Monday, November 26, 2007


Egads! I'm weakening. The submitting is taking its toll. Rejection sucks.

I know, I must keep plugging away. There is no other way to success. The head knows it all. The heart is weary. My new manuscript has received 3 personals. Two from agents and one from a very thoughtful editor and it is currently in a publisher's hold pile. I'm getting there. I think. It is difficult to spend time on new stuff when my hopes are invested elsewhere. But this week I must move on to the next one. Should be easy to get it down; it's almost complete in my head.


There. That should straighten me out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Laterne, Laterne!

It's always a breath taking event. Lanterns twinkling in the frosty dark; strumming of guitars and the echos of trumpets; soft singing broken by the odd cry from a baby. First, the group gathers to light the lanterns and there is always much excitement as the small children are entrusted with the burning candle in their homemade paper lanterns.

The group sets off on parade through the neighborhood, singing as they stroll. The songs are quiet and repetitive, even the small children can sing the refrains.

The parade winds its way back to the start and the kids are met by a roaring bonfire. Hot drinks, bread and sweets are passed around and the singing resumes. This time the songs are old favorites and the beat picks up.

The fire burns down and the candles go out. The evening is finished. Everyone goes home filled with images of twinkling lanterns and thoughts of the generous St. Martin.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Another story published!

Check out,

Nice to see an illustration with my story! The artist has done an incredible job, particularly with the hidden extras. I finally downloaded the entire magazine. Very professional! Now, I'm going to think up something else to send to them.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


WHEW! Another Halloween behind us. A busy week around here. The sewing machine was smokin' and pumped out one tarantula, one Grim Reaper and a miniature Harry Potter. The oven churned out 24 spiderweb cupcakes, 24 pumpkin-shaped cookies and 48 mummies' toes. I worked a Grade 2 party and provided a ten-part selection of creepy things to touch. The tongues really freaked out everyone, even some of the adults. No one will be able to eat sliced, canned peaches again. Today, I can return to my laptop and a hot coffee, almost, guilt-free.

I am itching to get back to some writing. My newest picture book begs to have time spent on it. I'm a little stymied. So far, I am very pleased with the subject, the concept, and the characters. But the setting is fairly boring. I have been racking my brain to come up with something that will set the story apart. The subject may be controversial, particularly in the US. I need the book to have more of a WOW factor. Hmmm....

I'm disappointed, and a little surprised, that my latest manuscript is returning with only forms. I was sure it would, at least, inspire an odd comment or two.
It is possible I have been hitting the wrong publishers. I find it very difficult to research publishers while overseas. I rely on the Internet for new titles and subjects. Writing styles and trends are more difficult. I am limited to what I can buy from Scholastic or check-out of the school library.

Back to the Halloween clean up.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My cheque arrived in the mail! $35 for my craft to Highlights. Yayy!

I often think about giving up this 'writing thing', but for some reason I continue to plug away at it. Perhaps, it's for the small cheques. Perhaps, like playing the lottery, the odds are against you and when that win comes, it will feel so great. I have been thinking about quitting quite a bit recently. The blow of the rejection letters seems to be harder to recover from, particularly when I only seem to get the dreaded "form." I have to keep reminding myself that I have not tried many stories yet.
Then I saw my story on Fandangle Magazine's site, and I was touched that the editor not only published my story, but was inspired to run a non-fiction piece and a craft along with it. Seeing that entire package made me realize why I keep at this.
I write because I want to touch people; children. I want to spark their imagination. I want them to think differently about the mundane; use their brains to entertain themselves and to feel good about it. I want to offer the same thing that Bill Peet offered me- a different slant on the world. It has done me well in life, to be able to look at things from another perspective.
So I will continue to do this writing thing. Creating stories, putting them to my critique group, honing, revising and putting them out to the world for rejection. If nothing else comes of it, I have offered my own kids a chance to view the world in a different light.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cultural Differences

I have been here for six years. Sometimes, it feels like home--most days now. Then there are the days when I really feel like an outsider. Today, for instance.
A kita trip to the Aquarium: 15 three-year-olds and two teachers.
Back home that trip would involve parent helpers, a rented bus and a packed snack. Here, it means a small argument ( on my part) to accompany the group, a 30-minute walk to the subway, several flights of stairs, in and out of the subway, a subway ride of 30 minutes and a provided snack of hot dogs and cucumber pieces -- all chokable, by the way. I won't even mention the teacher to child ratio--that's why I went in the first place.
Now, I try to be open minded. I try to acknowledge the cultural differences, and even embrace them (I like a good wurst, just like the next guy). But, I'm the only parent who thought walking a group of preschoolers all day, up and down hills and stairs, past endless fish tanks, and then dragging them all, half asleep, back on the subway for a return trip, was not only dangerous, but cruel.
Will the kids remember the exciting sharks and sting rays or will the memory be of walking and walking, until you thought you would fall asleep while your feet still scuffed the cobblestones?
You can bet I'll be going on the next trip, too. The firestation. I wonder if they make them fight a fire while they are there?

Monday, August 27, 2007

So that the Blue Boarders can see a picture of me. I need one on the web and this is the only way I can think to do it.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

First Post

This is my first post. My intention is to write weekly about my struggles with story, character and plot. I suspect it will be more about my struggles with daily-life abroad.

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