Sunday, May 31, 2009


Do you ever get frustrated waiting for replies from publishers on the manuscripts you've submitted? The question is whether to submit your manuscript exclusively to one publisher or submit simultaneous submissions. And how long should one wait before querying on the submission? There have been times when I've gotten a reply (rejection) a year after the original simultaneous submission.

Not sure which way to go? There is an excellent article on the following Website: arguing the pros and cons from the writer's and the editor's viewpoints. Be sure to read the article and then decide which route you want to take. Best of luck with your submissions.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Writer's conferences

Many writer's conferences are being offered right now. I've been to a couple in the past few years and am debating whether to attend another one. I always come back inspired and ready to work. As most writers know, writing is a pretty lonely profession at times. Getting out and meeting with one's peers who share the same passion for writing and books can be good for the soul.

Besides meeting super interesting people at these conferences, you also come back with tons of reading material, workshop experience under your belt, and new ideas that you're ready to work on as soon as you get home. Not to mention the fabulous speakers at these conferences who provide words of wisdom and encouragement to writers.

I guess I already talked myself into going again, huh? Better start checking out those conference dates now.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ideas, hometown

A horse-drawn carriage in my hometown.

I once met an author who said she was having trouble coming up with ideas for stories. "Nothing interesting ever happens in my town," she said. So she read about other exotic places that she thought were a lot more exciting than her "boring" town. Then one day it dawned on her that there were stories all around her. Stories right in her own back yard. Many times we fail to see what's out there because we're so familiar with our surroundings. Take a look around your own city or town. I'll bet there's interesting characters and historical spots that make for a great setting. You don't have to go far to find a good story. Sometimes it's right there in your own back yard.

Friday, May 15, 2009

School visit, Author Day

Just returned from doing a school visit. After doing several sessions, it was a bit tiring, but exhilarating. After the presentation, there is a segment on the writing process followed by a question-and-answer session. The students really enjoy this as they get to ask the author anything and everything. They get so enthused that we usually run out of time before all the questions are asked.

Since today was Author Day at the school I visited, the students had a parade in the morning. They dressed up as favorite book characters. Even the teachers and the school staff joined in the fun, dressing up as well. It always feels good being part of a school event. That's part of the fun of being an author.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Signs of spring. Picture taken in Santa Fe.

I once asked an editor at a writer's conference what is it that excited him about a manuscript. His reply, "Voice." Voice is hard to define. Some say it is style; others say it isn't. Some say it is tone; some say not. To me, voice is unique to a writer. There is an excellent article on that you might find helpful. There's also an article on (Verla Kay's April 26 blog) on writing tips for picture books, which includes some comments on voice. Both are super interesting.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


The brilliant colors in this photo can brighten anyone's day. I took this picture in New Mexico.

Yesterday I had a truly productive day in writing. I edited and revised several chapters on my current work-in-progress middle-grade novel. Over and over again, I reworked each paragraph until I felt that the words flowed well and the pacing was right. I cut out redundant words. I tightened the sentences. I focused on some of the "hot spots" where I felt I needed to show more emotion. Overall, I was pleased with the day's work. Who knows? Tomorrow I might make some more changes. But for today, I feel like I accomplished something.

By the way, the Website: has tons of information on publishers and children's books as well as the names of hundreds of authors and illustrators of children's books. If you're a writer or illustrator, you might want to join this group online.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Revisions, nature

Take a break from writing once in a while and enjoy nature's beauty.

Once a draft is finished, the revisions start. The editing, cutting, pasting, reworking of the story to make it better. That's when the real work starts. It might take days, weeks, months, or even years to come out with a product you're really proud of. It's like anything else. To become a talented artist, you practice. To become a great musician, you practice. To become a good writer, you practice your craft.

Sometimes you get tired or overwhelmed. Take a break. Go for a walk. Enjoy nature. Visit a musuem. Take in a good movie. Read a book. A favorite book of mine is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Her writing flows on every page. Her characters are so well developed. Her book was made into a movie, which I thoroughly enjoyed.