Wednesday, July 31, 2013

SCBWI Carolinas Conference

Last year was my first time to attend the Carolinas SCBWI conference and I was so impressed with the variety offered. Most of it was for book writing and illustrating. However, I spoke to many beginners or writers who had not yet been published but had been writing for a while. You all know I'm a magazine evangelist, so I'm happy to tell you I'll be offering a breakout session on magazine and nonfiction writing as a way of developing your writing career. I'd love to see you in Charlotte, NC the last weekend in Sept. if you can make it. It's great timing ... school will be in session and most of us will be in our new fall writing routines. Yes, there will be sports to manage, but I am leaving it to my husband and friends.

Some fabulous agents and editors will be there: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary; Susan Hawk, The Bent Agency; Stephen Barr, Writer's House; Emily Easton, Walker Books;  Emma Ledbetter, Simon & Schuster; and Joy Neaves, namelos.

Sarah Davies, Joy Neaves, Patti Ann Harris and Dan Yaccarino are offering intensives on Friday morning.

Check out the program and entire faculty here and the links within.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Lord Jesus, Think on Me

I've been sick much of last week, the pain of the migraines uncontrollable, taking me into the pit of despair. I called upon all my prayer warriors to lift me up to Christ, and finally I was able to ask for mercy, for healing, for pity. I could offer up this suffering for my children. I couldn't feel the loving presence of Christ; it is only my faith that tells me I am not alone. So I couldn't wait to go to Sunday Mass. I would receive My Lord. Real, tangible, in my mouth.

I was so choked up that I could not sing this entrance hymn. It is one of my favorites and I can tell you that I wouldn't be here today if the good Lord Jesus weren't thinking on me. Here is full text.

The Introit (Ps. 54:2) made me weep too: "When I cried to the Lord He heard my voice ...  Hear O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication; be attentive to me and hear me."

As I recited the Kyrie and Gloria, I was able to ask for mercy and give thanks and be attentive to the Word, knowing I was being cradled in His arms. The parable of the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14) allowed me to prepare myself for the Sacrament of Healing I was to receive later.

This sacrament is powerful. Three years ago, after being anointed, the frequency of migraines was reduced by half. That's more than any medication I've ever used. My neurologist was quite surprised. I have more faith now in the Divine Physician than I do in Tylenol or Maxalt. I do not understand why I do not receive complete healing, but I will be persistent in my prayer to be healed. I am already much, much better, thanks be to God.

Is it a wonder I thought that Sunday's Mass, including the hymns were written especially for me? That was Jesus, talking to me, coming down to me, raising me up.

Per crucem ad lucem.

This picture was taken by my son at the National Shrine in WA-DC. More pictures to come from that trip later ... but I thought this picture perfectly appropriate since the homily for Sunday's Mass was on this phrase from Our Lord's Prayer. 


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gardening Workshop At the Library

One of the pleasures of summertime is loading up on books at the library and basically eating them. Some of my favorite reads this summer: Hattie books by Kirby Larsen; Gordon Korman -- I particularly enjoyed Schooled; lots of Jerry Spinelli, Richard Peck, Robin LaFevers, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Peterson Haddix. Oh, and the new book by Ruta Sepetys. I should keep a reading log because now I'm forgetting some of the wonderful authors I read. But you can see that almost all of it is children's literature. The adult fare was all nonfiction.

I was picking up some books at the library and the librarian alerted me to my books on display. The others in the series were checked out! Always such a thrill. Anyway, we got to chatting about our basil and tomatoes, and before I knew it, I was volunteering to do a little workshop on gardening. Here's the blurb:      

Coming up next month is a special program with the children’s author, Vijaya Bodach. You will learn to grow a pizza and to build a sunflower house!  This local author has written many books for children: Seeds, Stems, Roots,  Leaves, Flowers, Fruits , and the math concept books Tally Charts, Bar Graphs, and Pie Charts, and many more.

Daniel Island 2301 Daniel Island Drive 471-2952 Friday, August 9th 3:00—3:45 pm 
For pre-K to 2nd graders (ages 4-8) 
Free. Pre-registration is appreciated, but not required.

So, if you're in the area, stop by the library on Daniel Island. And be prepared to get dirt under your nails.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

World Youth Days in Rio

Although I greatly dislike crowds, I find myself longing to have a passport and be a youth again ... so that I can be in Rio this week with my brothers and sisters in Christ. A great multitude of them!

I never miss a chance to read Pope Francis' daily homilies, and enjoyed his remarks when he arrived. Yes, "children are the apple of our eye" and they are our future. May the light of Christ shine in each and every one of them. I especially liked this photo-essay today. The confessionals are so practical!

Here are some links for your interest:
Vatican YouTube Channel, Salt & Light, EWTN
Official English-language website
Enjoy! Viva Cristo Rey!!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New e-books from Compass Media

I have eight new books from Compass Media out, but only one to have and hold. They're all e-books in the Reading Oceans program. They have turned out beautifully, and I hope they will become print books, especially the ones for younger readers. I thoroughly enjoyed working with my editor on these books. The first ones were actually revisions. Artwork was already done but the story was not well-written. Instead of revising a story that I couldn't get excited about, I ended up writing a whole new story that could fit the illustrations. I also got to write original stories and was delighted with the artwork. For the nonfiction books, I did all the photo-research and was lucky enough to find just the right ones. I especially enjoyed writing the Indian folktales and an overview of the history and culture of India. My fifth grade teacher would be proud of me for finally learning my history.

These are the titles of my books -- you can see the nice variety I got to work on.

My Pocket Hamster; Caring For Your Hamster
My Pet Turtle Tom; Caring For Your Turtle
It's Time to Get Strong; Family Picnic Day
The Tiger, The Boy, And The Jackal
The Rajah and the Rice: an Indian Folktale

I cannot really share these with you, because one has to have a subscription, and although I know that more and more books are being published the electronic route, with all the bells and whistles, I must say that the experience cannot rival one with a paper book. I just cannot imagine cuddling up with a child and an electronic device. When my children were growing up, we had no TV or video games. None. Many parents asked what I did with my kids when they discovered we had no electronics for the children. How do they entertain themselves? I tried not to roll my eyes. But sarcasm leaked out: whatever did children do fifty or a hundred years ago? They played, did chores, explored the backyard and neighborhood, and if they were bored, well, they became creative. And yes, we read a ton of books! My kids had memorized so many that I'd have them "read" to me well before they knew their letters.

But I digress. I know electronics are the future, but I do hope that children are not plunked in front of the screen to amuse themselves. I hope that parents are taking the time to sit and relax with their children, reading a beloved book together, no matter what the format. It's a time of great bonding. I still cannot part with some of the picture books because I have so many memories associated with them. Most recently we read the Hobbit together. My husband makes the best sound effects.

What do you think of e-books for the young? Would you use them?

Friday, July 12, 2013

On Dreams

For her 12th birthday, we decided to splurge on horseback riding lessons for my daughter. She's been asking and asking, and this was what she wanted with all her heart. Ask and you shall receive? Oh yes! She is loving her lessons. We cannot afford to give them year round, but as she gets older, she can find a way to make her dreams come true. Sometimes doors open in the most unexpected ways. For now, I enjoy watching her ride, as she dreams of galloping in the woods.
Years ago, before I was married, when I was visiting my sister in England, she gave me the gift of a riding lesson on an enormous horse! I don't remember obsessing over horses like my daughter does, but my sister still knew. At the time I never thought about the sacrifices she must've made with three small children to make this dream come true. I loved riding that horse and I never wanted it to end. I am soooo tempted to have a lesson too, but I try to be content. I get such pleasure from watching my daughter ride. I've included a couple of videos even though taking video is not my forte ...  And here's a link to Carbon Leaf's song about some things being best left between a girl and her horse.


Recently we started a family dream journal. We write about big and small things we'd like to do, have, virtues to grow in. We hope this draws us closer as a family as we help each other make our dreams come true. I do believe that the deepest desires of our heart are placed there by God. And so we pray. Persistently. Like my daughter. Funny how a mysterious melding of wills occurs.

So what are your dreams and how are they coming true?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Let Freedom Ring!!!

My son took these beautiful pictures Wed night on Daniel Island. The police had blocked off our usual shortcut across the marsh so we barely made it in time to watch these fireworks.

Thu, we spent the day at the beach, playing in the surf and sand. I can't say enough for this kind of carefree playtime. Went to Mass in the evening. We had debated where to go to watch fireworks, but a fellow parishioner who lives on Sullivan's island invited us to watch them from his home. We spent the evening on his dock, enjoying the beauty of this place and the good company. An unexpected gift.

I hope you all had a beautiful and safe Fourth celebrating our country's independence and our God-given rights -- to life, to liberty, and to the pursuit of happiness. God bless America.