Out of the Office

I finally spent some time away from my desk. And boy, what an adventure! I went to a store yesterday because I needed a picture frame (for the gifts decribed in the previous post.) I brought a gift card I was recently given. Of course, I made a stop at the library first and left with another 12 picture books.
It takes me a while to browse through the store and I manage to spend every dime on my gift card. I lug two heavy bags to my car and toss them inside. (I didn’t need my key- one of my locks sometimes doesn’t work right.) I closed the door and before I go to the driver’s side, I begin the search for my keys. At that moment I realized that I didn’t remember tossing them in my purse. I looked through pocket after pocket. Each passing minute I become more frantic.

They weren’t in my purse.

“Ok, calm down,” I tell myself and decide to search my bags.

Not there.

Surely, I thought, I left them at the checkout counter when I put everything down. Wait… did I even have them in my hands at the check-out? Oh, no. Panic sets in full force when I return to the counter and the cashier says nothing was left there.

So begins my hour-long search through every department that I’ve been to. I start with customer service to see if anyone found them. NO. That would be too easy. After I while I decide to find a pay phone to call my husband and let him know why I won’t be home for a while. I needed the pay phone because my cell phone was at home sitting on my desk. Very helpful, don’t you think?

I go back in the store and search, and search, and search some more. I can’t remember how many times I visited each department. I made my third trip to customer service and they said someone just dropped off the keys. WHEW!!

By now it’s 6:30 and the family has already eaten. I drive by a food and ice cream restaurant. I decided to treat myself for getting through a crazy situation. I’m seated at 6:40. It takes a while for someone to take my order – but didn’t seem like a crazy wait.
The young guy waiter approaches me and asks have I been waiting long –nobody told him about my table. He tops off the visit with a friendly soft grin.

I tell him not to worry about it – it wasn’t that long, really. Throughout the meal, he continued to check to see how everything was ( above and beyond the usual occasional checks most waiters/waitresses do). Each time, flashing that same bright grin. When it came time to order desert, he offers me a free one.

“Really?” I asked. He was quite sure, so I accepted. This led to the biggest grin I’ve seen the whole night. When I get the cheque, I notice that the dessert isn’t even on it. (Isn’t there a promotion code or something for things like that lol?)

Anyway, just the thought that someone expected me to be as young as the waiter was, more than made up for my lost key adventure. If I had just went home and pouted instead of treating myself, I wouldn’t have encountered that silver lining of the day. To be fair and show my appreciation, I included the cost of the desert in my tip. So what would have been a 2 or 3 dollar tip turned into an $8.00 tip. But that’s okay. After all, there was some ice cream in it for me.

An Unexpected Gift

What is one of the more memorable gifts you’ve been given on your birthday? Maybe it’s that car you always wanted, or those books you wanted, but never bought? Recently, for me it came from a special group of friends.

My fist children’s publication was “Shivering Sally and the Scary Sounds.” When it was published in Stories for Children Magazine, I was very excited. The illustrator did a fantastic job. I was thrilled at how well she captured my story’s characters and setting.

As my birthday crawled near, my friends arranged a special birthday present. They created a package that contained a message and something special from each of them. That was special and memorable enough. The final touch, however, was a print of the illustration for “Shivering Sally.” I fell in love with the picture when I first saw it in Stories for Children, and now I had a real print of it from the illustrator.

It takes some creative friends to come up with and pull off such a wonderful idea. Over the weekend, if I’m not engulfed in the new Harry Potter book, I plan to frame the print. Then I will make a collage out of the special items everyone sent. Both pieces will be inspirational decorations at my desk.

When your birthday comes around, whether it’s tomorrow or 8 months from now, I wish you a memorable one.

A Humbling Experience

I was just visiting Kevin Scott Collier’s blog and was immediately humbled:

There are photographs of him sitting on the floor, working on his illustrations, but completely accessible to his son. One photograph has his son hanging on his back while he’s illustrating his latest project.

The pictures are inspiring to me. I work on my writing at home amongst my three children. I know how distracting it can be. If I need a little encouragement after breaking up an argument over play dough, I’m going to visit his blog and take another look at those pictures. If an artist can draw with a child on his back, I think I can work among a few distractions.

Another OUAT Acceptance

Yesterday I recveived another acceptance from Once Upon a Time Magazine! If I weren’t so tired from taking the kids to the huge Barnes & Noble bookstore, I would have been bouncing around the livingroom.

I quickly signed the contract and completed some other business the editor wanted. Any OUAT readers out there, I can’t wait to share my articles with you. Theres’s another one I have submitted about the break up of a critique group I was in. I’m wondering how that one will turn out. It’s not exactly an uplifting situation, but it does suggest ways to cope when something like that does happen.

I’m still waitingfor word on a picture book that I wrote. I should be hearing soon from the publishing company. Keep your fingers crossed!

A Heavenly Book

Right now I am reading a book called 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper and Cecil Murphey. I’m only in the first few chapters, but it inspired me enough to write about what I have read. It is a book based on Don Piper’s experience of going through a car crash, being pronounced dead and his experience in the afterlife.

With such experiences there’s always a rigid rift. There are adamant believers and there are adamant critics. Personally, I believe Don experienced what he said he did. Believing is always difficult if you haven’t personally seen the item in question. But, don’t we all do that when we believe in God. We haven’t seen Him, but we know He’s there and we know Jesus taught us the way to Heaven. He himself said “Happy are those who have not seen, and still believe.”

Whether Don’s experience was real or a dream or even complete fiction is really beside the point. His book means different things to different people. For some, it’s a comfort for those facing death in the near future. For others it’s a reassurance that their miscarried baby is in a splendid place surround by an abundant love. Still, others who were non-believers in God were so touched by the book that they were motivated to start a relationship with God.
Some critics say that the book is wrong, but I say what’s wrong with spreading a little hope?

Four Friends

We were the best,
We were one of a kind,
Four friends like us,
Will be hard to find.

It started one day,
We got along well,
Four excellent writers,
Now wasn’t that swell?

With our brains all a turning,
We critiqued all our work,
Our partners were friends,
A wonderful perk!

How do groups fall,
And grow far apart?
Won’t happen to ours,
‘Twas made from the heart.

But alas the day came,
When words were mistaken,
Members had bailed,
Were they just faking?

How ‘d ones so close,
Allow such a rift?
Instead of close by,
Our hearts are adrift.

We’re not really sure,
of all that has happened,
We’ll try to move on,
Though our souls are saddened.

We’ll miss our dear friend,
And all that could be,
Instead of four members,
We’re now down to three.

We were the best,
We were one of a kind,
Four friends like us,
Will be hard to find.


This poem is about a member of my group that needed to move on. We’ll miss her !

The Humor Factor

I recently read a story, If You Can’t Sleep, to my children. It was written by a member of my critique group. It’s not published yet, but it’s such a sensational story, that I’m sure it will be soon. My girls loved it. They want to hear it over and over again. Which makes me wonder: What about it makes the story successful?

Is it the topic? All kids an relate to not sleeping.

Is it the furry, friendly, lovable sheep? It could be. Children love soft and cuddly things.

Could it be both of these things? Probably, but I think it’s what I call “The Humor Factor”. The girls’ favorite part of the story was the flying sheep. I won’t say much else about the story. I’m sure it will be published, and I don’t want to ruin the surprise.

Was the story great on its own? Absolutely. It had a problem, which, deepened as the story went on. It became an instant hit, however, the first time the sheep flew through the air. It landed in a way that made the girls laugh so hard, they fell out of bed! Yes, really.

Add a little humor to the ingredients of a good story: action, conflict, problems, and you may have a recipe for a favorite bedtime story.

I’ve Entered the World of Blogging

My husband walked into my office, stared at my computer screen, and shook his head. What could invoke such a reaction from him? He saw that I was starting a blog.

“Isn’t that for kids?” he asked.

I wasn’t offended. In fact, I saw it as a compliment. I am a children’s author, after all.
As an author, I love writing and anything that involves writing. Each new creative process is another welcome challenge for me. Blogs are fairly new to me. I’m usually glued to my word processor typing out another adventure.

I accepted the blogging challenge recently. Who knows? I might stumble upon another story or article. Blogging allows my thoughts to flow the way free writing does. Many times, this type of writing introduces me to my next character. I couldn’t let readers miss out on that.

With that in mind I turned to my husband.

“I know what I’m doing,” I said and continued to set up my blog. I have now entered the world of blogging.