Monday, September 24, 2012

Where is Kali?

I love letters in the mail and boxes of books ... but nothing beats getting complimentary copies ...

My rebus: Where is Kali? beautifully illustrated by Kristin Kwan is in the October issue of Ladybug. Of course, it is based upon the real Kali (who is a tortie) but the illustrator chose to depict her as a tuxedo cat (like our kitten Finn) so it is doubly sweet.

I love the rebuses in Ladybug because the surprise comes after the page turn. It never fails to bring a little "ah" of satisfaction.

My magazine work has dwindled considerably, but still those ideas keep popping into my head. Kali alone has inspired several stories and we have two homemade books with photographs and text by yours truly. These were my kids' favorite books, right along with those by Rosemary Wells and Leo Lionni!

I don't think I'll even stop writing short stories. They're a great testing ground, and it supports the novel-writing bug. Just think of all the toner, paper, Internet ... 

We went to the aquarium this weekend and the highlight was the exhibit from Madagascar. Here are some lemurs, one of my all-time favorite critters. Did you know they purr, just like cats? I learned quite a bit about their habits while doing research for my cat purring article ...

Here's a plug for magazine writing. Some of my favorite children's magazines: Highlights for Children, Cricket Group, Clubhouse, Pockets, Ranger Rick, National Geographic Kids. Many are tough nuts to crack, but they all provide great content for children.

I'll be speaking about this very topic at the next Write 2 Ignite conference!

Ready? Set ... Write!

Happy writing all. And don't discount those little ideas that pop up in your head. Write!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Finis ... for now

Sometimes novel revisions look like this, especially when you're doing in-depth revisions. Sometimes I shave off too much. There are pieces that seem out of place, the transitions get all messed up when adding new scenes or deleting others. You don't really want to go out in public.

I don't know about you, but it takes time to re-vision and re-write so that the manuscript looks like this ... and of course, the hard work (just do it).

Well, after several years, and with much help from my furry friends, I am finally ready to submit my first novel manuscript!

It is not the first novel I've written ... 

Here's the stash of papers from the various revisions. I tried to save paper, but I guess I'll just have to plant a tree ... a tea bush will be more likely.

Ummm, I am not only the cook, housekeeper, writer, and teacher, but the family hair-cut-giver. This little *accident* happened on my husband's watch ... for which I'm eternally grateful. It came pretty soon after the hack-job I did on my daughter's head, which had to be fixed by a professional hair-dresser.
I am so proud of my son ... he went to school as usual and told the truth. That his parents make mistakes. Nothing that a little time and prayer can't fix.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tragedy and Grace

It’s strange to think how a tragedy of immense proportions, like that of 9/11 can have anything good come out of it, but my husband confessed years later it was the turning point for him, when he started reading more conservative columnists and began to consider the possibility of God. When our older child began school a few years later and we felt overwhelmed with all the outside influences we didn’t want him to have, I naturally turned towards God. That was my childhood, but I wasn’t sure how open my husband would be. See, I’ve seen marriages fall apart when one spouse wants to talk about God and the other is vehemently opposed, and I loved my husband more than anything and didn’t want to cause a rift in our marriage. I loved him far more than an invisible God.

Imagine my delight and surprise when I bought a beautiful children’s Bible with pictures and historical tidbits, and my husband offered to read it to the children. I didn’t appreciate then what I do now. He held the Word is his hands and began to fall in love with Jesus… “How is it that I do not know this?” he asked. We became hungry for more.

A couple of years later, when the pull towards God became stronger and I could no longer deny my desire to return to church, it was easy to broach the subject to my husband. We didn’t have to debate much which church … there was one at the bottom of our hill, but it had a slogan “No weird stuff” that turned me off. It implied that other churches had weird stuff. I thought about going back to my Anglican roots, but when I looked at all the changes, we thought, no. We must go farther back, before the Reformation, before all the heresies (and there were plenty), and seven years after 9/11 we stepped into the nearest Catholic Church. During football season. The rest is history …

The seeds of our conversion were planted 9/11 in my husband! I see how grace flows from the head of the family to all its members. I might have had the religious background, but without my husband, I would never have stepped into that church. From a tragedy, this one good thing has happened in our family. We turned towards God. We recognized how much we need Him. And He used that crack to burrow Himself into our hearts. And so we pray for those who died; may they rest in the loving arms of our Lord Jesus Christ for all eternity.

We entered the digital age fairly late (in fact, my husband won this camera at some engineering conference) ... so this picture is the closest one I have to 9/11. As you can see, we're preparing for Thanksgiving at Chez Bodach.

My grace is sufficient for thee ~ 2 Cor. 12:9

Friday, September 7, 2012

ICL Writing Contest

ICL is sponsoring a YA short-story contest (any sub-genre: adventure, historical, Sci/Fi). Read the specifications. In brief, it's for 13-14 yr-olds, under 1,500 words, due by Halloween. So put on your thinking cap. Maybe a new story is coming to the surface, or maybe an excerpt of a novel can be reshaped into a short story. Perhaps you already have a story in the works that just needs a polish ... so what are you waiting for? Spit-shine it and send it off.

If you already subscribe to the Children's Writer newsletter you don't need to pay an entry fee. If you don't, the small entry fee is worth it because you will also get a subscription. This is one of the few contests that I feel is worth the fee (they actually give you something for it).

The prize is nice: $500 and publication in CW. You can then re-sell the story to another magazine. Years ago, my short story, Driving Lessons, won first prize in the YA contemporary category. It was such a thrill and the check that arrived in the mail even more so. I was so happy, I wrote about it here.

Contests are a great way to hone your writing skills, and some have excellent prizes. Some unusual ones are your story on a soup can, gift cards to writing supplies shops, kitchenware, etc. If you've not done this before, I encourage you to do so. Even if you do not win, you might get an honorable mention.

I wish I could enter ... but I teach for ICL so I do not have this privilege anymore.

Good luck to all who enter.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September Means School

A little girl inspired me to post this picture. I came across this alligator-turtle on my morning walk. He obviously had to get to the other pond.

We are now in the new school/work routine (doesn't my family look great in their uniforms?), which means I'm writing a whole lot more (in my nightie). Well, revising madly, actually. The last round before I send this puppy out ...  Please tell me I will not turn into a neurotic mess when I enter Queryland.

Here I am reading Faith's manuscript! As I recall, I could not go to bed. It is soooo GOOD!

Here's wishing you all a great September of reading, writing, and arithmetic.