Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Year's Goals

Well, the year is just about over. Time to set new goals as a writer. I seem to have the same goals every year: write and read more, submit to publishers, nurture myself as a writer, attend at least one writer’s conference or workshop, value my writer friends, keep the hope up. Of course, I don’t always get all of these done. Each year seems to go by faster than the last one. My shelves are full of writer’s books, which I really find helpful when developing characters, scenes, plots, etc. One of my favorites, which I plan to read again is The Writer’s Book of Hope by Ralph Keyes. It’s uplifting and inspirational. I want to start the year off right.

Which brings me to some good news to share. An essay I submitted to my local paper was published today. Here is the link if you wish to read it. Hope you enjoy it. It's about the lost art of penmanship. Wishing you a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

“To do without tales and stories and books is to lose humanity’s past, is to have no star map for our future.” – Jane Yolen

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Picture books

If you’re just starting to write picture books and would welcome some great tips, I found an excellent link where you can find information on such topics as: “picture book format, types of picture books, think before you write, gobs of information on writing/editing process, and an impressive list of resources.” The link belongs to Rick Walton, children’s author with many, many books under his belt. Go to his website and see for yourself.

I spent the day researching publishing houses and viewing some writers’ links. So much out there. Very helpful stuff for writers and illustrators once you start your search.

I have to admit when I first started writing, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew nothing about the publishing side of the business or submissions or queries, etc. Back then, I saw a tiny ad in the newspaper about a one-day writer’s seminar at a local university. I went and my whole world opened up after that. You have to start somewhere.

"A child's history, like magic, never quite goes away. It is there, only hidden, like the laughter of unseen children in a garden. It is all the sweeter for never being seen, only heard about." -- Lawrence Yep

Monday, December 14, 2009

Well, the Christmas Cookie Exchange party was a huge success. It’s wonderful to see old and young get together in the spirit of Christmas and family. Christmas music played in the background while we chatted, ate, visited with one another, brought up memories that made us all laugh and sometimes cry, and then exchanged our cookies. We all have our “special” cookies that we bake this time of year. We share them with others once we get home. I plan to take some to my critique group sessions this week. Here’s a picture of the pretty packages containing some of the cookies.

I’ve been reading the January 2010 issue of Writer’s Digest and came across some interesting quotes from famous writers under the “Secrets of Bestselling Authors” section in the magazine. Under “Rituals and Methods,” are the following: “I try to write a certain amount each day, five days a week. A rule sometimes broken is better than no rule.”Herman Wouk. “Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”Larry L. King “Transitions are critically important. I want the reader to turn the page without thinking she’s turning the page. It must flow seamlessly.”Janet Evanovich. “ … You have to have the three D’s: drive, discipline and desire.”Nora Roberts. And so on and so on. Excellent advice for all writers as we approach the new year.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Well, what a disappointment. It did not snow after all. It just got mighty cold! Back in 2007, we didn't have snow, but we did have ICE!  Back to poetry. I thought this bit of advice from published poet and poetry editor Shaindel Beers is helpful. 

"As a poetry editor, what do you feel is the biggest mistake a poet can make when submitting poems?
Beers' answer: There are actually two I can think of off-hand. The first is having any typos or errors in the manuscript. You want to look like you've prepared this for publication, not that you're just rushing off the first draft to the post in the hopes that it will get published. The second is having no earthly idea what the journal publishes. At least read a few works from one issue (if not a complete issue) before submitting. Have a realistic idea if your work is a good fit or not."

(Excerpt from online poetry niche page of Writer's Digest - Market Watch article)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Los Bloguitos

We wait with great anticipation down here in Southwest Texas for SNOW tomorrow. At least that's what the weatherman tells us. Expect snow. It’s not too often that we get the white flurries way down south so we tend to get a little excited when we do. But we’ll see if it really happens.

Have been reading and writing poetry lately. Sometimes the muse just sneaks up and the creative juices flow. It is exciting when it happens. So I write quickly lest I forget what comes to mind in bits and pieces and then takes form. Doesn’t happen that often so I take full advantage when it does.

A while back, I was interviewed by an author/poet, Leticia Teresa Pontoni, of Argentina. If you care to check it out, the interview is on Los Bloguitos blog – in Spanish. Not to worry, though. You can click on the Translate button in the Google toolbar on top and the Spanish is translated into English.

"Touch magic -- pass it on." --Jane Yolen