I'm not new to talking, sharing ideas, or stating my opinion, especially stating my opinion! After all, I taught elementary school for 30 years! However, my audience has typically been smaller,just family, the classroom, or just talking to myself!

My blog has two goals: be an outlet for sharing thoughts on writing children's books and the path to publication (got my fingers crossed that I'll get there) and a place to chronicle my journey of losing my sight. Sometimes I imagine these two paths will overlap .

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Write From the Soul

I  want to increase my readership and I'm learning that giveaways are a great way to attract new followers. So here's my goal: I would like to have at least 50 followers by the end of May. Since I'm not a published author yet, I don't have one of my own books to give away. Any suggestions on prizes to  give away??? Leave me a comment and as soon as I have prizes lined up, the giveaway rules will be posted and it will begin.  Thanks blogosphere!

Write From the Soul

Whew! I have been reading new blogs for awhile now. The eyes are tired but the brain is full of great ideas and inspiration from so many wonderful writers. It's like that feeling when you realize that someone you've met will become a friend- it's joyous and it makes you smile.

Now you may already know these cool people [ yes, I'm slow on these things...can I blame age???] but just in case you don't know them and aren't followers, please check out their blogs.

The World Is My Oyster   Lydia Kang
Adventures In Writing      Isabella Morgan
All I'm Saying                  Jana Hutcheson
Chocolate Reality            Steena Holmes
Seeing Creative               Stina Lindenblatt

These last 2 bloggers- by Steena and Stina, 2 writers with the same name, living in the same Canadian town- are having a contest until May 3rd. All you have to do is become a follower of both blogs, leave a comment, and maybe tweet about it or blog about it. Easy, right?

Can you say you met 5 great people in one day???

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Quite an invigorating week! That's the nice way of saying man it was a crazy week, but great!

I've been working on my cane mobility lessons on Tuesdays and ever since the first lesson when I tried using a blindfold and emotionally freaked out, I've been just walking with my eyes closed. Now being the survivalist,(or is it survivorist ) that I am, I expected to constantly be opening my eyes to check that I wasn't going to fall off a curb or veer out into a street. But NO!!!! I can keep the eyes closed and be comfortable with that. Of course, I know my instructor is there and she won't let me fall off that curb or walk into that street.

We decided to move ahead on my Goals-To-Accomplish  list and try walking to the bus stop, getting on a bus to the MARTA (transit) station, picking up a different bus home, and walking back via an unfamiliar portion of the sidewalk. Even though I suggested doing this, I was quaking in my shoes thinking about actually doing it.

First segment went great- eyes closed, found the curbs, but my internal GPS was a little wonky and I kept thinking I was headed toward the sidewalk while I wasactually walking into the grassy area. I must have looked like a real spaz because my instructor asked me to try the curb/sidewalk again to get the direction thing going. Once I realized I wasn't checking for the whole sidewalk with the cane, and I need to, the spazzy walker disappeared. :-)

I decided the bus segment need to be open-eyed so I knew when to exit and where to look for the next bus. That went well, but I did notice a couple people looking at me. I think they were trying to tell if I was totally blind, partially sighted, or goofing on them (which some people think when they find out you actually can see some things).

The walk back on the unfamiliar sidewalk was a little nerve- wracking since I didn't know when I'd run into a broken up sidewalk or a section with a height difference. Made it though, and as I found the stairs leading to my home, I realized something. I was damn proud of myself! No hyperventilating on my first public outing with a cane. Not as embarrassing as I thought it would be, and actually, some helpful people, like the bus driver who asked if I needed any help getting off the bus and letting me know where the bus was positioned in relation to the entrance to the MARTA station. Tuesday, I was the Little Train That Could! ( if you're not old enough to have grown up reading that children's book, look it up!)

Thursday AM, I met with the Director of Public Works for the city of Dunwoody (my town). Long story short, I had placed a repair ticket on the city government's page requesting the sidewalks to be fixed on the corridor I walk to and from the bus. I explained the vision loss thing and the cane thing. I decided to send the request as an email to all the City Council members as well, along with attached photos of the offending cement. One member responded and he connected me with the Public Works Director. Although I'm not using a cane full time yet, I took the cane with me to practice using it and to show him exactly how cracks, broken cement, and differences in height could effect a visually impaired person. By the time we were halfway through the walk, he said his eyes had been opened to the danger of the sidewalks. This is what I had hoped. Asking him to evaluate them on his own, wouldn't let him view it from my perspective. Walking with me, would. In fairness, I should disclose that my original request for repairs had been in November '09 and basically there was no response. So in this email/request, I mentioned that if I didn't receive a definitive time frame for when the repairs could be done, I was going to the news media. I pointed out that as a new city, it probably wouldn't look good to have the needs of a "disabled resident" being ignored, andit might be a human interest story to the TV consumer reporter or the local newspaper editor. Did that have something to do with me being contacted by a council member? Could be. Did I use my vision loss to my advantage? You betcha.  And so far, it's working. The Council meets tomorrow night to discuss this and other issues. I asked the PW Director and the councilman to keep me in the loop. We'll see. And while I applauded their efforts, I made it clear that this was not an issue to drop. I'm a determined woman, and I don't give up easily!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Write From the Soul

Good news for all of us children's book writers! 

According to Publishers Weekly, the number of children's books produced in 2009 in the U.S. increased 8% after a 4% decrease in 2008! Woo hoo, go writers!!! Yeah, I hear you saying, "fool, that's only a 4% increase because you have to consider the 4% it had to replace from the previous year's loss!" Well, you can view the glass half empty, I choose the view it as half full. Not only did the children's book market regain it's loss, it increased it 4% more. Like I said, cheers for kid lit writers.  :-D

Unpublished writers need encouragement and inspiration and hope because we can't run around with our fingers crossed all the time....it's too hard to write checks that way and did you ever try typing on a computer like that?? I don't think so!

So keep writing and we'll be seeing the 2010 stats showing another increase! [If I had been a cheerleader in high school, this is where I would be doing jumps and cartwheels and shaking the pom-poms. Stop laughing and just pretend, ok?]

Speaking of inspiring....

I found a new blog I'm enjoying. It's written by Michael Larsen who has been in publishing for several decades. He and his wife started a literary agency in 1972 called  Larsen-Pomada Literary in Northern California. 

His post intrigued me because it acknowledged that getting a book published (not just children's books) is challenging if you only consider traditional publishing houses. Your chances are better if you become a wribrid. Here's a taste of the post, but I encourage you to go read it all for yourself.

Wribrid rhymes with hybrid and sounds like it should be sliced and wrapped in cellophane. But it’s really the new model for writers.......  to succeed, you have to be a wribrid. You have to strike the right balance between:
* Being online and off
* Writing for free and fees
* Writing short work and books

Friday, April 9, 2010

Write from the Soul

Have you ever taken a webinar? You know, that's the buzzword for an online seminar.  Well, I've taken a few; some of them have a fee, others are free, some of them have marginal information and others are chock full of valuable info.

Yesterday's webinar, called "Self Marketing For Authors", was presented by Writers Digest. The speaker was Chip MacGregor, a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. (You can check out his blog at www.chipmacgregor.com) I thought he was fabulous and gave practical suggestions. I don't want to tell you EVERYTHING in the webinar- you know they frown upon that- but here are a few points to entice you into checking out Writers Digest and Chip's blog and the webinar yourself.

When making your marketing plan, think S.W.O.T.
  • Strengths- what you do well
  • Weaknesses- what you struggle with
  • Opportunities- people, places, organizations that you can work with
  • Threats- what you need to overcome to reach your goal

Chip discussed some of the marketing tools that currently work for authors.
  1. contests and campaigns
  2. blogs
  3. videos, including book trailers
  4. short and positive communication
  5. giving away stuff
  6. magazines and e-zines

Once you've gotten that book deal, he suggests ways to make your publisher fall in love with you ;-)
  • keep a positive relationship going
  • say "YES" to everything (as for as marketing)
  • establish your brand
  • listen to advice- especially from editors
  • deliver on time- be it info or manuscript revisions
  • participate with enthusiasm
  • express appreciation- it feels good to all
There was much more- I took 8 pages of notes! The best parts??? Writers Digest gives you access to the webinar information for a year!!! They also send you all the questions that were"asked", whether they were answered during the Q and A session or not, and of course, the answers, in print. I think that's a great take-away.

So when you have a chance, go to the Writers Digest web site and peruse their webinars and online workshops.
*** Disclaimer: I am not receiving any compensation, favors, or swag for this announcement. I'm just enthusiastic about it!!!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Write From The Soul

Okay, so I'm doing my typical, writerly thing, I'm blog reading. Have to keep up to speed with my blog-sisters and blog-brothers. Well, on of my favorite blogs to follow is Lisa and Laura Write-  2 real life sisters who write together. Now if you're a blog reader, you'll know that we are always trying to increase the number of followers we have (which basically means we want more people to read our blogs and we're willing to beg, pled, offer prizes, and a few more things to get readers to sign up as followers!) Lisa and Laura- known amongst bloggers as LiLa, have just hit 500 followers- a mega accomplishment in my book since I'm still trying to reach 50! In oder to celebrate, they are offering some wonderful prize packages, especially for people who enjoy reading YA books, love chocolate, and appreciate author swag!!! In order to be eligible for the prize drawing, you must:
  • be one of their followers
  • comment on their contest post
  • blog or Tweet or Facebook about the contest- and earn an extra entry

Sooooooooo, I am now officially eligible because I loyally follow them- they are hilarious, commented, and have now blogged.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. The winners will be announced next Wed, April 14th!

P.S.  Here's the link to their blog post:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Write From The Soul

Here are some Easter funnies. Well, they were meant to be Friday Funnies, but I kind of got busy on Friday shopping at the Farmer's Market and then cooking, so now they are Sunday funnies- oops, those are what come in the Sunday paper. Darn! I can't win. Just enjoy :-) And thanks to my friend Sandy in Chicago who sent them to me. (BTW.... if you need a realtor in Chicago, Sandy is awesome!!! I'll give you her number.)

  1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

  2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

  3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I  was younger.

  4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.  (LOVE this one!!)

  5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?  (Ain't it the truth!!)

  6. Even when opportunity knocks, you still have to get off your ass and open the door.
7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure we know how to get out of our  own neighborhood.

  8. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

  9. Bad decisions make good stories.  (Especially for writers!!)

10. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

  11. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away     (my absolute favorite!!)

  12. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

  13. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

  14. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

  15. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

  16. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

  17. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent someone from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

  18. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

  19. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?

   20. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my last dollar everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!