Day Five: Ship, Tweak and Bon Voyage

The break Jeff Goins gave us at the weekend really was a break.

So I messed up. Means I’m an eager participant right! Got my coffee, got writer’s ‘mojo’ and Eurocup eurythmia – no wonder I tripped!

Back from the break we are asked not to procrastinate but to prepare: ship and tweak. Send work out into the world, let the critique wash over and tweak and revise. Then ship it out again!

I’m there, I send out work to my online crtique group, just started a face-to-face crit-group in town (by the way ladies, the lightning we witnessed at the close last week may have caused the High Park fire, now covering 20,000 acres with one confirmed missing (more later)), and I also send work to Rate Your Story, for a free manuscript rating.

And I’ve been lucky with the opportunity to have published authors read a few pieces and share their advice. Recently I made an exchange:  a logo design for a manuscript read-through by author Natasha Wing: her ‘on-the-side’ business venture: bumcicles

Then I tweak, revise and throw it out into the world again. Goins is right – I should ship it out next time – it has a more respectful ring to it! And without a real ship the bottle of champagne is mine!

IF: Shiny

Happy Belated Birthday Frank, you still shine.

“You have to go wholeheartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having.” (1958) – Frank Lloyd Wright

One of the  great FLW quotes listed in Brain Pickings post in honor of his birthday, June 8th. This one in particular speaks for me and the efforts I am making in following my passion, or, as my family might amend, obsession. I knew before I started it would take all I’ve got, yet it is making me incredibly happy. I imagine it compares to what someone with a fantastic metabolism feels like when the opportunity to create one’s own ice cream sundae arises!

Even when I have just stopped laughing at a good joke or rejoicing after another beautiful goal (or even the elegant save Balotelli made this morning), my mind falls to writing and/or illustrating, and I am anxious to get back to my sketchbook or keyboard. Strange, but so is my craving for good football!

Day Five: Tor!

I’m feeling kinda lucky!

Jeff Goins has told us to take a break from the 15 Habits of Great Writer’s Challenge, a nap specifically, and today he posted a beautiful piece about the new joy he is finding in fatherhood.

But I did not take a nap. How could I?  Germany was playing their first game in Eurocup 2012 against Portugal! To see it on a big screen I headed to  Pappy’s, a local ports bar. There I met up with my fellow football fans, some still in elementary school but not to be underestimated: when Boateng walked off with an injury and I hoped (out loud) that Klose might be sent in, the youngest reminded me, “Klose is not a defender.” In spite of my ignorance the Germans won, 1-0! Much to the shame of my husband, I don’t really care who wins and certainly don’t enjoy watching one team cream another, but I am always interested in a good game, where both teams show fire in their bellies!

I also won today! A signed print from illustrator and former animation artist specializing in the children’s book market, Maria Bogade of Germany. She also worked on award-winning projects like ”The Gruffalo.” I chose this piece from her site‘s portfolio:

Ben’s Flying Flowers is her most recent collaboration with Inger Maier:

AND… today I received a prize I won while participating in Paula Yoo‘s NaPiBoWriWee Challenge.

I ‘ll be busy again tomorrow though…hoping for another good game: Spain vs. Italy, and  Republic of Ireland vs. Croatia!

PPBF: Animal Masquerade

Author/Illustrator: Marianne Dubuc
Publisher:Kids Can Press, 2012 (Originally under Au carnaval des animaux, 2011)
Genre: fiction
Themes: animals, disguises, masquerade
Age Level: 3-7, but my teens loved this too!
Opening: Come one, come all to the animal masquerade. Disguises are a must!
Synopsis: from Kids Can Press: The lion is going as an elephant, the elephant as a parrot, and the parrot as a turtle! Each costume gives way to another, yielding new surprises on every page, and revealing a menagerie of familiar and unusual animals. Young children will delight in the absurd and amusing images (who wouldn’t love a ladybug dressed as a hippopotamus?) and will also appreciate the gags (a fish costumed as a cat is dubbed a “catfish”) and other bits of silly sweetness. Recapping this reading adventure: a detailed panorama at book’s end, showing all the party guests in their fanciful finery.
Why I like this book: I don’t like this book, I LOVE IT! You can read it, over and over right away! If anyone out there ever makes a costume of an animal ‘in costume’ send me a photo!
Resource/Activity: make your own costumes: http://crafts.kaboose.com/holidays/halloween/costumes/ ; Blog: My Disguises great photos and ideas for kids of ALL ages
For more links to posts on Perfect Picture Books and resources, visit Susanna Hill’s blog every Friday.
PS: It is Day Four of the 15 Habits of Great Writers Challenge and we have been prompted to ‘practice’ publicly. Well, I did that last night when I read a MS to my shiny and new kid-lit crit-group. It was scary but fun and helpful, and I appreciate my fellow members soooo much!

Day Three: Initiative

Day three into the 15 Habits of Great Writers Challenge Jeff Goins tells us to take the initiative and form good writing habits so we can become “who we are through the things we do (or don’t do).” (For more info click on the icon in the sidebar)

I like to write everyday, but I have other ‘writing’ habits. I read articles and books on writing, everyday. And I read picture books, everyday (ten or more!). I review picture books to learn more about their structure, for my own records, and I participate in Perfect Picture Book Friday hosted on Susanna Hill’s blog. I also listen to the spoken word, through conversation of course, but also through  special poetry videos like Renée LaTulippe’s on her blog No Water River. Or through films, like this gem from Temujin Doran. This short film is based on an archival sound recording taken from the 1945 Linguaphone series ‘English Pronunciation – A practical handbook for the foreign learner.’ Sit back and savor sights and sounds.

WIX, IF and Day Two

The IF (Illustration Friday) word this week is : hurry, but I find myself making haste…slowly. It being Wednesday I thought I’d see how to catch up with something other than get a move on, hurry up…shake a leg!

Mach’ hin, komm schon…beeile Dich! Make finished, come already…hurry yourself! Dépêche toi, vite, vite…allez! Hurry yourself, quick, quick…go! Jahela! in Zulu, Opskud! in Afrikaans, or  in Dutch schiet op…haast je! , shoot up… make haste!

Nice, but no spark yet. So what about shake a leg? Did that sweep in off the dance floor where we hear it now? I found something a bit more macabre:

During the American Civil War after a battle to sort the dead from the wounded a soldier learned to move or wave one of his arms or legs by himself to indicate to the stretcher-bearer that he was alive. After a time, the stretcher-bearers would first yell to the piles of bodies “shake a leg or arm” as they approached. After a time, the shortened “shake a leg” began to be used in any situation where one wanted to rouse someone to action. click here for more

Of course the Brits are having none of that: it was the order given to sailors to put a foot from their hammocks and get up. Check out more nautical terms and sayings from a document to be found at goatlocker.org Under Navy Jobs, Navy Terms.

I can’t decide what to believe, but I haven’t got all day! Which brings me to Day Two of the 15 Habits of Great Writers Challenge because great writers believe in themselves. Jeff Goins insists you need to believe deeply that you are a writer, so we (all 958 participants) are challenged today to marinate in the thought – then we get to wake up two hours earlier tomorrow morning and grill our tasty morsels with uninterrupted writing! Well, no one else in the house will be up with me at 5, but the dog may have to be let out…in a hurry!

Happy Birthday to Me!

How thoughtful! Another writing challenge and it starts on my birthday! I shouldn’t have, but I hope I like it!

You may wonder why, if I enjoy writing so much, do I need to append at someone else’s prompting. Think of me at my desk and note the view I have of the kitchen floor and clothing strewn across stacks of kid’s schoolwork. Got the picture? Daily household tasks if avoided are rewarded with dust bunnies that leave droppings, or a laundry pile that could receive R38 on an insulation scale. Sadly I am often more motivated to tidy up than to revise a manuscript draft, again. Funny how I can procrastinate by tackling chores!

So when I am home, not driving a kid somewhere, volunteering, or digging weeds for cash, I need to exercise good discipline to write.  One way to keep me writing is to join in on a challenge. The reward is in the ‘keeping’.

And it’s one more thing to keep me busy while I’m busy.

PPBF: Widget

Author: Lyn Rossiter McFarland
Illustrator: Jim McFarland
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2001
Genre: fiction
Themes: dogs, cats, tolerance, acceptance, emergencies
Age Level: 3 to 6
Grade Range:
p to 1
Opening: Widget was a little stray dog. He had no home. He had no friends.
Synopsis: A small stray dog is accepted into a household full of cats learning to “fit in,” but when his mistress is hurt, he demonstrates that being a dog is not all bad.
Why I like this book: Widget weaselled his way into my heart by doing his darndest to fit in with 6 cats. I had no choice but to fall in love!
For more posts on Perfect Picture Books and resources visit Susanna Hill’s blog every Friday