Cracking the code - scene from The Imitation Game

Cracking the code – scene from The Imitation Game

A couple of weeks ago, my kids and I watched the movie, The Imitation Game. It took us four hours to watch it from start to finish. Why?

Because I had to pause the movie often in order to answer questions they were asking about events in the movie (based on a true story that takes place in the UK during WWII), such as:

  • Why were children wearing gas masks in the street?
  • Why didn’t the parents go with their children when they were evacuated to the country?
  • Why did Joan’s parents think it was inappropriate for her to go work with a group of men?
  • How could someone (the character of John Cairncross) think that spying for the Soviet Union would help the UK win the war?
  • Why did they have to keep their work on ENIGMA secret even after the war ended?
  • How could they send people to jail for being homosexual?

That’s when it hit me like a bolt of lightning–the way to get kids interested in history is to make them care about the people involved. The way to make them care is to tell them a story.

I don’t know why this revelation came as a surprise to me. As you may know, I’ve been a huge supporter of a friend and colleague’s Kickstarter campaign to bring history to life (and to relevance) for children. I suppose seeing a story create a thirst within my own children to learn more brought home the importance of teaching through story.

First TTT&T story will feature Michelangelo and Renaissance Italy. Stone Giant, Illustration copyright © 2014 by John Shelley, Used with permission by Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc., 85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472, (617) 926-0329, www.charlesbridge.com. All rights reserved.

First TTT&T story will feature Michelangelo and Renaissance Italy. Stone Giant, Illustration copyright © 2014 by John Shelley, Used with permission by Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc., 85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472, (617) 926-0329, www.charlesbridge.com. All rights reserved.

I used to be embarrassed to admit that I hated history in school because it was presented as a long string of facts, statistics, and explanations of political motivations. That information is important, but we won’t retain it without context. Knowing how many people died in WWII is just a number, but learning about the life of one family living in London during the Blitz–the scarcity of food, the constant smell of fire, the sight of crushed buildings, the rattle of bombs while sheltering–builds empathy toward all of the dead.

Much of what I have learned about history since school has come from reading historical fiction. When I read historical fiction, I become fascinated by the events of the time and place, and I am inspired then to read MORE on the subject, including nonfiction.

The Kickstarter campaign Time Traveler Tours & Tales is running aims to tell hiSTORY using both narrative nonfiction and historical fiction. What’s even more exciting (if not a little ironic), is that this storytelling will take advantage of the most modern of technologies – mobile devices and apps. In other words, the intent is to reach children where they are (on devices) and excite them into a love of history by helping them not only relate to the past, but to interact with it and make it their own.

BUT, and you knew there had to be a ‘but’, they’re running out of time. The TTT&T campaign has been endorsed by The Guardian, Neil Gaiman, and WorldReader. Authors such as Cornelia Funke (and yours truly) are backers. They’ve reached 90% of their funding goal. But all of that disappears if they don’t reach their goal within the next three days. Kickstarter is all or nothing.

I have no skin in this game, other than I would like to write a story for this imprint someday. I have written about and promoted the campaign because I’m passionate about the cause. So if you, too, want to help make history personal, relevant, real, and most importantly, FUN for kids, please consider a pledge. No amount is too small, and there are terrific rewards on offer at all levels.

Let’s Turn History On.

Screenshot 2015-06-23 12.03.14

Categories: Apps, Children's Books, Crowdfunding, Digital Publishing, Friendship, Publishing · Tags: , , , , , ,

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Sarah and I getting ready to present about apps at the Bologna Children's Book Fair

Sarah and I getting ready to present about apps at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair

If you have been following my blog for any period of time, you know I am passionate about all of the following:

  • Writing stories for children
  • Sharing stories with children
  • Using ALL avenues of publishing great books for children (including apps, ebooks, transmedia, etc.)
  • Italy (especially Florence!)
  • Historical fiction (especially books written by Mary Hoffman)
  • Entrepreneurial authors paving their own paths to success
  • Supporting fellow authors

For all of these reasons, it gives me great pleasure to share an outstanding project from my friend Sarah Towle that will not only bring fabulous historical tales to children in multiple formats, but will also create brand new opportunities for authors writing narrative historical nonfiction and historical fiction. Talk about a win-win!

Introducing … Time Traveler Tours & Tales (TTT&T) – a brand new way of imagining and delivering stories to children that will bring history to life for them.

I first met Sarah at the Bologna Book Fair in 2011, when she was launching the first-ever StoryApp Tour and Tale – the critically acclaimed Beware Madame la Guillotine. I was so impressed with what she was doing, I glommed onto her continued to follow her progress and learn from her as I went on to publish my own two storybook apps. Along the way, we became great friends.

TTT&T aims to be the first publishing imprint of its kind–publishing their story-based tours and tales of history in all available formats.

  • Mobile StoryApp Tours narrated by the very people who walked the streets in that place in that time of history.
  • Interactive ebooks that bring the historical period to life.
  • Print and audio versions of each tale.
  • Free curriculum guides for each tour and tale to bring history to life inside the classroom.
Authors Mary Hoffman and Sarah Towle cooking up plans for TTT&T at Writer's Renaissance 2014

Authors Mary Hoffman and Sarah Towle cooking up plans for TTT&T at Writer’s Renaissance 2014

For their official debut, TTT&T have chosen to bring to life one of the world’s greatest artistic and genius giants – Michelangelo and his David. In the Footsteps of Giants is a story woven by one of the best historical fiction writers for children of our time, Mary Hoffman. In it, we get to walk the streets of Renaissance Florence alongside the fictional model for the statue of David (P.S. We all know what that guy looks like – wouldn’t you like to meet him??).

I know first-hand that nobody knows more about Michelangelo than Mary Hoffman. She was on faculty for both of my Writer’s Renaissance retreats, and I’ve had the amazing good fortune of standing before the David in her company. Life will never be the same for me, and now you can have the same treat by reading her book.

Many of you also know I ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of one of my picture books. So I do have a special place in my heart for the power of crowdfunding. It’s the layperson’s way to support the arts and opportunities they want to see in the world. Here is your chance to do the same.

  • If you are a reader, you will enjoy a gripping story of Renaissance Florence with In the Footsteps of Giants and a whole series of historical stories that bring the locations and the events of that time period to life right before your eyes (and feet).
  • If you are a writer, TTT&T will provide opportunities for you to publish your own historical adventures for children.
  • If you are a teacher, you will have brand new ways to bring history alive for your students, using the stories themselves and the comprehensive curriculum guides.

I urge you to consider supporting TTT&T’s campaign to become one of the most exciting publishing imprints of our time. The number of backers is just as important as the total amount raised, so TRULY, no amount donated is too small. Rewards begin at $1.

If you are unable to donate, you can still help by sharing the project in your social media circles. In fact, here’s an easy tweet you can use.

New publisher plans to #turnhistoryon for kids. #writers, #teachers, check it out here: http://kck.st/1PyGzKO #kidlit (Click to Tweet this)

Me being one to put my money where my mouth is, I not only backed this project, I’m also offering a reward for others to do. Look for one of the CREATIVE COLLABORATOR rewards and you’ll see a one-hour strategy session with me on any aspect of your career as a writer, plus the first three Modules of my course, How to Make Money as a Writer. There’s only one of those, though, so if you want it, snag it soon.

There are fabulous rewards at all levels, however. Check out their campaign page to see for yourself.

As writers in the 21st Century, we have to create opportunities for ourselves whenever and however we can. What I love about what Sarah is doing with TTT&T is that she’s not only creating opportunity for herself, but extending that to children’s authors across the globe. I don’t know about you, but that turns me on. 🙂

Footsteps of Giants

Stone Giant Illustration copyright © 2014 by John Shelley Used with permission by Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc. 85 Main Street Watertown, MA 02472 (617) 926-0329 www.charlesbridge.com All rights reserved.

Categories: Apps, Bologna Children's Book Fair, Children's Books, Creativity, Crowdfunding, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Florence, Friendship, Italy, Publishing, Storybook Apps, Travel, Writer's Renaissance · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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anti-resolutionThree years ago I wrote a blog post that garnered quite a bit of attention. It was titled, 2012 Anti-Resolution Revolution. I skipped 2013, but got back on track in 2014. I’m bringing this tradition with me into 2015, and I’ve asked participants in my 12 Days of Christmas for Writers program to do the same.

Here is an excerpt from the original post:

It is so tempting to start listing all the things one wants to accomplish at the start of a New Year, but in my experience, the process (and thus the result) is flawed.

I believe the reason resolutions often don’t work is because they start from a place of lack, of negativity, of failure.  We think about all the things we weren’t happy with in the previous year and set out to “fix” them in the new one…  Lose weight = I weigh too much…  Make more money = I don’t have enough money.  Write more often = I don’t write enough

There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals, and achieving them is even better.  However, the goals need to be set on a strong foundation… Let’s first celebrate success and then determine how to carry that forward into the New Year rather than berating ourselves for what did not get done

It is CRITICAL to reflect on what you DID accomplish in the previous year. How else can you build from the base you already have? If you don’t take the time to tally up and celebrate what you’ve already accomplished, your resolutions will crumble. You’ll be starting from scratch in every category, and starting from scratch feels scary.

Here is what GOALS (vs. resolutions) look like when crafted this way. Lose weight = What did I do last year to improve my health, and what can I do to continue that progress? Make more money = How much money did I make last year, from which sources, and how can I increase output from those sources and add new ones? Write more often = What did I write this year and how am I going to use that writing in the new year while also writing new stories/articles/books, etc.?

Because I am a firm believer that it takes far more courage to celebrate and compliment yourself than it does to criticize and berate yourself, I’ve invited 12 Days of Christmas for Writers participants to post their successes on their blogs and websites too. Feel free to share links to your posts in the comments here!

Here is a list of my major professional accomplishments of 2014. 

  1. I wrote 7 new picture book drafts and revised 12. Plus I wrote a book proposal. That’s a personal best for me in terms of volume of writing!!
  2. Launched the third year of the 12 x 12 picture book writing challenge with a spruced up Membership Forum. Grew to 750 members!
  3. A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS storybook app won the Independent Book Publisher’s Association Benjamin Franklin Digital Gold Award.
  4. A SHIVER OF SHARKS storybook app won a 2014 Digital Book Award.
  5. Attended the first-ever Picture Book Boot Camp with THE Jane Yolen at her home in Massachusetts.
  6. My agent, Erzsi Deak, took my one of my books out on submission (still awaiting responses).
  7. Ran the second annual Writer’s Renaissance retreat in Florence Italy to great success.
  8. Launched a brand new website for Writer’s Renaissance.Me with MLFY
  9. Filed my first tax return as a single, self-employed person.
  10. Launched a comprehensive online course – How to Make Money as a Writer.
  11. Launched The Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions (with my friend and colleague Emma Walton Hamilton).
  12. Participated as a speaker in the SCBWI-MI webinar series on the topic of being an Author Entrepreneur.
  13. Met with all Denver-area bookstores to plan events for the launch of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN and to get them to carry the print version of A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS.
  14. Learned, once and for all, to use Scrivener. I have to credit Joe Michael’s excellent course,* which I keep open every time I write in the program.
  15. Presented at the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction conference on the topic of changes in the publishing industry, storybook apps, and connecting with your audience.
  16. Presented at the New Jersey SCBWI conference on the topics of author-entrepreneurship and crowdfunding.
  17. Attended the LA-SCBWI Annual Summer conference and was interviewed by Lee Wind for the Official SCBWI Blog.
  18. MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN released on September 9th!
  19. My first radio show interview took place the day before my book launch party.
  20. Held hugely successful book launch at Saturn Booksellers in my hometown of Gaylord, MI. (psst… Saturn still has signed copies of the book in their store…)
  21. Visited all three elementary schools, for free, in my hometown during my launch week.
  22. Presented at the SCBWI-MI conference on the subject of 21st century publishing.
  23. Presented at my first-ever book festival – The Southern Festival of Books – with MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN illustrator Susan Eaddy.
  24. Conducted school visits and several bookstore signings with Susan Eaddy, including Parnassus Books, The Tattered Cover, The Book Bar, The Bookies, and Boulder Bookstore. (As a public service announcement, ALL of these stores have signed copies of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN)
  25. Fulfilled all the rewards for Kickstarter backers of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN.
  26. MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN was nominated for the 2014 CYBILS awards in the picture book category.
  27. Spent a week in London doing research for my picture book biography.
  28. Launched a brand new website for the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge
  29. Participated in PiBoIdMo and came up with 28 new picture book ideas, one of which is already drafted.
  30. Hired a bookkeeper and have begun to get my business finances in order, not just for tax season but also for planning and forecasting.
  31. Continued to contribute to Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast.

I’m quite happy with this list. 🙂

Now it’s your turn to make YOUR list! Share in the comments if you’d like. 🙂

*I love Joe’s course so much I became an affiliate. That means if you use my link and make a purchase, I get a small commission. As always, I NEVER recommend anything I don’t love and use myself. But it is important to do your own due diligence before making any purchase to determine whether it will work for you and/or meet your needs. 🙂

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Apps, Authors, Brain Burps About Books, Creativity, Crowdfunding, Holidays, Italy, My Love For You Is The Sun, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Poetry, Publishing, SCBWI, Storybook Apps, Works in Progress, Writer's Renaissance, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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This could quite possibly be the latest an author has ever announced the arrival of his/her book on publication day. But I have been working on a special commemoration video of this event. I hope you enjoy this “story behind the story” and MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN‘s long journey to publication.

If you are a regular blog reader, you know this book is particularly close to my heart. In fact, it IS my heart in 118 words. I only hope it brings as much joy to those who read it as it gave me to write it, and that it will give families everywhere a way to express the depth of their love for one another for years to come.

I owe an eternal debt of gratitude to our backers on Kickstarter, without whom this book simply would not have been possible. My sincerest thanks to all of you for loving and supporting this book. You’ve made this girl’s dream come true, that’s for sure!

Huge thanks also go, of course, to Susan Eaddy for illustrations they defy belief, toStacey Williams-Ng at Little Bahalia for taking a risk on me once again, and to Erzsi Deak, my agent, for bushwhacking the path.

Here is… MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN.

Categories: Crowdfunding, Picture Books, Poetry, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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anti-resolutionTwo years ago I wrote a blog post that grabbed the attention and touched the heart of none other than Katie Davis, who is now one of my very best friends. It was titled, 2012 Anti-Resolution Revolution. Katie was so inspired by that post, she created her own special tool to capture her accomplishments throughout the year and evaluate them at the end. She has graciously offered to share this workbook with you – click here for more info.

Here is an excerpt from the original post:

It is so tempting to start listing all the things one wants to accomplish at the start of a New Year, but in my experience, the process (and thus the result) is flawed.

I believe the reason resolutions often don’t work is because they start from a place of lack, of negativity, of failure.  We think about all the things we weren’t happy with in the previous year and set out to “fix” them in the new one…  Lose weight = I weigh too much…  Make more money = I don’t have enough money.  Write more often = I don’t write enough

There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals, and achieving them is even better.  However, the goals need to be set on a strong foundation.  So I figured, why not start with what I did accomplish this year and set goals from there.  Let’s first celebrate success and then determine how to carry that forward into the New Year, rather than berating ourselves for what did not get done..

I didn’t write a similar post in 2013, but I should have. It is CRITICAL to reflect on what you DID accomplish in the previous year. How else can you build from the base you already have? If you don’t take the time to tally up and celebrate what you’ve already accomplished, your resolutions will crumble. You’ll be starting from scratch in every category, and starting from scratch feels scary.

Here is what GOALS (vs. resolutions) look like when crafted this way. Lose weight = What did I do last year to improve my health, and what can I do to continue that progress? Make more money = How much money did I make last year, from which sources, and how can I increase output from those sources and add new ones? Write more often = What did I write this year and how am I going to use that writing in the new year while also writing new stories/articles/books, etc.?

Here’s an example from my own year. All year long, in my head, I lamented how little writing I got done. So much so that by the end of the year I was sure I’d done almost nothing. Yesterday, when I tallied it all up, I was pleasantly to find I’d written far more than I thought I had. I had written full drafts that I’d completely forgotten about. Drafts that I can continue revising and working with this year.

I am a firm believer that it takes far more courage to celebrate and compliment yourself than it does to criticize and berate yourself. So let’s get started.

Here is a list of my major professional accomplishments of 2013. 

In addition to this list, I ran the 12 x 12 challenge all year, wrote new drafts and revised existing ones, and continued to contribute to Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast. Whew! I’ll be sure to come back to this whenever I feel discouraged about how much I “don’t get done.” 🙂

Now it’s your turn to make YOUR list!

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Apps, Authors, Bologna Children's Book Fair, Brain Burps About Books, Children's Books, Crowdfunding, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Florence, Goals, Holidays, How I Got My Agent, Italy, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries, SCBWI, Social Media, Storybook Apps, Travel, Video Idiot Boot Camp, Works in Progress, Writer's Renaissance, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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INCREDIBLE results!

INCREDIBLE results!

With just 24 hours left in the Kickstarter campaign for my book, MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN, what I want to say most of all is THANK YOU! Many of you pledged, shared the news, hosted me on your blogs or supported me in other ways. ALL of you endured many messages from me about the campaign over the past 30 days and are still here. That constitutes support too. 🙂

We have the money we need to publish the book AND do two free school visits post-publication. Those results are so thrilling and so incredible, that I decided NOT to make a final appeal for backers in today’s post, but rather share what the campaign has meant to me.

  1. It’s given me the opportunity to publish a book that honors my family and my childhood. I hope it will provide a way for other families to do the same across generations.
  2. It’s made this holiday season, my favorite time of year, even more magical than most.
  3. It has reminded me of everything I love about being a children’s writer, INCLUDING the tough stuff like promotion.
  4. The love, encouragement and support I’ve received from so many people has been a huge emotional boon. Difficult to express, but most definitely sincere.
  5. I get to work with an illustrator, Susan Eaddy, whose work amazes me AND make one of my kids’ dreams — to have her illustrate one of my books — a reality.
  6. I get to revel in the knowledge that Little Bahalia Publishing has enough faith in me to invest time and energy into another one of my books.
  7. I have pushed myself into places that have been scarier and darker than most others with this project, and I am stronger and more confident as a result.
  8. I get to use my knowledge to teach and assist other writers who may embark upon this journey after me, which is always one of my goals.

It’s been a wild and wonderful ride. Thanks for riding shotgun!

Categories: Childhood, Children's Books, Crowdfunding, Family, Friendship, Picture Books, Publishing · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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09. December 2013 · Comments Off on A “Slew” of Announcements

I can’t ever get very far away from collective nouns. 🙂 I have a number of things to share today, so let’s dive right in.

1.  The lovely and talented Elizabeth Dulemba interviewed Susan Eaddy and me about our venture to crowdfund MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN on Kickstarter. Please join us over there to get “twofer” answers on Elizabeth’s great questions AND to win a copy of the book when it releases next fall. Thanks to Elizabeth for hosting us!!

My Love for You is the Sun - Illustration

My Love for You is the Sun – Illustration

2.  There are just THREE days left in our Kickstarter campaign. Although we have reached our funding goal, publishing a book is just the first step. Then comes finding an audience and promoting. All extra $ we raise will go toward providing free school visits to underfunded schools and PR/Marketing for the book. No pledge is too small. Spreading the word also helps immensely! Here are some “click to tweets” to make it easy for you if you are on twitter.

Go to @dulemba for a chance to WIN a #picturebook funded on #kickstarter! http://ow.ly/rB5fH + meet author & illustrator #giveaway (Click to tweet this)

Final days of #kickstarter campaign for lovely #picturebook. Extra $ go to school visits + audience-building. http://kck.st/1aCWc9p (Click to tweet this)

I backed this beautiful #picturebook on #Kickstarter. Have you? Just 3 days left – check it out! http://kck.st/1aCWc9p (Click to tweet this)

This #picturebook was funded in record time on #Kickstarter. You’ll see why if you visit the campaign. Just 3 days left! http://kck.st/1aCWc9p (Click to tweet this)

3 days left to back @JulieFHedlund effort to not only pub #picturebook but share with many kiddos. http://kck.st/1aCWc9p #kickstarter (Click to tweet this)

3.  Information on registration for 12 x 12 in 2014, including membership levels and fees, has been posted. HOWEVER, there12 x 12 new badge are no payment links yet because registration does not open until January 6, 2014. The information is there for you to determine which membership level is right for you and to budget. If you were not a member in 2013, the best way to be kept informed on registration openings, program features, etc. is to sign up for the 12 x 12 mailing list to make sure you receive the most up-to-date information. Existing members do not need to sign up for this list – I know where you are. 🙂

4.  I have NOT FORGOTTEN about the December featured author post for 12 x 12. It’s coming! I think the holidays have been  a bit killer for everyone with December coming two days after Thanksgiving. So stay tuned my friends.

It's a Jungle in Here!

It’s a Jungle in Here!

5.  On a personal note, I hosted my first-ever book release party yesterday for A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS. What a thrill! I’m looking forward to doing many more events in schools, libraries and bookstores in 2014. There’s no adrenaline rush quite like signing books, I’ve discovered. 🙂

That’s all for now folks! For everyone who, in thousands of different ways, have supported my writing journey and my books – THANK YOU!

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Crowdfunding, Digital Publishing, Entertaining, Giveaway, Picture Books, Publishing, Social Media, Storybook Apps, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Final horses sketch for a spread of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN

Final horses sketch for a spread of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN

*12 x 12 members: please come back on the 6th for the featured author post. I gave a week extension because of the holiday, but I promise you won’t be disappointed! 🙂

On this Thanksgiving week, I once again look in wonder upon the multitude of blessings in my life. So much so that I took pause earlier this week to reflect upon what the “giving” part of the holiday means and how I can do more.

Usually in these posts, I focus on the small things I’m grateful for, because they are often overlooked. This week I’ve interspersed some of the big things too.

Quotes on Gratitude

“Rest and be thankful.” — William Wadsworth Longfellow

“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.” — Harry A. Ironside

“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.” — John Henry Jowett

Gratitude list for the week ending November 30th

  1. The health and happiness of my two children. Nothing matters more.
  2. The ability to host family members for a Thanksgiving dinner, abundant with food and warmth and love (and a fire!)
  3. My home. Even when things go “wrong” as they did this week, I know how fortunate we are to have one.
  4. My dog. Despite the fact that he runs off through the neighborhood and drives me crazy. He also flops all 85 pounds of himself on my lap and then looks up at me with pleading eyes so I’ll scratch his chin.
  5. Being able to do what I love to do for a living
  6. Seeing Susan Eaddy’s final sketch for the horses illustration for MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN
  7. My college-age cousin peeled the potatoes for me on Thanksgiving. I DESPISE peeling potatoes! The fact that I didn’t have to do it was one of the best parts of Thanksgiving – seriously! 🙂
  8. Seeing Catching Fire with my mom. SO. GOOD. !!!
  9. My kids helped clean and decorate the house this week without even being asked. And all was harmonious the whole time.
  10. Michigan played well against Ohio State, even if it was a heartbreaking final 30 seconds.

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: Autumn, College Football, Crowdfunding, Dogs, Entertaining, Family, Friendship, Gratitude Sunday, I Need Wine Pronto!, Movies, Picture Books, Thanksgiving, Volunteer/Community · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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12 x 12 new banner

It will probably come as no surprise that I did NOT get a draft written this month. Instead, I have confirmation that my next book, MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN, will be published next year thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign with a week and a half left to go!! So I consider that worth a draft for sure. 🙂

Now it’s your turn. How did you do in November? Let us know in the comments and of course in the Rafflecopter.

Quick reminder: Our December featured agent, Jennifer Starkman, will accept submissions from GOLD members December 1st at 8:00am through December 15th at 6pm EST/3pm PST.

Here is what you need to do to check in for a chance to win a critique from Linda Ashman or a copy of her book The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books, even if you didn’t complete a draft!

  1. See the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post that says “Critique with Linda Ashman” at the top.
  2. Click on the “Comment on Linda’s Blog Post” button. It will reveal the task, which is to comment on Linda’s blog post. Commenting on Linda’s post is mandatory and gets you one point even if you didn’t complete a draft in November. If you haven’t yet commented, click here to do so. Then you click ENTER on that option in Rafflecopter, which will then open the next two options.
  3. Click on the “Wrote a PB Manuscript” button. This will ask if you completed a PB draft in November. If you did, click ENTER, if you did not, move on to the next step.
  4. Click on the last “Revised a PB Manuscript” button. This will ask if you revised a PB in November. If you did, click ENTER. If not, move on to the next step.
  5. Submit your entry. Rafflecopter will track your points.

You have until midnight Eastern on December 1st to enter your results. I will then have Rafflecopter draw a winner and announce it on the blog on December 2nd.

Many, many thanks to Linda Ashman for showing all that a bad beginning can lead to a great ending!

Finally, don’t forget to come back soon to meet December’s talented featured author!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Categories: 12 x 12, 12 x 12 Featured Author, Authors, Crowdfunding, Giveaway, Goals, Picture Books, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Kickstarter Campaign Page at the time of this posting!

Kickstarter Campaign Page at the time of this posting!

The big event for me this week was achieving full funding for our Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN!! I am grateful for each and every person who supported us, and not just the backers, but everyone who blogged, tweeted, shared and otherwise spread the word and/or offered moral support. It’s not over yet – we still have 2+ weeks to go – but it’s such a blessing to know we have funding for the book and to turn our focus to building our audience.

Quotes on Gratitude

“I have noticed that the Universe loves Gratitude. The more Grateful you are, the more goodies you get.” — Louise L. Hay

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” — Marianne Williamson

“Let’s trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let’s lay down our righteousness and just be together.” — Ram Dass

Gratitude list for the week ending 11/22

  1. MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN is funded! It will be published!
  2. The look on my kids’ faces when I told them we got our funding
  3. Celebratory dinner with my mom and kids

    Mid-swing with the Kettle Bell at Crossfit

    Mid-swing with the Kettle Bell at Crossfit

  4. The outpouring of congratulations and cheer from our community of supporters
  5. My copies of A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS have arrived! If you pre-ordered from me, you’ll be getting your book very soon!
  6. My new Crossfit classes. They are almost unendurably painful, but I feel so fantastic when I’m finished! It feels good to be getting back into shape.
  7. Winter weather – I’m ready for ski season!
  8. Popcorn, hot chocolate and a movie with the kids on a cold night
  9. The movie in question – The Wizard of Oz
  10. Falling in love with and finishing a book that gripped me like no other has in quite some time.

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Apps, Authors, Books, Cooking, Crowdfunding, Family, Friendship, Goals, Gratitude Sunday, Movies, Picture Books, Publishing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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