I Wrote a Picture Book!!

i-wrote-a-picture-book | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comAbout two months ago I had a flash of an idea. One of those flashes that come unbidden and out of nowhere and demand you pay attention to them. So I paid attention because I learned long ago that these flashes are gifts – from the universe or the muse or just some part of the unconscious that’s particularly tuned in at that moment – I really don’t know. But I do know that they always lead somewhere interesting. This time the flash led me to do something I never thought I’d do:  I wrote a picture book!

I never had any plans to write a picture book. It looked hard. Too hard. I’ve read picture books. They are amazing. And impossible. Tell an entire story in 500 words or less and make it smart and funny, poignant and heartfelt, rich and beautiful. The best ones do all this and more.

Making Picture Book Magic | I wrote a picture book | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

But I had an idea, so when my friend Janet told me about Making Picture Book Magic and offered to retake the course with me, I signed up. Then I dove in with both feet, dedicating time every day to write my picture book. And thanks to Susanna’s awesome lessons, boosts of support from my classmates, and the added gift of Janet’s eagle-eye critiquing skills, I did it! I wrote a picture book. A complete one. And it might even be kind of funny. Maybe. But it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I honored the flash and took a chance and created something brand new. I played with ideas and tinkered with words and had a blast just writing – with no expectations beyond the simple act of creating something.

It was awesome! So awesome, I decided to lean all the way and challenge myself to write a picture book each month as part of the 12×12 Challenge.
I’m pretty sure it will be difficult and frustrating and exciting and loads of fun. All the best adventures are.

12-x-12-picture book challenge | I wrote a picture book | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

I’m excited to be starting 2018 with a completed picture book manuscript, a really fun middle grade work in progress, and a plan. It’s the end of January, what are you excited about?

PB | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year | 2018 | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

2017 was a bit of a roller coaster year for many of us. Great highs Terrifying dips. And far too many unexpected turns. Between the thrill of seeing my book published and out in the world and the fear of seeing my husband sick and struggling, I’m feeling a little worn out and tossed around by 2017 –  and more than happy to usher in a bright and shiny new year.

My goals for 2018 are pretty simple:

  • Focus on the joy. Do  more of what I love with the people that I love.
  • Finish Book 2 – the project that’s been a casualty of life stress for far too long.
  • Write a picture book (or two or three).
  • Get a solid draft of a new mg historical novel.
  • Find the quiet. Take more walks in the woods and on the beach.

Not a small list, for sure, and not a particularly easy one. But a do-able one. And a necessary one. I feel the need for deep focus in the months ahead.The kind of deep focus that sometimes seems difficult in our busy lives full of screen time and instant updates.

Which is why I think I’ll start the new year using May Sarton’s poetic advice as a guide – and shove off the clutter and find my way “…back to still water.”

New Year Resolve

The time has come
To stop allowing the clutter
To clutter my mind
Like dirty snow,
Shove it off and find
Clear time, clear water.

Time for a change,
Let silence in like a cat
Who has sat at my door
Neither wild nor strange
Hoping for food from my store
And shivering on the mat.

Let silence in.
She will rarely speak or mew,
She will sleep on my bed
And all I have ever been
Either false or true
Will live again in my head.

For it is now or not
As old age silts the stream,
To shove away the clutter,
To untie every knot,
To take the time to dream,
To come back to still water.

~ May Sarton, “New Year Resolve” from Collected Poems, 1930-1993

My wish for you is that you take the time to dream in the year ahead; find time for the quiet moments that fill you up and make you whole; take the time to rediscover yourself.

May 2018 be overflowing with love and happiness.

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Surreal Moment No. 11

Surreal Moment in a Debut Author's Life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSurreal Moment – November 18 2017
St. Louis, MO. (NCTE) National Council of Teachers of English Annual Conference

It’s been a week,  and I still cannot believe that I was part of a conference session at NCTE. Talk about surreal. I never would have imagined I’d be speaking to English teachers on a national stage – ever – let alone after I stopped being one.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, I had the honor of presenting a session at NCTE on Refreshing and Renewing Reading in the Secondary Classroom with fellow Class of 2k17 members McCall Hoyle, Alexandra Ott, and Leah Henderson. It was so fun speaking about teaching again – and extra fun to be speaking about something so dear to my heart – how to implement pleasure reading in the Language Arts classroom. The me who read Nancie Atwell’s In The Middle religiously while I was getting my teaching certification would have been thrilled.

Surreal Moments | NCTE Panel | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

surreal moments | Barnes and Noble Ladue | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

McCall and Alex and I also got to do a book signing at the wonderful Barnes and Noble in Ladue, MO. The staff was so friendly – and it was so fun being around so many kids and adults excited about books.

Surreal Moments | Barnes and Noble Ladue Store | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

 

 

 

I’m also happy that I’ve gotten the chance to see some amazing scenery in my travels this year.

St. Louis | NCTE | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

But mostly I’m thankful for all the opportunities I’ve had to talk about books with people so passionate about reading and about kids. I’m extra grateful for all the new friends I’ve made along the way.

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Surreal Moment No. 10

Surreal Moment in a Debut Author's Life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSurreal Moment – June 24 and 25, 2017
Chicago, IL. (ALA) American Library Association Annual Conference

So, June was a month of firsts! I got to go to Chicago. I got to attend the American Library Association’s Annual Conference. I got to meet my editor, Kristin, plus a lot of great folks from Albert Whitman. And, best of all, I got to meet and hang out with a bunch a debut authors!

I stayed with a couple of other Class of 2k17 authors at the Marriott downtown where we had a great view of the city – and killer access to The Riverwalk and The Magnificent Mile.

ALA Chicago View | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALA Chicago Fog View | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

ALA | Chicago riverwalk | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALA | Downtown Chicago | www,patriciabaileyauthor.com

My ALA experience started with a book signing at the Albert Whitman booth. The line went on and on until we ran out of books and had to pull one off the shelf for a kid who was bummed to see them all gone. Can’t beat that! Everyone was so sweet!  And I even got to see (and pose with) my rock star local library director. Later that day I got to hang out with the Albert Whitman crew at the American Writer’s Museum for a cocktail party and celebration of the 75th anniversary of The Boxcar Children.

ALA | Klamath Gals | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comALA | Albert Whitman Booth Signing | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

On Sunday, I shared the PopTop stage with fellow Class of 2k17 debuts, Leah Henderson and Jodi Kendall, where we talked about setting as a character in middle grade fiction.

ALA | Class2k17 Poptop Stage | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

 

 

 

 

Every moment at  ALA was a blast. I met so many great people, saw some beautiful sites, and came home with a pile of great books. A truly perfect weekend just hanging out being an author.

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Author Event at Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland

heidischulz-patriciabailey-janetjohnson author panel at Annie Bloom'sI’m coming to Portland for an author event!

I’m so excited to be on a middle grade author panel with Janet Sumner Johnson and Heidi Schultz! We’ll be at Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland, Oregon on May 22 talking about the real-world inspiration for the characters, friendships, and adventures in our books. We’ll discuss our writing process and how life inspires our creativity, leaving time for a Q&A session with the audience.

If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll be able to make it. This will be my first out-of-town author event since THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN has been out in the world and I’m kind of nervous. I would be great to see some familiar faces!

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Surreal Moment No. 9

Surreal Moment in a Debut Author's Life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Surreal Moment – April 25, 2017
Ashland, OR. Bloomsbury Books

THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN is officially out in the world and on the shelf at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland!

Ashland Oregon and Bloomsbury Books has always held a special place in my heart. I went to college in Ashland, and Bloomsbury Books was one of my favorite places to browse. I especially loved their staff recommendations. In fact, the first book I read that made me think it might be possible for me to write stories about things I knew was a book I bought at that bookstore.

So to see my little book on the shelves there was beyond thrilling.

KIT DONOVAN Book Launch | Bloomsbury Books | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com   KIT DONOVAN Book Launch | Bloomsbury Books | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Thanks so much for the staff at Bloomsbury for making my visit a memorable one! By now, Kit should also be at Treehouse Books in Ashland and Barnes and Noble in Medford.

As for me, I’m back in Klamath, still in a state of shock.

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Surreal Moment No. 8

Surreal Moment in a Debut Author's Life | Karen Cushman blurbed my book! | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSurreal Moment – March 6, 2017
Klamath Falls, OR.

Karen Cushman Blurbed My Book | Surreal Moments in a Debut Author's Life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

Karen Cushman blurbed my book!!

*Imagine me repeating that quietly over and over again – because that’s pretty much what I did when I got the email – for days.

Way back when I first signed my contract, my agent mentioned that she knew Karen and that she was going to send her an ARC when the time came. For months, I tried not to think about the fact that sometime in the future, my little book would be on Karen Cushman’s TBR pile.

It was just too unreal to fathom.

It’s still too unreal to fathom.

So imagine how surreal it was to read what she had written about it once she was finished reading.

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan is a rip-roaring tale of love, friendship, and betrayal set in the gold mines of Nevada. It’s chockablock with bad guys and good guys, mysteries and deceptions, dangers and disasters. The bad-tempered, outrageous, courageous, and determined Kit will steal your heart. This is a romping good read!

-Karen Cushman, Newbery Medalist for The Midwife’s Apprentice

She actually wrote that down – about my little book!

This is the stuff writers’ dreams are made of!

Because THE Karen Cushman only blurbs your debut novel once in a lifetime, I’ve decided to celebrate with a contest. Simply sign up for my newsletter (there’s a subscribe button at the top right of this post) and you will be entered to win one of the legendary author’s books.

Karen Cushman Blurbed My Book | www.patriciabaileyauthor.com

I promise you, they are all “…romping good read(s).” And, as fate (and surreal moments) would have it, Catherine Called Birdy  actually served as inspiration for THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN from the moment I started writing it.

It’s almost as if Catherine and Kit have come full circle.
That’s some writerly magic right there.

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Surreal Moment No. 7

Surreal Moment in a Debut Author's Life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSurreal Moment – January 21 and February 1, 2017
Atlanta, GA (ALA Midwinter Conference) and Klamath Falls, OR (My doorstep).

My book is a book! And it’s out in the world where real people I’ve never met can read it – and *gulp* review it!

Advanced Reader Copies were available at the Albert Whitman & Company’s booth at the American Library Association’s Mid Winter Conference in January.

 

Surreal Moment - The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan ARCs in the wild Surreal Moment - The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan ARCs in the wild

 

And if seeing pictures of my book out in the wild wasn’t cool enough, a box of ARCs arrived on my doorstep.

Surreal Moment - The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan ARCs unboxing

Surreal Moment - The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan ARCs unboxing

And, because things keep get cooler, THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN is up on Amazon for pre order. You can even read the first chapter for FREE! Now, that is really surreal.

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Surreal Moment No. 6

Surreal Moment in a Debut Author's Life | www.patriciabaileyauthor.comSurreal Moment – January 4, 2017
The Internet

One of the questions I ask myself regularly is “What would a real writer do?” This question has led me to submit stories to journals and contests, apply for fellowships and scholarships, and generally build a writer’s life. In November, a Middle-Grade focused blog I have been reading for years announced that they were looking for some new contributors. This is a blog I love. A blog that’s inspired me. A blog that’s filled with writers that impress me.

So I read the call for applications and asked myself the question I always ask:

What would a real writer do?

I applied.

Sometime in December, I received an email that started with “We are happy to announce…”

And now, I’m officially a contributor at From the Mixed-Up Files… of Middle-Grade Authors!

Soon you’ll be able to read my thoughts about books and writing in two places. How cool is that!?

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My 2017 Debut Author Interview at Just Another Teen Reading Books

ice-cream-1653441_1280I so enjoyed chatting with Jessica over at her blog Just Another Teen Reading Books.

My interview was part of her 2017 Debut Author series. Check it out and discover my favorite flavor of ice-cream and some of the 2017 debut novels I’ve enjoyed reading so far this year. You might also learn a little more about my novel, THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN, while you’re there.

And be sure to read Jessica’s interviews with the other debut authors she’s featuring this month. There are so many great books coming out in 2017 – you’re going to want to make a list.

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