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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: piboidmo, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 82
1. Thank You, PiBoIdMo, Aladdin/Simon & Schuster and RIF!

Thank you, PiBoIdMo participants, guest bloggers and illustrators. Do you know what you did?

You helped me raise $433.62 to donate to RIF, Reading is Fundamental.

RIFlogo

 

Your purchases via the PiBoIdMo CafePress Shop made it possible.

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With Carol Hampton Rasco, CEO of RIF

For every $10 donated, RIF is able to distribute four books to a child in need.

FOUR BOOKS!

fourbooks

So last month I made my way down to RIF Headquarters in D.C. I toured their offices and talked with RIF staff about the important work they’re doing.

One staff member had just returned from a county in Appalachia, where 28% of the schoolchildren were officially homeless, and where even more lived in crowded trailers with multiple families apiece.

The school Principal told RIF that amazingly, their test scores rose from 9th percentile to the 22nd percentile in just one year. To what did they attribute that growth? RIF! Now that these children have books of their own, they’re able to continue learning at home and over the summer break instead of being left behind. Books are AMAZING. But you already knew that, right?

As part of my trip to RIF, my publisher, the Aladdin imprint of Simon & Schuster, donated 100 copies of THE MONSTORE to the children at Bancroft Elementary in Washington, D.C. I was honored to appear at the school to talk to the children about writing and to personally sign every copy.

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The best moment of the day? When I told the children they’d each be going home with a copy of my book. They cheered and hoorayed, and two besties in the front row hugged each other so tight they tumbled over in joy. Now that’s a great day for any author. Thank you, Aladdin and RIF!

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I have something else important to tell you.

RIF’s donations have taken a plummet in recent times. The economy has hit them hard. So please consider donating directly. Remember $10 = 4 books!

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Donate here. Or here.

And again, thank you for making the PiBoIdMo donation possible!

keepcalmkidstee

 


11 Comments on Thank You, PiBoIdMo, Aladdin/Simon & Schuster and RIF!, last added: 5/9/2014
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2. Frenzy

Sometimes, when I play with my monkey in a barrel, it puts me into a frenzy. There’s just too much going on! Too much to do. Too many possibilities. Bite the barrel? Tear off the lid? Growl at the talking? Rip the monkey’s face off? Chew his arm till he stops laughing? Shake the whole thing till I’m dizzy? I don’t know what to do first.

Since NewYears, Mom has also been in a frenzy. She’s not biting, tearing, growling, ripping, chewing, or shaking, like me. But she does have a lot going on, a lot to do, and a lot of possibilities. She may have bitten off more than she can chew. I’ve done that occasionally, too…. (And by “occasionally” I mean every day.)

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Gah! Why is my mouth so tiny?!

Mom has entered a ton of challenges, and made a bunch of goals for herself this year. She will read 200 picture books in the Goodreads Challenge again,

2014 goodreads

she joined 12×12 for 2014, which means she needs to write a new first draft in the next few weeks,

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she’ll get 30 new ideas when PiBoIdMo starts,

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and she will write 30 poems this year.

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In between all those jobs (and a bunch of others – if you can believe such a thing), Mom decided to enter the Highlights Annual Fiction Contest this month, AND take Susanna Hill’s Making Contest Magic class this week.

So Mom is learning, mind-writing, registering, paypal-ing, reading, commenting, revising, studying, listing, rhyming, critiquing, and ….do you see what’s missing here??

Snow pea?? Blech! I may have bitten off (stolen) more than I can chew again.

Snow pea?? Blech! I may have bitten off more than I can chew again.

Rocky, over at my friend Bacon’s blog told me that January 6 was National CuddleUp Day. So I made sure Mom took some time out to celebrate. Actually, I will make sure we celebrate that thing EVERY day!!

cuddle


10 Comments on Frenzy, last added: 1/8/2014
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3. SkADaMo Last Day!!!

SkADaMo button 2013 monkey winner 450

Wooo hooooo! We did it, y’all!

First of all I want to give a hearty thanks to all the folks who visited my blog, Facebook, or Twitter to support and root me on. Your comments, retweets, shares and ‘likes’ were encouraging, often funny and clever and always more than welcome. Thanks also for doing the same for my fellow SkADaMoers. You guys made the journey all the sweeter and kept me going when I was tempted to just sit and eat a whole bag of chips while watching goofy, but time wasting kitty antics on YouTube.

I may have only completed 25 sketches in 30 days, but that’s 25 more sketches than I would have done otherwise.

In fact, to all my fellow SkADaMoers:

You decided to step a bit out of your comfort zone this November, dip your toe into a challenge. Maybe you did one sketch, or 5, 10 or all 30. Whatever number you managed to do… You. Are. A. Winner!

Why? “Why am I a winner no matter how many sketches I finished”, you may ask? Well, because you took a positive, productive step toward revving up your creative engines this month. Perhaps your sketchbook is a little fuller, your blog has a few more posts. Maybe you killed it and did 30 sketches or more! Maybe for those who participated in PiBoIdMo or even if you didn’t, you have some great picture book ideas percolating  now or some great new ideas for a painting or some other type of super cool project. Maybe because you dipped your toe into this challenge you’ll be more toned up to jump into something even more challenging with both feet! Whatever the case may be, you did it and that is fantastic! Good for all of you!

You rock. Take a winner badge!

SkADaMoWinnerbutton2013

Now go on and enjoy the rest of your holiday season, feeling a bit more energized. Maybe you’ll take a rest from sketching every single day, maybe you’ll continue do a wee bit every day…

OR…

Maybe you’re a masochist like myself and you’ll join the HoHoDooDa (Holiday Doodle a Day) fun that December brings (starts tomorrow, or any day you can join. Of course the sooner the merrier.)

More about the third annual HoHoDooDa later today. For now congratulations SkADaMoers! You kicked November’s butt!

And thanks again to everyone who supported us and rooted us on. You guys are winners as well. Take a badge!


11 Comments on SkADaMo Last Day!!!, last added: 12/1/2013
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4. Inspirational Quote of the Week

All the effort in the world won’t matter if you’re not inspired.
Chuck Palahniuk

Experiences inspire ideas. Mom has completed her PiBoIdMo challenge with 35 inspired ideas for new stories.

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Some of her ideas will become picture book manuscripts. Some will become poems. One of them might become the elusive Book #2 or eBook #2. Some of them stink so bad that they will stay in her phone and rot. But somewhere, somehow, all of them were inspired for a few minutes by an experience during the month of November.

At her author visits, students or teachers often ask Mom if she ever has writer’s block. She says, “Never.” That’s because as long as she has a list of ideas, even if one story gets stuck, there are a bunch of other stories just waiting to get started.

I was inspired last night, so I started playing the piano with my paws…

piano paw

…and my face.

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Mom came in to see what was inspiring me. Was I a genius and she was just finding out? No. Did I suddenly get skills that no dog in the world ever had? No. Would I play at Carnegie Hall and be famous? No. There was a fly in the house. And I wanted a closer look at it.

*Not actual fly

*Not actual fly

The fly disappeared after my concert, and later he met with an unfortunate end. Rest in peace, little fly. I think you would’ve been delicious.

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*Not actual fly tombstone


10 Comments on Inspirational Quote of the Week, last added: 12/2/2013
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5. Combinations

There are lots and lots of breeds of dogs.

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Nobody is really sure what combination I am. Part Jack Russell for sure, and maybe some Beagle or Dachshund or Dalmation or ….Monkey or Bobcat.

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Whatever the mix, I’ve turned out to be perfectly me. Not perfectly perfect, but with a bunch of good parts put together (and a little naughty streak for good luck).

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Is that…? Is he…? Am I…?

I’m an original.

tv huh

Wait. What?

Mom keeps idea lists in her phone. One of the lists is called PiBoIdMo2012. It has 32 ideas.

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One is called PiBoIdMo2013. It has 35 ideas.

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And one is called Story Ideas. It has 42 ideas. Some of the ideas are already used up, so Mom marked them with a star. She says, “An author needs lots of ideas.” and “My phone is always nearby, in case I think of anything.” and “Do you have the hiccups?”

what

Hic….

When Mom starts a new story, she doesn’t always pick one of the ideas from her phone. Sometimes, she picks two ideas or even three and puts them together to make a combination. It’s not perfectly perfect, but it’s perfectly her. Idea mixing makes stories have some surprises and some unexpected events and unique characters in odd places doing unusual things.

And yes, sometimes I have the hiccups.


10 Comments on Combinations, last added: 12/20/2013
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6. Finished

photo 1

Dinner is finished. I can tell by my empty dish.

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The Nutcracker Ballet is finished. I can tell by the SugarPlum Fairy dancing…

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…and Clara waking up.

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You mean we can’t play King of the Hill??

The snow is finished. I can tell by this little pile of black mush which is called Get-Away-From-It-It’s-Filthy.

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Mom is finished with her Goodreads Reading Challenge. She read 200 books this year, just like she planned.

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She is finished with PiBoIdMo, too. She made a list of 30+ ideas, just like she planned.

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Now, 2013 is about finished, but Mom isn’t ready. She has one more thing to finish. It’s her second year of The12x12 Challenge. That means she planned to write 12 picture book manuscripts in 12 months. But she’s only got eleven-and-a-half stories finished. She needs to buckle down and get to the end of her 12th story before the end of the year.

Mom says, “It doesn’t count if it’s inside my head.” and “This is a tough time of year to catch up.” and “Dinner is finished. Get over it. You will eat again tomorrow.”

photo 6


10 Comments on Finished, last added: 12/27/2013
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7. Sink Your Teeth into NUGGET & FANG! (plus a prize pack!)

nuggetandfangDudes, it’s new Tammi Sauer! YES!!!! *Jersey fist pump*

Ya know Tammi, right? She’s the most prolific picture book author this side of the Atlantic! (And that side, too.)

An annual contributor to Picture Book Idea Month, Tammi has dispensed invaluable picture book pointers about story structure, celebrating the weird stuff in life, and putting a twist on the familiar. She’s also a regular PiBoIdMo participant, and NUGGET AND FANG is her success story from the November 2009 event!

So the unlikely underwater duo are here today to chomp away! (Don’t worry, Tammi’s here, too. Fang didn’t gobble her up.)

Tammi, what about unlikely friendship stories makes them so fun to write?

If two characters are at odds in some big way, that immediately builds in tension and offers real deal conflict. This can provide great opportunities for humor, too. That’s fun stuff! Some unlikely friendships deal with issues such as neatness versus messiness or quiet versus loud. The quandary that my characters face is clear–sharks and minnows aren’t supposed to be friends because everybody knows sharks EAT minnows.

Sharks are popular characters these days! What makes FANG stand out in the world of storybook selachimorpha? (Yes, that is a real word. I looked it up. Honest.)

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Michael Slack’s first sketch of the carnivorous chums.

I love that I have a contender in storybook selachimorpha. It sounds super sophisticated. As for Fang, he stands out among regular sharks because he has a huge heart. Yes, he’s toothy, but, holy mackerel, my guy is irresistible. If I were a minnow, I’d be honored to be his friend.

What are some of your favorite unlikely friendship stories/books?

My Favorite Unlikely Friendship Story of 2012 was BOY + BOT by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. That book is brilliant in 2,465 different ways. Plus, Ame has blue hair. (Tara’s note: sometimes it’s pink or purple, or even rainbow leopard.)

A fun and endearing unlikely friendship story that just came out this past February is WOOBY AND PEEP written by my oh-so-fabulous critique partner Cynthea Liu, illustrated by Mary Peterson. (Hey, WOOBY AND PEEP are coming soon to a blog near you. Umm, this one.)

If NUGGET and FANG could endorse their book personally, what do you think they would say?

Nugget: Holy mackerel! Get your fins on this book. It’s FANG-tastic!

Fang: Sink your teeth into our book. It’s a total NUGGET of awesomeness!

Well, I’ve got a nugget of awesomeness for you, dear blog readers: a “NUGGET AND FAN” (not a typo–you’re a fan already, right?) prize pack, including a signed first edition, a teacher’s poster, and adorable tattoos you can slap on any fin (or bicep). Just leave a comment or question for Tammi to enter and a winner will be chomped up later this month! In the meantime, go visit these seaworthy sidekicks!

nuggetandfangprizes


10 Comments on Sink Your Teeth into NUGGET & FANG! (plus a prize pack!), last added: 4/2/2013
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8. Inspirational Quote of the Week

But there was one other thing that the grown-ups also knew, and it was this: that however small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance is there. The chance had to be there.”
― Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

eyeball

I struck lucky when Mom found me a few Decembers ago. Purrs n Pups found me in Georgia in a kill-shelter, where my puppies had been adopted…

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….and I was left behind.

They brought me to foster care and my foster-mom brought me to an adoption event where Mom found me.

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She said some bad words like, “Too small.” and “Too old.” But then she said some good words like, “I’m taking her home!” and “This is my new dog!”

My first day at home.

My first day at home, I said, “This is my new couch!”

Mom is always waiting to strike lucky. She works on stories, revises them and revises them, makes cover letters, signs them with her lucky pen, and submits story after story to magazines, book publishers, and agents. Whenever Book #2 gets accepted, that will be her lucky day.

PiBoIdMo is helpful. Mom gets a new idea every single day during that month.

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Mom’s 12×12 Challenge is helpful. It keeps her writing new pieces every month.

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The class she took named Making Picture Book Magic was helpful. It taught her about planning a story to make sure it has all the parts it needs.

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Her writing group named DavidLaurieandOtherDavid is helpful. They help her stories get better and better.

Where's the work? This looks like a party!

Where’s the work? This looks like a party!

Her computer friends at RateYourStory help her by giving her a reality check about what she writes.

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And of course, I help her by taking her to the park to clear her head,

under the bench

staring at her while she’s working,

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and sometimes, I fall asleep on the iPad and type LLLLLLLL with my ear.

LLL


18 Comments on Inspirational Quote of the Week, last added: 9/17/2013
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9. New Strategy

Every day when I am halfway through eating my dinner, I slide the bowl around the kitchen until I’m able to pick it up in my mouth. Then I carry it onto the little rug in the living room. Once I get it settled there (IF it doesn’t flip over and splash food everywhere), I finish eating my food and then try to eat the bowl. So far, I have been unsuccessful with that goal.

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The other day, I decided to try a new strategy. It’s called eating-on-the-leather-chair.

chair dinner

Mom was happy and excited when she saw me. She said the things she always says when I impress her with how smart I am – like, “Oh no you didn’t!” and “What did those jackasses in your head tell you to do now?” and “You’re going to get a spankin’.” I love when she says that. It sounds so much like, “You’re going to get some bacon.” Bacon. Yum….

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I’m ready for my bacon, Mom.

Mom is trying a new strategy with her writing this week. Each day, she works on a story for a half hour and then she works on a poem for a half hour. Her idea lists from PiBoIdMo and her other lists are getting too, too long. She thinks she can use them up faster if some of them become poems. Also, she wants to enter a poetry contest, so she needs some new poems to submit. She said, “Poems are fun.” and “This one is about you, Cupcake.” and “Some of these ideas are too stupid to live another day.”

We should put those bad ideas in the garbage. Let me check and maybe clear out some of the more delicious… I mean bulky trash to make room….

trash


10 Comments on New Strategy, last added: 9/30/2013
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10. PiBoIdMo Logo, Badge and Guest Bloggers!

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It’s NOVEMBER ALREADY?

Well, almost. October will whip by in a sugar-induced haze. Especially because a) I’ll buy candy way too early and eat it all; and b) my kids will change their minds about their Halloween costumes umpteen times. “I wanna be Frankie Stein! No, Draculaura! No, a zombie mermaid! Ooh, I know, a picture book author! I can trick-or-treat in my jammies with a story stuck to my forehead! You’re sorta like a zombie, right, Mommy?”

Um, YEAH.

October is NOT the month of jack-o-lanterns, candy corn (BLECH!) and costumes. It’s the month of PiBoIdMo-eve!

Don’t know what PiBoIdMo is? Check it.

Our 5th anniversary logo, banners and badges have been designed by the kawaii-cutie, author-illustrator Joyce Wan.

Joyce knows my penchant for hot-air balloons. (My husband almost proposed on one. But I think he was afraid I’d drop the ring.)

So this year’s theme is IDEAS TAKING FLIGHT!

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WAIT A MINUTE! DID TARA SAY 5TH ANNIVERSARY?!

Yep, I sure did. Which means I’ll have to come up with something super-snazzy for this year. So how ’bout JANE YOLEN?

Besides the legendary Ms. Yolen, here are some of the authors and illustrators who’ll be blogging all November long, helping you to fill your idea notebook with 30 picture book concepts:

  • Drew Daywalt
  • Michael Garland
  • Melissa Guion
  • Leeza Hernandez
  • Lenore & Daniel Jennewein
  • Renee Kurilla
  • Elizabeth Rose Stanton
  • Adam Lehrhaupt
  • Wendy Martin
  • The McQueen Brothers
  • Pat Miller
  • Pat Zietlow Miller
  • Anne Marie Pace
  • Paul Schmid
  • Annette Simon
  • Tammi Sauer
  • Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
  • Dianne de las Casas
  • James Proimos
  • Laurie Keller
  • Katie Davis
  • Zachariah Ohora
  • Kelly Light
  • Steve Barr
  • Greg Pizzoli

And even more to be announced…

Official registration will begin on this blog on OCTOBER 24th and run through NOVEMBER 4th. Watch for it! (It’s easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy if you just follow this blog. See left column.) Only officially registered participants will be eligible for PRIZES, like a consultation with a picture book agent!

But you can grab the “Official Participant” Badge NOW and proudly slap it on your blog or social network site. Kindly link it back to taralazar.com/piboidmo so folks know where to join the challenge. You can also grab the “Ideas Taking Flight!” slogan above.

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Do you Tweet? Add a PiBoIdMo Twibbon to your Twitter avatar. Just visit the PiBoIdMo 2013 Campaign to upload it.

And here’s some adorbs lightbulb balloons! Use them when you’re blogging about PiBoIdMo to express yourself!

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The only thing that’s missing is the PiBoIdMo 2013 merchandise to benefit RIF—like your official idea notebook—so I’ll be announcing that soon.

In the meantime, let us know how YOU’RE gearing up for PiBoIdMo. Blog about it or leave a comment below. What are you looking forward to this November?

Me? Tonight I’m hosting one of NJ-SCBWI’s PiBoIdMo kick-off parties at the Manville Public Library. Maybe I’ll see some of you there? I promise I won’t be a zombie.


11 Comments on PiBoIdMo Logo, Badge and Guest Bloggers!, last added: 10/1/2013
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11. Ideas

Starting on November 1, Mom will be a part of PiBoIdMo.

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Yep. November is Picture Book Idea Month. That means she will have to get a picture book idea in her head every day for 30 days.  Last year, she wrote 30 ideas, and 8 of them are now either stories or poems. And one of them will be Mom’s first ever eBook, called What If I Don’t.

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Ideas are a way of life when you’re an author. They are also a way of life when you’re a dog. Here are some ideas I have for stories….

Cupcake, the Best Dog in the World.

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Cupcake Gets Unlimited Treats

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When Cupcake Went for a Ride

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Cupcake Looks Pretty

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Read to a Pet Night Starring Cupcake

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Street Naps for Cupcake

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Cupcake Turns Seven Years Old

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That’s a week’s worth of ideas, right there! What’s the big deal? I wish November was named DogIdMo. I could totally do this!


11 Comments on Ideas, last added: 10/15/2013
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12. Five Word Friday

Today’s five words are about autumn.

1. Leaves – Leaves are falling everywhere. Some of them are dull and brown. Some are gorgeous and brightly colored. They remind Mom of ideas. Ideas come in all shades, too. Some are brilliant. Some crumble when you touch them.

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2. Cool – Mornings and nights have been cool lately. Sweater weather for sure.

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3. Ready – Fall reminds us that winter is coming. We need to be ready. Mom is getting ready for PiBoIdMo. It’s a whole month when she has to write down a new picture book idea every single day. She’ll type them into her phone, and then try to make each one into a story.

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4. School – Kids go back to school in the fall. That means I go back to working at Read-To-A-Pet-Night at the library. Sometimes, Mom and I listen to 7 or 8 stories. Some are awesome. Some are …meh.

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5. Halloween – Halloween is in the fall. Mom got me 2 costumes. One of them is a turtle costume. We used to have a turtle named Leave-the-Turtle-Alone. I hope Mom doesn’t change my name to Leave-the-Dog-Alone. That would be too lonely!

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Does anybody want to play with me?


10 Comments on Five Word Friday, last added: 10/21/2013
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13. PiBoIdMo 2013 Registration is OPEN!

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Well, it’s that time of year again. Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) is almost here. Tara Lazar has another great lineup of guest bloggers and prizes again this year. To make this a more manageable project for me this year, I am only going to blog about my progress on a weekly basis. so here is my promise:

I do solemnly swear
that I will faithfully execute
the PiBoIdMo 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge,
and will, to the best of my ability,
parlay my ideas into
picture book manuscripts
throughout the year.

This has been successful for me the past couple of years, so I hope I’m up to the challenge again this year.


2 Comments on PiBoIdMo 2013 Registration is OPEN!, last added: 10/28/2013
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14. PiBoIdMo 2013 Day 1

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I have signed up for Picture Book Idea Month, and today, November 1 is Day 1. I have my idea written down this a.m. in my journal, and I will post a small scan of it when I get back home from work (I always have a drawing or two with an idea).

 

PiBo was started in 2009 by author, Tara LazarPiBoIdMo is a challenge to write a picture book idea every day for the 30 days of November. It has grown so much in participation since the first year (in which I was one of the random winners of the grand prizes). Now, we have over 300 participants and loads of wonderfully inspirational posts every day on Tara’s blog by accomplished writers, authors, and literary creatives. It has grown into a wonderful community that inspires not only through out November, but the rest of the year as well via Facebook and Twitter. I wish all of my fellow participants good luck! To my fans, please check back for updates and new sketches related to PiBo. Have a great weekend!

piboidmo2013-lightbulb-happy-200x254Isn’t this little illo adorable? This years artwork and badge were created

by artist, Joyce Wan. Check her art out, it’s so sweet!

 

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15. I came up with 87 manuscript ideas...what's next?

November was an incredibly productive month for me.  I revised a middle grade novel--now it's fully polished and ready to go.  Yay!  I also revised more than eleven picture book manuscripts.  Six are fully polished and ready to go. Double yay!  Plus, I have three that should be ready to sub fairly soon and a few others that are in pretty good shape--the rest are in various stages of revision.  On top of all that, I won the PiBoIdMo challenge (Picture Book Idea Month) and came up with 87 ideas.  Wow--I still can't believe that number!  I honestly didn't think I'd get more than thirty or forty at the beginning of the month.  It's amazing how many ideas you notice once you get used to looking for them!
I absolutely LOVE writing challenges.  It's amazing to see how much I really can do when I keep a goal in mind.  Plus, it's fun to work toward a goal with writing friends.  That's why I was thrilled when Tara Lazar had asked me to write the kick off post for the event, and I can't wait to see how many gems will come out of these ideas!  Thanks for the inspiration Tara, guest bloggers, and participants--I'm grateful for everything you've done to make PiBoIdMo such an incredible, fun, and productive event.  You all rock!

Here are a few tricks that helped me come up with so many ideas:
* I looked for inspiration online, like Jean Reidy suggested.
* When the ideas seemed to slow down a bit, I created characters I'd love to write about, which sparked several of my story ideas.
* I used Tammi Sauer's suggestion to come up with settings and brainstormed what could go wrong in each one.
* I also used the suggestion from Aaron Zenz to come up with story ideas after looking at pictures drawn by kids.   
* I wrote down all the possibilities that hit me.  But I didn't want to have those tiny nuggets sprinkled around my more fleshed out ideas, so I created a section at the bottom of my file for random thoughts.  Some of them are just titles, a funny phrase...anything I think I might be able to use in a future manuscript.  The amazing thing is that I fleshed out many of my random thoughts throughout the month and had to move them into my main file.  I happy danced every time that happened.  The ideas started off so small, I probably would've forgotten about them if I hadn't jotted them down.  For all I know, some of them could end up in bookstores in the next few years! 

Here's the breakdown of my ideas:
41 fleshed out ideas (two of them already have series possibilities jotted down)
44 random thoughts
Two nuggets that could end up in a future picture book or middle grade novel  

What will I do with all these ideas?  I'm going to flesh them out more this month, do some character sketches and interviews, and see which ones scream for my attention the loudest.  Then, I'll be ready to tackle two upcoming writing challenges.  In January, the Add a Comment
16. Who Can Help Me Tell This Story?

This week I had the joy of interviewing my friend and picture book hero, Peter H. Reynolds, for the Children’s Book Hub. As usual, Peter said a million inspiring things and shared a number of jewels about writing.  Among them was a reference to his own writing process that set off lightbulbs in my head.  For those of you who have been participating in PiBoIdMo, or 12X12, or just find it hard sometimes to move from idea to story (as I do), this may be useful.

Once an idea comes to him (as they do all the time, because he has such highly developed Story Radar!), Peter asks himself, “Who could help me tell that story? What character and what situation can help demonstrate that idea?”

My ideas often start with theme  – with the take-away, so to speak. But good storytelling is all about character, after all. If the characters aren’t compelling, believable, interesting, then the reader doesn’t care… and if the reader doesn’t care, the take-away usually ends up being didactic or lost altogether.

Who can help me tell this story? What character, in what situation, solving what problem, can illuminate this idea?

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17. Picture Book Workshop with Editor Tamar Brazis

The Art of Friendship in Children’s Picture Books

I really enjoyed this workshop at the FL SCBWI Conference in Miami led by Tamar Brazis, the Editorial Director of Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books.  She has focused on picture books and middle-grade fiction for the past seven years, and has worked on the New York Times bestselling Jellybeans series by Laura Numeroff, Me, Frida illustrated by David Diaz, City I Love by beloved children’s poet Lee Bennett Hopkins, and Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes, a debut novel by Jonathan Auxier.   

She loves comforting picture books, and ones that she has a strong emotional reaction to.  Her favorite book is Frog and Toad. She also shared other friendship stories that she loves, and I can see why they resonated with her (and me).  One of my favorites is Waddles, by David McPhail.  It's such a sweet book filled with 'aw' moments and it brought tears to my eyes by the end.  I also had a huge emotional reaction to Making a Friend by Alison McGhee, and enjoyed City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, and The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell (which gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling by the second to last line...and the very last line was a wonderful surprise).

A couple of the stories she shared with us were framed by seasons, which worked really well.  She told us that friendship stories can be between two children, a child and a stuffed animal, or two objects like a sock and a mitten (I never heard of Smitten before, but I can’t wait to read it). 

Tamar spoke about creating dynamics of relationships in a very human way.  She gave us a great exercise to help create memorable characters.  Really think about a friendship you had when you were younger, and write down all the details.  I LOVE this exercise!  Not only does did it tap into great details I can use in my manuscripts, but I can see how it could spark great new picture book ideas.  Besides using it to flesh out existing manuscripts and the new ones I’m writing for the 12 x 12 Challenge, I’ll definitely use it during the next PiBoIdMo.    

She also did a great second exercise, and explained a third right before the time was up.  I can’t give out all of Tamar’s secrets though—so definitely take her picture book workshop if you have a chance!  It was full of information and inspiration, and many of us left with ideas or scenes we'd like to use in future picture book manuscripts.

It was great taking the picture book workshop with Nancy Viau.  I met her for a few minutes at Rutgers in 2005, and have been online friends with her for years.  I loved having a chance to see her again and have her sign my copy of Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head, which Tamar Brazis edited…and Nancy also has a picture book coming out with her in the spring of 2013 entitled I Can Do It! 


*If you're looking for more awesome picture book info, check out

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18. PiBoIdMo Success Story: Penny Klostermann Runner-Up for SCBWI Barbara Karlin Grant

The Picture Book Idea Month success stories just keep pouring in!

The latest news is from lucky Penny Klostermann who was named runner-up for the 2012 SCBWI Barbara Karlin grant! This makes THREE YEARS IN A ROW that a PiBoIdMo story either snatched the grant or was named next in line.

Without further ado, I’ll let Penny tell you all about it!

In the fall of 2011, my wonderful critique group, Picture Bookies, made me aware of Tara’s brilliant concept, PiBoIdMo—30 picture book ideas in 30 days! My very first PiBoIdMo idea was to do a rewrite of THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. I know….holiday stories are hard to sell. I know….rhyme done right is hard to write! But, it was November…and Christmas was just around the corner…and I love the original. By the end of November, I had three different ideas for rewriting THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

From the time I wrote the first line for my 25th idea, MARS NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, I knew it was my favorite.

Then, in December, Susanna Leonard Hill hosted a competition on her blog for a rewrite of THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. This brought my idea to the forefront, and I decided to work on it right away. I read every version of the story I could get my hands on. I researched Mars and Space! I got excited as words and phrases from my research enhanced my manuscript.

February 26, 2012, I emailed my manuscript to my critique group. As usual, their comments were incredible. I revised and revised and revised some more. Then on March 12, 2012, I mailed my manuscript to the Barbara Karlin committee…and waited.

I got the call/voicemail at 6:36 p.m. Friday, August 3rd. (Of course I took a picture of my call log!) I didn’t listen to the voicemail until 10:30 p.m. The caller said she was with the Barbara Karlin Grant, and could I give her a call. COULD I GIVE HER A CALL?????? I live in Texas. She was in California. It wasn’t too late! When she told me I was runner up I just couldn’t believe it. Uncontained happiness!!!

I have to say, Tara, that PiBoIdMo is out-of-this-world awesome. As I look through my list of ideas for the next manuscript to tackle, I am amazed. Your organization of the event with inspiring posts and interaction among so many picture book writers took my mind to places it wouldn’t go sitting alone in front of my computer. Thank you.

I just have to brag on my critique group, Picture Bookies. Rebecca Colby was the winner of the 2011 Barbara Karlin Grant. Also, in 2011, Mona Pease received a Letter of Merit. The other members are just as incredible. I am lucky to be a part of this group.

Congratulations, Penny, and thanks so much for sharing your success story! You can visit Penny online at her blog: “A Penny and Her Jots“.

Now folks, you know the old rhyme: “Find a Penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck!” So let Penny’s story sprinkle some good fortune on you.

PiBoIdMo guest bloggers and badges will be revealed on October 1st, with registration to begin on October 24th right here on this blog. Subscribe via email (← see left column) to make sure you don’t miss PiBoIdMo updates!

If you have suggestions about who you’d like to see guest blogging this year, please leave a name (or two or three) in the comments!


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19. Picture Book Idea Month


This year I'm joining author Tara Lazar for PiBoIdMo, Picture Book Idea Month. It's an alternative to National Novel Writing Month that also takes place in November (something I tried once and failed at miserably). 

Tara started PiBoIdMo in 2008, after realizing there was nothing for kidlit authors and illustrators who don't write novels. Since then, she's had hundreds of others join her. Here's what she has to say:
***Registration is open NOW through November 4th. Click here.*** 
Tired of novelists having all the fun in November with NaNoWriMo, I created PiBoIdMo as a 30-day challenge for picture book writers. 
The concept is to create 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. You don’t have to write a manuscript (but you can if the mood strikes). You don’t need potential best-seller ideas. You might think of a clever title. Or a name for a character. Or just a silly thing like “purple polka-dot pony.” The object is to heighten your picture-book-idea-generating senses. Ideas may build upon other ideas and your list of potential stories will grow stronger as the days pass. 
Daily blog posts by picture book authors, illustrators, editors and other kidlit professionals will help inspire you. By the end of the month, you’ll have a fat file of ideas to spark new stories. 
PiBoIdMo was first held in 2008 by a party of one—me! Then I hosted it on my blog for the first time in 2009. Each year the number of participants has doubled. In 2011 we had over 600 writers following PiBoIdMo. And now 2012 promises to be bigger and better! 
Registration begins on October 24th and ends on November 4th. Then in early December you will be asked to take the PiBoIdMo Pledge stating you have completed the challenge with at least 30 ideas. 
Writers who register and pledge will be eligible for prizes:
  • Feedback from literary agents
  • Original sketches by picture book illustrators
  • Picture book critiques from published authors
  • Signed picture books
  • Jewelry
  • Other Cool Stuff
I'm the sort of writer who has to fight for new ideas, and while a month seeking them out will be a challenge, it will also be a wonderful opportunity to stretch and learn with the support of other writers doing the same. Please let me know below if you too are participating!

Thanks to Ward Jenkins for the fun PiBoIdMo banner.

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20. Kick it off right: PiBoIdMo


Today marks the start of Picture Book Idea Month, or as it's more widely referred to: PiBoIdMo.
Tara Lazar created this event, publicly, in 2009. Each November, she puts together an amazing line up of guest bloggers, asking all participants to come up with at least one picture book idea a day for the month. There are prizes. There are inspirational posts. There is a supportive and fun community. But at the heart, it's a way for all of us to get the ideas out of our noggins and onto paper. To dig deep and come up with the start of something special.
It might seem intimidating - I'm a little jittery, and it's my second time around! - but I encourage you all to dive in head first.
Visit Tara's blog for the details, and read the first official post by Amy Dixon.
And with that, I'm off to find an idea or two!

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21. SkADaMo 2012

Hare and hyena.

A quick sketch for e-book I’m currently working on. I’m also experimenting with digital pencil lines, where I typically sketch with traditional pencil and scan. Saves time and trees, I figure.

……………………………….

Why a sketch all of a sudden after a couple month hiatus? Ya see, it’s November and all the cool challenges are well under way. There’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month), of which I am a participant of again this year.)

There are probably a bunch more, but suffice it to say, November is a busy month for some.

Last year, I thought just to heap even more onto my plate, I’d make November a “sketch a day month” or SkADaMo, for myself. Just trying to get back to the early days of my blog when I feverishly posted just about every single day. When my synapses seemed to be firing on all cylinders and ideas where presenting themselves to me faster than I could sketch or write them down.

Sigh. Those were good days.

This exercise may not have gotten me back to that place completely, but it did get the ole synapses firing again. And I figure between attempting a picture book idea a day and a sketch/blog post a day, I’ll at least have a notebook/sketchbook/blog filled with chicken scratches of some sort or another again this year.

Better than blank pages and outdated blog posts, I say.

I even made a badge for myself last year and one again this year. I may be the only participant, but by golly I have a badge.

If anyone wants to join in, they are more than welcome to grab the smaller badge, off to the side here and start sketching. No rules, just that.

It starts today.

Ends November 30.


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22. Lucky

Mom and I were pretty lucky. Hurricane Sandy took away the power and hot water at our house, and knocked down a couple of trees on our street, but we were fine and our home was not damaged at all.

I had to wear my sweater and stay under my blanket because of no heat, and we had to go to bed early with flashlights because of no light.

Mom said I was a brave little soldier the whole time. (Plus, I think I looked adorable in my sweater.) Many of our friends had a lot worse trouble than we did, and we hope and pray they’re doing fine. 

Through it all, even though we couldn’t write on our blog, or look at anybody else’s blog,  Mom got started on PiBoIdMo, all on her own, right on schedule. There are still mostly numbers on her Iconic Notes page, of course, but the first five numbers are filled in with five brand new ideas. 

So here’s to a wonderful new month filled with ideas and opportunities and productivity and success and no more charging the phone in the car…

and no more gas lines….

and no more scary wind that sounds like a baby screaming.  And no more Hurricane Sandy!


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23. Frozen

A couple of days ago it snowed. Snow! Right after the hurricane! There was wind that made my ears stick out like wings,

cold that went right through my pink parka,

and about four inches of the white stuff that made my feet freeze. 

Guess what else is frozen. Mom’s brain. It’s been two days since she wrote an idea in her PiBoIdMo list. The numbers are still there, but there’s nothing next to the newest ones.  

After the snow, I got a surprise. It was a package in the mail from my friend, Rumpy.

He had a contest-giveaway, and I won! I won some Frosty Paws dog ice creams, and the Frosty Paws stuffed animal! I love ice cream! And I LOVE stuffed animals! Thanks, Rumpy! What a wonderful surprise. 

Maybe Mom will get a surprise inside her head – some surprise ideas so she can catch up in her PiBo challenge. She needs 30 ideas by the end of the month. Come on, ideas!


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24. First Time

toybox

Today I picked a toy out of my toy box for the very first time. All by myself. I stuck my head in and pulled out …. none other than the dreaded mechanical hamster.  I wasn’t confused by the toy box , and I wasn’t afraid of the hamster. Mom said, “Look at you!” and “What a smart, brave girl!” and “Now what?” 

photo2

Nothing. That’s what. I didn’t actually DO anything with the hamster. I just sat with it. But it’s a start.

photo3

Mom is a first timer, too. This month, she joined a bunch of other writers in PiBoIdMo. That means she got a story idea every single day in November. It’s her first time ever doing that and she did great at it, except for writing down the same idea twice. Luckily she caught the double yesterday, and got a final idea just in time. She didn’t DO anything with her ideas. She just sat there with them. But it’s a start. 

piboidmo12participant

Someday soon, I will pick another toy out of the toy box. Maybe I’ll even play with it. We’ll see….

photo1

Someday soon, Mom will pick out one of her new story ideas (probably the one she wrote down twice) and make it into a story. Maybe it’ll be Book #2. We’ll see….

next to toys


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25. Countdown Wednesday

Today, we’re counting down Our Year in Review.

My Highlights in 2012

3. My picture was in a book! Chuck Sambuchino wrote a political humor book called Red Dog / Blue Dog, and he used my picture to illustrate one of the pages! I looked adorable.

photo

2. I learned how to dance. Mom taught me to twirl around on my hind feet for a cookie.

1. I forgot how to bowl! I learned bowling using empty water bottles…..

 But then Santa brought me a bowling set, and I have no idea how to bowl. So I just take a pin and bring it on the couch.

bowling1 pin

16. I found some bread that the birds dropped in front of my house. It was delicious!

Mom’s Highlights in 2012

3. Mom’s story Fly Fishing was in the final issue of Stories for Children Magazine in November. There was no dog in the story, but there was a trout.

2. Mom’s story Waiting for Petey was in the November/December issue of Turtle Magazine. there was no dog in the story, but there was a teddy bear (I love teddy bears).

teddy

1. NWEA bought Mom’s poem Talking Goldfish to use in their online test prep program. There was no dog in the poem, but there was a fish.

42. Humpty Dumpty Magazine is holding Mom’s story Show and Tell Surprise for possible publication in the May/June 2013 issue. There was no dog in the story, but there was a hermit crab.

67. Mom completed 3 challenges this year – 12x12in’12 (3 of her 12 stories featured a dog), PiBoIdMo (9 of her 30 ideas are about dogs), and Goodreads. (about 30 of the 214 books she read had a dog in them).

2012 is in the rear view mirror. Bring on 2013. Happy New Year!

new year2


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