Monthly Archives: August 2010

Masterpiece Monday

Last night I was set to critique a manuscript that had some interesting sibling dialogue. Then this morning I was watching the movie In Her Shoes and in an instant I had an “Aha” moment. So…

Today’s masterpiece is the ever challenging and extremely fun world of the sibling. Here are some books that include just that:

Flora’s Very Windy Day (picture book)
 by, Jeane Birdsall who is also the author of The Penderwicks…I’m curious about the very interesting boy in the story. This one is definitely on my to read list!

Sand Sisters (picture book)
by, Amanda White and Illustrated by Yuyi Morales.

I love Yuyi’s artwork in the book. She is quite a colorful character. Swing by her blog here for some magnificence.

Sisters Red (YA novel)
Read an excerpt here. The writing and the cover = AWESOME!

 The Twin’s Daughter 
by, Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Adventures in Children’s Publishing has a post on Twins. Just click on the title and you will find it.

 if I haven’t mentioned it yet, here is the scoop over there:  an awesome contest going on over at Adventures in Children’s Publishing. Enter for a chance to win a copy of Mockingjay or Paranormalcy. Click on over. Don’t miss out! 

Outside Over There
by, Maurice Sendak

Peter’s Chair
by, Ezra Jack Keats
 watch it here

What are your favorite sibling books?

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English Muffin Caper

I am having an uber fun and busy weekend so far! It’s smothered with one lovely campout, several delicious smores, 2 chili-smothered hotdogs, and stickiness galore. So when I got back from said camp out I ventured

To mimic this:

atop this:

So basically I failed and the two never merged for lack of ingredients…AKA frosting. Heck! I just wanted to see if the real thing measured up to its hype! I never found out. So without further ado, or much ado about nothing, I introduce:

A Breakfast Exchange with Saturday (our anonymous child of the week):


 “Mom, are these called Indian muffins?” “Huh? Oh… no, those are English muffins.” 🙂

If you have any questions on any of the above mentioned you may want to meet the marks to clarify it all.

Before I jet though, might I suggest we introduce another manifesto to our day, say toss this in while at it. Your kid will get kicks out of it I promise! Now I’m off to go beat on my own drum.

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Filed under English Muffin Caper, Splendiferously Superb Saturday

It’s All About the Shoe and Pippi

You know that saying “If the shoe fits…” well I’m gonna say, boy were they ever right! Only, mine may have been a little tight, or a bit too flexible….did anyone mention the arch of my foot? I’m on foreign ground here. All I know is that I’m off to the doctors tomorrow despite my enthusiasm, effort, will, and desire to run that relay. So here are the stats:

Desire to run a super difficult relay: tons of it
Skill level: experienced enough
Accomplishment of 6 miles average at climax of training: 100%
Gear bought specifically for the race: 50% (thank goodness I can use it for cycling)
Bloomability: Screeched to a halt. 😦  For now 🙂

I could say the same thing for a writer, minus the shoe part. If the agent/publisher/editor/plot fits…you get the idea. Only…

Thankfully (and with much appreciation) writing is a bit different if you can avoid the physical strain that surfaces, and I mean you must avoid it like the plague. If left unattended it’s quite a disaster, quite like Pippi’s hair and attire. She’s a bit of a masterpiece though–a crazy-quilt, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, spunkyiness all wrapped up together kinda masterpiece, but somehow she works out just fine because the writer made her fit into our little reader minds despite Pippi not being cookie-cutter. So how do I make this happen and how will it work for you?

As long as I don’t let my ego get carried away, or the horror of constant rejection slip past my (I hope) thick skin, I’ll be okay. As long as I don’t give up. (while I’m pondering this, I’ll need Twizzlers and maybe chocolate).

So while I had to abort “Operation Blue Ridge Relay” due to foot injuries (note: my feet won’t be taking me taking me any great distances anytime soon Dr. Seuss, but at least I’ll still be going quite a few places).

I’m still here to say:

  • If failure fits, wear it. Only don’t let it drag you too far down.
  • If the title “aspiring author” fits snuggly, wear it. Only hurry along and BLOOM soon because it will be much too snug before you know it. No one enjoys the company of a suffocating author.
  • If “Too busy for my WIP.” fits inside your head, then well, wear it, but only for less than a second. Seriously, MAKE TIME!
  • If confuzzled fits, wear it. BUT please, please, do sincerely try to discover the answers. Find solutions to your writing predicaments. Ask questions. Seek advice. Play around with your options and make changes.Do a nose dive into intuition and mere chance and spare yourself the pity party.
And when you are done, remember I’m the one who told you: the shoe will eventually fit, with a little bit of pain, and a bit of frequented trial and error. Just don’t forget you might encounter a look-alike Pippi every once in a while as you glance in the mirror. If so, it might be wise to adopt her mantra:
“bother all this learning. I can’t study anymore because I must climb the mast to see what kind of weather we’re going to have tomorrow.” —Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking)
 
but adopt it only for a little while because…
 
tomorrow  the “weather” just might be perfect. What do you say?

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Filed under Bloomability Thursday, If the Shoe Fits, Pippi Longstocking

Tinker with Tools Tuesday

Oh! The writer in us all! Whew. I wipe the sweat off my brow and dust my typing fingers because I’m about to tackle a topic that we all tenderly covet and at times despise for the lack of it.

THE CRITIQUE GROUP:
Needed:
  1. A few good, excellent, sleep deprived, chocolate (possibly Pull and Peel Twizzler) loving writers bound by love for the PB, MG, and YA novel who possess a devotion to perfection and learning all there is to know of the publishing industry. Acquiring skill is key here people! 
  2. Must know perfect balance between rules and schedule vs no schedule. Please look up slacker, laid back, dilly-dally for examples of what not to lean towards while on the job.  Please peruse words/descriptions of over achiever, perfectionist, detail oriented/thorough, exceptional word monger to the extent of gaiety, wit beyond that of a sly fox, highly motivated, proactive, murderer of weak words and bad grammar, positive and passionate but with head still on shoulders. 
  3. Soliloquy is not welcome during critique! Spit it out already! Opinions are absolutely imperative  to survival or writer will self destruct within so few words. I would say seconds…but it just wouldn’t do the writer justice. 

Moral: One and all, seek the perfect group. Go forth and adore them!
 Tell me, what is your dream critique group capable of?

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Masterpiece Monday

Over the weekend DH and I took the kids on an adventure:bargain hunting for…well anything, but we ended up with nothing other than BOOKS! What a great way to end the weekend. Here is one that is now an absolute favorite:

How could I not buy this one? I love the sea! Stella is one clever little girl who knows all of the seas secrets and if you’d like to know a few of its secrets, well, you’ll just have to read this one too! 

Since I always have more than one masterpiece here I’ll pleasantly include another exceptional favorite of mine that is full of animal secrets and a little blond boy hidden among the colorful pages:

An
Anxious
Aspiring
Author
Anticipating
Authordom
Absolutely
Adores…
A few funny and interesting things about Graeme Base

“He graduated from art school and then spent two years in advertising before being sacked for incompetence.” He went on to illustrate Animalia–it took him over 3 years to complete–but it also became a grand “worldwide phenomena”. Kudos Graeme! So who’s to say this won’t happen:
An
Anxious
Aspiring
Author: Angela 
Anticipating 
Authordom
Accomplishes
All Awesome Albeit Ardent 
Aspirations

So writers everywhere get in the Animalia mood, follow suit, and write in like fashion to celebrate…or just uncover a few secrets. I’d be much obliged to enjoy them all if you’ll only send me a link to all your fun!

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What does the number 209, WriteOnCon, and the New Voices Award all have in Common?

A lot of fun running around–to accomplish them all that is.

I’ve been running around lately…literally! As if I didn’t have enough to do! When I said I needed to evaluate my goals, I took on a load of others along with it! I like to torture myself, but at least I feel accomplished at the end of it all. That is the goal right, to feel wholesome, accomplished, and HAPPY? Yes. That is the goal. So while I’m entering my MS to Lee and Low for the New Voices Award I’ll also be participating in (yes, finally it’s here) WriteOnCon and training for this grueling 209  miles with 11 other awesome ladies! Thank goodness I’m not doing the whole 209! All that and add to it the reading of these fun books:

Sisters Red–So good, so far. I so want to finish it today, but errands call….oh and writing, a critique, and revision!

Glimmerglass–The start of this one is fantastic! Can’t wait to finish it!

My goodreads list is never ending!

Like I said. A lot of running around. A lot of fun!

So, one more thing. I’ve been dreaming, literary style, punctuation and all, lots of commas. Last night I dreamt that Peter Pan had an  absolutely-freakin’-tastic crush on me and he tried to kidnap me/sneak me off on an adventure to Never Land. LOL. Too bad I woke before he could get me there! Is he trying to tell me something? Am I growing up too quickly for him and his world? If so I might be doomed as an author. LOL. J/K. Bwah ha ha ha! Well, not about the dream, just the doom and growing up part.

Who’s your literary crush, and forever-the-chocolate, why? Indulge us!

Here are mine! 🙂

P.S.–You must be absolutely riveted by said crush!

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The Chutes and Ladders of Getting Published

Here I am playing Chutes and Ladders (Dora and Boots style) with my 4 year old and it occurs to me that getting published is much like the ups and downs of this game.

There are many ups:

  • Finding that you have readers on your blog or followers on your twitter page/fan page, etc, i.e. getting a big round head over it all, floating aloft, and then shouting at yourself,  “Back to Earth! Back to Earth!” with vigor and vim.
  • Discovering you love to read to the kids at the local library, attend conferences, or network with others in the field. Maybe you love to visit schools and teach about literacy or writing. Then you beat yourself up for telling a five year old to eavesdrop on the company and then write about it.
  • Getting a response from an agent or a request for your first pages maybe a full.
  • Getting good critique or feedback from another author or your critique group. Then noticing all the typos on the page that nobody mentioned!
  • Publication. Seeing your book in print and getting so excited you run around like a mad man or woman telling everyone about it. (Some days I wish I could teleport myself to this stage but then I’d miss out on all the fun and I wouldn’t gain one drop of mercurial mileage or  literary experience).
  • Readathons. There are so many awesome books out there and never enough time to read them all. Moderation is key…No chuck that. No moderation. Splurge while you can!
The in-betweens. We shall call them Limbo:
  • Getting lost in the mighty and rotund blogosphere. Reading up on writing until we are ready to hang ourselves or run amok among the silliness we have become/created and the writing we have failed to do.
  • An over abundance of contests. These are fun, but generally make me feel like I’m running in circles–an errand girl or boy–with holes in my shoes, no ink in my pen, and no time for brainstorming.
  • Facing the challenge that publishers, editors and agents are NOT big bad wolves that devour book contracts or books–they are book lovers just like us who want to see the market grow, grow, grow…EVERYWHERE. They really are rooting for ya. Just make sure you have a fabulous superific book first. Right-o! Cheerio! Whatever.
  • Discovering you must keep your day job or do a fundraiser…better yet, marry and let the spouse grow the money tree. i.e paper, printer, computer, pens, notepads, hotel fare, gas, and everything else.

There are plenty of downs:

  • Getting a form rejection– at some point you have to like it. Share the love, buy a frame for them.
  • Procrastination is sweeter as you get closer to a deadline, so close you can hug it–skewing the line between suddenly-next-year and swiftly-tomorrow is a favorite past time of many authors. Wait! What! You didn’t get it? Oh…my bad. It’s still saved in my e-mail drafts or under the pet bed.
  • Avoiding BIC–soreness never was better for the tush than when faced with that deadline. I suppose this is the best plan any author can have when they are avoiding “the plan”.
  • Vague critique, or even better, waiting for it to come to you (wait does this mean my MS was so chuck-it horrible my critique partner is STILL figuring out a way to cushion the blow?)
  • My spouse/mother/BFF enjoyed my MS? Wait! Oh no. I was warned about this one!
  • Carpel tunnel, tendonitus (who needs thumbs to type with or write…who needs wrist muscle), 24 hours of sore booty, blood shot eyes, drowsiness. Chocolate addictions.
  • Thoughts of failure. Get a kick out of it while you can. Likely this is temporary and more often than not this belongs in Limbo and is highly sectional and clearly subjective to OPINION or the Classifieds.
  • Lots of trial and error here. Often a little luck and a lot of patience is needed in Writer Land.
What are your ups and downs?

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