Monday, November 2, 2015

It's Here! Picture Book Idea Month!

And we're off! Pencils sharpened. Laptops charged. Ideas unleashed. 


Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo 2015) is underway. But if you missed the first day, due to time changes and other mundane non-writing activities like eating and sleeping, you can still join the fun! Just click on the PiBoIdMo logo (on the left) and follow the simple instructions to sign-up. 

Tara Lazar has lined up another great cast of contributing editors, agents, authors, etc with words of encouragement and writing tips during the month of November to facilitate our success as writers. Every day, you'll get wisdom and experience delivered to your email (if you select that option) to help navigate publishing idiosyncrasies.

Sign up! You'll be glad you did.

p.s. Tara did not bribe me with scones, dark chocolate, or other goodies to write this post. But I wouldn't mind...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It's nearly Picture Book Idea Month time! Wahoo!

Do you ever have so many new ideas that you think your head will explode? I don't either...usually. 

That all changed after attending a non-fiction NF4NF workshop for children's writers offered by Pat Miller in September. Now ideas are stampeding like mustangs before a storm. I just need to wrangle the herd and pick one (or three). 

How will I do it? I plan to participate again in PiBoIdMo 2015, an online writing event established by children's author Tara Lazar. (Check out her latest book, Little Red Gliding Hood to be released October 27th.) 

PiBoIdMo is pure writing magic. Every morning in November, no exceptions, I shuffle out of my bedroom in fuzzy bathrobe and slippers with my favorite pen and idea notebook. (See photo) and settle in for an hour before I have to get ready for my day job. With the creative gates open, ideas trot in from the ether. (The first year I participated I was skeptical, but now I KNOW it works.)

Anyway, for those who are stuck for new ideas or have always wanted to write children's books, this is the perfect kickoff to success. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

On the Road with Alphabet Puke - Join the Fun!

Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. I'll be doing a book reading and signing of Alphabet Puke: Monsters' Medicine A-Z at the Museum of Health and Medicine in Houston, Texas. Wahoo! I can hardly wait. 

The museum gift store is aptly named, The Amazing Body Shop and has a variety of fun medical and health goodies. I plan to check out the plush microbes!

What is you favorite health letter? Mine is "G" for germs! But "H" for hiccup is a close second! 

Come visit me tomorrow and we'll compare health letters and other medical fun with word finds, mazes, and coloring pages. I'm bringing my 3-headed monster stethoscope so we can listen to our jazzy or slumbering heartbeats. See you soon!  -Q

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Creative Marinating

It's true, I've been doing a lot of creative cross-training with my photography for the past few months. Interspersed with non-fiction deadlines, real estate chaos, and family ups and downs, my children's writing ethic has been on vacation for a while.

But now that school is starting, I have a workshop to attend and an author's event coming up. Plus I owe my critique group something wonderful, which I have yet to write. 

I need to quit marinating and get ideas on paper. I have a couple of projects in mind, but I need to give myself a deadline. I never miss actual (publishing) deadlines. Perhaps before this year's November Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo), I will get at least 2 stories fleshed out and ready for critique. Then I'll have a full head of creative steam to begin the PiBoIdMo challenge! Yes! I'll do it.

How do you get motivated after days, weeks, or months of creative downtime? Want to be deadline partners? Let's stop marinating and start producing. -Q

Friday, July 10, 2015

Summertime Fun for Writers

Since most writers are told to write what they know, you would think it a simple process, right? Well, not really... since what we know might not be applicable to the age group or genre we are targeting in our writing. OR we may have exhausted the topics we know well and need fresh ideas.

What to do? I try to get out during the summer and discover new ideas, destinations, and activities that stimulate my writing. 

Never learned how to swim, knit, or play checkers? Take lessons, read a DIY Pinterest post or get a friend to teach you. New experiences help you gain new ideas and insights that stir the creative pot. 

I call it creative cross-training. I take one day off from the day job every week or two, grab my camera, and explore an activity or place I am unfamiliar with. It's a blast and gets the wheels turning. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. -Q

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Promote or Perish

For those of you who have not checked the Children's Book Insider, I highly recommend it. They have writers, teachers and connectors who help children's writers become successful. 

This week, Jon Bard, the co-owner of CBI is teaching about marketing. In fact, I am in the middle of a video on the subject right now (paused). Jon just made the statement that publishing is not much about "publish or perish" anymore, but much more like "promote or perish." 

That hit home. For those of us who write, have children and hold down crazy hectic day jobs, the idea that we also have to find time to promote our work is beyond daunting. It sounds more like mission impossible. Anyway, I hope to take on a professional view of marketing (er, book advocacy) with CBI's help. I'll let you know how it goes. - Q

Friday, February 27, 2015

Book club for Kids

I'm a member of a book club and we read a variety of books and genres suggested by the members. It's fun and exposes me to books I never would have picked up otherwise. Now, I must admit, I don't finish all of them. Time is a valuable commodity and why read something that is REALLY not your thing for a week. But, I finish probably 75% of the books. 

Recently, I got to thinking about a children's book club. Wouldn't it be fun to read picture books and discuss them once a month? Then it hit me, I do that all the time with online critique partners, forums, editor/agent blogs, etc. I read some books I am surprised by and others that leave me giggling. 

As a picture book writer, I go to the library every Saturday and check out 7-12 picture books from the new book shelf or on display in other areas. I pour over the formats and make note of what fits with my style. Definitely learning made fun. I read and finish 100% of the books I check out. 

What ways do you further your skills as a children's writer? -Q

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Web Presence Finally

Wahoo! I finally got the websites figured out for my children's fiction and non-fiction work.

It was a lot of work, but thanks to the tech folks at the Author's Guild, I finally got everything up and running. 

So you can find my children's fiction at
and my non-fiction at I'm hoping to simplify things and still maintain my sanity. Well, mostly. 

In other news, I have posted picture books I love (some old favorites and some newly published) on my pinterest boards on children's fiction, non-fiction, illustrations, first lines and westerns. They are all so creative and fun to read. Definitely worth a look. -Q

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year's Resolutions for Blogging

Okay. I know good intentions and a nickel will get you... well, a nickel, but I am trying to update my fiction and non-fiction websites to simplify my online life. I will just have to give myself a pass and let you know that I am thinking about writing, actually writing, and occasionally updating all the social media sites for both writing personas. Whew! Just writing that makes me tired.

Anyway, I regularly blog about science, here. I "pin" about fiction and non-fiction topics here and here daily. (Don't judge.) Oh! and I've also resurrected my love of photography. You can check out some of my latest images on Dreamstime, here.

If I learn something amazing and/or simply have to share someone's great book news, I will be sure to do it. In the meantime, I am paddling like crazy to get organized with all the writing social media outlets. Thanks for hanging in there. Hopefully everything will get pared down in the next couple of months. -Q