Meet My New Friend

26 May

Patti Aaron OrcasA love letter to my beta readers

As I hit the send button, and my final manuscript zipped through the ether to my proofreader, I felt I should formally thank the most unexpected new friend on this book-writing journey…

Critique.

Do you wince at the word? At the beginning of this story, I would’ve. Hell, even six months ago, I would’ve. Humans tend to want the quickest, least challenging route from A to B, even if it’s not always the best. (Pro tip: Nine times out of ten, it won’t be.)

That’s why Critique sounds to many of us like nails on a chalkboard. It’s hard to hear. It slows you down and sometimes even send you in the opposite direction. It often requires change. At best, you need to rethink a problem. At worst, you practically need to rewire a part of your brain.

It’s hard hard work.

As a matter of fact, it’s so hard that many avoid it altogether, myself included. Just the idea of getting over that hump mountain to the other side makes people pursue every other route, from denial and excuses to apathy and even giving up.

But the truth is, there’s a paradise of possibilities beyond, and Critique is the only friend you can truly trust to get you there.  Continue reading

Jedi Mind Trick

12 May
© Wim de Jong, Flickr Creative Commons

© Wim de Jong, Flickr Creative Commons

At 8:00pm, the toddler turned to me and said, “You know, mom, there aren’t any other kids here.”

And she was right. It was prime dinner time on a Friday night, in a Top Chef’s restaurant filled to bustling with people out on the town.

Next to me, my mother-in-law Kristin rocked my sleepy five month old to sleep. My four year munched on the remains of her honey-eggplant fritas, date confit cake, and Dad’s thali plate.

We had reservations for a reasonable 5:30pm, but somehow managed a fairly leisurely multi-hour dining experience with a toddler and infant. I figured I was either stupid, lucky, or brave. I settled on a mix of the three.

Granted, it could’ve went downhill when Continue reading

Children’s Book Week

5 May

Book ResearchIt’s Children’s Book Week! What are some of your favorites, recent or classic?

Here are some of my top new discoveries. You can also check out my full list Continue reading

Birthday Wishes for My Son

28 Apr

Cuddle Arms Spring BowtieToday I take a break from the book stuff to honor one of the reasons behind it:

My son.

Sweet little Von never had the chance to meet two of the most incredible women I’ve ever known—the women who inspired this journey and would have been his adoring grandmothers. (Emphasis on adoring.)

Despite the deep sorrow that brings, it also brings me hope. Life goes on, and so do the life lessons we take with us from the exceptional people who cross our paths, past or present.

When my son blows out that one little candle tonight (or rather we do it for him), I’ll be making the following wishes on his behalf.

Continue reading

Finding an Illustrator—and Introducing Mine!

21 Apr

Self Publishing Artist Childrens ArtHow do you find an illustrator for your children’s book?

Or perhaps more adequately…

How do you find, choose, and trust a person to take what’s been in your head and turn it into the tangible something special you know it can be?

There are many ways to go about finding an illustrator:

  • You can already know of an artist you respect and enjoy working with. In which case, lucky you!
  • You can do a basic Google search for local illustrators.
  • You can attend mixer events for local writers and illustrators. (I recommend checking out your local Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators branch.)
  • You can reach out on social media for recommendations.

I tried all of these routes, but the method that worked for me was social media.

As detailed in a post last fall, a college friend, Jason, saw my query for illustrator recommendations and forwarded me someone who could be a good fit.

Once you’ve found a potential candidate, what do you do next?  Continue reading

Top 10 “Doable” Quotes

14 Apr

 

Top 10 Doable Quotes Deborah ReberWhat is that “someday” project you’ve been wanting to tackle?

My writing coach (turned online friend) Deborah Reber recently published an impactful little book called DoableThough it’s marketed to teen girls, anyone can use its no-nonsense approach to stop wanting and start doing.

Included below are 10 of my favorite quotes from the book.

Whatever it is that lingers inside of you, waiting to be done, I hope Debbie’s words will light a fire under you, as they have me.

If they do, consider picking up her book yourself. It’s a quick read—plus cheerleader, to-do list, and life coach all in one!

Also, if you’re a fan of free stuff, you can download her Doable Workbook, Task Sheet, Life Hacking Guide, and more for nothing more than the cost of your printer’s ink. What have you got to lose? (One less day of waiting, that’s what.)  Continue reading

Logo Votes Are In… and the Winner Is…

9 Apr

Design Jackie Phillips Precious Beast BrandingThanks for all the great feedback on my publishing logo, friends!

It was a tough decision, but your choice ended up matching my gut reaction.

Drum roll, please.

Continue reading

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