Well. I’ve taken a really, really long break from blogging. It’s a shame, because I’ve had a lot going on to talk about, with an ever-growing, ever-on-the-go toddler and more than a few projects in the works. But I haven’t had time to blog for those very same reasons! In any case, here’s the nutshell version of what I’ve been up to:
- Putting the finishing touches on The Infamous Ratsos, a new chapter book series about two brothers, who happen to be rats, who want to be seen as “tough.” I am so, so excited for this launch, because the book looks absolutely amazing (thanks to genius editor Sarah Ketchersid, designer Kristen Nobles, and my new BFF, illustrator Matt Myers). But it’s also my first book with Candlewick Press, where I worked as an editor for nearly a decade, more than a decade ago (I cannot believe I started there in 1997. Whoa.) Coming soon to a bookstore near you on August 2, but you can grab a galley at any of the upcoming industry shows (BEA, ALA, et al), along with some very cool HANG TOUGH temporary tattoos, which I insist on calling “rattoos.”
- Putting the finishing touches on The Infamous Ratsos 2 (snappy subtitle to be revealed soon!)
- Putting the finishing touches on MY FIRST PUBLISHED NOVEL, The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: The Jolly Regina (book 1 of 3). Oh mah gah. I wrote a novel! Actually, I have made NUMEROUS attempts at novel-writing over the years, most of them woefully unsuccessful — but trying and failing (again and again…and again) is what the creative process is all about, amirite? This trilogy of middle grade stories follows two sisters named Jaundice and Kale Bland, homebodies who would rather stay home and eat cheese sandwiches (on day-old bread) than do just about anything else. Unfortunately, they make the mistake of answering a knock at their door, and end up being kidnapped…by lady pirates. While I am pretty proud of this first installment, I am downright AMAZED by Jen Hill’s artwork — with many thanks to Abrams/Amulet editorial director Tamar Brazis and designer Pam Notarantonio. The Jolly Regina is due to set sail in January 2017, though galleys are already available.* In fact, Publishers Weekly named The Jolly Regina and The Infamous Ratsos as “galleys to grab” this season!
- Writing The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: Book Two (this one was a doozy — more on that process later this week)
- Writing a new picture book (and my very first rhyming text!), GOODNIGHT, LITTLE MONSTERS, due to pub with Scholastic/Cartwheel (illustrator and pub date TBD)
- Mourning the sudden passing of our beloved cat, Pearl. Don’t know if I’ll ever recover from this one. 😦
- Writing three new picture book texts, all rhyming (WHAT?)
- Writing a new chapter book, which just went off to my agent last week. Fingers crossed.
- Discovering that the lingering cough I’ve had since…oh, October…was actually pneumonia, and taking the appropriate antibiotics (I am almost back to “normal” now).
- Attempting to keep my house clean-ish, doing seemingly-endless loads of laundry and dishwasher loading and unloading, preparing three meals a day for the fam, and shuttling the kiddo to and from preschool.
- Looking for freelance writing side jobs, particularly IP (licensed publishing) work. Know anyone who wants to hire a gal who can write and multitask like a mutha?
- Exercising (um, this almost never happens).
- Staying up waaaaay too late while binging on all manner of amazing TV (um, this almost always happens).
- Potty-training my almost-three-year-old. (We are in the midst of this now. In fact, my sweetheart of a husband gave me the morning off so I could sit in Starbucks and write this.)
This might sound like a lot, but it has been a LONG time since I’ve written any sort of blog entry. By next week, I’m sure I’ll have nothing left to tell you, other than what I’ve eaten for breakfast (which is usually oatmeal, btw).
And speaking of next week, I’ve decided I’m going to try posting three times a week — Mondays will be “catching up” posts (i.e. news and other bits of relatively-useful or interesting info), Wednesdays will be posts about “creating” (i.e. whatever I’m working on and how I’m feeling about it), and Fridays will be all about “curating” (i.e. books and other stuff I’m loving). In theory, this seems as if it will work — but as with all things in life, and especially my life, time will tell!
COMING UP THIS WEEK…the challenges of writing the second story in a trilogy, and a book that’s teaching me to face shame (in a good way). Stay tuned!
*Interesting factoid: Galleys for the first Bland Sisters book were printed with the title The Booty Myth. Unfortunately, this title proved too, er, bootylicious for some, so it will be hereafter be called The Jolly Regina.