PiBoIdMo. I’m ready! Are you?

All signed up!


30 Ideas in 30 days. I got this. 🙂


Ideas are everywhere! I watch my kids, look at the world through kids eyes, and ask the question… “what if…”

I keep a notebook in my bathroom, since I get lots of ideas in the shower. I then can write it down before it’s gone.

If I have an idea later in the day, I use my cell phone notepad to keep track of them.

Before I turn the idea into a story, I do try to search my idea to see if it’s been done (and how often.) If I still love the idea, I will go to the library, read the books and work on making my story different.

So now head on over to Tara Lazar’s website and get signed up! http://taralazar.com/piboidmo/

Who else is participating? What are your tips to help prepare?


Playing with graphics

So you may see the graphics change a few times. I am playing with some graphic design software… I’m not very good and need to look back at spacing, but it’s fun. 🙂 

I just did the banner above. I’m hoping to be able to use it to help with some marketing I do for Usborne, myself as an author, and the Children’s Museum.

This is my old banner. 🙂


OK, off to do some revising. I am taking Picture Book Pacing and am looking forward to applying it to a few of my manuscripts.

Have a great weekend!

What I learn about writing from Project Runway

I’m not a fashionista. I prefer jeans to skirts, tennis to heels, and my nails are short and natural. And I can’t sew.

However, my favorite show is Project Runway. I love the idea of being given a challenge and finding a fun and competitive way to achieve a winning final product. I’m an idea person.

In the first episode, we are introduced to the characters. One stands out. She is confident, and doesn’t appear nervous. She believes in herself. Almost all the other contestants mock her final dress. They say she’s going to go home. One jokes, “watch her win.”

She won! She stuck to her vision. She didn’t play it safe. She didn’t let others steer her away from her path. It reminded me of the writing process (as all the episodes do!).  Some of the best selling children’s books are those that have stories of editors and agents saying it will never sell, no one will buy it, it’s too off the wall.

My takeaway from this episode is that I am playing it safe. I have some very nice stories. I also have a few that are unique. However, I keep pulling my unique stories from subbing and going with my safe stories. I’m about to switch my tactic. I have a broad range of writing styles, but right now I need to get noticed.

Wish me luck!


Beep, Beep, Bop….

Update my blog? Yes, I need to….

Life has been crazy with the Children’s Museum of Siouxland planning (we just went to bid, but are finalizing the exhibits), and are working on a promoting our workshop in August for young writers. The theatre just opened Legally Blonde and we had an amazing turnout for opening night thanks to the hard work of the marketing committee.  I have a child in driver’s ed this month, and am mommy bus for the other, plus getting in doctor’s appointments and such before school starts. And of course working my Usborne Books and More business… fairs start next week! And writing/editing needs to be a priority.

That said, I will update, I have some great posts in my mind, but Blog isn’t on my top 6 right now. But wanted to let you know I’m still around!  Have a fabulous weekend!


PS: If you love books and the thought of owning a book business in your home excites you, let me know! The July kit really is awesome.

Usborne Start kit is only $69. Learn more at www.goreadingtoday.com

Usborne Start kit is only $69. Learn more at http://www.goreadingtoday.com

Why I do it…

My horoscope the other day told me to reflect on my “dream”, and figure out what it is about my “dream” that has me so focused to keep going. As an unagented author, with one published book, I sometimes feel like giving up.  Funny how my horoscope knew this….  But it told me that once I grasped the knowledge (my why), things would fall into place.

It so happens that I read that paraphrased horoscope after finishing a favorite children’s book A Little Princess.

After reading this book, I was so happy. I loved reliving a story that I’d read before. I loved visiting the attic, hanging out in the schoolroom, and walking the puddle filled streets.  I imagined myself, penniless, in rags, trying to be noble. And I felt like a stronger person. A better person… all because I had a friend between the covers of a book.  The book left an impression on me as a child, and an even bigger impression as an adult. It helped shape my ideals in who I wanted to be. It let me visit a world I’d never get to see as a middle class girl growing up in Iowa. The book was a friend, an escape, a memory, and something I would always take with me. Once I read a book, no one can take that from me. It’s mine to cherish. It’s a part of me.

When I don’t have a book and I’m on long drives, or laying in bed, I tell stories. Sometimes I’ll even stare out the window and daydream. My stories allow me to go outside of who I am. They become my friend, an escape, a memory. Some of them, the stories I dwell on, I want to share with others. I want to introduce others to my characters. I want them to become friends with my friends (who aren’t imaginary to me.) I want them to jump inside my imagination, or experience something I’ve seen or heard.  I want them to get excited to turn the next page. And when they are done, I want them to feel satisfied.

That is why I write. I want to do for someone else what great authors have done (and still do) for me.

And now that I know and understand why I write and why I want my books out there for the world to see, things can begin to fall into place.

What’s your why?



Pirates & Princesses

If you live in or near Sioux City, IA, you won’t want to miss Pirates & Princesses that benefits the Children’s Museum of Siouxland tomorrow (April 27)!  It’s at Bev’s on the River, and tickets can be purchased at the door.

Last year was our first year, and it was a blast. Guests came dressed up.

You can find out more information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1411060552488917/

Hope to see you there!

Inspired by Autism

One question I often get about my book It’s Almost Time is: what gave you the idea to write about clocks?

I didn’t wake up one day and say “I’m going to write about clock sounds.” It was a process that is close to my heart.

My son was always a bit different then the other kids. He observed things other kids took for granted. He was the first to tell a shop owner they had a light bulb out, that their clock was off, or that there was a buzzing sound. When at the mall, he was always drawn into the clock store. I never thought anything of it, hey, clocks are cool! We’d go into the store and Alex would spend a good 30 minutes watching the clocks. The worker there would take the hands and slowly move them up to the hour so the clocks would cuckoo-cuckoo, sing, or dance. He loved showing Alex the new clocks that came in.

One day I was working at the mall and Alex was with me for a few hours. They let him hang out in the clock store and tinker with a broken clock.

I searched for clock books. The only ones I could find were telling time books, and it wasn’t the same. So I sat down at my computer to capture the experience. I wanted to show all the different sounds, and introduce the different types of clocks. To Alex and I, clocks came alive when we walked in the store. Even my youngest loved going to the clock store.

Not long after, Alex was diagnosed with high functioning Autism. Alex found a friendship in clocks he couldn’t find in people. Clocks are safe, reliable, and sociable in a way he can relate too. They are all different, and none of them ask too much from each other.

When my book came out, Alex had an outlet. He loves coming with me on author visits and organizing the audience. He came up with the audience being all the clocks and recreating the clock store experience. I get tears in my eyes thinking of how comfortable he is in front of people when I take him with me to do visits.


Since my book was published, I’ve heard from other parents with children with Autism that they connect to the book. Who knew how many people love and relate to clocks as much as our family!

Alex starts high school this year. He has a small collection of clocks to keep him company, and some human buddies as well. I’ve learned so much from Alex and am a proud mom. I wouldn’t change anything about him. Those with autism make this world a little bit more special.  I’m blessed to be a proud mom of a child on the Spectrum.

If you are interested in reading more about Alex and when we diagnosed him, visit here:

“Tick-tick tock, it’s almost time. The gears are winding, getting ready to chime.”
It’s Almost Time, Kane Miller


March Madness!

Just a quick reminder that March Madness is happening now! Lots of great poems.

Come vote for your favorite poems. 🙂 And of course, you can come read mine. Remember, vote for the one you love best. Voting closes Friday night.


And later today I will be posting another blog about my marvelous experience with Jane Yolen and friends. The subject is critiquing. 🙂

Thanks for reading!


Off to see the Wizard!

I’m so excited! Tomorrow I head to New Hampshire for a weekend retreat with Jane Yolen! Jane is one of my favorite authors, and I’m ecstatic at this opportunity to learn from her.

I will be blogging from the retreat, so check back to see what’s happening. 🙂

In the meantime, write on!