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Friday, January 23, 2015

Accomplishments and Resolutions

Another year has come and gone.

I stopped making resolutions, because I usually don't keep them and then I am disappointed - again.

I keep writing, even though there have been times I have considered quitting.

My goal is to keep going forward. Learning and growing.

I did self-publish a book last year. It is far from being a best seller, but I feel it is a good book, and I am proud of it. It would have been a tough sell to a regular publisher, being the type of book it was, so I self published it.

It is a good book for kids. You can go here, to my author page, and read these wonderful testimonials. It is a great book for kids to get out when they are home from school because of snow days. They can read the stories, articles or poems, or do the activities. The articles are very informative and fun! Feel free to click on the link in my sidebar and go to Amazon and check it out.

I also placed three times (2nd place, 1st HM and 3rd HM) in the children's category of the 2014 WVWriter's Spring Writing Competition.

And, I continue to write a children's column in the regional magazine, Two Lane Livin.'

I know these are little accomplishments compared to getting published by a regular publisher, but these are the accomplishments that keep me going - and that I am proud of.

My goals are to eventually find a home for one or more of my babies. That's what I call my manuscripts. I gave birth to them and have watched them grow. Hopefully, I will some day watch them go out into the world.

What are your accomplishments and goals?
What keeps you going?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Hi all.

Sometimes I seem to disappear from my blog. I don't mean to, but I get so involved in my writing that I forget I have a blog.

I have been revising this month - mainly my picture books.

Amazing Miss Gracie, my manuscript about a pretty scarecrow, has gone through a huge facelift! 

This was my first picture book manuscript. It has went through numerous title changes and edits. I love this manuscript, so I kept overlooking its big problem.

Well - no more! I won a critique from a professional picture book writer. She loved the story, but her comments about the ending made me finally realize what I knew all along, but didn't want to admit. I needed to take the plunge and make some major changes.

I took the 'new version' to my writing group yesterday and they liked the changes. Now, it goes back to the lady who critiqued it. Keeping my fingers crossed that she doesn't think I made it worse.
But, I think it is better now - the main character solves the problem. Oh, I also changed her name back to her original name she had in the very first draft - Maizie.

Now - I've found another one of my forgotten picture book manuscripts that needs work.  Currently, I am changing the POV of the story to see if that makes it better.

Is writing easy? No!
Is writing fun? Yes!
Especially when you see your story grow and develop.

You can spend hours picking out just the right word. Do crows huddle, rest or roost?
You can spend hours thinking of the perfect title or name.
You can spend hours deciding on the best POV.

But, most of all you need to pick the best story.- the story everyone is waiting to read!


A few weeks ago Inspiration for Writers had a holiday short story contest. I won! Go here to see my story and leave a comment if you like.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas-time Middle Grade Books

I thought I would list a few middle grade holiday books, in case anyone would like to read them.

by Nancy Krulik
Scholastic Paperback October 2009

 How The Pops Stole Christmas (How I Survived Middle School Super Special Series)

Jenny can't wait for the holidays, but her good mood quickly evaporates when she picks Dana as her "Secret Snowflake" in English class and finds out that her friend Sam is heading home to England for the holidays.

by Tony Abbott
Scholastic Press 2005


Unlike the traditional Santa Claus myth, Kringle is a coming-of-age story about an orphan who becomes a force for good in a dark and violent time. It is a tale of fantasy, of goblins, elves, and flying reindeer — and of a boy from the humblest beginnings who fulfills his destiny.
Our tale begins in 500 A.D., when goblins kidnapped human children and set them to work in underground mines. Kringle is one such child.... until he discovers his mission — to free children from enslavement. His legend lives on today, as he travels the earth every Christmas Eve to quell the goblins once more.

by Kathryn Laski
Scholastic November 2001

Christmas after All: The Great Depression Diary of Minnie Swift, Indianapolis, IN, 1932 (Dear America Series) 

At the age of twelve, Minnie Swift is living through one of the toughest times in America's history, The Great Depression. She keeps a detailed diary over the span of one Christmas month. Reflecting the sadness but also the optimism that characterized the time, this is an intimate portrait of a mid-western family's days and nights, ups and downs, triumphs and losses. It is the story of one family's persevering spirit.

The only one I have read is the Christmas After All and I enjoyed it.

There are lots and lots of picture books with the Christmas theme, but I couldn't find that many MGs that dealt with Christmas - hmm, maybe I should write one.

 Do you have any good ones to add to my list?

By the way, I mentioned in my last blog post about our local library's annual writing contest. They announced the winners at a reception on Thursday.

I was surprised and happy to find out that I took 1st place in poetry and 1st place in memoirs!

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Writer's Rest and Relaxation

All year I have been writing and revising.

I am somewhat of a perfectionist and want everything just right or should I say,  just write.

I have been working and working on one of my middle grade manuscripts and finally decided to send it out again - with the many changes I made to it this year.
So, with fingers crossed, I took the plunge and sent it flying out into the world.

I also finished two new picture books, that I just love, and sent them flying out into the world.

Now - I wait.

Every now and then I suffer from writer burn out. That is what I am doing now. So, I have been taking a break and getting caught up on other things.

These burn outs usually do not last very long. I know by the first of the year, I will be at it again - working on my ideas and typing away at the computer.

Soon I will return with regular posting.

Our local library had their annual writing contest and Thursday there will be a reception to announce the winners and have them read their winning entry. I was notified that I placed, so I will be there. That may be just the nudge I need to start writing again. 

Do you ever get writer burn out?
Do you ever feel like you have to take a break - even if it is just a little one?
What gives you the nudge to start writing again?

I think my nudge is that I have to write and I am not happy until I put the words down on paper. As the main character of one of my middle grade manuscripts says, I get so full up, I think I am going to explode.

Monday, November 17, 2014

MMGM - Rude Dude's Book of Food

Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.

I am telling you about:

Rude Dude's Book of Food
by: Tim J. Myers
Familius LLC 2014


I write a column for children every month in Two-Lane Livin' Magazine. My column is titled, Fun Facts for Kids.

I have learned two things:
Kids love facts.
Kids love learning facts written about in a fun way.

Tim Myer's book is all about facts written in a fun way. It has eight chapters about the crazy-cool stuff we eat. Food is fascinating when told about by the Rude Dude. Most everyone loves chocolate - right? But, I bet they didn't know about chocolate's trip down history. Also, learn all about hamburgers and one smart cookie. That's not chocolate chip cookies, but fortune cookies. And, we learn that awesome pizza has a short history in America. and you wouldn't believe the different toppings some people put on this favorite snack bar food.

Well, you get the idea. This book is all about foods kids love and it is written in a fun, and sometimes wacky, way. For all the teachers out there, in addition to learning a lot of neat facts about food, there are also lesson ideas and info on how the book meets common core standards.

So, if you know someone who wants to learn good, fun and weird facts about some of their favorite foods, this is the book for them.

 For more reviews on books click here to go over to Shannon Messenger's Blog.

Happy reading!