Friday, April 29, 2011

Chivalry, Castles and Cardboard

Because it's raining,
Because boxes mean all kinds of good fun,
Because a boy needs a good medieval train station.

It all began 
with a bored train track,
pining for something grander. 

I rescued a box from the recycling pile
and cut it into two panels with squiggy castle tops.

One panel has a slit going halfway down the middle,
the other has a slit going halfway up.

After cutting arches for the tunnel,
I niched the walls together.

Hurray! Huzzah! A tunnel!  
My small knight roared with delight.

And because everybody likes to color,
I drew some castle walls and taped them on top.

The idea is that they will be so busy playing
and coloring the castle tunnel
they won't even notice I've spent hours revising my novel.

But here's the problem...

I have a new idea for a cardboard garage.

I'll get back to you on that novel rewrite.

And lest you think that knights are limited to trousers:

... And did I remember that today was Prince William's Wedding? Oops. 
Happy Royal Marriage Day!

Great books about boxes, trains, castles and knights:

Not a Box,  Antoinette Portis
Train to Somewhere,  Eve Bunting, ill Ronald Himler
Mailing May, Michael O. Tunnell, ill by Ted Rand
The Princess Knight, by Cornelia Funke, ill. by Kerstin Meyer
The Orphelines in the Enchanted Castle, Natalie Savage Carlson, ill. Adriana Saviozzi
Tom Thumb, Richard Jesse Watson

And speaking of picture books...

The Frugal Girls

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Finding Voice

from Grandma's Gloves, ill. Julia Denos
Deliciously spoiled by a conference weekend studded with children's book stars,

I give you my gleanings on
Finding Your Voice. 

Tips for Artists and Writers from Candlewick Press' 
Art Resource Coordinator Anne Moore: 

Finding your voice 
starts with questions.

  • What do you love? 
  • What moves you?
  • What captures your imagination?
  • What do you have to offer?

  • Use your passions as your springboard.
  • Follow the paths that bring you joy.  

Anne Moore highlighted books
that echoed the theme of the writer's journey:

The Dot, The North Star, and Ish by Peter H. Reynolds   
Ish, by Peter H. Reynolds
The Dot, Peter H. Reynolds

Snook Alone - Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering 

Grandma's Gloves - Cecil Castellucci, illustrated by Julia Denos 
(who got her start interning at Candlewick Press) 

 On Dialogue and Voice
from NY Times best-selling author Lin Oliver :

ill. Jesse Joshua Watson

  • Become ardent listeners
  • Eavesdrop
  • Study how real people speak
  • Analyze speech patterns
  • Avoid "Shoe Leather" (redundancy, boring text)
  • Dialogue needs a reason to be in your story
  • Dialogue should propel a story forward

Editor Tim Travaglini: 

  • Write what you d*** well please without worrying about getting published.
  • Hone your craft.
  • Do everything you can to excel as a writer.

Stay tuned for more writing tips next week!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Eggs In One Basket

Apparently, putting all your eggs in one basket 
is not a good thing.

I may have to take a cooking class. 
This is my not-a-story-arc blog post. 
It's a jumble of different eggs in one big blog basket.

Egg 1:
Homemade boggle for the brainy:
Set a timer for one minute, 
jot down as many words 
as you can compile from the touching letters.

Ding! We can compare our results in the comments.


Egg 2: 
Yummy jelly bean baby. I wish I could fit in that hat. 

Egg 3:
Teething necklace we made last week. 
I found the how-to on the See Kate Sew blog
Made for me to wear and baby to gnaw on, it's been snatched.

Egg 4:
 Coloring Page with "sight words" for the kindergarten crowd:

To print, click the image,
select print from your browser, 
scale it to 150% in a landscape orientation. 

Egg 5:
Good Spring books 
Owen's Marshmallow Chick, by Kevin Henkes
Down in the Woods at Sleepytime, Carole Lexa Shaefer, ill. by Vanessa Cabban
The Lord's Prayer, illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson

The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, illustrated by Inga Moore

Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Runaways

"Well," said Frances, "things are not very good 
around here anymore. 
No clothes to wear. No raisins for the oatmeal. 
I think maybe I'll run away."
"Finish your breakfast," said Mother. "It is almost time for the school bus."
"What time will dinner be tonight?" said Frances.
"Half past six," said Mother.
"Then I will have plenty of time to run away after dinner," said Frances
and she kissed her mother good-bye and went to school. 
  from A Baby Sister for Frances, by Russell Hoban
from A Baby Sister for Frances, illustrated by Lillian Hoban

Sugar Snack's already getting the hang of Frances' warbles.


Off to the SCBWI WWA conference! 
Coming? I can't wait to meet you!
Staying?  I will load up on writing tips and bring them back for you. 

And guess who gets to smuggle along...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Drops and Quiet Gifts

Water and Pub, (c) Faith Pray 2011
india ink and watercolor

I had two plans to get myself to the SCBWI Western Washington Spring Conference next week.

Plan A: Get a contract. 

(Ahem. Still working on Plan A.)
Sweet Laurette's, (c) Faith Pray 2011
india ink
Plan B: 
  1. Do a bundle of new artwork
  2. Frame it
  3. Open a Gallery on Etsy
  4. Find a local place to hang my art
Port Townsend Brewery, (c) Faith Pray 2011
watercolor on Russian "bumaga"
 (Ahem again.)
Instead of art, I hung my head.
I was nowhere near my goal
and about to lose my spot
in the writing getaway,
when my brother Jesse
who is speaking at the conference, 
found out 
and offered his honorarium in trade. 
My Town, (c) Faith Pray 2011
india ink
Quiet gifts like this
are huge, and a little hard to swallow.
Thank you, amazing brother.

The Post , (c) Faith Pray 2011
india ink
In the meantime,
I finally got the art framed.
My etsy shop is up and running.

Lighthouse Rocks, (c) Faith Pray 2011
india ink

Tra la! Tra lay! Happy day!
My art is framed, I have a shop, and
the writing conference is this weekend!
I'm so excited!

Here's another type of Quiet Gift:

I've only just heard about this.
It's a campaign to encourage teens to read, involving
surreptitious book gifts and public places.
Firstly, I love the word surreptitious.
More importantly, I love teens reading!
Check out the Readergirlz post to find out more!


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