Saturday, July 11, 2009


It is Saturday, but first I want to let everybody know that I will be gone for a week at the amazing Haystack conference in Portland (or at least it used to be called that). Then I'll be hanging out in Port Townsend, bugging Jolie and the rest of my fam.

I am REALLY looking forward to seeing all my Haystack friends. Very excited for nearly a week of intensive children's book learning and fun. One of the best parts is that we get to live and eat with the faculty, so it takes away all the pressure of networking and elevator pitches and you just get to know them as people.

Oh yeah, and Arthur A. Levine is going to be there.
See ya in a week or so, unless I sneak time to post (and figure out how to do it on Amy's PC, yuck).


It IS Saturday, so that means it's time to dub the heck out of somebody. Buried beneath the mountain of dub mail requests, I think "we" have emerged with a winner (that we really should include Jaime T). Yes, this amazing woman is as talented a writer as you will ever meet in the children's book field. There aren't too many writers alive that I am genuinely envious of, but for some dang reason, I sure as heck am of her. I sincerely believe we will be seeing/hearing/reading HUGE things from Martha in the children's book field soon. (HUGE Thank you to Jamie T from Cocoa Stomp for the inspiration that I swiped and the art that I also swiped)

Please meet HER, Martha Brockenbrough. Martha has already written TWO books, It Could Happen To You: Diary of Pregnancy and Beyond and THINGS THAT MAKE US [sic] and has done everything from founding a religion called SPOGG, err, I mean a grammar society called SPOGG (Society for the Promotion Of Good Grammar) to writing movie reviews, a parenting blog, writing the SCBWI WWA Chinook update (best in the country), and perhaps most importantly, being half the gene contributors behind the incredible TALKING POTATOES. Apparently, she also has a really cool husband (sorry guys) who she bounces ideas off of (literally) and a golden retriever dog named Rosie.

Martha has edited no less than the Stanford Daily while she was at school and many other lucky children's book writer friends' stories as well, all while maintaining her incredibly wry wit and intimidating smarts. Basically if Martha ran for president, she'd have my vote.

So without further ado. In keeping with our storied tradition and by the power invested in me by the nations of Canada and the United States, with all pomp and mock sincerity, with many flourishes and mumbo jumbo, Martha Brockenbrough, I...



Live long and punctuate! St. Martha is not to be confused with St. Frances De Sales, who apparently is the patron saint of writers. Amazing what you learn writing blogs.

This is not endorsed by the Catholic Church or any other religious institution but SPOGG.

Have a great week and here's one last Linus picture to tide you over until we meet again.

And he wants Jaime to know that his nose has never been photoshopped, enhanced surgically or otherwise, and that it is the real thing baby!


  1. Here, here! And Amen! It's sainthood for Martha. :) Good dubbin'!

  2. Yay, Martha! And you look great in your halo.

    Ben, I didn't know you were related to Jolie! That's so cool! You haven't dubbed Jolie yet, have you? I nominate Jolie for a future dubbing. She does so much for our SCBWI, and she does it all with a smile. :)

    Have a blast at your conference!

  3. Enjoy your conference! I wish I could go.

  4. I think Ben is envious of me because this week I got a) fired and b) a big dent in my car because someone did a hit-and-run in the parking lot. With luck like this, who needs a Dead Muse?

    Thank you for this, Ben! And thanks, everyone, for always being so darned nice to me. You have no idea how much the constant kindness means...truly, truly, truly.


  5. Hooray! Three cheers for St. Martha.

    Have a great time at Haystack, Ben! I hope you'll provide us with a lovely report and photos.

  6. Hey Ben,
    To embed a link in a comment you have to type out the link html. Ex:
    [a href=""]Word/s you want to be the link[/a]

    Replace the brackets [] with angle brackets <>. Make sure that you include the http:// inside your quotation marks or you will confuse the code. If that was muddled and incomprehensible, check out the href Attribute section of this page.


  7. Have a great time at Haystack, or whatever it's now called, Ben!

    And Martha, how could anyone have fired you? Did you accidentally accept a job as a housekeeper somewhere?

    Three cheers for Martha having more time to write children's books!

  8. As a fellow dog lover I wanted to let you know about a giveaway taking place on my blog

  9. Hey, Ben! Don't forget all of us--we're waiting over here, while you're having a great time at the conference!

    Yay! for Martha! And, I second Jolie.

  10. I'm not forgetting my blogging pals Vivian. Quite the opposite. I think I'm going through blog withdrawals. I miss you guys.

    Thank you everybody for all the excessive niceness. Apparently you haven't read the part toward the top of my blog about being a hermit crab. Actually, I soak it up like a big fat yellow sponge (yellow?). Thank you. I'll thank you more properly and give the proper customized hellos when I am more with it.

    For now, a few of the high points have been seeing Marla Frazee breeze in to the cafeteria, fresh off her flight, straight from her cinderella-ish weekend in Chicago to receive her caldecott honor award (if cinderella was as talented and deserving as Marla). She was glowing and wore a little smile that just wouldn't go away. I've looked far and wide, but it is nearly impossible to find such a talented, humble, down-to-earth, absolutely stylish (especially for an artist!), generous to newer artists/writers, and knowledgeable children's book illustrator who loves kid's books so much. I've known Marla for a while now and she was just as cool before she won this award as she is now. We tried to convince her to wear her special Caldecott dress to her conference presentation but she declined with a HELL NO!

    Also having a lengthy talk with Bonny Becker on just why "Visitor For Bear" was so tightly written it almost makes me sick. You could save a lot of money on a mfa in picture books by just studying that book alone. Perhaps the very cleanest, tightest, contemporary pic book I've read.

    And of course today, when Arthur Levine arrived from his plane and gave Marla and I big hugs and then I sat on a concrete wall and just listened in awe to both of them candidly sharing about their mutually amazing and award-filled trip to Chicago (Arthur got to celebrate two excellent successes at ALA himself that I will get into eventually). I was the heaviest "fly" on that wall and felt privileged to hear their genuine excitement and appreciation of it all.

    Learning tons and meeting lots of really cool writers and illustrators. I love this conference. I wish I was following it up in LA SCBWI, but still very grateful. Hope you all are having a wonderful week. Thank you so much for your kind friendship.

    "see" you soon. (actually I think I might be doing a talk with my Dad at a bookstore in Ballard on an upcoming Tuesday. Pretty cool and maybe if any of you are in the area we can meet in real life.)

  11. hey didn't get a call but this blog explains it - sounds like a full, fun, inspirational week! i drove past the college twice on my way to E's softball game Monday - gave a shout out to you BenJammin! (yes, twice, cuz i was a bit lost) :DL

  12. Wow...I think the nominating worked! Thanks everyone! Hey, Ben...maybe it's just me, but I don't ever see a way to check that little box to say you want to see other comments on a post...I missed all this good stuff until now. Loved reading all the Marla, Bonny, and Arthur goodness. I love all three of those people! I can't wait to hear all about it!