Thursday, May 4, 2017

Life Lessons in Tennis

I was sitting watching several of my son's tennis matches yesterday and started thinking how applicable that tennis ball was to life as I watched it thunk back and forth across the net. The back and forth of the tennis ball made me think of the back and forth of my writing life.  Perhaps because there was so much I needed to be home doing at that moment (both writing wise and otherwise), but such is the stage of life I am in right now. I can't miss one of my kid's activities, and I was, technically, now thinking about a blog post in my head.  The back and forth doesn't at all represent the interest in writing for me but rather the commitment to prioritize it.  Thud...making the time to write before anything else.  Thud...doing everything else FIRST in an effort to have a bigger block of time to write only to be left with NO time. Back and forth, back and forth, all the way to the deuce point. What's going to take it...the non-essentials or the writing? One's head controls the choice in the game of tennis. One's head also controls the choice in writing.  So, what's it going to be? Many days, the ball lands squarely in the net and goes nowhere. Today, it was a little more back and forth for me in the productivity department. How about you? Game, set, match! 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter

Wishing you all a blessed Easter shared with family and filled with peace, love and joy. God Bless!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Writing, Revising and Revising Some More

In the midst of reading for ReFoReMo (Reading for Research Month) and participating in 12 x 12, I have been pretty pathetic at posting here on my blog.  I apologize and aim to be more consistent in the future!

As ReFoReMo winds down and my piles of mentor texts are ready to go back to the library, I am getting back to organizing my writing and WIP files needing major to minor edits.  I tend to be more productive at writing the initial draft and completing the minor edits than I am at tackling the major edits and re-writes.  How about you?  I seem to always think those more intense edits are going to require too big of a block of time than I have at that given moment and, consequently, it goes to the back burner...again...and again...and again... You get the idea!

Anyway, I started a new book today recommended by a writer friend, WRITING PICTURE BOOKS by Ann Whitford Paul.  I've read only the prologue thus far, but it got me excited about diving into my WIP edits regardless of the amount of re-working needed.

Ms. Paul says in her prologue, "Completing a draft of your story is not the end of the writing process. It is only the beginning. Then you must shape your draft into a publishable manuscript. This is the fun part of writing. This is the time-consuming part of writing. This is what separates the amateur from the professional."

And it is fun.  But it is also such work.  Hard work.  But such rewarding work as well.  I have several manuscripts that need more than the short blocks of time I've had (let me correct myself, that I've made) lately, and I am looking forward to jumping in with both feet.  Perhaps one of the most daunting reasons I continue to procrastinate is also found in Ms. Paul's words,

"Note that revision is not a one-time thing. Every change will call for others."

So. Very. True! But, that is also how a story is born, so press on and dive in, I will.

I would love to hear how you tackle your revision process if you are willing to share a comment.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Today marks the birthday of one of the world's most wonderful storytellers, Dr. Seuss. As such, a nationwide reading celebration takes place every year on this day. It is Read Across America Day, so get out your books (especially the Dr. Seuss books) and read.

Dr. Seuss was a masterful storyteller but also a subtle teacher for children as he showed kids the importance of having a kind heart, believing in oneself and in one's potential in life.  I can think of no other person having such a long and important impact on children's reading and learning...and with such fun stories!

As I started to think of some of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes to share today, I realized they all came from the same book...Oh, The Places You'll Go! (1990)
Some of my most favorite include the following...

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."

"You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so...get on your way!"

"And when things start to happen, don't worry. Don't stew. Just go right along. You'll start happening too."

I guess that means Oh, The Places You'll Go! is my favorite Dr. Seuss book given all my favorite quotes come from it, but there are so many wonderful books.

What are your favorite Dr. Seuss books and/or quotes?  I'd love to hear them!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Barnes & Noble Bookfair

For anyone in the Sioux Falls, SD, area on Saturday, February 25, Barnes & Noble is hosting a book fair which will support and raise funds for our Dakotas chapter of Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators.

Kids can enjoy story time, activities (including an illustration demonstration by Elise Parsley and caricature drawings by Chuck Bennis) and a Dr. Seuss celebration.  Adults can enjoy books, drinks and treats in the cafe as well as discounts on cheesecake purchases Saturday in the deli.

Use code #12054516 at checkout or mention the book fair promo to the cashier.

For anyone not in the Sioux Falls area tomorrow and interested in participating, shop online at from February 25, 2017 to March 2, 2017 and use code #12054516 in the space for "book fair id" at checkout.

Thanks in advance for supporting our SCBWI Dakotas chapter and happy shopping, reading, coffee drinking and treat eating!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Reading for Research Month Challenge

The mission of ReFoReMo taken from the website is as follows...

The ReFoReMo Challenge, or Reading for Research Month Challenge, was founded in 2015 to help picture book writers reform writing by reading and researching mentor texts in the month of March.  The challenge is supported by educators, authors, illustrators, editors, and literary agents in addition to  a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction picture book recommendations. We welcome classrooms, educators, writers, illustrators, and publishing professionals to learn with us.

Registration for the ReFoReMo challenge opens each year on February 15. Fully registered participants will have an opportunity to enter prize drawings at the conclusion of ReFoReMo. Our private Facebook Group is open to all picture book writers and illustrators. This is where we share literary revelations and start picture book/blog post discussions

Take a look at the awesome schedule of events and spread the word.  To receive updates and registration details, be sure to follow ReFoReMo by email here: You'll find their sign up in the right hand side bar.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Have a Dream...

"I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream..I have a dream today."

As we remember and celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. today, dream big...dream of a world with endless possibilities, a world with everything at your disposal.  Go after your dreams and accomplish all.  The world is yours for the taking!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

It's All in Your Head

Check out the January/February 2017 issue of Guardian Angel Kids eZine...

Baby Poopsie Loves Ears by Deb Gardner Allard and Illustrator Jack Foster
Inside my Head by Stephanie Malley; 
Cat-o-sonic Clay by Lisa Allen
Not Just a Walking Stick by Pamela Love
Mixed-Up Mary by Deborah Hunt
Head Full of “Don’t Bees” by Ramona Taylor
Cat Got Your Tongue? by Mary Sue Roberts 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Storystorm 2017

30 ideas in 30 days...let the story storm begin!

Visit Tara Lazar's blog at for more information or to join the fun.  Registration is still open and will be until January 7, 2017.