My Writing Process (Bunny Hop) Blog Hop

A Florida bunny.

A Florida bunny.

Tween Daughter dressed up as the Easter Bunny.

Tween Daughter dressed up as the Easter Bunny for Halloween.

Thanks to Laura Sibson, I am participating in a “My Writing Process” Blog Hop. I added the Bunny Hop part as a nod to Easter, Spring, and my own beautiful Tween Bunny who is my first reader.

Laura Sibson

Laura Sibson

Laura earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts after discovering a passion for writing novels geared toward teens. Laura’s a fellow runner (she runs much longer distances than me), dog-walker, coffee-drinker, “ingester-of-pop culture,” and mom of teens. She lives in suburban Philadelphia and has impressed me with her knowledge of “Bawlmor” accents.

Laura describes the paranormal young adult novel she’s writing on her blog, Laura Sibson, A journey toward writing dangerously. Her novel sounds spooky and fascinating, and it involves the Black Aggie, a real statue that used to reside a stone’s throw away from my parents’ house, in Druid Ridge Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.

Do you think its a coincidence that Laura connected with a Bmore girl? I don’t know, hon. You’ll have to ask her!

My Writing Process Questions and Answers:

What are you working on?

Coco, the main character in my chapter book is based on a true story and a real dog. An article describing how a dog ended up on a NJ Transit train headed to Manhattan appeared in my local paper. We had recently adopted a puppy. A story was born! Coco’s inherent doggie abilities and desire to find bones will, hopefully, lead him on many adventures (meaning more chapter books).

In the picture book series I’m writing, my five year-old main character wanted to become a superhero just like his big brother. In the first book, he did it! Now he’s off to conquer the world (and his fears) as the fastest superhero ever.  I’m working on books about the day he thought his mommy was a zombie and about the time he battled deep sea creatures at the town pool.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Guess what one of my goals is? Hint: it’s in the name of my blog.  ENERGY!

I hope my writing grabs readers from the get-go! My manuscripts are populated by relatable characters, alliteration, funny phrases, and a dash of silliness. The universal theme underlying all of my manuscripts is family.  Whether the action revolves around siblings or parents and their children, the action happens between the humor and heart.

Lucy, the model for Coco Mercado.

Lucy, the model for Coco Mercado.

In my chapter book, Coco stays true to his doggie characteristics, but his impulsivity takes him to unexpected places. He meets a zany cast of characters along the way and, inadvertently, saves the day while on the search for the perfect bone. This chapter book (and the others I plan to write), will fill the gap for elementary school kids who are one step beyond First Readers but not yet ready for longer chapter books.

My nephew, my muse.

My nephew, my muse.

Logan, my latest picture book‘s main character, is just like real little boys. How do I know? Because he’s a compilation of my “superhero” nephew, my son, and the boys I teach at pre-school and at the elementary school. My nephew says, “Activate! Pshht! Pow!” So does Logan. My nephew says things are “mega.”  So does Logan. Sibling rivalry amongst my triplets plus one more was rampant.  My hope is that kids will love Logan and his brother’s vivid imaginations while parents will appreciate the heart of the story.

Why do you write what you do?

I write because ideas pop into my head, words and phrases tumble off my tongue, and characters stand in front of me, tail wagging and arms crossed, begging to be brought to life.

I write because the child inside of me connects to children from toddlers to teenagers.  I still love playing in a sandbox, climbing to the top of the swingset, and sledding down a hill at lightning speed.

I write because I believe stories are magical.

How does your writing process work?

An idea or a character or a turn of phrase will start off as a wisp of thought. The ideas, characters and turns of phrases that stay in my head like a song-on-the-radio-you-can’t-stop-singing must be written down. If scenes start appearing in my mind’s eye, while I’m driving, running errands, walking Lucy and, always, when I try to go to sleep, then I have to get my thoughts on paper. The process has begun.

First drafts go to my wonderful critique group. I revise. Second drafts are critiqued. I revise.  Etc!

My most important revision tools are a thesaurus, dictionary, rhyming dictionary and critiques from my group (or an editor or agent, if I’m lucky). More importantly, I take my watch off, don’t answer the phone, concentrate on listening to how my characters would speak and inhabit the world I’ve created.

Last November, I signed up for Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo challenge to come up with a new picture book idea for a month.  Thirty new ideas are now residing in my Idea Box.

Joining the My Writing Process Blog Hop, I’d like to introduce you to (drumroll, please):

Michelle Karéne

Michelle Karéne

 Michelle Karéne

Michelle and I connected on Twitter (Michelle on Twitter, me on Twitter).  Michelle not only has a blog called Michelle Karéne, Children’s Author, is a member of SCBWI and an aspiring children’s writer, she earned her doctorate in Biomedical Engineering, works for a biotechnology company, and has published fifteen articles in various scientific journals. Michelle’s short story, “Magnolia Fall,” will be published in the 14th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition Collection. Michelle, who lives in North Carolina with her family, blogs about her chapter book and young adult works-in-progress, funny things her three daughters say, nature photographs and dinner ideas.  I hope you’ll check out her blog.

Thanks for reading, hon!

 

 

 

 

 

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Hop Along Blog Hop

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Blog Hop
Do you love children’s books?  I’m passionate about them!  Let me introduce you to several children’s book writers and answer questions posed to each of us as we Hop Along.
Linda Bozzo

Linda Bozzo

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Meet Linda Bozzo.  Linda tagged me on her blog, Writerlinda.blogspot.com.   She is the author of over 50 non-fiction books for the school and library market. She enjoys writing fiction as well as non-fiction for children.  Many of her fiction stories are inspired by her love of dance.  Linda is  member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She enjoys presenting her writing journey to both children and adults. Linda lives in New Jersey with her family where she can visit the Jersey shore and enjoy the culture of New York City. You can find Linda online at http://www.lindabozzo.com.

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Step Up To the Microphone
It's my turn to answer the Blog Hop questions.

It’s my turn to answer the Blog Hop questions.

Picture Book Idea Month

Picture Book Idea Month

Bulletin board with book ideas.

Bulletin board with picture book ideas.

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What are you working on now?
I’m participating in PiBoIdMo, Picture Book Idea Month, which means every day in November I think of a new picture book idea.  My brain is like a window and once I open it, the ideas flow through like fresh air!  My newest manuscript is about two brothers, sibling rivalry and superheroes.
How does it differ from other works in the genre?
My story grabs you from the first line!  It’s different because it gives boys ages 3-6 a story filled with supereheroes, spaceships, tests of will wrapped around funny and realistic brothers, and comic book action words.  Lightening Logan and his big brother Hawk are poised to take on the world.  “Pshht!  Pow!  Activtate!”
Why do you do what you do?
Story ideas, rhyming phrases, settings and characters pop in my head constantly.  I write to give them a place to grow.  To me, picture books are magical.  Picture books have resonance each time they’re read, the words are musical, and adults and children build bonds while reading together.  I strive to create that magic when I write.
What is the hardest part about writing?
When I write, I am transported to another world where I exist with my characters.  The hardest thing is finding a publisher who sees the potential for them to come alive, and is willing to take a chance on a new author.  I continue writing because I truly believe in my characters, stories and the magic that is ready to spring off the page and into the imagination of a child.
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Tag, You’re it!
Lin Vitale

Linda Vitale

Penelope, Linda's muse.

Penelope, Linda’s muse.

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Linda Vitale is an award-winning advertising copywriter and creative director who has worked at top New York City agencies. She has created TV and radio spots, ads and promotions for Chase bank, Max Factor, Campbell’s Soups, American Airlines, Volkswagen/Porsche-Audi, to name a few. The only thing she didn’t write is Mad Men. And she should have, because this was and is her world.  In addition to advertising, Linda has written articles for New Jersey parenting publications. Currently she writes children’s books and humorous dog stories for her blog, muttshappeningnow@wordpress.com. Linda lives in Convent Station, New Jersey, and can be found pounding the keys of her laptop at her local Starbucks.
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Nicole Snitslear

Nicole Snitselaar

written by Nicole Snitselaar

written by Nicole Snitselaar

written by Nicole Snitselaar

written by Nicole Snitselaar

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I’m excited to introduce you to French children’s book author, Nicole Snitselaar.  We met through PiBoIdMo.  Here’s what Nicole says about her writing journey.

Writing, I’ve always loved writing!
But writing is so more rewarding when it can be shared.
I am lucky to have had  many picture-books published these last years.
Most of my books are in French.

But you will never guess how happy I was when Top That published two of my English stories!

Why do I write in English?

In fact, English was my first language as a little girl, and it just rings so familiar to my ear. My parents read to us many picture books who came from Great Britain. I would even say, they only read English books!

It was so much easier for my mother! She is Scottish. She married a Dutch man (my father) and they lived in Belgium, and later in France. And my first language was English… It took time for my mother to learn French !

And I got to speak French once I went to school at the age of 4.

Today I am the mother of five young adults.
I have been wririn songs and nursery rhymes for… as far as I can remember! I have several CD’s released.  (one about English nursery rhymes in French and English )

One day, I decided it was time for me to start writing more than just songs.

I really enjoy this activity and hope that you will enjoy discovering my stories!
If you want  to learn more about me, my life, my books, you may visit my English blog or French blog.

Loving the Liebster Award

Liebster-Award

“And the nominees are…”

As an avid movie-goer, I watch the Oscars every year hoping my favorite movies, actors and actresses get nominated for awards. So imagine I am wearing a gorgeous full-lenth gown as I accept my very first blog award, the Liebster Award.

On the virtual red carpet with two of my daughters.

On the virtual red carpet with two of my daughters.

Thank you to L. Marie for enjoying Bmore Energy enough to nominate it for a Liebster Award! L. Marie earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and aspires to publish her fantasy for kids and teens.  Check out her blog El Space-The Blog of L. Marie to read her interviews with other writers and her thoughts on writing, movies and animation.

History:  It seems the honor is bestowed from one smallish blogger to another.  On a Sopphey Says post, the Liebster Award is thought to have originated with a German blogger (liebster means dearest in German) and, even though the rules have changed, its essence hasn’t.  As Sopphey says, “There is no real award, no judges, no website with an official team to congratulate you. It’s mostly what you want it to be. If you receive the award, you can 1) accept it and 2) pass it along. It’s that easy.”

Awards Speech: Not only do I want to thank L. Marie, but I’d like to thank everyone who has stopped by Bmore Energy. I appreciate the great feedback and comments!

Rules:  In accepting this nomination, there are a bunch of rules to follow. When the sharing is finished, I’ll be picking up my imaginary Swag Bag and heading out to a virtual After-Awards Party. Wonder which celebs I’ll run into?

The rules are…

First, accept the award, post a Liebster Award image on the top of post, say who nominated you and include a link to that blog site.

1. List 11 random facts about yourself.

2. Nominate 11 other bloggers for the Liebster Award and list their blogs sites (linking to them is great.)

3. Notify the bloggers of their award.

4. Ask the award winners 11 questions to answer when they accept their Liebster Award.

5. Answer the questions left for you by the blogger who gave you the award.

Eleven Random Facts:

up in the trees on a ropes course

up in the trees on a ropes course

1. I love to climb.  When I was high up on a ropes course I thought, I’d like to stay up here awhile!

2. Being picked last in gym for team sports, I never considered myself athletic.

3. I learned how to ski at 17 and it’s one of my favorite things to do.

A friend and I at Smuggler's Notch, VT.

A friend and I at Smuggler’s Notch, VT.

must-have movie snacks

must-have movie snacks

California amusement park, Anaheim, CA

California amusement park, Anaheim, CA

4. I love rollercoasters.

5. Raisnets poured into popcorn is my favorite movie snack.

6.  A friend and I backpacked through Europe after college.

7. I am a human chameleon.  I can talk to anyone, anytime about anything.

8. I find most insects fascinating and like to pick up caterpillars and grasshoppers.

about to go white water rafting in Austria

about to go white water rafting in Austria

holding The Very Hungry Caterpillar

holding The Very Hungry Caterpillar

9.  If there’s someone belting out pop songs in the car next toyou, there’s a good chance it’s me.

10. I love to dance.

11. I wept when Kate DiCamillo, speaking to a lecture hall full of writers and illustrators at an SCBWI conference, said, “Stand at the door…accepting that you are an artist.”

 

Questions I was asked by Linda Marie along with my answers:

1. What is one thing you want to do to help change the world?  Since I don’t have the resources to solve world hunger, I’ll settle for sharing my passion for the written word, art, music and nature one person at a time.

2. What is your favorite adaptation of a book to a movie?  The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  I got chills when the characters emerged from the wardrobe into Narnia and it wasn’t because there was snow on the ground.

3. Why did you start your blog?  Bmore Energy is a commitment to myself to write and a place to present myself professionally.

4. When did you first discover that you wanted to write?  When I was ten, I wrote a children’s book, covered it in Saran Wrap so it would look like it was from the library and included a “photo of the author” sporting no front teeth.

5. Most inspiring outdoor space.  Why?  When I run or bike next to the forest and river in the preserved land near my house, I hear my characters whispering.

6. Do you have a life slogan? If so, what is it?  The saying taped to my fridge is:  “To get something you’ve always wanted, you have to do something you’ve never done.”

7. Name one person who has influenced the way you see life right now. Why? My youngest daughter’s passion for books as well as her belief that I will achieve my goals fuels my hope that I actually will.

8. Who is one of your favorite authors? Why?  My kids and I never tired of reading Cynthia Rylant’s Henry and Mudge books. Why? Because her stories, depicting a loving  boy, his dog and his family, illustrate the wonder and humor in everyday life.

9. One piece of advice you would give to a middle schooler or an older teen is…don’t forget the things you loved to do when you were a little kid.

10. A goal you have now is to…get my books published so I can start my writing career.

11. A favorite statement a family member or friend has said to you recently about your writing is…My mom, who is an award-winning investigative journalist and edited a magazine for over thirty years, read one of my picture books and said, This is really good!

Newest nominees:  

Okay newest nominee, this is the deal.  I nominated you because your creativity, talent and dedication inspire me. You are under no obligation to accept, and knowing your work has been recognized might be award enough.  Either way, happy blogging hon!

Mutts Happening Now

Denise Dowling Mortensen

Healthy Eating Starts With A Poem

Three Different Meals

I Wish My Mom

Rear In Gear

Luke’s Adventures AKA Mischievous Hijinks

Mangrove Explorer Exploring The Wild Side of Florida

Happy and Simple

Next Stop

Chew Out Loud

Questions for the newest nominees:

(Some are the same I was asked, some aren’t.)

1. Why did you start a blog?
2. Most inspiring out door space.  Why?
3. Do you have a life slogan?  If so, what is it?
4. What do you like to do when you’re not blogging?
5. What is your favorite adaptation of a book to a movie?
6. What kind of music do you like to listen to?
7. Who is one of your favorite authors? Why?
8. Name a place you’d like to travel to.
9. The most common compliment you get is…
10. An accomplishment you are proud of is…
11. A goal you  have now is to…

The Next Big Thing–Blog Hop Part II

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Recently, I participated in The Next Big Thing–Blog Hop thanks to the fabulous young adult writer, L.A. Byrne.  Describing aspects of writing the picture book Cora Gets Carried Away made my main character, Cora, feel real.  I met a writer of middle grade fantasy, Leslie Zampetti at a SCBWI Meditation Workshop and tagged her as a writer to watch.  I have one more writer to introduce.

Kim Beck and I went to college together and, along with four other girls, lived together in  a house junior year.  We go a lonnng way back.  Who would have guessed that her oldest daughter and my youngest daughter would be born just three months apart, that I would live in her hometown and that we would both be bitten by the writing bug?  (Speaking of bugs, check out the newly released picture book Bug Patrol by Denise Dowling Mortensen or what non-fiction author Lyn Sirota says is her secret.)

Back to Kim.  In her “The Next Big Thing–Blog Hop” post, she provides a link to the first chapter of her young adult dystopian novel, The Interpreters.  Love it!  (and not just because I’m biased).

Hon, I now end my cover letters and queries to publishers with “Hope Springs Eternal” because WE are the Next Big Things.

Which children’s book authors have made an impression on you?

Reading the Signs

Lake George, NY, sign at the entrance to Tongue Mountain

Lake George, NY, sign at the entrance to Tongue Mountain

The strangest thing happened to me yesterday.  Well, maybe it wasn’t the strangest thing, but it ranks up there on the top ten list.  (Hmmm, future post? I digress.)  Back to the odd confluence of signs. (Confluence popped into my head so I looked it up in an actual dictionary and it’s defined as the “flowing together of two or more streams” so, boy, does that word work.  I digress again.)

Back to the confluence of strange signs.  Yesterday, I attended a Meditation Workshop sponsored by the national writing organization that I belong to, SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).  The goal was to learn how to meditate to learn more about our characters, plot, scenes, and the heart of our stories.  We had eight fifteen-minute meditation sessions followed by free writing.  I had never done anything like it before.

The author, Laurie Calkhoven, who led the meditation sessions guided us with visualizations, some of which were bodies of water.

In one session, she guided us to think about an object, maybe one on a shelf.  Guess what?  In my chapter book, a luggage rack on a train is key in the climax.

In another session, while contemplating the bubbling up of ideas on a lake, I heard a train whistle and clickety clack outside.  Weird.  My story takes place on a train.

Get ready for goose bumps….  In several sessions, I concentrated on inviting my spirit guides, if i have spirit guides, to surround me.  I asked for fortitude and courage to reach my goal, my dream, of getting my children’s book manuscripts published and start down a career path I have envisioned for myself for the eighteen years I’ve spent raising triplets plus one.  I asked to be able to read the signs.

The whole subject of spirit guides may make your eyes glaze over but, hon, I am open to lots of ideas.  I am willing to discuss, consider or contemplate such matters.  Not quite sure if I believe but I like the idea.

Just as I finished asking my spirit guides for help, and after I heard the train and thought about the scene involving the luggage rack, the door to the building we were in blew open for a few seconds and then shut on its own.  It was odd enough that the whole group turned and looked in amazement.  I blurted out, “Those were my spirit guides!” 

I’d like to believe it.

Are you on the “goose bumps” side of the fence, the “that’s a bunch of hogwash” side of the fence or perched on top, smack in the middle?  I won’t judge either way, I promise.