Making some temporary changes

Hi everyone,

I’ve just accepted, along with Tim Rasinski, a project to help revamp the early reading program for one of the twelve largest school districts in the nation. My part calls for writing seventy-five original poems suitable for the 40,000 K-2 students in the district. Final details are being formalized this week and I’ll begin work on Monday.

Although I’m delighted by the challenge and look forward to getting started, there’s a huge scheduling conflict. Tim and I, with Laura Robb, are supposed to be writing a new book for Teacher Created Materials right now, with a target deadline of December 15 and a pub date of early 2022. By squeezing in, more like shoehorning in, this new project, there’s no way to stick with the TCM schedule. The kind folks at TCM have graciously agreed to a several week delay in their plans.

So this has turned into my year to work on education books. I began on March 5 writing poems for the first of two books for Scholastic with Mary Jo Fresch and Tim, and finished last week. This week I’m getting in a few licks on the TCM book before shifting gears into the new project. The minute I finish with that, I’ll get back to the TCM book and hope to finish my part by the end of January. That will mean eleven straight months of writing poems for the classroom almost every weekday except when out of town or doing virtual visits.

There is no way this is going to happen without making more work time in the day so I’m making a hard decision to start Monday cutting blog posts to a minimum. Hopefully, it won’t take as long as expected to finish the last poem but at this early stage I’ll want to error on the side of being conservative.

Look for me on the blog when I have something I really want to say. I’ll try to keep up on Facebook but might fall behind in my responses there too. Sorry!

If it isn’t one thing, it’s something else. Yay.

Hi everyone,

I’m spending today and maybe tomorrow tying up loose ends on Book #1 of the 2-book set with Tim Rasinski and Mary Jo Fresch for Scholastic. I need to replace one of the poems and write titles for all twenty-six. A proposal for a new project went out this morning so fingers crossed for that one.

At 1:00, Jen Murvin (Pagination Bookstore) and I will be interviewed by Ettie Berneking of 417 Magazine so I look forward to that. After that, the gym, then the rest of the day. I’m not pressing my luck in the gym yet. I’m not sure how hard to work since the pacemaker went in so for now I’m only doing twenty minutes every other day. I feel fine but need to check with my cardiologist before pushing any harder.

Sorry I haven’t written my poem for July yet but am working my way in that direction. I started to do it yesterday but decided instead to get back to updating the list of my published poetry. I made a decent start but now it looks like that little chore goes back to the rear burner again for the time being.

Contract signed for new book

Hi everyone,

Yay. I just signed the contract for the new 170-200 page book for Teacher Created Materials with Tim Rasinski and Laura Robb. The finished manuscript will be due December 15 so much has to happen between now and then. Today I’m sending my last six poems to Tim and Mary Jo Fresch for the two-book set for Scholastic so the way will soon be clear for me to return to some trade book projects. I think I have six weeks or so before I’ll need to get started on the TCM book. Happy guy.

I apologize for still being clumsy at times with the recent changes in WordPress. I’m all thumbs with placement of pictures. I have a devil of a time moving them around. Here I got Laura by herself when I meant to place Mary Jo and Tim with her. At least my friends are all together on the page. A dynamic trio if there ever was one!

Laura

Mary Jo and Tim

Hi everyone,

I hope to finish one book and start another this week. I’m down to the last four poems for the book with my friends and co-authors, Tim Rasinski and Mary Jo Fresch. They’ll simmer for a while before getting their final polishing, then off they’ll go to T & MJ so they can add their brilliant work. Our deadline for this second book in the set is mid-August so we’re beating that by many weeks. I am about to have my first window in four months to get into some trade ideas.

Over the weekend I was telling Sandy I needed a sequel to something that’s already out there and just like that she handed me a fantastic idea! I need to think it through, get a proposal together, and click it on its way. If all goes well, I’ll get started on that late this week. I have a radio interview tomorrow and some travel time later in the week but I think I can do it.

Yeehaw. Happy Monday!

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.