January 21, 2011

Out of the Slush and Into Some Slush Piles

It’s been a fairly annoying winter here in the New York City area. It snowed twice this week, dumping more snow on top of the previous storm’s deposits and it’s only warmed up enough so that the whole mess can refreeze into ice. The snowman in front of my house has transformed into a vague, pyramid-shaped thing and has since shed its eyes, nose, scarf and hat that were once part of a snowman kit. I rescued all those pieces last night lest they become buried by today’s snowfall and not be seen again until the spring.

I don’t really mind the snow, as long as I don’t have to go out in it, that is. I think it pretties up the place. I’m quite content to stand there with a cup of coffee and watch it come down. However, I rarely have that luxury, especially if it snows on a weekday.

The first snowflake to hit usually causes my daughter’s school to close or at least have a two hour delay, causing us to scramble to find alternate child care arrangements. The second snowflake usually causes both the roads and mass transit to become hopelessly snarled, making the commute to and from my day job, an adventure in perseverance.
However, there are advantages to all this nasty weather. It keeps me indoors and close to my computer. This is a good thing right now because my next book, What Is That Thing?, is due to be released by the end of this month. I still have plenty of prep work to do for it. My virtual book tour group is starting up again in February and I want to start the tour with this book. I’m also trying to revise the presentations for my other books to keep the material fresh. It’s no small feat, but I’m happy with the progress I am making.
But I am not happy with one realization that I made this morning. While going through some files for my books, I opened up the file I use for submissions. I do not have one single submission out there, not one. I’ve always tried to have multiple submissions making the rounds out there, but somehow I let everything slip. I’m a little disappointed in myself. It’s time wasted and time is a very precious commodity. One lesson I learned early on in my career, is that I needed to just do my research and get it out there. No editor is going to come to me.
I do plan to correct this mistake during the weekend. I’m going to write my cover letters and have at least three submissions ready to go for next week. I just better get to the post office by Tuesday though. That’s when they are predicting the next snowstorm.

January 4, 2011

The Prose Shop is looking for new members

Hi All,

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I’m still currently digging out from the holidays and from a snowstorm that dumped almost two feet of snow here in the NY City area last week. But things are slowly returning to normal, which means that I have no excuse for not writing and will now need to find some other reason to procrastinate. ;-) However, I digress… (I’m good at that)

The reason for this post is that one of my children’s book critique groups currently has openings. If any writers out there are looking for a critique group, please read below and email TheProseShop@comcast.net if you are interested.

The Prose Shop is a supportive community of people who write picture book manuscripts, as well as magazine stories for children up to 12 years of age. We are an established online critique group created in 2005 and have a mix of both published and unpublished writers. We are dedicated to helping each other to improve technique, become more confident and capable writers, discuss and share information, and get published.

The Prose Shop is organized via a message board. This has huge advantages over groups that use an e-mail system for submitting critiques. Here, members are able to view all critiques. This is where we work as a team. Members are encouraged to comment on critiques, thus bringing about general discussion and debate that is invaluable to the author.

There are only a few rules pertinent to our group. First, we critique at least one story for each story we post. That is a minimum. The more critiques you give, the more you will receive.
Second, we expect at least one critique every 30 days from each member, whether or not they post a story.

Third, to keep the group active and encourage writers to write, we require that you post a story at least every three months. Rewrites of previously posted material will be acceptable.

We are looking for writers who demonstrate a long-term commitment to writing. We would like to see applicants who have an inventory of several picture book manuscripts and/or magazine stories available for critique.

If you are interested in becoming a member, please email TheProseShop@comcast.net and we will send you an application.