Thursday, September 30, 2010

We Want You!

A call to all writers. Come one come all. Join in for support. Network. Get your writer groove on. Meet all kinds of lovely people--even if your story is unwritten, especially if your story is unwritten.

The lovely Rachael Harrie has offered this fabulous opportunity to all.

Here is her original post.

Tweet it.
FB it
Blog about it.
AND come join this Inaugural Writers’ Platform-Building Crusade!

After all,

Doesn't it feel good to be wanted? You know it! What better way to bloom as a writer than to build your platform and learn more about the craft and the writing market? 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Think For Yourself: Banned Books

Where do I begin with such a touchy subject? Let me just say that you, the reader,  have the freedom to choose what you read. We all have the freedom to adopt what we read as our own opinion(s) or to let it go by the wayside and even kick it to the curb. You are in control of what enters your mind. Free agency at its' best gives you the capability to pollute or adorn your mind with what you deem worthy of your attention, whether it be in your opinion, wonderful or horrible. The mind is a wonderful thing. So choose wisely and don't let it go to waste.

In my opinion, books should never be banned. I also believe that it is up to parents to teach their children right from wrong so that if they do happen to come across something that differs from the values they were taught, the child will know the difference and the fictional will not so easily become fact. They will be able to form opinions for themselves, to think of the consequences of the characters in the books and draw conclusions for themselves when relating it to their life.

I must also say that as parents it is a tough decision to make. It can be difficult to choose what we read to our children, to help them choose what to read when they are too young to choose for themselves what is appropriate for their age and understanding. I think it is safe to say that most parents naturally wonder  from time to time, "will my child understand this topic or will it confuse them," I know I do. So in a nutshell here is my opinion on the subject:

It's pretty simple. Think for yourself. Let others think for themselves. Don't be a robot. Teach your children to think for themselves so that they are able to choose appropriate books for themselves. 

With that said I'll be studying banned books for this workshop. Here are some links to help you out:

Here is a list of some of my favorite banned or challenged books (in no particular order):

Where the Wild Things Are
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Bridge to Terabithia
A Wrinkle In Time
From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankeiler
The Outsiders
James and the Giant Peach
Go Ask Alice
Charlotte's Web
How to Eat Fried Worms
The Lorax
Grimms Complete work of Fairy Tales
The Witches
Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl
The Story of Babar
The Indian in the Cupboard
Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Little Women
The Old Man and the Sea
The Wind in the Willows

There are many more. Too many to list and I have only listed those that fall under kidlit: PB, MG, YA. Or they are books I read while in  high school. I have only scratched the surface. 

What are some of your favorite banned or challenged books? What is your opinion on the subject? 

**Please remember to keep your comments clean and be respectful of those who post their opinions here. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tools You Never Knew You Had

So I was thinking last night. We all have unexpected tools, things we don't quite recognize for their value in gold (maybe because they make us feel a wee bit eccentric), tools we don't think of as tools, but clearly they are. You might see them as a coping mechanism for your writing, or as a last line of defense, or a way to keep your sanity as you reach that word count deadline. Let me me just say that having thought of it a good while,  I now see them as what they really are: tools. Writer tools. Without them, I'm just not myself. With them I'm a bit, well let's just say I have character.

Here are a few:

Using Facebook, Blogger, or Twitter for the remembrance of facts. My friends must think I'm on the internet all the time, but I'm not really all there (see I sound like a loony already) when I'm on. I'm compiling links that remind me of ideas for a story, I'm posting my research there. I'm networking.

A new experience everyday, like yesterday for example. I bought a new kind of cheese. Some strange brand of Brie. Boy oh boy! I'll never buy it again! New experiences give me the opportunity to learn more about the world and therefore I have more to write about. My lovely husband on the other hand thinks I have a fetish for cheese. I've done the cheese thing before and because of it I not only enjoy muenster, mozzerella, Provolone, or smoked Cheddar, but now I can include Haverty, smoked Gouda, Swiss, and Queso Fresco among others to my list of favorites. Ha ha! Anyhow, here are some cheese rules, grammatical in nature. Note I'm practicing numero uno on this list. I think I got it right, but if I didn't do correct me.

Notepads. I don't really need to say too much about this one. I think it's safe to say that if you don't have one with you 24/7, something is clearly VERY WRONG with you. Am I right? Yeah, I'm right.

Idea box. Yup, I've got one. If it weren't for this box, I wouldn't be a writer. I might as well gift wrap it. It's chock full of....well if I told you the exactness of what was in it before the book(s) came out I wouldn't be here to tell you that ideas are priceless--highway money--and they make the stars bow down to me. Okay maybe the stars don't bow down, but they sure do sparkle for me. ;) Well, at least when it's not a cloudy night. :)

Being anal about the typos: in the chat room, in my e-mails, in my status updates written in third person, in my tweets, or even over the phone while texting (a Spelling Bee crisis waiting to happen which later evolves into a fine comedy over the written word because that is the only time I can laugh about it--LATER). So naturally, even in these blog posts, I faint when I see even one little error. Forgive me if ever you see one too!

So there yo have it, just a few things that help me as I write.

Here's  a post on sticking things in the ears. See! I'm not the only one.

Your turn! If it's anything stranger than fiction, you're right on the mark!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Masterpiece Monday

I had to think about this for quite a while, because in fact, it is probably more than one post. I couldn't seem to pick one topic/theme for this post. So here is a list of Monday's masterpiece books along with all my cool finds over the weekend:


I just can't let it go that Halloween is on the way so here is another spooktacular PB for your little one. If you loved Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, you're going to absolutely love Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody, written by Michael Rex. The illustrations are incredulously funny. Say "goodnight" to monsters everywhere with this one.

Counting in Spanish never was more fun than with Count on Culebra. Ann Whitford Paul introduces us to Culebra, a snake; Tortuga, a turtle; Conejo, a rabbit; and Iguana. Poor Iguana has injured his toe and cannot make his beloved dulces. So Culebra steps in as doctor for a day. Find out what happens next! The solution is sillier than this group of friends! There is even a recipe at the end of the book for the yummy dulces! Mm Mm! Que Rico! Woops....there's another good book!

Ever been to a bug talent show? Well here's your chance! Pest Fest, written by Julia Durango, is a showcase of the spectacular talents that bugs everywhere have. Who will win the Pest Fest? You'll never guess. Find out when you read this book written in rhyme. It is chock full of wit and confessions of the buggiest kind...that and a few big words that will test your little one's pest intelligence.

Don't be afraid to read this next one with your youngest child. Big Words for Little People is a Where's Waldo of words. Your child will be pointing out all the letters he/she recognizes and smiling when he recognizes that he really does understand a big word or two after reading this book. Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell sure know how to make BIG words a not so scary thing!

Book Fiesta is a colorful bilingual picture book all about the adventure of reading fantastic books. Delve into a story, slumber along it's pages, and learn all about Children's Day and Book Day. Celebramos El Dia de los Ninos/El dia de los Libros! Learn more here.

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean. I won't say much about this one other than if you love all things ocean than you shouldn't skip it!


Ever wanted a Literary Map? Well here's a pretty cool one I found of New York!

 Author confessions: Attack of the Eccentric Mind and Other Silly Author Things...

 TBW (to be written) with much spontaneity and plenty of hoity-toity flare.

Be ready to share a few of your own! Tune in tomorrow and be ready to spin on your heels.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Best in Cover Letters: On a Treasure Hunt

Here. This looks quite cozy and delicious eh? Well take one more sip, because it will be your last for quite a while. Grab the best map you can find because the hunt for cover letter perfection is on! Keep reading and don't spill your tea--herbal please!

This lovely lady introduced me to this amazing book which mentions the basics of the cover letter and SO, SO, much more I never knew. I am beginning to fall in love with it, if I may say so. There are many others just as good. Here is where they would be listed: directly under the Must Reads i.e. MAPS list

 Now while this next link will not mention any actual cover letter advice, the concept is the same.When in self doubt, act like the child here.  Seriously, something is bound to emerge out of all the similar chaos and deep anxiety of writing said cover letter.  Hence the "no" attitude will become a "yes, you can."

warning: you will be both satisfied and exasperated by the end of it all, the whole journey will tire you. Take note of the mother in this cartoon for a good idea of what it might be like.

Here is a brief description of what they are all about.

And here is something you thought you knew, but didn't. Okay maybe you did, but read it anyway!

**this is me giving you a big shove as you walk the plank to...**

Literary Rambles is a favorite source of mine for information on what to include in these hopefully super savvy (shall I say canny?) little letters. Here are a few snippets:

"Agent Jamie Weiss Chilton (Andrea Brown Literary) said not to stress over your cover letters. Every submission she receives, she sets the cover letter aside and reads the first pages. If she loves the writing then she'll read the cover..."

Steven Chudney:

"The ideal cover letter should be pretty brief (no more than one page, and not in six point typeface!) and tell me a little about the project being submitted--just enough to whet my appetite. A brief and relevant bio about the writer is ..."

Tracy Adams:

"The ideal cover letter shows that the writer has done research on my agency, and perhaps even mentions specific authors we represent." 

Agent Marietta Zacker:

"It is difficult for me to ask to see a manuscript or get excited about what I am about to read when the query or cover letter has no soul or personality. I understand that everyone is trying to be respectful and professional and I certainly appreciate that, but if I had to choose, I would prefer to know who you are rather than the word count or to what book your manuscript can most be compared."

**this is your face full of silly confusion after the ordeal**

Oh, and when all else fails and you are pulling tooth and nail for more cover letter perfection: 


Call your mother, and

Ask around like a lunatic high off of the dear question mark until you find a credible answer. Make Mad Hatter proud to share tea with you afterwards!

Tuesday Flew By Without a Peep

So here I am and it's near the hour of midnight. Yup, and I'm shameless because I can say I had a pretty awesome productive day. Don't try to talk me out of it. It's set in my mind that the day was productive!

Today...I found out that the dress I am embroidering for my little one is now too snug around the chest, so yes, I had to rush to the wee little Hancock Fabric store for a solution to the problem.

Today...I had an epiphany. It came in one size--gigantic. When my mother said to me (about my writing), "You know people are watching you, you know. " and I said back, "I know!" Heck yeah."

Not to get a big head or anything...but...

**sets voice to a whisper and looks left and right before speaking again**

"...but it sure is a lot of pressure. A lot! My next thought was, "I have to nail this cover letter thing!" Already I've found myself in the bookstore--last minute--trying to get it all down, trying to get my writer self in gear for the New Voices deadline. I took a picture (for Operation Covet My Cover Letter) of the exact page from a book I needed the information from. Don't shriek yet! Information is priceless people! As I said, shameless. It saved my life and my heart from worry! I'm going to buy it. It's the least I can do.

With that said, let me tell you a bit about tools since Tuesday is nearly past, so I'll jut squeeze it in.

 The Library = mad haven for a writer! Yo. Best. Place. On. Earth. Diamonds and rubies for the writer mind. Priceless jewels.

Coolest thing about today:


Now I told you I LOVE...absolutely ADORE research! Well, I do. Like, Ka-POW adore it, with a  kick punch, and a rockin' fist pump to start the process. So when I found out that firework(s) shells were probably assembled and made, or even stored in barns (absolutely) before the 1800's I was stoked! There weren't many rules and regulations in the late 1800's. Joy is multiplied by 100 right about now! Now the funny thing is I have a barn in my story and now it doesn't sound like such a wacky idea to keep it in the story! I'm so happy about that! I've been in misery over whether or not to keep it in.

Yip yippee yippito...I can!

So in case you didn't get the memo:

Tuesday without tools, i.e the library (every nook and cranny), Hancock Fabric (a remedy by the yard), Research (sometimes just one simple question) = one dull day

Tuesday with tools = Supercalafragalisticexpialadocious!

So now that my dirty writer laundry is all hung out to dry, tell me, what's yours? Or, spill your latest research escapade, the one that would scratch any delightfully devilish performance from any tourist map--for miles. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Masterpiece Monday Falls into Autumn

I promised I would do a post on books centered around autumn and school. There are so many! I even browsed the local bookstore for anything new out there. It dawned on me that I absolutely must also include Halloween books. How could I not? Click on the links for more information on a particular book or to venture to a cool website with activities related to the book. It just may be that I found the link interesting, but that does not go to say I support any particular site, only that I found some of them to be very interesting or peculiar. So let's let the fun begin!


The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.

Ruth Hellers Designs for Coloring Leaves

Orange Pear Apple Bear

Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic

Lin Yi's LAntern: A Moon Festival Tale

Red Leaf Yellow Leaf

Leaf Man

I Know It's Autumn

How Do Apples Grow

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?


Amelia Bedelia Goes Back to School

The Berenstain Bears Go Back to School

A Fine, Fine, School

The Sandwich Swap

The Recess Queen

A Pocketful of Kisses

The Kissing Hand

What Teachers Can't Do

Back to School for Rotten Ralph

It's Back to School We Go

I Hate English!


What are some of your favorites?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Miss Alaineus Finds the Miscellaneous

Last night we sent Miss Alaineus on a mammoth-sized hunt leading to the (ever divers and sure to keep us guessing) miscellaneous and here is what she dug up: slide shows to make you envy every writer's haunt--hideaway/getaway/retreat, and a book full of fantastic storybook travels and destinations every child should have the opportunity to visit or read about. Did I mention we came across some superbad pet peeves and something stickier than gruel? Read on for the scoop? I say, please do!

Most amazing bookstores in the world.

Kidlit History

Storybook Travels a must read!

The great typo hunt.

Mixed up or mangled words? Who does it? Almost Everyone.

Proof that age doesn't matter for the debut novelist.

Hemingway's Hangouts

Peter Rabbit, Mother Goose, and more

And finally something stickier than gruel...just because it is stuck in my mind and I absolutely love to write while listening to it as it is a genuine and worry free, confidence boost for the writer mind. For anyone really.

Que Sera Sera

I've been away for far too long!  But "time away"  has taken me to the Tennessee Smokey Mountains, Gatlinburg. For the first time ever I raced, go kart style. I can say that it was the most fun I have had in a long while. Speed on a track equals heaps of  gigantic fun. Yes, I said it. Squeals of fun!

Now with that said, and my neglectful behavior (for ignoring my blog) put off to the side and corrected, I believe my imagination wants to cut a deal with me. I absolutely must aspire to racing the ever mysterious Stig of Top Gear---it seems the most logical thing when I consider great amounts of fun are at stake--only my imagination wants the real thing. Yes, it is a lofty goal, but it could be fun! I'd lose, but it would be daredevil fun and my imagination would benefit a great deal from the real thing, even if I were only in the passenger seat.

Of course the real thing is unlikely, but at least I came close while in Gatlinburg with go kart tracks aplenty, and a made-for-speed husband who found it delightful to race me and the good friends who invited us along.

Gatlinburg was just what I needed. We were surrounded my lush green trees and foliage; plenty of winding, curved roads; lots of rain; and colorful, falling leaves. Is it a bit early for all that? I think so, but it seems the seasons have their own switch despite what my calendar says.

With time ticking away, the New Voices deadline soon approaches and I feel I am rushing to perfect my submission.  Life always gets in the middle of my silly writing and I find myself thinking that without life--in other words, those little interruptions--there would be nothing worthwhile to write about if it ceased. I am ever grateful that life gets in the way of things!

Que sera sera. Whatever will be, will be!

What are your life's little interruptions? How do they inspire what you write about? Do you have a WIP that was inspired by something that happened from your life file? 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Splendiferously Superb Saturday

Saturday was tickling my legs. I asked him what he was doing and he responded, "I'm getting the bugs." I think it is time to shave my legs. Ha ha ha.

Children are just too funny not to post their remarks here or not to have a whole day devoted to some of the things they say! After all where would we kidlit authors be without them? 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Workshop Caught in a Bling Moment

Remember this?

It was and is the holy grail of pagers according to the residents/doctors of Seattle Grace Hospital from the TV show Grey's Anatomy. Yes, it is the very same one.  In any event a surgery is given to another resident, the owner of the pager can override it and step in to do the surgery instead of the resident already scheduled for it. Way cool eh? Yeah I think so. The sparkle pager.Yup that one. It got me thinking. If only there were something similar to it in the publishing world. But no, that wouldn't be fair would it now. So I've considered these two options for my own phone or something similar:

Wouldn't it be perfect to have a cell phone just for phone calls from that super bad agent you are waiting to hear from or that publisher you so want to work with to get your book published? Well I'm done thinking!  I'm going to cover my phone with bling, give it some character and dress it up for the occasion, should it come. This isn't wishful thinking. No I'm making it happen. I'm devoted. See my bling!


What are some funky ways you have shown devotion to the craft of writing or towards getting published? Yeah those little things that may seem fetish, but that you consider normal. Yeah those. While you ponder all that, I'll be doing critique today for workshop. 


Related Posts with Thumbnails