Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Let me give you my card. . .

It's foolish perhaps to be so pleased with a business card, but this was a good find, I think: a stock design that I dug up yesterday. The teapot could well be a symbol for English women of a certain age, and the mouse looks as if he knows his way around the Mouse Nation (and is ready for it to go public on November 8th).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


One of the major choices on getting published (reminder, Mousenet, due out November 8th) is deciding who to be. My first instinct was to use the name Prudence Martin because that’s who I was, when young, but Steve Malk, the agent who first took on the book, asked if I was out of my mind (or words to that effect) when I had such a great married name at my disposal. Breitrose. Bright Rose. Wasn't that great for a children's author? Yes, but. Steve had never been in a waiting room at the Palo Alto Clinic watching a nurse struggle with “Breet. . . Breti. . . er, Prudence?” He’d never had his Safeway discount card handed back with a “Thank you Mrs. Brut. . .Bret. . Would you like some help out with that?”

But Steve was right. Not just because I can now maybe teach some people how to pronounce my name but because there already is a Prudence Martin on Amazon. You can look her up. She produced a line of romantic novels thirty years ago in the Candlelight Ecstasy Series with titles like “A Strange Elation” and “Moonlight Rapture.” Not what you’d expect when you’re looking for books starring mice.

Besides, according to Google there are eleven Prudence Martins in the United States, but they can only find one Prudence Breitrose.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Where are the rodents when you need them?

We've had our plum tree for about fifteen years, but only once before have we faced the obligation of actual plums. Either birds eat the blossoms or squirrels eat the plums, or both.

This year they've fallen down on the job, leaving us with the task of turning a ridiculous quantity of Italian plums into jam, or giving them away to anyone who'll take them, or both. Even with thirty pounds of jam in the closet and neighbors who are all plummed out, we're left with about 100 pounds of fruit up there. Come on, squirrels. Do your thing. We want our lives back!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Megan's Hair

The ten-year-old heroine of Mousenet (due out November 8th) has amazing hair. I didn't make it up. She's modeled on a red-headed Scottish relative, Amy, whose bright red hair gets wildly exuberant when not locked down.

Megan's own springy red hair is mostly corralled in her braids–except for the front part, which as stood straight up "ever since her mom decided to cut it short all over, but stopped when she realized she was doing a really, really bad job." The result provides great amusement to other fifth-graders–and it makes mice a little nervous at first because for some mammals, "having your hair stick up in front is a sign you are about to attack." But they get used to it. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


It's coming along, though you have to imagine features like flowers. Shrubs. Cardboard.

Ah yes, that cardboard:

I've spent some happy hours up with my bike boxes, cutting off or pulling out several hundred staples. And I'm now in a position to rate them. Your best box, by far, is Marin. It's solid and well built, with staples that slide right out. Schwinn boxes are not bad, but they have a big patch of red on one side, which I suppose might lead to a red lavender? A purple ceanothus? Oh, and I also have boxes for Giant bikes that look as if they spent the journey from Asia being walked on in a greasy engine room. (Full disclosure, I have a Giant, which shows no ill effects).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A reminder

Due out November 8th:

Dumpster diving

It's not something I ever expected to do–lurk in the parking lots behind stores and hunt through dumpsters. But I've done it about a dozen times in the last week, and got a good haul. No, this is not the symptom of a sudden economic decline. I'm after the boxes that bikes come in, and so far have accumulated about twenty. Yes, some of the bike shop guys have asked why I want their boxes. Am I going to build a fort, maybe? Or pack up the family bikes for a trip? When I tell them how the boxes are actually going to be executed, they look a little shocked, even though you'd expect bike people to be green enough to approve.

Here's what will happen.  One day next week I'll soak the pathetic remains of our lawn. Cover it with cardboard. Soak that. Top the soggy mess with compost (or other good stuff) and mulch. Plant, making holes in the cardboard where necessary.

I'm told it works.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Who's Talking?

How many of the mice in Mousenet (due out November 8th) have been trained to talk? Not many. There’s no point even trying to make human sounds unless you were born with a certain floppiness of the lips and jaw known as Talk-Mouth. Young mice with this rare genetic trait get whisked away to the Talking Academy in San Francisco, where they learn to speak with the help of human movies or television shows. Trey, or Talking Mouse Three, studied programs like The Simpsons, which means he’s on the same linguistic wavelength as Megan and other ten-year-old American kids. On the other hand Sir Quentin, or Talking Mouse Five, preferred the costume dramas of Masterpiece Theater on public television, which gave him a British accent and a style of conversation that never uses a short word where a long one will do, a style that he promises will be “Appropriate, nay, even improving, for a young lady of the human persuasion.”