Friday, October 25, 2013

PiBoIdMo 2013

30 days. 30 picture book ideas. Here I go!

I do solemnly swear
that I will faithfully execute
the PiBoIdMo 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge,
and will, to the best of my ability,
parlay my ideas into
picture book manuscripts
throughout the year

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happy 25th Anniversary!

A pioneer in children's books for and about people of color celebrates 25 years. Looking forward to 25 more. Congratulations

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Nanowrimo 2013

For better or worse, I'm going to do Nanowrimo again. According to the site this has been my seventh year. Unbelievable! But I've never "won," so this year I will challenge myself to finish strong. I've been primed by the writing retreat at Shrine Mont and my closest writing friend and I have a strategy for getting more on the page. This could be the year that thewriterstuff proves she has the stuff it takes to be a winner.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Time for Another Writing Retreat

In another attempt to keep the writing fires burning, I and my good writing friend, Linda, will attend a writing retreat at Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs, VA (pictured above) with writer, educator and editor Joanne Lozar Glenn of Write Time, Write Place, Write Now. Yes, an entire weekend of writing and sharing with a small group of fellow writers in a picturesque setting. Ahhh.

I love the quote at the end of Joanne's email, "What could be  better than facing the blank page in the company of other writers?" Nothing that I can think of.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Guest Speaker

In case you're wondering the guest speaker was me at the quarterly meeting of the Life Journeys Writers Club. Yvonne Medley, founder, invited me to speak about my book and about writing for children in general. I first met Yvonne when I was lining up speakers for the Maryland Writers' Association annual conference. I was secretary of the organization at the time.

The meeting was at Mimi's Cafe in Greenbelt. For some reason I assumed it would be a small group of ladies seated at one table, just talking about writing. Boy was I wrong. I was led into the back room of the restaurant which turned out to be full of about 20-30 people at separate tables--all ages, races, genders, nationalities, you name it. When it was time for me to speak I was given a microphone (I don't think I've ever spoken through a handheld mic before) and as I stood there looking at those faces I wondered what to say. Thinking it would be a small group I had nothing formally prepared.

I began by telling the always amusing story of how my book got published. That resulted in a host of questions, which I was grateful for. I love to share information and so I was in my element. After I spoke, Yvonne handed me an envelope as a thank you. (Turns out it was a paid speaking engagement.) I'd brought a few books but didn't have much hope of selling any. Instead, I sold and signed four books before I had to make a hasty retreat back to Baltimore to get my Zipcar back in time.

Being among that diverse group of writers was so uplifting and inspiring. I haven't been writing much lately but seeing their great enthusiasm may just bring me back to the page. Time to get back to work because I've got many stories that need a tellin'

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Calling All Authors!

Children's book authors, that is. Enter the NAESP National Children's Book of the Year  and win a chance to have your picture book or chapter book for children 3-16 published by Charlesbridge. But hurry, your entry must be postmarked by March 15.

Sending my pb in with hands clasped in prayer.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Don't Forget to Play

I did a lot of play-writing at a recent workshop at Sevenoaks in Madison, VA. The workshop, entitled The Art of Transformative Writing, was led by the wonderful Pat MacEnulty. It was one of the best I've ever attended. Pat made me realize that I could write just for fun, that I didn't have to be accomplishing something (like working on my current WIP). I found this very freeing and so now, I write just for the heck of it. Who knew? Here's a poem I wrote for the workshop, which Pat graciously featured on her blog (

by Gail F. Johnson

It seems to me that when I was younger, life was simpler
But that was probably not true.
It seems to me that men are from another planet.
Let’s call that planet Macho.
It seems to me that if children were taught how to live and be, along with history and math,
The world would be a better place.
It seems to me that people need to embrace each other,
Instead of turning away.
It seems to me that women spend far too much time worrying about what they look like.
Think more about who you are.
It seems to me that nature is begging us to pay attention to her.
Let’s stop raping her to fulfill our greed.
It seems to me that if I would write everyday my novel would be done by now.
I will free my mind.
It seems to me that if you loved me, you’d let me know.
I’m still waiting.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Let the Reading Begin!

Happy New Year!

OK, don't make fun of my New Year's watermelon. It was the only relevant picture I could find on my computer. Looking forward to a new year filled with new possibilities for my writing and for meeting new writing friends. Oh the places I'll go!