Monday, November 30, 2009

Pushing Past the Limits

Do you experience limits, or hesitations, that make your writing difficult? I've a particular story I am working on that has been difficult to really sink my teeth into and to delve into the nitty gritty of it. This morning, I read the following in Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers.

"Stay with the line you can't finish. That's where the shame is that's blocking the revelation." David Whyte

I really hadn't thought about this story in those specific terms and just felt I couldn't quite get into it. After reading the above quote, I see how I've been preventing myself from really pushing past those hesitations and "staying with the line" that is tough. I'm going to press on and see where it takes me. I'm sure it will be a much better place, both on the paper and off.

Do any of you experience similar difficulties and want to share your tricks for pressing on? I'd love to have your input.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tools of the Trade

Do you have a unique tool of the trade? A special pen or notebook you MUST use to write? I read the following quote from Robert Ludlum this morning, and it made me wonder if it is the same for most of us.

"I always write with a Ticonderoga #2 pencil. I started out with it, and I'll go to that Great Bookstore in the Sky with one of those in my hand."

I've been on a perpetual search for just the right pen and, thus far, no luck. I've tried many, and I just can't seem to find "the one." I'll keep looking, or maybe I'll try a Ticonderoga #2 pencil! We'll see...How about you? Do you have the "perfect" writing tool that works for you? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Thanksgiving! Wishing you all the joys and blessings of the upcoming holiday season.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Editor & Agent Search

I was reading the Stories for Children Newsletter for Writers this morning and came across a piece of advice from Jennifer Carson in "How to Find Yourself a Book Agent." She highly recommeded Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents. Before purchasing the book, I wanted to ask if any of you have it and, if so, whether it has helped gain access to editors and/or agents. I do not have an agent but am thinking I may need to pursue one for my picture book, Bedtime Kisses. Would this be a helpful book for someone that does not yet have an agent or a published book? I have numerous publishing credits in various magazine markets, but this is my first foray into the picture book arena.

If you want to read Jennifer Carson's article or the SFC Newsletter, you can find them at

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Self-Publishing Question

I recently had a friend contact me for advice on how to go about self-publishing her rhyming picture book about life on the farm. A former student is illustrating it for her and is, reportedly, doing a fabulous job. I've not pursued the self-publishing route before and wasn't sure what to tell her. She really wants to retain rights to the manuscript which is why she does not want to pursue a traditional publishing house. Does anyone have any advice I can pass her or idea of a good source of information on self-publishing? I'd be grateful as would she. Thanks, in advance, for any info you can provide.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Good luck to all you NaNoWriMos out there! I hope you are off to a good start and have a very successful month.

Are any of you harboring wishes of having started this month? I know I am. It is my goal for next year. I really wanted to take a stab at it this year but knew I was setting myself up for failure. I didn't have a solid outline and was not at all organized to kick off on November 1--not to mention a trip with kids and numerous other things going on in November. I've been following Kristi Holl's blog ( all should if you don't as she is wonderful and offers fabulous support and advice--and wanted to give it shot anyway. I knew it would have been a half-baked effort at best and read the following this morning:

"Failure: Is it a limitation? Bad timing? It's a lot of things. It's something you can't be afraid of, because you'll stop growing. The next step beyond failure could be your biggest success in life." Debbie Allen

So, I am going to commit to being prepared for and completing next year's NaNoWriMo in hopes that it will be a big success. Anyone out there of similar mind? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

And, again, good luck to all of you out there who've taken the leap this year. Way to go!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sit and Listen

I seem to keep coming back to this book--Walking on Alligators. Most likely, it is because it is the only book I am taking time to read at the moment. However, the short meditations are the perfect way to start my day. So, here is a thought for you all as you embark on a new day and new writing week.

"Today, I will sit and listen. I won't mind if the work is slow or stuck. I will believe that the words I am meant to write are on their way to me."

Here's to all of us finding the words needed to have a productive day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bylines Writer's Desk Calendar

Do any of you use the Bylines Writer's Desk Calendar? I did so in 2008 and purchased it again for 2009. While it has been extremely helpful to have a calendar specifically for my writing and writing-related activities, the snippets of information gained from the authors' interviews have been awesome. One particularly good one recently was that of Cindy Allen, a writer and pilot who lives in Missouri. In her interview, she talked of sleepwalking through the motions of daily activities and reminding herself to be aware of the present.

She says..."Walking past story ideas happens when the brain is on autopilot. I've found that writing realistic stories begins by disconnecting the autopilot and actively observing life around me."

Reading this created a profound, "duh" moment as Margie Lawson would call it. All too often, it is so easy to get caught up and carried away by life's events and activities rather than paying attention and using them to our advantage. I, for one, am very guilty of switching my writer's hat on and off and not paying attention to the present and all it offers. So, I am going to make a concerted effort to focus on the present and pay attention to the story possibilities around me regardless of which hat I am wearing at the moment--writer, speech path, mom, wife, etc. Here's to the demise of my brain on autopilot! Thank you Cindy Allen and Sylvia Forbes for putting together such a great planner.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I am reminded frequently, especially the older I get, of the importance of writing things down. All too often, I don't have a pen and paper handy and believe, erroneously, my idea is so awesome there is no way I'll forget it. And, all too often, it is just a fleeting and unattainable fragment of my original thought when I do get to that pen and paper. As I was reading my daily meditations this morning in Walking on Alligators, I read the following and had a major aha moment.

"Opportunity just exists in the air for a few minutes. If you don't obey your gut feeling right away, you've lost your chance." Ken Hakuta penned these wise words.

I've resolved to keep handy a pen and paper as ideas do tend to present themselves at annoying and seemingly disorganized times--bath time for the kids, school pick up, middle of the night, mid shower, etc.

Per this passage, "Today, I'll snatch my hunches out of the air and jot them down, however hurriedly. They are part of my capital as a writer."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Be a Writer

Hello again!

It has been quite some time since I've posted a thing here. The usual excuses apply...crazy summer schedule with kid activities, vacations, an ever more chaotic household with three kids home all summer, etc. However, my kids are now in their fourth week back to school, and I'm still procrastinating! As I've been working my way back into the swing of things, I had piles of this and that to accomplish--status checks on submissions, writing books to read, magazine market research, follow up on my PB, research new article ideas gained over the course of the summer. You get the idea...tons of "stuff." But do you see the word "write" anywhere on that to do list? Me neither! So, as I was procrastinating just a little more, I came across this piece of inspiration in Walking on Alligators.

"Today, I won't think about what it's like to 'be a writer.' I will think about what it's like to be writing. And I will write."

As I've said before--and apparently have great trouble implementing--I must just write before anything else. The rest will come later.

Unfortunately, I now have to go pick my kids up from school, so tomorrow it will be!

Monday, July 27, 2009


I've a question I wanted to toss out there to see if any of you have a suggestion. I'm finding very little time to sit and write and am a bit stagnant in the thinking capacity in that regard. I have so many great books I've started a bit of here and there but have not finished any. I'm hoping to stimulate some creativity and get myself back in gear, so I wanted to name a few and see if there are some that have been particularly helpful and/or inspiring to any of you out there.

--The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron
--From Where You Dream, Robert Olen Butler
--Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul, Jack Canfield
--Out of the Dust, Karen Hesse
--How to Write a Children's Book and Get It Published, Barbara Seuling
--Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott
--One Year to a Writing Life, Susan M. Tiberghien
--On Writing, Stephen King
--Writer Mama, Christina Katz

Does anyone care to cast a vote regarding on which book I should first concentrate my efforts? I would appreciate any advice you have to share!

Monday, July 13, 2009


I seem to be harping lately on all these "self-defeating behaviors" as Margie Lawson would call them. I started my day off reading the following quote by Anna Quindlen:

"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself."

I think this holds true in many areas of life though it is writing to which I am currently applying it. It is so true that one must throw oneself out there and take that risk in order to see where it leads. I've a tough manuscript I am working on currently that is a huge challenge. I'm finding myself stagnant sometimes for fear of not doing it justice. The above quote was helpful this morning--I had a "Duh" moment when I read it, another of Margie's terms. It isn't necessary to be "perfect" to just write. I need to just write. As I tell my daughter, "you can't hit the ball if you don't swing the bat!" Duh! I'm going to step up to the plate and see if I can round the bases. I'm hoping for a home run, but we'll see where it leads. I'm up for the challenge.

As Anne Lamott so aptly puts it in Bird by Bird, "Perfectionism...will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft." At this point, I don't care if my first draft is shitty; I just want to complete my first draft and continue the process of becoming myself.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Happy July 4th to all of you!

In these tough times, it is particularly important to celebrate our independence and pray for better times ahead. As Helen Keller said:

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope or confidence."

I wish you all a future filled with hope, faith, optimism and confidence across the many achievements you hold dear to your hearts.

God Bless!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I started out this summer saying I was going to write, write, write first and foremost. Thus far, I am not holding up my end of the bargain with myself. I've procrastinated and tackled everything else but just simply writing. The chaos of summer with three kids in various activities as well as vacations are certainly not helping my motivation either! I am about to embark on a lengthy family vacation and realized that upon my return, there is only a month or so of summer left before the kids go back to school in August. Now, I seem to be modifying my plans to just write, write, write and am focusing on all of the ideas behind the writing. My youngest is about to start Kindergarten this Fall, and I really want to enjoy the remaining summer with the kids. As we've worked our way through some fun summer activities, such as the zoo, I've collected numerous ideas for articles and stories to research and write and hope to do the same on this upcoming vacation.

A quote in Walking on Alligators by Richard Ford helped me feel OK about this current plan: "I collect lines and snippets of things somebody might say--things I overhear, things I see in the newspaper, things I think up, dream up, wake up with in the middle of the night. I write a line down in my notebook. If I can get enough of those things, then characters begin to emerge."

Ideas are found in a variety of ways and places, and my kids and their friends are great inspiration. So, for now, I am looking at my summer procrastination as idea generating research. Hopefully, I will be able to utilize all the scraps of ideas and starts of stories and formulate them into something worthwhile in the end.

How are summer goals going for all of you? I'd love if any of you have any words of wisdom to share.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Voice at

Here is a great discussion about voice. I found it very helpful and hope you do as well. Jan Field's is always full of great information. Check it out at

Finding Your Fiction Voice

By Bonita Pate Davis

Finding the right voice for your magazine short story could mean the difference between a finished story that really works and one that doesn’t—quite. Take a story, any story, and write it twice. Use the same themes, characters, and plots. But employ different voices. One works; the other doesn’t.

For an in depth review as well as wonderfully concrete examples, please see Bonita's article at

Monday, June 8, 2009

"Keep on Starting!"

"Keep on starting, and the finishing will take care of itself." I read these wise words on Kristi Holl's blog this morning ( Kristi shared two great ideas for overcoming writers' block. I strongly suggest you go take a look at her blog ( as it always has great information and ideas. This morning, I just found it so profound. I've been working on a ms that needs direction. I'm at a critical point, and it has been easier to just move around in circles. I've lost the "Just keep starting..." factor and need to get back to it. Reading Kristi's words this Monday morning were just the motivation I needed to get back on track. So, for any of you out there struggling to just sit and write and see where it leads, I challenge you to just "keep on starting...the finishing will take care of itself." I, for one, am going to get back to business and give it a try. Let me know how it goes for all of you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Stephen King, On Writing

Have any of you read Stephen King's On Writing? I just picked it up to start following many recommendations to do so. A paragraph right in the beginning struck me profoundly: "This is how it was for me, that's all--a disjointed growth process in which ambition, desire, luck, and a little talent all played a part." I most certainly feel I am well within a disjointed growth process mixing in some healthy doses of ambition and desire. Hopefully, luck and a little talent will be parts of the equation as well. I can only hope this mixture will take me just a fraction of where it has taken Stephen King. I look forward to reading the rest of the book. He does say, "This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with bullshit...I figured the shorter the book, the less the bullshit." I'll be sharing words of wisdom as I proceed. If any of you out there have thoughts or comments on the book, please do feel free to share them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers

I was reading a snipet in one of my favorite books today, Walking on Alligators: A Book of Meditations for Writers, by Susan Shaughnessy. If any of you are unfamiliar with this book, I highly recommend you get a copy. Each page of this handbook contains quotes and stimulating passages by a variety of writers. Each page is short and inspiring. Today, I opened the book hoping for a healthy dose of much needed inspiration and found the following quote:

"A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something." Frank Capra

The author goes on to say, "Today, I'll honor my hunches. I'll jot them down and think about them. I'll sit down to write, and see what my hunches might want to say."

Very sage advise it seems to me. Now, if I could just get all those hunches off the sticky notes and ripped pieces of paper they're adorning in a variety of locations, maybe I could shape them into something creative to share with others!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors by Margie Lawson

On the advice of a dear friend (thank you, Donna!), I ordered Margie Lawson's lecture series, Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors. Margie offered this course online, but I missed that deadline. I was able to order the lectures and download them which I would highly recommend for any of you out there struggling with self-defeating behaviors.

Margie's course is broken down into a welcome, nine lectures and a wrap-up. The course as a whole talks about numerous self-defeating behaviors--procrastination, perfectionism, time mismanagement, poor goal setting, just to name a few--and how we can deal with and conquer them in order to be best and most productive we can be. I don't want to give too much away as I think you should all consider this (very well-spent $20 for me) but did want to share just a couple tidbits of wisdom from the lectures I found particularly inspiring. "Think positively." "Set yourself up to succeed." "Get refreshing sleep." "Exercise daily." "SDB's are something we do, not something we are." "Live the life you choose today." I really can't reiterate enough what a wonderful and enlightening course Margie provides.

Margie takes you through a series of exercises and situations that lead you to try to defeat your self-defeating behaviors. She also provides author interviews at the end of each lecture which help you see and hear how other writers struggle to overcome their own self-defeating behaviors. I know both helped me considerably.

If you want to visit her website yourself or look into obtaining the lecture series yourself, go to or email Margie at

Monday, April 27, 2009

Speakers at the Spring SCBWI-Dakotas Conference

I promised to write specifically about the speakers I heard at the Spring SCBWI-Dakotas conference, and I apologize for the delay. Life seems to be getting in my way lately.

As I indicated prior, the conference was wonderful and the speakers very enlightening. For me personally, Tim Gillner was fantastic. He is the Art Director at Boyds Mills Press and spoke to the creative process involved in taking a PB ms from conception to birth. It was very interesting to hear how the process goes once it leaves the writer's hands. For those of you out there who write PBs, I thought I'd share what Tim said about the sheer volume of submissions at Boyds Mills Press. Out of the 500 or so manuscripts received per month, 20 or so make the first cut through the initial readers to the editor. Out of those 20, the editor may consider purchasing one. Once the editor, in this case Larry, has five manuscipts, he takes them to the publisher who may buy one of the five. Pretty scary when you think about it but how wonderful to be that one! The one thing Tim said that really stuck with me and spoke to the morals of Boyds Mills Press is, "We publish from the gut and the heart. The bottom line isn't the dollar bill; it's is it a worthwhile project." I hope to be one of those worthwhile projects one day. For more information about Boyds Mills Press and it's imprints, visit

Martyn Beeny, South Dakota State Historical Society Press, spoke about their submission policies and list. He really opened our eyes about the fact that history happens on many levels. If any of you out there are interested in the heritage of SD and the surrounding Great Plains, the website for the SDSHS Press is Emails can be directed to

Mary Scarbrough, an author living in Brookings, SD, spoke about the nuts & bolts and great ways to get your foot in the door. Mary gave concrete, hands-on advice about writing. Some of her suggestions included the following: make a small investment in at least one market guide, join SCBWI as you will benefit from both a craft and marketing standpoint, and find a good critique group. Mary also suggested that the quickest route to publication is nonfiction as the biggest chunk of magazines is nonfiction, and the how-to is a big part of it. Mary also suggested that some of the most important pitfalls of beginners include a weak beginning, too much back story, conflict and control (e.g., force your character to take action). Mary summarized her speech as follows: "Ensure a strong beginning, jump into the middle of the action, use strong conflict and put your main character in control." To learn more about Mary Scarbrough, visit

Author Susan Thompson Underdahl spoke of her journey as a new author from patients to plotlines. She is a clinical neuropsychologist and author of two young adult novels, The Other Sister (Flux, 2007) and Remember This (Flux, 2008). Susan was so inspiring and really gave voice to the importance of persistence. Susan talked of writing on her lunch hours as it was the only time available between her work and family. She definitely showed me what is possible with even minimal time. I know I for one sometimes just abandon what I had planned for the day if something gets in the way, thinking I don't have much time. Now, after listening to Susan, I know I will utilize whatever little bits of time I can grab far more often than I did prior. For more information on S.T. Underdahl or her books, visit You can find submission guidelines and information about Flux at Submissions should be directed to

I hope you all have access to a conference in your area soon. They are definitely valuable, and the time and money is well spent.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

ICL Children's Writers eNews

I was reading the Institute of Children's Literature newsletter today and thought I would share this very interesting information from Jan Fields, web editor for the ICL, regarding children's non-fiction. I found it very helpful and hope you do as well.

9. Magazine Nonfiction for the Youngest Readers

If you see yourself as a writer for the very young, you may automatically omit nonfiction from your mind -- after all, how can you do nonfiction for preschoolers when they don't even read yet? And yet, nonfiction for preschoolers is not only published, it's popular. To prime your mental pump, I dug through my collection of sample preschool magazines and read the nonfiction written just for them. It was enlightening, so I thought I would share an annotated list of the published preschool nonfiction I ran across.


Highlights tries to publish one nonfiction piece for preschoolers in ever issue. They never get enough appropriate submissions - so let's look at what they've run in eleven old issues of Highlights. One of the keys to Highlights young nonfiction is that even though it is simple and lively - it includes information that is interesting to older children as well. So the articles are usually very focused, highly visual, and include unusual information.

[June 2003] "Getting Betty Ready" by Susan Lee. This article shows the steps a rider takes to groom, saddle, etc. a horse before riding and clean up after the ride. The piece includes photos and an illustration of a young rider. Clearly a preschooler couldn't do everything in the piece (making it appropriate for older kids too) but she could certainly understand everything and all the illustrations make the piece bright and lively.

[July 2003] "A Chipmunk's Home" by Janice Marie Scully. This article was about how a chipmunk's burrow caused a brick sidewalk to cave in. Although it was about a familiar animal - it was very focused and it included clear photos.

[August 2003] "A Mooving Experience" by Judy Wolfman. Although the "kid" in the article is a teen telling about his life on a dairy farm, he recounts incidents from when he was younger and he explains things simply. Most of the article has the focus on cow babies. The article also has many photos.

[September 2003] "Pose Like the Animals" by Thia Luby. The articles encourages young children to stretch by introducing exercises that make them "look" like different animals - an elephant, a flamingo, and a seal.

[October 2003] "Down a Wombat Hole" by Douglas McInnis. This article is a profile of a scientist who is studying wombats. The scientist tells interesting stories about her experiences and the article includes lots of photos. It's more of an adventure (the adventure of studying Wombats in the wild) as it is a "facts about wombats" article.

[November 2003] "Japanese Children Celebrate Shichi-go-san" by Ann Marie Collins. An article about a festival honoring children. The article tells about the past and present of the festival and includes many bright photos.

[December 2004] "Why Does a Woodpecker Peck" by Jodi Forschmiedt. Bright lively writing for the three reasons woodpeckers peck. The tone is bright and simple but not cute.

[January 2004] "Follow that Horse" by Shannon Teper. Article on miniature horses as service animals. Focuses on one specific miniature horse - the first one to guide a blind owner -- and includes photos. Includes brief lively quotes from the owner.

[February 2004] "Sap's Running" by Stephen R. Swinburne. The article focuses on brothers who tap maple trees for sap for the family tradition of making maple syrup. The main article is about the actual process with two sidebars - one with a legend about how people began making syrup and another about why maple syrup will run at certain times of year.

[March 2004] "Time to Change Clothes" by Marilyn Kratz. An article on molting and why it happens.

[May 2004] "Tales from the Shore" by Lori Johnson. A Nature walk along a very specific shore and specific things found there - with photos. A piece like this depends on specificity - not just any walk but a specific walk at a specific time in a specific place and the actual things spotted.

[April 2001] Little Chick. An action rhyme that looks at the process of growing inside an egg, hatching, and being protected by the mother hen. The "facts" are very simple and presented in rhyme with movements for the child to make while "hearing" the piece. Not cute - very clear facts - chicks in eggs must be warm, chicks in eggs breathe, chicks spend weeks inside the egg, etc.

This issue also includes a back page picture puzzle that invited readers to match the correct eggs to the correct mother animal - Ladybug nonfiction is usually this sort of back-page activity.

CLICK [Technically, CLICK doesn't accept submissions and only takes resumes from writers who already have experience writing nonfiction for young children, but their approach to it is still interesting because it represents a serious look at nonfiction for the preschool audience.]

[August 1998] "The Meadow" - Many of the pieces in Click are photo essays. Photos with brief factual material that related to it. This piece mixes photos and torn paper illustrations with very brief text to present the food chain as it takes place in a meadow. Wildflowers bloom, a specific insect eats them, a specific frog eats him, a specific snake eats the frog, a hawk brings the snake to her chicks ...and the writer reminds us that all this eating began with the plants.

[September 2003] "New School for Hopperville" - Again, bright illustrations show the exact steps for building a school and the big trucks used to do it, and the different jobs associated with it. Each step gets only a sentence or two.

"They Build Their House with Straw" - A photo essay showing the process of building a house using bales of straw.

"Build It High, Long, Strong" This piece shows several bridges and talks about how they are made safe and strong - suspension bridges, an arch-supported bridge that spans a deep gorge, and very long bridges.

So what things to all these have in common? Very tight focus. Specific detail. Few words (often around 100). Lively verbs. And a pleasant read-aloud sound. What does your preschool nonfiction sound like?

If you are interested in reading the newsletter in full or learning more about the Institute, you can find it at:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Third Annual SCBWI-Dakotas Spring Conference

The third annual SCBWI--Dakotas Spring Conference held this past weekend in Sioux Falls, SD, was a huge hit! "Books, Art, and Beyond" offered many options for writers and illustrators alike. Our regional advisor, author Jean Patrick, did an amazing job setting up a conference that benefitted us all and, despite a raging South Dakota blizzard, a great time was had by all.

Sessions and speakers were as follows: Welcome by Jean L.S. Patrick, SCBWI Regional Advisor; Nuts & Bolts (and Great Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door) by Mary Scarbrough, Author; A Picture Book: From Conception to Birth by Tim Gillner, Art Director at Boyds Mills Press; Behind the Scenes by Martyn Beeny, SDSHS Press; Dr. Writer: A New Author's Journey from Patients to Plotlines by Susan Thompson Underdahl, Author; and First-Page Critiques by Tim Gillner, Jean Patrick and Mary Scarbrough. For the first time, our conference has grown enough to warrant breakout sessions during the afternoon which allowed conference participants to hone their areas of expertise: Illustrators Q & A with Tim Gillner; Making Book Trailers with Mark Geary; Pitch Session with Martyn Beeny; Private Critiques with Faculty; and Individual work time. There was also a Faculty Q & A panel to wrap up the conference.

I promise to blog on the speakers I sat in on soon!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Virtual Book Tours Starting April 1st

Virtual Book Tours is a group of 30+ authors. Included in their group is a publisher of children's books; an editor; a coach and teacher of writing for children and freelance writing; a marketing guru; and an array of wonderful, and some well known, authors. What's great about this group is that they cover a wide range of writing genres - from ghostwriting to poetry. This allows their books/works to be visible to a much larger audience than if they promoted within one genre. Along with the ongoing virtual tours, Virtual Book Tours offers a couple of other marketing tools to help promote you and your work. They have a Link Exchange, Book Reviews (for those members who are interested), and a Library strategy. They also are constantly moving forward and always looking for new tools to create visibility and increase sales.

Get your book visible with the yahoo group Virtual Book Tours – the ONGOING tour. They are a group of authors who promote each other through tours and other marketing strategies at:

Here's the April 1st tour schedule:
Deborah Ramos is hosting Virginia S. Grenier
Dianne Sagan is hosting Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Harry Gilleland is hosting Liana Metal
Karen Cioffi is hosting Mark Bradley
Kathy Stemke is hosting Pam Devor
Lea Schizas is hosting Joyce Anthony
Nancy Famolari is hosting Kevin McNamee
Suzanne Lieurance is hosting Dorothy Massey
Vivian Zabel is hosting Penny Sansevieri
Margaret Fieland is hosting Deborah Ramos
Crystalee Calderwood is hosting Dianne Sagan
Joyce Anthony is hosting Harry Gilleland
Pam Devor is hosting Karen Cioffi
Mark Bradley is hosting Kathy Stemke
Kevin McNamee is hosting Lea Schizas
Dorothy Massey is hosting Nancy Famolari
Penny Sansevieri is hosting Suzanne Lieurance
Liana Metal is hosting Vivian Zabel
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is hosting Margaret Fieland
Virginia Grenier is hosting Crystalee Calderwood
If you'd like to learn more about the VBT group, just read some of the articles on their site You can also leave a comment there with contact info and they will get back to you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Making Writing Work in an Uneasy Economy

Making Writing Work in an Uneasy Economy

By Jan Fields

Basically, I have to make money as a writer. It's my job and my family depends on it. When the economy gets funky, I have to adjust because I'm simply not open to NOT being a writer. So, how can we keep on this writing path and bring in a bit of financial help for our families?

To read more about Jan's exciting informative article visit:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Third Annual SCBWI-Dakotas Spring Conference


Upcoming Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) Dakotas Events:

April 4, 2009

Third Annual SCBWI-Dakotas Spring Conference
Sioux Falls, SD

Something for everyone!

Click here for speakers and other details

NEW! Details about portfolio reviews for artists & illustrators

Click here for a PDF file of the conference brochure (requires Adobe Reader)