Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Prairie Writer's Day 2010

Ahhh...This past Saturday was the SCBWI-Illinois 2010 Prairie Writer's Day at Harper College.  It was fantastic!  I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend the day with my fellow writing pals and to learn from such an amazing line-up of editors and agents.  This was definitely my favorite PWD yet and I've been attending for many years. 

The fabulous speakers included:  Andrea Welch, Editor (Beach Lane Books), Marilyn Brigham, Editor (Marshall Cavendish Children's Books), Katherine Jacobs, Associate Editor (Roaring Brook Press), Tamra Tuller, Editor (Philomel Books Hothouse), Jennifer Mattson, Associate Agent (Andrea Brown Literary) and Edward Necarsulmer, Director of the Children's Department (McIntosh & Otis).  There were also breakout sessions by:  Janice Del Negro, Author, Professor and Reviewer, Michelle Bayuk, Director of Marketing (Albert Whitman & Co.), Meg Moss, Contributing Editor for ASK/Muse magazines and Tori Telfer with Cricket Magazine Group.   I left inspired and motivated.  Oh, I wish it would come more than once a year.  Heartfelt thanks go out to the tremendous planning committee.  All of your efforts are so appreciated.  Already looking forward to the next one. 

Writing is such a solitary job and it can take years to reap the rewards of your efforts.  Attending functions like this remind you that you are not alone in this endeavor.  And helps to refocus all of us on why we do this.  When I speak to children about writing, I always tell them about how much books meant to me growing up.  I always loved that feeling of being taken away to another place and was in awe when writers like Judy Blume could write something that described exactly how I was feeling.  How did they do that?  I was hooked way back then and still am now.  I loved that feeling as a child and hope that I can help kids to feel that way with my stories. 
That would be a dream come true!


Friday, October 29, 2010


This month I have been happily consumed with revisions for two new books I'm working on.  When inspiration hits you've got to go with it, right?  It's been great and I'm so excited about them.  Really enjoying the process.  (Although I've put so many home things on the back burner...anyone have any extra Halloween costumes lying around for my kiddos??) 

I think it all started when my daughter surprised me a few weeks ago with a homemade collage of a quote that she found.  It's perfect for writers.  Thank you my sweet girl.

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm."
~Winston Churchill

Let's face it, writers face a lot of rejection.  But we keep plugging away, knowing that our time is coming, and if we continue to pour our hearts into our work, it will happen. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Fall!

Gorgeous October weather. 
School is back in session. 
Critique group resumed yesterday. 
Ahhh...  Time to share a favorite poem.

Taste It
by Mark Strand

"Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Two Magazines in May!

A first for me...in May I have poems in two magazines!  Yay!  In Highlights High Five is my poem "Pancakes" and in Humpty Dumpty is my poem "Bubbles".  Be sure to check them out.  The illustrations are really cute.  What a great birthday present.  I love May!  :-)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Win a FREE book for National Poetry Month!

I was recently interviewed for the blog http://www.teachingauthors.com/.  I hope that you''ll stop by to read the interview and enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of LADYBUG, LADYBUG AND OTHER FAVORITE POEMS featuring my poem "Firefly".  Entry deadline is 11 pm (CST) Wednesday, April 14. 
Perfect for National Poetry Month! 

Here's a direct link to the post:


Great Literacy Night!

Many thanks to my friends at the Montessori Children's Garden for inviting me back for Literacy Night. It was wonderful! Great to see so many of you again and fun to meet new friends too. Keep reading and writing! You guys blew me away with how smart you all are. I spoke with lots of budding authors and illustrators. Keep up the great work!

Humpty Dumpty - coming soon....

I just received word that my poem "Bubbles" will soon be appearing in the May/June issue of Humpty Dumpty magazine. Yay! Be sure to check it out at your local bookstore or library! Can't wait to see the illustration.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dan Gutman visits Naperville

This past Thursday my daughter and I had the pleasure of listening to Dan Gutman speak at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville. The place was packed and he had the kids completely engaged and interacting with him. My fifth grade son is a huge fan of Gutman's books and was more than happy to add Gutman's newest release "Roberto and Me" to his collection. Now my first grader is excited to read Gutman's "My Weird School Daze" series. Dan Gutman will be back at Anderson's in May - so mark it on your calendar. You won't want to miss it!

Thanks Anderson's for hosting such wonderful events. What a great night!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spot the Plot

From the bookshelves ~

Spot the Plot
written by J. Patrick Lewis
illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

This is "A Riddle Book of Book Riddles". Say that ten times fast. This unique concept is so fun for kids. They beg for more. I read it to a classroom of first graders recently and they loved it! So fun for them to listen for clues and and explore the beautiful illustrations. Do you think there might be a part two? Please?

Let's hear it for Critique Groups!

Let's give a cheer for our critique groups. I can't tell you how much I appreciate and value mine. They are your biggest supporters. They cheer you on. They don't let you get away with less than your best work. They don't let you lose sight of the dream. We should all be so lucky to have support groups like this. Have you told your group how much you appreciate them lately???

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Buyers, Books and Buzz

This past Saturday I attended SCBWI-IL's "Buyers, Books and Buzz" workshop at the beautiful Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook.  The speakers were Jan Dundon, Children's Book Buyer and Seller for Anderson's Bookshop and Mary Harris Russell, Reviewer of Children's Books for the Chicago Tribune.  This dynamic duo spoke about which books they love, hooked them and why.  It was a wonderful morning discussing children's books.  But I always leave with a huge list of new books that I need to read!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Books for Boys

Over the winter break my children were reading maniacs. Especially my ten-year-old son, who for the longest time, really had a hard time finding books that he loved. I am beyond thrilled to report that this has completely changed. Hooray!

The author that has changed all of that is Dan Gutman. His baseball series books "Babe and Me", etc. have had my son reading a book every 24-48 hours. This is so amazing. My Danny has now finished 11 of Gutman's books. Thank you Dan Gutman. You are a genius! Last night my son was reading the bio for one of these books and we both found it so interesting that as a child, Dan Gutman said he hated to read. Gutman says that's one of the reasons why he makes an extra special effort not to write books that are boring.

A few other books that my fifth grader has also enjoyed are: Jerry Spinelli's "Crash" and "Loser" and all of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books by Jeff Kinney. Hooray! Definitely give these books a try.

"I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves." ~ Anna Quindlen

Happy New Year!

I love the "fresh start" feeling that a new year brings.  Time to reflect on what we've done the past year and give thought to what we will tackle in the new one.  Aside from an overwhelming urge to reorganize everything in my house and office, I feel new energy and enthusiasm to accomplish my goals.  Bring on 2010!  I wish everyone all the best that this next year has to offer.