Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Welcome to Day 2- Michael Selden

 Welcome to Day 2 of the blog tour for author Michael Selden. His post gives you insight into his writing life.

For me, writing is not always structured the same way.  I have times of intense focus when I write (or read) to the exclusion of almost everything else, and then I have times when I don’t write. Generally, I’d say I read or write three to six hours per day—that’s an average.  But, I can go months without actually writing at all, especially when I am working on something else—like moving my home, for example.


I don’t have a specific time I write, I write as I find time when I want to do so.  During the writing of THE BALANCE and THE BOY WHO RAN (I wrote the first drafts sequentially and revised them in parallel), I followed the three to six hour guideline, but I spent twenty hours writing one day when the momentum for THE BALANCE was high.  The first draft of THE BALANCE was about 85K words and it grew to about 140K words before I started cutting.  The first draft took me six weeks to write.  THE BOY WHO RAN required an initial week of research on the period and its first draft of about 31K words took me three weeks to scribble out.  But, first drafts are only 10% of the creative work.

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I write on a computer, exclusively now. I used to write in longhand and then struggle typing, but the word processor has been a blessing. I’m sure I went through THE BOY at least 200 times; imagine that with a pencil—I guess writers of old were better at their first drafts than me.  But I write anywhere, even in restaurants if I’m eating alone and travelling.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What a Blessing... A Guest Post from Author Susanna Leonard Hill

Today I’m hosting Day 2 of a 5-day virtual tour (sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center) for Susann Leonard Hill’s book Punxsutawney Phyllis. In this post, Susanna tells about the writer’s life.

The Writer's Life with Children's Author Susanna Leonard Hill

I had to laugh a little at today’s topic – “a typical writing day”
My intended typical writing day goes like this:
Butt in chair at 9 AM for 3 hours of new writing.
Break for lunch around noon, check and respond to important emails.
Back to work around 1 to do revision work (I’m usually not as fresh for new writing in the afternoon, although that’s not always the case if the muse is in residence ) respond to students taking my writing class, and/or write my weekly blog posts.
Around 4, read and comment on blog posts I want to keep up with, and respond to comments on my own blog.
Stop at 5 for family evening.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could pull that off?

My actual writing day goes more like this:
Butt in chair around 10:30 AM (after taking my daughter to school, mucking the barn, stopping for groceries on the way home, and taking the dogs for a run)… so, half the amount of writing time I’d really like…
Break for lunch around noon, check and respond to important emails… also throw in some laundry, unload the dishwasher, etc. which ends up taking more than an hour
Back to work whenever the emails are finished except, oops!  I have to… (insert family activity here including attending soccer, basketball, volleyball, football, ice hockey, lacrosse games or wrestling matches, school performances in music or theatre, class trips, classroom parties, chauffeuring kids hither and yon, picking up or dropping off dry cleaning, special visits to the post office/UPS/FedEx, dentist/doctor/orthodontist/eye doctor/veterinarian appointments which are frequent with 5 kids, aging parents, and 2 dogs, etc.)
And oh, would you look at that?   It’s already 5!
So… dinner, homework, bedtimes… and then 10:00 PM – what was I doing?

I am the first to admit that I am not the most organized person in the world – something I’m trying to work on  I love that writing gives me the flexibility to be there for my kids.  I am so lucky to be able to do something I love without having to miss the important moments in my kids’ lives.  But I don’t think I can pretend I have a typical writing day.  I just try to go with the flow and do the best I can to get everything done, including some new writing most days.  I am well aware that before I know it, the kids will all be off at college and I’ll have more free time than I know what to do with.  It’s happening already – one child at a time.  So I don’t mind the juggling for now

Friday, January 10, 2014

Picture Book Review: When the Monsters are Quiet

Displaying WOI Banner When Monsters Quiet small.jpg

Today I am reviewing a 1st grade reading level children's book. It is an exciting part of the World of Ink tours. This book is not only cute but contains  phonemic awareness and reading comprehension strategies  in the back of the book so parents can get their kiddos to become star readers!

Title of Book: When the Monsters are Quiet   
Author: Alicia Lloyd                    
Publisher: Halo Publishing, Int.
ISBN Number: ISBN 13: 978-1-61244-219-8
Genre: Children
Publication Date: January 2014
Page count: 25
Price: $11.95
 Displaying When the Monsters are Quiet cover small.jpg
Synopsis of book: This friendly book is a fun way children can start to become proficient readers by reading about one of their biggest worries- bedtime! This book is a reminder to never be afraid of your monsters and has helpful hints for parents to help their children by exploring with early reading strategies at home.

MY REVIEW: This is such a cute book about those imagined monsters that all young children have dreams about... those scary huge ugly monsters that make sounds in the night. Author Alicia Lloyd has done a wonderful job in very few words of explaining to young readers what those scary little sounds really are.  Parents and teachers alike will appreciate the story, the language, and the key at the back of the book explaining why she chose those special words. Those few simple words not only tell a bang up story for early readers but they are designed to help the new reader to develop great reading skills. And that is something all parents and teachers will appreciate.

I give this simple picture book 4 stars for creativity, plot, and offering solid reading basics for new readers. This will be a great addition to any Picture book collection.

Places available for sale: Halo, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Author Bio: Alicia Lloyd is a senior at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and is working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Grades Preparation (PK-4) and Special Education. She has a strong passion for working with children and loves to write! Alicia lives in Oxford, Pennsylvania surrounded by her wonderful friends and family. 
You can find out more about Alicia Lloyd, her book and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at http://tinyurl.com/mxhj8vj
Follow Alicia Lloyd on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/whenthemonstersarequiet

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone

I have a confession. I am not good at doing things outside my comfort zone. I have a zillion ideas but when it comes to putting them on paper and finding my niche.... well, something gets in the way. I don't know about you but I think fear is my culprit. Fear that I can't be as good as others and also the fear that I can't repeat the process if I do get something published. What if they want another book? 

Well this is a New Year and I have grown as a writer. I have completed several classes, courses, and academies with the best teachers including Suzanne Lieurance and Mira Reisberg. Come on now, I know I can do this.

I have joined an excellent critique group which means I really must write something to be critiqued.
I have committed to the 21 day challenge with Shannon Abercrombie and I have my list of ideas from all those groupie challenges from 2013 that are screaming to become something important.
Finally, I have committed to working on a pattern book where a friend of mine and I will be designing patterns and writing fictional scenarios in a book about quilting and applique.

What are you planning for 2014 that may lead you to success?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Welcome to Day 2 of The Virtual Book Tour for Author Sally Lee

The Writer’s Life with Children’s Author Sally O. Lee


Today I’m hosting Day 2 of a 5-day virtual tour (sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center) for Sally O. Lee’s new book, Pop! Pop! Bam! Bam!

About Sally O. Lee

Award-winning author, Sally O. Lee earned her BA in Studio Art and Art History (with distinction) from Colby College and then went on to study graphic design and painting in Boston (Art Institute of Boston) and in New York City (New York Studio School). She has had several shows of her work and received an art grant from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology to conceive and create a series of paintings, and from this came her 2002 exhibition- A Journey Into Abstraction. Some of Ms. Lee’s paintings are in various private collections in the US.

In recent years, Ms. Lee has begun to write and illustrate children’s books. Some of them deal with the struggles of living with some form of handicap…or, as the author prefers to call it, imperfection. Many of her illustrations have been published and she has earned both academic and public recognition for her important work in children’s books. She has had illustrations published in Worldlink Magazine, IEEE Magazine, and several other publications. Sally has illustrated and written 29 books for children.


About the Book

School shootings are a topic no one wants to talk about, especially with young children. Yet, they do occur, so many young children are fearful. This is the story of an angry man who goes in to a school with a gun and hurts people. It is also a story about those who survived and how they coped.



Sally Describes How She Writes and Illustrates


“My process is a little unusual. I do have a day job and a cat to takecare of so I have to fit it in here and there!

“Sometimes a book will take me 5 years to write and sometimes it takes me 5 days!

“Sometimes the illustrations are done but the story doesn’t work yet. And sometimes I have an idea, and the entire book just pours out. I never know.

I consider myself more of an illustrator than a writer, so the story usually is written in a very short amount of time. The illustrations are much harder and take much more time! I write at my computer (sometimes on paper), but I do my illustrations in my leather chair in my living room watching t.v. and doing laundry with a cup of coffee. I have sketchpads and watercolors nearby so that when the idea strikes, I can paint it.”

Find out more about Sally O. Lee and her books at http://www.leepublishing.net


To follow Day 3 of Sally’s virtual book tour, tomorrow go to http://www.karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com



Monday, January 6, 2014

21 Day Challenge for Writers for Children

I am excited for a new year of writing and I know many of you are too. One thing for sure is that to get better results I have to do more action steps and this challenge : Start the Year off Write 2014 fits into my writing plan for the New Year.

Jump on over to http://www.shannonabercrombie.com/julie-hedlund-procrastinates-no-way/ and read the first post by author Julie Hedlund. Next browse the blog of the author sponsoring this challenge, Shannon Abercrombie at www.shannonabercrombie.com and check out what the excitement is all about. There are prizes and writing prompts for the next 21 days.

Jump on board with me and let's get started. Who knows, one of us might win big.


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