Category Archives: Mona Pease

I’m a dreamer who zigs and zags with each day’s new adventure. If you dream too, stick around to read and write, pray and laugh, meet new friends with new ideas, love old friends with solid stands, give thanks for the good, stay clear of the bad and once in awhile shed a tear-and along the way, we’ll share what we learn!

Mona Pease: Travelin’ Down The Highway

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/10/travelin-down-highway.html
October 14, 2012 at 05:31PM

     Travelled to New Jersey to attend Rutgers University One on One Children’s Literature Conference. To my writer friends, you know what an honor this is to be accepted to this event. For my other friends, I think the best way to explain is to say it’s like a juried show. People submit their best work to fill a number of slots-it’s either accepted or not! Mine was.
   My peep, Joyce Shor Johnson did the driving that I didn’t dare do….I did well to get to her house 4 hours away. Well anyway, what’s that old saying, don’t let fear stand in your way? Oh yes I will…I still can’t “throw back my shoulders” and drive there but…

I can sit back and take the pictures!
        First thing, after checking into the Sheraton, I called one of my dear online critique buddies who’s from Georgia. We immediately recognized each other from online pictures.

   Okay, so she’s cute and I look like I just got out of the car from a 9 hour drive!!!! What fun it is to meet up with someone you only ever “talk” to on here. Didn’t see her after the conference so now we must do some more of the email kind of chitter chatting.
  Speaking of meeting the ghosts of the internet, here’s another person I’ve only “spoken” to with my keyboard…I almost covered up my glo bracelet that Tara gave us. We had a “glow” all day!

TaDaaaaaaaa… presenting    Tara Lazar .  It was such a pleasure! Besides our finally getting together, Tara was the keynote speaker at the conference. She started out incognito, wearing a full beard and puffing on her pipe! I didn’t get that shot.  But I did get this.

   Everyone  listened intently as Tara spoke from her heart and took us on her writing journey. She was  inspirational. I will think of Tara more than she will know, as I strive for more in my own (longer) journey.    wait up…I just got permission to ‘borrow’ this…

   Then there were a five! Five on five roundtable discussions. Mine was full of energy and fact. Our group of professionals- Vivian Gray, founder of the conference, Marietta Zacker, Nancy Gault Agency,   Marc Aronson, professor, editor, author, Jim Murphy, Author, and Lyn Sirota, author. Now that I’m typing their names, I’m feeling the power, all over again,  of their knowledge and interest in education, children’s authors and everything children…wow!!!!  They really feel that the non-fiction market is on the upswing.
      Later, there was one on one sessions. My personal mentor was the well published, non fiction author, Lyn Sirota, also member of the RUCCL council.  Sorry, I didn’t get her photo, but click on her link.
   and…panel discussion keeping with the theme of the day-“Keeping it Creative in the Digital Age. Eve Adler moderated the panelists, Janet Wong, author, Mallory Kass, Editor, Scholastic, Samantha Streger, Assistant Editor, Open Road Media, each having their own ideas and examples concerning digital publishing.
     Closing children’s author and speaker of the day was Bruce Coville . What a fun and funny man he is. Gave us sound advice…and not a boring word was spoken!!!! Butt joke and all.  A wonderful way to end a successful event. I need to stop right here and publicly thank the council members and all mentors and who made this such a successful event. And kudos to us, the mentees too! Yay! Yay!
    Would I apply again? Most definitely (if Joyce will drive!). Now I must look over “the list” and do a bit of polishing, editing and sending.
    Happy traveling to you this week.

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Mona Pease: Hi-ho Hi-ho It’s Off To Camp We Go

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/09/hi-ho-hi-ho-its-off-to-camp-we-go.html
September 16, 2012 at 05:12PM

Just got home from a writer schmooze week-end, and what a grand week-end it was. You usually see my posts about the schmooze, twice a year-June and September. Tami Wight hosts our event (with her family’s support. Thanks Dave, Alex, Ben)

Saturday is our day to work, and we do that all day, except eating time or meet and greet and share news and Hallelujahs from the months’ past. This is the first time we’ve been together since Tami signed on with Islandport Press for her Cooper and Packrat campground mystery, so what better place than “home” to celebrate with morning toast. (not the crunchy kind you spread peanut butter on!) I don’t think we’ve ever started our day with mimosas and it was pretty obvious because most of us weren’t sure how to pop the cork, but someone knew how!

Then it was time to work. We read, critique, get critiqued and discuss each one’s manuscript. I’m amazed at the writings and talent we have between us.  Our writings ranged from picture books, historical faction, historical verse, mystery, middle grade, young adult and zebras!

 Christy Webster, assistant editor, Random House was our guest editor. She joined our critique circle, and  when all was said and done, rather, when we were all said and done, she shared a presentation with us. I know that I thanked her in person, more than once, but I must SHOUT out again another BIG Thank You to her for making arrangements to come to Maine, with only a few days notice. Our scheduled editor had an accident and couldn’t make it, so while I’m thanking, I must say a loud and clear Thank You to Katherine Harrison, assistant editor, Alfred Knof for finding a replacement. Get better Katherine (this is from all the Schmoozers)

Yup, I look out the window sometimes.

 This photo is an annual event. The group shot in front of the campground book case.

 At night, we sat around the campfire with the campers. Coop is toasting  a marshmallow for Jeanne

 Psssssst, tell you a secret.  See the “big” guy sitting on the right of Anna-….he’s in the book!!!!!!!

 A Sunday morning walk to the lake before heading home. Kayaks waiting to be “put up” til next season.

 This is Tami’s inspiration island for “the” book.

Oh dear, on my way. So insipired. So psyched to rework my story. So fortunate to have supportive writing friends. My heart’s doing the happy dance.

     

Mona Pease: Caught Out In The Rain

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/09/caught-out-in-rain.html
September 05, 2012 at 09:24AM

     “I love a rainy day!” Truly I do-especially a warm summer shower.  Sometimes I forget to use the weather factors in my stories, but was reminded last Friday of how the unexpected downpour can create a twist and a bit of added adventure to a sunny day.

   Mr Weatherman got it completely wrong when he predicted about the hottest, sunniest day of the month. Sherry and I loaded the kayaks and went to Camden Harbor. It was foggy, but the sun was going to break out at any moment-right?!?!?! Curtis Island was straight ahead, and easy paddle, but something we forgot or didn’t realize, is that it was Schooner days in Camden, so we had to slow down to let a few of the big guys pass on their way out of the harbor.

 This isn’t a black and white photo, it’s natural gray and gray-we still kept looking for sun!
It was an easy paddle to Curtis Island Lighthouse. We parked the kayaks, walked up the steps and walked the trail around the island, overlooking the ocean from every angle. Our bonus was seeing the schooners floating below-breathtaking!

We felt drizzle on our arms, but knew the sun was playing games with us and hiding behind the clouds. Not to worry, right!
Wrong!!!!!!!! 
We plan to do this same little paddle again, soon, if anyone wants to join us. For my writer friends, that join me online, do you feel the day? Can you put this unexpected weather in one of your stories? I can, and I guess maybe I should because rain has followed me around this past week. It could be a sign!(it’s really pouring right now as I write this)
   We went to the fair! My husband and I love to go to Blue Hill fair on the Sunday of Labor Day week-end. This time, Mr Weatherman did predict possible light showers, so I tucked my little i pod in my pocket, just- in- case. Well the ‘just- in- case’ happened. My husband sits in the grandstand and watches the horse and oxen pulling. This year, I spent more time sitting there next to him, than usual. It poured, things were postponed for almost 2 hours. I read 22 chapters of a friend’s manuscript that she’d asked me to. Here are a few shots of the action when it took place.

 Rain!!!!     The “pit” crew stretched out tarps, while the it belted down. I stayed dry and read.

The horseman son competed against his horseman father

                                      Dad and his horses won the pull.

                                  An unusual breed of steers with a new style of pulling.

 And the up and coming teamster. A seven year old learning to lead and manage her pair of steers.

     Here on the home front, I’ve been reading, rewriting and tweaking already written manuscripts. I promised myself that I’d make a folder of suggestions, websites, participants, etc, and work on at least one thing a day to prepare for Rutger’s Children’s Writers Literature Conference.  Writer friends who’ve been before have offered advice and ideas and ways to be ready.
    Tara Lazar is going to be a keynote at the conference. Can’t wait to meet her in person. Here’s something she posted on her blog that’s been a driving factor, the last few days, in my revision frenzie. Whether you’re going to RUCCL or another conference, or writing for kids, this advice is sound. You may say that you know about the power of 3, but Tara expands the power and shares her thoughts here:

http://taralazar.wordpress.com/

Now for my cheerleading this week-

Online friend, Carole Brooks has found her dream agent, the lovely Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary. Congratulations Carole and Karen!

Happy Days everyone.

Mona Pease: More Good News!!!

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/08/more-good-news.html
August 26, 2012 at 08:26PM

  ****  news- I swiped the SASE out of my husbands hand and tore it open thinking that my check would fall out, as it did last year. It didn’t happen, so I tipped the envelope and it didn’t happen but my heard started to thump, Thump, THUMP! My hands shook while I looked at the letter-my acceptance to RUCCL!!! (Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature). Am I excited?!?!?! YES!

 I had my sister-in-law Sherry on call, just in case I got in, to drive me to New Brunswick, NJ in October. I’m such a whimp about driving. I let Sherry off the hook when I found out that one of my writer friends, Joyce Shur Johnson, made it in too. And, one of my online friends will be there too. Can’t wait to meet Sheri Dillard. We’re doing the happy happy dance.
                       (grabbed this out of my photos!-We dance in the streets too, rain or shine!)
My writing thoughts have been going back to last year’s mid grade that I didn’t finish. I’m nearly finished with the boy one that I will complete, but Amethyst keeps calling. So, my friend Molly and I took a little ride to Avena Botanicals in Rockport, ME (www.avenabotanicals.com) and leisurely strolled the garden paths, rubbing, sniffing, identifying the easy plants and flowers, and trying to identify others. When we were walked out, we spent a longer time in the store, looking at products and reading their goodness in the free catalog. Lovely names like Moon Ease and Wise Woman’s Tonic.  And I learned that Sacred Basil is not the same thing as pesto basil, and I love African sunflower.
**** news- Two of my other writing friends, Tamra Wight and Brenda Reeves Sturgis met with their new editor, Melissa Kim from Islandport Press, right here in Maine. I love love love that they have contracts with a “home town” publishing company. Makes my heart sing for them.
    Now for other kind of  ***news. Our house is being painted for the first time ever-for us. It’s an old old farm house with lots of cracks and holes and the original wood doors and brass door knobs. The kids gave us gift certificates for paint and painter man and his painter girl have been here scraping, caulking and filling in clapboards. I can’t say the word excited again so I’ll try and hold back and tell you what my week-end job was. I painted the (farmer) porch ceiling.  What was I thinking when I said I’d get it done?!?!? I did, but or Lordy!!!! Matchboard jigging and jagging with the paint brush-finished, hallelujah!  With all this house fixer upper stuff, I’ve given up 2 kayaking trips and Saturday Zumba event. I’m loyal, huh!
       What will this new week bring to my corner of the world? I don’t know, but I wish that you each have a week full of joy and adventure.  
       

Mona Pease: Good News – Other Things To Share!

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/08/good-news-other-things-to-share.html
August 18, 2012 at 12:57PM

I’m still singing and dancing for my friend dear friend   TamraWight  
who sold her first middle grade novel, 
“Cooper and Packrat: Mystery on Pine Lake” to Islandport Press right here in our home state of Maine. 




Tami and her family own Poland Spring Campground where she hosts a writer’s schmooze both spring and fall. I’m fortunate to be one of the participants of this “working” schmooze, so I’ve read, seen and done a bit of critiquing on this (baby) manuscript of Tam’s. You’re going to love it. It’s due to debut in August, 2013.

Yay Yay Yay Yay Yay Yay Yay!!!!!!


She’s one happy camper!!!!


**** Here’s another note for my writer friends. It may be a bit helpful when plotting out your picture book.
The first part of this was posted by another writer, critiquer, friend, Elliah Terry on her blog
 The Itsy Bitsy Writer   I will add my tips at the end because they seem to follow in line with hers.
1. Grab a picture book off your shelf.
2. Flip past the end pages and title page until you come to the first page of story text.
3. Begin reading aloud from YOUR pb manuscript. (As if you are reading it to a group of children).
4. When you get to a pause in your manuscript, turn the page in the book you are holding. Although editors ultimately have the say on when page turn occur, this is a great exercise.
5. Keep reading and keep turning the pages until you have finished reading your manuscript.
6. Analyze your findings. Do you need more scenes? Do you have too many? Does the story flow well?
By pretending my manuscripts are actual books, ie, turning real pages between my fingers, I see things in a whole new light. And sometimes, I even discover new words or scenes that find their way out of my mouth while I am doing it.

Okay, so here’s my two cents to add to Elliah’s. 

What you need is a pad of sticky notes and a pencil.(with an eraser, just in case!)
Read as she suggested, but when you pause, and it comes time to turn the page- Stop!
Grab a sticky note and write down every word that you just read from your manuscript. Stick it on that page.
Continue reading the book. Each time you pause, write that portion of your manuscript on a sticky.
Then go back and read “your” whole book. How’s the pacing? Do the page turns seem to be in a good place? 
Good thing about stickies and pencil is that you can work them around and make changes to your own manuscript along the way.
Try it. See how it comes out.
I usually do this with a similarly written kind of book. (action, quiet, poetic, funny, non-fiction etc)

That’s it for writing stuff, for now….what else?
My little kitchen garden is providing us with fresh food daily. My friends are reaping too. Most of the girls grab at least one ripe tomato on their way in. Some eat 3 or 4, I kid you not!!!!! But the real bad guys have come to visit too. They want my tomatoes.

 I’m not willing to share with them. Even as big as they are, they manage to stay camouflaged and hidden. They do leave lots of evidence.  My friends tell me that their stripes glow in the dark if a black light is shone on them. I don’t have one so I hunt! When I find them….well, don’t ask!

I show favoritism with my garden thieves because these three creatures are devouring all of my parsley and I’m letting them. They’re the Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. We’ve had lots of the butterflies hanging out, but these guys came in the night! This photo was taken the other day and you wouldn’t believe how few leaves there are left for them to munch on. I’m curious if they’ll hang around or move on before they turn into their chrysalis. (on a side note, the monarch caterpillars I gave the twin nephews became butterflies. They were happy to show me.)

I did something yesterday that I hope is as clever as I think it’s going to be. Called the neighbor plumber 
guy and had him turn the hot water temp down. While he was here he told us that he turns his furnace off every day, then turns it back on in the morning to heat the water. My husband didn’t “hear” me when I suggested this a few months ago, but he heard plumber man when he said how few gallons of oil he uses in the summer….done-trying it-will see!!!!(hot water baseboard)
Been doing the same usual things here in the ‘ville, kayaking, writing, herbal wellness clinic, walking, zumbaing, playing baby girl, listening to grandkids backyard band concert.
Life is not boring!!!!!

Mona Pease: You never know-at least I never do!

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/07/you-never-know-at-least-i-never-do.html
July 31, 2012 at 10:14AM

   I took a walk with coffee cup in hand, to check out the wild blackberries on our property. I knew they must be close to picking, but not this close.

   It’s a pretty big patch and easy access, so I finished the coffee and filled the cup with the beautiful black beauties that are just ripening.
 

   and then…
       Right beside the blackberry patch is another wild crop, milkweed.
           ….and on that milkweed was a caterpillar, a black and white and yellow caterpillar.

      …and beside the caterpillar was a …

                                                               Monarch!

     So in my backyard I discovered the near beginning of a story and the very end of the same tale, but no middle this time. I promised myself early on that I wouldn’t capture the things and watch the middle and end evolve-again! But, I did capture a few of the caterpillars and took then out back to the “boys”. (twin nephews). I got report this morning that there’s already a J hanging from the netting cover. That means with some luck, the kids will “see” the whole story….a show not tell thing!!!!! ((Couldn’t help myself last night, but to go out and gather a few more for the little niece next door.)))
 
    Okay writers, we all know the basics of story writing, but this whole gathering thing is just a reminder for us-
       All stories must have:
           Beginning
           Middle
           Ending (with a surprise twist)
   In this case, the butterfly is surely the suspenseful surprise ending for the kids (big and small)….and then it flies away and a new chapter begins. In the meantime, don’t give up!

      It’s no wonder that almost everything I write has a little sprinkling of nature thrown in, whether it be fiction or non-fiction story. My days are filled with so many things of nature, even when I go kayaking (yes, that was yesterday) Maybe, especially when I go out in the kayak.

   What lurks amongst the lily pads and pickerel weeds? We heard bull frogs croaking and a great blue flew out, only to change his position so there was no photo shots of him. But this guy let me get close. I paddled around him while he stood on guard but didn’t plop into the water.

A turtle standing like this always makes me think of one of those water type hunting dog…feet in position and the hind leg pointed out, ready for action. (I don’t really know. Is that kind of how a dog stands waiting?)

So those are my stories for this week. Or maybe the story seeds that are never ending around here.
This all reinforces my idea of what “nature” themed story to submit to one of our NESCBWI conference editors-today.

Just one more thing, and I’ve posted this place many times. It always amazes me as we kayak under. I wonder how the “old timers” positioned that granite to form the arch and make it stay, and how they even got those chunks up there without all the power equipment of today. I think I must ask my friend “google”

Have a happy week. Look around, what do you see? Dance-tonight’s one of my nights. (Zumba of course!)

Mona Pease: MIA

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/07/mia.html
July 20, 2012 at 07:55AM

   I have been MIA, as has been my writer’s muse. Few new words have flowed and not new story ideas until last night in the middle of it. It was an exciting PB idea, even had the main character (animal) going to different places, thus a series of fun stories. Yay! Except I only remember “it” was an animal, and the adventures were exciting!!!!
    I don’t believe in writer’s block, more like writer’s rest, so I think we both may have waken up-finally. So what does this children’s writer do when the words won’t flow? Well write of course! The old stories come out and get reviewed, the online friends send their words over for critique, and another friend sent a reminder that deadline is looming for submitting to  a few conference editors. Deadline time-so I squeaked in the nick of time to send off a few polished manuscripts.
   The vacation from words is over for me and that muse and I have an idea brewing, as I type, from an interesting story I heard on the news.
   But I’ll let you know that the rest of my life is on vacation most of the time. Not the go away kind, but the look around and plunge into what’s available kind… Like,  last week my daughter called at 6:00 am and asked if I’d help her give out flowers in our ‘ville parade. She was able to come over from work and  participate in the 200 year celebration of her hometown. So after my Sat morning Zumba class, I helped! Lots of roses for lots of lovely people.

   I thought that the whole little ‘ville was in the parade so was surprised to see so many spectators along the mile stretch. After the parade, there were games for all the “kids” all day long (including horseshoes and volley ball), a supper and an amazing display of fireworks to end the festivities.

 

Then there was the 4 1/2 hour kayaking paddle around Friendship Long Island with daughter and sister-in-law the other day. It was so beautiful with the droning hum of the lobster boats in the water. The lobstermen had parked their boats for a few days because the price is way down and gas and bait prices aren’t costing any less. It was good to see them out and about doing what they love best-their job.
We all shared the sea.

 All of the sternmen aren’t men!

Then there was the community walk/dance through Camden to benefit the Community Cares (for kids) program. (I volunteered for the kiddos in the 5 surrounding communities)
Babysitting the niece on the spur of the moment. 
But now, it’s off to write that great story!
So, as usual, “there’s nothing to do” way out here in the country!!!

Mona Pease: I See the Sea!

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/06/i-see-sea.html
June 13, 2012 at 09:16PM

 …the title of my new picture book! It’s the title of my life!
This has been a week of seaside adventures beginning over the week-end when our son treated us to a night at the Cliff House in Ogunquit, ME. I sat out on my little deck and wrote..the slap of the water on those ledges, the warm sun and no internet! How perfect is this for a mini me writing retreat!?!?!?
Part of this Inn is 150 years old and somehow they managed to get back old postcards that had been sent from there-enlarged and framed one for each room. Ours was from a young girl(I think)Ruth Ann who was complaining and upset about another, Dora Elizabeth who I guessed was her sister. Why she nearly fainted when DE cut off her pigtails! The PS said-send more chocolate. It calms my nerves!

…and we ventured downtown. I loved the fact that the beautiful seaside town caters to tourists, but also shows their respect for their own. The locals who make their living from the sea.

The dinghies and the lobster boats already parked for the day…. a few sailboats share this channel too…my heart sings here. What is it with me? I live here. I can walk a beach or look over a harbor much like this, anytime I want-providing I get in my car and drive about 20 miles! But I always feel the same magic.

On the way home we visited a few lighthouses…..

Now if that wasn’t enough sea, Monday took me closer to home. Met up with my friend Cynthia Lord. She did two school presentations so we had plenty of time in between her events to explore. First off, we went to my “sea glass” beach. It was a perfect day and we Touched Blue!

Cindy loves the sea as much as I do. There is a piece or two of blue glass in her hand with the other colored finds. 
Yes, that’s another lighthouse in the background-the Breakwater in Rockland. We didn’t have time to walk along the mile long granite setting but we did have time to go to Rockport Harbor to touch Andre’ the famous harbor seal.
A few of my other writer friends, Jo Knowles and Cindy Faughnan presented a writer’s camp at NESCBWI conference this year that got me really appreciating writing prompts. So the sea is my prompt this week-I already told you it’s the theme of my new picture book idea. Here are a few prompts and ideas for you. The smell, the feel of the gravely shore on bare feet, the slap of the waves, the seaweed that washed up from the astronomically high tide, the taste, the light breeze,the colorful glass that glistens in the sunlight just for you, the heart shaped sea washed rocks…and as I write of a few of the sea wonders, I’ve come up with another story idea. I hope you’re inspired by these prompts too.  

Mona Pease: Dance! Dance! Dancing!

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/06/dance-dance-dancing.html

  You know me. I love to sing and dance and cheer for my friends.  So here I go again shaking my glitzy pom poms and sending out rah, rah, rahs to …
Christine Tricarico,   http://christinetricarico.wordpress.com/  for the release of her new picture book.

   I ordered this several months ago and forgot when it was supposed to come so it was a nice surprise that the mail lady delivered the other day!
  I’ll tell you that the fun begins and all Farm breaks loose when Rooster catches a jitterbug! It’s a frolicy, rolicky, dancing, prancing, singing, swinging, swaying, playing, rhyming picture book. Fun fun fun! And, again as I look at my friend’s book, I’m truly amazed at how an art editor finds the perfect illustrator to add life to the author’s story.  Look at this!!!!!!  The vivid colors truly enhance each colorful word that Christine carefully chose to entertain the reader. You’ll want your own copy!
     Now, for other things. My calendar is full, as is my life. So full, that I had to choose between my favorite writing schmooze or a family event over the week-end. Family of course prevailed-the whole family pitched in to buy Colby a drum set that he was saving for. It was so exciting for all of us to share his excitement. There will never be another quiet day in that musical household besides the fact that there are 2 teenagers now!!!
      My other choice, the one I didn’t do, was to join friends for the business of writing. I love it so much so it was hard to pass up. It’s one of the few times each year that I get face to face, in person writing, critiquing, and chatter, and the after work activities, all hosted by our friend Tamra Wight (and her family) at Poland Spring Campground.   http://www.tamrawight.com/writing-notes/busy-busy-days/
I especially missed “the after school” kayaking and getting to see the triplets. Here’s Tami’s photo of them…Amazing, huh!

        
   There was still lots going on here at home. Between birthday party, zumbaing and helping paint the new “dance studio”,  I wrote and critiqued and chatted with writer friends-online! That’s all good.
    And, I know that this is way off topic, but do you know anyone that can twist a cherry stem into a knot, inside their mouth, with their tongue?  I know, sometimes I ask the weirdest things, but a few weeks ago, at zumba, no less, one of the girls demonstrated this fete to me, and it amazed me so much, I had to see it again. So this morning I got up to  the announcement of the new Miss USA, and read the news that one of her talents (I guess that’s the category) is this:


Pageant officials also noted that Culpo “can tie a cherry stem with her tongue.”



We’re still in pouring rain mode here in Maine, but enjoy the day anyway. Have fun. Read, even if it’s trivia about beauty pageant  winners, write, “call a friend”. I think I’ll do all of the above and simmer chicken soup on the wood stove besides.

Mona Pease: I’ve Been All Over The Place!

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/05/by-now-everyone-in-world-knows-that-im.html

By now, everyone in the world knows that I’m infatuated with the full moon and I run outside winter and summer to get the perfect picture. But this week, the half full (not half empty) moon got my attention. Look at this!                                                                                                                                                                                                  
So perfect! So what? Well, I stepped out of my shallow little box- maybe?!?!? Maybe not. It’s been there all the time. Did I ever particularly notice?  It’s kind of like my writing. I’d written a pretty perfect picture book story, or so I thought (and so did Barbara Karlin Grant judges) but it took an agent man’s suggestions to make me look at it in a different way. I didn’t get it at first. I “couldn’t” change a word and keep my lyrical tone. But I had to. So, I stepped away and thought and came back and jotted and pondered and jotted and sent it to my critique group. Now, with not so many changes later, I feel a different strength to the main “character”. I “see” that character.  The moral of this story is: Use your senses (s) In this case,  Listen! Look!  
The whole week’s been a step outside of my norm…lot’s of things going on(hospital visit, worked at flower shop), but the biggest was that my wireless modem stopped. I made my first big mistake when I called the company and asked a simple question-“can these things un-configure if the computer lines were on and off for a few day?”  Wrong! Wrong! Wrong thing to do!  The guy in India gave me a sales pitch and before you knew it I was calling the bank to finance our house to pay for his wonderful service of reconfiguring and boosting my power!!!!!(not really but seemed that way after a few hours and 6 different techies) Anyway, in a few days, I got one for Mother’s day and came home and got it all up and going with a bit of help from same company’s ‘other’ tech guy.
But….
don’t you just love that for a page turn?
But…
I called another one and told him my wireless printer, iPod and Kindle weren’t working. He wanted me to refinance again to get this wonderful service added to my other wonderful service. So I huffed and puffed and frumped and grumped and like the little red hen,  said, “I will do it myself.”
And I did! 
So now,  I’m catching up on blogging, writing, critiquing and yes, dancing!
My diehard Zumba friends did a 24 hour dance-a-thon to raise money for a new dance floor. I only joined them and brought coffee and doughnuts at 6:30 this morning. Yes, I had to stop, roll down my window and take this beautiful shot…look at the sun rays that said good morning!
They were still moving slowly slowly slowly…. but boy they made it from 8am to 8am! Congratulations for the accomplishment and to all for the pledges and donations.
Hope all you mothers out there had a wonderful and happy day!                                                          

Mona Pease: Happy May Day

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/05/happy-may-day.html

     Ever you ever “hung” a May Basket, or been the recipient of one (or more!)? My daughter and I hang them on the “kids” every year. This year was no exception.(velvet beret for T and teal bow tie for C-roll of quarters for each) No running match anymore. they catch us quick!
   Last year a few neighbors and I thought it would be  nice to go to a few of the shut-ins neighbors. We almost left to the wayside until this morning, but we couldn’t not do it. So between us, we hurried and  cooked brownies, peanut butter cookies, molasses cookies. We tucked in packets of tea, daffodils and a bit of tissue, tied with curl ribbon. The brown paper bags looked pretty good to the ladies around town who remember the tradition. It didn’t take a lot of effort, and I feel good!

      If you don’t know the tradition, it’s fill a basket with candy or flowers,  “hang” it on someone’s doorstep, holler “May Basket” and the recipient has to chase the givers, then give a kiss when they catch them. We got “caught” and kissed and sooooo glad we did this last minute thing. You know what, there’s still time for you to play on May Day.

      On Friday night, some of the Zumba girls participated in the local “Dancing with the Stars” Of course, you know I did!  On the way there though, I wondered what I was doing!!!!  Here’s our “crew” waiting to go on stage…I’m still shaking my head thinking, “what was I thinking!”

     Turn the page on that… and turn another. And speaking of turning the page, I’ve been so busy tweaking and retweaking a little 500 word PB per suggestions from one of the professional critiquers at our conference. I’m placing words so the reader will want to turn the page and each word, each sentence has meaning. 500 simple words-how can it be so tough!?!?!?! One of the ‘rules’ is to set your manuscript aside and let it rest, but that’s hard when it’s all you can think about. I’ve got to though…let it rest, let it rest, let it rest…(for a minute anyway)

      I’ve let things rest enough…just wanted to pop in wish everyone a Happy May Day.
       Be Happy and make someone else happy too.

   

   

   
 
     

Mona Pease: more of “My Conference”

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/04/more-of-my-conference.html

I’m still floating on that magical cloud that I came home on after the New England conference.  Others have posted keynote speakers, but the photos I’m showing are quite like me, a patchwork kind of quilt. 
The workshops were fantastic. Here are Cindy Faughnan-www.cindyfaughnan.com  and 
Jo Knowles, our writing camp councilors. Believe me, they used their whistles more than once, but in defense of the group, they gave us exercises and we couldn’t stop chatting until…well you know, the whistle thing! I didn’t think that someone else’s writing prompt would help me with my writing, but I was wrong. The prompts were given, few minutes to write the story, and then the readings. I was amazed that with each prompt, each writer came up with totally different ideas. So I’m stuck on prompts and when I’m stuck I’ll turn to them. A good place to find prompts is at http://www.joknowes.com/prompts.html   See what you come up with!

         This is the crowd in the dining hall where we ate surrounded by editors and agents. I had the good fortune to have the seat right beside the lovely Julie Ham, assistant editor from Charlesbridge. And on Sunday, Denise and I had breakfast and conversation with independent editor, Harold Underdown. Nice! Nice! Nice!
           

There were books sold and authors signing. Do you recognize anyone at the tables?

 The next few photos are in a full house Real Revision workshop with Kate Messner. Kate is so smart and nice-oh, did I say nice up above….Yes, everyone there was nice!

Besides the fabulous, fantastic workshops I attended, I had critiques of my manuscripts. One of them was an new (for us) and interesting concept-on the spot critique. “You” take a manuscript to the assigned agent or editor, he/she reads it there and gives a crit on the spot! I was leery of this, but person and I had a chat, I presented one of 2 manuscripts we talked about. Brainstormed it, with pencil notes and suggestions, then he/she asked if I had the other one with me! I did and I received an email yesterday about that one. I was worried about the process, but it was a pretty cool. First read, first impressions count!
This is what I’m reading right now. It’s Jennifer Carson’s Hapenny Magick. I love the cover and title. Don’t you just want to pick it up and read?!?!? I didn’t buy this book though. Jennifer gave it to me because she said I’m nice! Thank you so much Jennifer. (I’ll try not to say nice again) 

I did buy a few books but will post them when I get them back. I lent them out to a teenager  this morning.


And this-I thought I was keeping secrets from my roommates. I made a plan and removed my birthday from my facebook page but wishes started filtering in. I didn’t say anything, thinking it’s conference time, not my time, but on Sunday morning they presented me with a card and lovely journal-they knew all the time!

I can’t say enough about the conference experience and how I wish everyone could attend one and come home as upbeat and refreshed and motivated as I am. It’s spring conference season, so if you get to go to one-
*Take advantage of the offerings. Paid critiques are invaluable. Don’t expect editor/agent to gush over  
      your manuscript and want it right there on the spot. You may get a request though/or not, but the 
      critique usually gives you an overview of what that person sees and hears from the pages subbed.
*Be prepared with a few manuscripts. I’ve never had anyone ask to take a story with them until this   
        year, but I had it with me in a small portfolio.
*Dress comfortably.
*Have business cards.
*Socialize and be friendly.
*Volunteer if you can. 
*Attend your workshops with pencil and notebook or computer in hand.  Some have detailed handouts. *You’ve heard lots of this stuff before, but keep your mind open. You will learn something, I promise!
*Fill out the evaluation form. It helps with planning the next event.
*Miss Zumba for a few times!!!!
Now that I’m home,  it’s time for me to dance! Have a great week.

Mona Pease: “My” Conference

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/04/my-conference.html

Our New England SCBWI conference doesn’t officially begin until this afternoon,

but four writer friends decided to come to Springfield a day early to have our own little writing retreat. Tami Wight and I drove from Maine, Val Giogas from MA and Denise Ortacales from NH yesterday “retreating”! After the update chit chat, we pulled out our computers and stretched out and immersed in our own manuscripts.

Then our friend Joyce Johnson came by and talked writing and shared her newly released book…

and…when we looked inside, she gave us, her “Schmoozer” critiquers acknowledgement!!!! I’m humbled.


 The inside of our hotel-looking down and all around-     The sign that lets the world know who’s here!

Our room view is the mini apple orchard on the roof next door.

 And this, well it’s Denise after a very special presentation from Val, The Rosemary Frye Award.  Rosemary has a long story but the short of it is that each year,  the Rosemary muse and journal is passed on from one deserving children’s writer to another, to see them through their writing journey for a year. Congratulations Denise!!! You’re special.

Now a quick note to my Zumba girls before I  get back to story writing….I’ve been reading your updates and singing and dancing- in my head. I shared the first video with my roomies and I danced again -in my head! So dance dance dance on your feet and I’ll see you soon!!!!

Mona Pease: Honey I’m Home

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/04/honey-im-home.html

I know I missed posting last week. Did anyone notice?!?!? We were in St. Augustine checking out our son’s FL home. I was in glory land enjoying the beach and being inspired every morning before we went on our other daily adventures.  Here’s an early morning sunrise on St Augustine Beach on Anastasia Island.

…and the chair I bought to relax, read and write in after I took my power walk along the beach. That’s my bag of writing tricks under the chair! 
Zumba friends, I thought of you too. I didn’t dance, but while I walked, I held my shoulders back and tightened the middle, and thought core, core, core! And neighbors and friends, I never talked as much on my cell phone especially while beach walking-thanks for the calls. 
 I wrote and critiqued pages by the pool too.

David and Ed were our tour guides. With almost every turn, I surprisingly found “signs” that related to many of the stories I’m working on. I truly feel like they mean something. My critique buddies will know what I’m talking about when I show them this once-upon-a-time moat. Not around a castle. It was around the historical fort, but a moat, nevertheless! Then there were the crocodiles on another venture and a black bear too… la la la la….
the moat
and a full moon!!!
What do you think my dear writer buddies? Do you believe in the signs? I’m still feeling the weird connection to all of these intrusions that just happened to be there during my vacation. A good weird!
This tourist also found the fountain of youth. Did I drink from it? You bet. I dumped it over my head and jumped in the magical waters, so wait ’til you see the new me! Okay, so I lie, but sounded pretty good. I did drink a glass of the stuff because I was dry, but that was it. A girl can dream and pretend.
David and I climbed the 215 steps up to the top of the historical lighthouse. Just happened to be near the top when these school kids were going down and around and down and around and down and around! Pretty cool seeing one red shirt following another.

A fitting last photo- sunset on the beach.

Much thanks to David Pease and Ed Tobolski for a glorious week. We landed home on Easter Sunday afternoon, just in time to enjoy the rest of our family for Easter feast.
All I can say is dream, walk in the sunshine and enjoy your journey, no matter where it may take you.

Mona Pease: What’s The Weather Got To Do With Things?

From: Mona Meanders
http://monapease.blogspot.com/2012/03/whats-weather-got-to-do-with-things.html
March 25, 2012 at 04:47PM

      I hate that we have to place blame anytime something doesn’t go right, but today as I post, I must say that all the blame goes on Mother Nature for the not so good and the good
      It’s maple syrup Sunday here in Maine and the not so good is that there wasn’t one sugar shack open for business in our county. Why???? Because we’ve had a week of this kind of weather. It’s still March and this is Maine.




 The sap runs when the days are warm and the nights are below freezing so my neighbors didn’t get much of nature’s gold. This is the little house last year.

But this year,  no sap, no syrup, no crowds in our neighborhood. And the bottom line,  no $$$$ for those that depend on making a good part of their living in winter and spring.
   On another twist of Mother Nature’s mood we got these-

      And it was the “Mother” that helped me get over the wall and out of my writing slump. Today it’s been rainy for real, but my story got heavy showers the other day and my juices started flowing again.  It’s really affecting my poor main character though. I know that if he were a real live kid, he’d probably pop me and run away. But he can’t put himself in another setting. I’m keeping him in my neighborhood and watching his every move. He can blame me for the recent messes he’s gotten into but I am going to say it’s Mother Nature. She gave me rain. It was right here in front of me all the time. I know…simple. And this is simple and just a reminder for my writer friends. Look around you-what do you feel, what do you see, what do you hear, what do you smell, what do you taste? All right so try closing your eyes and asking the same questions. Use your senses…use common sense.
    Have a great week. I’ve got to visit with my “boy” and see where we’ll take each other.
       
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