Showing posts from March, 2012

My Dirty Girls Dancing in the Dust

            I refer to my children as the "dirty girls."  I can't turn around for a second without some crazy calamity occurring.  Unfortunately, I have yet to learn this lesson, and I turn around "for one second" too often.  My penalty for loose parenting is an obscene amount of stained laundry, cheeseball-faced children, and frequently wet socks.              The girls were on point this week.  I shook out a blanket in the living room to fold it.   The living room has a large bay window which lets in lovely morning sun.  I hear the 4-year-old yell "ooh, sparkles."   I looked to see her dancing in a cloud of sparkles.  Except they weren't sparkles.  They were dust particles glittering in the sun.  Awesome.  Did I mention I also have loose cleaning skills?             It was a nice day, so we played in the sandbox.  I was on top of my mom game and had them take their shoes off.   Score 1 for Mom.  As usual I turned my back for just a second t

The Creative Process

Write.  Edit manuscript for an hour.  Draft query letter.  Edit manuscript for an hour.  Research publishers.   Edit manuscript for an hour.   Come up with something witty to put in cover letter.  Edit manuscript for an hour.   Obsess about which type of envelope to use.   Hold submission in hand for 5 minutes building the bravery to put it in the mail.   Send.   Remember that the writing part is actually fun.  Repeat.

Seussed Anniversary Part 4

Did you know Seuss is properly pronounced "Zoice," not "Soose?"  Seuss was actually Theodore Geisel's middle name which he was given from his Bavarian's mother maiden name.  (Maiden as middle? Me too!) Anytime you sit down to photographically recap the last 40 years, you are going to have to make some tough choices on whether to publish embarrassing photos.  No matter how hot you looked then, you can't help but laugh at pictures taken during the 70s and 80s.  My parents had a recurring theme of terrible glasses and eccentric hats.   (note - I of course look adorable!) I hope you enjoyed these excerpts from my parents 40th Anniversary scrapbook. Some days they ’ ll look good Some days, well, they ’ ll not. Lucky for them love Lives within and not with-out. Love can be seen Through any shape glasses. Love can hide Under any size hatses.

Seussed Anniversary Part 3

Dr. Seuss' birthday was March 2nd.  What a great day to celebrate reading! My Mom had an unfortunate run in with a moving truck ramp which left her with a broken ankle. Not one to sit around helpless, she put her 6 month old baby in a box and pulled her around!  Fox in socks Fox in box Baby in socks Baby in box When your leg is in a cast, Pulling a baby in a box is fast. Charlotte is a gal so tough A few steps high just wasn ’ t enough. One more step would be just right- She lifted the ramp with all her might. But OUCH with a big clankle, The truck ramp fell on her ankle.

Seussed Anniversary Part 2

My mom has been hounding me to write a book since I was ten.  I was so proud when she wrote me a thank you note and said the anniversary book I made for my parents 40th Anniversary counted as my first book. This is written in the style of "The Sleep Book."  The Sleep Book was published 50 years ago in 1962. T he news Just came in From the County of Mun That the marriage Of Christopher and Dunn Happened today on June 30, 1971 This may not seem Very important, I know. But it is . So I ’ m bothering Telling you so.

A Seussical Anniversary

In honor of the 75th anniversary of Dr. Seuss' first book And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street  (1937),   I thought it would be fun to share some excerpts of the book I wrote for my  parents 40th anniversar y.   I took a different spin on the anniversary scrapbook.  I "Seussed" their love story!  Enjoy! What a happy couple What a beautiful pair To be celebrating Their 40 th year! Yes! They have been “they” For 40 years, Not 35 or 28, 40! Say that is great. How do they do it, you ask? How does their love last, last, last? Perhaps we should take a look At the pages of this book To see how they got here From here to there From there to here Love can happen most anywhere.

Love All the Tiny Ideas Too

            The first piece of advice I found when I started my writing journey was to write every day.  Some days a little, some days a lot, but work those writing muscles.  I have been writing down a new idea pretty much every day.   Sometimes I just pop a few words into my ipad reminders.   Sometimes I open a document and write a few words which turn into sentences.   And sentences become paragraphs.   Voila!  A draft!             Some days an idea strikes me at the grocery store or in the car, and I have to store it in my brain all morning.   I always think I have a winner.  When I finally get home and put pen to paper, I can't even finish a good sentence.  Somewhere between bananas and home the idea has lost its promise.  Nonetheless, the orphaned sentence is tucked into bed right next to the drafts.             All those little abandoned tidbits are important.  You never know when the magic clue will drop into place to turn a thought into a book.  Today, for example,

The More You Learn... The More You Learn You Screwed Up

     There really isn't anything I love more than spending a Sunday afternoon opening all of my manuscript drafts and changing a format element because I learned something new.   There was the day I realized I needed to put my contact information on the first page (duh!).  The day I added a word count to start the manuscript and an "End" to finish it.  Then there was the day I formatted everything in Courier 10 based on several websites' recommendation. By Kriss Szkurlatowski via       Over the last week I have started to establish which writing websites are trustworthy and which are just okay.  The trustworthy ones today all said to use 12 point font.  I was also seeing fonts other than Courier recommended.  Uh-oh.  I swear the first 10 websites I used as formatting resources stated 10 point courier was the best font!                      As I changed the font size on all my drafts, Moira Allen's discussion of the heated debate on fonts ( http

Shopping for a Paper Weight

     I spent some time preparing my first submission.  Once I printed it out on my 20 pound paper it looked, well, pretty blah.  Part of the problem may just be getting reacquainted with Courier font.  It really takes me back to the days of sitting at the kitchen table typing my senior paper on a real typewriter.   I decided I needed better paper.                    I did some research and established a) yes, a nice paper was appropriate, b) card stock was too heavy, and c) neon was not a good idea.     The helpful fellow at the Staples recommended a fine quality 32 pound paper.   It felt nice.  It was expensive at $17/ 200 sheets.   Here I was blowing my original $10 "try to become a writer" budget on a ream of paper.          I printed on my new paper.  It looked hot!  A publisher would have to linger longer over my submission feeling this luxurious paper.   Then, I tried to fold my 3 pages.  This stuff was pretty thick.  I placed the pages in the envelope as gen

Committing to be a Writer

      Thank you to the NJ SCBWI who gracefully pushed me over the cliff to become a member.  I am one of those people who can't look at any decisions as finite.  In my mind each decision causes a reaction that causes another reaction that causes another reaction - much like the latest DirectTV ad "Don't have a Grandson with a Dog Collar."      I have been casually working on a handful of children's books manuscripts for a few months.  It was just something creative to do in my free time.   I thought if I could publish a mediocre book a year, I could send my children to college!        Then my brain started churning.   To have a shot publishing, I should really join SCBWI.   If I become a member, I am not just writing books; I am a writer.  That is a career change.  If I get published, I will need to travel for book signings and school visits.  How will I do that with a child hanging from my leg screaming?   If I have a career, the kids need childcare.  How ca
Welcome to my new blog.  I apologize if the url address has misdirected you - 'dirty girls' refers to my children who are always rolling around in a mud puddle and taking chocolate milk baths.  If you are looking for something else, you will have to keep looking.