Showing posts from July, 2013

Where Does a New Writer Start?

I got a question recently from a writer which basically said:   "I'm new to writing picture books. Where do I start?" To which I said, "You know I'm not published right?"  But her questions reminded me of myself just a year ago. So maybe a newbie like me is a great person to lay out those first steps while they are still fresh in my mind.   There's the short answer of course, which is to write . But wouldn't that be dreadfully snide to say to someone?  So here we go with the long answer which is going to take about 3 blog posts J "Where do I start?" Beyond a blank piece of paper and pencil, joining SCBWI, creating achievable goals, and reading are great places to start. (Image by  Constantina Dirica via Join SCBWI, the Society for Children's Books Writers and Illustrators. The first year membership fee of $85 gets you a bimonthly magazine, access to the website full of information, connections for cr

On Flying & the Pursuit of Control

I took a flying lesson last weekend. I know I'm amazing, fearless, like Amelia Earhart, blah, blah, blah.          I did feel pretty fearless ... after getting off the plane at the end.  I did not feel fearless on my third bathroom visit prior to boarding the tiny Cessna as I cursed Groupon for making flying a small plane with my husband seem like a good idea.     Could my smile be more forced? The flight instructor was brave to snap photos while I was at the helm.           I had a steady balance of fear and excitement, which probably wasn't surprising. The thing that did surprise me about flying was the relationship to air.          "Well, duh," you're saying.          But really, holding the yoke (that's the steering wheel thingy) is not a smooth experience like driving a car on a straight road.  It's more like driving one of those old time cars at an amusement park, where the wheels hit the metal track in the middle and you veer left, th

7 Submissions in July Challenge

I have been floating aimlessly through the summer, slightly overwhelmed by all the fun I'm forced to have and having a hard time finding time to write. Actually, the last few weeks the extreme heat has even turned my floating into more of a slow melting. If it was hard to write while busy with fun, it is even worse gooey.     HOT. HOT. HOT. (image by  Constantina Dirica via Has my ability to write ended?  Clearly I don't have what it takes to be a writer, because a little bit of sunshine is enough to undo me!  How can I make progress with sun lotion on my hands, blinking lightning bugs, and the roar of happy laughter? I even turned my malaise into this delightful poem:             Ahh, summer-             You cunning knave,             Tempting me with warm sun,             Tricking me into hula hooping,             Calling me to the beach...             While quietly, sneakily, devilishly             Stealing my writing time            

Picture Books in the Wild

          My family ventured into the great outdoors for a camping weekend recently. The girls had a blast swimming in a too-nice-for-a-campground pool, catching fish who jumped on the hook without much coaxing, and a playground with an old-school merry-go-round (which mom rode for quite awhile only to remember her accelerated age causes dizziness and nausea on spinny things.)             Even though I wasn't writing on our trip, picture book images kept appearing. Take for instance this celebrity:        Yes, the Very Hungry Caterpillar himself!  And my oh my it looks like he has been filling up on hotdogs and s'mores and cheeseballs. The girls, assuming he had a tummy ache, gave him a nice green leaf.         After proudly showing him to the boys at the next site (carefully, too - boys squish things,) we placed him in a tree to enjoy a nice green leaf. It has been about two weeks, so he may be becoming a beautiful butterfly very soon. Or actually a beautiful mot

The Monstore Photo Contest

Two of the first children's writers I met in person were Marcie Colleen and Tara Lazar at a NJ SCBWI event last fall.  Tara is the fabulous host of PiBoIdMo , Picture Book Idea Month, which has given me 30 fabulous picture book ideas to work on this year. So when Marcie  throws a party to celebrate the launch of Tara's new book The Monstore , it's time to party! Marcie asked everyone to pick the monster they would buy at The Monstore, name him, and decide what his talent is. The kids wanted to play too. (The Monstore illustrations by James Burks) My 5yo likes this pink one (um, yeah, probably because it's pink. She's pretty consistent on pinkness) with the big smile. She named it "Nada," which I think is short for Nada Scary Monster!  My daughter can be a little shy, so Nada's special talent is saying "hello" to new people my daughter is too shy to meet on her own. (Awww!) (The Monstore illustrations by James Burks) My

Uncle Alfred's Apple Pie - Susanna Hill Fourth of July Contest

Susanna Hill is hosting the   4th Of July Secret Mystery Writing Contest .   I can never resist her short story contests, especially when she gives us plenty of time to allow my procrastination to shine and a word limit which causes the homicide of several characters (my apologies bossy Emma and hungry Kenny.) T h e  C o n t e s t :  Write a  children's story , in  poetry or prose ,  maximum 400 words   about the  4th of July  in which  a secret is revealed or a mystery is solved ! Uncle Alfred's Apple Pie By Lauri C. Meyers             "Happy Fourth!" Uncle Alfred said.             Jaden jumped up to see what exciting treat her world-traveling uncle brought to the party this year.             "What did you bring?" she asked.             "Apple pie," he said.             "Apple pie?" Jaden said. "Not Tabasco fried crickets? Not squid jello? Not tofu frog legs that taste like chicken?"             &qu