Thursday, December 19, 2013
The great news is, I sold a story to Highlights! It's called The Disappearing Earrings, and I got a bear card after sending the requested revisions, so I was hopeful. And lo and be ho ho hold, the contract came in my e-mail! I have sold two rebuses (rebi?) to Highlights, and a craft project, but this is my first story, where I truly feel like a writer. Feels good!
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Monday, December 16, 2013
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Sunday, December 1, 2013
But this year, the old bulbs were replaced with 4,000 LED lights, and I was asked to speak about Mrs.Schwartz! Here's me by the plaque at the base of the tree.
It feels good to be a part of something meaningful, thanks to my writing!
Monday, November 18, 2013
The first involved collective nouns (my "frustration of picture book writers" was beaten by a "schvitz of rabbis") and the second involved using the names of the paint colors Janet had used to repaint her accent wall--5 times! My story involved a bartender and a painter and lots of daiquiris. Kid friendly? No. But a fun challenge!
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Monday, October 7, 2013
I arrived Sunday evening, Sept. 29th. Pam, the driver who picked me up at the Newark airport, had been visiting her son in Jamestown CO when the floods hit, and she and her husband had to be helicoptered out! We had a great visit--she married her high school sweetheart and they had kids and now they're both retired travel all over the country but Honesdale will always be home. Nice to meet a person who is totally happy with life.
Monday, Kathy arrived! She was one of several women from the Chicago area, and was good friends with Heidi Bee Roemer. We all took the tour of the Highlights office in Honesdale, in this beautiful old home.
Here's a picture of the Chicago Five--Heidi Bee Roemer, Pat Fowler, Linda Dryfhout, Julie Stiegemeyer, and Kathy Doherty.
Back at the Barn, we had dinner and then toasted marshmallows dipped in different flavored liqueurs. Great idea, Matt! Here he is soaking marshmallows in Grand Marnier for Pat and Michelle.
I guess I should mention that we really did discuss poetry! I saw this more as a retreat than a class, but it was very beneficial to have David review the poems we'd sent in. I'd added one that had been rejected by Boyds Mills last year, but it turned out to be his favorite! He wrote "Bingo! If this isn't published, it soon will be. Lots to work with here. An artist will go wild with this." He gave me a suggestion to add to it a little bit, so I revised while sitting outside on the patio with the woods all around--so lovely. Here's David getting ready for his big solo! He looks a little nervous here, but most of the time he was smiling and laughing. Delightful, talented man, and he gave us all copies of his book, Pirates!
The Skype visit from Children's Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis was very good. Boy, do I have a lot to learn about poetic forms! Fortunately, David gave us a great handout. Took a relaxing, yet energizing walk in the woods.
The evenings were so much fun--appetizers and wine on the patio, dinner, and then poems performed around the fire. At night, my wonderful neighbor Karen Eastland and I took a flashlight walk down past the former store to a farm where she'd heard a rooster that morning. So fun to be out walking in the dark! This is Karen chatting with Chef Joseph. She was on meds that made her light-sensitive, so she wore dark glasses and a hat during the day.
Kathy and I took a walk, and at night, sweet Cory Corrado joined Karen and me for another nighttime flashlight adventure! Here's Cory with Kathy.
The Skype visit with Renee LaTulippe was super. What a delightful woman she is! On Thursday, Marileta Robinson came to visit. She was the editor at Highlights when I first started submitting, and she rejected everything I sent, but often added an encouraging note. Those notes kept me going! It was fun to meet her, and thank her, and share my happy news about another sale. Heidi calls us the "Three Amigos" and we had our picture snapped with her.
Rebecca Davis of WordSong, the poetry arm of Boyds Mills Press, came to talk to us about submitting poetry. I talked to her about my poem that David liked, and she said to send it in to her attention. Connections like these are why I think Highlights conferences are such a great investment.
So hard to say goodbye to everyone! I keep going through my photos and remembering all the terrific and talented people I met there. And it was so wonderful to reconnect with my dear writing buddy, Kathy Doherty.
Good friends, good poetry, good food, good weather--I will remember it always!
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Friday, September 6, 2013
Thursday, August 29, 2013
AND….the winner is Deborah Holt Williams. We liked that in so few words she created a plot using all of the elements in the painting in a way that made sense but was not predictable. Her fairy-tale language felt timeless but not cloying. Her ending was funny and a good piece of advice. Congratulations!
And here is my story:
Once upon a time, young Helga and her brother Hans followed their frisky hound into a deep forest and became hopelessly lost. A cloak of darkness fell upon the woods, and the children began to worry about wolves in the night.
“I shall sleep on top of the tree,” said Hans,”where I can see the wolves if they come in the night.”
“I shall tie myself to the tree with my hair,” said Helga, “so I will feel the tree shake if the wolves come in the night.”
The dog lay down with his nose to the ground, so he could smell the wolves if they came in the night.
But while they slept, a hungry and very quiet bear tippy-toed through the woods and ate them all.
“When you prepare for one misfortune,” said the bear, picking his teeth, “you may be surprised by another one entirely.”
Friday, August 23, 2013
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Yesterday on the query forum, I got a request from "Ninja Agent Lavender" asking me to private message my Confetti the Yeti story! I was so excited, but when I tried, I got a message that the agent was not accepting PMs! Aaaagh! But she wrote me again that she'd fixed the problem and to try again, so I did.
Let the waiting begin! I so hoped that I would hear from her this morning, that she (or he) would love it and that a contract would shoot out of my printer. It didn't happen. But, we writers are a patient breed...
In other news, Glenwood Springs caught fire last night (thank goodness for the rain that followed), and I heard from my friend in Cedaredge who is planning a picnic for my visit tomorrow. It was a very busy evening!
Monday, August 12, 2013
What are some of the challenges and the joys you face as an older person writing for children?
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Friday, August 2, 2013
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
“Very child-centered stories where the kids will see themselves in the place of the main character, with a very strong narrative arc, with scenes specifically building one upon the other, a series of three, and a very emotionally satisfying conclusion, with broad audience appeal and a great marketing hook. They do not want fleshed out descriptive texts. They want simply the framework of the story so that the illustrations can offer 50% of the story. They want tension throughout and great page turns. All under 600 words, preferably. Oh, and a takeaway for the kid. They want layers to the story where a child or parent will see something new with each reread. Sweet stories or fun wordplay stories are not enough anymore.”
My story Hurricane Carlos, recently rejected by Karen, has a lot of these features, but it may be that I fleshed it out too much. On to revision!
Monday, July 22, 2013
...and 8 weeks later, while I was there with her on a Saturday, she got her contract in the mail! Her story will appear in the December 2013 issue of Good Old Days magazine, and they are paying her $25.00. As the photo shows, she couldn't be more pleased!
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Tara's picture book writing challenge really got me going in November--she had us come up with a new pb idea each of the 30 days. PiBoIdMo is still benefitting me this year as I complete Julie Hedlund's 12x12 challenge, writing and submitting a picture book manuscript to an agent each month.
Friday, June 7, 2013
This came from Erzsi Deak, the June 12x12 agent. So specific and encouraging! Now I'll have to write another Squid-Eye Sally story...
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Friday, May 3, 2013
Lots of progress so far this month. On May 1st I entered my 12x12 story Squid-Eye Sally's Pirate Presents, submitted my rhyming manuscript Confetti the Yeti to Jennifer Dechiara (who has a special interest in books for the LGBT community), my Ready to Run "faction" story to Holiday House, and Cowboy Chuck and the Lost Buckaroo to Charlie Olsen and Inkwell Management. I also sent Ready to Run to Rate Your Story--hope it does better that Cowboy Chuck did!
Sent all these messages in bottles out to sea--now to wait to see what the tide brings in!
Monday, April 22, 2013
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Friday, April 5, 2013
Monday, March 25, 2013
The first is that although Tricia has not looked at all of the submissions that have come in yet, she commended the quality and professionalism of the ones she has seen. This is great news! It means you guys are doing your jobs - doing the research and selecting mss to submit that you feel are aligned with her interests.
... The second message is that while Tricia intends to respond to everyone (again, a HUGE benefit for members and NOT one that I required agents to commit to when they signed on to take submissions), it is going to take longer for her to complete those responses than it did for Stephen Fraser, who was outrageously (in a good way) fast. After all, she is here in Bologna, and March is by far the busiest month for any agent. So you guys need to practice patience. A 2-6 month wait time for a response is the NORM in this industry, not the exception. And that's if you're lucky enough to get a response. The fact that the two participating agents, so far, have said they'll respond to everyone is a testament to their dedication to helping and encouraging writers.
Now I'm really getting excited to hear what she has to say!
Sunday, March 17, 2013
However, some of us want to share the celebrations and frustrations that come with submitting to an agent, and we are toughened by enough rejections to where we can handle it. I would love to know if this month's agent, for example, is responding to any of the submissions, and what can be learned from her comments. In fact, that's one of the reasons I joined 12x12 at the gold level.
So if you are stout of heart, and you can handle others' successes without taking it personally when you are not as fortunate, you are welcome to share your thoughts here. And please share your good news as well!
Friday, March 15, 2013
Thursday, March 14, 2013
My poem is: SophistiCat
To sophisticate means to alter,
to adulterate or change.
I'd like to sophisticate Walter,
or at least get rid of his mange.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Next step will be to write a query letter for it, and Emma Watson Hamilton recently critiqued one I wrote earlier. Return of the chainsaws! Cut the query letter, too! Throw it in the wood chipper!
But, a great joy this month has been contributing to David L. Harrison's blog on poetry, and having the wonderful author Iza Trapani say she loves my limerick. The swords are sheathed, at least for a moment.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
So farewell January, and welcome February!