Thursday, November 13, 2014

Another PIcture Book gets a thumbs up!

I'm always excited when I discover another great picture book. I Am Otter has wonderful illustrations as well as a cute story. 

Once Otter Keeper is off to work, Otter decides to start a business with his friend, Teddy: a toast restaurant. When the restaurant flops, Otter can't quite take responsibility, so he fires Teddy and hires Giraffe to replace him. After Teddy disappears, Otter ends up discovering what's really important in his life. (And who's really to blame for everything!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Once again, I've found a great picture book that I have to share. I'm usually disappointed with picture books, but this time I found a winner.  Memoir's of a Hamster shares Seymour's happy life inside his cage. But one day Pearl the cat tells him of the goodies that are available throughout the house. When he starts to think he's missing out, things get a little rocky!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

New Author Discovered

The Busy Beaver Big Bear Hug

I'm always watching for good picture books, but usually disappointed by what I find. Last month,while on vacation in Canada, I discovered a wonderful author: Nicholas Oldland.  As with most authors, I like some of his books better than others, but these are sure to make you and your child smile.

The Busy Beaver: The busy but careless beaver spends his days following his impulses and leaving behind a forest filled with stumps, half-nibbled trees and injured, homeless animals. However, one day the beaver finds himself on the wrong side of a falling tree, which as it turns out, is just the thing to knock some sense into him. He decides to make some changes. Soon, the now wiser and gentler beaver is getting down to the business of making things right, much to the delight of his forest friends.

The Big Bear Hug: This is the story of a friendly bear who hugs everything in sight - even creatures that bears have been known to eat. One day, the bear meets up with a human. The human raises his axe and begins to cut down a tree. Suddenly the bear doesn't feel like hugging anymore and must make a difficult decision on how to stop this destruction in his forest.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Flesch Reading Ease

How many of you have run the Flesch Reading Ease check on your writing and still said, "Huh? So what does that mean?"

For those of you like me who weren't sure, this is what it tells you.

90-100: Very Easy
80-89: Easy
70-79: Fairly Easy
60-69: Standard
50-59: Fairly Difficult
30-49: Difficult
0-29: Very Confusing

* Scores between 90 and 100 are considered easily understandable by an average 5th grader
* Scores between 60 and 70 are considered easily understood by 8th and 9th graders.
* Scores between 0 and 30 are considered easily understood by college graduates.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Great Critique Group!

For those of you looking for a group of writers with like interests, and a place to get input on your stories, look no further.  Scribophile is a fun, fair way to gain great critiques. You earn karma by critiquing others, then when you have enough karma, you can post something.

I have been involved in several critique groups over the years, but by far this is my favorite.  In most cases the feedback you get is phenomenal. They help with grammar, punctuation and plot.
Joining is free, or you can pay a small amount for a premium account, which gives you some added perks. I ended up moving to the premium account, but you wouldn't have to.

For more details click here: Scribophile Facts

In a short time, I've gained several great friends and received some wonderful critiques. In fact, after running two stories through this critique group, I was able to sell them.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Cute Picture Book

I've come across another good picture book: The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend and illustrated by John Manders. It combines interesting, page-turning text with awesome illustrations.  If you have time, give this one a try.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What's the Word I'm Looking For?

Acute or Chronic????

An acute illness is one that is sudden and severe but short-lived.
A chronic illness persists for a long time.

Aggravate or Annoy????

Aggravate means "to make worse."
And, of course, we all know what annoy means.

I would like to say I was very annoyed last week when I opened my website and my program informed me it could no longer find the pictures associated with it. how did that happen? Then when I tried to add the pictures they started showing up anywhere and everywhere and even on top each other. Not exactly what I was hoping for.

Sometimes I think these little diversions are put in our road to see how dedicated we are to writing. I ended up ditching the crazy thing and creating a new website. But in the process I developed an acute headache!

Such is a writer's life...

Monday, March 3, 2014

Some of my Favorite Picture Books

I'm always looking for good pictures books, but have a hard time finding many.  Here are some I highly recommend.

If you have a chance read Let's Do Nothing! by Tony Fucile. The story is great and his illustrations are even better. Best friends Frankie and Sal decide to do ... nothing, since they've done all there is to do. The plan is to sit perfectly still, no moving, no talking. And how does that go? Definitely a book worth looking at.

And while you're checking out picture books, give this one a try: The Plot Chickens by Mary Jane and Herm Auch.  Henrietta decides to write a book so she enlists the help of her three aunties. When Henrietta publishes her story, the critics say she's laid an egg! What will she do now?

Memoirs of a Goldfish by Scillian, Devin and Tim Bowers is another book to take a look at. In this simple diary of a goldfish you will have to chuckle. It starts with the boring life of a fish who has the bowl to himself. ..until one day things begin to change.

And lastly, I would highly recommend Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester Laminack. The Tuckers' farm is a peaceful place. The animals all have jobs and no one complains. That is, until a peacock suddenly falls off the back of a passing truck.

If you have any favorite picture books, I'd be interested in hearing what they are.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ups And Downs Of Being An Author and Getting Bad News

Years ago I started dreaming. If I could only win a writing contest. If I could just get something published in a magazine. Then, if I could just have one book published. Well . . . maybe two books.  And the thought continues to this day. I don't think true writers ever give up on their dreams.

It is my hope that this blog will keep the fire going under our dreams.  It is so easy to get discouraged by rejections, or reading "bad" things that have been published and knowing our writing is much better. I intend to share the ups and downs.

Maybe not all writers have ups and downs like I do.  But I seem to hop on roller coasters that unexpectedly veer off course and eventually throw you out of the seat. I won't go in to my past adventures...just take you on the newest ride:

Last May I did a happy dance because I'd signed a contract with a publisher for my first picture book.  After that came the exciting part of seeing the pictures as they were furnished by the artist.  While not always what I expected, it was still an exciting time.  Then came the slow down of emails from my publisher.  Hmm, perhaps not a good sign, but then I tend to worry too much.  Be patient I whispered to myself...things will be fine, after all you have a signed contract.

I decided to send a quick inquiry January 2.  No reply by February 2.  Hmm, perhaps not a good sign, but then probably the email got lost.  I sent off another short inquiry the first of February...then the dreaded reply:

Reluctantly yet realistically I must tell you that I'm not able to go ahead with the publishing of (book's name). I know this decision will cause you great disappointment, and I'm sorry for that. The project itself has brought so many problems with graphic designers that I prefer not to deal with the challenges any more. Moreover, my publishing business itself is moving toward new models of information marketing and online education. Finally, I have some health issues to deal with, and that is one reason why I have had some periods where I haven't communicated with you promptly. Please accept both my apologies for holding you up and for my continued high regard for the idea itself. I release you from the contract, and wish you all the best.  (publisher)

Okay, okay, so maybe every author doesn't have my ups and downs....but I tell ya, if writing wasn't my passion I would have thrown my hands up years ago!

So let's share our Ups and Downs. 
If you have any ideas or sites that have helped you, please feel free to let us know.

Here is a little bit more about who I am: my web site

Being An Author Isn't For Sissies

Well, I pretty much saw the writing on the wall, but I got the notice several months ago: my publisher closed their doors.  Thus the door slammed shut on my four books.

So what to do? Sink to the ground and have a pity party, then hop up, rewrite and send it through my wonderful critique group. I think resilience is one thing we writers have in common.

At this time I'm going to reluctantly delete most posts about my former books and look forward to my new MG book that should be available this year....more coming on a PB that should have been available this year.

Zip the Lips - Diversion Press

Summer McKay is beside herself when she impulsively
invites the class know-it-all to her slumber party. At
the party the know-it-all takes control, leaving Summer
to feel like an outsider. Surely the results of her
impulsive act can't get worse, or can they? In an effort
to regain control of her own party, Summer's mouth
flies open and a lie jumps out. She informs the girls that
she has a show dog: One that wins ribbons. Can it get
any worse? Only if Emily, the know-it-all, tells the
teacher about the dog and Summer is invited to bring
her ribbon-winning dog to class.