Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Life's little surprises

Yesterday, as I drove down our street, I noticed a huge stack of firewood in one of the driveways. Firewood! We need some. I hadn't met these neighbors yet, but their garage door was open. I thought if I saw someone outside, I'd stop and ask where they got it.


A few hours later (I still hadn't seen them), someone rang our bell. It was a couple--neighbors from down the street who wanted to introduce themselves and extend a last-minute invitation to their annual Christmas party.

The neighbors? The ones with the firewood (weird coincidence, isn't it?). He's the principal of a local school, she's a teacher in the school, and I met one of their colleagues, who teaches sixth grade language arts. When I told her I write for children, she wanted to hear every part of my story--what brought me to writing, what I like writing most. She told me she'll tell some of my story to her students after the holidays.

And as we got ready to leave, the principal and language arts teacher asked if I do school presentations. Not yet. But they're on my list of things to start doing.

I think a door just opened.

Has life delivered any little surprises to you lately?

Sunday, December 18, 2011


First, I want to make it clear that I am against copyright infringement. It's a serious problem in need of a solution.

If you've heard of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act; note that links to a pdf of the actual bill), you'll know that the bill is, in theory, designed to do just that. Unfortunately, it probably wouldn't do much to actually stop online piracy (find out why not). But it would have profound implications for how we use the internet. In many ways, it would provide a broad blanket to censor social media sites.

Find out for yourself; make up your mind about it, but do so quickly. If you're against it, the time to act is now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Please Vote!

I don't normally post on Tuesdays, but time is of the essence. One of my wonderful critique partners, Julie Hedlund, has entered one of her picture books in the MeeGenius contest, and she needs your help.


A Troop is a Group of Monkeys is a fun look at animals, words, and the world around us. (Three things that are dear to my heart.)  Not only will you enjoy the rollicking rhyme, you'll learn new vocabulary. Does it get any better?

Please take a moment, go here to read her story (it's short!) and click "like" (if you like it, of course, although I can't imagine anyone NOT liking it).

Oh, and did I mention Julie is holding a contest? Check it out and spread the word. I've read several of this woman's stories, people, and she's going to be big. So let's help her get there with an eBook contract from MeeGenius!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Over the weekend, my boys and I made Christmas cookies. It's a tradition from my childhood, when my sister and I would head over to Grandma's house (along the river creek, near the woods) to bake at least half a dozen different kinds of cookies.

I always looked forward to the day we measured, mixed, pressed, rolled, cut out, decorated, and baked. And I always ended the day with a tummyache.


It was a particularly poignant way to spend the weekend, because Grandma died this fall. And it struck me how powerful traditions can be.

They keep us connected to the past.

They give us a thread that connects us to the future.

They can be as simple or elaborate as we want them to be.

We can create new traditions as our lives change.

In many ways, they define us.

What are your favorite traditions?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Time Warp

Wow time flies! November's gone and we're already a week into December. It's been a busy few weeks.

I wrote over 50,000 words of Spirit for NaNoWriMo, earning myself this lively little badge:

Thanks for all the words of encouragement while I was doing it!

And we enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving weekend with my parents, sister, and her family. It was the first time we've all been together for Thanksgiving in over - well over! - a decade. Also the first time I've hosted. I am so thankful to be close enough to join them again. I'm also thankful that my first attempt at a turkey turned out like this:

Post-NaNo has been a scramble to catch up on other things, namely articles and a non-fiction PB that I'm really behind on. But one article is ready to submit, another has a solid first draft, and the PB is... next on my list. 

Oh, and I had the distinct pleasure of signing another contract with Highlights!

Am I focusing on the good? Yes, yes I am. Is Spirit a wonderfully formed first draft that will require little work? No. I will, in fact, have to completely rewrite it. Did I get rejections? Yep. But I am focusing on the happy moments. I want to savor them.

How have you been?