I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and made lots of memories with everyone you hold dear! It’s hard to believe Advent is already here and Christmas is just around the corner. My wish for all of you is that you find quiet moments throughout this season to slow down and savor the blessings of home, family, and faith!
It’s also Cyber Monday! And that means it’s a great day to purchase copies of MRS. NOAH for gift-giving this holiday season. With that in mind, I’m offering a giveaway! For every MRS. NOAH purchased from your favorite online retailer, you’ll receive a signed bookplate to add to your copies of the book. It’s a great way to give a personalized and signed copy of MRS. NOAH. Here’s how to take advantage of this offer:
1. Purchase copies of MRS. NOAH through your favorite online retailer on Cyber Monday or Tuesday (today and tomorrow).
2. Send a screenshot of your purchase to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the names you’d like the bookplates made out to and your mailing address, and I’ll send you your signed bookplates in time for Christmas gift-giving.
It’s that simple! The deadline for this offer is Wednesday, November 30th (that means I’ll need all the info mentioned above by midnight on the 30th) in order to get them mailed out in time.
I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to get signed author copies of MRS. NOAH for all the little ones in your life this holiday season! Keep an eye on your inbox for more MRS. NOAH giveaways in the coming weeks.
Those of you who know me know that I love learning about and writing about strong women! MRS. NOAH may not have done all the things I give her credit for in my book, but I like to imagine her coming alongside Noah, rolling up her sleeves, and getting the job done! Women who are strong, capable, fearless, faithful, wise and smart inspire me to try and be those things to the young women in my life.
That’s why a few years ago I started working on a picture book about Queen Elizabeth II and her life before she ascended to the throne of England. I’ve always admired her, but when I started researching her, I learned so much about her that I didn’t know that she instantly became one of my personal heroes. Underneath the quiet grace the world gets to see is a woman of incredible strength, wisdom, faith, and commitment to the job she’s been given. If you have a few minutes to read any of the wonderful books or articles about her that are available right now to celebrate her jubilee year, I promise you’ll be inspired.
Today, in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s 96th birthday, I’m giving away three signed copies of MRS. NOAH! To enter, simply stop by my blog before midnight tonight (April 21, 2022) and leave a comment about the Queen or about another strong woman in your life. Your name will be entered in a drawing, and I’ll announce the winners on Monday, April 25th on the blog!
Thanks for being with me on this journey!
Sensibility-“I cannot lead you into battle, I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else, I can give you my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.” Queen Elizabeth II
Sense-“It’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.” Queen Elizabeth II
It’s hard to believe it’s the middle of March and almost St. Patrick’s Day! I hope all of you are well, happy and looking forward to the beauty of spring that’s just around the corner. As a gardener, spring is one of my favorite seasons. It’s so much fun to visit my garden each day and see how my plants are getting on. The first thing to stretch its leaves towards the sun are the Lenten Roses. These brave plants don’t mind the leftover (or new) snow or the cold nights. They are determined to bloom by Easter, no matter what comes or what goes. These plants inspire me; their courage to be their loveliest in the face of challenges more delicate flowers can’t tolerate is a perfect object lesson for the writing life. Success in writing can often be summed up in just showing up and doing the work each day, in spite of rejection after rejection. My Lenten roses know what it takes to get the job done. Sometimes it seems the more difficult the spring, the more beautiful they are. The same thing is true about watching a story come to life and make its way into the world. The more difficult the struggle, the more satisfying the result.
I’ve shared with you the story behind the story of MRS. NOAH, and that’s why when wonderful things happen to this book the reward is all the sweeter. I found out a couple of weeks ago that MRS. NOAH is a Selah Award finalist in the picture book category! I was overjoyed to hear her name (and mine) read out during the finalists’ announcements. We’ll find out sometime in June if she wins an additional award, but to be a finalist is such an honor. I am beyond grateful!
In other news, I’ve opened back up to picture book critiques! If you or a writer friend is looking for a thorough and thoughtful evaluation of a manuscript for a reasonable price, please check out the PGWRites Critiques tab above for more information.
Thanks again for being on this journey with me! Here’s an Irish Blessing to take with you today:
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
May the rain fall soft upon your fields and until me meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Sensibility-Recognition of the work it takes can often be a long time coming. But what a gift when it does!
Sense- Take time to research contests as part of your writing week. Contests are a great way to boost your confidence and get the word out about your work.
This week I am honored to be the featured writer on the Detroit Writing Room‘s blog! I had the privilege of participating in their recent awards program where my children’s book, IDA PLUCK’S CLUCK won first place in the Children’s Book category. You can read the post here:
I hope the New Year has been kind to you so far and that you’re finding lots of joy in the everyday! It may sound strange, but January is one of my favorite months of the year. Here in the Mitten, January is always filled with snow, and there’s nothing better than sitting by an open fire, watching fluffy snowflakes fill my backyard as I write. I think it’s the peace after two months of holiday celebrations that speaks to my heart the most. It’s as if I’ve finished a long race and am finally able to exhale. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE the holidays! But the stillness and simplicity of January days hold a charm unlike any other month of the year.
And because of all its simplicity, January is often one of my most productive months of the year. Having large chunks of uninterrupted writing time means getting to let my mind wander and my muse have her way. It’s amazing what can happen when we have time to create. I hope you’ve found that kind of time this month.
January is also a great month for looking ahead, and I can’t wait to share my next book with you, O POSSUM’S PREDICAMENT! This book was a joy to write and it’s been an even bigger joy to see it coming to life. I’m hoping to be able to announce the release date very soon.
In the meantime, MRS. NOAH is still sailing strong, and I thank you again for your continued support! I would love to share MRS. NOAH and THANKU: POEMS OF GRATITUDE with your students. So if you’re a teacher looking for virtual presentations for March is Reading Month or April Poetry Month, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Here’s to cozy, creative days and lots of good things to come!
Sensibility- Quiet, uninterrupted time is what we need to feed our creative souls!
Sense-Quiet, uninterrupted writing time doesn’t just happen. Look at your calendar and schedule time to be creative.
I’m so excited to be one of the authors on the newest project from Little Lamb Books, ALL GOD’S CREATURES! 60 DAYS OF DEVOTIONS FOR ANIMAL-LOVING KIDS! Little Lamb Books has put together an amazing Kickstarter program to help fund the printing of the companion journal for this beautiful book. If you do your pre-orders through Kickstarter, you’ll be eligible for some amazing prizes. Click here for more information:
Can it really be almost the end of January? As I look at today’s date and wonder where the month has gone, I can’t help but think that with each day that passes I’m one day closer to the release of my first fiction picture book, MRS. NOAH. I’m so excited! MRS. NOAH is the story of Noah’s Ark from Noah’s wife’s perspective. It’s a rocking, rolling, rhyming romp about all the work Mrs. Noah does to get the ark ready to receive all of the furry and feathery guests for their 40-day cruise. Mrs. Noah knows there’s more to creating a happy, floating home than just hammers, nails and gopher wood, but can she help Noah understand and lend a helping hand?
You’re probably wondering where the idea from this story came from. Well, it just so happened that I was packing and preparing my family of 5 for a big trip…we were celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary with a cruise for 11…grandparents, kids, cousins…you get the idea. Anyway, it was our first cruise experience and I was running around like a crazy woman trying to plan for the two-day drive to Florida (we thought that would be fun?). So along with planning for the actual cruise, I had to book hotel rooms and make sure everyone had enough clean clothes and toiletries for the two days before and the two days after. Not to mention buying up enough pet supplies and snacks for our house sitter, stopping the mail, making sure everyone had a swimsuit and shoes that fit, plus paying all the bills and getting the house cleaned before we could leave. My husband, who is always very helpful, had to work extra hours getting clients taken care of so we could have this week away, so he was at the office until late every night leading up to the trip and wasn’t able to help me. And just 6 weeks earlier, my son had undergone a big surgery to remove a benign tumor from his skull base, so there were follow up appointments to get the all-clear just a few days before we left. Needless to say, I was a wreck.
Somewhere in all of the craziness, a thought ran through my mind… “If I’m this stressed out trying to get everything done that needs doing before we leave for our cruise, how in the world did Mrs. Noah get everything ready for an ark full of animals and the rest of her family? Lord have mercy!!” That thought made me laugh out loud. Here I was fretting and worrying and being frustrated because I had so much to do and no help, that I couldn’t enjoy the process. God started using Mrs. Noah even then to help me see that He is always in the details, even if I can’t see it at the time. Of course, the idea of Mrs. Noah settled in and stayed and by the time I got home from that wonderful trip, I already had the first lines of the story playing over and over in my head. God whispers seem to work like that.
Fast forward almost 9 years and many, many versions later, and MRS. NOAH is one step closer to being born. The target is fall of 2021, so I’m looking forward with expectation and joy. I’m so glad you’re here to join me on my journey! Watch this page for an official “countdown to MRS. NOAH” in the coming weeks!
Sensibility- The journey is almost always more important than the destination. Take time to stop and enjoy whatever road you’re currently on.
Sense-Story ideas can come from the strangest places. Part of being a writer is being aware so you can see, hear and recognize a story seed when it appears.
A few weeks ago I announced I was beginning a long-overdue middle-grade novel revision. Every journey begins with a first step, so I’m checking in today to talk about my first steps and why they are important to my overall process.
First, I read the beginning chapters of Novel Metamorphosis by Darcy Pattison. In her novel revision guide, Darcy recommends reading two other books before starting the exercises in her workbook. These two books are:
SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS, by Renni Browne and Dave King, Harper Collins, 2004.
THE FIRST FIVE PAGES, by Noah Lukeman, Fireside Books, 2000.
I’ve started the first book and am re-learning and being reminded of many things. It’s always good to refresh your editing skills, especially if you are timid with the delete button and tend to hang on to words that need to be let go. Thankfully, I’ve become pretty ruthless when it comes to self-editing over the years. That means I’m rarely married to any sentence, paragraph or section; my chopping block is no respecter of words. So rather than digest the entire book before diving in, I decided to read the rest of it as I go and use it primarily as a reference tool. I have not yet started reading the second book.
The main reason for putting off reading the second book was because one of my long-time critique partners and friends asked if anyone in our critique group would be interested in swapping middle-grade manuscripts. We are a picture book group, but a few of us also dabble in middle grade, so I decided it was perfect timing for me and said, “Yes!”
I was so nervous. It’s been years since anyone that I’m close to has read my novel. Years! I had an agent interested last year, which is part of the motivation for this revision. So showing it to someone I trust as both a writer and a friend, was a huge step for me. We swapped, and within a few days she sent me her critique, and her comments have boosted my confidence in a huge way as well as helped me see the areas that need the most work. Whew! I could finally exhale, knowing I wasn’t wasting my time and that the story still had merit and was worth working on. I didn’t realize it at the time I sent it to her, but this was probably the best way I could have started this revision.
The second thing I did was take time to actually read my book again. I didn’t read all of it, because that’s what I’m doing as I go through and make changes, but I read enough. I needed reminding that what I started 10 years ago during that dark time wasn’t just therapy or a way to deal with emotions. I needed to see it with the fresh eyes of today’s me rather than the me of that time in my life. And you know what I discovered? I really like it. I’m excited to spend time with the characters and help them grow stronger and change where change is needed.
Without pausing for these few weeks of reading and reflection, I would have come to this project as just another task in my writing life. I would have opened my workbook with a sigh rather than a spark, and that would not have worked over the long haul. Revision takes time, and if you’re not motivated by a love of the work, it will quickly turn into drudgery and you’ll never finish.
So here’s to finding the path into the process that works for you. I’m glad I was able to see my way clear to doing these things before I ever added or deleted one word from my WIP. I hope today’s thoughts encourage you to find the just-right way to begin your next big project!
Sensibility-Take time to fall in love with your WIP again. You must be willing to spend time with the characters you’ve created, no matter where they are on their journey.
Sense- Not every path to revision looks the same for every writer. If you find yourself stuck in someone else’s process, stop, think, breathe and reflect on what you need to do to move forward.
“If we are not willing to fail we will never accomplish anything. All creative acts involve the risk of failure.” -Madeleine L’Engle
Good afternoon to all my Sensibility and Sense followers! It’s been several weeks since I’ve posted an update; I’ve been hesitating because of these uncertain days and times we find ourselves in. But because I firmly believe that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind,” I know that any happy news when everything pulls us in other ways can be a balm to the soul. So today I wanted to share with you. . .
I have a book deal!
After years of waiting, working, hoping and praying, Little Lamb Books has connected with 2 of my picture books and offered me a contract. If things go as planned, you’ll be holding MRS. NOAH and MILLIE’S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE in your hands in the fall of 2021 and 2022, respectively. You can read about how it all happened here:
I want to thank each and every one of you that has commented here throughout the years, followed me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and anywhere else I hang out, offered encouragement and a shoulder and listening ear when I was discouraged. You have no idea how much each thing means to a writer with a dream and a passion for creating uplifting content for young readers.
And so now, as we all continue to hunker down, stay at home, wash our hands, reach out to those in need and generally take care of each other, please know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers. May God’s peace and hope fill your homes and your hearts as we all wait this out together.
I want to wish you and your family and friends a blessed and Happy New Year! I’m so grateful you’re part of my journey and appreciate so much when you stop by and read my musings about writing or celebrate with me when I have good news. You truly are one of my best gifts. . .
And guess what?! In just a few weeks I’m going to have some big news to share, and I cannot wait! So please keep visiting and reading so you can be part of the celebration!
Happy New Year!
Sensibility- The writer journey, full of its twists and turn, highs and lows, is one I’m grateful to be on!
Sense- When it comes time for New Year’s resolutions and goal setting, be kind to yourself. Set measurable, reachable benchmarks so you can look back on 2020 and be happy with what you’ve accomplished. Remember, life is a one-day-at-a-time journey. Look for the joy!