Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Woo-hoo! I seem to be saying that a lot these days. What a blessing.

I just received my copy of the bi-monthly Society of Book Writers & Illustrators "SCBWI Bulletin" Magazine (photos), and there it was...on pages 2 & 23, my illustration!

Getting published is something all writers and illustrators live for. When it happens, our lungs suddenly expand, and for a moment, we breath like normal people do. Our inner world becomes the land of endless possibilities and for about two seconds, we allow ourselves to feel professionally validated.

Like maybe all the work we've done, the endless hours we've put in, and the passion we feel, might someday be acknowledged by people other than those who love us regardless. If it weren't for those people, the ones who constantly feed our bruised egos and listen to us while we ramble on about the "business", I think most creatives would find a nice high bridge to

dramatically leap from!

Yet, getting published means so much more than just validation. It's about accomplishing the impossible, doing something that many people talk about but few ever actually attempt. It's beating the odds, silencing the inner voice that tells you to give up after years of classes, conferences, rejections and in many cases, poverty.

There's something that gets under the skin of a creative person. It's like a hunger to be seen and heard. We put our hearts in harms way, because unconsciously we know that the prize will be worth the risk. Somewhere in the validation, accomplishment and acceptance is the love we so desperately long for. The ability to love one's self.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Small Comforts

For the past month, I've had the privileged of giving drawing/art instruction to Natalie, a very talented, 6-year-old, self proclaimed artist. I'd like to share a conversation we had at our last lesson.

Natalie: "Miss Lisa?"

Me: "Yes Natalie?"

Natalie: "I noticed somethin'."

Me: "And what's that Natalie?"

Natalie: "I noticed these lesson's keep getting harder."(sigh)

Me: "Uh-ha, that's correct, you're very bright Natalie."

Natalie: "So how come? How come they're getting harder?"

Me: "Well, if they were getting easier, you wouldn't be learning anything, now would you?"

Natalie: "I guess not."(sigh)

Natalie: "So, Miss Lisa?"

Me: "Yes Natalie?"

Natalie: "Am I gonna be a great artist when we're all finished with lessons?"

Me: "You already are a great artist Natalie, but you're going to be a genius."

Natalie looked up, her eyes sparkled, and a warm smile spread from one ear to the other.

There are moments in your life, when you know you are exactly where you should be. This was one of them. This thought occurred to me as I watched her little face light up.

I remember the teachers in my own life, and how my child-brain unknowingly recorded every positive, creatively affirming comment they made. I wonder if any of them ever considered the influence they would have in the direction of my life? I certainly think about such things.

Teachers have a great responsibility. Not only do they impart knowledge, but they have the ability to comfort us and build our self esteem.

I look for the greatness and possibilities within each child I teach. It's comforting to know that no matter what they do or where they go, a small piece of the best of me will go with them.

To be remembered fondly...can there be anything more humbling?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Professional Update

I just found out that I've been chosen as the winner of Dragonfly Publishing's 2008 Cover Art Contest! Here's the entry I submitted:

I will be receiving a trophy and a publishing contract to illustrate the entire Picture Book, "The Nine Lives of Popcorn".

Here's a BIG shout out to all my critique buddies....
THANK YOU! I couldn't have done it without you!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Across the Pond

It's interesting to think that it took someone, a stranger half-way around the world, to inspire me to end my self imposed exile from writing. Not that I hadn't thought about it. It's just that lately, I've been very aware of the time consumed by reading.

Most reading is time well spent, but a lot of what we read these days is not. I (for one) spend way too much time on the net. I often wake up suddenly, realizing that my eyes have glazed over. I've been in what mimics a drunken stupor, staring silently at the font in front of me. Another hour wasted on information overload.

It's in those moments that I wonder if the writer realized or cared about my time? Time is precious, yet we so easily give it away.

I don't care to be one of those bloggers who writes, just to be writing. I respect my readers. I wait until I have something I think is worth hitting the pause button for. Words shouldn't make you stop living, they should add something to your life! I strive for that. To write words that move you and make you think, to wake you up so that you realize where you are and whether or not you're doing what matters most to you. I refuse to get in line with those who would lure you in, with nothing real to say, only to render you comatose.

So, to my new friend across the pond, thank you. You asked what inspires me? You do. Life does, and the people who really want to live it. Now, go read something worthy of your time!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Blog-A Writers Muse

If you are an author, and do not yet have a blog site of your very own, you are on the verge of slipping into a time warp. *Let me rescue you from obscurity by bringing you into the light and the 21st century!

Blog sites are easy to set up and maintain, it is not rocket science. If you have time for a 15 minute phone call, once a week, then you have time for a blog.

You may ask, "Why do I need one?" The answer is simple. If you are a writer who aspires to sell books, then you will need a vehicle to promote your books when they reach publication. Remember, writing your book is only the beginning. The real work starts when it hits the bookstores! Your publisher will (most likely) only play a small role in promoting your book. The majority of the work, will be left to you. Why not begin by building your audience now?

It will impress editors and publishers if you can include a blog site on your cover and query letters. They will immediately know that you are unafraid to put yourself out there, promoting yourself and your work.

It is becoming increasingly popular for editors to check out author's blog sites to get a feel for their writing style prior to offering a book deal. If they like what they read, they are more inclined to make an offer. That being said, it is no surprise that accuracy (contrary to popular belief) is very important. Maintaining a blog will help you to begin thinking like an editor when you are writing entries to post. In doing so, your over-all writing skills will begin to improve.

One of the great things about blogs, is that the topics are infinite. You can write about anything you like (or don't like). You can post a snippet everyday, or you can post a paragraph once a week. Some authors post an article a month. Blogs are as individual as the writers themselves. Your blog is your baby...you can do whatever you like! Just remember, it will be read!

I find that the more I add to my blog, the easier blogging becomes. My site has become a place where I can vent, share, inform, reminisce and dream. I usually surprise myself by the time I have typed the last word. The unexplainable magic that happens when you know you've hit on something, is what keeps me coming back for more.

Looking back at past posts, they are a reminder of where I've been, and how far I have come. Someday, I hope to be a well-known author. It's nice to know that my blog will be there, long after I'm gone. For my loyal readers, it will not be just an affirmation of my success, but a testimony of who I was as a human being.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weathering the Storm

Growing up in central Florida, I saw a lot of storms. Often they were accompanied by thunder so loud it shook the ground and made my teeth chatter. I can remember many times getting caught in a down pour on my way home from school, rain pelting the top of my head so hard that it felt like pebbles being thrown down from heaven. Within seconds, I'd be soaked to the skin, with my hair flattened and plastered to my face.

Lightening was the worst of all. I could always smell the electricity on the wind. From the safety of our living room, I imagined what would happen if I stepped outside into the crackly air. Surely my hair would stand on end and then SMACK! I'd become a human torch. Of course, my mother was comforted in knowing that I had a healthy fear of such things. It meant I would, most likely, stay out of harms way.

What she couldn't prepare me for was the other storms. The ones life dished out in abundance. She was too busy weathering her own.

Still, storms have become something more than just thunder, lightening and rain. Faye, and all the storms yet to come have reminded me of that. They are a glimpse into the past.

Like the day when the sun was shining and rain appeared from nowhere. My brother and I danced in our bathing suits, shampooing our hair in the warm stream of rain pouring off the roof. My grandmother laughed, handing each of us a bar of soap and instructing us to use it.

I remember putt-putt golfing in the rain with my grandfather, refusing to give up our game because of a little sprinkle, (even though we got soaked to our underwear.)I giggled as my sneakers went slosh, slosh, slosh, from green to squishy green.

I think of sitting in the bleachers with my friends, watching the high school band slide around on a soaked field. We laughed because the opened school books on our heads were getting drenched, along with our cloths...and there was nothing our mothers could do about it!

My favorite storm related memory was more than a decade ago. All the women in our family had gathered at our house for what turned out to be their last time together. The rain blew up unexpectedly and the winds howled. When the lights went out, everyone (me, my mother, grandmother, aunt, great-aunt, etc.)gathered together on our big round sectional couch. We lit candles and snuggled under blankets, munching on snacks and taking turns telling stories and re-living fond memories. It was magical for me. The smiling faces of that evening will be forever etched in my memory, until I see them again.

I've been through many storms, some worse than others. Each of them usually brought me closer to someone. Today, the storm raging outside reminds me of what and who is most important in my life.

When I think about it, that's what all storms do, even those other kinds.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

pimp my spleen: a new book i just bought.....

Hello my little blogging friends, I was blog surfing and came upon yet another Lisa with a sense of humor! This one is has talent too. Check her out if you need a blog fix. Just don't forget where your favorite Lisa is.
pimp my spleen: a new book i just bought.....

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Measuring Success

When it comes to writers and illustrators, what exactly is the measure of success?

What about all those people in the past, who became great successes after death? Many, dare I say, most lived a life of poverty but were happy in spite of it. What does that say for the creative people of this age?

At a time when everyone is driven to achieve financial success, can a writer or illustrator truly be happy when the majority of us are constantly being asked to practically give it away?

If we aren't keeping up with society standards, are we really successful? I'm curious to know what my fellow writers/illustrators think.

In my opinion, it all depends on how you look at it.

I have always measured success in a persons determination to make things happen. I think if you are able to hang in there, against all the odds and obstacles, then you are a person of real substance. If you can keep picking yourself up every time someone or something knocks you down, and you learn from it, then you are successful and should be applauded.

So many of us begin our careers with big dreams, yet many give up, losing faith in themselves just as the door begins to open. Fear is a powerful thing, I should know.

Success scares me to death. With each new assignment, we must deliver a promise. The promise to do what we claim to do best. While it is exhilarating to think that we have been chosen above a kazillion others, it is terrifying to imagine the very real possibility of failure.

Failure in this business can be very unforgiving. It's not like the hotel maid, who forgets to pick up a towel. When a writer or illustrator fails, nobody forgets. It's out there for everyone to see. There's too much invested. You can't just throw it back in the hamper.

So, what does all that mean? For me, it means that my greatest success will be in conquering my fear, embracing what comes next, and finding the courage to keep reaching ever higher.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Day for Gratitude

At a time when I would have every right to complain about my life, I keep finding things that make me happy. Imagine that.
This morning I woke up to find hot blueberry pancakes on my table. Who would have thought? Yesterday, I had a piece of this chocolate swirl, cherry cheesecake with my favorite...pecans.

The truth is, stuff like this is normal for me, and in saying that, I realize just how lucky I am.
Not everybody is married to someone who makes fantastic cheesecake. Not everyone has someone thoughtful in their life. Some people have no one at all. But that does not make me less deserving. Thank you Augusta, for giving me that insight.
In my humble opinion, we all are deserving of a good life, just because we were born. It's a shame that some never have the comforts that others take for granted. It's worse that some have everything, and still want more.
I don't have everything, but I have enough. Wouldn't it be great if we could all say that?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Traveling the Blogosphere

I was given this "WebBlog Award" by my talented friend and fellow SCBWI member, Augusta Scattergood. In addition to writing for children, Augusta is a book reviewer for Childrensliterature.com and Delta magazine. She also edits a column for "Skirt!" magazine. Check out her blog at http://ascattergood.blogspot.com Thanks Augusta!

Now it's my turn! Let me see. Hummmm, whose brilliant enough to receive this prestigious "Awesome Blog" award?

Here are the rules:

1) Put the logo on your blog.

2) Add a link to the person who awarded you.

3) Nominate other blogs.

4) Add links to those blogs on yours.

5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

Oh! I know who.....

Carlyn Beccia - http://circusballyhoo.blogspot.com
Carlyn's off-beat sense of humor has me laughing every time I log on. Her brilliance is apparent from the moment you see her work. It is literally a feast for the eyes!

Kristi Valiant - http://kristivaliant.blogspot.com
Kristi's from my mama's hometown, Evansville Indiana. Her whimsical illustrations have appeared in over twenty published Children's Books!

Paige Keisler - http://paigekeiser.blogspot.com
I just recently found Paige's blog, but it seems that publisher's everywhere are finding her work enchanting! She's got three books in the making! Woo-hoo Paige!

Sherry Rogers - http://sherryrogers.blogspot.com
Sherry has a heart of gold and it shines in every blog entry. Her illustrations are as heartwarming as her personality. Here you'll find an incredible talent and someone who is willing to share the tricks of her trade.

You all make each day brighter for your readers! Now it's your turn to spread a little love around the blogosphere. Ready? Set? Who's writing rocks your blog world?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Finding secrets in the Shadows of Greatness

Last night I was (for once) in charge of the television remote. While flipping channels, I came across the Hallmark movie "Homecoming", starring the late Ann Bancroft.

The screenplay was based on a best-selling mid-grade novel of the same title. The first of seven in the "Tillerman" series, by Cynthia Voigt. Having read the book twice in my search to understand the makings of award winning mid-grades, I immediately dropped the remote.

I'm sure Ms. Bancroft wasn't aware that it would be her last film, but she certainly gave it her all. In my humble opinion, her portrayal of Abigail Tillerman,"Gram", was so right on the money, that I found myself hanging on every word. Maybe it was partly because, to my amazement, the script was almost word-for-word in keeping with Voigt's novel. To me, this was a true testimonial to the power of a well written, tightly worded novel.

Writing rules; Make each word count, propelling the story forward.

In fact, Cynthia Voigt does more than write a tight novel. She keeps her readers feelings and reactions in mind as well. I found that in the second Tillerman novel, "Dicey's Song", Ms. Voigt gives many of her sentences double meanings. Each sentence works every word, in order to eek out as much emotion and complexity from her characters as possible. Sometimes, it's what her characters DON'T say, that makes us understand them better. That in itself is amazing. It's no wonder "Dicey's Song" earned a Newbery medal, and an honored spot on my bookshelf.

I'm sure that Cynthia Voigt, Frances O'Roark Dowell(Dovey Coe), Madeleine L'Engle(A Wrinkle in Time), and others will influence the final outcome for my current mid-grade work-in-progress, "Hasty Liberty". I have learned so much from them, and the many other Newbery winners I've been devouring in the past few years. I hope that in some small way, I can do them all justice. If I turn out a well written novel, I'll have them to thank, as well as you.

"Who we are is the combination of every place we've been, every experience we've had, and every person who has reached out and touched our lives."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

"Little Things" = Evolution

It's amazing how every little thing you do counts. You may not know it at the time, but it always comes back around. Sometimes it's subtle, sometimes it smacks you upside the head. But it always returns, every little thing.

I'm becoming more aware of this fact every day. I find myself chosing my words more carefully. They don't come flying out of my mouth anymore, like they did when I was sure I knew everything. Now,I come prepared.

I suddenly understand why mom always had to know what was happening in advance. She had to get ready, so as not to embarrass herself by saying or doing some little thing that would ultimately come back to haunt her. Mom, if you're listening, I get it now.

Last week I opened a new shop on-line,(www.whimsicalscribbles.etsy.com)in order to sell some of my art. I had to use all my accumulated "smarts" to figure it out. As I typed in the opening statement, the product descriptions, the shop policies, etc., it occured to me how the little things in my past had prepared me for the moment. Not that what I wrote was brilliant or anything, it was just easy. I remembered a time when that sort of thing would have scared me half to death. I found out about the site from a new student who attends the weekly art class I teach voluntarily for community seniors. It's just a little thing.

This week I became one of the new illustrators on www.best-childrens-books.com. I'd had to apply by preparing a personal profile, which included relative experience, explaining my creative style, medium proficiency, collaborative skills, contract preferences, etc. Unexpectedly, it was a piece of cake. Interestingly, the site moderator came back with, "Nice job! (Now could you teach the other
illustrators how to write?). It's good to have you on the site." I wouldn't have even known about the site, or recieved that pat on the back, if it hadn't been for a little thing I'd done for a friend, without expecting anything to come of it.

My friend Nancy took the time to remind me to come out and play. It's such a little thing, but it means so much when someone cares enough to let you know you are missed.

Every "little thing" you do comes back to you. I've discovered that even when it seems bad, you learn something from it. Something that will carry you forward, somewhere down the road towards your evolution.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My adopted sister recently beckoned me, "Come out every once in a while, the world needs a glimpse." I can always count on her to pull me from the shadows, back out into the warmth of the sun.

I've been feeling like a panda lately, a bit shy and reclusive. It's easier than jumping back in with both feet and reclaiming my space in the woods.

But as I write this, I realize that she's right. If I don't stand up and make my presence known, I too may have to face extinction. The truth of the matter is, you can't sit on the edge of the bamboo forest in this business. You can't consume everything around you, faithfully knowing that the supply will be replenished, and life will continue to carry you forward.

The publishing business is like a steam roller. It doesn't stop when you get tired or overrought with anxiety. It continues on without you, evolving quickly with each passing day. Your seat on the train gets further and further away, until someone new jumps on board and takes it. Then you're left standing at an empty depot, wondering if there will be a vacancy on the next one that pulls into the station.

Too much time away can ruin a career and sometimes, a friendship. So, thank you my sister, my friend, for reminding me that your world isn't quite as bright without me. Something as beautiful as a panda should step out into the clearing and look up to the sky.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Time to say goodbye.

It's been a while since my last entry. Time is more precious than I realized. I discovered this when I made the choice to honor a parent by caring for her in her final days. When I made this decision, I was ignorant of what it meant and how it would change me. I had no idea of the immensity of my promise.

Caring for the elderly has long been compared to new motherhood, though similar, I think it goes a bit deeper. There's a strangling sadness in caring for an elderly person. Watching their embarrassment as each day brings with it one more freedom that is lost. Freedoms like bathing in privacy, chosing what you'll have for dinner, combing your hair or writing your name.

Then there's the inability to accomplish your dreams, or hope for new ones. How devastating it must be to face the fact that you will never again do things for yourself, like paint your room or shop for a new dress. Imagine the feeling of knowing that it's pointless to make plans.

Promising to care for a dying person is more than just holding their hand, although that's important too. It's about standing up for them when their doctor wants to drug them senseless, taking away all clarity as life begins to slip away.

It's about saving them from the boredom of endless gameshows and trashy talkshows, by reading to them until you're voice is gone, or they fall asleep (whichever comes first!)

It's anticipating every need before they ask, and acting like it's no big deal even though it's huge, time consuming, and you're exhausted.

It's knowing their favorite foods and making sure you have them in the house at all times...feeding them slowly, and lovingly because the next meal could be their last.

Creating distractions from their pain is a big responsibility. It's as ongoing as the pain itself. It causes you to lose track of time and forget who you are and the fact that you have a body too that must be cared for as well. You become sleep deprived and overly emotional. You lash out at other family members, who can't commit themselves for fear of desolving into tears in front of the person trapped in the decaying body. You wonder why it is that YOU have the strength that they lack.

Time passes rapidly, and your life keeps moving, it moves on without you...except in the room. There, you wait together. You don't say much about it, but day after day you both know where it's headed. You know it will end. The question is when? Time together becomes the most important thing can give.

Time is a blessing, but it's also a theif. Just when we think we have plenty of it, it slips from our hands. In old age, we become as dependant upon others as a newborn baby, but our bodies betray the soul held within.

As I said, this experience has changed me. It's been a long, hard road, but it was enlightening and bittersweet. I will never view time, independence, clarity, or simple kindness the same ever again. In closing this chapter of my life, I feel a new sense of wonder and possibility. I plan to dream big and follow my heart, so that when MY time comes, I can leave smiling, knowing that I lived!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Today's subject: Author/Illustrator-Tomie dePaola

If you're in this business with me, struggling to find the winning formula for your next Children's Picture Book, then I'm sure you've heard of Tomie dePaola. The truth is, if you are an SCBWI member and you don't know him, then you haven't done your homework! Tomie has his own seat on the Board of Advisors.

In my humble opinion, his Caldecott winner, "Strega Nona" is a road map for us all. In case you didn't know, it also received an ALA Notable Children's Book award, along with Kirkus Choice, The Horn Book Honor List, The Nakamori Prize and the Brooklyn Museum & Public Library Arts Books for Children Citation (N.Y.).

I was still in high school when it reached publication. I was an illustrator then too. I just didn't know it yet.

As an illustrator, I have been known to spend forever trying to get great detail into my work. It's like, no matter how much I do, it's never enough. I don't know why. Then I look at Tomie's work, and marvel at it's simplicity in comparison. I beat myself up, thinking, Why? Why can't I do that? Lighten up and just draw! Was Tomie ever this conflicted? Somehow I doubt it.

As a writer, I often wonder if he had a clue that "Strega Nona" would be the one to change everything for him. I'm curious as to how many times it got the boot before Simon & Schuster decided to give it a go. Was his studio wallpapered with rejection letters too? Did each "I'm sorry but..." make him more determined to keep throwing himself in front of the bus until it finally came to a stop?

If you break down the manuscript, you immediately understand why it works. Tomie is a master at setting the stage for conflict. He does everything right, from introducing Strega Nona in the first paragraph, (along with the quaint little town of Calabria)to throwing in a bit of Italian for flavor. The scenes are clear and the repetition is flawlessly executed. In the climax, the word "pasta" is used eight times, as it seems to take on a life of its own!

The only thing that sticks out(to me)that would keep it from being published today is the "relatability factor". You know what I mean. Editors today keep telling us that our main character must be one that the reader can personally identify with. I don't think today's five year old can relate to a little old Italian grandma witch, yet "Strega Nona" continues to be a favorite among five year olds. Hummmm....I wonder what Tomie thinks about that? If he were submitting the manuscript today, might it be titled, "Big Anthony"? Somehow that just isn't the same.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Today's subject:Unprofessionalism

Okay, I'm frustrated. I sent a proposal to this employer who wanted color spot illustrations to place on greeting cards, party invitations, stickers and what not.

In the proposal I clearly stated my fee and provided all the information they requested. Then I waited.

Two days later, they contacted me and said that my fees were well within their range and would I please send samples. I was excited. I produced and sent samples over immediately. Then I waited.

Two days later they responded with...."so, what are your fees?"

If I didn't need the work so badly, I'd say, "Forget about it!"

It's so ridiculous that in this day and age, potential employers that act professionally are as rare to come by as freelance work at a fair price!

That's another thing. Who's put the word out that freelance illustrators will produce an entire 32 page picture book for, say $500 bucks? I seem to see this posted a lot on the freelance work sites. Does anyone really respond to these people? If they do, shame on them.

That's breaks down to say, 16 illustrations @ $31.25 per illustration...IN COLOR!!!! Ridiculous. I'm beginning to think that potential employers believe that because we're artists, we can't do simple math. Anyone who will take an assignment at that rate brings us all down and proves their theory!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Is it Too Late to Dream?

Those of you who know me well, also know about my situation with my 83 year-old mother-in-law. This morning was rough for her. The pain took its toll and her spirit took a brief vacation. I thought her tears were a result of the torture her body had endured, but it turned out that I was wrong.

"It's too late for me," she cried. "Too late for my dreams to come true." She talked about her life and the opportunities she had missed due of fear and circumstance.

I've often felt the same over the last few years, as I've tried so hard to catch up with the education I never had time for, and the clarity that somehow eluded me. Listening to "Mom's" despair, I realized how lucky I was to have Grandparents in my life.

My Grandfather never let me sit around and mope. He was a man of few words, but the twinkle in his eye was enough to make me love him blindly. He dragged me around everywhere and showed me the world through his eyes. He made me understand that it is what we make it. If you want something bad enough, you have to work hard for it. He sure did.

My Grandmother was my greatest fan. She stood up for me and always pushed me to try new things. She gave me the courage to get up on stage, as she would listen to me sing for hours. She attended all my school functions and always told me to "dream big", because she had faith in me.

My dreams have changed over the years, but I think my grandparents would be proud. Now I live my dreams through the characters in my stories. "Polly Opossum" gave me the chance to get back on that stage and be a country music star!

I hope you're still listening Grandmama, I sure miss you somethin' awful!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Today's subject: Looking at the flip side

Well it's Wednesday, better known as "hump"day. I can't believe the week is half gone already. But then again, it brings yet another chance to win the lottery and I've made it halfway to Saturday!
An author/illustrator made a comment the other day about waiting, as in waiting for months and months, only to get rejected…yet again. He felt that the whole process stinks, and he was very discouraged.

Waiting around is really irksome, but it also motivates. It motivates you to keep moving and keep writing and keep drawing, or whatever it is that you do. It gives us something to hope for and learn from. And when the waiting is over and the letter from the editor finally arrives, for just a split second...the whole world stops, along with your heart. You remember why you keep doing this, and you remind yourself to breath. Then you rip open the envelope!

I'd also like to share something with you today.

Last year I participated in a group study of Julie Camerons' book, "The Artists Way". Throughout the journey, there were several assignments, geared to boost one's creativity and validate the time given to nurture one's creative self.

One assignment was to write a morning prayer, or statement. Something that would motivate you in times of self doubt or insecurity about where you are in this thing called "life". I gave it a lot of thought, and this is what I came up with;

Today, I will bring from the past only that which will carry me forward,toward a life of joy and abundance.

Today, I will remember that what I do this day will be reflected in all my tomorrows.

Today, I will recognize my fears and receive the tools and the strength to move through them.

Today, I will give the world the best I have to offer and ask the universe for the same in return.

Today, I will open my eyes, so that I may truly see.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Today's subject: Farting Dogs, Telemarketers, & Multiple Submissions

So I'm late today, but I made it back. It's been a challenge.

If it's not Grandma hollering, "SOUP!", it's the flatulent dog, scratching to go out for the hundredth time, which I'm all too happy to do in order to clear the air of his natural pollutant! (Pee-yoo!)

The cat's been meowing to be let out of the laundry room, so that she can reinforce her rep of perfuming my potted plants to the point of their extinction, and the phone has been ringing off the hook with telemarketers trying to convince me that I should vote for Obama. (Enough already!)

The doorbell constantly beckons me to let in the nurses, who parade down the hall to grandma's room, carrying their never ending supply of cheerfulness in the hope of raising her spirits to an acceptable level. I don't know how they do it, day after day...but I want some of what ever it is that keeps grinning!

That being said, you can understand my frustration. I will, however, get something done today, even if it kills me.

FYI, I got a question yesterday from another illustrator/author.
He was debating on whether or not it was smart to report multiple submissions in your cover letter. Here's what I told him;

I'll answer your questions, based on what I've learned through the submission process over the years.

Whether we like it or not, publishers are going to talk amongst themselves. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute. Consider this....

How would you feel if you were, say...an assistant editor. A great manuscript just landed on your desk this morning (and there's no mention from the author that it's a multiple submission). You run into your bosses office and place it on top of the pile of others waiting to be reviewed. You say, "I think this might be the one". You're smiling brightly, eager to please your boss. He picks it up and skims the cover letter for the synopsis. "I don't think so," says your boss with a frown. "Jerry mentioned this guy over at the other firm, they recieved it too, and it's being considered."

This scenerio would leave a bad taste in the mouth of the assistant editor. You weren't honest enough to let them know you sent it elsewhere as well, and not only will he throw it out, he'll probably never look at your work again. You made him look like an idiot in front of his boss. And what if that "other firm" decides not to take it? Now you're twice screwed. You lost TWO oportunities....remember, the assistant editor really liked it? He might have helped you get published if you'd been honest. Sometimes, a manuscript is good enough to fight for, but not if the author was someone who tried to fool you from the get-go.

Honesty is the best policy. Even though I'm still waiting for a sale, I've had 4 of my manuscripts make it to the editors desk. Every one of them were multiple submissions. I don't think it hurts one bit to have the courtesy of letting them know it's out there. On the contrary, I think it's a good thing, as they might be more eager to snag it up quick to keep the "other firm" from getting first dibs!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Todays subject: The miracle of "Buttons".

It's day two. I made it back. Miracles do happen, and here's my proof. "Buttons" is still with us after 14 years. I can't help but smile when she's with me, so she's with me now. She's curled up in her basket and her feet are twitching as she sleeps. No doubt, she's chasing a cat in her dream or running through an open field in the bright sunshine, free of the leash and the arthritis that slows her down in reality. Every extra day I get to spend with her is precious and I'm reminded how quickly time passes. My best friend....she's taught me so much without saying a single word.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Todays subject: To Blog or not to Blog.
I keep reading all this stuff about blog pages. One magazine says they are the best tool out there for an artist's self promotion, another says they are creativity boosters for the artist's soul. Well, we'll see. I don't believe everything I read. I am, however, willing to give it a shot and see for myself.
I am already stretched to the limit and I can't (at this moment) imagine how I will find the time for daily entries, let alone the promised epiphanies the magazines boast about. But, (*sigh*) my life is filled with things that keep me from my art, so I'm up for trying anything that might bring me closer to it.
If nothing else, I know that by sharing, I will better appreciate the good things-and people in my life. Maybe it'll be like the berries, sweeter with time.