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

 

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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.

 

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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”.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Autumn is turning out to be a really fun time of year for me this year.  Harvest season, a time for receiving all the benefits of your hard work – that’s the farmers take on the season.  Right now, I’m pleased to be able to reflect on my farm roots.  I am quite blessed.

I feel like I should be running around like Henny Penny shouting, “the sky is falling, the sky is falling.”  Or Paul Revere and his raiders announcing, “The British are coming, the British are coming!”

Yet, quietly I sit here fumbling to find words for this post.  I can’t hold it in any longer, it’s time to get this out in the open.  

Ready…

I just signed with a small publisher in Texas.  Clear Fork Publishing will be publishing one of my picture book manuscripts.  I feel like I should write that a bit bigger.

I just signed with a small publisher in Texas.  Clear Fork Publishing will be publishing one of my picture book manuscripts.

It feels great to share that.  I was was sure I was dreaming.

I’m going to not share all the details about the picture book but I will give you all a hint. The story has some connection to the picture below.  Stay tuned.

my-three-flamingos

Patience

I consider myself a generally patient person.   I don’t mind long car rides.  As a kid, I don’t think I ever asked, “Are we there yet?”  I was having too much fun.  The way back in the old family stationkettle-653673_1280 wagon was cozy with pillows, blankets and stuffed animals.  There was always the scenery from the windows.  Day or night there was always something to see, even if it was a ton of other cars in a traffic jam.  That was not a worry for me, I was just a passenger.

As I’ve grown older, I find that I still do enjoy the journey, as a passenger whether it be a plane, train or automobile.

One area where my patience is not as developed as it should be is waiting to hear back from publishers.   I equate the time between sending out a manuscript and receiving feedback like waiting for Santa Claus at Christmas.  Waiting for that response makes me feel like my six-year-old self sitting under the Christmas tree next to a big gift wrapped in shiny paper with curly ribbons looking suspiciously like a bicycle – that I’ve been told I can’t open.

Sounds a bit odd if the feedback is a “thanks but no thanks” kind of a comment, but my gift is the acknowledgement.  As a writer I’ve worked on a manuscript and gotten it to be the best that I think it can be.   I’ve shared it with my critique groups.  I’ve revised it , shared it again, put it aside, revisited it, polished it, blessed it and put it out there.  After all that work, I proudly accept the “thanks no thanks” response as “we recognize all that you have put in but…”

Being passenger or driver makes a huge difference in the patience factor.  As a passenger, the expectation is to be carried from one place to another.  As a driver, I am responsible for the trip. So I’m responsible for the outcome as well.  That’s why my patience goes from abundant to zero.

As I write this, I have two manuscripts out to publishers, so I’m working on my patience. Combatting my impatience with productivity keeps me from wringing my hands and pacing the floors and eating.  I’m working on a new story.  I’ve put up some Zucchini Relish and will be canning more things this weekend.  As the saying goes, Nunca hierva una olla vista or A watched pot never boils.

Happy Writing.

Time Out

I’ve given the blog a bit of a face lift.  I thought it was time.

It’s the second day of September and I’ve taken some time off from my day job.  Taking advantage of the Labor Day holiday on Monday gives me a nice stretch of time out of the office.  I have no travel plans.  I will go out to Shinnecock for the PowWow this weekend – an absolute must for me.  That helps me reset, almost like a New Year’s celebration.

I intend to work on some manuscripts while the house is quiet.  My husband is at work and the dog naps all day long.  The story I began last month seems to be getting some traction with me so I’m going to keep following that path.  I’ve worked on a couple of revisions for other manuscripts so I am feeling more productive than last month.

I’ve received rejections for the items I submitted last month.   Disappointed of course, but it is all part of the process.  Onward!

This is usually the time of year that I like to head to the Highlights Foundation in Pennsylvania for a conference.  I decided to take a break for this year and focus on getting ready to attend the SCBWI Winter conference in NYC in February.

2017 seems so far away, but it is just around the corner.  In October my Christmas Club account will be released.  I’ll be getting firewood in and securing the patio furniture for the winter.  Then rearranging the living room for the Christmas tree.  WAIT!  I can’t think of that yet.

I’ve never attended an International SCBWI Conference and I’m getting very excited. Pulling together my most polished work and researching past conferences is where I am so far.  My expectation is to get into the atmosphere and soak it all in.

Now that I’ve taken time out from my manuscripts for this post, I’ll sign off for lunch. Then I’ll head out for some errands and settle back in at my desk for the remainder of the day.

 

Keeping The Creativity Going

June and July passed very quickly and now I find myself near the end of a quiet summer.  If I had not finished my first “project” I’d  feel  very incomplete,  but that is happily not the case.  I completed the lamp project and feel very accomplished with myself.

My son’s middle school lamp project showed off his carpentry skills but the assigned design left the lamp on the utilitarian side for me – so I designed it up.
For a few dollars at Home Depot I picked up a really cool stone tile matrix, thin set,  grout, and nautical rope.  

After the lamp was done I began listening to BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I got the audiobook because there were no hard copies available in my library when I wanted it.   I started listening to the first disc in the car on the way home from the library.  A couple pf chapters in and I felt as if Ms. Gilbert was speaking just to me.  Her discussions on creativity coming not by our own doing but when we are most ready to receive and work with it was profound.

 
This was a very timely book for me.  I knew I was procrastinating away from my writing.  I was hitting road blocks, mental and otherwise, so I was looking for diversions to fill in my time but I didn’t realize that working on that lamp was actually my creativity gaining traction and getting me ready for the next project.    According to Gilbert, well my understanding of Gilbert anyway, creativity needs us to keep moving forward.  Rather than being a lump on the couch waiting for an idea or a creative spark, I hooked onto the first thing I saw – the lamp – and moved full steam ahead.  That 3-pound wood look lamp is now about 15 pounds.
I started a short list of ideas for new stories but the one I started working on today came to me as I looked at some photographs that I recently shot.  Creative photography helped spark a story idea.  It could be nothing, meaning it is not a story that I need to tell right now – or it could be something, the story that I do need to tell right now.  I booked 1000 words today without really trying.  The “butt in chair” thing seems to be something I avoid if I don’t have a story to work on.  I’ve learned to limit Facebook and email time so its time to tackle that too.

 

I’m taking a couple of days off this month to work on my writing.  I’ll actually have a couple new ideas to work on those days.  That will make me feel more creative too.

 

Also – I’ll probably listen to BIG MAGIC again before I return it to the library.