Don’t Stick Your Head in the Snow!

Don't Stick Your Head in the Snow!

Don’t Stick Your Head in the Snow!

We are 30 days and 18 hours away from Spring.  I sit here

with my hot, Chai tea and fuzzy socks on my toes, trying to

find something positive to say about the weather.  I live in

Southern Indiana and we

have been very fortunate

imagecompared to some areas of the

country, with the snow and ice. 

None-the-less, I am ready for the

spring thaw! 

My hand is up! Is yours?

Okay… I figure we can embrace the next 30 days

or we can slip and slide along, kicking and screaming as we

fall on our  blankety-blanks. I recommend the less

painful path of embracing winter and all it has to offer!


    So…slip on your big boy boots, pull on your

   most dashing sock hat, fling that scarf and let’s 

   go write about the snow!

As a writer, I am always looking for motivation, inspiration and sometimes in desperation, I find revelation!

Let’s think of all the positive effects that winter can have on our writing:

Sit by a fire and write heartwarming poems.

Snuggle down and hibernate with your thoughts.

Find more time to read on a quiet, snow day.

Take a leisurely walk on a snowy morning for inspiration.

Watch how birds and squirrels scramble and hustle for food.

Spend time with your kids…that is always an opportunity for humor and precious moments.

Brainstorm all the “winter words” that could be used in a title for your next book.

Imagine all the silly ways the snow could be melted.

Write about “What if the snow never stops?”

Imagine what snowmen say to each other.

Write about how snow women feel left out of the fun.

Make pink-lemonade snow ice cream!

Here’s the link:


So…Don’t stick your head in the snow and give up! Make

pink lemonade snow ice cream out of the next blizzard

coming your way.  Remember to embrace your surroundings

and wear fleece…spring is only 30 days away.

Don't Stick Your Head in the Snow!

Don’t Stick Your Head in the Snow!

Happy Writing!


Who is Willy S.?

Who is Willy S.?


When I think about William Shakespeare I fondly remember attending a rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream when I was in high school. I remember dreading the performance but left the theater with a surprising respect for the famous playwright.  Honestly, I can say that I didn’t understand everything that was said, as the language was so foreign to me, but I do remember the humor and it was very funny.

There were four Athenians: Hermia, Lysander, Helena and Demetrius. It was quite a love fest that left Hermia with two suitors and Helena with none. What a hook! It involved magic potions, fairies, lies and deceit. The play was quite the makings of a modern day “Housewives” show.

I’m fortunate to live in Evansville, Indiana, a college town with two Universities who support the arts in education and community. The University of Southern Indiana and the University of Evansville are both known and respected for their drama departments.

USI is affiliated with several theaters in New Harmony, Indiana where I later saw Romeo and Juliet with my husband.  New Harmony is a quaint, little, “artsy” town on the Wabash River and must be visited if you are ever in the Southern Indiana area! (

I remember as an adult, when watching Romeo and Juliet, I was invested in the underlying meanings of the language, the humor and the tragedy.  It was equally as entertaining but much more meaningful.  I was so excited that I got it!

That being said, there are many things about Shakespeare that I don’t get.

Blog 2 quote

The poetry is remarkably complicated. It makes me feel somewhat inferior as I try to keep up. The English language of his day was so luscious and tenaciously relevant to that time period, it doesn’t translate well today.

Possibly another problem with the language in his works is that he created thousands of his own words. Only Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss can get away with that! For example, he is the creator of arch-villain, birthplace, bloodsucking, courtship, dewdrop, downstairs, fanged, hunchbacked, leapfrog, misquote, pageantry, radiance, schoolboy, stillborn, watchdog, and zany, just to name a few.

Most of his sonnets involve the decaying of time, fleeting beauty and love.  This can be dark and dreary yet also alluring.  I suppose he drew from his past but was fairly young when he became a successful author and playwright. He was only 25 when he wrote his first play and was a successful actor by the age of thirty. There is much controversy about the details of his life as the records are sketchy but he was definitely brilliant in writing, entertaining and a successful business man.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, he died a wealthy man. Known for writing comedies, I doubt his wife Anne was amused when he only left her their “second best” bed in his will.

William Shakespeare is definitely an intriguing writer that managed to find his niche without any formal education or literary background.  So…does that give you hope as an inexperienced writer? If I were you, I wouldn’t quit your day job! Remember, he was well-respected in his day but the true glory and fame came hundreds of years after his death.

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I challenge you to pull out an old copy of Macbeth or one of the many other cherished works of Willy Shakespeare and start reading. There is much to learn from this brilliant poet. The playfulness of his words, his humor, hyperbole, symbolism and his darkness…all useful things for writers to have in their pockets.

Here is a list of a few favorites: Henry VI, The Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Cymbeline, A Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest.

See more at:

20 Interesting Facts about Willy S.

Born on April 23, 1564

( My Husband’s Birthday…a coincidence? I thinketh not!)

Died on April 23, 1616

In 1582 he married Anne Hathaway

He was 18 when married and Anne was 26

Had eight children (One son died at age 11)

He was a successful entrepreneur

Wrote 37 plays ( this number varies from article to article)

He was good friends with Elizabeth I, queen during his life

Was affiliated with a theatre group known as the Lord Chamberlains Men

Used the word dog or dogs over 200 times in his works

Was rumored to have created over 1,700 words for the English language

Invented the word assassination

Never attended a University

Did not die in poverty, unlike many of his fellow authors of the time

Had an earring in his left ear

He was known as “honey-tongued.”

Performed in many of his own plays

First job was holding horses outside the theatres

Rumored to copy many of his famous plays from other writers

Made over 600 references to birds

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You may say that his style and content is too deep for children’s authors. I will agree that we shouldn’t use his style or content for a picture book, but we must study the greats to have a deeper understanding of what it is that we do. I have dedicated 2014 to learning the craft of writing poetry and rhyming picture books.  Along the way, I hope to find courage and inspiration.

Please join me!


“The rhyme’s the thing wherein I’ll speak

the words and let them sing.”


Bluebook Style William Shakespeare, (last visited Feb 02, 2014).

Absolute Shakespeare

The Rhymes’s the Thing!

Join me in April for Rhyming Picture Book Month! I have 35 Guest Bloggers who will share insight into the world of rhyming picture books and poetry. These generous and talented folks come from all areas of writing for children; Authors, Poets, Educators, Library Specialists, Editors, Agents, Illustrators and more. I am truly honored and thrilled to have the support of such rock star bloggers! You won’t believe who is on board…I’ll keep the list to myself for a bit (hee hee) but trust me…we will learn valuable information from these writing musicians!

I suppose RhyPiBoMo falls into the writing challenge category but really, I want it to be more of a learning experience than anything.

RhyPiBoMo Mission Statement: My goal is to guide those aspiring to write rhyme and poetry through the process of learning the craft and offering resources, short lessons, writing prompts and the wisdom of experienced folks in the business to improve the reputation and quality of rhyme and poetry for children.

I love writing rhyme and poetry! My rhyme/poetry has been well received over the years but I don’t submit it very often. I’ve been told at SCBWI conferences by numerous editors, authors and agents NOT to write in rhyme. Us rhymers are continually discouraged to do what we are passionate about. That being said…just because we enjoy writing rhyme doesn’t mean we are good at it!

The problem is that editors get SO MUCH stinky rhyme that they don’t encourage it. Maybe they even loathe it because most of it really smells bad. But we all know…they definitely publish rhyme and I suspect many secretly desire a brilliantly written, rhyming, picture book!


So…let’s get good at it! Lets work through this process together and write brilliant rhyme and singing poetry!

One of my favorite authors/poets states in his upcoming RhyPiBoMo guest blog post that “Rhyme/poetry is the stepchild of writing in the children’s market.”

I think that strongly clarifies how it is perceived in our business. That makes me sad.

As a former kindergarten teacher, developmental therapist and mother of four, I know the importance of rhyme and creating a love of words and reading at an early age. Rhyme and poetry plant the rhythmic seeds in early readers/listeners. This helps them see language as entertaining, humorous, meaningful and just plain fun! Children and parents select rhyming picture books to read over and over because it can become a joint effort, a pleasant memory, a time of sharing and learning.


I am firmly planted on my rose-colored, glitter enhanced, blinged-out soapbox for now and will continue to share my hopes on how we can work together as writers to improve the quality of rhyme submitted and hopefully change the perception in the future.

“The rhyme’s the thing wherin I’ll speak the words and let them sing!”  Willy S.

Happy Rhyming!