Thursday, August 27, 2009

What are you doing HERE? Get over to Kirby's blarg!

Kirby Larson
has two posts up on her blog with her panel of my heroes and heroines, including Linus's dad.

Here's the latest one Snips and Snails Sugar and Spice

and the first post Boys Will Be Boys, But Will They Be Readers which also includes quick bios of the panelists.

I've been working on a picture book idear with three brothers as the protagonists doing something boys apparently don't do, so besides Kirby's panel being of interest to everyone in children's books, I'm reading it for purely selfish reasons as well.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I would like to celebrate this holiday

A very little thing to cheer us up after losing some great people this week.

S'more day - tomorrow and the next two days

at Theo Chocolate Factory. They have ice cream right now, too.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Karla Kuskin

I'm so sorry to have seen this today at the Chinook blog, which links to the NYT obituary.

Her sketches were up at Secret Garden Books the last time I was there, not sure if they are still up. I didn't know Karla, but am a big fan of her work. She lived here for the last few years and it was just nice knowing someone like that was in town. My sincere condolences to all her friends and family. She is loved and remembered by many readers especially for:

This book

And this great book of poetry

And this sweet spread from CITY DOG

Monday, August 24, 2009

And the winner of the new CWIM is.....


Looks like Tara has a blog and JUST finished her WIP. Congratulations on that, Tara!

Shoot me your mailing address and I'll get this puppy in the mail today. Besides the CWIM, pick something from Prints or Paper Goods sections of the CocoaStomp Etsy shop, too, and tell me what your favorite candy bar/item is and those will be included with your great new book.


Yippee! Aren't free books delicious?

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Hey! Did you know the Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market from 2010 is available???

Indeed! And I'm giving a copy of it away thanks to the ever generous and wonderful editor of the CWIM, Alice Pope.

How to enter -- Sign up as a blog follower to the CocoaStomp blog by 9 am PST on Monday, August 24th, 2009. Winner will be chosen from the blog followers at random at 9:01 am PST.

I'll pop the CWIM (and probably a few other treatsies) in the mail at lunch on Monday. And you, too, can experience the thrill of reading a book from the future.

The 2010 CWIM is packed with fantastic articles as all CWIMs are. A few of my favorites in the 2010:
  • Steven Malk's An Agent's Career Outline for Illustrators
  • Laini Taylor's and Jim Di Bartolo's Under One Roof
  • Erzi Deak's interview with Sara Varon
Learn more about the CWIM here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Medical Tests done. Bring on the Pastrami Tacos.

Thanks for all those sweet well-wishing emails my friends. I am a lucky girl because of you AND I'm happy to say I can eat from all the major food groups again. Truly, I just eat yogurt and berries all day, but if I lived in LA I could be eating exotic tacos. We saw this sign from the bus on our way to Beverly Hills.

There's lots of work still to be done today, but when I have a moment I have a late post from the SCBWI LA Conference about Dave Gordon's Morphing Media workshop. I think the official conference blog will let me put it up there, if not, I will post it here. Judging from the one workshop I sat in on, THE MORPHING MEDIA PROGRAM WAS AWESOME. They've got to do it again. I will get on the ball and type up my notes so you can all help me pester SCBWI to include this every year.

Happy week!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Udderly terrified for tomorrow, but things to look forward to with SCBWI WWA

Wish me luck! I have two medical tests tomorrow that I am being a big baby about and I am sort of hyperventilating ever few hours in fear. Gatorade and green jello will be my only menu items until tomorrow afternoon so besides nerves I am also craving a milk shake.

Luckily, Martha is keeping me busy and Aaron and Logan and Bebop are the best nurses a girl could have. PLUS there are a lot of things to look forward to in the next few weeks with SCBWI WWA:

Elana Roth is coming to town. I just signed up for her 'Perfecting Your Pitch' session on Tuesday, September 8 at SCBWI WWA probably will tell me not to pitch Udder stories.

Greg Pincus is coming to town, too! I just signed up for his 'Coach's Corner--Social Media Plan Consultation' on Tuesday, October 13 at SCBWI WWA probably will tell me to post about Udders less (and my favorite Martha is doing the Mini-Session prior to Greg's called YOU CAN HAS GRAMMAR?)

You, too, can see/hear these folks! Registration for the 2009-2010 SCBWI Western Washington Regional Programming is open, just click here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another sketch and do people really care about post labels?

Looking at all the post labels I started to make once. Most of the labels concern people or sweets/baked goods. Maybe labeling is like Metamucil and will help me have more regular features on my blog? We had to label our posts on the SCBWI blog and that was actually kind of fun.

Sara Easterly has a lovely guest post at The Chinook Update blog.

Aaron and I split a scoop of Salted Caramel ice cream at Molly Moon's the other day. It was incredibly delicious, but someone got in trouble for saying it would be better with hot fudge. I am a greedy goose.

Friday, August 14, 2009

ANN HAYWOOD LEAL: Book Event in 30 minutes!

Madly showering post-jog to go see Ann Haywood Leal at University Book Store in 30 minutes!

Ann has a lovely interview up at CuppaJolie

Ann's loverly site/blog

Event info:

Only the cat and chair are real.

This is our chair. And this is our cat. I have, much like Kelly Clarkson's SELF cover, taken a few inches off of Bebop's back end.

Aaron calls the two kids our phantom children. Which sounds much spookier then I think he intended. I like people that sit on furniture in an unorthodox fashion. Even if they are phantoms.

Just a sketch. I assume the moustachioed lothario in the painting is up to no good. Probably interested in swindling someone.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Twitter Recap of SCBWI 09

I'm just copying Alice and Lee at this point. Below are the conference tweets I made from my own account and the few I put up on SCBWI's tweet account, all in order from the time we got to SEA-TAC, all through the conference and then the way back home.

  • @saraeasterly just got pickle juice on my arm at the airport
  • just spotted the ravishing @EgmontGal in the Hyatt lobby. And the newly coiffed @suzanne_young, & everlovely Elizabeth Parisi
  • @kimberlycbaker Can't wait to see you post-dining tonight? I want to grab a sketch book at Borders if they are still open later.
  • @cuppajolie and @saraeasterly You asses. Revenge shall be ours. You won't know where or when. But it is coming.
  • If your cel is GOING to ring during a workshop, at least let your ring tone be kid book approved: mine is Alligators All Around
  • Love that Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser have been best friends and workmates for over 38 years.
  • There are cookies being served for breakfast here. Where are we, the Wonka Factory? I LOVE SCBWI.
  • Word Parade Kadir Nelson's word is "Visceral"
  • April Halprin Wayland's word is 'Breathe' And we all did.
  • Marla Frazee's word is 'Sketchy'
  • Nonconferencegoer/Jackass in elevator says "So YOU'RE the people who draw all the bunnies." True, but still. Ass.
  • At Editors Panel, hey, @EgmontGal, JOBRO (Jordan Brown) has 2 swearwords under his belt so far.
  • Editor Ari Lewin says they had author Cinda Chima write in talisman tidbits to match the covers of the HEIR books
  • Jennifer Hunt talking about Peter Brown's awesome THE CURIOUS GARDEN. You know why the book is good? He stuck to his vision. BAM!
  • My credit card just got an ulcer at the #SCBWI09 bookstore
  • Roommates that bring you a latte while you are still in bed should be sainted and knighted.
  • RT @cuppajolie Here we go! Kicking off with a fab extraordinary picture book panel moderated by Arthur Levine. I heart Arthur. #scbwi09
  • Arthur Levine on the PB market now vs. 20 years ago: then there was a 'great receptiveness in publishing and the world to PBs'
  • Arthur continues '...there was a richness of input -- constantly hearing people wanted PBs and *what* they wanted in a PB...'
  • Arthur continues '...Right now, the public 'want' is missing so I'm trying to create that on my own.'
  • Arthur says his office has never been cleaner (which helps him better his focus for making extraordinary PBs...)
  • @chavelaque, is it true that Arthur's office is really really clean?
  • Karen Cushman is cracking us up. She just said "post-menopausal zest."
  • Let's all buy Karen Cushman's husband a beer for refusing to 'hear' her story idea, but being willing to 'read' it
  • Excited for Andrea Welch to give the scoop on Beach Lane Books in her workshop session this hour
  • Agent Panel: Marietta Zacker calls it the 'Nancy Gallt Literary Agency For Really Freaking Good Books For Children'
  • have eaten all the m and m 's and have left @cuppajolie only one mutant green one
  • It's a Bunny Eat Bunny World! Brenda Bowen now speaking on Agent Panel. Brenda's blog
  • Taking a mini break from #SCBWI09 in room. The Librarian on TBS while I iron--Susan Patron or @FuseEight could so out-adventure Noah Wyle.
  • Dan Yaccarino giving us sneak peek sketches of his next PB which is nonfiction and looks freakin awesome!
  • @DDHEARN, you're welcome! The portfolio show this year was really stellar. I'm humbled and inspired by those people.
  • @hollyblack is teaching me things about fantasy. I only wish I wasn't astral projecting from the lobby.
  • Sitting in on David Gordon's ProTrack and it is totally fascinating. I hope they do this track again next year.
  • Early birds DO catch the tastiest vittles, Dinah Stevenson is fantastic this morning.
  • Steven Malk is asking us all to read DEAR GENIUS. Darn tootin'.
  • Barry Zuckerkorn is behind me!!!!!!!! He just gave Bonnie Bader a kiss on the cheek. Eeeeee!
  • Okay, back to the lovely @kdueyduey. She's just given us a lovely quote:
  • "We write by the light of every book we ever read."
  • @mbrockenbrough says there are 2 tbs of sugar in 8 oz. of Hawaiian Punch and I say TRY HARDER Hawaii. Get it to EIGHT tbs--then we'll talk.
  • taking the long way to Long Beach airport. Friends, don't ever leave me in charge of air travel. Or ask me to hold your ice cream sandwich.
  • Back to work post #SCBWI09. Appreciating my Seattle latte options. Would also like Richard Peck to know I've never 'sexted' knowingly.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ecstatic about: Young Artists!

The one group never in attendance at a children's book conference? Children! And I don't have any. So I was thrilled to be invited to two kid functions a few weeks ago. An art show and a play featuring a couple of celebrities: In Sweden they are known as Den Talande Potatisarna; in England you may know them as The Chatty Tubers; but, here in America, we know them as

Below are two kids who both did something amazing in less than seven days this summer.

Alice made a bunch of amazing paintings in four, half-days at her art camp -- check out her great art!

Alice also eats an Oreo like an alien surgeon -- I've NEVER seen anyone extract the white center bit intact like she can.

Lucy was OUTSTANDING in The Wizard of Oz as Ozma. She was in every scene and EVEN changed all of the Scene Titles. They had a week to learn all their lines, songs, choreography, and even make masks! Unbelievably terrific.

And somehow Lucy always finds the most flattering light -- check out that actress! A consummate professional already.

A sample of their day job work below. See more of them here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The SCBWI Conference TEAM BLOG has been dissolved. Late Monday night we put all our laptops and tweeters on a barge in the Hyatt pool and set the thing afire.

You can see most of my favorite conference moments on the official conference blog, I've posted links to all my posts below. Thanks to Alice for letting us have the freedom to pick almost all of our favorite sessions to attend! If only I had Hermione's Time-Turner, I could have really done the conference right. Too many wonderful speakers to choose from in those concurrent workshops.

All of the keynotes were magical this year, too. I am so glad this conference is four days because I could listen to these people every day for the next forty years if they would let me. And by 'they' I mean my dog who has been on a hunger strike since I left, but has still been able to flatulate alarmingly according to my sweet husband.

David Wiesner Keynote

David Wiesner Keynote Continued

David Wiesner Keynote Continued 2

Allyn Johnston - Leave Me Alone With a Latte: One Editor's Picture Book Revision Process

Editors Panel: Courtney Bongiolotti

Elizabeth Law - PRO TRACK

Elizabeth Parisi - Book Covers: How to fit your style into the current market

Friday Night Wine and Cheese Pics!

Andrea Welch - Meet Beach Lane Books/New Imprint, New Opportunities

Andrea Welch - cont'd

Andrea Welch - cont'd 2

Kadir Nelson - Words and Pictures; Pictures and Words

PRO TRACK LUNCH - How Published Authors & Illustrators Can Work with Booksellers

AGENT PANEL - Marietta Zacker

Agent Panel: Marietta Zacker continued

Dan Yaccarino - From Book to Screen

David Wiesner - Picture Book Basics

Blue Moon Ball: Jaime's Party Pics

Dan Yaccarino - Say Yes!

Dan Yaccarino - continued

Dan Yaccarino - continued 2

Elizabeth Parisi - Book Dummy Smarts

Early Morning Stars with your coffee

Monday Morning Jokes and Opening Remarks

Monday morning in LA, no big deal...

Ingrid Law - Writing Magic: From the Head to the Heart

Ingrid Law Keynote - Cont'd

Ann Whitford Paul - Starting Strong

Steven Malk - What to Expect When You're Expecting: An Agent's Guide from Query Letter to Published Book

Autograph Party Pics

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Flushbunkinglygloryumptious SCBWI Saturday morning panel

Hope you are all clicking over to the official SCBWI Conference blog.

The stellar line up this morning includes

hilarious Melinda Long

crazy talented Kadir Nelson

superhero Arthur Levine

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sherman Alexie Keynote

Talking about the books he read as a kid: anything and everything

Lin Oliver's Opening Remarks at SCBWI Summer Conference

Trying to take a picture of a sketch with the laptop's camera. I swear the drawing looks 2% better in person.

Good Morning!

LA smells like Earl Grey tea. I jogged by Fox Studios this morning and have seen no celebrities so far. Very disappointed.

Zombie and Martha Brockenbrough slept in. No, actually, Martha has been reading a book. And she offers free hyphenating advice to her roommates.

Looking forward to a wonderful day at the conference.

All the SCBWI TEAM BLOGGERS will be posting from here, during the day with longer wrap-up posts on our own blogs in the wee hours.

If the mood strikes us or if the wifi fails we'll be tweeting:

It is Follow Friday after all.

Alice Pope tweets

Jolie Stekly tweets

Paula Yoo tweets

Suzanne Young tweets

Lee Wind tweets

SCBWI tweets

Lots of others are tweeting, too! Search for #scbwi09 to see them all.

SCBWI TEAM BLOG - Exclusive! Zombies can't resist Marla Frazee and an AMAZING CALDECOTT FACT/CONSPIRACY

A short PSA:

Marla's interview is below, but first:

Check out Marla's lovely site.

Here is a screen shot of her site on the ACOBHTBWE page. Look at that humble inclusion of the Caldecott Honor. If I won a Caldecott Honor I would flash it in large neon on my site or make a scratch and sniff web page for it.

Did you know she wrote/illustrated THE BEST CHRISTMAS/SANTA book EVER? Seriously. It may be my opinion, but it is also a fact.

Hear Marla's speech at the 2008 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards.

And I do believe Ben Watson will be posting about Marla in more of his fantastic Haystack roundup posts. Earlier today he told me if he was single and she was single and he was a lady and she was a dude he would totally have Marla's babies. Oh Ben.


Here's my non-zombie interview with Marla Frazee:

Thanks for the interview, Marla! Most important question first: What is your favorite snack to eat while working on a picture book?

Depends, of course, on the season, my mood, and what I've got around. I maintain equilibrium with a steady intake of caffeine in the form of lattes. I love to cut an avocado in half, salt it, and scoop it out with a spoon. Or I eat small chunks of Manouri cheese with a toothpick. (Love the toothpick! A toothpick and a bowl of garbanzo beans is a snack that can keep you busy for an hour.) But when work gets gnarly and I need to seriously medicate, I go for fistfuls of M&M's. Or if it's really bad, Cheez-Its.

What is your favorite part of the LA Summer Conference experience?

My favorite part of the conference is when, at the end of each day (or maybe even in the middle of each day), people gather outside at the bar and settle into those comfy chairs and order cocktails and tell raucous publishing tales.

Can you give us a hint about your costume for the Blue Moon Ball?

I won't have one. I am a bore when it comes to costumes.

What session or event or person are you most looking forward to at the upcoming conference?

I have been attending this conference since 1983 in the days when about 80 people came, and I think I most look forward to Lin Oliver's welcoming remarks and her continuing banter all the way though it. She and Steve Mooser bring us all together in such a welcoming, generous way, and I find that very inspiring.

Wowzers: You are freshly back from Chicago ALA and picked up your Caldecott Honor! What have the last six months been like?

I was completely floored by this award. As you may know, A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever was born out of the friendship between my son, James, and Eamon, my editor Allyn Johnston's son, and the week the two boys had at Allyn's parents' house. The fact that this book received this award blew us away. Still does, really.

How has technology helped/impacted your career?

I have a website, but I don't spend much time thinking about it or updating it, even though I should. I don't blog. And although I love my laptop for emailing and writing and such, I don't do any illustrating on it at all. I guess I am pretty boring when it comes to costumes AND technology.

What is your top piece of advice to illustrators trying to break into the children's book world?

First, tell stories with your pictures. Work hard on those stories and your images until they are as good and as emotionally engaging as you can make them. Send them to editors and art directors. Weather the almost-certain rejection. Repeat those steps, endlessly and tirelessly. Think about this as an incredible journey that can bring you closer to yourself, your artistic voice, and what you love the most. And maybe it'll be Cheez-Its. Nothing wrong with that.

If you are attending the conference, be sure to check out Marla's sessions:

  • Friday afternoon with Allyn Johnston in the 'Bringing it on Home: Picture Book Endings' workshop
  • Sunday afternoon 'How Your Words Inspire Me to Draw Pictures -- and How They Don't'
Thanks so much, Marla!

And now everyone that isn't interested in winning a Caldecott can stop reading.


Okay. Now that we are alone. If you've seen the other illustrator interviews -- did you notice the CALDECOTT FACT/CONSPIRACY??!!??

Of the illustrators I've interviewed, 100% of the Caldecott medal/honor winners eat CHEEZ-ITs while they are working.

I am going to go buy a truck full. CHEEZ-ITs. Who knew? Maybe CHEEZ-ITs knows. That is where the conspiracy comes in.

If you see me at the conference please come say hi. I'll be the one inhaling a box of orange crackers.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

SCBWI TEAM BLOG - Exclusive! Video Interview with Dan Santat

It's true! The Zombie Nation couldn't be happier than to know that all these fantastic illustrators speak Zombese.

Dan Santat! He's got such a generous blog, a lovely 7-Imps profile, and a blockbuster of books coming out this year and next. I think this might be the Year of the Dan Santat. Plus I hear he might be walking around the conference with Tammi Sauer and a video camera looking for a few good dancers...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

SCBWI TEAM BLOG - Exclusive! Video Interview with David Wiesner

Yes! More zombie interviews with the Crème de la Crème of the children's book world.

For less silly and more astute information on David Wiesner check out the profile on his publisher's site complete with a tribute by David Macaulay (David W's teacher at RISD and master of how all things works and cathedrals and stuff)

DON'T spend another minute without owning Dilys Evans's book SHOW and TELL which features a fantastic section on the genius that is David Wiesner.

And there's also a great short interview with David from ALA 2007 out in the webosphere here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

SCBWI TEAM BLOG - Exclusive! Video Interview with Dan Yaccarino

Illustrators are such good sports.

For some non-sock interviews with Dan, check out 7-Imps, Core 77 or get your hands on the latest issue of the SCBWI Bulletin which has Dan's lovely cover art and a great interview.

Dan's site is also great and you can get a better gander at his books and shows.

Thanks, Dan!

Monday, August 3, 2009

SCBWI TEAM BLOG - Exclusive! Jolie Stekly Interviews Karen Cushman

Jolie Stekly interviews Karen Cushman!

Okay, here is the evil that is Publishers Marketplace. If you sign up and frequent the Deals section, you find out many years before a book is out that a book is coming out. And if you read that Karen Cushman has a book coming out about alchemy and a character named Meggy Swann and you are an illustrator... well, all your illustrator nerves start to tingle and drive you crazy -- wondering JUST WHAT that cover will look like. Remember that Trina Schart Hyman (one of my heroes) did many of Karen's covers? Any chance this new cover has the spirit of Trina about it? And if you are an illustrator, when you get to CuppaJolie's exclusive SCBWI TEAM BLOG pre-conference interview Question Number Five -- well, your cover-art-spidey senses will go nuts.

Here's the link to CuppaJolie's fabulous interview.