I'm sending you away.

This is probably anti-productive, but I'm sending you to another blog. Three, actually.

1. The Pioneer Woman

The first is one you've heard me mention here before. I've told you that she has amazing photography, and that she sometimes frustrates me with her rate of production and her perfect blogsmanship, but this is something you really must see, especially if you are an animal lover.
I've also told you how I feel about animal lovers.
Pioneer Woman's latest photography contest includes all 4-legged animals, not just cats & dogs.
Now, I'm a sucker for cats & dogs, but I think they get too much attention. I like variety. This contest does have its share of cats and dogs, but other wonderful creatures get to share the spotlight, too.
And the photography is amazing. Honestly, I wish I had the camera, Photoshop software, and time to learn it all, but I've got plenty on my plate as it is. For now, I'm content to be a visitor to the gallery.
Please take a look:

This might look like a sweet picture of a dog kissing a chick.
Do not be deceived.
That dog is tasting the chick.

2. Into The Hermitage

The second stop on your blog tour today will be to the south of England, in Dartmoor. There you will meet a lovely artist by the name of Rima who draws and paints fantastical folkloric images, and adorns some of her work onto clocks made of sliced wood. I'd like to have one someday. Her paintings, as well as her words and pictures on her blog, are warm and come from the heart.
click picture for a story about this clock:

A peek into Rima's world will just make you feel good. Like when you were a kid and you went to visit your grandma's house, and she gave you a cookie and told you to go outside and play, and you laid on the grass and watched the clouds, and wondered at lilies-of-the-valley, and spiderwebs twinkling with dew, and ripe sun-touched raspberries. And that's all you had to worry about that day.

Her latest post encourages an interesting discussion about this clock, and commissioned pieces. Enjoy your visit.

My friend Ken, a poet, used his usual humor in describing his recent experience at the SCBWI's Arizona conference.

I've never been to any other state's conference, or the huge national affairs held bi-annually - summer in L.A. and winter in New York. I'd like to, in the future. But our little AZ get-together is done very well. Our regional advisor, Michelle Parker-Rock, does a good job of bringing in some top publishing industry pros. We've seen editors from the big houses like Scholastic, Penguin and Harper Collins, as well as smaller imprints who like to focus on something more specific, like First Second. Since our members also include illustrators, we are always sure to have an art director present. It's amazing what they can do, and to find out just what goes into making a book.

My favorite speakers this year were Francesco Sedita, Vice President & publisher at Grosset & Dunlap (Penguin), who gave a fantastic presentation. He spoke how his love for reading throughout his life brought him to where is is today, and about the impact a book - any book - can have on a kid. And Jill Corcoran, a literary agent who seemed to be one of the most down-to-earth, un-snobby people I've ever met at a professional function. She had such great advice on writing query letters, and talked about the whole process of what happens after you get an agent - what you should expect from them, and what you should expect to do when working with one.

Also, Calista Brill, from First Second really made me think twice about graphic novels. With just the right amount of twisted humor, she's the kind of speaker who is so passionate about her field, she gets you excited, too. Even if it's something you never considered. Good thing she's not a drug dealer.

And here is Ken's take on his conference experience. He was lucky enough to be a guest blogger for David L. Harrison!

And, as a tip of my hat to Calista, here is a picture of my Cat kids:

 You're welcome.

And, even though I'm sending you away, please feel free to come back and visit anytime.