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
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.  

Rejections. Bleck.

You’d be proud of me.  I didn’t stomp on my husband’s toes when he read my most recent rejection letter and said, “Your rejections are getting better and better.” 

It is nice when an editor, especially one at the top of her game, takes the time to point out the positives in a manuscript. And the negatives.  (Darn those negatives. Darn.)

Thank you, Ms. Top of Her Game Editor.  You made my day. 

Patience Revisited

“If the person you are talking to isn’t listening, be patient.  Maybe he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”


Dutton and Dial Imprints Info

For my pre-agented writer friends:

Because so few larger publishing houses are open to unagented submissions, I take note of changes of personnel and policies.  Two of Penguin Young Readers “open” imprints, Dutton and Dial, announced in the January 27th PW Children’s Bookshelf the following, “Julie Strauss-Gabel has been named v-p and publisher of Dutton Children’s Books, effective immediately. She was previously associate publisher. Dutton will become a ’boutique middle grade and young adult imprint with a focus on titles of exceptional literary quality and strong commercial appeal,’ according to a statement from Penguin. The imprint will now publish 10-15 titles per year. Dial Books for Young Readers, under president and publisher Lauri Hornik, will expand from 50 titles to 75 titles per year, and will incorporate a number of authors and illustrators previously published by Dutton.” Hmmm.

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