Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Letter to Young Writers

Dear young writers,

Never think that you are too young to have anything worthy to say; each person you meet, experience you have, idea you dream, or world you imagine offers infinite possibilities for your writing.

Capture these kernels of creativity in a journal or writer's notebook. Include photographs, words, snippets of overheard conversations, poems, quotes, song lyrics - anything that makes you tingle, smile, cry, cringe, tremble, shout.

Free write, list, doodle, imagine, wonder, dream. Record your triumphs, loves, losses, and hurts. This will be your treasure trove of writing ideas, and you will always have something to mine. Trust me; you will be glad you did.

Want more? Check out my Young Writers page.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Poem and a Picture for your Friday Pleasure

Yes, it's been a lonnnnnnnnng time since I posted - three months, to be exact. Those three months have been wonderfully (okay, maybe not always so wonderfully) chaotic! Now that the school year has come to a close, I will have more time to devote to this blog, so thanks for not giving up on me!

I hope this last Friday in May finds all my writer friends, family, and new visitors bursting with creative energy. If not, maybe a little poem and artwork will spark some activity in your prefrontal cortex!

Penny Parker Klostermann, whose book THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House Books for Young Readers) releases August 4, 2015, graciously hosts me and my son Ethan on her blog this week. Hop on over and check it out here:

I hope you enjoy our collaboration and Penny's fantastic blog. Happy writing, y'all!


Monday, February 2, 2015

Caught in the Madness (or How I already broke one of my Writer's Resolutions...)

My very sneaky schnauzer, Ella, stealing pizza. Yes, she's on the counter!

  The Look of Shame

Well, I did it.

I mean, who can blame me?

It wasn't my fault, really.


Okay, so maybe I was a teeny tiny bit responsible.

I guess I should tell you what IT is...

I entered another challenge.

I know, I know! I pledged in my last post not to do that.

But how could I resist an international, slam-dunk kid's poetry tournament like

You understand now, don't you?

I couldn't.

I shouldn't.

I wouldn't.

Of course, there's no guarantee I'll even make it to the top 64 contender's bracket. (I'm not sure if that's proper basketball terminology, but it sounds March-Madness-y, doesn't it?)

To be selected as an authlete, I have to survive the first poetic challenge: Write 2-8 lines explaining why you'll be the winner.

I decided to go all double-dactyl-y, in honor of the word basketball, (and to show off my poetic prowess, of course). So without further ado, here is my entry piece:

There you have it, folks, and it only had me sidetracked for a few hours!

YOU want to join me in the Madness now, don't you?

Come on. Get off the bench, throw on that stinky, old jersey and flex those dribbling have work to do!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Weeding the Virtual Garden, or Staging My Own Cyber Intervention

Recently, it occurred to me that I have been spending more time roaming around writer cyberspace than doing any actual writing.

In truth, I have become a twitter-addicted, blog-brained, cyber-junkie!

Oh, the shame!

While my "research" has yielded valuable insight into the agenting and publishing worlds, wise advice on craft, and timely information on contests, challenges, and events, it has also consumed massive amounts of quality writing time (which is scarce for this working mom).

Something has to give.

Notice I said give, not give up.

Just try to take my Twitter away now, and the results wouldn't be pretty.


I'm not kidding.


My Two-Step Solution?


1. Keep ONLY those cyber activities that are absolutely essential to my growth as a writer and my current writing goals and projects



2. Create parameters for using them

Disclaimer to self: Parameters subject to change with writing focus and priorities.


Well I can't do either of those unless I have clearly defined my current writing goals and priorities, so I guess it's actually a Three-Step Solution.

Here are my immediate goals:
  • Write a mystery piece for the Highlights Fiction contest
  • Finish and revise CB version of a PB manuscript per request of publisher
  • Find an agent
  • Submit finished PB manuscripts
Not-quite-immediate goals:
  • Write new PB biography based on research already completed
  • Continue writing poems for themed collection
  • Continue working on MG historical fiction and YA realistic fiction WIPs
  • Submit completed poems and short stories to magazines
With my goals in mind, here is a sampling of my Absolute Essentials:
  • Twitter 
A sampling of my "parameters"

- on Twitter, follow only hashtags and people/groups related to current goals and projects (#mswl, #picturebooks, kidlit agents, etc.) AND limit my time to one hour total each day.

-catch up on blogs only twice a week

-no new challenges until I reach my goals!!!

Well, there you have it folks! With this simple Three-Step-Program, you, too, can be cured of your nasty, little cyber habit.

And if you happen to see me like this...

Remind me to get back on the wagon!

Happy writing, y'all,