On My Mind

-thoughts of a wife, mom, author, illustrator, juggler, toy designer, teacher, camp director, ...

Monday, December 17, 2012

Late for the Parade

Here is my entry for Susanna Hill's Holiday Contest...
Rolling through the doorway on her six foot unicycle, Becca Elf hopped off the front stoop and pedaled toward the street. She turned onto the sidewalk and raced downtown. Becca was late for the Sleetville Holiday Day parade and didn’t want to worry her little elf, Eli. As she sped to the tracks, the gates went down forcing her screech to a halt and then pivot back and forth to stay on her perch.

HONK HONK went the train as it passed Becca. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 cars and a caboose chugged by before the gates went up.

Becca bumped across the tracks barely staying on her seat and heard a sound in the distance.

BOOM BOOM BOOM went the drums.

“Oh No! The parade is starting!” she yelled to the air. Becca righted her elf hat and pushed her pointy shoes against the pedals as quickly as she could.

“Where’s my elf?” asked Santa from his perch upon his sleigh on his float.

“Mom?!” called Eli.

Becca couldn’t hear Santa or Eli but she was nearby and working too hard to announce that she was on her way.

BOOM BOOM BOOM went the drums.

Santa’s float rolled across the intersection to begin the parade.

“Excuse me! Excuse me!” called Becca to the crowd who was pushing toward the curb to see Santa.

“Let her through!” squeaked a very little girl sitting on the shoulders of a very wide man.

The people parted  and Becca rolled through the crowd. As she bumped over the curb, her wheel hit a purse strap and…

“Oh NO!” yelled Becca

She twisted, she turned, she fell into the street. CRASH!

“Get up!” yelled a small round boy.

“Mom!” called Eli.

“Someone help her!” yelled the woman with the purse who’s face was quite red.

“I’m okay,” announced Becca standing and picking up her unicycle. She placed her right foot on her wheel and with two more steps and a slide of her seat, she was pedaling toward Santa.

“Hooray!” yelled the crowd.

“Hooray!” called Eli.

“Ho-Ho-Hooray!” called Santa as the parade began.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My 2012: A Look Back

2012 has beens my year for challenges and acronyms. I participated in Julie Hedlund's 12x12 all year, Paula Yoo's NaPiBoWriWee in May, Tara Lazar's PiBoIdMo in November, and Linda Silvestri's SkADaMo in November. In addition to all of these, my debut picture released November 15th. It was a lot of challenges and a lot of work. In case you don't know what these acronyms stand for, here are some quick definitions:

12x12 - Write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months. I did it. Thank you Julie Hedlund.

NaPiBoWriWee - National Picture Book Writing Week, Write 7 picture book manuscripts in 7 days. I did it and with 12x12, I wrote 18 manuscripts this year. Thank you Paula Yoo.

PiBoIdMo - Picture Book Idea Month, Come up with a concept for a picture book storyline every day of the month of November. I completed this challenge this year and last year. I used many of last year's ideas to create drafts for the first two challenges on this list. Thank you Tara Lazar.

SkADaMo - Sketch a Day Month, Create a sketch every day in November and post them on your blog. I posted 23 sketches on this blog. I actually created one every day but could not post some because they are part of a picture book dummy for a NaPiBoWriWee story I wrote in the 2011 challenge. This was my first year doing  this challenge and it was a lot of fun. Can't think too long when you have to produce a sketch and post it that day. Thank you Linda Silvestri (who also created the 12x12 badge you see at the top of this post.

As if November wasn't busy enough with writing a draft for 12x12, coming up with an idea for a story everyday for PiBoIdMo, and creating a sketch everyday for SkADaMo - a picture book that I wrote and illustrated launched on November 15th. FLAP! is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, and my website (if you want an autographed copy). See image of FLAP! cover on the sidebar.

Now that I have thanked the four talented women who led these challenges, I need to thank the other writers and illustrators who participated in these challenges with me. Thank you. I read many of your pitches, critiqued many of your stories, reviewed many of your sketches. You are all very talented and supportive and I appreciate the communities created within these writing groups.

But wait! There's more! Because of exposure through 12x12, I was invited to join a group of writer's who had books coming out in 2012 and share marketing advice and efforts. Thank you Picture Book Pluggers. I also created a business called AH Designs in which I create swag for authors and other professionals - including bookmarks, business cards, postcards, coloring pages, book formating, etc... Thank you Susanna Hill for helping to get this ball rolling.

One More Thing! Through the connections I made in 12x12, I also started an online picture book critique group called Flowing Words with several talented writers and illustrators. Thank you to those writers for sharing your manuscripts with me and for helping me polish my writing.

Whew, now I can breathe for a couple of weeks until 12x12 in 2013 begins this January. Are you with me? There is nothing more motivating that a group of writers struggling along with you and telling you that YOU CAN DO IT.