Keeping it real

One of many things I have gleaned from successful writers is to make sure my fictional stories are believable. Experienced sci-fi and fantasy writers are adept at weaving a made-up world and filling it with characters and situations that a reader can believe and invest in. Legal thrillers play out according to real laws with…

When to give up on a story.

Writers love their stories. It can be a love-hate thing throughout the writing process, but when a writer reaches the end and declares the story is done, they are hopelessly in love with it. Does anyone remember the intro scene from Romancing the Stone, when the sobbing Joan Wilder types in the final scene in…

DIY Picture Book Query Letters

When it comes to picture book submissions, editors and agents nearly always ask for the entire text. For novels and nonfiction, they generally ask for a synopsis, the first three chapters, and/or a proposal and outline. It’s a no-brainer that one should write a query for novels or nonfiction to get the prospective publisher interested…

BUG! Publishing News

It began last October with a semi-desire to learn how to do scratchboard while tinkering with a story idea. As usual, my brain firmly resisted this new task that sounded messy, time consuming and difficult to learn. So, after buying all the materials and watching a few tutorials, I tried creating the scratchboard effect using…

Texting While Driving: a Writer’s Tip

We all know that sticking our nose in a device to read and answer messages while we drive is akin to driving while impaired, or worse. But safe texting while driving is something I’ve done for years. A lot of writers talk of their routine of “Butt in Chair” (BIC) from something o’clock to whatever…

Don’t over-pluck your picture book

If you write picture books, you know it’s a lot easier to tell your story in more words than probably anyone wants to publish. It used to be that 1,000-1,200 words was the limit. Now, it’s more like 700. Or even shorter! But that does not mean you cut all but the first 700 words…

Can you handle the truth?

In the world of publishing we (hopefully) agonize over a project until it is perfect and present something we believe in our hearts is an incredibly awesome work of art. So it’s never any fun when our projects are rejected by an agent or publisher. In 30+ years of publishing children’s books, here’s my take…

Are You Done Yet?

Wow, it’s been thirty years since my first children’s book contract. So… what have I learned in thirty years? I’ve learned that people often don’t respect or understand just how long it can take to accomplish a task that might appear, to the one not doing it, to be easy. I think everyone has experienced…