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It's Not Me, It's You (LiveJournal)

I just can't take LJ anymore. It doesn't call. It doesn't write. Or, more accurately, it won't let me write! Between all the system hacks and the fact that posting something takes forever because LJ constantly decides I am not allowed to choose a text size or add an image or--gasp--make some words a different color.

So I've moved to Wordpress. I'm brand new there and have basically no idea what I'm doing! But I am posting, so there will be no interruption of service--whether that's a good or bad thing is your call:>)

And over the next month or two, I'll get the blog all set up and prettified! I hope you'll join me there and bookmark the page or add it to your blogroll or reader.

Meanwhile, if you're an LJ friend, I've set up a feed so that you can still read my posts on your Friends Page: laurasalas2. (Thank you, Jama Rattigan of Alphabet Soup, for answering my Wordpress questions and telling me how to set up this feed. Like I said, I'm clueless about lots of blog things--as evidenced by my bad click described above! Jama and Susan Taylor Brown have saved me many hours with their help!)

See ya here, there, or somewhere, I hope! (Perfect example: LJ did not want to let this last line be Medium size. Why? No idea. Grrr...)


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It is a well-documented fact that J. Patrick Lewis can write a poem about anything! And so today, in honor of National Chocolates Day (who knew?), our U.S. Children's Poet Laureate shares this poem about chocolate-covered ants. I was looking for a photo to put here, but then I realized I don't enjoy looking at chocolate-covered ants. So you'll just have to use your imagination!

Chocolate-Covered Ants

You start with that ant mandible—
Completely understandable—
      A chocolate jaw has never tasted sweeter.

Then bite a bit of abdomen
Before you’ve finally grabbed a min-
      i-leg, an itty-bitty centimeter.

But ants despise a holiday
That is their grand finale day
      When you become a Chocolate Anteater.

--J. Patrick Lewis, all rights reserved


Like I said, Pat can write a poem about anything! This poem, by the way, is part of a collection he has coming out in 2013: World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You've Never Heard Of (Candlewick). World Rat Day! Seriously? There's another holiday I don't want a picture of! I don't know where Pat comes up with all his clever ideas for poetry collections (world records, epitaphs, book plot riddles), but that's ok. All I have to do is enjoy the poems.

Thanks, Pat, for sharing this poem today! (I'm going to eat something chocolate today, for sure, but it will not have a mandible nor abdomen!)

Speaking of enjoying poems, Diane Mayr at Random Noodling has the Poetry Friday Roundup today. So, um, what are you waiting for?

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15 Words or Less Poems: Unicycle


Image:  Lukian

Wake up your poetry brains with 15 Words or Less (guidelines here)! 

Someone commented on the frog on the unicycle on the cover of BookSpeak, which sent me looking for a unicycle photo! Here's what this one makes me think of:

*  Maybe simple isn't ALWAYS better
*  Evolution
*  What clowns do in their off time

Here's my poem.

Ah, Those Were the Eons

Good old days
two arms,
two eyes,
two wheels

Evolved too far?

--Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

What does the image make YOU think of? Write a quick 15 words or less poem and share it in the comments!

Heads-up: I'll be leaving LiveJournal soon and moving to WordPress. I'll of course post here and let you know the details. It will likely be before next Thursday. Hope to see you over there!

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Happy Birthday, BookSpeak!

Today is the pub date of my second poetry collection with Clarion!

Happy Birthday, BookSpeak!

In BookSpeak!, 21 wild, wacky, and winsome poems showcase the magic on a single bookshelf. Characters plead for sequels, book jackets strut their stuff, and a raucous party starts when the lights go out at the bookstore!

You can watch my book trailer here. (Click on the 360 and change it to 720 to watch it in hi-def.) On my site, you can read sample poems, see some of the interior art, etc. A teaching guide will be available by next week, and more extras are planned.

And if you'd like to use this occasion as an excuse to eat a piece of cake, go for it!

P.S. Jama Rattigan at Alphabet Soup has a lovely Soup of the Day celebration for BookSpeak--including a couple of poems and some different interior art and a link to a PW review I hadn't even seen yet! Thank you, Jama!

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Shabo Saturday

I spent Friday evening and all day Saturday with 7 talented pre-published picture book writers. As the Shabo Award mentor for this year (for the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis), I chose the manuscripts and spent all day critiquing, talking, laughing, and listening. It was really a great day. As usual, I learned a lot even though I was the leader of the class. The participants brought a lot of talent, effort, and diversity of opinions and writing backgrounds. I can't wait to hear good news from each one of them regarding their publication futures!

l to r, top row: Jen, Katy, Kristin, Laura, Jennifer
l to r, bottom row: Cindy, Terri, Rachel

Thank you to Bridget Levin, who established and funds this award for the Loft; to Jerod Santek, who oversees the administration of the award and who made Friday evening and Saturday run smoothly and very tastily; and to the writers themselves: Jen Zolot, Rachel Smoka, Katy Jensen, Terri DeGezelle, Kristin Johnson, Jennifer Kirkeby, and Cindy Rogers!


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Poetry Friday: Dogku (Andrew Clements)

Stories told in haiku often don't work for me because in needing to move the plot forward or summarize a lot of stuff in one short poem, the haiku become prose-y and very distant from the qualities I love about them--their photo-of-an-instant feeling and their imagery. But here's a haiku I love from Andrew Clements' Dogku (Atheneum, 2007).

Morning brings children.
Hugs, licks, barking, and laughing.
Warmer than sunshine.

--Andrew Clements, all rights reserved

At the back of the book, Clements explains the appeal of haiku to him, how this small form feels comfortable when you're overwhelmed with too many words and so many choices of what to do with them.

In the wide garden,
I am dizzy with flowers.
I choose a small vase.

--Andrew Clements, all rights reserved

It's a perfect day for soup (I made white chicken chili last night, in fact), so it's perfect that The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Jama Rattigan's Alphabet Soup! Have fun!

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15 Words or Less Poems: Going Up?

Image: NASA

Wake up your poetry brains with 15 Words or Less (guidelines here)! 

I went looking for a light switch picture this morning, but came across this while browsing. This image makes me think of:

*  Is she the Big Bad Wolf being cooked in the kettle?
*  At least it's more room than working on pipes under the sink
*  It's really her pants leg, but it looks to me like a black cat is looking out from behind her

Here's my poem:


When I scrolled
through the images


golden eyes
in darkness

He had waited

--Laura Purdie Salas, all rights reserved

What does the image make YOU think of? Write a quick 15 words or less poem and share it in the comments? Yours doesn't have to be creepy! Feel free to share what you like about other people's work, too!

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One Book I Love: The Sniffles for Bear

Bonny Becker's latest Mouse and Bear book, The Sniffles for Bear (Candlewick, 2011), had me laughing the other day.

The very first page clues in the careful reader to the conflict:

Bear was sick, very, very sick.
His eyes were red. His snout was red.
His throat was sore and gruffly.
In fact, Bear was quite sure no one
had ever been as sick as he.

So the problem isn't that Bear is sick, it's that Bear is just a wee bit over-dramatic about it. The sly humor throughout will have kids and adults laughing and comparing Bear to people they know. Bear's expression as Mouse tries to "help" him up the stairs is priceless (illustrations by Kady MacDonald Denton). And I think the time for this book is right this second, since at least 70% of the world seems to have a cold or allergies right now.

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I know any publicity is good publicity, and I'd love my books to be on special display table at B&N, but...

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Money Matters

After a tragic budget session yesterday, my husband and I realized we are in big trouble. Lots of causes: not sticking to our budget; a decrease in work-for-hire assignments this year; and a long series of big, unexpected expenses (in fact, I'm waiting for the plumber to arrive this morning). Anyway, the upshot is we're broke, and my writing/editing is not bringing in the money it needs to. My income is just way down this year.

So, this week, I'll be doing two main things. I'll be looking into how complicated it would be and what the tax implications would be of my selling my author copies of my various books online (something that was on my 2011 to-do list), and I'll be touching base with clients to see if they have any writing or editing assignments available. If I don't drum up some work quickly (this week), I'll try to find a holiday retail job. I'm stressed about money, and I'm not going to be able to concentrate on the writing I love if I'm worried about how we can pay our bills.

Keep your fingers crossed!


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Laura Purdie Salas
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