Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Never Forget

Today, we remember the day our world changed 18 years ago with the worst terrorist attack in the history of our country.  My heart aches for all those who lost lives or loved ones, those who experienced that day first hand in any capacity as well as all those who continue to experience the affects of that day.  May God Bless you all!

Monday, August 26, 2019



So, my last post was about lack of time versus lack of direction. Clearly, I've suffered both lack of time and direction as of late as it has been a month since my last post. I could make all the normal excuses...family vacations, getting ready for the return to school and work, taking my daughter to school for the start of her freshman year in college, preparing to send my oldest off for her senior year in college, etc. And all are true. And all have impacted my writing time. Or shall I say I have allowed all to impact my writing time. I have very much enjoyed my family focused time this summer and feel somewhat renewed but know it is high time to kick it into gear and get busy again.

Most imminent are finalizing edits on my current WIPs and preparing for our regional SCBWI conference in September as well as getting back to regularly reading and blogging. 

How about you? Did you find yourself veering off course this summer? If so, I hope you enjoyed the diversions and also feel a sense of renewal; however, I would love to hear your strategies for re-grouping and getting back on course for better productivity and writing focus. Please, if you are so inclined, do share what works for you.

Happy writing all!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Time Vs. Direction

I read a Zig Ziglar quote on Twitter the other day which said...

"People often complain about lack of time when lack of direction is the real problem."

Now, don't get me wrong, I do really believe lack of time can be an issue, particularly for those working many hours and/or multiple jobs while raising a family, etc.  Getting spread too thin with little time for anything but sleep can be a big issue.  For the rest of us, however, it isn't always about the lack of time as much as it is the efficient use of what time one does have or make. It is also said that life is a balance, and, for me, lack of direction can definitely be a factor in my balancing skills.

I often find myself going in circles doing a little of this, a little of that and then back for a little more of this...fiddle farting around is what my husband likes to call it.  I would definitely have more focus and better use of time with improved direction. But how does one find the best use of time and direction when life often feels like a cluster of chaotic moments? 

Prioritizing the most important and starting there? Letting the unnecessary things go to carve out more time for what is truly important? But who determines what is and is not "truly important" when everything seems that way? Get up early or stay up late to get some writing time in? But what if one is already operating on a slim number of hours of sleep to begin with? Health and well-being do need to be a consideration or all will come crashing down eventually.

So, do you see my point? How are we to decide what direction is best in the time we have and where to most effectively focus our time and direction to achieve the best/hoped for results? Sometimes I feel like I have a good handle on making a smart plan of action and other times I just fiddle fart my way about never accomplishing much of anything.  Oh, how it pains me to agree with his view of my actions at times!!!

Having said that, I have actually had a pretty productive last couple months with two manuscripts revised and submitted and another two rough (very rough!)  drafts completed and in the works. I think this is because I am trying to focus on starting my day being productive with my writing before moving on to other things (whether important or not) which helps; however, I am also getting better at letting it go when life gets in the way as it often does and not letting set backs derail me.  As the old saying goes, "this too shall pass."

I would love to hear how direction, or lack thereof, impacts your time and production level if you are so inclined to share. Perhaps we can all learn from one another!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Terrific SCBWI Conference Opportunity


Calling all writers and illustrators.  Registration is open and time is winding down for the early bird registration price for the upcoming SCBWI Dakotas conference which looks amazing! 

Complete information about The 2019 Dakotas Regional Conference: Harvesting Our Stories is now online. There are limited spaces for Intensives, Critiques, and Pages, so sign up early.

The conference will be held in Fargo, North Dakota, on September 13-14. The Early-Bird price (good until July 31) is $125 for the conference with additional charges for optional intensives and critiques. 
From August 1 onward, the cost increases to $150.00 and critiques will no longer be available. 

We have a great line-up of speakers:
  • Sara Sargent, Senior Executive Editor at Random House Books for Young Readers
  • Alexa Pastor, Editor with Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Timothy Travaglini, a literary agent with Transatlantic Agency
  • Claudia Mills, an award-winning author
We'll also have critique and consultation opportunities and the chance to connect with other writers and illustrators throughout the region. 

Click here for speaker bios and conference schedule.

One of this year's highlights is the Jimmy Jet Award for Excellence in Children's LIterature, a prize of $350 for the best manuscript submitted for critique. We will also feature a Bookstore of our member's books. During lunch, you may choose to read the first two minutes of your work in progress and receive dozens of written responses if you sign up for Pages. We will have Intensives on Friday afternoon: Anatomy of a Picture Book and The Cult of Personality: Writing Character-Driven Fiction. Don't miss out on this great opportunity.

Invite friends to join us. Members of SCBWI as well as nonmembers are welcome.  
Questions? Email dakotas@scbwi.org

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Celebrate Our Great Nation


As we have fun and go about our holiday to celebrate this great land of ours, let us not forget all those who have, and continue to, fight for our freedom and ability to do so.  Honor our home of the free because of the brave. We owe you!

Happy 4th of July. Celebrate this great nation and be safe!



Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Build Your Best Self

"Fear and dread are great cripplers of the spirit."

So says Vinita Hampton Wright in SIMPLE ACTS OF MOVING FORWARD: 60 SUGGESTIONS FOR GETTING UNSTUCK.

As I have continued to explore and be enlightened by this book, I've grown to see how "stuck" one can become in all facets of life. Stuck in writing, yes, but also stuck in mindset (hence why my next book exploration will be MINDSET: THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY OF SUCCESS by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.), stuck in routine (I am guilty as charged), stuck in thought or belief (positive or negative) and so forth. So how then does one become "unstuck" in order to move forward?

I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking and am often arguing the merit of the proverbial glass half full, not empty, to those naysayers out there. Clearly, I don't live wearing rose-colored glasses but do believe one can set the tone and mindset for the day by choosing to focus on and see the positive rather than assuming the worst.

The prayer at the end of one of the chapter reads...

"How much more positive my life would be if I just assumed that things will go well. Give me that kind of vision."

Oh boy, yes! In fact, this has been an ongoing discussion in my household as of late for various reasons. I have lectured some on not assuming something will happen a certain and expected way but to, rather, wait and let things unfold before jumping to conclusions. This has stemmed from a negative place of assumption however. Perhaps I should now lecture the benefits of assuming from a place of positivity...rather than expecting it to be another crappy, cloudy day, see the sun peeking from behind the cool cloud; rather than expecting to fail a test, assume you will know more than you think given the effort put forth in studying; rather than expecting another rejection, assume the editor or agent may love your manuscript and, if not, surely another will...see my point?

Much of this negativity, it seems to (and for) me, stems from a place of fear. Fear of being ridiculed, fear of losing or not being good enough, fear of failure...even fear of success depending on what that success entails. Fear can drive, or stunt, so many of our thoughts, beliefs and abilities. We must overcome this fear.

Wright says, "So put away fear today. And build upon hope...when you finally face the thing you fear or dread, it automatically becomes a smaller monster."

And, I would argue, frees the ties that bind our minds.  Step by step, task by task, hour by hour, day by day...the piles get tackled, the projects get accomplished and the mind and negativity get quieted.

Let's build our best selves and not be crippled by anything negative!



Given I have often posted about this book, I'm sure you can guess I highly recommend it. I have enjoyed it immensely and found it very beneficial thus far. I bet you would too!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A Terrific Read of Adventure and Imagination for Kids

I'm back from my family fun, and I have a wonderful book for you.  Below find my review of BEVERLEE BEAZ THE BROWN BURMESE, written by Regan H.W. Macaulay and illustrated by Alex Zgud.





Title: BEVERLEE BEAZ THE BROWN BURMESE 
Author: Regan W.H. Macaulay 
Illustrator: Alex Zgud 
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing 
Published: 2019 
ISBN:  978-1-987976-52-6

Beverlee Beaz is an adventurous Burmese cat with an active imagination. Beverlee’s story taps the imagination of children everywhere as she greets the day and romps through meadows, around hills, along the edge of the woods to the bank of a river. Beverlee follows fun creatures kids everywhere will love on her caper such as a monarch butterfly as it morphs into a parrot from the rainforest, a rabbit into a kangaroo from the Australian Outback, a frog becomes a Komodo dragon from Indonesia. Bees turn into pterodactyls who give chase…but what is real and what is the product of Beverlee Beaz’s beautiful imagination?  Follow Beverlee’s story of adventure and excitement until the sun sets on her escapades and find out.

Ms. Zgud’s whimsical illustrations are vivid and colorful and bring Beverlee Beaz and her beautiful story to life.

This book is highly recommended for young readers of all ages.

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