Seventh Inning Mid Summer Stretch

This has certainly not been an easy breezy summer for me.  I’m continually asking myself, “what am I supposed to be doing now?”  There are so many things competing for my attention both in my writing and in the rest of my life.  Please don’t get me wrong, this is not a post about being too busy.  The alternative scares me, but I do need to buckle down and focus.  My way of re-focusing is compiling a to-do list and working through it.

So here goes:

  • I accepted an invitation to speak at an SCBWI-PA sponsored event in August.
  • I’ve worked on a couple of picture book manuscripts, new and revised, but I feel stuck.
  • Looking for a new project to help get unstuck.

For the new project, I’ve logged several hours in the library for the research I started for a historical fiction picture book on a local (local to Long Island) African-American poet.  A fellow picture book author suggested the topic during a discussion a couple of months ago.  Over the years I have collected several articles and documents on this local poet to satisfy my general curiosity but never thought of him as a picture book subject until that discussion.  – Thanks,  A.L.

Information Overload – Exposure to or provision of too much information or data.

That is what you can get when research includes genealogy.  Dates, places, names, occupations, marriages…

There seems to be no end to the genealogy loops that I’ve entered into.

I’m researching African-American characters from the mid-1700’s for a historical fiction picture book.   There are gaps where African American facts are concerned, for sure. Some of that is just due to the fact that African slaves were considered property, not people. For the research that I’m doing, there was a lot of documentation and it has connected two of the largest northern “plantations” on Long Island.  It helps that the slave owners were highly influential people.  Their records have now become part of history maintained in libraries and museums.  This is going to be fun!

A little down time

I finally got a chance to get away for a quick weekend.   My husband and I traveled up to our favorite spot in northwest Connecticut.  Quaint town squares, mountain views, long walks and the sound of the rushing Housatonic River.

I had time to read for research and take in the sites.  I even took a couple photos – although not as many as I used to; I’ll have to work on that.  I was thrilled to see a friend’s blog post with the Daily Post Photo Challenge subjectBRIDGE

I’ve photographed this bridge in all four seasons.  Fall is my favorite, but the weather this summer has been spectacular so I’ll post this summer as my favorite for the moment!

The Housatonic River runs under this bridge as it sits on a scenic route along Route 7 in Connecticut.  This is my entry for the challenge.

 

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Covered Bridge – West Cornwall, Connecticut

 

 

Writing through life…

Much has transpired since I last posted.  Much of that has been the reason that I have not blogged anything or written since early May.  We lost my father-in-law to Alzheimer’s on Mother’s Day.  It was a very long road for him and we’ll miss him a great deal, but his suffering is over and that is what we all wanted for him.  He is finally at peace.  I’ll just say this one thing – the Hospice care that he received was outstanding.  There are tremendously generous people in the world that can provide that type of care to an individual and family and they are much appreciated.  They made the transition an easy one for all involved – and they do it day after day.  Amazing!

I’m going to get back on track slowly with my writing.  I’m thrilled to have volunteered for SCBWI-LI.  It’s wonderful to have a chapter so close to home.  Participation is helping my get back to work and I am thankful for it.  I have several items due to my own critique group that I’m working to have done by the July 4th holiday.   Fingers crossed!

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I’ve been taking some R & R time on the beach I and was able to get these photos of eggs in a nest for a pair of Killdeer Plovers.

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Killdeer Plover nest

Not a rare Plover, but beautiful just the same.  The nest is just feet from my back door and we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the four baby plovers.

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                           Killdeer on beach

Their parents swoop in and out all day long checking on the nest.

 

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Canadian Goose and goslings

It’s wonderful to see nature’s natural parental instincts on display.  My words of wisdom – Stop and take part in nature’s celebration of life.

 

 

Coming Back Down To Earth…

It is always amazing to me how fantastic I feel after a writers retreat or conference.  Last weekend was a wonderful writing experience for me.  I started early on Long Island with a Meet & Greet event with our newly established local Long Island Chapter of SCBWI.  That was a fun evening and I got to see some familiar faces as well as some new.

The very next morning I was off to Pennsylvania via ferry from Port Jefferson to Bridgeport Connecticut.   Ok, I’m sure that makes no sense to those of you who know the area, but I like to AVOID bridges when I can and this is a perfect way.  I live east of Port Jefferson so it makes a lot of sense to me.  Since I still read actual maps, I’m happy to plot out a course on my own and let the GPS catch up to me.

Once I departed the ferry, I headed north to Danbury and made a left towards Pennsylvania. Four hours later I arrived.  GPS said it would have been the same if I had gone through New York City – Ha! –

Anyway, once I arrived at the Highlights facility.  It really felt like home and they work very hard to make it so.  Kudos to the entire Highli100_1567 - Editedghts Staff, Faculty, and Family for a wonderful weekend event.

The SCBWI Eastern PA Poconos Retreat celebrated its 25th year.  Although I don’t belong to the Eastern PA chapter I was made to feel welcome and very much a part of their event.

 

  • I left the retreat knowing more than I did when I arrived.
  • I have more writing and industry connections.
  • I have more writing courage.
  • I have raised my writing bar.

As an SCBWI member, I encourage anyone to attend an event outside of their chapter. You gain a broader network and knowledge base.  You get a chance to see new ideas and processes in action.

Go, do, see, write.

Speaking of which, I’ve got some revisions to work on.

Happy Writing!

 

More Patience Required

This has been a long start of the new year – 2017.

Our family has been working through Alzheimer’s issues with an aging parent.

It is already difficult to watch a parent age without this frightening condition.  Add the unpredictability of everything that was once predictable and you have one of life’s oldest jokes.  Work hard to learn and understand as much of life as you can, then watch it slip away.  You have to savor those moments when we get a glimpse into the mind of the former life.  Talk with, smile with, be with that person whatever that looks like – now.

I never set out to write a book about Alzheimer’s but in hind sight I guess that was in the back of my mind.  Children can be confused and frightened about the changes in a loved one.  I watched my son manage his relationship with my mother when he was five years old.  That was twenty years ago and his “matter of fact” attitude was an excellent natural gift for him and me.  I tried to address that in my manuscript.

Faithful

In a few months my picture book is scheduled to be released, but an illustrator has not yet been paired with my manuscript.  As a picture book author it is difficult to send off my words, but I think it is harder for me to wait to see how those words are translated back through an illustrator.

I am faithful that the star that guided me to Clear Fork Publishing for my debut picture book will guide my future illustrator as well.

 

February 2017, and the clock ticks on…

2017 is shaping up to be a very busy year – I hope I can keep up!  My first picture book is slated for publication by Clear Fork Press this August.  I’m excited and nervous all at the same time.  I’m sure other soon to be published authors feel the same way.  I’m trying to keep writing new work or revising others but my focus is not cooperating.  

 

In an effort to re-focus myself, this weekend I spent time organizing.  I started by reviewing my other manuscripts.  I keep everything I’m working on in hard copy, old fashioned I know but it works for me.  Any critique group notes are filed with those manuscripts.   That makes it easy for me to look back if I’ve left the manuscript and notes to cook a little.  I looked at all of them and selected two that I want to begin revising.  Two should be enough to keep me in the writing mode.  

 

Then I moved on to planning marketing for the August 2017 book release.    It’s only seven months away.  Granted, I started thinking about this before I had even submitted the manuscript but I never dreamed I’d be really doing it!   I’ve not gotten very far, but I recognized that it is not something that I can just set a couple hours at and let it grow.  This will need my attention.

 

Super Bowl Sunday is usually busy and we were supposed to attend a party, but that was canceled at the last minute and I quickly looked to fill up that time slot with productive writing time.  I typed up notes for a new story idea that I had worked out the day before.  It seemed to flow so well, I kept going and actually got my first draft on paper too!  That was exciting.  I researched upcoming conferences and organized some library books that I have to return.  I’ve not had that much momentum for a story in a long time.  Creativity is very recognizable if you stop to listen to it.

 

I’m not that much of a fan for either of the two teams playing so I have no problem sitting here, away from the T.V. with my notes, my laptop, and my thoughts.  If only there were more days like this.  Getting back to work… Go, Team(s)!