Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On-line meeting....continued

   One of the first people I met online was Cynthia Lord. Cindy and I have many stories, and the first goes back to that first meeting. The online relationship started on the Blueboard, I think when we heard talk of the NESCBWI conference. Neither of us had been to one and thought we might hook up together to see what this children's writer's conference was all about. Well, we were both slowwwww at commitment and when we finally decided we were going together, I nervously told her my last name and where I lived. Until then, we were on first name basis.

Now this was a time before all these online relationships, so we were both leery. My husband thought I was crazy, going to "sleep" with a stranger (he was starting to have me believe I might be). Then on the other end, Cindy's mother was worried that she was meeting up with an axe murder!!! We weren't so bad, actually liked each other,  and we've been friends from that forever ago...and we still make stories together.

 Here's a spring tale... I met 3 neighbors and lost my camera in the lake on this adventure!

So another story, pertaining to this very exciting book release day of Cindy's

Awhile back, she sent me an email saying she was sending me a pdf copy of new, upcoming book. I'd heard excerpts of the Shelter Pet Squad at a schmooze at Tami's schmooze. (Tami will be up here soon!) So, I opened the copy and almost immediately, something jumped out at me. I was confused! Closed the file and said nothing. Now saying nothing isn't my nature and Cindy and the world knows it. I guess that Cindy couldn't stand it any longer so sent me another email-"did you get what I sent?"
I answered with the I did???????????. Then we had back and forth conversations, and swear we could hear each other laughing through the computers.
Here's what I saw...
It's exciting-a book for me. However, I wondered what she was trying to tell me. (read the fine print)

And today is the big release day of "my" book. (I'd like to say I wrote it!)

"They" say, "write what you know." Cindy lives that with each book she writes. She does her research to find the things she really doesn't know, as with Shelter Pet Squad. Cindy travels with her author visits, all through the school year, but she still found time to be a regular volunteer at her local animal shelter. She's allergic to cats, so spends her time on the "other side". Cindy and her family already had a guinea pig, and dog at home, but wouldn't you know, she fell in love and adopted a pair of bunnies!

My local friends' mouths drop when they ask, "You know Cynthia Lord, the famous children's author?" I can honestly say, "Yes". I know Cindy, "famous", the person, the friend, the person with the most gentle heart. Everyone that reads her words knows Cindy. Her heartfelt words pour out in every page of every book she writes.

Congratulations, dear Cindy, on this day of a new book adventure. I'm glad for our online meeting, before even Rules was published! xo

Ps I had to edit to post this photo. I love it!!! Ranger Cindy...this will probably end up in a book!!!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Have You Met Online???

  I'm going to work backward on this post, I'm actually starting over with this post....starting from the day walked to the mailbox and found a padded manila envelope with the return, Zondervan. I recognized the name as a Christian Publisher, but I didn't order anything. I couldn't just tear open the package so I had to fidget with opener, then scissors, to see what might be inside. Oh my gosh was I surprised to find these:

     I know the note is hard to read, but it says, 'the enclosed is sent compliments of the author.' Oh my word, compliments of Nancy I. Sanders! So who am I and how come I'm so fortunate! 
      Nancy is someone I "met" online in one of the groups that I frequent. Our connection began when she put out a call for a few book reviewers for an upcoming, Focus on the Family book. I reviewed  the book and later found my name in the credits. Soon after, I received a PDF file of another book in the series. I couldn't put either of them down. Two kids, an inventive neighbor, a time machine = being put right in the middle of famous historic events. Who were the famous people of the time? What was a kid's role during the period? Could they be in harm's way? All this goose bumpy adventure and real historical facts are included in each page turner, page turner, page turner book!!! As I posted in my review, I feel that these books are perfect for the home schooled or private school students, to learn about our country's beginning.
...and that was the beginning of my online relationship with Nancy. 
   So while reading and reviewing the books, I found a golden nugget as Kristen McGill Fulton, calls them. (I'll save her for another post) 
    My curiosity led me to inquire if my nugget was real or just a fictitious character that Nancy added for excitement. Turns out, the character was real, and has a story that I felt compelled to write. I contacted Nancy with my idea and wondered how she'd feel about it. In what I've come to know and feel about Nancy, she responded with all good wishes for my picture book venture and even gave me places to go to go to search for and find find more biographical information.
    Nancy is a prolific author, a generous teacher, a gracious mentor. She offers so much on her website to help others along on their writing journeys. While looking around her website, you'll find and can sign up for  Blogzone. Check it out for practical and helpful writing tips.
   This wasn't what I'd planned to write, but one thing led to another, and they all lead to the amazing author, Nancy I Sanders.

  Now I feel compelled to introduce you to some of the many other children's writers friends, I've met online. 
   Stay tuned. Another day, another post.


 One more thing I'd like to share is this list of the top 10 favorites of the Schneider Awards.  Some older awards, some brand new. I'll tell you, that Cynthia Lord's Rules never gets old. See it and others on this list. 


Monday, May 19, 2014

Introducing a Children's Author Friend

   Two things I truly believe in.... Education and Friendships.
   That brings me right to the community of children's writers. They are the most sharing, caring people I know. I beg to disagree with those that feel that they're alone when it comes to the business of writing. True, you are alone while drafting "your" tale. It's something you can't share when it's germinating or bursting from your mind and fingers. But, when your bud is blossomed, or even before that, when the seed is planted, you can recruit a friend(s) to "listen"and critique, or give you ideas to enhance your manuscript.
   Sometimes you need a bit more education. Even if you're a well published author, we're never too smart or old to learn, right?
   For my next several posts, I'll introduce you to some of my friends, mentors and teachers, each with lots to share.
   I met Nancy I Sanders online when she put out a request for a few reviewers of a new book that was ready for publication. Little did I know what luck it was that I answered her call. I received my copy, read it, reviewed it, and lent it to another friend. So what was some of the luck in all this? Well, one thing that happened is that I found a new character, amongst the pages. I didn't know him before, but have researched an have grown fond of this respected person of the Revolutionary War era. I've written his story, in my words, in picture book form. So, these gems, Nancy and the NF character, came to me quite by accident.
     Now, back to Nancy. I've linked her website to her name, but will tell you the things I know about her:
   She's a Christian writer
   a prolific author
   a researcher
   a teacher
   generous sharer of her knowledge
   has a positive, you can do it, attitude
   has an amazingly helpful website and blog
   ............ with lots of FREE handouts, worksheets, publishing information and classes
    Each day last week, Nancy posted an entry, with a map, on how to write a non fiction picture book in one week. Coming soon, she's going to be posting a revision workshop to help polish the NF manuscript.
   I look forward to her Blog post every day and truly feel privileged to have met Nancy I Sanders online.
   Would you like to meet her too. Look around her website, then sign up for Blogzone.

PS  I didn't want to interrupt your reading by posting pictures in the middle, so here are a few of Nancy's books I told you about.
         This is the first of the Historical chapter books I read and reviewed, even though it says 13!\. It's a Focus on the Family, Adventures in Odyssey book published by Tyndale House Publishers. The story unfolds when cousins, Beth and Patrick, climb into the imagination station machine and are taken back into to the Revolutionary War days to become characters in the adventure. Love it and can't wait to read it to "my" school kids when classes start again in the fall.

     This book is a little devotional for us, the Scribes. That's all I have to say about this book. If you are a scribe, you might find it helpful when you sit to type. I have it here beside me and open it randomly when the mood hits. You can find this on Nancy's site.

   Grab a cup of tea, relax and find Nancy's website. There's a lot to read. Enjoy! but don't hold your breath until my next post about another writer "friend"!!!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Writing, Life and Good Stuff

This has been an exciting month in my (and friends') world of writing.

I'll start this as a first off, and a last off!!! I was fortunate enough to be in on the inaugural class for non-fiction writers, by Kristen Fulton. Click on the link to find out about it and possibly be in on the class that's starting tomorrow. You'll have to look at her outline of the class, because I can't begin to tell you how much she has to offer. I can tell you that I printed off each lesson, did my homework, and listened to her dynamic webinars. Kristen offers tips and quips and a lesson each day for a month. My notebook is full, and...I have a completed non-fiction picture book manuscript and another one started.

Then, I subbed a story to RYS for a critique. I love Rate Your Story It's a great place to go for a professional critique. They had a membership drive this year,...but I didn't sign up. Truthfully, I have to pick and choose where I'm spending my money. However, and this is a big however, they are generous. I wanted to post this yesterday, but for some reason, there was a widespread internet shutdown. Here's something RYS offers to everyone, an open sub day. (which was yesterday) Look for the next one on April 1st. Will someone please tell me how to download the images that go with the sites I talk about. The nonfiction one was easy, the others, not so.

Time to do my cheerleading routine!!! Picture this-oh never mind, I just crashe!!! I'll just shout it out.... My sweet friend, Cynthia Lord launched a new book baby this week- Half a Chance. By clicking on this link, you be taken to a review done by one of Cindy's favorite booksellers. I think you'll see a picture of the cover too. One of our friend's , Laura Hamor, said it so nicely about Cindy and her writing. I hope you don't mind if I quote you without asking, Laura, but you know me, I won't get this posted if I keep dilly dallying
"The wonderful thing about reading the books that my friends write is that I can HEAR them, it is as if they are reading to me. I recognize them in their characters and their voice always shines through. I couldn't love HALF A CHANCE by Cynthia Lord more."
   I couldn't day it any better. Cindy has the sweetest heart and it all pours out when she speaks or reads or writes. Congratulations, Cindy, for your new book and congratulations to us for sharing a big part of you.

Okay, so I've screwed things around again! This photo of Cindy and Elise (of course I got her eating), our blueberry queen at the Maine Blueberry Festival, better know as Union Fair, around here. Cindy and I drove from Tammy's book signing to the fair. I went to watch the pageant because our sweet Elise was one of the princesses (she won!) and Cindy wanted to research for yet another book!

Another big shout out to our friend, Tamra Wight- I copied this too, but writers, teachers, librarians, this is big time, huh!

Great news in the mail today, Cooper & Packrat: Mystery on Pine Lake was awarded the "Junior Library Guild Selection" for Spring 2014! — with Tamra Wight and Melissa Kim.
This was at Tammy's book launch at her campground. I, and a few others, have heard this story since the beginning and now we're going on a wonderful journey with our friend. My Maine friends are on a roll-so honored to have both of you as friends and schmooze and retreat buddies.

The very smart editor, Emma Dryden , made and offer this week, that I took advantage of. For just a few days, she gave away a few pages of Finding Your Voice Exercises & Character Interview Questionnaire.  Believe me, it isn't one of those interview, talk to, lined sheets. I can't believe the exercises included. A generous give away. I hope some of you took her up on it.

Have all but one critique done until next week. Learned another new word. I have my books chosen to read for Dr.Seuss read around day at Jefferson Village School tomorrow. My suitcase is packed. Oh, did I forget to mention that I'm going to FL for a week with the "girls"-sister-in-law, Sherry and her sisters. My husband stays home and keeps the home fires burning.

I posted this moon/star photo the other below zero morning and the haiku to go with it-

First one up kindles
Smoke puffs high to moon and star
Frigid winter morn



my friend Mary Marotta sent me this:

Venus has returned to the early morning sky, establishing itself as a dazzling morning lantern.

The planet is emerging into view from beyond the east-southeast horizon soon after 4:00 a.m. local standard time, rising in total darkness, about an hour before the first glimmer of dawn. Venus currently blazes at an awesome brightness of magnitude negative 4.6 and is near the greatest altitude it will achieve for viewers, around 40 degrees north latitude. 

So I had to change it up a bit because I didn't know that bright star was Venus. 

Cold winter morning
Mars and waning crescent moon
Have a morning date

Loving life, every moment, every day!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

What Are You Afraid Of?

   Okay, I've decided that I'm going to blog, again!  On again off again, I know, but this is the day, the month the year.  The year to focus on writing and sharing with other pre-published children's authors.
Maybe there'll be some tidbits for my published friends too.
   I'll start with the heading of this post. I've read it, heard it, over and over, "What are you afraid of?"
Well nothing. At least that's what I've been telling myself.  Not heights or new challenges, flying or traveling, telling the truth, meeting new people. I'll be the first one to walk up to you and start talking, especially if I think you're left out or alone
     I've been writing, critiquing and subbing for quite a few years now. I'm fortunate to have real live author friends as well as the online critique partners and friends. I have the small writing schmoozes, retreats and NESCBWI conference every year. I read other blogs where the 'afraid' question comes up. So what's the problem with me? Am I afraid...of what?
   Back up here, a few years. My Bear story received a letter of merit from the SCBWI Barbara Karlin grant. That's big, right? Hundreds of entries and only about 10 recognitions. Then, that same story was the one that gave me entry to RUCCL-Rutgers University Council on Children's Literature. With that affirmation and all the confidence in the world I started subbing it to editors and agents. Oh the letters and notes that came back. The most personal I've ever received. 'beautiful, lyrical, almost bought it, but in the end, a rejected story.
   That was it. That was my story, my ticket to publication/NOT! I slumped, and fluffed and didn't sub another story. Nothing else I tried to write was as good as Bear. I even messed up and let the open to submissions editors sit from 'my' New England conference pass by. I couldn't and didn't have the heart until something hit, clicked, struck! Don't ask, it could have been while I participated in Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo, or the boost of Never Give Up with Joan E Edwards, or meeting up with a few friends. Shannon Abercrombie's  Start The Year Off Right  challenge offered a new prompt from a different author every day. Whatever it was that got me fired up again, I hope I can share and help stir you up too.
   I have binder notebook beside my computer now and have written on writing, every day this new year. Rather than journaling, I'm jotting ideas, keeping up with online challenges and making notes of editors and agents that are open to submissions of the genres I write, which at this moment, my finished and polished manuscripts are Picture Books.

    Have you joined any of the online writer's forums? Some are free while others charge a fee.

    Julie Hedlund's 12x12 registration is only open until the end of February.
    Rate Your Story is closed for member registration, but still offer amazing opportunities for writers.

   Here are a few more to do notes highlighted in my notebook, for the month of February you may be interested in.
        Wed-Feb 5th    Register for NESCBWI   If you're thinking of or planning to go to the New                                 England conference, the list of workshops and facilitators are up on the SCBWI site.
        Wed Feb 5th     Open sub day, Rate Your Story  (you can submit a story and it will be commented                                   on and rated by an industry professional.

         Deadline  Feb 21 - Enter first page contest on  Writing and Illustrating by Kathy Temean. Besides                             this contest, Kathy's blog is a great children's writers resource. Check it out.

      Those are my meanderings for now. I'll close with a picture that I put on FB the other day. Marissa asked me to read her a bedtime story at nap time. In turn, she read it to Bentley. In the end, he had a great snooze. She didn't.

   And here's a favorite quote:
Children are made readers on the laps of their parents~~~ Emilie Buchwald