Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Timmy's Sweet Success- A Halloweensie Story

I've been busy making spider egg sacks,
 creating creepy decapitated heads,
and smurfing myself this Halloween season.

 But once all the goblins were in bed (and the blue face paint removed) there was just enough time to finish my Halloweensie Story.

Susanna Leonard Hill's contest challenges writers to create a Halloween story for children in 100 words or less which includes the words Shadow, Monster, and Candy Corn (bonus, candy corn counts as one word.) Post your story by Tuesday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT. (Otherwise known as "Dude, you only have 30 minutes left") 

Timmy’s Sweet Success

The monsters were prowling, but Timmy wanted his bag full.
A chill stopped him on the sidewalk.  
“I vant to suck your sweets,” the vampire said.
“Open up,” Timmy said.
He shoved candy corn on Dracula’s fangs and ran.

He stopped to ring another doorbell, but a growl made him freeze.
“I need a chewy snack,” the werewolf said.
“Open up,” Timmy said.
The werewolf’s bite pierced a mouthful of tootsie rolls.

His house had a familiar shadow on the porch.
“Any Snickers?” the mom-ster asked.
“Open up,” Timmy said.
Mom’s teeth stuck to Bazooka Joe while Timmy ate his Snickers.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Self-Deprecating Dots

International Dot Day encourages kids to "make their mark." Any mark will do. It's unique. It's you. 

When it comes to making my mark, I like to be funny. Often this is a self-deprecating humor, or said another way, I celebrate laughing with myself at myself!

For instance, I nearly threw out my back yesterday. See, I despise doing dishes. So I put on music. And a funky fresh song came on. And some twerking-while-drying occurred. Everyone knows moving around the room with a plate in the air works significantly better than a dish towel alone. 

You only know the twerking is working when it hurts a little, and my twerkin’ was workin’. So…. The dishes are done, and I have a heating pad on my back. And in honor of this laughable occasion I give you “Dancing Dish Dot.”

Another time, I indulged in my favorite naughty treat. TACO BELL. Well, my husband was telling me a story, and it must have been HILARIOUS, because right there in the middle of a burrito a laughing fit ensued and a button flew off of my pants and landed across the restaurant. I’m not saying the burrito was to blame. The culprit could be the nachos already in my tummy. However, this tale is not complete without noting the thread was already loose!*
   Oh, it feels good to stop hiding this incident. To celebrate...here's the “Bouncing Burrito Button.”

*See if you look at the picture there is no trailing thread! Further proof the thread is to blame!

Want to play along? Visit Peter Reynold’s Dot Club and celebrate International Dot Day on September 15th-ISH. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Whatcha Working on 2017

A year ago I planned to post about my non-writingendeavors.  Today, in an incredibly timely fashion, I’m going to make good on my promise.

I volunteer on my children’s school PTO as the outdoor chair. Nature inspires me. Sometimes the outdoors inspire me too much, and I go a little too crazy.

Last year I put in a butterfly garden at the school. Because I am wild, I made butterfly metamorphosis stones out of old tiles. This year I added plant signs to highlight the larval food plants and nectar plants. I studied butterflies until I could find butterfly eggs, point out caterpillars, and identify species. (Note to self: must turn this knowledge into a book!)

I have been planting pear trees at the school with *some* success. Last year we lost a tree, but also harvested 4 delicious pears. I see 17 baby pears this year. Yum, yum!! (Note to self: the sweetness of fruit you grow yourself should be in a book!)

Last summer I made and installed tree identification signs on our nature trail. It took a few seasons to identify species- leaves were analyzed, bark was rubbed, and berries were smelled. Good memories of thumbing (carefully) through my dad’s leaf collection when I was little were revived. (Note to self: try to publish that tree book again or maybe use this new knowledge to start a new one.)

Our school has a boring black blacktop. Last spring we painted a map of the US, which was a test in teamwork and fighting the wind. This spring I’m adding a clock, compass, hopscotch, and games. (Note to self: a little bit of paint can brighten up a day. Put in a book?)

I have the joy (and often pain) of being a Girl Scout Troop Leader. I enjoy leading the scavenger hunts and getting dirty looking for bugs. But I also have to go along with tea parties and planning glow dances. Here I am glowing! (Note to self: things look and feel different in the dark. Where am I on shadow book?)

A new, ahem, age milestone is bringing clarity to my trait of hobby-obsession.

I updated my shell collection after a trip to Sanibel Island. (Note to self: you know enough about shell collecting to write a book on this.)

I have also been researching my genealogy and updating the family tree. Some new insights on my heritage have caused me to start calling myself a “European Island Wanderer.” A trip to Iceland and seeing Moana reinforced this sea-loving feeling. I am also half inland farmer, but let’s not focus on that. I got the Ancestry DNA spit test for Mother’s Day! Can’t wait for those results. (Note to self: this quest for self through understanding ancestors is a theme to explore in a book.)

On the writing side, I spent pretty much the whole year working on a non-fiction book which I am really excited about. (Though I am usually excited about books). The year both writing and non-writing has solidified for me how much I enjoy research. It ignites the anal retentive part of me! 

So, there may be more non-fiction work in my future. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentiny Story - Take a Selfie, Valentine!

Nothing makes me want to write more than one of Susanna Hill's Contests. (Well, that and the reward I've promised myself of a chocolate covered cherry for completion!)
The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is confused!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone confused (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words.  Post your story by Tuesday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT.
Take a Selfie, Valentine!
By Lauri Meyers

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Livy,” Sam said clutching a paper heart behind his back. “I was wondering if you would…”

“Take a selfie?” Livy grabbed him and smiled. Sam opened his mouth to explain. Click.

“I meant,” Sam said, “Since we’re such good friends…”

“Don’t be so shy! Of course we can take another selfie!” Livy held out her phone. Sam grimaced. Click.

Sam puffed out his cheeks and searched for the right words. “Someone probably already asked you…”

“…To take a selfie?” Livy said. “Nope, you’re the first. Say cheese!” Sam’s cheeks blushed as their heads touched. Click.

“Actually, I wanted,” Sam said, “To say you really make me…”

“Smile!” Livy yelled. “You smiled in this one. Happy Valentine’s Day! Gotta run.”

“Uh, bye,” Sam said. He scratched his head. “I thought Livy liked me. Guess we are just selfie friends.” He put down the card, noticing new sweaty fingerprints, and whacked himself in the forehead.

“I’m glad you’re still here, Sam!” Livy’s happy voice surprised him. “What’s that?”

“Um, it’s um,” Sam said. “It’s a valentine for you.”
(Billy Alexander, via sxc.hu)

“I love it!” Livy said. “This is for you.”

The frame sparkled with glitter hearts and their selfie in the middle.

“You’re finally smiling!” Livy said.

Sam said, “Can we take a selfie?”

Monday, December 12, 2016

My Trashman Gave to Me

I'm coming down to the wire, but I couldn't miss Susanna Hill's annual Holiday Story Contest!

Rules: Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) using the basic format/concept of The Twelve Days Of Christmas!  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 300 words (I know!  So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest🙂 )  (It can be as short as you like (the judges will be grateful🙂 , you are welcome and encouraged to write shorter, but no more than 300!  Title not included in word count.)  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  The more creative the better!  No illustration notes please. Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between right now this very second and Monday December 12 at 11:59 PM EST.

Without further ado (and because I'm going to run out of time!) here's my entry at 299 words:

My Trashman Gave to Me

My Daddy worked hard all day throwing bag after bag into that old garbage truck. We didn’t have much money, but he made sure our house was merry during Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas my trashman gave to me a toaster in disrepair. It couldn’t make toast, but it sure made Christmas cards pop!

On the second day of Christmas my trashman gave to me two black rain boots, which held way more than a regular stocking.

On the third day of Christmas my trashman gave to me three dented pots, and I drummed a lovely beat.  

On the fourth day of Christmas my trashman gave to me four hula hoops which became the coolest wreath in town.

On the fifth day of Christmas my trashman gave to me five curtain rings which made my wreath sparkle in the sun.

On the sixth day of Christmas my trashman gave to me six empty frames, perfect for my reindeer art.  
On the seventh day of Christmas my trashman gave to me seven bouncing balls hanging as giant ornaments in the front yard.

On the eighth day of Christmas my trashman gave to me eight smiling dolls to make my own nativity.

On the ninth day of Christmas my trashman gave to me nine shining night lights to brighten every room.

On the tenth day of Christmas my trashman gave to me ten Christmas ties draping over the fireplace.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my trashman gave to me eleven serving spoons glittering on our Christmas tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my trashman gave to me twelve pillows already ripping, with enough fluff to fill our living room with snow!

People sure throw out a lot of decorations, but Daddy knows treasure when he finds it.

Hope you enjoyed this fun holiday story. Wishing you all Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Spider's Home - Halloweensie 2016

It's a BOOtifully dark and dreary day to write a Halloween story. Get on over to Susanna Hill's internet house to post yours or get spooked out reading the other entries! This is the sixth year for the contest and my fifth year entering...I'm feeling a bit nostalgic!

From Susanna: 
The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words, children here defined as 12 and under), using the words spiderghost, and moon.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people🙂  (And yes, I know 100 words is short but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  We got nearly 150 fantastic entries last year so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. moon, moons, mooned, spidery, ghostly, whathaveyou🙂  No illustration notes please!
Post your story on your blog between right now this very second and Monday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list on her site.

Here's my 100-word entry. Happy Halloween everyone!

Spider’s Home

By Lauri Meyers

Ghost whooshed to Spider’s basement home.
Spider cried. “The girl saw me. I’m outta here.”

Ghost drooped. “Don’t go. Try the kitchen.”

Ghost poofed to the kitchen.
Spider ate his web in shaky gulps. “That cat licked his lips all day.”
Ghost’s eyes popped out. “Don’t go. Try upstairs.”

Ghost whizzed into the bathroom.
Spider was packed. “It smells dangerous here. Goodbye.”
Ghost rippled with worry. “You’re my best friend.”

Ghost glowed excitedly. “Grab your web. Follow me up these stairs.”
“Plenty of bugs.”
“Few visitors.”
 “A view!”

Spider started spinning in the moonlight.

“And my best friend lives here.”

Friday, June 3, 2016

What are you working on?

I’m headed to NJ SCBWI summer conference this weekend, well, today actually.

I love this conference! It is like a party with all your best friends who share a love of writing. There are friendly agents to crush on and editors to share dinner with. There’s an ever-flowing fountain of coffee and just a bit of wine. And there’s the opportunity to network with total strangers.

No matter how much I practice my pitch for the agent pitch, someone in the bagel line will ask, 
“What are you working on?”

This question always knocks me on my heels. I feel like the only thing I am working on is remembering to breathe.

Uhh...I’m installing a butterfly garden in at my daughter’s school. I’ve been studying tree identification for a sign installation at the park. I painted a gigantic map of the US on the playground which was significantly harder than I imagined. I have a big Girl Scout beach party Monday. (Shoot, I forgot to buy cups!) I work on laundry a lot.

These are the things that pop in my head. Keeping them from popping out of my mouth is very challenging. 

First, I have to breathe. Then, I have to remember they really mean, “Tell me about your current writing project. Give me a sense of your voice. How do you stand out in your genre?”

If you are struggling with your pitches and answering this horrendously challenging question, I have a few recommendations.
1.      Take a shower. One pitch came to me there, and I was forced to write it in steam on the shower door.
2.      Relax. A second pitch was worked out during a pedicure yesterday.
3.      Exercise. A third pitch was worked out during yoga – I got the word order I needed, though the process did make my Awkward Chair Pose even more awkward.

And all those other things I’m working on? Well, I’ve been thinking about a blog page about “Creativity when I’m not Writing.” There are so many interesting things I’ve been up to this year, which weren't writing but were creating. I think all creation breathes life into your writing! 

If you are heading to NJ SCBWI, I’ll see you soon. (Well, tonight!)
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