amwriting, contemplation, nexts, putting things off, writing journey, writing life

A Lovely Gray, No School Day

There’s no better weather day, I think, during which to put things off.

For example, I have been putting off creating a blog post. I’ve thought of many possible ones, like the mischievous squirrel walnut mystery (it would take a post to explain it) Fall, the start of the school term, searching for balance as a writer and teacher, but I thought of all of you who might read or glance over this blog and figured most of you wouldn’t want to read any that.

Negative I know, but honest and as good a reason as I could come up with for putting-off my blog post some more.

The gray day as seen from my front window

But the funny thing about putting something off, is that often times what happens, is that you fill the space left open with something else that needs to get done, at least I do. Which is how, today being a lovely gray starting to drizzle kind of day and a school holiday during which I find myself on my own (can’t count the dog and cats- they’re snoring) its seems there couldn’t be a more perfect time to contemplate my post.

That in turn, allows me to put off dummying out the picture book manuscript I’ve been reworking. Said manuscript, like bread dough that’s been kneaded too much, has fallen frustratingly, pfflp, flat before and in my eyes.

To punt my manuscript need to do’s farther down the field, I think I’ll make some chocolate chip cookies, brew another cup of tea and watch The Last Unicorn.

In what ways do you put-off tasks, writing or otherwise? I can’t be the only one. Can I? Oh, I hope not.

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amwriting, authors, biography, books, children's books, fantasy, fiction, historical fiction, memoir, mystery, non-fiction, thriller, wip, writing journey

The Devil is in the Details

Photo by lilartsy on Pexels.com

The phrase the devil is in the details refers to the specifics of a plan which, while seeming insignificant, may contain hidden problems that threaten its overall feasibility.

The necessity for specifics is obvious when writing works of non-fiction, but it is also an integral part of fiction, especially for world building.

What does this mean for writers? What does it all come down to?

The need for research, research, and more research.

On the whole, efforts spent researching are a good thing. The only negatives being its effect on time.

Researching, in itself, is a time consuming effort. Once decided upon it has the potential for, the almost inevitable, off-topic traveling. Research can, particularly for the less vigilant like myself, cause the researcher to veer from an intended destination.

This is a list of some of the topics I’ve researched: the Garuda, Esala Perahera, Holi, dragons, dryads, the green man, Herne, spotted eagle rays, sharks, NASCAR, Mushussu, gravitational ripples, Mexican spotted owls, and the list goes on.

All of them led to side trips down narrow alleys of previously unknown topics that, in some way, served the story or my curiosity.

To me, one of the most interesting things about research is coming across the unexpected. The discovery might cause me to revise or alter a premise, in order to make a situation or condition feasible, but that’s what so cool. I love incorporating something new into my overall understanding of the world and those in it. There’s always more to learn.

What have you researched? Where has it led you?

Please share,I’m curious.

amwriting, Author/Illustrators, authors, books, bookstores, chapter books, children's books, children's books, children's writing, creativity, illustration, illustrators, libraries, memoir, middle grade books, non-fiction, publishing, reviews, star ratings, support an author, writing journey, YA books

Calling All Readers!

Support authors, illustrators too, they need you.

Just think about it, they’ve poured all of themselves into creating that book you enjoyed. They’ve revised, reworked and fine tuned the words and images you escaped into. They’ve worked hard to get their book(s) published and made available to you.

They deserve a shout out, or a pat on the back, you know they do.

So, that book you’ve just started, or are mid-way through, or are close to finishing? Once you’re finished, use your power as a reader to share your thoughts.

Here are two super easy ways to do just that.

Give it a rating and a review.

It won’t take long. Ratings and reviews can be found on most bookselling sites as well as Goodreads.

You have the power. Books and their creators need your input. It’s a harsh publishing world out there. A little appreciation goes a long way.

Illustrator, Debi Ridpath Ohi says it all!

Your star rating and review can help new readers find and enjoy the book you loved. The more new readers that a book gets, the more likely it is that the writer and illustrator will have opportunities to publish again.

So please, take a few moments to flex your reading power. Help the authors and illustrators you enjoy have the opportunity to create more books. Your imagination will reap the benefits.

The Imaginators by Linda Scott is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

amwriting, author interview, books, children's books, PathBinder Publishing, picture book author, picture books, Ritu Anand, support an author, writing journey

Kara’s Dreams

I have some good news to share in this week’s post. A fellow writer, Ritu Anand, who I had the good fortune to meet online while we were both participating in Renee M LaTulippe’s Lyrical Language Lab course, is welcoming a new book into the world.

Kara’s Dreams is about a little tree, Kara, who dreams of standing as tall and as strong as Utsa, an elder tree, who’d been standing for more than 200 years. Kara fears that she won’t be able to make her dreams come true.

Kara is frightened of wind, of water, of earth, and of night

Kara seeks out Utsa for guidance. The elder tree gives Kara the strength to overcome her fears, and to believe that she will reach her dreams.

Kara’s Dreams is available at Barnes & Nobles.

It will also be available from Amazon on March 15th, at https://www.amazon.com/dp/195508808X

Ritu graciously agreed to share a little bit about herself, and her book journey with us.

About the author:

Ritu Anand started writing when she could hold a pencil, but life kept getting in the way. For the past four years, she has chosen writing as her career. She draws her inspiration from nature and her scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahibjee.

Ritu lives in Sarasota Florida with her loving husband. Her interests include reading, writing, singing Indian classical music, dancing to Bollywood music, traveling and playing golf.

Interview Questions:

Do you write every day?

Yes, I write every day, before the world starts chatting with me. I jot story ideas while watching kids dig the white sand, on Siesta beach.

When did you start writing? What drew you to writing?

I started writing when I could hold a pencil. As a young girl, I used to write on newspapers, inside old books, new ones, on walls and even furniture. My muse made me do it.

At a very young age, I was drawn to words on a page. Words moved me. They seeped through me, made me happy, sad or thoughtful. Secretly, I thanked authors for giving me the privilege to belong to their world.

What was the first piece you published?

The first piece I published was a literary translation of an excerpt of a speech in Punjabi. My grandfather delivered a riveting message about the concept of Universal Brotherhood of Man. A Sikh Journal published my article and it was distributed to all the Sikh temples.

Do you have a special place where you prefer to write?

My preferred spot at home is the big chair in the corner of my living room.

Do you have a critique group?

Yes, I belong to more than one critique group. When I attended the Mira Reisberg’s Children’s Academy, I befriended Heidi Yates, Lakshmi Thamizhmani, Connie Dow and Adrienne Pankey. They were my first critique group. Their critiquing of Kara’s Dreams was beyond helpful and I gained tremendous strength from their words of encouragement.

Meera Sriram, award winner author of Dumpling Day, A Gift for Amma, The Yellow Suitcase and other books, guided me as a developmental editor. I feel privileged to be able to reach out to her and view her as my mentor.

As I am working on writing a middle grade novel, I joined another group formed by Mindy Weiss of the Florida SCBWI.

Without the help of critique partners, I wouldn’t be able to improve my writing.

How has your writing changed over the years?

I feel passionate about writing and bring my heart to it. I just have to feel my own writing. When I first started writing, I had a hard time recognizing myself in my writing. I didn’t know how to connect with the world through my writing. Once I decided to focus on the immediate, the tangible, I found a way to communicate with the world. I have a broad view of the world we live in. I always see the forest first, then the trees. But once I started seeing, smelling, hearing, touching and tasting the immediate, I started to recognize ‘me’ in my little world and that led me to expand my view to the bigger outer world.

Do you have any writing advice that has helped you?

Read, read and read. In my imagination, I love living in the fictitious world of my characters, talking to them, and riding the waves of enchanting discoveries. Unleash your imaginative power. Observe sounds in nature. Watch an iguana project his tongue forward and retract it inside his body. Compare him to the way humans project their tongues forward to lick dripping ice cream, and slurp it in their mouths.

Thank you, Ritu, for sharing your writing journey and your good news about Kara’s Dreams.

amwriting, books, brainstorming, children's books, children's writing, imagination, picture book ideas, picture book manuscripts, picture books, Storystorm, Susie Ghahremani, Tara Lazar

STORYSTORM SUCCESS!

Although we’re already into February I want to take a moment and celebrate January’s Storystorm!

If you’re a picture book writer or if you’re interested in writing a picture book, Storystorm created, coordinated, and hosted by Tara Lazar is the conduit to generating enough ideas to fill your new year.

The premise is to come up with 30 ideas in a month. An idea a day for all but the last or the first day of January, depending on your preference. To guide and inspire you, there are daily blog posts that come right to your email. What a nice way to start the day, or interrupt a day that’s heading south. Some posts are funny, some serious, but all are heartfelt.

I’ve participated in Storystorm for a number of years, even when it was in October and was called PiBoMo. But this year I’ve seen it through, for the first time ever, to come up with thirty ideas in thirty days. Actually, I came up with thirty three!

Now some of them are pretty wonky, but still . . .

Thank you to all who shared their writing journeys, their book journeys, and their techniques for idea-imagination creation via the blog posts. A huge thank you goes out to Tara Lazar for doing it all so well, once again!

Looking forward to pb manuscript weather systems propelling my writing this year!