Saturday, April 30, 2011

Picture books, here I come!

So Paula tells me that I don't have to write 7 stories; I only need to try writing 7 stories.  ;)  And she put in so many smiley faces that I was convinced.  So, I will give it a go.  I do need something for my next SCBWI critique group meeting, after all.

If you have ever had a hankering to write a picture book story, or seven, I would say do it, do it, do it!  Keep me company!  Go to and sign up so you'll have a chance to win fun prizes.  Don't forget to  follow Paula ( ) and her cute cat Oreo ( ) on Twitter like I do!

Friday, April 29, 2011


The funny and talented Paula Yoo has been running the National Picture Book Writing Week since 2009, in the spirit of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  The goal, in her own words, is
"To write 7 picture books in 7 days."

I've been wanting to try this for a couple of years now, but it didn't work out last year and I'm not sure it will this year either as my favorite sister (it's ok; she's my only sister so nobody gets jealous) will be here for a visit, arriving in the middle of the week.

But you never know. My insanity could take over and I might do it just to prove that I can.  Besides, Paula has generously offered some tempting prizes! 

I would also totally do it if someone dared me to.  ;)

Friday, April 15, 2011

My neglected hobby

I haven't had much time to make soaps lately, but this was my attempt over the holidays to make a "Candy Cane" soap. The smell was a real candy cane, but better!
I need to make some time to make more soaps...maybe when my sister is visiting. Can't wait!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A good book is not hard to find

...unlike the hypothetical "good man". Here are some of my recommendations on how-to write books .

The first few are for those who want to pen children's lit:This is a general book that I remember being very good (it's been a number of years since I read it):
Ah, and grammar books - I have, and love, Strunk & White, of course, but these are my current favorites:
This next book I got from the library but I intend to buy a copy because any book that talks about how "anxious" is different from "eager" gets an enthusiastic thumbs-up from me!
Sherrie in my SCBWI critique group recommended this; while not as funny as the above two, it looks to be an excellent book:
The last couple are for the science fiction writers and fans. Feeling Very Strange is not really instructional although the intro is enlightening as it tries to define slipstream, and the stories are terrific reads:
This one is put forth by the editors of Asimov's Science Fiction magazine; I don't think I need to say more. :)
Do you have favorite writing books? Please share!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Critique groups - like your second family

I'm a lucky, lucky gal.

For years, I worked alone in my writing. Occasionally, I would let hubby read my manuscripts before I sent them off to a publisher, but mostly, I proof-read my own work and then it was all between me and the editor (and all those wonderful, hard-working interns and first readers in between, of course). It worked well enough for the short, sweet poetry I wrote for children.

But, times change, things change, and I guess I, too, change. I now belong to, not one, but two (count 'em) critique groups! Neither is my doing, of course. Left to my own devices, I'd still be writing alone...or not writing at all, as had been the case the past few years. As Dora Goss mentioned in her author's reading at ICFA, writing is one thing that nobody will ever make you do, and too often, I let other things in my life take over when I should be writing.

The first critique group I got involved with is one with fellow SCBWI members - two truly lovely ladies, Sherry and Jo. If it weren't for the persistence of Sherry in persuading me to join them, I'd not be inspired to give writing for children another go after a 6 or 7 year hiatus. Our backgrounds are different, but we get along great, as though we've been long time friends. I hope our group will continue for many, many years.

The second group I'm involved with came about with the efforts of a classmate of mine from both the SFI and SFII class from Gotham Writers' Workshop. Russell helms the group as the fearless Skipper and we're the hopeful writer-castaways on the island of Creating/Editing...or something like that. I also hope that this group will last a long time - as long as Gilligan and his compatriots were on the island.

Now that I'm with these two groups, I can't imagine how I once worked alone. I've not submitted anything to be looked over in the SCBWI group yet, but I have been critiqued by the SF crew in one or both of my classes and they are one skilled bunch of writers who provide exceptional feedback.

And also now that I'm with these groups, I can heartily recommend joining a critique group to other writers. They'll provide you with the tough love and some gentle hand-holding that good friends or family would. I wish you as much success in finding one that you click with as I have had!