Monday, September 11, 2017


Thank you to my mom and dad for these awesome birthday treats! New writing journals and pens always foster inspiration for me. I'm looking forward to an upcoming SCBWI writing conference this weekend and am hopeful new ideas will be plentiful. One of the quotes in this Life's Little Instruction Book really hit home for me as I often seem to let life get in the way and wait for the "perfect" time and place to write which, very often, is hard to find. I will leave you with these wise words as you embark on a new writing week...

"What are you waiting for? Perfect conditions? Conditions will never be perfect. Today's the day to dust off your dreams. So get out there. Get going. Get moving. Shoot down a star. Lasso the moon. Stare down a rhino. Life's not going to ask you to dance. You've got to run towards it with arms open and eyes flashing. Tackle it, wrestle it to the ground and kiss it on the lips. It always kisses back."
                                                                                                   H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Happy writing!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Picture Book Summit 2017

Meet Dash...he is everywhere these days getting others excited about the upcoming Picture Book Summit 2017.  October 7, 2017, is rapidly approaching.  What a day it will be! Even if one is unable to attend live, replays are available for a period of time after to listen, or re-listen, to all information and presentations. It is an incredible experience and well worth every cent.

It is not too late to sign up. For more information on speakers and workshops or to register, go to

Tommy dePaola, Carole Boston Weatherford, Adam Rex, Julie Hedlund, Steve Swinburne, Laura Backes Bard, Brenda Bowen...need I say more?

Now, Dash away, Dash away, Dash away all and sign up!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A Day to Read

I just read today is National Book Lovers Day. What an awesome day! A day for all who love to read. What more could we want? Except maybe a little extra time today to enjoy a good read:)

So, whether you are reading for school, reading for fun or reading to your kids, carve out some time and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Opportunity for Writers in the Area

We have a wonderful SCBWI Dakotas writing opportunity in September.  Consider joining us if able. It sounds amazing! Thank you to Kendra Levin for providing this terrific conference and to Betty Raum, our fearless leader, for organizing it.

Click here for more information...

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Building Sand Castles

I've been thinking recently about all my manuscripts that are started, in various stages of completion, as well as those in need of final edits before sending out into the world. I seem to have an easier time starting new things this summer than I do tackling the edits needed on several PB manuscripts.

As a matter of convenience, I can start something new no matter where I my car, on vacation, running errands, etc.  All I have to do is grab a scrap of paper or dictate a voice memo into my phone and viola...something new is born.  However, it feels a much bigger project and is definitely a more time consuming one to sit down, butt in chair, and tackle the edits and re-workings of shaping a current WIP into submission shape.  Perhaps it is having the kids all home during the summer months or constantly being on the go for a variety of reasons. I have four PBs needing final edits and want them all complete before a very exciting September conference thus the time has come to buckle down and get to work. It is exciting to envision the finished products and yet daunting to tackle as a whole.

Today, I saw this quote, and it gave me new inspiration.  Who doesn't love to build a great sand castle? It is an inspiring idea and one I will hold onto as I shape my sandbox into various sand castles.

Where do you find your greater the creation of the original draft or in the shaping into a final and finished product? I would love to hear your process and insights.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Book Review: Tamara Turtle's Life So Far

AUTHOR: Regan W.H. Macaulay
ILLUSTRATOR: Javier Duarte
PUBLISHER: Mirror Publishing
PUBLISHED: June 15, 2017
PAPERBACK ISBN: 978-1-61225-368-8

Tamara is a Red-eared Slider turtle, and this endearing story tells the tale of her life thus far. Tamara is excited to be chosen from all the other Red-eared Sliders only to eventually be forgotten and ignored by her owner and set free in a nearby creek by his mother. Tamara is found by a man who finds her and taken to a special new place where she eventually is rescued and taken home where she belongs.
Ms. Macaulay weaves facts about turtles and taking care of them as pets into a fun story to which kids can relate and learn from without feeling a lesson is being taught—though a good lesson on the importance of providing the best environment and pet care is being taught.

Javier Duarte’s illustrations are beautifully colorful and vivid and bring Tamara and Ms. Macaulay’s story to life.

TAMARA TURTLE’S LIFE SO FAR is a terrific book which teaches responsibility and encourages a very important conversation between parents and children about rescue and care of pets.

Author information can be found at

**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review. This review consists only of my truthful opinions, not influenced in any way by the author or publisher.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Celebrate Independence

Happy Independence Day!  Thank you to all who have served and those who continue to serve. We owe you all such a debt of gratitude!

Enjoy your 4th of July holiday and be safe. God Bless the USA!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme?

That is, indeed, an important question.  It is one I've been wrestling with on my recent PB edits.  I have a story begging to be written in rhyme, so I've been immersing myself in the "what to do/not to do" rules in the world of rhyme recently to refresh myself as I tackle the edits.  

I LOVE rhyme!  Always have.  I love to read a good rhyming picture book, and I enjoy the challenge of writing a good rhyming picture book.  But a challenge it is! There is so much to think about...more than just rhyming the end words of lines. It has to sing!

I listened to a wonderful webinar replay on rhyming last night by Renee LaTulippe from my 12 x 12 webinar series. It was incredible and re-energized my edits.  Renee is wonderful and so very knowledgeable about writing in rhyme. I highly recommend reading or listening to anything she presents if you are prone to writing in rhyme.  I will be checking out her Lyrical Language Lab myself soon.

For more information on 12 x 12, go to  I cannot say enough about the benefits of belonging to the 12 x 12 community.  It is, without a doubt, the best thing I've done for my writing life.  

For more information on Renee LaTulippe, go to

Back to the point of my post...for you rhymers out there, what is your process?  Do you start with a story written in prose and decide it needs to rhyme? Do you hear the music and rhyme of your story and build from there? I would love to hear your thoughts if you are willing to share.

Happy writing and rhyming!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Find Your Creativity

Well, lately, the thud of the tennis ball has landed squarely in the wrong quadrant writing wise.  Wrapping up the school year for the kids and work year for me, sports and activity obligations and now preparations to depart on a much needed family vacation tomorrow have all served to waylay my time for writing--and energy for the same.

I have my good pen and notebook packed and plan to recharge my batteries while lounging in the surf and sand.  You know what they say about the best laid plans, but I am hoping for a creativity burst.  There is nothing like fresh ocean air and sound to spur on creativity.  I will check in upon my return and report my progress.

Until then...keep writing!

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.