Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's the Imaginary Blog's One Year Blog-o-Versary!

Hello Imaginary Readers,

One year ago tonight I began to explore blogging right here on the Imaginary Blog.
Starting a blog had been one of my not-quite-accomplished goals for 2007. Deadlines usually work for me so naturally as the minutes ticked by and as midnight (and 2008) approached I made haste to make my goal happen before 2007 was up. Besides, I figured if I didn't like it I could just delete.

Well, I've had fun and I will continue.

See you in 2009 right here on the Imaginary Blog.

Happy New Year everyone!

Forecast: More imaginary blog posts in 2009?
Perhaps an average of one a week?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

SHIFTY on Cynsational Books of 2008!

Whoo hoo! Cynthia Leitich Smith on her Cynsations Blog today listed SHIFTY as one of her choices for Cynsational Books of 2008. She included it in her middle grade category. SHIFTY was nominated for The Cybils in both the middle grade and YA categories and the Cybils folks decided it was most appropriate for their YA nominations. This brings up an interesting question. Is SHIFTY middle grade or YA? Does it matter how it is categorized? Where should SHIFTY be shelved in bookstores and libraries?

The main character, Soli a.k.a Shifty, is 15 (and a half) years old. His seven-year-old foster sister, Sissy, plays both an antagonist and ally role in the story. The book flap states SHIFTY is for ages 12 and up, so I guess that covers both the traditional 8 to 12 years range of middle grade and the 12 to 18 years of YA.

What do I think? I'm only the author, but I'd say SHIFTY is older middle grade and/or younger YA, and of course I'd like everyone to read SHIFTY--adults, too.

Some of my favorite books include characters of varying age ranges and have crossover appeal for teens and adult readers. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, THE BOOK THIEF, and THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT have characters (and readers) of varying ages, just like families and real life.
When I was writing SHIFTY, was I thinking, "This is a middle grade novel. Or, is this a story for teens or adults?" No, I was just trying to capture the characters and their story on the page.

Imaginary Readers, would you consider SHIFTY middle grade or YA? Does it matter? What other good books (with various aged characters) can you recommend that might be enjoyed by middle grades, young adults, and crossover to adult readers as well?

Please comment and suggest good titles for us to read and reread in 2009.

Forecast: Good book recommendations. Thanks!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bad Poetry Friday is Back!

It seems like a good time to revive Bad Poetry Friday so here it is...

The Rhymes, They Are A Changing

(sung to the tune of Bob Dylan’s Times They Are A Changing)

Come gather ‘round Bad Poets wherever you roam
And admit that the oddities in publishing have grown
No need to like blogging—you’ve found your new home
If your bad poem to you is worth saving…
We’d better start laughing, or we’ll feel all alone
For the rhymes, they are a changing…

Yes indeedy folks.
It's time once again for
Bad Poetry Friday right here on the Imaginary Blog.
Here’s how to play…

Just make up really bad rhymes poking good-natured fun at the craziness of the children’s book world. Then send in your bad rhyme (any day of the week) via the comments link on the Imaginary Blog.

Everyone’s invited--writers, editors, marketing folks, librarians, agents, reviewers, booksellers, and readers—cast your meter to the wind and send us your BAD POETRY please.

I’ll post the best (or the worst) every Friday.
Let me know if you want to be credited or anon.

8 short lines max
6 or 4 lines even better.
2 lines might be best of all.
We’re going for short here, folks--
Because if it’s gonna be bad, it better be brief!

Come creative people, please heed the call
Send us BAD POETRY, or no poetry at all…

Forecast: Bad Poems with a Chance of Laughter. Yep, I think we could all use a little laughter right about now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Free Writing Workshop at the Menlo Park Library Dec. 12 for Ages 12 & up

I'm teaching a free Writing Workshop at Menlo Park Library on Friday, Dec. 12. It is for ages 12 and up. Sign up now by emailing Youth Services at It'll be Friday evening from 7-9:00 p.m. Hope to see you there. Please feel free to pass on this link and tell teachers and teens about this event. Tell your local teens I look forward to meeting them. Of course adults are welcome, too.

Many thanks to Menlo Park Youth Services for hosting this event and to Kepler's Books for providing the books for sale.

Location: Menlo Park Library
800 Alma Street
Menlo Park

Forecast: Interesting and fun writing exercises and plenty of time for Q & A. So please bring your questions. I look forward to meeting you soon!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

CSLA (California School Library Association) Author Illustrator Brunch

Sunday's CSLA Author Illustrator Brunch in Sacramento was fun. I had a chance to say a brief 'hello' to several author friends. Here are some pics:
A few of the authors in attendance (from left): Gennifer Choldenko, Jay Asher, Erin Dealey, Elissa Haden Guest, Lynn Hazen, Karen Beaumont & Bob Barner

More pics:
Elissa Haden Guest & Lynn Hazen

Alma Flor Ada, Gennifer Choldenko & Isabel Compoy

Lori Lim (one of the organizers of the brunch) with Elissa Haden Guest

Pam Turner, Lynn Hazen & Gennifer Choldenko

I was seated at Table 10 where I met a really great bunch of librarians and curriculum leaders from Long Beach.

I was happy to see author Ron Koertge there, faculty from my MFA days at Vermont College. I was hoping to get a photo but--oops--I must have had the camera set to "movie." Well, this is the Imaginary Blog so please imagine a nice photo or a very short video of Ron & me smiling.

Forecast: I'm still aiming for another interview before November becomes December!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

CSLA: California School Library Association Conference

What's happening in Sacramento?
First off, you'll see beautiful trees changing colors--amazingly bright yellows, oranges and reds. Then there's nearly 180 degrees of sky. And right now is the CSLA's (California School Library Association) conference. I dropped in today and met Sharon Hallberg & Wendy Chason, Poster Session organizers extraordinaire. Here they are presenting me with a nifty little calculator. Thanks, ladies.
Below is my friend, author Erin Dealey. Erin will be facilitating a workshop on Saturday.

Forecast: I'll be back on Sunday with more author friends for the Author Illustrator Brunch and Book Signing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Congratulations to Judy Blundell, National Book Award Winner for What I Saw and How I Lied

I'm excited to hear about the NBA winner so I'm following twitter for the first time ever.

This just in from the NBA twitter site:
"Winner of the 2008 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature is Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied (Scholastic)."

Congratulations to all 5 National Book Award Finalists for being nominated for YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE
See more info at

Laurie Halse Anderson, Chains (Simon & Schuster)
Kathi Appelt, The Underneath (Atheneum)
Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied (Scholastic)
E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Hyperion)
Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now (Alfred A. Knopf)

Forecast: Time to read, What I Saw and How I Lied

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Interview with Señor Calavera, the Bicycle-Riding Star of Yuyi Morales' New Book, Just in Case

Lynn: Thank you Señor Calavera for visiting the Imaginary Blog. You can park your bicycle right over there. I have a few questions for you...

Do you get invited to many parties? What kind of party do you like best? Do you dance or play party games? Any favorites?

Señor Calavera: Dear author, Lynn Hazen, being the quiet type, I appreciate doing this interview in writing. I do not usually answer interviews, for my work demands that I do not dilly-daily with my duties. However, I am looking at my watch and I realize I have extra time today—Besides, I understand you bake some excellent cookies, is that true?

Lynn: Hmm, I used to. For now, please tell us about parties.

Señor Calavera: Parties? Oh my, I wish I would get invited to more parties. When dear Grandma Beetle sent me her invitation, I could already smell her fried plantains and her tamales. I couldn’t wait to have cake and break the piñatas—I wouldn’t miss her party for anything in the world. But I don't do much dancing at parties; cha-cha-cha, salsa, cumbia, quebradita, they are all very difficult moves, and I am afraid I am rather stiff. But ever since I started doing author visits, the children often request that I shake my bones for them. I am usually shy, but I should admit that I love it when the children clap the beat and cheer for me to try.

Lynn: When did you learn to ride a bicycle? Why don’t you wear a helmet?

Señor Calavera: Dear Lynn, riding a bicycle is a serious stunt. I have been practicing forever. Yet, the other day I was riding my bicycle—my basket brimming with wonderful presents—when all of a sudden, I don't know how this happened--but before I knew it, I was flying in the air, and so were my beautiful presents! When I landed everything was ruined. What a disaster. I always thought my hat was enough protection against falls, but now I realize that if I want to be safe when I ride my bicycle, I should have a friend with me to help me come up with more present. Oh, yes, I should have a helmet too.

Lynn: What are your favorite letters of the alphabet? I hear there are some extra letters in the Spanish alphabet that are not in the English alphabet. What can you tell us about that?

Señor Calavera: The Spanish alphabet is one of my favorites. Why-- all those letters always make me feel very smart and inspired. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

For example, there we have the letter LL, which is very handy when you need LLUVIA (rain) or when you need to make a LLAMADA (a call) or when your belly is LLENA from eating too much cake and candy (full. Although mine is ussually rather stuffed). Or what about the letter CH? Do you like chewing CHICLE (bubble gum)? And CH is a very useful letter when you can’t find your CHANCLAS (sandals).

But my favorite letter in any alphabet is X. Just check out the following Spanish words: XOCOYOTE (the youngest child of a family), XOCHIMILCO ( field of flowers) XOLOZCUINTLE (Mexican hairless dog). However, the Spanish alphabet keeps evolving and some of my favorite letters have already disappeared! I can’t believe it…

Lynn: What is your favorite food?

Señor Calavera: Churros sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon served with hot atole. Why? Do you know how to make those too?

Lynn: Nope, sorry. I don't know how. Do you have a favorite hobby? What do you do in your spare time?

Señor Calavera: Spare time? Well, certainly, on rare occasions, like this one, I am able to set some time to do something different. Counting both in English and Spanish is one of those things I sometimes do while waiting for spare time to be over. Most recently I've been considering learning how to knit. I hear it is very good to relax the nerves.

Lynn: I hear you have your own website now, Señor Calavera. And a movie, too. Did you ever imagine that you would be such a colorful star? How do you handle the paparazzi? Are you on My Space, too? Please tell us the links to find you (so you won’t come looking for us).

Who Is Señor Calavera from Yuyi Morales on Vimeo.

Señor Calavera: Dear Lynn, giving you my links won't spare you my visit when the time arrives. But in the meantime you can come to MySpace and become my friend at:

If you rather become my fan (please, don’t look at me when I am blushing) come to my Facebook Fan Page at:

Furthermore, come see my website where you can learn more about the books that have been written about me, download activities, like making a mask or a puppet. You can even watch me ride my bicycle...while reading and without wearing a helmet! You mean, I shouldn’t be proud about it? Oh, dear…

Lynn: Did you ever imagine that you’d star in more than one book?

Señor Calavera: I didn't imagine that readers would be so enthusiastic about getting to know more of the things that happen to me. But children kept giving ideas for more books. One once even suggested that I should get married—Goodness sake! But many, many of them also wanted to know whether I would keep my promise to come back to Grandma Beetle’s Birthday party. Well, of course! I would not miss that for anything in the world.

Lynn: What are your plans for the future?

Señor Calavera: First, to go to Grandma’s party this Friday, November 21 in San Francisco. We are having a great celebration, and you and your readers are invited too, Mrs Hazen. I also think I would like to learn how to play an instrument--maybe the guitar—they tell me learning to play music calms the nerves too and it come handy when you fall in love. I also plan to make some more friends so that perhaps I might get invited to more birthday parties.

Lynn: I hear there is a cool interactive game on your website. Could you please tell us how it works and where to find it?

Señor Calavera: Yes, but I warn you, the game it is only for brave people. It is a quiz where anybody can test their trickster abilities and find out how much longer they might live once I come to meet them. Are you ready for the challenge, Mrs. Hazen?

Lynn: Gulp, er--well--maybe I am not so brave...

Señor Calavera: A badge will be given to you at the end of the game. Just click on the image above.

Lynn: Okay, I will try in Just a Minute.

But Just in Case the results are not good, let me ask now--Do you have any pets?

Señor Calavera: I hear that a pet requires time to care for it. Would I have the time? It does sound intriguing, though. You mean a pet like a cute puppy--but wait! What do puppies chew on? No, no, no! I might consider an iguana instead.

Lynn: What do your friends say about your success in the children’s book world? Are they envious?

Señor Calavera: My friends think I am famous! Can you believe that? But my friends would never be envious of any of it; that is why they are my friends. Wherever I go, and whatever I do, my friends are part of me too. I take my hat off for my friends.

Lynn: Nice meeting you Señor Calavera. Is there anything else you’d like our Imaginary Readers to know?

Señor Calavera: Please, let our Imaginary Readers know that I will come to meet them in due time--not later, not before. And that I like candies very much. Than you Mrs. Hazen.

Lynn: Thank you, Señor Calavera. I think I am ready to try that quiz now. Uh-oh. Here are my results...

trickster badge small

Forecast: High likelihood of another interview coming soon--AND increased tension not know which unknown teen reader will win the unclaimed prize at the end of my Urban Moon/SHIFTY post from a couple of days ago???? Hint: look at the forecast that day.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Unique Books & Gifts for Your Hard-to-Please Literary Friends

Do you have any challenging book-loving folks on your holiday gift list? Have they already read every book imaginable so you just don't know what to get them? I recently went to the 2008 Book Arts Jam sponsored by the Bay Area Book Artists (BABA) and Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA where I saw lots of cool stuff.

This truck and camper in the Foothill College parking lot foreshadowed that this would be a fun event.

I don't usually peek inside parked vehicles but I couldn't resist. Inside the camper was a cute little kitchen, a space to sleep and ladybug pillows!

Okay, out of the parking lot and on to the Book Arts Jam...

There were many artists displaying their wares. Here are a few of my favorites.
How about a journal made out of an old recycled lp? Here's a spiral "Personal Record Book" by Jaki Ernst. Cool, right? I bet your literary friends don't have one of these!

Here's a lovely little book for wine-lovers. Yep, the front and back covers of this tiny accordion book are made from matching halves of a wine cork! The little circular band on the left (kind of like a cigar band) slides over the closed book to keep it all together. That's another cork book all closed up on the right.

Here is the artist, Suzanne Lydia Thomas, with her cork book, cool mini-book earrings and pins. I bought a nifty little pair of mini-book earrings she created using paper handmade and marbled by her mom & dad.

Suzanne makes all kinds of unique books. Take a look at another of Suzanne's books below. It's small and could fit discreetly in the palm of your hand or tucked into a purse.

This one is titled, Protection.

It's another beautifully designed accordion book. When you open it up it reveals 10 pockets, filled with...


This book contains a quote on what "Papa says" about never leaving the house without protection. Surely, this is the perfect present for someone on your gift list. You can find more of Suzanne Lydia Thomas' unique books, earrings and pins here.
Great stuff--take a look!
Tell her Lynn at The Imaginary Blog sent you.

Check out the Bay Area Book Artists, the Book Arts Jam, the other exhibitors and various book artists here.

Forecast: Holidays approaching with increased chances of book buying.

And of course if you'd like to buy one of my books for someone on your holiday gift list, please visit your local bookseller or click on these Amazon links for Shifty, Cinder Rabbit, Buzz Bumble to the Rescue, or Mermaid Mary Margaret. Thanks!

Imaginary Readers, if you know of any other cool book artists,
Book Art Festivals or places on and off the web to find unique one-of-a-kind books, please tell us via the comment function below.

Kidlitosphere posts about gifts and reading check out November's Carnival.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Urban Moon Over The Mission

No Parking Moon

A similar moon shows up in my new YA novel, SHIFTY.

In my books you will not find overly flowery descriptions of my characters--or setting either. But I love San Francisco and the juxtaposition of urban life, man-made objects and the natural light you'll find here. I like the diversity of people in all neighborhoods, the beauty of things we want to see. But I also try to be aware of the people and parts of the city we pretend not to see or frequently turn away from. So I've begun to carry my camera around with me to try to capture some of what I see in "my setting."

I took these photos Wednesday evening on a "not quite full moon" night.

Stop Sign Moon (above)

Telephone Pole Moon (below)

Forecast: A free online interview chat between the author (that's me) and the English class of the first middle school or high school student (this could be you!) who comments below on where you'll find the moon in my YA novel, Shifty. (including the page numbers).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Heart Belongs to Vermont College...

My heart belongs to Vermont College where I got my MFA in Writing For Children & Young Adults. I met many wonderful and talented writers, connected to my Salon sisters, and honed my craft with the help of amazing faculty in an exciting, intensely challenging, yet fun creative environment. So it's great to get together with local MFA grads. It's even more fun when a member of Vermont's faculty comes to town.

Here's M.T. Anderson with Vermont MFA grads Lynn Hazen, Sharry Wright and Jandy Nelson after his reading and signing at NYMBC in San Francisco. M.T. Anderson read from Feed and his new book, Octavian Nothing II. Having drinks afterward at Max's Opera Cafe was fun, too--though the waiters failed to burst into song as we had hoped. Maybe next time.

If you'd like to read an interview with M.T. Anderson, including his musings on the merits of broccolli, new strategies for plotting and more--please check out this post on the Imaginary Blog back in April 2008.

Forecast: Happy Memories of The Dame Has a Lame Tame Crane--Hmm, can you forecast memories? I think I just did.


Sweet! What's so sweet? Dianda's St. Honore cake, the little guy in the hat, our new president elect, Yuyi's birthday & Jim's, too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Don't Forget to...


Because our leaders and policies we choose today will affect children, families and many others here in the U.S. and around the world for years to come.

Today's Forecast: Hope

To see a wonderful collection of Blog the Vote posts from other authors and KidLitosphere folks, go here:

Friday, October 31, 2008

LitQuake and NaNoWriMo

Why is San Francisco such a great place to live? Do we need any more reasons? Well, there's LitQuake, San Francisco's Literary Festival.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Lit Quake's Lit Crawl & enjoyed a lively gathering at The Lone Palm led by NaNoWriMo's Chris Baty. Chris wrote the book, No Plot? No Problem.

Great title and here's one of my favorite parts of his book about a few of the benefits of being a novelist:

“Novelists, we knew, had it made...They had license to dress horribly, wear decades-out-of-date hairstyles, and have their shortcomings interpreted as charming quirks and idiosyncrasies rather than social dysfunctions.”

That's from page 9 in the introduction of No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days.

That's right, NaNoWriMo is all about writing a novel in just 30 days...

Well, November is upon us--National Novel Writing Month--the 10th year of NaNoWriMo in fact. Have I ever written a novel in a month? Nope. It takes me much longer than that. But I like the silly creativeness of the idea, where aspiring novelists attempt to hack out a novel in a mere 30 days. It doesn't have to be a good novel. In fact they encourage quantity (50,000 words) over quality.
But look at this. If you poke around their website you'll not only find the Procrastination Station but you'll also see some quality resources in NaNoWriMo's Young Writers Program--wonderful free downloads of Young Novelist Workbooks for students in Elementary, Middle School or High School. You'll find extensive useful writing tips here for writers of any age all created by the Office of Letters and Light Young Writers Program. Are these folks enlightened or what? I think so! By the way, young writers get to choose their own word count goal.

So Happy 10th Anniversary to NaNoWriMo. It'll be my 10th anniversary of NOT writing a novel in a month, but also my tenth year enjoying watching everyone else do it.

And me? Maybe I'll try to complete my unfinished novel this month!

How about you, imaginary readers?

Got a plot or not?

Either way, take a look at NaNoWriMo's Young Writers Program or A whole lot of good creative fun happening there.

Forecast: Letters, light & "shortcomings interpreted as charming quirks and idiosyncrasies..." What could be better than that?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Thoughts on Anita Silvey's "Has The Newbery Lost Its Way?"

In a recent School Library Journal article, Anita Silvey poses the question, "Has the Newbery Lost Its Way?"

The whole piece was interesting on many levels but one line resonated with me as an author:
titles that combine quality writing with exciting pacing and heart-tugging characters—remain perennial best sellers even though they never captured Newbery gold."

So that's my goal for the week, the month and my entire writing life-- to aspire to create stories that combine:

1. Quality writing
2. Exciting pacing
3. Heart-tugging characters

Will my books ever win a Newbery or Newbery honor? I wish. Will they become best sellers? I have little control over that. What I can control is immersing myself in reading great books with quality writing, exciting pacing & heart-tugging characters--then keep working at perfecting the craft of my own writing.

We've finally had a hint of rain here in San Francisco and it makes me want to reserve a stack of good books from the S. F. Public Library.

So please tell me Imaginary Readers, which (old and new) middle grade and YA novels do
YOU think fulfill Anita Silvey's 3 criteria above? Which books would you recommend reading or rereading on a rainy fall day?

Forecast: Fall rain and lots of good books

Monday, September 29, 2008

2008 Kidlitosphere Conference, Part 2

As promised here are more photos and a short video from the Kidlitosphere Conference.
Opening Panel:

Dia Calhoun, Lori Ann Grover, Betsy Bird, Alice Pope & Mark Blevis

It's hard to read Betsy Bird's nifty shirt in the above photo. But if you watch my video below, you'll see it clearly. Plus you'll get to hear what Betsy has to say about the term "KidLit." It's fun. It's short. Take a look. (And if you click on the 4 tiny arrows, you can watch it "full screen")

Betsy Bird Talks "KidLit" at the 2008 KidLitosphere Conference from Lynn H on Vimeo.
On a side note, this video was shot with my newish Flip video camera which I love. I was trying to show it off to Mark Blevis just moments before the conference early Saturday morning, but it was showing the dreaded "low battery." Luckily I had packed a few extra batteries. Whew!

Below see Betsy showing her nifty Flip cam to Laini. Later in the day Mark bought a Flip and was taking movies, too. I hope he and Betsy post their movies soon.

Colleen Mondor & Jackie Parker gave an informative and full-of-personality talk about Community Blog Tour Events.

Colleen above, Jackie below.

Pam Coughlan (Mother Reader) shared strategies to "Kick Your Blog Up a Notch." Pam will be organizing the 2009 Kidlitosphere Conference in Washington DC!

Laini Taylor & Jen Robinson

Laini Taylor & Jen Robinson presented a great conversation on "The Bridge Between Authors & Book Reviewers" touching on several do's & don'ts from both author's and reviewer's points of view. A couple of tidbits:

Reviewer peeve: When authors or publicists don't read the reviewer's Review Policy.

Author peeve: When reviewers use spoilers and give away the plot of the book!

I like Greg Pincus's phrase: "I'm geeky--so you don't have to be." I also like the idea of being ready for "the happy accident." Greg had lots of useful examples and info including a link to a wiki he and his brother, Jon, created about Book Promotion on the Web. Take a look.

I enjoyed the whole conference. One of the unexpected benefits was reconnecting with Vermont College MFA friends--
Cheryl Coupe Zu Vincent &
Yours truly, Lynn

Forecast: Lots of good connections, an ever-expanding & ever-important Kidlitosphere, and D.C. in 2009!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

2nd Annual KidLitosphere Conference in Portland

I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it to the KidLit 08 conference, but with some last-minute planning and whirlwind packing I am glad I went.


It was fun. It was a friendly, funny, thought-provoking, and informative group.
And it all revolved around a common interest in books for children and young adults. What could be better than that?

I got to meet many new people and see old friends.

Best of all? Connecting real faces, voices and colorful personalties of real people behind so many KidLitosphere blogs.

Here are some quick photos, thoughts, highlights and questions.

Hooray to Laini and Jone above, the wonderful organizers who pulled it all together. Thanks!
Many attended with hearts, minds, and laptops open. Anastasia Suen

Are these folks' fingertips always connected to the their keyboards?
I'm in awe.

Who attended? There were Author-bloggers. Librarian-bloggers. Teacher-bloggers. Reviewer-bloggers. Daddy-bloggers. Mommy-Bloggers. Don't forget to comment-bloggers. Illustrator-bloggers. Podcasting-bloggers. Multitasking-bloggers. Poetry-bloggers. Group-bloggers. Publisher-PR-bloggers. It's getting-crowded in-the-Kidlitosphere-bloggers. There's-room-for-more-bloggers. Serious-bloggers. Curious but-just-getting-started-bloggers. Used-to-blog-more-bloggers. Even some skeptical, you-can't-make-me non-bloggers. And last but not least, in a category all her own, Betsy-Bird-Below-Blogger.

As someone who does not blog daily, I am in awe of those who post so often. But as an author I must balance my time and of course write new books. I feel fine posting when I can and not fretting (too much) when I am doing my "other non-blog writing." Yes, those manuscripts that will someday be my next books! I feel though, that I need a little sign like a "gone fishing sign" to hang on my blog to signify I still exist and I'll be back--I'm just busy doing my book-writing. Any artists out there who want to create a little author logo for us? Like a "Gone Fishing" sign for author-bloggers?

Okay, before I go fishing for stories and plot-lines again, here are a few more pics:

Multi-tasking Mark Blevis of Just One More Book, who can attend a conference, give a presentation, podcast, shop for a new Flip video cam, take movies, network, socialize, have fun, twitter, read a novel AND a picture book all at the same time!!

You have to admit, Imaginary Readers, that's pretty darn impressive! Here he is reading Zu Vincent's new novel, The Lucky Place, and my picture book, Buzz Bumble to the Rescue, simultaneously. Wow.

See Mark again below during his presentation of "The Podcaster at the End of this Book."

You'll find more pics and posts from fellow conference attendees here.

Forecast: Back tomorrow to post more KidLit Conference pics, thoughts and maybe a little video, too. Unless of course, I've "gone fishing!"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hello From Portland & The Kidlitosphere Conference

Hello Imaginary Readers,

Whoo-hoo! I've arrived in Portland and in a mere 8 hours (or less, depending on how long I'm peeking at everyone's blogs) I'll make my way to breakfast and the 2nd Annual Kidlitosphere Conference full of children's books authors, bloggers and podcasters galore. My hotel room near the airport has background sounds of arriving and departing flights; clackety clacking, woo-wooing trains; and assorted vehicles.

Forecast: Travel-filled dreams followed by eggs, muffin, juice and a day full of Kidlitospheric connections.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Busy September!

Hello Imaginary Readers!

I'm back.
September has always a busy month for me but this September has been extra fun, extra full, and zipping by lickety split. First off, the launch of a new preschool year (I'm the director of a preschool) coincided with the launch of my new YA novel, SHIFTY. So I've been surrounded by great energy revolving around young children, families, teachers and literary events all at once.

I have always loved September, ever since I was a kid. What could be better than a new notebook and pencil, excitement and nervous thoughts of what my new grade, or class, or college semester would be like? I've always loved September in the preschool, too--spiffing up the classroom, planning curriculum with fellow teachers, welcoming back the returning children and getting to know the new little ones.

The quality of light in September, our San Francisco skies, and children's voices in the air all seem particularly heartfelt and full of potential.

And into this busy energy my new YA novel, SHIFTY, has been released into the book-reading world. Busy busy but fun! My book launch party was at Books Inc with a crowd of family, old and new literary friends. Thanks to everyone who came or sent your good wishes. It means a lot to me to share the celebration.

As a writer, I of course spend goo-gobs of time alone creating my imaginary characters and worlds in my books until those characters and their stories become more and more real to me. I write and revise with the hope that I'll capture a great story full of humor and heart that will someday be published and read. Many afternoons and evenings it is a huge leap of faith to keep writing. But with perseverance and luck that "someday" of SHIFTY being published has arrived. Time to celebrate!

So please celebrate with me, Imaginary Readers.
Read the book and tell me what you think. Please send me any "questions for the author" right here on the Imaginary Blog or at

Please tell teens, teachers and librarians about SHIFTY and take a look at my Shifty website at Pass the link along to others who might be interested. You'll also find a great, free downloadable Teacher's Guide, reviews of the book, and info about my inspiration for the story.

And inside the pages of of the book, SHIFTY?
There, Imaginary Readers, there you'll find Shifty's story.
I hope you like it.
Please take a look.

And what am I up to now? Since it's September, I bought myself a new notebook! And the September skies of San Francisco still feel full of a unique quality of light, good energy, and children's voices.

Forecast: A notebook (soon) full of story ideas.

Monday, September 1, 2008

SHIFTY! Pub date is today


Today is SHIFTY'S official publication date.
And Wed. September 10th is the Book Launch Party.
7:00 p.m.
See the nifty Shifty poster below for more details.

Please come join the celebration.