Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Do What You Love!

Happy 11th birthday dear little book. Thank you readers!

Welcome to the world, Running Out of Night (Yearling) in paperback! 

Dear Friends,

No excuses except one. Somebody needs to invent a 36 hour day! Period. Never enough time to do all the things you need to do and all the things you want to do!


What a wonderful month. I was one of the luckiest people in the world. I got a chance to work with fine authors, Sara Louis Kras, Sherri L. Smith, and James Burks at the annual Author Go Round for Santa Barbara County Department of Education. 

James Burks-Fabulous illustrator, cartoonist and graphic novelist. 

Sara Louis Kras. She is an explorer extraordinaire with lots of courage. Face offs with monitor lizards (behind her) and polar bears are just some of the things she writes about.

Award winning author Sherri L. Smith. Her fantasy and fiction books are gripping.

One of the happy audiences. Let's face it, every kid loves a day off from school and a chance to do something different in a new place. They're loving this experience.

I visited with hundreds of students, teachers, librarians and parents from 75 schools. Every day of the week was crammed with adventures and new beginnings.

Each author had a large booth with an area to set up books, art work etc. Groups of 25 to 30 kids, parents and teachers would cram into the booth and ask questions about book writing, reading and jobs. So inspirational for me and I hope I inspired a few of the kids too.


A month to work, work, work on my new book and a month to give a couple of small talks to groups and to do some more wonderful book club SKYPE interactions. The questions thrown at me by the kids were great. Here I am with a group of students and the little hummingbird (right window pane) is watching the goings on.

SKYPE Book Club 

...and Kiddie Writers met at my home for a "class" with Newbery Honor author Kathi Appelt. We did that via SKYPE too. Amazing! Left to right-Sherry Shahan-Ice Island, Frozen Stiff, Skin and Bones and more), Me, Elizabeth Spurr-At the Beach, Farm Life, Wind, Snow, Perrier the Pig and more, Cindy Rankin, her new book, Under the Ashes will be released in October by Whitman Publishing. Helen K. Davie-Penguin Chicks, Animals in Winter and more. Cynthia Bates many books to come and Lori Peelen, one soon to be released. 

Spring really started popping in February and I tried to bring it indoors every day. Here are the 7 days and 7 bouquets for a week. Even accomplishing such a little thing as cutting a bouquet made me feel good.


What a month. So fortunate to give two seminars at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. My first talk was about California Gardens: Glorious Despite the Drought. Sharing photos of gardens I love touched many hearts. I also wrote a two page hand-out for the attendees. If anyone wants a copy of the hand out, please write. In it I list some of my favorite native plants and the critters they attract to a garden.

A little watercolor I did for the title of the talk.

My second talk was "Vest Pocket Gardens." You get it, small gardens to fit into today's hectic life. What I love about the small gardens is that even with our fast paced existence we can tend them and become intimate with the plants in our care. Containers have always meant so much to me and I know they can enrich your life too. I call them the quick change artists of the garden. Just a few well cared for containers can enliven even the darkest corner of a garden. And, they attract myriad critters too. You don't need a huge garden to create a wildlife sanctuary. (Just think smaller).


Our March rains were a much needed miracle. Here are a few shots of the astounding rainbow of colors that our California land is producing.

Mariposa lilies galore.

A hillside blanketed in purple bush lupine and poppies.

From 12 miles away the peaks look like they're on fire!

The back side of Figueroa Mountain.

During this month I'll be visiting Cal Poly to give a guest lecture on writing for children, both fiction and non-fiction. I'll talk about all the ups and downs of a writing career and help guide students onto their own paths of creativity. Wish me luck!

Speaking of creativity, the winners of the book give-away are: teejay and Emily Darling. I will need your mailing addresses and my dear Workman Publishing will mail the books directly to you. Congratulations!

Ok, this posting IS like a crazy quilt of thoughts and experiences, but that is really how life hits us.  I'll just end with this photo. Please read the words on the bag I am carrying. It is a mantra we all need to chant. Whether it is by reading lovely books, making bouquets, teaching, creating a garden, cooking a meal, please DO WHAT YOU LOVE!

Love across the miles, the seas, the mountains,