Friday, January 7, 2022

A Year of Gratitude

 A Year of Gratitude

Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas renewal process has been a great way to start the year. Even though I’ve done it several years, there are always new learnings. This year when I got to day 7, Practicing Gratitude, I realized the list of authors who had supported me this year was very lengthy. Very. Lengthy.  Thanks are in order!

Susanna Hill – Thank you for your contests which get me writing fresh material and provide so many fabulous awards. Thank you for your Making Picture Book Magic class which I won and LOVED. I also won a PB critique from Rebecca Rector, who gives amazing critiques – thank you Rebecca!

Marcie Colleen – Thank you for your Study Hall program and instilling in me the habit of Daily Intention. That month and your critiques pushed me to a new level. Thank you to my study hall colleagues Judy Sobanski, Lisa Perron, and Anne Reilly for the helpful critiques.

(via free images, by kikashi)

My “Fine Grind” support group for finding ways to get together virtually and in person this year and being a supportive place where you can share what it means to be a writer. Marlaina Cockroft, Mitu Malhotra, Donna Cangelosi, Donna Marie, Rebecca Gardyn Levington, Suzanne Morris, Andria Rosenbaum, Ariel Bernstein, Chana Stiefel, and others who pop in.

My “Book Nook” critique group for helping me continually improve and giving me so many delightful pieces to read, Connie Colon, Kelly Calabrese, Linda Bozzo, Jen Kaplan, Genevieve Petrillo, Viji Chary

Justin Colon for running PB Chat weekly and the PB Chat Mentorship where he invests HOURS of time to help the mentees grow their craft. Thank you to all the agents and editors who stopped by the showcase. Thank you to my fellow 20 mentees who supported, celebrated, and critiqued. Thank you to the authors who hosted zoom sessions with us.

Rebecca Gomez, my PB Chat mentor - Thank you for reading, critiquing, and wordsmithing in my rhyming and prose stories. Thank you for all the time, support, and learning I received during the process. Your love of rhyme is infectious!

Tara Lazar – Thank you for hosting Storystorm. Brainstorming ideas is the perfect way to start the year. Thank you to all the authors who write posts and donate prizes.

Manju Howard, Alayne Kay Christian, and Gabrielle Schoeffield – Thank you for hosting KidLit Creatives (which I still call SubSix!) which is a wonderful space to support PB authors, celebrate new releases, and give us a place to celebrate our actions in our writing journey. I won the book Laila and the Sands of Time by Shirin Shamsi (Thank you!) and a cover letter critique by Alexandria LaFaye (Thank you!) 

Gayle Krause- I won a rhyming critique in 2020 and invested in another critique in 2021, which I attribute to helping me earn the PB Chat Mentorship. Thank you!

Vivian Kirkfield – Thank you for hosting your 50 Precious Words Writing Contest which inspires new ideas.

The Nonfiction Chicks (Pat Miller, Nancy Churnin, Peggy Thomas, Linda Skeers, Susan Kralovansky)-Thank you for hosting NonFiction Fest

Shannon Anderson –Thank you for your videos on Ikigai and Growth Mindset

Six Ladies and a MANuscript Critique Group (Kaitlyn Sanchez, Jolene Gutierrez, Sarah Heaton, Sarah Meade, Mike Irvine, Kristin Wauson)- Thank you for hosting Kidlit Zombie Week. I won a critique from Charlotte Offsay which was incredibly helpful.

Kaitlyn Sanchez and Ciara Oneal and Lydia Lukidis – thank you for hosting the Spring Fling and Fall Frenzy contests which encourage me to try other genres.   Thank you Lydia for your blog giveaways too- I won Kim Zachman’s There’s No Ham in Hamburgers which is an amazing nonfiction book. (Thank you Kim!)

Kirsti Call, Carrie Charley Brown, Janie Reinart – Thank you for hosting ReFoReMo, though we are sad to say good bye to this event. Thank you to all the authors who contributed posts & prizes and shared their mentor texts.

Kathy Temean of Writing and Illustrating blog for offering so much information and opportunities.

Laura Backes & Jon Bard of Children’s Book Insider – Thank you for the monthly newsletters and especially the videos/live events with authors during the pandemic. I have learned tons. Thank you to all the authors who took the time to participate! I particularly enjoyed the session with Katy Tanis.

Melissa Stewart – thank you for blogging and making videos about Nonfiction

Renee Latulippe- Thank you for the new Peek & Critique videos on Rhyme

Jess Keating – your Instagram keeps it real and offers tremendous encouragement

Halli Gomez – Thank you for your Tic Tac Toe event which encouraged me to try new things and for the middle grade critique.

Natalie Aguirre- Thank you for the agent spotlights on Literary Rambles. It is an amazing resource for agent research.

Lisa Wheeler – I won a wonderful critique in 2020, but in 2021 you sent a postcard that said “Keep Writing.” This postcard hangs by my desk for much needed daily encouragement.

Julie Hedlund – Thank you for 12 Days of Christmas and all you do within the kidlit community throughout the year.

Thank you to my family - Rob for saying a new manuscript was hilarious, Kelsey for her tough critiques, and Delaney for liking everything. 

Thank you to whoever I may have forgotten this early snowy morning gratitude moment. * I reserve the right to keep adding to this list!*

In short – no in quite long – I have been unbelievably blessed in my writing life. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

The Witch's Gingerbread House

UPDATE: Witch's Gingerbread House won an Honorable Mention for the contest as a whole. yay!!

December is flying and so were the words tonight as I wrote my very last minute entry to Susanna Hill's annual holiday story contest. Children's stories must be 250 words or less and be about a HOLIDAY CONTEST. The holiday can be any winter holiday, and I enjoyed playing with what might be celebrated on winter solstice. I suppose my table having a strange stickiness remaining from making gingerbread houses a few days ago was also inspiring (and a bit gross!)

Read all the fun entries in the comments on Susanna's blog

Happy holidays!


The Witch’s Gingerbread House

By Lauri Meyers (250 words)

Aggie never won the Gingerbread House Contest. That witch Thelby always attracted the plumpest, cutest children for her Winter Solstice feast while Aggie sipped cold carrot stew.

She needed this year’s prize. With the Electric Cauldron 3000, she’d have HOT carrot stew!

She baked her gingerbread walls over a bonfire, like mum taught her, then built a cozy cottage.

She peeked at Thelby’s two-story mansion. “Aww, frog legs!”

Aggie planted cactus outside to welcome the children.

Thelby poured a chocolate pudding pond with a cake diving board. “Aww, drat rats!”

Aggie shivered in the cold, thinking about that new cauldron. She spied on Thelby for inspiration.

Red licorice covered the house. Thelby hung taffy windows with gummy shutters. A candy cane chimney puffed cotton candy smoke. Marshmallow icicles melted from the chocolate bar roof.

“Well, spicy spells! I could win.” Aggie giggled. “Candy is icky. Kids love… VEGETABLES!

She covered the walls with carrot logs, added sliced zucchini windows, and hung green bean shutters. She stacked pickles into a chimney. Ranch dressing icicles dripped from the tomato slice roof. She added a celery slide for after feast fun!

The kids looked at her house in confusion, then headed toward Thelby’s.

“Enjoy your carrot stew, Aggie!” Thelby sneered.

Aggie stood up for herself. “What’s your winter solstice feast?”

“Plump children!”

“Wizard whiskers! You EAT the CHILDREN?!” Aggie yelled. “I’m a vegetarian.”

The kids came running to Aggie’s gingerbread cottage.

And she enjoyed eating hot carrot stew with the cutest, plumpest children.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Glowing Ghost...A Halloweensie Story

WHOOOOOOOOO .... There are witches in the air and ghosts in the trees! It's time for the annual Halloweensie contest from Susanna Hill.  This year's contest needs to be 100 words or less, about Halloween, and include: GOODIES, GOOSEBUMPS and GLOW-IN-THE-DARK.  Join in the Halloween fun! You have until Halloween night to enter. 

My entry:
 

Glowing Ghost  (99 words)

By Lauri C. Meyers

 

Jayden grabbed his ghostly sheet

And texted:


Friends said:

             
His GOOSEBUMPS pricked. It’s dark that late.

 

An idea struck, bring glowsticks to share!

He wrapped the bracelets everywhere.

 

He stepped outside; still too dim.

A bright solution came to him.

 

Headlamp on, ten flashlights to haul,

Blinking lights, and a disco ball!

 

“But my friends might know I’m full of fright…

Wait! This costume hides my lights!”

 

“GOODIE time!” he called. “Let’s go!”

“You GLOW-IN-THE-DARK!”

(Wayhomestudio via freepik)

Oh no. They know.



             “I forgot my light.”

                    “Me too.”

                            “Me three!”

“Don’t be scared...You’ve got me!”


Happy Halloween everyone!  So what if I'm a little chicken...I've watched far too many scary movies to be out on Halloween without a nice bright flashlight and extra batteries. 

Friday, October 1, 2021

Sorry, Pumpkin. Fall Frenzy Contest

Kaitlyn Sanchez ("Math is Everywhere" Blog) and Lydia Lukidis (NO BEARS ALLOWED) are hosting the annual Fall Writing Frenzy

Fall Frenzy stories are inspired by a selection of fall images that range from from funny to spooky and must be 200 words or under, written for children (BB to YA,) posted by October 3 before midnight, and by non-agented writers only. 

I hope you enjoy my cringe-worthy entry inspired by a pumpkin and my awkward adulthood. I mean adolescence. (Who am I kidding? STILL AWKWARD!) 

Halloween- Credit: Samantha Hurley / Burst


Sorry, Pumpkin

By Lauri C. Meyers

200 words

I tugged the pumpkin top, but orange fleshy strings clung to the sides, desperately trying to keep itself together. I felt like the pumpkin, as I struggled to fit in with the cool girls at Hannah Hamilton’s party. Gemma and Ari were already scooping out globs of seeds. I had to keep up. Sorry, pumpkin. I yanked the lid free, then heard a squeal. Three wet seeds stuck to Hannah’s cheeks and forehead.

Mental minutes passed as I watched one seed slide off her face and imagined the repercussions of this blunder. Obviously, I could never eat in the cafeteria again. My daily uniform would be hoodie up, strings pulled. Moving to Peru needed to be seriously considered. I opened my mouth to say goodbye, but then a splash hit my nose and bitter pumpkin slime dripped onto my tongue.

“Yum, pumpkin spice,” I said. Laughter erupted around me.

“What face are you going to carve?” Hannah asked, as if I was welcome to stay. She pressed a paper towel into my hand. “I hope it’s hilarious, like you!”

“Like a huge grin with braces?” I said.

“LOL!” she said. “Instagram us!”

Sorry, pumpkin. Time to put on a smile. 


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

What is Your Intention for Today?

I need to brag for a sec that I have been writing my fingertips off this last two months. My last post was about saying goodbye to my old writing space and embracing my new area. Grief is a strange thing. I can see now, I was grieving the changes to my writing norms. Sharing my grief helped me let go, and I have felt so FREE!

To take advantage of the momentum, I joined “Study Hall” with Marcie Colleen in May. I can’t say enough about this program. I spend a lot of time studying rhythm, but this session helped me work on my writing rhythm.

In this program you share four manuscripts with a small group of writers and critique work. You get a critique from Marcie each week, too. My group shared high-quality critiques, and I am grateful for them.

Every day Marcie asked us what our intention was for the day. Not a list of top 50 things on your to do list. Not your goals for publishing. Just, what is something you want to be your focus today? Then, we could cheerlead each other as well.


She also arranged a one-hour writing sprint each week day, where you wrote and knew you were in it with others as well. The times changed each day, which works for me, because I like structure but not constraining schedules.

On Fridays we would have a Q&A of whatever you wanted to ask. I gained a lot of insight and direction in those sessions.

I’m on my own in June, but have continued to ask: What is your intention for today? I made a pdf to write down my intention each morning. Here is a link if you would like a copy too!




Friday, April 16, 2021

Goodbye, Office

I’ve been meaning to write this post for about a year. But… Well, I suppose writing it meant accepting a reality I wasn’t ready to embrace. Until now. 

I used to write in the guest bedroom. I had a huge table to spread out all sorts of piles. I had a hutch with a rollout keyboard tray that stored mountains of binders. But more than all that, I often had a few blessed hours of peaceful quiet.

When Covid hit, my husband got the guest room (you would have to call it office now as it no longer services guests) to set up shop when he started working from home. I’m not jealous or anything; he is the one supporting the family.

I became a transient writer who floated from space to space trying to find comfort. I avoided the bedroom for some time, even going so far as to start a construction project to delay the inevitable. 

Demolition Day! 

My “Book Nook” reclaimed that hidden space in the attic of the first floor


Eventually I settled in the bedroom.

In October I decided I needed paper space and found this cute vintage campaign style drawer cabinet. It’s a military style with handles on the side so you could carry it to a new front. It unfortunately does not fit copy paper, but the drawers perfectly hold journals. 



Collapsing under my piles of WIPs in November, I found a hand me down file cabinet which I painted and upholstered. I love that it opens from the top like a box of chocolates, and I savor picking out the MS that is getting focus each day. 

My birthday in December brought a mechanical keyboard. Okay, it brought a few of them, before I settled on “brown switches” to give that perfect typewriter tactile experience. Love this.  

In January I had a toddler-level meltdown that the desk I was working at was too tiny. (IT WAS!) I got myself a desk from Amazon for $100. [Um, stinking skunk butt, it’s only $75 now. Well, I wish I hadn’t seen that…] It has a little storage space and a nice big surface for working and for keeping pretty little things on, like my mousepad from Donna Marie, my first year of NaPiBoWriWee mug (or whatever is holding my tea that day), and the glass trivet I made during a NJSCBWI event.



And it’s all mine. And it is enough.

And I can finally say, “Goodbye for now, old office, dear friend, and faithful companion. Perhaps we shall meet again…

“…But like don’t wait for me, because hubby is going to work from home a few days a week forever. So like you’re kind of in his hands now. Sorry about all the stressful conference calls you have to endure. At least you don’t have to listen to me babbling about whether a wave shushes or swishes for hours on end. But yeah, miss you too.”

Oh. And of course, Hello New Office. Nice to meet you.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Muddy Monster - A Spring Fling short

Ciara Oneal and Kaitlyn Sanchez are hosting a Spring Fling gif challenge: 150 words of less story for kids inspired by a gif (y'know one of those little picture video doo dads)

I've been working like a dog on a home improvement project (a more physical creativity perhaps) and could use a writing exercise to keep me in shape, so here goes!


Here's my gif and 150 word story. 



Muddy Monster

By Lauri Meyers 


A muddy monster trekked inside,

With dirty pies to host a feast.

Showed the gift, but Mommy cried,

“Get out! Get out! You vicious beast!

 

Mother shooed it down the hall.

Confused, the creature ran away.

Stopped to hear the mother call,

“Where’d my darling daughter stray?”

 

The monster looked at slimy feet,

Considered grimy dripping shirt

Normal self was clean and neat-

But… a bit more dirt can’t hurt.

 

She dug a mine for worms and gold,

Cooked a pot of mud and stewed,

Ignored her name while hours rolled

Until her belly growled for food.

 

She squelched up to the door, but caught:

“The monster’s back! Where are you?”

She had to get by Mom, she thought,  

What could a muddy monster do?

 

Hello hose, and goodbye mud.

Open the door, ready to lie:

“I fled a creature made of crud!

I missed you so... May I have pie?”


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