his, Mr. Woodhouses's, doctor thinks the son-in-law should have done -- until finally Mr.Knightley loses his temper?

Jane Austen then says that Mr.Woodhouse had been "unconsciously attributing his own feelings" to the doctor.

Though it's true that Jane Austen also once described somebody reading "the sort of novel that makes people think reading novels is a waste of time."

So maybe it has to be a good book for the magic (or science) to work?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Happy New Year (belated)

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted...my apologies for the silence. I would say that I've made a New Year's resolution to blog more regularly, but it hasn't worked for me the last few years, so I've decided not to resolve that for once and will see if THAT works.

At any rate, regular readers of this blog and pretty much everyone who knows me (and even those who don't) know that I'm very much into making New Year's resolutions. Let's see how I did last year. My 2011 resolutions and results (in blue) were:

-Don't stay in the office past 9 pm, and if I do stay until 9, no more than twice a week
I believe I stayed past 9 pm 2 or 3 times last year, and not TOO much past 9, so all in all, I would say that I did well with this one.
-Have my work email inbox at 20 or under at the end of each day I'm in the office
I was an absolute FAILURE with this one. Was overwhelmed by my inbox last year.
-Achieve Inbox Zero at least once a month
-Read an average of 1.5 published books per month
Yes! I read many more published books last year.
-Do more cultural activities (shows, museums, etc.)
Um, nope.
-get 4,000+ followers on Twitter (follow me! @planetalvina)
Yes! I surpassed 5,000 followers by the end of the year.
-post on bloomabilities at least once a month (I actually have a new post up now. And yes, I know I resolve this one every year and fail...but hey, it's a new year!)
-clean my office (and apartment) a little bit once a week
I think I can safely say that I achieved this very modest goal. Love the "little bit" part.
-de-clutter my apt and office
I moved offices, and so completely decluttered at work. Not so much at home.
-focus on acquiring Middle Grade and picture books--acquire at least two projects in each genre
Well, my focus shifted in May, but if you count the two MG novels I co-acquired with my assistant Bethany, I'd say I achieved this one! 

Here are a few pie-in-sky goals that I didn't have much (if any) control over:
-Have five of the books I've edited become NY Times bestsellers
No, but I had three! The paperback of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown, and the paperback of The Candymakers by Wendy Mass all hit the list.
-Have the books I edit collectively get at least 25 starred reviews
I believe my total was closer to 15 stars.
-Win an award for books I've edited in every category: picture book, early reader, MG, and YA
At ALA Midwinter last year, I achieved this for every category with the exception of MG. I never did end up winning a MG award--but hey, I can't complain!

So for my first blog post of 2012, here are my resolutions (personal and work-related), a few carried over from last year:

-Get rid of at least 365 items (includes clothes, books, etc.) (Libby came up with this one, and I liked it so much I've adopted it, too.)
-Have fun at my wedding and don’t stress too much about the planning
-Work on better posture!
-Learn more about how the business and financials of publishing works
-Don’t stay past 9 pm in the office EVER
-Achieve Inbox Zero at least once a month
-Get at least 8,000 followers on Twitter (follow me! @planetalvina)

And what the heck, I'll repeat my "dreams" from last year:
-Have five of the books I've edited become NY Times bestsellers
-Have the books I edit collectively get at least 25 starred reviews
-Win an award for books I've edited in every category: picture book, MG, and YA (I have to take out early reader this year, since I haven't published any since Ling & Ting!)

Meghan already shared some of her resolutions--what are some of yours? Any good ones I can appropriate for myself? :)


I'm heading to Dallas at the end of the week for the ALA Midwinter conference. Award announcements happen a week from tomorrow. My company had a great showing last year and the year before, and so I'm feeling pretty Zen about things this year. Of course, we have some hopes as a company, but it's out of our control now, so que sera! If you'll be in Dallas, I hope to see you there!

I'll also be speaking at the NY SCBWI conference on "Narrative Fiction" at the end of the month. I'll be at the VIP Cocktail party and the Kidlit Drinks night on Friday, January 27th. All are welcome to the latter, so if you're in town, hope to see you there! As a refresher, check out my post from last January, "How to Mingle at Publishing Events." The info:
  • When: Friday, January 27th, starting at 8pm. We'll have the space until around 11pm. 
  • Where: Public House (http://www.publichousenyc.com/) on East 41st Street, between Lexington and Third. For non-NYCers in town for the conference, this is one block south and half a block east of the Grand Hyatt.
Happy 2012, all!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

don't Forget!!

The Dumpling Days Book Launch is this Saturday, at 1 pm EST (not PT).

You do NOT need a ticket to come. Please tell your friends and family! The more the merrier!

I've been mad at work preparing for it and I have a sneaking suspicion that this will be the last book launch that I do. My publisher has been talking about sending me on tour for "Starry River of the Sky" (which will come out in October) and with Rain Dragon coming, I think my time for planning big parties with elaborate goodie bags might be over.  So, I'm trying to make this one a good one (I've made over 100 pocket pacys!) and I hope everyone comes!

Friday, January 13, 2012

2011 Cybils Finalists Announced!

The 2011 Cybils Finalists were announced on New Year’s Day. I was away in the White Mountains of New Hampshire celebrating with friends and wasn’t able to post anything because I had no Internet access. Then it was off to my daughter's to provide "nanny granny" services. I'm finding it difficult to post as frequently at Blue Rose Girls and at Wild Rose Reader because I spend so much time away from home taking care of my granddaughter. I hope I'll be able to get into a better blogging routine in the near future. That said, I LOVE taking care of little Julia Anna. She is the sunshine of my life!

Here is a picture that I took of Julia with my 93-year-old mother on Christmas Eve.
Here is a picture of Julia on Christmas Day.

Here are a few more pictures that I took of my little darlin' recently.

You’ll find links to the titles of the 2011 Cybils finalists in all the categories here.

Once again, I served as a first round poetry judge. Click here to read descriptions of the six poetry books that we selected as finalists.

The 2011 Cybils Poetry Finalists
Cousins of Clouds: Elephant Poems by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

Dear Hot Dog by Mordicai Gerstein

Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O’Connell George

Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto by Paul B. Janeczko

Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers: The Life of Marc Chagall in Verse
by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen
We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart by Walter Dean Myers
Over at Wild Rose Reader today, I posted an original fairy tale poem written in the form of a FAX from Cinderella to Prince Charming. Click here to read it.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Writing a best seller

I've heard of three people who set out to write best-sellers and actually did: Ian Fleming, Robin Cook -- a doctor who measured his own pulse as he read best-sellers to see where it rose, and now, Amanda Hocking.

Amanda Hocking, according to that interview on NPR, had written about twenty novels, but was unable to get them published -- she thought maybe she was writing the wrong kind of book. So she went to Walmart and studied the best-sellers to see what sold well that she would be good at and enjoy writing. She came up with para-normal romance and has now joined that small group of authors whose books have sold over a million copies.

The analysis she did, I'm guessing, was only one (fairly small but maybe important?) part of her success. She sounded like a born storyteller--and certainly a hard, hard worker.

But the idea of taking that realistic look at what's selling and matching it up with your own writing strengths sounds like a really good one to me!

Even if most of us did that, we might not sell that many copies--I think to do that, you need to be not only gifted when it comes to creating characters people really care about and coming up with stories that keep readers turning the pages (those seem to be the main thing books that have sold super-well over time have going for them) but be lucky with your timing. It seems to me though that her analysis took some of the luck out of that: she didn't just keep writing -- she matched her strengths to the market and I think that was smart.

BEST SELLING BOOKS OF ALL TIME (impossible to know for sure--this is just one person's guess/estimate)

The Daily Telegraph's List

Etsy re-launch

It's been exactly one week since I've begun having official office hours again. It's been so great to be able to focus without distraction while little Tilda plays happily with her babysitter downstairs. Already I have gotten more done in the past week than in the past six months. Phew! One of the first things I had hoped to cross off my lengthy to-do list was a re-launch of my Etsy store. I've just filled it up with bunches of new prints from nearly all of my books for your shopping pleasure. Take a peek and let me know what you think! Below are a few of the my favorites...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

from the BRG archives: down to the cupcake level

This is an attempted group photo we blue rose girls tried to take of ourselves this weekend. The goal was to "take a picture with all of us and the cupcakes."

I made the cupcakes. Before I made them, I had grandiose schemes of piping professional-looking blue roses, awing everyone with my culinary expertise. However, as I began the attempt, I realized frosting roses were beyond my capabilities so down-graded to simple blue flowers. Yet, even trying to create the "simple" flowers was a challenge--the frosting was too soft, my kitchen too warm, my control was shaky and my time was limited. I remember being distinctly disapointed, feeling that my blue flowers resembled ameoba-like blue octopi. Yet, when I brought them to our blue rose girls weekend, it seemed as if everyone loved them and even I had to admit they were delicious. So, in the end, a nice warm sense of pride filled me.

And I realized, that is the epitome of my creative process. I always begin with dreams of creating a literary masterpiece; and, when faced by my own limitations, realize I can only do the best of my ability, which always seems to falls short. However, despite its flaws, it still finds ways of pleasing its audience; and even I appreciate what I've accomplished. And, in the end, I am proud of my creation.

But this weekend I realized one more thing. Perhaps all those imperfections are not flaws. Perhaps, like our failed, imperfect group photo, those are the things that make me love it even more.

Originally published September 25th, 2006

Thursday, January 05, 2012


People always have ones and I never do. I always just try my best to do what I can do. This year, however, I have a few.

1) to go back to publishing 2 books instead of 1. I've been feeling better these days (knock on wood) so I think I can do it. I still have my ups and downs but the downs seem manageable.

2) to publish my bully project

3) to figure out how to make my electricity graphic novel - maybe not graphic novel - idea happen once and for all

4) to be a neater more organized person. I AM organized when I want to be (kind of OCD in fact)... but only in certain parts of my life - can I stop losing my keys and dropping things and being a mess? We shall see.

5) to go to the gym more consistently

6) to post on the fireside chat more often

I could make this list longer but that's enough.

odds and ends

I'm getting more and more excited for the Dumpling Days Book launch! Though, unfortunately, my attempt to get a headcount using tickets is not working so well. Many enthusiastic young fans from places like Florida and California misunderstood that this was for an actual event and signed up for numerous tickets and I don't know how to adjust the ticket availability. So, even though it says tickets are sold out, please still come!

I plan to make extra goodie bags, just in case! Because of the limited quantity, goodie bags will be given to children first, adult ticket holders second, and everyone else after. Thank you for your understanding.

In the meantime, I've been enjoying  reviews of Dumpling Days!  At Jama's Alphabet Soup, there is particularly delicious one! Yum!

And recently, the LM Montgomery Society interviewed me for their Shining Scroll newsletter. Just in case you aren't familiar with the name, LM Montgomery* is the author of Anne of Green Gables, maybe my favorite book of all time. Needless to say, I was honored to be a part of it! Here is an excerpt:

As you continue to write, do you notice any other opportunities to return to Montgomery for inspiration?
From a technical standpoint, I continue to look at her writing as inspiration for writing description (most recently, I've been studying how she writes sunsets) but her overall work and her thoughts as an author also inspire me.

A lot of children's/young adult books these days are "dark" and many feel as if that gives them more weight and seriousness. So every once and a while, I'll worry if my work is not dark enough. But then I will think of the Anne books and Montgomery herself, who (in response to reviews of her work) wrote, "..one which sneered at my ‘sentiment.’ The attitude of some English critics towards anything that savors of sentiment amuses me. It is to them as the proverbial red rag to a bull. They are very silly. Can’t they see that civilization is founded on and held together by sentiment? Passion is transient and quite as often destructive as not. Sentiment remains and binds."

And I will remember that a book with a true heart is the one most worth writing.

You can read the rest HERE!

*Lucy Maud Montgomery is such a favorite author of mine we were considering naming Rain Dragon Maud. Then, we realized that with my last name, she would be Maud Lin....maudlin...we'd have to have her room Edward Gorey-themed...

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Montague Bookmill

Happy new year all! This New Year's Eve we ventured out to a cozy spot I've been wanting to explore for awhile, The Montague Bookmill. I'd been spotting bumper stickers around town that said "books you don't need in a place you can't find", so naturally I was intrigued. The place lived up to it's great tag line.

Montague is an adorable little town tucked away on the Sawmill River. The old mill building turned book store/restaurant/art gallery is just what you'd expect; gorgeous exposed wood beams, giant windows looking out over the rapids, and great little architectural details all over the place.

We had brunch in The Lady Killigrew Cafe overlooking the water.

After brunch we explored the book store with it's large stacks and little reading nooks tucked away all over the place.

I picked up a new title by friend Leo Landry, can't wait to read it to Tilly when she's older.

She couldn't wait to get home to start reading.

I wonder who she takes after.

On our way out we went by The Night Kitchen Restaurant. They were closed but we're excited to check it out on our next visit!