Monday, March 13, 2017

Sigh...another rejection...wait! What?

   I had just finished a fun talk in my grandson Charlie's kindergarten
when I came home to my daughter's, feeling great, and found an e-mail from an editor I'd submitted to recently.  Really? A rejection on my vacation?  But then I opened it and found this:

To


Today at 10:37 AM

Deborah,

 

Thanks so much for sending CONFETTI THE YETI my way! I love your message and the art potential here, and you've been especially successful because it's difficult to make rhyme compelling these days! I do have a few tweaks in mind, so have a look at my thoughts below and please let me know if you would be willing to revise CONFETTI with these in mind:

 

Instead of placing Squirrel as the sole overt antagonist to Confetti, perhaps the whole forest could take over asking Confetti questions--they could ask innocently, curiously, or in some cases suspiciously/aggressively, but I want to make sure that we know being agender/bigender/etc. isn't something that should automatically put someone on the defensive, and also that it's okay to ask (respectful) questions out of ignorance/curiosity.

 

I suggest ending the book on "Confetti's not ready to choose only one!" I know you're going for a bedtime story ending, but I think the last stanza ends up feeling tacked-on. Better to end strong with your message at the forefront.

 

"“No, I don’t,” says Confetti. “That’s where you’re wrong.

need to be healthy, I need to be strong,

but I don’t need to choose if I’m he or I’m she.

I’m smart and I’m funny, and totally me.”

" 

 <<<<I just LOVE this stanza. Perfectly encapsulates the attitude we should have about our bodies.

 

Regarding the race versus the dance: the section between "I know...!" and "soft place" gets a little narratively muddy/choppy. Maybe instead of canceling outright, Confetti could inspire everyone to ditch the teams/competition and race together while cheering each other on as individuals (a marathon rather than a relay, perhaps), then end with a celebratory dance? (This could even be gotten across primarily in the art: perhaps we see other animals removing their team shirts, or customizing them--rolling up the sleeves, cutting out the neckline flashdance-style, writing messages on them, tying them at the waist, etc.)

 

If you have any questions or want to run something by me, please don't hesitate to email me and ask. I'd also love to know what else you're working on! I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Best,

Alyssa
 
AAAAAGH!  I couldn't believe it!  She likes my rhymer about a creature who sees no need to choose a gender!  She took such a careful look at it. Then shortly thereafter, she sent another e-mail saying that she'd run the story by her gender-queer co-worker and that person had one suggestion. She shared my story!  Such a good sign!
   I was excited, but I still thought it couldn't be true, there must be something wrong somewhere.  I checked SCBWI and found out that the publisher, Stonesong, is "very legit." Yay! And Alyssa is experienced and seems like a good person on Twitter.
  So I implemented the changes, picked out four other stories, and sent everything off.  Now.....the w  a   i   t   i   n  g begins.  But I am so hopeful!!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

50 Words? Wow!

Dr. Seuss could do it, writing a classic using only 50 different words.  Today on his birthday, Vivian Kirkfield challenges writers to come up with a story using 50 words TOTAL!  Thanks, Vivian--using #50preciouswords is a challenge indeed! Here's mine:

Rules Unbroken

“No Picking!” said the sign. “I want that rose for Mama,” said Charlie. “But she says, ‘follow the rules.’”  “My Nana loves roses,” said Olivia. “But that rule…” “That beautiful rose would delight my wife,” said the old man.  “But rules are rules.” That night, hail destroyed the unpicked rose.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Valentines Day entry

  Excited to enter Susanna Leonard Hill's Valentine story contest!  This year's story must be under 214 words and involve a cake and confusion.  I've entered a rhyming story, 90 words long:  (and if it sounds a bit familiar, it is similar to the non-rhyming story I submitted last year.)

 

                                                           The Heart-Shaped Cake

By Deborah Holt Williams

 

My name is Jake.  I like to bake.

I want to make a heart-shaped cake.

But how? I don’t see how I can.

I don’t have a heart-shaped pan!

 

Check the cupboard, see what’s there—

A pan that’s round and one that’s square.

Hmmm…I know what I can do!

Cut the circle cake in two.

 

Turn the square cake just a bit.

Arrange the circle halves to fit…

When frosting covers every part,

My cake will be a perfect heart!

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Thankful Perspective

  Amid so many rejections, it's sometimes hard to feel thankful.  But I am.  I'm thankful for the many writer friends I've made through the years on-line, and for the occasional magazine sale that gives me hope.  I'm also incredibly grateful for a clear mammogram this fall, two years after my surgery, chemo and radiation.  After a devastating, blindsiding never-saw-it-coming break up, and months of crying every day, I've met a nice man who is helping me feel appreciated again.  I have train tickets to see my grandkids in Seattle for Christmas, which fortunately I bought before I got the $726 bill from my plumber, due Dec. 18th. Then again, I'm happy to have a house to repair.
   So I'm stepping back and putting things in perspective.  Looking just at my submissions, it's been a lousy year.  But taking the broader view, I have my health, a little romance, healthy grandkids and a warm home.  I have writer friends who can commiserate with me, and I have the drive to keep submitting.  And 2017 will be a brand new year to try again! Good luck to us all!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween Highs and Lows

   What an up and down day!  Woke up to find a rejection of my Chipeta story from the editor I most wanted to love it.  I may take a break and work on my middle grade idea that I've had for awhile.
    But later in the day, I received a royalty check for my little easy readers!  A whopping $13.83, but still gratifying. 
    I still have submissions out there, and I'll send out more when I get over today's rejection.  Ah, the highs and lows of a writer.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Rocky Mountain SCBWI conference in Denver!

    Yay, retirement!  Finally, Saturdays off, and I was able to attend the SCBWI event in Denver.  I found a cute, very clean mom&pop motel for lots less than the Marriott, which allowed me to buy books and get them signed for my grandkids!  I caught the last evening the outdoor motel pool was open, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, swimming while the sun set.
     I enjoyed the speakers and the panels, and I'm excited to hear that PB bios are a hot item.  A big reason to attend conferences is the chance to submit to editors and agents that are normally closed.  So, in the days following the conference, I have submitted my Chipeta bio to two agents, my Cowgirl Shorty story to an agent, and Biscochito Man to an editor!  Let the waiting begin! 
   $235 for the conference, $170 for two nights at the motel, $57 for books, chance to submit--priceless!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Met with the director of the Ute Indian Museum

    We hugged, we got teary together--I've never had an interview like it!  The most important thing CJ Brafford wants children to know about Chipeta is that "Her greatest strength was her gentleness."  She feels Chipeta is working through me to tell her story.  She was so encouraging and helpful!  She's going to look over my manuscript, and she told me to contact another author who wrote a book on Chipeta for older kids who she knows will help me with mine.  I came out of that interview with my spirit soaring!