Gruene, Texas

Went roadtripping with Greg down I-35 South to nearby Gruene, Texas to have lunch and shop for antiques.

Picked up a small craftsman desk and chair for the guest room (exhibit Greg driving the Olds down the interstate with Cyn squished in a corner of the backseat, praying all are not crushed by a passing semi).

The desk had been painted turquoise at one time, which we’re sure dessimated the “condition” value of it, and though someone did their best, flecks of turquoise are still evident in the grain, on the under hardware, and flat across the bottom of the desk door (you have to crawl under to see it). But it’s still a tremendously well made piece, and really, the turquoise gives it a sort of weathered southwestern charm. Besides, it was in the budget.

We put the desk and chair in the guest room and moved the seating of cowhide chairs and ottoman to the landing. The cats seem to like it there.

Katie Davis

Spent most of yesterday reading a manuscript for Katie Davis, one of the world’s most sparkly and talented people. What I love most about Katie‘s work is that it’s so authentically childlike, exploding with sincere emotion, and at the same time, often funny.

Took a break with Greg to take in the 2004 Armadillo Christmas Bazaar at the Austin Music Hall (think live music, food/drink, downtown, inside, art festival).

Sites of use to writers: eHow: clear instructions on how to do (just about) everything and How Stuff Works.

Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park

Amazon.com has posted the first few pages of Linda Sue Park‘s new novel, Project Mulberry, which is due out in April 2005. They’re really interesting. First, they’re contemporary, which is noteworthy because Linda Sue is more known for her historical novels. And even more so, the narration is interspersed with exchanges between the protagonist, Julia, and the author, Linda Sue Park herself!

Linda Sue has been writing in new directions lately. This year’s releases included The Firekeeper’s Son (Clarion, 2004) and Mung-Mung (Charlesbridge, 2004)–both picture books, both wonderful and recommended!

Having been an LSP fan from the beginning, all I can say is, “lucky us!”

Jane Kurtz

One of my fave children’s authors is back from another trip to Africa. Surf by to see her petting a cheetah and read Jane Kurtz: Visit to Southern, Eastern, and Western Africa (2004) by Jane Kurtz.

Books on my to-read pile: Offsides by Erik Esckilsen (Houghton Mifflin, 2004); The Game of Silence by Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins, 2005)(the sequel to The Birchbark House); The Education of Patience Goodspeed by Heather Vogel Frederick (Simon & Schuster, 2004)(sequel to The Voyage of Patience Goodspeed), The Moon Came Down on Milk Street by Jean Gralley (Henry Holt, 2004); Miss Lady Bird’s Wildflowers: How A First Lady Changed America by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Joy Fisher Hein (HarperCollins, 2005); Hana in the Time of the Tulips by Deborah Noyles (Candlewick, 2004); Pterosaurs: Rulers of the Sky in the Dinosaur Age by Caroline Arnold, illustrated by Laurie Caple (Clarion, 2004).

11,000 Years Lost by Peni R. Griffin

Greg and I took off down I-35 to The Twig in San Antonio this evening to attend Peni Griffin’s signing of 11,000 Years Lost. I’m particularly interested in the manuscript–though I’ve yet to read this current incarnation–because all things Peni are fascinating and because I read the initial draft back when I lived on Lake Austin Boulevard. She told me about her Pleistocene Ice Age Extension Page (a companion to the novel), looked darling in her green-and-white dress, and generally was lovely to see.