Nothing is more thrilling than having a surprise box show up on your doorstep… and when you open it up you find F&G’s of your upcoming book inside. F&G’s (folded and gathered’s) of picture books are like ARC’s (Advanced Reader’s Copy) in novels. The pages are all there, but they aren’t bound with the final hard cover. These are sent to various people and organizations that will read them and review them. I get some and so does Lee Harper (the illustrator). This is my first time seeing the book as it will look in its final form. I never know when they are coming for sure so it’s a delightful surprise! (Later, when the bound books come, that’s exciting too, but by then I know exactly how the book will look and so it’s not such a surprise). The books will release on August 1, 2021, and can be pre-ordered now on Amazon.
So… I made it back to my favorite writing spot (YEAH!). Now I just have to make the hard choice of whether to work on the puzzle or my story….CHOICES!
The other day I got a letter from a fan named Danny. He asked a great question: “How did Turkey cook the pizza in Turkey Trouble? He didn’t have an oven.” That question got me thinking about all the things that happen in the background of a story. So much goes on in Turkey’s life and on Farmer Jake’s farm that isn’t shown in the books. It’s fun to think about!
To answer Danny’s question, it turns out there is an old brick oven at the back of Farmer Jake’s farm. Turkey knew all about this oven (he and his pals had used it before to cook some tasty treats). It was the perfect place to cook a pizza—brick oven pizzas taste the best!
And if you are wondering where he got the dough and the chef’s hat… well, Lee Harper (the illustrator) told me that they came from a box that fell off a school lunchroom delivery truck. He even hinted we might see that truck in the next Turkey book!
So, think about what else might go on behind the scenes on Farmer Jake’s farm. You could even write a story about what you imagine!
I’m SO excited to announce that TWO (did you catch that?) TWO new Turkey books are coming!
TURKEY GOES TO SCHOOL is scheduled to come out in 2021 (It’s a back-to-school adventure for Turkey and his barnyard pals)
TURKEY-TINE will come out in 2022 (a tale of Turkey looking to convince Miss Turkey to be his Valentine).
What do I write the most? Picture books? Goofy poems? Magazine stories? Early chapter books?
Nope! None of those.
What I write more than anything else is sticky note memos. They are everywhere I work. Without them I would forget half of what I need to do.
I love the tiny ones (just the right size to stick on the bottom of my computer screen), the middle-sized ones, the big ones (perfect for those to-do lists), the bright-colored ones, the dull colored-ones, the ones in shapes and the ones with pictures or sayings on them. You can never have enough sticky notes!
Another poem for when you just can’t take life… or writing too seriously…
Does your tummy grumble? Does your stomach roar?
Do your taste buds beg you to come running back for more?
Then it’s certain that you’re eating something sweet and oh so swelly,
It must be purple pumpernickel belly button jelly.
There is nothing oh so tasty on some toast or on some bread.
Or if you really want to you can eat it plain instead.
You can’t buy it in the market, at the store, or at the deli.
That savory purple pumpernickel belly button jelly.
You must take some pumpernickel and put it in your shoe.
Then pick some belly button lint and put it in there too.
Just add sugar and some grape juice…Wait three weeks until it’s smelly.
Then you’ve got your purple pumpernickel belly button jelly.
It is luscious. It is succulent, delectable, divine.
And if you don’t believe me come and have a taste of mine.
I’ll serve some up with dinner. It goes great with vermicelli!
That scrumptious purple pumpernickel belly button jelly
Over the years I have found myself writing some rather goofy poetry… just for fun. A few of my silly poems have been published in anthologies, but mostly I just do them for my own enjoyment. Here is one I hope you enjoy.
From the deepest, darkest corner of my sticky, messy desk
came a gruesome, grumbly rumble that was truly quite grotesque.
It startled all my classmates… made the teacher stop and stare.
As for me, I gasped and gurgled, as I pushed back on my chair.
Then the desk began to tremble and we shivered in our shoes
as we watched a drippy, slimy, green and gory kind of ooze
start to come out from the corners, from the front and from the side.
There was screaming, there was yelling, and the teacher went bug-eyed.
“Let’s calm down,” I quickly muttered. “There’s no reason to distress.
I am sure whatever’s in there has resulted from the mess.
I think maybe if I clear out all the junk and crud and goo,
then perhaps the grumbly rumble will come out and go home too.”
So I quickly grabbed the garbage and began to scoop and dump,
when a strange and ugly something tumbled out with a Ka-Thump!
Then the fuzzy, moldy critter scurried off with quite a ZING,
and my classmates and my teacher cried, “What was that awful thing!?”
“Well, last Tuesday for my sandwich I had liverwurst on rye,
so I stuffed the awful thing into my desk… I cannot lie.
Guess it molded and mutated, sprouting legs, a mouth and eyes…
grew too big, then started moving, giving us today’s surprise.”
Teacher hollered, “How disgusting!” Scrub your desk and clean the floor.”
And my classmates glared and grumbled as they watched me do my chore.
There’s a lesson to this nightmare that I’ve learned, I must confess…
Don’t forget to eat your sandwich… and don’t leave your desk a mess!
Many times you hear authors say that writing is a “lonely” job, because we do most of our writing alone. Well, that can be something that’s hard about being an author. But I almost ALWAYS have company when I write—no matter where I write! (I just wish they were better at typing!)
Here are two story starters inspired by Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter:
When I cracked open my special egg, inside there was ________________________.
The most eggcellent prize I could get would be _____________________________.
People are always asking me— why did you choose Turkey as a character?
I admit, I never thought turkeys had much personality— that is until I lived with one. When I was 21 I lived for a year and a half in Peru. Part of that time I lived with a family high in the Andes Mountains. After finishing our meals we would all scrape any leftovers into a trough in the courtyard of the house for the pets. The dogs would come running— and so would the turkey. They called him “Pavito” (which means “little turkey”) and he thought of himself as one of the dogs. He would sometimes follow me around and tease me. I learned turkeys can have as much personality as any other animal. That’s why he became the star of my Turkey Trouble books!