Writers and Illustrators (the question of contact)

April 19th, 2016



Interesting (and flattering) post on why editors often limit contact between writers and illustrators, from an experienced editor’s point of view.

Thanks to  Tara Lazer (author of Normal Norman, among others, and inventor of PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) for inviting Meredith Mundy of Sterling Books to do a guest post. Even bigger thanks to Meredith for offering THIS OLD VAN as an example of how good things can happen when the writer leaves room for the illustrator to interpret the story, and bring his or her own ideas to the drawing table. Did I mention that in addition to being ever-so-wise and insightful, she’s a very nice person?

Fall book events and signings!

November 17th, 2015


Around here, fall is marked by the appearance of squirrel-chewed walnuts at the park. I love these things, they look just like pig-noses. If you happen to look at things a certain way, which I do… This year I finally got around to making myself a necklace, and earrings to match. If you come to one of these up-coming events, you might see me in my nutty splendor.

Lake Oswego Library Nov 15th, from 1-4

Annie Bloom’s Bookstore Dec 4th Shop and Stroll Night!

Lake Oswego Newcomers Club Meeting, Lake Oswego Library Dec 10th 11:30 am

Powell’s on Burnside Storytime Dec 12th 11 am

As I write this a storm is ruffling the world with wet.

A good day to curl up with a book!



Little bird says..

March 9th, 2015
nice hat


I attended the Big Sur Writing Workshop last weekend, which is organized by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and the Henry Miller Memorial Library. I’ve been hearing about it for years, and I loved it. The format (critique, revise, critique) the people (ABLA agents, plus editor and writer guests.) and the setting. (Wowza.) The weather was spectacular as well. We talked story and story-telling all weekend. Ahhhh. One thing: I meant to take binoculars and make observations of various life forms, and draw in the great out-of-doors. (Which is particularly great in this location, as previously mentioned) Of course I forgot the binoculars. And I did draw, but not what you could call seriously… Perhaps I am not a very serious person.

Hittin’ the Road

March 5th, 2015



Granny and Gramps packing This Old Van for a road trip! Written by Kim Norman, illustrated by me (Carolyn Conahan), due out Aug ’15 from Sterling Books.

I am taking this show on the road. Writing and illustrating on the lam. Yay!


Advanced retreating

September 29th, 2014



I love spending time with people who love books, and stories, and the craft of writing (and illustrating) stories, for books. I love sitting amongst these nice people, sharing info and discussing the business and other topics loosely associated with the business. Since people can write about about any subject in this world, or any number of made-up worlds, you can imagine the possibilities for conversation are many and varied. (Please feel free to imagine, at this time.) I had an absolutely splendid time at the Speakeasy Retreat, not too long ago.  It was a convivial sort of gathering, nourishing and inspiring, with brain-tingling critique conversations, too. I am still smiling. My thanks to those who put it together.

Working at home (Or: my faithful companion, Distraction)

April 25th, 2014

I’m not complaining, I love my short commute out the back door and across the yard to the shed/workhouse/doghouse/outhouse, or, when I’m feeling la-di-da, the studio. (Snort) Home is home, my place of work, and my happy place, too. But, as most people with home offices know, it’s hard to separate work and personal life when they share a space. Hard to be efficient, and productive, to stay on task, and on schedule.

Managing distraction has always been a challenge for me. Every time I start to think I’ve got the hang of it, some all-new, all-different crisis comes along and I must learn to mange my time all over again. I used to kick myself for not conquering this problem once and for all. But that got old, and wasn’t particularly useful, either. Life changes! So even if I DID make a really great plan, it would only work as long as conditions remained the same. That is just not going to happen. So I try to stay nimble and practice time-management skills every day.

Fiona is always happy to help. So loyal.


Time for a little something?

Out of the wild blue ponder

August 1st, 2013

So yes, I wandered off for a bit. I’m back now. So there.

Who has that Oregon Spirit? (Rah, rah, rah!)

July 10th, 2012

The Big Wish has been awarded the Oregon Spirit Book award for Picture Book Literature for 2011, by the Oregon Council of Teachers of English. Did you hear that? Teachers of English. Literature. Oh my. I feel like I got away with something, here. I’m afraid I’ll use improper grammar, or miss-spell something, so this will have to be short.

Oh, and there will be stickers. Yay.



Who, me?

October 11th, 2011

It took me a second to realize. (Hey! That’s my book… oh, hey. Is that…. me?)  Weird  (Photo by Rich Burton. He and Deb and Anna and Kathleen showed up for kindly moral support. Good people) Wordstock was super-fun, in general. And the books! Books, books, books. Also: oompa loompa wicker poofs for your happy sitting pleasure.

Wish I had a picture of the kids stacking them 2 or 3 poofs high…

It’s ginormous,it’s stupendous, it’s Wordstock!

October 4th, 2011

I’ll be there, mingling with the great book-loving population of Portland. (I love this town)

I’m reading at the Central library on Wednesday at 6 pm, doing a workshop Saturday morning at 9 am, then reading and signing on the children’s stage between 11am and noon. Stop by if you’re in the vicinity, and if you’re brain isn’t too boggled, bedazzled, and bemused by the people,  booths full of book and reading related goodies, and  books, books, books.