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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?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

It's Time for the West Virginia Writer's Conference

The year has flown by.

It is time for the West Virginia Writer's Conference held at Cedar Lakes, West Virginia.

It will take place June 10, 11, and 12th.

As usual, workshops that I want to attend overlap with each other. If only I could become two and attend two workshops at the same time.

I write mainly picture books and middle grade.
But I also love historical fiction and non fiction.

Hmmm, on Friday I need to choose between a picture book workshop with Anna Smucker and a workshop on historical fiction with Matthew Null.

On Saturday, I need to choose between a workshop on marketing by Michael Knost , Magazine Writing (Goldenseal) or go to a children publishing panel.

And I usually don't attend on Sunday, but there is a workshop that I would really like to attend that morning.  

Visual Story Telling for Children workshop with Ashley Teets.
The description for this workshop is:

 A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: The Art of Book Illustration and Visual Storytelling-- Want to write a children's book with illustrations?  Learn about the process of illustration, working with an illustrator and how a picture becomes a thousand words, literally. Also discover the best ways to pair your text with illustrations so as to present an aesthetically pleasing and successful flow of material for the reader. View children's books in the "raw form" and original artwork that eventually becomes the catalyst for delivering content to audiences. Bring your children's book manuscript for review and feedback!

After reading this, I think I have just made up my mind. I will be attending on Sunday.

Also, Cathy Teets of Headline Books will be offering pitch sessions on each day of the conference for authors with finished manuscripts seeking a publisher.

Time is short. Time to get ready.

I need to run off a poem and prose piece to put on the Writer's Wall.

I need to get my item (set of four scrabble tile coasters) ready for the silent auction table.

I need to run off copies of my picture book manuscripts to take (just in case).

I need to decide what I am going to bring for the snack table.

Are you going to a writer's conference this year?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Great Month of Learning

It has been a great month of learning.

I participated in Vivian Kirkfield's challenge of writing a picture book in 50 words or less. Out of around 130 entries, I won 6th place with my entry!

I have been participating in ReFoReMo!

ReFoReMo = Reading for Research Month

We have been studying different types of picture books and using them as mentor texts.

What kind of picture books are there? Let's see . . .

how to picture books
historical picture books
non fiction picture books
wordless picture books
low word count picture books
concept picture books
rhyming picture books
fractured fairy tales
alphabet and counting books
informational picture books
animal stories

etc. etc., the list could go on and on.

What type of picture books do you like to read?
What type of picture books do you like to write?

I took a plunge and wrote a 'how to' picture book this month. I am still working on this one. Lots of editing to be done.

Unlike what some people think, writing a picture book is hard.
Writing a short story (less than 500 words), means  each word has to be splendid. Each word has to be important to the story. Take out those meaningless words. Take out those boring words. Do not describe too much, let the illustrator have room to shine.

Children are special!

Make your book special!

Don't hide your words. 
Put them onto paper and share your stories with the world.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

More Publishers

Below are a few more publishers that accept manuscripts from writers without an agent.

Holiday House accepts unsolicited submissions. 

Kane Miller is another one.

I have sent to Ripple Grove Press before.

Click on their name above and go take a look at their guidelines and books that they publish. If you have any manuscripts that are a fit for them, give them a try.

 An update on my submissions. I sent in two in January and one in February. And, I just sent in my entries to the annual WVWriter's Contest.  

How about you? Anyone sent in any submissions?

 Good luck if you have!