Friday, March 29, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

my last signing at Porter Square Bookstore

I have to admit, I've been feeling a bit down lately. The move has been a bit stressful, I haven't found a good way to juggle work and baby and I have to do my taxes (always a downer!).

But last Saturday, I had my a booksigning at Porter Square Books bookstore. It was the last time I could call it a booksigning at my local bookstore as after this I will be two hours away! So, it was another reason to feel a bit melancholy. However, such an amazing, wonderful crowd showed up that any feelings of sadness quickly disappeared.

I was so thrilled to see such a full house:

And to meet such all my lovely readers! This reader was the winner of the Storyworks Contest based on my story:

And then, these two were waiting patiently the whole time...

to get their Ling and Ting books signed!  Can you tell why?

Yes, they were a real life Ling & Ting! Aren't they sweet?

The whole event completely cheered me up! It was so great that I think I will have to come back in the future-- it's worth the two hour drive! So maybe I lied about this being my last signing at Porter Square Books...Thanks so much for coming, all! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

on my desk monday

Can I even find my desk?

Yes, stage 2 of the move is now in progress! The POD brought about 45% of our stuff and now we are UHaul-ing another 45%.  We left 10% of our stuff to stage the apartment for selling. After it sells (crossing my fingers) I think we're going to get movers, because I don't know if I can handle much more.

But I think my muscles are bigger!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

thinking on things

Recently, the pursuit of filthy lucre has been on my mind.

Perhaps it's because of my decision to have an original art trunk sale.  Even though I am starting to feel stressed as I watch my expenses rise as my income (due to limited work time) lowers, I also feel guilty and confused about how to price my art.  People are weird about art--what is expensive to one person is a bargain to another. What I consider deeply discounted, others might think is still too much. And, if I discount the art too much will it devalue it? In art school, I remember vividly teachers telling students never to sell their art or skill cheaply. "If you don't value your own art, how do you expect others to?" they said.

But, what I want most is that the art ends up with people who love it, regardless of how much they paid. In a way, I'd almost rather just give it away--especially after I watched this Ted Talk by Amanda Palmer:

But I'm not sure how it would work. So, I guess right now, unless something better comes to mind,  I'll stick with the trunk sale and just try to muddle through (by the way, there's still time to sign up to be on the trunk sale list; I'm aiming for the first batch of art to go on sale the first week in April).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mather School

One of the things that will be more difficult after the move will be working with the wonderful Foundation for Children's Books. In December, they sponsored the Starry River of the Sky Book Club Meeting and at the end of February they had me visit the Mather School in Dorchester.

 The FCB funds school visit programs for low-income schools and I love it. It's hard to explain to those outside "the biz," but  suffice to say that it's children's publishing's little secret that authors usually cannot support themselves from their books.  In most cases it's their speaking and visit fees that support them so that they can actually write books.

And as I said earlier, this is true for myself as well.  I don't say this to complain at all-- creating books is true joy and I am honored to visit schools and meet with students who read my books.  But these days (especially with moving expenses and Rain Dragon),  I am so grateful for organizations like the FCB who understand that authors shouldn't have to suffer financially in order to visit a deserving school.  Especially great schools like the Mather:

Which, by the way, is the oldest public elementary school in the U.S! It was founded in 1639! Isn't that neat?

Of course, the kids were all modern. And my presentation was new-ish as well, with the addition of Starry River of the Sky reader theater. I think I want to try to add reader theaters to all my programs, the kids really enjoy it. Though it does make my baggage awkward. Everyone wants to know what I'm doing carrying a bow (a marshmallow-shooting bow to be concise--but no one gets to shoot anything except in pretend):

As is the dragon draw-along (which you can do on your own following my Children's Book Week Bookmark!):

The students really got into it! You could hear a pin drop they were so quiet and intent on following along:

And then I said goodbye:

 It was great fun! I hope I can still do programs like this in the future! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ruth Chew books reissued

 I'm a bit late on the news, but I am so excited to hear that Ruth Chew books are being reissued! I've mentioned before how I adored them as a child and so happy that a new generation of children will get to enjoy them like I did.

Now if they would only bring back the Jeanne-Marie books  I would be perfectly happy. Or at least I could stop looking on eBay for them.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Girl Scouts StoryTeller

All the way in December, which seems like years ago,  a videographer came to film me for a little movie for the Girl Scouts. When they first requested the filming, I was completely honored however I was also in a bit of a quandary about where to shoot. Should I wait until the studio was set up in the new house? (Good thing I didn't as it's still not set up yet). Would we be able to clean the studio to a degree of decency in the apartment? In the end, Lexan, the understanding videographer filmed me strategically in the living room so that we would only have to straighten up a few shelves.
Here's how the video turned out:

Thank you, Lexan! Thank you, Girl Scouts!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

keeping in touch with old friends

One of the things I am worried about moving is that I'll lose touch with old friends. Already with Rain Dragon, I have a hard time doing anything--from changing clothes in the morning to answering e-mails. But, I want to try to make more of an effort to actually see people.

So in Andover, after a school visit in the area (so maybe that doesn't count as making an effort!) Rain Dragon and I went to visit my good friend Elaine (she recently signed a contract for her first children's book with Chronicle!) and her granddaughter:

And then, a couple weeks later Rain Dragon and I took the subway to see good friends and oh-so-talented authors Mitali Perkins and Justina Chen for breakfast:

Yes, we traveled a whole 15 minutes.  So maybe that doesn't really count as making an effort either. But in both instances we had to get out of our pajamas! Don't we earn something for that?

Not that it wasn't worth it, of course. It was great fun and we can't wait to see them (and other friends) again. But we might stay in our pajamas...

Monday, March 11, 2013

on my desk monday

At night, when the baby is sleeping and packing is too noisy, I've been experimenting with my Star Baby book idea. I remember an editor telling me once a long time ago that every time and illustrator has a baby he/she changes his/her art style. I'm not sure if that's completely true--I don't know if I want a permanent change--but I do understand the sentiment because I've been playing around with some new art styles, trying to see if anything sticks. This one is a return to watercolor, which I haven't done since college:

We'll see where it goes!

Friday, March 8, 2013

fortune cookie friday

"A friend made is a road paved; an enemy created is a wall built."
-Chinese Proverb

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Original Art Trunk Sale

As you know, I'm moving! One of the things I've been thinking about is lightening my flat files. They are just stuffed with art and I can't fit anything else in. It's time to make an art purge!

But what to do? At first I thought I'd just give it all to an archive like the Dodd Center  but it does seem a little sad to think of all of it just sitting in a vault (not that it's doing much more in my flat files). I'd love the art to be seen and enjoyed.

Then, my good friend Janet Wong suggested that I have special online "trunk sale" of my artwork for schools and librarians. I could offer them  the opportunity to purchase my art at a discounted price, it  would be displayed instead of put in a vault AND I it would be financial aid for our move!

The first 12 pieces will go on sale in a couple of weeks and I'm making a special list for it. If you are a teacher or librarian* and would be interested in purchasing my art, please sign up to be on the list HERE. There will be a choice to be on my newsletter list or the trunk sale list---make sure you click "Original Art Trunk Sale"  to be on the list but feel free to sign up for both (I have special giveaways on my newsletters, too).

Please spread the word! If you are a PTO member, please let your teachers and librarian know and have them get on the list! Tell your public librarians. I'd love for my art to be at your library!

*if you are a collector yourself, you are welcome to put yourself on the list, too. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My last booksigning at Porter Square Books!

I'll be signing and reading at Porter Square Books on Saturday, March 23 at 6pm in support of the Cambridge Friends School.  Come and support a great school and bookstore--Porter Square Books will donate 20% of all sales at the event to the Cambridge Friends School Fund!

Also, this will be my last event at Porter Square Books before I move away (sob). So this is the perfect chance to get any personalized autographed books of mine! Pre-ordering is advised as I might not be able to stay long (Rain Dragon has an early bedtime!).

Monday, March 4, 2013

on my desk monday

on my desk today is....NOTHING!

We're doing the first "wave" of our move! We got one of those pods:

and it's full of my studio...and some other things:

There's still a lot left to pack, though. This is going to take a while...

Rain Dragon says, " Don't forget to move me, too!"

Friday, March 1, 2013

fortune cookie friday

"Happiness is something to do, something to love, something to hope for."
-Chinese Proverb