Monday, March 20, 2017

Book Release!

I had been a stay-at-home mom since I married.
I dabbled in sewing, quilting, crafting, couponing/refunding---and raised three boys, which I consider my greatest accomplishment.

Ten years ago, with my husband getting close to retirement, I started writing. I had been working on a picture book about picking berries. I thought it wasn't half bad. I found out about a writing group that met once a month in Ripley. I called one of the members and started attending the meetings. I got up my nerve to read it in front of the group. They were very nice, but I found out I didn't know much about writing.

Thankfully, I am a pretty quick learner.

A year later, I got a story published in an anthology. Then shortly thereafter, I started writing a children's column in a monthly regional magazine.

Along with writing PBs, I got brave and wrote two MG manuscripts. They have been sent out many times and received many rejections.

My second MG, Duck and Cover, took first place in the 2015 WV Writer's annual spring writing contest! Woo hoo! I had placed many times in the annual contest, but this was my first 1st Place!

I did a little more research on publishers. I found one that only published first-time authors and only published MG and YA.
They were not a vanity publisher. I didn't have to pay anything.
I took the chance and sent Duck and Cover to them.

They accepted it! It was officially put up on Amazon the end of February. It is available in paperback, kindle, and Nook on Barnes and Noble.

What is my advice? Never give up. Keep working on your manuscript until you get it the best you can get it --- and send it out.
And keep sending it out until you find someone who likes it as much as you do.

My book is going to be featured in the next few weeks on a couple of writer's blogs.

Today (Monday)it will be on the GROG Blog. Click over and check out the interview. Comment and you will be in a drawing for a free copy of my book.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Quotes About Failing and Succeeding

I am on a lot of email lists. That can be good and that can be bad.
The bad part is your email box stays full.
The good news is you can receive a lot of useful or uplifting information coming to you every day.

I received an email from bookbaby.  They shared these three great quotes that really hit home:

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."
Theodore Roosevelt

"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."
Henry Ford

Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
How many times have you received a rejection letter?
I can't remember the times I have received one in the mail. But, look at it this way, you are at least sending out manuscripts. You tried to get published. A lot of people write and write, but never submit.

When you get a rejection, pick up your spirits and send again. That next submission just might be the one that gets published.

And, don't lose your enthusiasm. If you love your story, keep improving it and keep sending it in. Give someone else a chance to fall in love with it, too.

Which one of the quotes do you like best?

Stay tuned.
My next post will be about my success story.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Little Golden Books 75th Anniversary

I found out the other day that Little Golden Books celebrate their 75th anniversary this year!

As you can see, I am a collector of Little Golden Books. This picture was taken in 2008, I have added more to my stash since then. Notice what they are stored in. This used to be an old floor-model radio. Someone cut off the front of it, put in shelves and added two glass doors. I picked it up at a yard sale for around $3.  I love it!

Most of my Little Golden Books are yard sale and thrift store finds, too. I have paid anywhere from 10 cents to $1 for them. I would say that most were obtained for 25 cents.

The first Little Golden Books were released in September 1942. There were twelve of them, all priced at 25 cents each.

 The first 12 books to be released were: “Three Little Kittens,” “Bedtime Stories,” “The Alphabet A-Z,” “Mother Goose,” “Prayers for Children,” “The Little Red Hen,” “Nursery Songs,” “The Poky Little Puppy,” “The Golden Book of Fairy Tales,” “Baby’s Book,” “The Animals of Farmer Jones” and “This Little Piggy.”

At last county, The Poky Little Puppy has sold more than 15 million copies!

Wow! Wouldn't we all like to have a picture book we've written sell that many copies. 

What is your favorite Little Golden Book?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Storystorm! Jot the PB Ideas Down

Storystorm, formally PiBoIdMo is ready to start!

Click here to sign up at Tara's sight and get ready to weather the storm of ideas that are developing in your head.

I have joined. If you write picture books, I hope you do, too.

What can you lose?

You can't lose anything, but you can gain picture book ideas that may just be the one that an agent or publisher is looking for.

You can also gain (by writing down an idea every day during January) prizes which include professional consults, signed books, original art, writerly gadgets and gizmos.

Never won anything, you say. Don't ever say never. I have won prizes before and so can you. But more importantly we will win knowledge in the field of writing for children, and we all can benefit from that.

In January, Tara will have helpful posts on her blog daily by  professional authors, illustrators and experts in creativity.

 You have until January 7th to officially register on Tara's site. But don't delay, do it today.

Are you a picture book writer?
Do you want to be a picture book writer?

I would love to hear if you are going to enter or not. Let me know by commenting.

Even if you don't join StoryStorm, and you love to write for children, you can visit her site each day to read some wonderful and learning blog posts.

Happy writing in 2017!

Let the storm begin!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Keeping Busy Writing

December is coming to a close and we soon will start a new year.
Hopefully, a new year filled with writing, reading and getting our work out there for the world to see.

December has been a very busy place at our house.
I haven't been blogging much.
Santa is liable to leave me a lump of coal in my stocking.

Let's just hope it is a pretty lump of coal!    

I have been writing the weekly column for the Ripley Senior Center for a number of months now. I was asked to take over when their regular columnist stepped down for a while.
I try to make it interesting for everyone to read and people have been telling me how they enjoy reading it each week. Along with conducting craft classes there every Wednesday with my cousin, it is part of my small contribution to the center.

I am still writing a monthly column for kids in Two-Lane Livin', a regional magazine in our area. The magazine goes out to approximately 18,000 households each month.

I enjoy writing for the magazine. It is a challenge each month to come up with something new to write. I like to keep my articles informative, fun and interesting. I always learn something new when I research for new topics to write about.

You can click on this link and read online copies of the magazine.

I kept my new years resolution for about half of the year. But, I tried to do my research and send out my stories to publishers that I felt my work really had a chance at being published. I think that is one of the most important factors in getting published. We need to send our work out to the right place.

Have any of you had any luck in the past year at getting your stories published? I'd love to hear of your success in the comment section. Let us all celebrate with you!

I hope in the coming new year I will have good news to share with you about my writing.  

No matter how you celebrate it -
I wish you all a very happy holiday season. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Critique Groups

I  belong to a critique group, and I look forward to our weekly meetings.

We have such fun!

Uh, oh. I shouldn't have used that exclamation mark. According to one of our members, we use entirely too many of these in our writing. And, we use too many semi-colons.

We currently have eight members that come on a regular basis.
Our latest member writes mostly poems.
We have three other members who are very good at poems, but they also write short stories.
We have a member who writes novels.
One who writes novels, memoirs, children's stories, and columns.
One who writes essays and columns and is thinking about writing her memoir. She is a retired English professor and author of four books, including “The Confident Writer,” a grammar-based college textbook. Boy does she know her grammar, and she tells it in such a way (usually with humor), that makes it easy to remember.

I write picture books, middle grade books, chapter books, poems, Appalachian, columns (newspaper and magazine) and novellas.

We look forward to our meetings and try not to miss any.  We gab about this and that at the beginning. We bring extra copies of our material with us to give out to each member.We also bring our tough layer of skin, because this is when the reading and editing begins.

We mark on our copies of the story or poem and we make suggestions.

And, I almost forgot to say that we give each other support and encouragement.

At our last meeting, I was a little down. I had been bringing my novella to our meetings for critique. I said that I didn't think there was much of a chance of getting it published, because publishers weren't exactly tripping over top of each other in their rush to obtain novellas.

One of our members said, "Yes, they do. I read a lot of books that contain two or three novellas."

I had never thought of that. My two novellas would go perfect together in one book. The first manuscript takes place in 1908 when a young couple gets married and it ends with the birth of their first child. The second manuscript takes place in the early 1940s. The main character is one of the daughters of the couple in the first manuscript.

Since then I have been writing, writing and writing on my manuscript--really giving it a once over.

If you don't belong to a critique group, I would suggest you join one.  Every manuscript needs a separate set of eyes to look at them.

I love critique groups and I think you will too.

Do you belong to one?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Busy Summers

It never fails, every summer I get behind on my blogging and my writing.

Summer is so busy around my house, we don't even find the time to go on vacation.  But, next year we are going to cut down on our garden. That will help out a lot.

The garden and the potato bugs took over our life this year. Did you know that potato bugs also love to devour tomatoes? Well, take my word for it, they do!

We have been canning spaghetti sauce, freezing what little berries we have, digging drain ditches, planting grass seeds and trying to keep up with the fast growing grass. And, next week we will begin freezing corn!

I often wonder how some writers manage to go to the summer conferences, participate in the great events that are online during the summer months, and continue to write.

I am continuing to write, though, just on a much smaller scale than I would like.

I am thankful for the monthly column I write for kids for Two Lane Livin' magazine. It makes me keep a deadline and find time to write each month.

I am thankful for Appalachian Wordsmiths, my weekly writer's group. It encourages me to continue to edit and to come up with something new to bring each week.

Now, if I could just continue to submit during the summer.

How about you? Do your summer chores/activities cut back on your writing time?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Picture Book Writing

I attended workshops over the weekend about writing picture books for children.

Marc Harshman - He is West Virginia's poet laureate and a picture book writer. And, he is a very nice person! Click here for his amazon page. Though I notice that there are a few books missing that he has written, including two of his latest, Mountain Christmas and One Big Family.

 Marc Harshman

Anna Egan Smucker - She is another West Virginia author who writes picture books. Click here for her Amazon page.

Ashley Teets - An illustrator from West Virginia. Click here for books on Amazon that she has illustrated.

One of Ashley's suggestions was to write with a lot of verbs.
We also did a drawing exercise where we closed our eyes and, with a crayon, made a doodle on a page. Open your eyes. Look at the picture from all angles. Draw a picture from your doodle. It just may be an inspiration for a new manuscript.

I drew a picture of a tortoise in a hurry. His head was stretched way out and he was really getting down the road. I see a picture book here. Harry, the Tortoise in a Hurry.  :o)

Anna, who always writes her first drafts in pencil, says to think in pictures.
Leave a space or draw a line when you think there will be a page turn.
Make sure enough happens in your story.
Try different ways to tell your story.

All of her books, except one, were sent out to publishers without using an agent!

I took the advantage of seeing these authors and got a few of my books autographed by them.

What am I going to do now?

I am going to go over my picture books - again.
I am going to make sure that my words (500 or less) provide enough opportunities for the illustrator to do his or her job.
And I am going to make sure there is enough going on in my story.

Hope you enjoyed my post.
Now get out your pencil and paper and write - or doodle.

Do you have any suggestions on writing picture books?