Tuesday, December 31, 2013

name this tune!

At the hotel in Taiwan, a violinist serenaded us during breakfast. It was Rain Dragon's first experience with a violin and she was fascinated--so much so that she watches this video over and over again. Because of this, the Sasquatch and I find ourselves humming and singing this tune all the time and it is driving us a bit mad that we don't know what song it is.  Do you know it?  If you do, please tell us as then we could start the new year without losing our minds!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

NY Merry Christmas


In NY now the Salvation Army people are all young and they don't just ring bells -- they DANCE. I was lucky enough to see two guys dancing to that old carol, "YMCA."

 They were joined by a large group of young teenagers -- the sight of them all line-dancing on 5th Avenue was quite something! -- and then by a middle-aged matron

I absolutely can not imagine that happening where I live in CT and I loved it.

Merry Christmas, wherever you are!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Ugh. I haven't been posting because I have a bookdeadline and I have so much art to do! Help!

Anyway, my pal Marc Tyler Nobleman came up with an idea: to have writers read one of their bad Amazon customer reviews and he'd put them all together. Obviously we're not to be negative about them or anything like that. After I did mine I found out that we were supposed to make the videos only 10-15 sec long. I guess Marc had gotten so many responses that he had to limit the video responses. So... this is my long video response. If he uses mine it'll be one fraction of this:

Friday, December 13, 2013

POETRY FRIDAY: Things to Do If You Are a Book

I’ve been away from blogging at Wild Rose Reader and Blue Rose Girls for so long that I thought I might forget how to post. It has been an eventful year for me. We finally moved into our new home in June. It was—at first—difficult saying goodbye to my home of thirty-seven years…and even more difficult boxing up and moving all the “stuff” we had collected in nearly four decades. The heaviest things to tote to our new place were the thousands of children’s books that I owned and cherished—books that I’ve been sharing with my granddaughter Julia. We had a number of bookcases built for our in-law apartment so I could keep my books on display…and easily accessible. 

NOTE: For Mother's Day, my daughter gave me 
a lovely drawing of our old home. 

We’re fortunate that our apartment is more spacious than most in-law suites. Still, it’s much smaller than our old place. At my age, it has been good to “downsize.” My apartment is much easier to clean than my other home. It’s the perfect size for two old fogeys! 

It’s so wonderful living next door to my daughter and son-in-law. I get to see Julia every day. It’s such fun watching her change and grow…reading books with her…helping her make puzzles…listening to her vocabulary grow.

Lots and Lots of Book Shelves!

By Elaine Magliaro

Be filled with words that tell a tale
of a little mouse and a giant whale
of a runty pig and his spider friend
who was true and loyal to the end
of a badger who loved eating bread and jam
of a funky guy, green eggs, and ham
of a spunky girl named Ramona Q.
of a boy and the Jabberwock he slew.
Be filled with words and tell a tale
that will let my imagination sail.
Be a mystery
or a fantasy
or sing with sounds of poetry.
Between your covers
let there be
a story that’s just right for me.

Over at Wild Rose Reader, I’ve posted an original poem for the holiday season titled Under the Tree.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Process (and yes, this is a rewrite - and an example of step#5 too)


I sent my novel off to my agent last week -- electronically, but towards the end I can read it more objectively on paper, pencil in hand to make comments.
Now I'm using the time and energy I would normally be spending  on my book to sort through my possessions; donate, sell, and throw out throw out a lot (thank you for going through my shoes with me, Alvina!); and find a new place to live.
I'm going to blog about that (not here, on my personal blog), both as a way to get other people's ideas and remember what I saw.

But first: I want to write down what I learned about my process from this, mainly so I won't forget but if it's interesting to anyone else, excellent.

1. Love the idea myself, and test it before I start writing  -- Raold Dahl did that, sometimes for a YEAR. By test it, he meant: think about it, attack it from every angle, to see if there's enough there to make a novel and if it will WORK. Disappointing as it is to realize that an idea I'm really excited about just won't make an exciting, interesting book, better to figure that out before rather than after spending a year or more writing it!

2. Get to know the characters -- at least the main character. More may emerge as the story develops, but I think it's a mistake to start writing until the main characters are as clear to me as, say, the characters in THE LITTLE HOUSE books (who have always seemed like real people to me, people I actually knew)....both Noel Streatfield and Dianna Wynne Jones said they spent at least 6 months getting to know the characters before writing.

3. For me, first drafts are the hardest and most painful parts of writing. I flipflop between things just coming and being very excited; and times when NOTHING comes, or what does seems so bad that I think I'm wasting my time, this doesn't even make any sense, no one is going to read it ever....blah blah.
That second feeling is hideous and painful, but it just goes with the territory-- and I need to accept it. It doesn't mean I'm doing anything wrong -- every writer I know has it.

I also need to just accept that in the first draft I really don't know what I'm doing (that comes later). Writing a book is like jumping off a cliff without a parachute -- you just have to have faith that one will blow by and you will grab it.

Also, when something just COMES, even if it doesn't seem to make sense or fit in at all with the story as I then know it: trust it. If it comes with energy and conviction, it belongs in the book and I'll figure out why and how later.

The worst thing I can do is give in to those feelings of hopelessness; the best -- work on the book every day -- even if "working" means just sitting with it, clueless about what happens next; trust what just comes; and resist the urge to chatter when I don't know. WAIT.

4. The real book emerges in the second draft. Again, once I start it -- don't stop. If I keep at it, all the baffling blanks in the first draft will get filled in. And I do mean "get filled in," if I write every day, and get into that state of thinking about the book all the time, I see what should be happening in all the scenes that WERE boring.

5. Wait to polish until the third draft--polishing done before then (except for the first scene which I do think is really important: it sets the tone and the voice)  is  a waste of time. If I've polished something, it's harder to take it out-- and by the third draft, a lot that's in needs to go.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

RISD Alumni Holiday Art Sale

I'll be selling books and prints once again at the RISD Alumni Holiday Art Sale (as will Grace!), this Saturday at the Rhode Island Convention Center. As always, the sale is a great place to do your holiday shopping- I love to stroll the aisles and pick out handmade goodies for my xmas list. Come join us! The sale is from 10:00-5:00.