Tag Archives: Tara Lazar

From Beyond the Grave.

Happy 2015, everyone!

I began my new year with a party — drinking good wine, eating delicious food, chatting with old friends and making some new ones. It’s said that whatever you do on the first day of the year reflects what you’ll be doing throughout the year.

But I can’t party every day. Well, yes. I could. But there are bills to pay.

So over the next few days, I got things ready for business in 2015. I created documents to keep track of my writing and reading and client work. I reviewed goals I had set in previous years and set some new ones. I analyzed where I’d submitted manuscripts, researched editors and publishers’ catalogs, and made notes about where and what to submit this year. I created a new Excel document that would help me work more efficiently and submit manuscripts more wisely (which took more than three hours of data entry).

And then my hard drive said, “Tink. Tink-tink. Tink.”

Gone. All that prep work for the year, and everything else I had on that hard drive, gone.

It made me wish I worked in a field where computers weren’t necessary. I wished I wasn’t so dependent on technology. I wished I wasn’t a writer.

So right then and there, I quit. I shut my laptop. I declared myself Not-A-Writer.

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(c) 2014 Photo by Carol Munro

 

It was like a death. I felt hollowed. Empty and echo-y and silenced.

I stayed dead for about a day, then I put my party pants back on, drank some good wine, and got back to the business of writing. Because a writer’s gotta write, right?

One of the things that brought me back was Facebook. Or more accurately, the community of writing friends I have there. Yes, YOU. You saved me. Thank you.

Thank you, Julie Hedlund, Kelli Panique, my co-Elves, and 12×12 (which is open for 2015 membership now through February 28).

Thank you, Elaine Kiely Kearns, Sylvia Liu, and KidLit411 (celebrating a one-year anniversary now with a party full of prizes, but the best gift of all is the wealth of info for all kidlit writers all year long).

Thank you, Alayne Kay Christian and Sub Six. Thank you to my fellow Cybils judges, to Tara Lazar and PiBoIdMo (just named one of the top 10 blogs for writers), to the other online groups I belong to, and to the writers who are not only my friends on Facebook or face-to-face, but also in my heart.

You all brought this writer back.

And hopefully, soon, a techno-wizard will bring back the contents of my hard drive.

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Kicking off the new year

I cheered in the new year last night with my sweetie, and this afternoon we partied with friends. This year, this is how it’ll go, I hope. I’m going to enjoy the year, make adventures, see what I can do to surprise myself.

And I’m going to work my butt off to meet some writing goals. More about that, and my 2013 accomplishments, in another post. For now, I want to tell you about my first challenge of the year, because if you write for kids, you might want to leap into this with me.

Shannon Abercrombie has put together “Start the Year Off Write 2014,” 21 days of writing exercises to get the challenge participants jived and writing. Interested? Go here to learn more. Hurry. It begins January 5.

I’m hoping this challenge works in concert with another one I’m doing in January — “ReviMo,” a week dedicated to revising what’s already been written. Picture book manuscripts, that is. This challenge is the work of the ever-supportive Meg Miller.

If you write PBs, find out more about this challenge here.

Speaking of challenges, I hadn’t mentioned on my blog that I would be participating in PiBoIdMo in November 2013 (Tara Lazar’s baby). Well, I did participate, and came up with 30 picture book ideas in 30 days, which is the goal behind the challenge. Well, actually, I did it in the last five or so days of the month.  (November was otherwise challenging.) With those ideas and the extra large batch I have from the previous year, I’m armed and ready for Start Off the Year Write and ReviMo.

Let’s go then! Pencils poised…begin.

 

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BEN RIDES ON with perilously big words. Good for you, Matt Davies!

I’m getting ready for Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (30 picture book ideas in 30 days in November) by participating in a fun challenge created by Kathy Ellen Davis called 31 in 31. Participants pledge to read a picture book each day in October, then post about it on Kathy Ellen’s blog. It’s helping me meet my goal of 500 PBs read this year, and I’m getting leads on some very tempting, must-read picture books. Interested in taking the 31 in 31 or PiBoIdMo challenges. Click on the links to learn more.

I decided I wanted to share what I posted on the 31 in 31 blog today. Here it is:

My PB of the day is BEN RIDES ON by Matt Davies, 2013, A Neal Porter Book (Roaring Brook Press), 341 words.

The story and illustrations are terrific. I loved remembering how I felt when I got my first bike. Ben’s bike is stolen by a bully. You’ll thoroughly enjoy how the problem is resolved.

What I liked best about the book is Matt Davies use of L O N G words most PB writers shy away from — lots of long words.

Possession.

Devastated.

Explained, revolved, revenge. (All in one sentence!)

Peculiar.

Immediate investigation.

Whereupon.

Discovered.

Significant.

Extraordinarily. (Yes, really, the six-syllable, fifteen-letter extraordinarily.)

There are more. They’re used perfectly, so kids will get a pretty clear idea of what they mean, and they’re used in a story told in a way that kids will want it read again and AGAIN! (Nod to Emily Gravett. Look it up.) What a lovely way to teach kids new words. Three cheers, Matt Davies!

Read this book and ride the waves of emotion with Ben. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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Holy moly, I love May! I’m sad to leave it behind.

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(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: IndieBoundAmazonBN.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.

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