Monday, April 30, 2012

A to Z Challenge - Z is for Zen


The above statement rings true to my heart and soul. For without the love and appreciation for ourselves our outlook toward life and others will surely not be positive. How does one find peace and acceptance with themselves. For some it's easy, for others not so much. I went through a period in my life where I constantly compared myself to others and what I perceived what would make me happy. Through the prompting and guidance of meditating by a dear friend many years ago I'm happy to find my Zen on most days.

What is Zen you may ask? The whole point of Zen practice is to become fully aware, here and now. How does one do this? Through meditation. Don't think your meditation session needs to be a long period of time and you don't have time for it. I have found meditating just 10-15 minutes a day sets my mental, spiritual, and physical well being for the day.

Interested in finding out more about the benefits of meditating, visit Dyan Garris www.dyangarris.com and discover her spiritual toolbox.

Thank you for visiting with me during the A to Z Challenge. I look forward to staying connected!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,




Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Y is for Yard


In the Hudson Valley region of New York State the daffodils are in full bloom and spring has officially arrived according to the calendar. Just two weeks ago we had temperatures in the high 70s low 80s, but are back down to the high 30s low 40s for the last week. Even though, we've taken the time out to clean the deck and patio and furniture for both. I'm looking forward to moving my morning ritual outside in the coming weeks and enjoying our yard before the hustle and bustle of the day.

Once the girls go off to school, I will take my morning tea, newspaper, journal, and current work-in-progress (whether it be a chapter I'm working on for my middle grade novel or an article) and bask in the beauty of our blooming gardens and sunshine. I start this glorious ritual off with reading about local and world events, journaling about what muses me at the moment and of course ending it with my gratitudes of my blessings. It certaily sets a positive tone for my day!

I urge you to get out in nature and clear your mind and enjoy the enchanting world that surrounds us all.

Be sure to visit my fellow A to Z Challenge bloggers through www.a-to-zchallenge.com.

Thanks for visiting!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,


Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Friday, April 27, 2012

A to Z Challenge - X is for X-ray


X-rays... When my husband and I ventured into parenthood we never imagined x-rays would become part of our lives. How naive we were. Our oldest daughter sustained a broken arm at the age of four (Holy cow thirteen years ago) when she was climbing in and out of the playpen at my parents house. She was a real trooper and instinctly knew to keep her arm still while we drove her to the emergency room.

After the x-rays were developed and the doctor reset her arm and placed it into a cast he sat and shared the x-rays with our daughter. She was simply amazed that the "pictures" she was looking at on the lighted box were the inside of the arm. For weeks she got a kick out of holding her x-rays up to the light at home telling everyone and anyone who would listen that was the inside of her boo-boo. Absolutely darling.

Even though at the time it was stressful, especially when the doctor said he would have to reset the arm, I can now look back at this event and smile. For remembering the look of wonder and desire to soak up the knowledge of x-rays by our daughter reminds me to always look at life through the eyes of child.

Be well and thanks for visiting.

Be sure to visit the many blogger participants in the A-to-Z Challenge - www.a-to-zchallenge.com.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,



Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A to Z Challenge: W is for Winter, the Dolphin

I am pleased to have as my guest today, best-selling author, Nancy Stewart for "W" day of the ABC Challenge....


W is for Winter, the Dolphin

by Nancy Stewart


Many people worldwide have heard the story of Winter, the bottlenose dolphin.  Only two months old, her tail caught in a crab trap line, she was rescued off the east coast of Florida one wintery morning seven years ago by a fisherman. Jim Savage saw a small commotion close to his boat and went over to investigate.  The rest, as is said, is history.

Winter was ultimately fitted with a prosthetic tail, ingeniously devised by Hangar Prosthetics. This tail allows the dolphin to swim as a dolphin does, thus keeping her from having back problems as she ages. Winter now does small jumps out of the water the way any other dolphin will do. 

Winter has become an inspiration for people worldwide. Along with other visitors, children and adults with prosthetic limbs visit the aquarium to see the brave little dolphin who greets as many as she can with a wet dolphin kiss!

She was certainly influential to a little girl named Katrina Simpkins, whose life was changed profoundly upon meeting and befriending the young dolphin. Katrina, who must wear a prosthetic leg, was touched immeasurably by her ongoing relationship with Winter.

To that end, I have written a children’s book, Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage (Guardian Angel Publishing). It will be released in May, 2012. The book contains many photos of Katrina and Winter, as they progress through their real-life friendship.

Every time I see a dolphin swimming freely here in Florida, I think of Winter. Her new normal is not freedom but hope. She does so much for humanity every day. I can't help but believe she has a life that is well lived and is content in that knowledge.


Visit Nancy Stewart:

Website: http://www.nancystewartbooks.com
Blog: http://www.nancystewartbooks.blogspot.com


Nancy, thank you for visiting with me today and sharing the inspirational true life story of Katrina and Winter!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A to Z Challenge: V is for Violin





Author: Mayra Calvani www.MayrasSecretBookcase.com
Illustrations: K.C. Snider www.kcsniderart.com
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-933090-49-8
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-933090-62-7




Synopsis: Eight-year old Melina wants to become a good violinist. When she loses confidence, her Rumanian teacher Andrea decides it’s time for a magic dose of self esteem. A mysterious old woman in rags gives Melina some curious advice; a violinist Russian hamster, who happens to live under the old woman's hat, offers her a virtuoso performance; a shooting star fills her with hope on Christmas Eve. Is Melina actually playing better, or has her violin become magic? Who is the old woman in the town square, and why does she wear the same emerald ring as her teacher Andrea?

Author Quote: "The story combines violin music, magic, Christmas, and the charm of 19th Century Europe,” says Calvani, whose passion for the violin has led to several stories and novels since she began playing four years ago. “This is a book that little girls who are learning to play the violin will be able to identify with. The violin is an extremely difficult instrument to learn—probably the most difficult instrument there is, and sometimes learning a new piece can be quite disheartening. Hopefully my book will motivate young players to persevere and have self trust. Above all, I want my love for the violin to come through the pages and inspire children to try this incredible instrument.”

Visit with A to Z Challenge bloggers - http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Thank you for visiting!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A to Z Challenge: U is for Underground Railroad Code Words



Code Words Were Essential in Conducting the Underground Railroad
By Donna M. McDine
The Underground Railroad was a pivotal time in American history. The bravery and determination of those opposed to slavery is one to admire and emulate. To take the time out to have compassion and empathy of others’ plights will certainly bring a greater understanding of each other. Beyond the bravery, the organizing of the Underground Railroad came to fruition through the use of code words. By utilizing code words it assured that those for slavery would not “catch-on” to the escape routes and intentions of the slaves to achieve freedom.
Some of the most common code words:
Abolitionist – a person who demanded immediate emancipation of slaves.
Agent – a person who coordinated the course of escape.
Bundles of wood – escaping slaves to be expected.
Conductors – the people that helped the slaves along the Underground Railroad.
Drinking Gourd – Big Dipper and the North Star, which aided the slaves in their nighttime travels to ensure they were traveling in the correct direction.
Forwarding – the transportation of salves from one station to the next.
Freight or Packages – the slaves were considered passengers or cargo.
Heaven – referred to Canada because once there freedom was imminent.
Load of Potatoes – slaves hidden in wagons under farm produce.
Moses – Harriet Tubman, a conductor who was instrumental in aiding slaves to freedom.
River Jordan – The Mississippi River or the Ohio River.
Shepherds – people who escorted slaves from one station to the next.
Station – place of safety, a safe house.
Station Master – the keeper of a safe house.
Stockholder – one who donated items to the running of the Underground Railroad.
The use of code phrases was also instrumental in communicating along the Underground Railroad:
“A friend of a friend sent me” – this statement indicates that the slave was sent by the Underground Railroad network.
“Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus” – a phrase from a spiritual hymn to alert other slaves an escape attempt would occur soon.
“The dead trees will show you the way” – a telling sign that moss grows on the north side of dead trees, hence providing direction.
“The river bank makes a mighty good road” – since dogs cannot follow a human’s scent through water this is the best way to travel.
“The river ends between two hills” – visual directions to the Ohio River.
“The wind blows from the South today” – this signals the workers on the Underground Railroad that fugitive slaves were in the area.
“When the sun comes back and the first quail calls” – early spring was the best time to escape via the Underground Railroad.
The wealth of information on the Underground Railroad is immense. Interested in learning more, I offer the following resources to get you started:
Carson, Mary Kay.  The Underground Railroad for Kids: From Slavery to FreedomChicago Review Press, January 2005.
Afrolumens Project, Central Pennsylvania African American History for Everyone. “Names Used for Enslaved People in Pennsylvaniahttp://www.afrolumens.org/slavery/names.html
Oracle Education Foundation – The Think Quest Library. “Underground Railroad, The Fight to End Slavery – Timeline” http://library.thinkquest.org/J0112391/underground_railroad.htm  

For a fun code word FREE search puzzle, visit The Golden Pathway blog - http://thegoldenpathway.blogspot.com/p/activities.html

Visit with A to Z Challenge bloggers - http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
Thank you for visiting,




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Monday, April 23, 2012

A to Z Challenge: T is for Teacher's Guide


The Importance of a Teacher's Guide for your Children’s Book
By Donna McDine

After I signed the book contract for The Golden Pathway I took the time out to discuss with teachers what sparks their interest in children’s books for their classrooms beyond what the school provides. Many times over I heard they are under strict confinements with their curriculum and books need to fit into their daily teachings. I then took to task to research state curriculum guidelines and learned the creation of an educator’s guide for The Golden Pathway needed to be a comprehensive across the curriculum guide. After meeting homeschool specialist, Amy O’Quinn through the Working Writer’s Club I approached Amy about hiring her to write a teacher's guide for The Golden Pathway. The end result was beyond my expectations! 




The teacher’s guide is a teaching tool for English, Social Studies, Math, Science, and Art teachers, as well as for Homeschooling families. Activities include:

  • Language Arts: Writing/Vocabulary
  • Integrated Language Arts/Social Studies: Topical Study/Presentation Boards
  • Social Studies: Timeline, Mapping and Geography
  • Math: Map Work Mathematics, Calculations, Time, Recipe Math, Quilt Math
  • Science: Astronomy, Skin, Plants and Crops, Alcoholism, Five Senses
  • Role Playing, Disguises and Escape/Safe Houses
  • Toys and Games of the 19th Century: Make a Rag Doll, Make a Nettie Doll, Information on Games/Toys
  • Songs of Slavery and the Underground Railroad: Background Information and Lyrics
  • More Fun Art Projects, Activities, and Resources: Coloring Sheets, Printables, Juneteenth, Make A Tin Can Lantern
It is in my opinion well written children’s books have a better chance of finding their way into schools when it is accompanied with a teacher's guide. By having this guide for The Golden Pathway it has certainly helped spark additional interest with school visits. Case in point, when I participated in the New York State Reading Association, October 2011 I had the opportunity to meet with teachers from across the tri-state area (NY, NJ, and CT) and many commented on the teacher’s guide I was chatting up with them as they stopped by my table. They were delighted and impressed to learn of this complimentary addition to The Golden Pathway, explaining their time is at a premium and to have activities already planned for them saves them valuable time. At this point in time, one of these conversations has turned into a weeklong visit to a local elementary school. The Parent Teacher Association purchased The Golden Pathway for each classroom and when I presented each teacher with the complimentary CD of The Golden Pathway Teacher’s Guide their responses where overwhelming positive. Knowing even beforehand how essential an educator’s guide is, I’ve already hired Amy O’Quinn to create teacher’s guides for my future books. 
As writers many of us can and do create our own teacher’s guides, but for myself I wanted someone with the expertise of being in the trenches of teaching to formulate The Golden Pathway guide. By outsourcing this project, it has freed me to up to work on new manuscripts, marketing, and client work. 
Details of my author school visit workshops, visit: http://thegoldenpathway.blogspot.com/2012/03/author-school-visits-bardonia.html.
To learn more about my writing career or to order an autographed copy of The Golden Pathway visit, www.donnamcdine.com. Gift with purchase: The Golden Pathway Educator’s Guide.
Additional ways to order The Golden Pathway
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Golden-Pathway-Donna-McDine/dp/1616330813/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331737065&sr=1-1

Visit with A to Z Challenge bloggers - http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
Thank you for visiting,







~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A to Z Challenge: S is for Submission Guidelines







ubmission Guidelines: The Importance of Staying within the Parameters

by Donna M. McDine

At a young age many of us are taught to follow directions, especially for school assignments and projects. As freelance writers it’s equally important to do so when querying or submitting a manuscript. Each publication or publishing house has their own submission guidelines that they expect the writer to read and adhere to. Said guidelines are the gateway to getting through the first step of the review process. Don’t make the assumption that most magazines follow the same guidelines, they do not. Treat each as an individual and research and learn about them before submitting.

Editors and publishers are swamped by hundreds even thousands of submissions a day and if a writer cannot follow simple submission guidelines, editors will not have the inclination to continue reading your manuscript. The lack of following guidelines, gives the impression that the writer did not do their homework by studying the magazine or catalog and reading through their submission guidelines. Therefore coming across as a writer who will not be easy to work with throughout the editing process. Another important point to make is for the freelance writer to utilize the proper chain of communication. Even if you come across the personal email for the editor or publisher in your travels through cyberspace, do not use that in your email communication. Use their business email address as indicated in their submission guidelines. Do not come across as an amateur. Keep your email professional and free of a laid back attitude. Breaking into the publishing world is hard work and don’t make it more difficult by rushing through the submission process.

For instance, if the submission guidelines state the word count for fiction is 500 words, stay within the count. To the average person it may not seem important, but for the freelance writer it’s imperative to do so. Even going over by a few words can mean instant rejection. Magazines work off of space requirement formats and even if your manuscript is brilliantly written they will most likely not have room for it. For example, Guardian Angel Kids Ezine http://www.guardian-angel-kids.com/submissions2012.htm has different word counts for different categories, so just don’t assume that because there is a 500 word count for fiction that it covers all categories.

Many magazines also follow a monthly theme or particular interests, so don’t just send off your manuscript without finding out first. What good would your baseball manuscript be for a magazine that is seeking animal manuscripts? None. It’s a complete waste of time for you and the publication. Again you will come across as not doing your research, an instant turnoff for many editors and publishers. You will also find the term requirements (i.e., “purchase all rights”), deadline for submissions, formatting instructions, email or snail mail submission, contact information, and response time within the submission guidelines. These are all provided to make the submission process and receipt of submissions smoother for both writer and publisher. Submission guidelines do change over time, so before you send off your manuscript double check the publication guidelines and cross reference that you are in compliance.

Writing the manuscript is just one aspect of a freelance writing career, research of publications and publishing houses submission guidelines is imperative to your success. Be thorough in your research and it will help guide you to forming good solid relationships with editors and publishers. 

Visit with A to Z Challenge bloggers - http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
Thank you,


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Friday, April 20, 2012

A to Z Challenge: R is for Researching & Book Contest Giveaway



Researching A Boy Called Duct Tape by Christopher Cloud
I conducted months of research before sitting down to write my middle-grade novel A Boy Called Duct Tape, the story of Pablo Perez, a 12-year-old kid without much going for him. His classmates have dubbed Pablo “Duct Tape” because his tattered discount-store sneakers are held together with…you guessed it, duct tape. He can’t escape the bullying. 
Pablo’s luck changes after he finds a $20 gold coin while swimming with his younger sister in a river near their home. Pablo later buys a treasure map at the county fair for $1. The map shows the route to the “lost treasure” of Jesse James—the booty is stashed deep inside a cave. Pablo can’t help but wonder: Is there a link between the map and the place where Pablo found the gold coin? He is determined to find out, and after befriending an ill-mannered cave guide, Pablo, his sister, and cousin begin a treacherous underground adventure in search of the Jesse James treasure.
The premise for my story is grounded in a 130-year-old legend, one that claims Frank and Jesse James—after 11 years of robbing banks, trains, and stagecoaches—hid their loot in the black recesses of a Missouri cave.  
Consequently, before I wrote a single word of my story, I was faced with the task of researching two topics: the geology of caves and the life and times of Jesse James. I knew little about either.  
Set in the fictitious town of Jamesville, roughly half of A Boy Called Duct Tape takes place in an elaborate cave system. I knew that many hours of research about caves would be required to bring my story to life. It was essential to create an underground setting that was not only interesting for the reader, but credible. There had to be more to caves than simply rock walls. (As it turns out, there is). 
Researching the folklore behind the “lost treasure” of Jesse James was also a huge undertaking. There is more information about the infamous outlaw and his thievery exploits than one might imagine. Indeed, it was informational overkill, and selecting the nuggets of information relevant to my story was a tall order.
Thankfully, all the elements fell into place, and A Boy Called Duct Tape was born. Does Pablo find the “lost treasure” of Jesse James? Sorry, you’ll have to read the book. It is due to be released in digital and paperback in late February.

A Boy Called Duct Tape synopsis:

Pablo Perez is a 12-year-old poor kid without much going for him. His classmates have dubbed him “Duct Tape” because his tattered discount-store sneakers are held together with…you guessed it, duct tape. He can’t escape the bullying. Pablo’s luck, however, changes after he finds a $20 gold coin while swimming in a river near his home. Pablo later buys a $1 treasure map at the county fair. The map shows the route to the “lost treasure” of Jesse James. Pablo can’t help but wonder: Is there a link between the map and the gold coin? He is determined to find out, and he, his 9-year-old sister and 13-year-old cousin hire an ill-mannered cave guide, and begin a treacherous underground adventure in search of treasure.








Christopher Cloud bio:
Christopher Cloud began writing fiction full time at the age of 66 after a long career in journalism and public relations. Hutchison graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist at newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. He was employed by Sun Oil Company as a public relations executive, and later operated his own public relations agency. He created the board game Sixth Sense in 2003. The game was sold at independent bookstores nationwide. He lives in Joplin, Missouri.


To purchase directly from the author visit: website: www.christophercloud.com.

Visit with A to Z Challenge bloggers - http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
Enter at a chance to win one e-Book or paperback of A Boy Called Duct Tape:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Q is for Quilt

Inspired by the quilts from the Underground Railroad as to how they were used like a road map for the slaves to travel to freedom, I'm pleased to share with you...

Discover the Rewarding Hobby of Quilting and Make Your Very First Quilt Using





Click Here!
 
Now You Can Make a Beautiful Pieced Quilt That You, Your Family and Friends Will Love Even If You Have Never Used a Sewing Machine Before.
Ramona Dunn is an educator whose hobby of sewing and quilting over the last 35 years has created beautiful one of a kind heirloom quilts. She holds a diploma with honors in Sewing and Dressmaking from the Stratford Career Institute. She is the proud owner of her own online fabric and quilting web site called Those Cotton Pickin' Fabrics. Ramona has created this eight step quilting book with the beginning quilter in mind.
This step by step quilting guide will give the beginning quilter a solid foundation in quilting techniques. Some more advanced tips and techniques are also introduced throughout this book. This book is sure to become one of your favorite reference books.
Visit Ramona Dunn today for further details on her step-by-step book, How to Do Quilting in 8 Easy Steps and sign-up for her FREE newsletter Cotton Pickin' Fabrics.  


Visit with A to Z Challenge bloggers - http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
Thank you for visiting and Happy Quilting!



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,







Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A to Z Challenge: P is for Positive




POSITIVE WORDS ARE WORTH THEIR WEIGHT IN GOLD

 by Donna M. McDine
The glass ceiling in Corporate America was never anything I strived to break through in my 12 plus years working in Fortune 500 companies. With pleasure I cut back to part-time when I had my first child and then to working from home as a virtual assistant after the arrival of my second daughter. Happily leaving the “rat race” behind I took my new work from home seriously even though I could technically work in my pajamas. As my daughters’ grew I became restless with the need to create something with more substance outside my family and virtual assistant job. 
One day while flipping through a magazine I stumbled upon the Institute of Children’s writing for children aptitude test and went for it. Since graduating in April 2007 I have enjoyed over 100 publication successes both online and in print and several Writer’s Digest Honorable Mention awards and book awards. My first story book entitled, The Golden Pathway published August 2010. But to be quite honest with you when someone asks me “What do you do?” I always respond with “I’m a virtual assistant.” Until the day my daughters’ chimed in unison, “No you aren’t. Our mom is a children’s author.” With their quick interjection of the same exact words you would have thought they rehearsed this.
A smile as big as the Grinch’s when he discovered he had a heart spread across my face. My girls expressed their view quick and to the point, providing me with the proudest moment of my writing career. To get recognition by my two daughters’ in such a manner and learning they see me much more than “just their mom” makes me walk lighter and beam with delight. To hear their words is worth their weight in gold. My girls have acknowledged and recognized their mom as a children’s author out in public for all in earshot to hear. So yes, this is my proudest moment.

Visit with A to Z Challenge bloggers - http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
Thanks for visiting,


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A to Z Challenge: O is for Organization



How to Get and Stay Organized for Your Blooming Writing Career

by Donna M. McDine

You’re in the process of taking a writer’s course and the abundance of information thrown your way is filed neatly in your brain.  You wish you could say the same for your workspace.  While all your notes, research, writer’s books, etc., are valuable for your writing career it’s a miracle you can even find your desk under the sea of paper.  It’s important that you have the best filing system for your needs! 

Analyze and Purchase Supplies:  First make a visit to your local office supply store and purchase hanging folders, manila folders and folder labels.  If you don’t have a file cabinet now would be a good time to purchase one.  You could purchase the good old standard metal filing cabinet or a file cabinet on wheels.  The file cabinet on wheels would come in handy if you are limited on space and need to remove it from your work area when entertaining. 

Identify Categories: Upon your return tackle the job of sorting your mounds (hope it’s not too deep) of paper into categories.  File names:


ü  Agent Info

ü  Character Development

ü  Critique Groups Dialogue

ü  Editing

ü  Commas & Punctuation

ü  Grammar

ü  Point of View; Plotting & Outlining Your MS

ü  Scene & Story Structure, Sensory Details. 

The list is endless.  Your filing system will grow over time.  While reading articles on writing that you find helpful clip and file the article immediately.  This makes for easy referral later.

Create Your Files: Place all your pertinent papers in the appropriate file.  Each manila folder should be inserted into an individual hanging file in alphabetical order for easy retrieval and filing.

Desktop File: Jan Jasper, author of Take Back Your Time: How to Regain Control of Work, Information, and Technology (St. Martin’s Press) states: “Action files must always be within easy reach – ideally in a small desktop file holder that holds the file folders upright so the tabs are clearly visible.  For added peace of mind, make a note in your calendar or scheduling software to remind you of important dates.  This combats the “out-of-sight, out of mind” worry and lets you clear your desk without fearing you’ll forget something important”*

[*Conquer Desktop Clutter with Action Files © Jan Jasper; 2001-2007
About the Author: Jan Jasper has been training busy people to work smarter, not harder since 1988. She helps clients streamline work procedures, manage information overload, and use technology efficiently. Her specialty is helping people who've already worked with professional organizers and coaches and are still not able to get it all done. Jan is the author of Take Back Your Time: How to Regain Control of Work, Information, & Technology (St. Martin's Press). She recently completed a North American media tour as the national efficiency spokesperson for IKON Office Solutions, Inc. She has appeared on radio and TV all over North America and is quoted regularly in print. Jan is an adjunct professor at New York University.] 

Suggested important files to maintain to keep in your line of sight on your desktop are:

ü  Writing – Follow-up

ü  Writing – Reading

ü  Writing – Research

ü  Writing – To Do

ü  Writing – Work-in Progress 

Each file then contains an inventory sheet of what tasks need to be accomplished.  You know your files and needs best.  Please feel free to revamp the categories to suit your needs.

Follow-through: Lastly, it is important that you maintain your new filing system daily or at least weekly. This way you will not get piled under the dreaded mounds of paper.

Visit with A to Z Challenge bloggers - http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Thanks for visiting,
  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Monday, April 16, 2012

A to Z Challenge: N is for Net Galley




NetGalley delivers secure, digital galleys to professional readers. If you are a reviewer, blogger, journalist, librarian, bookseller, educator, or in the media, you can use NetGalley for FREE to read and request titles before they are published.

Join for NetGalley for free and search their database of forthcoming and recent published titles by Most recent, Genre, Publisher, and submit your request to review a particular book. What better way to preview titles before reviewing them through this wonderful request sight.

Happy Reviewing!

Visit with A to Z Challenge bloggers - http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A to Z Challenge: M is for Motherhood



THE BRICK AND HOPEFULLY CRUMBLING WALL OF MOTHERHOOD AND WRITING 

by Donna M. McDine 

You have envisioned the days of ditching your 9-5 job for many years and have finally made it a reality and have taken the leap into no weekly paychecks. The decision to give your writing aspirations the chance that they deserve washes over your mind and soul. You have stocked your office or any small writing space that you designate in your home with all the essentials; a computer, paper, pens, pencils, books and research resources, etc. However, the responsibilities of motherhood seem to intrude every moment of the day.  
Now that you are home, everyone thinks that you are accessible all day long. Friends and family call to “shoot the breeze” and some may even feel you are their answer to their childcare woes. It seems like many of your friends and family feel that since you are home that you are not “really working”.  You are not sure when it happened, but responsibilities that were normally delegated, somehow have become all your responsibility. But before you tackle anything even remotely involved with your writing you must clean your sticky keyboard yet again. 
A writer’s life can easily become frustrated when the creative juices are without fail interrupted by the most mundane questions or needs. You know how that goes. Mom where are my soccer cleats? What is there to eat? Can you put the movie in for me?  The list is endless. You try your best to suppress a heavy sigh or even the urge to cry. When did my family become so helpless? You say to yourself as you stand up from your desk yet again.
We all love our families, but how does one carve out that special and much desired writing time without the feeling of neglect on the family? It is important to reset boundaries as quickly as they disappear. Let your family know that writing is indeed work, but also a passion that you desire to achieve successfully. Teach your children the importance of uninterrupted writing time and that they will get your undivided attention once your writing session is completed. Hopefully they will come to understand that what is important to you should be respected. Just as you respect what is important to them.
Although there will be times and sometimes it will feel like many, where interruptions are a necessity.  Such as, when the school nurse calls to say that you need to pick up your child that has a fever. Like any mother, we quickly grab our car keys and head to the school. If you attempt to balance your writing and the care of your sick child it will tend to leave you both feeling frustrated and neglected.  At this point, you are much better accepting the fact that your child needs you and that your writing can wait for another time. Even if that deadline is on the horizon, you will not do your best work, just leave it. 
Grab any time thrown your way, especially when the little ones are asleep. When the house and telephone are quiet it tends to be a great time for creativity. These little pockets of time may not feel like much, but the time over a week to a month will accumulate and you can get quite a bit accomplished.
Keep a handy pocket notebook with you at all times, you never know when your next inspiration will come to mind. It could happen anywhere, such as that crowded doctors office you just brought your sick child to. Like anything in this life, this too shall pass, but we hope not too fast, since they do grow up quickly.

Visit with A to Z Challenge bloggers - http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
Thanks for visiting,


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Friday, April 13, 2012

A to Z Challenge: L is for Libraries

is for Libraries


Libraries are not just for browsing through the endless rows of books and checking out what sparks your interest. Libraries offer an array of lectures to attend and events to participate in. From learning the history of your town or region, learning the basics of computers, author lectures either on the craft of writing or a series about their books, and not limited to writing critique groups. The topics are endless, just like the choice of books.

For many of us the quiet of the library is a wonderful retreat from the stress and overload of the day. While the solitude is good at times, don't overlook the chance to make new friends, whether it be the librarian and his staff, at lectures, joining in the various classes, and becoming active in the local writer's critique group. Opportunities to meet your neighbors in a comfortable and welcoming setting is a wonderful way to get out their to spread your wings and be social.

Visit with A to Z Challenge bloggers - http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage


Welcome to the letter K for the A-to-Z Challenge. I'm delighted to host Amazon best-selling author, Nancy Stewart as she shares with us a special true life story of courage.

Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage
by Nancy Stewart

Katrina Simpkins is a hero to everyone who meets her. She is certainly a hero to me.

I heard about Katrina three years ago at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida, where we had gone to see Winter the young dolphin who had lost her tail in a crab trap line. She had been fitted with a prosthetic tail to help her swim the way a dolphin does.

A video had been produced by the aquarium about Winter's meeting children fitted with prosthetic limbs who found strength and solace in this amazing dolphin. Katrina, whose life had been profoundly changed by meeting Winter, was featured in the video.

Two and a half years later, I received a phone call from a woman who identified herself as Martie Simpkins. I immediately thought, "I've heard of this woman." And I had.

Martie is Katrina's mom. She'd seen what I'd written about Winter on my blog and wanted me to write the authorized biography of Katrina, as it related to her relationship with Winter.

I was excited and apprehensive about doing the book. I'd never done a biography, and it was instantly crucial to me to do the best job I could for Katrina. It was both frightening and exhilarating.

And then I met Katrina. She and her family, who live in Indiana, visited us one weekend. That's all it took. She captured my heart as she does everyone's. The book is important for Katrina. For me, it is serious, and it has become personal.

Katrina Simpkins, who was born with Proximal femoral focal deficiency, is the bravest person I've ever met. She is kind, loving, expansive and wise. And she's only twelve. It is my honor to have written her biography. The book will be released in May, 2012 by Guardian Angel Publishing.

The story of Katrina and Winter is inspiring. Her life is remarkable, as is Winter's. These two youngsters are forever inextricably connected. Each has a formidable story. Each is a hero of the first water. Put them together with the help of Guardian Angel Publishing, and you have Katrina and Winter: Partners in Courage.

Nancy, thank you for being my guest today. It's been a true pleasure.

Visit fellow bloggers at the A-to-Z Challenge.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Award-winning Children's Author
The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
http://guardianangelpublishing.com/pathway.htm ~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval Recipient and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist