Saturday, October 29, 2011

Press On

Hi folks, I'm writing children's books in the margins of my life right now. Things always heat up to rocket ship busy at this time in of the year. I'm writing and reading for hire. I'm doing the full time mom thing, and in every extra space of time, I am writing my books. My assurance for success comes from my steadfast belief in the next step. If you press on and refuse to give up, you are bound to end up somewhere. I don't know if there is any particular way to keep pressing on -- endless short sprints, slow and steady, I think either works. Just be sure you are taking more than one step.

So where does all this pressing on energy come from? I look up at the stars and think, wow, we are like a speck of dust in a vast universe and then I think about men building their towers to the heavens. They are so sure they getting somewhere. And I have to say, I laugh a bit. For me, I hope my writing is making space in this world for some folks who don't really get much space -- you know -- the ones who have had their towers kicked over, the ones who must rise from the dust. I mean the smart ones and fast ones, the beautiful ones and the capable ones often get the lion's share of the pie, survival of the fittest and all. I'm working on making sure the ones who weren't even going to get a sliver of pie, get a whole slice. The thought of putting some balance in what seems like a skewed universe just charges my soul. It's like rocket fuel to my existence.

So get out there and pull on the yin or push on the yang. Let's bring the balance that stories bring to the world. Press on! See you next week.

This week's doodle has the fancy name "Landscape 3".

Here's a nifty quote to tack up on your bulletin board:

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, 'press on' has solved, and always will solve, the problems of the human race.Calvin Coolidge

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Now For The Ultimate Creative Advice

Hi folks, yes, today I'm going to share the ultimate creative advice, so don't go away. I love fall because new books are rolling off the presses and that makes me want to dance. The only thing, I have been a little glum lately is there are parties happening up in Seattle to celebrate books that I totally believe in and I can't go. My critique friends are busy setting the world on fire with their stories. Just out or coming or out in the next couple months are these books:

Stasia Kehoe Ward's Audition
Holly Cupala's Don't Breathe a Word
Louise Spiegler's The Jewel and the Key
Janet Carey's Dragonswood.

I'm just saying, the company you keep can make a huge difference in your work. What a crop! They just fit writing into their lives and I'm happy to have traveled some of that road with them. We've had lots of hot cups of tea and shared lots of pages. I learned the most important stuff ever on my journey with them. If you are showing up and working every day, don't doubt your dreams! Don't doubt them for a minute.

Here is the ultimate creative advice, search out like-minded souls and work with them. It doesn't have to be a troop. One person can be enough. Share your dreams. Keep each other honest. Encourage each other to stay on the journey. All that rubbing shoulders makes your work sharper. It does. There are no rules to how to set up the connection; you and your kindred spirits will figure it out. I know that I'm telling you to take a risk. It's a real one. This process doesn't always work. Sometimes sharing your journey can end up hurting. I've seen the downside, and I still believe the deep connections creative souls share.

Don't journey alone, friends. Seize the day.

This week's doodle: "Magenta Cat".

Quote for the week:

Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.Mark Twain

Friday, October 14, 2011


Hi, folks, the writing journey is full of twists and turns and surprises. I am always trying to challenge myself to try new ways of writing. I love to explore new forms: graphic novels, screenwriting, novels in verse, post modernism, grown-up stuff, whatever comes my way.

Each new challenge brings more to me as a writer. I will be honest; these plunges into new writing can lead to some spectacular success but to just as spectacular failure. You have to be willing to take risks and be willing to fail big time to reinvent yourself through form.

One recent project I worked on was a resounding success. Author Holly Cupala wrote DON'T BREATHE A WORD. I had the opportunity to collaborate with Holly and artist Realm Lovejoy to create some exclusive content to go with the book. I wrote the graphic novelization for a short section. The work was challenging and it sparked up unused parts of my brain.I was a bit of glue to meld together Holly's story-telling and Realm's art.

I do love collaboration. I learn so much through this creative process. My collaborative gurus come from the music world. One group was the the Beatles and the other is U2. True collaboration is about making the others in the team shine. It's about giving everyone room to make mistakes and then the room to recover, and it's about listening to and hearing each other. It's about creating art as many with one voice.

Finally, consider trying a collaborative project. You don't have to dive in deep at first. My first collaborative baby steps were the open critique sessions of SCBWI in College Station in the mid 90s. My first baby steps included advice from Kathi Appelt and Donna Cooner. From the beginning I stumbled into some of the finest artists on the planet. Each collaboration has shaped my work in some way.

Find a avenue for collaboration to bring something new to your work. Seize the day.

We forgo today's doodle to give you a peek at the awesome novel, Holly Cupala's DON'T BREATHE A WORD. Watch Holly's website for opportunities to access this exclusive graphic novel content.


Here is the quote for the week:

"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” Ryunosuke Satoro

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Goodbye, Golden Coffee Cup

Hi folks! Glad you dropped by. If you are a long time visitor, you know that I hold my motivational event, the Golden Coffee Cup, every year in November, but no more. I'm discontinuing it. It's had a good run for five years and that certainly was tons of inspiration, but it's time for me to let it go. I need to refocus all my energy on the art of writing children's books.

I'm a little like a woman who knows about a treasure in a field but has not been willing to sell everything she has to go buy that field and mine the treasure out of it. So enough of that. I want to pull that treasure out and share it with the world. I can't begin to express how deeply I feel about creating a book that lasts for the generations to come.

I'm a plain woman with simple ideas. I wake up every morning and try to be better than the day before. I believe everything I do is an investment in what I will be. I can always change who I am, no matter what anyone says. I measure my wealth by the company I keep. And this I'm working on: Respect my work and don't let any voice especially my own devalue it.

I'm not a fast writer and I need more time to work. It's taking me a lifetime to achieve something that I hope will touch the hearts of young readers now and for years to come. I'm going to let my simple values guide me here. I'm not going to get the job done if I don't go all in. I don't know if I can do it, but I can give it my best shot. I have learned one thing about bravery. It's about being afraid and going forward anyway.

For writers, check out the Nanowrimo, for a month of writing inspiration. Seize the day will continue for all with its weekly inspiration. And now its time to face the looming question: What's next?

My doodle for the week;

I call this: "Roses on the Balcony".

My quote for the week:

There is an end to everything, to good things as well.
Geoffrey Chaucer

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Three Little Birds

Hi folks, I hope that you are taking time to write. I know it's hard work to put words on the page, and you may get discouraged sometimes. Here's a little secret I've learned. Some days I feel like my work is brilliant. Other days it's more like "at least I did something." Still others I actually feel like a two-bit hack who on her best day can write a grocery list. The secret is this: none of my feelings have any significance. The only thing important is that I show up.

I've met so many writers that feel desperation to create something good, something that will reach readers. Heck, I'm one of them. This morning the light of dawn nudged me out of my dreams. I was still sleepy, and I certainly was not about to pop out of bed. I was in the lazy place half-way between sleeping and waking. The whole sky was bathed in a rosy hue, softening the rough edges. Ah, then I understood what the universe was trying to say to me. I'm just like the birds singing at dawn. The sun has shown up. We have a new day to live, a new day to explore; it will all turn out in the end.

Wake up and let go of all the noise. While you have today, keep trying. Let hope speak to you in rosy sunrises or three little birds singing out your door. In all bleakness that is the world -- the evil sprung from Pandora's box, hope is here. Show up and spin out your stories. Your gift will make a place for you. No worries. See you next week.

This week's doodle is called "Three little birds."

Here is today's quote is also the inspiration for this post:

"Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', "This is my message to you-ou-ou:"

Singin': "Don't worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh!
Every little thing gonna be all right. Don't worry!"
Bob Marley