Saturday, November 11, 2017

Seeing a Book as it Comes Into Being

    In August I met with my writer friend Nancy Flood, and she shared pages and sketches from her newest book with me.  As a writer, it is so exciting to watch a book take shape!
    Nancy is having great success with her book Soldier Sister, Fly Home, a middle grade fiction set on the Navajo reservation.  Nancy and her husband Bill lived in the Navajo nation for many years, and her book is authentic, funny, and touching.  She has also been so very encouraging as I struggle with my Chipeta story.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ute Museum Opens, More Chipeta Beadwork!

    On June 10th I drove to Montrose, CO for the opening of the remodeled Ute Museum.  One of the translations of Chipeta's name is white singing bird, and I couldn't believe my eyes as a cloud shaped like a white feather stood above the museum!  I was thrilled to finally see the shirt she beaded for her husband Ouray to wear to Washington, D.C.
    It gave me the inspiration to continue trying to get her story told, in a book for young children.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sigh....Chipeta didn't do lunch

  I nudged the agent, and the editor she was hoping to meet with had health issues, so the lunch didn't happen.  The agent said to keep submitting it elsewhere. I wrote back and asked about the story where I'd made the revisions she asked for, but no reply.  I've been holding off submitting these stories since I heard from her March 7, but guess I'll get back in the saddle again. This business is such a rollercoaster!
UPDATE--On June 19th, the agent e-mailed that she wished me luck but did not feel she was the agent for me. Sigh...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Chipeta in New York

Oh, my!  I received an e-mail from the interested agent.  She's having lunch with an editor who is looking for bios to turn into graphic books for young readers, and the agent said she would mention my Chipeta story!  She didn't say anything about the other stories I sent her when she liked Confetti the Yeti and asked for more of my work.  But it still makes me smile to think of dear Chipeta being discussed at lunch, in New York City!
And, she apologized for taking awhile to get back to me!  She is the absolute nicest agent.  I so hope she signs me at some point!

Monday, May 8, 2017

19 years of Awful Waffles!

   I was out of my little easy readers so I ordered another set, and realized that the first one, Awful Waffles, came out 19 years ago!  I'll have to celebrate next year.  The good news is--all five are still in the current 2017 catalog! 
   I lined up my books and some of the magazines I've written for (to get a photo for my facebook author page) and my newly adopted ten year old cat Maggie May checked them out.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hearing Crickets (and not hearing about submissions)

  Well, like Tom Petty says, "The waiting is the hardest part."  I heard from the agent on March 7 and I'm hoping to hear again soon.  According to Submittable, my October submission to Highlights is still "In Progress."  I attended an SCBWI event a few weeks ago which allowed me to submit to one of the editors there--and I'm hearing crickets.  I had what I thought was a wonderful time with a guy who looks a lot like Hemingway--and he hasn't called since.  Sigh....
    But, I'm making some progress while I wait.  I bought a domain name, although I'm not sure yet how to make the most of it.  I found a manuscript I wrote 16 years ago, and it needs work but it's worth editing.  I realized I own the rights to a long poem which appeared in Spellbound years ago, so I may send it out.  I sent a short "action rhyme" poem to High Five.  I've been going through old notebooks and hand-outs from conferences past.  I hosted a meeting of our local writers, and I started volunteering to shelve children's books at our nearby library.
     When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  When life gives you crickets--well, I'm not sure, but I will try to use my time wisely!

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!!