Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July goings-on

It's been a fairly quiet month. After we got back from Michigan, Cyn and I hunkered down a bit (or tried to, anyway) to work on current projects. Cynthia's Blessed was just announced on Publisher's Lunch, and the paperback of Tantalize was just released on July 22. It includes an excerpt from Eternal, which has a March 2009 release date.

We had great fun listening to P.J. Hoover speak at the SCBWI Austin monthly meeting on time management and then had a lengthy lunch with a group of fellow authors. Afterwards (and inspired by our trip to the U of M Natural History Museum), Cyn and I went down to the Texas Memorial Museum, which we hadn't been to in years (hence the giant quetzalcoatlus above).

We managed to sneak in a few movies over the past couple months, too (the fact that we're on something like day 37 of 100+ weather might have something to do with it):

Prince Caspian: Took some liberties with text, not least of which is that Caspian himself is about ten years too old, but all-in-all pretty good.

Indiana Jones: It was a little over the top in some places, but it's worth seeing just for Marian.

The Dark Knight: Wow. I wasn't really sure we needed to see another Batman movie with the Joker, but I enjoyed this on enormously. Heath Ledger's performance was amazing. Overall, the film was very good, intense, and (but?) not really the feel-good stuff you usually see from summer blockbusters.

The X-Files movie: Very glad to see Mulder and Scully together again. This is another one I liked a lot more than I thought I would -- Although I raised an eyebrow at one or two aspects, it felt like one of the better stand-alone episodes of the show.

Oh. And did I say it was a quiet month? Well, not entirely. I'm delighted to announce that my brother and his wife just had their first child, Olivia, born last Thursday! Baby and mother are both doing fine. Woo-hoo! Congrats!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Michigan trip

Cyn and I are just back from southeastern Michigan, where we spoke at a graduate children’s literature class at Oakland University, in Rochester.

We flew out on Saturday and stayed that night in Ann Arbor, which we hadn’t been back to since we graduated law school.

We walked around the law quad a bit and had lunch at Red Hawk, which was new back then. Then we drove out to the farm of author Shutta Crum and her husband. They gave us the grand tour and fixed an excellent spinach lasagna for dinner. Then we had dessert and drinks out in their “playhouse” (a converted garage) with a group of children’s lit. folks from the area.

Sunday, we explored a bit more, bought some UM garb, and checked out the “fairy doors” on Main Street and had lunch at Cafe Felix. Afterwards, we went over to the Natural History Museum and perused their ancient life displays. After our fill of dinosaurs, we drove up to Oakland University, where we stayed at the Cobblestone Manor, a charming and convenient bed and breakfast just minutes from campus. (Proprietors were delightful, and the breakfasts were terrific and generously portioned). That evening, professors Linda Pavonetti and Jim Cipielewski took us on a driving tour of campus and showed us Meadowbrook Hall.

Monday morning, I was up early to go for a run, then had breakfast, and went to give my talk. It appeared to go successfully (only one or two folks nodded off :-)). That night, Linda and Jim took us out again to dinner and then to dessert at Cook’s Farm Dairy – they make ice cream from their own cows’ milk. Absolutely fantastic and you also get to go nose to nose with the cows.

Next morning, Cyn spoke to great acclaim. After signing our books and getting a tour of the school of education, we went back to the B&B. We had a glass of wine with Marie-Louise Gay, who was speaking Wednesday and who arrived just as we’d uncorked the bottle. After dinner at Bistro Bourdeau in Auburn Hills, we called it a night.

All in all, it was a terrific event – Linda and Jim have a great program and are consummate hosts. Many thanks to everyone!

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