70th Shinnecock Powwow Celebration

I made it out to Southampton this morning for what I call my New Year’s Day.  It’s the annual Shinnecock Nation powwow and I’ve been going for nearly 20 of those 70 years.  It’s like a homecoming for me because I have made so many friends.  100_1436 - Edited The reservation is only open to the public over the Labor Day weekend.  This year we are waiting for Hermine, either a tropical storm or a hurricane – she hasn’t decided yet.  No rain during today’s event, it was just very overcast.  Hopefully, the remainder of the weekend will allow for the event to attract its patrons.  As a fundraiser for the Shinnecock Nation, it would be a huge revenue loss if visitors were kept away by Mother Nature.  The event is rain or shine so I wish them all the best.

The Aztec Dancers from Mexico were one of the groups that I was able to photograph before my digital camera battery died.  I had my film 35mm with me so I was able to continue taking photos but will have to wait for the images.  I may see if I can finish the roll this week.  Pros and cons of technology – digital  = instant photos, battery willing.  Film requires no batteries but has a wait time for developing.

I didn’t do any writing today at all.  I did do a lot of thinking, maybe that should be called, pre-writing.  I’ll jot down those thoughts this evening and see where they lead.  I have a couple more days till I have to be back at work so I’ll try to make the most of them.

I hope you all have a wonderful Labor Day weekend.  Stay safe.


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.



4th of July 2016

It’s a couple days past the holiday at this point. but I’m still organizing all that I did last weekend.  I worked on several projects around the house and I DID NOT go grocery shopping!  That was so liberating.  A quick stop to the butcher shop and that was it.  There were no long lines, no crazy traffic in the parking lot.  What a wonderful way to shop.


Tolna 4th of July

 The highlight before the real fireworks was going to visit the graves of my parents.  Rocky came with me and stayed still long enough for one photo.  He loves to roam, sniff and explore, on leash of course.

Elton 4th of July 2016
Rocky and Dad

Three days of fireworks made this was definitely one weekend to stay home with the dog.  Rocky is ok with most sounds but constant bombardment was even a bit much for me at times.

 Reading was more on the agenda for this weekend on the picture book end of things.  I read a couple manuscripts that I have to critique for critique partners. I read and re-read versions of a couple manuscripts that I’m working to get submission ready.  I was always told to step away from a manuscript for a while if you get stuck and go back and see what happens.  That was the best advise that I could have followed. It was like new paths opened and all of a sudden I knew where the story was going.  Even better, I was able to fix things that had been clunky before the break.  Now that I’m happier with these manuscripts, I’m looking for a good home for them.  On to researching editors and agents.



Getting Back On Track

This is my attempt at writing just to write today.

I’ve not produced anything new and I’ve spent a lot (a lot) of time revising two manuscripts that I hope to have submission ready in a couple of weeks.

It is absolutely true that the writing it the easy part – revision is the true heart of writing.  I started this piece with pen and paper and decided to move to my PC so I could have something to post to my sometime forgotten blog.

Even a short post is better than no post, but I don’t want to bore any followers that may be out there.  I think I’m scolding myself here, hopefully I’ll get it together and get back on track.

My digital recorder has some memos in it that I’ll listen to this afternoon.  Those may point be back to my notebook.  The weather is beautiful today.  Perfect for an outdoor lunch.  I don’t go out often, but when weather is this beautiful – sunny and 80 degrees with low humidity – it’s hard to pass up.

Even this snippet of writing has made me feel energized about getting back to the pen.

Off I go.

Mother’s Day 2016

It’s Mother’s Day 2016, probably the wettest one on record.  Not that I have any meteorological information to back that up.  It has rained here on Long Island and the rest of the tri-state area for the better part of two weeks.  The sun will be a welcome site once it returns.  The signs of Spring are very apparent.  Every plant that survived the winter is green and lush.  Still too cool for me to put my vegetable garden in yet, though I have worked the soil in two of the raised beds.  The cold gets into my bones and makes me feel quite stiff.  Thank goodness for our fireplace.  We will be using it this evening to knock the chill from the dampness out of the air.  It is very odd for May, but it beats turning on the heat!


SCBWI Member-badgesYesterday I went to a regional SCBWI seminar Professional Series “On The Road” on Long Island : Picture Books with Grace Maccarone, Executive Editor, Holiday House which was held in the Huntington Public Library.  It was an enjoyable lecture and it energized me to polish and submit not only to this publishing house but to a couple others I’ve been on the fence about for a couple months.  

I share all my manuscripts with my wonderful critique group.  Their input is invaluable to helping see my precious manuscript with new perspective.  That very process of sharing before you formally submit was a side discussion yesterday after the lecture and it got me thinking about my wonderful critique group family.  I consider their support and feedback a gift.  All but one in the group is a mother, but even she is an educator – therefore a mother by educational profession.

Here’s to you all –

Mothers Day

Catch Up Time

I’ve not posted anything in a couple of months but I have at least been working on some manuscript revisions.  The bulk of my time has been spent either working –  I have to remember that’s the thing that keeps money coming in…or working on a bedroom renovation in our home and immediately after that was completed we had to start working on a rental property we own when tenants moved out.  I’ve been in renovation mode since mid March.

With the bedroom complete, at least there is a comfortable place to relax after all this work.  My husband Bob has been going non-stop.  We were lucky enough to work with a great contractor on our home renovation and decided to have them take on some of the renovations on the rental as well.

The really cool thing I’ve done during all of this chaos was attend a fantastic concert.  Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law, I learned about the High Kings and that they were playing in Southampton on St. Patrick’s Day.

High Kings
The High Kings

It was a wonderful evening.  Great music, great atmosphere.  The only thing I missed was the Corned Beef and Cabbage.  As they say, “Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.”



They have a new studio album coming out May 13, 2016 “The High Kings Grace & Glory.”




With my manuscripts, I’ve focused on revisions for two of them.  It’s easier for me to keep my motivation going when I don’t feel locked into on project.  Thanks to the 12 x 12 challenge for helping keep me on track.  Speaking of which, I’ll close this post and get back to my manuscripts.

Midwinter Inspiration (Part II)

I’m back on Long Island now and completely unpacked – not that I had all that much to unpack.  I’m still behind in my blog posts, but I hope to catch up soon.

I need to begin to connect the bits of information that we have from our trip to Keystone Heights (Brooklyn) Florida.  My brother, his wife and I traveled there to see what information we could find on my father and grandmother – both of which were listed as being born in Brooklyn, Florida.  We went to the town hall and were met with an abundance of hospitality.  The Mayor of Keystone Heights even offered of information on a local resident who’s family had been in the area back when it was called “Brooklyn”.

The intermittent torrential rain kept us from venturing out of the car, but we did drive to where the mayor suggested we look and we found Lake Brooklyn, one of the many lakes in the town.  It was so close to where I think our dad and grandmother were both born.

 Brooklyn was developed into a carefree lakeside community and Keystone Heights, as it was renamed,  as a resort community.  Many wealthy folks vacationed there, some were even founding members of the community.  James C. Penny (yes, of J.C. Penny fame) was a developer in the area back in the early 1900’s.  There are still references to that name in the area.