Monday, September 17, 2007


It's that time of year again. Based on National Novel Writing Month, JoNoWriMo+1.5 is a little less intense and a lot more fun. It's run by the very clever Jo Knowles. Head on over there if you're ready to commit to completing your writing for children goals in 2.5 months!

Here's mine: to finish the first draft of my so-called cemetery WIP. It's a MG novel about a girl that wants to help her dying Grammy, so she sets out to discover what it's like to die. She 'haunts' the caretaker at the cemetery, the under-taker, the grave digger and the monument people, only to find out that it's not how you die, but how you live that matters. Stay tuned for more adventures of Lily!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Copyright Office goes Electronic!

This is cool—I signed up to be a beta-tester for the copyright office's new electronic registration system. After I input my login name and password, I was directed to a series of screens asking for the typical information. When I was done, I added the registration to a shopping cart, and had the option to register another image, or pay. It even lets you save your registration as a template for future use. I paid easily through a government website, then uploaded the image. Voila! It was that easy.

Those of you that know me, know I am a big proponent of copyright registration. Here's why I think this is a great leap forward:

1. Uploading your image electronically will help to make sure it will be included in any searchable online image database (if one ever becomes available.)

2. Registering online provides your most recent contact information to the copyright office, including email, fax and alternate phone number (cell). These items are not on the current paper registration forms. The more contact information you include, the easier it will be for possible licensors to find you (alternately, harder for possible infringers to say they couldn't find you.) This is important especially if you've moved and have your old address on previous registrations.

3. You save money! The fee is $35 for online registration versus the $45 fee for paper registration. You also save money on courier fees.

4. You save time. You are protected from infringements the moment your registration reaches the copyright office. Before, I sent them overnight by FedEx and they were received the next day. Now they are received immediately and I'm protected immediately.

5. More money saving—a new feature that is being considered is allowing you to enter the titles of each item on your group registration for a fee—$1 each title electronically or $3 each title traditionally. Currently individual titles from group registrations are not searchable, so this in itself would be big step forward.

6. This will make it harder for those Orphan Works people to *claim* they can't find you, and thus use your artwork without your consent, with no penalty to them.

If you want to sign up too, go the the Copyright Office's webpage and click on the left where it says "Beta Testers Sought for Online Services."

If you want more information on the Orphan Works issue, go to Illustrator's Partnership or Graphic Artists Guild websites.

And if you can't get enough of this geeky copyright talk, then head on over the Pamela Parker's BLOG called, what else, Copyright Talk!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Update part deux!

Robert's Snow

It's that time of year again and here is my humble snowflake this year. This side has a three-dimensional Christmas tree with little yellow stars, and red and blue ornaments. The background is watercolor. I've attached little floating snowflake satelites around to give the appearance of a snow flurry. It's a traditional type tree that you might find inside your own home.

The back side is a similar tree but decorated with colorful birds as you might imagine if it were outside.

The auction will be especially poignant this year because of Robert Mercer's passing. If you don't know the story, check it out at Robert's Snow. The auction will take place in November and December, and be displayed at the Child at Heart Gallery, in Newburyport, MA. An opening will be held there on October 6, 2007, 2-7 pm, with many of the local snowflake artists in attendance, myself included. Hope to see you there.

In other news, I've been asked to be on the board of directors for a new fundraising project initiated by Tomie dePaola, in honor of his friend Trina Schart Hyman (and my favorite children's book artist of all time.) It's all still in the planning stages but you will hear more about it shortly. If you want to know more about Trina head over to my other website, Women Children's Book Illustrators.

I also attended Tomie's yard sale this summer. What a hoot! I bought a Mexican folk art angel and a colorful paper flower wreath with ribbon streamers. Tomie told me I should wear it. I'll be hanging both in my new studio soon. Who knows. Maybe I'll channel Tomie if I wear it while I work. I also bought some colorful napkins that I hope to make lots of pillows with.

My new over-the-garage studio is almost done and I hope to post pictures soon.

I've had my original art in Artistic Roots Gallery since last March. AR, a cooperative gallery, is locted in Campton, NH right off Interstate 93, exit 28. They are open every day, except Christmas and Thanksgiving 10-6. I have cards and signed books for sale there too. This is one of the framed pieces I there.
Open House at the Gallery will be held October 5, 2007 from 5–8 pm. As one of the newer artists there, my art will featured along with the other new artists' work.

Shall we give this another try?

For two years I've been promising to post something on my blog! Two years! So what have I been up to, you ask? (I know you didn't but thanks for playing along.)

Let's see, family wise, one son has moved on to college, and another onto middle school. No big drama there. The hardest part was learning AIM and how to add buddies.

Work wise, there are no new books in the publishing pipeline, but a few manuscripts are making the rounds. I've written an upper middle grade/younger YA novel about a house I use to live in that was built by circus performers. A circus theme playes a major part in the story line. Since I'm the queen of the 2,000 word picture books (that's too long for those of you that don't know) I decided to try a novel instead. It was a blast! Who knew I had so much to say? Okay, that's my family you hear groaning in the background. Cough! cough!

This summer I attended a workshop with Executive Editor, Judy O'Malley of Charlesbridge, on shopping around your manuscript and what editors are looking for. It was held at the Writer's Studio, owned by my friend Joyce Johnson . That was very enlightening and gave me the push I needed. Next, I attended a Writer's Schmooze at the Poland Spring's Campground, run by my writing friend Tami Wight. The Editor was Andrea Tompa from Candlewick who was delightful and very down-to-earth. Lastly, I'll be attending Kindling Words East at the end of January, a retreat for working writers, illustrators and editors. Should be fun.

Illustration work has been pretty quiet. I had a piece in the July 2007 issue of Spider, and illustrated a book cover for Random House. The novel is called "Love Me Tender" by Newbery Honor author Audrey Couloumbis and will be out April 22, 2008. I had great fun coming up with the Elvis figure. I also did lots of good work for a very large office supply company.

This is the newest addition to our family—an Amphicar! An Amphi-what! you ask? It's an amphibious car made in Germany in 1964. My husband was in search of a hobby and has wanted one one of these cars since he was a kid. He's been working on it for almost two years now and nearly done. In this photo you see the new white wall tires.

In this photo, you can see my husband's car in the center, along with two friends and their amphis. If you look closely you will see the dual propellors under the rear bumpers. These kooky . . . er . . . kool guys get together and go for swims together (called swim-ins), stopping traffic and causing accidents wherever they go.

My oldest son, college boy, has become First Mate to my husband, the Captain. Hey! I thought that was my job! He's also the videographer and webmaster. He's even bought a sweet sun umbrella that matches the amphi perfectly. A chip-off-the-old-block I'd say! Picture to follow on another day.

And here's my husband swimming (that's what they call it) with his car in our local lake. In case you were wondering, the car can go 70 mph on land and 7 mph in the water.

Take a peek at the website my son (the college boy) designed for more amphi phun— Some of the videos there have also been uploaded to youtube.

More catching up to follow.