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

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."


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.

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.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Well, given the period of time it has been since my last post, I imagine it is quite obvious I've been MIA as of late. This is just a quick check in to say that in the chaos of a winding down tennis season for my son, my daughter's high school graduation and festivities, wrapping up work and school and preparing for a family vacation, I've let my blogging slip considerably.

The break will continue a bit longer, but I will be back mid-June following much needed family time. I thank you for your understanding.

Until then, happy reading and writing!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Blessings

Happy Easter! Wishing you all a blessed holiday as you celebrate the true meaning of Easter with friends and family.  Alleluia, Alleluia!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Go Vote!

Congratulations to all of the finalists on the short list for the Crystal Kite Awards!

Round 2 voting has begun and will close on April 30 at 5pm PDT.

Check out the finalists in your division at Once you are on your Member Home page, go to the left navigation bar, scroll to the bottom, and click on Vote in the Crystal Kite Awards to cast your vote.

I was pleased and excited to see my top choice is still in the running.  Good luck to all!