Sunday, July 20, 2008

Columbus Metropolitan Main Library

There are few things that make a mother prouder, then hearing her 2 year old child beg to go to storytime at the library. Nothing makes me happier then hearing her ask to go to the library when I pick her up from school.

Libraries have also been an important part of my life. Several of my childhood memories, include trips to the library. When you're an avid reader and not a millionaire, a library card is as essential as a social security number.

I know she has a love for stories and I hope she's also developing respect for libraries. Just today, I was searching everywhere for our copy of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Convinced that Swiper the Fox took it, she said "I have an idea, we'll get it from the library." ---A proud moment in my life.

Friday, July 18, 2008

SCBWI-NY & Thrillerfest 2009

I'm planning to do two things I've never done. 1)Attend the one of the SCBWI annual event. I plan on going to New York. I'm really excited. I know it's a fair bit away, but I'm a planner so it works for me. I hope the weather cooperates in Feb. 2)I'm also making plans to attend Thrillerfest 2009 in NY in July 2009. I've decided to be true to my writer self and write thrillers. My YA WIP is a thriller and it makes me happy. I'm hoping some of my critique partners will be able to go to either one or both.

I haven't been to a writer's conference in over a year. Our choices have been limited here in Central Ohio, but that will change. I am planning on going to the Central Ohio Fiction Writer's conference in Columbus in Sept. I'm ready to learn, learn, learn.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Miss Snark's First Victim Secret Agent Contest

There is an incredible opportunity for those of you that have a completed manuscript. Here is the website URL and make sure you follow the rules. Chances don't come along too often to get your work in front of an agent, so got for it!!

Hook an Agent Contest

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Summer Break and Jury Duty

Ok, pursuing a Master's is taking up all my time, but I'm done with classes for now and don't have my next one until Nov. I'm back to work on my YA novel and finally hit the 10,000 words mark. That was my first milestone. I'm also taking a slightly different direction after discovering the incredibly gifted writer, Jeffery Deaver during my Jury Duty stint.

I'm not sure why people have such a negative attitude towards jury duty. I loved it, learned tons about our judicial system, and was fortunate to actually serve on a jury. During the two weeks I had to report, only two cases actually went to trial, so I was lucky to have served.

I also entered the Cheerio Story contest today and ordered the 2009 Children's Writers Market Guide by Alice Pope.

It feels good to be back.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Central Ohio SCBWI logo contest

Our regional chapter is sponsoring an illustrator's contest. We are hoping to use the winning illustration as our new logo

Please read at the details at:

Central Ohio SCBWI Yahoo Group

If you live in Central Ohio, please join our SCBWI Yahoo group. You will receive announcements, meeting reminders, and be able to communicate with other local members.

Central Ohio SCBWI Yahoo Group

Monday, April 28, 2008

I'm officially a Grad Student

I started my 1st class today and it's all about critical writing, reasoning, and thinking. I didn't really think getting an MBA was going to help me with writing, but I was wrong. I will be reviewing grammar and sentence structure along with conveying thoughts effectively. I need the grammar review because I still struggle with commas.

I attended the Columbus State Writers Conference this past week-end. I learned alot, mainly from literary agent, Jennifer DeChiara. I didn't realize I was making some rookie query mistakes, but now I know better. It was also a blast to attend the event with my YA critique group gals. In addition to our next chapters, we're going to look at each other's existing query letters and incorporate the information we learned.

I still owe everyone a post about the autopsy class that I went to last Tuesday at COSI. I got some ideas about where to take my story and how to layer some of the storyline. The weird thing this is that the audience was made up of women with the exception of one guy. Hmmm.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Send No Manuscript before its time

Okay, I was the queen of sending out a manuscript before I had let it breathe for a few days. I was so anxious to get it out into the world, that I wasn't being fair to myself, the story, or the reader. Patience has always been hard for me but as the rejections letters started coming in, I realized that there is a process that needs to be followed.

Here's the process I follow now and it has worked well for my 2 latest picture books. I'm very proud of those 2 manuscripts and it feels good to say that.

1)Once I get an idea for a story, I think about it for as long as it needs to brew. I jot down some ideas and research anything that I need to.
2) I write my story just to get it down. I don't worry about word count, picking the correct verb, or details
3) I don't look at it for at least 24 hours
4) I pick it back up and start sculpting the detail. I equate picture books to sculpting. You have a block of marble and you initially chisel away the raw form, then really hone in on the details
5) Once I get it to where I want it, I send it to one of my best friends that is also a fellow writer. I make more revisions.
6) I try to get a critique from a parent, teacher, etc. Make more revisions.
7) If available, I get a critique from my local SCBWI group. Make more revisions
8) I put it away again for at least 24 hours and then read the final version
9) Work on my query letter and send it out into the literary universe.

Now, I'm just waiting for the mailman to hopefully deliver some good news.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Autopsy class

I signed up for my autopsy class today. For those of you that don't know, my YA novel has a crime in it and I'm going to this class for reseach and to hopefully learn the proper terminology and procedures.

I don't know what to expect, but I'm curious to learn why the other attendees chose this class. It's going to be 90 minutes long and I plan to take notes, so I can use them when I need them.

I didn't hear anything on any queries this week and that includes my e-queries. It's so hard waiting.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I Bought a Mini-Van

My old car was starting to give me issues and the adage of "I don't have a car payment" wasn't exactly true when you count up the dollars I was spending on repairs. I had this gut feeling that I was getting close to having to do some major repairs, so I traded it in for a Toyota Sienna.

I did alot of research on Consumer Reports regarding safety and reliability and the Sienna kept rising to the top. I bought a slighly used one so I wouldn't have to pay the new minivan price.

I'll have to tighten my budget so I just listed a bunch of stuff on EBay and Amazon. There are 2 events I want to go to and I'm going to have to raise the money if I want to attend. I have so much stuff that I've been meaning to sell, so I'm getting off the pot and getting them listed.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I'm taking an autopsy class

I was thrilled when I saw that this class was offered. I was skimming through the UA Lifelong catalog looking for a local writing class and found this little gem, "In Depth: An Autopsy". It's hosted at COSI, one of my favorite local attractions. A forensic pathologist will be on hand to answer all my storyline questions.

Since my YA novel is a crime story, this is also a great opportunity for researching. I'll have to take time off work and have been trying to figure out what to tell my boss. I can't wait to see what kind of other folks show up.

The class is April 22nd in the afternoon (who was the genius that scheduled this after lunch?). I'll report back

Monday, March 31, 2008

Mustard Children's Book Contest

I saw this contest on the blue boards and had to pass it on. The Mount Horeb Mustard Museum is hosting a children's book writing contest. Here are the details

Subject: Must be about mustard
Audience: 3 to 10 years old
Prize: $2500 and possible publication
Fee: $6
Deadline: June 10, 2008
National Mustard Day: August 2

Here's the URL: Mustard Writing Contest

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Manuscript Request

My morning started out rough. I dropped my coffee and sprained my ankle. I promise that I was actually going to get out and try to go on a walk for exercise today. I did do extensive pruning and mulching though, so I was still able to take advantageous of the gorgeous day.

Last night I finished my online picture book class taught by Anastasia Suen. It was bittersweet to finish. I learned so much and would highly recommend her course to anyone that is serious about writing picture books. I also signed up for her Yahoo group because she sends out alot of information on the writing industry.

For my last lesson, I had to include my top 5 publishing houses. Today, I got a request for my picture book manuscript from a publisher on my list. This is a manuscript that I got critiqued as part of my class, so I feel that I now have a better version of it to send out.

I love the sun and something other than No!

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

CSCC Writers Conference

I'm so excited that there is going to be a writing conference to go to. I e-mailed them because there are 5 sessions but there's no place on the registration form to sign up for particular workshops. Agent Jennifer DiChiara will be hosting the Working with Agents and Publisher Worshop, so I definitely want to attend that.

Here's the link to the conference.

CSCC Writers Conference

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Where is Spring?

I'm so over the cold weather. Some of my plants have decided that they don't want to wait either and have started to sprout. We're suppose to have snow again this week-end which puts a damper on an Easter Egg Hunt.

Ok, I'm done whining. I went to my MBA orientation this week. I'm really excited, but really scared. I'm only going to take a class at a time and I will still need to make time to write. I think I've decided to go to a local conference that is for fiction writers. There is an agent that represents YA, so this gives me a deadline to finish the first draft of my manuscript. I'll need to do this while studying for the GMAT.

Am I crazy?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Snow is Heavy

Ok, I thought since I was snowed in this week-end that I'd get some writing done. The truth is that I shoveled snow for an hour and a half yesterday, then could barely stay awake. I'm so sore this morning, but at least I worked out.

I did finish revising Chapter 1 on Friday and mailed off my packet to the SCBWI WIP grant. I also got everything done for my MBA application, so now it's just a waiting game.

I want to make revisions to my picture book that A. Suen critiqued because I loved her suggestions. I'm just waiting for my 1st round of submissions to make their way back to me. I did get 2 really nice personal rejection that were written on letterhead and had an actual signature.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Very Own YA Critique Group

A group of fellow SCBWI local members and I have created our own critique group. We all have novels in progress and they are all very different. I'm so excited about this possibility. We met last night and all the comments about my Chapter 1 were spot on. It's amazing what a fresh perspective can bring to your writing.

I made some revisions today and made my 7 copies to send to the SCBWI WIP grant committee. I'm going to put it in the mail tomorrow provided the weather lets me.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

PB Workshop

I've completed Lessons 1 & 2 and we are studying the mechanics of books. I love being in the student role. I've been doing so much self-studying and learning that I had forgotten how much fun and beneficial it is to have an experienced instructor. I'm going to complete Lesson 3 tonight and I am truly excited to get the next lesson. I'm nervous about my 1st upcoming critique. I do know which manuscript I'm going to submit and I'm really looking forward to her comments and to improving my writing.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Picture Book Workshop

I'm using my saved conference money to take Anastasia Suen's Intensive Picture Book workshop I'm really disappointed that there's not a central Ohio conference to go to and I really want to learn more about my craft. I love reading and writing picture books, so I chose this workshop. Many blue boarders recommended it and her list of former students is impressive.

I can't wait to get started.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I got all my materials ready so I can submit them. I always get so nervous because I don't want to screw anything up. I really love and believe in the book I'm writing. I also came up with a working title.

I conducted my first interview for this YA book. I interviewed a detective and I got really useful information. There's still a lot of research to be done and I know I'm going to relish it.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

I'm so sick of the flu

It absolutely annoys me that something that I can't even see is able to make me this sick. I don't know exactly who gave it to me, but I started feeling bad last Sunday and went down for the count quickly. I've been able to go back to work and function, but I've got this cough that won't go away. Yesterday, I thought I was going to cough a lung out.

I never thought I'd miss the days were I could work out. I've got the lung power of a gnat and run out of breath just talking.

Prior to getting sick, I had finished the draft for another picture book. It's something we did as kids and I had actually forgotten all about it until something in a cartoon reminded me.

I'm also focusing on my 1st chapter of my YA that I'm going to submit to the SCBWI WIP grant program. I finished the draft of the synopsis, but still need to make it pop.

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Online Resources

I've been submitting some queries out for my picture books and have discover something really cool. Most agencies and agents now have their own blogs. There is a wealth of information on these blogs. There are insights into what should go into a query or bio, what catches their attention,and inside information into the industry.

So next time you want to query an agent, definitely check out their website and read their blog if they have one.

What I'm reading: The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Taking Advantage

So, this week agent Nathan Bradford of the Curtis Brown Literary Agency announced a 1st page contest on his blog. It's not everyday you get to put your writing in front of an agent. He received over 600 entries which is just crazy, but just proves that you should take advantage of ever opportunity out there.

The internet, blogs, discussion groups are goldmines for tidbits of information and contests such as these.

On a personal note, I got a request for a full manuscript from an agency this week for my new picture book. It's my favorite so far and I consider any request for a manuscript from a query letter, a triumph for my query letter.

On a sad note, I found out this week that there will be no Central Ohio Literature for Children Conference. I'm so bummed that I can't stand it. I loved going last year and it was local and affordable. Hopefully, they'll find another coordinator and have one in 2009

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Central Ohio SCBWI website

We have launched our regional chapter website. Please check us out at
Central Ohio SCBWI

Jan. 19th: Happy Birthday Edgar Allan Poe

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite authors, Edgar Allan Poe. In my opinion, he was the first true mystery writer and I love how his stories have a rhythmic cadence to them.

I'll never forget my introduction to Poe. I was in the 7th grade and we read 'The Telltale Heart'. My English teacher was a gifted storyteller and read the story perfectly. She built up the tension and I was hooked.

It remains my favorite Poe story followed by "The Black Cat". Two years ago, I fortunate enough to visit his museum in Richmond, VA and it was really something to be in the same room with some of his actual manuscripts and letters. I got to see his desk and personal items.

One of my 'must do' trips is to go to Baltimore and do the Poe tour.

So Happy Birthday, Edgar!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

6500 words

I had a wonderful holiday season but I was ready to get back to normal. I'm really excited about the prospects for 2008. I have 2 picture book manuscripts that are queried out to publishers. That was one of my goals for 2007.

I also have been working on my YA book. I didn't write for about 3 weeks after I wrote this one scene. I cried the whole time. I had never been so into what I was writing that I felt I was inside my character writing everything she felt.

I considered it growing as a writer. I just wrote what what she was saying. It was pretty cool.

What I'm reading: I just started Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wiener

Sunday, January 6, 2008

2008 SCBWI WIP Grant

I submitted my application for this Work In Progress grant last year and am going to do it again for their 2008 grant. I'm submitting my new YA novel and am really looking at my first Chapter since that's what I'll be submitting.

SCBWI offers several grants in different genres. Several grant winner have gone on to publish their novels. It would be a great item to include in a query letter.

If you're interested in writing or illustrating children's book, it really benefits you to join SCBWI. You can find them at SCBWI

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