Friday, January 26, 2007

Kudos to Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal Winner Laura McGee Kvasnosky and 1, 2, come on 3!

I mentioned Kirby and her Newbery nod in my last post. Now I have to jump in and mention that fab, fab writer/illustrator Laura McGee Kvasnosky received the Geisel Medal for Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways. Laura's local in the Northwest. It's really cloudy and gray here, this unfortunate fact turns out to be very fortuitous for writers and artists. Hey, as a gal with two sisters, I really connect with Zelda and Ivy. Give it a read, folks.

New York, New York! Wooo whoo, a week and half away! For more details: SCBWI Winter Conference.

I read Austenland by Shannon Hale. (Snagged an advanced reading copy.) What a hoot and half!!! I really think there really needs to be a Jane Austen Channel on cable!

Sold an article to the SCBWI Bulletin. Awesome. Received contracts for my new easy readers today. Awesome. Now if that rocking egg would just hatch. Good things are supposed to come in threes. That's 1, 2, come on 3!

Monday, January 22, 2007


I'm posting in the middle of the week because this is just so cool!

Whoo, hoo for Kirby Larson. Her book Hattie Big Sky was one of my Newbery picks and I'm thrilled to see her book receive an Newbery Honor. Kirby is one of the most generous writers I know. She's one of those "salt of the earth" people that you meet so rarely in life. If you haven't read Hattie Big Sky, run to the bookstore. The brilliance here is going back to the prairie days and writing something wholly fresh.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Snail's Pace

This is a week that I've had to hurry up and wait. I'm still "hoping and praying" that the permissions will come through. Oh, I need a fairy godmother or a leprechaun or a stack of four leaf clovers.

I added another 1000 words to Novel Push 2007. Hey, I know it's a snail's pace, but here is where my long suit in persistence pays off. If I write a 1000 words a week for an entire year, at the end of this year I will have a 50000 word draft.

On the paying gig front, I've come up with a concept for one of my new easy readers. The second concept is not popping out yet, but a free write (10 minutes of writing ideas without stopping) did give me a direction to explore or two. I should have something by the end of next week.

Snow is over and I'm back to grueling carpooling, more volunteering and a dash of homework police.

I watched Ugly Betty last night. It's one of my favorite shows. I laughed so hard that I fell off the couch when they revealed who was going to take over MODE. I also watched American Idol this week. It's sort of a family thing, but I'm not sure that I'm going to watch more. That's 5 hours of TV in one week!!!! Crazy. BTW, will someone invent Children's Book Writer Icon? I'm in.

I grew in Texas, going to Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the Texas State Fair, the Silver Wings Ballroom and the Texas Hall of Fame. I've got a soft spot deep inside me for country music. It touches my heart and brings me back to the pineywoods, fishing for crappie and riding in the back of wagon with friends on warm summer nights, being in awe of the foxfire.

All that was to say that I heard this song on the radio and it touched one of those inward chords in me.

"Anyway" by Martina McBride

You can spend your whole life building
something from nothing
one storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway

You can chase a dream
that seems so out of reach
and you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway

God is great
But sometimes life ain't good
and when I pray
It doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway

This world's gone crazy
and it's hard to believe
that tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway

You can love someone with all your heart
for all the right reasons
and in a moment they can choose to walk away
love 'em anyway

God is great
But sometimes life ain't good
when I pray
it doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
yeah, I do it anyway, yeah

You can pour your soul out singin'
a song you believe in
that tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang

Yeah, sing it anyway
Yeah, yeah,

Sing it anyway
I sing
I dream
I love

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Snow Days and Hope

I've been getting a lot done these last few days. Can't drive. Too much ice. Kids are home, so no carpool, lunches or volunteeering in classrooms.

2007 Novel Push: I added 1000 words to my manuscript this week. I was pleased with this progress because I've had gobs of current project work.

An editor asked for another copy of a manuscript. My first one has apparently been appropriated by gnomes. I'm also working on a requested rewrite and it's like pulling a giant bunny out of a tiny little hat. I'm working on permissions for another project. I've been tempted to beg. My hack career continues and a couple of more projects have just popped up on the horizon. Pay is always appreciated.

For your jolt of inspiration, I've been thinking about hope.

What future bliss, he gives not thee to know,
But gives that hope to be thy blessing now.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast:

Man never is, but always to be blest:

Alexander Pope

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Novel Push 2007

Every year, I try to write the first solid draft of one novel. I always have a plethora of ideas and write scads of first chapters, but I wait and only flesh out the best of my ideas. When I start to write a novel, I already have a few chapters written and a solid outline. This process has developed over the years, and it is continuing to work for me, so I'm sticking with it.

On the first local SCBWI meeting of the year, I take the first chapter of the novel I've chosen to write. Our chapter of SCBWI has an event called the Great Critique. I was blessed to have Janet Lee Carey as my mentor and several other talented writers in my group. I always use this event as my first shot in the arm for writing success.

This year was the debut of Chapter 1 of the Big Thicket. The spark for this book came from an editor rejection. Some years ago I sent out a picture book manuscript about a cat called El Gato. The rejection letter mentioned the manuscript was strong but read like a middle grade novel. A simple suggestion was included that I might expand it into an early chapter book or novel. I don't think I've ever had a rejection letter that struck such a deep chord. I stopped sending out the picture book manuscript and put it on the back burner and let it simmer. I slowly developed an outline and wrote some more sample chapters. The Great Critique confirmed what I'm feeling and what I think that editor had glimpsed. The reaction of the group was soooo positive. I do think that this book is going to be something special.

It just amazing to me that editors take the time to write a positive words of feedback on our manuscripts. I know how precious time is, and I so deeply appreciate the encouraging notes and provocative thoughts that have come my way.

So begins the NOVEL PUSH 2007. My current word count is 4037. If you want join me in on a novel writing adventure. Post your word count, your frustrations, your success and I will commiserate with you, cheer you on, and celebrate the creation of good works.

As always, enjoy the journey and seize the day!

Quotes to think about as you journey forward:

“Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings. Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest. The blessing is in the seed.”


"The universe is made up of stories, not of atoms”

Muriel Rukeyser

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Well, it's time to get cracking! I love a new year. Time to write a new novel. Wipe the slate clean and work again.

Ooh, there is a movie about Beatrix Potter coming out called Miss Potter. Jazzed about this one.

I don’t know what to write you, so I shall tell you the story about four little rabbits, whose names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter ... - from Miss Potter's illustrated letter to Noel Moore (son of one of her former governesses), sent when he was ill with scarlet fever. This kind thought led to the publication of The Tale of Peter Rabbit some seven years later.

Lloyd Alexander says that Janet Lee Carey's new book Dragon's Keep is awesome. This is book #1 on my 2007 reading list. Here is a helpful thought from Lloyd.

All that writers can do is keep trying to say what is deepest in their hearts. Lloyd Alexander.

This here is shocking. Laura Ingalls Wilder led to my life of excessive library fines. I could not bring myself to return On the Shores of Silver Lake to my junior high library and paid for it instead. I continue to pay exeedingly high library fines (I'm at $21.50 right now with KCLS).

Here's a great quote from Laura about living: "It is best to be honest and truthful, to make the most of what we have, to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."

Good advice.

I can't think about writing with out being thankful that Madeleine L'Engle took time to write books.

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children. Madeleine L'Engle

I'm not really a Woody fan, but I have tried to be one. I do like the following quotes.

If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative. Woody Allen

Eighty percent of success is showing up.
Woody Allen

Here are quotes from two grand masters that pretty much made me feel the universe was a way bigger place than I thought it could be.

Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer. Ray Bradbury

There is a special sadness in achievement, in the knowledge that a long-desired goal has been attained at last, and that life must now be shaped toward new ends. Arthur C. Clarke

"But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed. You're gonna have to serve somebody," I've loved Bob Dylan songs my whole life. I remember holding my little transistor radio to my heart when one of his songs came on the radio. I must have been four years old.

What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do. Bob Dylan

Thanks Bob.