Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Eggs

I just had to post this beautiful picture of eggs created by Melinda Chase on her beautiful Easter/ Spring Celebration plate.  (my favorite color)

And Don't forget to read Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood.
Max's Easter Surprise or Max's Chocolate Chicken by Rosemary Wells.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Just a few thoughts

Happy Saint Patrick's Day.
Did you wear green?  It looks as if I forgot to do that.  Oh well, at least I didn't wear Orange like my husband always did. (mostly while he was working for an avid Irish descended lady.)

Speaking of my husband - this was a guy who never ever took a vacation.
So one day - on our Anniversary in June - I plotted with my husband's workplace and KIDNAPPED him.  I drove around with him all day long, exploring places where he had gone camping with his family at the top of the Chesapeake Bay where the Susquehanna River joins it.
At first he was a nervous wreck as I drove further and further away from his workplace, but by the end of the day he had relaxed immensely and finally admitted that he had enjoyed himself and that he had needed a day out.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Raindrops are Falling on my Roof

It rained in Southern California this weekend.
Not something we see often here.
(although El Nino has been kind to us this year)

I had forgotten to wash my teen's leotard and I knew it wouldn't air dry in time for her to wear it that night, so had I hung it outside from a nail at the edge of my condo's roof.  Blowing in the wind. (it was in the sunshine for a half hour, then clouds and wind came.  Good, sez I, that will make it dry faster.

Then I went back to my computer, writing and peeking at Facebook every so often.

The next time I looked outside - RAIN had started!  You can bet I ran outside and brought the leotard back inside.  Five minutes later the storm hit and it poured.

Good thing I got it inside when I did.
(it was mostly dry by the time teen needed it for ballet that evening.)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Rejection just means You are Working as a Writer

Here are a few things writers should remember as they get rejections for their work:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Writing Retreat

At the end of February, our San Diego SCBWI held their bi-annual writer's retreat at the Mission San Luis Rey.  What a great, productive weekend we had.

One of my goals was to finish the revision of the picture book I'm writing with a friend. (we write under the pen name C.W. Bowie)
I sat on the grass near the giant, old Pepper tree (planted in 1830) with my trusty laptop.
I did complete it and emailed it off to her, thinking I now had time to work on another project. She emailed her response back to me with more suggestions for revision by dinnertime (her bedtime back east).
I looked it over on Sunday, made some final notes, we went back and forth another time or two AND we decided it's ready to send out.
p.s. - yes I did get to work on that other writing project, too.

Here's the article in our local SCBWI newsletter written by Patricia Morris Buckley , RA.

There’s nothing like the peace of the San Luis Rey Mission — the gardens, the ringing of the bells, and hours of uninterrupted time to create. 
Almost 50 chapter members spent the last weekend in February at the Mission for a three-day retreat. The event began with a wine and dessert mingle, complete with a get-to-know-each-other bingo game ending in signed books as prizes. After the festivities, critiques were handed out and participants either relaxed, continued to socialize, got to work on revisions or called it an early night. 
The next day began with a huge breakfast (all the meals were wonderfully prepared) before heading off to workshops, critique groups or work. Three formal critique groups were held at various times over the weekend and 11 well-attended workshops covered everything from picture book revision and teacher guides, to web press kits and nonfiction writing. 
(Note - one of these workshop/ lectures was given by me. The final one on Sunday -- Persistence: Dealing with Submission and Rejection.  
By Sunday at 5 p.m., many members had made significant progress in their designated projects as well as making or deepening friendships, enjoying great food (including snacks a plenty) and being inspired by the beautiful grounds. 

In the end, it was hard to leave and return to the “real” world, but our time away was invaluable!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Monica Kulling's books about Things

What do I mean - "about things?"
I mean -- Monica Kulling writes picture book biographies about inventions that have made our life easier or more interesting.  All of these books are part of the Great Idea Series, originally published in Canada by Tundra Books and distributed in the United States by Random House.

For Example:
Going Up! Elisha Otis's Trip to the Top
I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, almost every elevator I stepped into had the name Otis somewhere on it.
"This is an Otis elevator," my mother would say. "An Otis elevator is a safe elevator."
So, of course I had to read this picture book biography.  And among other inventions, the safe elevator is his major claim to fame.  Because -- he created a safety brake that will stop an elevator from plummeting to the ground if something went wrong with the cables that pulled it up and down.

Kulling begins each biography with a poem describing how people use the invention explored in the book.  She also makes the inventor come to life. Readers can see how life was lived at that time and how particular inventions improved people's lives.

Other books in her Great Idea Series include:

In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps it Up.
Among Knight's 90 inventions was a machine to make square bottom paper bags - yes, those bags you take home from the grocery store. Since this was in the late 1800s, the machinist who was hired to transform her wooden model into a metal machine that she could take to the Patent Office to claim her Patent got there first and registered it as his invention. Knight sued, claiming she was the inventor. He defended by claiming that women couldn't invent things. He lost. She won her case.

Spick-and-Span! Lillian Gilbreth's Wonder Kitchen
Anyone who loves the book Cheaper by the Dozen will love this short biography of the mother of that family and how she made kitchen design more efficient, easier to work in.

Making Contact! Marconi Goes Wireless
All Aboard! Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine  (train)
It's a Snap! George Eastman's First Photograph
and her latest: Clean Sweep! Frank Zamboni's Ice Machine

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, MA.

             A major change in the books offered to struggling beginning readers occurred in 1957 when William Spaulding, director of Houghton Mifflin’s education division challenged their trade publishing company's most popular picture book writer, Theodor Seuss Geisel – who wrote under the pen name Dr. Seuss – to write a book based on the list of 400 sight words a first grader should know. These words could not be sounded out with phonics, but had to be memorized by the new reader and included “theandplayrunI, and is, and the numbers one and two

Spaulding demanded, “Write me a story […] that first graders can’t put down.”  

Geisel took over six months to craft an exuberant, rhyming easy reader – Seussian style – entitled The Cat in the Hat using 237 of the suggested words. The result revolutionized the reading world. 

Geisel followed this with The Cat in the Hat Comes Back and Random House’s Beginner Books series was born. (The education division's version of the book, with a dull, orange cover, stopped being published after a few years because schools, libraries, and bookstores preferred the more colorful trade version.) 

HarperCollins's I Can Read line began in the same year with the publication of Else Holmelund Minarik’s Little Bear, illustrated by Maurice Sendak. These three books are still in print and those lines of easy readers are still going strong today.