Monthly Archives: December 2016

Another Option for Paying for Conferences.

There are many reasons we don’t attend writers conferences. Too far, too much time away,  we are not interested in the topics, we are not interested in the speakers or the agents and editors we are interested in will not be attending.

But often the biggest reason is it’s too expensive.

I was wanting to attend the national SCBWI conference in New York this February. But with the flights, housing, food, and the cost of the conference itself, I thought I may not be able to make it work.

Then I caught word of a option I had not explored before – Grants.

Look into it!

I applied for a Personal Development Grant, and have received $650 to help pay for expenses.

So I’m going!

This program has been funded, in part, by the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.


The application process only took a short time and the submissions process for receiving the funds looks pretty simple also.

I’m sure this type of grant is available in many states, so give it a try, you have nothing to lose.

I’m so glad I looked into it and put in the effort, and I know I will apply again in the future if I need to.

Thank you to everyone who made this a possibility.

Holiday Contest (Part 3)

Am I being completely ridiculous? Feel free to tell me if I am – but I’m doing this anyway. Here is yet another entry into Susanna Hill’s holiday writing contest.

I was struck by the holiday spirit, and couldn’t stop writing. I promise, this is my last one.



Twelve little daisies found a big stack of springtime books.

Eleven about lady bugs,

Ten about April showers,

Nine about baby chicks,

Eight about spring cleaning,

Seven about playful lambs,

Six about bicycle rides,

Five about butterflies,

Four about bird chirps,

Three about fresh air,

Two about picnics,

and one about Christmas. Christmas?!

The daisies were amazed.

They gathered around the Christmas book, pouring over each page.

Elves? Pine cones? Reindeer? Sleds? They had no idea such things existed!

A daisy’s life is all about spring – new growth, bunnies, Easter eggs – that kind of stuff.

But hot chocolate?! Honestly, who could resist?

Not these twelve daisies, so they headed off to explore an exciting new world.

First they came to summer.

They discovered sand and waves, beach balls, barbecues, and fireworks.

But it was so hot, they all developed a bad case of the wilts.

Next was autumn.

Autumn revealed costumes and candy, jack-o-lanterns, and turkey with stuffing.

But the chilly winds took their toll. They arrived at winter, broken and blotched.

Knowing they were close, The little daisies trudged on through the snow shedding petals with each step.

By the time they reached Christmas they were nothing but twelve brown sticks.

The inhabitants of Christmas were surprised. They had heard of daisies, but pictured something a bit more … healthy, but Santa new better.

“For your bravery and curiosity,” said Santa, “I give you a bit of Christmas magic.”

And with a touch of his nose, the daisies transformed back into their springtime glory.

The Christmas folk were merry hosts, and in return, the little daisies shared their fresh, bright enthusiasm, making it the springiest Christmas ever.

Thanks for reading, and a very springy holiday season to you all!

Holiday Contest (Part 2)

When this years holiday writing contest by Susanna Leonard Hill was announced, I sat down for a little brainstorming session.  The only restrictions were is must be 300 word or fewer, and should be based on the concept of The Twelve days of Christmas.

The Ideas came pouring out, and I am not one to let a idea go to waste, so I wrote everything that begged to be written.

Being a David, this title leapt into my head, and the story wasn’t far behind.



Twelve elves named Dave in Christmas Town

perform a simple task –

which every year saves Christmas time.

“But how?” I hear you ask.

Dave One puts sugar in a bowl,

Dave Two, he adds some more.

Dave Three pours milk and cracks the eggs.

The flour comes from Four.

Number Five then stirs the dough,

Six plops it in a pan.

Eight helps Seven bake it to

a lovely golden tan.

Nine spreads frosting, Ten shakes sprinkles,

Eleven sneaks a lick.

The cake is fetched by number Twelve

and given to St. Nick.

It has

Twelve shakes of cocoa,

Eleven juicy berries,

Ten curls of chocolate,

Nine crumbled cookies,

Eight small marshmallows,

Seven toasted almonds,

Six candied gingers,

Fiiiiive – jel – ly – beeeeeans,

Four toffee bits,

Three gum drops,

Two candy canes,

Leaving one huge smile on Santa’s face.

See, Santa never stops to rest,

he works till he’s run down.

Poor Santa Claus would starve without

the Daves of Christmas Town.


Thank you for stopping by!

Holiday Contest (Part 1)

Last Christmas I entered my first writing contest put on by Susanna Leonard Hill. I had so much fun that I entered her Valentin’s Day contest and her Halloween contest. Now I’m a bit of a junkie. In fact, I had so many ideas this time around, I couldn’t stop with just one. Please enjoy …


On the first day of Christmas, my mom dared me to smile.

I said, “No! I hate being nice.”

On the second day of Christmas, my mom dared me to clean my room.

I just ignored her.

On the third day of Christmas, my mom dared me to help her open a stuck cabinet.

I tuned to leave, but slipped, bumped the cabinet, and it popped open.

“Thanks,” she said.

“I didn’t mean to.” I said.

“I know, but thanks.”

On the forth day of Christmas, my mom dared me to play with my sister.

I didn’t like doing it, but my sister had fun.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my mom dared me to help our neighbor pull weeds.

I worked quickly to get it over with.

My neighbor brought me hot chocolate.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my mom dared me to help a woman carry a box.

The lady hugged me.

It wasn’t so bad.

On the seventh day of Christmas, I waited for my dare.

Plant a tree?


On the eighth day of Christmas, my mom dared me to pick up trash at the playground.

I cleaned up the soccer field too. Why not?

On the ninth day of Christmas, I asked, “What do I get to do today?”

“Bring cookies to the firemen.”


On the tenth day of Christmas, my mom dared me to give away some toys.

I did. Then, I asked for another dare. And, another!

On the eleventh day of Christmas, I made my bed, set the table, let someone pass me in line, and held a door. Mom didn’t even have to dare me.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my mom dared me to stop smiling.

I said, “No, thank you. I like being nice.”


Thanks for reading. And for more wonderful entries, or to enter yourself, go to Susanna’s blog.


November was among other things, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) during which writers attempt to write 50,000 words towards a novel. It is also Picture Book Month in which, everyday, a different picture book creator writes about why picture books are important.

I decided to take the hard work and dedication required for the first, and the inspiration from the second, to create my own challenge.

30 first drafts in 30 days.

I allowed myself to write a picture book, a contest entry, a magazine submission, a blog post, poetry, or anything else that lead towards improvement of my writing skills.

I did all of this.

After 30 days, I have 30 new pieces to work with.

With a little work (read – a lot of work), I will have a whole new batch of usable  pieces.

This wasn’t easy.

I do try to create every day, and for the most part I succeed. But the difference between simply doing some work every day, and creating something completely new is large.

I started the month with a list of possible topics. For the first few days, I ticked them off 1, 2, 3. But the list was quickly abandoned for fresh ideas. At this point in my writing, I don’t know why this surprises me, but it does. I have never spent much time without an idea, but every time I finish one, I worry about finding the next. Then suddenly I write something new.

I love creating something new every day, but it’s not something I can maintain for more than about a month. It doesn’t give me time to work on the drafts to turn them into something better.

Now I have some interesting new work, some things to submit to magazines, and the satisfaction of completing a difficult task.

My other big self-challenge for the year, reading 1000 picture books in the year is close to completion. Expect a big blog post (or several blog posts) about that soon.