Friday, December 18, 2015

Diversion Press: The Blabbermouth Club is Now On SALE #MG

Diversion Press: Diversion Press Books Make Great Gifts!: Get your copy of  The Blabbermouth Club  today for only $8 $3 Books : Meanderings: A Collection of Poetic Verse People Poetry...

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Goodnight Already! Another Great PB Discovery

I'm always excited to share when I find a good book.  Goodnight Already! by Jory John & Benji Davies doesn't really tell a new story, since it's one we're all familiar with. The characters may change, but the story is the same:

Bear can't wait to go to sleep, but Duck is wide awake. Will Bear ever get Duck to leave him alone?

This book is well worth taking a look at. Both young and old will enjoy the story and cute illustrations.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Dreaded Synopsis

I thought the hard part would be finishing the book. But now it seems publishers and agents want to see a synopsis. Really? Won't the first two or three chapters work? Why didn't I write a picture book?

If you, like me, are facing the dreaded synopsis you might want to check out the sites listed below. Consider meditation and deep breathing along with the detailed directions.

The Sum of the Parts: Writing a Synopsis

Babbles from Scott Eagan

Writer's Digest

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Writing With A Sense of Humor

This found its way in to my email several years ago, but it seemed worthy of sharing.  Sometimes we need to step back, take a breath and smile at life.


Dress Code:

1) You are advised to come to work dressed according to your salary.

2) If we see you wearing Prada shoes and carrying a Gucci bag, we will assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise.

3) If you dress poorly you need to learn to manage your money so that you can purchase nicer clothes. Consider a night course in economics, not a larger income.

4) If you dress just right you are exactly where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.

Sick Days:

1) We will no longer accept a doctor's statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor you are able to come to work.

Personal Days:

1) Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are better known as Saturdays and Sundays.
Bereavement Leave:

2) This is no excuse for missing work since there is nothing you can do for these friends, relatives or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend to the funeral arrangements, and if necessary going to the funeral in your place. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early.
Bathroom Breaks:

1) Entirely too much time is being spent in the toilet. There is now a strict three-minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the stall door will open, and a picture will be taken. After your second offense your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the "Chronic Offenders" category. Anyone caught smiling in the picture will be sectioned under the company's mental health policy.
Lunch Break:

1) Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch since they need to eat more in order to look healthy.
2) Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure.

3) Chubby people get 5 minutes for lunch because that's all the time needed to consume a protein drink.

Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation and input should be directed elsewhere.

The Management

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Another Good Picture Book to Share

Yet another fun picture book!

First-time author Dev Petty’s dialogue between two frogs in I Don't Want To Be A Frog makes its point about accepting who we are. And the illustrations are bound to make you smile.

The story is about a frog that wants to be any animal that is cute and warm. Not a frog that is wet, slimy and full of bugs! The story’s dramatic pivot is when a wolf enters the picture.

Definitely a book children will enjoy.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Is It Possible This Is The Best Story? Could be?

The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli   is sure to make your child happy. And it definitely makes this author happy. When Red Brick Library has a contest for writing the "best story" this pigtailed (unnamed character) is determined to win. She asks for help, but only becomes more confused by the advice she gets from everyone. The story stresses that we all have different ideas of what is good, but those ideas may not reflect the story the writer has to share. 

As an author myself, I loved this because what critique group doesn't suggested a dozen different directions your story should head?  And as you read published stories you can become even more confused. There seems to be no credible rules indicating what is good and what isn't. So it has to be all about personal taste. It's not about good and bad. 

I think this book is a winner.  Give it a try. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Leave It To Kids to Keep You Humble

Several years ago when I was the secretary at an elementary school, I had an after-school reading club for kids. On a whim, I asked the kids if they knew me. I thought that would be easy to answer since being secretary is a visible position and I’d also written several books by that time.

 “You’re the counselor and Ethan’s grandma,” hollered one kid.

I nodded, “That’s half right. I’m Ethan’s grandma.”

Another hand popped up. “You’re the concierge.”

The what! Perhaps I needed to get out of the office more.

Another hand flew up. Whew! It was a grandchild.

“You are the secretary,” said my granddaughter proudly.

 Even though I was growing wiser, I wasn’t wise enough to end the topic.

“Does anyone know my name?”

Again, I chose a grandchild. (Thank goodness, I had several who went to that school.) I could see he was flustered, since the grandkids call me Grandma Debbie and staff members aren’t usually called by first names. “You are Grandma Smith,” he answered, choosing to use my last name instead of first.

Too late, it dawns on me that I’ve pushed the limits. I tell the class they are not required to call me Grandma Smith. They can call me Ms. Debbie.

Beware: Questions to boost self-esteem can sometimes backfire!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Thoughts Regarding Critique Groups

They Are Necessary

Joining a writing group is one of the easiest ways to discover things you’ve overlooked. That can be punctuation, grammar, or that you’ve accidentally changed the main character’s name! Fresh readers quickly see things you’ve missed.

They Can Make You Feel HIGH and LOW

Critique groups can sometimes be made up of newbie writers. Some read your story and tell you that it’s over-the-top terrific (which feels good), but in your heart you know better. Many give good feedback on punctuation and suggestions. Other well-meaning people pick it to shreds and cause you to wonder if you shouldn’t have taken up the oboe instead of writing.

They Cause You To Analyze How Much You Want To Be A Writer

After you reread your critiques, you must decide which things to listen to, and which to ignore. That can be hard. Many times the advice regarding grammar is correct, but being correct isn’t always what you want. You can lose the uniqueness of your story by making the writing generic. These are all things that you have to consider. 

They Cause You To Think Out-Side-The-Box

Not only will you have critiques that point out you used the word “just” several hundred times, they will also make you aware of phrases you tend to repeat. If you’d like to catch some of these things before they're pointed out by critiquers, you might consider editing software.

EditMinion, like other manuscript editing software, will help you locate common mistakes. Among other things, it highlights in different colors adverbs, weak words, sentences ending with prepositions and passive voice. It will quickly point out words and phrases that are repeated too often.

Pro Writing Aid points out overused words, vague and abstract words, repeated words, pacing, etc. Sticky sentences might be new to you. It will also alert you to those.

AutoCrit and ProWritingAid are two others. I'm not going to attempt to review or list all that are available, but they are worth considering.

 Do you want to keep writing? Do you love it enough to risk hearing negative things?  Can you make only changes that reflect your writing style? If so, I would take a deep breath, find editing software and join a good critique group.

If anyone has personal thoughts on the editing programs or critique groups, I'd be interesting in hearing from you.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A B Cs of Writing

Thoughts to ponder . . . brought on by Writer's Block.

Always keep punctuation under control, since it can stand out and disrupt reading. This is important! Don't forget! 
Be very careful to avoid cliches like the plague. Take the tiger by the tail and think outside the box. 
Characters need to be believable. Avoid exaggeration since it’s a kazillion times worse than telling a plain, boring story.
       Do your homework, which may require outside help. Try to guess the parts of your manuscript that a reader will skip over. (See a psychic if necessary.) Then hit the delete key. Hopefully you will have more than the title left when you’re finished.
Every writer needs to develop a questioning mind. (Why can’t I get an agent? Maybe because I can’t write worth a darn. Why do I have writer’s block? Maybe because the story doesn’t need to be told.) 
Finally, don’t repeat yourself. Trust the reader to understand what you’re writing. Don’t keep saying the same thing, in different ways, over and over. Write it once; don’t keep pushing repetitive thoughts on your reader, since that shows you don’t have confidence in your writing.
 It’s pretty obvious by my posts that I need to head back to the book I'm writing. It was a great story two days ago. Pretty good yesterday. But questionable today.