Nevada Mentor Program

I am thrilled to have been asked to be a mentor on the celebrated Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program this year. I was part of the program as a mentee back in 2010/2011. It's pretty special to be asked back and to work with 2-3 mentees myself. The program was probably the one thing I did that really set my career on it's way. The friends and contacts I made are still strong and very much part of my life. Ellen Hopkins and Suzanne Morgan Williams did a marvellous job starting this program and it's as great as ever! Check out the line up of mentors for yourself. Maybe I will see you there? Applications are open ... spaces are limited. What are you waiting for?

New York, the weather and all that ...

Like you know, last week end New York for the SCBWI winter conference. The weather played havoc with us and flights were canceled out of Portland, ME. It was interesting to think of illustrators and childrens' authors stranded around the country (if not the world ... many international attendees at the conference too). Sitting in airports, working on stories, sketching. Or maybe just stuffing their faces on airport food. But still. A community on the move.

As it turned out Amtrak prevailed and we got to NY only several hours later than planned. Trudged through the snow from Penn Station to Grand Central as theYellow Taxis decided we weren't good enough for them.

So here's what happened:
(There was no champagne but I like the image.) But much beer and cocktails.

And there was partying:

 I learned a lot:
I met old friends and new ones and had lunch with my mentor Priscilla Burris.

I had a GREAT time in the pub with some awesome and legendary illustrators ... (no name dropping today)

I didn't win the grand prize in the showcase :-(

We went out and DINED 

And then it was all over and time to fly home. 

To more snow.

I have been reflecting on the year since the last conference in NY. My first back then with the SCBWI. I knew no-one, and I knew little about the business. This year I knew a heck of a lot of people and am far more educated in the ways of publishing. It DID feel like coming home.
Had time to nip over to the Gift trade Show at Javits Centre (thanks to a complimentary ticket), and checked out the licensing exhibitors. It's something to think about, but not sure if it is something I want to devote time to right now ...

It felt very empty in the studio on my return. I was talking about this with a fellow illustrator this week. How hard it is to leave the 'womb' esp. in a cold winter. The effort gets harder. You say 'I should go out - I need to be amongst people - I need to be stimulated', and then when you go out, or away to a conference, you are longing to get back to your hole, your drawing board, your computer, your pen and paper. There must be a little of the agraphobic in all those who work alone for most of the time. So there we were in New York, a conference full of nutballz.

This week ... back to work ... slowly, but surely. The chapter book looks like it is a goer (contract next week) so I am a happy bunny ... 2 books to work on!

Decided to give up the agent search for a while. I am happy with what's going down, and this week I will make a concerted effort to submit the math book series I worked on last year. I haven't really sent them out yet, and now is the time to give them some attention.

I am off for some R&R in front of the tele. 'im indoors went skiing today (!!!!!) so he is soaking in the hot bath. You won't catch me throwing myself down the slopes.

Signing off for this week ...

aka The Wacky Brit

On the Bedside Table:

Benny and Penny - Geoffrey Hayes
SockSquatch - Frank W Dormer
I'm Bad!Kate and Jim McMullan

To breath, or not to breath ....

Not literally you understand. I have come to a pause in between finishing books and starting the next. So what I really mean is a breathing space. So decisions, decisions? Shall I plunge straight into the next dummy I want to work on? Or not? If I was an actor I would, I suppose, call it resting. Thing is, I am not very good at resting.

Case in point (or is it point in case?) today, after completing the cover for lovely author in Canada (see pics from the book below) I figured I could sit down and read a book and put my feet up. OR. I could take advantage of this peculiar weather (54F and snow melted) and clear up the garden, which I never did get around to previous. So of course I cleaned up the garden. Then made some bread and a fish pie. Never did read the book.

Anyway, enough prattle, here are a couple of the illustrations from 'A Crazy Day' by Margy Robertson Reid ... I do like the dog in the cart :-)

The search for a lovely agent continues ... I will come to rest somewhere or other I expect, eventually. So back to submitting ...

I DID manage to leave the house this weekend. Me and 'im indoors attended the local Christmas Concert and it was v. nice. I always like a good carol concert. (Mainly because I can have a sing, which no doubt I enjoy too much and my neighbours do not). And the best thing was - home made cakes afterwards. Huzzah! (Note to self: get on the so-called exercise bike.)

I took my sketchbook too ....

Always fun to draw people when they aren't looking ;-) so watch out.

Oh and if you happen to be in Bangor, Maine (or are passing through ... yeah, right!) I have a display of illustrations in the Children's Discovery Museum, downtown. So that's fun! They will be there until January.

Tomorrow I am going to be stuck into working on a piece for the Tomi de Paolo award, for the SCBWI winter conference in NY. The 1st prize is all expenses paid trip there ... lummy, that would be nice! It is based on Heidi. Trouble is I have to have it finished for midnight on Wednesday. Gulp. So I had better get cracking. I had every good intention of getting this done in November, but life got in the way. I know, I know, always with the excuses.

I hope you are all ready for Chrimbo. I confess, I am not. It is just me and 'im indoors on Christmas Day (by choice and with all dogs/cat in attendance). I will watch the Queen, (courtesy of my VPN link), even though I will have her with brekky and not after lunch when everyone is a bit pissed up and you fall asleep before Lizzy II has had time to finish telling which of her myriad offspring are getting married/divorced/other. Still, it's the thought that counts.

With that I WILL take that deep breath ....


aka The Wacky Brit.

On the bedside table ... NOTHING NEW!!!!!!! I am slipping ... but forgive me  have been working like the proverbial dog.