Valentine’s Day

heart-stamped-letterValentine’s Day is fast approaching.  I remembered to purchase cards thatI’ll mail out on Monday.  I even send my husband’s in snail mail.  I do keep a backup card in case snail mail is too slow.  That’s a lesson learned kind of thing…

I’m happy to say that I’ve also remembered the Valentiny Writing Contest that author SUSANNA LEONARD HILL hosts.  It’s the 3rd Annual, I’m not sure where I was for the last two – but I’m in now!   With Hopeful Heart! – The 3rd Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!!!  Here is my contest entry – wish me luck!

heart_balloonsCleo’s Wish

Cleo was sitting with her grandmother and her three older sisters in the hospital waiting room.

Their parents were with the doctor in the labor room and odds were that the new arrival was going to be another girl.   

The girls chatted and giggled about the new baby girl.  “We could play dress up and dolls,” said Stella.  “Tea party would be so much fun,” added Julia.

Cleo stared out the window.  “Oh how I wish for a baby brother,” Cleo thought.   She imagined playing baseball, tag, and fort.  Cleo whispered, “If only the baby would be a boy for Daddy and a brother for me.”

The door to the labor room opened and the girls eyes opened wide with anticipation.  

The girls gathered around the doctor all asking questions.  “Does she have curly hair?”, “Are her cheeks rosy?”, “Are her eyes green like mine?”

The doctor lead everyone to the nursery window.  Their father met them there.  The sisters all took a spot at the window and a surprised look appeared on their faces, even grandmother.  

“I can’t see!” exclaimed Cleo.  Her father lifted her up to look through the glass.

“I knew it! I knew it!” shouted Cleo.  “Daddy look, we have a boy!”

Yes, Cleo, you have a brother.Valentine_Frog

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Getting back to work.

Well, it has been a while since I’ve posted anything and I’m feeling guilty about that.  I’ve been keeping busy reading and writing.  I received the first round of edits for my upcoming picture book a couple weeks ago.  I was excited to receive them but a bit worried at some of the suggestions (revisions).  There was one that I felt I could not change and I sent a quick email to my publisher to weigh in on that change.  Luckily, she was ok with me not using that suggestion.  What a load off of my mind that was.  Instead of going to work on the rest of the revisions, I decided to let them simmer in my head a bit. I finally got the revised manuscript out and now I’m waiting to hear if there are additional revisions.

Next came Christmas and I was not prepared.  I generally bake a lot for Christmas and I had let everything go until practically the last minute.  I even ran out of sugar – what kind of a baker runs out of sugar?  A disorganized one for sure.

My brother’s family made it easier for me, gathering in one location this year, so I only needed to ship one box!  Very considerate, but still I was behind.


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Cranberry Scones and Green Mountain Coffee – Christmas 2017

Now that I’m catching up I’ll be posting some book reviews for the Multicultural Children’s Book project. #ReadYourWorld

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 (1/27/18) is its fifth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents, and educators.

I’m thrilled to be a participant this year.

Keeping myself on track should be my resolution for 2018 but since we’re still a week away, I’m not going to commit to anything just yet.

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



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!


Christmas Prep


Cranberry Scones


The first real wave of winter hit Long Island this morning.  We woke up to find the edges of the lake covered with a thin sheet of ice. I love winter but when it is this cold, it’s best to stay indoors and bake.  The Cranberry Scones looked too pretty not to take a photo.  I had only one with that cup of coffee.

I’ve spent all day today baking and getting ready for Christmas.  That’s a bit removed from the writing that I should have been doing, but at least my mind was thinking about writing.

I spent one afternoon this week with a fellow children’s book author who also just signed a book contract.  Discussion about our writing projects was very stimulating to me and will help to keep me moving forward.  Amazingly, we each signed with the same publisher. That was such a fun fluke. Neither of us discussed submitting work to that particular publisher, and independently we were both signed.  It is a debut publishing for both of us so I really appreciate having a co-author with whom I can share this new experience.


The Night Before Christmas 2016

Part of the Christmas display in our home is my collection of Clement C. Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas”.



More of The Night Before Christmas


I’ve acquired over 30 copies – but usually only display the 20 or so hard back versions.  In the collection are a couple other Christmas titles, but I don’t count those in the total number.  I guess I’ve always been a book person.  I buy at least one new copy a year. Believe it or not, I don’t have any duplicates!    Let’s see what I can find this year.