Friday, December 11, 2009

It's Been A While

Just a quick post to say I'm still here, still writing...some. This is a busy time for me and I'm not just talking the holidays. I've just moved offices where I work and I'm getting ready to move to a new home by the end of the month. Needless to say with all the throwing out and packing, especially at home, I haven't had time for much else.

On top of that, I've volunteered to line up presenters for the Maryland Writers' Association conference in April 2010. AND, I'm on the advisory board for a project called the Teen Writers' Club, the initiative I mentioned in my previous post.

If you know anyone in the area who does writing workshops, please send them my way. We have many spots to fill. Until the next time...

Ciao for now!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

TheWriterStuff is Writin' Stuff!

Man, I haven't been this busy writing in many moons. Between revising my middle grade story, writing and critquing for my children's writing workshop, not to mention all the writing I do at work, I'm one busy woman. I'm also perfecting a story that I intend to enter into the Writer's Digest short story contest as well as working on devotionals for the MCC Writers blog. Then there's the adult novel, but that's on the backburner for now.

In addition, I'll be doing a school visit soon and participating in a project to introduce more writing into Baltimore schools. I'm excited about both.

It's all good because this is what I was meant to do, one of the things anyway. (He isn't finished with me yet!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Here's Comes the Sun...flowers that is


One of my passions, although I'm not good at it yet, is photography. I hope to combine my love of writing and taking pictures into a children's book some day. In the meantime, I work on improving my picture taking abilities.

A week ago I went to a meeting of the local chapter of the National League of American Pen Women, a group composed not only of writers but artists of all types. Right across from the library where the meeting was held sat a field of sunflowers. In fact, there were sunflowers all over the area. Everyone was taking pictures of them so I joined in. Here's my best shot. There may be hope for me as a photographer after all.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Got a New Attitude

I'm feelin' good from my head to my shoes
Know where I'm goin' and I know what to do
I tidied up my point of view
I got a new attitude!!!

I know I've been neglecting my blogging duties lately, but I'm back baby and like Patti I've got a new attitude, about my life, my relationships, my job and most importantly in this venue, about my writing.

For one thing I just started a writing workshop at Johns Hopkins called Writing for the Young Reader, lead by the newly double published Elissa Brent Weissman. We had our first session last night. I have high hopes that this will not only kickstart my writing again (gotta finish that chapter book) but that it will be the breeding ground for new projects. We'll be critiquing each other's work every week. Funny, I never used to worry about being critiqued but this time I'm feeling especially sensitive. I'll have to keep myself clear and open and ready to accept what I hope will be constructive criticism. By now I know what to keep and what to ignore and let go.

I'm also excited (and hopeful) about a recent submission to Candlewick. Of course, I want to make a sale but I'm also happy that I've sent something out at last. I know I'm not a one book wonder. This is just the beginning.

Sing it with me: I'm feelin' good from my head to my shoes....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Old Friends and New Stories


I'm here in Atlanta for an extended weekend with an old college friend. We hadn't seen each other for over 30 years until she found me again on Facebook. It was so good to hear from her. All the good times we had came flooding back into my memory and now that we're back together again it seems we've picked up where we left off, albeit older and, hopefully, wiser than we were then.

My friend is an avid semi-professional musician who plays every chance she gets. Her fervid love of music makes me question my own commitment to writing. Am I a writer or not? More importantly, do I want to write or not? I won't try to imitate her very high level of devotion to her craft, that would be inauthentic at this point. But I know I have many stories to tell and each day that passes gives me less time here on earth to tell them. So I have a decision to make.

In the meantime, my friend has blessed me a marvelous idea for a story that we're going to work on together. I'm not known for being a collaborative writer. In fact, previous attempts proved distastrous. But I have high hopes, just from our discussion of the plot, that this could work out very well and could be the start of a beautiful writing friendship. We'll see what happens. For now, I have a chapter book to finish and a pb to get out the door again.

So many ideas and only so many hours in a day. There' s no time to waste.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Where've I Been

Not writing, I can tell you. But that has changed as I've discovered a new angle for my middle grade story, Isabelle's Garden (which actually turns out to be a chapter book). Even though there is some tension and conflict in the story I always felt it could use more. I couldn't quite put my finger on it until I got some advice from a seasoned professional who kindly took a look at what I'd done so far. It was so simple, of course, I kicked myself for not seeing it before. I'm not going to let the cat out of the bag just yet but I'm ecstatic that I can breathe new life into this story that I've loved for so long.

I've also got to get up the nerve to send my pb back out into the world. It's only been rejected twice. I'm sure there's a home for it out there.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Writing for Young Readers Seminar at JHU

I am so looking forward to going to the Writing for Young Readers Seminar at Johns Hopkins this Saturday. For $40 dollars ($50 now) I get a half-day seminar PLUS a one-page critique by an editor or agent. What a bargain!

There are still about 10 spaces left. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Publishing 911

Enjoy this hilarious post by Paperback Writer (42 Novels in 5 Genres). Makes you wish there really were such a thing. If you can't get satisfaction at least it gives you a place to vent your writerly frustration.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day!


The snow here today in Maryland is not quite this bad but it's on it's way to getting there. I've decided (wisely I think) to stay home and putter around the house, hopefully, do some writing. As I look out on the very windy, very snowy day I'm inspired to write a poem.

Gray-white sky, snow swirling in the wind
like a dust storm without the sand.
Spring trying to fight its way in but losing
as the last of winter leaves slowly and stubbornly,
kicking and screaming, in a snowy haze of glory.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Library Love


"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." ~Jorge Luis Borges~

There are few things I enjoy more than spending an afternoon at the library. My library is a fairly new one that's airy and full of light. From the day it opened it was a popular spot. Many go there for the large DVD collection. You can borrow up to 10 DVD's for as long as six nights, including renewal. Some you can keep for up to six weeks (including renewal)--documentaries and the like. Other people use the many PC's available. There are so many that you can sit there for hours and never need worry about being forced off to accommodate another user.

I go there for those things but I also go, like today, to read children's books, mainly PB's. I grab a selection based on recommendations I've seen online or the latest offering by a favorite author. Then I find a likely spot, usually just off from the children's section (the seats in the kid's section are too low for me). I might have a bottle of water or a cup of coffee with me for refreshment. I then tackle my pile, taking notes as I go. My focus today was on rhyming PB's. I have one I've been working on for a while now and I thought I might glean some inspiration. I also checked out a couple of chapter books since I'm working on one of them too; still trying to give the story some depth. These will keep me going until my next trip when I will once again enter the world of possibilities that is the library.

Friday, February 6, 2009

DIY Publishing?

As I contemplate news like the 25% drop in sales at Harper Collins, along with the increased difficulty in selling a manuscript these days, I am seriously considering the possibility of self-publishing. (No, really.) Once thought of as the last hope for those desperately seeking publication, self-publishing has gained a new level of respectability, mainly due to the improved quality of the books (both in appearance and content), not to mention the number of authors who have gone on to have their works acquired by major houses. In addition, the cost has become more affordable for the average schmo like me, although self-published PBs are still pricey. I wouldn't think of self-publishing a PB, although you know what they say--never say never. No, I'm considering it for the middle grade chapter book I'm currrently slaving over. Don't worry (not that you would be). I'll go the traditional route before I do anything rash. I'm not going to assume right away that someone somewhere in a small office with a view of a brick wall, obscured by an ever growing slush pile, won't be interested in my baby.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Excitement is Back!


Right now I'm working on a middle grade story that I've been tweaking on and off for a couple of years. I have a complete first draft (well, after all this time it's more than the first). It got a letter of merit in an SCBWI competition, but it never seemed quite right. For one thing, at 10,000 words, it's not quite long enough. More importantly it doesn't have the depth I'm looking for.

So I'm going about my business the other day--I may have been cleaning or something. My thoughts weren't on the book at all. Suddenly a couple of lines came to me. I didn't recognize them as lines for the story at first. I was just thinking. Luckily, I ran to write them down before I could forget. I then realized I had the perfect beginning (dare I say, hook) for my story. I plopped these lovely words at the start of my story and it was like magic. With those few words, I realized the story could be as deep, as fulfilling, as meaningful, as I imagine it can be. For a writer, there's nothing more exciting.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Writing Again

My writing again has been a long time coming. It seems after my first book was published something in me was lost. All the passion and drive that produced Glove and my Highlights story, Where Are We Going Mama?, seemed to have been sucked out of me. It's taken all this time (nearly five years) to get it back. The road has been fraught with envy, against those who continued to write and be published, and regret, not only over the fact that I wasn't doing the same, but knowing that I was perfectly capable of doing so. However, the sleeper has awakened with many stories to tell. My only dilemma now is which to start first. Should I work on my novel, a biography (I have a couple in mind) or a picture book (fiction or nonfiction)? Should I do one at a time or work on two or three? Should I work on one I've started already or start a new one? In the end, it doesn't even matter. Whatever I decide to do at least I'll be fulfilling my life's purpose, writing stories for children to love, and that's what really counts.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm Gonna Let My Light Shine
in 2009!!!