Words of Wisdom about Nervousness

For those of you about to do something that makes you nervous (public speaking, sending out your first manuscript, doing a book signing, etc.) Maria Sharapova, tennis star, has this to say, “If I’m nervous, it means I had to work hard to get there, whether it’s playing in a tournament or speaking at an event. So I try to stop and be proud of getting to live in that moment.” (from Oprah Magazine, June 2011)

I can see the butterflies flying away right now…

It is official! Sylvan Dell to publish WARM IN THE WINTER TAIL!

I’m thrilled to announce Sylvan Dell will publish my fiction picture book, Warm in the Winter Tail.  The scheduled release date is fall 2012 and Christina Wald will illustrate. Her work is beautiful and I can’t wait to see how she interprets the text. In addition to their reach into trade and educational markets, Sylvan Dell Publishing is at the forefront of digital books.  From their website: Award-winning picture books that integrate Science, Math, and Geography . . . plus interactive eBook technology and
Spanish Translation.

Check them out!   


Cheryl Klein’s book about writing: Second Sight

I hestitate to share this info because every person who reads this book will become a better writer which creates more competition for me! Luckily, good triumphs over evil today and I’ve decided to pass along a recommendation for Cheryl Klein’s new book on writing called Second Sight. Cheryl (see how I’m on a first name basis with her since I read her book?) is senior editor at Arthur A. Levine Books (edited the Harry Potter series among other wonderful books), a highly successful imprint of Scholastic. Here is a blurb about Second Sight from her website: http://cherylklein.com/second-sight/

Whether you dream of writing a book for children or young adults, or you want to take a finished manuscript to the next level, it always helps to get a fresh point of view. Try a little Second Sight. In this collection of talks, a professional editor offers insights from the other side of the publishing desk on a wide range of writerly topics:

+ Terrific first lines and how they got that way
+ What makes a strong picture book manuscript
+ Why the Harry Potter series was such a tremendous success
+ Worksheets and checklists for building characters and bolstering plot
+ Finding the emotional heart of your story
+ The Annotated Query Letter from Hell
+ And an Annotated Query Letter That Does It Right

Go ahead and read it — if you must.

Many thanks to Bill Herrera

Bill Herrera (Pedro Pane) and I just completed a great morning of back-to-back talks to the American History classes at Marquette Senior High School on the topic of “When Cuba Came to Marquette.” Each of the four groups of students brought their own energy — and great questions for Bill like:

How long did it take to learn English? Are drugs a problem in Cuba?  Have you ever gone back to Cuba? Are you still close with the boys you met here? Where did you work? What were your first impressions of the United States?

You’ll have to come to our next presentation to hear the answers! Thanks again, Guillermo.

What happened to the month of April?

Can’t believe it was early March the last time I posted.  Where have I been? What have I been doing to further my writing? These are questions I’ve asked myself, and happily, I have answers:
1. Revising a new picture book manuscript and cover letter.
2. Researching potential publishing houses and editors for it.
3. Sending it out.
4. Patiently waiting for responses.
5. Taking an online writing class through Stanford’s Writer’s Workshop series called Writing the Lives of Others (biography). Writing a lot of biographical sketches! Critiquing a lot of biographical sketches! 
6. Learning a ton about my writing voice.
7. Tossing around an idea for a nonfiction older picture book including mini-biographies of Pedro Panes called Leaving Home: Individual Memories of a Shared Moment in Time.
8. Enjoying a stellar family vacation on Provo (Turks & Caicos Islands). (Not writing, but re-energizing!)
9.  Researching and writing an article about potcake dogs – feral dogs living on Turks and Caicos Islands. (See, a writing opportunity comes from experiencing a new environment!)
10. Revising my middle grade historical fiction novel based upon a professional critique.  This is very hard work!!
11. Preparing a presentation for Marquette Senior High School American History classes on Holy Family Orphans’ Home and Operation Pedro Pan. 
I’m sure your list is full, too! Care to share how you’ve furthered your writing this past month?


Circular Reasoning

I’ve realized the theme for my new picture book manuscript, EGGSTRA CRAZY DAY, could be the theme for most of the major events of my life: ….Sometimes the unexpected turns out way better than ever expected…

So, being open to the unexpected is a very good thing.

Lisa Wheeler and Spinster Goose and Publishers Weekly

Just wanted to cybercongratulate Lisa Wheeler http://www.lisawheelerbooks.com/LW/home.html
on her mention in the “about the artist” column of PW Children’s Books Spring 2011.  Lisa and illustrator, Sophie Blackall, are highlighted for their book, Spinster Goose: Nursery Rhymes for Naughty Children.  Lisa has been a sounding board for me and continues to deliver fun and engaging books. Check her out!

Boxing For Cuba by Guillermo Vincente Vidal

I am so impressed with this book.  Mr. Vidal, who was part of Operation Pedro Pan, is a breathtakingly honest writer and I am in awe of his bravery.  I highly recommend this memoir which is described on the book jacket as “an immigrant’s story of despair, endurance, and redemption.” Vidal has shared a haunting story told in a lyrical voice.