Monday, September 24, 2018

Cultivate Your Creative Mind

  There's something about spending the weekend with other children's writers and illustrators. Add to that, hearing the revision wisdom of premier speaker, Emma Dryden, and you have a period of time that will be remembered by me and SCBWI-Oklahoma for years.
  This weekend couldn't have happened at a better time for me. I just finished the first draft of another middle grade novel. The strategies Emma shared with us will be priceless in the revision of my work. 
  Yes, it's difficult to be away from home for a weekend. It takes money to register, travel, and sleep when you attend an event like this. Is it worth it? Absolutely. 
  If you write or illustrate for children, do an on-line search for your local SCBWI Region. They are all over the world. If you can't travel to events, check out all the webinars that are scheduled throughout the country. Inexpensive registration and easy to access. Go to to check them out. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

I'm Back!

­čî╗Finally I am back in possession of my blog! Thank you, Regina Garvey, for pushing me to find the answer. New posts in the future!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

First Acknowledgement


First Acknowledgement

     Last weekend, as a part of our SCBWI-Oklahoma Fall Retreat, we enjoyed a book signing session with our speakers and panel members. Watching my dear writing friends sign their published works made me smile. I couldn't be happier for every one of them: Linda Urban, Janee Trasler, Tim Jessell, Anna Myers, Tammi Sauer, Sonia Gensler, Pati Hailey. But when I stood in front of Sonia Gensler, to have her new book signed, I got such a surprise that I am still amazed by it. 
     She said, "You've read this book, Helen. Remember, at the novel revision weekend?"
     Several years ago, SCBWI-Oklahoma had a novel/picture book revision retreat at the Character Inn in Oklahoma City, OK. Those who registered were divided into critique groups with the assignment of reading the complete manuscripts of the other members before the weekend. We heard the wisdom of our editor speakers, then met in our groups to discuss. It was extremely helpful. Sonia was in my group and I always wondered what happened to that amazing manuscript she shared with us. Fast forward several years to the book signing and my conversation with Sonia. 
     "Yes, this is the manuscript you read. I even have your name in my Acknowledgements in the back!" 
     WOW! My first acknowledgement. 
     Thanks, Sonia. I can't wait to read the published product. Saving it for Halloween. :-)


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

OKAY FOR NOW by Gary Schmidt

 I rarely read a book during the day—unless I am close to the last page and I HAVE TO KNOW. Well, it's 10:30 AM and I just read the last word and stroked the cover of Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt. It is a sequel to Gary Schmidt's, Wednesday Wars
  I had a love/hate reaction for the first third of Okay for Now, mainly because of the father. He was such a jerk. As the story progressed, I remembered why Gary Schmidt is an award-winning writer. I loved this book. The plot has so many layers and yet they meld into a story that drifts into your thoughts through the day, as if the characters are your friends, and their pain is your pain.
  If you have read it, I’d love to talk about it. If you haven’t, please read and let me know what you think.
  I’ll be reading it again sometime—after I listen to the audio, probably more than once. :-)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Life's Too Short to Hold Yourself Back

 Norman Rockwell's "Girl in the Mirror"

Stephanie, a former student of mine, recently commented in a Facebook post that life is too short.
Wow--needed to hear that.

I had been going through a low time, discouraged, wondering why I keep trying to achieve my writing goals--going two steps forward, three steps back, etc. Typical pity party. I've worked my way through it, but it will most likely happen again. :-)                  

A few days ago, I got in the car and plugged my iPod into the car's radio. It was set on "shuffle" so random songs played. I must add that my husband has loaded hundreds of songs onto both our iPods from many, many genres. We have very eclectic tastes in music. The first song began and it hit me between the eyes.

"Little voice in the back of my head keeps telling me that I'm not good enough, not strong enough. Little girl somewhere in my mind under the covers cause she's too scared of everything to try anything. She talks all that trash telling me I should just give up. I look in the mirror put on my mascara and tell her to just shut up. Cause life's too short to hate yourself to try to be someone else, so quit wasting your time. The days go by way too fast, to let anything hold you back. So don't cry anymore cause life's too short to hate yourself..."

Thanks, Kellie Pickler for getting inside my head with this song.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Right Words

“The difference between the right word

 and the almost right word is the difference between lightning...

 and a lightning bug.”
Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT--I need to remember that.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Isn't it amazing how seeing something can fill your mind with a flood of pictures and memories. I just saw my first sunflower bloom of the summer. It is a volunteer plant sown last winter scattered from the wild bird feeder. I always ask my husband to leave the seedlings in the flower bed even though they don't really fit with the rest of the plants. Sunflowers bring me such joy and like I said--a flood of memories. Crayon colored pictures in fifth grade, fields of blooms turning their faces with the sun, gathering blooms from the ditch beside the road to put in a bouquet for Momma.
It's the little things in life--isn't it?