Sunday, March 31, 2013

Taking a little break

I hope you all have a very blessed Easter.

March turned into a tough month for me — not in a bad way, but a busy one. April will be similar as I prepare for two writing events.

I'm finalizing my pitch for my memoir In a Blink for the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. This will be my third year in attendance and the first time I've pitched. The last time I actively pitched this manuscript was 2009. Be calm and pitch on!

After volunteer duties at the conference (including a 4:45 a.m. transport to the airport), I have final projects due as the semester wraps up at school.

Throughout the month, I'll be working on my picture book manuscripts and query letters for the Big Sur in the Rockies. I'm excited about this opportunity and a little nervous about trying to get my stories in the best shape prior to Big Sur.

To help in the process, I took Susanna Leonard Hill's Making Picture Book Magic course in March.

My level of interaction with my class and Susanna, didn't show my true enthusiasm for the class. I know there are tons of classes out there, but I really, really liked this format — especially during a busy month.

Monday through Friday I received an email with the day's lesson and instructions for the assignment. Susanna wasn't kidding about the time involved with each lesson. It's manageable in 30 minutes or less each day.

I know there are tons of classes out there, but wanted to mention I found Susanna's class to be extremely helpful and informative. The class offers opportunity for a lot of interaction among participants and with Susanna. When I was able to do this, I found it very useful.

That's a long way of saying, I'm going to take a break from here while I hunker down for a month of revisions, reading the books several friends recently published, and a few other projects including blog visits.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Writing from the Peak: Shower Talk

by ssj

I'm over at Writing from the Peak today talking about how to save your ideas from going down the drain. 

Good ideas often arrive in the shower. How do you save those ideas from going down the drain? I share a few tips in "Shower Talk: Ways to Save Your Ideas From Going Down the Drain."

Friday, March 15, 2013

PPBF: Rhyming Dust Bunnies

Here's my choice for Perfect Picture Book:
Rhyming Dust Bunnies
Written and Illustrated by Jan Thomas
Beach Lane Books, 2009

Suitable for: Ages

Theme/Topic: Rhyming, Listening to your friends

Opening: Hello! We are Ed, Ned, Ted ... and Bob.
We rhyme all the time!

Brief Synopsis: As three dust bunnies, Ed, Ned, and Ted, are demonstrating how much they love to rhyme, a fourth, Bob is trying to warn them of approaching danger. — from the Library of Congress Summary

Link to resources: Here's a Rhyme Time lesson plan for kindergarten students. You may even want to find some dust bunnies at your house and "clean them up." This book at 126 words would be easy to act out. Perhaps you could get some cleaning done while you do it! Jan Thomas has Things to Do, including a page on the Rhyming Dust Bunnies.

Why I like this book: The combination of simple illustrations and text make this perfect for my kiddo. It's a well loved library book as the pages are falling out. I'll have to point that out when I return it! It has a simple rhyme with Bob being the odd man out, but with something very important to share. His friends keep ignoring him until the end when they turn to him for help.

For more Perfect Picture Book Fridays books, check out Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Monday, March 11, 2013

For Jedi Renn

This is for my Young Jedi Friend Renn:


 You can read about Renn at The Brain of a Jedi ... and his journey through Epilepsy. He's in the hospital this week for more tests. Medical tests are no fun!

Many bloggers are joining together to send good wishes, prayers, the power of the Star Wars (a favorite of this little Jedi) to Renn and his family.

Author Susanna Leonard Hill has a link to multiple well wishes for Renn on her blog. Take a look.

Send a happy thought or prayer into the universe for Renn and his family. His mom is children's author Bethany Telles.

Hospitals are no fun, especially for little guys, moms, dads, and little brothers. So we're all sending out good vibes into the universe.

I hope this week will be helpful for Renn and his family as they search for more answers into his condition. Good luck. I know the Force is with you all.

Friday, March 8, 2013

PPBF: Enzo the Wonderfish

There's a reason this book caught my eye for Perfect Picture Book Fridays:

Enzo the Wonderfish
Written and Illustrated by Cathy Wilcox
Ticknor & Fields Books for Young Readers
Published 1994, Copyright 1993

Suitable for: Ages 5 and up

Theme/Topic: Fish, Animals, Pet Ownership, Responsibility

Opening: I had always wanted a pet. A pet, not quite as smart as me, That I could feed and care for and pat."

Brief Synopsis: A child who wants a pet is given a fish and vows to train him to do wonderful trick. (Have I ever mentioned how I love the Library of Congress summaries for books. This one is spot on.)

Link to Resources: Lessons on pet ownership from National Pet Week. Do what Hubby does and take your child to the pet store. There's no entrance fee like the zoo and you can see many animals up close and discuss the things needed to own the pet, food, and the costs of pet ownership.

Why I like this book: As I zipped through the library last Saturday Enzo free, the title caught my eye as I whizzed by a shelf. My son loves going to the pet store to look at the animals. Now he asks, "How do we get one?" when he sees an animal he likes. While I picked it up for the title, it's a fun read and a twist on pet ownership. The last few pages have a lot of tension as the fate of Enzo the Wonderfish was in question. It definitely surprised me.

Ouch, I read a bit of the Publishers Weekly review found on the Amazon link to the this book. I agree the beginning was a bit "long winded." Still it's a fun book, if you can find it at your library.

For more Perfect Picture Books, check out Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Friday, March 1, 2013

PPBF: Way Far Away on a Wild Safari

While not a hippo book, one does appear in this week's choice for Perfect Picture Book Fridays

Way Far Away on a Wild Safari
Written by Jan Peck
Illustrated by Valeria Petrone
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2006

Suitable for: Ages 3 and up

Theme/Topic: Safari, Animals

Way far away on a wild safari,
I'm hunting for a lion for my grandma and me.
I'm so brave,
can't scare me,
way far away on a wild safari.

Brief Synopsis: From the book's jacket:
"Grab your binoculars
and follow me.
Let's travel far away
on a wild safari.
There are lots of fun trails!
Many sights to see!
As we hike, hike, hike
on this wild safari."

Link to Resources: Here's the curriculum guide for the Way Out series of books from Jan Peck's website. The picture book We All Went on Safari has several pages about the animals of Tanzania, the Maasai people, and Swahili names. Here's a Safari in Kenya lesson plan from Homeschool Creations.

Why I like this book: We found this book as part of our hippo adventures. One appears in this book! This adventure takes the boy full circle from being in the wild and meeting the animals to saying goodbye and being with his grandma. The final illustration shares a surprise about this young explorer.

And, may I ask: Where did February go? Hello March.

For more Perfect Picture Books, check out Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.