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!
From: Mona Meanders
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.
From: Mona Meanders
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.
From: Mona Meanders
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.
Rain!!!! The “pit” crew stretched out tarps, while the it belted down. I stayed dry and read.
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:
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.
From: Mona Meanders
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!
From: Mona Meanders
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!!!!!
From: Mona Meanders
July 31, 2012 at 10:14AM
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.
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 …
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:
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!)
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.
All of the sternmen aren’t men!
From: Mona Meanders
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 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!!!!
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.
A fitting last photo- sunset on the beach.
From: Mona Meanders
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-