“When Christmas Sneaks Up”

Usually, I start shopping for Christmas in October or earlier. I mean – plenty of parkingchristmastree2015_wmk__img_1570 spaces, no lines, it’s warmer. As November hits then it’s time to shop online. Not so bad, as all presents will arrive out of town and state on time.

But this year, I didn’t “wake up” from the Thanksgiving tryptophan until a few weeks ago. I found myself scrambling – I raced to the keyboard with mugs of hot chocolate in hand. Yes, my fingers did the frantic shopping.

Then I discovered one of the best places to shop for everyone – for toddler to the over 30-somethings on my list – online and local bookstores! Who doesn’t love exercising their minds and imagination, or being entertained and discovering new worlds? There’s just something about books (or gift cards to bookstores).

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Now that my shopping is done, Christmas cards sent, and some decorations hung – I’m playing joyful and inspiring Christmas music. I realize I’ve been prepared for Christmas deep inside the whole time because the Person of Christmas is always with me – reminding me how simple and peaceful that first Christmas was.

Merry Christmas!

Your input: When and how do you prepare for Christmas, and are books on your giving or wish list?

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“The Relief of Clicking the ‘Send’ Button”

The idea for my most recent picture book came to me in the spring when the air is light. Looking back to the first draft, I have to chuckle. It’s so sparse, choppy, and wrapped around one thought, as cute as it may be. Thank goodness for critiquers and revisions.

It’s a truth that critique partners and revisions are kind task masters. They teach one how to flesh out manuscripts that are much too airy. The balance is to keep a picture book manuscript near or under that golden 500 words count and not lose any of the plot, arc, or theme. Shaping your story into its best form is hard, even stressful work. You ponder, prance, even pulsate around it. It encompasses your days, hours, and thoughts.

Then comes the time to prepare your manuscript for submission. You triple check to make sure it’s error free. The writers you know and trust who have read it or critiqued it say, “It’s ready to send.”

sendbutton2_wmk_img_2064 “Yes, it’s time to press that button!”

You almost panic for a moment. Really? It’s ready? You’ve been so used to having it to revise, change, contemplate, play with, and even talk to it. You’ve grown used to the joy of working on your manuscript.

“Yes, it’s time to press that button!” Okay, it is time.

Though you love the process of writing, when your manuscript is finally at its best and ready to be released out into the inboxes of agents or editors, you realize this is it. It’s time to take several deep breaths and let go, both of the manuscript and yourself. No more excuses or procrastination. Therein is your relief.

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The relief of sharing your manuscript with those outside your circle. There’s even freedom in the sound of clicking the “Send” button.

Click.

Boy, I do feel better!

Your input: Do you stress or find relief in submitting your manuscript?

© Lynn Rogalsky

“Writing Olympics – Not Always for The Medal”

I’ve been training most of my life for the ‘Writing Olympics.” It started with a love for reading as a child. Then I wrote fiction as a teen. In college, I gained a Journalism B.A. and worked in two radio newsrooms, and a TV newsroom for over five years writing news and feature stories. More recently I fell in love with writing for children.

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Whether I’m tumbling with ideas, swimming laps with my characters, or running the track with an amazing plot line, the medal always seems out of reach.

I guess the equivalent to the Olympic medal—whether bronze, silver or gold, in the writing world would be winning an agent, a securing a book deal from an editor, and seeing your book published and on the shelves.

The more I listen to our amazing Olympic athletes on Team USA, the more I get it. They do it for the love of the sport. Sure it’s great to be recognized as the best in the world and win a medal, maybe even time after time.

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Michael Phelps sporting a few of his total 23 gold Olympic medals.

Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time (28 medals total), said in the 2016 Rio games that he always wants to be the best and shoots to be at the top of the podium with a gold medal, but in the end it’s because he loves swimming. Phelps said, “I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.”

Phelps quote can be applied to the writer’s life and goals. I have none of the Writing Olympic medals above to show for all the countless, hours, days, and years of sweet writing sweat. Yet. But I do have countless children’s stories that qualify me to enter the publishing race. I’m tenacious, full of ideas and in this for the long haul. But most of all, I’m in the Writing Olympics for the love of writing. Always keep your eye on the prize and the finish line!

Go Team USA!

Your input:  What propels you to be your best in the “Writing Olympics” or any other passion in life?

“RAIN REIGN” Whimsical Word Book Recommendation

Summertime is normally associated with hot, steamy weather, ice cream, and swimming. But it’s also a great time to keep cool inside to read and write. Here is my first of many picture book (PB) to middle grade (MG) or young adult (YA) novel recommendations. The following is a MG novel.

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin, Newberry Honor Author: A heartwarming and insightful look into the mind and life of Rose Howa21531450_212x124_thumbrd a middle-grader with OCD, Asperger’s syndrome, and an obsession with homonyms. Rose’s life centers around school and her learning difficulties. Her highest priority is her dog, Rain, who her single father brings home during a rainstorm. But Rose’s life is turned upside down when Rain goes missing in a heart-pounding rain storm. Now Rose can think of nothing else but to find her beloved dog Rain and restore order to her shattered life.

The character of Rose is strong and someone we become intrigued and concerned about immediately.

Watch the book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1ixz0z6W4A

I give this book 4 out of 5 “Greats!”

“My Inspiration for Life”

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Lynn side-by-side with her beautiful mother, Evelyn. That’s how it’s been through both their lives.

Since last time I’ve posted, my life has taken a gigantic, unexpected turn. You see, my extreme best friend, my inspiration, my dear mother, Evelyn – known as Mom to me – passed into Heaven’s eternal life on January 31st of this year. I’ve been heartsick since then and unable to write. Until now.

My mother has been a great supporter of my writing since my high school and professional journalism years. And now my children’s book writing years as well. My Mom was a go-getter, as was my Dad. I’m thankful I take after them. A former boss told me I have a tenacious work ethic. I have my parents to thank.

I can and will always hear my Mom encouraging me to “get going,” especially since the publishing process takes so long. The best thing I can do to honor and memorialize her is to continue to write, revise, and submit manuscripts. She wants it that way. She can’t wait to see me published, even from her heavenly eye’s view.

I can remember my Mom reading to me as a child. I still own the multi-volume set of children’s story books

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My Mom Evelyn, the best story teller I’ve ever known. The most intelligent and loving person I could ever be blessed to have as a mother. ~ Lynn

encyclopedia style she and my Dad gave my brother and I. I of course have taken them over. Those books and stories filled our minds and days with so many amazing imaginings.

My Mom was a bit of a story teller in her own right. She was no doubt my first influence. I have many fond memories of her sitting on my bedside when I had trouble falling asleep. There she wove a bedtime story that inspired my dreams. I recall how fascinating I found the story and I loved the fact that she told it to me again and again. I can’t wait to write it down for other children to enjoy, courtesy of my Mom’s imagination. She likes that idea.

Happy Mother’s Day, my sweet Mom!

“2016 ALA Youth Media Award Winners”

What better way to start the New Year than with the 2016 American Library Association (ALA) Youth Media Award winners recently announced!

ALA 2016 Winners
We’re talking a group of talented children book writers and illustrators who have contributed greatly to the world of children’s literature in 2015. Here’s a list of the complete winners: http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2016/01/american-library-association-announces-2016-youth-media-award-winners.

Last year I watched online and found it thrilling. Where else can you hear a banquet roomful of librarians cheer, clap, hoot, and holler? I got caught up in the excitement and am now hooked on watching every year.
When the award presentations were over, I discovered myself inspired to revise and even write a new picture book with fresh found fervor. Not with the hopes of ever winning an award, very few authors do that, but to create a literary experience for children in this age of technology. Children writer’s and illustrators do what we do in hopes kids will tap into their strongest superpower: Imagination!

Here’s the link to the Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938-Present: http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/caldecottmedal/caldecotthonors/caldecottmedal.
Did you notice an evolution or revolution in children’s books over the decades? Did you find your favorite book(s) listed? I must admit almost any book for kids sparks my whimsy for daydreaming, and therefore writing. They transport me into a fantasy world of fun where of course, Dr. Seuss and his curious creatures reign.

Your input: Which children’s books powered your imagination as a child or an adult?

“Happy New Year, Welcome 2016!”

I’m bucking tradition and not making any new resolutions for 2016. I still have the ongoing ones from 2015: Eat healthier, exercise more, escape into nature more, become a minimalist, and spend more time with my Mom, family, and friends. I will also continue to delve deeper into writing for children.

Looking back on 2015, I’m satisfied with writing many new picture book manuscripts. To me, that’s an accomplishment in itself. I sent two of those manuscripts out to three agents and one editor. I plan to increase that volume in the New Year. So the journey and quest continues.

Poppy Field_eyelevel_wmkLike a field of wild poppies, I believe my greatest accomplishments this year were people, whether family or friends. Most exciting to me was reconnecting with two childhood friends who are sisters whom I met at age five. We were best friends on top of that, so they will always both be my sisters. About ten years ago we each lost contact of each other for one reason or another, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is the three of us have been reunited. I can thank Facebook for one connection and God for bumping into the other sister at a health fair.

I have made some new friends and acquaintances this year as well. I will spend more of my time with my Mom, and with my friends also where we have let too many months go between us.

Here’s wishing and hoping for a very Healthy, Productive New Year for my family, friends, blog followers, and myself!

Your input: What were some of your highlights in 2015? What are your resolutions for 2016?