Friday, November 25, 2011

So Many Ideas...And A Turkey!

What a month this has been so far and it wouldn't have been so without PiBoIdMo! I mean, last year was tons of fun, but this year is even better! More ideas, wonderful posts, and fantastic people....just fantastic! I am amazed at the level of creativity I see each year that I participate. I love the support that this community shows for one another, and the encouragement I receive from them to keep going, going, going. The holiday season wouldn't be quite so great without PiBoIdMo. This much I know is true. It is a great feeling to be united in the same goal: one picture book idea a day, every day, for one whole month! The thing I love about it is that it is not overwhelming at all (unless you are doing NanoWriMo too, which is a WHOLE other story for another time).

It's doable. Doable! As doable as a stuffed belly at a Thanksgiving meal: scrumdiddlyumptios portions of WOW moments for the mind. AND you can be sure I'm partaking of those portions again next year! So here's to PiBoIdMo and the grand EVERYTHING that goes with it! I ♥ you PiBoIdMo for everything that you are and ever will be. My hat's off to you and everyone who makes it possible. My heart is full of gratitude for all of you. So no slacking yet. Keep coming up with those ideas, even if they are few, many, or right on the mark. Participate to your hearts content because it only comes once a year! Thank you Tara Lazar  for putting it all together!

My progress by day thirty: forty-nine ideas, four rough drafts, and a whole lotta fun! 

What's yours?

PiBoIdMo 2011 on facebook

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Triumph over Rejection(s)

Getting rejections is NEVER easy, but fight through it you must. I found this piece of inspiration just now (after a rough night of doubt) and it is brilliant! I'll never forget it because it is helping me push through at this very moment. It is helping me fight the doubt. It is reminding me to never give up. I'll find that special agent. I'll find that publisher. I'll find that magical moment where I've worked through the muck and the dirt--all the hard work--to find that my writing has reached an "aha!" moment. Go the link will do loads of good...

"...and your work will be as good as your AMBITIONS."

Go on!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Picture Book Month!

If you don't know by now that it is Picture Book Month, well, get busy! There is so much you can do to celebrate it! Read your favorite picture books to a child. Read a child's favorite picture book to them. Buy picture books and gift them to someone or to an organization: a loved one, a family member, a school, a library, etc. There are many ways you can share picture books! Be involved. Be proactive about it!

Here is a website dedicated to Picture Book Month! You will find different ways you can celebrate throughout the month. You will also find fun stuff, educator freebies, and book activities offered/suggested by authors. Take a peek and join the adventure! I know you'll have tons of fun!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Totally Agree!

I came across this on Facebook via Elizabeth O. Dulemba's wall:


It's about time something like this is passed around. I totally agree with it!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh, the Places you'll Go!

Today my focus is on motivation. Why? I'm currently stuck in that line of thought where I feel like I'm in l-i-m-b-o. Yes, I really MUST spell it out for fear I'll believe it. I really don't want to admit it. This is the uncharted stage of a writer's career where she/he visits The Waiting Place. Dr. Seuss explained it rather well.

"You can get so confused that you'll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place."

When will Fabulous Agent respond back? Did they like my manuscript? Should I keep my nose to the grindstone? Where did my focus go? That WIP is calling my name again. Should I check out other agents...get ready for another round of queries? Am I good enough? What if  I had a typo in my query letter? Was that title catchy enough? Surely my inbox must have something in it by now. Just one more peek. What can it hurt? Like I said...LIMBO.

I am reminded of something my sister mentioned years back. I don't even remember if these are her words or someone else's. It doesn't matter, because these words are brilliant!

"Doubt is the dark room where negatives are developed."

So where ever you are, STOP the doubt. Your career depends on it! If you ever want to witness your book published, cut out the doubt. Your happiness depends on it...along with your sanity!

In fact here are a few other things you should never say or do:

Phrases You Should Never Use

So as hard as it may be, don't wait around "for a Yes or No," or for "the fish to bite," or for a "better break...NO! That's not for you!"

Keep writing. Find new things to do. Read more books. Network. Blog. Do anything, anything to escape The Waiting Place.

You'll thank yourself later.

Anyone else in l-i-m-b-o? Chin up. Why not tell us about it. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15-October 15, 2011

That's right everyone, it's here! Now I'm a little late on posting about it, but that's because my computer has been acting up. This laptop I'm working on should do the trick for now.

I hope you are all geared up for this month because it is full of colorful characters, and not just the kind in literature. I have been reading everything I can find on the indigenous people of Mexico, so yes, that includes the Aztecs and all the other groups that  have roots there, let's not forget the Spanish conquistadors either. After all where would I be without all of them right? I have roots that stem from both sides.

With that said, I'd like to know what you are doing to honor National Hispanic Heritage month.

Are you reading your favorite books by hispanic authors/illustrators. I know am!

If you are having a bit of trouble finding some of them, here are a few to get you started:

I'm including authors/illustrators who may not have hispanic heritage but that have written books about the culture, etc.  Feel free to add to the list in the comments section!

Yuyi Morales
Pat Mora
Carmen Tafolla
Monica Brown
Bettina Restrepo
Arlene Williams
Pam Muñoz Ryan
Jennifer Cervantes
Judith Byron Schachner
David Diaz
Julia Alvarez
Carmen Agra Deedy
Gary Soto
Beatriz Vidal
Christina Diaz Gonzalez
Matt de la Peña
Antonio Sacre
Angela Dominguez
Magaly Morales
Alma Flor Ada
F. Isabel Campoy
Karen Katz
Omar S. Castaneda
Enrique O. Sanchez
Elizabeth O. Dulemba
Samantha R. Vamos
Rudolfo Anaya

There are so many that I love! And here is a link from author Pat Mora's site that has a few more not on this list:

More Hispanic Authors/Illustrators

Enjoy! Don't forget to tell us what you are reading or what you are doing to honor Hispanic Heritage Month!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Computer Crashing

This has been my worst nightmare for quite some time and it finally happened to me. Thank goodness I had my writing backed up.  I won't be writing any blog posts while my computer keeps crashing. So please be patient while I figure out what to do to fix the problem. I'll update you when I can. Thanks for understanding!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Character Driven or Action Driven

And the one million dollar question is...

are you a right brained writer or a lefty? That is the question! It may seem to you that it matters not what you are, but I say it does! Take the time to find out what drives your writing. It could help you figure out why your plot lines are lacking or why your characters seem flat or boring.

Here is the article (along with tips) that set me on fire today:

Character Driven of Action Driven

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Say who?

So who are you, author? Eh? We'd sure like to know, but what is the best way to go about doing it? Here it is! I mean this one really breaks it down and simplifies it for all. Gotta love it! If you don't read it you are doing yourself a major disservice. Hee hee. Just sayin'.

The best platform building advice...ever:

Author Websites: The Basics

Kathleen Ortiz needs a pat on the back for this one.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I find the kindlegraph an interesting item, who wouldn't? I love the idea of an author being able to send a personal message and electronic signature to a reader for an e-book they have purchased, BUT there is nothing like the real thing...waiting in line to meet an author and receiving a physical John Hancock and not some digital copy sort of thing. Somehow the experience won't feel as magical to me. There is something about watching an author whip up a pen, gently press pen to paper, and allow their signature to flourish the pages you have read.

Technology continues to amaze me by creeping its way into our lives, forever changing the the publishing world, changing the way we view is endless really. As much as I like having the technology available for when I want to take my books on trips and vacations--bringing books along on a kindle is much easier than packing books in a suitcase or sack I'm sure--I can't help but wonder what will happen to the disappearing medium of a physical  hard copy of a book.

I love feeling and turning the pages of a book. I love the smell of books. Will my future grandchildren (goodness this is a long ways away, ages) relate to books as I do? Must all good things come to an end? Really must they? I feel like...with many Borders bookstores closing, which bookstore will be next? Will smaller independant bookstores crop up as many speculate they will? What if they don't? Will libraries become more popular or less popular?

Are we all just becoming a  bunch of fear mongers over the whole thing? I'm not sure what to think, other than: I want my own library! At least if I have my own library I can keep books alive for myself and for generations of  family who may never know the delight of holding a REAL book in their hands.

What do you think? What are your thoughts on the whole thing?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Critique: Never An Amateur Move.

No, I didn't jump off the edge of the Earth...

Or go on a fancy schmancy vacation or one of those fabulous writer's retreats. I wish!

And... *cue the orchestra*

 I have NOT forgotten about my poor poor neglected blog...

Okay maybe a little. Okay...

A. LOT. *pause for acceptance*


I was going through a p-h-a-s-e. (yes writers have these)

I didn't make a run for that fabulous job I was so excited about. I never made it off the runway. I saw a detour and I took it! Pitiful I know...unless I can get you on my side of the fence. It will only take a few minutes of your time. Really!

So in fact, I've spent gobs, an insane amount of time,  with a wonderful group of ladies...they really make my day. I'm lucky I don't have a hemorrhoid from the time spent, butt in chair, over critiques and exchanges during the last several months. *happy dance*

My Inbox has never been happier...and what do I need a runway for when I have this group of women to back me up and cheer me on? I'm giddy just sayin' so!

I ♥ my critique group! I feel like I know these ladies well by now. I'm loving their feedback and can't get enough of them! They are AWESOME!

 I have been popping out revisions like crazy! I'm so amazed at my own progress.

So when I came across Writer's Relief and their post here:

I realized how incredulously lucky I REALLY am to have a group that already functions as a checklist for these hilarious mistakes...AND so much more! Heaven forbid I EVER make those amateur mistakes!

It is rockin' fabulous to have the support that I have from this group! 'Nuff said? Not quite yet!

So if you are lucky enough to have a critique group like this, one that goes above and beyond the call of duty, please SHOUT IT OUT! They deserve the praise.

Yours Truley,

One VERY grateful writer clearly addicted to her, AHEM, fabulous critique group

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Gig.

I'm going for a gig. A paying gig. First I need to secure employment there. So I'll start with a resume. Don't worry it's a writing gig! I'm dipping my toes in freelance.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I will never think I've got it bad until...

I find one of these in my mail box/inbox:

Best Rejection Ever

If you are interested how I came across the letter,well I was browsing here:

Write For Your Life

I like to wander! Just a little evening blog fling won't hurt anyone...but that letter might. Right. Yeah. Um. I'm going now. Ciao!

A Little First Draft Fun

   This one was just to get the Juice flowing. I'm just scribbling. Gosh!

One serving of Juice:

 My mother stood at the counter with a salad bowl in one hand and a towel in the other as she danced to her favorite Salsa music. She set the towel down and tossed the salad with her hands as she danced. Tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, avacado. Delicious.
     “Mamita!” She spun to face me. Our salad was already up in the air. “I think you are confused. I'm pretty sure that lettuce isn't a bowl of mardi gras beads you can toss to the crowd.”
     “Hija! I'm not tossing beads! I'm...uh, well what does it matter. She wiped her hands and shook the stray lettuce out of her hair. Anything new today? Where's your sister? I know she's not really study partners with that boy.” She gave me the look. I may as well have been el diablo the way she was looking at me.
I glanced at the salad on the floor and began to step away. She gave me a playful pinch on the shoulder.
     “Ouch!” I quickly dodged the next one.
     “You can't hide it from me forever hija. It all comes out with the wash.” I knew she was right. She always was. That's the last time I kept a secret from my mother, or maybe it was the last time I kept one for Angela. It didn't matter. It was the last time. I was waiting for it to come out in the wash. Better to wait.

So what is this first draft? Let's look at the recipe first. It is a sprig of  horrible. A dash of frustration. A life jacket labeled, "I hope you can do it,"  with all that comes the magic of jumping into revisions...but not yet. First comes pity, self loathing...and eventually a Puño of "Aha I know how to fix it!"

First drafts are all about love. Let the mess begin...

Happy writing over the weekend friends! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Guru or Two Up My Sleeve

"Creating and analyzing are two different processes. Don't try to do them both at the same time or you'll hurt yourself."-- I couldn't tell you who said this. I'm still searching for them. 

Today I'm reading Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul. I'll be cutting and pasting and doing all kinds of creative activities that are suggested in the book, activities that are all geared towards making me my own best critic, one that will give me a handle on my (picture book) writing. 

Next I'll be reading The Art and Craft of Writing Historical Fiction which is written by James Alexander Thom. I chose this one for obvious reasons. Yup! I have a historical YA fiction on the back burner and it needs to come off. So if you haven't read these two books. I've heard great things about them from writing buddies and blogging friends alike! So far I'm satisfied with the reading and I'm enjoying that I'm in charge of my own lesson plans and course of study. 

So I can't take leave off my holiday yet, but I wanted to update you on my progress. After all it is Woeful Workshop Wednesday today. 

P.S.- If you are looking for a new adventure, check out the new links I posted on the Write! tab above! 

Carpe Diem! Carpe PM! But please pick one or the other. Trying to accomplish both will leave you exhausted! 

Who's your guru and why such a big crush on them? Hee hee!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Eat Pray Love and Write...

I feel like that woman in Eat Pray Love. I'm restless.This year needs to be about finding my balance in writing and just being sure I know where I stand with those little pesky commas, semi-colons, and heck the whole infrastructure of my writing! I feel like it has been raining doubt for weeks with no sunshine. I need a peep hole (I got a glimpse from Lee and Low books the other day and I feel so close, I just might be a breath away) so I can peek through and see the sandy beaches (yeah the ones with the crystal clear water, the one's mermaids just might inhabit), those far away places that seem so fun and magical from a distance if we would only get on a boat, ship, or airplane and just take the leap and explore them.

This year I'm an explorer. I'm a traveler. I'm Don Quixote, circa first expedition only. I'm Columbus...Amerigo Vespucci. I'm Ten Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and swimming for the surface. I've been cooking like crazy and loving it. Now that I've been so sincere I'm not afraid to say that I believe Don Juan has entered our bedroom several times this month, oh wait that would be my loving husband. TMI I know, but I can't let you get away with thinking I haven't got the "love" part covered. I've been a character all to herself. In my own world. Let an awakening begin.

My blog will drown a little bit...okay a lot, but all in the name of discovery and preservation (not just for my writing). Before I head out though. I promised I'd let you know who the winner from December's challenge is.....

Congrats go to Melissa from Through the Looking Glass! She is splenderific. ;) I always smile after reading one of her charming, sometimes silly blog posts. So Melissa, please e-mail me your address and I will ship to you your prize. In fact, you get to pick the book! You can pick anything that is listed from December's Author Birthday Reading Challenge list.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Author Birthday Reading Callenge: Rules

This challenge is closed to all for now and may or may not be introduced again for the year2012. 

So here's how you get points to earn the prize:

1. Follow this blog: +3 pts AND...
2. Read at least one book from the list of author birthdays for the month specified (in this case starting  Feb 2011) The more you read, the more points you get! For every book you read you will get +3 pts and +5 pts  for answering a question about the book (these will be listed below also but not all books will have a question).
3. Spread the word: blog about this challenge, tweet about it, put the banner on the sidebar of your blog, or link back to this post through facebook. Comment and give a talley on this post of your points. Please also list the link(s) to your blog, tweet, or Facebook page that cover the challenge/contest. Follow this step closelyand it will get you a good +5 pts.
5. Be sure your kid gets that special book he/she has been wanting to read.Obviously it has to be an author from one of the lists. +8 pts if you post a picture on your blog of your kiddo reading it and comment with the link to the photo! 
6. +10 points for donating a book (Spanish or English) to the book drive I'm organizing. It's ongoing  just in case you are wondering. 

If you happen to read at least one book from each list I'll enter your name into a drawing for a special prize which will be ready for you at the end of the 2011! So keep tabs on the books you read so you can send me a list of the ones you have read by December 2011. 

***contest is for USA, Canada, and Mexico only*** 

Thats it! Whoever has the most points wins! If there happens to be a tie, well then I'll have to do a raffle.

The winner will get a book or a few books from the authors listed below!!!! Once the winner is selected I will contact them to get shipping information in order to send out the prize.

Here is the official banner to add to your blog ! So spread the word on the challenge:

  Not every month will have a winner, it all depends on participation. 

Mo' Spit!

With all the holiday mayhem, fun, and delight I find myself a bit frazzled. What next, right? Which of my high aspirations can I (will I) embrace completely this year? Can all my goals be accomplished? For my sake and sanity, I hope so! It is never a fun thing to come to the close of the year and realize I left one thing undone, unfinished, or incomplete. So to the new year I say, "Mo Spit!" I'm going to make this year shine just a bit more than the last one, and that's going to take a bit more spit than usual! I'm sticking by that statement and I'm here to encourage you all to do the same! Carpe diem, c'est la vie, que sera sera...whatever your encouragement or motto may be, stick with it!

**rolling up my sleeves**

Here are some quotes I found on other blogs,etc that I'd like to start my year off with, because sheesh I'm gonna need them...

(click the link to read more)

"Attend to lightness. Shoot for moonlight."

"Write against patterns. Go against the devils. Write what you never write. Lie. Validate what you don't validate. Indulge what you don't like. Wallow in it. Write the opposite of what you always write, think, speak. Do everything against the grain!"-- Deena Metzger

I must say that likewise, along with the above quote, that one should also follow as many rules as they can. Balance, I believe, will find success far sooner than anything when it comes to the task of writing and accomplishing  publication. Just sayin', don't make yourself weary with a surplus of expectations. Find those that work for you alone. 

"A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark"--Dante Alighieri

Find that tiny spark. Go forth and be the mighty flame! Sparkle all you can! 

"A great deal of talent is lost to the world for want of a little courage."--Sidney Smith

Don't let this person be you. Muster all your strength to feed Courage. You are going to need it! Let gumption be your close friend and confidant. Courage is hardly any good and won't get you very far without strength to keep it alive.  

You can easily find more words of encouragement and hope to last you the year here:

Extracto Literarium

Books I started my new year off with:

Doggone Dogs, by Karen Beaumont--part of the reason I have not been blogging as much is that we have a dog that reminds me of  Karen Beaumont's Doggone Dogs! This book reminds me of our puppy Osito. I had to laugh! What a heap of work it is to train a puppy! I hope you understand my absence. While I cannot post as much this year I wish you will remain interested in the children's book drive I am organizing, and the fantastic Author Birthday Reading Challenge. I've decided to continue both through the year 2011! Keep in mind there are prizes to be had! Keep reading! It's not over yet! And while I may be busy with a puppy, you can still look forward to two or three posts a week this year, as my goals will be focused more on writing and submitting than on my blog posts. I'll keep you posted if anything changes!

Dinosaurs Love Underpants by, Claire Freedman and Ben Cort--can you tell I have a son yet? I must say my daughter likes dinosaurs just as much as my son, all because her brother adores them! So while I can't decide the exact origins of underwear in relation to dinosaurs I have come to the conclusion that I will be sure to remember I'm wearing my undies at all times. No doubt about that!

Ten Queens: Portraits of Women of Power by, Milton Meltzer--this one just makes me feel like I can accomplish anything. We all need books like this one to remind us that within us all is an unknown power to rule. Rule your dreams.  Rule yourself. Leave a mark in the world for yourself or others.


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