February 28, 2011

March

March

According to dictionary.com march means:
§         to walk with regular measured tread
§         or a tract of land along a border of a country
§         or the third month of the year
§         or a sir name

Oh my goodness, no wonder English is offered as a major in college. How random is that list of meanings?

For this blog post, we will focus on the definition, “the third month of the year.”  31 days long and many of them ‘noteable.’

In 1995 Congress designated March National Irish American Heritage month. Very fitting since the 17th is St. Patrick’s Day.

March is National Peanut Month, which is sad for my sister and the bazillions of people in this country allergic to nuts.

The 2nd week of the month is National Bubble Week. I didn’t know that, but no that I do I’m making big plans. Who doesn’t love bubbles?

The 14th is National Pi day…you know 3.14

The Ides of March is on the 15th. But more importantly so is Incredible Kid Day! Something those of us involved in children’s publishing should want to celebrate.

Extraterrestrial Abductions Day is on the 20th. That’s just awesome! So either don your foil hat or hide under a rock depending on whether or not you care to be abducted by aliens.

The 20th is also the first day of spring. It has been an extra wintery season for many across the country and I’m sure the 20th will be looked forward to by lots of people.

I’d like to participate in Waffle Day on the 25th, but I will not be celebrating National Clam on the Half Shell Day on the 31st.

So, tomorrow starts March (National Pig Day and Peanut Butter Lover’s Day). Will it roar in like a lion or stand docile-y in the pasture chomping grass like a lamb?

I’ll be ushering it in with a giveaway, so come back tomorrow to learn about that.

What’s on your March calendar?

February 26, 2011

Recents

Recent Reads
Torment by Lauren Kate– humble rating: Golf Clap+ – Enjoyed the new location, the new characters. Only thing that was frustrating was Luce’s extreme ignorance. I’m sorry I have to wait for the next book, though.









Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl– humble rating: Motivational Speaker –I’m going to have to give this one a MS rating. I considered the Golf Clap with some plus marks because I wasn’t super crazy about how much help ‘conveniently’ showed up for Ethan along the way. But when I thought about the overall book, I admit, I was smitten. And it is a big ole book to be smitten with. For that reason, I’ll accept that poor mortal Ethan needed all of these more talented people to suddenly be involved in one way or another to help him. Plus, I was glad to see Macon again. Smitten.







Switched by Amanda Hocking - humble rating: Golf Clap- – Hmmm. The story is good but the large amount of errors caused me to check on the publisher and I discovered it is a self-published book.  I’m so bummed, because I want to like the idea of self-publishing, but those errors were distracting and unprofessional.  I’ll probably continue with the series because I’m curious and the price point on the Kindle edition is attractive even w/errors.  Sigh.  This may inspire a blog post.  I need input from others on this.








Raising the Dead by Mara Purnhagan  - humble rating: Golf Clap- – When a story is part of a series, it should at least have its own story arc. We made our way about 2/3 up the arc and then the story was over. Lots of plot lines were opened, but nothing was resolved. Perhaps other readers would find this suspenseful. It just confused me. I was surprised to find this wasn’t self-published.  I’m really gonna need to blog now.

My own humble rating system: Please feel free to ask for clarification or to dispute my opinion.  I only ask that we ALWAYS remain respectful to the author.

Chirping Cricket – At the end all you hear is the chirp of the cricket.  I doubt I’ll ever use this because I can’t publicly embarrass someone knowingly.  However, I must have a ‘beginning’ rating in order for the rest to make sense. 

Golf Clap - The polite ovation that follows a well-placed shot.

Motivational Speaker –You are left fired up and eager to get to work making the world a better place.  You can’t wait to tell your friends all the insights and inspiration you took away from it. 

Rock Concert – Hooting and hollering, cheering, singing and clapping throughout the performance.  Swaying and lit lighters accompany ballads.  Riots break out if there is no encore.

February 24, 2011

Make A List

Make a list;

Top three things important to you now.
Top three things plaguing you now.
Top three things impeding your progress now.
Top three people that tick you off today.

Imagine you learn that you are very sick, now.
Imagine you fight, but in 8 weeks from now, you lose that battle.

Go back to that list.

What’s important now?

Many, many prayers of love and healing are being sent out to the family and friends of Lisa Wolfson (writer L.K. Madigan) today. May the loss of this beautiful person be a reminder of what our priorities should be and where our goals truly belong within those priorities.

February 22, 2011

The Writer's Prayer

The Writer’s Prayer

On this, another day of writing, please inspire my word choices and guide my grammar.
On this, another day of promotion, please help me to whisper promoting thoughts into the ears of media specialists, classroom teachers, book store owners, parents and grandparents alike.
On this, another day of manuscript submissions, please spit polish the query so that the sparkle attracts the attention of the right editor or agent.
On this, another day of social media, please limit me to productive online time only.
On this, another day of email obsessing, please distract me with my first request.

With this prayer, I remain ever-so-faithfully a writer.

Amen.

February 18, 2011

Recents

Must share my recent review of The Weaver by All Consuming Books. Feel free to share reviews with friends, teachers, grandparents.

I have a four day weekend and plan to READ a lot. Maybe write some.  I've got a beautiful, heartfelt new idea forming inside my small mind for middle grade readers who want a story of depth and love and friendship and pain and...did I mention love?  Never know when the idea will be ready to come out.

Recent Reads


The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z by Kate Messner– humble rating: Golf Clap+ – Really enjoyed the story arc. Loved the leaves. I was far into the book before I figured out the title, duh! Great middle grade. And I’m a Red Oak.









XVI by Julia Karr– humble rating: Golf Clap – Really enjoyed the dystopian aspect of this story. The world was well built and Julia does a good job working in futuristic elements like trannies and PAV’s without losing the reader or without overloading on explanation. Also loved the main character’s natural and realistic depth of emotion – highs and lows.








The Queen’s Dollmaker by Christine Trent - humble rating: Golf Clap – This was a long book. I read it on my Kindle, so I don’t really have any idea of the breadth of it, but it felt like it continued past the natural ending. I do understand why the author carried the story through to the queen’s death. (Oh, come on! We all know she died!) but even that felt too long. I did love reading about the craft of building the dolls. I was surprised in a not-too-convinced way about the last revealed traitor. There were plenty of good moments in this book, but over all I was left thinking ‘MEH’







Most Wanted by Kate Thompson - humble rating: Golf Clap – Fast, easy middle grade read that twines history with fiction. I admit, I loved the horse!!!!! Very horse-like in his nature.  It was interesting to read the author’s notes at the end of what was real and what was embellished.

Recent Rents

Eight Below
Snow White (my middle graders didn’t know my Dopey, Happy, Doc reference forcing us to pull out the video. Thank goodness our vcr still works! Parent Fail narrowly averted)

My own humble rating system: Please feel free to ask for clarification or to dispute my opinion.  I only ask that we ALWAYS remain respectful to the author.

Chirping Cricket – At the end all you hear is the chirp of the cricket.  I doubt I’ll ever use this because I can’t publicly embarrass someone knowingly.  However, I must have a ‘beginning’ rating in order for the rest to make sense. 

Golf Clap - The polite ovation that follows a well-placed shot.

Motivational Speaker –You are left fired up and eager to get to work making the world a better place.  You can’t wait to tell your friends all the insights and inspiration you took away from it. 

Rock Concert – Hooting and hollering, cheering, singing and clapping throughout the performance.  Swaying and lit lighters accompany ballads.  Riots break out if there is no encore.

February 16, 2011

Please Distract Me From Minute to Win It

I really can’t explain what it is about this show that makes me so mad.  Might be the host’s contrived hair.  Might be the over-the-top drama. Might be the token “accented” sidekick (in this case – the blueprint explainer). Don’t even make me think about the fact that the contestants spend loads of time at home practicing these games. If you do, I’m sorry. Really, I am.

For some reason, my husband and kids like this show.  So it is on.  I guess now is a good time for a blog post. 

I’ve been lax with my posts lately.  I wonder, does anyone miss me when I’m not posting? Or do you only notice me when I do?  My guess is the latter.  I really love browsing through my friends’ posts on livejournal. I’m kinda obsessed with scrolling through my reader in blogger. Then there are a few I have added to my favorites.  Do I notice when one out of the dozens of blogs I follow skipped a day or two? Um…no.

However, I do enjoy a well thought out blog post. (Something you aren’t really getting from me tonight, btw.)  I love hearing about people’s writing processes or their thoughts on a book they’ve just finished reading. I love hearing how an innocent response from a child helped to resolve a problem in their chapter.  I love learning that there are other people out there in the world, who like me, attended a function for their ‘real’ job tonight and really tried to stay focused, but whose mind kept wondering to things like how I should work a quirk into my main character or I could add depth to my heroine with a touching story of ‘why’ and ‘what’ brought her where she is. Someone asked me if I wanted wine and I said, “No, but do you have a pen?”

Okay, I made the pen response up – just now.  But it was a great illustration of how scattered I’ve been lately and why I haven’t been able to post on a regular basis.

So the Minute To Win It Super Head to Head event continues after Ozzy figures out “What’s a Bieber?” and I will steal the remote and change the channel, or read, or {{gasp}} write. And you will go on with your blog browsing and tomorrow, will you notice if I don’t post?

February 8, 2011

Blogview with Linda Jo Martin and Literature For Kids


Literature For Kids is a new online children’s magazine. The creator and editor is Linda Jo Martin. Linda, herself, is a children’s author, but she works hard each month to put together a quality product for children, their teachers and caregivers. This magazine is a good addition to a homeschool’s toolbox.  Let’s get to know a little more about Linda and Literature For Kids.

Linda, what inspired you to take on such a huge monthly project?

Linda: I wanted to develop my website, Literature For Kids, and decided this was the best way to get steady content there. I work well with deadlines. The monthly schedule forces me to get new pages on the web regularly.

Literature For Kids is a long-time project for me because I love children, and love children's literature. The idea of having a website called Literature For Kids first came in 1996. I had a site by that name back then, on a third-party website provider's domain. Later I purchased my domain name and started a blog there, then decided it wasn't what I wanted to do.

The current project is a lot more interactive, and I love being able to offer a small amount of money for stories, articles, and poems. I like to let children's authors know their work is appreciated.

What elements can readers expect to find in the magazine each month?

Linda: Currently I'm keeping it very simple. There will be three or four stories, two poems, a few articles for children, and a longer multi-page “book” offered each month. In addition I post two or three articles intended for adults – either for parents and teachers, or for writers of children's literature.

Jeffery E. Doherty
How do you choose which stories, poems, and educational materials to use in each issue? Do you work with a theme each month?

Linda: There's a monthly theme. The themes are listed on the Literature For Kids submission page. When I read submissions, if an article, story, or poem is well-written I look on my editorial calendar, which is a spreadsheet, and try to fit it into one of the themes. Occasionally I create a new theme to fit the piece. I did that recently for an article about music. Right now themes are planned until July 2012.

What is one difficult aspect of publishing a magazine that you didn’t expect?

Linda: I don't like to reject anyone's work! Every time I open an email I hope it is something I can use. I try to work with writers, to encourage them to edit and resubmit. So far I've tended to accept almost everything so long as it is well-written and fits into one of my themes... and so long as my budget permits more acquisitions. I expect that eventually I'll have too many submissions to be able to do that.

What have you enjoyed the most about publishing your magazine?

Linda: I've enjoyed meeting more writers and publishing their work. I love being able to accept submissions of new writers – people who never before got an acceptance or payment for their work.

What other projects are you involved in?

Linda: I'm a busy web worker. Literature For Kids is only one of the websites I work on. I own quite a few, plus I write for third-party websites like Squidoo and HubPages. I earn all my income online as a content writer.

Aside from that, I write novels – mostly for children and teens. Two are ready for submission and there are several others in revision.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Linda: To potential writers... if you suspect you may have a problem with spelling, grammar, typos, or any other aspect of writing, get into a critique group and share your stories with critique partners before submitting. I would like to sponsor more critique groups similar to the group I belong to, so if you want a critique group, drop me a line – my email address is linda at literature4kids.co (be sure to format the email address correctly). Put “Critique Group Request” in the subject line so it won't get mixed in with the submissions.

Thank you, Linda, for taking the time from your busy schedule to talk with us about your newest project, Literature For Kids.  I wish you the best of luck with it going forward!

February 4, 2011

Review, Winner and a Celebration!

Beverly Stowe McClure has posted a wonderful review of The Weaver on her blog The Story of A Writer.  I hope you share it with all your friends.

Congratulations to the winner of The Weaver from the book giveaway over on I’m A Reader’s site.  Rose Red. I will send your book out next week. Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and, “Welcome,” to my new followers.

Happy birthday to my buddy, Jen! 

Have a fabulous weekend, everybody.

February 1, 2011

Career Goals

I have a lot of goals as a writer.  Some of them are simple; like word count or face time with child readers. Some of them are lofty; like selling one manuscript per year or hosting SNL w/Josh Groban as the musical talent. (I had a dream once that was, frankly, awesome!)

But there is one goal that I’d love, love, love to achieve.  Writerly independence. Currently I work. Which isn’t the end of the world by any means. Many writers work outside the home and write in their spare time.  But I’d love for my writing career to advance enough that I’d be able to write full time. Mostly, so that I could travel.

I have this dream of being able to spend time in obscure locations for long enough to really get a feel for them in order to make them a setting in a novel.  I’d love to be steeped in the feel of isolation and utter creepiness of a real live ghost town.  I’d love to spend some time in a town that is truly and utterly on its last breath having been beaten and left for dead by our economy.  I’d love to soak in the splendor and other worldliness of The Seven Pools of Kipahulu where my ancestor, Charles Lindbergh, is buried.

Setting has always been a weakness in my writing and I’m not too crazy about research in general, but this kind of research I can really get behind.  However, I need the financial and time freedom you can only achieve through a steady writing success—a success that usually takes years and multiple publications to achieve.  I’ve heard that writing your goals down can be a good step toward accomplishing them. So I am officially declaring my goal in writing so that I can be one step closer to its fruition.

What are your career goals?