Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

May your heart be filled with PEACE  and JOY.

Your day full of warmth and love.

and laughter too. 



Friday, December 14, 2012

PS-There's a party going on!

Just want to let you know that Julie Hedlund http://www.juliehedlund.com/2012/12/12/121212-blog-party/ , is hosting a blog party for all the participants of the 12x12-2012 challenge.  So her deal, 'if you choose to accept it', is to write 12 picture books during the year. Seems simple enough, huh?!? Well, it may be for you, but it didn't happen for me. Not quite twelve anyway.
  I need to be boosted, primed and poked to keep up with the writing. If I'm not held accountable, I could turn into a slacker. Julie helps me, well maybe sticks me, to keep at it. Who can refuse, when there's a celebration party as a reward! "I did it. I did it!" Dance, dance, dance!
    No excuses friends, you can do it too. Tara Lazar, PiBoIdMo offers reward, gifts, guests, through the month of November and keeps us excited to jot a picture book idea a day. With all the activity on her blog, how can there be excuses not to at least jot. Then, I grab the jotting notebook and move right over to Julie's blog.
   One more important thing for me, my critique buddies. I wouldn't be celebrating anything without them. If you don't have a buddy or a group of them, I really think that you should think about it.
   Gotta go now...it's party time!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Heartfelt Gifts Of The Season...

First beautiful gift I want to share with you.
Today is the day. The convoy of trucks, stacked with evergreen wreaths made right here in Maine, rolls on to Arlington Cemetery and other cemeteries, across the country. Volunteers will be waiting at each sight to place the red ribboned wreaths at the graves of our country's heros. A beautiful tribute.

Now here's a brilliant recycled gift for my Picture Book writing friends. I received it from
Chitra SoundraManic Muse, and she gave me permission to share it with you.

Using Presentation Software to make Picture Book Dummies

The picture book dummies I make are crude, messy and anything but picture perfect. My arts and crafts training extend only till folding a letter into an envelope. In spite of my labored cutting, pasting, folding and coloring, I just couldn’t make the dummy presentable or something I could take into a class to read.
That’s when I figured out a shortcut. I wondered whether I could use Microsoft PowerPoint as a tool for making picture book dummies. Let’s gets plugged into PowerPoint.
Check if your PC/ Mac has Microsoft PowerPoint. You can use any of the freely available presentation software to do this. I use Microsoft Powerpoint because it is installed in my Mac.
Step 1: Start the presentation software.
Step 2: Click on File-> New -> Blank Presentation
The first slide always comes up as a title slide. That’s what you need too. Enter the title of the book and the author name here.
Step 4: Insert a new slide
Step 5: Choose the kind of layout you want – if you are going to create the dummy with sample images, then choose a template that has an image.
Tip: Image is called clipart in PowerPoint.
Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until you complete all the slides for the picture book.
Tip: You can open your story draft in another window and cut and paste lines, slide by slide.
Step6: Press F5 (or Click on View -> Slideshow) to see the running presentation.
After you view the slideshow, you might want to rearrange the slides. You might have to remove a page or add a new one.
Tip: Save the presentation before you proceed further. Press Ctrl + S to save.
Deleting a slide
Step 1: Click on View -> Slide Sorter
Step 2: Click the slides you don’t want and press <del> on your keyboard. It’s gone.
Sometimes you might not be sure about deleting a slide. You just want to see how the story flows without it. In this case, you can hide a slide instead of deleting.
Step 1: Click on View -> Slide Sorter
Step 2: Click on the slide you want to hide
Step 3: Right-click and click on Hide
Adding a new slide
Step 1: Click on View -> Slide Sorter
Step 2: If you want to add a slide between 4th and 5th slides, click the gap between slides 4 and 5. Now press Ctrm+M, a new blank slide is available.
Rearranging slides
Step 1: Click on View -> Slide Sorter
Step 2: Drag and drop a slide from one position to another.
Step 1: Click on File -> Print
Step 2: Choose the type of Handout you need at the Print What dialog. You could choose 6 in a page or 9 in a page.
Step 3: Use Print Preview option to check how it would look on a page.
Step 4: Hit the print button once you have made the choices.
You have created a virtual picture book using PowerPoint. The number of slides in your presentation matches the number of pages in your picture book. You can visualize the story better.
With this tool, you can now spend more time on writing that winning story. Don’t worry about making a dummy anymore. Just plug into PowerPoint.
The song that just happened to start playing behind me is, It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.  I truly believe that it is. Sometimes when one day turns to another, we're not non caring, it's just that we forget the needs of others around us. For me, it's the joy of Christmas that prompts me to do the extra things that I try not to forget all year long.
Have a great day, a great holiday season, whichever holiday is part of your life. Share your gifts!  

Sunday, November 25, 2012


   It's a few days after Thanksgiving, so it's the season, right. If you didn't happen to see my FB entry about our Thanksgiving, I'll post one more photo to show you how we transition and tradition from holiday to holiday. After bellies are stuffed and the table is cleared, we make wreaths.

Oops! Couldn't stop here. Have to post a few of the finished wreaths.

and....mine on my "new" old red door that I painted this summer (and the yellow porch ceiling!) As I posted these, I thought of my writing friends. Give us all the same prompt or set of words, and each story will turn out different than the other. All beautiful. All unique.
   Here's another wreath story. This is actually where I was going to start this blog, but  I'm not going to edit or delete the beginning, as I might when I'm writing fiction.
   I mentioned to my husband that I was going to take my clippers and walk down back to clip brush so I could make another wreath here at home. He kindly offered to drive me to the edge of the woods on his "Johnny" to gather the tips. Okay, so this is "Johnny" and I have to show him to you so you'll get the the full image.

He says, "Climb up on it like you would a horse."
Me-"I don't ride horses."  I figured he meant lift high because I have short legs. So I climbed high and sat on the seat. Wrong!
He- "No, get up there like a horse."
Me- You mean there!!!" 
I did...and picture this...Me, straddled on the hood (is that what you call the flat part on a tractor, in front of the steering wheel?) one leg hanging over each side, riding backward!!! Now, that's a picture book illustration, believe me. But there's my three kinds of brush-fir, pine and hemlock. And here's my undecorated (for now) wreath that replaced the twig wreath on our woodshed door. 

Besides this wreath, I have my picture book story for PiBoIdMo (picture book idea a day for the month of November). And this should be the end of my story for today, but the kitten is in the middle of everything and we think he's somewhat tamed the cat that likes no one. Sometimes they even play-sometimes, Grumpy hisses! But this is somewhat of a miracle
as was tonight's sunset...
So, those are my stories for this week. I hope your life is full of lovely tales.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

So Thankful

I feel in my heart that this needs to be a day of thanksgiving. It's been a stormy week. We've all felt some impact fromHurricane Sandy as she roared along the East coast, pounding out her fury, causing pain, destruction, outages and lost homes, but I'm thankful?!?!? You might think I say this a bit selfishly because we here in Maine were spared the brunt, but here's a little list of things that Sandy gave me to be thankful for- 

!. Hearing from friends that were in the direct path of the storm are safe. And you know what, most say that they're thankful! As the power is being turned on light by light, one (Tara lazar) is excited about doing laundry. Imagine! Others are excited about just going home. While others are pleased that they can offer what they have to their neighbors.
2. I never talk politics or about politicians on my blog, and I don't discuss who I might vote for. I don't slam, ridicule or make fun or disrespect any (sometimes I think things and want to shout out at someone else's blog) but I was so thankful to see Governor Christie and President Obama join forces to assess the damages and do what was right for the people of  NJ. 'nuff said

3. I'm thankful to be part of this community of children's writers. We have heart.  
Kate Messner  has a fund raiser going that has lots and lots of great items to bid on...the figures are going up by the minute. I've copied the list here, but please go over to there to find out all about the auction. Doesn't this lit look exciting!

1. Manuscript Critique with Caroline Abbey of Bloomsbury
30A  (I apparently like the number 30 and used it twice.) Release Day Launch Package for your YA/MG Book from InkSlinger PR
Now that you've read Kate's list of prizes, let me say that I'm thinking of you, praying for you, and thankful for all of you. Take care and stay strong.