Thursday, October 31, 2013

Festival and Book Fair Coming Up

I'm heading over the mighty Mackinac Bridge to Michigan's storied Upper Peninsula for the Superior Children's Book Festival at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie. It's this Saturday, with kids' activities, a panel discussion on publishing, Michigan Chillers, my stories, and more.

In southeastern Michigan, on Sunday, November 10, the Monroe County Library System will put on its 15th annual festive pre-holiday book sale, Writers on the River, at the Ellis CenterShanda Trent, author of Farmer's Market Day, and Jean Alicia Elster, with The Colored Car, will be signing these new releases, along with quite a variety of other area authors. I'll be there with Elena's Story and sheep books.

You're invited.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"I have traveled a good deal in Concord..."

My high school English teacher loved Walden, and her admiration for the phrase, "I have traveled a good deal in Concord..." has stayed with me. Thoreau went on to say, "and everywhere, in shops, and offices, and fields, the inhabitants have appeared to me to be doing penance in a thousand remarkable ways." Since Concord, MA was home to the Alcott Family, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, as well as Thoreau, traveling in Concord is the opposite of penance, and our recent visit took us to places where that literary richness lives on: the Concord Free Public Library with its marble statue of Emerson and its Thoreau Room, and the Concord Bookshop, an independent store where I loved shopping, meeting booksellers, and signing a few books

We had seen Walden Pond; the Concord Museum; the Old Manse, with Mrs. Hawthorne's enchanting windowpane inscriptions ("Una Hawthorne stood on this window sill January 22d 1845 while the trees were all glass chandeliers -- a goodly show which she liked much tho’ only ten months old"); and the 1775 battlefield site on an earlier trip. (That was fortunate, because this time the Congressional snit had closed the National Parks). It was time for a pilgrimage to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where the writers are neighbors on Authors Ridge. Readers bring pine cones and stones to honor their favorites. Louisa May Alcott had pennies on her grave as well--but Henry David Thoreau also received written messages, and a Thank-You mint.
View from the top of Authors Ridge

The author of Little Women received stones, cones, and pennies.

Henry David Thoreau's grave had a personal Thank-You.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Woolly Weekend

Knitters, spinners, sheep owners, and book people all got together for the really, really large New York State Sheep & Wool Festival last weekend. What a pleasure to meet fellow authors! And a shout-out to the Meyer family and staff from the Merritt Bookstore, who all worked together to make the book sale happen.

I met Susanna Leonard Hill and her daughter Katie, there with Can't Sleep Without Sheep (and a puppet friend). Her blog for October 21 gives the flavor of the festival and shows her at storytime--a new festival feature.

Iza Trapani, who wrote and illustrated Baa Baa Black Sheep and numerous other tales, was fun to talk to--and check out her blog for her descriptions of sheep voices, talking to Susanna and me, and her  drawing contest, won by Caty.

Celeste Young showed her special knits and talked books with me as well.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's Cooking?

Some of my favorite writings are recipes, and there are some great ones by children's-book creators, like those in Writers in the Kitchen, or the Michigan Reading Association's Recipes for Readers.

Since my books have a lot of ingredients, I've included recipes on a new Web page, put together by author-illustrator Deb Pilutti--and she's made printable recipe cards.

If you feel like cooking along with a story, there are four recipes--Elena's staple food, tortillas; oatmeal cookies the sheep could make with their Halloween treats; a savory custard on the menu at the Tiddley Wink Teashop; and maple porridge sought by marauding raccoons. Of course, if you're an oatmeal aficionado,  you can use the tastier and slower-cooking rolled or steel-cut oats. I like to tinker in the kitchen--please tinker along.

The sheep get apples, oats, sugar, and eggs as Halloween treats--they go into trick-or-treat cookies.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Telling Yarns at the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival

Follow us to the festival.
I'll be at the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck on October 19 and 20, to sign books at the sale set up by Merritt Books of Millbrook. I'll be reading my work both Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 in the Tales of Yarn presentation room.

And this year, we're going to have a prize drawing, with a couple of special-edition sheep books. Stop by!