June 25, 2011

Blogcation . . .

It's summer and blog needs a vacation.

There are books to be read, cool drinks to be sipped by the pool and palm trees to enjoy.

Blog will be back from blogcation before you know it.

In the meantime, have a lovely summer. Here's hoping you spend it enjoying the things you love best.

June 15, 2011


Twenty years of marriage is nothing to sneeze at, unless of course, you're allergic to marriage. I'm not a big fan of emphasizing a single day. I'm a fan of living well in the moment, being kind and yadda, yadda, yadda.

But today, Dan and I are married 20 years.

We are kind to each other and do small kindnesses for each other. We are that voice that says, "How was your day?" and usually listens to the answer. While we both have passions and friends beyond each other, we prefer to spend time together.

After twenty years, we still find each other interesting. We still have things to talk about (although I do most of the talking -- blah, blah, blah). And we've been through rough things -- health things, kid things, death things -- and those things, we decided, are the glue that binds us.

So a big thank you to Addam Schwartz because 23-1/2 years ago he asked, "Donna, mind if a friend of mine joins us for the movie tonight?"

I didn't say yes right away. I asked, "Is he cute?" which made Addam all uncomfortable. How is a guy supposed to answer that?

But that friend turned out to be Dan. And Dan felt comfortable enough with me on that first meeting to throw popcorn at me during the movies. (We were young.) About a month later, Dan asked me out. (He worked three jobs and went to college full-time.)

I didn't say yes right away. I told my mom, "Hey, looks like I'm getting a free dinner from this guy."

Dan and I were so broke, even though we both worked. A lot. Dan took me out to bowl and had no money. He took me out to dinner and had no money. (Borrowed it from his dad.)

Alongside a dock on Philadelphia's waterfront, late at night (with only one homeless person nearby) after a lovely dinner (during which I decided to become a vegetarian and write seriously long run-on sentences), Dan asked me to marry him.

I didn't say yes right away. I thought about it. Then I said yes.

It's worked out okay . . .

Happy 20th anniversary! Love you, Baby!!!

June 13, 2011


When I was a young writer (about 10-1/2 billion years ago), I spent lots of time in the 808 section of the Philadelphia Public Library. I read books like Writer's Market to figure out how to sell my writing and get rich.

When I was 14, I sent a batch of greeting card ideas to Hallmark.

Guess what Hallmark sent back.

A rejection letter, of course. But I didn't let it discourage me.

I continued writing and sending my work out for decades. While I kept getting rejected (Boo hoo!), I also sold greeting cards, stories, funny essays and, eventually, books for kids. Wahoo!

Never did get rich, but I sure had fun!

I know that when I was a kid, I would have LOVED a list of all the great books and Web sites available for young writers today.

Because I like you so much (I really do!), I'm going to share these wonderful resources with you.

Make sure to share this with other young writers.



1) http://noodletools.com/debbie/literacies/basic/yngwrite.html This Web site is a treasure trove of opportunities for young writers. It lists publications and Web sites that accept writing from children.
2) http://mag.amazing-kids.org/contests/amazing-kids-contests/ On this site, you’ll find fun contests for kids.
3) http://www.fundsforwriters.com/writingkid.htm This e-zine provides contests and publishing opportunities as well as articles for young writers.
4) http://www.stonesoup.com/stone-soup-contributor-guideline/ If you’re age 13 or younger, you can contribute writing and illustrations to Stone Soup Magazine.
5) http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2011/06/co-authors-interview-walter-dean-myers.html -- Read this inspiring interview with author, Walter Dean Myers, and a young writer, Ross Workman, who collaborated on the novel Kick.
6) http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php?topic=52563.0 With a parent’s permission, send an e-mail to sign up for this message board, then scroll down to the “Young Writers Rock!” section. Introduce yourself, explore and ask questions.
7) http://www.aprilhenrymysteries.com/tips-for-writers.html Mystery writer, April Henry, offers great tips and resources.


1) Five Pages a Day: A Writer's Journey by Peg Kehret

2) Poem-Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry by Myra Cohn Livingston

3) What's Your Story?: A Young Person's Guide to Writing Fiction by Marion
Dane Bauer

4) Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Anne Mazer & Ellen Potter

5) The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner

6) Pizza, Pigs and Poetry: How to Write a Poem by Jack Prelutsky

7) Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly by Gail Carson Levine

8) Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out by Ralph Fletcher

9) Seize the Story:  A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write by Victoria Hanley

10) Just Write -- Here's How by Walter Dean Myers

Now, go have fun (reading and) writing!

June 8, 2011

Wild and Wonderful Things About WEDNESDAY . . .

I'm a huge fan of Gary D. Schmidt's books, especially this one . . .

And who can forget this sweet girl from The Addams Family TV show?

There's a hilarious parody of Rebecca Black's Friday video. It's called WEDNESDAY.

Every Wednesday, author extraordinaire, Cynthia Lord, showcases her husband's stunning photographs with WORDLESS WEDNESDAYS.

Here's to YOU enjoying a wild and wonderful Wednesday!

June 3, 2011

And the winner Is . . .

A big THANK YOU to Cindy Hudson for sharing her wonderful 6-1/2 list about Mother/Daughter book clubs with us.

She generously donated an autographed copy of her book . . .

I'm happy to announce the winner of the autographed book is . . .


Congratulations Jami, and thank you to all who entered the contest!

June 1, 2011

Stupid Things You Can (But Shouldn't) Buy for Your Pets . . .

Doggy raincoats. One point in their favor: They didn't sell doggy umbrellas. (Guess that has to do with that whole opposable thumb thing.)

Buying cat furniture? This kitty couch looked like a miniature version of the one hubby bought me for Mother's Day. Really, if you can afford to buy furniture, buy fabulous human furniture here.

These clothing items are not for children. I repeat: They items are not for children. (Oh, poor poochies!)

And finally, for Doggy Depends, look no further . . .

Obviously, the intended recipients of these items are not impressed. Are you boys?

Sheesh! Wouldn't money spent on those items be better spent here? I'm just sayin'.