Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Reading 'riting and 'rithmetic

    For me it goes writing, reading and 'rithmetic ......

If someone should ask what I write or read or do for fun(that doesn't include the third 'r'), I might say same ol' same ol' but that's not really true.
   Probably the biggest and most exciting, not so same ol' this week, came from a children's author, Jane Yolen, who is giving back in a big way, to the writing community that is her life. This is it! (and I hope it works!):

     Having won a letter of merit from SCBWI in the picture book category(Barbara Karlin) last year, I truly know what a gift this is to boost a writer's morale and validate their writing venture, not only to the winners but to the honorable mentioned. I'm so excited- for me and all the Middle Grade writers! Thank you so much Jane
   I write with both both pen in hand and computer on lap...I have hand written notes all over the place-I love, need, notes. Looks like a used paper factory around here! I'm always leaving the grocery list home but seems like if I write it, I remember most of it.  Other things I wrote this week...mmmm- tweaked the nine pages of my middle grade manuscript and created the one page synopsis-addressed the envelope and  kissed it goodbye. It's my conference critique sub.  I also wrote up a few critiques for friends. Commented on a few blogs. Completed first story (draft)  for 12x12in 2012.

   Now on to the second 'r'-Did you ever think about what you read? Usually I think traditional books, but a reading by me at a Pampered Chef party got me thinking.  Nancy, the presenter, passed me the cookbook and asked me to read the recipe to her while she prepared. It went something like this...and now,  she will chop the green peppers in her handy dandy mini hand held food processor (?????) I played with the instructions, pausing and emphasizing each of the products and their value...still not thinking about much except having fun when one of the other girls, I don't really know, leaned over and said, "you're a good reader!"
I am??? Do you read out loud? Do you listen to yourself? Do you hear your own stories? Before I put my manuscript in the envelope, I read it out loud. Sounded good to me-will see later in the spring.
   So what else did I read this week...I read a few more pages of Darcy Pattison's, How To Write A Children's Book while waiting for hub at the eye doctor's. Signed up to read in March for the community Dr Seuss read around. Read local newspapers online, the coupons from the week-end paper,  a few interesting blogs, friends' manuscripts and the notes on my light bill! Yup, I said the "light bill". If you live in Maine you'll see that we are offered an option for choosing the supplier..should I shouldn't I?
    I won a book over at Donna Martin's blog Donna
    On other reading news...My friend Carrie had this to share. I have this book. Must dig it out and read.
Best of the Best Books for Teens - Chicago Public Librarywww.chipublib.orgChoose a LibrarySelect...Albany ParkAltgeldArcher HeightsAustinAustin-IrvingAvalonBeverlyBezazianBlackstoneBrainerdBrighton ParkBucktown-Wicker ParkBudlong WoodsCanaryvilleChicago BeeChicago LawnChinatownClearingColemanDaley, R.J.-BridgeportDaley, R.M.-W HumboldtDouglassDunningEdgebrookEdgewaterGage...Martin     
  The third 'r'-well that's a toughy! Other than trying to balance my check book, it's almost nil in my life. I'd rather have fun...like build snow people but Mr Winter isn't cooperating. We have snow but it's light and dry. Or go dance-zumba's tonight. Here's some more fun...My friends watch doctors on TV-One watches Oz, one watches The Doctors, I watch Phil! So I share unbelievable people stories(quite dumb sometimes), Kathy shares tips on healthy eating...last stormy day we each baked honey oatmeal wheat bread. Two of us had good luck, one couldn't get hers to rise.  Esther is sharing Oz's youthful hints. She bought inexpensive cream and shared...I've been diligently rubbing it into my wrinkles morning and night for almost a week...I make the faces so the skin stretches and put extra cream in those hollows-no one's noticed my youthful new look yet!
   So what's going on in your world,  same ol' same ol'?  That's a good thing!!!
   Listen Learn and Dance

Monday, January 23, 2012

Think April!?!?!

I'm not meaning to rush winter, I like it, but it's time to register for New England SCBWI conference.
I felt on top of the game this year because I copied off the list of workshops and really studied everything so I would be ready for today. One of my friends stayed up until mid night so she'd get into all the events she'd chosen. I was awake at midnight-had one of those sleepless kind of nights- but wasn't about to come down the stairs to get on the computer. Well wouldn't you know that I slept past my usual 4-4:30 wake up. Didn't crawl out until about 5:30!!!! But this usual early bird went for the juicy worm. I couldn't believe that one of the workshops had already filled and there was a wait list. A crit friend of mine is on two waits and she was online applying at 9:30! This is an amazing children's writers conference, and this just goes to show!!! 
   A bit of advice from someone who doesn't usually dole it out....Apply Now, if you're planning to.

Here's the list of ALA youth media award winners announced today-
with a special congratulations to my "neighbor" Melissa Sweet for Balloons Over Broadway! I say neighbor in a broad sense because Melissa lives in my 20 mile circle to 'town'. Congratulations Melissa!!!

     Life stuff last week...it snowed the other day, I shoveled. Too dry for snowpeople. Went to town with friends, an amazing school band concert, subbed a story and lesson of how it changed to one of my crit groups, wrote on the mid grade, cooked soups and breadsticks for girlfriends...life is good in my 'ville.
Here's just one visitor that came to call-

Listen, learn and don't forget to dance.
(and don't forget to get that NESCBWI conference application in!)

PS...One more thing. Here's a chance to win Emma Walton Hamilton's , Raising Bookworms-good stuff to be had, all over the place!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's Cold! It's Warm!

So it's -7 degrees out there this morning, that's right, 7 below the 0 mark on my thermometer, but sure is nice right here. Come on over-coffee's on, tea pot's on.

   I've had my computer open, my notebook too, trying to conjure up ideas for a my new, this is the one, story, but it 'ain't' happening baby! I guess I'll just fill you in on the week for now.
As I said on my last post, "there's always something to learn", and boy, for me anyway, there truly is. A
    The other morning when I was on Facebook at about 5:30, a chat message came up. I didn't think it was for me. there were a few people chatting back and forth about writing, so I sent a message, got an answer!!!!!, and we sent a few more back and forth. All 3 of us! So I learned that people in closed 'groups' can all talk at once. Oh please, that would be disastrous, but how cool is that. One of the things we discussed was the time and I learned.....
      that it was 7:30pm in Seoul, and 11:30 pm in New Zealand. So just for fun, I put up some worldly clocks on my Dashboard. When I've been on a trips with my daughter, I wore 2 watches so I would know what time it was at home so I wouldn't be calling my husband in the middle of the night!
       I learned from a critique that the tense in my mid-grade needs work. I learn lots from critique buddies. All of it is done online because I live out in the boonies, but I have really good online friends that share this writing journey and offer endless honest opinions, ideas, and support. (thank you) 
       I took a few walks this week cause I had to miss Zumba!  Tues night, I went to a retirement party for my sister-in-law, Sherry, who loves life as much as I do. She's one of my best kayaking buddies-well, not this week- and she's such a non judgmental person. I love her attitude and her new saying-Everyday is Sunday!
       Always looking and listening for story ideas and found a while I walked. Do you see a fun story here? I love pigs. We used to raise lots of them. I almost wanted to take her home. (I said almost!) So what's the story here? Do you see it, hear it, smell, feel it? (1 sense missing here!)

         I've been excited to look through all the offerings for the New England SCBWI conference. Picking and choosing is hard when there are so many great workshops and intensives that cross over each other....choices, decisions, oh my!  And the editors, presenters, keynotes....oh Lordy!
I can't wait to register on the 23rd. That's next Monday!
     Have a great day-week....
    Listen, learn, and don't forget to dance!



Monday, January 9, 2012

There's so much to learn...

Did you know that January's full moon is the Wolf Moon?  Native Americans used each month's full moon to identify the seasons.  
Or, did you know that if you delete all of your pictures, by mistake, from your photo card, there's a recovery program that will restore them? It was a sad day when my friend said she deleted all of her grand daughter's Christmas photos. I was talking about it with another friend and we both said at the same time-"Google"! And guess what???? The photos are back and they are priceless!!!!

I'm a naturally curious person so I'm forever searching and researching and asking question. Yesterday, I went to our local library and sat with a high school boy with a list of questions about my MAC. Poor kid is probably wondering why he ever offered to help people with their computer problems!!!

I'm excited to say that my muse is staying with me. I've talked to my boy character and he's not excited about the Stripper Clippers I bought for him. I've got to find another one (oh Google!)  He's not so excited about the kid that moved in next door-better than he is at skateboarding, though he is excited about the kid's 'kicker'. I learned about kickers this week too. 

There's an inexpensive online class that I plan to sign up for to learn more about Scrivener. For those of you writers that aren't using Scrivener yet or are hesitant to try, they offer a month's free trial

One of the most exciting thing I learned this week is the line-up of events for the upcoming New England SCBWI conference. So many of my friends and people I've met are presenting the professional workshops. It's almost time to sign up. Lookie here.....

So what's up for this week? What will I learn, what will you learn? Do you listen and really hear? That's actually what I was going to write about this week-Listening! Oh well, it's no secret to those who know me that I'm sort of like a patchwork quilt, trying to fit a stack of colorful pieces together, sometimes using an odd one or two that wasn't in the plan.
Have a happy week. Listen, Learn and don't forget to dance !


Sunday, January 1, 2012


   Happy Happy New Year to all my family and friends.

   I'm looking forward to the fireworks, the colors and  surprises that 2012 has in store-I love surprises, though I'm forever curious to peek and look ahead, especially when I get hints!
  I've never had much luck with resolutions, so I've made a few plans, set a few goals. and know that it's up to me to follow through.
   On the writing side of things:
        I'll continue to submit my Black Bear picture book story that won a Barbara Karlin Grant Letter of
        Merit from SCBWI-the story that I've received the most positive rejections from. The story
        that one publisher actually said, "we almost accepted it!" And I will write and sub other stories.

         I'll try to stay true to the 12x12 challenge that I've signed up for-write 12 picture book drafts in 12
         months. mmmmm...that's only one story 'draft' for every thirty days.  Are you interested???
         You can go here....
          I do have lots of story starters jotted, from having just completed Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo-an idea
          a day! So, I'm off....

          I'm pretty laid back, but I do have to push myself hard to finish the first draft of my middle grade
          manuscript so I can fine tune and get it to friends to review and critique. It's almost there but has
          been sitting almost dormant for months. My picture book muse has taken over and I'm having
          trouble moving back and forth.  The funny thing is, I love the story and I'm forever doing the
          research...like recently buying a "handy dandy" stripper clipper". Now have I got you

    Now for a few of my important love and life things:

          I love family, friends and the computer. My family and friends are here for me unconditionally as
          I am for them. My kids are my biggest cheerleaders-that's a reverse role, huh! The computer, well
          that's a very different story, an every day challenge (another one!) I can do what I do
          and nothing else...nothing unconditional about our relationship!

          I'd love to be more organized. My life is like a patchwork quilt. Lots of random and colorful pieces  
          stacked everywhere! Some tucked under others, never to be found again. So yesterday, I found a
          free...yup free book for my Kindle...Organize for a Fresh Start. So I go to download it and nothing
          happened! Tried again, nothing! Even the book ghost must think it's impossible to help get my
          organized and in some sort of order. So I sent for HELP and the Kindle spirit came through!!!! I
         don't know though, will the book help?

         I love the contests that I don't have to do much about except enter. I've won fun books this year-
         whoops, I mean last year!!! Galaxy Games by Greg Fishbone and Princess Posey by Stephanie
         Greene, and  a critique from Tara Lazar (entering a chance to win another from her in 2012).
         There's a contest going on right now for those of you interested in the craft of writing
         books. Donna Martin has a truckload to offer. Go here to enter that one
        I love Zumba....yes Zumba!!!!! I dance to the beat and may look like a beached whale at times,  
        floundering and flopping around, but it's okay. Yeah, I know, you get the picture, right?!?!?!  But
        it's fun and a great way to exercise. Makes it not so tough!
My wishes for 2012:
May we all be happy and safe and our lives full of fun and surprises in 2012.

And when they come,  may we see the gifts, feel their power,  hear the music and...let's always  DANCE!!!!