Monday, October 31, 2011

Once upon a Halloweensie

I hope you all have a fun and frightful Halloween today.

Here's my entry in Susanna Leonard Hill's Halloweensie contest

Oh Judy!
By Stacy S. Jensen
A gaggle of boys and girls dressed like soldiers, dancers, animals and one lone devil walked down the street in search of Halloween treats.
Before they reached Judy's house, a ghost darted out of the bushes.
A ballerina jumped throwing her candied apple into the air.
A bear cried as the gooey treat fell on his furry head.
The devil stumbled over a jack o'lantern into the bushes.
The group joined together to return the devil to his feet.
"Oh Judy,” they yelled.
"What?" she cried from her front porch, as a shadowy figure slipped into the bushes.

The rules:  Write a 100-word or less story for children using the words boo!, candied apple and jack o'lantern. 

If you have an entry, stop by Susanna's blog to either link your blog or she may request entries be shared in the comments section.

I'm furiously writing down picture book ideas as part of Picture Book idea Month, which kicked off on Sunday with a blog by Mindy Alyse Weiss. You can learn more about it at Tara Lazar's site at Writing for Kids (While Raising Them). You can sign up until Nov. 3.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween: Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza

Here's my entry in the Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza:
Mauly is not Halloween happy.
Today's word is HALLOWEEN.

Our dog Mauly was not happy when I took this picture. I suspect she won't allow me to leave house post-Halloween for fear I'll go clearance shopping again.

Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza is the creation of Susanna Leonard Hill and Catherine Johnson

Update:  Here's a link to Robyn Campbell of Putting Pen to Paper's photos Bwa ha ha ha. 

Don't forget to enter Susanna's Halloweensie contest on Monday. The details are here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thankful Thursday: #WhyIWrite

Last week, for the National Day on Writing there were lots of Tweets about #WhyIWrite.

This Tweet on the topic from Meghan Ward contains a link with a lot of background on the day:

 Meghan Ward 
It's National Day on Writing! Why do you write?  

I followed the hashtag #whyIwrite and found some other responses to the question. If you don't know what a hashtag is go here.

I'm grateful these writers shared their thoughts.

 Neil Gaiman 

Because I can lie beautiful true things into existence, & let people escape from inside their own heads & see through other eyes. 

 Mariam Kobras 

Why do I write? I have no idea why. It's just something I do.  

 Nathan Bransford 

Everyone who writes does so because they want to nudge the world in a different direction. 

 Erin Blakemore 

I write as impulse, redemption, expression, distraction, relief. It brings me closer to who I really am.  

 Erika Robuck 

I want to connect myself and others to different times and places to help foster understanding and empathy. Redemption. 

 Cheryl Rainfield 

I write because I want to reach others, encourage greater compassion, tell stories that help us dream & hope & heal 


 is a hard question to answer. It's like breathing; it's just never occurred to me to justify it before. Hmm.

 maii khater 

 in a story I am a strong and fearless personality

 Bridget Spain 

": Because the best people are fictional "

 Emily Casey 

 because messing with people is fun, and characters can't strike back.

 Kristy S 

My characters can always get away with saying things that I would never be able to say in real life 

My Tweet on #WhyIWrite: 
 Stacy S. Jensen 

So, I can breathe.  Thanks 

Why do you write?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My plan to share a "little" helper

Let me help you - Enzo says and grabs a pen.
When I joined SCWBI, a woman mentioned how lucky I was to have my young son. Her children were grown. She missed seeing the daily changes, curiosity and amusement children display as they grow and explore the world.  

I am blessed to see the twinkle in my son's eye when he looks out the window to discover his world or looks at me with a Hey, I just climbed up on the sofa maybe I'll jump over to the coffee table unless you stop me look. 

This gave me an idea as I brainstormed ways to focus on picture books in November. I'm participating in the Picture Book Idea Month challenge or PiBoIdMo. 

I'll offer a photo each Monday as a writing prompt. I have a guest photo prompt, too. We all see different things in photos and it might spark an idea for a story.

Take this one. 

This makes me think:
  • Great parenting on the PJs. The Christmas PJs surfaced in photos around Easter. So, when Enzo woke up the other day I handed him his pumpkin. 
  • Buckets are good. He likes the pumpkin, because it's easy to carry and he can put things in and take them out. Repeatedly.
  • Oh, I've got teeth. The bite marks along the crib railing are visible here. We didn't know about the "gummy" crib protector until there were plenty of I'm learning how to use the two teeth I have marks along the outer rail.
  • Comfort. He has his "lovey" blanket in hand. He sleeps with it. He would take it every where, if I let him. My fear of losing "lovey" is high as I've mentioned on Twitter when I'm in a panic looking for it. (By the way, Twitter peeps have helped recover "lovey" several times by sharing places they've found their own child's lovey). Today, "lovey" spends 99 percent of the time in the crib. 
  • Escape. He's almost too tall to be contained by a crib. I know this because, he tries to climb out of it when I enter his room in the mornings.
promise I won't say anything about the photos on Mondays in November. I will share one here and another on my Facebook page. 

Hopefully, they will spark an idea or a smile as you begin your writing week on picture books or other projects. 

Do you find photo prompts helpful or not? 

Monday, October 24, 2011

I'm signing up for the PiBoIdMo challenge

Today, I'm signing up to participate in the November Picture Book Idea Month Challenge or PiBoIdMo. I know the PiBoIdMo looks different, but I'm sure NaNoWriMo looked funny in those early days of that novel challenge too.

The challenge to create a picture book came from picture book author Tara Lazar.  This post at Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) highlights guest bloggers on her site and agents involved in the 2011 challenge.

Here's a snippet from Tara Lazar's post about PiBoIdMo:

The concept is to create 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. You don’t have to write a manuscript. You don’t need potential best-seller ideas.
You might think of a clever title. Or a name for a character. Or just a silly thing like “purple polka-dot pony.” The object is to heighten your picture-book-idea-generating senses. Ideas may build upon other ideas and your list of potential stories will grow stronger as the days pass. By the end of the month, you’ll have a file of ideas to help inspire you throughout the year.
I want to use the challenge to learn more about the craft of picture books and allow myself to focus on ideas. While I participate in the challenge, I am reading Ann Whitford Paul's book Writing Picture Books:  A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication.

So this blog will be all about picture books in November. I'm rounding up guest bloggers. I'm sorting through pictures for a photo writing prompt. I'll use my Thankful Thursday posts to highlight picture book resources — websites, authors and books.

I hope to learn and write a lot in November. While I won't have a novel by the 30th, I hope to have a workable picture book idea.

And, I can't forget my work-in-progress today — My 100-word entry for Susanna Leonard Hill's Halloweensie Contest.

The rules are:

  • Write a 100-word story for children using the words boo!, candied apple and jack o'lantern. It can be funny or scary in poetry or prose. 
  • Post the story on your blog on Oct. 31. Link your entry on Susanna's site.
  • The winning entry will receive a copy of Haunted Party written and illustrated by Iza Trapani.
What are you working on today? Are you participating in a November writing challenge?


Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkins/Jack O'Lanterns: Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza

Here's my entry in the Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza:

My son and I have spent lots of time over the last year reading Duck & Goose: Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills. I love this fun story. I could only find a link to the Kindle edition. We have the board book.

So I'll leave you with another pumpkin:
My little pumpkin is growing up. Nothing on the rear this year. 
Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza is the creation of Susanna Leonard Hill and Catherine Johnson

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thankful Thursday: @RachaelHarrie

I'm grateful for  Rachael Harrie of Rach Writes ....

If you participate in Rachael's Platform-Building Campaign, you know what I mean.

She's a YA horror writer — writing and blogging like many of us, but she takes it a step further.

The third platform building campaign is winding down. I participated more fully in the first month, but recent travels sidetracked me. I've met dozens of new writers through the campaign and found really awesome blogs to follow.

The campaign allows participants to sign up in their genres. Mix and mingle with those in their group, as well as other campaigners. You visit other blogs. Other bloggers visit you. You participate in really cool writing challenges and BAM — you've built up your network. I considered writing this following the third campaign challenge, but my gratitude to Rachael might get lost in the rules.

Here's a link on the Writers' Platform-Building Campaign.

Rachael has many other irons in the fire, too.

  • She helped raise money for the Save the Children's emergency relief fund following the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan through Write Hope.
  • Her current work in progress is From the Other Side.
  • She shares her writing posts on her blog. I like this one called Seven writing tips I can't live without.
  • Need help to organize all the new blogs she introduces you too? She offers tips on how to organized your Google Reader
You can also find her on Twitter @RachaelHarrie and Facebook

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Connect through commonalities, learn through differences

Please welcome Karen S. Elliott — the Word Shark today. As I promised last week, Karen is sharing her wit and wisdom here. I appreciate Karen taking the time to stop by. Thanks.

Now, take it away Karen:

I have been connected with Stacy for so long, I cannot honestly remember how we connected or when. The important thing – we connected.

She recently posted A few tips from a blog groupie on my blog - a great post about getting around on blogs, how to connect with others, how to share (and be shared).   

Stacy invited me to write a post for her blog. So I blasted over and dug deeper into Stacy’s blog, wondering, “What should I write about?”  

I revisited her About Me page. I know I looked at it back when, but as the extravagance of blogging and tweeting and Facebooking shows us, we can sometimes lose that personal touch.

By visiting that About Me page, I was reminded what we have in common.

The early years – At 8 y.o., Stacy liked skating, biking, and eating mustard. I liked skating and biking. I did not like mustard. I wore the old metal skates, the ones that pinched your toes and fell off only when you were screaming along at five miles an hour. I have the scars to prove it. What’s with the mustard? Pass the mayo.

Teen years – In high school, Stacy was voted “Most Likely to Succeed.” I was the captain of my Color Guard in my senior year, an honor I still flout to this day. I consider that a success even though it was barely written up in the yearbook.

Study and Experience – Stacy studied journalism, worked at a Newspaper, was an Editor – for two decades? I thought she was my son’s age. She must have an awfully good photographer. I studied Gregg Shorthand, typing, and was happy to work at a steno job with a huge corporation on the east coast. But I was a secretary extraordinaire and department VPs came to me to sub for their secretaries.

Languages – Stacy has studied Italian – In Italy! I studied German and went to Germany. Since, I’ve collected books and dictionaries for Swahili, Russian, Swedish, French, Thai, Welsh (my roots), and a couple dozen other languages. I learned American Sign Language working at the NM School for the Deaf. On my bucket list is to spend a month or two in Wales and really immerse myself in their language.

Publishing – Stacy has been published all over the place – no wonder there. She’s a great writer, and she knows how to edit. I’ve been published, here and there.

Writers’ Club - We have both been associated with the SouthWest Writers club! She won an award for a Memoir Category, and I won an award for “Best Hook.” See? Our affiliation is destiny.

Travel – Stacy has been in Italy, Africa, the U.K., and Puerto Rico. I’ve been in Germany, Mexico, Canada, on a cruise through the Virgin Islands.

Through the U.S. – Stacy is a native of Georgia, lived in North Carolina, Texas, and now Colorado. She’s been in WA, OR, ID, CA, NE, MS, FL, SC, VA, SD, NM, and a lot of states in between. Whew. I’ve been in Maine numerous times, all up and down the East Coast (born and raised in Delaware), through to Florida, all over the SW, all over California, the Midwest, through Nevada, Utah, Arizona. I’m now in the nether regions of North Dakota, spitting distance to Canada.

Stacy lives in Colorado Springs – I’ve been there (thanks to my son’s service the U.S. Air Force). What a wonderful place. The Air Force Academy and their chapel is the place to see.  

Family – Stacy has one boy. I have one boy and two grandsons. She has a husband … uh, moving on …

We all have commonalities, we all have differences. The sameness draws you together; the differences are surprising rewards and help you grow.

What commonalities and differences do you notice in your best friends? Your closest confidants? Your writing associates?

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. ~Henry Ford

The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart. ~Elisabeth Foley

Karen was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in a day. Their favorite expression was, “Look it up!” Karen reads punctuation and grammar manuals for fun. Her favorite book is the dictionary.

Karen is an editor and proofreader, blogger, writer, and grandmother. You can find her at Find her blog here. Connect with Karen on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+