Bitten (literally) by the Picture Book Bug

This morning, I got bit by the bug to return to a story I’ve revised over 100 times.

Literally.

No, I won’t post a picture of the itchy, rapidly swelling lump on my arm. But I will post a picture of the probable culprit:

spider.jpg

Isn’t she pretty?

You see, I’ve spent most of the summer working on a young adult novel (and it’s “horror” – go figure! All those years of reading Stephen King have had an effect…what can I say?) And I did write a new picture book manuscript featuring an elephant…

So this lovely little lady apparently wants me to return to her story. I can’t say she hasn’t been on my mind. Over 100 revisions means her tale is important to me. Because it’s about perseverance. Striving to live your dream no matter what the barriers. Which is what I believe children – of all ages – need to hear. To believe. To internalize.

Maybe her bite has given me amazing spidey powers. To spin the right words to make an editor or agent share the same passion that I do for this story. So we can inspire others as well.

And now, I must write.

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Winter’s Coming…

whipples dragons snowman

I don’t know what happened to this summer. I blinked and poof! It disappeared faster than chocolate at a writer’s conference.

Luckily, Labor Day didn’t disappoint. The sun shone, the breeze whispered and the lake beckoned. We spent a precious five hours there, toes planted firmly in sand.

Of course Larry had to build one final castle for the season. After all, winter’s coming and the Dragons of the world (well, at least our little corner of it) need a nice place to live.

Labor Day castle Larry

Thankfully, he had help.

whipples wall

Larry shared his skills with them. They were worthy students.

whipples 2 boys larry

What I loved most about these brilliant young assistants was that while they helped, they had a long, involved discussion about which tower they would live in if they were dragons. Their words rang logical, yet filled with heartfelt caring. Their decisions personal, while at the same time sharing.

Perhaps the world needs to be a worthy student of theirs as well.

When A Dragon Moves In To BookFest PA: Celebrating the Arts

For me, the real “fireworks” start after July 4th.

I’m not talking about the hand-held sparklers, or the loud firecrackers, or even the color-splashed glittering sky.

I’m talking about the brilliance, the luminosity, the light, the love and the sheer joy inspired by art. This past weekend, I was privileged to attend three amazing festivals: The Central PA Festival of the Arts,

blog arts fest

People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts & Crafts,

blog people's choice.jpg

and BookFestPA. blog bookfest logo.png

Larry and I spent Saturday sharing book – and Dragon! – love at BookFest:

bookfest larry set.JPG

We connected with author friends… (here I am with the amazingly talented Gayle C. Krause and Denise Kaminsky)

Bookfest gayle denise me

…book-loving friends… (fantastic volunteer Amy and brilliant organizer Maria Burchill of Schlow Centre Region Library, who took such great care of us!)

Bookfest maria amy

…and made a TON of new friends! (Yes! I finally got to meet BookFest organizer David Pencek & his adorable son!)

Bookfest jodi david son

Our Dragons received a lot of love.

shari woman's expression reading

BookFest customers reading

And found precious new homes.

Bookfest child reading dragon

Oh! How I wish I could share more pictures of the sweet little faces of Team Dragon, but I would never post a child’s face without their parent’s permission.

I guess it was no surprise that we found Dragons are “drawn” to edible art:

If you give a Dragon a cookie…?

Bookfest baby dragon.w cookie

Some Dragons are into “pop” culture:

arts fest dragon kettle corn

Although the arts festivals run mid-week through Sunday, our schedules only allowed us to have Sunday free. So we walked four miles of artist booths between the two. (It was heaven!)

Of course, since I ran Larry ragged, I treated him to ice cream:

Arts fest ice cream.JPG

Okay…um…that might have been mine. YUM! 🙂

And now, head and heart full to overflowing with inspiration…I must write.

Breaking News: A Dragon Moves Into WTAJ-TV’s Central PA LIVE

Baby Dragon Central PA live

This just in:

Dragon and I were invited to help spread a little book love in anticipation of BookFest PA 2017, to be held Saturday, July 15 from 10 AM to 4 PM under the tent in the parking lot of Schlow Library in State College, PA, in cooperation with The Central PA Festival of the Arts. The full interview can be found here. This year, BookFest PA will host a variety of amazing authors (and illustrators!) sharing picture books, novels, graphic novels, comics, nonfiction and more.

We had so much fun! Baby Dragon fan-dragoned over some of his favorite shows…

Baby Dragon Big Bang

Baby Dragon Stephen Colbert

…and the brilliant anchors & crew – check out all of their awards!

Baby Dragon Commentators Awards

Which made him think perhaps he’d like to be a news commentator when he grows up:

Baby Dragon WTAJ News

Tons of thanks, love and hugs to the fantabulous folks at BookFest PA, Schlow Library and WTAJ for setting this up and allowing us to share a little summer Dragon lovin’! Hoping to see you on July 15th!

And now, I must write. Hugs!

When A Dragon AGAIN Moves Into POLAND!

Sometimes our postal worker delivers bills (and admittedly, since I’m a writer, a few rejections.)

Other times, she delivers a new BABY!

Check out the new Polish edition of When A Dragon Moves In Again!

Polish Baby Dragon

*Tigger dances*

*squeals*

*tosses chocolate confetti*

Baby Dragon and I can’t stop hugging the sweetness!

Thanks, love & hugs to our friends in Poland for adopting both of our Dragons: When A Dragon Moves In and When A Dragon Moves In Again

Polish Both Dragons.JPG

…and (as ALWAYS) to Shari Dash Greenspan and everyone who works so hard in my Flashlight Press family to deliver such joy into my world…into the world.

And now, I must write.

 

Life is A Box of Crayola Crayons

Forrest Gump told us life was like a box of chocolates. Indeed, you never know what you’ll get.

And forgive the cliché, but it’s also important to remind ourselves, especially when life is moving like a high-speed train, to take time to smell the flowers.

So, after eating (way too many) Easter chocolates, I needed both physically and emotionally to take a walk and seek out some blossoms.

What I found was that sometimes life mirrors a box of Crayola crayons:

b tulips

b cardinal

b pink closeup tree

b purple red

b pink flowers

b dandylion.JPG

b firey sunset

*sneaks one more piece of chocolate*

And now, refreshed, renewed and re-inspired, I must write.

Authors & Librarians & Chocolate – oh my!

I’ve been away. Not just away from the blog, but away away. As in super busy. Traveling. Writing. Critiquing (I’m honored to be a Critique Ninja for the online 12×12 challenge this month.) Then traveling again.

Thankfully, I got off to a running start at the PA School Librarian Association conference in Hershey, PA, with their lovely morning spread of treats. Which only goes to show, one can do anything when one begins the day with chocolate butter…

b chocolate butter

…spends the day sharing love, hugs & laughter with librarians and other authors…

b PLSLA

…and caps off the conference with an enlightening, inspiring and inclusive discussion on diversity.

b panel.jpg

Simply put, librarians rock.

I’ll blog more about my adventures soon…but now, I must write.