Monday, February 28, 2011


I know NOT all of you write picture books. My apologies to you. Of course, you could apply this to most stories. It's fun to read. I have always loved Dori Chaconas. Her picture books get an A for AWESOME. And I came across this over at her place, so I had to tell my picture book buds about it. Fun to read how one of her most beloved stories was born.,%20Polish,%20and%20Publish.htm

For everyone, this is a site with some terrific links. See which one suits your fancy. (Did I really say that?) ARGH, I'm my mother. TheWritersSite

Great article from Writer Unboxed from last year.

Ten myths about writing for kids over at Hogwarts Professor

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My lie

It's time to reveal that lie I told. It was so much fun to actually tell one. (Wondering if Rach has sent me down the wrong path.) *wink*

Of all the things I said, I DO NOT cut my bread with the sharpest blade in the house. I mean that's hard to believe. You know who you are that uncovered my deceit. Shannon O'D. I'm gone and do not have my computer but I'll check soon to see if anyone else saw through my treachery. :) (Yup, this post is scheduled.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Truth, My Lie, And My Fav Thing To Do

I'm in the challenge. What challenge you ask?? Yanno, THE challenge. The first crusader challenge. I MUST tell you in 300 words or less:

  one secret (Juicy secret, perhaps.)

  one lie (Oh how I loves me a good lie.)

  one interesting quirk (Say huh? Moi? Quirks? PSHAW!!)

  one annoying habit (I says, "I don't annoy no one, no how.")

  one of my best character traits, and

  one of my favorite things in the whole world. (Like you guys don't know the answer to that one.)

  Here goes nothing.

  I'm from the Keys. You know, the islands.

  I have never been one to bloviate, but I. Robyn Campbell once swam with a fuliguline Spinner shark.

 I have six boys. Yup, you read that right. The lone girl, Ivy is in the seventh grade.

We homeschool all the way through high school.

I used to sell sea shells by the sea shore.

Besides the Lord and my family, my favorite things in the WHOLE world are horses and sharks.

When I eat my food, I can't let different foods touch each other. And I ALWAYS have to cut my bread with the sharpest blade in the house.

I never tell a lie. (Well, except today, of course.) Blame Rachael Harrie! It is she who is responsible for my crime wave. (She suggested I steal that rabbit, too.)

I can't stand to see misspelled words. It BUGGETH me. And by this I mean words misspelled on purpose. To sell stuff.

I'm entering the SCBWI contest for picture books.

In 175 words. YEAH! *wink*

I may have revealed something about me that isn’t strictly true, can you guess what it is?
So, cans you guess what it is? I'll post it tomorrow. I'll be gone until Sunday, so I'll catch up with all the crusaders and comments then. Until then, live life to its fullest. <3

Friday, February 18, 2011


Okay. I did NOT CHOOSE RED font for my post today. This blog has a MIND of its own. The number of my followers hasn't shown up for two weeks and none of my captions on my sidebar are showing up either. GAH! SOMEONE PLEASE HELP THIS POOR SOUL. I'm beginning to think it's the gnomes. They're OUT to get me. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What Makes a Story?

“A writer’s job is to create characters and give them a place to grow. Start with a situation, introduce the characters, then begin to narrate.” – Stephen King

Hmm, okay. But that surprises me. What about plot? Mr. King is definitely more concerned with the characters he creates, than the plot. Right?

 Here's one of my favorite quotes. "What’s happening now must be inherently more interesting than what just happened." –Doug Heyes

Truer words were never spoken.

So what makes a story?

The characters and their problems. And how they choose to fix those problems. But I'm a plot kinda girl. So my stories are heavy on that. 

If someone is a new writer, I can understand how confused they would be. Because I was that new writer. I was very confused. I agree, most books are character-narration oriented. There are a lot of books that are focused on plot, too. 

So what makes a story?

A writer gets an idea. The writer lets the idea fester. Then this writer starts with one word on a computer screen or piece of paper. (The beginning) The writer introduces the situation, the character, and the problem. The writer uses action and dialogue to get to the solution and ending.

Have I forgotten anything? 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Awesome Contest Alert, People

This fabulous lady is giving away some super prizes. (But don't enter, cause I wants that horse drawing.) ;)

 Go follow this talented woman and say a prayer for little Jayden, while you're at it. (Remember, don't enter, cause I needs that horse drawing.)

Here's the linkage: On Words and Upwards

Happy Valentines Day, y'all

Kiss someone that loves you today. Thank God for that someone. Love living life.<3

xxxxxxxxxx to all of you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I'm On An Awesome Crusade

Wanna join me? Pop over to Rach Writes. . .  meet new bloggers and build your online platform.  From her blog: The Crusaders are all people in a similar position, who genuinely want to pay it forward, make connections and friends within the writing community, and help build each others' online platforms while at the same time building theirs. So let's do this.<3

Still chasing...

I guess you see that the old guy above has become my support (along with my Christopher) as I race through the picture book marathon. I figure if he can do it, why can't I. I mean, look at him. He's old, yet he's giving it his all. Check out his face. I have longed for that look on my face. And when I looked in the mirror this AM, guess what? I saw that same determination in my eyes. That same grit in my face.

My mind has been in a fuzzy blur, lo, these many marathon days. Ideas are there, words are in the computer, fingers ache from typing, head pounds, but. I realized this morning, I'm deliriously happy. Giddy, if you will.  Why? You ask.

Because I am in a fuzzy blur, ideas are there, words are in the computer, fingers ache from typing, and my head pounds. Battle scars.

At one point this week, I thought, HOW CAN I POSSIBLY GET ONE MORE PICTURE BOOK OUTTA MY HEAD?? After scratching said head for a little while, I realized one VERY important thing. They're not coming so much from my head, but from my heart. Ah, novel idea.

It was then that I squeezed out more ideas and more little stories. There's even a fantasy picture book in the mix. Yep. Me. And. The. Old. Dude. We're on the same page now. <3

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Prayers Please

This is from Holly, Kate McRae's mama. I need not say anything else. But I do ask for your prayers for them.

If there were words that could express deep anguish of soul this would be dripping with them. If ever this earth has lost any luster it once held, today would be that day. If ever I longed for heaven so deeply my entire body ached for it, that would be now.

We have thought how to write what today held. There is no emotion that can be expressed adequately through this computer screen. And there is not time nor necessity to describe the detail with which we spoke. Know we will do our best to share what we feel appropriate to share. And the rest will be for us to wrestle through. To agonize and weep over.

We knew what we would be hearing today, and yet it lost no sting knowing beforehand. We knew any options that held a cure would not be present, and yet hearing it with our own ears while our precious daughter played outside seemed to erase years from our lives in that single moment.

We are faced with decisions that no parent should be forced to decide. Know this, we are well informed. Kate's Dr's care for her and want nothing more than to see her grow up healthy. But we are also at an incredibly difficult impass. No option is the obvious "right" option. With the amount and extent of drugs, radiation etc. that Kate has received, anything would be a guess, an attempt to slow growth of a horrific cancer.

Our hearts are broken and at the present feel irreparible. Our faith will not change. Our brokenness does not change the truth of what we believe. But our humanness hurts with everything in us. We know that with a simple word Jesus can wipe this cancer from our daughters brain. We will passionately ask for Him to do so, as long as we have breath.

We do not know the course of action we will take. We have many things to weigh in. If we choose to try and enroll Kate on a phase 1 study it would necessitate a move. I am not going to share all of our options at this time, as we are still processing everything. We have talked with Kate and she knows what she can understand.

In our desire to have people journey this with us, it can obviously open up doors of criticism etc. We are searching out everything, but please be respectful of our decisions as a family. We have talked with various "alternative" places also and we are leaving no stone unturned.

We ask as we journey into the days ahead, that everyone be careful with what words they use in reference to our daughter. She is here, as are her brother and sister. Please do not refer to her as terminal. Essentially, we all are. She is a precious little girl in desperate need of a touch from Jesus.

We are grateful for your prayers for us in the days ahead. We need wisdom and Kate needs healing. Please join us. We are also looking at taking a much needed trip to Hawaii, so our sweet girl can swim with those dolphins.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Still Running...

Huff, huff, huff. Puff, puff, puff. Still running. Still reaching for the goal. GASP. WHEEZE. *cough cough*

It's hard to find time for this marathon on top of other writing responsibilities, plus homeschool, family time, cleaning, cooking, and assorted emergencies that pop up. Taking Christopher to the hospital is number one, of course. I can lug my laptop and write/check email in the hospital. But I do my best writing in Christopher's bedroom. I just love to write in there. With him yakking away, or drawing, or playing a game. It is the music that I listen to while writing. :-)

But I'm on schedule. So far so good. I have realized one thing since this marathon began. That it IS possible to do. Writing a picture book draft every day. I have not come to the bottom of the barrel of my picture book ideas. There are infinite possibilities. And so far I have written boy picture books. I have some ideas for girl picture books, too.

On the first day, I was tightening as I went. Which is how I usually write picture books. But I soon realized that wouldn't work. I needed to make better use of my time. But I still have to think about the 32 pages and only half will need text. So I'm writing picture book drafts that are under 500 words. I am going to wait and do the dummies after the marathon is over. No matter how much it is killing me to do some now. *resists urge*

My mantra: I can write a picture book every day this month. I think I can, I think I can. :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Picture Book Marathon

I'm in a marathon. Running hard to catch my prize. I'm out of breath, but not because I've been physically  running, but because I've been writing a picture book a day. The entire month if February. I've kept up so far. This all began on Tuesday and I have three first drafts completed. Today I'll write my fourth. And tomorrow the fifth. And so on and so on.

Is it crazy? Uh-huh. Is it fun? Dang right it is. And I've come up with some really good picture books too. Funny stories. Boy picture books. Because they need books. The first one I wrote, was a laugh so hard milk squirts out of your nose type book. This encouraged me so I wrote again the next day. And the next.

I'm going to be talking about the highs and lows of this marathon as I go. (There are sure to be days when I struggle to get a draft completed.)

What do I expect to gain from doing this? I know not all the drafts will be great. I might stick some in a folder and decide later what to do with them. But so far?  Some really great ideas. Sparks of beautiful stories.  Gems if you will.

And I expect to have some wonderful story starters. First drafts. Rough. Uncut. But. I'll. Have. Them. And I will make them sparkle and shiny. I can't wait to see what happens.  The characters I've met are wonderful and funny. I love funny. I love wonderful too.

 Think I can win this thing? Oh, and I need a cheering section. You in? :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Time to ramp up the prayers for Kate McRae

This is from her Mama, Holly last night after Kate's MRI yesterday. I am just pasting it in and asking for your heartfelt prayers for a devastated family. Please.

Never have words been more difficult to pen. Never have our hearts felt the angst of pain quite like today. I hoped to never write these words. I prayed that our hearts would never feel this torment. However, today, we received devastating news. There are new spots on the MRI, at least one on the other side of our daughter's brain.

The all too familiar feeling of nausea followed by haziness settled over our bodies. We vasalated between bouts of sobbing and looks of disbelief. We felt trapped in a horrific nightmare until the sound of small sobs shook us loose. Our sweet Kate was huddled up on the table sobbing into her arm. Her little body shook for about half an hour. Tears of pain, and fear letting loose. She was scared. Our baby was scared and all we could do was hold her.

Through the tears Kate slowly got out the words, "why". "Why daddy, why? Why hasn't Jesus healed me?" The sound of heartbroken sobs all that could escape from her daddy's lips. Crys of pain.

I have rarely felt angry this past year and a half. About every other emotion under the sun, but not very often anger. Today I was angry. I had promised Kate we would swim with dolphins together. We had dreamed of Hawaii together. We have so many plans. And yet now this. Words could never detail the hurt.

So tonight we sit in disbelief, or horror may be more accurate. We had gone into the MRI very hopeful. She was making gains on all ends. She had no obvious symptoms. We had one of our favorite anesthesiologists for the scan. She held Kate in her arms and sang to her as she held the mask over her face and put her to sleep. I was so grateful she cared for my baby. After the MRI we saw her again. I struggle not to try and interpret everyones body language after a scan. However, her eyes were watering. She said it must be allergies. My heart suddenly felt the icy grip of fear, what if something was seen. I tried to dissuade the feeling, the panic, for the next few hours.

Our meeting with the neurosurgeon relayed the devastating news. We cried until the meeting with Kate's oncologist.

Tomorrow the tumor board will discuss her scan and the best way to determine wether or not it is definitely cancer. Most likely Kate will be undergoing a PET scan as soon as possible. They will also be discussing the best possible route for us to take if it is tumor. They will be contacting institutions around the country for open studies, and anything that could possibly hold some hope for treating a recurrance.

We are crushed. Kate is heartbroken. And we need God's miraculous intervention. Please pray. Please ask others to pray for our sweet baby. I know she is one child among many battling. But she is our daughter, and she is a sister, and a niece, and a granddaugther. Please pray that God would spare her from this disease. Please.

Please pray that after further investigation they would determine it not to be tumor. We understand the likelyhood of that is slim. But please pray. Please intercede on our behalf.

Things will be moving quite quickly, we hope, as if this would be tumor, time is not in our favor.