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!!!