The Laundry Manifesto—given at the dinner table, September 10, 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012

Dear Friends, mes amis, mes petits and mon cheri: You know I adore doing laundry. Truly. It is not a chore for me-I appreciate the swish of the machine-the clothespins for those sunny days--the rumble of the dryer-and even the…    Read more »

Sarcasm in Today's Picture Books
Thursday, May 20, 2010

With a four-year-old in the house, there's a lot of laughter that fits into our day. He runs in circles and falls down from being too dizzy; we all laugh. It starts to rain on us as we dash into…    Read more »

To the Tune of Slow
Monday, October 19, 2009

Americans seem hard wired for speed. I remember learning to ski in high school, after quitting gymnastics. Some of my best friends were great skiers, and my first foray…    Read more »

An Experiment in Giving
Monday, October 5, 2009

Like a compass with the dial set to show North, I think about myself automatically, no matter which way I turn. I think I've gone a little over the edge... I think about how much I'd like some new shoes,…    Read more »

The Duct-Tape-Conflict Fix
Friday, August 21, 2009

I am coming to that place in my story where all the emotions begin to erupt. Everyone's getting mad, someone's about to throw something, tears might follow, or shouting, or running away. I look at the words on my computer…    Read more »

A Play Date with Words
Monday, July 6, 2009

To maintain a career as a writer, I have to wear, oh, so many hats--and juggle several projects, all at various stages of completion. My marketing hats are the most gruesome of all—they fit too tight, they itch and squeeze…    Read more »

I’d like you to meet...Saint Brigid
Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hi Saint Brigid. I need to introduce you...


A milkmaid. A shepherdess. A philanthropist. An evangelist. Saint Brigid is one of the most beloved figures of Western Christianity, and for good reason. She holds special reign in the hearts…    Read more »

Beach Wednesdays
Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In order to write well, and often, I need to have experiences that will feed my imagination. There's certainly adventure found doing the mundane-who knows when your dishwasher might revolt and flood your house with torrents of water, which would…    Read more »

Fifteen Chapters in Four Days
Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ever since the fire broke out I've been breaking rules, even laws, daily. Speeding, talking on the cell phone in the car, sneaking through the evacuation lines to grab something left at the house... I do like adventure, so I'm…    Read more »

The Isle of Defeated Souls
Friday, April 17, 2009

I was sitting in a café recently with several women acquaintances, and one of them reported that she was embracing a new philosophy. That she was only interested in keeping those friends who fed her--who helped her to be…    Read more »

Who are the Computer Saints, Anyway?
Thursday, March 26, 2009

I had some Pandora music running in the background, I was downloading photos for my son's final art project, and revising an editorial due in a couple of days. I had my inbox at the ready as I switched back…    Read more »

Making my own Good News
Monday, February 9, 2009

The fountain is gurgling in the background--the sun is setting out the window--my husband is inside making a savory-smelling pan of lasagna. So many blessings are swirling around me!

And with all these blessings coming to my aid, boosting my…    Read more »

The Path of the Banana Slug
Sunday, November 30, 2008

The first picture book I ever wrote was in the late 80’s after a lovely hike in the Santa Cruz Mountains with my husband. We were newly married and we traipsed for hours through the redwoods spotting deer, admiring the…    Read more »

To Leave it or Not to Leave it?
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Driving out of the ER, my son and I saw the hillside ablaze. The broken collar bone was momentarily forgotten as we marveled at the flames dancing above the trees. Home. We needed to get home.

My husband and I…    Read more »

Olympic Dreaming: Aerial Work – Part 2!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My daughter, whom I've kept from gymnastics all these years, is now spending more and more time in gym class. I thought about putting her in gymnastics when she was little, to keep her from bouncing to bits all our…    Read more »

Sappy Stories
Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I spent a good portion of a recent Saturday morning researching publishing houses for a picture book I'd like to see in print. It's a concept that came to me about seven years ago when my daughter had one of…    Read more »

Olympic Dreaming: Aerial Work Ahead
Thursday, August 21, 2008

Seeing chalk clapped out of grips, feeling the sweat on my palms while a gymnast flips above the beam, hearing that horrible floor music again... nostalgia has hit me flat on, that every fourth year disease that taunts me to…    Read more »

A Writer on the Road
Monday, July 7, 2008

Having just returned from a month-long excursion abroad, I'm full of thoughts about what specific experiences worked for me while on the road, and what I could have done better. I've written several books after traveling, some trips planned specifically…    Read more »

Papparazza Jane
Saturday, June 28, 2008

We were in London, and that day we were celebrating my daughter’s eleventh birthday. We had just visited the Globe Theatre, and followed it up by having a fabulous lunch near the Thames. Next stop: Herrods, to buy seven dollar…    Read more »

What Shoe are You?
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What shoe are you? Are you a hiking boot, an espadrille, or a stiletto? Are you a sneaker or a riding boot? Is your shoe a certain color—maybe red? Or is it a particular brand? Or perhaps you’re a combination…    Read more »

Buying Back Books: A Bigger Struggle than You’d Think...
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My older son, now 13, is hooked on books. He was born to love stories; I used to cuddle with him when he was only a baby and his attention span for tales of any kind, even lengthy books about…    Read more »

On Pomegranates
Monday, April 28, 2008

I am on constant stakeout for pomegranate trees in my neighborhood. I have long wanted to have my very own fruit orchard—and because my yard is not nearly orchard dimension, I have this strange proprietary covetousness over any fruit tree…    Read more »

Shades of Green
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Some days I hang my clothes out on the line, because it’s warm, because I have time, because I want to have that earthy smell on my sheets, and some days I stuff my clothes hurriedly in the dryer, pushing…    Read more »

Picture Book Facts and Hints
Saturday, February 23, 2008

Although you can find this same information in a wide variety of other places: writer’s market digests; author websites; at conferences or retreats—I get asked these questions as an author and children’s book editor often enough that it’s worth my…    Read more »

Snow Days
Saturday, January 26, 2008

It’s not often that we wake to snow topped mountains here in Santa Barbara—to hail pelting our brick patio—to so much water that our succulents topple over from drunkenness. Since our two older children were born in Colorado, and miss…    Read more »

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Don’t you love opening your neighborhood mailbox to find a handwritten letter inside? Most times it only takes a glance to know who wrote you—from the choice of the stationary to the look of the writing. But handwritten letters are…    Read more »

Books worth reading
Thursday, November 22, 2007

How many books are published every year? (More than 290,000 titles in the US alone in 2006—with over 29,000 of those being juvenile titles! See Goodness, if you like to read, or if you’re simply told to read, the…    Read more »