Friday, March 30, 2012

Perfect Picture Books: Tenth Avenue Cowboy

Today, I'm over at Marilyn Almodóvar's blog Writing on the Sunny Side of the Street talking about memoir. If you have a second, please stop by Marilyn's place.

For Perfect Picture Book Fridays, I've chosen Tenth Avenue Cowboy.

You've seen this book being used as a hat or invisibility cloak.

Tenth Avenue Cowboy
Written by Linda Oatman High
Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008
Historical Fiction

Suitable for: Ages 7 to 10

Theme/Topic: Moving, Cowboys, City Life

Opening:  It was 1910 when Ben and his parents left their ranch in the West and took the train to New York City, where they'd heard the work the pay were the best."

Brief Synopsis: Summary from the book — In 1910, when his family moves to new York City from their ranch out West, Ben misses the cowboys and the prairies that they left behind, but after he learns there are cowboys in the city who race  along the railroad tracks and warns people of approaching trains, he begins to feel more at home.  (No joke that's a one sentence summary.)

Link to Resources: I did a Perfect Picture Book review on Cowboy Bunnies back in December. Some cowboy resources are great to use today including Howdy Partner from the Virtual Vine. Here's a link from the Utah Education Network on What Does a Cowboy Do? This book is a great discussion point about moving to new places. Ben leaves the open West and moves to a city, but still found a piece of the cowboy life in the heart of the city.

Why I chose this book: I love cowboy books. I found this one at the book sale at the library. It's in good shape when Enzo's not trying to wear it. The word count is above his age range, but he sits still to listen to the story and study the illustrations (oils on canvas). The photos show cowboys with lanterns riding through the streets of a city swelling with its growing population —  from the U.S. like Ben and from around the world.

Linda Oatman High has a note in the back of the book as well as a small glossary. She wrote: "The Tenth Avenue Cowboys were legendary figures in Hell's Kitchen, where they rode their horses to warn of the approaching rains until the early 1930s. The Cowboys gave city youngsters the thrill of the West, and the children of Hell's Kitchen admired those who rode high and gallant on the galloping horses. Many children longed to be a cowboy themselves one day, and some of them succeeded."

Writers may find this essay written by the author inspiring: But Maybe Someday I'll Use This.

To find more picture books and resources, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog and look for the Perfect Picture Books page.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Gravatar anyone?


Do you have a Gravatar profile? I ask this question and share my mug for a reason. WordPress recently changed how it allows comments. Linda Cassidy Lewis sheds light on the topic here and here.

The first time I had trouble commenting on a WordPress blog I assumed it was me. I soon realized I could say, "It's not me. It's you WordPress."

The change won't kill me, but it reminded me of why I have a Gravatar.com account. It's a globally recognized avatar. I uploaded the mug shot I use across all my social media accounts, typed in my email address and added links to my blog, Twitter and Facebook page. When I log into my WordPress account, it links to this Gravatar page. People can find me in several places online at this Gravatar page.

Sometimes I can log into WordPress. Hit the change button next to the message saying "You are commenting using your WordPress.com account" and type in my blog's address in place of the Gravatar address.  

I bring this up, because it's important to ask yourself: Where do I want people to meet me online? I want to send people to my blog in one click.

WordPress gives you the option of using WordPress, Twitter or Facebook to comment. 

I used to comment on WordPress blogs with my Twitter account. This linked people straight to my Twitter profile. If they wanted to check out my blog, they had to click another link. With help from other bloggers, I figured out how to sign in with my Blogger address connected to my comments. The recent WordPress change makes this harder.

The comment process hasn't been smooth for me in recent weeks. As other issues have consumed my time, I've found myself writing comments that won't post. I do my best to post, but sometimes I have less time than patience. Add in the double word captcha Blogger uses to verify I'm not a spammer and I'm speechless — as in I can't post a comment. 

Has anyone else figured out a work around to the WordPress comment conundrum?

Thanks to all who commented on my Thankful Thursday post. I appreciate you all. The winner of the $10 gift card is August McLaughlin. She was selected as the winner via random.org. 

This Thursday, I'm taking a posting break. I'm wrapping up my A to Z Challenge posts for April. Oh, the ABC fun. 

I'll be back on Friday with a Perfect Picture Book Friday here and will have a guest post about memoir at Marilyn Almodóvar's blog Writing on the Sunny Side of the Street.

Hope you have a great week. I'm thinking happy thoughts for comments and counting to 10 for more patience. 


Friday, March 23, 2012

Perfect Picture Books: Tomorrow's Alphabet

Today, I've chosen Tomorrow's Alphabet for Perfect Picture Book Fridays.


Tomorrow's Alphabet
Written by George Shannon
Pictures by Donald Crews
Greenwillow Books, 1996

Suitable for: Ages 3 and up

Theme/Topic: Alphabet, Cause and Effect

Opening:
A is for seed —
tomorrow's APPLE.

Brief Synopsis: Each two-page spread gives children an object in it's today form and then shows what it will be tomorrow. From George Shannon's website  — “This unusual alphabet book is really a different sort of concept book. The letters are used to demonstrate where things come from. A fun and inventive offering for today’s kids and tomorrow’s visionaries.” Starred review SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

Link to Resources: George Shannon has suggested activities here. Click the box of Suggested Activities.
Hotchalk Lesson Plans Page has an alphabet game to try.
White Is for Blueberry, another book by George Shannon, could be read as an activity too. It was featured on Perfect Picture Book Fridays here.

Why I chose this book: I found some copies of George Shannon's books at the library after he was featured on Julie Hedlund's Write Up My Life. It's a unique alphabet book which adds two vocabulary words for each letter. The first word mentioned with the letter, often does not match. For example, C is for milk — tomorrow's cheese.

To find more picture books and resources, visit Susanna Leonard Hill'sblog and look for the Perfect Picture Books page.


There's still time to leave a comment on this Thankful Thursday post for a chance to win a $10 gift card. Leave your comment by midnight MST Saturday, March 24. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Chicken Soup for the Soul

I'm inside this book in the form of an essay. 
Last April, I wrote about my excitement over having an essay about my dog Eddie published in Chicken Soup for the Soul's My Dog's Life. Anytime, you get published is nice.

I've considered myself a writer for many years as I churned out stories for newspapers. When I cashed my check from Chicken Soup for the Soul, the bank teller asked, "Are you a writer?" I felt myself blush and I normally don't do that.

"Yes," I said and this time it felt a little different.

This week, the Chicken Soup for the Soul people contacted me (and a gazillion other folks I'm sure) to let me know the book is now available in ebook form. I downloaded a copy for my Kindle. It was fun to see my name in print in an ebook.

If you've ever considered submitting to Chicken Soup for the Soul, it's easy. There's a handy submission form, story guidelines and a list of possible books — explaining the type of stories they want. The current list fits nicely with all of my bloggy friends — independent woman, inspiration for writers, new friends, parenthood and the power of positive. Each topic has a submission deadline.

When I blogged about my contribution to the book, I shared how I wrote my essay so I would have something to share at my Texas writer's group. I looked at the Chicken Soup for the Soul topics page for an idea. I wrote the essay for my group and later revised it for submission. I'm grateful I did.

There are 12 Chicken Soup for the Soul titles now available as e-books and are currently half price at $4.99 at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and through your iTunes account. I don't get a kick back from Chicken Soup for the Soul, but believe any book is good for the spirit.

What book has been good for your soul?

Leave a comment by Saturday, March 24 at midnight MST and to show my thanks to you, I'll enter your name in a drawing for a $10 gift card. I'll give away one from an online retailer of the winner's choice iTunes, Amazon or Barnes & Noble. I believe I can deliver any of those via email. I hope that works, if there is an international winner. If not, we'll talk. I know on Monday we determined we're all flexible.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Are you flexible? Life happens.

Photo by Tracy S. Williams
Last week, I scheduled appointments, blogs, writing and social media.

Then, life happened.

The appointment that required a babysitter evaporated. I had the date and time in my calendar, but the other person did not. Nice huh? I was disappointed, but found other people to answer my questions and did some shopping without a toddler in tow.

I'm supposed to be reading the final Harry Potter book during my break between my memoir draft completion and before I begin revisions. The book tempts Enzo. He's removed my bookmark a dozen times and loves to flip through the pages. Last week, it struck me I could borrow an ebook version from the library.

As I wait for HP to arrive on my Kindle, I picked up an ebook version of Bald in the Land of Big Hair by Joni Rodgers. She's a novelist, who survived cancer treatment. It's as lighthearted as one can be with cancer. As a former caregiver, I laughed a lot at some of her observations about illness, treatment and how life changes when a disease is introduced into a family's life. Of course, it's not all jokes. While I loved the book, I still wonder if it is a good book to share with people going through cancer treatment or not. I'll just have to figure that out on a case-by-case basis.

Then, I was so happy to have a few blog posts scheduled in advanced. My happy dance was short lived when I didn't have time to change one before it was published. Sigh.

So, I'd like to thank Tina Moss for giving me the Kreativ Blogger Award.

Nicole Pyles at World of My Imagination tagged me in the The Lucky 7 Meme. This is a fun one. You go to page 77 of your manuscript, go to line seven and post the next seven lines. Since I haven't opened my memoir manuscript since I typed The End, I can't play along with this one. You can find Nicole's answers here. I appreciate being tagged Nicole.

My 12x12 in 2012 picture book draft hasn't materialized this month. I have notes on my desk and on my iPhone, but haven't sat down to complete the draft yet. This challenge has been great, because I know I'll have my draft before April arrives.

I share all of this with you to say while I do my best to plan, life sometimes takes me in a different direction. I remind myself to be flexible.

What's your strategy to deal with a change of plans?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Perfect Picture Books: How To Be a Good Dog

Today, I've chosen How To Be  A Good Dog for Perfect Picture Book Fridays.


How To Be A Good Dog
Written and Illustrated by Gail Page
Bloomsbury Publishing, Children's Books, 2006

Suitable for: Ages 3 and up

Theme/Topic: Behavior, Manners, Consequences, Dogs, Cats

Opening: Bobo tried hard to be a good dog.
He loved to hear Mrs. Birdhead say,
"You're a good dog,
Bobo. Come, let's get you a treat."

Brief Synopsis: Cat helps Bobo, the dog, show Mrs. Birdhead how good he is.

Link to Resources: This book is a great way to talk about behavior and consequences with children. I mean everyone wants to be a good dog, er, boy or girl.

Your children can pretend to be Cat and read a book on on manners like Cookies: Bite Size Life Lessons (aged 5 to 8) from the Perfect Picture Book Fridays list. There are several titles under the consequences section too.

Teacher planet has some lesson plans on manners including items like a mealtime map.

Gail Page has a colorful website filled with examples of her illustrations. Plus, you can buy a greeting card with her illustrations on her site. Bobo is featured in another book adventure called Bobo and the New Neighbor. There is also a How To Be a Good Cat book.

Why I chose this book: Cousin Rosa gave Enzo this book as she purged some items from her bookshelf. Both the story and illustrations are fun, which make it an easy read in our house.

Bonus: I can hear the dog tails wagging every time we read the line, "You're a good dog, Bobo. Come, let's get you a treat." I hear nothing when we go over the doggie commands like sit, heel and stay. Sigh.

To find more picture books and resources, visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog and look for the Perfect Picture Books page.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Awards


From Bethany and Clar
From Clar
I want to thank Bethany Telles at Perched in a Tree and Clar at Clarbojahn's Blog for giving me a couple of awards this week.

Most of you know these ladies. Bethany was a finalist in the MeeGenius Author Challenge with her fun story Waiting for James in a Sea of Pink. Bethany has changed up her blog a bit in recent weeks with her I Ponder ... Wednesdays. Recent posts have included Would you write better without social media?,  Can you write, bravely? and Are your characters about YOU?

Clar has been busy getting her Annie's Special Day published. She's been sharing her  journey along with posts like Your given Name vs Your Pen Name, My BLOGAVERSARY. Why I Started Blogging and Why I keep On and Brand Yourself.

I haven't answered questions for a blog award in awhile, so I thought I would share my answers to the Sunshine Award.

  1. Favorite Color: Black. It seems easy at first, but there are different shades (including faded). It really attracts other colors, er, lint and dog hair. 
  2. Favorite Animal: Zebra. I love them.
  3. Favorite Number: 3. I wish I had thought up the 1+1=3! Brilliant. 
  4. Favorite Drink: Water. I randomly will drink a Sprite. No tea or Coca Cola for this Georgia girl. 
  5. Facebook or Twitter: Twitter. I love the instant, brief communication. I've spent more time recently on Facebook, but I like Twitter best.
  6. Passion: Story telling — fiction and non-fiction. 
  7. Giving or receiving presents: Giving. I seriously do not need anything. I like to surprise people with a unique or fun gift. 
  8. Favorite Day: I'm with Clar on this one — Saturday. It's a day by itself. Friday ends the week and Sunday begins the week for me. Saturday is a fun day. 
  9. Favorite Flower: Any flower in bloom on cactus. I used to live near a Texas visitor center with a cactus garden. Cactus flowers often end up on my personal notecards when I get crafty. 

Technically, I'm supposed to pass it around to others, but I think everyone under the sun has received these awards. If you haven't, well grab one. It's been one of those weeks (not in a bad way). Enjoy the sun and please visit Bethany and Clar, if you haven't this week.

How's the weather in your corner of the world this week? I'm feeling a bit of spring in Colorado.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Do you Pin?

Photo by Tracy S. Williams
I recently joined Pinterest through Facebook. It's like most online social media networks. You share information, but through an online pin board.

My vision for Pinterest involved lots of food — especially ideas on how to make chocolate treats. It seemed like the perfect place for fun recipes I find online instead of filling up my real desktop or the virtual one on my computer.

Then, all the posts concerned about Pinterest's terms of service appeared.

Marcy Kennedy at Girls With Pens shares a great list of links in her post — The Pinterest Problem

The Pinterest terms of service are important to understand as you are giving the company the right to use, sell or modify your photos. For this reason, you won't find any of my own photos on this site.

Of course, if I continue to use Pinterest I'm not out of trouble. If you repin a photo, the Pinterest company doesn't take any responsibility for a copyright violation. You are 100 percent responsible for any copyright violations.

Stacy Green mentioned her reasons to stay with Pinterest in her ROW Check-In on Sunday.

I'm still trying to make up my mind about whether to stay or go. What have you decided on the issue — are you saying yes or no to Pinterest?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Perfect Picture Books: Bless this House

Today, I've chosen Bless This House for Perfect Picture Book Fridays.

Bless This House
Written and Illustrated by Leslie Staub
Harcourt, Inc., 2000

Suitable: Ages 2 to 4

Theme/Topic: Prayer, Environment, Rhyme

Opening: Bless this house and bless this room.
Bless the big bright blue-white moon.

Brief Synopsis: Part of the editorial review on Amazon from the American Library Association says, "With simple chant and bright oil paintings, a bedtime ecological prayer connects a child in his room with all the animal life on the planet... ."


Link to Resources: I think an easy one to do day or night is to look out your child's window and talk about the environment outside. Even in a planned subdivision, there are sometimes unexpected animals like coyotes and deer roaming the paved streets.

Baby Center has a Bless this House poem/prayer to say with your children.

The PBS Kids Lab has a Build Me a House activity.

The site eslflow.com has some environmental lesson plans. I found an endangered species vocabulary & speaking worksheet with pictures.


Why I chose this book: I found this book at a library book sale, because it had a torn page or two. With a little tape, I fixed it up.

The simple language is good for any age as the illustrations add so much to the story. The opening line reminds me of Goodnight Moon a bit. The story takes its reader outside of his own world at his house and takes him into a world filled with wonderful creatures "even the bugs."

I hope you are able to find a copy at your library. I noticed Amazon had a few used copies including a "bargain price" for a new hardcover at $5,555.51. Used copies were much cheaper.

To find more picture books and resources, visit Susanna Leonard Hill'sblog and look for the Perfect Picture Books page.



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday: A new story

It's a little iPhone action fuzzy, but I hope you get the idea.
Last week, I lost sleep over a crib jail break situation. This week, I'm grateful for all the new stories after we converted the crib to this toddler bed arrangement. If he's missing, I know where to look after I saw this.




I also wanted to thank Lara Schiffbauer at Motivation for Creation for giving me the Dream Launcher and Sunshine Awards. Her posts are always fun and helpful. In her awards post, she shared the "most important thing that happened to me this year." She shared a critique experience at a conference that influenced her self-esteem as a writer.

Plus, I discovered we both have Viszlas. Her Viszla in Raymi.

Ours is Mauly — as in Mauly Bones.

Mauly points at cats and deer. She's supposed to point at birds. 
Now that I've mentioned my kid and dog, I believe this officially falls into that note in my posting schedule: "Sometimes, life in general sneaks into a post."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Book Launch Party: A Few Dead Men


Today, I'm welcoming Nancy Lauzon to talk about her new book A Few Dead Men — a Chick Dick Mystery. Her book launch party began March 1 and ends March 8. 

I wanted to help during her book launch, because I enjoy Nancy's writing style. Her blog is fun — can you say Bag Hag Saturday. She is generous — she throws a Book Shower for authors to welcome their babies (books) into the world. Nancy Drew fans will love Nancy too.

And now to learn more about A Few Dead Men and a chance to win her book.



The Party: Book Launch Party! A Few Dead Men - a Chick Dick Mystery — March 1 - 8

Drop by anytime at http://chickdickmysteries.com/ during this week to join in the fun! Play games, nosh on virtual goodies (a.k.a. recipes) and win prizes!

Leave a comment on Nancy Lauzon's blog to win a FREE copy of A Few Dead Men.
If you like what you read, post a review on Goodreads, Amazon or the website of your choice anytime to win another FREE copy of any Chick Dick Mystery!

The Blurb: A Few Dead Men - a Chick Dick Mystery

Life has dealt part-time mystery novelist Darcy MacDonald a lousy hand. The men she knows are either missing, dead, drunk or demented.

Lying next to the corpse of her boyfriend, the head of Bloodhound Investigations, definitely qualifies as lousy since he’s the man who also issues her paychecks.

The doctor says her boss had a massive heart attack during an orgasm, and it wasn’t Darcy’s fault. But she can’t help feeling guilty, since his orgasms were her responsibility. Or so she believed, until his grieving widow shows up, along with a mysterious, punk rocker chick who weeps inconsolably at the funeral and claims he was murdered.

The Post: 
Are there more Dead Men than Live Men?
By Nancy Lauzon

My latest mystery novel, A Few Dead Men, was inspired by my youngest daughter's disastrous dating history. The 'dead men' in the novel are composites of every boyfriend and/or bad date my daughter ever had. Believe me, I had lots of material to choose from. In fact, I didn't have room for all the 'dead men', since I didn't want to go over my word count.

This book raises several questions: Who exactly are dead men, metaphorically speaking? How did they become dead? Are there more dead men than live men? And where do you find live men?

But the book is also about a young woman compelled to solve the mysteries around her, like her favourite amateur sleuth, Nancy Drew. She doesn't go about it in exactly the same way.

Previous stops on the Blog Tour: My Interview with Annie Acorn at http://annieacorn.com and How Does a Dead Man Become Dead? at http://limebirduk.wordpress.com/

I hold onto the hope that here are more Live Men than Dead Men in this world, because I have some Live Men in my life already (my husband and my son-in-law are excellent examples). But there seem to be a lot of Dead Men out there, too. From my perspective, lately they outnumber the Live ones. I hope I'm wrong.

Some of my friends were (or still are) married to Dead Men. Did these women know these men were Dead when they got married, or did they turn Dead later on?

The few Live Men my daughter has met are taken already. They have steady girlfriends, a fiancée, or a wife. It stands to reason. Live Men are snapped up at an early age and their women hang onto them for dear life. That's what happened when I met my husband at age 20.

On occasion these men have flirted with my daughter, despite their 'taken' status, and so she realizes they're actually Dead Men, they just don't know it yet. 

Next stops on my Blog Tour:

I'm a guest at Write My World, Lena Hillbrand's blog. She's the author of vampire fiction, The Vigilantes and The Superiors. 

I'll blog about the question: Where Do You Find Live Men?
Saturday, March 10 - http://www.nancydrewsleuth.com

Calling All Sleuths! I'll be blogging at the 2012 Nancy Drew Web Con. What is a Web Con you may be wondering? It's simply a convention on the web! The subject of my blog will be Nancy Drew with a Twist of Lemon.

A Few Dead Men - a Chick Dick Mystery is available now at Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/129059 Coming soon to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Chapters/Indigo/Kobo

Nancy's Bio: 

Nancy Lauzon worked nine years on a hospital ward as a cardiac nurse before the night shifts turned her into a zombie. She got a day job in health promotion and began to write health-related articles for magazines and newsletters.

Life threw out a few curve balls, and to relieve the stress, she began to write fiction part-time. Five years later she sold two different manuscripts to two separate small-press publishers, using a pseudonym. She left nursing in 2003 and began to write full-time. Nancy lives in Ottawa, Canada.

Follow her on Twitter  (I love her profile picture on Twitter. - ssj) Friend her on Goodreads 

Thanks for stopping by Nancy. I appreciate you including us in the party. Good luck with A Few Dead Men and the live ones in your life. — Stacy

Monday, March 5, 2012

Do you read and return?

Sit and stay a spell. Let's talk.

I've been wondering about blog comments recently. I try to respond to each one. Blogger's new function to have nested comments — or the ability to reply to each individual post — is nice. I like the conversation.

A little problem arrived in my inbox on Saturday and Sunday as I responded to comments. My inbox filled up with all the notifications when a comment is posted. Then, it hit me. Everyone who who signed up for comments is getting all those comments too.

On high traffic days, say Perfect Picture Book Fridays, I don't sign up for comment notifications. I'm not a numbers gal but multiple the participants by comments by responses and you have a flooded inbox. So, if I ask a question, I return to the post.

I've noticed some people don't respond to comments in the blog, rather they send an email response to comments. Waving to Robyn Campbell from Putting Pen To Paper. Robyn does this with her Blogger blog and kindly explained the highly scientific way to do this (or just hit reply to the email notification).

Keli Gwyn has a WordPress blog and does this. That's how I found the correct answer to her Friday Fun Victorian Style post last Friday.

Laura Barnes wrote a post about this topic back in October 2011. I found Comments, Comments, Comments through her search button. She offers tips on how to respond to comments and asks the question: Is it silly to expect people to return to your blog to read your response to comments? 


It's a valid question. I may try an experiment this week and respond to comments like Robyn and Keli via email. I'll answer questions on the blog.

Do you care if a blogger responds via email to your comment or do you prefer to check the original post? I'm interested in the feedback.

On Wednesday, dead men will be here.

Just kidding. Author Nancy Lauzon will stop by to talk about her new book A Few Dead Men. I hope you are able to meet her.

Update: Wouldn't you know I would begin a conversation and then be away from the computer. I saw the first comments via my iPhone in a doctor's waiting room (all is OK) and decided not to email responses, because it sounds like everyone is getting too many emails.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Perfect Picture Books: Snuggle Puppy


Guess who owns this board book? Note the corner.

Today, I've chosen Snuggle Puppy for Perfect Picture Book Fridays.

Snuggle Puppy 
Written and Illustrated by Sandra Boynton
Workman Publishing, 2003
Snuggle Puppy is based upon the song of the same title from Boynton's book/cd set, Philadelphia Chicken.

Suitable for: Ages 2 and up. We've been reading this to Enzo before he was born.

Theme/Topic: Family, Encouragement, Love

Opening: Well, I have a thing to tell you,
and it won't take long —
The way I feel about you is kind of a song.

Brief Synopsis: A parent sings a love song to his/her child. I can't tell if the dog is the Mom or the Dad. 

The back cover says:  Ooo, Snuggle Puppy of mine. Everything about you is especially fine. And, enourgaes you to check out eight more books from Boynton.

Link to Resources:
The Mommy and Me Book Club offers a craft, a song and activities using conversation hearts to go with the book.

I've had parenting issues on my mind this week, so here's a link for parents to a discussion about how we raise our children. A blog comment I made about being CEO of Enzo Corp. made Sharon Bially's post. The comments add another layer to her post looking at how Americans and French parents do it. Posts like this are why I love Veronica's Nap, the blog and the book.

As always, fun illustrations from Boynton.

Why I chose this book: As CEO of Enzo Corp., I focused on market research (or asked other parents for suggestions). My parenting conundrum: Enzo seems too young to move to a toddler bed, but he's jumping the crib railing. He hasn't fallen. He's tall for his age (everyone tells me) and hooks a leg over the top rail. His freedom soon turns to panic and cries as he clings with all his might until I rescue him. He's done this twice at random.

A temporary solution courtesy of a Facebook friend involved rearranging his room. I slept little this week. The toddler bed transition will create it's own challenges, but I'll feel better as he'll be closer to the ground.

How this relates to Snuggle Puppy? Enzo chose this book one night before bed. His giggles at the singing and smooching gave me a much needed boost of energy.

To find more picture books and resources, visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog and look for the Perfect Picture Books page.















Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Alice J. Wisler


As a journalist, I loved picking up the phone. You never knew who it could be — an anonymous news tip or someone complaining about her kid making the arrest report. I dreamed (oh how I dreamed) it would be an anonymous tip for a big story. It rarely was a big tip. I answered the phone anyway.

I take a similar approached to blogs. Links from one can take me down a rabbit hole or a link might help me find the one big quote I need to hear or the one resource I can't live without — even though I just stumbled upon it.

Today, I wanted to share a writer I met via a random blog post. Last September, I wrote a Thankful Thursday post about Author Jordyn Redwood's Redwood's Medical Edge — Medical Fact for Your Fiction blog. Later, I read this post on Redwood's site: One Brave Cookie: Alice J. Wisler.

Alice shared the story of her son Daniel, who at the age of 4, died of cancer. It's a tough topic to read and at the end I spotted her bio. She's authored four novels. The line that struck me: "In memory of her son, she teaches online grief-writing courses and at conferences across the country."

I wondered, if it could help me write my memoir about my late husband? I visited her website, but was too late for a class under way. A link to her Writing the Heartache Workshop floated around in my email inbox from October to December when I signed up for the course.

It began late January and ended last week. If anything, my efforts to write the vomit draft of the memoir, hindered my full participation in the class. Some days, I felt too drained to think about my assignment.

I completed my homework each week and have three short essays, a letter and one poem. One assignment will show up in my A to Z Challenge posts in April. Another I submitted to  The Day, a writing opportunity, shared at Kathy Temean's Writing and Illustrating blog.

The class is low key (you don't read or critique anyone else's work). You read lessons emailed to you. Alice sends feedback about the work you submit — not a critique. The cost is $35. You don't have to be a writer to participate in her class.

This is from Alice's website on the class:
I started this workshop in 2001 for those, like me, who lost a child to death. Others who had a loved one (not a child) die took the course and found it beneficial. Then, those who had suffered wounds in their lives (significant sorrow and losses) participated in the workshop and told me that this course is for anyone who has experienced heartache. The testimonies speak loudly —writing through anguish brings healing, no matter what path you are on. 
Alice blogs at Writing the Heartache.

I found the Writing the Heartache workshop through one of those rabbit holes I fall into while online. I'm grateful I had time that day to read Alice's post and follow the links.

What secret treasure have you found following links online?