Reading to the precious kids at Grapevine’s Memorial Baptist’s Children’s Day Out Preschool was absolutely wonderful! The kids were well-behaved and adorable; the teachers were welcoming and kind and the school itself is beautiful!

I felt a bit like a celebrity when several of the classes gathered around me after my final reading for pictures with “the author.” It was obvious that some students strategically positioned themselves next to me for the opportunity to dig right into the book and personally move the bandages around post-flash, just before their teachers made them line up . . . other students made my day by deliberately coming close to give me a hug before leaving the room. What a joy it is to read to such sweet, innocent and appreciative children!

 Not only did I have the pleasure of reading my book twice, (first to a group of two and three year olds–second to a group of four and five year olds,) but I also received 26 book orders! Twenty-six!!! I was thrilled–scratch that–I AM thrilled. (When I left Frisco that morning with my remaining stock of 15 books, I figured that if I sold 10 I would be pleased . . . twenty-six orders honestly knocked my socks off.) Now I eagerly await the delivery of my next box of ALL BETTER books (which should be en route as we speak) so that I can finish signing copies and deliver them. And, while I’m there, I’m hoping to get a glimpse of a picture or two taken during my super-star author photo session with the cuties from the CDO.

 ;-)

~Leigh

Posted by Leigh, filed under ALL BETTER. Date: January 26, 2008, 1:14 am | No Comments »

So, I was mistaken …in a previous post I mentioned that I would be reading ALL BETTER at a Children’s Day Out school in Bedford; it is actually in Grapevine!

 

Please forgive my mistake.

 

I’m looking very much forward to reading with a fresh crop of kiddos. I’ll also be toting a stock of books with the hopes that a few parents will have sent money to purchase a book for their youngster.

 

Grapevine, here I come!

 

~Leigh

  

Posted by Leigh, filed under ALL BETTER. Date: January 23, 2008, 10:53 pm | 2 Comments »

This e-vite went out to lots of folks tonight . . . if you were not one of those, please don’t consider yourself any less invited—the more the merrier! Please drop by. If you’d like to send any local friends or family a personal invitation, please send me a note and I’ll forward a PDF copy of the invitation (leigh@leighattawaywilcox.com.)

***** ***** ***** 

Leigh Attaway Wilcox will be signing copies of her new Children’s book–ALL BETTER: A Touch-and-Heal book–on Saturday, February 9th, at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 801 W. 15th Street, in Plano, TX, 75025.

Mark your calendars now so you can drop by to say hello and pick up a book or two for the favorite youngsters in your life. (This book makes a great gift for birthdays, baby showers and even Valentine’s Day!) Leigh will be signing from Noon-2pm and would love to see you there.

For more information, please contact Leigh or Julie Rummel-Hudson, B&N Community Relations Manager, at (972) 881-7526.

***** ***** *****

Posted by Leigh, filed under ALL BETTER, Children's Writing. Date: January 21, 2008, 11:15 pm | No Comments »

17  Jan
Road Trippin’

To celebrate my friend Becky’s birthday and support another friend, Libba Bray, I am taking a road trip this weekend!

 

The amazing, beautiful, talented and hilarious Libba Bray is signing books at the largest independent bookstore in TexasBook People—on her big book tour honoring the release of THE SWEET FAR THING. Can you think of a better reason to drive to Austin? Not only is Libba a New York Times Bestselling Author, (her young adult books rock!) she is also one of the most honest and genuine women I’ve ever met. Check out this link to learn more about the signing on Saturday in Austin:  http://www.bookpeople.com/calendar_of_events.php?view=detail&id=299 and this link to her uber-cool website:  http://www.libbabray.com/. I simply can’t wait to see her again, even if it is only for a brief moment!

 

My dear, sweet friend Becky is absolutely amazing as well. We have so much in common as we find ourselves in the same “season” of life. Becky’s twin boys, Will & Ben, are 5 days older than Ethan and the boys love it when we actually get our families together. (We had such fun this past summer when we got to explore the Johnson Space Center together.) Becky and I met through SCBWI several years ago and are 2 of the 4 charter member of the invaluable critique group—Serendipity Sisters. (The other two members, Linda & Diane, would’ve loved to road trip this weekend with us, but just couldn’t swing it; hopefully next time, Ladies!) It will be such a pleasure to help Becky celebrate her birthday this year.

 

It is a rare occasion that I do something spontaneous, especially something involving only grown ups, so this is going to be a decadent, delicious trip. Becky and I have plans to stay in a historic Austin hotel and eat a nice dinner, maybe even with a glass or two of fine wine. Sounds good, huh? Scratch that …sounds great!

 

Austin or Bust,

 

~Leigh

  

Posted by Leigh, filed under Children's Writing. Date: January 17, 2008, 5:08 pm | No Comments »

Upon picking Ethan up from Pre-K on Friday, his wonderful teacher’s aide, Ms. Bonnie, asked me if Ethan and I had discussed bringing an object starting with the letter “L” to share with the class. Oops! We had completely forgotten to look together at home before school like we generally do each Friday morning. Bonnie said, “I thought so; wait until you hear this!”

 

When students forget to bring something, Bonnie helps them find something around the room so that each child can share and gets plenty of practice speaking in front of classmates and teachers. So, Friday after asking Ethan if he brought anything, she offered to help him “find” something. He hesitated and then told her, “No, no. I have something. I have something.”

 

Bonnie wondered if Ethan just didn’t want to share so she didn’t push him. However, when it was Ethan’s turn, he stood tall in front of the group, held his arms out to the side and exclaimed loudly, “Today, I brought my Lungs!” At the same time he patted both sides of his chest with his hands. (Bonnie physically showed me each of Ethan’s actions while telling me the story.)

 

Ms. Bonnie asked if we had discussed it on the way to school, which we hadn’t because—again—I forgot completely that it was letter “L” day. So, Bonnie was understandably astounded at Ethan’s ability to think on his feet and share such an unusual “L” object for Pre-K show-and-tell!

 

I personally wonder how many of Ethan’s peer audience actually knew what he was talking about!?! What I wouldn’t give to have been a fly on the wall to see the faces of the teachers AND the students.

 

Ethan’s proud Mama,

~Leigh

 

P. S. I fully credit Ethan’s speech therapist at Sem, Mrs. K., with this tidbit of knowledge. Part of Ethan’s therapy to address his disfluency (stuttering) involves discussing all of the parts of the body which must work together to speak clearly. Ethan and I have had several discussions about his voice box (which he formerly called his buzz box), but I had never talked with him about his lungs! Yay, Mrs. K and Ethan!

Posted by Leigh, filed under Asperger's Syndrome, Family. Date: January 15, 2008, 1:47 pm | No Comments »

Okay—it isn’t really random … I actually “saw” it coming for the most part. It has been eight months after all. But, rejection still stings, nevertheless!

 

Awaiting me, in a horrendous pile of mail which accumulated during our 2 week “vacation” [see previous posts] over the holidays, was a very kind and thoughtful rejection letter from an Associate Editor at Random House Young Readers Group. One of my picture book manuscripts has been in his hands since we met in April at the Trinity Writers’ Workshop, The Writer’s Edge 2007 conference.

 

While he shares that he still likes the manuscript, he received mixed reactions from coworkers. One sentence makes this rejection tolerable and gives me the “umph” to keep going, revise and submit this particular piece to two editors who’ve asked to see more of my work. If there were only one sentence in the rejection—at this was it—I would still be “okay.” Here’s that one sentence:

 “It’s maddening to have to reject something that I think is almost there, but I’m not in a position here yet where I can choose my own risks.”

                                                                                                                    

The whole letter is honest, explanatory and heartening. I do hope that we will have the chance to work together in the future. I think he will make a terrific full-fledged editor one day!

 (Note: I have purposefully omitted the name of this associate editor. Why? I’m not sure … to protect the innocent?) 

Anyway, here’s to having “tough-enough” skin to endure repeated rejections in the realm of Children’s publishing!

 

~Leigh

Posted by Leigh, filed under Children's Writing. Date: January 11, 2008, 12:33 am | 2 Comments »

06  Jan
Who Needs Therapy?

We have arrived, safe & sound, home from our nearly two-week trip to New Mexico. We survived pink eye and food poisoning but also managed to get in some great “quality time” with family and even got to go tubing at Durango Mountain Resort. It is good to be home, but now there’s SO much to do!

 

In avoidance of laundry and mail, I spent time earlier today updating my January calendars so that Ethan and I will be able to function in the coming week. We are adding two new “therapies” (to Ethan’s list of regular activities) which both start this week. For anyone not familiar with Ethan’s “story,” feel free to check out an article I wrote for DallasChild Magazine in May 2006. “We Live On the Autism Spectrum” is usually available on their website: http://www.dallaschild.com/, in the article archives or it is also listed as one of my recent “clips” on the “Freelance Work” part of my website: http://www.leighattawaywilcox.com/work-freelance-2.html.)

 

With Ethan’s Asperger’s Syndrome, I feel it is of utmost importance to address his challenges and issues as early as we can—especially the social issues he struggles with daily. Enter Ethan’s new social skills group! Thanks to a great, new friend (Lindsay) with an Aspie son about Ethan’s age, we learned of an opening in a small group with a fantastic ABA therapist. Thanks so much, Ms. Lindsay! Thanks to a great, “older” friend (Julie—from our old playgroup in the Mid-Cities area—whose son has sensory issues, too) I leaned of how helpful Ice Skating can be for kids with Sensory Processing issues. Big thanks to Ms. Julie, too! Isn’t it wonderful how just having friends and keeping up with them can lead us to open doors? I’m really excited about what these new therapies could mean for Ethan in 2008.

 

So not only are we starting a new Social Skills Group in Plano and Ice Skating lessons at Stonebriar Centre, we still have Occupational Therapy, Swimming Lessons, Kindermusik, and Gym Lessons weekly. (I say “we” because getting Ethan to each therapy/activity involves my time and energy, too!) In addition to all of this weekly stuff, Greg & I have an ARD for Ethan after school this Tuesday and I have an appointment with my Rheumatologist on Wednesday. Add in a couple hours of volunteering at Sem Elementary and my week will literally vanish! That’s not to mention any of my professional and writing goals which need attention this week. Whew… so, I ask, who needs therapy? I need to stay focused . . . because I fear if I don’t, I may begin to think I “need” some Retail Therapy! And, after our super fun but costly trip to NM, our budget strings need to tighten in 2008, either until Greg’s gets a raise or I take on a part-time job. So, NO retail therapy for me; I WILL stay focused. 

 

Wish us luck with our new therapies!

 

All Best, 

~Leigh

Posted by Leigh, filed under Asperger's Syndrome. Date: January 6, 2008, 2:26 pm | No Comments »