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LEVEL UP!!

Holy moly, friends!  I’ve been offered representation by a literary agent as an author-illustrator!  I am over the moon excited, and will send more details when I’m done running in circles around the back yard like a middle-aged fool.  This is the next step to my 2nd (3rd?) career and I couldn’t be happier. EEEEEEEEP! 

Why I Rest

Those of you who know me well, or maybe not so well but in-person or through working with me, (may know that I’ve been slowing way down lately.  I’ve been a full-speed-ahead, ADHD hyperfocus kind of person for all of my life – and while I still have the hyperfocus and enthusiasm, I also now have a chronic illness.  My twitter posts are either #kidlit or #longcovid related these days, because those are the things front and center in my mind.  Yup, Long Covid, probably ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis).  I got the original SARS-COV-19 back in March of 2020, when there were no vaccines, no tests, and people telling us it wasn’t even here.   I’ve been sick since, and with a lot of rest and pacing, about a zillion pills, and a doctor who’s willing to experiment, I’m starting to get better.  But it… is…. HARD. 

I’ve been self-employed since 2009, and hustling every minute. I barely took maternity leave.  Being self-employed means I’ve taught myself to say yes to every opportunity that comes along – and the two times in my life (2008, and 2020) that I planned to take a large chunk of time off of work and work on my writing and illustration, THINGS HAPPENED that prevented my sabbaticals.  This time, I’m not going back to the old ways, though.  My illness means that mental, emotional, AND physical exertion tire me, usually with a lag of 12 hours beefore the crushing fatigue kicks in.  So I can’t do it all. I can’t parent, work 30 hours a week on architecture, and create books and illustrations in the margins – not if I want to stay mobile.   I have to RADICALLY REST.  REALLY REST.  “Be prone and not make appointments” rest.   So for the rest (heh) of the summer, all two weeks of it, I’m not taking on any more architecture jobs. I’m limiting myself to two new paid gigs per month, start dates spaced two weeks apart and scheduling accordingly.  Because what I want is to draw and write. 

Drawing and painting – at least the inking and coloring pages – are restful to me. I feel recharged when I do them, not drained.  Writing takes a ton of mental energy, though, so if I’m not protecting the heck out of my time, I can’t do it. And if I don’t write new stories, I won’t be able to make this my real job.  Oh, I know picture book publishing isn’t super lucrative – I’ll probably always have someone’s bathroom renovation to design to keep me in watercolors and cutting edge digital brushes – but gosh dang it I want to make art my focus! 

My parents helped me take a family vacation where I really unplugged, and I’m hoping to hold on to this feeling – the expansive, follow-your-body-and-get-better feeling.   Wish me luck! 

Dino Chicken Paper Airplanes

OK WHUT how are we halfway through summer break already!?! Is this for real? I am new to the whole “camps if you need childcare” action because of pandemic weirdness last year (oh and the year before I guess jeez). The chaos is giving my ADHD/Long-covid brain a run! 

Anyhoo I sent out my Dino Chicken paper airplane project in my first ever (omg who am I even) newsletter  last weekbut forgot to make a blog post with it for non-newsletter friends.  

SO HERE IT IS!!

Download your Dino Chicken Paper Airplane Project Below (the PDF is the full booklet) with instructions

And just for you bloggy reading types, here’s one that I made, using a folded plane that totally worked, but then could NOT for the life of me figure out how to fold properly later.  Maybe you or a very determined tween can figure this out (or maybe it just didn’t work).  Drop a comment if you figure it out 🙂

What We’re Reading – Owly by Andy Runton

Owly by Andy Runton

Early reader graphic novel, ages 4+

Oh my goodness pals, this is such a SWEET series. Not cloying, but just genuine and kind and lovely.  Owly, who speaks only in icons, is a flightless owl who feeds birds, even though they’re terrified of him. He wants a friend… and his kindness in helping others despite their fear gets him MANY over the course of the series to date (including his bestie Wormy, humminbirds, a possum, a butterfly, and some bluebird buds).  My 7 year old, who is totally into fighting goblins and being intense, is in love with the the gentle kindness and the relatable adventures.  He also likes that there aren’t a lot of words and they’re nearly always paired with iconography, so he can understand the story without an adult or too much struggle.  And they’re fun to read aloud, with just enough emotional tension to keep everyone really rooting for Owly and his buds. 

What We’re Reading – Donut Feed the Squirrels by Mika Song

Graphic novel for young readers (4-8) – Donut Feed the Squirrels by Mika Song

A romp for the family, from littlest on up.  Clever squirrels Norma and Belly want pancakes… but in their excitement they got burned!  But there’s still a good smell in the air… I laughed on most pages as Norma and Belly scheme to get donuts from the new food truck in the park.  There are physical gags, machines going wrong, delicious snacks, and more. It follows a heist format with a getaway car, a wise advisor, and lots of challenges.  The squirrels jump on each new problem  with good humor and short-lasting dismay, and we’re left smiling. 

Hello!

Hi Friends! I want to let you know that I’m starting a blog and a newsletter (probably quarterly, so only 4 teeny emails a year) to keep you updated on what I’m working on. Since there was nothing here… I figured I’d better put something up. 

For my newsletter pals, I’m going to offer a downloadable printable, usually an activity, each season – for the first one I’m working on a paper airplane printable that looks like a dinosaur-chicken, in honor of a draft project I am working on (a middle-grade graphic novel called Steffie Sordus and the Dino Chickens).   I’ll also probably blog about what I’m reading (usually SFF) and what I’m reading with my kiddo (he’s almost 7).   And my projects, methods, works-in-progress.  

Again, probably not that often, because I have to actually make some books if I’m ever to get published!  

Here’s Steffie! What do you think, would you pick up a story about Dinosaur Chickens?