Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cheering Again!

I want to cheer for my friend Brenda Reeves Sturgis, and remind you to tune in tonight at 7:00 pm, but I never know how to make these links work and look pretty instead of a bunch of garbley
words and symbols! Well here it is folks- Click on the "words" and listen to my author friend Brenda, her agent Karen Grencik, and editorial consultant, Emma Dryden. Brenda's book, 10 Turkeys in the Road,  has won a Gold Mom's Choice Award,

"Recognizing the best in family-friendly media, products, and services."

I've shown you photos of 10 Turkeys before, but here's the book again with a turkey that visited my yard this winter!
    For me, writing is good, Zumba is good, and life is too. I've really got too many online writing challenges going, but they really keep me focused. 
    Daughter(aunt to the kids) and I took the "kids" on our annual Easter shopping trip. A lazy overnighter in a hotel, then shopping. We had fun, but the kids didn't find, want, or need much this year. It was a matter of togetherness and eating!!!
     And what does this all have to do with online writing? I got a note on my i pod,from one of my critiquers, asking if I had anything to submit since it was my week. I truly got mixed up thinking my turn was next week. I sent a note saying so, but got replies back saying to send anyway, even though I was late.  I did, and have already gotten feedback. So now I'm shouting out again about the value of having good critique buddies. I know I'm sort of sounding like a broken record, but if you write, and hope to be published one day, get yourself a buddy, buddies, or group. The feedback is priceless if you find people that are honest and picky, and of course friendly. If you're not happy with whom you have a critiquing relationship with, move on. Shop around until you find the right spot for you. It will happen. Don't  settle for the passive,  afraid to hurt you feelings group. It doesn't help a bit to hear only what you want to. Honesty is a key in critiquing, and in time, your critters will become your friends...true, true, friends. I know this for a fact! A big thanks to all my friends.(some I've met, others I haven't)
        Have a great week but be sure and tune in tonight.   

Monday, February 20, 2012

Couldn't Wait To Open It!

    So the mail lady delivered a media package this week. I knew it was coming but couldn't wait to see the surprise inside. I've heard authors say that they love to hold their new book, to smell it, to turn the almost bonded pages. This one's my critique friend's new book, but I felt the same thrill as if it were my own.
    I've been in an online picture book critique group with Alison for a few years.  We've become a close group, honest and trusting critiquers. Alison sent us each a copy of her newest book. 
    Her first in this series is an award winner, This Tree Counts. Both stories include a class field trip, and what kid doesn't love to go on a field trip!  They'll venture out with the same class as with 'Trees' to visit a farm. There are no cows or horses or chickens, so what kind of farm? Farmer Ellen will take us on tour and tell us. Both of Alison's books include real facts, plus numbers, counting, listening, observing and thinking. 
      A good story? Yes. Educational? Yes. Interesting? Yes.  A different approach? Yes!  
Sarah Snow's colorful and kid friendly illustrations compliment the text throughout. I love this book, and I know, yes know, that kids will love it too. It's one of those books that you can see and "hear" and learn a little something new each time you pick it up. Alison has written about TREES, and BEES. Can you guess what's next? 
     Now I didn't start out to give you a review of this wonderful book. It was a gift from a friend. But there you have it anyway. 
      I worked one day at "the" flower shop to help out-Valentine's Day! It was busy to say the least...
I love Shelley's crew-they all like each other and work so well together. Beautiful team spirit!!!

 The baby girl spent a day. She's busy-keeps us busy. Right here, she's dumping the cheerios from dish to dish. She's got pretty good aim!
      We read books together. One she loves is a simple animal board book with a textured spot on each animal and the text tells what each one does and sounds they make. We know that the fuzzy yellow duck says, "Quack."  The  pink nosed pig says, "Oink." The curly lamb says, "Baaaaaaaaaaaaaa."Baby can really stretch this one out!!!  That's how it goes with every page turn until we get to the fluffy eared bunny who hops! Now the critiquer in me says, 'this just doesn't fit!' If this were to come through one of my critique groups, I would be sure and bring up that point. I bought the book so we could learn to identify animals and play with their voices, but..... Am I being the book reviewer today, or what?!?!!
     And while on reading, writing and all things wordy, I've been having a great time participating in the picture book class that I won. It originates from Australia but the creator, Katrina Germein is keeping it universal.  The interaction and discussion from others is good! The author asks the questions, others answer and give feed back.  ooohhhhh....I'm working through a new picture book. It keeps getting tweaked with each suggestion. Exploring new directions for the same story line.
    Had a phone conversation with a friend this morning and we discussed 'what's going on'-The answer of the day is 'same ole same ole'. I like same ole same ole with a little mix up along the way-Take it on. Life is good!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nothing much ever happens around here, except...

Before I get to the writing, here's the first full moon picture that I actually captured the silhouette of the inside the "Man's" home! Okay, now I'll write.

   These blog entries are getting to be like an old fashioned diary, minus the secrets! I'm an open book, so maybe that's why I write for kids.
   On a few writing notes:
      As part of my MG research, I went to a couponing meeting the other morning. I took all my unused coupons from the Sunday paper so the other ladies could take the ones they wanted. I only use a few, honestly, so they got an abundance from me.You should see all the free and nearly free bargains the leader brought and stacked on a shelf. Unbelievable! Later on, a friend asked me what I learned.    
         This: One of our grocery stores offers double on any coupon up to 99 cents. So, from now on, all those .75 coupons get used there. Is that enough for this mind? And, couponing is a work at home job!!!
         These girls sort, organize and date in huge binders! I  had fun and will go again to get inside of my MC's mother's mind even though I don't want that job! A funny little note about this meeting. The leader and I couldn't figure out where we knew each other from until we met again at zumba the next night!
     I won another contest! It was at  a writing and illustrating site from "over across", as my mother used to say, though I don't think she was referring to Australia!  The instructor is a published Australian author, Katrina Germein
I've received the lesson plan, and believe me, this business of writing for children is universal. And so is this Facebook stuff...a few local friends congratulated me and
   Now I must give you one of my "just do it" spiels! Writers are generous, so when I see contest, prize or win, I don't hesitate one bit to sign on the dotted line! Most have random selectors, so your chance is as good as mine. In case you're not aware, I've won books, a critique, a picture, and now this class...whoooeeeeee!!!!!!!!
    This internet access amazes me every day. Facebook amazes me too. Two of my local friends congratulated me on winning the class. The first one showed up on the Blue Dingo feed. I asked what she was doing over there. She saw it on the side panel on her FB and wanted to give me her good wishes. Whoa! That took me quite by surprise.
     Now a bit more from across the sea, this time from the UK and one of my crit partners
Juliet Clare Bell has written a lovely book, Don't Panic Annika. If you go over to her site, you can hear the real live Annika read her Momma's story with not the least bit of panic in her voice.
      And...there's more over seas news. Cynthia Lord has been in Russia all week. She is a perfect ambassador to represent children's authors of the United States. She's in Belarus right now where one woman said she knew Maine because she knows the Samantha Smith story.This brings tears to my eyes.
     Now I'll come back home to write my own stories...
          PS...a BIG congratulations to the Medomak Valley High School Cheerleader that won third place in the State of Maine championship competition. I know some of these young ladies. Lovely girls inside and out that have worked hard perfecting their sport and keeping up with their grades. Good go girls!!!!!
         And the Medomak Valley boys basketball team that took the states! Another bunch of hard working kids that take their sport and sportsmanship seriously.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Live in New England!

...and it's Super Bowl Sunday, so what do you think-who do you think?!?!?!? I'm not a usual football fan, but today, let's say I'm following the crowd! (PS- Uh Oh! -Monday morn)
  Speaking of following, I was awarded the

Thank you Marcie Colleen
It's an honor bestowed on a person that has fewer than 200 blogs. That is an honor for sure. I think I have 3! Oh well....
There are a few rules that go along with this award. I must list 5 things about myself that you might not know, so here goes:
       1. We used to raise pigs and I had a great system for getting the tiny piglets away from their mother while she finished birthing-I'm sure you want to know what it was. Lean over the pen with a regular garden hoe and scoop the baby to the awaiting lighted corner! there...
       2.  I met Cynthia Lord online to ride to our first NESCBWI conference together. It was when you just didn't "meet" people online. Her mother worried I might be an axe murderer (her husband came out and met me to be sure, though he still comes out to greet me when we go somewhere together) My husband was appalled that I was rooming with a stranger!
       3.  I won a Barbara Karlin Award, Letter of Merit in 2011-you probably all knew that but I can't stop yelling it out. (wish I could sell the PB manuscript!)
      4. I build weird snowpeople when there's snow...this year, not so much of the wet, white, stuff.
       5.I'm a cheerleader-well not one of them- but I'll cheer and call out for all my friends. Help spread their good news!
       6. I couldn't leave this out...I love Peeps, Zumba, and the internet!!!!
Bloggers that I nominate for this blog award are:
        Alison Kipnis Hertz Fun story starters. I really never thought that someone else's ideas would help me write my own story-wrong!

Genevieve Petrillo - I just love the her name! Her blog is told
                                                                                                          from the POV of her dog!
Donna Martin   Donna offers words of encouragement

Susanna Leonard Hill  she is an ambitious blogger who mixes it up a bit-quite a bit
Weekly Schedule: Monday: random topics Wednesday: Would You Read It Friday: Perfect Picture Books
Monthly: Pitch Pick, Straight From The Editor, Interviews, Contest-and author of Punxsutawney Phyllis!

Beth Stillborn - she keeps us connected with lots of writing "stuff" and  with author and teacher Emma Walton Hamilton

The other thing on my mind is to tell you how much I love my Kindle. My son showed me his and I told him I didn't think I could read on something that stiff and not being able to turn pages...blah blah blah, but he bought me one anyway. (he may have already had it when I was bashing!) I don't have the kindle fire. Mine is a reader. It is so easy to take a library of books anywhere you go- on trips, while waiting for something to begin. Just today, Marcie Colleen reminded me of the free offerings for Kindle. I added two more to my collection.
    Now don't hate me, my children writer friends. I do buy your books. My upstairs will probably need reenforcement to hold up the weight. I buy them for gifts for all the kids gifts. We are book people. I do love holding the books, reading them, and sometimes even studying them.
     It's a full moon week....I'm mesmerized by the full moon and take tons of photos. February brings us the "Snow Moon". 

I hope this moon brings a bit of snow with it!
Happy week..... Listen Learn and don't forget to Dance!