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pirate's lullaby

The Rinka kids are Pirate of the Day!

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The Rinka kids are Pirate of the Day!

Pirates must run in the family!  Today, our Pirates of the Day are my niece and nephews. They are all grown up now, but weren't they cute little mutineers? They were big fans of the Patch the Pirate radio show thus the matching outfits.

Thanks to my sister in law for sending in this old family picture to help us celebrate the publication of Pirate's Lullaby.

Would you like to be pirate of the day?  Enter the Pirate of the Day contest and you could win an autographed copy of Pirate's Lullaby.


 

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King Cake Baby is Pirate of the Day!

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King Cake Baby is Pirate of the Day!

Shiver me timbers, y'all!  The King Cake Baby is Pirate of the Day! 

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Wait?! What's a king cake? And why is there a baby inside?

Everyone knows they celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Mardi Gras or Carnival season officially begins on January 6th or "King's Day" - also known to Christians as the Epiphany. Epiphany comes from a Greek word that means "to show". Bethlehem is where infant Jesus first showed himself to the world. As a symbol of this holy day, a tiny plastic baby is placed inside each King Cake. The King Cake tradition is thought to have been brought to New Orleans from France in 1870.

A King Cake is an oval-shaped bakery delicacy - a cross between a coffee cake and a french pastry that is rich in history as it is in flavor! It is decorated in royal colors or Purple which signifies "Justice", Green for "Faith", and Gold for "Power". These colors were chosen to represent a jeweled crown honoring the wise men (the Three Kings) who brought gifts to the Christ Child on the Feast of Epiphany. In the past, such things as coins, beans, pecans, or peas were hidden inside each King Cake. Today,  a tiny plastic baby is the common prize. At a party, the King Cake is sliced and served. Each person looks to see if their piece contains the baby. If so, then that person is named "King for a day" and bound by custom to host the next party and provide the next King Cake!

The King Cake Baby is also a character in my friend, Keila Dawson's, adorable picture book, The King Cake Baby, a tasty New Orleans style retelling of the Gingerbread Man.

I can't believe King Cake Baby has all of the important pirate accessories - a ship, a map, a treasure chest, a hat & sword! So cute!  And with all of this talk of cake, I'm hungry! Maybe we should have a king cake to celebrate Pirate of the Day! Here is a picture of the one my wee mutineer & I made two years ago for Mardi Gras. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Thanks for your adorable & tasty entry, Keila!  Would you like to win an autographed copy of Pirate's Lullaby?

Enter the Pirate of the Day contest!

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Return of the Pirates!

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Return of the Pirates!

Nan's grandsons are making a special return appearance in the Pirate of the Day contest!

Look at this wee mutineer's outfit!  I love his robot t-shirt.  And the giant mustache? Too cute!  Do you think he's going to make someone walk the plank with that sword? Aye, aye!

Is that a Jack and the Never-land Pirate costume? My wee mutineers really liked that show, too! Yo, ho! Let's go!

Here's one last picture. Nan's grandkids pillaging and plundering for Halloween treats! I bet they scored a whole treasure chest full of candy! So cute.

Thanks for sharing, Nan!  Join the pirate crew & you could win a copy of Pirate's Lullaby: Mutiny at Bedtime

Find out more about the Pirate of the Day contest, here.

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Our FIRST Pirates of the Day!

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Our FIRST Pirates of the Day!

Yo, ho, ho, mateys! These two wee mutineers are our FIRST pirates of the day!  I love their matching head scarves! They're just like Ned's! And are those carrot swords? Arrrn't they cute? Thank you to Bekah for the darling photo!

Join our pirate crew & be Pirate of the Day! You'll be entered to win a copy of Pirate's Lullaby: Mutiny at Bedtime


For more information click, here. Winner announced September 19th, International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

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Every Picture Tells A Story: The Writing in Pictures Exhibit at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido

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Every Picture Tells A Story: The Writing in Pictures Exhibit at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."  - Emilie Buchwald

My mother was a voracious reader. Every week, we would go to the public library in downtown Mansfield to check out a new stack of books.  Mom always let me wander through the stacks in the children's section. I'd sit on the floor and pull book after book off the shelves. When it was time to leave, she'd always have to cajole me to the checkout. We always left with a huge stack of books. Sometimes, though, I had to leave books behind because we had exceeded the checkout limit.

I'm eternally grateful to my mother for instilling in me her love of reading. It's a gift that I've tried to pass on to my own children as well.

Even though my children are proficient readers in their own right, we still read together at bedtime. Sometimes, we'll read a novel but more often than not, we read picture books.

On Friday, July 10, my family and I attended the Writing with Pictures Exhibit at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. Curated by art director, designer and instructor, Joy Chu, Writing with Pictures is a multi-media exhibit that tells the story behind the creation of the picture book: why we love them, and their widening audience and role in the 21st century. This exhibition features original published artwork from local illustrators, and from artists working with local writers.

I am incredibly honored that my forthcoming picture book, Pirate's Lullaby: Mutiny at Bedtime, illustrated by the amazingly talented, Tim Bowers, is part of the exhibition. But the exhibit was particularly meaningful to me as a mom, a reader and a writer.

 

Even before I had children, I would sit in the children's section of the bookstore and read picture books. When my husband and I were dating, I even gifted him a couple. Now, that we have children, we fill our house with books. And my children love pouring over the Scholastic catalog just as much as I did at their age. 

Many of the books in the Writing in Pictures Exhibition are family favorites - Weeds Find A Way is one of Claire's favorites while Luke enjoys Train Man, Bird & Squirrel and The Fartist.

At the exhibit, my children also discovered new books that they want to read. We've already requested Mummy Cat from our local library, for example. And both kids enjoyed identifying the celebrities in the non-fiction books illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt.

As a reader, I enjoyed seeing some of my favorite picture book art up close. There's something magical about the progression from rough sketch to final art. And being able to see the detail of the art and the brushstrokes up close?  Magical!

As a writer, I appreciated getting a glimpse into the minds and hearts of some of the most talented people on this planet.

Whether you are an aspiring picture book writer who hopes to catch a glimpse into the process of creating a picture book, an art lover, or a reader looking for your next great read, you'll enjoy every minute of the Writing with Pictures Exhibition at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. Open Thursday through Sunday, from July 11 until September 13, 2015.

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Pirates at the Fair!

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Pirates at the Fair!

Ahoy mateys!  Pirate's Lullaby releases on August 25, 2015 but you can get a sneak peek on June 28th.  I'll be reading at 4:30 p.m. at the Creative Youth Exhibit at the San Diego County Fair.  Come and walk the plank! Make a pirate map and get a (temporary) tattoo! 



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Agent's Day Talk

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Agent's Day Talk

Last weekend, I was invited to SCBWI's Agent’s Day in Orange County to share the story behind my debut picture book, PIRATE’S LULLABY: MUTINY AT BEDTIME (Doubleday, August 25, 2015), illustrated by Tim Bowers. I entitled my talk, How I Became a Pirate and Landed a Book Deal, for several reasons. Obviously, the book has a pirate theme, but the story behind my story involves....

...a whole lot of water

Flood, May 2012

Flood, May 2012

...a case of Bell’s Palsy

"Let's be pirate princesses," said my daughter.

"Let's be pirate princesses," said my daughter.

...a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work.

At the conference, I encouraged my fellow writers to embrace the pirate’s life. I wasn’t suggesting that we all head for the open seas; instead, I wanted everyone to think and act like a pirate.

"Be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate. Then always be a pirate."

"Be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate. Then always be a pirate."

You see, pirates weren’t afraid of the unknown. If they were, they never would have sailed beyond the next horizon. The work was hard, the dangers many, the rewards few - yet the men (and women) who became pirates did so because they loved the adventure. They took pleasure in the journey and were spurred on by the promise of reward.

Being a pirate, though, was hard work. The bulk of one’s day involved doing general maintenance on the ship - patching sails, splicing worn ropes, swabbing the deck – tasks that needed to be done to ensure their vessel was seaworthy.  Quarters were cramped, food was scarce and you put your life at risky daily. And for what?  The mere possibility of reward and the odds were stacked against you.

Being a writer is a lot like being a pirate. Like pirates, writers need to put aside their fear of the unknown. They must work hard at their craft, weather rejection and compete for the much treasured opportunity of having a book published. Are the odds any better for writers? No, but like all pirates know, the journey is worth the effort.

So, me hearties, Be brave. Be bold. Be yourself. But be a pirate too. Take the risk. Conquer your fear. Set out for the unknown. You never know what treasure the future might hold. And oh, the adventures you can have along the way!

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