Hump Day, 2022

So here we are, the middle of the first week of 2022. How does it feel?

I’m pretty tired today. I woke up at 4:45 (yes, a.m.), and the restless night I had is catching up with me . . . at 8 a.m. It’d be easy to give up and lounge on the couch today. I have to resist that at this early hour, as I’d like to keep with my idea of having the house undecorated by Sunday this week. It was sweet, I asked granddaughter Addison if she’d like a couple items I’m not crazy about anymore. And she wants them! I’m happy I have something she’d like to have. It’s important for kids to have some thing from previous generations. I hope granddaughter Kayla will someday want something of mine.

I have a Grandma Book that poses questions for me to answer for one of them, maybe Addison will want it. We’ve had 14 years together, going on 15. I tell her how I’ll never forget Grandma Sandy handing her to me right after she was born. Grandpa’s and Grandma’s had the opportunity to hold her. Sandy brought this beautiful baby to me and said, “It’s your turn now, Grandma.” She smiled, and her brown doe-like eyes with awning-length lashes shone with her tears of joy. She was beautiful. And her heart was, too. I am so grateful we had a strong friendship, not the usual problem between the ex-wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. It was a gift for both of us. Sandy died of lung cancer about eleven years ago.

And now, this young woman is about to turn 15 years old. Wow. What memories! All good ones. She amazes me with her confidence. She’s all about sticking up for herself. I wish I had known about how to do that. It’s a gift to me at this point in my life. Yes, I say I’m late to the party. At least I made it. I’m grateful for that.

The Raabe/Shuck family up in Sioux Falls is about to grow again. Alex and Meagan Shuck will have another baby girl in May! We have so many birthdays in that month! The Babe’s Mom Liz was on the 5th, Mine is the 22nd, the Babe’s is the 24th. I better get to the fabric store for this little one! I think I owe Kenna a quilt, too (and Cory and Amber Davis’ Trisha, too). This Grandma loves to make stuff for babies. And toddlers. It’ll all get done some time.

Psychologically, we know if it’s cloudy outside, that makes a dome over this part of the earth and the weather becomes a bit warmer. It defies logic how our moods lift with sunshine and blue skies; after all, the cold deepens with clear skies! We have sun, blustery winds, and WCI’s of minus to minus 15 below zero. Wow! Lots of people go to Arizona, Texas, Florida or Mexico during this time in a Nebraska Winter. I don’t blame them, really.

These temperatures don’t do a lot for my arthritis, my broken ankle hardware, or my ailing shoulder. At the same time, I’m grateful I don’t have Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s terribly crippling. See? Yes, we can find positive things when we’re not feeling well, we are tired, we feel the ravages of aging and injury. I’ll be fine. I’m certain of it.

I want to straighten up the area around my sewing machine today. I didn’t quilt my cardinal quilt but want to get it done and displayed this weekend, too. Goals, all help a lot. I’ll get stuff done. We’ll be ahead of the game before we know. Small steps. Patience. It’s all part of our process of the word for my year. “Progress.” I have lots of ideas, lots of plans. Stick around, and I’ll share them with you! Stay warm today, stay inside if you can. We’ll see each other tomorrow!

What? #500 Words?

What’s today’s challenge? Consider where, and how to cut words after Cartney illustrates our KidLit Book. It’s a challenge. A timely e-mail came from Brooke/Journey to KidLit. She tells me the industry standard for a picture book is 500. Most/Many have over 1,000 words. As it sits now, mine is 1,617.

Cartney mentioned to me about the number of words in my current draft. I love her honesty and ability to speak up to me, and be kind while doing it. I truly felt like I was working with an equal, we’re both new to publishing a book. BTW, my illustrator is graduating from high school today. How fun! Congratulations, Cartney!

Happy Graduation Day, Cartney!

This e-mail further explains to me what I need to do as a writer. From the very beginning, I’ve known I will cut words out as illustrations will make them unnecessary. Now, I’m going to remove passive voice, making it active. Easier said than done!

To use a word our friend, Lenny Leavitt almost coined, I need to do a “word-ectomy” to my story. It might be a little painful, but the story will heal and be much better with fewer words. The idea of a picture book, after all, is to let the pictures tell the story. Lenny adds “ectomy” to “foot” to explain a pedicure. Maybe I could get some great words from him! Maybe for the novel. Not now. I don’t want kids confused.

My Challenge for this weekend, before Cartney begins illustrating.

Another hint from Brooke @ KidLit is to always show action above anything else. And each page needs to feature something different to keep a kid’s interest. I have plenty of kid books to look at for “how to do this.” I collected them like crazy for the Grandkids. They’re some of my favorites, I’ve even found some of the books I had for my kids. They’re fun to read to the Grands. And soon, I may be reading them to practice for making a video of parts of “ROXIE! What Are You Doing?” Grandma Kathy may be going “Hollywood.”

Oh dear, what have I gotten myself into?

I’m just joking. I know perfectly well what I’ve gotten myself into. It never occurred to me I’d really make this opportunity for myself. I’m going to publish my kid book! All the pieces are falling into place; at the same time, I’m learning creative ways to make myself seen and heard among the avalanche of books that are out there. How do I stand out?

I think Grandma Kathy needs to read books (any good books, not just mine!) to kids on video. It might be a substitute for when Mom or Dad are busy and cannot read to their littles. It might be a way to stand out. I think it’s worth a try. Kate Whitecotton of RAVE ON Productions, I may be asking you some questions soon!

So even after the Babe having a fall off a ten foot ladder, a small brain bleed we’re watching, and me serving as his UBER driver for the next few weeks, It’s been a very productive week. My words are all in the manuscript text boxes, I’m going to flag the ones I’m going to omit (for Cartney) and we’ll see what happens next. This is pretty exciting. Thanks for being here with me today and every day. We’ll see each other tomorrow, eary again! I love writing in the morning. It’s so much easier, my brain isn’t so cluttered. Take Care. Be Kind.