Published: Sally the Sad Shape

Sally the Sad Shape is available!  I’m very proud to launch this little book, the first in the Moodrangles series, books about big emotions for smallish people.  Sally is a little shape in a very sad mood, and she tries everything to change it.  It isn’t until she makes a new friend that she learns to see her mood in a different light.  I wrote this book to let preschool and elementary aged children know that being sad is something that we all go through, and not something that they have to “fix.”  The charming illustrations by Steve Ogden Art and use of humor make it an entertaining read for kids and adults.  Available right now at Amazon or autographed through the Little Voices Publishing website.

Writery Stuff:  I’ve learned an enormous amount about self-publishing by launching this little book.  I haven’t found the downside yet.  I’ll let you know if I do.

Waiting Is Boring, I Think I’ll Start a Business: Little Voices Publishing

logo-w-white-space

Unsurprisingly, sending queries to agents is a long, drawn out process.  First, the agents you find in your genre have to be accepting queries and submissions.  You find the magic window, and send whatever combo platter that particular agent is looking for–one wants a #3, the next just wants a letter a la carte, the next wants the whole thing translated into Esperanto.  Then….you wait.  If you’re doing it according to industry guidelines, you don’t have it out to 100 agents at once, just a handful.  You get those responses or wait for a reasonable amount of time…and then you send some more.

The Tiny Giant hasn’t been out to many people so far, and I’ll let that run its course.  You have to.  Traditional publishing is still the best scenario–they have resources, you have ideas, they can help you get the best version of your ideas to the most people.

That doesn’t mean I sit around waiting for six months, though.  In the event that I don’t connect with just the right agent at the right time for magic to commence, I’ll pay a professional editor and self-publish The Tiny Giant under my brand spanking new publishing imprint: Little Voices Publishing.  Self-publishing is in many ways indistinguishable to the consumer now–you can set it up on Amazon, it can be an e-book, it’s print-on-demand and shipped directly with their free Prime shipping.  The days of buying 100 copies from Vanity Press® and trying to hawk them at the Grange Hall are behind us.  If you build your small business, and someone wants to come buy you out later…well, that’s fine too.

The cost of having this little business is not small.  I have applied for all of the licenses and permits, and I’ll have a pile of additional paperwork to do at the end of the year.  I’m still up in the air with City Hall about an environmental impact study they said I had to do if I wanted a business license.  I think City Hall is going to rule that I don’t need a business license at all, since I don’t really produce anything.  (I would be insulted, but that’s the easiest option and saves me $45.)  Then there’s the time involved.  There’s a website (http://www.littlevoicespublishing.com) and a Facebook page I’m building and updating.  I might even get some ding-dang paper business cards done.  None of this is writing stories–it is a J-O-B.

All of that infrastructure is nearly ready.  Then I’ll just let it sit there and…..ha ha ha, no, I won’t.  That would be fine if I had no other ideas, but lack of ideas has never been my issue.  In March, Little Voices Publishing will launch the first book in the Moodrangles series, Sally the Sad Shape.  This pause…it’s an opportunity, and I would be a fool not to use it.  Written by me and illustrated by Steve Ogden (Magnificatz), Sally the Sad Shape is a charming story about a mood that we all experience.  The Moodrangles series intends to honor the complex emotional lives of children with humor and empathy.  I’ll update here with more details when it’s available.  Until then…I have some more website stuff to put up, and those business cards to design, and copy to write for the Amazon page, and, and, and.  It’s real, it’s fun, and it’s turning out to be really fun.

16880873_983039575161236_1064821190_o-3

1979: The Mucil Age

image

Was there any finer adhesive
Than sticky brown mucilage?
Your paper, your fingers, your desk, and your hair
Could all play a part in collage.

Kids today only use “school glue.”
There isn’t even paste to eat.
We must send 48 glue sticks
To stick the damn kids to their seats.

There’s disappearing purple and staying purple
And teeny, weeny sticky dots.
But for me, mucilage was king,
Because mucilage was all we got.

Note: Sort of like government cheese, mucilage was much more common in the 1970’s. As a child who was often bored with the lesson, I experimented with viscosity, drying time, and bond strength by gluing my hand to the desk. I’d also glue my fingers together and pull them apart slowly to watch the mucilage form tiny tendrils that finally….SNAPPED. This was likely a less charming habit than it seemed at the time, but I was quiet and at my desk, so that was a plus.

About that picture: As punctuation to an unrelated conversation, I announced, “Well, I guess I’d better glue my hand to a piece of paper now.” My husband was nonplussed, which seems odd because he has met me before. After he was insufficiently impressed by my indoor shots, I took my hand modeling gig outside for the neighbors to wonder at. So…that’s a piece of paper glued to my hand and photographed while hoisted skyward. Hi, neighbors. Just me again.

Premourning

image

sometimes I miss you
even though you’re exactly                    there
because you won’t be

Note: I drove home alone from the beach today, up Hwy 101 from Manzanita to Hwy 26. It’s a corridor like the ones characters in movies drive through to show that they’re leaving one part of their life behind and approaching another. With the “Stranger Things” soundtrack as my own personal backdrop, I let tears roll for the last first day of kindergarten, and the piece of me that will bounce off into the world in the most official of ways. I call this process pre-mourning. It doesn’t seem to help, really, but it’s a bit like those patent medicines that claim to shorten your cold. Prove it didn’t!

Also:  I know, I know, I counted the middle line on my fingers, too.  Remember, it’s “Bad” Haiku Corner.

She Smells Seashells

image

Your children bring back treasures
From the seashore, things espied.
It behooves you to check closely
That no corpses cling inside.

Though there may not be a’swimming
A lowlier creature than the whelk,
In a week or so, in Junior’s room,
There’ll be no more powerful smelk.

 

Note: As a child, I spent a half-supervised hour during my brother’s boring seaside cross-country meet digging in the sand, excavating the jawbone of what was likely a deceased canine. I was not allowed to keep my specimen. I was “allowed” to ride the several hours home with my freezing fingers outside the car window, then “assisted” with multiple scrubbings to get the smell off them. Ah, the smell of de-ceas…ed canine. (Too far for that one, I know. *shrug*)

On a Camera Roll

image

I went to take a picture
Of my snowflake being cute.
My phone said, “Not today, lady.”
My memory was kaput.

It wasn’t corrupt or hijacked,
It seemed to be working fine,
But there’s already 10,000 snaps
And half of them aren’t mine.

I admit I like a cloud shot
And I take the occasional selfie.
My kids, though, geez almighty,
Blurry shots from bats to belfry.

If I ever need their fingerprints,
I won’t have to bring an item.
I have 500 close-ups of fingers,
It’s the Phone Age way to provide ’em.

Then there’s shots from all the apps,
Cartoons in different wigs.
Surely don’t miss an iteration
Of how you dressed up a pig.

When they venture into actual shots,
It’s sometimes cruelly unkind.
“Here’s Mommy scowling her bestest frown
And a panorama of her behind!”

Delete, delete, delete, delete.
Make room for actual pictures.
Though this one is rather artistic…
What a way to see bathroom fixtures!

Note: By far my favorite is when they take 100 selfies with different facial expressions. I really do save some of those, it’s comedy.

Dentrificial Hygiene

image

Gross kids’ bathroom,
Sticky to the touch.
Toothpaste everywhere,
Except on the brush.

My kids are very capable, generally, except when confronted with a tube of toothpaste. Then they turn into infomercial actors and the toothpaste just shoots all over, completely outside their control. WHAT IS THIS? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THIS?