Category Archives: Writing today

Finding Your Other Markets

This article also appears at While your book is percolating in your mind, in revisions or sketches, or under the scrutiny of your crit group buddies, you can explore ways to build your publishing credentials. Magazines and other media can be valuable, shorter-term ways to get your work seen. Here’s a more-or-less “out there” […]

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NESCBWI 14: Terrific Conference, Going Fast!

Registration for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators New England regional conference opened today at 10:00 AM. Already two thirds of the slots are full. If you plan to attend, what are you waiting for? If you are a writer or illustrator of books for children and young adults, this conference will stimulate […]

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About: 26 Letters, Infinite Possibilities

Have you ever considered that all of the books written in English in libraries, bookstores, on e-readers and in your own home are really only comprised of 26 letters arranged in different ways? Our alphabet is an amazingly simple set of symbols. And what writers do with them is magic. This morning I posted an […]

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Blog Hop!

When Paul Czajak invited me into Jody Jenson Shaffer‘s Children’s Writers’ Blog Hop I thought – why would I not? The plan, as you may already know, is that each author answers the same four questions on his/her own blog, then invites three others to do the same. Like the branching of a tree, the ideas […]

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Royalty Survey Results

Recently I wrote a two-part article on royalty paradigms for a critique group blog called Writers’ Rumpus. In Part II I summarized the results of a survey showing responses by people who have current published books. It was an attempt at getting a pulse on the type of contract deals children’s authors are receiving. You […]

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Publisher-Author Payment Survey

What earnings can writers and illustrators of books for children today expect to receive from a publisher? The range of payment options has widened, sometimes not in your favor. If you would like to see whether the basics of the deal you now have is comparable to what others receive and help your colleagues too, […]

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Critique groups as incubators

Incubators help things hatch. What emerges are success stories. At an SCBWI crit group in Andover, MA fifteen people sit around a table giving input to the five presenters each month. Marianne Knowles is the well-experienced coordinator who keeps everything moving in a productive, positive direction. With that many voices, good input on developing stories […]

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SCBWI New York: tribal gathering

Denizens of the night sky, nine foot children, a steampunk moth, eerie coincidences, and electric connections between people… SCBWI New York this past weekend was surprisingly poignant and permeated by an encouraging optimism about children’s book publishing. But first was the getting there. Kristine Asselin, co-cordinator of the SCBWI conference in New England this May […]

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John Flanagan: Brotherband Chronicles

John Flanagan’s strengths are dramatic action, innovative conflict, and complex male characters who breathe and sweat. This fantasy adventure trilogy with a Middle Ages setting combines humor, intelligent language and complex characters to propagate a fast-paced, engaging tale awash with daring plot twists. Although mostly promoting good morals, the level of violence over these first […]

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Discovering Vinland

As part of my research for a historical novel about Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir, we went in search of one of the places she traveled to in the early 1,000s. It was more than intriguing. Leif Eiriksson discovered something big around 1,000 A.D. You can still see the footprints of his longhouses at L’Anse aux Meadows on […]

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Willow’s Walkabout: Sheila S. Cunningham and Kathie Kelleher

Willow’s Walkabout: A Children’s Guide to Boston had a fabulous launch at the Agonquin Club on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston recently. This picturebook, written by Sheila S. Cunningham and illustrated by my friend Kathie Kelleher,  is about a wallaby named Willow who goes on a walkabout from the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA to explore […]

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Susan Carlton: Love & Haight

History does begin with yesterday, after all. Nineteen seventy one, when cigarette ads were banned from TV, The Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar topped the charts, and Clockwork Orange and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory were playing at the movies, does not seem so very long ago. Then again, gasoline was forty cents a gallon. […]

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez short story

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings: A Story for Children by Gabriel Garcia Marquez may be more for you and me than for children (at least American ones).  But that is an assumption. An unfair one perhaps. But the old man has left behind a scraggly feather on the shore of my memory. It […]

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Guðríðarkirja – meaningful design

For the past year I have been working on a YA novel about a Norse teen from 1,000 A.D. I read about Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir in two of the Icelandic sagas where she is shown to have had a truly amazing life. I’ve tried to show her in 3D in What Else is There? The story […]

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The Library Phantom Sculptor

Alas, I have been so busy with life, so you have not heard from me. But here is something intriguing. My sister Norma alerted me to a certain delicate Edinburgh mystery. This NPR article by Robert Krulwich describes a trail of surprise gifts given anonymously to those with eyes, a heart, and a brain. Bookmark

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Norse myths performed

For last year’s NaNoWriMo I laid the groundwork for What Else is There?, my YA historical novel about Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir. It is set in Iceland, Greenland, and America about 1,000 A.D. Approaching the end of the story, I am meanwhile exploring references to Norse mythology in books and other media. In the past two days […]

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“The circus arrives without warning.”

That is the first sentence of a new book that arrived on my radar just as suddenly. I should not be surprised at the power of buzz by now, but I am. Bookmark

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NYT article: Publishing Gives Hints of Revival, Data Show

By JULIE BOSMAN Published in The New York Times: August 9, 2011 “The publishing industry has expanded in the past three years as Americans increasingly turned to e-books and juvenile and adult fiction, according to a new survey of thousands of Bookmark

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Advice from a kid: Miranda, age nine

Miranda and I went for a walk. She told me what she thinks about books.  Here’s what she said. Topics that some kids like (kids that I know): Fluffy kitty cat books (I hate them completely) Books with some scary moments and action (I personally like these best :) Craft books like how to decorate […]

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Critique Groups are Empowering

You work alone developing something that has never before existed in the world. You see it from a unique perspective, but what about the rest of the world? Is this newly created entity ready for exposure? Is it balanced and complete? Does it say what you think it says? What you need is a good […]

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