Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Christmas Vision

I love Christmas. I love everything that symbolizes Christmas. So I created this---

for those who aren't cold enough!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Once is Enough

I never expected my PC to crash during the holiday season, but that's exactly what happened and right in the middle of a major project. Luckily, after several failed attempts, I managed to recover most of my material.

Please remember to save, copy or print your important projects at least once a week to make sure your hard work doesn't disappear into cyberspace. There are plenty of programs available to insure this doesn't happen to you; Dropbox, Cloud, Google Docs., an external hard-drive.

I was lucky enough to retrieve my valuable documents and most of my software. But, it could have been a total disaster. I could have lost all of my manuscripts. I could have lost my art programs. I never want to take a chance like that again.

Breathing better now, I'm off to make a book dummy. And thank goodness, I have my art programs to work with!

Don't forget to backup your system!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Oh Wow!
Wouldn't it be awesome to get an agent for Christmas?

The very thought makes my day exciting. First thing this morning, I received two emails from the same awesome agent who I would dearly love to be represented by! Maybe I'll have wonderful news about this later . . .  fingers crossed.
Breathe, one, two, three . . . They asked about a submission, and then gracefully agreed to look at a recent total revamping of a picture book that I love too much to hide in a drawer.
Honestly, I've rewrote, rearranged and revised this book several times, not wanting to let go of the story or the MC which I adore. And when I close my eyes, I can actually become the little girl in the plot, struggling to uncover the curiosities that mysteriously surround her. And confound her.
I love the holidays, especially, Christmas! And now, this one will be totally cheerful and upbeat as I wait in hopes of hearing good agent news. I hope everyone has worked hard all year; writing, revising, reading and illustrating to improve on all of their projects.
Never give-up on your writing/illustrating projects. And if you love what you are doing, never stop pushing yourself to perfection. Practice does make perfect.
Please remember what makes the season bright, and what it is that warms our hearts year-round; family, friends and loved ones. If we have these, we have everything to be grateful for.
I hope everyone has a blessed and joyful Holiday Season!

I would like to say a special Merry Christmas to all my writing/illustrating friends! I hope you all have a very special Christmas and the Happiest of New Years!
P.S. I would love to hear from you:)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Ninja

November Greetings! Welcome to the month of writing challenges . . .

  • PiBoIdMo,
  • NaMoRiMo,
  • Old draft revisions,
  • New draft outlines,
  • Upcoming webinars and writing classes.

There's still time to join me for PiBoIdMo, a challenge to write thirty picture books in a month, win prizes and make new writing friends at I usually end up with more than thirty book ideas by the time the month is over.

And it isn't too late to complete your novel in November during the NaMoRiMo Challenge at If you aren't prepared to write a novel, it's okay to spend the thirty days working on other projects or doing revisions. I'm using November to totally revise a Middle Grade novel and to complete my first picture book series.

Besides, the incredible challenges of November, I'm so looking forward to the incredible Joyce Sweeney's Plot Clock webinar this month!

Yes, it's true, there's so little time and so much to do! I hope everyone has a busy, inspiring, productive November:)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Nonfiction Ninja At Work

Yesterday, I received another picture book rating from The rating was for my 400 word nonfiction picture book "When the Forest Speaks." This is the story of an endangered Bear and Cub who struggle to exist in the Rainforest. RateYourStory gave my manuscript a three, and although, I was hoping for a two or even (I like to dream big) a one, this was huge! And a really big deal to me! They said I should revise and submit so I was excited.

The critiquer gave me some generous suggestions to improve my manuscript and even though, I had originally thought my story was perfect, I realized it could be better.

Using the critique as a guide, I worked for several hours, reading and revising my manuscript several times using their ideas and more of my own, until, I ran out of any and all ideas for further improvement.

Now my new and improved 400 word nonfiction picture book is tighter and shinier than ever! And best of all, it's ready to resubmit!

Yes, if you want to be an author, this is how it works. We write-revise, write-revise, over and over until nothing else can be improved upon, and then our project is perfect!

RateYourStory has been an amazing help to me. Thank you RYS!

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Zing, zing, zing! That's me pushing the submission button on my latest creative nonfiction. As much as I love my babies, and I truly excited about this one, it's always a relief when manuscript is finished and out the door. Yeah!

Ooooh, and guess what? My first nonfiction picture book RUN! RUN! RUN! The Amazing Story of Elizabeth Zane won an honorable mention at a contest at! Now it's time to push that submit button.

I'm researching agent wish lists and reading guidelines to make sure my  plotline jives perfectly with what agents and publishers are looking for because my story needs a new home.

I'm so thankful that I joined WOW, a critique group for nonfiction writers. I've learned sooo much! Thanks to WOW I'm now editing two nonfiction biography picture books for a six book series. And, I just completed a second draft of a science picture book about Mermaids. Now on to the editing stages to get it ready to kick out the door--what better way to begin a new week!

Last of all, because of all the research I've been doing, I have a ton of ideas for upcoming picture books. I'll just need to apply a few magical tools that I learned about in Jodell Sadler's Pacing to WOW class, and then I'm off to spin a few more stories!

Book Ninja--that's me!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Testing Your Wings

                                       Hi, folks! I’m sorry for neglecting my blogging, but all of us know how random things just seem to happen without any warning when we really dig down and get busy with a new writing project. This month, I’ve had several projects smoldering on the back burner—mostly new picture books, but I keep going back and forth with my middle grade manuscripts as well, tightening the structures, cramming details into dialogue and generally making sure the heart of the story comes through and hooks the unsuspecting reader to bring them down to their knees in fits of laughter or tears. Either way, if the reader weeps or laughs, they’re yours for life!

And, remember the post from last month in which I suggested you take every opportunity to make your writing better? Guess what I've been up to? I took two extraordinary writing classes to power-up my picture book writing skills.

  • Writing the Classic Picture Book—an online WD webinar that totally rocked!
  • Pacing Picture Books to Wow, also an online class which included fabulous online webinars, chats and many other special perks with a totally awesome agent extraordinaire who eagerly goes out of their comfort zone to encourage and help writers! J.S., you rock!

I hope all the writers out there have been as busy as I have! As much as I enjoying posting on my blog, for honesty’s sake I must admit—I love writing more! And if you ever expect to further your writing career, you will tooJ

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Don't Miss a Step Up The Ladder of Success

This is for all the writers out there.

Just a friendly reminder. There are dozens of classes and workshops online and most of them are free or very affordable. They are well worth the time and money--both well spent.

Taking online classes and entering contests has been the best thing I ever did for myself, and my writing.

 Registering for new classes will open a whole new world for you to explore and write about. And you'll love it!

Friday, July 18, 2014


Research, research, and more research.

Why? I love discovering new details. Youuu, betcha.’

But, enough of that. Woohoo! Back to revisions.

I love writing, rewriting, and I’m working on my middle grade historical novel. I researched this book for months before even starting the outline. I like writing picture books (and sometimes) first drafts of novels from the seat of my pants, but for larger works, I totally love to outline. Good research helps outline any project from picture books to novels. It makes everything go faster.

My book is set in the 1940’s and the research has been a learning experience, fun and eye-opening. Delving into the past helped me visualize my main character, and it gave me a better understanding of the problems and mind sets of that era. Now I could actually become the MC. I could understand his wants and fears. As I dug deeper, I shared his deepest secrets and his most painful struggles. Little by little, he stole a place in my heart. And now, wanted what he wanted.

So with my new list of character and setting details, and two new scenes to add unexpected twists in the plot, I knew I was ready to revise the chapters and finalize my book.

Enough said, I’m off to flesh out my beloved middle grade historical novel with a touch of evil in my heart, and, my big magic pen. Or keyboard:)

Tip: It’s much easier to research your project before you try to write or out-line. J


As always, I love those comments!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Taking Notes on the Fly

Good day, everyone!

I hope everyone is having a safe and blessed 4th of July, celebrating our countries independence with family and friends!

Even though it will be a busy day for most of us, don't forget to keep a pen and pencil handy for those spur of the moment sparks!


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Totally Motivated!

Hm. Hm. Hm. Hm. Hmmm!

So giddy here, I can barely hum. I made it through the Mini Wow challenge--and it totally was a challenge this year with so much happening at home. I submitted a manuscript each day except one, but I came away with eight new stories. Yeah!
The five historical fictions I completed will add the finishing touches to a series of six books I've been researching for months but dragging my feet because I wasn't sure where to begin. And I wanted a good hook for each book. It was a grueling process, but working under pressure forced me to dig deep and REALLY think. It's such a relief to now have them in the editing stages. Woohoo!
The two extra manuscripts are science based. I've always loved science, wildlife and the outdoors so these were fun to research and a snap to outline. I'll write many more of these in the near future.
Now comes the revising/editing stage. No problem, I love revisions too. But. Must. Get. In. Mood.
Because revisions take a lot of concentration, not like all the fun of dreaming, imagining and putting word pictures on paper. So, I'm in my bedroom with my eyes closed, deciding the best way to start.
Must have; coffee, chocolate, music, candle, sticky notes and a pen. More later.
This might take awhile . . .

Thanks for stopping by:)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Motivate Yourself

  Anyone else taking the Mini WOW week challenge--writing seven nonfiction picture books in seven days?

The challenge isn't as easy as it looks. You have to have a complete (although, rough) first draft finished to qualify for each days drawing. Getting all the interesting details in the right order for the significant first draft is a super challenge. I love challenges, but I don't like losing.

So I decided to change my work space a bit for motivational purposes. Brightening the atmosphere by opening the window seemed to help today. With gallons of coffee of course. If you need motivated today listen to music, light a candle or brew a pot of tea. A short walk could do the trick. And you know what they say about smelling the roses? Sometimes something as simple as a smell can turn your whole day around!
I hope this helps you with your challenge!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

One of The First Rules of Getting Published

As writers, we all live for the next big idea, spark, challenge to start scribbling our next big draft. I think most of us continually watch for new ideas, funny situations and unusual settings to add to our stories so they will stand out in the barrage of slush piles. We write because we are writers, we write because we want to, we write because we MUST!

But there's more to writing than just getting our stories on paper, running them through critiques, endless rewrites and submissions. The publishing industry is BIG with HUGE competition. These days, writer's need to do more than write to succeed; they need to mingle with other writers, get Facebook and Twitter accounts, and learn to network.

Writers that mingle by joining groups and helping other writers WILL learn about the publishing industry, learn more about writing, and make life-long writing buddies(friends) to help them down the long road to success. Goodness knows--it can be a lonely road. Have you heard that old saying: together we stand--divided we fall? Truer words were never spoken. Reach out to other writers!

Below is a link to an interview posted by one of my fabulous writing friends who is also an author/illustrator, Dani Duck.

Thank you, Dani!!!

Dani Duck: Artist Obscure.

Don't forget to go to Dani Duck's website; Artist Obscure to learn more about her work!

I hope this will be a help to someone. I'd love to answer any writing questions you may have:)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Author Tip of The Day

I am a very happy graduate of Nonfiction Archaeology, and I'm busting to share the news!

When it comes to writing--don't limit your creativity to one genre, one age group or one area of expertise.

There are dozens of classes and workshops online and most of them are free or very affordable. Well worth the time and money--both well spent.

Taking Nonfiction Archaeology was the best thing I ever did for myself, and my writing.
This fabulous class opened a whole new world for me to explore and write about. And I love it!

So far, I have three finished nonfiction picture books to my credit and several more in the works.

                                                              Thanks, Kristen Fulton!

WOW 2014

More to come . . .

Monday, May 19, 2014

One Key to Writing Success

Key Word—Focus:


So you want to be a prolific author. You want to write books for all age groups, and you have a drawer filled with manuscripts to prove it-but nothing published, yet. Maybe you’ve submitted most of your stories and received rejection after rejection with very few comments about why the agent wasn’t interested. I’ve been there. Let’s take a closer look at the problem.


Could you be spreading your talents too thin? Have you thought about focusing on one age group and one genre? Sometimes, narrowing your focus can shed light on the subject and in turn, you will produce a tighter, more polished manuscript.


With a tighter focus, you may find the new genre or age group is just where you want to be. I know when I get excited about my work, it makes everything easier. I suddenly love what I’m writing about, which makes the plot fall into place almost effortlessly!


As many of you know, I write fiction for all age groups, but recently, I focused on nonfiction.  I took a nonfiction class (WOW). Thanks, Kristen Fulton! I joined a nonfiction critique group, and I created a picture book outline. Then the research started. Nonfiction requires tons of research—I researched to make sure the research was true. At first, it felt like a drag, but then I dug deeper and found my first golden nuggets.


That’s when something awesome happened! I fell-in-love with my nonfiction subject, my main character and my research! Now all of my earlier projects (you know, the ones in the drawer), don’t seem quite as interesting anymore. I have a new love—an urgent one that I focus on daily. And sometimes nightly!


Yes, I love to research! I never know what I’ll find next and that fact keeps me digging for more. My nonfiction writing is coming along exquisitely! I now have three finished nonfiction picture books with a dozen more in the works!


So if you really want to write and become a published author, the key word to guarantee your success could be . . .  FOCUS.

As always, thanks for stopping at my blog. I look forward to answering your questions:)


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Flurry of Ideas

I'm jumping with joy! My nonfiction picture book about Elizabeth Zane is not only finished, but has also won an honorable mention! Now it's time to send the book proposal out the door. I'm researching agent wish lists and reading guidelines to make sure my story plotline jives perfectly with what they want because my baby(MS) needs a good home.

In the meantime, woohoo! I'm so thankful that I joined Kristen Fulton's WOW group. I've learned sooo much. I'm finishing up the editing of a nonfiction biography picture book about Anne Boleyn. And, I just completed a second draft of another nonfiction, it's a science picture book about Mermaids. Now on to the editing stages to get it ready for Wednesdays special visitor, and for what's coming this Friday. It's a big surprise and a HUGE deal, thanks to Kristen!!!

Last of all, because of all the research I've been doing, I have a ton of ideas for upcoming picture books. Now, I've got to learn to spin and twirl so I can whip out all those other stories.

And Ooops, I still have illustrations calling my name!

As always, I love hearing from my peeps:)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Choose to Challenge

This little chick-a-de is doing the happy dance!

Now at last I can let everyone in on some great news, my historical nonfiction "RUN! RUN! RUN! The Amazing Story of Elizabeth Zane" was chosen as an honorable mention in a writing contest over at RateYourStory! 

I just love challenges, and this one was extra special because the entries were judged by an excellent group of editor/writers who I admire very much. I know it was no small feat to judge the almost 300 entries. I feel very grateful to the RYS staff and especially to Miranda Paul.

Thanks, Miranda!

Taking chances is the spice of a writers life. Choose to join critique groups, take writing classes, help other writers succeed, and most of all, make friends.

If you are an aspiring writer who needs a critique, the RYS staff is an awesome resource. They offer reasonable rates and even have a free day each month. They also offer different range memberships and/or Speedpasses. Below is a link to check out their site. You WILL be glad you did!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Very Unexpected Event

Wow! Wow! Wow! 

 Sorry if I appear overly excited. I just received awesome news! (I'm turning cartwheels in the snow.) 

 About an hour ago, I received an email from the fabulous writing site, RateYourStory. They said my NF picture book contest entry had been chosen as a finalist! The news was totally unexpected and a total a pick-me-up! (Must work on all my other stories.)

 I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to RYS, and to all my critique partners who guided me through many drafts of my story before it even started to shine. The journey wasn't easy, but I love to write, so it was a happy one. Now I can't wait to write another one, two, three . . .

So when you feel like giving up on your writing, when you're trudging through another round of revisions, when you want to stuff that manuscript in a drawer--don't. Because hard work really does pay off--sooner or later. There really is a reason to make your manuscript the very best it can be. And great writing friends are well worth their weight in gold:)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Musing with Music

Snow taps different emotions in everyone. Some folks sway away from it. Others, like me, frolic in the silent beauty and pouring of inspiration it creates. I guess you could say, snow jazzes up my inner child, the one who daydreams and imagines that anything is possible. When I see the first flurry, I grab a mug of coffee and prance off to my computer with ideas twirling so fast, I barely have the time to bop them down.

As white flakes waltz across the sky, I ready my pen to rumba across the empty page. I don’t want to forget those fresh ideas even if some may end up in the slush. So hopefully, by the days end, I’ll have a jazzy new list, bursting with cool picture book ideas. And you can too. Just remember to take the lead when the ideas start rolling. Okay, I’m off to the ball!

I found a fabulous link to share and get you motivated.
Writing Exercises, Prompts & Whimsical Pursuits at ABSOLUTE WRITE:

Thanks for stopping by! And if you enjoyed my post, please don't forget to friend me. I would love to hear from you and answer any questions:)



Saturday, January 11, 2014

Revising Those Darlings

Are you getting antsy about that picture book you've never finished?
You want to write, outline and revise those manuscripts until they shine, but maybe you're over- whelmed. Everything holding you back? Friends? Shopping? Clipping your toenails?
Stick a pen behind each ear, head out the Starbucks and surf as fast as you can to Meg Miller's REVIMO!
REVIMO starts tomorrow January 12th and continues through the 18th.
I've gathered my manuscript collection (a dirty dozen), and I have several colored markers ready to do the work for me!
So if you're really serious about finishing your manuscripts and submitting, go here to Meg Miller's REVIMO to learn more: