Friday, March 30, 2012

Sketchbook Friday

You may (or may not) know that I'm working on an illustrated middle grade novel about a twelve-year-old girl and her art teacher. In one of the scenes, my main character sees some crazy-cool shoes on TV, and here's what she draws in her sketchbook.

Can I just say how much fun I'm having with this book? I'm actually becoming my main character, kicking around with my sketchbook and drawing not only the things she would draw but I'm also trying to capture her style (and show it progressing throughout the book).

Happy weekend!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sketchbook Friday-big and in color!!

Hi all!!

I'm spending a couple of days enjoying the Oxford Conference for the Book (I presented yesterday morning!), but I finished up my life-sized wooden Izzy and Rose cutouts.


And here they are with some very good friends.

Happy weekend!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Endangered Species

This morning, I heard a great panel discussion given by a group of independent booksellers from around Mississippi. I am fortunate to live in a state full of great independent bookstores, and I for one would like to see it stay that way.

While much of the discussion predictably focused on the evils of Amazon, I was most interested in hearing the booksellers' ideas of how to evolve their stores so that they can remain viable in a digital world in a country that is still in a recession. 

Many of the booksellers mentioned that they have expanded their children's sections (yay!), and John Evans from Lemuria in Jackson, Mississippi, said that he was focusing on community outreach--he  reaches out to schools, book clubs, and other groups, instead of waiting for those groups to come to him. He also said that social media has been a great way to reach his customers. The Lemuria blog has a huge following and is one of the best ones out there.

Richard Howorth at Square Books here in Oxford said that his bookstore offers a vital connection between authors and readers--something personal that you can't replicate online, and he also stressed that publishers rely on physical bookstores and the physical activity around them to create a market for their books. Author events and bookstore sponsored book clubs are some of the many ways his store fosters these connections.

All of the booksellers talked about tailoring their bookstores to fit the specific needs of their communities, and this is one of my favorite things about indies--each bookstore has its own unique flavor that reflects the culture around it. In a way, going into a great independent bookstore is like walking through a beautifully curated art collection.  

This is something that can't be replicated by Amazon or any other big box store. And I'm obviously not the only person who feels this way. Richard mentioned that over the past couple of years, the number of new indies opening is on the rise. 

Good news indeed!


Friday, March 16, 2012


Well, I've been lounging around on the beach all week and totally forgot that it was FRIDAY!! Whoops!

Sketchbook Friday will resume next week with a regular post earlier in the week.

And just in case you've been living under a rock or something, look at my girl Katie Anderson!!! Read about her amazing book deal with all kinds of other media and product tie-ins HERE.

Happy spring, y'all!

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Different Kind of Sketchbook Friday!

Good morning all!

This week, I've been doing sketches on a larger scale . . . a kid-sized scale.

I'm making big, wooden cut-outs of Izzy and Rose to take along with me on book signings--thanks to some great help from my hubby and his friend who has mad sawing skills (he even cut around the part in the girls' hair!).  

I'm hoping lots of little people will want to have their pictures made with their favorite character. I'll post the finished product when it stops raining and I can get back outside!

Happy weekend (and happy spring break for some of us--like ME!!)!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Favorite Read Alouds

Hi all!

In case you missed it, the wonderful Jules featured me on Seven Impossible Things yesterday. I'm so honored!!

And speaking of being honored . . . the fabulous folks at Lafayette Lower Elementary invited me to read to their students as part of Dr. Seuss week last Tuesday. Since my book isn't out yet, I wasn't allowed to read it, but I talked about it a little and showed some illustrations. We had a bit of technical difficulty which was kinda terrifying in front of 300+ little people, but everyone rolled with it and it turned out just fine. Good practice for future school visits where I've heard it's best to go in assuming that nothing technical will actually work.

But the best part of the visit was that I got to read two of my very favorite read-alouds:


I mean, one of the characters is named Reginald Von Hoobie Doobie, and that name ALWAYS gets a laugh (especially if you can say it in a menacing-sounding voice). Plus, the story is just so darn great.


I'm always amazed that people haven't heard this story. You can find it in the same book as the THE SNEETCHES, and it's been one of my favorites since I was little. It's delightfully creepy and contains one of the best lines from children's literature ever written:

I said and said and said those words
I said them but I lied them

Chilling, yes?

Hope y'all have a great week. Down here in Mississippi, we're counting down the days until spring break!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sketchbook Friday!

Here's today's sketch . . .

I'm just having such a good time revisiting the stars of my upcoming release.

Happy Dr. Seuss Day, y'all!!