Comin’ to MA!

Hey, New Englanders! I’ll be presenting in Framingham, MA (outside of Boston) on April 10 at 4 pm. The event is open to the public. Book signing afterward. Hope to see you there! Info below:

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TERRI LIBENSON, CARTOONIST OF THE PAJAMA DIARIES, COMES TO FRAMINGHAM FOR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT ON APRIL 10

Terri will speak at Temple Beth Shalom, 50 Pamela Road, Framingham, MA, Sunday, April 10, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Terri will be signing her books (for sale at the event), “The Pajama Diaries: Deja To-Do,” “Having It All,” and “Bat-Zilla.”

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Admissions at the door: adults $8, Under 18 years free

Co-Sponsored by the Guardians of TBS and The TBS Sisterhood

For more information, contact Temple Beth Sholom, 508-877-2540, ext. 205

Terri Libenson is the cartoonist of the internationally syndicated comic strip, The Pajama Diaries, which is distributed by King Features to newspapers in print and online in the U.S. and abroad. She was also an award-winning humorous card writer for American Greetings for 22 years.Terri has three Pajama Diaries book collections: Déjà To-Do, Having it all…and no time to do it, and Bat-Zilla. She is also the author of an upcoming illustrated middle grade novel by Harper Collins called Invisible Emmie.
Born and raised in northeast Pennsylvania, Terri lives with her husband and two daughters in Cleveland, Ohio. You can find her work online at www.pajamadiaries.com The Pajama Diaries comic strip appears Monday-Saturday in the Boston Globe.

 

Pajama Diaries hits the big 1-0!

My apologies for the long delay between posts. If you read my last one, you’ll know why. I’m currently in the midst of illustrating my book…and wow, is it slow going. Kind of the opposite of illustrating the strip. I’d gotten a little spoiled there.

Speaking of which…

There are many giant milestones in history…civil rights…man on the moon…the internet… Yeah, this isn’t one of those. But hey, it’s still a pretty big deal for myself. Ten years of syndication! To celebrate, here’s my very first strip (also one of my more embarrassing ones in retrospect).

(click to enlarge):

FirstStrip

That’s right, this very day a decade ago, PD launched in papers across the country. It’s steadily gained a following, and I’m grateful to all my readers then and now for keeping up with the Kaplans.

To give you some time perspective, the following are illustrations of a few PD characters in 2006 and today.

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Side-Side-Rob

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My, how they’ve changed. Stylistically, anyway. Looks like the only ones who actually aged are the kids. Funny how that works.

Anyway, this post wouldn’t be complete without a top 10 list about the last 10 years. So without further ado, here are the 10 reasons I love creating Pajama Diaries (in no particular order except #1):

10. I get to draw and color most of the time. Cartoonists and kindergarteners have a lot in common.

9. I get to write funny things. Well, things I find funny, anyway. If they make other people laugh, that’s icing on the cake.

8. Writing funny things and coloring can pull anyone out of the doldrums. Seriously. It’s hard to be depressed when you’re busy cheering yourself up.

7. Nice reader feedback. What more can I say?

6. Not-so-nice reader feedback. Because sometimes any feedback is better than no feedback. In case you’re wondering why I occasionally stir the pot.

5. I’m always on my own schedule. No, that’s not true — I’m on my kids’ schedule. But this is pretty close. (Also, pajamas till 3 pm rocks.)

4. I don’t have to talk for 8 hours straight. On the flip side, when I do start talking, I tend to have diarrhea of the mouth. But still, it’s nice.

3. I get to meet — and even become friends with — other cartoonists. This is a seriously cool fringe benefit. I still pinch myself. Ouch.

2. I have great fans. By the way, having “fans” makes me feel awkward. But I do have great ones. They encourage me and keep me motivated. I’ve even made friends with some of them. That is another seriously cool fringe benefit.

1.  This last one needs no elaborating and is the perfect way to end this list:  I love what I do. 

Thanks again to all my readers. For those whose local paper doesn’t carry PD, I urge you to call or email the editor and ask that they add it to their lineup. It truly helps.

In the meantime, here’s to another ten and beyond!

-Terri, March 27, 2016

 

 

Big news!

I’ve been keeping this under wraps until the contract was signed, but here goes…

I am extremely thrilled to announce a book deal for my illustrated middle grade novel, “Invisible Emmie.” This is a separate project from the comic strip. “Invisible Emmie” is part of a two-book deal with HarperCollins (Balzer + Bray imprint). The book will be published in 2017, with a second book coming out in 2018.

I’ve been working on “Invisible Emmie” for about a year and a half. It’s been a complete labor of love. I hope young readers (and their parents!) will thoroughly enjoy it. More info as this unfolds.

You can check out my blurb in Publishers Weekly

A Valentine “Surprise”

Man, I had a lot of fun writing last week’s strips. This was a short series in which Jess discovers an old stash of Jill’s “memorabilia” from the kids’ early years.

There are no words. Well, okay, there’s one: Yuck.

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In case you’re wondering, no, I have not kept my kids’ assorted body parts. Well, okay, I had a few of their baby teeth for years…but to my credit, I had forgotten about them and found ’em stashed in the bottom of a clothes drawer (gee, I wonder what sparked this story line idea). I promptly threw them away.

Well, okay. It wasn’t so prompt. For a moment, I thought about keeping them for the sake of sentimentality, but the yuck factor took hold (as well as my type A personality that can’t abide clutter). I also began wondering what my kids would think if I passed away and they found their old teeth in some moldy mason jar on the top shelf of my bedroom closet. Nothing complimentary comes to mind.

But to all those parents who cannot throw away such keepsakes (yes, even the umbilical cord…although, um, really?), I totally get it. They are a physical part of your “babies.” It’s hard to part with anything that sprouted from their little bodies.

So I empathize. I truly do.

Yuck factor and all.

 

 

A post-new year update

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Happy 2016 (a little belated)! It’s going to be an exciting year here at the Pajama factory, so I thought I’d kick off with a few brief teasers.

The strip will celebrate its 10-year mark in March. Accordingly, I’ll come out of hibernation and start doing some major presentations (took a brief hiatus this year), which include travel time. More to come.

Originally, I wanted to put out another PD book in honor of the strip’s milestone, but it turns out I had a different kind of book in me. I wrote a middle grade novel which will be published next year. More to come on that as well…just waiting on a few loose ends to tie up. But I’m thrilled, needless to say.

In the meantime, I’m putting together an outside project that I hope to finish soon. It’s a collaborative art piece that will be donated to Cleveland’s Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. Around 40 incredible professional cartoonists participated, and I’ll have an announcement about that as well.

Okay, enough teasing. Details to follow as the months progress. I wish everyone a happy new year. Continued thanks for reading!

-Terri

Helllooo, Mama Bear!

It’s happening. Cue the ominous “Jaws” music. Amy. Is. Dating.

Sure, there are the standard jokes about the teenage girl’s dad interrogating the date and polishing his shotgun.

But what about the mom? This is her baby, too, after all.

Well, if you’re anything like Jill, first you’ll make it all about YOU.

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Then, suddenly, it’ll hit you. She’s growing up. And dating legitimately. And maybe even engaging in, um… (fingers in ears) LALALALALA!

(Dads: This is when you should stop reading.)

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Luckily, the mother’s pragmatic instincts usually kick in around this time. And in the best of situations, you’re saved from a painfully embarrassing conversation…for both of you.

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As pragmatic as you are, though, that won’t stop you from staying up late, worrying. Or texting your daughter every ten minutes. Or being a general pain in the a**. But that’s okay, you’re a mom. In this case, you have an excuse for your stalkerish protective tendencies.

And maybe someday, with enough therapy, she’ll forgive you.

Good luck, Mom.

Travelin’ Man

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Not long ago, a reader asked me if I would do a story line about Rob’s job. Specifically, if I would shake things up a little. Years ago, I had done just that — made the poor guy lose his job. Luckily, he got a new one, and all was well. For a while. For a long, LONG while, apparently.

So, it’s time to shake things up again. The average worker today spends about 5 years at a job before changing. That’s a good reason for Rob to make a move (Jill doesn’t count, as she freelances — thereby changing jobs all the time).

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My own husband, like Rob, is in I.T. He’s worked at several different companies, even did consulting for a while. Consulting paid more but wasn’t as stable as a regular ol’ corporate job. It involved travel, and it also — eventually — involved job loss. Luckily, he got a great new one that he still enjoys today.

In the case of the strip, I needed an impetus for Rob to find something new. I decided to make him…well, bored. What the heck, he’s in his 40s — it’s either this or a sports car, and lord knows he can’t afford that after paying for a Bat Mitzvah.

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So I’m working backwards from my own reality. Rob will look for a consulting job with travel. It’s time for him to spread his wings. It also makes for a challenging situation for Jill, who has to pick up the slack at home.

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This should be interesting.

 

 

Speech, speech!

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For those who live in or near Flint, Michigan, I’ll be speaking at the Flint Public Library at 1 pm on Saturday, Oct 17. Click here for detailed info. I’ll have books to sell and sign afterward. Come say hello — I’m pretty friendly and I give a mean PowerPoint.

 

 

 

I’m losing my mind…and so is Jill

No, not literally. But as time keeps ticking away, it feels like my brain cells are slowly but surely leeching out of my head. And I know I’m not alone. I have smart, curious, well-read friends, and they assure me they’re as brain damaged as I am.

All part of being middle aged.

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In addition, one fun side effect of ET happens to be brain fog. So you can imagine the combined effect of that, middle age memory lag and mom brain. Let’s just say I have a habit of repeating the same stories over and over while running on a ten-second delay. All this, of course, makes for some prime material.

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This next sample strip is my latest. Apparently, outside of my circle of family and friends, there are many other brain damaged people. I know this because I’ve heard from you. You, too, cannot remember what your spouse said three seconds ago or who that familiar-looking person is in the grocery store who knows you by name. I feel you, I really do.

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So these sad, sad strips are dedicated to all you middle-aged (and older) folks who can remember exactly what you wore to prom but can’t remember your long-time neighbor’s name. To those who walk into a room a dozen times and forget why you walked in there…a dozen times.

And, of course, to those who are willing to forgive a certain cartoonist who may or may not repeat the same material because she simply forgot that she already wrote it.