Hardcover edition of THE OWL KEEPER arrives!

The hardcover copy of THE OWL KEEPER landed on my doorstep, compliments of my editor Krista Marino, all wrapped up in a bow.  What a beautiful book!

Below are the postcards and bookmarks I ordered.  Sitting in the middle is my lucky Argentinian owl.


Book launch for THE OWL KEEPER!

4 Market Street
Ipswich, MA
Saturday April 17th – 4:00-5:00 PM
Patrick Doud (THE HUNT FOR THE EYE OF OGIN), Christine Brodien-Jones (THE OWL KEEPER) and Pat Lowery Collins (HIDDEN VOICES: The Orphan Musicians of Venice) read from their newest middle grade and young adult books. The Book Shop of Beverly Farms will provide books, and have offered to make a donation to the Ipswich Music Art and Drama Association (IMADA) from a portion of the proceeds.

Reception to meet the talented illustrators and authors of the current exhibition. Mary Jane Begin, Pat Lowery Collins, Ed Emberley, Jamie Harper, Jarrett Krosoczka, Kristina Lindborg, Tom Palance, Julia Purinton, and Andy J. Smith currently have original work on display. Hors d’oeuvres catered by Chef DiLorenzo. Everyone welcome.

The Amazing Owl Keeper Artists

Cover illustration by Fernando Juarez

The haunting cover and illustrations for THE OWL KEEPER were created by two extremely talented artists.  I made a point of getting in touch with both of them to let them know how much I loved their artwork.

Spanish artist Fernando Juarez illustrated the cover for THE OWL KEEPER.  I instantly fell in love with the owl, she’s so luminous and magical-looking; the background of silvery moonlight, the overhanging branches and houses lend a sort of dreamy Gothic quality. Fernando lives in Madrid with his wife and children, where he’s working as art director for Ilion Animation Studios on the film “Planet 51.” His illustrations are often quirky and whimsical, as you can see on this book cover he drew for Rita Murphy’s novel “Bird.

Cover illustration by Fernando Juarez

Maggie Kneen is an architect, children’s author and children’s illustrator who grew up on the northwest coast of England.  “Art was what I did best, so that’s what I pursued,” she explains on her website, “but every opportunity to bring history and archaeology into my life has been taken or made.”

Illustration by Maggie Kneen

Her illustrations are elegant and mysterious, somehow reminiscent of illustrations in books I read as a child..  They capture perfectly the novel’s characters and spooky atmosphere!

One of Maggie’s most charming books, which she wrote and illustrated, is “Hamlet and the Tales of Sniggery Woods,” about a young pig named Hamlet, who “lived with his family in a small house, just above Molefurrow Market, between Sniggery Woods and the river.”

Illustration from "Hamlet of Sniggery Woods" by Maggie Kneen

Borges, Buenos Aires and the Fantastic

Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges once lived on this street

“With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he understood that he, too, was all appearance, that someone else was dreaming him.”                                           -Jorge Luis Borges, THE CIRCULAR RUINS

The apartment where I spent the month of February is located on Calle Guatemala, in Palermo Viejo, Buenos Aires.  Half a block away, Guatemala is intersected by Calle Jorge Luis Borges, named for this barrio’s most famous luminary.  Born in Buenos Aires in 1899, the internationally acclaimed Argentinian writer, essayist and poet is considered one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.  V.S. Pritchett has written that Borges has “the art of enhancing the effects of the unbearable, the sinister, and the ineluctable.”

In the photo above is El Preferido café, which started out as an almacén in 1952, founded by Arturo Fernández from Asturias, Spain.  Borges lived across the street between 1901 and 1914.  His family lived in a large house with an English library of over one thousand books. “If I were asked to name the chief event in my life,” Borges would later remark, “I should say my father’s library”.

I was a student in college when I discovered Borges.  His writings delved into the dark corners of the human psyche, exploring the fantastic within the seemingly mundane, inventing bestiaries and arcane libraries and fables involving the nature of time, infinity, labyrinths, illusion, mirrors and identity.  New York Times’ reporter Noam Cohen described Borges this way: “A fusty sort who from the 1930s through the 1950s spent much of his time as a chief librarian, Borges (1899-1986) valued printed books as artifacts and not just for the words they contained. He frequently set his stories in a pretechnological past and was easily enthralled by the authority of ancient texts.”  His works have had a significant impact on fantasy literature and, according to Wikipedia,”scholars have noted that Borges’s progressive blindness helped him to create innovative literary symbols through imagination since ‘poets, like the blind, can see in the dark’.”

Borges died in 1986 at the age of 86 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Owl Papers

Bianca (Photo credit: Laura Dehler)

The Center For Wildlife in Cape Neddick, ME has sent me a Certificate of Adoption for rescue barred owl Bianca!

In 1995 Bianca was hit by a car and suffered a broken wrist; she wasn’t able to be released.  She’s been a foster parent to many other barred owlets and travels often with programs to educate the public.

Barred owls (Strix varia) are the second largest owl in the country, with brown and white feathers all over their body, and a slight golden tinge to the ends of them.  Their name comes from the barring across their chest.  They’re very vocal birds and have an amazing variety of wails, moans, cackles, hisses and laughs.

Like all owls in the Northeast, barred owls are nocturnal and hunt at night.  Their staple food is mice and small mammals, but they will eat frogs, birds, insects and crayfish.  The outer edges of their primary feathers have a fluting edge, which allows them to fly silently over their prey.

Barred Owl

If you’d like to adopt a rescue owl or other rescue wild animal, contact:

Center for Wildlife – Wild Ambassador Adoption Program

PO Box 620, Cape Neddick, ME  03902

Tel: 207-361-1400