Critiques

Writing critiquesIt’s fascinating how our perspectives can change over time. Last year I attended the regional Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Spring Conference and saw people receiving critiques from an agent, an editor, and two published authors. I thought, “What kind of people would want to put theirselves through that?” This year, I completed the first ten pages of my current manuscript and anxiously awaited for a chance to compete for one of the thirty available critique slots. I secured one of those sessions, and now completely understand the value critiques play in the writing process.

Admittedly, I’m having much more trouble with my current book, Believing In Horses, Too, than I did with my first book. When I wrote my first book, Believing In Horses, I sat down and wrote. I hadn’t studied books, followed blogs, attended conferences, or listened to webinars all telling me how to write better. I wrote, and revised, edited, and then fortunately had good editors and an excellent publisher. Somehow I thought all I’ve been learning over the past two years would make this next book easier. But it hasn’t. Knowing all that I’m doing wrong has made it that much harder.

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The New Short Story – Guest Post by Edward H. Carpenter

Today I’m featuring a guest post by Edward H. Carpenter, on the re-emergence of the short story in literature. Ed and I became friends via Goodreads due to our military connection. I rarely see a military uniform in an author’s profile photo, so when I saw the Marine green, the Navy blue in me had to say “hi.” Here is a little about Ed and what influences his writing, in his own words:

“Well, I’m one of 12 children, a career military officer, a small business owner, and an athlete. I’ve flown planes and jumped out of them, served in war zones and looked into the empty sockets of skulls in a mass grave. I’ve lived in Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia, and traveled to more countries than I can list, but not nearly enough.

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Judging a Writing Competition

Children's Writing Competition Poster I just participated as a judge in the first annual Voice For The Horse Children’s Writing Competition, on the topic of “Wild Horses.”  The founder of Voice For The Horse, Yvonne Allen, created the competition to provide an educational opportunity and to allow children to share their love for horses through their written words.  I agreed to be a judge for several reasons, but primarily because I felt a need to “give back,” and to encourage our next generation of writers.  Each entry inspired me — each a unique voice.  The children demonstrated dedication, passion, and a willingness to take a chance.  I loved their spirit. [Read more…]

Time Management in Writing

Does this sound boring to you?  Probably, but it’s likely the most important obstacle in the way for new writers.  With so many distractions, how does a writer focus on what’s really important – writing?  While there are many answers, I thought I’d offer some personal tips.  Now realize, I came upon most of these thoughts due to practicing poor time management in the first place, so don’t despair if you think you can’t break free from watching your writing time slip down the drain. [Read more…]

Thoughts on Book Awards from a New Recruit

Believing In Horses Wins First Place in Children's Category, Stars and Flags Book Awards

One of my mentors used to tell young Navy recruits the following: “You may think you are new and don’t know much, but as soon as you’ve spent a day in the Navy, you know more than those who have just arrived. You are a mentor, and it’s up to you to share your knowledge with those coming in behind you.”

I decided to apply this to my new writing career. I still consider myself that “young recruit” who doesn’t know much, so am surprised when people ask me advice. But then again, I look at how much I’ve learned in the past few years through reading, courses, conferences, associations, and most importantly, doing. So, I thought I’d share my thoughts on a topic on which I don’t see too much written – book awards. [Read more…]

Horse Book Club

Today I met the newly-formed and already-fantastic Horse Book Club at Nantucket Elementary School in Crofton, Md.  Nantucket’s school librarian, Ms. Miller, brought together this group of enthusiastic horse-crazy students to read and discuss my book, Believing In Horses, over the next several months.  Like so many of our educators out there, Ms. Miller, and her assistant Ms. Clark, have gone beyond their required jobs to create a special learning environment for these readers.  Ms. Miller asked if I’d come sign and present the books and talk to the Club on its inaugural day, which of course I happily did.

To make this an ongoing interactive experience, the Club will use a relatively new educational social media platform, Edmodo.  According to its creators, “Edmodo promotes anytime, anyplace learning. Functionally, it allows teachers to post messages, discuss classroom topics, assign and grade classwork, share content and materials, and network and exchange ideas with their peers – but in reality, it is so much more.”  The librarian established a Believing In Horses group in Edmodo allowing us all to discuss and share ideas virtually.  Ms.Miller’s first post:   “I hope you will enjoy our book club. Our first task is to find a neat name for our book club. Think about ‘horse’ words and share them with the group.”

Educational Social Media Tool [Read more…]