Friday, March 24, 2017

PBJ: Fan Mail, A Perk of the Job


I don't always get fan mail, but when I do, it's a real treat.  Some kids draw excellent pictures, like the one of me doing a presentation, above.  Some write cards or letters.   Sometimes there is clearly a form that the teachers have written on the board, but sometimes the kids just write whatever they want.  Those are the best!  I mean, they're all great.  It's so nice that teachers and students take the time out of their day to thank me, but when a kid can just tell me whatever they want, it's usually pretty fun.

I just did an author visit in Colchester, CT.  About a week later, I got a big, fat envelope in the mail. Inside was a big packet of joy.  I'll share some of my favorites.

Above.  I really like this drawing because the artist captured something that a lot of kids don't, my short hair.  In many drawings like this, they will see me and draw a symbol of a woman, which usually includes long hair.  This artist paid attention to detail.  I also find it interesting that I have mere sticks for legs, but there is detail in the microphone.

Below.  The Flying Ninja.  My publisher does not want a third ninja book, but if they did, don't you think Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Fly would be pretty darn cool?  I do!


This note is hilarious to me.  At first I did a "good" job, but apparently "good" was not the right word.  No, no.  It was better than good.  I did a God job!  Oh yeah!  Thank you.


And this one might be my favorite.


The last line reads (I'll translate to adult) You are soooooo cool that I convinced my sister to like you.

That's pretty great, right?  I mean, if there is one thing that I am not, it's cool.
I'm a super dork.  But in this job, I can be a total dweeb and my target audience thinks
I'm so cool that they are urging their family members to also think I am cool.
Nice!

Big thanks to Colchester Elementary School!  You guys rock!  And I loved the fan mail.

Thanks for stopping by.  I just finished revisions on my latest picture book project and it's going back out to editors next week.  Fingers crossed for a book deal!

Have a great weekend!




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March Storm

Uuuuuuh yup.  We got hammered.  They said we were going to get hammered, and they were right.

This was the kind of storm that would have been welcome in January.  It's oh-so-pretty.  And, in general, I don't really mind shoveling that much.  I kinda like being outside in the winter.  It's brisk.  And shoveling is a good arm workout.

But in March ... not loving it as much.
 
Around 18" of snow on March 14th, 2017

This was the kind of storm where I had to shovel out the end of my driveway three times.
The first time was yesterday around 2 pm, after a majority of snow.  The plow had come by once, but it would definitely be back.  Magoo, Mike, and I all shoveled.

The second time was yesterday closer to 6:00.  We'd eaten dinner (fortunately the power stayed on and the chili was hot.) The plow had indeed come back, so this snow was heavy and packed.  Magoo and I shoveled.

The third time was this morning around 7:30am.  There wasn't a large amount of snow blocking the driveway, but it had frozen solid overnight.  I had to get the metal shovel out to break it up and then toss icy boulders out of the way.  UNPLEASANT!  I did it solo.

But the power stayed on.  We were able to stay in.  And now the sun is out.

I covered my daffodils.  So, hopefully, when this passes, I will still be able to enjoy some pops of yellow and then get on with Spring.

In other news:
Mad Science in the basement
Magoo and Mike went to a robotics workshop and came home with a crate full of goodies for tinkering with.   It's time for mad science!  Perhaps someday, he will invent a robot that will shovel the end of the driveway for me.  :)

Thanks for stopping in.
I hope you are safe and warm wherever you are! 

Friday, March 3, 2017

PBJ: Author Visits


Hello!

Today, I am spending some time preparing for an author visit on Monday.  I thought I'd share what a J. C. Phillipps author visit is like.

An author visit is when an author comes to a school.  They may talk to the entire school or they may work with one grade.  It's a very fluid, flexible process that depends on what the author is most comfortable doing and what the school wants to get out of the visit.



Most of the time, I'll do one or two large group presentations that last about an hour, and then spend the rest of my day doing art or writing workshops with individual classrooms.  Those last 35-45 minutes each.  Add in lunch and some bathroom breaks and possibly some time to sign books, if the school has been kind enough to do a book sale, and that's my day.

When I started out with my first book and my first presentation, things were pretty simple.  I did a large group presentation on Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed and talked about how the idea for the book grew into an actual book.  It chronicled my experience.  Then I'd jump into classroom and taught students to make Wink collages. 


But, as I made more books and I visited more schools, my menu of presentations and workshops has increased.  I now offer about eight different large group presentations, four art workshops, and several writing workshops.  These days, I find out what the school wants me to focus on and the grades I'll be with, and I cater an activity just for them.


School visits are great because I really enjoy spending time with kids and teaching them.  But they can be challenging too. There can be technical difficulties, long distances in traffic, and scheduling nightmares.  And sometimes, I'm just plain exhausted by the end of the day.


But, it's a part of the job and I get paid.  Cha-ching!  And it's an excellent way for me to connect my target readership.

So that's what I'm doing today.

Thanks so much for stopping in!  Have a great weekend!