SDSU Writers’ Conference 2017 features R.L. Stine, best-selling Children’s Author

conference-clipart-student-conference-clipart-1Alright. Any 80’s and 90’s babies out there? You likely grew up reading “Choose Your Own Adventure Novels”, “Babysitter’s Club” and “Fear Street/Goosebumps”! I am personally a total super-fan of Ann M. Martin, Christopher Pike, and R.L. Stine. How fabulous would it be to meet one of your favorite childhood authors in person?

Coming up in January 2017 SDSU will be hosting its annual Writers’ Conference in San Diego! This year R.L Stine will be featured as one of their Keynote Speakers along with J.A. Jance. I can only imagine their speeaches will be insightful and inspiring. I had the privilege of attending this event back in 2013. I found this conference to be fun, friendly, and informative . I love that along with their informative panels they also provide opportunities for networking and one-on-one sessions with industry professionals.

Follow this link to find out more about this fabulous conference: http://www.ces.sdsu.edu/wc

You can also sign up to receive updates about the event. They will be introducing a new conference format this year. I look forward to hearing all the details about their breakout sessions!

 

I’m appearing at a local author’s book fair!

localauthorsbookfairI’m so lucky to be participating in the Local Author’s Fair in Costa Mesa on March 26th. Writers from all genres will be there promoting their respective publications. I plan to bring stickers and coloring pages for the kiddos! I’m looking forward to meeting other authors and book lovers. Thank you Orange County Writers for hosting this event!

Find out more about it at: www.ocwriters.org

Picture Book research at Barnes and Noble

This past sunday, I was able to get out and do something I haven’t done in quite awhile! I walked into a yummy book-scented Barnes and Noble complete with a cd section ala Blockbuster Music, and headed to read some popular picture books! Of course, whenever I pass anything that might of interest to my little one, I get distracted.

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I mean, come on, what 22 month old wouldn’t enjoy a soft barnyard full of chickens, ducks, cows, and pigs? Then again, maybe it delighted me just as much!

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I finally made my way to the picture book section, and pulled out these five fun stories — and devoured them! A new Enya song I’d never heard came on for my listening pleasure making the experience even more pleasurable!

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This little book, “Shh… we have a plan!” by Chris Haughton made me laugh out loud. The tiniest character on the left — That’s my daughter to a “t.”

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I left feeling refreshed, inspired and ready to write my own manuscripts. Being a children’s author certainly has its perks!

Writing and rain

 

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I opened up the front door earlier this evening to check for packages on my doorstep, and while I was not blessed with a bundle of goodies, I did get to take in a deep breath of damp, cool air with a slight musty smell that only comes with new rain. Though it is hours later now, I can still close my eyes and re-create the serenity that washed over me during that moment. I carried my daughter outside to show her the wonder of evening rain. She delighted in it so much, she ran inside telling her Dad “it’s raining.” Later, when putting her to bed for the evening, the tranquility continued. It wasn’t a raging in storm, just a light, constant pitter-pattering. It made me want to write! So after she was sound asleep, and for the first time in what felt like ages, I let words flow from my fingertips.

First Year Favorite Books

My daughter and I have shared many great reads this past year, but some certainly stand out. Here’s some of our favorites!

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1. Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth

When my daughter was very young, she loved staring at the bright colors, and as she grew more aware she loved rubbing her tiny fingers over the ladybug shapes and into each of the holes in the pages. This book is still one of her favorites.

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2. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by James Dean

Not exactly the typical baby book, this one my daughter loves due to the repetition, and sing-songy tone used when reading it aloud. It has sure brought about lots of baby giggles from her!

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3. Ladybug Girl and her Mama by Jacky Davis

Admittingly, I may have enjoyed reading this book more than my little one, but what mother wouldn’t enjoying reminiscing about their day with their babes. It was always a nice way to wind down for the evening.

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4. Hug You, Kiss You, Love You by Joyce Wan

By far our favorite this year. When my little girl was just two months old she would smile and coo at the whimsical characters created by Joyce Wan. Now, at almost twelve months it has become such an interactive story for us to enjoy together … well if she let’s me turn the pages that is. =)

I’m back!

tortoiseSo … I’m back!

Where did I go? I ventured into the land of new-mommydom! And my daughter is almost a year old now. Oops! That was quite a long hiatus!

To make a long story short, the last year or so has been quite a transition for me, but I am finally finding my blogging/writing feet! And while I am moving at a turtle’s pace, I am making progress in all areas of my life.

I think if ever I could compare myself to a children’s book character it would be now. I am the tortoise in “The Tortoise and the Hare.” I can see the finish line, but I know it will take me a little while to get there. And that’s ok!

It’s good to be back!

 

Three baby puppies

I love English Bull Terriers! I have a post that’s been in the works about how much they touch the lives of their owners, but it’s not ready yet. In the meantime, I wanted to post pictures of these cuties. My mom breeds English Bull Terriers, and she recently had a litter of three baby boy puppies. They are the cutest pups ever (well that I’ve seen in a long time … I may be slightly biased.)

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Two of my published children’s stories feature bull terriers. They are true characters! I think these little guys just may show up in a new manuscript soon!

How to make Grandparent’s Day Special through children’s books

happy-grandma-mdGrandparent’s day is coming up on Sept. 8th. National Grandparent’s Day originated with Marian McQuade and was decreed a National holiday by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

Grandparents play such an important in family life. They are our heritage, and they have so much to share and to teach. Even when they pass away, they are not forgotten. They are still alive in the hearts of those that live on. I have lost two grandparents in the past year, and yet, myself and family members still feel their love, and include them in many aspects of our lives.

I wanted to share a several of my favorite and recommended children’s book reads featuring Grandparents.

How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan

Book type: Picture Book

A fun twist on a typical Grandparent/grandchild story

Little Bear’s Visit by Else Holmelund Minarik 

Book type: Early Reader

A true classic filled with short chapters detail Little Bear’s Visit to his Grandparent’s house.

What Grandmas Do Best by Laura Numeroff

Lyrical, with lovely representations of Grandparent/grandchild relationships. When you flip the book over you will find ‘What Grandpas do Best

The Magic Brush by Kat Yeh

Book Type: Picture Book

This book is beautifully written, telling the story of Jasmine and her Agong or Grandfather. They pen magical stories  using an enchanted Chinese calligraphy brush. But when Grandpa passes on, Jasmine must cope with her sadness, and figure out how keep the memories and magic alive.

And last but not least my own e-book, RIGHT THIS INSTANT from MeeGenius.

My E-Book

Book type: Picture Book

In this story, Eli teaches Grandpa all about new, fast technologies while Grandpa teaches Eli about the art of waiting.

How will you celebrate Grandparent’s Day this year?

Stitch Fix Review #1- For a Hopeless Matchy-matchy Writer

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When I stumbled upon Stitch Fix, I was instantly intrigued. I’ve wanted to try a personal stylist for years, but never gotten around to doing it. Now, with Stitch Fix I get the benefits of a personal stylist from the comfort of my own home!

You may be wondering why I’m doing a review of clothing on my writing blog. Well, here’s the thing. I’ve had this dream of becoming a successful, carefree, AND eclectically styled writer. I could really use some help as I’m practically hopeless when it comes to creating outfits. So here’s another chapter in my writing journey, where I revise … my wardrobe.

Here’s what a typical shopping outing looks like for me. I go into a store with a list (ex. sweater, capris, tops, etc.) I come out of the store with a scarf, an ill-fitting yet cute top, and a pair of shoes (my weakness). And does anything go with anything else in my closet? No, not really.

I can put outfits together, but more often than not they’re too matchy-matchy. I want to master the art of choosing a patterned top, statement necklace, and skinny jeans that ‘turns heads’ or even becomes ‘pinworthy’. That’s why I’m super excited that every item I receive today includes a style card. A fabulous place to start!

I’d post photos of some of my fashion faux-pas over the years (matching floral leggings and tops, wild/busy, nauseating prints, etc.), but it seems I can’t find any photographic evidence. Go figure! But here’s a sneak peek at my first box…

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Here’s how Stitch Fix works:

  • Sign up and fill out your style profile. TIP: Link to your pinterest style board so your stylist can get visual ideas of what you like. 
  • Schedule your first “Fix”
  • Pay a $20 styling fee and wait for beautifully packaged items to arrive.
  • Receive a box full of items hand-picked by  your personal stylist, just for you, based on your profile
  • Try everything on, keep what you want, send back what you don’t. (The $20 styling fee comes off the price of anything you choose to keep and if you buy all 5 items, you get a 25% discount!)
  • Stitch Fix also offers $25.00 referral credits. If you decide to use stitch fix and use this link I will get get credit. (And once you sign up, you’ll get a link too so you can tell all your friends about it.)

Without further adieu, here are the contents of my first box!

Item 1: Aiden Flutter Sleeve Blouse, $48.00

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What I loved: Liked the High-low style.

What I didn’t love: The color. This royal blue color has always seemed an odd one for me. I have a hard time pairing it with bottoms, and I don’t think it looks great on me. Sizing was off. The arm holes were too big.

Status:  Sent back.

Item : Jaclynn 3/4 Sleeve Button Up Cardigan, $38.00

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What I loved: This sweater was so soft. It did fit nicely.

What I didn’t love: Too plain, not adventurous enough. Looked like many other pieces in my existing wardrobe. I’m starting to sense a blue theme going on with this fix…

Status:  Sent back.

Item 1: Dixen Mixed Stripe Button-Up Blouse, $48.00

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What I loved: Teal is fun (really stretching on positive comments for this one…)

What I didn’t love: I was swimming in this. It did nothing for my curves. And the view was even worse from the back. (I’m refusing to post that picture.) Once again with the blue …

Status: Sent back.

Item 1: Double Layer Circle Bubble Necklace, $28.00

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What I loved: Ivory and gold look great together. Seems like a versatile piece.

What I didn’t love: I was SO hoping this necklace would be mint colored like a similar one I’d seen online.

Status:  Kept!

Item 1: Sterling Belted Striped MiniDress, $48.00

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What I loved: This dress is adorable. My favorite piece of the day. I loved the cut — high in the front, low in the back. I can dress it up for evening, and pair with a cardigan for work. A hit!

What I didn’t love: Stripes aren’t my personal favorite pattern, but for this dress it worked.

Status: Kept!

Overall, I loved my experience. I’m hoping my fixes will only get better as I personalize my profile and give feedback to my stylist. (Like including some pieces in mint since I asked for it specifically!) In the coming months, I’m hoping my stylist can help me build a New York writer, headshot worthy wardrobe.

Please note: I purchased my own box. Stitch Fix is not paying me to advertise for them, though they do offer an incentive for referrals. If you’d like to try Stitch Fix click here to use my referral link, which will give me credit towards my next fix.

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Back to School Picture Book Reads

Back to school time is here! I like to start off the school year with a healthy mixture of themed picture books. “Starting school” is the obvious choice, and I always include a few books on the topic in the bunch. I also like to share picture books with other important themes such as friendship, self-esteem, manners, and also books that are just pure fun. Here are five of my favorites.

I love sharing Clifford the Big Red Dog with children, especially when he is a not-so-big puppy, just like them.

Jane Yolen’s ‘How Do Dinosaurs’ books are always delightful reads that deal with relevant concepts for 3-6 year old children. Readers will enjoy the silly dinosaur illustrations and the sing-songy refrain.

Press Here by Herve Toullet is pure, interactive fun. I love sharing this book with a new group of children, so September is the perfect time to introduce this book. Changes happen to the story based on how they interact with it. Clap and the dots get bigger. Rub and the dot changes color.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems is another highly interactive story. Readers will love trying to convince the pigeon to listen to the bus driver when he tells him not to drive the bus! A bonus with this book, an idea shared by a fellow children’s author, is that children will feel empowered after reading this book because they will be able to draw the pigeon. Satifsying, wouldn’t you say?

The Story of Fish & Snail is a beautifully illustrated friendship story. It is told mostly in dialogue and deals with the emotional ups and downs involved with friendship. Themes of resilience, trying new things, and friendship are plentiful and promote discussion.

What are your favorite back to school reads?