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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Word for the Week

DRABBLE: A short piece of writing consisting wholly of 100 words - no more, no less.

EXAMPLE: I think I will write a story - a very short story. Hmmm, I'll write a drabble.

QUOTE: "A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it." Edgar Allen Poe

Until recently, I never knew what a drabble was. In fact, I had never heard of a drabble. Have you?

You would think that as a writer of picture books, writing a drabble would be a piece of cake. Pardon the overused cliche. But, as I have told people many times, just because the story is short, does not mean it is easier to write. In fact, it is hard to tell a story with few words.

You have to be more careful about using adjectives, useless or overused words or lazy words. Cut, cut, cut and choose your words carefully. When in doubt, leave it out.

Mark Twain once said, "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead."

Learning to write short pieces comes in handy when writing blog posts, a synopsis, pitches or a blurb to go on the back cover of your book. In all these instances, you need to use few words and the best words to get your point across. It takes practice.

My book, Fun Through the Seasons, Recipes, Crafts and Fun Facts for Kids, is filled with short writings. Fun articles under 500 words, short poems, short stories, short - and easy - recipes, short activities and crafts.

It is great for short attention spans of kids - and adults. When you have a little free time, open up the pages and read an article, make a fun recipe or read a poem.

It is available on Amazon and there is a short, five star review to help you decide if you or a child you know will like the book. 

The above promotion of my book is a drabble of exactly 100 words!
See, writing short comes in handy.

I challenge you to write a drabble, if you have the time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What's New?

I just attended the West Virginia Writer's Conference. 
Along with lots of writers, there were an abundance of geese, lakes and other wildlife.

I attended work shops on children's writing, writing short stories, beginnings and endings, marketing yourself and your books, etc.

I enjoyed the workshops and learned info that will help me with my writing. Plus, I met old writing friends and made new ones.

At the Saturday Night Banquet, I excitedly accepted awards for three of my children's manuscripts that I had entered in their annual West Virginia Writing Competition.  I received 2nd, 1HM and 3HM in the children's category.

Now, I need to start sending out my MG to publishers. I checked my records and I haven't sent it to anyone this year.

If you write, you must submit or your work will never get published.
Just make sure it is ready to submit.

Let other eyes see it, let other writers critique it and edit it until you are happy as you can be with your finished product.

I have been working on my author's page. It is still under construction, but it is on the web.

You can go here to visit it.
There is also a page above that has a link to it.
Check it out. If you have any ideas for my page or questions, contact me on the contact gadget. I'd love to hear from you.

What have you got planned for this summer? Any conferences? Any submitting?

Happy Writing!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

Father’s Day

We have Sonora Louise Smart Dodd to thank for creating the tradition of celebrating Father’s Day. The idea came to her while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909.

She wanted to honor her father, William Jackson Smart. Her dad, a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife died giving birth to their sixth child. He raised his children all by himself on a rural farm in the state of Washington.

He was a special father and Sonora chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration on the 19th day of June 1910. The holiday continued to be 
 celebrated, but it was not made an official national holiday until 1972.

A Father’s Life

A father’s life is cluttered
With tools and nails and stuff.
He works with them each day.
He’s very rough and tough.

A father’s child is special
No matter what the gender.
He plays with them each day
He’s very sweet and tender.

This post is a small excerpt from my book, Fun Through the Seasons.

I don't know if my husband is a descendent of Sonora or not, but I'd like to think that he might be.  

I'm wishing all my readers  a wonderful day and hope you have a nice time celebrating with your family.

My father is gone now and I miss him very much.
But he will always be alive in my heart.

I don't know who tried to enhance this picture with color. 
But, I'm innocent until proven guilty.
Maybe I was meant to be an illustrator, too.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My First Book

I know many of my readers have had books published. It feels good to finally accomplish one of our writing goals.

But, this is my first one and I (as I am sure you do, too) will always remember the feeling of seeing my name in print for the first time. Exciting!

Fun Through the Seasons! Recipes, Crafts and Fun Facts for Kids . . . is hot off the presses!

 Fun Through The Seasons!: Recipes, Crafts and Fun Facts for Kids

My first shiny, honest to goodness book.

Here is the description of it on Amazon:

 In Fun Through the Seasons, Janet goes month by month through the seasons with informative articles for children to read and enjoy. The articles appeared in her column, Fun Facts for Kids, in Two-Lane Livin' Magazine. While reading this book, kids will learn all about snowflakes, Independence Day, genealogy, ants, the first Thanksgiving, collecting memories at Christmas, cookies - and much more! Sprinkled among the interesting articles are easy recipes, crafts, poems and challenges for kids in K through 5th grade. Parents will enjoy reading the stories to the younger ones and helping with the activities.

I have been working on putting together this book for a long time.  Each time another month came and went, I had another article to add. I also added a few more easy recipes, stories and poems. The pictures and clip art are grayscale, but perfect for your child to add their own touch to the book by coloring in with colored pencils.

I did it all myself (with help from my son with the cover), learning along the way.  It was a lot of work, but I loved every minute of it and I hope the children who own a copy of it will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

You can get a copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble or from me ( The ones I send out will be autographed and have a handmade bookmark with them. My price is $10 + $2.50 for postage and handling (continental US only).

Happy summer everyone! It has been a long and hard winter that didn't want to let go. But, I think warm weather is finally here to stay and I welcome it.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Children's Book Week

I can't believe this is Children's Book Week and I haven't posted about it.

They are celebrating their 95th year! I think that deserves a round of applause.

CBW Poster-small 

I guess why I haven't been posting about it is because I have been busy writing children's stories -  and learning all about rhyming picture books, watching a webinar, editing a rhyming PB that I wrote a number of years ago as a poem and editing other people's manuscripts - and reading picture books at the library to a group of people, attending my writer's meeting, and etc., etc.

Being a children's writer keeps you busy. But, I love it.

It seems fitting that this week I finally submitted one of my children's manuscripts to CreateSpace to get published. I didn't think this particular manuscript had a chance to get published by regular publishers, so I decided to self-publish it.

I have been writing a children's column for over four years for Two-Lane Livin' magazine. I gathered the columns together, added a few more recipes and poems and I now have a 150 page book called, Fun Through the Seasons!  Recipes, Crafts and Fun Facts for Kids. It is divided into months. It was a challenge, but I used their downloadable book cover template and downloadable template for the interior of the book and went to work.

I had times when I stayed up late at nights, times when I felt like pulling my hair out and times when I thought I wouldn't do it. But, I did it! And the PDF online looks really good. My son did the cover for me.

I am now waiting for the proofs to arrive in the mail for me to check for mistakes. I so hope the book looks okay. But, if it doesn't, I'll just have to work on it and re submit.

So - Happy Children's Book Week everybody! Celebrate by reading a children's book. We got a lot of laughs and applause when my friend Max and I read at the library this week. I read Roar of a Snore, Chicks Run Wild and Moose's Loose Tooth.

Let's celebrate middle grade books, too.

I love Because of Winn Dixie, A Year Down Yonder, Sarah, Plain and Tall, and many more! And, the two that I have written! Which reminds me, I need to get those out there. They aren't going to get published sitting on my computer desktop.

What are some of your favorite children's books?