September 2018 Archives

You dont get into writing

You don't get into writing. Writing gets into you.
John Prescott

It is the writer who

It is the writer who might catch the imagination of young people, and plant a seed that will flower and come to fruition.
Isaac Asimov

How Excel Can Help Creatives

notebook-1850613_1920.jpgI've talked several times about writing expenses and income, and often share my spreadsheet templates via email. (See posts here and here.) But this time I decided I should share them for free downloading.

The first is an expense template--this will work for writers or illustrators. Feel free to customize how it best works for you. I initially set this up based off of Schedule C, and still find it helpful when using TurboTax. It is set up to do automatic calculations for each month, and then monthly totals are transferred to the year-end sheet. It also has two extra sheets where I keep track of use of cars and equipment depreciation, and cost of goods sold.

Expense Template.xlsx

I also have an income template: Income Template.xlsx

But is that it? Is Excel only for numbers? I don't find it so.

Some of the useful spreadsheets I have are a writing day log and a critique group log. These show dates, where we met, and who I met with. These are backups for my expense sheets and make for easy comparisons versus searching all my emails for when and where we agreed to meet. Here are those templates:
Critique Meeting Log Template.xlsx
Writing Day Log Template.xlsx

I also have two excel spreadsheets related to agents. One has agent information I've collected from sites and newsletters. (These are agents I think I might want to submit to.) Each agent gets their own tab (sheet) and I add more information and updates as I find it. I could use a Word Table as well for this, but entries get pretty lengthy.

The other spreadsheet is for agents who have rejected me. It includes name, agency, date, and form or personal rejection. I'm querying on a specific manuscript right now, but that could be info for another column. A Word Table would probably work as well.

Some people use spreadsheets for submission info. That could be for all submissions or for a specific manuscript.

If you don't have Excel, consider Google Sheets--a great alternative. Though I mostly use Sheets for collating info from a Google Form I've created. Google Sheets are handy when you need to share a spreadsheet with someone else so you can both work on the same sheet. As soon as one makes a change, the info is updated.

we don't eat our CLASSMATES

Perfect Picture Book Friday

wedonteat.jpgYes, I'm on a Ryan T. Higgins' book kick. But how could I resist this title: we don't eat our CLASSMATES (Disney*Hyperion, 2018)? It's a hilarious back-to-school book and has a reassurance on the title page with Penelope Rex saying, "HEY, KIDS! You will never be eaten by a T. rex. They are extinct. I promise." I love the twists in this story.

I can see a kid saying, "again" after the book is read. I had to go back and reread it aloud to my husband because he wanted to know why I was laughing. And then I read it again to make sure I hadn't missed anything in the art.

Here are some activity sheets using art from this book

And if you want some more humor (but truth too) go to Ryan's FAQ page and read the answer to this question: "How does Ryan come up with ideas for books?"

Changes of heart are

Changes of heart are ... a great opportunity to deepen character, introduce an element of surprise, or challenge the reader.
Mary Kole

Be Quiet!

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Be-Quiet-Cover.jpgBe Quiet! (Disney*Hyperion, 2017) by Ryan T. Higgins is a humorous picture book. No surprise if you've read any of his other titles, such as Mother Bruce. The cover image definitely introduces the tone, too.

Rupert the mouse wants to make a wordless picture book, but from the very beginning his friends are messing it up. He asks his friends to be quiet, but it doesn't work so well. Nibs and Thistle, the other mice keep talking. And talking. And taking control of the story. There's language humor especially when Nibs misunderstands words. And, of course, there's a twist at the end of the story.

This book makes me think of my youngest daughter at three. She'd learned to talk but then we had the difficult job of teaching her how to be quiet. Would have loved to have had this book.

I keep smiling as I'm typing because this book was so fun.

Read about the author/illustrator Ryan T. Higgins here.


Perfect Picture Book Friday

Natsumi!.jpgNatsumi! (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2018) by Susan Lendroth and illustrated by Priscilla Burris is a delightful picture book. I really love the illustrations.

Natsumi may be small, but she does everything in a big way. She's too fast, too hard, too loud. At least that's what Grandmother, Father, and Mother say. Grandfather doesn't say anything at first, but then he helps her find where she fits in. At the end Natsumi is able to make her family proud.

You can read about the author's other books here and the illustrator's books here.

Here's a fascinating look at the story behind the story of this book that took eight years!

The Lying Planet

LyingPlanet.jpgThe Lying Planet (Entangled Publishing, 2016) by Carol Riggs got buried in my TBR pile, which really was a shame as I enjoyed this sci-fi novel very much.

Jay Lawton can't wait to move out of Sanctuary, one of the colonies in a safe zone, when he graduates on his birthday. He's sure he and his girlfriend, Aubrie, will test well and both go to Promise City. He's hoping he might earn a cloudskimmer. Then the two can be free of parental supervision and explore the planet. The genomide poisoned body of the banished Mick Garinger is just a reminder to keep doing well with studies, community service, and work in this post-war life on the planet Liberty.

But one night Jay forgets his evening pill and stumbles on a heart-stopping truth--the adults are not who they say they are! Aubrie won't believe him, but other friends do. Now instead of wanting to get the highest score out of the Testing Machine, Jay and the others need to do what they can for a low score and get banished. Plus they need to convince the other seventeen-year-olds, especially Aubie, of their impending danger.

You can read chapter one here and find out more about Carol's other books here.

I'm not sure I could handle this story in movie form...


Sanctuary.jpgSanctuary (Simon Pulse, 2018) by Caryn Lix is one of those stories that if they make into a movie, I'm not sure I'll be able to watch on the big screen. And *Shudder* I don't want to reveal why.

Kenzie and her family live in Sanctuary, a prison space station for teen super-criminals. In fact, Kenzie is a part-time junior guard in training and her mother is the commander of the facility. Kenzie feels she has to prove herself to the other guards--favoritism and all that--but she's a bit more concerned about the news her parents just dropped on her. So she's a little tense when a drill hits that seems over-the-top, even for an AI like Sanctuary.

With Dad gone, the others off station, it's just Mom and Kenzie. They should be able to handle anything. But when Kenzie is taken hostage by the prisoners on level 5, she discovers her mother's loyalty is to the corporation Ominstellar over her own daughter's life. And Kenzie understands. Mostly.

The situation worsens from there.

Let's just say creatures in outer space.

I reached a point where I couldn't stop reading.

This is the author's debut novel that came out in July. Read about Caryn here.

Rejected pieces arent failure unwritten

Rejected pieces aren't failure; unwritten pieces are.
Greg Daugherty