Category Archives: Children’s Writer

Newbie Children’s writer. Hope to find homes for my stories and children reading them soon!

Picture Book Idea Month – Sounds Easy Enough – Until You Try IT!

Today begins the first day of PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month). How hard can it be to come up with an idea or two or three a day for a picture book? REALLY, REALLY hard.

Tara Lazar hosts PiBoIdMo on her blog:  http://taralazar.com/author/anonymom/. She has great guest bloggers and lots of information and encouragement to share. I highly recommend going to her blog and at least checking it out. I find great tips all year long in her posts.

This isn’t my first PiBoIdMo. I’ve participated the last 3 years. Out of those two month’s I’ve probably had 5 solid ideas. Not bad – until you try and tell the story in 500-600 words. AND making sure no one has used the idea or theme before. I can not imagine how difficult it would be to get far enough to have someone to publish your book once it is complete.

But still I write. It is fun to get “inside tips” from published picture book writers. They’ve been in the trenches, lived through the pain of cutting words and characters that just aren’t working no matter how much they love them.

A writer has to love to write. PiBoIdMo gives ideas and inspiration to make it easier to cook up great stories, but in the end you are the one stirring that pot hoping it doesn’t end up stinky and in the garbage. But if it does, a writer begins to write again.

Today’s inspiration came from Joan Holub whose list of books is enviable. But those books didn’t just appear in bookstores. Joan wrote & wrote and rewrote even more. Check out today’s post and if you are so inclined, sign up – you have until Nov 5th.

If I can come up with 30 ideas – so can you!

piboidmo2015participant

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Book Review: This Private Plot by Alan Beechey

This Private PlotThis Private Plot  by Alan Beechey

Poisoned Pen Press

ISBN-978146202407

305 pages Genre: Mystery

Alan Beechey’s latest, This Private Plot,is a wonderful romp. His character,  Oliver Swithin, is a children’s book author that is currently working on a trivia book. We travel with him to his childhood home in a small village appropriately named Synne, which I am pretty sure is pronounced “sin”. Swithin is with his girlfriend, a police officer that reports to Swithin’s uncle, who is also on holiday in Synne.

While out on a naked midnight romp in the “Shakespeare Race” an authentic turf maze, our couple finds Dennis Breedlove, a former children’s television personality, hanged. The police think it is suicide, because a blackmail note is found. It turns out that Breedlove is actually the blackmailer.

Swithin is on the trail of the killer. Several trails actually. Convinced that one of the blackmailers is the killer, Swithin tries to match up suspects with the nursery rhymes Breedlove used to identify them. With the help of his girlfriend and unheeded warnings from his uncle to stop, he discovers that Synne has more than its share of secrets. They include a strange writing group run by the Vicar, a couple which may be the same person, a recluse monk and possibly his own family.

All of sleuthing is going on while Swithin’s brother is trying to prove there were two William Shakespeares and his uncle is starring in a local theater production of Hamlet. There are great tidbits of information on Shakespeare as well as other bits of trivia shared by Swithin while this story unfolds.

Beechey is a master of double-entendre. From names such as Lesbia Weguelin (to which I read “let’s be a wigglin’) to the name of the actual town. Swithin talks often about living in Synne. More than once, I stopped to read a particularly funny line to whoever was near me at the moment.

This mystery is so wonderfully British in the spirit of Agatha Christie with the humor of P.G. Wodehouse, I simultaneously laughed and was intrigued. At times, this book was a bit bawdy, but never graphic, I did not find it offensive. Deliciously tangle plot that is perfectly tied up by the end of the book, with a beautiful, unexpected twist at the end.

This is the third book in Beechley’s Oliver Swithin Mystery Series. It was the first one I’ve read and worked very well as a stand-alone mystery. Swithin is an endearingly wacky character. I want to see more of him and the other characters that Beechley skillfully brings to life  .

 

Copyright © 2014 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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Setting Goals for 2013

Happy New Year to one and all!

I am not one to make New Years resolutions. Instead I prefer to set goals for myself. These can be lofty, wishful and/or hopeful, but it gives me something to strive for in the upcoming year. This year I have a list of projects I want to complete, some of them are roll overs from last year, these goals are the mean stepsisters of resolutions past.

Since I am sharing them with all of you, any of you, some of you…maybe more of them will be completed this year. I’ll circle back to this post in late December and assess my progress or lack thereof.

I’ll start with my writing goals:

1) Publish at least 4 blog entries each week starting now (I know, already 5 days into the new year) either on this blog or my writing blog (inmywords.wordpress.com) – this will keep me motivated to write, write, write. I write in my head all of the time, getting these words to paper is a long and laborious task.

2) I will get at least one story, book, article or essay published this year. I know one doesn’t sound like a very lofty goal, but if you are a writer, you’ll be shaking your head muttering “Good luck with that, ha ha ha”. Getting published is very, very difficult but wonderful when it happens.

Knitting and Crocheting goals:

1) I will attempt to complete the Knitting Guild of American’s hand knit masters’s program this year. I’ve already downloaded the new instructions (they change slightly each year) and will make Monday’s blog entry an update day. Master’s Mondays will start to appear the first Monday of January.

2) I will complete the Fan Throw I began working on Jan 1 for my girlfriend’s birthday on February 1. Originally I was going to make her a shawl, but decided on a throw instead.  Fan throw first square

3) Left over projects on my 2012 goal list need to be completed. Namely the alpaca hat and buffalo mittens (which may change to a helix scarf because I would wear that way more than mittens). I would be remiss if I left off the third pair of socks that I didn’t complete last year. I have issues making things for myself. They always get pushed to the end of my lists of things to do. All three of these projects are for me, so hopefully I’ll get them done and you won’t see them on my list of goals for 2014.

4) Two baby blankets must be completed by April for the little boy that is due.

5) Assorted Christmas projects. I am not sure yet what Christmas projects I want to tackle. One will most likely be an afghan or throw for my cousin. The problem I see is I have 2 cousins so should make them each one this year. This makes the goal even a bit crazier, but what the heck, this is January and I’ve ordered the yarn for one of them already.

Now that my goals are on cyber paper, it brings life to the list. I’ll keep you all posted which will keep me on task.

Here’s to a great 2013 to all of you. May all of your goals be completed. Reach for them – the whole year is ahead of you. Live it to the fullest and have lots of laughter and fun while enjoying it.

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Filed under Children's Writer, Crocheting, Knitting, TKGA Master's Program, Writer & Book Reviewer

Plum Tree Books

Plum Tree Books.

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Blog split

After much debate, I’ve split my knitting life and writing life into separate blogs. If you are a fan of my writing angst, check out my writing blog: lauramhartman@wordpress.com.

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Torn

I am torn. Should I keep mingling and mixing writing and knitting on one blog? As my dear friend Leslie chides me, I don’t post very much as it is!

Are posts about book reviews boring to knitters? Speaking of reviews, I have a new one posted a http://www.thegenreview.com. Ajjiit, Dark Dreams of the Ancient Arctic by Sean A. Tinsley and Rachel A. Qitsualik, Illustrated by Andrew Trabbold is an interesting book of short stories based upon Inuit folklore. Check out the review and the book!

Are posts of my efforts to sell my first picture book boring for knitters or those who don’t have or know any kids? On that I can tell you trying to find a home for what you write is much more difficult than actually writing! But I’ll keep the interested parties informed as I work on it.

Lastly, are readers bored with my knitting angst? So far this year I’ve only completed squares for a Christmas afghan,  pair of socks and a baby afghan. Hum, not much needlework for 3 months. Will post pics soon.

 

 

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Wednesday

I can’t believe it is only Wednesday. Back to getting up at 5AM is not fun. Getting my paycheck is enough motivation. My yarn order from WEBS will arrive on Friday, so I think this weekend will be the start of my Master’s program. I still haven’t received the instructions, but hopefully they will be in my inbox by tonight.

If they don’t arrive, it will give me time to work on the children’s story I have bumping around in my head. Where’s My Mittens – a yarn for kids 🙂

Gotta punch in and begin what looks to be another busy day.

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Welcome to my world

I write and knit, but not at the same time. Although I sometimes write in my head when I am knitting.

Short stories and book reviews at GenReview have been published. My new focus has been working on children’s stories. We’ll see how that goes.

Knitting, my other passion has kept my fingers busy when I am not typing. Although I’ve knitted for 45 years, lately I’ve been challenging myself a bit more and am contemplating trying the Master Knitter program. We’ll see.

Neither knitting nor writing is entered into without trepidation and excitement. I am contemplating my next projects both written and stitched, waiting for inspiration and energy to begin.

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