Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday Greetings......

   I want to wish all of my friends and family a happy and joyous holiday season-It's a Merry Christmas day here in my world. My heart and home had been filled with the spirit of love and giving, thankfulness and groups of nativity sets that remind me of a special baby's birth- my 'reason'.
   I've been cooking all the seasonal sweety things for neighbors and friends and they've been doing the same for me.  And then, two days ago, Mother nature spread the royal icing on the Christmas cake and brought the snow miracle, just in time!


  Well of course I had to stop everything and go out and play. Some of you have seen this but continue on to see 'the rest of the story'!
   After I coaxed Santa to hang out hang around here, I got back to being busy: cooking, wrapping, delivering and sitting with neighbors for tea along the way. Last night niece Tiff and family came for supper, and the baby kept us entertained throughout the evening. Today, is a day to get together with the other kids (mine)...happy happy happy!!!!
         Here's my card for you. I hope you're all filled with this season's love and hope.

And speaking of hope, here's a wish to all of you, especially my writer friends - May all of our dreams come true in 2012.

Oh, and for  the rest of the story above, poor guy had a  busy busy night! He can hardly stand up!


     HO HO HO!!!!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What Does MAX Say and Lots of Surprises

When I grow up I want to be a writer just like...well it changes at least monthly but today it’s...Oh wait, I’ll tell you in a minute!
It’s December and Christmas is in the air filled with many traditions. But it’s unbelievably year’s end too though I’m not about to rush it. 
PiBoIdMo is sadly winding down after a November of intense jotting and filling pages and pages of of picture book ideas and chatting. I’m so excited about some of the ideas I came up with. I’ve actually completed a story from one of those sparks and will send it off to my critique friends for their ideas.
 Having completed the challenge made me a winner too, so went over and collected my badge. Looking at this really excites me to think that I have more than thirty picture book ideas to flesh out.
and...because my lucky # was drawn at the end of this little journey, I’ll be receiving a beautiful photo of my choice!  Tara Lazar kept us motivated for the month with all the posts and  guest presenters. I think that so much of what we know and learn is review and reinforcement. I met lots of new friends there too. I'm kind of sad it's over, but it's time to write!    
Speaking of winnings, I won another prize that I all I had to do was enter, at
They're having a holiday giveaway and Stephanie Greene signed this and sent it quicker than a blink! How easy was that! It’s a delightful chapter book that I intend to pass on to a princess as soon as I finish “studying” it! 

A few more prizes that I received this week were
a home made rice pack

and hand crafted wreath

Beautiful surprises from beautiful friends.

Had the baby girl yesterday so the nieces could do a bit of shopping. She’s such a busy body,  so aware of what’s going on around her and here! I often read to her, but only have one board book that I leave out for us to “read” together. Yesterday, after her mom came home and we were sitting here chatting, my husband asked baby (she’s 14 months), “What does Max say?”
And she surprised all of us when she answered , “BANG!” 

The words and structure of the Max books by Rosemary Wells seem almost too simple. I wonder if maybe I try to write things too complicated and explanatory. I’ve studied all 58 words in Max’s First Word because our Marissa gave her uncle her first real answer to a question. A direct quote "right out of the book - "Bang!" 

And that takes me right back to the beginning. When I grow up, I want to be a writer like Rosemary Wells!   Now I guess I'd better get busy. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What a Month!

It's the 30th of November and the challenges are over for now anyway. I kind of flunked a few, but the one I completed with flying colors is the Picture Book Idea Month (aka PkBoIdMo) 
  PiBoIdMo 2011  hosted by the lovely Tara Lazar. I've kept a notebook beside me and my computer and have posted one or more picture book ideas every day this month. I haven't officially counted the dabs and scribbles and doodles and paragraphs and sentences but there are waaayyyy more than 30, thank you very much!
I really don't think of myself as competitive, but I do very well when challenged or put to a deadline test. 
Now that I've completed this phase of the PiBo... I have a plan. Instead of starting to weed out and start writing the stories tomorrow, I'm going to write everything over again in a cute little hard covered journal notebook. I'll put the dates and ideas, and the ****s I've noted in red. Those ****s beside the meaningful quotes that I took out of our "special guests" posts. I'm not thinking of this as a repetitious act, but more like a review of thoughts and reenforcement ideas.
    It's been a wonderful month for participating picture book writers to "think". Now it's time to "write"!
    Thank you to Tara Lazar and all the rest of you for a fabulous month.

Friday, November 25, 2011


The blessing of Thanksgiving and all the goodness in my life has flowed over from yesterday. I have so much to be thankful for that my list would go way off the page so I’ll just say that the one thing that stands out besides the love and warmth of family and friends is tradition. And one of our holiday traditions  is one that my mother, the matriarch, passed on to us - the making of “tootalings”(tortellini) from scratch. 
 No matter what else is on the menu, we always manage to get together a week or so before the holiday to make our favorite dish. 

Another annual thanksgiving tradition is wreath making. Right after we stuff ourselves overfull, and before we let things settle, the dishes and fancy tablecloth come off and the rings, wire and greenery go on the long table! Everyone makes their unique Christmas wreath and garland. Sorry I didn’t take photos of the finished products. Each one was unique- glitzy, of the sea and traditional. Next year I’ll try to remember to take shots of the finished products.

I’ve decide not  to play Black Friday anymore. There isn’t anything I need to “save” money on with the sales, and I’m not loving the fact that stores are trying to outdo each other with the early openings - some on Thanksgiving Day! What’s up with that? Doesn’t it just take the fun out of the Friday, 4:00AM rush! That was mostly why I’d been going for so long...the RUSH!!!!!
So today, "that" Friday has been a quiet kind of day. Fresh cinnamon buns for coffee with the girls. Took down the outside autumn decorations, did a bit of laundry and worked on a picture book story that I thought I had in order but NOT. 

My picture book writing friends have taken up the challenge of writing at least 30 picture book ideas in 30 day. I've got a scribbly notebook beside me and have managed to jot many more than one a day throughout November. I've even written a few rough drafts and SFDs! If you're interested in seeing what's going on, go over to-

PiBoIdMo 2011        
So here's a special announcement to all my Maine friends. My friend, Cynthia Lord, children's author (Rules, Touch Blue, Hot Rod Hamster books) has lovingly offered, to the media specialists in our state, to do a few free school visits. It’s her way of giving back, giving thanks, so she randomly drew the winners on Thanksgiving morning. She was going to do only two visits in the spring, but was so overwhelmed by the people who signed up, that she chose six schools! Sadly, none of them in my area, but I bet these librarians and their schools are overjoyed.  Cindy is such a heartfelt giving author.
Phippsburg Elementary School, Phippsburg, Maine
York Middle School, York, Maine
Washburn Elementary School, Washburn, Maine
Long Island Community School, Long Island, Maine
Samuel Wagner Middle School, Winterport, Maine
Glenburn School, Glenburn, Maine
Lucky! Lucky! Lucky!!!!
Until I blog happy, be funny, give thanks, be nice, be you! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Where Do Writing Ideas Come From?

November is the month to sign up for  different writing challenges, so I did. Two of them are meant for the novelist, and I am working on a MG manuscript. But, the muse has put me into Picture Book writing mode and I can't do much about it!

PiBoIdMo is the challenge that's grabbed my attention-Write at least thirty picture book ideas for the month. So what's a writer going to do? Stare at lines in a notebook hoping an idea will pop into mind, or go for coffee with the girls? Can that be a productive way to put story idea to paper? Take a look at this.
It's not a dog that the baby's kissing! Pretty good story starter, right-and the story is more than started!!!

I love to take walks and I always take my camera just in case. In case of what? I don't know but there are
all kinds of pictures to take, all kinds of things to write about.
What's in those woods of mine? 
This is one of my favorites.

If you know me, you know I have an obsession with the sky and all the colors, the old sayings and dreams. 
Pink sky in the morning...
What's at the end of that rainbow?
A Pot of Gold?
Have you found it yet or are you like me, still looking, still dreaming, but knowing that it's there? I know it is. Sometimes I doubt, but I know I can reach out to a friend and get the boost or boot I need to keep the dreams alive.  And my hand is here for them. 
Dreams come true!    

Saturday, October 29, 2011

   I try to keep both Live Journal and this Blogger going at the same time, so basically if you read both, you'll be seeing pretty much double.  
    I've been 'journaling for quite awhile now so am loyal to that blog though I find that more of my writer friends socialize over here at Blogger.  Of course there are the others-twitter, wordpress, and whatever else, but this blogging stuff is like pulling teeth for me so managing the two will have to do for now until I decide I can break the old tie.
      So, my thoughts for this week, came when two books arrived on the same day. Each of them have a different story,so here's the repeat of the tale...

         I know you’re thinking, ‘what’s up with her-that’s what books have, a story’. So let me tell you my story of each of these.
I was a winner again!!! Galaxy Games by Greg Fishbone was my prize from entering Debbi Michiko Florence’s  blog. Greg is kind of a friend of mine so it makes that one extra special. Okay, again you question, ‘kind of a friend?’ Well yeah. Greg and I see each other once a year at the New England SCBWI conference. We always meet up somewhere, usually the lobby, and have a bit of a personal chat. He always shows me updated pictures of his beautiful little daughter. Both of us are early birds so we even had breakfast together one morning before our other friends woke up. I’ll be exited to meet up with him again in April so I can tell him that I read his book and truly enjoyed it. I’m reading it as we speak, and I’ll tell you, it is really a “different” story, and funny! The cover even cracks me up and makes me want to get inside! I can’t wait to pass it on to my nephew who’s a good reader, but a truly reluctant reader. He’s a fun and funny kid and I know that he’ll love sharing Greg’s humor with his friends. So that’s my story on this book.

The second book that arrived this week is one that I ordered, and that’s where its story is-the ordering of it. Let me backtrack a bit and tell you the story behind the story! My friends birthday was coming up and she was also going to have knee surgery. I know she reads all she can of Beverly Lewis series and I also knew that she hadn’t read The Secret so that was going to be my dual gift. I believe in the saying, SHOP LOCAL, so I tried to locate it at two of my in town book stores. They could order it but neither had it available. I wanted it now! I’ve ordered from Amazon before and was thinking that would be my quickest means when I read a few blogs about an upcoming event at the Flying Pig Bookstore in Vermont. Some of my author friends were going to be there reading and signing and I know author and co-owner Elizabeth Blumie, and tada, flick lightbulb, or whatever the moment was, I decided that The Flying Pig is still shopping locally for me! So I tried ordering through their online form and guess what, The Secret was available. I ordered, had an email contact with co-owner Josie and in a few days my friend’s book was her in the ‘ville.  So that’s my tale of this book! 
    And there's more stories in my life....the ones I try to write. JoNoWriMo is about to wind down. I think I was supposed to be working on my nearly completed SFD'd middle grade novel, but my muse just hasn't been cooperating. It wants to throw picture book ideas at me. So with November in the air, I've signed up for both NaNoWriMo, you know, 50,000 words a day I think, to the novel,  and Tara Lazar's PiBoLoMo. Write a picture book idea for a month. That way, by signing up for both, I'll have the motivation to complete a goal though garbly mind hasn't told me which one I'll be working on. Doesn't matter, as long as I write write write. Some of my crit partners are hanging around in these groups too....are you?
    Anticipating our first big snow of the season...hunger down with wood fire, soup, ideas and pencil in hand in case the power goes out....glad I got the kayak under cover this week...on to another season.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Life is full of choices-some are over the edge Big and some are simply every day-mundane. ‘What am I having for lunch? Should I go to town today or stay home? Should I play my turn on a word game on my computer or turn the other way and write? Today, right now anyway, I choose to stay home, have shrimp rolls for lunch, check a game move and write a blog entry. Easy peasy!
I’m going to go around Robin Hood’s barn to get back to this thing about choices. First off,  I’ll tell you about a few of my obsessions- one, being my fascination with the sky. No matter what the color, clouds or no clouds, sun or moon, I have to grab my camera and shoot! Lately it’s been the reds and grays and yellows of pre dawn clouds and the night’s full moon. I not only take the pictures and sometimes post them, but that sky sets me to dreaming-real and fairytalish!

      Another of my obsessions is writing for children, and those of you that know me and the kinds of stories I write, know that there’s usually a bit of non fiction, or true facts, sprinkled into my fictional tales. So I can write about the moon if I feel like it and invent images and throw in a few real things in the mix of words and the truth! 

I research before I insert the facts, so when a friend who knows that I have a full moon story itching to be published, she said, “Yeah, it’s October and it’s the Hunter Moon, right?” 
        Hunter Moon? Well that’s not what I thought. Not how I tell it in my story. So in a bit of a panic this morning, I went back to the Farmer’s Almanac and my friend was right-it is Hunter’s Full Moon, but it is also Harvest Full Moon. Whew! 

                                                                      October 11, 2011  Harvest Moon of October

Okay, so back to the choice and the obsessions and the truth. Truth is, I made the choice to write Harvest in my story moon for October. A moon to dream of gathering rather than stalking and shooting. I have nothing against hunting. It’s what they do around here during the seasons.  But me, in this tale anyway, I want the vision to be of pumpkins and apples and squash. Doesn’t Harvest (Moon) say that to you? And, if by chance you’re questioning that the full moon of September might be the Harvest moon, well that’s true too. But there again, I had choices, so I picked Corn moon.  Just another harvest thought! Tall stalks, mazes, silk, ears, bushel baskets.
        So here I am, ‘fessing up, making choices and telling the truth. And with that, one other little thought. I’m gullible. Oh so gullible and believing of everything you tell me-without question. You tell me, I believe you. Why, you might ask. Some of you know because you know me well, or you’re in the same boat...look a person in the eye, don’t lie and don’t expect them to lie back to you. Simple as that!  
                                                               THE END

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Favorite Season...

      I've always loved summer best of all, but right now, autumn has a strong hold on me, so like a little kid, this is my favorite. (for now anyway!)
       My writing friends are much to blame for my change of heart.
       Tami Wight and her family hosted our annual Fall Schmooze at Poland Spring Campground. Even though most of us only see each other once or twice a year, we've bonded in friendship and writing critique buddies. Before we get down to the business of writing we literally schmooze with pizza, wine, and plain ole catching up. Our guest for this fall was Sarah Dotts Barley, editor, Harper Collins....she's the cute blonde closest to you on the left. Then from left to right are dear dear writer friends,
Cindy Faughnan, Jo Knowles, Valarie Giogas, and Tami Wight.

    Saturday was a different story. It was truly a work day. Each of us brings a writing project to read. Then we take turns commenting, jotting notes, critiquing the piece. Jeanne Bracken has been our trusty timekeeper pretty much since we've  been getting together.  I kid you not, this is serious business!!!
 But we have to eat, right!?!? Besides being awesome writers and critiquers and supportive friends, we can cook. This year we had focaccia, mac and cheese, chili, caprese salad, home baked rolls, veggies, whoopie pies, raspberry bars, and much much more!!!!! And we always have to call someone in to take the group photo, always in front of the bookcase in the Poland Spring Room. Here we are-Font row: Mary Morton Cowan, Tami Wight, Sara Barley, Back row: Me,  Anna Boll, Denise Ortakales, Cindy Faugnan, Jeanne Bracken, Jo Knowles

Then I had to leave while the others continued working. Off to a nephew's wedding, practically right in my own back yard. The autumn colors enhanced the beautiful fall day.
Sunday afternoon was an apple picking kind of day with girlfriends. The orchards are open and the trees are heavy laden with so many varieties of crisp delicious apples. I picked Macs, Cortland, Red and Golden delicious. There are other varieties at different orchards around. The more I pick the more I have to bake!!!!
Then on Monday, my sister-in-law and I went on a glorious kayaking venture. The water was calm and crystal clear. I had to shoot was like the sky fell down, Henny Penny...look here, the clouds are in the water.

 We kept going and going and going-3miles up river and 3 miles back...and stopped to visit an old friend who lives along the way. We called her while paddling and she came down to her dock to chat while we stayed put in the kayaks.
  ...and one more glimpse of who we saw along the way-

      Now it's time for me to open up my WIP and get busy writing. I'm being held accountable since I signed up to Jonowrimo, a writing challenge that Jo Knowles puts out to writer friends.
       Have a happy day- I guess I can't worry about favorite seasons. See what I've found around me already, in just a few days of fall.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Letter of Merit - and in my case, Encouragement!

Yes, my Letter of Merit from the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators came, finally! I say that, but it was so perfectly timed with the online edition of the society's newsletter. It looks from the date that
it sat awhile in an outbox, but that's came! I've read the meaningful words over and under and inside out!  "promise and creativity - extra recognition  - extra creativity - my manuscript!!!YEAH!!!!!! (sorry I couldn't hold that shout out back!)
And then on another sweet note, I won a critique from the wonderful children's author, Tara Lazar. How? Well it was actually by default, but honest default! I sent the most writers over to her site for her picture book story premise contest...and now to announce the winner... my friend Valarie Giogas won the contest. YeeHaw Val!!! We'll be seeing each other soon so we can dance a bit together!
     Our Schmooze at Poland Spring Campground is coming right up. It's a small gathering of children's writers where we work, play, eat, play....Actually, Saturday is a structured working day where we sit around and have timed sessions of reading and critiquing of each others work. Before and after are our social know, sociable writers!!!!! It's always fun, rewarding, and a learning experience. I'll post more later on, maybe with a few photos too.
      I love to post photos that I've taken so I'll leave you with this....September, 2011's Harvest Moon
     Sorry...this should have been posted yesterday but somehow I "filed" it. I will get used to Blogger!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

First Blogger Entry

I've been wanting to be a Blogger for awhile now. Thus far I'm a Live Journal poster and not so frequent, but today I want to share a Birth Day celebration with all of you... so here goes
 This (not yesterday) is the official release day of my friend Brenda's new book and I'm doing the happy dance as I introduce you to
A fun book with colorful words by Brenda, enhanced by the bright and colorful illustrations of David Slonin, produced byMarshall Cavendish. And if that isn't enough for them to celebrate, Scholastic book clubs will feature Turkeys in all their book orders...Truly, dreams do come true in author land!
I have  my copy...hand delivered and signed by Brenda herself!!!  You can visit her at
and see what's going on in turkey land-visits, readings, partys!!!!!!!
All I can say is CONGRATULATIONS to you my friend Brenda!

***Do you love a contest? Well then Gobble Gobble Gobble on over to Brenda's Face Book page and sign up to win two copies of 10 Turkeys in the Road-one for you and one for your favorite hospital. Sign up at Brenda Reeves Sturgis FB page - read the rules, but here's a little reminder. Don't forget to put the word Gobble and the title of the book in you entry.

Now I'll ask you to  bear with me my friends while I keep trying to get this Blogger thing under control. I'll be adding links and other good things as time goes on. I follow many of your blogs so will add them when I get my wits about me..with me, all this "stuff" takes time!

Let's dance, dance, dance,  and join Brenda's book contest and release party!!!!!!