Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Locking Place is available!

Last year my partner at MAB Books, Kate Oliver, suggested I rewrite one of my old children's picture book manuscripts.  She thought the story might be more interesting to older kids.  I went back and reread it and said, "It's perfect the way it is."  But she persisted and eventually I let her rewrite the story for older kids.  We traded it back and forth many times, revising, editing.  Then I did a suite of 20 illustrations last summer and fall.  

So here it is:  The Locking Place.  For kids 8 and up.  Available on amazon.com

And this is a little bit about the book:
Ruby thumbed through the map book without looking at the pages. She leaned her head against the window as they drove to the freeway, thinking about the word navigate which always reminded her of ships, which reminded her of the Navy, which reminded her of her father, far, far away from a house he would never see again.
Ruby Brock is having a hard year.  First, her Navy father was deployed overseas. Now the bank is foreclosing on her family home, forcing Ruby and her mother to move in with Ruby’s aunt, hundreds of miles away. Ruby can't bear to give up her home and her friends, and as Ruby and her mother travel through the mountains of California, a lonely, frustrated Ruby makes a wish—that her mother could be a child again.

The mountains grant her wish, and Ruby and her nine-year-old mother enter the Locking Place. A mysterious world hidden in the mountains, the Locking Place is filled with people who have lost more than they could bear, people who seem to stay there forever. The girls are left with nothing but the clothes on their backs and two quests: to find their way out of the Locking Place, and to turn Ruby's mother back into a grown-up. But the longer Ruby's mother remains in a child’s body, the more childlike she becomes. And the more determined she is to stay that way—and in the Locking Place—permanently.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Gale of Pressing Light

Winter softness
is punctuated by the wide green
of unrestrained hollies.  1-1-13

Dour is the little girl
sitting in the black metal chair
while Daddy wipes the bird poop
out of her hair.  1-1-13

Morning light raises
the air, the spirits
of those with eyes.  1-3-13

So much light this morning
it hides the windy
wood.  1-7-13

Between the cloud
and the sky, on the opalescent edge,
a rim of shimmering reality
moving through time.  1-7-13

Here it is—a strip of winter woodland.
No deer, no birds.
Only light and silent moving breath.  1-7-13

Day by day, darkness comes later,
as blue as dark silk held tight on the horizon,
lightened only by breath, our watery breath,
rising up.  1-8-13

The morning is the color of dead wood.
A squirrel runs through it
believing in more.  1-10-13

Moistened by last night’s rain,
winter orange leaves
give off warmth.  1-12-13

Patient eyes look for something
in the timeless morning.
Here and there hollies, pyracantha,
self-absorbed in green.  1-12-13

The soft fog lays itself
down on us, eases
winter pain.  1-15-13

Five cups of millet and black sunflower seeds
tossed out the kitchen window.  Look!
I have friends, all with tails.
All kinds of tails.  1-15-13

Up the maple
squirrel runs, his frayed tail
the same color as the winter morning fog.  1-15-13

Here and there
a drop of rain
resumes its fall.  1-15-13

On the sidewalk
four turkey buzzards eat
the dead squirrel, shaggy black feathers
widely weighted under narrow clean heads.  1-16-13

The sun!
Inkberry is tingling
in the breeze.  1-18-13

The all-day deer
ate all the partridgeberry.
Maybe not the roots.
I hope not the roots.  1-19-13

the morning fog light
arrives first.  1-21-13

Streaming through the
slatted blinds, a windless light fall.
Birds look for seed under dark leaves.  1-22-13

Holding to red and green
bitterwort stays tall
on the bare winter ground.  1-23-13

The inside of cold is dark.
Pine needles hang straight down.
The light points down with them.  1-23-13

More light from the ground
than from the sky.  It holds my footprints
while I breathe.  1-25-13

Looking for balance
in the light
in the dark.
Beauty’s form of purpose,
a weighted purpose,
turning.  1-25-13

The awful sound the
snow shovel makes.  1-26-13

Under the Venetian blinds
trying to internalize
the luminous sky.  1-26-13

A day of spring—
a slivered message from the future
inserted between ice and ice.  1-29-13

The wind moves last summer’s last leaves,
the moon-like sun above.  1-30-12

Climbing the stairs on fingertips,
putting the dust in order,
a view of scattered light,
the one breath taken.  1-31-13

The wind just here—
the big noise
and flickering lights,
hollies’ cold lights.  1-31-13

Waiting for the light to lift.
waiting for color—
the color that doesn’t move
in the gale of pressing light.  1-31-13