Firsts for October

Continuing on with my lists of new happenings and "firsts" from the previous month:
1. First time on the "other side" of an SCBWI conference. I participated in the debut picture book author panel along with Sue Fliess and Sandra V. Feder at the Northern California SCBWI Fall conference. I had a blast.
2. Our first Halloween in Pacific Palisades where the home decorating began in early October and has become more over the top by the day. Even my husband, who has never decorated before, could not resist a full-scale effort in the front yard. Needless to say, the anticipation level in the house has been HIGH.
3. I'm working on the images for my first book that will NOT be done with watercolor and pen/ink. While I've always maintained that I like the built in constraints of watercolor, I have to admit that I'm revelling in the possibilities. And to that end:
4. First time I've used acrylic paint for a book.
5. First time I've used collage for a book.
6. First time I've used (gasp) my computer for a book.
7. First time one of my books will be at Barneys New York! Beginning in November! Go Zoe!
8. First time my six year old's piano skills have exceeded my own. I am in awe of how quickly kids learn at that age.
9. First time I've gone to the beach in late October and wished I had worn a swimsuit. (Ah, Southern California...will I ever get used to you?)
10. The final first is a secret, and shall remain so for at least a little while longer. Stay tuned. :)

Firsts for September

September was filled with plenty of firsts:
1. We have our first terrarium in the house, and in a strange case of life imitating art (since my next picture book is about a family of snails), the girls wanted to have snails. We now have three of them. We also had one temporary tenant: a caterpillar that became a moth and fluttered off into the September sky.

2. First look at ZOE'S ROOM! The unbound galley arrived last week. It's always a treat to page through the book and see all of the art together after many, many months of work. The colors are striking and rich.

3. First visit to the Lake Shrine here in Pacific Palisades. We explored the meditation gardens that surround an exquisite lake. Turtles, dragonflies, and koi abound. The girls don't even mind that they have to be quiet.

4. First approval of sketches from Candlewick. This is my first book with Candlewick, and the process has been so enjoyable. I'm very eager to start painting.

5. First listen to the music for the SNIPPET trailer from my brother! May I just say—awesomeness.

6. First visit to Safari West on a full moon night. Is there anything better than being serenaded by wild critters while roughing it in a tent (okay, luxury cabin) under the harvest moon?

7. First set of sketches submitted for the new project I mentioned last month. Lots of nail biting here. It is both terrifying and exhilarating since the finished pieces will be done in a style unlike any of my picture books to date.

8. First offer for a book that I have not yet written. (Again, lots of nail biting.)
9. First time at the Casa Madrona in Sausalito. It was fun to be tourists in our home town.

10. First time my purchases of vintage books can be written off for a project. I think eBay is calling me now...

Happy October!