Thursday, July 9, 2009

Not-so-imaginary friends

Writing is a solitary occupation, but it can't really be done properly without friends. I'm extremely lucky to have many supportive friends who have believed in me, read drafts, listened to my stories of rejection and disappointment, and celebrated my good news.

I would love to thank each of them in this space, but that's not realistic. And it doesn't make for great reading. So I'll just say to each of you -- and you know who you are! -- you have my heartfelt and unending gratitude.

I'd be remiss, though, if I didn't mention the role my writer friends played in getting me this far in my career. My critique group and other writers I met along the way helped guide me from rank newbie to first publication. Some of them are hugely talented writers who deserve to be published but haven't been picked up yet, and others have long lists of great children's books to their credit.

So, in the spirit of connecting, here's where you can find some of the ones who are published and their latest titles (more to come!):

Andrea Cheng: Brushing Mom's Hair. Ann is just short of fifteen when Mom is diagnosed with breast cancer. How can she tell the girls in ballet class that her mother had her breasts cut off? Her matter-of-fact sister, Jane, takes charge at home; her brother, Nick, calls from California; Dad helps when he can, as do friends, teachers, and relatives. Still, Ann is consumed with worry. Who's going to make sure that Mom drinks enough water, like the doctor said? Unless she is dancing or making pottery, Ann feels completely alone.

Sally Derby, No Mush Today. Nonie refuses to eat her yucky mush porridge for breakfast ('mush is baby food'), and to get away from her bawling baby brother, she runs next door to Grandma's house, where she thinks she'd like to live because she gets the attention she craves. After a day away from home, will Nonie reconsider her move and return to Momma, Daddy, and baby brother? Maybe . . . if she can make a deal about breakfast!

Linda Leopold Strauss, The Princess Gown. When small Hannah discovers a smudge on the gown her family has created for the princess, she finds a way not only to cover the mistake but to improve upon the design. Out of mistakes come innovation!