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pirate

Pirates at the Fair!

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Pirates at the Fair!

Ahoy mateys!  Pirate's Lullaby releases on August 25, 2015 but you can get a sneak peek on June 28th.  I'll be reading at 4:30 p.m. at the Creative Youth Exhibit at the San Diego County Fair.  Come and walk the plank! Make a pirate map and get a (temporary) tattoo! 



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Agent's Day Talk

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Agent's Day Talk

Last weekend, I was invited to SCBWI's Agent’s Day in Orange County to share the story behind my debut picture book, PIRATE’S LULLABY: MUTINY AT BEDTIME (Doubleday, August 25, 2015), illustrated by Tim Bowers. I entitled my talk, How I Became a Pirate and Landed a Book Deal, for several reasons. Obviously, the book has a pirate theme, but the story behind my story involves....

...a whole lot of water

Flood, May 2012

Flood, May 2012

...a case of Bell’s Palsy

"Let's be pirate princesses," said my daughter.

"Let's be pirate princesses," said my daughter.

...a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work.

At the conference, I encouraged my fellow writers to embrace the pirate’s life. I wasn’t suggesting that we all head for the open seas; instead, I wanted everyone to think and act like a pirate.

"Be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate. Then always be a pirate."

"Be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate. Then always be a pirate."

You see, pirates weren’t afraid of the unknown. If they were, they never would have sailed beyond the next horizon. The work was hard, the dangers many, the rewards few - yet the men (and women) who became pirates did so because they loved the adventure. They took pleasure in the journey and were spurred on by the promise of reward.

Being a pirate, though, was hard work. The bulk of one’s day involved doing general maintenance on the ship - patching sails, splicing worn ropes, swabbing the deck – tasks that needed to be done to ensure their vessel was seaworthy.  Quarters were cramped, food was scarce and you put your life at risky daily. And for what?  The mere possibility of reward and the odds were stacked against you.

Being a writer is a lot like being a pirate. Like pirates, writers need to put aside their fear of the unknown. They must work hard at their craft, weather rejection and compete for the much treasured opportunity of having a book published. Are the odds any better for writers? No, but like all pirates know, the journey is worth the effort.

So, me hearties, Be brave. Be bold. Be yourself. But be a pirate too. Take the risk. Conquer your fear. Set out for the unknown. You never know what treasure the future might hold. And oh, the adventures you can have along the way!

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Always be yourself...

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Always be yourself...

 "Always be yourself.  Unless you can be a pirate, then be a pirate."

I’ve always been a reader, but now that I am a writer, I read in a different way.  Reading as a writer means you pay attention to different things.  You aren’t just reading for a good story.  You read with an eye for detail which leads to a deeper appreciation and understanding of craft.  Reading as a writer involves paying attention to how an author develops a character or plots such a good story that you stay up way past your bedtime to find out how it ends.

I love pictures books.  Always have, always will.  For the longest time, pictures books were the only thing I wanted to write. Lately, I’ve felt a yearning to attempt something longer, something more fully developed. 

I have the beginnings of two middle grade novels but my progress on them has stalled.  I could blame my inertia on a lack of time, but like my father always said, we all have 24 hours in a day.  If I’m really honest, what impedes me most is myself.  I find myself comparing my writing to the writing of those writers that I admire, writers that have been working on their craft for years.

I’m new to this writer’s life and I’m just beginning my journey into middle grade waters.  It’s not fair to compare.  I can’t write like them because I am not them. I can only write like myself.  I know that I have a middle grade in me.  Perhaps, what I need to do now is embrace the pirate’s life.  

You see, pirates weren’t afraid of the unknown. If they were, they never would have sailed beyond the next horizon. The work was hard, the dangers many, the rewards few - yet the men who became pirates did so because they loved the adventure. They took pleasure in the journey and were spurred on by the promise of reward.

Being a pirate, though, was hard work. The bulk of one’s day involved doing general maintenance on the ship - patching sails, splicing worn ropes, swabbing the deck – tasks that needed to be done to ensure their vessel was seaworthy.  Quarters were cramped, food was scarce and you put your life at risky daily. And for what?  The mere possibility of reward.

Being a writer is a lot like being a pirate.  Like pirates, writers need to put aside their fear of the unknown. They must work hard at their craft, weather rejection and compete for the much treasured opportunity of having a book published. Are the odds any better for writers?  No, but like all pirates know, the journey is worth the effort.

So, me hearties, join me as I throw caution to the wind.  Be brave. Be bold.  Be yourself. But be a pirate too.  Take the risk.  Conquer your fear.  Set out for the unknown.  You never know what treasure the future might hold.  And oh, the adventures you might have along the way!

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