Saturday, April 30, 2011

i love independent bookstores!

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is still on the Indie Bestseller List! And it's moved up from #9 to #6!

The number 6 is also a lucky number in Chinese culture. It is a homonym for the word smooth or easy, which hopefully means the rise of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon on the list will be smooth and easy, too!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Two Original Acrostic Poems about the Month of May

So sorry that I'm late posting this last Poetry Friday of National Poetry Month. I was busy this morning finishing my Wild Rose Reader post about Janet Wong's poetry book The Rainbow Hand: Poems About Mothers and Children, which would make a perfect Mother's Day gift. Then I had a hair appointment. After that I visited with my mother. I wanted to take her out into the sunshine and fresh air because it's such a beautiful day here--and we haven't had too many days like this since spring began.

I have too acrostics for you about the month of May. The first is from an unpublished poetry collection that I wrote titled Spring into Words: A Season in Acrostics. I wrote the second acrostic in my head while I was driving in my car earlier today.

Me? I’m the month when spring is in full swing...when the sun batters up

And hits a homerun nearly every day…when

You find summer in the bullpen warming up.

Melts the cool green of

April into rivers of

Yellow sunlight

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at The Opposite of Indifference.

Thursday, April 28, 2011




Last week the New York State Supreme Court, New York County, dismissed all claims in a million dollar lawsuit brought by the Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) against the Illustrators' Partnership of America (IPA) and five named individuals.

In the lawsuit, GAG asserted claims for defamation and interference with contractual relations, alleging that IPA had interfered with a "business relationship" GAG had entered into that enabled GAG to collect orphaned reprographic royalties derived from the licensing of illustrators' work. GAG alleged that efforts by IPA to create a collecting society to return lost royalties to artists "interfered" with GAG's "business" of appropriating these orphaned fees.

In her decision, Judge Debra James ruled that statements made by the Illustrators' Partnership and the other defendants were true; that true statements cannot be defamatory; that illustrators have a "common interest" in orphaned income; and that a "common-interest privilege" may arise from both a right and a duty to convey relevant information, however contentious, to others who share that interest or duty.

Regarding a key statement at issue in the lawsuit: that GAG had taken over one and a half million dollars of illustrators' royalties "surreptitiously," the judge wrote:

"Inasmuch as the statement [by IPA] was true, [GAG]'s claim cannot rest on allegations of a reckless disregard of whether it was false or not. Truthful and accurate statements do not give rise to defamation liability concerns." (Emphasis added.)

And she noted:

"The plaintiff Guild has conceded that it received foreign reproductive royalties and that it does not distribute any of the money to artists."

Labor Department filings provided as evidence to the court document that between 2000 and 2007, GAG collected at least $1,581,667 in illustrators' reprographic royalties. GAG admitted to having collected similar royalties since 1996. GAG's officers have repeatedly refused to disclose how much money their organization has received to date or how the money has been spent.

The judge concluded that this situation justified an assertion of common interest by IPA. This means that "the party communicating [relevant information] has an interest or has a duty" to convey that information truthfully to others "having a corresponding interest or duty":

"The duty need not be a legal one, but only a moral or social duty. The parties need only have such a relation to each other as would support a reasonable ground for supposing an innocent motive for imparting the information. Here the plaintiff Guild's factual allegations demonstrate that the defendants' statements were both true, and fall within the parameters of the common-interest privilege." (Emphasis added.)

We hope this decision will end the two and a half years of litigation during which GAG pursued its claims against IPA and artists Brad Holland, Cynthia Turner and Ken Dubrowski of IPA, as well as attorney Bruce Lehman, former Commissioner of the US Patent Office and Terry Brown, Director Emeritus of the Society of Illustrators.

All defendants were participants in a public presentation sponsored February 21, 2008 by 12 illustrators organizations. The presentation was disrupted by GAG's officers and their attorney. A videotape of the event proves that statements which GAG alleged to be defamatory were made only in response to GAG's intervention, and that until that time, no speakers had mentioned GAG or GAG's longstanding appropriation of illustrators' royalties.

Last year, on January 12, 2010, Judge James issued a prior ruling dismissing nearly all of GAG's causes of action. This left only a claim asserted by GAG against Brad Holland. But in a response filed with the court February 4, 2010, attorney Jason Casero, serving as counsel for IPA, pointed out that GAG's remaining claim rested on an allegedly defamatory statement that Holland never made. When confronted with evidence, GAG was forced to admit it had "inadvertently attributed" the statement to Holland.

GAG subsequently filed new motions in an effort to revive its claims against IPA and the other defendants. Last summer the judge consolidated GAG's multiple motions and on April 18, 2011, she dismissed all ten causes of action against IPA and all the defendants.

GAG served the lawsuit on IPA October 10, 2008, seven days after Congress failed to pass the Orphan Works Act of 2008. The Illustrators' Partnership and 84 other creators' organizations opposed that legislation. GAG had lobbied for passage of the House version of the Orphan Works bill. Mandatory lobbying disclosures document that GAG spent nearly $200,000 in Orphan Works lobbying fees.

In our opinion, the issues behind the lawsuit are greater than whether an organization should be allowed to benefit from the millions of dollars that, collectively, illustrators are losing. We believe the reprographic rights issue is linked to both orphan works legislation and the Google Book Settlement, which Federal Judge Denny Chin dismissed on March 22, 2011.

Each of these developments involves an effort by third parties to define artists' work and/or royalties as orphaned property, and to assert the right, in the name of the public interest or class representation, to exploit that work commercially or to appropriate the royalties for use at their sole discretion. So far, judges have affirmed that copyright is an individual, not a collective right, and that unless one explicitly transfers that right, no business or organization can automatically acquire it by invoking an orphaned property premise. Now the challenge for artists will be to see that Congress does not pass legislation to permit what the courts have so far denied.

We'll have more to say about this issue in the future. For now we'd like to conclude by thanking our attorney Jason Casero, who provided us with a strong, incisive and heartfelt defense; his law firm, McDermott Will & Emery, which provided us with his services; the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of New York and its Director Elena Paul. We'd also like to thank Dan Vasconcellos, Richard Goldberg, and the over 700 artists and illustrators who in 2008 signed a petition asking GAG (unsuccessfully as it turned out) to drop the lawsuit; the support of so many colleagues was a great tonic at a low time. Finally we'd like to thank the representatives of the 12 organizations that comprise the American Society of Illustrators' Partnership (ASIP). ASIP is the coalition organization IPA incorporated in 2007 to act as a collecting society to return royalties to artists.

- Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner for the Board of the Illustrators' Partnership

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another Blue Rose visit

This week we had another delightful Blue Rose visit here in San Francisco, this time with Grace. She remembered to take many more pictures than I did (I've got some serious mama brain), but here are a few highlights.

On Monday we went into Chronicle Books.

We met with the lovely Melissa Manlove, who chatted with us about upcoming projects and gave us a tour of the incredible offices there (Melissa and Grace below).

The first floor has several retail spaces where you can check out their new titles.

I wish I got a picture of the clever way they displayed many of the books... they used reclaimed wood beams that looked like they were from nearby piers, turned on their ends, with books set on top. Maybe Grace got a picture? So cool. The offices were so modern and hip, it looked like a really fun place to go to work every day. They actually had a construction room with a sewing machine and other tools... it was sort of like an art school studio.

There were also celebrities just hanging out in some of the editor's cubes (can you spot Johnny Depp below?).

Then yesterday we packed up baby Tilda and headed to Chinatown.

We wandered through alleyways looking for a fortune cookie factory Grace read about (she'll have better pictures here too).

After a lovely lunch (not just fortune cookies, though they were delicious), we meandered into an amazing tea shop, filled floor to ceiling with a million kinds of tea.

We sat at the bar and were treated to samples of many exotic flavors by our host, who seemed to know everything there is to know about every tea in existence. We tried Chrysanthemum seed, Lychee, Jasmine Pearl, Ginseng, Coconut, and a sweet buttery tea that smelled like popcorn.

They even had a rose tea brewed using the entire blossom.

Though the fanciest of all was called Cloudy Mist Iron Goddess, it was $800 a pound! Personally I liked the Lychee better. But then I know nothing about tea.

Once we were nice and caffeinated, we headed over to the Embarcadero to the TCHO Chocolate factory. There we tried a "chocolate shot", it is something like drinking chocolate lava. YUM.

All in all a lovely, rejuvenating visit. Every time we have a new guest we get to be tourists in this town we've been staying in and see something new. Thanks for an inspiring visit Grace!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Informational Interviews

When I was trying to break into the publishing industry, I did a few informational interviews to find out more about publishing and to get advice about next steps. I found the experience to be invaluable, and now that I've "made it", I'm happy to give back and grant informational interviews when requested. I've been doing quite a few lately, and it inspired me to write a post about tips for how to make the most of your time.

-Confirm your meeting/phone call the day before. And be understanding if the meeting needs to be postponed or rescheduled.

-Come prepared with questions to ask, and don't be afraid to take notes. This shows me that you're prepared and serious about my time. Don't expect the person you're meeting with to ask all the questions. They're not interviewing you; this is an opportunity for you to ask questions that may help you in your quest to break into the industry and learn more.

-Research ahead of time. Google both the person you're interviewing and the industry you're trying to learn about. These days, you can find so much information about publishing online. Don't waste your time or the time of the person you're talking to. For example, if you Google me, my blogs come up, as well as the interview I did for the Career Cookbook. There, I talk all about how I got into publishing and the nature of the industry in general. I don't mind talking about these things again, but I'm always impressed when someone tells me (whether in an informational interview or actual interview) that they've read about me, and then ask a question that expands on what I've already said.

-Be professional and put you best foot forward. Even if you're not interviewing for a position, if you impress the person, they'll be sure to remember you and refer you to other jobs or keep you in mind when future openings arise.

-Show up on time, and take the person's lead as to when the meeting is over. It might be a good idea to ask the person how much time they have at the beginning of the interview.

-Send a thank you email or card afterward

Some potential questions to ask (again, don't ask these questions if you can already find the answers online/elsewhere):
-Do you like your job? Would you recommend this field?
-How did you break into this industry? How do people generally break into this field?
-When you're hiring people for XX position, what qualities do you look for most? or What qualities do you feel are most important for this field?
-What is your favorite aspect of your job? Your least favorite?
-What do you wish you could have known back when you were starting out?

-What is a typical workday like? What are you typical hours per week?

At the last informational interview I gave, the person brought me a little box of mini cupcakes as a way of thanking me for my time. Gifts are never expected (and I would strongly suggest NOT bringing a gift to an actual interview!), but I was actually quite touched/appreciative. Plus, they were delicious. However, in the past I've been sent a person's self-published book as a thank-you for my time, which gave me a bad taste in my mouth, because it made me feel that the person was a little disingenuous about asking for publishing career advice, when perhaps he really wanted an opportunity to share his writing with me.

How many of you have done informational interviews to break into your industry? Any other tips/suggested questions to ask?

Read more informational interviews tips/questions to ask here and here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

orchard house

I posted this on my personal blog but I thought BRG readers might be interested in it too. Because last week, I ventured out and saw something that has been long on my "to do" list. I went to Orchard House!

Orchard House? What is that, you ask? Does this help?

Yes, it was the home of Louisa May Alcott, the author of one of my most memorable childhood books, Little Women!

I live only 40 minutes away from this historical site, but until this spring I had never visited. Now I no longer have to hang my head in shame.

It was a great fun. I admit don't love Little Women as much as I love Anne of Green Gables (my trip to PEI does still rank a bit higher) but it was rather awe-inspiring to be walking through the same rooms where such classic literature had been written.

They didn't allow any photos to be taken in the house, but in the gift shop they did sell..Graces! To be honest, I'm not sure what these were, exactly.

And I did get to peek into the Concord School of Philosophy, established by Mr. Alcott who had some good ideas (like schools should have recess) and some wacky ones (like trying to exist on only plants that reached to the sky--so it went beyond vegan, no potatoes or carrots--the family had to almost starve before he gave that one up):
But of course it was Louisa May and the parallels of her life and Little Women that interested me the most. Our guide was quite knowledgeable and everything she told us was fascinating.

For example, all the characters of Little Women were based on Louisa May's family. However, she changed all the names (even her own for, of course Jo was based on herself) except for Beth. Beth had already died when Louisa wrote Little Women and she couldn't bear to write her differently. She wanted the character of Beth to be as exactly as she remembered her sister, name and all.

The other thing I found gratifying was the real life story of the character of Amy, based on Louisa's sister May. I've had issues with Amy, (probably because I felt she was the sister I had the most in common with) and it was nice to hear that all the money and effort that the family poured into May's art education was not in vain.

She never became a great master artist of her own name (the first edition of Little Women was illustrated by her but received negative reviews), but she was the teacher and the key reason that Daniel Chester French became an artist and sculptor. According to the guide, everyone thought Daniel Chester French was a loser but May stepped in and said he was an artist and taught him...the tools he used to sculpt Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial were the ones May Alcott gave to him.
Pretty neat, huh?

All in all, it was a great time and the perfect way to spend a spring day! Go if you have the chance.

Now I'm off to reread my copy of Little Women...

Friday, April 22, 2011


I loved this book as a kid because it taught me about color--how to mix colors, etc. Also, the colors themselves printed on the page were really vibrant and still are!

To see a lot more images from the book go here.

p.s - I loved her rose colored glasses.

CHICK CHATTER: An Original Mask Poem

Well, I finally figured out how to solve all the problems that I've been having with Blogger over the past few weeks. Yesterday, I changed a blog setting from "old editor" to "updated editor." That was all I needed to do! I wish I had figured it out sooner.

Today I have an animal mask poem. In Chick Chatter, a chick is talking from inside its shell. Poor thing is quite frustrated because it hasn't been able to hatch itself no matter how much pecking it has done.

I’m pecking, pecking
On this dome.
I’m cramped inside
My little home.
Can’t spread my wings,
Can’t run…or walk.
Can’t see the sun.
Can barely talk!
Oh, I’ve been pecking
Since last night.
This shell is really
Really tight!
I just can’t stand it
Oh where? Oh, where
Is my front door?!

©Elaine Magliaro, all rights reserved

At Wild Rose Reader, I have an original poem for Easter titled Marshmallow Chicks.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Book Aunt this week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


This week, I did a "detox" using juices from the amazing NYC vegan restaurant Blossom. I know these are not designed for weight loss, but to get rid of toxins -- but I *have* actually lost weight and feel lighter and brighter inside.

Those of you who have no issues with weight, read no further! This will sound crazy. Maybe it is. But for those few who do occasionally think about food and dieting, this little story may help -- and I'd love your insights, too. I don't think I would have been able to do this without a long conversation (over lunch, of course) with a friend.

The second day of a detox is apt to be really, really yucky -- headache, unable to think clearly, kind of weak, weepy.....detoxing has this affect on lots of people. At least if you believe in the mind body connection, it makes sense: you're releasing toxic emotions as well as things stored in your fat cells.

Be that as it may (and who knows if these things are even true?) I decided to think of this as a sign that a new start and a new me was on its way and use some of that "releasing" energy to get rid of stuff OUTSIDE of myself as well as inside: throw things away! Donate them! This had an energizing effect.

By Day 3 (the last of the detox), I was writing and doing lots of yoga -- though I admit to also thinking about food quite a lot, since I couldn't eat anything, only drink the juices. So, remembering the conversation about why I eat too much, I decided to use that day to plan meals and menus for the next week or so -- when I have healthy meals in the right portions READY, I eat sensibly.

But I hardly ever plan ahead enough. I run out of things. I make everything, always, from scratch -- there is no such thing as just eating something from a package or can or box in MY house. Plus I usually (even food-loving as I am) get absorbed in what I'm doing, especially around lunch time. I don't want to interrupt what I'm doing to cook -- so I skip lunch. If I'm babysitting, I skip meals because there's nothing in the house I can eat -- I'm gluten-intolerant and everything in the house has flour in it.

(Sample meal of one child in one household: Frito sandwich -- hot dog bun, spread evenly with Fritos on both sides).

The result is that by the end of the day I'm ravenous. This is my real dieting downfall -- getting so hungry that I eat mindlessly. Once I get that ravenous, it's all over.... If I'm that hungry (or upset or whatever), and DECIDING at every meal, I'll make bad choices. Also I think letting your blood sugar get that low really ruins your energy level for the rest of the day.

The solution:
1) spend some time every week planning, cooking. and packing things into single-portion containers
2) type up a menu and put it on my refrigerator
3) stick to it as rigorously as I've stuck to the juice fast.

If I do #1 and #2, (believe it or not), #3 will be easy, because I will have made one decision ahead 0f time, a decision that accounts for each meal and snack. Then I can and do stick to it, as I stuck to the juice detox. It's the getting really hungry and THEN deciding (or rather acting completely impulsively) that ruins everything.

So here's to new beginnings, which is what Easter and all the other spring-time fertility festivals all over the world are really about. (Alvina took this picture at an Easter BRGs gathering four years ago.)

For the next few weeks, I'm going to be posting the best meal of the week, with recipes -- and very briefly reporting on my progress. Since today I'm still fasting, I shall post what some of the kids I babysit for (not the frito-sandwich boy) call

(makes 4 scones)

NOTE: Working with gluten-free flour is really different from working with wheat flour, which is why these directions are so detailed. Once you get the knack, the recipe takes less than 10 minutes of work, another 15 or so of baking time.

1 cup Bob's Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder (still searching for one that tastes good --recommendations, anyone?)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tablespoons butter OR Earth Balance buttery spread, original -- cold
2 1/2 tablespoons cream OR Silk Soy Creamer -- cold
1 egg -- the better the egg, the better the scones! If you can get fresh eggs, please use one
scant tsp. brown sugar
1 or 2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 bowls, rubber spatula, pastry blender or two knives, rolling pin -- I use the Finnish kind, which is tapered at the ends and allows you to roll really lightly -- pastry brush

preheat the oven to 400, assemble the ingredients

1. Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt and baking powder.
2. Beat the egg with the cream and vanilla and sugar in another bowl.
3. Cut the butter or Earth Balance into the flour. Don't touch it: just use the pastry blender or knives to break it into small pieces (pea size with some smaller). Don't cream it -- the buttery bits should stay distinct.
4. Pour in the liquids.
5. With a rubber spatula, scrape up from the bottom until everything is blended and the dough SORT OF sticks together into a ball.
6. Still using the spatula (gluten free flour is much more tender and delicate than wheat flour), flip the dough gently a few times.
7. Sprinkle some flour on the clean counter, and roll the dough out from the center VERY LIGHTLY, once or twice on each spot should be enough, until it forms a thick pancake.....about the size of a salad plate.
8. Cut it into 4 wedges and place on an ungreased pie tin or cookie sheet. Brush the tops with the left-over liquid.
9. Bake at 400 until the scones puff up and turn golden brown.

If anyone is interested, I will get someone to video me doing it.

NEXT WEEK: My progress, and either
*yam noodles (made with a Spiralizer!) and cashew cream sauce
*Thai-inspired curried broccoli soup that uses coconut WATER instead of coconut milk or cream (much less fattening).

Meghan! I know you are rolling your eyes if you've even read this far, these vegetables are not your thing. Some people wouldn't like them, I know, but some people, I also know, will love them. They've eaten them and said so!

Lastly, I say this has nothing to do with writing; but really, it does. Working on a novel is like a long-term, gradual diet -- I can't write a novel in a few days any more than I could lose 3o pounds on a three day crash diet. It takes steady, persistent effort to make progress. And eating healthy foods in sensible amounts will give me the energy I need to finish.

A Photo for Greta on the way

In a few short weeks my new book, A Photo for Greta, will be out at last! You might remember some of the paintings I posted as I was working on it last summer here , here, and here.

While the illustrations were done last summer, the book has been in progress for a long time. Its a story I've always wanted to write about growing up with a dad who is a photographer (which mine was). Here is a photo he took of me when I was about 4, which we used on the jacket flap:

I painted a version of it on the endpapers:

I've been putting together some promotional materials for schools (more on that soon) and some behind the scenes peeks of the making of the book on my web site. This weekend I made this little painting in progress "movie" out of photos of one of the illustrations. I hope it will make the painting process clear to kids who watch it...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sneak Peek at Fall/Winter 2011

A few weeks ago we had our biannual Library Preview. We introduced our Fall/Winter 2011 list to local librarians, reviewers, and educators. As usual, our School and Library Marketing Director/Guru wore amazing shoes for the occasion:

Our super secret guest star was author/illustrator Sujean Rim, creator of Birdie's Big Girl Shoes and the upcoming Birdie's Big Girl Dress. She talked about working in fashion, yet always harboring a love of children's books:

So, since we were talking about Fall/Winter 2011, I thought I'd give you all a sneak peek at the books I've edited on that list. Except as I started writing this, I realized that I had given an earlier sneak peek back in October here. Although, back then we didn't have all of the titles or covers finalized yet. Well, many of the covers are still in progress now (particularly for the YA titles, for some reason), but I thought I'd go ahead and post the covers we do have below. And since I described the books in more detail then, I'll be brief here.

Picture books:

YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND! by Peter Brown (Sept. 2011)
This is a companion book to Children Make Terrible Pets. In this adventure, Lucy the Bear decides that she's going to make a new friend. Of course, this doesn't turn out to be as easy as she thinks it's going to be.

The House Baba Built: An artist's childhood in China by Ed Young, as told to Libby Koponon (Oct. 2011)
This book has been a labor of love for everyone involved--we've been working on it for over two years, and in a sense, Ed has been writing it for his whole life, although in earnest since he became a father. This is an illustrated memoir of his childhood in Shanghai during World War II, living in the house his father (Baba) built to keep his family safe.

Middle Grade:
ok, this isn't the cover...we do have a cover, but I don't have it on my computer at home!
Maybe Grace can help me out and add it?

cover added 4/19!

Dumpling Days by Grace Lin (Jan. 2012)

In this sequel to Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat, Pacy and her family visit Taiwan for a month. As usual, the food descriptions will make you hungry! And it may just make you want to visit Taiwan.

Young Adult:

The Shattering by Karen Healey (Sept. 2011)
An idyllic New Zealand setting. Magic, romance, tragedy, humor, and a possible serial killer. What more do you want?

DJ Rising by Love Maia (Feb. 2012)
A moving debut novel about a boy from a troubled home, his love of music, and a DJ contest.

BOY21 by Matthew Quick (March 2012)
Basketball Diaries-meets-Stargirl, set in a racially charged urban neighborhood. We have a final cover for this one, but once again I don't have it on my computer. I'll update this post later.
cover added 4/19

In the meantime, I present to you the redesigned paperback cover of Matthew's first novel, Sorta Like a Rock Star:
The paperback is out this May.

And finally:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Sept. 2011)
Once upon a time, an angel and devil fell in love. It did not end well. But oh, this book is not your typical angel book, not by a long shot. I'm excited to be speaking about this book on the YA Buzz Panel at BEA this year...I hope I can do it justice!

I hope to do a Beyond the Book post about this soon, but just wanted to give a shout out to a novel I edited that just came out officially last week. Andrea Davis Pinkney's Bird in a Box is a middle grade historical fiction about three children growing up during the Great Depression, all facing tragedy and loss, and all finding inspiration in the fights of boxer Joe Louis.
The NY Times says:

“Bird in a Box” isn’t about Joe Louis per se. Instead, with tenderness and verve, it tells the stories of three 12-year-old black children, Hibernia, Otis and Willie, in Depression-era Elmira, N.Y. Hibernia’s mother abandoned her when she was a baby — to sing, she hoped, at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem — leaving the girl to her preacher father. Otis and Willie grow up in the Mercy Home for Negro Orphans: Otis’s parents are killed driving their truck, and in a drunken fit, Willie’s father sticks Willie’s hands in a pot of boiling grits, reducing them to stumps and ending Willie’s own dreams of glory in the ring.
Inspiring them throughout is Joe Louis. For the three children, as for millions of Americans, Louis’s nationally broadcast fights are communal, semireligious events.

Right now, I'm working on my Spring 12 and Fall 12 lists. I'm working at home today, editing a novel on the Fall 2012 list. But more on that in due time...