Life, better known as blah, blah, blah

WHEN TO PUSH YOURSELF AND WHEN NOT TO

There are days, weeks, maybe even months when we feel the need to push ourselves more so than normal. Sometimes it is okay to do this and sometimes it is not. So how do you know when you should and when you shouldn’t push yourself?

I can tell you from experience, you’ll probably get it wrong more than you get it right. I’ve misjudged things in my past and pushed myself when I shouldn’t have. I also misjudged myself and didn’t push myself when I should have.

We all have goals we wish to achieve. Big and small. Some everyone can understand and some not so easily understand by anyone other than those close to us.

So how the heck do you know what to do when?

Take your goal (one at a time) and a minute or two, maybe even five and ignore all things around you. Think about your goal. Ask yourself why you have the goal and why you made the time frame for it. By allowing yourself individual time with each goal you can assess the importance of NOW or LATER. Maybe the goal needs to be modified to better fit what you need NOW or what you need LATER since you’ve devoted time to it in the current moment. Don’t let someone else determine what’s best for you. Only you can do that.

Life, better known as blah, blah, blah

World MS Day

Mom and I – 1980’s

For all my writer friends, nope, it’s not World Manuscript Day. Although how fun would that be? Take time off work to polish your stories?

Today is World Multiple Sclerosis Day. And the point of this is just as it seems, to bring awareness and share stories.

I won’t go on about my mom’s diagnosis, you’ve heard it before from me. But take the time to read up on the diagnosis if you are unfamiliar with it or learn how to support continued research.

Spotlight on Writing

Sissy Goes Tiny – Interview with co-author Rebecca Flansburg

Please welcome Rebecca Flansburg, co-author of Sissy Goes Tiny, the latest picture book releasing from Audrey Press this July!
ABOUT THE BOOK: Eight-year-old Sissy loves her life. She loves her toys, her Big house, and her Big backyard. But when Sissy’s parents decide they are going to live in a Tiny House on wheels and travel around the U.S., Sissy isn’t sure that she will like the idea of “living tiny.” But as she and her mommy and daddy learn about downsizing, re-purposing, and how “stuff is just stuff” in a positive way, Sissy soon understands that living Tiny has BIG possibilities; possibilities for all sorts of adventures and learning.

Q: What was it like to co-author a book?
Writing Sissy Goes Tiny was kind of a happy accident! Even though I have worked for years in the children’s publishing industry, I was never motivated to write a children’s book myself until B.A. and I created the story-line for our book. B.A. is not a parent, but she brings such a level of authenticity and accuracy about tiny house living to this book via her insight, wisdom and personal experience. She was an amazing co-author and will always be a great friend.

Q: What one word would you use to describe Sissy Goes Tiny?
Timely! I think people are really starting to gain awareness that we are living in a very “stuff orientated” world and how much we own will not make us happy. Meaningful experiences will trump “stuff” every time.

Q: The illustrations for this book were partially paid for with an artist’s grant; can you tell us more about that?
We are lucky enough to have The Five Wings Arts Council (FWAC) in our area. Five Wings is a non-profit that encourages and promotes arts creation, appreciation, and education through grant programs and technical assistance. FWAC believes that everyone should have access to take part in the arts. They have an annual Individual Artist Grant that B.A. and I applied for to help with illustration costs. A quality illustrator can be a costly part of creating a picture book but also completely worth it. The staff at FWAC was wonderful to work with and B.A. and I were awarded a $2250 grant!
Q: Your co-author, B.A. Norrgard, lives in a tiny house … have you ever thought about doing the same?

I’ve always told B.A. she is a braver soul than me! I’ve been in her tiny house many times and it is truly tiny (around 78 square feet). I would gladly live in a tiny home if it was more around the 250-300 square foot range. And my kids and pets would have to live in their own home because I’m not sharing… 😉

Q: What inspired the story?
It actually started as a “what if?” conversation between B.A. and I over a “catch-up lunch.” She currently lives in Texas even though she is born and raised in Minnesota like me. We went to school together and reconnected around seven years ago when I asked if I could do a magazine article on her transition from traditional employment and lifestyle to tiny house living. The new chapter of her life was fascinating to me and I was (and still am!) so proud of her for becoming heavily involved in teaching people about going tiny and empowering them to downsize through leading by example. We stayed in touch ever since and see each other often.
That day in the summer of 2018 when we were lunching, the conversation soon turned to what was new and exciting in B.A.’s lifestyle of “living tiny.” It was during that conversation I wondered out loud what the process of “going tiny” might look like through the eyes of a child and how scary that could actually be. There are many books on the market and several TV shows geared towards helping people “go tiny” but they are all focused on adults. I put myself in the shoes of the kids that may be part of this transition and the perspective could potentially look very different to them. The more we talked about this, the more an idea for a children’s book kept percolating in my brain. I shared this idea with BA and the idea for an innovative children’s book was born.

Q: What makes Sissy Goes Tiny a diverse picture book?
Sissy is considered diverse because the family in the story is biracial. I remember seeing a family similar to the one in our book on TV years ago and was struck by what a beautiful family they were. When we were looking for an illustrator, I happened upon children’s book illustrator Penny Weber’s site and there was an illustration of a little girl in her portfolio that was perfect for the character of Sissy. Needless to say, we felt it was “meant to be” and Penny became the illustrator for our book!

Q: Future plans to write solo or another co-authored book?
I love the collaborative process of creating a book with someone and would do it again in a heartbeat. Even if authors live in different states, the Internet makes it so easy to work together and share ideas. I would like to do another Sissy book with BA about Sissy’s new life on the road in the future.

If you wish to purchase a copy, the pre-sale is going on now (link to buy at the bottom).

To learn more about Rebecca, stop by her website. You can follow her on Instagram: beckyflansburg

Spotlight on Writing

Selling Your House is Like Submitting Your Manuscript

Have you been through the process of selling a house before? Have you realized how similar it is to having your story on submission?

Let me explain.

black calculator near ballpoint pen on white printed paper

You decide you want to sell your home. Just as when you decide to submit your story. You do a little research, see what’s out there, what is selling, and then you take the leap.

You prefect your home/You perfect your story.

You’ve put your house up for sale/You’ve submitted.

Then you wait….and wait….

You check Zillow and Zip Reality, has anyone looked at the listing?/You check Query Tracker and writer forums for response times.

You wait and wait…

Oh, someone is coming to view your house!/Oh, you received a reply that your manuscript was received.

You wait and wait some more…

People have seen your house/People have read your story….

ballpoint pen classic coffee composition

BUT WHERE ARE THE OFFERS????

Ohhhh, look someone is making an offer, but first they need to have the house inspected/Ohhh, look someone requested a full!!

The inspector shows up/You submit the full manuscript.

You wait….and wait…AND WAIT….will they like it? What’s wrong with it? What do you need to fix? Sure it’s not perfect, but it’s yours. Will they accept it with some repairs? Maybe you shouldn’t have went with that bold blue/Maybe you shouldn’t have let your main character do that one thing he did.

A lot has caused you stress during this process, so make sure you don’t take the first offer without doing your research. Either way, at some point your house/your story will sell.

person giving keys on man

Happy submitting!!!

 

 

 

 

Book Reviews

Picture Books About Flowers

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Happy May 1st! Spring has sprung (regardless of some snow across the upper United States) and soon it will be summer time! Every time I think of picture books about flowers, Miss Rumphius always comes to mind. I remember my father reading the story to me several times as a child. I also remember pulling the book from my book shelve and flipping through it, looking at the pictures. I still own a copy of that very book. Here are a few other flower picture books perfect for the end of spring.

Image result for picture books about flowers

A rhyming story with regards to who cares about flowers and who doesn’t.

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A richly drawn picture book showcasing a flower for each letter of the alphabet.

Image result for planting a rainbow'

This book is a bold delight of colors and fun story too.

Image result for zinnia's flower garden

Visually appealing picture book, especially the cat and dog. This story is brimming with conversation starting illustrations.

Good Eats

Magnolia Journal Vegan Modification – Banana + Chocolate

Since I tried the other two breads in the Magnolia Journal, I had to attempt to vegan modify the third one, Banana + Chocolate (Spring issue, 2019). While I loved the first two, this one tasted good, but not my favorite over the others (although my boyfriend gobbled it up like it was the best thing ever). I’m not a big banana fan, so that might be why.

For this one I swapped out the eggs with soaked chia seeds. And I nixed the butter all together which I think made an already dense bread extra heavy. If I make this again I’ll add more pecans!!