Tag Archives: Susanna Hill

My words for 2018

Again, HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!  I hope your year is off to a great start.

Continuing with the 12 Days of Christmas set up by Julie Hedlund, for Day 6 we were to implement a plan for the year, develop a blueprint for 2018. Mine is eight points, as follows:

  1. Take a picture book writing course – Susanna Hill’s specifically;
  2. Purge, or list on Kijiji, something every day, or every few days;
  3. If I must play game on iPad or computer, limit it to 15 minutes a day;
  4. Read for 1 hour a day, at least;
  5. Work on a manuscript to prepare it for submission, each month;
  6. Pray for 1 or 2 picture book critique buddies;
  7. Write daily in journal and read daily devotional;
  8. Believe in myself.

So far I:

  1. signed up for Susanna Hill’s Picture Book Magic class for February;
  2. purged nothing yet;
  3. um … forgot to time myself but I’m sure I went over, but was listening to a book at the same time;
  4. didn’t time myself, but I think it was about an hour;
  5. polished nothing yet, but came up with a draft for a new story;
  6. heard from someone about this and I’m waiting to hear back from her after my response;
  7. forgot to write in journal, but I’ll do catch up; did read devotional;
  8. am getting there!  🙂 (a carry-over from my 2017 word – PROGRESS.)

As has been my habit for the last few years, I have been pondering what my word for the new year should be. I started this personal tradition in 2013 with my word being GRATEFUL. I don’t think I had a word for 2014; not sure why. For 2015 it was POSITIVITY; 2016 was CHANGE; 2017 was PROGRESS. This year’s? I waited and listened and waited and prayed and waited. As a result, I believe my word for 2018 is COMMITMENT. I was thinking it was REALizing, a word I like; I don’t like the word commitment. I would prefer REALIZing or SHINE, but I think my word is … COMMITMENT.  *sigh*  The negative aspect of that is an old feeling of being trapped into something I will not want to keep doing because it’s hard to stay with it. The positive aspect is that it will help to keep me on track to actually complete and accomplish my goals. So, if I look ahead with anticipation instead of dread, I’ve found my word.

COMMITMENT in 2018.

I also found a quiz on Day Spring: Find Your 2018 Word of Truth. Out of curiosity I did the quiz. My word there came up as SIMPLIFY. That astonished me at first, but when I read over my blueprint for 2018 … yep! Simplify fits.

For me in 2018 it is COMMITMENT and SIMPLIFY.  That looks like a great pairing. If you want to try the Day Spring Quiz, <– click there.

What is your word – or what are your words – for the new year? If you do the Day Spring Quiz, please let me know what your results are.

Thank you so very much for adding good things and encouragement to my life. I wish you all the best in 2018. May the light of creative joy fill your heart and life.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings.  🙂   

 

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My Successes in 2017

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list for 2017.

Since setting goals instead of making resolutions has been my way for many years now, sharing what I see as my successes feels much more positive. So, in 2017 I have surprised myself because I:

1. settled on my word for the year – PROGRESS – and set out to make it happen in my writing as much as I could manage, and grew in confidence as a writer;

2. celebrated my 7th year of blogging here on WordPress on January 9;

3. wrote 144 blog posts, including this one and one scheduled for Dec 31;

4. wrote reviews of 67 books on my blog, 42 of which were written by 12 x 12 members – past and present;

5. interviewed 3 authors here on my blog, and 2 illustrators – my first time to interview illustrators;

6. participated in Tara Lazar’s Storystorm challenge and came up with 30 ideas for stories;

7. entered Susanna Hill’s Valentiny writing contest  (my entry);

8. entered Vivian Kirkfield’s #50 Precious Words challenge (my entry);

9. participated in ReFoReMo (Reading For Research Month) and read over 100 recommended picture books to learn more about writing picture books – and the reading continues;

10. read over 600 books during the year, all but about 60 were picture books;

11. wrote a 500-word story for a writing challenge through InScribe;

12. attended an information session with other local writers, put on by the writers federation of which I’m a member;

13. attended 15 (or more) webinars about different aspects of writing, mostly regarding picture books;

14. attended a full day online Picture Book Summit & won the big prize;

15. participated in all the 12×12 webinars – except for maybe one;

16. gained a picture book writer friend through 12×12 & we share about our writing life nearly every day;

17. earned a place on the 12×12 winners wall because of writing 25 new story drafts, 18 more than in 2016, (12 are required for the win);

18. wrote 6 revisions of stories;

19. got one story polished and submission-ready;

20. submitted story (point #19) to an agent – my first time to approach an agent;

21. received a reply from agent (point #20) with positive comments and helpful advice – a champagne rejection;

22. posted one of my stories in the 12×12 critique forum and received wonderful comments and helpful critiques, one by a critique ninja;

23. was gifted a helpful critique by author Marcie Colleen to further improve my story (point #19);

24. prepared, arranged, and published my dear mother’s children’s story as a photo flip book and had 8 copies printed for family in her honour;

25. believe more deeply I AM A WRITER!

 

 

 

What are YOUR 2017 successes? No matter how small or insignificant they might seem, they add up and fit together somehow. Please share with us in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

 

 

Vote on your favourite story!

This morning I woke before dawn, and since I was awake anyway I checked Susanna Hill’s blog. Yep! She’d posted the winning stories in her Valentiny contest. I admit that I was disappointed to see mine was not among them, but I voted on one of the stories listed.  Thank you, by the way, for reading my story that I posted here on my blog on February 14.

valentinywriting-contest2017

 

 

 

 

Please go HERE to read the top twelve and place your vote. You have to scroll down a ways to do it, and I hope you’ll take the time to read what Susanna says before the vote widget comes up. The stories that made the cut are creative and appropriate for her contest.  Susanna will announce the winner  on Friday.

Do you enjoy entering writing contests? Have you ever won?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

My entry into Susanna Hill’s Valentiny contest & a snowy Valentine’s Day

Wow! It is Valentine’s Day already and we are buried in snow here in Nova Scotia, thanks to the blizzard that hit us Sunday night and all day Monday, not ending until sometime during Monday night.

In lieu of a book review today, let’s ignore the snow for now and get on to some fun WRITING NEWS:

Since it’s Valentine’s Day HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, everybody!  – I finally got up the courage to participate in Susanna Hill’s Valentiny contest this year. I had entered a story in her Holiday contest in December 2014; however, I never felt I had anything to contribute for her following ones. This time I’m giving it a try. Nervously, as per my usual.

Stories are to be no more than 214 words (for Feb 14 = 2nd month, 14th day), have to be Valentine stories in which someone is confused, and Susanna also says the following:

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using confusion and success in making us feel the confusion!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

As a participant, I am required to post my story here and then link to it on her blog by midnight tonight. She and her assistants will read through them all – and there are many of them – to narrow it down to 6-10 entries. Yike! Their selections will be posted on her blog February 20 for public viewing and voting. I’ll post a link to her blog then, so I hope you will go there and cast your vote for the one you like the best. After the voting period she will announce the winner(s) February 24. 

I wrote my entry a few days ago, then spent some time tweaking it and changing things a bit. This morning I worked at it some more and … here it is.

Valentine’s Day Surprises

Timmy finished painting the vase.

“Mum likes red. When it’s dry I’ll tie this around it.” He pulled out of his pocket a pretty ribbon with a tag on it that said,

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mum. Love, Timmy

Timmy set the vase to dry beside the mailbox. He picked the prettiest wildflowers he could find and stuck them in. When he was carefully tying the ribbon on he heard his mother’s voice. He ran to see what she wanted.

“Did you call me?”

“Yes. I saw the mailwoman coming. Please watch the baby while I see if we got mail today.”

“Do I have to?” He sat with his sister, then jumped up. “NO! Wait! I’ll get it for you!”

“That’s okay, Timmy, it’s my turn.”

Timmy sucked in his breath and scuffed his toe in the dirt. He watched his mother walk to the mailbox.

She came back with only a letter! Timmy raced to where he’d left the surprise. It was gone! Where could it be? His heart sank. “What do I do now?”

At that moment the mailwoman returned. “I took this by mistake.”

Timmy ran and set the special present beside his mother. She hugged him. “It’s beautiful!”

Down the road, the puzzled mailwoman was staring at her red fingertips.

© Lynn A. Davidson

I don’t know how my story will rate alongside all the others, but I can hope. 🙂  It’s a good experience anyway.

On another note:

Take a look at the following pictures. The ones on the left and in the middle are of a cherry tree behind my house, the first taken during the beginning of the blizzard, the second at the end of it. Can you tell there’s much deeper snow around it? The third is our back door from which my husband dug out a narrow path to our driveway until he could get more cleared. Yes, it’s a lot of snow, but still not as much as our record-breaking snowfall of winter 2014/15.

cherry-tree-at-start-of-blizzard-feb-12-1317cherry-tree-at-end-of-blizzard-feb-12-1317our-back-door-after-feb-12-1317-blizzard

 

 

 

 

Any comments – positive or negative – about my story? Do you think it passes all the criteria? I’m open to hear.

How are you managing this winter, much snow yet?

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! ♥♥ I send you calorie-free love and hugs. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂 

The cut’s been made, please vote for your favourite story

It wasn’t until a friend sent me an email this evening saying she was sorry I didn’t make the finalists that I learned … my story, Blizzard Blessings, didn’t make the cut!  😦

Of course, I was quite disappointed, but I’ve had half an hour to let it settle in. It’s okay, mostly. Yes, I would have loved for mine to be one of the twelve stories chosen of the one hundred entries, but I knew it was going to be a hard decision to make. I didn’t envy Susanna and her helpers at all. I think I would have been more shocked than I am disappointed had I been in the twelve finalists.

I will be voting but I have it down to two stories and can’t decide between them yet. I’ll let it wait and read them again tomorrow before voting.

PLEASE GO HERE AND VOTE FOR THE STORY YOU LIKE THE BEST.   Thank you!

I haven’t given up on my little story, though.  There may be something good in store for it yet.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

My story entry in Susanna Hill’s 4th Annual Holiday Contest

Yesterday I found out that Susanna Hill is hosting her 4th Annual Holiday Contest right now. The challenge is to write a story for children in no more than 350 words, the theme being wild weather that impacts the holidays in some way. I decided to give it a try, so this is my first attempt. Next I have to link back to Susanna’s blog so my story can be connected to the contest, and then the entries are narrowed down to a few finalists whose stories are posted next Monday or Tuesday (Dec. 15 or 16). Those stories are then voted on by anyone wanting to read them. I hope you will go to Susanna’s blog and add your vote, even if it isn’t for my story. You have from Dec. 15 or 16 till Dec. 18 at 5 PM EST to VOTE.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Now, here’s my story in 349 words.

 Blizzard Blessings

Suzie frowned out the window, her chin resting on her hands. It was Christmas Eve day and it was snowing – a lot! “Daddy, can’t we go to the pet store anyway?”

“I’m sorry, Suzie; there’s too much snow. The wind is blowing so hard we could get stuck in a snowdrift and not get back home tonight. Remember, you have to be in bed for Santa to come.”

Suzie pouted. “But you said for Christmas I could get a pet to live in the cage I found in the attic. I have it all ready!”

“Pouting won’t make the blizzard go away, Suzie. You have to wait until after Christmas now,” Daddy said. “How about we stay safe inside and read the Christmas story together?”

In the meantime, at the North Pole the elves were helping Santa load his sleigh. Soon he would be on his way, bringing gifts to all the girls and boys while they slept.

Santa picked up his warm red hat to wear that stormy night. When he gave it a shake out dropped a sleepy, little white mouse. “Sylvester! Ho! Ho! Ho! You can’t live in my cozy hat,” said Santa.

The little mouse sadly scurried away. Every time he found a nice place to live he was told “No!” – not in the dollhouse, not in the red fire engine, not in the drum set, not even in Santa’s hat. Where could he go?

That night Santa climbed into his sleigh. “Ho! Ho! Ho! What blustery weather for old Santa!”

Everyone was sound asleep when Santa landed his sleigh at Suzie’s house. He reached into his pack. “What’s this!” He pulled out a little white mouse. “Ho! Ho! Ho! Sylvester mouse! You can’t live in my pack, and it’s too stormy for you outside.” He looked around. “Look here! I see just the place for you. Merry Christmas, Sylvester.” Sylvester’s whiskers twitched from excitement.

Christmas morning Suzie squealed, “Daddy! Daddy! Look what Santa brought me!”

Under the Christmas tree, in the old cage from the attic, sat a happy little white mouse.