Tuesday, December 22, 2009
If you have class pictures, I'd really appreciate if you would upload them to the blog - I'm sure your classmates who are looking for them will appreciate it too.
Please check out the blog and spread the word to your friends and family. Here's the link: www.findclasspics.blogspot.com
Friday, December 18, 2009
The big one is a full-size hardcover that will be in stores July 20, 2010 and the small one is a paperback that will be in Cheerios boxes in March. I can't believe it's almost here - it's been a long year!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
1. Good puns
2. Sitting on the patio, listening to the pond & smelling burning leaves
3. Writing in rhyme
4. It's A Wonderful Life
5. Irish and English Accents
8. Kung Pao tofu & spinach at Big Bowl
9. Fortune cookies
10. Playing games
11. Winning Games
12. Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (with white chocolate since I quit brown chocolate)
13. My mother's Neapolitan Casserole
14. Sentimental songs
16. Singing (I'm sure I like it more than those listening to me)
17. The Dick Van Dyke Show
18. Ron Howard as a kid
19. Drinking beer by a campfire - then going to sleep in a BED
20. Olive oil & Parmesan cheese with good, crusty bread
21. Having a great memory for faces and names
22. A hot shower on a cold day - until I have to get out
23. The first Day in Spring that I don't need a coat
24. Movies that make me laugh and/or cry
25. Thanksgiving day
26. Cooking for company
27. Jigsaw puzzles
29. New York City
30. My DVR
32. My students
34. Not having to get up in the morning
35. Birds, especially Hawks
36. Bejeweled - unfortunately
37. Lox & bagel
39. My hair when it's wet
40. Word and number puzzles
41. Going to plays
43. Popcorn with real butter
44. Spicy food
45. My I-phone
46. My laptop
47. My friend Jean's toffee
48. Playing jacks
49. Floating on a noodle in Table Rock Lake, drinking beer and singing with my friends
50. Sean Connery and Gregory Peck's voices
51. Laughing until I cry
52. Making people laugh until they cry
Monday, November 23, 2009
I'm not sure how well it will work but, if problems arise, hopefully I can fix them to keep the site going strong.
So, if you have class pictures you're willing to share or are looking for missing class pics, go to my site and maybe we can make some sad alumni happy!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tara's idea is to write 30 picture book ideas to get the creative juices flowing and to hopefully lead to some completed picture book manuscripts. Since it's already the 18th, I'm trying to do all 18 days in one day! I don't think it's too late to start so, if you haven't already, you can start now too!
So how is this going to work? Here's how Tara explains it on her blog:
Stop here once a day in November for a new inspirational little tale. We’ll have guest bloggers and giveaways. And at the end of the month, if you’ve collected 30 ideas, you’ll get a PiBoIdMo badge for your blog (based on the logo above by Ryan Hipp) and a special super-secret prize. (You’ve guessed it, “super-secret” is code for “I don’t know what it is yet.”)
So what are you waiting for? Get thinking!!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
But then it hit me - so I said it out loud - god forbid I don't blurt out every thought in my head - "They appointed me the lead but I'm just an itinerant teacher - I have no special skills or knowledge to be the Lead!" Which is completely true! Luckily, it was a great group at the meeting and we got the paperwork done and everyone left happy.
I was just thinking about this again and it reminded me of when I won the Cheerios contest and got the book contract. After the news got out, I started being asked for my opinion on all aspects of the writing/publishing process from both writer friends and writer strangers. I was even asked to speak at our local SCBWI group about my experiences with the contest, publishing...
At the meeting, after explaining that I'd only had 1 1/2 beers with dinner (I didn't want to start rumors about being a drunk) I told the group - some of whom were waiting to hear from a knowledgeable, about-to-be-published author - I said, "I'm just a writer like all of you and six months ago I was a writer who'd never gotten a positive response in all the years I'd been submitting my work!"
So, what's my point? My point is, I'm amazed how giving someone a new title - "Lead Teacher" "Contest Winner" "Published Author" - it instantly changes the way people perceive you and the expectations they have of you. It's crazy, isn't it? Has this happened to anyone else?
Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I think I'm going to tell my students about it next week and read it to them. I hadn't told them anything about it because, without the actual book to look at, it would be hard for them to get really get it. Hopefully, they'll love the book or I'll be crushed!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Check out Esther's website and blog and Zachary's website and blog!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Official Call for Debut Authors for the 2011 CWIM...
I'm looking for debut author and illustrators who'd like to be interviewed for my "First Books" feature in 2011 CWIM.
If you are interested in being featured in First Books, here are the rules and guidelines:
1. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line "First Books."
2. Tell me about your debut book including the title, publisher, genre and approximate publication date.
3. The book must be available in some form by November (so it can be read before you're interviewed).
4. A cover image must be available by January 2010 (because I don't want to feature a book without showing the cover).
5. Please include links to your website or blog if you have one.
6. No self-published books please.
7. Tell me something fun/interesting/exciting/unusual/inspiring about you/your book/your path to publication.
8. E-mails must be received by October 8th.
9. I'll be in touch with those I've chosen by the October 30th; otherwise you likely will not hear from me--I simply don't have time to contact everyone, although I wish I could. (I may acknowledge receipt of emails, however, depending on how busy I am and/or how much I do or do not feel like doing other work.)
10. Debut authors not chosen to be featured in First Books could be chosen as Debut Authors of the Month which will be resurrected on this blog starting January 2010!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
"This year, the 57 Street Children's Book Fair is excited to host children's book author Jennifer Holm at our annual event. Jennifer Holm is a two-time Newbery Honor Winner and has garnered respect from teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents across the country. She is revered by children everywhere for her momentous and popular graphic novel series, Babymouse. Holm will sign books and greet fairgoers from 2pm-4pm on the corner of 57th and Kimbark. 57th Street Books will offer a variety of Holm's award-winning and beloved
titles for purchase throughout the day.
In addition to Jennifer Holm, the 57th Street Children's Book Fair will also host national treasures Arthur Yorinks and Richard Eigelski as they present and sign their newest picture book collaboration titled, Homework. Yorinks & Eigelski will present at 2:30pm on the 57th Street Books Stage and sign nearby from 3pm-4pm.
The 57th Street Children's Book Fair is honored to celebrate this event with a talented group of local authors and illustrators. This year's Local Treasures appearing at the fair include:
Ilene Cooper, author of The Golden Rule
Matthew Cordell, author/illustrator of Trouble Gum
Esther Hershenhorn, author of S is for Stories
Jeff Jarka, author/illustrator of Love That Puppy
& The Three Silly Chicks (www.threesillychicks.com), otherwise known as:
Andrea Beaty, author of Iggy Peck, Architect
Carolyn Crimi, author of Henry & the Buccaneer Bunnies
Julia Durango, author of Cha-Cha Chimps
With this spectacular line-up of literary talent, children of all ages will have the opportunity to meet an author or illustrator. Some fairgoers will even take home FREE signed copies! Details available at the information table the day of the Fair."
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Anyone else have this disorder?
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I finished my first week of the new school year and I'm still standing! I took on the role of lead teacher for our department so I'll be doing that part time and teaching part time. I can already tell it's going to be difficult balancing both but I'm sure I'll get a handle on it before too long. Then I'll have to figure out how to fit in my writing and blogging and socializing and . . .
Wish me luck!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Also, I went public on Facebook this weekend and I've connected with some old friends - it's fun! I'm giving Twitter another try too :)
Friday, August 14, 2009
- The Andy Griffith Show
- Arrested Development
- Barney Miller
- The Dick Van Dyke Show
- Freaks and Geeks
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show
- Sex and the City
- Two and a Half Men
What are yours?
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I put these sites in my toolbar and have made a habit of going to them the first time I'm on my computer. It takes less than 30 seconds to do all three.
The sites are:
The Hunger Site
The Animal Rescue Site
The Breast Cancer Site
I just got this link from the blueboards: freerice.com It's a vocabulary test and for every answer you get right, they donate 10 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program to help end hunger.
If anyone knows of other sites like this, please share!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I'm SOOOO excited to be able to share the cover for my first, and hopefully not last, picture book! All of the illustrations are complete and they've been sent, along with the text, to the printer for first proofs!
Isn't Colin Jack fantastic? He has a Dr. Suess-type quality - don't you think?
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Who am I?
I'm a writer, a rhymer,
An I'm in my primer,
A traveling teacher,
A play at the beacher,
A wife and a mother,
A sis to my brother,
A happy dog owner,
A talk on the phoner,
A tarot card reader,
An I hate to weeder,
A big movie goer,
A vegetable grower,
A spicy food eater,
A fearsome competer,
An avid game player
An I sing all dayer,
Well, that's all I've gotter
Believe it or notter.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
For those of you who want to live vicariously through these lucky few, here's a link to the SCBWI Conference Blog.
For those of you who did attend, I hope you had a great time and thanks for sharing on the blog!
Friday, August 7, 2009
- A Fly Went By
- Are You My Mother
- Five Chinese Brothers
- Go Dogs Go
- Green Eggs And Ham
- Happy Birthday Moon
- Harold And The Purple Crayon
- Hurry Hurry
- Little Bear Books
- Little Critter Books
- Love You Forever
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
- Polar Express
- Sylvester And The Magic Pebble
- That Terrible Halloween Night
- The Giving Tree
- The Little House
- The Mitten
- Thomas' Snowsuit
- What Do You Say Dear?
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Through this site I found an opportunity to volunteer with the American Cancer Society. I went to training yesterday and soon I'll be driving cancer patients to and/or from their doctors' appointments. Before I read about this on the site, I had no idea that there was a need for this. It makes sense, though, since so many people live alone or with people who can't drive them to their appointments. I'll let you know how it goes after I've gotten started. I'm really looking forward to it.
Let me know if you find a volunteer opportunity that works for you.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
What are the missing ingredients that prevents most people from succeeding online?
Copywriting and content marketing skills.
Content drives the Internet, and using the right words in the right way will determine not only how well your site converts visitors into sales, but also how well you rank in search engines and how many links you get.
Now that blogging has become the smartest strategy for growing an authoritative web site, it’s your copywriting and content marketing skills that will set you apart and help you succeed. Copyblogger is all about helping you:
- get traffic
- gain subscribers
- attract links
- sell something!
All you need to do is write in a strategic, persuasive, compelling manner.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
My name is David Paich. When I wrote Africa I never dreamed of hearing such an innovative rendition. All I can say is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am truly honored that you not only would arrange a choir version of the song but the time and effort into creating REAL MAGIC! I have NEVER received so many emails from artists friends and colleagues
Though I've heard stories, seen movies and read books about the Holocaust before, I am always saddened, frustrated, and angered by the insane cruelty of it all! Don't get me started!
It was a truly moving experience - I highly recommend it to those of you in the Chicago area!
Anything Goes Saturdays & Sundays
So, look for my first themed post on Monday - and it's my favorite topic - ME!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
When I got inside, she ran to my husband and jumped up on him. She clearly wanted HIM to walk her! That really hurt my feelings! I handed John the leash and said, "Obviously she wants you to walk her - go ahead." Then HE said, "Well, she is a little overly attached to me." Man - kick 'em when they're down!! Granted, he does walk her more than I do but I always thought she loved us equally - apparently I was wrong.
So, I stayed home, sulking, and John and Pippa went for a walk. After a few minutes, I looked out the front window and saw Pippa doing the same thing to John. I heard him say to her, "Do you want your mama?" and Pippa ran toward the house. I couldn't believe it - she wanted both of us to walk her! Needless to say, this made me very happy and I stopped pouting.
I joined them outside and we went on our usual walk, with Pippa turning to look at us every once in a while, just to make sure we were both still there.
Isn't that the cutest, smartest thing you've ever heard? What a great dog!!!
Below are two pictures of Pippa. The first is of Pippa and her sister Bailey (who, sadly, died 1 1/2 years ago from a fungal infection) and the second is at their third birthday party (two months before Bailey died). John is the guy on the left with Pippa (left) and Bailey in front of him.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Well, I took advantage of my need to web-surf and I checked the ultimate source - no, not Mayoclinic.com - Verla Kay's Blueboard! In no time at all, I found a thread addressing the writer's block issue and it led me to an excellent site that I think will help me and my fellow sufferers. The site is called DrWicked.com and on the site is an application called Write or Die.
Here's how Dr. Wicked describes the application:
Write or Die is a web application that encourages writing by punishing the tendency to avoid writing. Start typing in the box. As long as you keep typing, you're fine, but once you stop typing, you have a grace period of a certain number of seconds and then there are consequences.
The idea is to instill in the would-be writer with a fear of not writing. We do this by employing principles taught in Introduction to Psychology. Anyone remember Operant Conditioning and Negative Reinforcement?Negative Reinforcement "strengthens a behavior because a negative condition is stopped or avoided as a consequence of the behavior."Consequences:
- Gentle Mode: A certain amount of time after you stop writing, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
- Normal Mode: If you persistently avoid writing, you will be played a most unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.
- Kamikaze Mode: Keep Writing or Your Work Will Unwrite Itself
These consequences will persist until your preset conditions have been met (that is, your time is up or you've written your wordcount goal or both).
Sound intriguing? Give Write or Die a try and let me know what you think. Here's the link:
Friday, June 19, 2009
This is a view from our first hike south of Anchorage.
This is a beautiful bird I discovered called a Stellar Jay.
This a moose that was standing in the pond outside our window at our bed and breakfast this afternoon. Two days ago we had a black bear in the same spot but I didn't get camera out in time.
More pics to come!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
One just signed with a fabulous agent and he's almost ready to start shopping her MG novel around. It shouldn't take long for it to be snatched up!
Another member is in revision talks with an editor from a great publishing house and it looks like it's progressing towards an offer - I hope I didn't just jinx her!!
Another just found out she's one of the winners of the Highlights 2009 Fiction Contest and she's going to the writer's retreat in Chautauqua as her prize!
The other members of the group are fantastic writers and I'm sure this good luck bug is going to keep spreading until we're all published! It's such an amazing group of women and I'm so proud to know them!
Monday, June 1, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Here's something cool - before the meeting, a woman introduced herself (it was her first time) and I recognized the name - she is the woman I bought my house from 23 years ago! Is it a small world or what?!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Here's the link to Shelli's site -
Here's the link to the auction site - http://bridgetzinnauction.wordpress.com/
The auction will last the whole month of May - don't put off checking it out!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
NATIONAL PICTURE BOOK WRITING WEEK ("NaPiBoWriWee"
7 Picture Books in 7 Days!
Sponsored by www.paulayoo.
In the spirit of National Novel Writing Month ("NaNoWriMo"
people across the country try to write a complete novel in one month,
the fine folks at www.paulayoo.
ever National Picture Book Writing Week, affectionately nicknamed
The goal? To write 7 picture books in 7 days.
All NaPiBoWriWee participants should register on my website
) and comment on my blogs every day with your own progress.
For those of you who participate in the first annual NaPiBoWriWee, I
will select a winner at random on the 7th day - that winner will
receive an autographed copy of my latest picture book, "SHINING STAR:
THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY" (Lee & Low Books, 2009).
(For more info on the book, go here:
The basic rules? Just write 7 complete and separate picture books in
one week. Each picture book must have a clear beginning, middle, and
end. There is no required minimum word count because picture book
lengths can vary from 50 words to 2000 words, depending on the genre.
I will be posting a blog every day for seven days with picture book
writing tips and encouragement and updates on my own progress, plus
links to The Three Silly Chicks (http://
helpful blog tips.
For everyone who has a website or blog - you are encouraged to promote
NaPiBoWriWee on your blog/website/
request that you provide a link to my website - http://paulayoo.
And for those of you attending the national Society for Children's
Book Writers & Illustrators (http://scbwi.
let me know and I'll arrange for an informal gathering during the
conference so we can meet in person and celebrate our first
For more info, contact me at paula@paulayoo.
To summarize, the basic rules:
1. Midnight May 1st to 11:59 p.m. May 7th: Write 7 separate and
complete picture books.
2. You are NOT allowed to write the same picture book in 7 variations.
Each book must be complete and separate.
3. No minimum word count. Instead, each book must have a clear
beginning, middle and end.
4. You are allowed to brainstorm and research book topics before May
5. You are NOT allowed to write a single word of your draft until
midnight May 1st.
6. There is NO minimum word count required. The fine folks of
NaPiBoWriWee require nothing but your word of honor. We will embrace
the Honor Code. If you say you have written 7 complete picture book
drafts in 7 days, we will believe you. Besides, why would you lie to
us? You're writing picture books for little children! Picture Book
Authors are nice, honest people who would never lie!
7. Please register on http://paulayoo.
on Paula's blog every day with your progress and questions.
8. If you plan to blog about your NaPiBoWriWee journey, please include
a link to: http://paulayoo.
9. A winner will be chosen from random of all the people who comment
from May 1-7 on http://paulayoo.
autographed copy of Paula Yoo's latest picture book biography,
"SHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY" (Lee & Low Books 2009) by June
2009 when the book is released.
10. For those of you attending the national Society of Children Book
Writers & Illustrators (http://scbwi.
me know and I'll arrange for an informal gathering during the
conference so we can meet in person and celebrate our first
Good luck and I look forward to writing 7 picture books in 7 days with
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I checked out my blog, Habitual Rhymer, and it said my personality type, based on my blog, is an ESTP - Extrovert, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving. Here's how they describe ESTP people:
ESTP - The Doers
The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.
The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention . They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new thatn following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.
I also took a Meyers Brigg-type assessment at sminds.com. It said I am an ESFP type - Extrovert, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving. Here's how they describe ESFP people:
ESFP - "Entertainer". Radiates attractive warmth and optimism. Smooth, witty, charming, clever. Fun to be with. Very generous. 8.5% of the total population.
Friday, April 17, 2009
He has a puzzle every day, starting yesterday and going until April 22. Every day, someone with the correct solution to that day's puzzle will be chosen at random and will win a copy of his latest book The Potato Chip Puzzles. At the end of the week, one person with all seven correct solutions, will be chosen at random and will win every single one of G.P. Putnam's Sons Spring 2009 children's and YA books, plus advance reading copies of numerous Fall 2009 books!
So, even if you didn't start yesterday (I missed it too if it makes you feel better) you can still enter for the rest of the daily prizes. Also, the previous puzzles are still available so you can solve them and enter for the grand prize. I just emailed the solution to today's puzzle (I think it's the correct solution) and plan to do the rest of them. I'm also going to buy the book tomorrow - it looks great!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
DON'T TELL ME THAT I TALK TOO MUCH!
Don't tell me that I talk too much!
Don't say it!
Don't you dare!
I only say important things
Like why it's raining where.
Or when or how or why or what
Might happen here or there.
And why a thing is this or that
And who is bound to care.
So don't tell me I talk too much!
Don't say it!
DON'T YOU DARE!
Here's my poem. The assignment was to write a poem about myself as an introduction to the other students in class. All the other poems were really serious - oops!
I think I'm too short.
My friends say "Yes". My mother says "No".
I think I'm too fat.
My friends say "Yes". My mother says "No".
I think I talk too much.
My friends say "Yes". My mother says "No".
I think I'll move back home.
My friends say "YES!", my mother says "NOOOO!".
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
who qualifies as me;
no ME I AM has been before,
and none will ever be.
No other ME I AM can feel
the feelings I've within
no other ME I AM can fit
precisely in my skin.
There is no other ME I AM
who thinks the thoughts I do;
the world contains one ME I AM,
there is no room for two.
I am the only ME I AM
this earth shall ever see;
that ME I AM I always am
is no one else but me!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I know that I blew it - I hope you don't mind.
Beginning right now, I'll post one poem each day,
I promise my 'real life' won't get in the way.
So send me your poems that are written in rhyme,
And I'll do my best to make up for lost time!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Well, I had a new story in prose (I wrote it because of her suggestion) so I decided to contact her again. I told her about the contest and book deal and I sent edited versions of the manuscripts I'd sent before, along with my new story in prose. I'm happy to say, she really liked the stories and offered to represent me! So now, Jamie Weiss Chilton of Andrea Brown Literary Agency, is my new agent and I'm sooo thrilled!
Members of my critique group asked exactly how she made the offer - email? Phone call? How long did it take? Here's the timeline of how it happened:
January 14, 2009 - After several emails, I got "the call" from Jamie. I did lots of jumping and screaming (inside my head because I was in Target). I told her I'd call back after I got home and put away my frozen food. When I got home, we had a great phone conversation - I had my pre-typed list of questions (I was so proud of myself for being prepared)! I was too nervous and excited to read the list so I just flipped it over and wrote frantic notes on the back. At the end of the call, Jamie said she'd like to offer representation but had to run it past Andrea Brown first! WOW!
January 15, 2009 - I got a message from Jamie saying she spoke with Andrea and was officially offering representation. Lots of jumping and screaming in my kitchen!
January 16, 2009 - I called Jamie back and accepted her offer. We talked about the AB Lit contract (she emailed a sample) and said she'd send the real one in the mail. More jumping and screaming!
January 20, 2009 - The contract came in the mail. MJAS! I signed them and was at the post office in five minutes.
February 2, 2009 - I got the contract back - signed by Jamie and Andrea Brown. Also a nice note from Andrea welcoming me aboard. No more jumping and screaming - I was jaded by this point - not! Since then, Jamie has handled the contract for 1 ZANY ZOO (yeah!) and has two of my stories out to editors. She's fantastic!!
I'm not sure if anyone's reading this blog but, if you are, do you have any "how I got my agent" stories to share?
Friday, April 3, 2009
December 8, 2008 - I got a call from "my editor" :) and we talked about my manuscript, the contract terms, and upcoming revisions. She emailed the general terms of the contract and I quickly accepted before she could change her mind.
December 15, 2008 - I got a call from the Cheerios SOS marketing rep about promotion and upcoming interviews with newspapers and possibly radio - gulp! She said that the announcement wouldn't occur until the end of January or beginning of February and again swore me to secrecy! Since the first day, I'd slowly leaked out the news to my closest friends and other family members. Still, no mention of Cheerios or S&S. This was pretty good for me - just ask my sisters!
January, 2009 - I started reading everything I could about what to do in preparation for a book release. One of the things I read, again and again, was to have a "web presence" so I began researching how to create a website and blog.
February - March, 2008 - I signed up with Go Daddy, got a domain name, and began the arduous journey of creating a website! Compared to building a website, making this blog was a breeze! So, here we are. That's the story of how I came to have this blog and my website.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Welcome to my blog. I finally finished my website Loridegman.com, and realized I wanted a blog to share my writing experiences, news about the writing world and, of course, my opinions. So, here it is.
You're probably wondering why I needed a website in the first place. Here's a time line of the events that led to its inception:
May, 2008 - I submitted my manuscript, 1 Zany Zoo, to the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories contest. I figured I probably wouldn't win but you can't win if you don't enter, so...
September, 2008 - The winner was supposed to be notified this month - I never heard from them so I knew it wasn't me. Time to polish up the manuscript and submit it to publishers.
October, 2008 - I sent the manuscript for critique by a speaker at the Prairie Writer's Day Conference (the annual SCBWI - Illinois conference).
November 15, 2008 - When I arrived at the conference, I excitedly read the critique of my story and quickly took an emotional nosedive! The editor had written a couple of positive things and then proceeded to point out problems throughout the entire manuscript. I had thought it was in really good shape when I submitted it and couldn't believe how off my judgment was. But, used to rejection (I've had plenty of practice), I took it in stride and vowed to consider the editor's suggestions and rework the story.
November 26, 2008 - It was the day before Thanksgiving and I was getting ready for dinner at my house when I got a Fed-ex package with a letter stating that I was one of the three winners of the Cheerios contest! I read it ten times to find the "catch" then finally accepted that I actually was in the top three. I naturally assumed I'd won second or third place, which I thought was pretty good! I figured that, even though it wasn't the grand prize winner, it would be something I could mention in future cover letters.
I happily continued my Thanksgiving preparations when I got a phone call from a General Mills representative who said I was the grand prize winner! I screamed so loudly, my husband and kids rushed upstairs to make sure I was okay. I couldn't believe it!! I can't remember anything the representative said, except that I had to keep it a secret until it would be announced in January. Of course, I immediately called my mom, sisters and brother. My kids told all their friends but none of us mentioned Cheerios or Simon & Schuster. It was going to be a long couple of months!
(That wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be!)