Monday, July 31, 2017

Headed Back to the Heat

Time to leave the cool summer breezes of Washington state and enter the Sugust inferno we call southern California.

This July has been relaxing, fulfilling, and productive. what a rare and wonderful combination. Hopefully that means my mental batteries are recharged and ready to start fall semester.

I owe this blog a monthly update... But since we're currently on the road, I'll have to do that in a couple days.

In the meantime, I am excited to announce that my agent has sent out my latest greatest picture book manuscript. Hopefully it will make some editor out there very happy. It will take a week or two before I start to hear any feedback (or in some cases a month or two... Or three...)

In other writing news, I am hoping to finish strong with the 31 stories in 31 days... I believe I started at the end of June, so techincally the thirty one days have expired; however, since this was such a lofty goal to begin with, I gave myself permission to keep writing until July 31st has come and gone. That means I now have about five hours to write one last story!

But first I am going swimming.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Back from Chelan

Been a while, ol Blog. We've spent the last week with family at a house on Lake Chelan. I'll eventually post photos here... But since I'm currently writing ts on a first generation iPad, I don't have many options for technical dazzlement.

I'm at he point in my summer break when I realize: this is a LONG time to be away from work. The days had been flying by in a blur, but there was something so calming about spending days on the lake in a comfy and picturesque locale, away from the city lights and, more significantly, devoid of wi-fi. We all did lots of reading, family-bonding, and inner-tubing. And by the time the fulfilling six days were over, I thght to myself, "I still about twenty fur days of vacation left!" That alone is more time off than most careers allow. So, again, I keep coming back to feeling so incredibly fortunate. Counting my blessings is sometimes the best way for me to deal with stress... I don't have much stress connected to my own life, directly, but college is coming up for a certain older daughter, and there's a heap of red tape right now. So, I'd gladly trade inn some of my luck right now to make things easier for her.

The picture book-a-day project is still going well. I am currently one story behind, but I think I'll catch up tomorrow since Cheri and the girls are heading into town, leaving me with the dogs and my writing tablet. My last two stories are too dark and too lame to become anything (since I was in a bad mood due to the aforementioned red tape). However, out of the 22 projects  have developed, I think at least half of them have great potential. 

Speaking of which, I best get back to work. 


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Vacation Within a Vacation

Summers remind me of how lucky I am. (And perhaps how spoiled.) The fact that I have a career that let's me talk about writing all day long, and then allows me to take three months, it never stops blowing my mind. It's times like these when I cannot send enough gratitude out into the universe. But I'll try... Universe, thank you!

The 31 Stories in 31 Days is going surprisingky well. As of this morning, I am one story behind, but I am hoping to catch up on that today by completing two new rough drafts. I have the whole morning and afternoon to myself because everyone has left the house to do various activities, hiking and such. But not me. I am staying home with the dogs and my journal.

So, the "Vacation Within a Vacation" that the title refers to happened this past weekend. On Thursday, Cheri and I flew out of Seattle and landed in Los Angeles. That's right, we traveled back to our stomping grounds so that I could attend the summer conferences with the Society of Children's Book Authors and Illustrators. I believe this was my seventh time attending in the last ten years. And for the first time ever, I stayed at the hotel instead of commuting back and forth to Santa Clarita.

The whole weekend was fantastic, and it was made all the more pleasant by having Cheri with me so that we could go out to lunch or go swimming together. Fun was had by all.

I will hopefully be soending some time blogging about the cnference and the people I met, but in case I fail to do so, let me say to any blossoming writer of children's books that if you haven't become a part of SCBWI you really should. They shape writers in very good ways.

Speaking of writing, I better get back to work. Type to you soon!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Batting Five for Five

Am I using baseball terminology correctly? Five for five? Meaning that I haven't struck out yet. I am five full days into my writig challenge and I have successfully written five stories.

Not all of them are home runs, however.

The very first one, TOUCAN TANGO, is a stinker. I am not sending that anywhere. But I developed and executed the idea, and that is the main goal of this project, to get work done!

The second and third one turned out surprisingly well, and I will definitely be sending them to my agent at some point. In fact, I think they are so good, I am not saying anything about them. Keeping it secret, which means I think they might sell someday.

The fourth day's project was actually a revision of Kinderdragon, but since it was a complete overhaul I am counting it as writing a new story. There is much more characterization and conflict in this version. Trouble is, I don't know if it's any better. It might not have fixed the flaws that resulted in editors passing on the manuscript. However, I did give it my best.

Yesterday (Day Five), I was clueless for a long time. I kept kicking around ideas about a Pig at a Picnic, but that was probably because I have been to two barbeques in the last two days, so I feel like a Pig at a Picnic. However, a quick search on Amazon books shows that the idea has already been used, including the alternate title I came up with: Pignic. Fortunately, I had another inkling.

We were taking our friend from Canada back to the ferry terminal, and she mentioned how she likes Victoria, but also loved it when she lived in Nanaimo. And that reminded me of this awesome public pool that's in Nanaimo, Canada... Which made me think about how excted you are when you are a kid at the pool, and you want to run and jump into the water, but there's a life guard telling you to slow down and follow the POOL RULES... So that's what Story #5 is about. I worked on it from 6pm until 11pm, and I have no idea if my agent or anyone else in the world will like this story, but it was cracking me up!

Happy summer, happy writing, people!