Friday, November 2, 2012

Three Things November Means

I have so many things going on this month, it's INSANE! But three things, in particular, are so incredibly close to my heart, I thought I would share. And since writers share their hearts through writing, I guess that the sharing shall begin... Now.

First off, November has been declared Picture Book Month. Hoo-freaking-ray!!

What does that mean?

It means that Picture Books are not dead (were you unsure of this?). It means that children all around the world deserve to be read to, and have books written just for them! And because I happen to write picture books, this month is incredibly encouraging!! This month can be used to broaden your wildest dreams and share them onto paper, or read them to the most eager of audiences. You've got to love that!

That brings me to one of my favorite challenges that keeps me hanging on, all year long!

That's right, folks... It's Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo)!!!
What does that mean?
The almighty Tara Lazar has created a challenge: Write 30 picture book IDEAS in 30 days. Fabulous, no? I challenge you to do it... It's day 2, and I already have four ideas. It's not hard!!

Lastly (and dearest to my heart)...
What does that mean?
As many of you know, my son Renn, was diagnosed with Complex Partial Epilepsy, in March of this year. It has been a rough transition for him and for our family. We recently went eight weeks to the day without any seizures. However, he's had a few in the last two weeks, and they've been the worst we've seen. There are many trials and tribulations throughout this journey, and I'm grateful to have support groups and Facebook communities to turn to when we have questions. There are so many "Unknowns" about this condition, that is, unless you've been diagnosed or a loved one has. Renn has a form that is still not totally understood. Yes, it has a general name that covers the basis of what his seizures are like. However, the cause, the location, and the ultimate results on what his seizures are doing to his brain haven't been figured out, yet.
 I am hoping that many of you will spread the word about Epilepsy to at least one person, this month. Wear purple! Do some research, find someone who might be struggling with it, and buy them a milkshake. Learn, learn, learn!! The more we know, the more of an opportunity we have to love on and help others. It's important, as a society, that we care for ALL.
So, as you prepare for your Thanksgiving feast, or shake your head at how quickly Christmas decor came about in the stores, remember the FUN things and the important things that November has to offer.

Happy writing, God bless, and love on someone special, today. :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

We Have A Winner!

It was a close race, I tell ya! And what a marathon, it was! People were huffing and puffing as they crossed that finish line, but by golly, there always has to be ONE winner.

So, as you all gulp your Gatorade and catch your breath, I'm proud to announce our first place, (pretend) medal and signed copy of Marathon Mouse winning runner is...

LJ MOZ!!!!!!
WooHoo!! Congrats, LJ! Now, email me at bethany(dot)telles(at)ymail(dot)com and we'll get that book right to you!!
Amy, I hope this was proof enough that you matter, that you're important, and that we can't wait to parade Marathon Mouse all around town!! Here's to you, to Preston Mouse, and to all the insane success that you're sure to endure. We're so very proud of you!
Go Preston, GO!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happy Book Birthday, Amy Dixon!!

There are moments in life that are pure coincidences, but then there are moments that are pure blessings. And I had a pure blessing moment, about thirteen months ago, when I joined my wonderful critique group...

I know, I know.
PLEASE, Bethany, not another braggy post about your dreamy critique group!!! We just can't take it!
Well, fine. BUT, one of my amazing critique group members is celebrating something spectacular, today, and I'm shouting it from the rooftops!

My pal, Amy Dixon, is finally watching her dreams come true... TODAY! Her cute, lovely, wonderful, and dare I say PERFECT Picture Book, Marathon Mouse, is officially out. It's about Preston Mouse, who has decided to enter the NYC Marathon! He's a brave little guy, I tell ya! Believe me, it's a MUST READ, and needs to go to the top of your To Be Read (TBR) pile!
I'm doing the biggest, snoopy-est, happy dance for her! So, to celebrate, I want to help you get a SIGNED copy of this mousealous book!
Here's what to do...
Share this post with everyone you know. I'm talking teachers, uncles, aunts, neighbors, neighbors' kids, neighbors' grandmothers, your mailman, and even the clerk at the grocery store! Or, maybe just do it all at once, and hit the good ol' "Share" button, and get it out to all your social media sites.
Then, I want you to flood Amy's Facebook page with "Likes" and Happy Book Birthday wishes! Make them fun! Take pictures of yourself wearing mouse ears, or something. I don't really care what they are, as long as she's OVERWHELMED with love and attention!
Once you've done that, I want you to inform me in the comments section, below.
You have until 11:59pm (Pacific) on Friday, October 19, 2012, to enter.
She deserves to be celebrated, BIG time, doesn't she??  Let's do it!!!
We are SOO proud of you, Amy! We can't wait to watch you soar, and to say that we knew you when. :) We lift you up, today!! Happy, happy Book Birthday!! Here's to many, MANY more!!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I Ponder Wednesdays: What Would You Say?

Yes, I know... I have been quite the terrible blogger, as of late. I wish I had a better excuse than the few I have (painting our house, catching up on a Summer's worth of laundry, preparing for/going to my first ever Children's Book Festival), but I don't.

Wait a second...

I haven't even discussed the totally awesome festival that I got to be a part of???

Oh my... Well, maybe that will be a good topic for today, seeing as I had a LOT of questions running through my mind when I was there. And the best one? It was actually given to me by an 8 year-old girl.

I was invited to present my book, Waiting for James in a Sea of Pink , at the ScholarShare Children's Book Festival, held at FairyTale Town in Sacramento, CA, and boy... was it ever FUN!

The day started with award-winning author and jazz genius, Matthew Gollub , introducing himself to me (after I almost fell over saying something dumb like, "I know you, I looked you up!!") saying, "I looked you up, too, and I'm really glad to finally meet you."

Um, I'm sorry, time out... WHAT?! This guy is an AWARD WINNER. I'm talkin', the kind of guy who is well known, and does NOT need to know or care who on earth I am!!

I digress. So, when he introduced me on stage, he had all the kids count the syllables in my name. Then they clapped together and shouted Be-tha-ny! Be-tha-ny!

Matthew Gollub! And blown away ME in the background.
Not going to lie, friends. There was no time or ability to be nervous. I had all the kiddos come on stage with me and that GIANT thrown (that I'm still mad at myself for not actually sitting in!). I did an activity with two volunteers and read my book... Wow.

It all went by so very, very fast!
If you look hard enough, you can see both my kiddos sitting up there, among the children. My author pals, Amy Dixon and Elizabeth Stevens Omlor's kiddos were up there, too!
After it was all done, I got to sign post cards (since my book is an eBook), give away bracelets and other goodies, and talk to kids and parents about what I do.
It's funny, when you finally become what you've wanted to become your whole life, you almost never remember what it took to get there. I had the fortunate chance to glance back at some of those very memories when a beautiful little girl said something to me that rocked me to my core:
"Um, I want to be a writer when I grow up. Do you have any advice for me?"
My mind went blank and flooded with so many ideas all at once! Luckily, after I picked my jaw off the grassy knoll I was seated on, I was able to give her probably more advice than she was looking for. And her mother? You could tell that she was one of those amazing moms who teaches their kids all the right stuff. I was so thrilled!!!
However, now I want your answers. I think it's important to keep up with what kids want to know, right? So...
If an 8 year-old child asked for advice...
Advice that would gear their lives
 to go in the same direction as yours has gone,
what would you say?
Answer away, friends! And, happy writing!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Ponder Wednesdays: We Have A Winner!

Happy Birthday, to me... Happy birthday to me... Happy biiiirrrrthday to MEEEEE... Now who wins the prize?!

Okay, I am obviously not a songwriter (my brother got all the talent, there!), BUT, it's time to announce who won  Bethany's Birthday Bonanza contest!! WooHoo!

Let me say this much, I am so very, very glad that I chose to use Why? Because the entries were SO darn fantastic. We even got some newbies to the blogging world! I hope everyone waves hello to Karen Moore and Kathy Gorman! *waves hi* Karen is a self-published PB author of a book that I'm eager to get my hands on, and Kathy is a retired teacher (from one of my old schools, no less) who loves to write for kiddos! Please embrace them and show them how wonderful our community is!

Anyway, the entries... wow. You guys had me laughing on the floor and begging for more! I loved the characters, each play on words (atta girl, Beth!), and all the love that was so obviously put into them. They made my birthday week very special!

So without further adieu, our winner is...

Her story about 6 year-old Humphrey, his stuffed Elephant, and the birthday wish of ALL birthday wishes coming true? AWESOME! I really, really hope that you finish this one, Abigail. I look forward to the ending, and would absolutely be honored to look at it once it's done!
Everyone congratulate Abigail! Hip, hip, HOORAY!
Thanks to all of you who entered. I so loved this last week! Thank you for all the sweet birthday wishes and words. I'll say it again, I love our community! See you next week!
*Abigail- email me ( and I'll get you your prize!!!*

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Ponder Wednesdays: Happy Birthday to MEE! Oh, Do You Want A Contest?


In one, ONE WEEK it will be my birthday. And let me tell you, birthdays are great. But mine?

It's the BEST!!

I used to start counting down the days 'til my special day from July 19th. Oh, how much my childhood friends must have suffered. I would go as far as to tell janitors at my school just how many days/hours/minutes it was until I was to turn another year. I am not sure why, but I have always loved my birthday to an unhealthy point.

I have since calmed down a bit (in other words, I have taken my squeals of delight into rooms where no one can hear me, and have only done the July 19th countdown thingy in secret with my poor children).

However, it is now OFFICIALLY my birthday WEEK, and I would love it if you would help me celebrate. So...


You are hereby invited to
Bethany's Birthday Bonanza
WHEN: From today, 9/12/12, to Sunday, 9/16/12, 11:59 (PDT)
WHERE: Right here! On this blog!
You don't even have to get out of your seat!
WHAT: This is a contest!!
You are to write a 250-word story
that must contain the following items-
1. Your MC celebrating his/her birthday
2. An elephant (real, imaginary, or stuffed)
3. An odd question
RSVP: Please either subscribe to my blog or "Like" my FB page*,
then submit your story in the comment section below.
You must do BOTH (subscribe/Like AND submit story)
in order to be put in the running.
PRIZE: After the contest time is over, I will chose the winner using
The winner will receive a $15 Amazon
Gift Card, for MY birthday!!
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen!
OH- the WINNER will be announced next week, ON my birthday!
We'll have a paaaaarrrtaaayyy!!!!
Good luck!! I greatly look forward to reading your entries...
*If you have already subscribed to this blog and/or have "Liked" my page, please let me know so that you can get an extra VIP point. :) Thanks!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I Ponder Wednesdays: What if You Can't Say "I'M WONDERFUL"?

It's no secret that I would LOVE to have an agent. I would love to have a companion on my side who can not only celebrate happy occasions with me, but can also tell me when something I've written is just terrible! Call me crazy, but I crave to have a kinship with someone so professional.

Now, I know there are ways to getting agents that I am wholly not comfortable with. Many agents have changed their submission guidelines to "No Unsolicited MS"...

Wait, huh? Of course my manny is unsolicited! That's why I'm querying YOU!

But they mean that they only take queries from writers with whom they've met at a conference, or even if one of their own clients highly recommends you.

Well, THAT'S easy! Many of my friends have agents. I'll have them whisper my name into their agent's ear, and I'll be a shoo in! YeeeHaw!

And you know, that might work for some. If you chose to do that, bravo! But for me, I just don't feel that I can ask a friend of mine to do that. They worked hard to get their agent. I applaud them for their accomplishments and if nothing else, I'm inspired to be just like them.

When I thought about it, I realized that throwing myself out there is difficult all on its own, for me. I have an issue with begging people to read my blog posts! I really want my writing to speak for itself without me having to shout it from the rooftops-


I'd prefer agents, editors, reviewers, followers, and peers to not have to listen to me gab about myself (which is funny, because here I am preeetty much gabbing away), but instead, be impressed with my ability to bring characters to life on paper.

So, here's my question to you:

In this day and age, when self-promotion seems to be the way to go,
do YOU think writers lose out if they
just don't have the gumption to say,
"Hey, I'M wonderful!"?
Okay, so there's that. I look forward to your feedback! Next week, I will announce a fun little contest that I can't wait to host. :) Tell your friends!

Happy writing!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

ScholarShare Children's Book Festival


Yes, I know, I'm being a terrible blogger these days. Who knew that Kindergarten could take so much out of you?! And by "you", I mean ME, and by "me", I definitely don't mean my son... the one who is actually in Kindergarten. Whew... I'm zonked!

Anyway, in precisely ONE MONTH, I will be presenting at the ScholarShare Children's Book Festival in Sacramento, CA at a wonderful place called FairyTale Town! I am beyond excited and honored to be part of such a fantastic weekend!

If you have been following my excited rants, you'd know that I will be presenting at 2pm on Sunday, September 30th.

HOWEVER, that time has been changed to accommodate the schedule of one of my greatest Momma/writer friends (and, luckily enough for me, she's one of my fabulous critique partners!). I will now be presenting at 11:30am on the same Sunday.

If any of you live in or will be in the area, I would LOVE to meet with you! This event is completely FREE (I told you... it's a fantastic weekend!), so tell all your friends and family!

Here's to kiddos reading and loving books just a little more each day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: I Vote For Guts!

There comes a point in a writer's life where they have a baby... And no, I don't mean a human, dog, kitty, or bird baby, I mean an I'm-so-in-love-with-this-manny baby. It's your golden nugget. The piece you are MOST proud of. Do you know what I mean? I'm sure you do... In fact, I bet you're saying the title of your baby right now in your head and you have a smile on your face!

One day, the time comes for you to send your baby off to a friend's house/computer to watch over it while you do something else. Though you love it, you need a break from it. You need someone else to tell you how simply marvelous it is, and how genuinely genius you are for creating such a masterpiece. Yes, you're nervous. It's your baby's first time out in the big world and you want to keep it safe from ALL harm. But deep down, you know the date night with your spouse/partner or that much needed, relaxing bath is far worth letting your baby go for an evening.

Then, something unexpected happens. That sitter you sent your baby off to? She wants you to take it back. She says there are too many problems with your baby, and she needs help understanding what it is saying, where it is going, and why-oh-why it keeps doing that terribly annoying, repetitive rhyme!

Your heart is broken.
Your feelings are blown to smithereens.

What now?

Okay, you pick yourself up, and trust that your friend's eyes are, indeed, fresh. They are seeing your baby from the outside, not from the inside where your heart and mind have made it into this God-like creation. So you read the comments. You listen to advice. You make the suggested changes. The problem?


This has happened to me with a manny of mine. No, it isn't my baby (thankfully), but I was given great advice this morning about it. Elizabeth Stevens Omlor told me this morning, "I think we should all just trust our guts, which is what I am learning to do more and more often."

How right is that??! Okay, yes, there are things that critiques help us with (in my case, MANY-a-things!!). But if you listen to ALL the advice you are given, if you change your manny completely around based on another's suggestions, and it honestly doesn't work for or feel right to you? I vote for your guts.

Here's my question to you:

In this day and age of writing, are we safe to trust our instincts?

I pray that we are. This blog is dedicated to the creative side of writing... Not the business angle. Yes, there are parameters to be met. But if in the end we are so wrapped up in the ways things should be written, there is little room for our hearts and souls to pour through our words. Be reasonable and listen to your critique partners. Listen to your agents, editors, and the trends. But, if it still doesn't sit well, again I say, I vote for your guts.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Free for YOU!


So, I have a gift for you! For the next 24hrs, my book, Waiting for James in a Sea of Pink, is being offered for free, over at MeeGenius!!

That's right... FREE!

If you would like your free copy, please click HERE. And when prompted, enter the code: pink

Thank so much, and please enjoy!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thank You, ALL!

It's been two whole weeks since I have posted, here. Believe me, it's not like I was on an exotic vacation! As many of you know, via my last post where I discussed all the crazy happenings with my son, Renn, we were enduring (and then recovering from) a week-long Video EEG to determine the cause of the seizures he's having. I thought a few of you might share his story. I thought maybe one or two of you would post his picture on your Facebook walls. Oh no. You see, the writing community just doesn't work like that. There is no "sub-par" attitude, and I do not believe a single member knows how to do anything but pour out an abundance of love... especially when it comes to children.

That post was seen over 2,567 times.
That post was SHARED 776 times.
And Renn's picture? Well, there's no number to be sure. But I do know that over 35 of my own friends changed their profile picture to his sweet face, in order to show their support.

But, see, that's not all that happened. Beth Stilborn was the first to write her own blog post about my sweet boy. She then posted it in every which way it could go, and a couple of her friends contacted me, saying they'd share and were praying.  Carter Higgins was tweeting Renn  Star Wars jokes while he sat there, bored, in his hospital bed! The amazing, ever beautiful (inside and out), most incredible Marcie Colleen dedicated her entire week of blogging as "Renn Week", which even included a contest. And then, there was Julie Rowan-Zoch... She, created this:

Yes. I cried. And cried. And cried.

I know there are more, MANY more out there who went out of their way to share Renn's story (I got a message from someone in the Netherlands! I have NO clue how they heard his story, but it was amazing to see it get that far!). I know that there were so many who prayed, changed their profile pictures, and tried to get #Renn trending on twitter until he came home from the hospital. To say that I am baffled... No. That's not even close to how overcome with love and emotion I was.

This writing community is truly a family. We struggle when one struggles. We celebrate when one has glorious news. We encourage when one of us is down, and we help mold and shape the stories of our peers that we know are going to be giant successes.

Your messages, wall posts, tweets, jokes, pictures, and love, made all the difference. Renn has a very LONG road ahead of him. But with each one of you standing firmly behind him, I'm convinced that he'll make it out of this one day.

So, thank you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making our family and gorgeous Jedi priority numero uno for that week. I have been deeply praying for all of you, that God might bless you for your kindness. Only my father, my grandmother, and the hubby's cousin came to see Renn in the hospital. However, he had 10+ other NON RELATED people come visit him. I thank all of them as well.

Like I said, he has a loooong road ahead of him. UCSF is pretty much a guarantee right now, as he isn't responding super well to the new medication. He went seizure free for 5 whole days but for three of those days, he was, well, stoned. Out of it. Completely unreachable. So, needless to say, we're still working on it.

I'm back to writing, however! This week I will have a new I Ponder post, and I hope to hear the wonderful answers you give me.

Last thing-

While we were in the hospital, Renn asked me to make this sign. This is for you... even if your name isn't written here, it IS written on our hearts.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

An Explanation & A Request... For A Sweet Jedi

I know that I have been "missing" somewhat, lately... But I promise that I have an excellent reason!

You see this little man? ---------->

Well, he's my oldest son. His name is Renn, and he's 5 years old. In less than a month, he'll be going to Kindergarten. He loves Star Wars and knows everything about all six movies... Seriously. He's very smart (okay, yes, I'm a teensy bit biased!), and has said some of the most hilarious things I have ever heard in my life.

Back in February of this year, Renn began having seizures. I mean, out of NOWHERE. They are not your stereotypical lying on the floor, twitching, convulsing, and drooling type seizures (those are called Grand Mal seizures). He has what is known as Petite Mal seizures, which are far less scary to watch (unless you're the person's parents!). He'll begin by shuffling his feet, pointing at or asking about a million different random things, and then his body will "spasm" and he'll flail his right arm out, and might run in a circle while clapping or hopping.

We ran him through the gambit of tests. He had a CT Scan, an EEG, and a MRI... I must admit, with each test, my heart sank. It was hard to watch. But him? With each test, he got to be a cooler and more intelligent Jedi. The resilience of this child... I can't even explain. Anyway, the CT scan came back clear. MRI? Perfect. But the EEG? No such luck. The doctor said it was just "ugly". Believe me, I didn't spend years in medical school learning how to read EEGs, and to me, that thing made me cry.

So in March, we got hit in the gut with a load of the heaviest bricks. Our little boy was diagnosed with Complex Partial Epilepsy.


That word just didn't make sense. He was perfectly FINE all this time! Would he be able to live a normal life? Would he be able to drive one day? What did that word mean, exactly? It truly is unbelievable how little we knew about the disease, and what kind of stigma it holds for those who don't know. I've long dealt with people not understanding my disease (I'm a Type 1 Diabetic- have been since I was 10), but now? Was I going to have to go into each teacher at every new school year and whisper quietly all the restrictions he was to have? NO. I just wasn't having it.

Luckily, his Neurologist- thankfully a close family friend of ours- calmed me the heck down. He said Renn would be just fine, and there were no restrictions. He'd be on medication, and once it kicked in and he stopped having seizures, we'd recheck in a year and see if we could start weaning him off the meds. That meant there's a chance he'd outgrow this!

Hope! There was hope!

But, three months, three heavy medications, seven different dosage changes, and many seizures later, that one year goal seems further and further out of reach.

Tomorrow (July 23, 2012) I will be taking Renn to our wonderful Children's Hospital, where we will admit him, and he will be monitored for at least 72hrs on what's called a VEEG (Video EEG). The goal is to find out what, exactly, is going on in that beautiful, innocent brain of his. I am praying for answers. I don't think there is anything worse, short of losing your child, than not knowing what is going on with your baby.

Why am I sharing this? Well, one- I'm a writer. I have to write, and as I've explained before, it's extremely therapeutic for me. But, two- I am sharing this because I know I have a family, here. A family that cares about what is going on. But more than that, we write for kids everyday, so odds are, we kinda like them. :) I'm hoping that maybe, just maybe, I can lean on you in this hard time.

So I am making a request... If you wouldn't mind it this week while Renn is in the hospital, could you share this picture and story with everyone you know? I will be making it my profile picture on FB, but you certainly do NOT have to go that far. But maybe ask your friends, families, or followers to pray and/or share?  I want to be able to show Renn, as he sits and sits and sits during the VEEG, that there are people in the world praying for and thinking of him... That he CAN get through this, the only way Jedis can... By using the Force. :)

Please copy and share me!

For now, I am on hiatus from my Pondering posts. I hope that you can understand. My love for writing is only surpassed by the love I have for Jesus, my husband, and kids. But I promise, I will be back!

For now, I'm off to a galaxy far, far away with my handsome Jedi. Thank you, in advance, for all the love you have shown me and my sweet boy. I hope to repay you with the same kindness one day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: Should Age Really Matter?

As I have been cruising along in this year of writing and meeting writers, I have discovered something that is definitely NOT talked about within the writing community...

Now, of course I realize we discuss age when it comes to who our intended target is for our books. But we never really discuss how old we, the writers, are. Maybe it's not a politically correct question to ask, but I have been noticing a couple issues regarding it, and I feel it's a topic worthy of a blog post.

I was reading an interesting blog (which will remain anonymous), and the author happened to be talking about the writers of a very popular children's television program. She was saying that the direction in which this iconic series was going was awful, and that it was simply not worth her grandchildren's time; It wouldn't teach them the things that it taught her daughter. The conclusion that she came to was that it was the "young writers of today" who simply "didn't possess the knowledge and maturity that the older generations have".  I was SHOCKED to say the least.

Her followers? Yikes. I've never seen sooo many comments on one post, both good and bad.

The arguments that ensued were ones you can clearly think of yourself. There are great points on both sides! But to me, I don't see why it should matter. Aren't we all part of the same goal? Don't we want kids to learn, read, and feel emotions from books that help them develop well over time?

I, personally, do not share my age with other writers. I have been told MANY a time that I am too young for this business... That I have "plenty of time" to get my writer life in order.


Okay, I'll admit, there ARE some younger writers who might be, shall we say, a tad arrogant. They don't represent all younger writers, but they tend to make those who are- ahem- younger than 30 look like they have a chip on their shoulder. Then again, I look at amazing k-i-d, (yes, kid, as in, CHILD!) writers who have huge followings and fabulous supporters. One specific 10 year-old I know, Erik, has a fantastic blog where he reviews books. He also is participating in 12x12 in 2012, which means he is writing. Awesome, right? He's got a great talent, and no one is giving him guff. I love that!

I'm just curious if the bias for writers to be taken seriously lies in the hands of those who have maybe "lived more life" and might be a teensy bit more experienced.  I don't want to feel that way, but it makes me wonder... Am I crazy?

I can guarantee it works the other way around, too. I'm sure that there are a lot of writers who feel that they are "too old" and that they cannot compete, because new/younger writers are popping up all over the place. They bow out far too soon, instead of sharing what needs to be shared. How sad is that? The truth is, it shouldn't matter if you're 100 years old- if you have a story to tell, by all means!! TELL YOUR STORY! No younger writer should ever, and I mean ever, "take your place".

I understand that on both sides of the debate, there is one word that plays the largest role... EXPERIENCE. Younger writers may not have as much of it (life-wise) as older writers, but older writers might not be able to relate to the things that younger writers see and experience now. I believe that both can create (and should create) wonderful tales to tell.

So, here's my question for you to really sit and chew on, for this week:

When it comes to writing for children, should age really matter?

I am wondering if I am the only one who sees the stigma every once in a while... I absolutely do NOT see it daily, or even monthly! But I have been on one end or another of this issue a time or two, and it always throws me for a loop. To me? Age simply doesn't matter. You're writing to enrich the minds of countless children. In my opinion, I don't care if you're 11 or 121... 


Monday, July 2, 2012


Who doesn't love a "Fashionably Late" party guest?!!

(Pssst! Me. I loathe them. I mean, how flippin' rude, right? One doesn't simply put the TIME option on the invitation as a guideline... Sheesh. What nerve!)

Ahem... As I was saying, sometimes the real advantage goes to the F.L. party guest:
  • They don't feel uncomfortable by being the first ones there (aka they don't feel obligated to start conversation with every. single. guest. who shows up after them
  • They get a room FULL of smiles, hugs, and cheery greetings (and maybe a few sloppy, slurry, "How ares yas?" from those who freqented the bar too much already)
  • They get to bring more food (and at that time, since everyone has already eaten, it REALLY won't matter if they made it from scratch or bought it at the store on their way to said party)
Anywho, I have found that I, myself, have become the latest party guest in HISTORY! I'm talkin', the party now consists of deflated baloons, sad looking streamers, and a bunch of half empty red Solo cups EVERYWHERE...

But... But... I brought... THIS-

Yep. And now, it's all for meeeeeeeee!! Spoon, anyone?

So, what party am I late to, that now you're soooo bummed you totally missed?? Why, it's the

12x12 in 2012 Half-Way There celebration!!!!

Yep! We made it half-way through the challenge! And, I am proud to say that I have written, and finished SIX mannys! Holy cow!! And I am sooooo lucky to have had my hand held the entire way... In our 12x12 group, we've had more encouragement, success stories, tragedies prayed for, babies born, love spread, stories shared, virtual hugs given, and ideas sparked, than I believe has EVER happened in six months time. I am so PROUD to be a part of this group!

You must see the creative ways that my pals are celebrating! I've seen crosswords, read fantastic parodies of songs, and even listened to a sweet jingle! We've had pictures posted, and glasses clinked... It truly IS a fabulous party!

As for me? I am celebrating by continuing to write... Manny #7 is on its way, and I am THRILLED about it. I won't lie, though, this Bloomin' Onion and deeeelish drink suuuurrree is fabulous on this hot summer evening...

Happy Half-Aversary, my wonderful 12x12ers!!  Keep up the great work! What amazing things we have yet to come up with!! I am honored to be standing on this platform with you! And of course, thanks to Julie Hedlund... The very brains behind this whole thing!!!

Six more, y'all!! Let's do this!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My First Author Visit

When I decided that I wanted to write children's books, I wasn't aware that there was much else involved besides coming up with an idea, writing the story, sending it off to a publisher, and eventually signing autographs. That simple, right?

OBVIOUSLY I now know that there is so much more to it than that. But I never imagined that I would be invited to a school to share my book. Fortunately, a few weeks ago, that's exactly what happened. And last week, I found myself sitting in front of several students who were all there wanting me to read my book.

My morning started pretty early... I had to drive thirty-five minutes to drop the kids off at Grandpa's house, then drive an additional 1.5hrs up the mountain to the super cute, super secluded, super tiny Big Creek School. I was, in a word, pumped. I was blasting music I do not typically listen to (because, let's face it, I'm NEVER alone in the car!); I'm talkin' some loud mid to late 90s Rap, some fierce Lady Gaga, some superb Sublime, and the best of Beastie Boys. My speakers were blaring, my windows were down, and my self confidence was through the moonroof! It didn't matter that I'd stayed up all night setting up the activity I planned on doing with the kids...


Okay, so 1.5hrs of driving in the windy mountains that I love so much was a looong time. I noticed the caffeine high starting to tame, so I turned on some Fleetwood Mac and The Civil Wars, and calmed my (clearly overcompensated for) nerves.

When I arrived at the school, I found my way to the office and asked where I should be headed. The school was out for the summer, so the halls were very empty. I was there for their summer program! I told the receptionist who I was and why I was there. She looked confused until I said, "I'm the Author." She jumped from her seat, and with a large grin, she hugged me. Yes. Hugged me.

When I got to the classroom, I began to set things up. A friend of mine helped me with the Protheam board (which was SO cool, by the way), and slowly the kids trickled in. They were mostly Preschoolers, but that worked out A-OK for me! I sat myself down in front of the class and had to use my I'm-oh-so-interesting voice (picture a Disney Princess/super sugary mom voice). Low and behold, I began to read.

The kids loved it. They answered questions about their younger/older siblings, about birthday parties they'd been to, and what they thought friends were all about. Then it was off to the activity!

With a GIANT thanks to my savior, Jennifer Young, my activity consisted of handing each child a bag that said "A Best Friend is..." on it, and have them collect various items that represented what friendship is to them. For example, a rock represented "Strength", a BandAid was "Heals hurt feelings", a LifeSaver (candy) was "Helps you when you're stuck", etc. It was incredible to watch these little kids value friendship so much.

Along with the wonderful coloring pages that the amazing Tyler Parker donated, the kids were set! It was over quite quickly, but every child said thank you and that they'd had a lot of fun.
One girl (I believe she was 4 or 5 years old) told me she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Beaming and overjoyed, I asked her, "Why's that?" Her answer sums up the very reason why every writer I know is a writer...
"Because I have a lot of stories in
my head that need to get out."

I had so much fun. First one down... Here's to many, many more!


Special thanks to Big Creek School! I hope to join you again sometime! And a HUGE thanks to Emily Anderson... From day one, you've been supporting me and encouraging me. Thanks for setting this up, and for being an excellent photographer! :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: I've got nothin'.

Every week, I sit and ponder. I cook and ponder. I drive and ponder. And while I do not suggest that last one, I do believe constantly wondering about the way the world works is a positive thing.

Unfortunately, for me this week?

I must admit, my brain has been on overload. We have had crazy things go on here at home, not to mention it's been extremely HOT outside (Bethany and heat do NOT equal friends!).

But as I sat here in the cool early morning hours, my mind went on a tailspin about having "nothing" on... well... my mind. Is that ever a possibility? It might feel like it sometimes. But it made me realize and understand that the reality is-

I have TOO MUCH on my mind.

When we have too much going on, we put pressure on ourselves. We become exhausted. We shut down. And as a writer, that isn't something you can really afford, can you? I mean, we all understand that not a single one of us get the amount of sleep we need. We all stress about something (whether writing related or not). But having too much on your mind ends up leading to the inability to create. We find ourselves looking for relaxing places to retreat to. But for me, after I've visited that relaxing place and I feel like my mind has cleared, everything that was bothering me or that was left unsolved creeeeeeps its way back into my brain, and not only am I overwhelmed- I feel guilty.

So, naturally, I have been sitting here pondering up solutions to this dilemma. "How do I write under SO MUCH FRIGGIN STRESS?????" And it dawned on me...

I just... don't.

Whoa! Pressure off, right? How creative can one actually be if they're forcing themselves to be awesome? I don't think the almighty San Francisco Giants pitcher, Matt Cain, would have been able to have his Perfect Game a couple weeks ago, if he would have said, "You MUST have a perfect game. You MUST be the first in Giants' history!". You think that would have been possible? Nope. Me either. Well, it's no different for we writers. If you've got nothin', don't force it. It'll be terrible anyway!

So my question to you this week:

What do YOU do, when you simply have... Nothing?

I hope to hear from you on this topic. I believe it's helpful for all writers and creatives (as I call them) to share how they pull through the everyday garbage that tries to bombard us, and wind up coming up with something terrific.

Happy writing!!

Oh wait, there's more!
Tomorrow I will be sharing about my first Author/school visit, so please come on back! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: What REALLY inspires you?

I recently Googled "Writer Inspiration", and you know what I got? Over 1.4 million results that included (but was not limited to) images, blog posts, quotes, art, and books.

Should I say that again? 1.4 MILLION!!
Now, some of you might think that that is a neat thing. I agree! How cool! But it got me thinking... Why do we need things to inspire us that are specifically written to inspire us? I'm not sure it's supposed to work that way, is it? Shouldn't we, as writers, already look to the entire world to inspire us?

I think the answer is no... And yes!

Here's what I mean:

I don't go looking for inspiration on my computer. I usually go for a walk, play with my kids, or sit outside one of their bedrooms and quietly listen to their conversations. It does wonders! I love to cuddle by the fire when it's cold outside. I treasure family trips, and the quiet hush that falls over my house when the boys finally drift to sleep. However, I can understand what writer's block truly does to a person. I've been there.


So I can get to the place where reading all the wonderful blogs of other people's ideas on what might inspire me, could work. But, I think I'd end up feeling like I was cheating. Was it really MY inspiration that got that character out of me? Am I being a bit pessimistic and strange? Yeah, I know I am. Especially since I disagree with myself!

We are creative thinkers. No, I am definitely NOT crafty (Seriously. Come back for my post this upcoming Friday, where I'll share pics and talk about my first school visit. You'll see what I mean.), but when it comes to other parts of the creative brain, I do okay. There are others who can create an entire life-sized elephant using some Q-Tips and "easy" directions they found on Pinterest. Creative thinkers have the ability and honor for thinking for themselves. And when they get stuck, they turn to the like-minded friends they might have for help and inspiration. And I love that. It doesn't take much to get us going. It's as simple as seeing a font on someones email. Or the motivation that comes from watching a 3 year-old play Beethoven on the piano, like it was the theme song from Barney. Whatever it is, it helps! And it's insane that there are so many things available.

So, what am I saying? I have no clue... Maybe it's that I am so baffled by our need to be inspired, that we search self-help books instead of walking around in the sunshine. Maybe I am, once again, thrilled to have a community that embraces each of our individual panic attacks when we absolutely cannot think of what to do or say... Or maybe it's both. But, either way, I want to hear from you-

What REALLY inspires you?

And, no, I don't want to hear about which blogs are great (though that sounds like a great idea for another post!) or which quotes rock your socks off... I want to know what it is that gets you, or got you, out of a slump. What is it that cut you to the core, and made your frozen creative juices flowing!

Remember- as "Creatives"- we understand that each project
we're on, starts somewhere...

All it takes is one spark of inspiration.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I Ponder Wednesdays: What do you value in the writing community?

In April I attended my first SCBWI conference. I thought I'd be nervous. I thought I'd feel out of place. But the truth was, I didn't feel either of those things. Overconfidence? Maybe. Inflated ego? Definitely not. I just felt... Comfortable.

When it came time for our first speaker (lucky for us, it was none other than the sensational LIN OLIVER!), I was downright giddy. I'd met up with my pal, Elizabeth Stevens Omlor (yes, that one!), had a delicious pastry, and I was sitting with my incredible critique group. Now all that was needed was for Ms. Oliver to pass all her knowledge onto me- I mean, us. She spoke about very poignant things that are vital to writers, and gave fantastic examples and quotes that will stick with me forever.

However, in the beginning she spoke about how she got into writing, and how she eventually started SCBWI. She mentioned how she'd written letters to some pretty famous writers (one even being THE Dr. Seuss!) asking their advice after she'd gotten a job writing a bunch of children's stories. She had the audience guess how many writers actually got back to her... Want to know? Every. Single. One.

Cue light bulb moment for Bethany.

"We in the writing community are nice. Plain and simple." she said.

I wrote down a bunch of notes, but I don't remember much of her speech after that. And here's why:

I have been in many situations where I felt sub par. I've felt like the underdog. I've worried about fitting in. But I can honestly say, I have never met a children's book writer who has ever treated me with anything but encouragement, honesty, love, and a whole lot of smiles. I can't say that there are too many industries out there today that are like ours. And maybe that is why at my very first conference, I felt so comfortable and at ease. It wasn't overconfidence (I swear!), it was the few hundred people in the room showing me that I had an entire supportive army standing behind me, should I ever need to call on them. And what made me feel the greatest? I was standing behind them.

My question this week is sort of a twofer (two-for? How do we use the slang, here? Hmmm...). And since we are all so nice, please make sure to not name names or get too specific with the second question:

What is it about the writing community
that you value most?
Have you ever encountered a rude writer
that left you discouraged?

As you go today, I'm going to challenge you... Encourage ONE person. Just one, to keep going. Our community is vast, but tight knit as well... But it can't stay that way if we don't continue to hold one another up.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: A World Without Picture Books

I am a picture book author... Duh. But, why? What got me onto this specific branch of the Children's Book Tree? Well the honest truth is, I LOVE picture books... Despite being told it was the hardest genre to get into. I heard it was practically impossible. I heard that picture books were so difficult, in fact, I had a woman tell me that it's not a good idea to start there; She even said, "Get published with a couple novels first, then go for picture books." Wow. Is that everyones' attitude? Surely somebody has to write them.

Okay, yes... Picture books are a trying genre. But, HOLY COW! What a difference they make in young kids' lives. If there were no picture books, do you think the youngest of kids would wind up having a desire to read? In my tiny opinion, I'm going to go with no. There's so much to see in a book already, but then you add beautiful illustrations and BAM! A kids' imagination goes through the roof! Instantly they see themselves fighting off the the Big Bad Wolf, or trying on that glass slipper. If no one writes them because it's "impossible", what would that mean?

"What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?"

Now I don't say all of this because I have a soap box hiding under my desk that so desperately needs standing on. I'm actually putting the thought up for discussion. Most of my sweet followers here, write picture books. BUT, some of you write other genres (too), and some don't write AT ALL! I think, though, that all of us have been affected by picture books at sometime in our lives. So here's what I'd like you to ponder...

What would your life be like if there were NO picture books?
How would you, your life, your childhood be different? 

I'd really, really like some deep thought here. For me, I'm not sure I'd be a writer. I'm not even sure I'd be a reader! What do you think?

Happy writing and pondering!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Best Seller = Let's Color!

A fun discovery for me this morning, was finding that Waiting for James in a Sea of Pink is on MeeGenius' best seller list... AGAIN!

*Does a little jig*

To celebrate, I'm making two coloring pages available!! The incredible, sensational, super-friendly illustrator of my book, Tyler Parker, has made these for your kiddos (or, let's be honest, for YOU!). Nice, huh? He's awesome!

So, here you go!! I'll be working on a little easy-access link for my sidebars. In the meantime, enjoy! Thank you for loving my book... You truly have no clue how much this means to me!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: The Waiting Game

This year, for me, was devoted solely to writing. I joined Julie Foster Hedlund's 12x12 in 2012 challenge at the end of 2011 and made a promise to myself that I wouldn't submit anything to anyone all year long. I really wanted to have an entire arsenal up my sleeve. I wanted to feel like I had something much larger to offer if an agent became interested in me. I wanted to be able to submit multiple manuscripts to multiple editors, so that maybe I'd lessen the odds of being rejected.

Well, I broke my promise.

Within the last week I submitted, and submitted, and submitted. It was a rush, I tell ya! I had been doing so much research, I had gone to a fantastic conference where I had been given better opportunities to submit to the unsubmittable, and I had been told I had a product worth looking at. So, I sent out those emails with great pride, diligence, and a teensy amount of unshakable fear. 

Umm... Now what, Bethany?

Ah yes. Now I remember this part. The part where you sit and think of nothing else except 800 million what-if scenarios. The part where you literally put everything else on stand by so that you can check you emails. The part where you chant- "They said four to six weeks... They said up to three months... They said four to six weeks... They said up to three months..." Yeah, THAT part.


I've heard of the waiting game as a slow killer of creativity. I'm not sure who said that, but I suppose it could be true. I DON'T WANT IT TO BE TRUE!!!!!

Okay, so I decided I would stay off my computer for nearly a week. I decided that I would focus on the manuscript I have going on for this month that I just cannot seem to find an ending for, and I would concentrate on the other four trillion things I have to do... Like, um, LAUNDRY! Yes, laundry definitely will keep me busy... Right? No? Double crap.

So I turn to you, my faithful, knowledgeable, helpful friends:

When you're stuck in the inevitable waiting game, what do you do to pass the time?
What do you concentrate on? How do you handle each passing day?

Right now, I think I'll take up a new hobby. Underwater basket weaving, anyone? No? Nah... Me either. I think I'll sit here, with this gal...

Happy writing!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: How do you want to be remembered?

Yesterday was a sad day for all of us in the kidlit community. Mr. Maurice Sendak, author of over a dozen Picture Books, passed away. To me, he was someone I didn't understand until I was older. I was one of the stranger kids who grew up actually not liking Where the Wild Things Are. But when I had kids of my own, and when I began my adventure of writing, I understood him. He wasn't a fan of the sugary-sweet, cookie-cutter stories that many of us think we need to write. He told things how they were, and any interview with him only proved that point. To say he thought outside the box, is a gross understatement. And I cherish him for that.

He once said, "Children have ferocious fantasies." How true is that?! I really think that when HE wrote, he crawled into the exact mind frame of a child. He understood them. He understood what made them imagine. He got it.

All day long yesterday, I was kind of in this distraught, melancholy state. It's been a hard week for me, started by the awful passing of Adam "MCA" Yauch last Friday. He, too, was a great part of my childhood and teen years. But I started to think about the things people have been saying about both of these talented men. Mr. Sendak had a reputation to be brash, frank, and a little obscene (for a children's author) in his interviews. But, he also was seen as a creative genius. He wasn't what you'd picture a writer of children's books to be like. He was simply... Maurice.
"The children know. They have always known. But we choose to think otherwise: it hurts to know the children know. If we obfuscate, they will not see. Thus we conspire to keep them from knowing and seeing. And if we insist, then the children, to please us, will make believe they do not know, they do not see. They are remarkable--patient, loving, and all-forgiving." -- Maurice Sendak

Thinking about his life and what he contributed to my own, I started to ponder what I might be remembered for one day; Would it be my ability to offer help to others in really crappy situations? Would it be my mothering (in)capabilities? Would it be that at one time in my life I was a strange gothic child? Would it be my love of popcorn or my terrible fear of balloons? Or would it be my books, even?

I think it'd be grand to be remembered as a writer who loved all things peaceful and bizarre. I'd want my books to hold a special place in someone's heart, even if that means just in my childrens'.

So, reflecting upon Mr. Sendak's life, answer this:
As a writer, how do YOU want to be remembered?

Thanks for stopping by, today. Happy writing, reflecting, and reading. 

And Mr. Sendak, may you forever be known as KING of all wild things.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: What does Sarah Perry ponder?

Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn't. Last week I was absent from the blogosphere and so was the I Ponder post. Why?? Well, ask my thumb. It decided to completely dislocate itself and make things complicated for me! HA! All is good now, and I will save last week's post for another time.

Today, I am so thrilled to say that Sarah Perry has a question for you to Ponder. She is the winner of last year's MeeGenius Great Author challenge. Her book, PAJAMA GIRL, is totally cute. She is also the queen blogger over at The Restless Writer (she even interviewed yours truly!).
She's awesome... Take it away, Sarah!

Everyone hears about the solitude of writing. The tortured soul, up late into the night, all alone at their desk, tearing their hair out as they stare at the blank screen. Ah, writers! Those poor lonely creatures slaving away while the rest of the world gathers to play.

But, does it have to be that way? After all, didn't the YA Golden Boy, Jay Asher, and the charming Carolyn Mackler just write a successful novel together? Another YA novel I loved, but was completely under the radar, Rob& was beautifully written by P.J. Peterson and Ivy Ruckman. Lin Oliver and Henry Winkler write together. So the creative process doesn't have to happen all alone.

Which brings me to my question:

Have you every considered collaborating on a writing project with someone? Do you think it would be easier or harder than writing alone?

I know, as I continue to grapple with just the write ending for my YA novel, I wish someone else could just come along and work on that instead. Voila! Collaboration. If only in my dreams.


Thank you, Sarah! What a wonderful question... Let's share, friends! Happy writing!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: What Does Being a Writer Mean to You?

I may not have a lot of followers, but at least my name is getting out there enough to finally receive an angry email! *GASP!* I know... However, I rather enjoyed it. It let me know that some of the things I may say (or forget to mention) make somewhat of an impact. It's not my goal to spark arguments, by ANY means, and in fact, I kind of feel the point of this blog is to bring about the opposing affect! I want to know your views on things. This is a free and safe space, friends.
Remember? Bethany = very clean (both by law and personal hygiene) Hippie!

Anyway, to get to today's thought:

We've all seen this...

Or even this...

And, let's face it. They're hilarious (I'll even admit to having the PB one as my desktop background picture!) and sometimes kind of true. It's interesting to me to find the way the world views writers and illustrators of any kind, let alone ones that write or illustrate for kiddos. I could probably fill an entire separate post just on the reaction we get when we explain what we do. But as creatives, that doesn't (SHOULDN'T) matter!

What matters is the way we view what we do. What matters is the characters we create, the lessons we teach, and the fun we share! For me, being a writer means constant adventure. It means peace, and understanding that a child can look at something I have written and relate so much they fall asleep at night with my book in their arms. It means compassion. It means truly getting to know my boys and what makes them tick. It means accomplishing goals, overcoming fear, and discovering something new about myself.

But, to me, being a writer also means never having a vacation. Seriously! Can you take a vacation from your thoughts? Nope! It means being stuck hours on end over one simple sentence- I once sat and revised a WIP for two hours, only to discover that I'd simply changed twelve words around. It means patience... loads and loads of patience. It means rejection, humility, and anxiety.

So please tell me (and be honest!),

What does being a writer mean to YOU?

I cannot wait to hear your answers. I hope this lifts discouraged spirits this week. I find that when others are having a difficult time believing in themselves, all it takes is a simple reminder.

Happy writing, everyone!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Ponder... Wednesdays: What does Jennifer Young Ponder About?

Hi, y'all!

So, I want to introduce you to a friend of mine. You might know her- she's getting famous!- it's...

Jennifer Young!!

We met through... Wait, what did we really meet through? For me, it started when she was my competition in the first round of the MeeGenius Great Author Challenge. I read her book, and I said (completely out loud!), "Oh CRAP. I'm so out of my league." She finished 9th that round, and me? *whispers* 57th... Anyway, I ended up sending her a message on Facebook asking her if she was a finalist in that challenge. Long story short, we both went through that loooong ordeal together, and now we're pals! She's awesome and she just got her first book published (have I mentioned that 100 times yet?!)- but I'll get to that later. For now, Jennifer... the stage is yours!

I feel so honored to be here at your blog today Bethany. To top it off, you want me to be a guest ponderer!!! How fun is that?! I always love hearing what you have to say on Wednesdays. So here's a big THANK YOU for having me on. I will try not to disappoint and to stay in true likeness of your fabulous feature.

I have always had goals set for myself.
Graduate college- check,

et married – check,

Have kids- check,
Yes, there's more that I won't bore you with. But, when it came to my writing I didn’t set up a long term goal plan. I think it was because at first I wrote in hobby form (a little here and there). I'm good at short term goals and I know I will always write but I’m still not sure how much.
So I find myself pondering-
When I imagine myself older, many many decades from now…okay maybe just a few, I imagine myself as a writer but I wonder what level of writing I want to be at? Will I look back at my life and be happy with having only a few stories published or will I be disappointed I didn’t take time out to write more? Will I be satisfied creating hundreds of stories and publishing dozens of them? Will I become a full-time writer, part-time writer, or will my writing still be a hobby? These are the questions I wonder about myself.
Are you a goal setter when it comes to your writing or
do you sometimes wonder about your writing life, like I do? 
If you do set goals, what type are they and do you make them easy to obtain?
Thank you, friend!

Guys, Jennifer's debut eBook ,
Poison Apple Pie, is available now! Please go check it out! Also, she has a fantastic blog that you can get to be clicking HERE.