Friday, August 31, 2012

My First Blogiversary!

Today is a great day!  Today I celebrate my First Blogiversary here at The Write Routine.  I can still remember walking to work one year ago today brainstorming what my blog would be about and then sitting down and writing it without a single Follower.  Today we have 97 Followers and many more following through email.  What a difference a year makes!

To celebrate, I would like to share some fun statistics with you all. 

  • To date, The Write Routine has had 9,900 Pageviews.
  • Facebook provides the most traffic, however, I should also recognize Julie Hedlund (  Through her site I have received quite a few hits, as well.
  • I participated in The Comment Challenge of 2012 on which also generated many hits for The Write Routine, and many new Followers.
  • The post with the most hits was Susanna Leonard Hill's "Writing Without Pictures" post.  A close second was Debbie Bernstein LaCroix's "Writing Without Pictures" post. And all in all, the "Writing Without Pictures" series was the most viewed.
  • An honorable mention goes out to a special kindergartner, Renn Telles, who's "Renn's Pitch Contest" was the 3rd most viewed post! 
  • The Write Routine has quite an international audience.  Of course, the USA and Canada rank very high in views...but Russia is the country with the 2nd highest views.  I don't know who my fan is there, but thank you!
  • Other countries who have viewed The Write Routine the most are the UK, Australia, Germany, France, Ukraine, Brazil and New Zealand. 
  • The most popular Search Keywords to find the site are "Marcie Colleen"...can't believe I get googled that much!  However, I get found a lot through "15 Habits of Great Writers" which was a series I ran back in June, inspired by the challenge of Jeff Goins on his site.  Thanks, Jeff!
So what can you expect from The Write Routine in the next year?

  • a brand new "Writing Without Pictures" series, in which Picture Book writers share their experiences of having their work illustrated by someone else.
  • Friendspiration Friday will continue!  Please email me at to participate!
  • Posts on KidLitCon 2012, SCBWI NJ 2013, and SCBWI LA 2013!
  • and much much more!
THANK YOU from the botttom of my heart for reading, supporting, commenting and encouraging me in this past year! 

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Writers Weigh In: Autumn Anticipation

Every year around this time I find myself truly anticipating autumn and all of the delights that come with it.  I want to sip a Pumpkin Latte.  I want to kick the colored leaves on a nippy afternoon stroll through the park.  I want to snuggle up in cozy socks and scarves and hats. 

I also anxiously await curling up with a good Picture Book on a blustery day.  Therefore...
Marcie's Top 5 Most Anticipated Picture Books
for Fall Season 2012!
(in no particular order)!

THE MONSTERS' MONSTER by Patrick McDonnell
Little Brown/September 4, 2012
Once upon a time, there were three little rascals who thought they were the BIGGEST, BADDEST monsters around. But when they decide to build a huge monster of their own, he isn't exactly what the creatures were expecting. He's happy. He giggles. He's just grateful to be alive. And he has a lesson for his grouchy creators that only takes two little words.

I just LOVE McDonnell's art and his very  sweet style.  I definitely cannot wait to own this story about a very BIG monster showing three very BAD little monsters the power of boundless gratitude.

THE THREE NINJA PIGS by Corey Rosen Schwartz illus. Dan Santat
The Three Ninja PigsPutnam/September 27, 2012

For me this is the MOST ANTICIPATED fractured fairy tale of the year...although Mo Willems might not agree.  When the big bad wolf threatens their village, three pigs sign up for different martial arts lessons to prepare to take him down. Pig One and Pig Two don't stick with their training, though, and are no match for their foe. But after practice and dedication, Pig Three becomes great at karate (including perfecting the perfect pork chop!) and saves the day.

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: As Retold by Mo WillemsBalzer + Bray/September 4, 2012

What can I say? I am truly a sucker for Mo and I am really looking forward to his newest book.

"Once upon a time, there were three hungry Dinosaurs: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur . . . and a Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway.

One day—for no particular reason—they decided to tidy up their house, make the beds, and prepare pudding of varying temperatures. And then—for no particular reason—they decided to go . . . someplace else. They were definitely not setting a trap for some succulent, unsupervised little girl.

Definitely not!"

Marathon Mouse MARATHON MOUSE by Amy Dixon illus. by Sam Denlinger 
Sky Pony Press/October 16, 2012

The mice of New York City dread the day of the New York City Marathon more than any other—the crowds, the large shoes, the noise. All of them, that is, except for Preston. He and his family live underneath the starting line on the Verrazano Bridge and every year Preston has dreamed of joining all the other runners in the marathon. This year, Preston is determined to make his dream come true, even though his family tells him that mice are not fit to run marathons. He trains hard leading up to the big day and when the race starts, he successfully dodges sneakers and crosses the finish line, showing his family that mice can do much more than just scurry.

With my own attempt at the NYC Marathon coming up on November 4, 2012, I am hoping to join Preston at that finish line!

MY FIRST GHOST by Maggie Miller & Michael Leviton illus. by Stephanie Buscema
Hyperion/August 7, 2012

Although this book is already out, I am including it I have not had a chance to check it out.

I have taken some classes at NYC's Gotham Writer's Workshop with Michael Leviton.  So I have been eagerly awaiting his debut picture book.

The book comes with a free ghost! But, like any pet, ghosts need special care and attention. A playful riff on "My First Pet" books, My First Ghost teaches kids everything they need to know about taking care of their very own ghost,  offer humorous tips on feeding, grooming, and ghostly games which are complemented by charming illustrations with a retro twist.

Well, there you have it!  I would love to hear what books you eagerly await.  Writers Weigh In!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Picture Book Academy starts TODAY!

I have always LOVED being a student and find myself really amped at the beginning of a new school year. 

While I might not be a traditional student anymore, I have dedicated 2012 to being a student of the craft of writing.

So since January 2012 I have sought classes to take, communities to join and ways to learn how to tighten my writing.  Most importantly, I have spent A LOT of time actually writing. 

I have put off querying agents and editors this year.  I am saving that til 2013.

Today I begin a 5 week online course called The Craft & Business of Writing Children's Picture Books taught by Mira Reisberg.  I am really excited. 

Profile PictureAs stated by Dr. Reisberg, "The Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books e-Course is 5 weeks of inspiring interactive step by step instruction and education. At the end of the course, you’ll have a completed manuscript and targeted cover letter ready to send to your ideal editor or agent!"

The course could not come at a better time for me. 

1)  I am so busy training for the NYC Marathon that I do not have time to take an "in person" class.

2)  In addition to providing guidance on how to best polish one of my WIPs, it will also provide info regarding submitting for use when the time comes.

As far as I know, there might still be room in the class.  You can read all about it at

If interested, click here to register now.

What classes have you taken and what did you think?  I would love to hear!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friendspiration Friday: Christine Loria

Today I have the honor of introducing to you one of the original members of my Critique Group which started one year ago.  Unfortunately, she is also to be the first Critique Group member to "fly the coop" and leave us.  But in a nomadic place  like New York City we should be used to that and wish her loads of joy and adventure in her newest chapter!
I will miss her sweet comical stories and her straightforward, insightful feedback.  She has been an enormous asset to our group and I am always honored to have her read my work.
Please welcome Christine...
What do you do in real life?
I work for Pfizer in the Policy, External Affairs & Communications group but I'm getting ready to leave to travel the world with my husband...we will start by driving across the country on December 1st and then to Fiji on December 29th!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I think it was probably when I was 7 or 8 when I started writing stories - I realized at that age that it was a lot of fun to use my imagination and make up characters. One of my stories, "Lewis" is what has been my inspiration all these years. 

How often to do you write? Where? What time of day?
Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time to write - so it's usually about once/month - just in time for critique sessions! I'm so thankful for the critique group because it makes me dust off all the random ideas I write on post-its or my notebook. As far as time of day, it's usually at night after I get home from work. But I'm always thinking of new ideas and characters that I want to write about.

What was your favor
ite story/book as a child? and why?
My favorite story as a child was Mr. Poppers Penguins. I loved reading about all the crazy antics and the idea that penguins lived in someone's house!

What kind of stories do you like to write? Where do you get your inspiration? You can add if there is anythign you have had published and can highlight.

I like to write stories that make people laugh. I get inspiration from thinking about my childhood, my husband, and my nephew Branden. Branden and I play with his stuffed animals and the characters I create while playing with him become the characters I write about.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an astronaut. Obviously that worked out!

If you could go back in time and tell your 8 year old self one thing, what would it be?

To keep all the stories I will write in my lifetime in one place so that they are easy to find to use them as inspiration.
What is the greatest piece of writing advice you have ever received?
I know this line is over-rated but "show, don't tell" really does help me write more vivid scenes.
Do YOU have a Friendspiration you would like to introduce us to on a future Friday? Please send an email to and we will make that happen.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday Writers Weigh In: What Inspires You?

I was recently taking inventory of my current WIPs and I had to laugh to be reminded of where the inspiration for each story came from.

1)  a cheesy pick-up line a friend posted on Facebook

2)  a recent NPR story about Mars

3)  my current obsession with roasted Brussels Sprouts

4)  a rainy trip to the airport which caused me to reluctantly stuff something into my suitcase

All of these strange and unusual moments inspired me to start writing a PICTURE BOOK!  True story!

For those who read my stories on WriteOnCon 2012, can you guess what inspired each one?

What has inspired your recent WIPs?

Writers Weigh In!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Morning Musing

Yesterday I took at photography tour through DUMBO and Brooklyn Bridge Park.  The tour began with a look at the New York Transit Museum's exhibit of Antonio Masi's watercolor depictions of the iconic bridges of NYC.  And then we headed out to see what our own photographer's eyes could find.

Two hours and one hundred various shots later, I finally had one I was somewhat proud of.  A rustic, urban depiction of the Manhattan Bridge (shown right). 

Sifting through the various pictures, I could see improvement.  I could see style starting to emerge.  I could see themes and technique.

Some I deleted. Others could benefit from Photo Shop at a later date.

I started to think of my writing.  I started to think of the countless WIPs which live in a folder on my computer. 

Sifting through the various manuscripts is the same experience.  Not all will be looked at further.  Some will go through revisions to see what is there.  Others are gems. 

The key is in the practice and the doing. 

The same is with writing. 

Give yourself permission to be ugly.  Give yourself permission to fall short.  It is in this permission that you will find your gems. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friendspiration Friday: Its YOUR Turn!

I hate to say it, but we have run out of Friendspiration Friday posts.  Therefore, I have a choice.  I can either discontinue this popular series. can step up to the plate and tell us about your Friendspiration.

I like the second option.

So what should you do?

Email me at and tell me you have a Friendspiration you would like to introduce us to.

Then you are well on your way to Guest Blogging on a future Friday!!!

You choose the person.  You choose the format.  You can even borrow the same interview questions I asked Carol Higgins Lawrence and Scott Hammon. 

Its that easy.  And it feels good to honor someone else.

So step up. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday Writers Weigh In: What is Your Stroke?

Emma: So, what's your stroke?
Ian: Sorry, my what?
Emma: Waiter stroke actress? Waiter stroke model? Waiter stroke writer?
Ian: Well, I'm a comedian.
Emma: Oh, we could use a comedian. We all like to laugh, I know I used to.

In the novel ONE DAY by David Nicholls, the question is posed "what is your stroke?"  Basically, what is it that you do to pay the rent?  And what are you pursuing or what is your dream?

I live in NYC and therefore everyone I know has "a stroke".  Caterer stroke actress.  Bartender stroke model.  Office Manager stroke screenwriter.

I, myself, am a Nanny stroke Children's Writer.

The thing about writing is that even once a writer finds themselves published they still have to find other ways to pay the bills.  A Picture Book usually only gives a $5000 advance.  Subtract the agent fees and other promotional fees (curriculum guides, freebies, etc) and you are looking at a $2000 take home.  But we don't do this for the money, do we?  I know I don't!

So, Writers Weigh In...what is your stroke?  I am I know others probably are.  :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Did I Write That?: When Critiques feel like Collaboration

Every writer knows that sharing their work and getting their manuscripts critiqued by other writers, editors, agents, etc is part of the process of fine tuning and finally completing their work.  I am no stranger to the critiquing/feedback portion of the writing process and find ways to share my work whenever possible.

Through my monthly Critique Group, classes, and other industry avenues I have had the wonderful opportunity to have my work looked at by others and have been given some really awesome feedback.  In fact, currently I have 3 manuscripts posted in the forums for Write On Con, a free online Children's Writing Conference, and have received such amazing critiques that I was motivated to spend half the weekend revising.

If you ask me, the BEST critiques are those that not only point out what doesn't work in a particular manuscript, but gives ideas or options for improvement.  For example, instead of simply saying that the beginning of a story seems too wordy or doesn't provide enough information regarding the main characters desire, the critiques that actually show me where I can cut or that provide a possible line that I could add to build on the mc's desire are sooooo helpful to me.  I have been lucky enough to encounter many readers who have provided this kind of critique. 

The outcome is that I have some pretty strong manuscripts which really feel more like collaborations.

I can look at specific sections of a story and tell exactly where I got the idea to write it.  It sometimes makes me feel like its not my story any more.  Its a creation from all of the helpful, creative people I have in my life.

I'm sure I am not the first person to feel this way.  I don't think it means that somehow I am any less of a writer.  I don't think it means I am not the author of my own stories.  Perhaps it just means that I will have a lot of people to take out to lunch, buy a drink for and thank once I get published.

It also means that the picture book writing community is one of the most giving, encouraging, and supportive communities I have ever encountered! Its a community which nutures and understands the need to "pay it forward" and not simply get wrapped up in competition and squashing others with the same dream as you.

Although this is a little premature, thank you to each and every one of you who have ever read one of my pieces and nudged me gently and graciously in the right direction. 

Disclaimer: Part of receiving criticism includes weeding out what you want to listen to and what does not fit in with YOUR particular vision for the piece. Remember, no one should feel they need to listen to and revise based on each and every bit of criticism they receive. You are never going to please all of the people all of the time, so focus instead on pleasing yourself and writing the story you want to tell.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friendspiration Friday: Scott Hammon

If you are lucky, at some point in your writing career you will meet someone who makes you laugh, gives amazing critiques, "gets" your own writing and is an overall great friend.  For me, that person is Scott Hammon. 

Scott is a member of my Critique Group and he is solely responsible for some of my best edits in my manuscripts.  We  seem to share the same sensibilities and humor...and have uncannily some very similiar ideas when it comes to stories.  I will be able to say, "I knew him when..." probably sooner rather than later.

Although Scott claims he does not laugh out loud when reading, I do...and I challenge you to read this interview without cracking up...loudly! 

I am pleased to introduce a true Friendspiration to me...Scott Hammon!
What do you do in real life?
In real life...I do everything that characters on reality TV do, except without all the fancy edits. I think that means there's a lot of annoying and boring things I can't fast forward through. To pay the bills, I teach elementary school. Which means I'm professionally trained to teach numbers, letters, and cope with the spontaneity of pee and poo. To appease the hungry voices in my head, I write children's books, screenplays, make movies, draw, and play music.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

When I was a kid I saw this movie called Evil Dead 2. It's an 80's silly comedy horror film directed by Sam Raimi (he did the Spider-Man trilogy). Well, that was and is one of the most innovative movies ever shot. If you haven’t heard of it, then I’m sure you think I have the worst taste in movies ever. But if you know any filmmakers, many will site this movie as an inspiration. Go ahead and rent it. Just wait about 15 minutes and ignore some of the cheesy dialogue. Then you’ll witness some impressive camera angles and filmfoolerly. Anyway, this movie got me to pursue filmmaking. Which got me to write screenplays. Now the movies I write don't fit a younger audience. So when I started teaching I got inspired to write something more universally accepted. Like a story about serial killer babies.

How often to do you write? Where? What time of day?

I try to write everyday, usually after work or after I get home from the gym. Most times I try to flesh out story ideas in my head whenever I have a free moment (on line at the store, driving in the car, baking cookies for the homeless). Quite often I have to convince myself not to bring an mp3 player to the gym just so I can resolve lingering plot issues. I really wish I could write all morning when my creative juices are producing waterfalls. But then how would students learn to stop sharpening their pencils so much. Exactly.

My favorite place to write is in my bedroom. It’s quiet and away from the TV. Sometimes I have to unplug my internet wire or else I’ll be tempted to follow a never-ending path of information. Consisting of: Who wrote this? Who directed that? What year did that happen? No way, when did that person die? Is this gonna kill me? 1 out of 500 kids are born with six toes. Monkeys never get tired of being tickled no matter how old they get. Grapes and chocolate can kill dogs?

…Well, you see what I mean.

What was your favorite story/book as a child? and why?

My favorite book was Barney Beagle. It was about a puppy waiting to be sold at a pet shop. Every time a kid walked into the store, Barney Beagle would ask “Is that my boy?” I guess this book stood out because I liked how my mom read it to me. I think it’s important to read a book with feeling or with unique voices. Some books really require it. I’ve heard some teachers read to their students and it made me feel so bad for the class and the author…I’ve written/read eulogies with more spunk.

What kind of stories do you like to write? Where do you get your inspiration?

I like to write stories that make people laugh. However, when I read, I rarely smile or laugh aloud. But when I do, that thought, scene, picture, or line stays with me. And I love that. It’s so important to connect with a reader’s emotions.
I get my inspiration from childhood memories, teaching, socializing and movies. As a kid, I saw movies on a regular basis. During summer break, my mom would take me to see almost every film genre out there. Being exposed to comedy, action, war, horror, AND Steel Magnolias/Beaches, definitely rounded out my film appreciation. Whenever I see a great movie or read a great book or watch a great stand-up act, I get inspired to create something great. Tony the Tiger says Frosted Flakes are great. But are they?

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I’m gonna change the “What” in this question to a “Who.” When I was really young I wanted to be Kenny Rogers. At home, in the car, on the TV, I was constantly bombarded with his music – thanks to my parents. I still remember the time I told my dad that I wished Kenny Rogers was my father. My mom came into my room and said I really hurt his feelings. That night, we had a bonfire and my sister and I were forced to burn every piece of Kenny Rogers memorabilia we owned…okay, that last sentence I totally made up.

If you could go back in time and tell your 8 year old self one thing, what would it be?

When your teacher asks the class about what chores they do at home, and she notices that you don’t have your hand up, and she says “Scott, don’t you wash the dishes?” Don’t try to be funny and say, “That’s woman’s work.” She won’t appreciate your first attempts at sarcasm.

What is the greatest piece of writing advice you have ever received?

I was always told to write what you know. I’ve found that when you write from experience it becomes more personal and allows your work to be injected with life. If you’re writing about a boy that is running home to use the bathroom, and you personally know what it feels like to have an accident in your pants -- you’re gonna bring that kind of experience to the writers table – most likely with a sickening wet vengeance.
Check out Scott's blog called The Weekly Tickle at

Do YOU have a Friendspiration you would like to introduce us to on a future Friday? Please send an email to and we will make that happen.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday Writers Weigh In: Its Almost Back to School Time!

Its almost back to school time!  Can you believe that we are already in the last few weeks of summer?  Its been a hot one for many of us around the globe.  I know that I am eagerly anticipating apple picking, pie baking, colored leaves and pumpkin lattes.

I am also excited about a new endeavor that I am developing this fall and looking to launch in early 2013.  That's right folks, I am going to start a business of creating educational curriculum and lesson plans for authors and teachers!  Its time I tapped back into my bachelor's degree in education, my masters degree in educational theater and my extensive resume of curriculum building.

Anyway, as I move forward with this project I could really use your help.

Authors, what do you look for in curriculum tie-ins and activities for classroom/library visits?  Also, what is usually your budget for such materials?

Thanks, writers!  I really appreciate your answers in advance!

Weigh In!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Party with the Pity, Then Move On!

Saturday was an incredibly hot and humid day as I set out to run 11 miles with Team in Training in preparation for the NYC Marathon.  Needless to say, it was a tough run on Manhattan streets of steaming asphalt.  With the sun beating down on me and the sweat not evaporating, I quickly felt sluggish and my attitude plummetted.

I ended up walking some of the route, which made me even more frustrated with myself.  And having a coach, that I didn't even know, start lecturing me about walking made me want to throw in the towel and call it a day.

In the end, I pushed it and ran 9.6 miles.  And although that was pretty impressive for such a brutal day, all I could focus on was the 1.4 miles that I didn't run. 

How can I call myself a runner?  How will I EVER be able to complete a full marathon on November 4th when I can't even run 11 now?  I spiraled and spiraled into my own self-doubt and gloominess.

To top it all off, when I got home I had received an email which made me doubt myself as a writer and a member of the kidlit community.

Chalk it up to one crappy Saturday!

We all have days like this.  When nothing seems to be going well.  When we doubt why we are trying to pursue what we are trying to pursue.  And those negative voices are strong and seem to drown out anything positive that might be occuring (ie. a 9.6 miles run in horrible conditions). 

There is absolutely no way to guarantee to never have a bad day.  But, whether its a bad day of writing or running, its recovery that in my opinion counts!
  • Allow yourself the day.  It may sound weird, but when faced with a really terrible day, chalk it up as that and allow yourself the day.  However, vow that it is only the day and tomorrow HAS TO BE better.  Binge on chocolate, listen to sad music, gripe to a friend.  Whatever it is that you need to do, do it for the day.
  • Strategize.  Plan what you can do tomorrow to kick some butt and get back on track.
  • Sleep.  Nothing beats a good solid sleep.  Perhaps take a nap or just get to bed early at night.  But get those Zzzzzzs.  Your mom is right....everything looks better in the light of a new day.
  • Make no excuses.  The next day, kick butt.  Quite simply put.  Wake up and set out to make yourself proud.  Do what you can to succeed, even in a small way.
  • Learn.  Make note of what you can learn from your crappy day and take pride in your recovery.
Sunday morning I did a "No Excuses, No Walking" 5 mile run through Brooklyn.  Yes, it was hot.  Yes, I was sweating more than usual.  Yes, it would have been more fun to wallow some more and have brunch instead.  But I knew it was what I had to do to prove to myself that I can do this.  I am a runner.  I have bad days.  I get back out there and run again.

Today I am going to kick some butt in the kidlit world.  No, I will probably not be published by the end of the day, hence eliminating that struggle.  But I can find something small to do and succeed at to help get my self-esteem back on track.

Because despite one day, I am a writer.  I can do this.  I have a dream.  I have bad days.  I get back out there and write again.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friendspiration Friday: Lori Alexander on Kellie Dubay Gillis

Its Friendspiration Friday and today we continue to celebrate the special people who inspire us to be all we can be.  Today, we focus on critique partners. 

Let's face it, finding a good critique partner can be as difficult as finding a soul mate!   When Lori contacted me about sharing this wonderful Friendspiration, I jumped on the idea!  Afterall, I am a HUGE cheerleader for Crit Partners!  

May we all be as lucky as Lori and Kellie have been.

Thank you, Lori, for joining us today!  Take it away...

WANTED: PB Critique Partner
MUST LIKE: Quirky characters, humorous plotlines, unique settings
MUST DISLIKE: Bad rhyme, stories without tension
OTHER: Must be willing to show not tell
LOOKING FOR: A serious relationship; long distances okay
*Please respond in 500 words or less*

A trusted critique partner is an absolute must for a writer. But like dating, finding that perfect match takes time. After striking out with a handful of writers, I completely clicked with my now dear friend, Kellie DuBay Gillis. We found each other in the “Queries and Critique Requests” section of Verla Kay’s Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Chat Board, otherwise known as the Blue Boards (check out this fabulous resource, if you haven’t already). Kellie and I have been swapping stories for over two years now. Here’s why she’s a fabulous critique partner and my friendspiration:

-She’s dedicated. Kellie is a working mom with two young children, yet she devotes much of her free time to staying up to date on the kidlit market. Not only is she an avid PB and MG reader, she’s an active SCBWI member, conference goer, and one of the hosts of a weekly MG twitter chat. Did I mention Kellie has multiple picture books in the works as well as a middle grade novel?

-She’s knowledgeable. Kellie’s critiques are spot on. From her, I learned how to raise the stakes in my own writing. I learned that my PBs need layers—my main character has to face internal and external struggles. I can email Kellie a half-baked idea or a fully polished manuscript. She knows my style of writing and her suggestions always make for a stronger text.

-She gets it! More than just critiques, Kellie and I have shared ups and downs over the past few years. We’ve queried agents, dissected editor feedback, and traded nuggets of info gathered from conferences/webinars. We’ve crossed our fingers. We’ve waited. And we’ve weathered plenty of rejection. Kellie understands how huge it is to go to acquisitions and how heartbreaking it is when your best PB is rejected again. Even though I keep my husband semi clued-in to my dream to be published, he can’t talk in depth about word count or coming up with a PB idea that has universality and a strong commercial hook. Kellie can. She knows how difficult (and how rewarding) this business can be. When I got my good news* last week, Kellie’s cheers could almost be heard from her home state of OH (I’m in AZ). We’ve never met in person, but she swears she’ll be first in line at my launch party next year. How great is that!

Thanks, Kellie, for all your support and encouragement. And blog readers, here’s to hoping you’ve found your perfect crit partner as well!

Finally, a big thanks to Marcie for letting me rave about my Friendspiration!

Lori Alexander is a member of SCBWI and volunteers as the Fiction Editor for the online Stories for Children Magazine. *Her first picture book, BACKHOE JOE, will roll out in 2013 from Harper Children’s.

Do YOU have a Friendspiration you would like to introduce us to on a future Friday? Please send an email to and we will make that happen.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday Writers Weigh In: Inspiration of Olympic sized Proportions!

Did you know that the Greeks included Poetry Competitions in the Olympics? 

To celebrate, NPR is hosting the Poetry Games.  They have invited poets from all over the globe to participate by submitting poems inspired by althetes and athletics.

Have the Olympics inspired you to write a story? 

Summertime can be very busy...and very inspirational!

I was inspired to write a new story about one boy's desire to be tall enough to ride the Bumper Cars while spending time on the Boardwalk in Point Pleasant, NJ with some kids last weekend. 

What other summer time adventures or activities this summer have inspired your writing?

Writers...Weigh In!