Annual rituals

Thanksgiving is over and you can feel the anticipation leading into Christmas.  Three days ago I was sitting around the table with my family, thankful for being together and for having our health. Exhausted from the day, did I mention that I was up cooking at 6:00 AM.  We ate around 3:00 PM with a halftime out until we went in for dessert.  I turned in early but apparently I had way too much full caffeinated coffee throughout the day and didn’t sleep particularly well.

As a family, we are never ones to follow the crowd.  No shopping malls for us.  We spent Black Friday doing some yard clean up and taking a leisurely ride out to Montauk Point.  My husband drove while my son and I got to be tourists for a bit.  It was surprisingly quite on the roads.  Not that there were any malls or shopping destinations that far away from Riverhead.

Montauk Point 2 Thanksgiving 2015
Montauk Point Lighthouse

We always took rides on Sunday afternoons when I was a child.  As it happens, my husbands family did the same.  I guess back before cable TV, video games and all the technology that we can’t live without now our parents just wanted to get us out of the house.  It is still one of my favorite things!

Our son took some amazing photos.  Check them out.

Sunset in Sag Harbor 2 Thanksgiving 2015
Sunset at Sag Harbor
Montauk bluffs Thanksgivng 2015
Montauk bluff

Keeping on track

The calendar reminder I set for myself worked, at least this first month.  Here is my post.

I’ve agonized for two weeks over a short fictional piece for a children’s magazine.  I’ve never put myself through so many revisions and second guesses.  I’m just happy that I finally hit the “submit” button this afternoon.  Death by revision is a slow, painful, horrible death that kills both the manuscript and the author.  I’ll spend the next couple of weeks checking email for responses.  Good bad or indifferent – its out there.  That’s where my words should be.  That’s where I want them to be.  Now, I’ll hope that a publisher wants the same.

Now that this piece is “off my desk” I’ll move on to the next project.  That’s the fun thing about writing.  There is always another project.  Either commissioned and paid for, or on spec and in search of pay – one is no different from the other to me.  Well written manuscripts take time, patience and hard work.  What am I doing on this blog…

Back to work.

Creativity

Update –

I’m still not at all used to this blogging thing.  Mainly, I’m finding that getting the time to write anything is my challenge.  My picture book manuscripts and revisions are priority, but even those can be kicked to the curb when life knocks at the door.

My decision to publish one of my picture book manuscripts as a book app has moved to the back burner, but not totally.  I’m in research mode on the whole process.  Still learning…

More to follow.

Reflection

It’s that time of year for me when I have to think of renewing memberships, registering for conferences and seminars all while maintaining my writing schedule.  As a “pre-published” author, I feel comfortable working at my own pace but I also feel stress that my pace may not be good enough. I want to sign up for anything and everything that could help propSCBWI Memberel me forward as a published author.  All of them valuable events, but no conference or seminar will do me any good unless I continue to get words on a page.

After resisting maintaining a blog for years, first because I had no idea of how to go about setting one up, secondly because I thought maintaining it would keep me away from my writing.  After launching the blog in 2014, I find that the need to update this blog regularly requires me to have new ideas.  12-x-12-new-badgeThose ideas come from my concentration on my manuscripts, either physically writing them – or doing research.


From the Suffolk County Historical Society Exhibit

 I was out and about doing a bit of research at the Suffolk County Historical Society yesterday.  It  was a beautiful sunny day and in the long snowy, subzero winter that we are having the day was a  welcome invitation to get out of the house.  The Antique doll collection on exhibit included  African American dolls.  The entire collection was impressive to see, but when I saw the African  American dolls I truly felt that I was looking back in history.  My own memory as well as  recollections of the stories my mother used to share about her childhood in rural Georgia in the  1920’s and 30’s suddenly felt like they happened last month.  I could see the remnants of  struggles for freedom and equality represented in those dolls.  Dolls that reflect the times from which they were created.  Dolls intended to provide comfort to young children in times when comfort was not a luxury.  They were simple handmade cloth dolls, some with porcelain faces and yarn for hair and eyes.  They were not all that different than the white dolls in the exhibit.  They represent childhood and innocence and they represent me.  It’s interesting when research for a picture book story brings things so close to home.  It creates a need for reflection.


President’s Day, February 16, 2015

Snow, snow – bring on the snow. I love winter, but the extreme cold is just about going to do me in this week. I love the snow. Not the cold. At least that is not the extreme cold. My fingers lose feeling even with the heaviest of gloves.

This winter seems to be having a huge effect on most of the country.  As I watch weather forecasts from around the country, the grass is always greener may not apply to this winter. I looked at the weather map and began to count my blessings.

presidnets+day+weather (1)My town of Ridge, NY is hovering at 9 degrees with a wind chill of -12 degrees this morning.  Upstate New York is registering -11 and is expected to get to a high of 0 degrees by 2pm this afternoon.  By that time in Ridge, we should be up to 18 degrees.

I’m not a beach person, but if I were – I’d not be dieting to get into bikini shape this winter, I’d be on a warm sunny beach no matter what shape I was in.  Bundle up, more snow is in the forecast this week.

Taking advantage of the day off from my day job I’m working on several projects but the one I’m most focused on this morning is a Children’s Picture Book App and ironically it is about winter.  I’m not sure how that happened, but it is certainly easier to relate to the subject when I’m in the thick of it.  The text is completed (I think) and I’m working with a wonderful illustrator on preliminary images.  I thought about a tradition book format for this manuscript, but it is a concept book that seems to be calling out to be an App.  Exciting for me, a whole new publishing area to explore.

Happy New Year 2015

It has been way too long since my last post.  That’s something I’ll have to correct in 2015.

Well 2014 has come to a close and we’re all looking forward to the new year.  It is a good time to look back and ahead to see where I’ve been and where I’m going.

Resolutions for 2015 seems the next step but I don’t generally do well with resolutions.  Its semantics but I’ll continue to call them goals and mine are not that different this year from last.  I wanted to increase my time spent writing and growing in my craft.  That I did, having attended two conferences in 2014.

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Southampton Children’s Literature Conference 2014 (Picture Book )

Both the Southampton Picture Book Conference and the Highlights Foundation Conference were paramount in helping me continue towards my writing goals.   I’ll continue this goal maybe stretching it a bit to include devoting more time to submissions.  After all, my long-term goal is to be a published picture book author.

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Highlights Foundation Conference 2014

I have gone out on a limb of sorts in that I’m working on     producing a picture book app.  In the new Digital Age, I searched my manuscripts for a story that I thought could work as a children’s interactive app.  I then found a fantastic illustrator who created beautiful drafts to my text.  The drafts were wonderful and helped put wind in my sail and get me moving on the project.  So much to learn, but oh the fun of learning…

Back to 2015 goals.  Usually, if I write them out then I’m bound to them and have a better chance of getting close to competing them so here goes.

2015 Goals:

  • Update this blog on a more regular basis
  • I will work more on making time for my writing
  • I will work toward submitting to publishers
  • I will complete work on the book app
  • I will attend more writing events

Of course these are only my writing goals and that’s all I’m going to share.  If I am able to work successfully on these – any other goal I may have should also be withing my reach.