What’s Up?

Events, Updates, and General Doingses!

January 2018: It’s back to the editing cave this month, with four weeks to go before Maggie and Abby & the Shipwreck Treehouse needs to be in tip-top shape and heading back to my dear, wonderful, forgiving but strict editor, Elizabeth Lynch. It’s still way too tangled to share any juicy hints about the story, but I did have to buy an old-school world map for my wall just to sort it all out, so that should give you some idea.

My 9th-graders will be choosing what they want to write their picture books about soon, so for my visit this month we’ll be looking at how to come up with story ideas you really truly want to write about (hint: follow your emotions), and how to shape those ideas into functioning stories. An important change to our course this year is that while the final books will need to follow a basic picture book format, the story inside can be about anything they want. Class brainstorming has already raised powerful issues these kids are seeing in their daily lives and communities, and I can’t wait to see them begin bringing them to the page.

December 2017: Hahahahah!

November 2017: This month’s focus is picture books. I’m heading back into the classroom next week for part two of my picture book writing project with two freshman English classes at a local high school. Last visit we did an overview of literary analysis using picture books as a guide, with in-depth analysis of Where the Wild Things Are and Trombone Shorty. This time we’ll do some quick drafts of our own stories and study word choice and emotion using Marianne Dubuc’s The Lion and the Bird, Matt de La Peña and Christian Robinson’s Last Stop on Market Street, and Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds.

I’m also seizing the time while my editor looks over Shipwreck Treehouse to polish a couple picture book manuscripts of my own. Keeping them secret for now, but fingers crossed someday I’ll get to shout all about one or maybe even both of them here!

The big book event this month is the launch of Alex R. Kahler’s stunning new series, starting with Runebinder! (I’ve read it; it’s fabulous.) The official launch is at Books of Wonder in New York with Libba Bray and David Levithan (so fancy!), but I’ll be cheering wildly at the party at University Book Store in Seattle on Nov 20th. Bonus: the brilliant Lish McBride will also be presenting! If you haven’t read her darkly hilarious Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, I cannot recommend it enough.

Happy reading!

October 2017It was a wonderful month for book events. I got to see Kelly Jones launch Murder, Magic, & What we Wore, Catherynne Valente read from The Glass Town Game, and the Read for the Record celebration for Liz Wong’s Quackers. I also got to meet Dan Gemeinhart, one of my absolute writing heroes, at the Washington State Book Awards (and cheer him on as he won for Middle Grade)!

I also finished the first solid draft of the sequel to Neverending Pillow Fort, tentatively titled…*drumroll*… MAGGIE & ABBY AND THE SHIPWRECK TREEHOUSE. More adventures, more complications, more misunderstandings, and more Samson! Coming June 2019!