Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

As I look to 2013 and consider what worked in 2012, what needs to be adjusted and what new goals need to be established, I know that I need to focus most on the actual writing for if I produce nothing, there is nothing to submit and publish. 

As you all know, I am often drawn to quotes for inspiration.  As 2012 draws to a close, I'd like to leave you with words from Zig Ziglar which bring a sense of hope and meaning to me.  I hope for you as well.

"Success means doing the best we can with what we have.  Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph.  Success is a personal sandard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be."

Strive in 2013 to be all that you can be.  Give your all to the projects and work you do, and success will be yours.

May your new year be filled with much health, happiness and prosperity!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holdiays

Merry Christmas to all!  May you have a blessed holiday season and may 2013 bring much health, happiness and prosperity.

Thank you to all who have stood by and visited despite my very hit-and-miss posts.  One goal for 2013 is to be more consistent and productive in both my writing and blogging.

Be well and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Hey all,

I just came across this and wanted to pass it along as it is always good to know what is on a wish list.

Find the top 10 trends in children's books here:

Now, go write!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Guardian Angel Kids Ezine

The new December issue of Guardian Angel Kids Ezine is ready.  The theme of the issue is courage, and there is an article by yours truly about my very wonderful and brave sister who has lived with Type I, or juvenile, diabetes from the age of 13.

To see my article or read the entire issue, go to

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  May you enjoy the blessings of health, good food, family and friends.

Enjoy your day!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Highlights Fiction Contest

I just read of the 2013 Highlights Fiction Contest for beginning readers.  Find all the information here:

Happy Writing!

Monday, November 12, 2012

God Bless All on Vetern's Day

Dear Heavenly Father,

Today we honor those who have defended our country and other people of good will for over four centuries. We also honor those soldiers who are continuing to defend our freedom. Thank You Lord, for the selfless sacrifices our veterans have made to serve the cause of freedom, truth, and peace.

Dear Father, united as one nation we ask that You impart Your heavenly strength and courage into the hearts of each one of our brave men and women who serve in the Armed Forces. We lift up their spouses, their homes, and their families before You and ask that You fill them with your unending and everlasting love. Watch over them while they are defending the freedom that we as Americans are able to enjoy each and everyday. We all know that freedom isn't free, and these men and women make such selfless sacrifices to cover that cost.

Please bring all our departed veterans into Your Kingdom, and console their families with Your undying love. We can never thank You enough for the privilege of living in America, where we are able to enjoy the gifts of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Have mercy on us, help us to return to You, and please continue to be with us wherever we go. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you living with the threat of Hurricane Sandy.  Whether evacuating or staying put, please use caution and care. 

I do not know where I first saw this, but it has helped me greatly in many difficult times.

God hath not promised
     skies always blue,
flower-strewn pathways
     all our lives through;
God hath not promised
     sun without rain,
day without sorrow,
     peace without pain.

But God hath promised
     strength for the day,
rest for the labor,
     light for the way,
Grace for the trials,
     help from above,
unfailing sympathy,
     undying love...

Be safe.  Be well.  God Bless!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Contest Change

Just a heads up for those of you interested in submitting an entry for the Children's Writer YA Short Story Writing Contest.  I just logged on to read the fine print on submission details and noticed a change.  Entries now must be received by November 16, 2012, rather than October 31. 

So, press on if you are still writing and wanting to submit.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Overcoming Fear

Jon Bard, Managing Editor for Children's Book Insider, has a guest post on the Write to Done blog about writers overcoming their doubt and fear.  It is a great read and very informative.  You can find it here: 
Happy reading!

Monday, October 8, 2012


I was getting back to MARGIN by Richard A. Swenson this morning as it was a beautiful morning, and I wanted to sit on my deck a bit before getting to work on my current WIP.  The chapter I was reading dealt with overload and exceeding our limits or "threshold."  Swenson states that overload occurs whenever "the requirements upon us exceed that which we are able to bear."

He talked of all the burdens placed upon us in this day and age such as, "one more option, one more commitment, one more expectation, one more purchase, one more debt, one more change, one more job, one more decision."

The more things we add lead us to exceed our threshold and, thereby, result in "disorganization and frustration."  This is certainly obvious in my life--one need only note the length of time since my last post.  Swenson argues that it is not the "details" which are the problem but rather the "exceeding" which results in overload.

This certainly seems to be true.  Any one thing, or few things, can be manageable in and of themselves but, all thrown together, can result in the overwhelming feeling of "Calgon, take me away!"

What I read this morning coupled with the lovely Fall weather today helped me put it all in perspective and take one thing at a time.  We'll see what tomorrow brings, but for today, at least, I was successful at editing my ms and preparing it for submission which is what I wanted to accomplish.

Are you managing the "details" or becoming overwhelmed by "overload?"  Please share your story and what works for you.

Monday, September 17, 2012


I received the following in an email this morning.  I am unsure who originally said it, and there was not a direct reference to anyone; however, it really hit home.  I had been laying in bed this morning trying to organize my brain and figure out what needed to be accomplished as I have a lot of meetings and things to do today--which I dislike on a Monday as it seems to be a great day to get back into the writing groove after a busy weekend with kids home all day and various sporting events.  So, I was getting a little irritated about my day and then saw this in an email and had to chuckle.  I thought I'd share it in case any of you started your day today in similar fashion.

So far today I’ve done all right.  I haven’t gossiped, I haven’t lost my temper, I haven’t criticized or moaned.  I haven’t been snappy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over indulgent.  I’m very thankful for that.  But in a few minutes, I’m going to get out of bed.  And from then on I’m probably going to need a lot more help! 

It must have been just what I needed as the start of my bad attitude changed immediately.  I hope you are all having a wonderful start to your new week as well.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Children's Writer Contest

There is a new Children's Writer YA short story contest for teens, ages 13-14.  The deadline is October 31, 2012.  Click on the following link for more information: 

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Read Widely

This morning, I was reading PAGE AFTER PAGE by Heather Sellers.  She was talking about needing to read widely as a writer.  It was like confirmation for me.  I LOVE to read, maybe even more than I love to write.  I'll read almost anything and could lounge for days in my bed with just books for company.  I've often felt badly about always wanting to read rather than do something else, something more productive.  When I read Ms. Sellers' words, it was like an affirmation. 

She says, "You can't get too far off track as a writer if you are reading.  In fact, I don't know any successful writers who don't read.  Writers read.  Reading completes the gesture.  Reading is what we do."

Well, there you go...couldn't have said it better myself.  I'll now feel more productive in my writing life when I am reading.  Thank you, Ms. Sellers!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Contract

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I share some recent news with you.  My debut picture book, THE LITTLE BUG, is under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing.  I'm very excited about this next step in my writing career and look forward to sharing with you throughout the development process.

Monday, August 20, 2012

School Starts

Well, the new school year is upon us here in Mitchell, SD.  The kids took off this morning, somewhat excited to see friends and get back to school but a little trepidatious as well, especially my Freshman beginning her first year of high school.  I took some time this morning to reflect on how I was feeling about the new year and all it brings, both personally and in terms of my writing. 

I pulled open my box of Power Thought Cards by Louise L. Hay.  I won them some time back and have thoroughly enjoyed reading and pondering their true meanings.  I found two this morning that spoke to me and seemed to be a fitting start to a new school year (which will, hopefully, afford me more writing time than the summer months).  I thought I'd share with all of you in case you are facing a similar reflective state today.

"It's only a thought, and a thought can be changed.  I am not limited by any past thinking.  I choose my thoughts with care.  I constantly have new insights and new ways of looking at my world.  I am willing to change and grow."


"Divine wisdom guides me.  I am guided throughout this day in making the right choices.  Divine intelligence continuously guides me in the realization of my goals."

I believe these may become a mantra of sorts as I begin each new day.  I am not sure if these cards are still being printed, but they are certainly filled with many nuggests of inspiration if you can find them.

Highlights Hello

There is a new Highlights magazine coming soon called Highlights Hello for ages 0-2.  Here is the link to learn more:  The debut issue will be delivered in December 2012.  It looks wonderful!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Firstly, I would like to say thank you for your patience with my very inconsistent blogging this summer.  I've now completed all of the continuing education requirements for work that had been taking up so much of my time and am now trying to get back on track.

As such, I was reading a chapter of PAGE AFTER PAGE by Heather Sellers this morning.  I started the book some time ago but never finished.  I cracked it open this morning and what I read was like a breath of fresh air.

Sellers was talking about the tools we have to write, not the physical tools so much as the tools within.  She says we should use the topics within us, the things only we know, to create and write and states, "write whatever the heck" you want to write about.  "This is what we want to know.  The tiny things people do.  The little things they say."

She further goes on to discuss all we've heard before...write what you and only you know, write what you want to read and suggests we make it all too hard by over-thinking and analyzing everything which really hit home to me.  I can frequently think so long and hard about the what and the how that I lose sight of (and time for) the actual doing.  Sellers says we have all the tools we need, we just need to sit down and write.

The one thing that really resonated, and I found myself highlighting, is this:

"The single most important tool in your tool kit is to stay simple--truly simple.  Stop making this harder than it is."

So, you know everything you need to know...join me in taking Seller's advice and just sit down and write!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Goal Setting

My day planner, as I think I have mentioned before, has insight from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.   Though I don't always, I happened to read the hint for today which is based on Habit 2:  Begin With the End In Mind.  Covey says (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, pages 135-137):

"Many people jump from goal setting to execution.  However, to achieve a goal, you must first define and then master the specific activities, tasks, behaviors, and events required to reach the goal.  It is also helpful to clearly define how you will measure success and to proactively think through possible barriers to your success and mitigate them."

This was like a lightbulb for me this morning, a major "duh" moment.  So often, I think we set our goals, do our best (or not) to achieve them but really give little consideration to how to go about it specifically or how to fight through or prevent any road blocks.  At least, I know that I don't do so.  If there is something I want to accomplish, whether it be writing or work related, I often set it as a goal but do not really set up my environment and day-to-day life to foster the completion of the goal. 

I'd love to hear any strategies you use to help yourself be successful in goal completion in your life, writing or otherwise.  Thanks, in advance, for your insight.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July!  Enjoy the holiday and stay safe and cool.  Thank you all for fighting for our independence and freedom.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I wanted to touch base briefly rather than disappear with no warning.  Despite my inconsistent posting, hopefully someone would notice:-)

I am planning to take a brief blogging hiatus while I tackle a bunch of continuing ed for work that needs to be completed, much of which I can do with a few self-study programs that have been collecting dust on my desk.  I just keep procrastinating and am tired of it all hanging over my head so am going to take care of it all in the next few weeks and be finished.  I will then get back to regular (or more consistent) blogging.

Thanks for understanding and happy summer!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


I was updating my daily planner this morning and found a section I didn't even know was there.  It discussed The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I bought the book by the same name years ago and still have not read it all nor have I paid much attention to the daily habit lessons adorning the bottom of my calendar pages.  It sounded like a great idea when I ordered the calendar; however, it seems to get lost in the shuffle as each day rolls by. 

As I sat reading this morning, it made me really think about habits, both good and bad, as it applies to my writing.  Stephen Covey said, "Habits are patterns of behavior that involve three overlapping components:  desire, knowledge, and skill.  Because these three components are learned rather than inherited, effective habits can be learned and ineffective habits can be unlearned."

Makes sense to has the desire to write, spends a great deal of time gaining the knowledge needed to develop the skill to do so well.  Each and every one of us has his/her own habits in terms of writing.  Mine continue to be hit-and-miss during these summer days and nights filled with ball games, tennis matches and softball tournaments; but I am always thinking of the next story and paying attention to all the happenings around me to shape into my next WIP.  Which leads me to the next tidbit I found interesting this morning. 

Covey's Habit 2 is Begin with the End in Mind.  In discussing this habit, Covey indicated it is based on, "imagination--the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes."  He further said that first one creates something mentally and then does so physically.  This spoke to the writer in me so much as this is what we do.  We get the inspiration from our imagination (or an actual life event) and "create" the idea in our mind before physically taking pen to paper (or hands to keyboard). 

So, now I am trying to focus on the imagination and mental creation of ideas for stories and articles in these busy summer times in hopes there will be a quiet moment sometime soon after to address the physical creation.

I'd love to hear what good (or bad) habits work or don't work for you if you are willing to share.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Know Yourself seems I am still inconsistent with blogging!  I log in, read a few blogs I follow but then run out of time before needing to take a kid somewhere or get to an appointment.  I always think I'll get back to it later that day and never seem to do so. 

This morning, I read a chapter of UNLEASH THE WRITER WITHIN by Cecil Murphey.  I was ruminating a bit on what I read while exercising and figuring out what I was going to post about once finished.  I had it all mapped out in my head then and viola...poof!  It's no longer there!  Such a surprise.  Perhaps I should keep a writers notebook next to my treadmill as well.

What Murphey was talking about in the chapter I read this morning was liking oneself.  He says, "If you learn to capitalize on who you are and appreciate who you are, you're on your way to becoming the best writer you can become."  He suggests there is a connection between our weaknesses and our gifts and further intimates, "...perhaps your weaknesses may not be the negatives you think they are."

This chapter made me think of all the things around me useful to my writing.  I do frequently write about various thoughts and feelings but, all too often, do not use all that I could nor explore as fully as I could.  I'm going to make a concerted effort to really look within, search who I am and analzye the environment around me to create various story and article ideas.  What a wonderful time summer is for this.  Perhaps I'll go into Fall with numerous manuscripts to submit or ideas to write. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer Schedule

I've been quite lax about blogging in recent weeks as the school year wound down.  Between driving for field trips, finishing the Spring sports season and wrapping up my school/work year obligations, it was a bit of a hairy time.

I've always dreaded the start of summer in terms of what it meant for my writing time fearing there would be no time with chauffering kids around and having them underfoot each day.  I believe this summer will be different.  The school year was full of various work obligations, school functions and sporting practices and events.  Summer seems to be bringing more peace, during the days at least as most softball and baseball is in the evening.  I've found myself sitting outside on my front deck watching my kids shoot hoops or play catch while working on a picture book or catching up on market research reading. 

I do need to set some sort of schedule to accomplish what I'd like to complete this summer with some degree of consistency but feel this summer, more than any other, is going to be ripe with productivity.

So, I am curious...what works for your summer schedule?  How do you modify your goals and objectives during the summer months?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas if you are willing to share.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

To Dummy or Not to Dummy?

Have you made a dummy book?  A dear friend just passed me some good information on how to do so as I have not prior.  So, I will be tackling this project soon with two of my current PB manuscripts. 

My question is...if you have made one, did you find it a helpful process?  In your experience, is it worth the time and energy?  How many pages of front and back matter did you use?  Did you begin your story on page 6?

I believe this will be time well spent for my current WIP but would love to hear any hints or suggestions you may have if you've gone through this process.

Thank you in advance for your time!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Working Writer's Club

Have you heard of the Working Writer's Club or Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer's Coach?  If not, you need to learn more.

I've been a member of the club for at least a year; however, it has only been in the last several months that I've really started to explore all the benefits.  The club offers so many things that I will not even scratch the surface, but please click on the link below and start (or continue to build) your own path to publication.

The WWC teaches you how to build a freelance career, it increases your focus on your goals and objectives and helps you set reasonable and attainable goals if you are having a difficult time doing so.  There is training and support from Suzanne and club members that serve in a mentorship role with the interaction and exchange of information.

As a member of the club, you gain access to teleclasses and loads of information available via the resource center, audio center and forum.  You can even hire Suzanne as your own personal writing coach for a nominal fee well worth the information and assistance you gain.

But, don't take my word for below and explore the possibilities for your own writing life.">" width="236" height="320" alt="wwc-are-you-a-writer">

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

First Things First

"The older I get the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first: a process which often reduces the most complex human problem to a manageable proportion."

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

This quote seems apropos to the writing process--first things first, one manageable step at a time. Some days, what constitutes a manageable step is quite small; other days, the steps are much larger and seem more relevant.

I'm working these days at keeping my intended steps important to the writing process and meaningful in the overall picture. For me, this means an increased focus on writing--creating stories, articles and picture books for which to research homes and dusting off and revising those long left alone. I'm greatly looking forward to just writing and letting the rest be for now. There will come a day for marketing, building a platform and getting my name out there. For now, I must write so as to have some basis from which the rest will grow.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Conquer Your Fear

"I believe that anyone can conquer fear by doing the things he
fears to do, provided he keeps doing them until he gets a record
of successful experience behind him."

~Eleanor Roosevelt (From C. Hope Clark on TOTAL FundsforWriters )

I thought this a great quote to start off a new writing week. Fear is often a major distractor in setting and accomplishing goals. One must forge ahead, despite the fear, to reach success.

Fear of the unknown, fear of not being good enough, fear of many things...don't let it stop you. Conquer your fear and set your own record of success.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Job Boards and Assignments

I've blogged in (somewhat) recent past about the struggle between all the "need to do" things to develop and maintain a successful freelance writing career and finding time to just plain write. I'm attempting to find a balance between both and have been somewhat more successful this week.

One of the things I've been told to spend some solid time on to pursue a freelance career which generates income (which is, ultimately, the goal of most writers) is to check job boards and search for assignments. I've spent a little time on this though must say am struggling to find anything that seems a good fit. Thus far, the MorningCoffee Freelance Writing Jobs Newsletter is the main one I've explored as someone recommended it a while ago.

Are there others any of you find productive to warrant your time? I'd love any input in this regard if you are willing to share what you consider a good investment in time and effort.

Thank you so much!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Your True Self

I recently started reading Cecil Murphey's book, UNLEASH THE WRITER WITHIN. I'm not very far into it but wanted to share a few wise words. Mr. Murphey focuses not only on improving writing in this book but on figuring out who we are and not forgetting our true self in the writing process.

He says, "I write to find out who I am...I write because it is a gift." He further suggests, "your most honest writing becomes your best writing."

It was in reading his words, albeit not very many thus far, that I realized I've lost sight of the true reason I started writing in the first place. It was the sheer love of writing and the urge to create a sense of desire to read and a love of books in children that drove me to my first ICL course.

In the recent past, it has become more of a chore to balance all that goes into it...maintaining a presence to generate interest and increase publication chances, marketing, reading job boards, creating resumes, etc. All of these things are a necessary evil in a writer's life; however, I am now going to try to separate out just the writing in terms of how I look at it all. I will write from the heart honestly and, in the process, figure out who I am as a writer and the rest, hopefully, will fall into place.

I look forward to finishing this book and "unleashing the writer within." Please share your means of creating your most authentic voice.

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Wherever you go, go with all your heart." Confucius

Isn't that great advice? Where is your heart taking you today?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Having Fun

I recently blogged about my new blog/website and having patience in my process. I'm not having much patience with it myself and have decided I will just keep on posting here until such time as I get it all figured out.

I have been thinking about all of the things I am supposed to do in this writing life...write, edit, read, blog, market, submit, build a platform, create products and services by which to generate income, etc. I've been so caught up in all the things to do, that I have totally lost sight of what drove me to this life in the first place--the love of writing.

When I started my first ICL class and began writing in earnest (or as much as possible with small children), I focused on writing and had fun. I recently realized I am not having fun anymore. And, I'm barely writing.

There is only so much time in the day I can dedicate to writing (and writing related activities), so the snipets of time here and there seem to get taken up by email, blog reading or something besides writing. I want to go back to that fun place. I want to enjoy writing just for writing sake again. Publication has always been and will remain my ultimate goal, but I realized I need to spend some time just writing to see what I can churn out. One of my goals for this year is to generate income with my writing, but, unless I actually produce some writing, that won't even be a possiblity.

So, here's to heading back to having fun. I'll keep you updated along the way.

Anyone else out there having a similar problem?

Friday, January 20, 2012

New Writing Contest

Hello All,

For those of you who do not receive the ICL newsletter and may not have seen this, there is a new Children's Writer contest to check out. It is a Middle Grade Mystery Contest, and you can find the information here:

Happy Writing!

Monday, January 9, 2012


Please bear with me all. I'm in the process of creating a new blog and/or website to either replace or support this one. I'm not exactly sure how or what is going to happen yet as I have help in the journey (most of you are aware of my fairly technologically inept self:-)). As I work out all the kinks and figure it all out, I'll pass along my new URL and fill you in on my new posting plans and schedule.

Thanks for your patience!