The Weekly Peek

Hello, friends, and Happy Monday! How was everyone’s weekend? I started mine with an INFAMOUS RATSOS-inspired pedicure.

IMG_1255

What? Am I the only one who reads this way?

After the spa treatment, I spent most of Friday and Saturday prepping for THE INFAMOUS RATSOS launch party. Lots and lots of cooking and baking inspired by the book — including Tiny Crawley’s Tiny Chocolate Chippers, Mr. O’Hare’s Mini Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cupcakes, Fluffy Rabbitski’s Carrots in a Blanket, and Mrs. Porcupini’s Prickly Pickle Dip! (Want to host your own INFAMOUS RATSOS party? Hosting guide and recipes to come on Wednesday.)

IMG_1263

RATSOS-themed treats, clockwise from the top: Mr. O’Hare’s Mini Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cupcakes, Tiny Crawley’s Tiny Chocolate Chippers, Fluffy Rabbitski’s Carrots in a Blanket, Louie and Ralphie’s Easy Cheeses, Mrs. Porcupini’s Prickly Pickle Dip, and Big Lou’s Big Ole Fruit Platter.

The party was awesome. Beforehand, my husband and I met up with my friends from the Kidlit Drinks Night Providence crowd, and we ate and toasted to the book (and I finally had a chance to sit down after all that prep work, whew!). Then it was time for the party. I had a great time reading a few chapters of THE INFAMOUS RATSOS via Facebook Live, signing a ton of books, and ending the evening with a sneak peek reading of The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: The Jolly Regina!

IMG_1265

Moi, signing some books.

IMG_2436

Me and the local kidlit gang.

Many thanks to Barrington Books Retold for hosting, my husband for his support (and for taking our son out all day on Saturday so I could bake and cook in peace), and the local kidlit community for being INFAMOUSLY amazing.

A couple of other happenings this week…

  • Are you in the Boston area? I’ll be reading and signing at Newtonville Books in Newton, MA on Tuesday, 8/9 at 11am with INFAMOUS RATSOS illustrator Matt Myers!
  • From Wednesday–Saturday, I’ll be attending a creative retreat in Burlington, VT, hosted by my fantastic agent, Barry Goldblatt. Can’t wait to see my fellow BGL clients!
  • On Friday, 8/13 at 10am, I’ll be reading and signing THE INFAMOUS RATSOS at The Flying Pig Bookstore in Sherburne, VT.

Whew! How’s your week looking?

The Weekly Peek

Hello, friends, and Happy Monday. How was your weekend? We had a swell time at the beach on Saturday with our friends, and then I enjoyed a lovely brunch on Sunday with the ladies of The Little Crooked Cottage, Anika Denise and Jamie Michalak. We Cottagers are planning something very special for the fall — details to come!

Here’s what I’m up to this week…

Still plugging away at my revision of the second Bland Sisters story. Hopefully I will finish by Friday, but I’m going to ask for a one-week extension, just in case.

I need to hire a new landscaper, since the one I hired at the beginning of the season has seemingly gone AWOL, and our yard now looks like a crazy jungle. (Yes, I have a landscaper. I know it sounds extravagant, but it’s because 1. my husband and I HATE yard work, 2. it’s logistically impossible to get anything done outside with a toddler running around, and 3. I have a bad shoulder/arm that makes any physical task take twice as long.) FYI, this is the second landscaper we’ve hired in two years who has abandoned us mid-summer. Grrr.

I’m participating in a storytime event at Burnside Park in Providence this Thursday from 10:30-11:30, along with my fellow kidlit friends Anika Denise, Gaia Cornwall, and Christina Rodriguez. If you’re in the neighborhood, hope you and your kiddos might swing by!

And how’s YOUR week shaping up?

 

The Weekly Peek

Hello, friends, and Happy Monday. How was your weekend? I had a great one. On Saturday, we attended the WGBH FunFest in Boston, where our little one ate his weight in ice cream and cotton candy, listened to music, met (and zealously embraced) Curious George, and got his face painted. After lunch, we went to one of my favorite local indies, Newtonville Books, where I bought myself a couple of juicy reads for my upcoming travels. Later that day, we went to my friend (and fellow Cottager) Anika Denise‘s launch party for her new picture book, MONSTER TRUCKS, where we sipped prosecco and consumed all manner of car- and monster-themed goodies, and watched the author perform her book for a Facebook live feed. Afterwards, my husband and I went to a nearby restaurant called Bywater and experienced one of the best meals we’ve had in a long time (oysters! bluefish paté! duck tacos! burnt sugar ice cream!).

And then, yesterday, we went to IKEA. Why did no one ever tell me about Småland, the playspace in the store where you can drop off your kids for 45 MINUTES of monitored play, while you get your grownup shopping done? You guys, it was like a little Swedish miracle. (While we were there, I bought these insanely good cookies. They are impossibly light and crisp and sweet and salty, and I MAY have eaten a few too many of them last night.) For dinner, we christened our new grill and had a cookout. I made some rosé spritzers (wine +seltzer + homemade strawberry simple syrup), which were divine. And then I binged on a new British crime series on Netflix called Marcella (kinda messy, kinda meh).

So, what’s up for me this week? I’m still slogging through my revision of the second Bland Sisters story. I wish I had a more interesting agenda for you, but I only have one item to address, and believe me, that’s plenty. Once it’s off my plate, I hope (for all our sakes!) my life will be more exciting.

How’s your week shaping up? Hopefully it’s a bit more fun-filled than mine.

P.S. If you’re in the area next Thursday, I’ll be reading in Burnside Park in Providence from  10:30 to 11:30 with fellow local kidlit friends Anika Denise, Gaia Cornwall, and Christina Rodriguez. Hope to see you (and your little ones, if you have ’em) there!

 

The Weekly Peek

Hello, and Happy Monday! How was everyone’s weekend? I had SO MUCH FUN at ILA16 on Sunday. After a brief travel delay (thanks AGAIN, Amtrak), I attended a great lunch hosted by Abrams, where I rubbed elbows (and talked about The Bland Sisters) with some esteemed educators and amazing Abrams authors — shout-out to Erica Perl and her new picture book Ferocious Fluffity, and Jonathan Auxier and his latest tour de force, Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard.

After lunch, I hustled over to the convention center, where I had my signing for The Infamous Ratsos at the Candlewick Press booth. You guys, I signed EIGHTY BOOKS. A pretty great turnout, considering my signing wasn’t on the official ILA schedule — many thanks to the good folks at Candlewick for getting the word out! As I signed, I got to meet some wonderful educators from all over the country. And it was my first Candlewick event I attended as an author — pretty surreal, and pretty great!

When my signing ended, I grabbed some coffee and found some time alone to recharge. Then I hopped in a cab and met up with my former picture book partner-in-crime Scott Magoon, renowned (and hilarious) author-illustrators Ryan T. Higgins and Matt Tavares, and literacy wunderkind Dylan Teut. As you might imagine, the jokes (and puns) were flying — much to the delight, I’m sure, of the other restaurant patrons. Later, we met up for drinks with local super-librarian Jennifer Kelley Reed, and the hilarity continued. Whew! I barely made the last train home, and fell into bed just after 1am.

I think I might go and take a nap now — but not before I share a few things happening with me this week:

I’ve combed through my editor’s notes on the second Bland Sisters story, and am now making my way through revisions.

We are attempting to nighttime train our toddler. It’s a soggy process, but we persist, as ever.

Over the weekend, WE BOUGHT A GRILL! I don’t know why we’ve put off this purchase for so long, but I am SO EXCITED to take summer to the next level. Got any great grilling recipes to share?

That’s it from me.What are you up to this week?

The Weekly Peek

Hello, friends, and Happy Monday! How was your weekend? If you attended ALAAC2016, I will try to contain my jealousy. I can only hope I’m invited next year (hint hint, lovely publishers).

Here’s what’s going on with me this week…

I spent all last week finalizing the seminar I delivered at Lesley University yesterday (it went really well, btw!), which means I kinda let the rest of my daily responsibilities go, which means my house is a TOTAL MESS. Time to do the dishes and fold the laundry and go grocery shopping. Oh yes, the writing life is très glamorous.

This past Friday, I received three treasures: a finished copy of The Infamous Ratsos, the first round of sketches for The Infamous Ratsos 2, and my editor’s notes and suggestions for Book Two of The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters. No official titles for these sequels yet, though I’m thinking Infamous Ratsos 2: Electric Boogaloo and 2 Bland 2 Furious. In any case, it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

To that end, this week, I’ll be reviewing and responding to the Ratsos sketches, reading my editor’s notes and suggestions for Bland 2 and formulating a plan of attack for my revision. I’ll also be revising my new chapter book, which I hope to send to my agent early next week.

It’s my grandmother’s 95th (!!!) birthday this Sunday, so I’ll be headed to Connecticut for a little celebration.

I probably won’t post here on Monday, since it will be the 4th, and my family and I will be on the beach, weather permitting. But I promise to post some shots of our fun in the sun on my Instagram account (click here if you’d like to follow me).

What’s up with you this week? Any big plans for the 4th?

 

The Weekly Peek

Hello, and Happy Monday! If you celebrated Father’s Day yesterday, how was it? My husband was away on his annual four-day, dudes-only canoeing trip (our Father’s Day gift to him was this time away, along with some new shorts and outdoorsy shoes, and a big bag of manly camping food (including bacon jerky, sriracha potato chips, and bacon-cheddar popcorn). My kiddo and I enjoyed our time together, and spent yesterday in Mystic, CT with my uncle and cousin. This year, I made the very wise decision to hire our babysitter to  hang out with the little one in the late afternoon, when my husband normally comes home from work to relieve me. Friends, it was bliss. I used that time to get a pedicure, buy myself a case of rosé, and read Raymie Nightingale. (What a lovely book. You know, I think this Kate DiCamillo lady is really going places.)

A few other things as we head into the week:

My kiddo started summer camp today! Feeling proud and nervous, but mostly proud.

These days, I’m spending most of my time getting ready to deliver my picture book seminar at Lesley University. It’s free to the public, so I hope I might see you there this Sunday!

I missed “Game of Thrones” last night (I wanted to wait until my husband got home from his trip, so we could watch it together) and I CANNOT WAIT to see the “Battle of the Bastards.” NO SPOILERS, PLEASE!

Will you be attending the International Literacy Association (ILA) conference next month? On Sunday, July 10th, I’ll be signing advance copies of The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: The Jolly Regina at the Abrams booth (2307) from 10am-12pm, and I’ll be signing actual printed copies (woohoo!) of The Infamous Ratsos at the Candlewick Press booth (2225) from 2:30-3:30. Hope you’ll stop by and say hi, and pick up a book or two!

What are you up to this week?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weekly Peek

Hello, friends. I was going to blog about my lovely weekend, about the new bookstore I visited, and about how hopeful and happy I felt after my writing group session yesterday.  But all of that seems frivolous. Because after my lovely Saturday and my happy and hopeful critique experience yesterday, I read the news. And I was horrified and saddened, and then rageful. Something has to change in this country — specifically, our gun control laws. You can be sure I will be voting (and encouraging others to vote) with that goal in mind in November, and doing whatever I can to help the victims in Orlando in the meantime. Check out this link if you want to find ways to help, too.

In the meantime, my heart goes out to the victims, to their families, and to all of my friends who might be hurting today. I am horrified and sad and angry, but ABOVE ALL, always, I love you.