This week mostly I have been Butt In Chair

To borrow a phrase from Jane Yolen, mostly I have been 'Butt In Chair' this week. Can it really be October ALREADY? The wind and rain are blowing through Maine this morning and it is pretty wild. Not the cold Nor-Easters though. They are still to come.

Here's a fall photo or two to get us in the mood ....

I have no drawings to show you this week ... I have been scribbling away on the pencils for the BOOK for Freespirit Publishing, have those finished next week. The deadline looks like it will be crunched a bit, but, well I love a challenge.

Struggling to get the 4 picture book math concept dummys out of the computer, stuck together and sent to the AGENT of choice. (The new plan d'jour). But after feedback I decided to make a change to one of them that involved a fair bit of redrawing. I am really fed up of these dummies now and want them OFF MY DESK!!

Then I got sick last week. YUK. Some kind of fevery thing and falling asleep, and no, before you ask it wasn't too much of the hard stuff.

All in all September has flown past ... and now it is only 14 days until Nevada SCBWI conference and mentor meet-up. It's going to be a lot of fun, but it has come around fast ... once again a revamp of the portfolio. Not over thinking it this time. Just the stuff I like. And if it is all different styles, then it is. And it will be. I really hope I will have the 4 PB dummies finished too to take with me .... more Butt In Chair.

A new GLOG is in conception. (Group Blog to the uninitiated.) At the moment it looks like being me, Russ Cox, Sheralyn Barnes, Carrie Clickard and Fred Koehler. A good mix. We are deciding on a name right now ... hopefully it will be up and running soon and we will be posting sketches and artwork. Be fun to have a group of fellow illustrators and writers together in one place. Watch out for it!

That's it folks. Got to get back in my chair. Wait! I never left it. The wind is howling round the attic, and the oak tree outside my window is really whipping.

OH! nearly forgot ... I will be guesting on R Jeffreys 'The Write Step' blogradio show this evening at 9pm EST talking about working on a book of poetry called 'Wee Three' so hope you can tune in, or you can download later and listen. Let me know what you think. I doubt I will be able to listen to it after, as I hate the sound of my own voice. Hey! Come on! Be nice :-)

Cheerio ...

aka The Wacky Brit

PS. Nothing new on the bedside table, but lots on order at the library.

"Pleasure bent again, Lizzy!"

It has to be my favorite quote from 'Pride and Prejudice'. I say it every time I am going on a fun trip ... I have even got 'im indoors saying it now. So, yes, 'pleasure bent again Lizzy' - in just 5 days to Hollywood ... yippee! If you missed the it (and I can't imagine you haven't been following the thread) I am attending the SCBWI summer conference in Los Angeles. Just seems to have been one fun trip after another this year, and it's not over yet! Lucky me (mixed with a lot of hard work). So I feel the old quote will be dragged out several more times before I am done with 2010.

It will be fun to meet up with Sheralyn Barnes, a gal I met at the NY winter conference (and fellow illustrator/author) . Yee gads, we are even rooming. This could be make or break for our friendship. (Check her work out). But I am predicting a lot o' fun. networking and possibly the odd cocktail. (Or two.)

Meanwhile, back at the drawing board, what's been going on in the attic ..... ?

OH! OH! The Lovely Art Director (from here on in known as LAD), emailed me to say I have been chosen to illustrate the Lovely Publisher's book on Autism. VERY EXCITED. So watch this space for more news. Giddy to tell all, but you know what it's like. So LAD will hopefully be calling me today to discuss NUMBERS. (I am good on 1 to 10 thanks). ETC. Whatever ETC is. I am really going to enjoy this project because I am also going to get to do all the text by hand which I have always wanted to have a go at. So - CELEBRATION in LA for me!

In between 'cleaning ship' (as we used to say in the Royal Navy) in prep. for the visit of in-laws (arrive today) I have been working on my portfolio. I have stuck to the same style this time ... and OMG it is so PASTEL (colour I mean not medium). Totally odd for me, cos I do like my dark colours. Well we will see.

Here are a couple from 'Share the Bear' which are in there.

Portfolio organized ... new biz cards and postcards ... small photo size portfolio to fill and I'll be good to go.

SERIOUS MOMENT: Bought 'Reading Magic' by Mem Fox this week (as recommended by Allyn Johnstone in a seminar). Excellent so far. Gave myself a break from chores/work yesterday and bimbled over to Tim Horton's for some carbs (which I DO NOT NEED - note to self). Sitting munching and reading away quite happily. Mem talking about how early you should begin reading to your child. Now, I was only thinking the other day that I have no real memories of being read to particularly. I remember laying in bed reading 'A Child's Garden of Verses' when I was 5, and then I was on to chapter books and beyond. I have virtually no memory of picture books, although I am sure there were a-plenty.

My childhood was somewhat unsettled in many ways. I think my mother fell out of love with books when the general wear and tear of real life got to her, and, apart from trashy novels, I never saw her read much. But I know she did as a child and teenager and loved Dickens and some of the classics. But it was something I had to come to on my own; books and art were my escape.

And then, as I was reading Mem Fox's words, I suddenly remembered images of my sister reading with me ... a memory that was buried deep down. My sister is 9 years older than me, and although we do not have a close relationship now, she looked after me a great deal when I was young. And right there, in Tim Horton's I found tears pouring down my cheeks! Oh no! I dabbed them away, feigning something in my eye, as you do, even though no one is really looking and sniffed all the way home. So that's the last time I take a book to read in Tim Horton's on a lunchtime! But it does remind me how potent childhood memories can be, and how serious this fun occupation of writing and illustrating for children really is.

Right-o ... I must get back to gluing down the floor tiles in the kitchen and cutting the grass so the place is the best it can be for the relatives inspection. Why do we feel the need? Sigh.

I'll be back to the blog after I return from Los Angeles.

Now, where did I put the Tums? Must remember to pack them.

Tatty Bye from Maine.

aka The Wacky Brit.

PS ... Here are some of my notes from the last conference ... it's a wonder I ever remember anything!