Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hi all! I haven't been here in a while, but today you can find me guest posting on two blogs! Count 'em ... TWO!!

First, head on over to Moody Views where I'm featured on Stephanie Moody's Kid Lit Bits talking about my upcoming workshop at the SCBWI Southern Breeze WIK Conference in Birmingham on October 12th. While you're there, be sure to hit "follow" and share away.

If you'd like to see the rest of the WIK blog tour, click on these links. It's going to be a great conference!

Aug. 28   Author Matt de la Peña at Stephanie Moody’s Moodyviews
                 Editor Lou Anders at F.T. Bradley’s YA Sleuth
Aug. 29   Author Doraine Bennett at Jodi Wheeler-Toppen’s Once Upon a Science Book
                 Author Robyn Hood Black at Donny Seagraves’ blog
Aug. 30  MFA program director Amanda Cockrell at Elizabeth Dulemba’s blog
                Illustrator Prescott Hill at Gregory Christie’s G.A.S.
Aug. 31   Author Heather Montgomery at Claire Datnow’s Media Mint Publishing blog
                Editor Michelle Poploff at Laura Golden’s Just Write
Sept. 3    Author Nancy Raines Day at Laurel Snyder’s blog
                Author Jennifer Echols at Paula Puckett’s Random Thoughts from the Creative Path
Sept. 4    Editor Dianne Hamilton at Ramey Channell’s The Painted Possum
                Author Janice Hardy at Tracey M. Cox’s A Writer’s Blog
Sept. 5   Author / illustrator Sarah Frances Hardy at Stephanie Moody’s Moodyviews
                Agent Sally Apokedak at Cheryl Sloan Wray’s Writing with Cheryl
Sept. 6   Agent Jennifer Rofe at Cathy Hall’s blog
                Author / illustrator Chris Rumble at Cyrus Webb Presents

Next, check out Donna L. Martin's weekly Writerly Wisdom series for my post about Creating Character. Check out her other Writerly Wisdom posts for some great writing tips. And again, be sure to follow, share, tweet ... yell from your front door!

And if TWO blog posts in one week isn't enough (three, if you count this one!), I've just finished the final illustrations for my upcoming spring release from Sky Pony Press called PAINT ME!  Here's what it's about:

Red, blue, and yellow are just the tip of the iceberg when you have a good imagination. In this colorfully illustrated story, a young girl makes her way through the day—first painting a portrait of her dog, and then painting anything and everything she can find. With a simple, affectionate plot that teaches colors and embraces the “creative process” for many kids, Paint Me! offers a message of love and discovery.

Featuring a heartwarming story and simple yet striking illustrations from author and illustrator Sarah Frances Hardy, Paint Me! encourages children to explore their creativity and express themselves while learning their primary and secondary colors. For parents who remember reading Harold and the Purple Crayon when they were young, or for those who love more recent books about art such asBeautiful Oops!, this is one sweet story you won’t want to have missing from your library.Stay tuned for a cover reveal ...

Happy fall!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

This just in . . .

Julie Matysik at Sky Pony Press has bought a picture book from Sarah Frances Hardy (Puzzled by Pink). In Paint Me, a girl who begins the day painting a portrait of her dog gets swept up in the act of painting until she has painted everything she comes across. A spring/summer 2014 pub date has been set; Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media was the agent.

And I'm pretty much OVER THE MOON!!!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Playroom Redo

A few years ago, our playroom was featured in Southern Living magazine. The photographer came to take pictures of some other rooms in our house, and while he was there my girls (look how young they were!) were in their playroom cutting and drawing the whole time. After shoving lots of clutter behind him and away from the camera lens, he snapped their picture and they made it into the magazine. Voila!

Here is the same room today:

As my girls have gotten older, their playroom has turned into a junky closet where they store all of their games and art supplies. Now, they only use that room for internet surfing and homework that requires their computer, and they bring games and projects into the kitchen.  

Soooo . . . in a few short weeks, it's bye-bye playroom!

Our house is an older house which had been cut into three apartments when we bought it. The playroom had been added on as a kitchen in the 1970s, and it's the only room that we didn't redo when we did our massive renovation about ten years ago. The room is pretty much rotten and poorly insulated, and we had always planned to take it down eventually.

And now, we've inherited a beautiful, very long dining room table that won't fit into our current dining room . . . also in Southern Living a few years ago:

So now our old dining room will become our den which is currently in a narrow room that is more hallway than functional space. We're so excited to finally have a room in which we can all fit to watch a movie as a family.

Fingers crossed that the Historical Preservation Committee approves our plans . . . . I'll keep you posted!


Also, check out my studio featured on Creative Spaces!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Choose Your Own Adventure . . . Happy Birthday, Erik!

If you have arrived in the middle of the adventure, you may start at the beginning by going HERE (

Erik chooses the path that leads to Mystery Mountain:

Before they went more than two steps down the path to Mystery Mountain, Benton walked off the path into some lush, if rather wet, tall grass, and bent his head to crop some of the delicious greens. Erik promptly slid down Benton’s neck to land kersploosh in a puddle hidden by the heavy undergrowth. 

“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” Erik said.

Benton nickered an explanation, but his words seemed to go over Erik’s head, so he illustrated by flopping down on his side in the damp grass and rolling back and forth, his hooves flailing the air. When he stood up again, he gave a mighty shake, showering Erik with clear, cold water from the grass. Benton was much cleaner.

“Good idea, Benton!” Erik said, pulling some of the grass and wiping off the worst of the mud. “But this isn’t getting us any closer to finding my present. Even if we are more presentable. Get it? PRESENTable?” Benton just shook his mane.

Erik pulled himself up onto Benton’s back and nudged his sides. He had to nudge several times before Benton was willing to walk on into the dark as night forest that lay ahead of them.

The path narrowed. If Benton had been much larger, it would have been a tight fit between the trees. Could Lady Josie really have come this way on the black horse? “Look, Benton! There’s a hoofprint! We must be on the right path...”

Something swooped by them in the dank darkness. “That was just an owl. Right, Benton?” Erik said aloud. “Right?” Benton didn’t answer. He was too busy laying his ears back on his head at the creature that blocked the path in front of them.

“WHOA, Benton! What IS that?” It looked like a wolf, or an ogre, or something that neither of them really wanted to encounter close up.

Erik looked from side to side, hoping that the path might have a fork in it. Usually when you want a fork, you can’t find one (ever have to eat your dinner with a spoon?) but almost magically, there was a fork. The road kind, not the dinner kind. A sign pointed in two directions. Ahead of them, past the wolf-ogre, was Mystery Mountain. Off to the right was Otterley Creek. 

“Otters? Lady Josie likes otters. Do you suppose she went that way, Benton? Or did she try to get past the ogre?” Erik leaned forward to get his pony’s advice.

Benton neighed, but his answer was carried off by a strong wind that whirled past them. Erik would have to decide for himself.

To face the ogre, go HERE

To go to Otterley Creek, go HERE

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Winner is ....

And the winner of the beautiful NUTCRACKER illustrated by Maurice Sendak is Betty Person.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Maurice Sendak Nutcracker Giveaway

'Tis the season!

One of my daughters is a ballet dancer and she has danced in the Nutcracker since she was four-years-old. A couple of years ago, her dreams came true when she got to play the part of Clara. Such fun!

But a few months ago, I realized that since she'd always been in the Nutcracker, she'd never actually seen a live performance. I'm happy to say that this past weekend our schedules worked out (which is tricky during this busy month) and I was able to take my daughter to see an absolutely beautiful performance of the ballet in Jackson, Mississippi.

I'm officially in the Christmas spirit.

So ... you can imagine how excited I was to receive this beautiful book as a gift from Random House. And it is stunning.

How many of you knew that not only did Maurice Sendak illustrate E.T.A. Hoffmann's story upon which the Nutcracker Ballet is based, but that he designed the set and costumes for a performance by the Pacific Northwest Ballet? The performance is available as a movie, but I'm sad to report that it is only available as a VHS. Here's the trailer, though, which absolutely gives me CHILLS. I would love to see those backdrops, billboard sized. And those costumes!!!

In the NUTCRACKER book which was just rereleased by Random House, Maurice Sendak uses costume designs and backdrops that he created for the ballet as illustrations, and he painted additional pieces specific to E.T.A. Hoffman's story. The book itself is a piece of art, printed on beautiful paper. It is one of those books that the reader is meant to linger upon, savoring each detail and each piece of beauty that can be found on every page.

A perfect Christmas gift, yes? And I'd love to be able to give this copy away to a lucky reader, just enter the giveaway below. It closes on December 17th, so be sure to enter and spread the word!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you don't happen to be one of the lucky winners or have more than one person in your life who would love this masterpiece, click here to order. And support your indies!!!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Middle School Beauty Review

Yes. You read the title of this post correctly. I'm going to write about the Beauty Review that is happening at our public school this weekend for Middle School girls. Just curious . . . do you think that there could be a worse age to put young girls through a contest where they are judged based on their appearance (and proficiency with the use of body glitter)?

Okay, maybe those toddler beauty pageants are worse. But still.

I haven't heard much about it from my oldest daughter who is in eighth grade and is a member of the club which is sponsoring the event--an academic club which requires a 94% grade average and service hours every semester (don't even get me started)--except that she is staying far away from anything having to do with it.

My seventh grade daughter is very different from her older sister, however. She is very girly--she loves ballet, flowers and pretty clothes. I was relieved that she never mentioned the pageant to me or asked to be a part of it. But earlier this week, she was in a bit of a mood, and I asked her what was going on. She said "nothing" but then later mentioned that she was "so sick of hearing about the stupid Beauty Review". I told her that I was proud of her for not signing up to be a part of it, that those were not our values, and we talked a little more about it.

Apparently, those middle school cafeteria conversations that used to be about soccer, school projects, and play rehearsals had shifted. Now everyone was discussing whom they thought would win (i.e. who was the prettiest girl in seventh grade), and the girls partaking in the pageant were dishing  nonstop about their dresses, shoes, makeup  . . . and what time to get to the hair salon for the perfect messy updo.

Before you ask, I've made my feelings known to the sponsors of the event, and I doubt (hope) that we will have a repeat next year. This year, though, it's a done deal. And I've been surprised by how many of my friends are letting their seventh grade daughters' participate. It's like it's become one of those "everybody's doing it" things, and it's really weighing on me. I honestly thought in 2012 smart women had progressed beyond this kind of stuff and we could stand in solidarity, but my friends have shrugged saying that it's all in fun, harmless, and something their daughters wanted to do.

So, you can imagine how happy I was to find this sheet of paper on my daughter's desk this morning.

I think we'll be okay in the Hardy house.

And . . . whoa!! I think I may have the seeds for a middle grade novel here. Hmmmm.


Stay tuned for a Christmas giveaway next week . . . .