Showing posts from October, 2008

The Trouble with Writing a Picture Book Manuscript in Verse

Yesterday I presented at a writer’s conference with Rick Walton in Salt Lake City. Rick and I discussed topics such as what makes a good picture book, picture book structure, how to market your manuscript, etc. Participants got to pass out a manuscript to the group and get a thorough critique.

I remember one particular manuscript vividly, because the writing style was somewhat similar to my own. There was rhythm, rhyme, and word play. Every line of text was filled with internal rhymes that made the reader do a vocal fox trot. Fun. The trouble was that the story itself had some problems. It was a bit too complex for a picture book and needed editing. Maybe a whole lot of editing. But if she whittled away the complex stuff and stuck with her silly, core story, she might just have a fabulous chance with it.

Yet I heaved a sigh for this writer.

A heavy sigh.

That’s because verse can be so terribly tricky to write in the first place. In order to make the sweeping changes we were s…

Ten Things...

Ten things that make me happy:

1. Reading a good book.
2. Hugging my kids, or watching them perform.
3. Admiring the colorful autumn trees.
4. Writing a story that somebody else likes.
5. Being loved unconditionally by someone I can trust.
6. Chocolate.
7. Talking to extended family on the phone.
8. The first snowfall.
9. The last snowfall.
10. Disneyland - The Indiana Jones Ride.

That's Why I'm Easy (Like Sunday Mornin')

What can I say? I'm a proud mom. Here are two of my sons, rehearsing for a talent show. There's a lot of music in our house. Sunday mornings are never easy, and this one was particularly hard. So the song is a bit ironic.

The Orem Barnes and Noble signing last Friday night was fun. It's always great seeing fellow authors/illustrators like Sharlee Glenn (who I got to share a "zone" with) and Nathan Hale, Julie Olsen, Guy Francis, and Rick Walton, who didn't stay for the signing but met us for dinner.

I've got a good number of school visits lined up for the next eight months. Should be fun.

To be a Flourisher...

Alright, so I read this article on about longevity, and it gave ten signs that you will live longer than you might think. Most of the signs had to do with health…the foods you eat, how much exercise you get, etc. But then there was one sign of longevity which said, “You’re a flourisher.” Hmmm. A flourisher? I hadn’t heard that word used quite like that before. The article quoted Corey Keyes, Ph.D., who said, "We should strive to flourish, to find meaning in our lives." A flourisher is someone who lives life to the fullest, but with a purpose. A flourisher becomes passionate about using his/her own gifts and talents to make the world a better place.

I know in my first marriage I wasn’t a flourisher. My life was all about hitching a ride on someone else’s back…someone whose life dreams I assumed were more important than my own. With that mindset, I believed I was put on this earth to service him and to take care of the kids and to support him in his career. M…


I have to admit, I'm haunted by the car accident that killed my stepdaughters' mother and little sister. I keep hearing the horrific sound of crushing glass and metal in my head, even though I wasn’t there that awful night.

I imagine myself in the driver’s seat and wonder what she saw and felt in those final moments. The sheer unfairness of the whole thing bothers me. By what forces in the universe is one person allowed to live when another must die? Is every second I’m still here, alive and breathing, a moment stolen from her? Surely she would have wanted to live, to watch her two little ones and her older daughters marry and have children of their own. She would have wanted to be at their weddings, graduations, and the births of their children. Why were those opportunities taken from her, for no apparent reason? I don’t feel worthy of such grand entitlements, especially when they were rightfully hers.

It’s a sobering thought that a person can be driving home one evenin…

I Need a Job, So I Wanna Be a Paperback Writer

The Beatles knew all about writers. (Shut off my music player on the right margin before playing this clip.)

I used to be soooo jealous of my younger sister, Michele, because there was a Beatles song with her name in the title. And there was FRENCH in the song. And it was a LOVE song. Life isn't fair.


17th - I'll be signing books at the Orem Barnes and Noble from 7:00 p.m. until closing. Come say hello.

24th - I'll be at the Layton Barnes and Noble with twelve other authors, from 5:00 p.m. until late. Would love to see you there.

25th - I'll be putting on a picture book workshop with Rick Walton, to help fund our book for kids with juvenile diabetes.

30th - E.G. King Elementary's "Spooky Literacy Night." (Layton, Utah.) I'll be there to present and sign books from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., with authors/illustrators Mike Knudson, Will Terry, and Nathan Hale. Come check out what goofy costume I end up wearing.