Holiday Hello

Hope everyone had a happy holiday season. We are still lighting the menorah (2 nights left). Last night we read Herschel and the Hannukah Goblins. My absolute favorite Chanukah book. As I type, the rest of the family (3 pairs of adults and 9 children) are finishing up at the local pool in Bonita Springs, Florida. It has been like paradise here, 80’s and sunny. The sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico are amazing. Even so, my kiddos are pining away for white Christmas like we had in Maine. 

Parenting is a truly personal path. Sure, there are some things we all agree on: please and thank you, be respectful to your elders, keep your hands and feet to yourself… but some things are not so black and white. How about donuts and sugar cereal for breakfast? Sandwich before oreos or straight to dessert? TV for hours on end? When can you watch a DVD on a long trip? Expensive electronics for children under the age of 10? Totally subjective and personal decisions that parents have to make. 

When you get families together, those personal decisions become public and often conflict. How does one tread this emotionally charged path? Sorry, I don’t have the answer. My course of action is to stay in the background, talk to my boys quietly and personally about what our family rules are and hope that the guidance I have given them thus far will be enough. I also know that this is vacation and that we all let loose a little. No worries. 

Happy New Year. I’m counting down to January 20th. How ’bout you?

Five on Friday

1. Once again, after all the hand-wringing and fuss, I made deadline on my freelance work. I guess I should be happy but I must say the next deadline is right around the corner and I’ll gear up for that again soon. What I’d really like is about a month retreat without any other responsibilities but to focus on my WIP’s. (I think that is what everyone wants though.)

2. Collaboration on a manuscript is challenging as you pair the difficulty of writing with personal give and take. Most of all, my experience collaborating has been a whole barrel of fun, laughter, and honest sharing.  Thanks Joyce! 

3. My deepest respect to all the Picture Book author/illustrators out there who make it look easy. Those of us who are struggling at the computer and drawing board know better.

4. I am so happy to feel my relationship with my agent grow as we handle challenges together. I totally feel that he has my career and best interest at heart. Thank you, Steve!

5. I am going to do all the last minute errands before we go to Florida including: cleaning out the van (ick, was that a banana peel?), packing up gifts (my present sack will be black plastic sealed with duct tape), delivering teacher gifts and volunteering at holiday parties at school. Then we’re off!


 My list of things to do:
Complete 2 more freelance articles by Friday.
send last year’s illo academy blurb to casey
call storybook cove or find a volunteer to be in charge of conference book store
confirm crit faculty contracts and send questionnaire link
send greg fishbone the conference info for the website
work with joyce on PB
read through 1st reader notes, make changes and send to editor who wants manuscript
Do laundry, pack for Florida. We leave Friday night.


All the words that want to come are NOT about the articles I have to write they are about the manuscripts I want to write. I’ve been procrastinating like crazy. Staring at a bunch of research and nothing is coming. Sorry if I’ve been complaining a lot. I’m just in a grumpy mood. I think I just want to be with friends. You people. Friday we get in the car and drive to Florida and I have to finish my articles (4) by then. I know. ACK! So stupid to let them heap up on me like this. I’ve tried, just not hard enough. Double ACK!
That’s all. I’m going to try again now. 

Five on Friday

1. I’d really like to get my MFA in writing for children. One of the things that has held me back is that there doesn’t seem to be any program that includes a certificate or even studio classes in illustration. (the other is money)

I’ve been looking into Simmons, Vermont and Hamline and I’m wondering if any of you graduates would be willing to talk a little about what you think is different about the programs. Certainly faculty is different and that must effect the culture of the program. If you’d like to comment that’s great. If you have more to say and you’d prefer to write me directly contact me at anna at annajboll dot com. That is my website address. Thanks

2. I love snow, but ice storms not so much. I guess that is one benefit of living south this winter.

3. My freelance work may be over. The client says they love me but are cutting expenses. They might try to do it in house or they may hire me. We’ll see.

4. My toe is healing from a nail-echtomy. It actually hurts less than it has for the last two weeks. I originally injured it on the surfing simulator at the Great Wolf Lodge. I know, I know… I didn’t mention it before. What? I didn’t want to be bother. 

5. I’m heading into DC tomorrow to see Mom and Sister. I better get Chanukah candles while I’m there. I sure as heck won’t find them around here. 

6. I’m in the waiting room on a picture book manuscript. All fingers crossed. 


 Usually, when I don’t have anything to say, I just stay quiet. Today is Monday though and I’ve been pretty good about posting on Mondays so I’ll just start and see what comes up.
1. My novel is out to my first readers and then onto the editor who says she wants to see it.
2. My agent has been working hard on my account and it is nice to see our relationship grow. We are both working hard for a sale and have high hopes. 
3. My freelance work is both a drag and a necessity. Dollars are good: especially at this moment in economic history and this time of year.
4. I am so thankful for my family. I wish my hubby was happier in his work but I understand his lack of enthusiasm. Oh that we could all do exactly what we want and not have to worry about money. We would end up on a farm with me in a dual MFA program (illustration and writing for children). Then I’d teach in a university somewhere in New England. Such realistic dreams yet seemingly so unattainable.
5. Hubby especially wants to see snow for the holiday but it is not going to happen for us here in MD. Plus, we are headed to his parent’s home in Florida for Christmas day. Oh well.
6. We saw BOLT this weekend. Predictable but very fun. The art was, of course, amazing. I especially liked the credit animation at the end. 
7. Have you seen the movie trailers for Desperaux? I’m so disappointed. The art is so different from Timothy Basil Erring’s, the mice so people-y, the story so seemingly changed for the film. Ack! What do you all think?

Well, I guess I had something to say then.

Family Game Night Suggestions

 Between our move and my husband’s travel schedule our family event nights: movie night, game night, Shabbat dinner, have been pushed aside. Tonight we reinstated game night and I thought I’d share some of our family’s favorites in case you are looking for family gifts. If you have your own favorites, chime in and write a comment.

Set: This thought provoking game has deceptively simple directions. You have to create sets of three cards. Each card has four characteristics: shape, number, filling, and color. For the cards to make a set, the characteristics must be all the same, or all different. 

Take Off: Get your fleet of airplanes around the world before your opponent. You toss colored dice that take you on various paths towards your destination. If you roll a "Take Off" you draw a card to a city somewhere in the world that could move you forward or back. A fun game and neat teaching tool for geography.

Cranium Family Fun: Unscramble words, find objects in your home, identify pictures, draw, act, and guess your way to fun as the sands of time fall through the hour glass.  You work in teams for this one so it is especially fun when two families get together.

One hundred forty four days and counting

If you are a NESCBWI member you may have heard about the new Social Networking aspect of, MyNESCBWI. If you haven’t visited the new ning, created by web guru Greg Fishbone, take a look, sign up, and friend me. I happen to know that Greg is looking for web work so if you are looking for a web guru you may want to contact him. Mostly the ning will be a spot for New Englanders but if you live outside of the area (like me for now) and are homesick for the colorful autumns, white winters, and brown springs then the ning may be the place for you.

Greg placed a count down gadget on the ning that tells you how many days are left until the spring conference. "Oh good," you say. No, this is not good. This is the ultimate in deadline manifestation. It even has hours and minutes left, slowly they tick away revealing how little time I have to get all the conference work done. ACK! It makes me feel like this:

My co-director  

   says, relax. That’s almost as long as a school year. Hmmm… So maybe it feels more like this:

"Bring on the chocolate!" I say.