Thursday, May 29, 2008


That's my son batting at the beginning of the baseball season. He has improved so much over these past two months ... he no longer waits for the perfect pitch, but takes a risk and swings. And good things happen -- he hits the ball, he gets to run. I need to take those same risks with my writing. Too many times, fear stops me. I didn't realize I was afraid of so many things -- failure, disapproval, even success. This year (I know that it's almost half over) I am going to try to write fearlessly in just my notebook and see where it takes me.
These past two months have been hectic. Between the practices and games, we're often busy with baseball every other day, and most weekends. But seeing the kids getting better, learning teamwork and now with the weather improving, I am almost sad that this is coming to an end. My daughter and I enjoy sitting on the blanket, watching the game, playing games of our own and just relaxing together. I've learned much about baseball and knowing the rules makes watching a game much more meaningful.
And as always, watching the kids gives me lots of story ideas. Who knows, some day I may write a story involving a ball :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tagged ... Five Things

Fiona tagged me again to play and I'm feeling mighty playful. However, a meme of five things should really have five questions to make it a perfect square.

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read the player's blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answer.

What were you doing five years ago?
I gave away most of my science stuff because I started to write seriously, two hours every night, after the toddlers and husband were tucked into bed. Writing brings me home.

What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?
Finish revisions on a magazine article, pick fresh spinach and lettuce for supper, refill bird feeders, write to my sister and two aunts. Mission accomplished since it's late in the day.

What are five snacks you enjoy?
Tim's vinegar and sea salt potato chips, spicy chewda (fried spiced lentils), samosas (spicy potatoes in a pastry), cherry red tomatoes off the plant, blueberries off the bushes.

What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?
Become a publisher, write more, travel more, rest more, give more.

What are five of your bad habits?
Chewing my fingernails ... gosh, that's the only one I can think of. Feel free to tell me more.

What are five places where you have lived?
India, Belgium, and in America -- Pullman WA, Long Beach CA, West Lafayette IN. I love small university towns, wheatfields for miles and miles around.

What are five jobs you've had?
Dishwasher, fortune-teller, teacher, scientist, mom (and I'm still washing dishes).

Five people I'm tagging:
Let's see, who hasn't been tagged yet --
Bish at Random Thoughts
Rachel at Rachel Writes for Kids
Darcy at Revision Notes
Jacqui at Jacqui's Room
Peggy at A Sound from My Heart

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kudos for Frankie Stein

This is one happy dude. The sole male and the sole illustrator in our critique group, Kevan Atteberry, has every reason to be gloriously happy.

Frankie Stein, written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Kevan, is the winner in the picture book category of the National Children's Choice Book Award. I'm not one bit surprised. Here's what my kiddos had to say about:

Daughter (age 7): Frankie Stein is a very funny book because Frankie's mommy and daddy are scary but Frankie is not. And when he tries, it's even funnier. I like the family tree with all the scary relatives.
Son (age 9): Frankie Stein is a really funny book because the parents are so silly. When Frankie tries to act and look scary, he looks like someone dressing up in a Halloween costume. The ghost and cat are very funny. You can spend a lot of time looking at the pictures of the scary furniture and toys. This is a great book that will bring laughter to people aged 2 to 102.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Taste of Summer

Looks like I brought back some of that sunshine from Conn. I'm having a taste of summer and it is glorious. Clothes flapping in the breeze, birds singing, nibbling, taking a bath. I write in my notebook outside.

The rhodies are bursting open (they're late this year -- they're always in full bloom for Mother's Day). This chipmunk scolded me for getting too close. I guess I'd better stick to the writing.

This weekend, a birthday celebration. My daughter has turned seven. She's invincible.


Thursday, May 15, 2008


I've just returned from an intensive training session at the Institute of Children's Literature (ICL). I took their basic course several years ago. Loved it. Loved my instructor -- my mentor, really. And I can see why after meeting the wonderful folks at ICL. Now I'll be joining them in making dreams come true. So bring me an apple! I'm ready to teach.

I've been teaching in some form or another since I was kid. I started teaching English to my friends who didn't speak it in India. I taught them bad words and incorrect meanings for hilarious results. But even with all the monkey business, I managed to teach my friends a decent amount of correct English. In high school, I continued to help ESL students (no monkey business) but also started tutoring kids in science and math. During the college years I taught organic chemistry. I was set for a career in academia but I never knew how much I'd want to stay home with my children. And I reclaimed an old love -- writing.

And as a mother, I'm never not teaching ... But I do regular teaching as well, writing and science workshops in my children's classes, writing workshops for adults who want to write for children. So I'm not surprised that my writing journey is leading me back to ICL.

The best part? I can do it in my pajamas.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Best Part

I saved the best for last. My dear friend, Fiona, stayed with me for the conference. Not only did we have a marvelous time staying up late and gabbing, we also worked on our articles that were due right after the conference. I think this is the first time we'll be sharing an issue. It's going to be in KNOW.

Fiona was gracious enough share the galleys of her book, BUBBLE HOMES AND FISH FARTS. It is a collection of the amazing ways that animals use bubbles. I don't know how often I said, "Cool, I didn't know that." It's sure to be a kid pleaser. Carolyn's illustrations bring the text alive and I can't wait to see it in book form! Good thing time flies.

Here they are, Carolyn and Fiona, meeting for the first time. I hope they make more books together.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Conference Perspectives

I was touched to meet many people from the conference who introduced themselves to me and told me that they had written a nonfiction article or a poem or a story, that they sent it out. And now are waiting for a response. It takes courage to put your work out there. So Bravo! Some people told me of their acceptances. Thank you so much for sharing your success.

You see, last year, I did a workshop in Bellingham on writing Tantalizaing Truths. It was a small group of very talented writers, with varied backgrounds. They were eager, took notes furiously and did a number of exercises. I very much wanted them to finish what they had started, so I made sure to talk about middles and endings as well. They went home and did the hard work of finishing, polishing their pieces. And a year later ... they are published!

I presented a more general talk on magazine writing two months ago and again, I am so happy that the attendees finished what they started at the talk. One got a speedy acceptances (note the plural) from Highlights! How cool is that?

I am so happy to know that a little prod and encouragement from me has resulted in so many people finishing their pieces and sending them out. It's a big step. Congratulations!

Meeting and talking to you was another of my highlights of this conference.

Since I probably won't have time to do another post for quite some time (you'll find out why later), I will direct you to my fellow attendees at the SCBWI conference who have blogged about the conference: Molly, Rachel, Linda, and Annette.

Happy Reading and Writing.