Good to the last drop

Hi everyone,

We had a great weekend from start to finish and want to thank you all for sending anniversary wishes. We read and relished each one. They really meant a lot to us and added so much to the pleasure of the occasion. We topped it off with a good visit with Robin and Tim to see the new roof on their back deck (thank you, Tim, for the take-home sliders for lunch today) and capped it all with champagne (thank you, Jeff and Jennifer) poolside enjoying the night sounds and views of Goose Lake.

Now to work and a busy week. On Tuesday, Kathy Temean features THE DIRT BOOK on her wonderful blog. On Wednesday, Laura Robb, Tim Rasinski, and I have a Zoom meeting with our editors at Teacher Created Materials about the new book we’re about to start with them. And on Thursday a short piece I wrote about why children should write poetry will be posted on the Springfield-Greene County Public Library blog.

Meanwhile, it’s time to polish the first twelve poems for the Tim Rasinski-Mary Jo Fresch collaboration for Corwin and get in another lick or two on a trade book proposal I’m hot to finish. On we march.

Starting Book #2

Hi everyone,

Today I move on to the second book with Tim Rasinski and Mary Jo Fresch. I wrote three poems for the original proposal so I still have 23 to go. If I can maintain the pace I met for the first book — five poems per week — I should finish by June 8, including a week of revisions when I finish the collection. But early June is pretty crowded with summer reading programs and activities around the June 8 pub date for THE DIRT BOOK, so I’m setting my goal to finish Book #2 for June 15.

While this is going on, I have three science-based picture books I’ll be working on as time permits. Next week Tim, Laura Robb, and I hope to get the green light for a new book that will require rather urgent attention. The potential publisher for that one is eager to get it to market as soon as possible. We have some trips planned, including Florida, Oregon, New York City, a riverboat cruise and attending an Andrea Bocelli concert. Today I’ll make a quick trip to Kansas City and back. It doesn’t look like I’m going to have a lot of blog time this year so sometimes I’ll be hit and miss.

Progress report

Hi everyone,

I’ve now completed my poems for Book #1 on the Scholastic project with Tim Rasinski and Mary Jo Fresch. When I started, I set a goal of averaging a poem a day for the twenty-six poems we needed. It took thirty-eight work days, but during that time I did a couple of virtual school visits, gave a talk to a Rotary Club, had a pacemaker put in, and joined three other poets in a Night of Poetry. I feel like that was pretty good.

I’m not finished with the poems yet but am putting them down for a week or so before starting from the beginning to revise and polish. Meantime Tim and Mary Jo are finishing their work and it looks like we’ll be ready to send Book #1 off to our editor by April 30, two months ahead of schedule. While we’re on a roll, I’m shooting for a May 31 completion day for Book #2. We’ll see how it goes.

For the next few days I’m going to be in and out so my posts may be scattered. Have a good week!

A good diet

Hi everyone,

Another good week shared with Robin and Jeff.

Didn’t make quite as much progress on the books with Tim Rasinski and Mary Jo Fresch as last week but it was still decent. In the fourteen days since I started work on the project, I’ve written fourteen poems, each to a different prompt, mostly good with a few that still need work. I have thirty-six more to do.

Today is dedicated to other matters. I’m enjoying the routine of hitting one project hard for four days and taking the fifth day off to think other thoughts. It’s like having dessert after a great four-course meal. If I could maintain the current pace, I could finish in another eight weeks, but I have a busy schedule the rest of March and all of April so I probably need to add at least two weeks to my completion date, which makes it about June 1. The contract calls for completion of the first book by then so I should be in good shape. But this is a four-way collaboration (counting our editor, Maria Chang) so a lot can happen between here and the finished books. I plan for a perfect world and stand by for the unexpected.

Now it’s head down for several months

Hi everyone,

My thanks to Evan Robb for hosting Laura Robb and me yesterday evening as we talked about our new book, GUIDED PRACTICE FOR READING GROWTH. Here’s the link. .
And here’s the link to my reading aloud from AFTER DARK, which is currently available on the Drury University website:

Yesterday we (Tim Rasinski, Mary Jo Fresch, and I) agreed to terms with Scholastic Teacher Resources to write two books in time for publication early in 2022. For my part it means an enormous amount of work with deadlines of June 1 for the first manuscript and July 1 for the second. If I didn’t have anything else to do, this would be close to impossible so let’s say I’m delighted and concerned.

I’m afraid I’ll need to sharply curtail my blog posts for a while. On average I spend an hour each morning to post something new and believe me I’m going to need those twenty hours a month for a while. I may need to post once or twice a week, or maybe just when something new happens, until I see how the new work is going to progress. I hope you’ll understand and bear with me.