Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

A funny blog post from my friend Anna Guillotte.

Friday, August 9th, 2013

    My friend Anna Guillotte was also at the SCBWI conference.  She has written  about her impressions of the conference and created a cartoon which tackles the disturbing transformation which happens at the Saturday night partly.  And yes Sir Mix-A-Lot was involved.

Check it out: Anna Guillotte

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators / Los Angeles Conference

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

To enlarge click on image.

Day One of the SCBWI Los Angeles Conference.

I’ve been asked to write a report on this year’s L.A. conference. I haven’t written a report on something since I was in school and I will not even begin to tell you how long ago that was.   I also have the attention span of a gnat.  I know this doesn’t bode well but I will give it a try anyway.

The conference started off this year with a few words from Lin Oliver ( Children’s book author, writer / producer of family films and one of the founders of SCBWI).  A few months ago I got to talk to her in person and I’ve got to say she’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.   She gave us a number of facts about who exactly was attending this conference.  And, here they are…

   There are 1266 attendee’s.

   38%  published

   62% unpublished

   There are 400 plus new attendees

   175 portfolios in the portfolio showcase.

   312 attendees for the writer’s intensive

   46 States are represented here, with the exception of both North and South Dakota.

   14 Countries are represented

   Approx.  988 women attendees, 192 Men and 86 Undeclared

   Some of the occupations represented here are Animal Communication Specialist, Auditor, Spam      Fighter, and Pickle Professional.

I haven’t check out all the numbers to make sure they work out but it does give you an idea of who is here.

The first keynote speaker was Laurie Halse Anderson (best selling children’s book author).  She talked about how the readers of our books are the most important of all readers of all (children).  She stressed the importance staying a child because “Growing up is a whole lot of Horse Shit”. And finally, she stated how important it is to sit around a campfire at least once in your life.

The next keynote speaker was Jon Scieszka (Children’s book author). His topic was Subversion, but his talk quickly headed in a different direction.  I couldn’t keep up with him as he told stories of growing up with his brothers.  But I do know that Jon and his brothers broke the youngest brother’s clavicle several times in his life.  Poor kid!

Laurent Linn (Dir. for Simon and Schusters  Books for Young Readers), always a conference favorite, gave nuts- and- bolts talk about how a book gets made from dummy to printing.  Laurent talking style is a mix of charm and no-nonsense and I find him one of the most informative of all the speakers. This talk was extremely good for people new to this business.

Finally, the last event of the night for me was the Illustrator Social.  It’s great to visit everyone but it gets so loud in the room that a bunch of us went to the hotel lobby to talk.  This hotel’s lobby is one of the best for socializing.  It’s filled with various groups of writers and illustrators experiencing the friendship and comradely that seems to come easily to people in the world of children’s books.

I know this isn’t the greatest of reports, but I’m tired now and don’t care.  So there!


Good Night!


Another tooting of my own horn. 2013 Golden Gate SCBWI San Francisco Conference.

Monday, March 4th, 2013


I have no idea why I chose the above image for this post.  But I’m lazy, and I don’t feel like changing it now.

I’ve just gotten home from the Golden Gate Conference for the SCBWI San Francisco at Asilomar.  For those of you that have gone to just the large LA or New York conferences I want to tell you that smaller events have some great benefits.  There were only about 140 to 150 people at this conference.  Like all SCBWI gatherings the people there were a real mix.  There were all levels of writers and illustrators there, from those  living- the- dream to total newbies.  I believe that I got to have face time with literally everyone.

I have some new BFF’s (Hi, Suzanne, Joyce, Matt, Kat, Tiffany, Kathrine,  and Tamara .  Sorry if I missed anyone.  I’m trying to be better at remembering  names but I’m pretty sure I missed of few there) .  My agent, Erzsi Deak, was there and she was one of the speakers.   I also got to meet  Jon Agee, Ed Briant, Patti Ann Harris, Lisa Jahn-Clough, Daniel Handler and Greg Pincus.  And I finally got to really meet Lin Oliver.  I’ve seen her a dozen times but I’d never actually had a chance to talk to her.

But my favorite part of the conference, because of my ego, was winning the Golden Gate Portfolio award!   I remained humble after winning and waited until I got back to my room to do my victory strut  (I’ve been told my victory strut is very disturbing).  Emily Jiang won the Golden Gate Writer’s Award.  (  She is a truly awesome person!

Oh, and I forgot to say, Asilomar is a state park in Pacific Grove near Monterey.   It’s right on the beach and has beautiful historic buildings.  It’s the perfect place to meet friends and discuss children’s books!

My Camping Trip

Monday, July 9th, 2012

I have convinced my dog to tell you about our latest camping trip.  Since most people don’t speak Corgidor I have translated his words for you.

     We went camping again, but I am a much changed dog from the one that was scared at every noise on our first  trip (  I still hate how long it takes to get to our camp site, but Mom tries to make the long car ride fun by pointing out things along the road that I might find interesting.


I made quick business of securing our camp site.


      Since wolves don’t eat Miss Daisy’s Nutritional Kibble for the Precocious Senior Pooch in the wild I refused it too.  But Mom, being very smart, brought a jar of caribou scrapings and mixed it in with my food.  This was a good compromise.


We hiked a lot!  One thing I like about being in the wild is you can pee on anything and nobody gets mad!


      As much as I liked being way up in the mountains, it was also fun to go into town and check out the local action.  I met a couple ladies that were just my type.


We did all kinds of really fun things on our camping trip.


But I also got a little worn out having so much fun so it was good to get home.

Patchwork Holiday 2011 Shows

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Hey everyone!  I will be participating in the Long Beach and the Santa Ana Patchwork Holiday Shows.   The Long Beach event will be this next weekend, Sunday Nov. 6th, from 11-5:00. 

The Santa Ana show will be on Nov. 27th, 11-5:00

Info. for the Patchwork Holiday Shows can be found at this link:

Hope to see you there!

Tooting My Own Horn

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Far be it from me to toot my own horn, but in this post I will be tooting the hell out of it.

This last weekend I went to the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) convention in Los Angeles.  At this event there where keynote speakers (Bruce Coville, Jerry Pinkney, Libba Bray, David Small, Judy Blume, Jon Scieszka, Norton Juster, and many more), parties, socials and competitions.

I arrived knowing that I would have my crew from my critique group beside me. ( Charles Eubank, Ella German, Patti Gabrielson, Wendy Kitts, Richard Metzger, Katrin Azimi, and Anna Guillotte).  Soon I was able to add to my crew a whole bunch of new faces. EVERYONE was intensely friendly and supportive.  

I went to several workshops and I entered my portfolio into the portfolio showcase.   On Saturday evening I found out that I had been chosen for the Mentorship award.  Also winning the Mentorship award where Eliza Wheeler, Juliana Brion, Juana Martinez, and Christina Forshay.  Hooray for us!

That night we had a Pajama Party by the pool.  There where a lot of artist, writers, school teachers and librarians that got their freak on.  It was a bit disturbing.

The next day the Mentor-ship winners received personal critiquing from industry professionals, E.B. Lewis, David Diaz, Priscilla Burris, Cecilia Yung, and Pat Cummings.  That night we shared a group discussion.

So now I am very tired.  I have canceled everything that I wanted to do today except to toot my own horn because that seemed very important to me.

SCBWI Award Winners:

Got Story Count Down:  (my teacher Joy Chu’s Childrens Book blog)

SPECIAL THANKS –  Lori Mitchell (teacher, illustrator and writer) for saying that I should be a children’s book illustrator and turned me on to SCBWI, David Diaz (award winning illustrator)  who critiqued me and said that I could make it in illustration, Joy Chu ( art director and designer of over 20 children’s books)  for teaching me how to be a children’s book illustrator,  and my critique group for keeping me in line.

LINK to my New Illustration blog:

Happy Chocolate Memory #2: Black Forest Cake from the Madonna Inn

Friday, May 20th, 2011

 PLEASE NOTE:  This post is from foggy childhood memories.  Mistakes on what may of actual occured may be present.

Growing up, like in most families, special times called for special cakes.

Unfortunately, a special cake for us was a store bought sheet cake.  Usually the cake part was not too bad.  But, the frosting was made out of some wierd sweet cement.

On family trips to the coast we would often pass a place called the Madonna Inn. As a child it was the most beautiful building I had ever seen. It was an all wood building painted white with sugary sweet pink trim. On one of these trips we actually stopped at the Inn.

 Let me stop now to go into a little detail about the Madonna Inn. It is legendary in California. It’s probably one of the number one places to stay on a honeymoon. Besides the grandeur of their buildings exterior, what the Madonna Inn is primarily known for is the fearless interior decor. Unlike most lodging establishments that play it safe with their decor, I believe the owners of the Madonna said, “Screw it, lets just go for it!”, and proceeded to decorate the hell out of the inns  interior.

 Please check out the Madonna Inn for yourselves:

 Here you can check out the outrageous decor of each of the Madonna Inns rooms: – My favorite room is #206, the Old Mill room.

 The Madonna Inn is also known for its cakes. When my family entered the Inn’s bakery I beheld the most beautiful, huge cakes I had ever seen. I told my folks right then and there that I wanted a chocolate cake. At the time all they had was Black Forest Cake. I had never had that type of cake before. It sounded suspicious. But it was beautiful. Besides its large size it was covered with chocolate shavings. Much to my horror my folks only bought a slice, which I couldn’t believe they did, because obviously with anything so frickin’ fantastic you MUST buy the whole thing. To my parents credit a single slice would be enough for 6 people being that its size was about half my height.

Like I said, that cake was beautiful. When a slice was removed from the whole cake you could see the three types of frosting/filling in between each layer. One of the fillings was some red stuff that looked like jelly. I had never seen that before. Once again I was suspicious. 

When we got to our final destination it was time to try the cake. (TRUTH TIME: While driving I found that the cake was close enough to me and the wrapper loose enough for me to sneak some of the chocolate shavings off of the cake). I have no idea how we went about cutting into this hunk of cake. But what I do remember is the richest, creamiest frosting I had ever tasted. I mean, you could have just eaten the frosting all by itself. The cake itself was perfection. It was moist and rich. And the filling (chocolate crème, butter crème, and the red jelly stuff) added new dimension to a cake that I never knew existed. 

Since that time I have tried other Black Forest Cakes, but none seem as good the one we got from the Madonna Inn.  I don’t know if it’s because nobody makes  Black Forest Cake as well as Madonna Inn or over that the years my memory has turned that Black Forest Cake into a legend.

Palm Springs Desert Art Festival: This Weekend!

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Laughing Owl by Andrea Zuill

Hi everyone,  I will be at the Palm Springs Desert Art Festival this coming weekend.  That’s the whole weekend, both Saturday and Sunday.

Here is the location:

Frances Stevens Park, 538 N. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262

This festival is FREE to get into. 

Hope to see you there!