It was a great night. Bridget looked beautiful standing here with Jone. And I finally got a chance to sit down and chat with Suzanne Young, who I met at a conference a year ago but have never been lucky enough to spend any time with. She's a bubbly bundle of energy and she ran around selling raffle tickets for the cause.
I also got a chance to sit between the two wonderful writers who both go by the same name: Lisa, Schroeder and Madigan. Plus, the great illustrater Matt Holme from Baby Mouse was there. .
My husband and I were checking out the items up for bid, when I pointed out a pet message that I thought would be fun to bid on.
He said, "Are you crazy? If anyone's getting a message, it's going to be me."
So we ended up winning a Thai message for my hubby. It sounds heavenly.
I was lucky enough to win a critique from Margot Finke. There were other great prizes and other great people there. Check out the links to read more.
The Dandelion has always seemed more like a flower to me than a weed. Its bright yellow "flowers" have always brought a smile to my face, and when it turns to seed, I've always made a wish and blown the seeds around the yard--against the better advice and judgment of more proficient gardeners than me.
And allium is a beautiful flower, whether it is in the white variety or the purple or blue (this blue flower is a bachelor button not an allium)however, it is really from the onion family. You can read more about them here. I just thought I'd share the idea of planting onions, garlic and other herbs and merely letting them go to seed. You might be surprised by what you get and pleasantly.
We can all use a little help to go a little greener. And, why not save a little money along the way? Here's a website that will help you give your house an energy audit. Plus, if you can find ways to save energy and money, you might end up being a little more comfortable in your green home. So, if you're interested, check it out here. This is a Seattle power brochure but you might have one you can access in your area too. I'd definitely check it out but, if not, this will give you a good start.
My husband and I had our local electric company come out and give us a home audit. We found some ways to save energy and hopefully a little money too. With some inexpensive fixes, our house stayed warmer in the winter - and hopefully it will be much cooler in the summer too.
Our house was built in 1890 so we can use all the energy tips and advice we can get.
The purpose of all war is ultimately peace. --Saint Augustine
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. It began as a day to remember the men who died in service to our nation.
Many stories exist about how the celebration began. Over two dozen cities and towns lay claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day.
But before the day was proclaimed a National Holiday, women's groups were decorating graves of soldiers. They were decorating graves before the end of the Civil war.
Memorial Day was officially announced on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan the National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Waterloo NY was officially named the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May of 1966.
After World War I the holiday changed from just remembering the dead who fought in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.
Most families celebrate by remembering their loved family members who have died. And go to the cemeteries to put flowers on their graves.
In Flanders Fields, Moina Michael had her own poem:
We cherish too, the Poppy red grows on fields where valor led, It seems to signal to the skies That blood of heroes never dies
She had people start wearing red poppies on Memorial day to honor those people who died serving the country in war. In 1948 Ms. Michael was honored for her idea by the US Post Office who issued a red 3 cent postage stamp with her on the front of it.
Since the 1950's small American flags are put on more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery in commemoration of the soldier's service. The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts also place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers who have been buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.
The Day is often celebrated today by hanging a flag (as we did on our house) and with a family picnic or BBQ. I hope you all have a day filled with time spent with family and friends - and a moment to remember lost loved ones.
What better way to spend a holiday weekend than getting wet? I can't think of anything more fun than taking all the kids and going cliff jumping and whitewater rafting - can you?
We've done it before so we're gonna do it again. If you'd like to check it out, look at this. We have to wear wetsuits on the White Salmon because the water is ice cold runoff. Of course my husband likes to hop in and swim a bit - I'd rather stay in the boat. But I'm going to do the cliff jumping again - I think . . . we'll see.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that you even have a chance to get wet.
There's a new place to cyber connect with other like-minded peeps. It's called Writers on Writing and it's located over at Yahoo.
If you'd like to check it out, it's like Verla Kay's blogspot chat group but this isn't just for children's writers. Lynette Lybelle set it up and I think it's a great idea. So, if you're interested check it out: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/writers_on_writing/messages?xm=1&m=p&tidx=1
Grits and Glamour offers inspiration for your walls and mine. She is the muse that inspired me to post some of the art on my walls.
My husband's uncle is an artist over in Denmark. Every year he gives us a piece of art for New Year's to wish us a Happy one. I thought I'd share a couple pieces he's given us.
The last time my husband, Lars, was in Denmark, his uncle wanted to immortalize his face with a Death Mask. When Lars came home, his brother wanted to make masks of the rest of the family. My daughter had a cold and couldn't do it because you have to put straws up your nose to breath, when the plaster is poured over your face. We still have to get hers done. But here are the rest.
This piece of art was a present from my husband's uncle, on our last trip to Denmark. I call this The Balloon Trees.
We've bought a couple pieces of art too. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Abigail Samoun of Tricycle Press was a guest speaker at our SCBWI Conference here in Portland, Oregon.
And she talked about the 12-steps of writing.
She had a great sense of humor and imparted a good deal of information.
She said that the first step to writing is admitting that you need to revise.
She was talking about picture books and the 12 steps to writing a picture book.
She said some people think writing a picture book is easy but that’s not the case. Each word has to carry its weight in the story and when you have so few words the weight is a heavy one to bear.
Some of the questions you need to ask yourself are: 1) Does this book need illustrations, 2) Does it stand up to multiple readings, 3) Is it too short for a 32 page picture book format – or perhaps too long. 4) Would a parent or librarian pay $14.95 for this story?
Elana is building her list. She is with the Caren Johnson Literary Agency. She accepts no snail mail submissions. She spoke about the Author-Agent relationship at the SCBWI Oregon Spring Conference.
She made a great comparison between looking for an agent and looking for a lasting relationship. Relationships begin with dating then it can progress—if you’re lucky enough to find a great match—to marriage. And if things don’t work out so well, there’s the breakup or the dreaded D word: Divorce.
This is like querying an agent, signing with the agent, and sometimes - yes - breaking up and moving on.
Elana added a lot of humor to her talk, dispersing words of wisdom along with a few giggles and smiles along the way.
She also talked a little bit about query letters and the three separate paragraphs each author should include:
1) The book 2) The hook 3) The cook
She explained, every query should tell something about your book, what makes it special and end with a bit about yourself as the author.
She talked about having a great opening sentence. She also said, "Don't write about what's hot now." She warned us that audiences want what's new and what's hot right now won't be by the time new acquisitions are published.
She said always check out an agent's or publisher's website to make sure you are submitting the right materials. And you can read her blog here.
But most important she said to always Hope and Dream. Don't stop hoping and don't ever stop dreaming!
We were soooo lucky to have an editor, Noa Wheeler, and an agent, Elana Roth, in attendance.
This was a WOW Them With Words session: or a large-group critique session.
Each author brought 30 copies of the first page of their manuscript to share. Each conference attendee took a copy to write their comments and notes on it.
The author got up in front of the podium and read the page for the audience. All of us in the audience wrote our own comments, while Noa and Elana took turns giving their verbal comments for everyone to hear.
I learned a lot.
One of the most common comments was Show don’t Tell—easier said than done.
LIVING WITH ONLY ONE GARBAGE CAN OF WASTE PER YEAR
Did you know Jeanne Roy and her husband have managed to cut their waste production to one garbage can - per year? If you are interested in reading more about her programs and the Center for Earth Leadership, check out her site Center for Earth Leadership. But here are a few tips I learned from her on Wednesday:
1) Americans make up less than 5% of the world’s population yet consume 25-30% of the resources;
2) 1992-2006 recycling more than doubled but landfill usage (waste generated and deposited in the metro region) has gone up;
3) You have options for garbage collection: you can use either a 32 gallon can, 22 gallon can, have monthly service, or even on-call service;
4) In Oregon, the amount of energy saved by recycling is equivalent in energy used by 470,000 cars. So essentially, by recycling, it’s like we’re keeping 470,000 cars off the road;
5) And if you recycle you are cutting your garbage production by about 40%;
6) If you compost, you boost that number to 75%;
7) By carrying your own fabric or net bag with you to the grocery store, you will save about 500 bags per year;
8) Most cities offer composting classes through community classes – here, in Portland, you can find a class through Metro: (503) 234-3000.
Jessica Lee Anderson, ICL instructor and author of the forthcoming young adult novel, Border Crossing (Milkweed Editions, October 2009), will critique 20 pages (plus synopsis) of a middle grade/young adult novel or 2 picture books (fiction or nonfiction)
Also, the winner will receive a signed copy of Trudy (Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature, Milkweed Editions, 2005).
I love walking into homes and looking at the way other people decorate their homes. It always leaves me feeling a little more inspired to go back home and do . . . something. Well, I thought I'd share one picture we have hanging on our wall. This is a piece of art my husband inherited when his grandmother died over in Denmark. It was shipped to him and we have had it ever since.
I hope you like it too. And if you want to see some other ideas, stop by Grits and Glamour.
I’ve been reading a lot about Branding. Unfortunately, that one word makes me think of cattle not writers.
I picture a cow in a field getting shoved through a gate to get a stamp burned into its butt. Is that what we writers are supposed to do?
Sort of, I guess.
I mean Nike has the Swoosh, Adidas has the triple stripe, and Converse has the Star in the circle. There must be a reason these marketing giants use one symbol to be identified with their product.
But how can we writers use this “brand” to identify ourselves? We must be able to take something away from these marketing gurus’ examples.
I did a little research and read here that the American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of these items to identify the goods and services of one seller to distinguish them from other sellers.
Well, how can writers use that information to make themselves “known”?
I’ve heard that once we get published in a certain genre and have some success in that area, we should stick with it. That way our readers can be sure they’ll get what they want when they buy our books. People want a sure bet. And, if we jump around from one genre to another, our readers won’t have that satisfaction and they won’t trust our name on the spine of a book.
I guess it’s like going out for a hamburger and ordering a cheeseburger, only to bite into an iguana burger when we’d been expecting beef. We might be a little disappointed, in fact we might even get mad. We writers don’t want to make readers mad. We want readers to trust us and buy our books – right?
It's time to celebrate different cultures and ways of life. This is the 5th of May - a Mexican time for a celebration.
It all began as a way to celebrate the victory of 4,000 Mexican soldiers against 8,000 French forces on the morning of May 5, 1862. It's always amazing to read about people who beat the odds, and even I can do that math: those odds were 2 to 1 against the Mexican soldiers. But sometimes odds don't determine the winners and the losers in life, sometimes it's determination.
Some people believe Cinco De Mayo is the celebration of Mexico's Independence Day but that is really on September 16th.
So, to help celebrate this moment in history, I thought I'd put out a cup and offer you a spot of tea. I hope you'll sit a minute and flip through a few of my blog pages. You might even be interested in the on-line auction that is currently taking place to help Bridget. Just click here and check out a few of the donated items you can bid on.
I've also put out a serving plate. Maybe you'll come back a little later in the day to enjoy a pastry and a glass of wine and maybe even a little conversation. There's no better way to celebrate than with good food, friends, and conversation-so what if we're just cyberfriends.
Remember to take your own "time-out" today. It only takes a moment (and maybe a little imagination) to enjoy the 5th of May.
Bridget Zinn, an Oregon writer, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer in March. She had her first surgery recently and has started chemotherapy.
To help with medical expenses there is an on-line auction going on which was organized by fellow members of the SCBWI. You can check it out here. Bidding will occur all during the month of May and new items will continue to be posted through out the month.
In addition, there will be raffle tickets for purchase to bring one of these authors to a school or library: Matthew Holm, co-creator of Baby Mouse, Emily Whitman, author of Radiant Darkness, and Roseanne Parry, Heart of a Shepard. Raffle tickets are $10 each and are limited.
Finally, mark May 29 on your calendars and join us at Lucky Lab on SE Hawthorne where there will be another silent auction for Bridget. These will not be features on-line and include a great spa basket, limo services as well as a private wine tour, bottles of wine, and landscaping services to name a few.
Why do we “wannabe writers” spend hours working on our craft, sacrificing time spent with family and friends, and sometimes even forgoing sleep merely to put words on paper?
Is it only for that ultimate prize; are we all searching for the Holy Grail known as publication?
Maybe. . . , but remember the famous singer, songwriter, political activist and Beatle’s warning, “life is what happens while you’re making plans.”
So, maybe, we should remember to enjoy the journey as much as the trip.
One day we’ll look back and what will we remember? At least for me, it won’t be my first byline. Instead, the thing that will stay with me is the friendships I’ve made along the way. Networking isn’t all about the writing. It’s about relationships.
So here's what my little writing group is doing to try to infuse a little more fun in our critique sessions. We've decided to do some of our research, for our novels, together. So we've been going on fieldtrips together.
That's what we did as kids. We'd visit the zoo, the cookie factory or go see a play to learn a little more about it—right? So, why shouldn't we do it too? Some of my best times back in school, were spent on fieldtrips.
And, it’s been easy.
I’m in a critique group with five other women, where we all write about different topics. Currently, one of us is writing a historical novel set in France. So, we decided to go out for breakfast at a café that serves French cuisine. It was a fun morning filled with good food, conversation and critiquing. And, while we were there, we all got a look at the decorations, fabrics and food of France. And, that’s one session I’ll remember more than most.
So, why not go on a fieldtrip and do a little research—you might find out it’s a lot of fun. . .and make a few closer friendships.
HAPPY MAY DAY!!! During the Middle Ages, English villages all had Maypoles and they would compete against one another to see who had the best.
Today, kids celebrate the day by moving back and forth around the pole, intertwining streamers or ribbons.
This tradition of celebrating May Day by dancing and singing survived as part of the English tradition. Some places still select a May queen, and kids still secretly hang baskets of flowers on the doorknobs of neighbors. We used to make little paper cone vases, when I was a kid, and fill them with flowers from the yard. We'd staple a ribbon on it to hang it from the neighbors' doors.
If you want to visit a garden to celebrate but you can't get out today, try cybervisiting this garden carpet in Brussels. Just click on the floral carpet tab to see this amazing site. And Happy May Day everyone!! EARTH-FRIENDLY FRIDAY
Summer is almost here. Maybe some of you will be doing home remodeling projects. If you are, look into recycling centers that will take your discarded items. Here, in Portland, we use the Rebuilding Center. You might have such a business in your area. If you do, let me know. I always love to read about Green companies. And, check out the Energy Trust of Oregon.
Thanks for visiting my site. "The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." DC Talk