Friday, December 26, 2008

Snowy Arches

We took a walk through the woods on Christmas Day and encountered many, many snowy arches. At times I felt as though I were walking through a doorway, to a different world, different possibilities ... as I quietly dreamed of the writing possibilities in the year ahead.

Monday, December 22, 2008

White Christmas

Cue music: I'm dreaming of a white Christmas ...

I do so love snow in the winter. I still think it's like magic. And we don't get much of it here in Western Washington so we're eating it all up, literally. That's Pup's first snow and she loves prancing through it, finding a buried branch, tossing it through the air and pouncing upon it again. Such fun to watch her. Pure joy. And a bonus for me is not having to clean up a muddy dog (I did a lot of that in Nov.).

Schools closed three days before official winter break and we've had a lot of fun. We got a foot or more of this fluffy white stuff. It's been perfect for sledding. It's warmed up a bit, so it's perfect for making a snowman. My kitchen smells divine, with soups simmering, cookies baking and Christmas music filling the air.

Here are two BFFs -- best furry friends. They were both watching the birds and squirrels, but turned around politely for a picture. The cat lets the pup know when she's gotten too close.

As this year comes to a close, let me say a heartfelt "Thank You" to all my family and friends, furry or not. You've made our lives richer, sweeter.

Cue music: We wish you a Merry Christmas ... and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


When I first started writing, I focused on children's magazines, and I'd come across Anna Levine's work in the magazines I enjoyed -- Highlights, Cricket group, etc. So when I came across a book of hers in the library, I immediately checked it out. Running on Eggs was her first book -- a story about the friendship between a Jewish and Arab girl, and the choices they must make.

Fast forward a few years. I was serving as a judge for the SCBWI Magazine Merit Awards and Anna had a touching story about a young girl whose mother battles cancer in "The Wednesday Club" (Cicada, Jan. 2006). She took second place for fiction that year. But she walked away with the grand prize for poetry. "Saxophone Summer" sizzled with the syncopated rhythm of red hot jazz, also published in Cicada (June 2006).

When I contacted her for an article I was writing about judging the awards, I had to know whether she had other books incubating. And she let me know about Freefall. I've been eagerly awaiting it's arrival and what a pleasure it was to stay up late and read it in peace.

As always, you can trust Anna to tell a good story. Here we discover what it's like to serve in the Israeli military. It's not a matter of choice -- it's compulsory. Does Aggie have what it takes to become a combat soldier? Find out in this fast-paced book. A rich cast of characters test their love and loyalty.

Mazel tov, Anna! You've done it again.
If you want to know more about what it's like to be eighteen and serve, check out Anna's blog.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Writing Novels

I haven't been going to our local SCBWI meetings because of all the kiddie sports and activities. Gosh, if there's a night I can hang out at home with my kiddos, that's the thing to do. But not even a headache was going to prevent me this time. Molly drove (thank you). Love my carpool buddies -- Molly, Jeanie and Sue. Always nice to visit and it makes the drive more pleasant.
What a pleasure it was to meet up with writing friends, celebrate the successes of our local authors and illustrators, especially Kevan and Jolie, eat all those Christmas cookies, and finally, after passing on the SCBWI Co-RA hats to Joni and Laurie, listen to the fabulous, pink-haired Laini Taylor on the strategies she uses to finish books. She is smart, funny and gracious and I urge you all to read Not for Robots. I think there's something there for each and every one of us who is trying to finish a book.
Thank you Laini, for a wonderful and inspiring talk.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Once someone stole a picture from me. I complained about it here. Upon closer examination, I found myself guilty of doing the same thing -- not checking to make sure that the image was in the public doman. I've removed the two pictures on my blog and will try to get permission or find other pictures.

I urge you all to make sure that the pictures and excerpts you use are in fact allowed. Here's a link to discerning what constitutes fair use. It's not always clear and if in doubt, leave it out.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting ...

It is Advent. The season of waiting. The kiddos can hardly contain themselves with Christmas on the horizon. Both said that Christmas was their favorite holiday, followed by birthdays because of all the presents! Well, who can blame them? They are also excited about celebrating a birth that happened two thousand years ago. I think Jesus is already in their hearts, as He is in mine.
I'm learning much about patience, as though publishing, with its glacial pace hasn't taught me enough. Hah!
This is the first (and only) Christmas tree ornament that I ever purchased (the rest are gifts). I bought this when we were living in Belgium. We had gone to the Christmas fair in the little town of Monschau near the Belgian border, and I loved this simple angel, made of a rounded wooden piece, wood shavings and a feather. He reminds me of my guardian angel ...
I am waiting for the holidays to begin, for my stories to be accepted, for midnight candlelit Mass. Tell me, what are you waiting for?