Friday, December 26, 2014

It's all in how you look at it...

   I reviewed my list of 2014 submissions, and I can either view it as "52 submissions and only 2 sales," or--"Woohoo!  Two sales this year--to Highlights and Appleseeds!"  I'm proud to appear in both magazines.  This will be my third rebus in Highlights, and my third piece for Appleseeds.
    So, I won't let the other 50 submissions get me down.  I'll celebrate the two that were purchased!  Happy New Year, everyone!  May we all have a successful 2015!

Monday, November 3, 2014

This is What You'd Call A Good Day...

...even though I'm not a finalist in the Halloween contest.  I got a contract in an e-mail from Highlights--they are purchasing another rebus!  Then the snail mail came, and I got a bear card from Kathleen Hayes for a poem I subbed to High Five, and it seems that about 70% of the time, a bear card leads to a sale.  (It's a postcard with a family of bears that says "Thank you for bearing with us while we review your manuscript.") And, a royalty check (for the astronomical sum of $9.02) from Continental Press from sales of my easy readers.  I  mailed off a submission, and entered a manuscript to be critiqued by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallenin the next Plotting Webinar, so all in all I felt quite authorly today!

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Time for a Halloweensie Poem!

   Every year, Susanna Leonard Hill holds a contest where writers can submit a 100-word poem, and here is mine: (93 words)

                   Halloween Moon
   One dark and moonless Halloween night,
the ancient witch wished for some light.
    Her eyes could barely see the knife,
but carving was her joy in life.
    She cut the mouth and heard a cry.
The pumpkin screamed, "I want to fly!"
     The witch snarled, "Pumpkins shouldn't speak!
But my old bones now tremble and creak.
     I give you my broomstick, now fly like a loon!"
So the pumpkin flew off--and turned into the moon!
     The pumpkin knew the joy of flight,
And the witch kept carving, by silvery light.

   Find links to the other entries on Susanna's blog, 

   Oh, and the cat in the picture is my new (15 years-old) cat Nellie that I adopted last weekend.  She's posing with one of the pumpkins I grew this summer.  Happy Halloween, and remember that chocolate can be dangerous for pets!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Time again for...PiBoIdMo!

I love this time of year--not only because the weather here in Colorado is gorgeous, but because I get to start thinking of crazy ideas for new stories, and I have to write them down!  It's time for November's Picture Book Idea Month!
Here's the link for more info on PiBoIdMo

   While I'm here, I'll report that I have no news to report on the submissions front.  I'm taking a terrific class on picture book plotting, offered by Sudipta Bardan-Quallen, so maybe that will be help.  But life is good, and my new grandbaby Dylan is wonderful!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sweeping out the cobwebs

    My poor blog has been neglected this summer as I finished up my thirty-four radiations, the end of my breast cancer treatment!  Here's me ringing the bell three times to mark the end of my adventure.

    The Highlights workshop was my reward for getting through chemo.  There was a brief scare at my last oncology appointment that I might have thyroid cancer, but the biopsy showed I'm fine.  Now I'm done with everything, I feel terrific, and my hair is growing back!  And, I'm back to writing, revising and submitting.
     Although I don't have much writing news (I did get a bear card on a rebus I sent to Highlights, and a poem is being considered for High Five), other good things have happened.  I got a job!  Not an easy task when one is nearly 63 and nearly bald.  I work in the child care at the Community Center, and although it's part-time I get a free pass to use the gym and pool.  My next goal is to lose 50 pounds, and I've lost 18 so far, so this will help. 
     And my happiest news?  This morning, Dylan Maxwell, my grandbaby, is hot off the press!
  I can't wait to go see him in a few weeks.  About the same time I found out I had cancer, Josh and Carrie found out that Dylan was on his way.  Life goes on, and today is such a joyous day!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The "Writing From the Heart" workshop at the Barn was FABULOUS!

   Sometimes when you really look forward to something for months, and it costs a lot of money, the reality doesn't measure up.  But the recent "Writing from the Heart" workshop I attended at the Highlights Barn exceeded all my expectations!
    I knew I would love seeing Joy Cowley again, my writing hero.  Whether it was chanting a Maori grace at dinner, telling hilarious stories in her New Zealand accent, or helping me with my manuscripts, she was wonderful.
    I had never met the other instructor, Suzanne Bloom.  We hit it off immediately!  I found going through my notes that I'd written, "I love Suzanne Bloom!"  She invited me to go into the Honesdale Salvation Army, and we had such a good time.  She's a great critiquer, too--I felt so confident in one of the stories she helped me revise that I sent it off today.
    AND--I got to see my dear friend Kathy Doherty again!  We met at the last Chautauqua and have been buddies ever since.  Here's a picture of Kathy and me:
Marileta Robinson, the former editor of Highlights, came to visit.  She rejected everything I ever sent her, but she always sent an encouraging note.  That was so much fun--we kept having guests!  Editors, art directors, authors, illustrators, the Honesdale children's librarian, a singer/songwriter, and each one added so much to our experience.  Here are several students with Marileta (seated in the middle) and that's Joy on the end:

 We went into the Highlights offices in Honesdale, and editor Joelle Dujardin showed my rebus in the current (June 2014) issue of Highlights.

  Suzanne Bloom dressed to match her illustrations!  It was fun to see the original pastels.  Her art director came, too, and told what he did after he got her artwork.
 The meals were amazing, I loved my cozy little cabin, and the grounds were beautiful, with lilacs in full bloom.  We took walks past nearby farms where we were greeted by Max the dog, chickens and friendly pigs.
    I had a manuscript that had come very close to being published but was turned down by acquisitions, and I hadn't been able to look at it--too painful!  But Joy helped me revise it, and I fell ready to submit it elsewhere.  Joy is one of my favorite people on the planet.

    There were only 7 of us attending the workshop, and we formed a tight group.  The instructors gave us an extra half-day of their time on Saturday afternoon!  Another surprise!  I'd recommend a Highlights workshop to anyone.  I came away with five manuscripts I feel ready to submit, but more importantly I was nourished, body and soul, which was just what I needed.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Downs and Ups

   I had such high hopes for my story Biscochito Man, which went to the acquisitions committee at Charlesbridge in December.  But the word came today from editor Julie Ham that they had turned it down.
   However, the bad news came on a good day--because I won Round 1 of the March Madness Poetry Tournament!  Last year I went out in the first round, so my goal this year was just to make it through to Round 2.  The voting this year is in three parts: the general public, the other "authletes," and classrooms.  I am very pleased to have won all three!
    General public--126 to 71
    Other poets--27 to 13
    Classroom--11 to 6
     I was fun to have my daughter Molly in Seattle following the voting and the comments, and texting me that she was proud of me.  My word was an odd one, "junto," and here is my poem:
Ben Hangin' With His Junto
Ben Franklin was a printer, an inventor and a wit.
He loved discussing issues in a tavern where he'd sit
With eleven friends, his junto, to moralize and sip.
"A penny saved's a penny earned!"  Ben never left a tip.
Begun in 1727, they met each Friday night,
Until the tavern staff suggested Ben go fly a kite.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Poetry Up Ahead

   Hurray!  I found out last night that I made it into this year's March Madness poetry contest.  It was great fun last year.  I'm also looking forward to this event in April:
Let the rhyming begin!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I Need Some Young Parent Feedback on The Dark

   I read the new (2013) book by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klaassen, called The Dark, and I would love to know how young parents and their little ones enjoy it.
   The color scheme reminds me of the "Earth tones" in my 1970's kitchen--brown, rust, olive, off-white--and lots of black..  Does it appeal to kids?The Dark is a character in the story--do kids get that?  And there is one page where the dialogue between Laszlo and The Dark is interrupted by 4 paragraphs of writing!  If I were in Lemony's critique group, I'd have suggested he peel that page right out of there!
    But, I'm 62 years old, and I prefer books with colorful illustration and rollicking text.  What do young readers think of The Dark?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I've Been Asked to Speak on Magazine Writing

   The Garfield County libraries are asking local authors to share their work, and I'll be talking about writing for magazines at the Glenwood library on April 12th and the Silt library on April 19th.  It means I'll miss the SCBWI event on revising in Grand Junction, but Meg Miller's ReviMo has got me revising on my own.
    I realized that my poem for Susanna Leonard Hill's October contest, One Lonely Halloween, was 100 words--exactly the right length for a rebus!  So I fine-tuned it and mailed it off to Joelle Dujardin.  I also revised my poem for Susanna's holiday contest, Seriously Santa? (I do love Susanna's contests!) and sent it off to a humorous poetry contest, which won't pick a winner til this summer.  But, there's a $1,000 prize, so it's worth the wait!
   Ever since seeing Kathy Doherty's portfolio of her magazine work last fall at the Highlights Barn, I've been meaning to get my pieces copied and put in a binder.  Now that I'm presenting at the library events, I'll finally get it done!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Writing is Revising...

Thanks, Meg Miller, for a challenging, fun, encouraging, inspiring week!  I worked on Marisol and the Dream Ship, Hurricane Carlos, Grandma's Hats,  The Enormous Potato, Ready to Run, and I turned a contest entry into a picture book called Once Upon a Panther.  I really needed this challenge!