Friday, January 10, 2014

A Gaggle of Picture Books

I go to the library every week and troll for new picture books. I bring home 8-10 and study format, theme, voice, and topic. Sometimes, to mix things up I wander into the stacks and choose more books by the same author or illustrator as one of the new books I've selected. 


Lots of reasons: 1) I'm always in learning mode, 2) it's helpful to see how the illustrations represent more or less of the story, 3) when the text rhymes, does it support or lend impact to the story? or not? 4) sometimes ideas springboard from the PB ideas, 5) what is the market highlighting today or drowning in (new idea or another vampire book?), and most importantly, 6) I love to read picture books! 

That said, I ran across a South Carolina list of 2013-2104 Picture Book Award Nominees. Of all the books listed, I've only read Caldecott Honor Book One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo. However, there is a broad selection of great books on the list and I plan to read as many as I can. Interested? Check them out and let's compare notes. - Q

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

2014! Hurray! A new year, new ideas, new conferences, new drafts, and new agents! Sensing a theme? The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to consider your mindset a "do over" in creativity.

After all the cliches about success and persistence are revisited, it seems that writers have to accept the fact that to be happy, they need to write. 

Publication is desirable and fun, but even if I had never been published, I would still write because I must. As I explained to someone over the holidays, I've had sabbaticals from writing over the years for various family and career reasons, but eventually the need to create (art, photography, and writing) builds like steam in a pressure cooker. Unless it's given an outlet, I'm not a happy camper. My life outlook and joy are dulled. 

So begin 2014 with a fresh outlook. Put a sticky on the bathroom mirror that says, "You are a successful writer. Write!" You'd be surprised how well that works. 

Happy New Year and success to us all! -Q