Thursday, April 30, 2009

Library Lovin' Challenge and RLGL Contest

Will Round 13 happen? Help us make it to 400 comments by Sunday, May 3rd, 11:59PM CST, and the race is on!

I already got around 50 people to comment. I am running out of friends!

Please leave a comment here.

All you have to do is write, "Libraries rock." Only takes a second. And for each comment, a donation will be made to a library in need.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nat'l Picture Book Writing Week

Paula Yoo has declared May 1-7th to be Nat'l Picture Book Writing Week. The goal? To write 7 picture books in 7 days.

Let's see. I have written about eight viable picture book manuscripts in total. I started writing around May of 2001. So that's eight picture books in approx eight years. Seven in seven days? No problem.

For those of you who want to participate, go to Paula Yoo's blog to register and read the rules.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My New Favorite Person- Cynthea Liu

Cynthea Liu is my new idol. I don't know why it took me so long to discover her! She offers tons of advice on writing for children and teens. She is also running a Red Light Green Light Contest for children's writers. This is a really clever and creative contest and Cynthea is very generous to devote so much time to helping aspiring writers!

If this is not enough to convince you that she is absolutely fabulous, check out her new video: The Real Life of an Author.

Want to do something to help fund a library? Support Cynthea's Library Lovin' Challenge. For every comment, Cynthea will donate money to a library-in-need. Plus, you will help keep the RLGL contest going.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Wild Rumpus Continues

Head on over to Yat-Yee to enter for a free book giveaway. Please... I feel bad. I've already won three books. Trying to share the wealth, guys!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I Wish...

Can't pull my thoughts together into a coherent post, so here are just some random wishes:

Wish the agent I subbed to would make a decision!

Wish I were one of those people who liked grocery shopping.

Wish I were funnier.

Wish I could freeze my kids at their current age cause they are so darn cute right now!

Wish I had another idea for a high concept picture book.

(Wish I understand exactly what "high concept" means.)

Wish my three-year-old would stop telling people that they are older so they are going to die before him.

Wish all my talented writing friends would get published!

What are you wishing for today?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Here's a little Twictionary for those of you who might be learning how to speak Twitter. I am not making these up! (The credit for many of the definitions goes to Business Week)

Tweeting- the act of typing out your comments on Twitter.

Twexting- the act of tweeting via text messaging.

Twibe- a group of Twitter users interested in a common topic.

Twitty- people who manage to be witty via twitter.

Twadd- add someone as a friend or follower.

Dweet- a tweet sent while drunk

Twired- to be so hyped up from twittering that you can't sleep.

Twoubled- feeling distressed that you don't get how to twitter. (Okay, this one I made up!)

Hope this helps any of you who are twoubled.

Let the Wild Rumpus Start

Head on over to Yat-Yee for fun and games all week to celebrate her blogiversary. Today's contest is book quotes -- give her a memorable line from any book and you're in. What fun! Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Just Joined a Twibe

Now there's a sentence I never thought I'd utter. I just joined a twibe. I don't even know what a twibe is! Sounds like something Josh would make up. After all, he's fwee and fwee quawtas.

But if I am going to Twitter, then I guess joining a twibe is par for the course.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Serious Trouble

Somehow I got put in charge of the book fair at my kids' school. My friend, Sheri, is the head of the Parent Committee and she knew if she asked me, I'd say no. So, she just assigned it to me. This was not a wise move on her part. It's not that I don't LOVE books. But anyone who read my post about my drawer full of undeposited checks would know that I should NOT be handling financial transactions.

Anyway, yesterday we had a meeting with the vendors to learn the record-keeping procedures. I arrived early, so I had 20 minutes alone to browse a whole book warehouse. Row after row of neatly stacked books. I think I was drooling.

I was familiar with nearly all of the picture books, but I made one great new discovery: Serious Trouble.

This book by author/illustrator Arthur Howard features a fire-breathing, people-eating, three headed dragon! The three heads each have a name and argue amongst themselves. When they catch Ernest, a Prince who want to become a Jester, Ernest tries to bargain with them.

"If I make you laugh, will you let me go?"

"He must be mad," said Snaggle.

"He might be tasty," said Snuffle.

"He could be funny," said Snide. "We'll give you two chances. Or maybe three."

This goofy book is sure to make any kid giggle.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Last Night at Bedtime

Every night, the four of us get into my bed to read books. I bring in a stack of books to choose from and we each select one and "read" it.

Last night, I picked Whatever by William Bee which had just arrived from Amazon.

From School Library Journal
Billy can be very difficult to please. Indifferent to his father's attempts to engage or impress him, the child responds to each try with an unenthusiastic …whatever. Dad plays the world's curliest trumpet, bounces Billy off the bounciest castle, and even takes him on a trip to the edge of outer space. Yet each effort fails to garner more than the same bored reaction. After the world's hungriest tiger fails to scare the impassive youngster, the animal swallows Billy whole. Dad! I am still in here you know.... In a fitting turnabout comes Dad's reply, …whatever.
Copyright © Reed Business Information

This book is remarkably similar to Pierre, I Don't Care by Maurice Sendak, but we all got a good chuckle out of it.

Then Jordan read Bad Dog, Marley, an old favorite at our house. I use the term read loosely. She does an excellent job of telling the story using memory and pictorial cues.

After that Josh picked up Dig, Dig, Digging. He pick this one every night. He insists it is the only book he can "read." Ironic considering he is three and can't read a single word except for his own name. He opened the book, but then hesitated. My husband said, "Josh do you want to go, or do you want me to read mine first."

Josh looked at us with a straight face and said, "Whatever."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Star is Discovered

Boy, am I glad I started my day by dropping by my friend Shelli's blog, Market My Words. Shelli posted a fabulous video that has me totally choked up and inspired. In fact, I can't stop watching it. I've seen it three times already and I'm about to view it again. So, thanks Shelli... and Cheers to Susan Boyles!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Do Frappucinos Kill Brain Cells?

Just when I start to feel good about myself, a school break comes along to remind me that I have no parenting skills whatsoever.

Then today, I found a drawer full of checks that I never deposited from a school visit I did in January. (And I made fun of my husband for bringing our son home from a bowling party last week with bowling shoes on... sneakers still at alley.)

Our poor kids. Mom is experiencing early senility and Dad is not far behind.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

If You Think Your Kids Are Funny...

Oh my God, I thought my kids were hilarious, but evidently they are not as funny as British children. Check out Ladybird World Mother to see her latest conversation with her four year old.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ah! To Be a Kid

My kids have been especially adorable lately. Even though Joshy did say to me in bed the other night, "I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I wish I had a different Mommy." (I assured him that my feelings were fine, but I was actually heart-broken)

The two of them love to pretend and there is nothing cuter than when they are engrossed in their imaginary games, and they have no idea I am listening.

JORDAN: Daddy, can I keep this little puppy?

JOSH: Sorry sweetheart. A puppy is too much work.

JORDAN: Oh, please Daddy. I'll take care of her.

JOSH: No, lovey dov. Maybe when you're older.

The other day, Josh was standing in the tub screaming. I ran in... worried she had yanked on his you-know-what.

ME: What happened? Are you okay?

JOSH: (Calmly) Yes, I'm a very good actor.

They crack me up.

I miss being a kid.

Monday, April 6, 2009

If Only I Were as Good at Multi-tasking as I am at Dreaming...

In high school, I gave up lunch to take Latin (Yes, I was that nerdy) I juggled eight subjects with ease. Today, I am lucky if I can fold clothes and talk on the phone at the same time. So, it's no wonder I am having trouble writing, critiquing, subbing, promoting, and blogging. Last week, I was in a critiquing frenzy. This week I am subbing Pigs with a vengeance. Blogging has fallen by the wayside. And poor Hop! Plop! didn't get much a birthday bash. (Let's hope I do a better job for Josh who is turning four in June) I just can't manage it all!

But I am determined that Pigs gets published no matter what! I am obsessed with marketing plans for that book. I already picture myself visiting schools in a karate "gi". I have visions of viral videos. I can see it selling in every dojo in the country. Even in other countries! The possibilities are endless. All, I need is to get an editor on board!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Hop! Plop!

Hop! Plop! is three years old today! Happy Birthday!

This lovely Mouse and Elephant art was done by the students of the Bean School in Pine Hill, NJ. Isn't it wonderful???

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What I Heard at the NJ-SCBWI March Mentoring Workshop

Well, apparently. I am not such a good listener. Tara went to an NJ-SCBWI Mentoring Workshop in February and she heard all sorts of things.

What did I hear?

Mostly, STAY AWAY FROM RHYME. An agent from Sheldon Fogelman Agency had this advice:

I would caution against using rhyme, which can lead to using words that are a better fit for the rhyme scheme as opposed to the narrative. It only takes one false rhyme to unravel all of the magic and rhythm of your story.

On this front, I am not at all deterred. I am quite confident in my ability to write in rhyme.

Another thing I heard from at least two sources is that it is getting harder to sell a PB manuscript unless the author happens to also be an illustrator.

This I found rather depressing. (No amount of confidence in the world is going to suddenly make me able to draw!)

The last comment that I heard repeatedly during the first page session was to "up the stakes". Take it up a notch. Go overboard even.

That one I will keep in mind as I work on new picture book manuscripts.