Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye to 2008...

The clock has run out. I'm three days short of my 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge, and the days in 2008 are, well, gone. Although I may not have won the challenge, I did accomplish my goal, which was to get myself blogging more this month. Why I picked the month of December is beyond me! What a crazy time to start blogging more consistently!
What really did me in was celebrating my wedding anniversary on the 28th and 29th. Who wants to blog when you're away with your husband on an overnight trip, shopping, seeing movies, and eating delicious food at great restaurants? I couldn't very well pull out my laptop and say, "Excuse me, honey, but I just have to write a blog entry in middle of our romantic getaway." Well, I could have, but it might not have stayed a romantic getaway for very long. So, if there's one lesson I've learned through all this, it's that blogging about life is not more important than life (and the people with which you share that life). And that lesson, my friends, is worth more than all the blog entries I could ever write.

May this New Year be filled with many blessings and many more exciting chapters in this book we call life.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Too Much Blogging?

I'm now eight entries into the 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge. With only four days left (after today) in 2008, I'm right on the edge. If I don't blog every day from here on out, I lose my own challenge! Stay tuned to see if I can pull it off....

Too Much Blogging = Tumor

Friday, December 26, 2008

Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for Writers

This time of year my thoughts always turn to what I did (or didn't) accomplish in the last year, and how, with a fresh start ahead, I can be more productive in the New Year. While I was pondering my New Year's writing resolutions, I found this great article that sums it up perfectly! If I only get to #1, I'll be doing great! May this New Year hold many opportunities for the writer in you.

Top 10 New Year's Resolutions For Writers
By Joanna Penn

1. Write more. Find the time to invest in your writing. There is a myth of creativity that you need the perfect time and space to create perfect words. But you write about real life, so find time in your real life to write. "Write at the edges of the day" - Toni Morrison, author of "Beloved"

2. Finish the project. One finished book is worth more than 20 just started ones. Make an effort to finish the project this year, whether it is a book, an article, a story for the kids. Complete the project and then sit back and be proud of what you have accomplished.

3. Create an online presence as an author. You have to have a presence on the internet now so that people can find you and your work. You can have a static one page website, or a daily blog, or an author page on Amazon, or a Squidoo lens. The list is endless, but you need something. Learn how you can do this and get it done.

4. Take a course and improve your writing. Kaizen is continuous improvement and this is as important in your writing as it is in the rest of your life. Learning the craft never stops, so take time out to improve your writing skills. Take a course, read a book, or get a mentor.

5. Get out of your comfort zone and try a different form of writing. Have you been cruising along in your genre for too long? If you are a fiction writer, try writing a "How To" article. If you write technical non-fiction, try poetry or dialogue. Do something that scares you in a literary sense. You never know what you'll find!

6. Use your book to create multiple streams of income. A print book is not the way to become a millionaire. Take the time this year to create other streams of income from your book. Record it as an audio and sell it as mp3 files for the iPod. Create a PDF and sell it as an ebook online. Submit it to Kindle and sell as an ebook on Oprah's favourite ebook reader. Break it down into chunks and sell it as an eclass, or as a workbook. Create a spin off book and upsell people so they buy 2 products. Present it as a course and record it on video so you can sell it as a DVD.

7. Connect with other authors and find your community. Web 2.0 is all about social networking and there are multiple sites where you can find people to network with, as well as market to. Try the biggest sites like Facebook and mySpace first, and then branch out into GoodReads, Authors Den, LibraryThing and Squidoo. There are also lots of smaller networking sites at

8. Learn about Publishing 2.0 new technologies and expand your education about writing. If you don't read blogs about writing and you don't use RSS, you need to educate yourself. The internet is packed with information that can help you develop your skills and sell more books, but you need to stay up to speed. Learn how to use Google Reader and start subscribing to interesting blogs.

9. Market your books and yourself as an author. Web 2.0 sites and an internet presence is one way to get started, but you need a continued effort to market your books and yourself as an author. Make a marketing plan early on and stick to it. Include goals such as: Submit an article a month to EzineArticles, Post comments on the top blog in my genre with linkbacks to my website, Spend 1 hour per week surfing blogs and the internet for information about my genre.

10. Enjoy the journey, not just the end result. Remember that writing never stops, neither does marketing nor sales. Don't get carried away with being focussed on making X amount of sales. Remember to look out the window, go for a walk, hug your partner and read trashy fiction for fun in the hammock on a Sunday afternoon. The journey is why we do it, not the end result.

Joanna Penn is Director of The Creative Penn - Writing, self-publishing, print-on-demand, internet sales and marketing...for your book.

Get your FREE e-workbook on becoming an author from:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Frosty the Snowman's Top 6 Writing Tips

I found this gem over on Darcy Pattison's blog, and I just had to share it! Apparently we writers have a lot to learn from Frosty. This is absolutely ingenious!

Frosty the Snowman's Top 6 Writing Tips:

1. Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul,
With a corncob pipe and a button nose
And two eyes made out of coal.
Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale, they say,
He was made of snow

Extended character descriptions. Don’t be afraid to take time to describe the main character. One the continuum of character descriptions, this one is longer than you’ll find in most children’s picturebooks. But it works because this is a character story.

2. but the children
Know how he came to life one day.
There must have been some magic in that
Old silk hat they found.
For when they placed it on his head
He began to dance around.

Point of view. Notice the point of view here. The attention is squarely on Frosty, not on the children who found the old silk hat. When you write a story for kids, you don’t always have to put the child as the main character.

3. O, Frosty the snowman
Was alive as he could be,
And the children say he could laugh
And play just the same as you and me.
Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
Look at Frosty go.
Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
Over the hills of snow.

Language play. This section doesn’t add much to the plot, it’s just pure language play. But this is perfect for the younger audiences, who know that playing around with language is half the fun of reading a story or singing a song. Great onomatopoeia.

4. Frosty the snowman knew
The sun was hot that day,
So he said, “Let’s run and
We’ll have some fun
Now before I melt away.”

Conflict. Every good story needs conflict. And the character’s attitude in the face, well, in the face of certain death, is evident. It’s an attitude of taking joy where you find it and facing the future with courage.

5. Down to the village,
With a broomstick in his hand,
Running here and there all
Around the square saying,
Catch me if you can.
He led them down the streets of town
Right to the traffic cop.
And he only paused a moment when
He heard him holler “Stop!”
For Frosty the snow man
Had to hurry on his way,

Development of the conflict. The traffic cop provides an extra bump of conflict that adds to the story’s development. For picturebooks, it doesn’t have to be much; in fact, it can’t be huge, or you’re writing a novel. This is perfect, just the introduction of an authority figure who yells, “Stop!” but can’t really do anything to stop the breakneck speed of Frosty’s life.

6. But he waved goodbye saying,
“Don’t you cry,
I’ll be back again some day.”
Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
Look at Frosty go.
Thumpetty thump thump,
Thumpety thump thump,
Over the hills of snow.

Hope. Children’s stories may end in tragedy, but the best offer a spot of hope. Notice also the nice repetition of the language play that sends the story off with a nice echo.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Birth Announcement

I received a wonderful package in the mail the other day. It wasn't an early Christmas present or a fruit basket, but it was the best kind of present a writer can receive. The package held six copies of an activity book that I had written earlier this year for Warner Press. The finished product! No matter how many times you've received a package like this in the mail or have seen your work in print, the thrill doesn't seem to diminish. Each time is just as exciting as the last. Like giving birth to a second or third child (except a little less painful!), you know what to expect, but you still feel the excitement and thrill of seeing your baby for the first time. I've seen my "babies" in the pages of newspapers, magazines, on greeting card and calendar racks, in Christian bookstore gift departments, and activity book shelves, but never yet in the picture book or novel section of a bookstore. That is my next goal. But, unlike real babies, the process is taking a lot longer than 9 months. Patience is a virtue.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Best Books of '08

When the editors of School Library Journal make a list of the Best Children's Books of 2008, writers--and readers--listen. This isn't just any old magazine, but THE world's largest reviewer of books for young readers.

Here's just a peek at a few of the books they chose -- I plan on checking out some of the ones I haven't already read over Christmas break:


Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury

Mail Harry to the Moon! by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley


Wild Tracks! A Guide to Nature’s Footprints by Jim Arnosky

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson


The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson

My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath

Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmastime is here...

Whoa! Where is the month of December going? We're already almost halfway through the month, and in 5 minutes it will be only 10 days until Christmas! I'm not ready! We haven't even watched A Charlie Brown Christmas yet! Can someone please slow things down a bit?

We did do some fun "Christmasy" things this weekend, though. On Friday night, we went to see A Christmas Carol at Madison Park Church of God. This is the first time we've been to see the show, and we were pleasantly surprised! The music, acting, set and costumes were very impressive. On Saturday night, we attended the Anderson Symphony Orchestra's Christmas Concert featuring jazz pianist Lori Mechem. What a great concert! It definitely put us in the mood for Christmas!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Top 10 Gifts for Writers

1. A new laptop. (Santa, please take note.)
2. A digital recorder for interviews. (Not necessary if #3 is purchased)
3. A Livescribe pen that records interviews and transcribes them for you when you download them to your new laptop. (See #1)
4. An idea that publishers can't say "no" to. (Good Luck!)
5. Gift cards for Panera Bread, Starbucks, or other coffee shop hangouts that play jazz and provide great ambiance for writing.
6. Homemade gift certificates for TIME to write. (Especially priceless to a mother of three.)
7. An iPod nano to play cool music that will inspire creativity.
8. An all-expense paid trip to the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles.
9. A beautiful new journal.
10. A good book to read while you're waiting for your muse to kick in.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge

Because I have been so completely delinquent when it comes to blogging on a consistent basis, I am giving myself a "12 Days of Christmas" blogging challenge for the month of December. The challenge is simple: I must blog at least 12 days this month. Anything less, and I'm a loser (OK, no comments on that one, please). Anyone else out there who would like to follow suit is more than welcome to join in the festivities.

I'm back at my old haunt--Panera Bread--tonight for a rare Internet surfing and blogging evening. I used to come here quite regularly to get out of the house and find some peace and quiet (and a bagel or bowl of soup, of course) while I worked on freelance projects. But there's one thing that's missing from the picture of those days gone by -- the freelance projects (I'd even settle for a singular "project" right now). Not that I have been pounding the pavement in search of projects, mind you, but I do fondly remember the day when the projects used to come to me. It was heavenly. Now, I sit staring at my inbox waiting for an e-mail from one of my contacts who's ready to assign a lucrative project. My eyes are getting tired.

Day 1 of the 12 Days of Christmas Blogging Challenge has been completed. Keep in mind, I never said that these had to consecutive days. Just 12 days during the month of December. Stay tuned for Days 2 through 12...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Art of Procrastination

Once again, Debbie Ridpath Ohi at inkygirl has hit the nail on the head. How does she do it? Her comics all seem to be about my life as a writer. Does she have one of those hidden cameras mounted in my house somewhere?

I fear I am becoming a once-a-month blogger, but I'm just not ready to give up on the whole blogging thing just yet. We'll see what the New Year brings. Did I just say "New Year"? Freaky, isn't it, to think that 2009 is only a little over 2 months away? Whoa! I still remember all those nuts who were stocking up and getting ready for Y2K! (Forgive me if you were one of them.) Now we're sitting on the edge of Y2K+9! Crrraaaaaazy!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blogger's Guilt

I'm feeling quite guilty for not having blogged in over a month. My poor blog. Just sitting here all alone with no one to update it. What's a blog to do? I'm surprised it hasn't left me in search of a more prolific blogger. Frankly, I've just been too busy dealing with LIFE to write. I haven't been writing anything other than lesson plans lately. And that's... OK (to steal a phrase from the early 90s Stuart Smalley SNL skit).

There's nothing like a Writer's Conference to get the juices flowing again. A good one is coming up in Indianapolis, but I'm not sure whether I'll be going or not. Depends on whether I can scrounge up $99 by Oct. 1. We'll see.

Well, there. I've blogged. Are you happy now? (That's a rhetorical question.) See you next month... :-)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Power of Words

Until recently, I hadn't thought much about how important words -- both written and spoken -- are to God. Words are one of the most tangible ways He communicates with us (the Bible), and one of the most intimate ways we communicate with Him (through prayer). "Word" appears 962 times in the Bible (NIV version, at least).

The book of Proverbs likely has the most to say about our words and how we use them. For example:

Wise words are like deep waters. Prov. 18:4 (NLT)

Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies. Prov. 20:15 (NLT)

In the book of John, God describes Jesus as "the Word."

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

But I think my favorite passage about the power of words is in 2 Corinthians 3:3 (NIV):

You are a letter from Christ ... written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

I pray that the letter I am displaying to others is one of compassion, hope, and faith in a God whose love for His children is not limited to words, but speaks volumes.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hiatus or Facebook Addiction?

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

OK, I'll be honest. I've been on a hiatus from my blog recently for one reason -- Facebook. Who knew tracking down long lost friends and relatives could be so much fun? If I didn't police myself, I could probably spend 8 hours a day on Facebook, just looking at everyone's pictures and profiles. OK, maybe I need to get a life. No, actually, I probably need to spend more time writing than surfing Facebook. Now there's a novel idea! (Pun intended. :-)

Speaking of writing, my agent forwarded me a rejection letter from a large NYC publishing house. Keep in mind, the book my agent is representing is my humorous children's fiction picture book about a chicken who discovers he has artistic talent. Not exactly true-to-life stuff here. The editor wrote: "I don't understand why the pig can read but Chuck can't and where the pig gets the famous painting from." My clearly frustrated agent wrote a note to me on the forwarded letter: "Julie -- I'm concerned for this editor's career in publishing!" My sentiments exactly. This editor can "buy" the fact that a chicken talks and has artistic ability but can't quite "get" the other fictional points that move the plot along. Maybe she needs to change genres -- non-fiction might be a better fit for her. Ah, well, I'm learning to take rejection really well. Maybe the next letter will be a yes! :-)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Must for Every Aspiring Children's Writer

This is one book that no children's writer (or aspiring children's writer) should be without. In addition to listing just about every children's publisher and magazine known to man, Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (CWIM) also includes great articles by both famous and newbie authors. So, check it out at your local bookstore or library. Oh, and while you're at it, check out Alice Pope's blog. She's the editor of CWIM and has some great stuff every week, like interviews of top authors and publishers, news about the writing world, and other fun "insider" tidbits.

The 2009 edition of CWIM is coming out sometime in August, so don't rush out and buy the 2008 version. Better wait and get the most recent version.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Beach Reading

Last week at this time, I was lounging in a comfy chair on the beach in Destin, Florida (reading, of course) while my husband and kids played in the ocean. There's just something about reading on the beach that's so completely relaxing. I don't know whether it's the slight breeze off the ocean or the sound of the waves hitting the shore, or a combination of the two, but whatever it is, I wish I could bottle the feeling up and bring it home with me. For some reason, pouring sand onto my patio and sitting in it just doesn't seem to duplicate the experience.

The book I was reading was Susan Pfeffer's haunting YA novel The Dead and the Gone, which is the companion book to Life as We Knew It. Both books follow the events in two different teen-agers lives after the moon is knocked out of its orbit by an asteroid, catastrophically altering the earth's climate. The main character in The Dead and the Gone is Alex Morales, a 17-year-old New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent. When both of his parents disappear after the deadly tidal waves spawned by the asteroid crash, Alex is left to care for his two younger sisters as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland.

Once again, Pfeffer has produced a gripping page turner that not only makes the adrenalin pump but also makes the tears flow. On more than one occasion, I found myself thinking about the characters after I had finished the book and wishing I wasn't finished. Pfeffer's characters are so real and the emotions she harnesses are so raw that the reader just can't help but feel connected to them. This is a definite must-read for anyone who wants to write YA fiction or just loves to read YA material.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I'm with Mimi...

Want to know how to get me to go camping? This comic by Debbie Ridpath Ohi at exposes my secret. Just remember to bring a generator for the outlet. Debbie never fails to crack me up with her clever comics. Thanks, Debbie!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Blog of the Week

I love reading the blogs of other children's authors. Something about reading blogs really appeals to my nosy -- ahem, I mean "curious" -- investigative reporter side. It's a bit like eavesdropping on a really good conversation, which we all know as writers, is simply "research," right?

Middle grade author Lisa Yee has a hilarious blog that I love to read. It's definitely one of my favorites. Not only does Lisa feature a TON of cool pictures on her blog but she also has a little stuffed Peep appropriately named "Peepy" who accompanies her on her adventures. It's so fun to see how a best-selling author -- we're talking Scholastic here, people -- spends her time. Maybe someday, that will be me... (Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?)

If you're not familiar with Lisa's work, check out her book, Millicent Min, Girl Genius. Like Lisa's blog, Millicent Min, is a heartwarming and hilarious book. Lisa also has several other best-selling books, including an American Girl book in the new Julie series, Good Luck Ivy. How cool is that?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wisdom from Honest Abe...

Here's a great quote by Abraham Lincoln, a bibliophile after my own heart:

The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I haven't read.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Ahhhh... Summer Reading!

Whoa! How did the month of June roll around so quickly? I've been rather delinquent about posting lately -- I'll try to do a better job now that summer's here. Really. Honestly. I promise...

I took the kids to sign up for our library's Summer Reading Program the other day. They're all about the prizes, of course. My oldest is now considered old enough to be in the "teen" reading program (even though she's one month shy of her 12th birthday), and the grand prize is an I-Pod, so she's quite motivated and has had her nose stuck in a book just about every waking moment. Brings back memories of my summers as a kid in Chicago. My brother and I would ride our bikes through the park, past the White Castle, and stop at the library at least once a week -- the Scottsdale Branch is still there and looks exactly like it did when I was a kid! Deja vu! I would come home with a huge stack of books, which I devoured in a few days. Some of my favorite authors at the time were Beverly Cleary, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Mary Rodgers. (Her book, A Billion for Boris, was one of my faves.) I also loved reading the original Nancy Drew mysteries -- what girl didn't?

Children's and young adult literature has changed and grown so much since I was a kid; the number of options and genres available now is simply amazing. But one thing has stayed the same: Kids can still get lost inside the pages of a book and are only bound by the limits of their imaginations. And that experience can't be compared to any prize -- even an I-Pod! Hurray for summer reading!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

C.S. Lewis on Writing

In honor of the opening of Prince Caspian tomorrow night - which I desperately want to see, but will probably have to wait - here are a few quotes from C.S. Lewis, one of my favorite writers. Great advice from a truly brilliant mind.

Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

One Amazing Author

Eric Carle is more than just a picture book author/illustrator -- he's an icon in the children's publishing world. So, despite the ridiculously high gas prices, my friend Steph and I made the trek to Indy last Friday evening to hear him speak.

Charming and engaging at the age of 79, Carle delivered the 31st annual Marian McFadden Memorial Lecture to a packed house. Kids were fidgeting, babies were crying, and everyone else was hanging on every word of this amazingly talented man.

As a publishing newbie back in the late 1960s, Carle said, "I didn't think of children and their visual and literary needs... I simply wrote books I enjoyed."

The Very Hungry Caterpillar actually started out as Willi the Worm, but through discussions with his editor and some experimenting with a hole puncher, the award-winning book was born.

"I developed each story like a play, with a curtain, beginning, middle, end, and then a curtain again," said Carle.

Carle showed slides of how he develops his unique collage illustrations: He paints tissue paper and then cuts or tears it to form the images in his books. The process was fascinating to see.

"Each sheet is a work of art in itself, and I hesitate to cut it," Carle said.

Since I don't have much artistic talent myself (OK, I can barely draw stick figures), I was amazed at how easy Carle made it look. He is truly an amazingly gifted artist.

At the end of his speech, Carle shared some humorous letters from his young readers. This was my favorite:

"I would like to visit you, but I'm not allowed to cross the street."

Too cute!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Some Geeky Editor Humor

Editors and proofreaders will appreciate this tongue-in-cheek list on
A little geeky editor humor goes a long way on a bad day (or a good one, for that matter).


1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.

2. Never use a preposition to end a sentence with. Winston Churchill, corrected on this error once, responded to the young man who corrected him by saying, "Young man, that is the kind of impudence up with which I will not put!

3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat.)

6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.

7. Be more or less specific.

8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies endlessly over and over again

10. No sentence fragments.

11. Contractions aren't always necessary and shouldn't be used to excess so don’t.

12. Foreign words and phrases are not always apropos.

13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous and can be excessive

14. All generalizations are bad.

15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

16. Don't use no double negatives.

Friday, April 4, 2008

One Author's Cure for Writer's Block

I like the simplicity of this quote by novelist Robert Crichton. As writers, I think we try to make the process way too difficult at times.

I was fretting too much over that opening sentence.
I worked on it scrupulously,
thinking that if I could only get the first sentense right,
the rest of the book would come easy.
That was a big mistake.

Weeks went by with my staring at blank paper
and getting nowhere.

One day I decided to just start writing
in the style of the Dick and Jane first grade readers.
Simple little words,
without bothering about style or polish -
just to get the story on paper.

I started writing,
"There is a little town on a hill called Santa Vittoria.
It is in Italy. The people in the town
grow grapes and make wine.
One day, not too long ago..."
and so on. It worked fine.

Soon I was writing like mad all day long.
The pages began to pile up and I felt better.

Robert Crichton

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Chocolate and Taxes

I love this comic by inkygirl -- if you haven't seen the uber-talented Debbie Ridpath Ohi's site, you need to check it out! I guess I'll be calling my accountant tomorrow... I always thought chocolate was a legitmate business expense!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Brilliant author, brilliant talk

Brilliant author Andrew Clements spoke to a large crowd at Ball State on Monday evening. Like his books, his talk was both funny and inspirational. There were plenty of children in attendance, and you could tell his talk was geared toward them - after all, they're his biggest fans. Since Clements is the master of the "school story," he showed pictures of himself as a child and gave a lot of details about his family life and school experience. The audience was captivated by his humor and wit.

If you've never read anything by Clements, I'd suggest you start with Frindle, his most well-known book.

Here are some of Clements' words of wisdom from the presentation:

"Time is the secret ingredient to all good writing."

"When you pick up a book, you're picking up a chunk of someone's life."

"Details make a story ring true to life."

"'What happens next?' That's the most important question in writing."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Quote of the Day

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I feel guilty for reading too much. After all, I'm a writer. I should be writing, not reading. But then I found a wonderful quote that perfectly justifies my "vice." The following words of wisdom definitely make a strong case for the argument that all good writers must be avid readers:

"One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment."
-- Hart Crane, American Poet (1899-1932)

So read away, my friends! Read away! It's not a waste of time. You're drenching yourself in words.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Maui or Indy?

I love writing conferences and usually try to attend at least one a year, based on my available funds. I met my agent two years ago at the Central Ohio Writers of Literature for Children Conference, which sadly, is not happening this year. Although my dream conference would be the prestigious Maui Writers Conference, this year I'll have to settle for the less-exotic destination of Indianapolis. I know, Indy is a far cry from Maui, but at least there will be two high-powered editors from Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins there. Here's the link for more info: Indiana SCBWI Conference

After all, it isn't so much about the location as it is about learning and networking. At least, that's what I'm trying to convince myself.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Because, I'm the Mom!

I usually try to keep things on this blog writing-related, but since I consider my most important job title to be "Mom" first and "Writer" second, I just had to post this hilarious video from You Tube. And I guess I'm feeling rather nostalgic and particularly "mom-ish" tonight because my "baby" just turned 8 years old! He was born around 10:20 p.m. -- 1 hour and 40 minutes shy of being a Leap Day baby, which would have been both strange and cool at the same time. I know I wouldn't mind only having a birthday every 4 years! So in honor of Trey's birthday -- here's "The Mom Song." Enjoy!

In other news... I have now finally joined the ranks of high-speed Internet users, hallelujah! Which means I spend way more time surfing the Web than I should. All in the name of "research," of course!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ever Feel Like This?

This hilarious comic from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at inkygirl is right on the money. With three kids 11 and under, this is exactly the way I feel 99.9% of the time. As a matter of fact, as soon as I get over this cold (yep, I'm still sick), I'll be outside, building my igloo.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sick as a ?

Now that my most pressing deadlines are over (hallelujah!), I have to come up with a really good excuse for not blogging. So how about this? I'm sick as a dog. Not sure where this phrase came from, because my dog, Coda, (above) rarely -- if ever -- gets sick. Except when he got hit by a car, which is another story in itself. I'll have to do some research on where this phrase originated -- maybe later when I don't have a fever. So, why am I blogging at my computer instead of lounging in bed, you ask? Well, right now, my fever is artificially lowered due to the 3 Advil I took, and my head, although still feeling suspiciously like a bowling ball, is light enough to hold erect for a few minutes. Also, I'm afraid I may be addicted to the Internet. Is there a rehab clinic for that? More later when I'm feeling like a human being again...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rise to the Occasion

Three weeks into the New Year, and this is only my second post. Shame on me. Well, actually, I've recently been blessed with two new freelance jobs and a speaking engagement, so blogging has to take a back seat. Not like it's ever been in the front seat, or even riding shotgun for that matter, but there have been a few months where I've been a bit more prolific blogger. I'm in the middle of preparing for a workshop on greeting card writing, writing a children's activity book for one company, and composing some poetry for an inspirational gift product line. Yippee! I love it! I've had quite a dry spell on freelance stuff, so bring it on!

Russ and I took the kids to see Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium at our local bargain theater last weekend. I know, I know, it got terrible reviews, but I thought it was a sweet and imaginative movie. So did the kids. And I absolutely love this quote by Mr. Magorium (played by Dustin Hoffman):

Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy New Year -- Already?

Since I completely skipped blogging during the month of December, I thought it would be nice to offer a late Christmas present to all you writers out there. Starting out the New Year with a little humor is always a good thing in my book. Hey, we have the rest of the year to be pessimistic and whine and complain! So, without further ado, here's the writer's version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, originally posted on the Disco Mermaids blog:

(inspired by The Twelve Days of Christmas)
In my twelfth form rejection, the letter said to me:
Dear Author/Illustrator,
regarding (CAPS & BOLDFACE TITLE),
thanks for your submission,
we're so glad you thought of our house,
we're proud of ev'ry book we publish,
see Writer's Market for our guidelines,
due to the number of submissions,
we can't give personal suggestions,
though we strive for quick responses,
after careful consideration,
good luck in the future,
but this story doesn't fit our current needs.
So I cried for just a minute, and then
(surging with ambition)
tucked a self-addressed-stamped-envelope
into my next submission.

Cute, huh? Well, it seems to be the story of my life lately. But who knows what lies ahead in 2008? A book contract would be nice. To be continued...