Giving Book Love

I love libraries. I love the smell of books and being surrounded by words and worlds of possibility. Library visits have always been the highlight of my week. And now, when I need to recharge, I curl up with a good book and I’m happy. 

My 11 year old daughter, Naomi, shares my love of books. She reminds me of myself when she reads as she walks down the street or brushes her teeth. Just last night I caught her reading at 10:37 pm--way too late for a school night (or any night!)  We often have reading parties sprawled on my bed, immersed in our imaginations. 

In September, a few weeks after we embarked on our homeschooling adventure, Naomi announced she needed to learn more.  I told her to find a project that would occupy her mind and heart and help her learn. 

To read more of this post, go to Children's book Academy, here.

Marcie Colleen, Talented Author and Educator

Kirsti Call: You’ve been a teacher, a theater educator and a nanny. What is it about writing picture books that has you hooked?
Marcie Colleen: I once heard someone say that you write for the age that you feel most connected to, or that you yourself are stuck in. I write for that little six year old girl inside me who never grew up. She is still very much alive. If you don’t believe me, ask my sock monkey!
In all seriousness, though. I love the puzzle of the short form. I love working within given structural parameters and making it work so that readers will think or laugh or cry within only 32 pages. A picture book is like the tastiest morsel of all the story forms to me.
KC: How long did it take you to get your agent, Susan Hawk?
MC: After several years of working on my craft, I deemed 2013 “The Year to Find an Agent.” I sent out my first query in late January. By May I had a few offers. And in June I signed with Susan—my dream agent.
Sure, January to June seems like a very quick time to grab an agent. However, the craft-building and researching that came the years before those six months were where it really all happened. Once January 2013 rolled around I just wrote a query email, attached a manuscript and hit send…oh, and then went back to writing!
KC: You recently got contracts for 3 of your manuscripts. I love the title: LOVE, TRIANGLE and I can’t wait to read it. Can you tell us about those stories and what we have to look forward to?
To read more of this interview, go to writer's rumpus, here.

5 Ways to Squeeze Writing into Your Busy Schedule

My life is a tornado.  Sometimes kids, house stuff, homeschooling, church work, therapist duties, chickens, and everything else pull me into a frenzy of activity that I fear I will never escape.  So, how to write?   
1. Take advantage of the quiet moments:  There's always an eye in the storm. The baby is quiet.  The phone isn’t ringing.  The older kids are playing cooperatively. You are doing the dishes and you are alone!  Take this time to write in your mind.  I actually thought of this post today in the car on the way home from a dr.’s appointment.  I got home, typed this up, and walla!

2. Carry a notebook or smart phone with you at all times:  Strong winds will carry your ideas away, so write them down immediately! Even if you can’t write hundreds of words a day, writing even one word a day can be inspiring (see PiBoIdMo).  If you have a way to record your ideas when they come, you’ll get more writing done!  My little pink notebook accompanies me everywhere.

To read more of this post, go to Children' Book Academy here.

Tara Lazar, founder of PiBoIdMo and talented author!

Kirsti Call: I first became aware of Tara Lazar when I joined her Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) challenge.  What a wonderful way to connect with other writers in a common goal–one picture book idea a day for the entire month of November!  Last year I wrote an entire post about PiBoIdMo, and this year, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Tara and learn from her insights!
How did you come up with the idea for PiBoIdMo?
Tara Lazar: It was an idea born of jealousy! (All the best ideas are, right?)
All those NaNoWriMo people, having so much fun, sharing their successes, inspiring one another. I wanted to be part of it, but I did not want to write 1500 words a day!
What’s a PB girl to do?
I had to devise my own challenge. And at that point, in 2008, it was a challenge just for me. And maybe my critique partner, Corey Rosen Schwartz. 
To read more of this post on Writer's Rumpus, click here.

Be Your Character

I love a good book that makes me feel like the main character is my friend. Jerusha Abbot in Daddy Long Legs, is a character that I will always love because she is so real to me.
How do we make our characters come alive? Here is an exercise that helps me.
1. Sit in a chair and pretend you are your character. Think, move, talk, feel, and act like your character.
2. Have some friends or family ask you questions, and you respond as if you are your character. They can ask you anything. Here are a few ideas.
To read more of this post on Kids Are Writers, click here.