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Abáloc-- and this and my other worlds...

...and suddenly, it's not our farm..

It was the Arthur family's farm, familiar, but different...

And it happened so quickly! I had got as far in my story ideas as having five children on a farm much like our own, threatened by strip mining, who encounter mythical beings out of the past...

...Those "Fair Folk" lost at sea! Who else! Read More 

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Meanwhile, Back on the Farm...

Our barn, home to horses Rusty, Dusty and Merrylegs.

Hello again! Almost a year later!!! No way to run a blog, you say, and I absolutely agree, but the past year has been filled to overflowing. This past week I have at least come up for a gulp of air, and my calendar ahead is showing enough little white spaces that I think it's safe for me now to vow to  Read More 

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If at first you take a pratfall...

As I was about to say in my last post ... I sat down to "think up" a subject for a story-- but neither sitting down or Thinking produced the sort of Light-Bulb Moment I had been hoping for. Granted, when every fifteen or so minutes a heavily laden coal truck comes rumbling down your country road from the strip mine up the way to rattle your bedroom windows as it passes the front yard, it isn't easy to concentrate. I couldn't seem to get past the tired (I thought) old motto, "Write what you know," that Miss Lambert, my high-school English teacher, espoused (along with possibly every other high-school English teacher in the Universe), but that seemed to me a feeble approach. I already KNEW what I knew, so where was the fun, the excitement in that? (There are obviously answers to that question, but they're beside the point here.)

All this was so long ago that I can't swear to it, but Read More 

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If at first...

After my first book, Down from the Lonely Mountain (my retellings of California Indian tales), my editor Margaret McElderry urged me to write an "all my own" book for children. I was at a complete loss. I had written short stories--and was several chapters into a comic novel, but it had never occurred to me that I might write a story for children. I was busy, so I dithered and delayed but finally came up with a picture book story titled The Ballad of Bombur Bee. A Western, would you believe? Margaret rejected it almost by return mail, but with a generous "you can do much better than this," and an invitation to do just that. I wasn't crushed about Bombur, because I hadn't taken him very seriously in the first place. Fortunately, before putting him aside, I did take the time to re-read the story both as a conscientious English Lit graduate student and-- more importantly-- as a former child. And I was appalled. It stunk! Cutesy-poo characters, cartoon-flat! A cliché  Read More 

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On Setting Sail in a Blog...

I take this dive into blogdom in spite of a certain reluctance/impatience/resentment. I love writing, the thinking-about, the planning, the genuine sensual pleasure of writing in longhand, all of it (except the endless retyping). But until lately those have been private pleasures made only more pleasurable by the welcome shift to computers for revising and polishing. A good two-thirds of the 30-plus books I've written for children and young adults-- mostly fantasy-- have been planned and crafted and then, all strings cut, sent out into the world with a nice mixture of pride and trepidation. In those days it was wave It goodbye, call out "Send a check, dear!" and close the door—then, after celebrating, to trot back to the desk to begin plotting the next harrowing trip through time. Or the next fraud detected by determined kids. Or the tale of a Stone of Power being turned to evil purposes. Well, no longer. Not in this century! Now you have to let the next book slide while you buy or build the dear just-published Thing a website, then hold Its hand and toddle out into the world with It, doing the round-and-rounds of social media. And blog about It while the Next Book sits on the back burner and mutters and twiddles its thumbs…

Hence this blog. However. Knowing myself quite well, I have given it a more skittery title than Jane’s Book Blog, for I suspect that it will end up being all over the map. After all, if I’m going to do it, I might as well have fun! Read More 

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