Monday, September 29, 2008


Haiku celebrates nature and is best written in the moment of observation, so why not take your students out for a GINKO, a Haiku Walk?

Before your walk, teach students the basics of haiku: The 5-7-5 pattern. Keen objective observations recorded in the present tense. Haiku's lack of title, rhyme, simile, metaphor, etc. Traditional haiku's subjects: the natural world, seasons, links to human nature. Haiku's need for concrete, juxtaposed images, and for a the reader to experience a bit of surprise.

Read them Japanese Masters: Issa, Basho, Buson, Shiki. Read them Modern Masters: Kristin O'Connell George, Jane Yolen, Alice Schertle, Janet Wong, and many others.

With pen and paper in hand, help your students notice the little things. Help them get their ideas on paper before attempting to bound them to form. Help them become Haiku Masters.


P.S. I am currently writing a picture book that will show children not only how to write, but why to love, Haiku.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The retreat was wonderful.

Yolanda LeRoy, Lisa Cheng, Julie Williams, Judith Ross Enderle and Stephanie Jacob Gordon each critiqued one of the five manuscripts I brought with me. What a gift! Plus, the other authors in my group were not only fantastic critiquers, but over the weekend we all grew to be true friends.

Lucky for me, I met with my critique group last night to help sort through all the comments.

Today is a revision day. Lots to think about and lots of work to do. A couple of the books required minimum revision, and those final drafts are sitting with Ronnie waiting for her critique. The others, well let's just say that it is time to 'rekey'. What a business!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I can't wait to go retreating this weekend.

Tomorrow at 1pm is check-in for the SCBWI Los Angeles Working Writer's Retreat at the Holy Spirit Retreat Center in Encino featuring Yolanda LeRoy of Charlesbridge Publishing, Lisa Cheng of Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & SchusterAuthor, and my original critique partner who has since moved to the freezing tundra of Minnesota, the great Julie Williams.

I love writing retreats, and with a family of five it is a rare occasion when I can get away to one, so I am oh so grateful to my loving husband for letting me escape this weekend. Retreats are a great time to take off the mommy-hat and immerse myself in writing and the writing community. Plus you never know when the publishing fairy is going to sprinkle you with font dust...Julie Williams actually sold her first book, ESCAPING TORNADO SEASON, to her editor from Harper at this very retreat!

Now, sweet publishing fairy, please sprinkle your font dust on the Superior Court of LA and set me free from jury duty tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I have an amazing critique group and an amazing agent but my favorite readers are my 3 amazing children (ages 8, 11 and 12.5). Not only are they blunt to the point of smacking me upside the head with a copy of CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE PERILOUS PLOT OF PROFESSOR POOPYPANTS, but they learn so much about writing from critiquing my work.

Over the years I have urged them to not just say, "I like it" or "This is boring", but to tell me specifically what they like and what doesn't work. I ask them to brainstorm on how they would rewrite it and/or what they would love to read. Now don't think helping mom perfect her stories is their favorite pastime. They would much rather be out throwing a football, whupping a baseball, dancing like Baryshnikov or hanging with their friends. However, by learning how to question, to think, to revise, my three favorite readers have each become wonderful writers with a critical eye to their own work.

Today's good news is that my 8 year old just read my newest version of CROC & ALLY and declared, "It should already be published." I'm feeling great because this manuscript had merited a POOPYPANTS smacking in the past.

Friday, September 12, 2008


God Bless America
Thank you to all the brave, courageous, loving men and women in uniform, and their wonderfully generous families.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Saturday, September 6, 2008


I love Katie Davis' writing, and now I adore her even more for sharing her editor Micheal Stearns' wonderful editing advice.

I recently "rekeyed" a manuscript of mine and now it is much improved. Thank you Katie and Michael!

Click on this link to read about "rekeying": Brain Burps: Editing Your Manuscript#links

Thursday, September 4, 2008


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