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!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Okay folks. I've been holding on to this secret for a very long time. I've tried to deal with it through therapy, bad decisions, and finally acceptance. Life hasn't been easy carrying this heavy secret. But it is time to admit the truth.

I am Tom Thumb.

I feel better already. Yes, when I was a wee little boy, no bigger than my mother's thumb, I lived
a much different life.

My father, Richard Jesse Watson, was an up and coming children's book illustrator at the time. He needed a model and I agreed. On two conditions, I told him. One, that nobody would ever know about this. And two, that he would buy me a brand new G.I. Joe character of my choosing AND a brand new SWATCH.

As he cut my hair into a bowl cut and told me to put on bright red tights, he promised me, nobody would ever know.

My mother made all the clothing, including "mouse" leather boots and the "acorn" leaf hat.

Yes, this modeling seemed innocent enough, at first.

Swing on a rope, hold enormous cherry tomatoes. Avoid behemoth moth flying right at me.

And then things started getting more dangerous. I was "told" to juggle eight pointy objects at the same time. I'd never done more than three before. And they had been soft bean bags.

Working hours started getting longer. I was forced to go on a diet to keep my previous size and weight. So I'd fit in my custom clothes.

Under the strain I became dangerous to myself and others. Lashing out when my makeup boy didn't have my correct foundation and at the lighting guy for, well, just for being there.

I became an adrenaline junkie, as you can see on this bike. Later, Father would paint in my mouse steed. Yes those are VANS that I am wearing. All the rave. VANS came out with a TT mouse-leather prototype after our book came out, but under pressure from PETA and Disney they never took it to production. I could have really used that extra cash.

And then the inevitable happened. They needed something more edgy. So, sure enough, my clothes came off.

I did get a swell acorn sailboat out of the deal. Cheap tradeoff for my integrity? Perhaps.

Things went from bad to worse.

I was washed up. Just when I thought I'd given all I could possibly give to my father and the project...

Things hit rock bottom. I made some bad choices. Hung out with the wrong crowd. Same old children's book model story.

"I had no friend to go my bail they slapped my dried up carcass in that county jail." JR CASH

I don't like to talk about this time in my life. Though, I did make friends with sorts that I never thought I would. That's Geezer, in for cheese theft. Good company.

But after a lot of soul-searching, I found religion.

And my Dad found fame and awards. Like this one up there. And so it goes. They even wrote songs about me, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues. "I do believe I've had enough." B. Dylan

So thanks Dad. For telling me that nobody would ever see me in tights. I guess you meant everybody but the whole world and Chevy Chase, who has, or at least had, a painting of me on his wall at home. It was nice shaking his hand.

I'm sure there are legions of us, former children's book models, never recovered from the adrenaline rush of an art show at Every Picture Tells A Story starring yours truly in Beverly Hills. Funny how life changes. How we change. I'm no longer that three inch hardbody you see in those pictures. I've grown. Mostly outward but, hopefully inwardly too.

Assalaamu 'alaykum. Namaste. Jesus loves you. And so does Abraham, Isaac AND Ishmael. No matter what size you are. Or what Golden Kite Award Winning book you posed for as a boy. You can't go forward until you admit who you are and where you've been.

So this is me. I am Tom Thumb. I'm no longer ashamed to admit it.

You think you're bad?

So how bad are you? "I'm bad, I'm bad, you know it..."

Because if you want some fun head over to Editor Cheryl Klein's blog for a bad writing contest. Years ago, my parents had the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest book in their bathroom. Boy it really helped pass the time.

Anyways, Cheryl decided that since there wasn't any children's literature winners, she'd do her own mini contest. Apparently the winner gets a three book contract. That is a joke. I meant to say they get her cool new book on writing. In fact, it's so new, it hasn't even become a book yet. It is more like a book embryo at this point. Though, her essays/speeches on writing really are top notch.

So late last night as I was enjoying another bout of insomnia, I saw a new post of Cheryl's on my handy blog dashboard. Like a late-night, giddy fool, I typed three quick ingenious (i was sure at the moment) bad-but-funny opening lines and posted them. Huzzah.

Then called my dad, since he had nothing better to do at that time, and ordered him to read. His reaction brought me back to earth as I realized my first post, especially, amounted to what I can only equate to a late-night drunk-call to your ex. Sadly, I had no booze to blame it on, just a late night stupor I mistook as genius. So yeah, the first "deleted by author" is mine. You're

Have at it. Look forward to enjoying your badness, though there is a LARGE caveat. Be funny.

PS Here's a photo update of Linus after his "tutoring" (thank you Jaime T for the Far Side reference). And, according to our vet, "reliving the 60's" at that moment.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tree Monster

This is a tree monster. He lives in the backyard.

I think he's pretty cool. And scary. He doesn't think about me at all.


For someone who doesn't care one way or another about you, he does some funny things. Like on a hot day he stretches his shade out for me just a little more.

And he doesn't eat me.

Sometimes I try to write stories in the backyard. I hear him rustling behind me and catch him trying to read over my shoulder. He pretends he was just going to eat me.


I know better.

At night I take Linus to "do his business" in the scary dark. Lots of sounds make us jump. And I say things like, "Who goes there?"


We know a certain tree monster is keeping an eye out for us. And that helps Linus pee.

Then we hurry back inside where there's light and quilts.


Before I do, I say, "Good night tree monster."

And he doesn't say anything at all.