Beer is Zo Moe!

No, we’re not starting the morning off with questionable beverages!  This is about a picture book 🙂

Or it will be, as soon as a little business is out of the way.  I have to start by confessing to my lie.  It was actually kind of a double lie: although I don’t eat a lot of meat, I am not a vegetarian, and although I will do it when occasion dictates, I do not enjoy public speaking of any kind, not just about vegetarianism 🙂  Congrats to those who guessed!

So, about that picture book….

Although blond hair and blue eyes may be a tip-off to my Friesian heritage, I do not, in fact, speak Dutch.  So it may come as a surprise that I’m going to have a book published in The Netherlands this coming spring – in Dutch!  And it’s not a book that was originally published in English and translated.  It’s a first edition.  The title is Beer is Zo Moe! (or, for our English speaking audience, Bear Is So Tired!) and it is due out in May 2011 from Veltman Uitgevers.

How, you may ask, did I pull this one off?  Well, I’ll tell you…

Nicole Rutten, the exceptionally talented illustrator of Not Yet Rose, was invited by a Dutch publisher who admired her work to submit a book.  It had to have both story and art, however, and she does not write.  So she asked me if I could provide the story.  I did, she translated it into Dutch, the publisher loved it, and the rest is history – or, maybe history-in-the-making since the book isn’t actually out yet.

Putting a picture book together is a surprisingly long process.  (Those of you who write picture books already know this!)  I have had manuscripts sit on an editor’s desk for as long as two years before she decides if she wants it or not.  Once the decision is made, you’re still looking at anywhere from a year and half (if everything goes smoothly) to upwards of 4 years before your book is actually available for purchase.

Beer is Zo Moe! has actually come along very quickly.  From submission to publication (assuming it’s released on time) it will have taken just about a year.  We are currently deciding on a cover.  This is the one we probably won’t use, but it’s fun to see anyway:

Want to see some more?  Well, okay.  You’ve twisted my arm 🙂  One more…

How cute is Little Bear?!
The story includes back matter about bears – The Bear Facts 🙂 – so it has a useful educational component as well!
So how fun it that I can’t read my own story?  It’s pretty entertaining to try, though 🙂  Need a little amusement to break up your work day?  Try clicking on the bottom photo so it enlarges and see if you can read the story aloud!  Let me know how you make out!

Pretty On Pink

As a writer, I spend a lot of time writing.  Flabbergasting, I know.

Some days, ideas and words flow easily.  Those are great days.

Other days, I hit the delete key so often it’s a wonder I haven’t made a hole clear through the computer.  And the kitchen table underneath it.  And the floor underneath that.  Those days are less great.

On a few truly awesome days, I get an offer for a new manuscript (that’s the absolute best!), or I get to see a new piece of a book en route to publication (also amazing as I get to see my idea coming to fruition!)

Christmas Eve, as it turned out most appropriately, was just such a day.  I went down to my mailbox (which happens to be over half a mile from my house) and what should be waiting for me but this:

F&G of April Fool, Phyllis!

Definitely worth the trip to the mailbox!  What a thrill to see my new book nearly finished!  Especially as it came with this note:

I cannot wait to hold the first bound copy in my hot little hands!
Maybe it sounds silly to be so excited, but I am still at the stage where every new book is a source of pride and delight.  Truth be told, I think I will always be at that stage.  There may be writers out there like Jane Yolen who have written and sold over a hundred books who have a more ho-hum approach and can take their success for granted, but if I am lucky enough to publish a hundred books, I will be just as thrilled by the hundredth as I was by the first, and I don’t think I’ll ever take anything for granted!
April Fool, Phyllis! is due out February 21, 2011, so I really should get to see the finished product soon. I will be sure to share it with you when I do.  Jeff Ebbeler has once again done a fantastic job with the art.  The colors are beautiful, the details imaginative, the characters’ expressions just right.  I can’t wait for you to see it!
I am very likely to think up a contest with an advance copy as a prize, so stay tuned if you’re interested!
Now, I should probably get to work on the book trailer, because no matter how many opportunities I give it to create itself, nothing seems to be happening.  So off I go!
But don’t you think Phyllis looks pretty on pink 🙂