What are you working on?

ANNOUNCEMENT: I’ve decided to leave this one going a second day. I know we haven’t heard from everyone with something to talk about.

Hi everyone,

I often tell you what I’m working on and from time to time I hear from you about your current writing projects. I finished a new manuscript yesterday and sent it on its maiden voyage so today I’d like to open the floor for anyone who would like to update us on your efforts.

Many of you are seasoned, well published poets and authors. Some have yet to make that first breakthrough, and others are somewhere between. I like the idea that followers and participants of this blog represent a wide range of writing experience. We’re a little like those old one room schoolhouses where older students helped teach younger ones.

Wherever you happen to be on the learning curve, today seems like a good day to share your thoughts, aspirations, accomplishments, and questions. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.
P.S. Here’s the Brad Sneed illustration for Sneed Collard’s book. I couldn’t figure out how to get it into Sneed’s comment. Sorry.


35 comments on “What are you working on?

  1. Hmmmm, you don’t mention “playwrights,” David, but I’m going to hop in wearing that hat anyway. Because I have something significant to report: I’ve finally figured out how to clone myself! Well, it’s a bit primitive, but still . . . Starting on July 17, I have two weeks of Skyping into rehearsals of “Death Valley: A Love Story” at Maryland Ensemble Theatre and traveling there for public readings as part of their METLab Festival on July 22 and 29, while AT THE SAME TIME attending rehearsals and performances of “Stuff! A Curious Collection” right here in Lancaster. Creative Works of Lancaster has chosen the latter as their free in-the-park offering for family audiences, July 27, 28, and 29. Both are scripts-in-progress, so I’ll be reviewing and revising as we go. Okay, so I really won’t be in two places at once on the 29th, but for the two previous weeks? Close to that as I can get!

  2. Hey David and All! You are so generous allowing us to pimp–uh, I mean, PROMOTE– ourselves on your blog! I actually have a very exciting project that managed to pull in some incredible artistic talent via Warrensburg–Brad Sneed. I just finished reviewing the proofs for my very first (and last?) textbook: TEACHING NONFICTION REVISION, which will be released from Heinemann in August. How does my “cousin” Brad Sneed fit in? Well, I told the publisher that this book could really use some fun illustrations, and that I knew just the guy! As so rarely happens in publishing, it all worked out. If you tell me how to post a picture, I’ll do that so you can see what incredible work Brad does…

    • Ha! As someone wise once said, Sneed, “We’ve already established what we are. Now we’re only haggling over the price.” Anyway, I love your new project and partnership! Send me your picture(s) jpg and I’ll try to insert into your comment. Not sure I can but I’ll be delighted to try.

  3. Hmmmm–this fall I have coming out: THE EMERALD CIRCUS : A book of my adult short stories (and poems) each about fantasy writers and/or their creations. All but one of them is a reprint. Some of the writers and creations are: Alice of Wonderland, Jabberwocky, Hans Christian Andersen, Disraeli, SOrothy of Oz, Emily DIckinson (a lot of her poes are fantastical), Poe, etc.

    Also Once Upon A Story with ilos by Jane Dyer, folk tales for the youngest listeners retold by moi.

    Last Laughs: Prehistoric Epitaphs with J Patrick Lewis, funny but lugubrious poems abut the last moments of particular creatures in the Jurassic and elsewhere prehistoric. Also science notes.

    House of 3: I’m one of three poets with 20 poems each in a slim, elegant volume (mine are mostly grief poems about my late husband). Published in Scotland.But of course I am not working on them any longeras they are all final stages, ready for printing. Or in the case of Last Laughs it is already a prointed book awaiting pub day.

    The half dozen or more books that will be out in the spring and fall 2018 and beyond are what I am working on now. That;s probably another posting. But not now.

    Jane (the Yolen one)

    • Dear Jane (the Yolen one), you always astound me with all you manage to do. I can’t wait to get a copy of LAST LAUGHS: PREHISTORIC EPITAPHS. The title alone makes me chuckle. I wrote an adult story once called THE BOWLING BALL SALESMAN, which was my all time best title. Anyway, thanks for the update.

  4. Hi David. Great idea. Right now I am taking a short break from my usual writing and illustrating and finish a new short video (where I also use my writing and illustrating skills). It’s unusual – as all my videos are. But I am having great fun explaining and illustrating abstract spiritual laws. Youtube is a fun way for expressing your creativity. Maybe some of your guests may also get inspired. Here is my latest video on how the planets rule our life: https://youtu.be/JH47GOcQO1k

    • Hi, Hans! Good to hear from you. I knew you would be busy as always and look forward to watching your latest video. Thanks for the link!

    • I’ve watched some of your videos when you post them on Facebook, Mr. Wilhelm. I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve seen!

    • Hello, Hans! I always enjoy your thought-provoking videos. I see I have a package from you….Best wishes.

  5. TRAVELING THE BLUE: POEMS ABOUT THE SEA (Quarto Books) is the first YA collection I’ve done in quite some time featuring works about migration and resilience of sea voyages – from the Columbus voyage to the Mariel Boatlift. All poems have been especially commissioned for the book with works by Margarita Engle, J. Patrick Lewis, Marilyn Nelson, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jane Yolen and more. The book is illustrated by Jovan and Bob Hansman,a father-son team with an incredible story. Google their fascinating career. This is their first book. “…BLUE ROAD has been an incredible voyage for me to embark on.

  6. What a wonderful offer David, thank you! I am excited to learn from others at every turn.
    My current big project (besides moving my household) is an art exhibit in July at Art Inspired (downtown Springfield, MO). On display, and for sale of course, will be my photographs, paintings and book (Neko Travels The Big Wave).
    Jane’s Prehistoric projects brings to mind another I was helping edit of Sue Cowing’s (of You Will Call Me Drog fame) which is still in the works.
    I would love advice on how to put a book together while working another job and raising a family…I have two which I would really like to finish working on, one is a children’s porquois and the other a collection.
    Organization of my writings and what kind of computer software (please don’t get too technical on me) for editing and layout would also be helpful.
    Oh, if only there were a magic pill that could be ingested for all the valuable
    insights of tested and accomplished writers! Any help would be appreciated. I have so many times when words and stories and poetry nearly jump out of my pores, I have to stop what I’m doing and write it down just so I can carry on with some focus.
    Ever so humble and grateful,

    • Hi, Janine! Sorry to have fallen behind. It has been one of those days. Congratulations on your upcoming art exhibit. Good luck with it! I know you keep projects going as well as your work and family duties so little wonder you wish there was a magic pill. I guess sometimes we all wish for one of those! I know you are dedicated and that you persevere and those are two of the most important ingredients I would put in a pill if I were making one. I wish you great luck as you draw ever closer to your goals.

      • Thanks, David. Yes many projects, but you have as many or more on your plate too. Congratulations on all of your upcoming publishings, that’s a handy basket full! I look forward to your Bullfrog book…might come in perfectly for Mrs Ladybug to read at the nature center…

  7. Maybe I should add something here also. I’m in a couple of anthologies this fall plus an interview or two, but come spring a number of titles are coming out. One is poetry (Boyds Mills Press) called CRAWLY SCHOOL FOR BUGS which is delightfully illustrated by Julie Bayless.

    Another, from Charlesbridge, illustrated by Giles Laroche, is A PLACE TO START A FAMILY. It’s poetry with prose end notes and meant to be a companion to NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T.

    A third, from Holiday House, is AND THE BULLFROGS SANG. I’m not sure of the pub date on that one but hopefully by summer. It’s a nonfiction picture book.

    A fourth is co-written with Mary Jo Fresch for Scholastic Teacher Resources and is directed toward elementary teachers to help them teach their young charges how to prepare before they start writing. That one comes out in January. It’s tentatively called BEFORE THE FIRST DRAFT, but I think that will change.

    I also wrote the poetry chapter for the newest (5th) edition of CHILDREN’S LITERATURE IN THE READING PROGRAM, which is also due out in spring-summer.

    Other titles are in process but I don’t have pub dates for them yet. More on them later.

  8. Hi David. Congrats on sending another manuscript out into the world! I’ve enjoyed reading about so many wonderful projects and all the terrific books coming out over the next several months— especially yours, Jane’s and Lee’s.

    While I haven’t been doing a whole lot of writing this summer, I’ve been teaching a bunch—poetry workshops at all age levels—some connected with A WRINKLE IN TIME and others with JULIUS CAESAR. It’s a relatively new venture for me, but I’m totally hooked!

    I’ve also been doing a fair share of editing this summer, as I start piecing together the next volume of THE BEST OF TODAY’S LITTLE DITTY. I’m very excited to be featuring your “ditty” challenge and Jane’s septercet challenge, along with ones from Douglas Florian, Marilyn Singer, Kenn Nesbitt, and a few more from 2016. Stay tuned….

    • Hi, Michelle!
      Thank you for the good wishes. There is something about sending out a submission the first time and waiting to see how it fares. For me the anticipation is as addictive now as it was when I first began going through the process so many years ago.

      Congratulations on all your accomplishments! I’m delighted to appear in your upcoming BEST OF TODAY’S LITTLE DITTY volume. Thank you so much for including me.

  9. Howdy, David—and friends.
    Thank you for the opportunity! I traded my editor’s cap for an author’s cap (for a New York minute) when my first Little Golden Book came out last month. Zippy, fresh illustrations by Chris Robertson. It’s all about…tickles! Here’s a link:


    I’m glad those bullfrogs finally found a home, David. We nurtured them along….

    Congratulations on all the good work, everyone.

    • Hello, Heidi!! I’m so glad you joined us, and with such w00t news at that! I look forward to another chance to see you in New York this fall. And yes, we did indeed help those bullfrogs sing!

      If anyone here today hasn’t met Heidi, she is editorial director at Random over Step Into Reading books plus I don’t know what else. I’ve done several books with her over the years. She’s great!

  10. David: I just received word that I won the limerick contest for the Saturday Evening Post contest that was posted for March/April. It will be my first paid effort, and I am delighted. I need to pinch myself to believe it! ;0)

  11. And thank you, David, for offering up this forum at the perfect time. And best wishes to you and to all those who read and share their works here. What an amazing wealth of written success reported here! Much appreciated!

  12. Hi David,
    Thanks for the invite to share. I’m in Columbia, SC as I write, doing research on a Revolutionary War hero. I’ve been working on this for years, and I hope I’m coming to a point of conclusion. I get nervous about writing about something I’m writing — superstitious that way, jinx the whole project, put a curse on myself (God knows I’ve received enough curses from others through the years). But I’m enjoying wonderful southern food, friendly folks (though I just got a parking ticket), and immersing myself in the 1700s. Looking forward to seeing you in November at NCTE in St. Louis.


    • Hey, Jan. Good to hear from you. Sorry about the welcome to SC ticket but otherwise you seem to be enjoying yourself. I look forward to reading your new book when it gets to press one of these days. I know it will be good. See you in St. Louie!

  13. Coming to this splendid idea late, as I’ve been busy preparing to have the grandsons for the weekend after a celebratory week (eldest’s 14th b’day and 8th grade graduation). Still not actively writing on the third book of my “Ark Trilogy,” which I’ve promised myself to get out at last. But I can definitely feel it growing at the back of my mind. Meantime, in October the third Applewhites book comes out (Applewhites Coast to Coast), on which my son (RJ) collaborated. It got wildly delayed by a cluster of family catastrophes, but is done, and the collaboration itself was (though just a tad tricky, great, great fun!) It has yet another amazing jacket by Brett Helquist. Have been busy with nonfiction projects meantime, the next/current being a chapter about highly to profoundly gifted kids in the SAGE International Handbook on the Gifted and Talented.

    • Hi, Stef!
      Glad you made it by, and thank you for your update. Family collaborations aren’t the easiest things to pull off so congratulations for that too. You sound busy as always in spite of catastrophes. Good to hear from you.

  14. Hi David,
    I’m back from York Beach, Maine after a week-long vacation with the family, and am just now checking out all the posts I’ve missed. Congrats on all your upcoming publications and best wishes with the new manuscript!

    Congratulations also to all the folks sharing their successes here; I’m genuinely happy for everyone, as I know how difficult it can be. I’m one of those “in-between” folks whom you referenced…I have my debut picture book, “Flashlight Night” due out Sept. 19 from Boyds Mills Press and am THRILLED it received a starred review from Kirkus. My 2nd picture book, “Don’t Ask a Dinosaur,” which I co-authored with Deb Bruss, comes out this spring from Pow! Kids Books (no illustrations yet, but I’ll be sharing them on my FB page when I can)!

    I also will have poems in a number of anthologies, including “Poems are Teachers (Heinemann, Fall 2017); “School People” (Boyds Mills Press/Wordsong, Spring 2018); “I Am Someone Else” (Charlesbridge, 2018); and a new National Geographic collection due in 2018. As for current projects, I am subbing 6 or 7 manuscripts around that have received positive feedback, but just not the right editor or agent, and so I soldier on. And I am about 3/4 of the way through a creative nonfiction poetry collection, the concept for which has intrigued one editor – I’m hoping to get it completed by the end of summer.

    Thanks, as always, for your support of children’s lit and those of us who write it, David…and I hope you had a nice weekend!

  15. Matt, I’m glad you enjoyed your vacation and came home refreshed. Your writing career continues to pick up steam and I’m delighted about it. Congratulations on you first book, the stellar review, you second book, the anthologies where you work is appearing, and the work in progress. Way to go!

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