12×12 Picture Book Challenge

I have been working on writing picture books for the last couple of years. They are a deceptively simple form that is actually very difficult to write.  Every word counts, you have to take into account the page turns and the sound of the words when read aloud, in addition to having a compelling story arc and lovable characters.

I’ve written several that don’t quite work, and while I’m revising, and revising, and revising – and completely disassembling and reassembling – I am beginning to see the truth of the advice given to new writers to just keep writing new stuff. If you do it enough times, you’ll eventually hit on something that works. I hope at least!

“Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”― Ray Bradbury

I don’t think I’m capable of writing an entirely new picture book every week, let alone illustrating a dummy even to preliminary sketches. But I do think I’m capable of one per month. I signed up for 12×12 because those little electronic badges and end-of-month raffles are great fake-deadline motivators for actually getting that draft and revision done each month.

Here’s to a productive new year!


Red Thread Knits Tags

My friend Jenny Gruslin has created this lovely line of knitwear that she is selling as an adoption fundraiser called Red Thread Knits. I created this tag for her products, each of which has a red thread running through it, in reference to the Chinese proverb that people who are destined to meet are connected by an invisible red thread through time and space.  Adorable baby hats and beautiful scarves for sale!


Bedtime Read: Thank You, Octopus


I’m in love with Thank You, Octopus by Darren Farrell. It’s silly and smart and has great design. That would be enough to make me love it, but it also cleverly introduces a meme even a preschooler understands.”No thank you, Octopus!” has entered my family’s library of quotable pop culture.

“I ate all my ice cream. I know, you want to give me yours!”

“No thank you, Octopus.”

“Can I poke sissy in the eyeball?”

The humor would be enough to make this book, but the simple text also conveys a  sense of the bond between Octopus and Buddy. The warmth of their relationship draws us into their cozy world. So, put your pajamas on (the Statue of Liberty) and curl up in bed with your own favorite prankster to read this story together.