(c) 2013 Photo by Carol Munro
May is cram-packed full of friends with birthdays. What a great month to be born. (I should know. I’m a May baby myself.) Here in Western Mass, snow melted, lawns got green, leaves sprouted on trees, flowers bloomed, bloomed, BLOOMED! Ahhhhh… happy birthday, spring!
In this post, I have three heads up for you:
1. I’d like to ask you to support a writer-friend’s new book. Because of a thing between Tara Lazar’s publisher and Barnes & Noble, her book, The Monstore, won’t be carried on the shelves of this biggie chain. That means it will have a difficult time getting noticed and will likely have lower sales and little chance for a reprint or sequel, regardless of the quality of the book and the writing. Learn more about this on her blog, and if you don’t mind, please support Tara and The Monstore. She suggests these ways to help:
- Order it from places that already have it: IndieBound, Amazon, BN.com
- Call Tara’s local indie, The Bookworm, and order a signed copy to be shipped to you: 908-766-4599
- Visit/call your local B&N and ask them to order the book for in-store pick-up.
- Visit/call your local indie and ask them to order the book. They may already have it!
- Review THE MONSTORE on any book site.
- Mark it “want to read” on GoodReads.
- Let your local librarian(s) know about the book. The Monstore’s ISBN: 9781442420175.
2. I’ll be a guest on Donna Martin’s Writerly Wisdom blog post on Wednesday. I’ll post the link here on Wednesday morning.
3. Here are my favs of the picture books I read in May. Go read them if you haven’t already. If you have, why not read them again? They’re lovely.
- I Feel Better with a Frog in My Throat by Carlyn Beccia, 2010, Houghton Mifflin Books For Children (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company)
- Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr, 1987, Philomel
- That is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems, 2013, Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
I’m off to read some more.
Have I met my goals for the month of April? Yes and no. Not many picture books read (only 17), though I did find six I love (and four I didn’t like at all, which will not be named here).
- A CHRISTMAS TREE FOR PYN by Olivier Dunrea, 2011, Philomel Books (Penguin Young Readers Group)
- AN ANNOYING ABC by Barbara Bottner, illustrated by Michael Emberley, 2011, Alfred A. Knopf (Random House Children’s Books)
- THE ICIEST, DICIEST, SCARIEST SLED RIDE EVER by Rebecca Rule, illustrated by Jennifer Thermes, 2012, Islandport Press
- LITTLE BIRD by Germano Zullo, illustrated by Albertine, 2012, Enchanted Lion Books
- THE LONELY BOOK by Kate Bernheimer, illustrated by Chris Sheban, 2012, Schwartz & Wade (Random House Children’s Books)
- THOSE DARN SQUIRRELS FLY SOUTH by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, 2012, Clarion Books
One of my picture book drafts is about this creature, Periwinkle the Elemoose, created by my artist friend
Lucy Mueller Young.
Ain’t she a darling little sweetheart?
(c) 2013 Photo by Carol Munro
And while the month was full of appointments, yard work, and planting the garden, I did find time for lots of writing for clients and myself (yay!), which includes two new picture books drafts (double yay!) and some guest blogging. I also edited one manuscript and submitted two.
Marci Flinchum Atkin’s We’re All in This Together blog series continued with two posts this weekend about Books that Impact Writers. What are my two favorites? Go here and scroll down.
One final thing. If you read an earlier post, you know I love ONE by Kathryn Otoshi. My friend Alayne Kay Christian will soon post an interview with KO on her blog. Stay tuned. I’ll post the link so you can read how this gutsy and talented woman publishes her own books with such outstanding quality.
Whew! March is over. For me, it felt a bit like trudging across a field covered with three feet of snow. Other than feeling quite busy, there isn’t any huge reason why March was a tough month. I think it has to do with the potential of spring. I wanted it to arrive so badly, and we had a couple gorgeous days in March that only teased, thumbs in ears, fingers wiggling. Nah-nah nah-nah-nah! Now April is coming in like March’s lion. Wind! Here to blow away winter’s cobwebs.
As much as March tried to kick my butt, I managed to write a new picture book manuscript, edit two, and submit to three places. So I exceeded my goals with these activities, but if I’m ever going to get published… OK, I’m boring you again, but as I said in January, accountability helps, so thanks for your tolerance. Let’s get to the good stuff – what I read.
Not much. Only 17 picture books (my goal was 40). Here are the ones I liked best.
- THE CLOUD SPINNER by Michael Catchpool, illustrated by Alison Jay, 2012, A Borzoi Book/ Alfred A. Knopf
- JUST DUCKS by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino, 2012, Candlewick Press
- ONE by Kathryn Otoshi, 2008, KO Kids Books
Here’s an interesting thing about ONE. The author/illustrator self-published this book, apparently, along with four other books. I would love to know the story behind her decision to publish her books herself. ONE is very professionally done, has garnered much recognition, and won ten awards. Brilliant! And the best thing about ONE? I snatched up my very own copy at my library’s book sale last Friday. Yay!
Now on to April. I already have a new manuscript almost finished and read twenty-something books, but my focus this month will be polishing at least six manuscripts and sending them out, out, out! What are your April plans?
I’ve read more than 100 books so far this year. Impressive, huh? No, I’m not an incredibly fast reader. Nope, I’m not a liar either. I really have read that many books! Here’s what I’ll be reading in the next couple days.
© 2013 Photo by Carol Munro
Picture books are quick to read, but don’t mistake them for easy. There’s nothing simple about writing or illustrating them. If you haven’t read one in a while, pick one from my favs list in my February 1 post and give it a read.
Study it inside out. The more you look, the more you’ll see how complex it can be. Every word counts, every page break matters, illustrations complement and supplement the text — and vice versa. OK, I see I’m boring you.
So just grab a good picture book and enjoy!
Which ones are your favorites? I’d love to know.
They (yes, the infamous They) say when you write down your goals, you’re more likely to achieve them. Post them on your blog, and you’re hoping your friends will reward you with chocolate and wine to celebrate your success. Or console your failure.
Last year I hopped back into the kid-lit pool and began writing picture books again after a long absence. Thank you, Carol Bender, for letting me know about Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 group for picture book writers. It was so inspirational. I enrolled again for 2013. (In fact, I’m one of six administrators helping Julie this year. If you write or illustrate picture books, check it out. Last day to enroll is February 28.)
I also got back into writing poetry (a temporarily overlooked passion) when I wrote a poem every day in November to help raise funds and awareness for the Center for New Americans.
In 2013, I want to bump up my picture book and poetry writing efforts, so here are my goals for all to see.
- Write one new picture book manuscript each month.
- Revise one picture book manuscript each month.
- Submit one picture book manuscript to an agent or editor each month.
- Read 10 picture books each week.
- Follow Jane Yolen’s 2013 Poem-a-Day project (she e-mails a daily poem to her “subscribers”) and write one poem inspired by each of hers.
- Poem Volley with my friend Maureen Solomon, promising to write and return a poem within a week of receiving one from her.
So there you have it – goals written down and declared publicly. All that’s left to do is the work, and success is assured.
Oh, and friends? Please note.
My favorite wine is 7 Deadly Zins or any red from Jonathan Edwards Winery.