The races for Hall of Fame Poet and Young Poet are going gangbusters. Last time I looked, Silindile Ntuli was leading Lisa Martino by a single vote while Emily Rigby continued to build a commanding lead in the early going. Read the poems and vote for your favorites. You still have time. Polls don’t close until Saturday night.
Yesterday’s guest, Jackie Huppenthal, was a big hit. No surprise here. I enjoyed reading your comments and hope that I will soon hear from more readers who are willing to let me feature them.
My Featured Guest tomorrow is Robin Koontz. As you will soon learn, if you don’t already know Robin, she is a multi-talented author and artist who stays remarkably busy and productive. I look forward to bringing you Robin’s remarks tomorrow. For now, here is a bio to help whet your appetite.
I have been illustrating and writing books for children since 1985. After attending the Maryland Institute of Art briefly in 1974 I tried various trades, including veterinary assistant, activities director for a nursing home, and production artist. In 1984 I quit my last paying job and began a career as a full-time starving artist, creating mostly spot illustrations, greeting cards and logo designs and otherwise taking on freelance print production jobs. I carted my portfolio to New York in 1985 and landed my first picture book project with Dodd, Mead and Company. My editors there moved to Putnam, and then to Cobblehill Books, an imprint of E.P. Dutton, and until August of 1997 when the imprint was squashed, I published all of my trade books with them. I also created activity book illustrations, flash cards and posters for School Zone and McGraw Hill.
These days most of my time is spent writing, which as it turns out, offers a more diverse career – go figure. Right now I have about a dozen projects circulating and a big one in the works. Marvin and I are writing a book about our small cable suspension bridge and we’re thisclose we hope to a patent on part of that… My recent contracts are a nature series for Cavendish/Benchmark Books, an early reader series for Abdo (which took five years to sell!!), and two First Graphics books for Picture Window Books. Meanwhile, I am the (volunteer) Regional Advisor, Newsletter Editor, Website Manager, Conference Co-Chair and Retreat Chairperson for the SCBWI Oregon Chapter. Check out our web page — http://www.scbwior.com — for information about our talented members and our Oregon events.
Marvin and I live in a house on a hill in western Oregon. We also have a farm across the road from us which we call The Funny Farm. I work in a very old mobile home that is slowly falling down, but we’re currently going for broke and building another house there. We figure we’ll rent the house on the hill to a nurse. :-)
We share our lives with Jeep – a Border Collie rescue – and Kallie the damaged cat whom we acquired at a garage sale. I spend spare time gardening and growing plants and trees in our greenhouses, and also am in charge of walkin’ path maintenance. We have about three miles of trails throughout our property which we walk every day, rain or showers (shine? what’s that?). In the evenings I like to couch it with my 5-string banjo and try to learn frailing, which as Steve Martin points out, is not even in the stupid dictionary. And I also play on Farm Town. Come over and water my fake flowers sometime, would ya?
Now you’ve met her, come back tomorrow to hear from Robin Koontz.
By the way, when we were in Florida, monarch butterflies were on the wing headed west along the coast. I assume they were gathering for the annual migration to Mexico. Most of the butterflies passed by where we were staying but several each day would pause to visit a few blossoms before moving on.
Here is a picture of one of the insects that tarried too long and fell victim to a marauding dragonfly. Nature is nature is nature. David