Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I want patience and I want it NOW!

  Hopeful news on my picture book Biscochito Man, and an invitation from Kathleen Hayes of High Five to join her on Linkedin. (I hit the I accept button--now what??  Not sure, but I'm honored to be invited!)  I had given up hope of ever hearing from Julie Ham at Charlesbridge, so at midnight I sent it by e-mail to Theresa Howell at Rio Nuevo books, for their new Rio Chico  line of kids' books.  Seven hours later, I heard from Julie Ham!  She apologized for taking so long but said she had a couple more co-workers she wanted to show it to, and that I was welcome to submit it elsewhere.  (Which works out well, since I just did!)  Then I heard back from Theresa that she got my story and I would hear from them in three months.  Patience is so hard for us older writers, do you agree!  Time's a wastin'!  Shit or get off the pot!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sharing Articles and Adventures

  It got down to 20 degrees overnight, and my cabin's pipes froze!  I had no running water in the morning, but it was fixed by the afternoon.  The good news, however, was that I heard back from the editor at Cobblestones, saying she wanted to see my roadrunner article!  I polished it up and sent it on tonight.  Absolutely no guarantees, of course, but she will look at it.
   The classes were so worthwhile, with actual copies of real submitted articles before and after editing, and real query letters and the articles they led to.  National Geographic photographer and author Darlyne Murowski told of her experiences in getting her amazing pictures.  That night at dinner, Cristina Kessler and Darlyne shared their adventures in Africa, India, the Galapagos, Madagascar and other exotic locations, and told of thier encounters with a lion, a jaguar, a charging rhino, a poisonous snake,  wild pigs, alligators, an angry elephant, fighting giraffes, fire ants...it was a thrill just listening to them!  And hearing phrases like "kayaking down the Zambizi," and "driving across the Kalahari..."What incredible women.
    It will be hard to leave my homey little cabin and go back to the daily routine.  I've learned so much, and I'm aware of so many more possible markets, and I'm excited about magazines!  But I do miss my dear old cowboy and my dogs.

Friday, March 9, 2012

"One Tough Bird" may be on her way

  A cold and snowy but encouraging day!  Lou Waryncia liked my roadrunner piece "One Tough Bird"  and gave me the e-mail of one of his editors at Cobblestone, and told me to mention his name.  He was excited when I told him I had access to photos of Zia pueblo dances, taken by a photographer who got permission from the pueblo governor.  He said they've been covering regions of the US and saved the southwest for last because it was so hard to get photos of Native Americans!  He said to e-mail the editor of Faces magazine right away and show her what I have.
   Rachel Bucholz from Nat Geo Kids handed out a collection of actual query letters, and had us figure out why they wouldn't work for her.  Rich Wallace had us think about something I never had--about the amount of time the story would cover, whether a day, a week, a month, as a way to help plot our story.  He read aloud one of his favorite books (and mine, too)--Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel.  Paula Morrow had a slide show and gave us each a copy of Magazine Markets for Children's Writers 2012!
   Michelle Budzilowitz and Christine Cully from Highlights came to dinner and gave me hugs and were so kind.  Michelle and I laughed about how hot and miserable we were at Chautauqua. Christine said she looks forward to signing more contracts for me.  Me, too!  The clouds cleared, the full moon rose orange, and my favorite constellation Orion was high in the sky.  What a great day!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Highlights Offices

  Our driver into Honesdale, Heather, left us off a little early so we toured some of the cool little shops in Maud's Alley (got my 11 yr. old grandson a kit to make a clock that runs on two potatoes for batteries!) and then walked to the beautiful old Victorian house on Church Street and had our tour, given by an intern, Lisa.  We met with Joelle Dujardin,who handles fiction; Annie Beer, who showed us samples of some of the craft ideas she gets; and Debra Hess, who handles non-fiction and world culture articles. On our way to sit down in the conference room with Andy Boyles the science editor, Kathleen Hayes from High Five came down stairs and gave me a hug!  She was surprised to see me, and told me she had just been looking at the art that will go with my action rhyme, Garden Stretch.  So good to see her!  And Christine Cully, editor in chief, will be a dinner guest tomorrow or Saturday.  It's so nice seeing familiar faces from Chautauqua!
    Tonight we had a wondrful dinner and then met as a group (12 conferees, 4 instructors) and chatted about tomorrow's schedule.  My mentor will be Lou Warnycia, editor at Cobblestone, Odysey, Caliope and that whole group of mags.  I submitted my roadrunner piece--hopefully he can help me make it take off and fly!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Here I am in Boyds Mills, Pennsylvania in my cozy little cabin!  The driver Bob stood at the bottom of the Newark airport escalator with a Highlights magazine in his hand, and he drove Liz from Toronto and me here with one stop--at Frank's Pizza in New Jersey. Fabulous pizza!  We stopped at the Barn, where the chefs Marcia and Heather gave us warm blueberry muffins, the best macarroons I've ever tasted, and deli containers of wine to take back to our rooms!  Liz came over to visit--she's a grandma, too, and so well-travelled and interesting.  Tomorrow, we take the tour of the Highlights offices.  So, with a full moon, mild weather, a new friend, a full tummy and wifi, I'm signing off for tonight.  Bueno, --Deb

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Writing Buddy

 My friend who lives near Rochester, NY has 85 people in her writers' group. Here in the Jemez Mountains, it's my buddy Shirley Duke and me. Shirley lives here part-time and in the Dallas area part-time, and we hadn't we hadn't seen each other in a while. We had breakfast recently, and caught up with our writing successes and failures (we've both had articles rejected by Andy Boyles of Highlights as "too encyclopedic").  She has a science blog and when she's done reviewing the books, she donates them to our library where I work.  She's a talented writer, a generous friend, and a lot of fun, and I'm lucky to have her in my life.