Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hi! Long time no see. What have you been up to? What have I been up to? Glad you asked. I've been taking pictures, learning my camera inside and out, learning about lighting, and the technicalities of taking a good picture and trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Then I figured . . . hey! I love taking pictures, why not try to make something out of that. So, who knows. Maybe, after I gain more knowledge and experience with my camera . . . I might go pro. Heck, I've been behind a camera most of my life just for fun. I think it's high time I did something more with it. I'm always telling my kids to find something they love and do it so well that people will pay them to do it. It's time for me to take my own advice. Don'tcha think? I've been sharing some of my pictures on the National Geographic, Your Shot, photo sharing site. I'm getting good feedback. (YaY!) Here are some of my favorite photo's that I've snapped recently. This picture is better in it's largest form. Look close. You can see the reflection of trees in the raindrops.
My daughter's conure, Pickles.
My poor doggies went outside to do their "business in a rainstorm. This image captured me . . . so the poor things had to stay outside just a few minutes longer while I grabbed my camera and took a few shots.
My sweet, youngest daughter humored me and posed for a photo shoot so I could have some practice with portraits. She's such a good sport.
I hope to blog more often, once again. However I know my time away has caused me to lose followers and my social status in Blogland has most likely been demoted to "hermit" at best. If you stop by, please say "Hi!" and let me know what you're up to. I'll come by your blog too and say "howdy" back. And please, somebody please tell me why I can't separate paragraphs in blogger anymore. I should have at least four separations above the photo's but they're all smashed together instead. That's gonna drive me nutzo!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I'm a Stupid Cupid winner!!!!!

YaY!!!! I'm so excited. I just found out that I'm the winner of Tina Ferraro's latest book, Stupid Cupid. Thanks so much Tina! I can't wait to read it. I've loved every one of your books so I know this one will be fabulous too!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I'm back! Photo of the day, Day 1 and Day 2

Wow! I can't believe it has been nearly two years since I last posted. I've gone through a pretty rough time since my last post. Lots of life changes and loss. It has all taken a toll on my confidence and has consequently made it hard for me to write. I have a great big creative-block-monster that's been holding me hostage. Life is becoming a little more stable now (Thankfully!) and I'm starting to re-explore my creativity in different ways. Part for fun and also in hopes to knock down this blasted writing beast that has set up his stinky lair in my head. I've taken a pottery class. It's been fun and therapeutic but I'm not going to make a living out of it. I may take it up again one day when I have more time but for now it's just a weapon I'm using to defeat that blasted creative-block-monster (Let's give this guy a name. How about Bob? Bob the block monster). Another weapon in my attack against my own personal monster is the camera! I've always loved photography. I've mostly used it for taking pictures of the kids but I've recently decided to seek to understand my camera and learn how to take some cool shots. I'm going to embark on the "A Photo a day for a Year" journey. Here's what I took yesterday: I found a leaf stuck in a spiderweb and thought it would be fun to see how I could capture it. The above was the result. My day 2 photo: My parents neighbor has this wagon in their yard. Every time I see it I itch to take a picture of it. Today I finally did. So there you have it. I've put on my super-cape in order to defeat the dreaded monster (AKA Bob) who sucks creativity and confidence out of unsuspecting prey. Now you know my secret weapons. Cheer me on so that maybe one day I'll find my way back to my writing desk and I can give Bob and big ol' knock out punch right in the kisser!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Inspired by books: Her own personal Narnia

My 10 year old has been reading this book called "Mandy" by Julie Andrews Edwards. (Yes, that's the same as the Mary Poppins actress) It's about an orphan that finds an abandoned cottage and works to fix it up as her own little get-away haven.



We are lucky to have my parents nearby. They only live about 15 minutes away so the kids get to see them often. They have this fabulous yard, the kind that beggs for kids to be as they really are; adventurers, warriors, race car drivers, wizards and creators.

They have this plant in the yard (as seen in the picture) I don't know what it's called but they look like cat tails on steroids.







Since my daughter has been reading MANDY she has been taking care of this patch of vegetation and making it her own "Narnia" as she calls it.





She has woven mats out of blades from the plant.




she has even made some chairs (held together by tape) Don't they look like something straight out of Fairytopia?

The best part is that there is an open circle inside the plant. This is what she has REALLY been working on. It's her own fort. The place where she will put her chairs, mats and other decorations. She has spent hours on it already and she's still going strong.





But this is just the beginning! There are so many great books she has yet to discover. I can't wait to see what she'll come up with next.

It takes me back to my childhood. I loved making my own forts, hiding places and other worldly places.

What about you? Did you have your own world or . . . how were you inspired by books as a kid (or heck, even now?)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Encouragement for Writers: An Agent Success Story With Kathleen M. Reilly

I'm happy to introduce yet another member of my critique group, Kathleen M. Reilly. who recently signed with Marcy Posner of Folio Literary Magangement.

Kate has graciously answered some of my questions about her journey to finding an agent.

But first, a little about Kate. She's one of the most dedicated, focused and hard-working writers that I know.

Kate's features appear in publications such as:
  • Parents
  • Better Homes & Gardens
  • Family Circle
  • American Baby
  • FamilyFun
  • Woman's Day
  • Ladies' Home Journal



She's also the author of eight books (two of which are those award-winners).

Prior to launching a successful freelance career, Kate edited telecommunications and veterinary medical newsletters, website copy, and technical documentation.

Kate develops, writes, edits, and designs a wide range of business materials, both in print and online, including brochures, newsletters, press releases, corporate identity pieces, marketing "give-aways," and website copy.


And now, (drum roll please) Kate's interview about how she found her agent:

What type of writing do you do and how long have you been writing?

I’m a freelancer, so most of my work is writing for magazines. I’ve been doing that for about nine years. A few years ago, I started writing non-fiction children’s books for Nomad Press, an indy publisher in Vermont. I’ve done about seven books for them now.

How long had you worked on the manuscript that landed your agent? How many revisions?
when did you seek an agent for the first time, and how/why did you know it was time to look for one?

At the beginning of 2011, I decided it was well past time for me to do what I’ve always wanted – write fiction! So, in January, I began tossing plot ideas around in my head. I started writing in earnest in February. I finished the first draft a couple months later (I write fast!), and I must have done about three major revisions. I started looking for an agent in August. I knew I was ready because I felt like I’d taken the revisions as far as I could go. I was ready for some input from someone who does fiction day in and day out – someone who really knew this side of the business well.

How did you find your agent and then come to the conclusion that she was “the one?”

I did a lot of research to find an agent. I ran searches on different “find an agent!” sites, putting in my key points – I needed someone who did middle grade, who was interested in “boy books,” and who took submissions via email! When this agent responded to my query, she was very polite, professional, and seemed genuinely excited about my manuscript. And when I found out we’d gone to the same university, I figured it was fate!

What encouragement given to you did you hold onto while you were searching for an agent?

As a freelancer, I’m used to rejection. It’s just part of the business. Nothing personal at all – there are so many variables that come into play. Do they already have something similar in the works? Does that particular editor just not like that particular spin on the idea? Is she just having a plain old bad day? Maybe they already ran a story too close to that topic. In any case, I didn’t take rejection hard when an agent said, “No, not for me.” I liked my story; I have a fantastic writing group who supported me; and I knew I’d eventually place it somewhere. Sometimes you just gotta kiss a lot of frogs!

What encouragement or advice do you have to give to those who are searching for an agent?

I regularly go mountain biking with my tween- and teen-aged sons. Trust me, you’ve gotta work hard to keep up with these guys! But it turns out, it’s actually pretty fun to really push myself. Same goes for the whole writing process and looking for an agent. Just like in mountain biking, you’ve got to expect some setbacks – and possibly even some wipeouts! Yeah, those pitfalls are more emotional than physical in the writing biz, but you’ve still got to pick yourself back up and keep pushing. Old advice, but it’s really the truth!


Thank you, Kate, for sharing your success story with us. You are an inspiration! All of a sudden I have the urge to go mountain biking. . . . .









Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"How to Milk a Dinocow" Book launch!



Do you remember when we sent Critter around the world last year? Critter met all kinds of writers and illustrators and then was auctioned off for St. Jude.


Critter's mega-talented creator, Ian Sands, has his first humorous middle grade book coming out on December 10th.

If you're in the state of NC . . . .“How to Milk a DinoCow” will be released December 10, 2011. The publisher and the Halle Cultural Arts Center, located on Salem Street in downtown Apex, NC will be co-hosting the launch event which is open to the public. The event will take place from 3-5PM. But you can pre-order it here

Don't forget to become a fan on Facebook too!


Go on! Reserve your copy. You know you want to!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NaNo, words flow, go, go, go! How do you get the words out?


I can't believe NaNo is going so well for me this year. I have three youngin's and a busy life. I didn't even know if I should tackle NaNo this year; 1) because my past NaNo stories have turned out to be junk 2) I didn't know if I had the time. I hate to start something and not finish it.

But then I decided to do it; 1) because a friend talked me into it 2) I had an idea to write the back story and character sketches of my book instead of the book itself 3) we all can find time to do the things that we WANT to do. I knew I could find the time if I really tried.

I encourage anyone who is thinking about NaNo to do NaNo on in the way that will best suite you and your goals. Who cares if you don't make it to the full 50K? Who cares if you are writing a book about your book? Who cares if you're just brainstorming nothing in particular? The point is setting your goals and working towards them.

Writing a book about back story and characters seems "weird" but it has been really helpful.
1) I'm gaining a better understanding of what motivates my characters and how they effect each other.
2) I'm seeing my characters in a more well-rounded way. They are becoming real to me and I think that will help my story when I start to really write about them.
3) I'm able to connect the dots with some questions I had in my mind but didn't know how to work them out.
4) My inner editor is completely shut off. None of this is meant to be cut and pasted into my novel, so I can type freely with little to no road blocks.

When I do find that my creative process is slowing down, I know it's time to stop. One of the best ways I find to let the words flow is to visualize the scenes or thoughts that I want to write about, like I'm watching a movie in my head, before I start to type. The clearer movie-like picture I have in my head, the easier it is to let the words pour out.

OK, I'm going to go now and try to plunk out another couple thousand words. That is, if I can keep the cat off my key-board. Shooooo Sammy, shoooooo!

What about you? What helps you get the words out when you're writing?