Tag Archives: New York City

Half the Fun

10 Feb

Getting there is half the fun, right? RIGHT!

I never thought I’d get to an SCBWI national conference, but this year I took the plunge with my friend and writing partner, Jennifer.

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We departed on a bright sunny and unusually warm day in Ohio, knowing that nor’eastern Nico was predicted to hit that night. After our first sighting of a NYC road sign, we stopped for a celebratory DQ Blizzard. I named mine, Nico. Then I ate it!

We drove just more than halfway to make the next day’s drive easy. As we settled in for the night the snow fairies came, promising a blizzard of their own making.

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Luckily, we were prepared with an ice scraper, shovel, boots, and a de-icer.

Patting ourselves on the back we headed out. But our luck was short lived. We ran into a traffic jam sitting behind a long, long, long line of trucks. No one was moving. We crept along two miles of highway before being detoured off the road. Sadly, we weren’t the only ones having a slow start that day. A trucker had careened off the road, closing the highway, and on the exit ramp we saw another unfortunate trucker sidelined.  img_1362

Two hours later we were enjoying the views of a small riverside town. It was actually quite beautiful in the snow.

Once we got back on the highway and the rest of the trip was easy-breezy. Crossing the Hudson at dusk, I knew we had finally made it! img_1408

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Now, fast forward 24 hours and I’m sitting in a cozy corner of the Ballroom level of the Grand Hyatt in New York City. Jennifer is engrossed in her intensive course she’d signed up for and I’m reflecting on my first day in the big apple. No, I didn’t go see the sights. Instead, I met a cousin I hadn’t seen since I was a very young girl. He brought me family photos and we talked and talked and talked! We spent several hours at one table and then moved into the restaurant for lunch and spent another couple of hours reminiscing and catching up on our new lives. fullsizerender

So until tomorrow, when I attend my first SCBWI Winter Conference, I know that getting here was half the fun!

Lazy Little Loafers

10 Aug

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Lazy Little Loafers written by Susan Orlean and illustrated by G. Brian Karas (2008)

Babies are Lazy Little Loafers. They don’t work. They spend all day playing and lying about. They get away with this because they are so cute. While the narrator ponders the question of what babies do while she (and the rest of the kids her age) take tests, give book reports, and figure out tough math questions, she notices that all the babies in Central Park are waving at dogs, snacking, and hanging out with their friends. Just as she arrives at school, she realizes why babies don’t work…they’re too smart!

Susan Orlean tells the story like a true New Yorker. She doesn’t talk down to the reader and she includes the reader by identifying with their plight and dropping little bits of sarcastic humor in the monologue.

G. Brian Karas depicts the city streets and parks of New York with details like Broadway-like signs, black clothing, crowds, doormen, and sidewalk cafes.

 

I like the narrator’s voice, a little mature for her age, leaving me wondering if all New York school kids are so sophisticated. And I loved the humor in the artwork. I especially liked the last illustration… the narrator enters the school building and realizes that babies are too smart for school when a baby passing by in a stroller sticks out his tongue at her, showing the reader that babies really do know what they’re doing!

With the setting in early September and the narrator bemoaning her school work while she obviously would rather be hanging out in the park, this would make an excellent back-to-school choice for parents, teachers, and students.

SCBWI Winter Conference

18 Feb

Because I have to miss the conference in NYC this weekend….

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http://scbwiconference.blogspot.com

Flash Fiction

19 Dec

OK friends, here’s another holiday contest entry!  This one is more difficult than it looks – you have to write a children’s story about why and where Santa is running in 150 words or less!  The contest is sponsored by the Institute of Children’s Literature and the entries can be read on their Facebook page.

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https://www.facebook.com/InstituteofChildrensLiterature

You are allowed up to three entries… so of course I wrote three!  Please read and enjoy!  I would love to hear back from you on which one is your favorite.

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Grandfather’s Clock

(150 words)

Anyone who’s ever tried to stay awake on Christmas Eve knows it can’t be done.  And I know why.  Many years ago, my family spent Christmas at my grandparents’ house.  They had this old, old grandfather clock in the hallway.  I checked that clock every five minutes.  Finally I declared, “Grandpa, your clock is broken!”

Grandpa just laughed and took me onto his lap.  “There’s nothing wrong with that clock,” Grandpa said.  “Don’t you know that on Christmas Eve time runs slowly?  Santa made a deal with Father Time to extend the hours and minutes so he could make all his deliveries.  He starts his trip with the first evening star and travels west around the world until the sun catches up with him.”

Laying in bed that night, I listened to the tick-tock of the grandfather clock dragging out time, and I imagined Santa racing to beat the sun.

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Santa’s Final Stop

(149 words)

Santa gathered his bag and slid down the last chimney of the night.  He landed with a thump that echoed in the house.  Santa shook himself and looked around.

“Oh no,” he thought.

Santa glanced up and spied a note propped up on the mantel.

“Dear Santa, We have moved to New York City.  Here is my new address.”

“Jingle Bells!” Santa exclaimed looking at his watch.  “It’s almost morning in New York City!”

“Let’s fly boys,” Santa shouted.  The team lifted and sped eastward.  The sun was slowly making its ascent.

“We can do this!” he shouted.

Dawn was breaking over the water.  Santa made a hasty landing.  Grabbing his bag, he descended the chimney. Amid the boxes stood a small, decorated tree.  Quickly Santa unloaded his bag.  Overhead he heard footsteps running for the stairs.

“He came! He found us!” Santa heard as he disappeared from sight.

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Santa’s Run

(149 words)

Harper stood at the corner waiting for the runners in the annual Santa Run to pass by.  She bounced on her tiptoes to keep warm.  Her new hat was pulled tightly down to her eyebrows and her scarf wrapped up to her nose.

“Here they come!” Harper shouted.  She clapped her mittened hands together.

The first runners dashed around the corner in a blur.

Then the second round of skinny runners sprinted by wearing Santa hats.

The third group jogged past in Santa suits and fake Santa beards.

The final group walked dogs with reindeer ears and elf hats.

Just as the crowd turned to go home, one last hopeful rounded the corner.

“It’s Santa!”  Harper cheered!

His belly bounced as his boots hit the pavement.

“I just knew he would be here!” Harper exclaimed.

She stepped forward and gave Santa her Thank You note.

“Ho-Ho-Ho!”

“Merry Christmas, Santa!”

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Seriously folks, leave me a note.  I really want to know what you think.  I’m thinking about reworking at least one of these ideas into a full manuscript for a picture book, and I’d love some feedback from you on which one you think has the most merit.  I promise, if you write a comment I’ll put a good word in for you with the big guy.  There just might be a little something extra in your stocking.  Merry Christmas!

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