Blog Posts

A Little Wiser…

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“Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than when you woke up.” Charles Munger

A little introspective today….this quote spoke to me. In ______ years from now, you fill in the number, what lessons will we be teaching our children about how to take care of Mother Earth. And on the flip side, what lessons will we be teaching our children about how to move forward from past errors as we pass the baton to the younger generations to take care of Mother Earth?

This is one of my “whys” for creating and self-publishing children’s picture books with a science/nature lesson component. Just the facts, no bias. If you wish, check out the first of the series of three books on my website.

Have a wonderful, wiser day!

Endangered Species…It’s About Assumptions

July 24, 2020

ENDANGERED SPECIES….It’s Really About Assumptions

Monarch butterflies are now listed on the endangered species list. I don’t think I’m the only person in this world that has made the assumption there would always be monarch butterflies flitting through my yard on the whim of the wind. Assumptions. The definition of the noun assumption, according to Merriam-Webster online is “assuming (to take as granted or true) something is true”. Other resources add “without proof”.

What else in life have you assumed would or would not happen? Is there a dream or idea you have put off until you have more time, money or after you retire? You would be assuming you will have more time, more money and live until retirement. I hope so however there is no guarantee or proof you or I will. That said, the point of this blog post is merely to remind you that there is no time like the present to accomplish your dreams. Do you want to paint? Learn photography? Knit a sweater? Make wine? Travel? Explore your surroundings? Learn something new? Invent a better mousetrap? Write poetry or your first novel? Take the plunge, don’t wait. As the Monarch butterflies have shown us, circumstances that are beyond your control can alter your world to the extent that affects the opportunities you have to live “life as usual”. Go ahead, start your dream today. Brush on the first color, cast on those stitiches, focus and frame your photo, hike the hidden trail, write the first sentence.

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Life Happens…Blog Posts Don’t…Story Writing Continues

Good day! Sorry to have been away for so long. It has been a bit busy with a new granddaughter, extended journeys to SE Alaska, Oregon and Montana, plus a little revenue-generating work at the insurance office. HOWEVER, the number of blog posts written does not mirror the book writing I’ve done during this time. The second book of the Sappy and Dropsy book series has been sent to the illustrator while the first paragraph, the most difficult to for this author to set a catchy “hook”, has been written for the third and final book of the series! During this time, I also wrote a children’s story about a significant river restoration project on Chichagof Island in SE Alaska, how it relates to the future of the salmon population and subsistence living on the island. This manuscript is currently in review for cultural correctness and sensitivity as it contains a dictionary of Tlingit terms. Funny that. I started this story last summer and totally missed the mark on the content and gist of the educational component of the story. Can you say sidetracked with too many ideas? I now have another manuscript to finish “someday”.

I guess my message of the day is life happens, prioritize events, enjoy the scenery and always lug your computer, or whatever you use to write on or in, with you. Seven hours on a ferry or in an airport can be pretty productive time for your art. Just write the first sentence!

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Serious Thinkers

Good evening. As I write this, the Christmas tree lights are twinkling at random. Yes, we like the old-fashioned light bulbs that have their own blinkers! Call me a rebel:) Would it surprise you if I told you I stare at the shadows they make on the ceiling. A story or two has been inspired by doing just this!
Enough of that. I wanted to write today about serious thinkers and how important it is not to exclude them from your stories, poems, memoirs or other forms of writing you do including social media. (I’ll expound on that aspect in another post.) Today, being a children’s book author, I will focus on the serious-thinking 7 year old.
I was blessed to spend a few days at a very good friend’s home recently. Honestly, the questions their 7 year old daughter asked astounded me! Deep questions. She didn’t settle for an answer that glossed over the topic at hand, She continued to ask questions to get to the root of the original question! I’ll say it, again. She is 7 years old. That is the young person I want to write for. Ask the “who, what, where, when and WHY”. Not just the ones who take everything at face value and move on. I want to educate the youth who actually not only play with the box their toy came in but take the toy apart to find out how it works, so to speak.
My message here is to write for all audiences but don’t write in such a way as to bore the serious thinkers. They are out there and younger than you might realize. Not only that,, but they like to be challenged! So, go ahead and write that first sentence!

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Stories Flowing from My Fingertips

Well, not exactly flowing. More often than not, putting words and thoughts together has been more like squeezing blood from a turnip. (Who ever thought of that saying, anyway?) Thank goodness for computers. I have been working on another children’s book for a couple of months now, actually two children’s books, and if it weren’t for the computer, this is what I’d be dealing with…

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Or this……

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Fortunately, revising and rewriting on my ‘puter saves a lot of trees when I’m squeezing blood out of a turnip not to mention plays my favorite tunes while I’m trying to get inspired! I just watched a movie about a children’s book writer, author of a very successful book series, who went dry. I mean so dry he couldn’t come up with an idea, plot, or energy to turn his laptop on. Desert dry. Been there, done that, now what? So, the inspirational solution was (drum roll)…he went outside, met and talked to new people (obviously COVID was not a pandemic in this show) and read his previously penned books.

Corny? Sure. Plausible solution. I think so. For any artist, one needs inspiration and most likely, you will have to go out and explore, seek, ask questions, observe, listen and maybe get out of your comfort zone. Most importantly, an artist needs to keep an open mind. Painters, authors, actors, dancers, photographers, calligraphers, poets, supervisors, employees. Everyone needs inspiration to do their job well. So, what will you do today to be inspired? Got it? Great!! Go out and create your masterpiece!

Meanwhile, the stories will be flowing from my fingertips.

BIG DAY TOMORROW!

Color me excited! Tomorrow is the BIG DAY for “Dewdrops to Raindrops” and this girl:) North Dakota bound I am to Ferguson’s Books and More, Grand Forks, ND, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. for my first ever, and previously only in my wildest dreams….well, maybe not THE wildest dreams but wild nonetheless book signing!!And following that, from 4-6 p.m., I’ll be at Ferguson’s Books and More in West Fargo, ND, signing more copies! I am so happy with my first venture into being a children’s book author. Come to one of these venues to enter into the life of a little red oak sapling who is very thirsty. Through the pages, this little tree learns about the water cycle, friendship, social skills and being patient and get your book copy (ies) signed by yours truly. Great Halloween, birthday, Christmas or just because I want to gift idea! Hope to see you there!

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Seeing, Smelling, Touching, Hearing is Believing

There are so many changes happening to the environment wherever you live. It could be a drought, like we have here in Minnesota. Or it may be unseasonably wet. Wildfire smoke in the air may be turning your bright, yellow sunshine to dim and orange.

The usual silence you experience may be pierced by cicadas buzzing or a cicada-like buzz from an airtanker carrying water or fire retardant to dump on one of those hard-to-put-out wildfires. You may be seeing a broader beach upon which your children can build sandcastles or a once-flowing creek now a nearly dry bed of grass. Yes, I guess one can watch this on the news and social media or hear about it on the radio but there is nothing, I repeat, nothing that can bring the true scope of the status of your natural environment than getting out and seeing it, feeling it, hearing it, smelling it, touching it. Nothing. It may be sad. How true for yours truly. I’d like to think it is another opportunity for education and problem-solving. We get very comfortable with the status quo in most areas of life. I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and start being the change to your world. 

Check out my children’s book, “Dewdrops to Raindrops, A Drip’s Trip to Make Sappy Happy” to educate your children about the water cycle and what it takes for it to rain. Then, discuss it and come up with some ways to conserve our water, the most precious, life-sustaining resource we have.

Whether it is in the mountains, an ocean, river, forest or your own backyard.

Cause for Celebration!

Last night, I was catching up on Instagram. And what to my tired eyes did appear? A photo of five books on @fergusonbooks with “Dewdrops to Raindrops” front and center right next to Stephen King:) They have copies at their three stores in North Dakota, Grand Forks, West Fargo and Bismarck. Color me EXCITED!

Let me tell you what this one photo has done in my life as an author. Fired me up, that’s what. Made me feel like a “real” children’s book author. Gave me new energy to keep working on editing the second book and working on the story board and outline for the third in the series of Sappy, the red oak sapling. My fingertips are itching to tap the laptop keys. Zap, zap, zapping like the sparks from Merlin’s fingertips. (That’s fast:)

What else has this photo done for my author journey? It has given me confidence. Such a huge word that I have struggled with so many times during my earthly life, thus far. I can do this for the long haul. Small steps at a time, negotiating the slick muddy downslopes, rocky pathways, tripping over tree roots, forks in the trail, rain-dampened spirits, mosquito infested forests, and sand fly ridden beaches all the while calling out “Hey, Bear!” Small steps, one at a time. Forging my own path rather than staying inside the typical picture book box.

Check out Ferguson Books and More. You can order a copy from them or one from right here on this website.

#childrensbook #childrensbookauthor #readmeastory #learningsocialskillsage4to8 #journaling #writingastory #teachersaid #gradeKto2curriculum #watercycle #oaktree #sapling #raindrops #dewtorain #findthecritter #writingforeducationandfun #imagination #writingtypes #writingstyles #writinggenres #writingforspecificages #naturestory #momlife #teacherlife

To Venn or Not To Venn….

Here is a simple method of deciding on the subject matter of your book. Write down what you enjoy, want to learn about yourself, what you already know and what you are good at in the darker crescent. In the lighter crescent, list the things you want your readers to learn when they read your story. In my first book, I chose to teach children ages 4-8 about the water cycle, being a good friend and how important it is to be patient! Those are items I would list in the golden spot.
This can be really helpful to keep you focused and on the right track as you write your story, paint your picture, plan a curriculum lesson or complete a journal entry. If your brain runs like mine, I can go off on way too many tangents and need a visual to bring me back to golden spot.
So, create your own Venn Diagram and write the first sentence!

Never Say Never or I Wish I Would’ve…..

As a follow up to my post on procrastinating yesterday, keep this in mind. “Life is too short to limit yourself.” I encourage you to not allow past failures keep you from doing something new. I encourage you to not let fear keep you from trying something new. I encourage not to allow excuses, your comfort zone, lack of formal education or your non-supportive friends or family members to quell the desire to write your book, try a new sport, paint your house the color YOU want to paint it, experience an activity outside of your usual box or norm. You can always say “I wish I would’ve” or you can say “I’m so glad I did it.” Your choice. I chose to write the book and I’m so glad I did! Go ahead, take the leap, write the first sentence!

#childrensbook #childrensbookauthor #readmeastory #learningsocialskillsage4to8 #journaling #writingastory #teachersaid #gradeKto2curriculum #watercycle #oaktree #sapling #raindrops #dewtorain #findthecritter #writingforeducationandfun #imagination #writingtypes #writingstyles #writinggenres #wrtiethefirstsentence #writingforspecificages #naturestory

Editing Your Manuscript

Congratulations! Your manuscript draft is complete. Wow. That feels so good. You’ve expressed yourself, the story that has been bubbling inside you has been released into words and you’re done. Right?!  Welllll, maybe yes, maybe no. I have a few more suggestions for you to think about if you haven’t already done so.

Editing.  Unless you are an English major or very well-versed in all things editing, you really should consider finding a professional editor. The polish an editor gives your manuscript will take it from being a stick drawing to a Rembrandt. Punctuation has several fine points and differs between the United States, England and even Canada.

Personally, I am fortunate to know a retired high school English teacher who was willing to read through my children’s book manuscript and edit it for me. A personal friend, relative, colleague, or a call to your local school could be of immense help in this area.

What’s the big deal, you ask? Professionalism. Producing a book that is worthy of a consumer buying. If your only goal is to record your memoir for your family you probably don’t need this step. Anything beyond that, you will be very glad you did!

As always, you don’t need to take blank pages to an editor! Write the first sentence!

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Write! There is No Wrong.

Writing types differ from person to person. Writing styles differ from person to person. Writing genres differ from person to person.  You get where I’m going with this, don’t you? There is no wrong way to write however there is a right way to find your writing fit. Basically, what do you enjoy reading yourself? Fiction or non-fiction? Biographies or autobiographies? Documentaries or documents? Opinion pages? Celebrity paparazzi and its narratives?

Below are listed four main types of writing types according to www.grammarly.com:

Expository

Descriptive

Persuasive

Narrative

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Today’s blog will focus on the expository writing type. This type of writing endeavors to explain to and inform the reader. Think textbook, essay, technical manual, instruction manual, and recipes as long as it does not include the author’s opinion on the topic at hand, or should I say, on the page. The text contains the nuts and bolts of the topic in a logical and progressive format. Personally, I really enjoyed this type of writing when I was in school and college as I could research, learn about and write about a topic of interest. Straightforward and factual. If this type of writing speaks to you, GREAT! There is a definite need for writers with this gift as for some, it is difficult not to insert one’s opinion no matter how subtle it may be. The main thing is to write the first sentence!

#childrensbook #childrensbookauthor #readmeastory #learningsocialskillsage6to8 #journaling #writingastory #teachersaids #gradeKto2curriculum #watercycle #oaktree #sapling #raindrops #dewtorain #findthecritter #writingforeducationandfun #imagination #writingtypes #writingstyles #writinggenres

Inspiring wildflowers on a hike

My Inspiration to Write-A Month Long Series of How to Get Inspired!

Do you journal or keep a diary? Are you the family historian or genealogist?  Good for you! You are already a writer, an author, or poet, or even a playwright of your life story. Take one of the entries and see what inspired you to write that day? Most likely, it was an experience, conversation, or emotion you had experienced recently. A common question I’ve been asked is “Where do you draw inspiration from?”  In this and the remaining posts this month, I will list what starts my creative juices flowing. Hopefully, there will be a source that resonates with you!

The definition of “inspire”, from Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, is “to bring about, occasion, e.g. the book was inspired by his travels to the Far East” and “to draw forth or bring out, e.g. thoughts inspired by a visit to the cathedral”.   Creative expression can be inspired in so many ways. I encourage you to think about the senses and be inspired!  Each sense will be broken down into more specific suggestions in the next few weeks.

Sight, Sound, Taste, Touch, Smell, Pain

Sources of Writing Inspiration, The Beginning

Seek out something familiar, a topic or event you know, a conversation you’ve had. As you look for inspiration to start your adventure, and I do mean adventure, into writing, don’t make it any more difficult than you have to. Unless you want to.  There is that, I guess. The tougher you make the writing process, the more likely, at least for myself, to become overwhelmed leading to slowing or stopping the drive and ambition you were feeling when you started the project.  That’s when it is easy to say, “I’ll work on it later.” I have several of those projects. Do you??  If you are one of the fortunate people that work better under this kind of stress, go for it! Either way, pen the first line. I promise the next lines will come. And, have fun!  The sense of accomplishment and fulfillment when your project, no matter if it is a Haiku or a novel, feels amazing😊

# writing #journaling #inspire # inspiration #books #childrensbook #writethefirstsentence

Celebrate Local Authors!

Join me plus over 20 more local authors on Saturday, June 18, 2022, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the American Legion, 900 1st St E, Park Rapids, MN! Book readings, signings of new books purchased at the event and more will be happening! Color me excited to be a part of this great event with my first children’s book, “Dewdrops to Raindrops, A Drip’s Trip to Make Sappy Happy.” I have a limited number of books available so come on up to beautiful northern Minnesota and join the fun:)

Check out https://beagleandwolf.com/events.html for more information.