Author Archives: Vicky L. Lorencen

Congrats, Summer Open House Winner!

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Oh what a pleasure it is to proclaim the winner of this year’s Summer Open House giveaway drawing.

Congratulations go to Lori McElrath-Eslick! You will receive your very own, one of a kind doodle, personalized with your initials or those of someone you love.

Please send me a message with your preference and mailing address, and I will get to doodling!

Heartfelt thanks go to everyone who entered the drawing. Your comments and kindness are most appreciated. I will think of you as I doodle more curlicues, spirals and paisley patterns. I hope you will doodle away the summer too!

Doodle by Vicky Lorencen

Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers. ~ Ray Bradbury

You’re Invited – Summer Open House 2021

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Doodle by Vicky Lorencen

Welcome! Welcome!

Come on in!

To taggle along with “What a Doodle Can Do for You,” I invite you to visit Frog on a Dime and enjoy taking a look around. Snoop all you like. (Yes, you can even look under the lily pads!) Read posts, check out the quote collection, the inspiration page for young writers and much more. It’s all yours to explore.

While you’re here, please leave a comment on whatever post speaks most to you.

Your comment is your ticket to entry into Frog on a Dime’s Annual (Virtual) Summer Open House giveaway!

You can win:

A swirly whirly one-of-a-kind doodle created with care by yours truly. If you choose, your doodle can be personalized with your initials or the initials of someone you love incorporated into the design.

To enter the 2021 Frog on a Dime Summer Open House Giveaway:

Simply leave a comment on any post–past or present, whatever suits your fancy!

Deadline to enter:

High Noon (EST) on Wednesday, August 11.

(And ahem, leave a comment on more than one post, and you’ll get an EXTRA chance to win!)

In spite of everything, I shall rise again; I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing. ~ Vincent Van Gogh

A strong visual imagination acts as a magnet to draw the visualised into reality. ~ Anupama Garg

What a Doodle Can Do for You

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By Vicky Lorencen

The other day I stumbled on a fun fact about presidential doodles.

(Hmm. Something about that doesn’t sound quite right.)

Let me start again.

See, I was reading this article from Harvard Health Publishing about the thinking benefits of doodling. That makes more sense, right?

And according to the article’s author Srini Pillay, MD, “Even American presidents have found themselves sketching away: 26 of 44 American Presidents doodled, from Theodore Roosevelt, who doodled animals and children, to Ronald Reagan, who doodled cowboys and football players, and John F. Kennedy, who doodled dominoes.”

Doodle by Vicky Lorencen
By Vicky Lorencen

A writer’s job doesn’t exactly involve executing laws, appointing federal officials or negotiating with Slovakia. So, why do I need to doodle? For me, doodling is a way to get out of my own way. If I’m writing and get stuck (more like, “when” I get stuck), I pause and pick up a pen. Mindlessly making swirls and random, unpredictable designs is a practice that calms me. It provides a chance to hush my harsh inner critic because doodling has no right or wrong. It just do.

Doodling can helps me puzzle out a plot predicament or conjure a more fitting name for a character I’ve become better acquainted with. It keeps the gnarly wheels in my noggin’ cranking, but in a more productive way versus self-sabotage.

Doodling can also be a delightful way to douse stress. Allowing yourself to get lost in an in-the-moment design can relieve tension by putting a distance between you and fret. Worries about your writing and whether you can move ahead are nudged to the margin while you push that pen. You can return to your project mentally replenished.

My Little Strawberry Rhubarb Tart, if you’ve never tried doodling as a companion to your creative process, I encourage you to give it a try. The only way you can go wrong is to think about what you are doodling whilst you do it. Pretend you’re giving the paper a side glance. It’s just there to catch the ink. And you don’t have to use fancy paper or snazzy pens. (If you take a look at the doodle below, you’ll notice I did it on nothing-fancy notebook paper.) You don’t have to worry about composition, what color to use or creating “art.” Just free your pen and the mental rest will follow.

Want to delve deeper into doodling?

Learn more about the benefits of doodling from Monica Harris, The Doodling Duchess.

By Vicky Lorencen

She drew the things that stuck to her mind, the things that caught her attention and, specially, the things she wasn’t capable of understanding fully. But she hadn’t even realized it. Art had become her way of processing reality. ~ Zoe Haslie

Everybody has inner creativity that has been lost amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The small part of us that provides balance and calm, and releases our creative side, is smothered and in risk of dying completely. ~ Lana Karr

Be gentle on yourself

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Doodle by Vicky Lorencen

To say mathematics is not my thing is like saying cliff diving is not a giraffe’s thing.

And yet, I am compelled to confirm an important number, so I do the math.

2021 – 1963 = 58

Yep, there it is.

I’m turning 58 years old this year. Yeesh. I’ve never been so old.

And with every passing year, I feel the mounting pressure to be published. That pressure is entirely self-inflicted, along with the self-condemnation and self-doubt. I’m really quite self-sufficient that way.

Year marker 58 was anticipated to be much the same. And then, I heard a few simple words from a wise literary agent that hit a reset button I forgot I even had.

The words?

“Be gentle on yourself.”

It’s easy to be gentle on others, isn’t it. It’s no effort to remind them how genuinely talented they are, and easy to encourage them to look back at how far they’ve come.

Maybe I can give it a go with myself too. It will be a squabblesome, disorienting pursuit I’m certain. But being gentle on myself sure sounds like a welcome birthday gift.

Say, you’re having a birthday this year, aren’t you? Why not treat yourself to some gentleness too.

Be gentle on yourself. ~ Kirby Kim, literary agent with Janklow & Nesbit

Follow your compass, not your clock. ~ Alvina Ling, VP, Editor-in-Chief, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Learn to be kind to yourself. Let your mind free, close your eyes, breathe deeply and remain calm. Life is majestic and meaningful enough. ~ Shaa Zainol



Congrats Octiversary Giveaway Winner!

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Thank you times eight to everyone who joined in celebrating Frog on a Dime’s Octiversary! How encouraging to note your many accomplishments of the past year. And, given the tilt-a-whirl of 2020, every step forward–or even the ability to hold on–is all the more impressive! If you have not done so already, I hope you will make time to celebrate your progress, persistence and plucky pertinaciousness. (How’s that for alliteration? I’m exhausted. Where’s my cookie?)

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

And now, my little puff pastries, I am pleased to announce the winner of

Frog on a Dime’s Octiversary Giveaway.

Congratulations to Rebecca Van Slyke!

A box filled with not one, but eight prizes will be coming your way. You can expect to receive it in January to lighten mid-winter blues and start your new year with fresh resources for your 2021 creative pursuits.

Wishing you all a season of peaceful, mindful moments, and genuine joy in the year to come.

Celebrate when you’re half done,
And the finish won’t be half as fun
. ~ Lemony Snicket

Happy Octiversary!

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Things have been on the quiet side this year here at Frog on a Dime, but we still have reasons to celebrate–including this little blog’s 8th anniversary (also known as an octiversary! (And yes, that’s a made up word.)) Can you believe it, my little ginger snaps?

In keeping with tradition (yes! something normal!), we will honor this special occasion with presents–for YOU. All you need to do is enter the 8th Octiversary Giveaway, and if your name is drawn, a box of delightful “stuff” will be headed your way postage haste! (Sorry. You are not allowed to know what the 8-part prize is ahead of time. An octopus? No! Too obvious. And too arm-y.)

The drawing deadline is Noon (EST) on Friday, December 18. (Of course, it’s a date with an 8!)

You can enter here in the reply section or on Facebook. (Limit one entry per person, but you can still comment on both.)

Your entry must include at least one writing-related accomplishment from 2020. Hold on! Read the examples! Examples of accomplishments include (but are not limited to) I signed with an agent, I submitted a manuscript to an agent or editor, I sold a manuscript, I finally got my writing files in order, I had a book come out, I joined a critique group, I did research in preparation for a non-fiction project, I took an online course related to writing, I started a new project, I revisited a WIP, I let someone read my work and give me feedback, I encouraged other writers, AND the BEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ALL–I did not give up!!

Disclaimer: To be eligible to participate in this contest, entrants must be residents in good standing in any Earth-related location. Entering the giveaway drawing may induce a sense of anticipation. Employees of Frog on a Dime, of which there are none, must keep their mitts off the prizes unless expressly asked to handle for the purpose of packing items for the winner. No purchase is necessary to enter, which is good since we’re not selling anything. On Friday, December 18, 2020, a winner will be selected at random from among valid entries. Frog on a Dime is not responsible for any liability arising directly, or even, sheesh, like remotely, from use of the prizes. Odds of winning are pretty darn good.

“Moment by moment, in life’s winter

life froze

Echoing a history of blues,

a milestone rose.”

― Sandeep N Tripathi

Congrats to the Summer Open House Giveaway Winner!

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Many thanks to everyone who hopped in for Frog on a Dime’s 2020 Summer Open House. I hope you enjoyed the new features to make the site easier to navigate and search, my little raspberry lemonades. If you missed it, be sure to check out the NEW Rejection Recovery page. (Or at the very least, take comfort in knowing it’s there when/if you need it!)

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

And now . . . [cue drum roll, please]

I am pleased to announce the winner of this year’s

Summer Open House Giveaway!

ELIZABETH WESTRA

Elizabeth, you will receive not one but TWO personally autographed copies of Rachel Anderson’s debut novel THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT–one for you to enjoy and one to share with a young reader you love. Your prize package will also include a journal for capturing ideas while you’re summer daydreaming AND a surprise! Congratulations! Thank you for entering.

Rachel Anderson, author of THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT, published by Late November Literary

Please be sure to read the giveaway disclaimer below (you know, for legal purposes and stuff).

Disclaimer(s): No purchase necessary (or even an option). Shipping & handling included. Safe when used as directed. Do not submerge. Batteries not included. Dryclean only. Frog on a Dime is furnishing this Prize Package “as is.” None of the authors, contributors, agents, editors, miscreants, vandals, ambidextrous nose miners, or anyone else connected with Frog on a Dime, in any way whatsoever, can be held responsible for your (mis)use of the contents of the Prize Package. Remain seated until the ride has come to a complete stop. Do not refrigerate after opening. Contents may settle during shipment. Prize Package sold by weight, not by volume. Frog on a Dime does not provide any warranty of the item(s) whatsoever, whether expressed, implied, or statutory (whatever that is), including, but not limited to, any warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or any warranty that the contents of the item will be error-free (because). Use at your own risk. Subject to approval. Driver does not carry cash. No substitutions. Do not fold, staple or mutilate. Some restrictions apply (but you can’t make me say what). Void where prohibited. Employees must wash hands. For off-road use only. All terms and conditions shall be rendered null and void on a whim. If state laws apply to you, some or all of the above disclaimers, exclusions, or limitations may not apply to you and you may have additional rights. (Go You!) I know you are but what am I. This tag may not be removed except by the consumer under penalty of law. (Ooo, scary!) See store for details.

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language

Henry James

Welcome! Summer Open House 2020

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It’s time to celebrate the dog days of summer with a special guest—debut author Rachel Anderson, author of THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT.

Published by Late November Literary

Let’s hop right into a Summer Lightning Round of Q & A with Rachel . . .

What is your favorite day of the week–and yes, why? 

Wow. I’d forgotten there are different days of the week. Being retired does that.

What is under your bed? (Remember, Frog on a Dime is a judgement-free zone.)

Two ear plugs the cat stole from my dresser (hubby snores sometimes).

If you were a cheese, what kind would you be?

Mozzarella.

Hmm. Interesting. Mozzarella because . . .

It’s versatile, yet predictable (I think).

Quick. What is your inner adult/inner child ratio?

I’d say 70/30 on most days, except when I’m writing for kids, then it’s 10/90. If I could get rid of that 10 percent adult, I’d be so much easier on myself when it comes to revisions.

If you hadn’t become a writer, what would you be? 

I am a creative person, so that’s who I’d still be without writing. My muse would be different, though. And maybe that muse wouldn’t hide for days on end.

I feel melancholy descending. Let’s move on.

Your favorite punctuation mark is:

!

How come?

It makes a statement! Or an overstatement!!

Okay!!!! Thank you!

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final Summer Lightning Q & A, uh, Q. It’s a fill in the blank: my favorite food to eat while writing is_______________________.

I’d like to eat a bag of Cheetos, but the cheese messes up the keyboard.

I’ll send you a can of compressed air. You’ll be good to go.

Great job, Rachel. Now, it’s time to dig a bit deeper. Not to worry. I’ll be gentle.

You look pretty happy in your photo. What’s it like to have your dream finally delivered and decked out on your dining room table?

I’m absolutely delighted to be holding my middle grade historical fiction novel in my hands. It’s a wonderful feeling. I’ve worked hard on this novel for many years.

Surprise! 

Eleven year old Emily Hanover learns the golden retriever next door has a litter of MUTT PUPS and her neighbor doesn’t want them. In SECRET, Emily rescues the little mutts only to DISCOVER puppies are LOUD, always hungry and a whole lot of work. How will she keep them fed AND out of sight?

Your novel centers on a girl, Emily. How did you two get your start?

I don’t remember the year I began writing Emily’s story, but back then, it was just a simple story about a girl who wants a dog. I didn’t know anything about story structure, point of view or character development until I joined SCBWI and began attending conferences and workshops. After that, I had the tools to build my story into something special.

What kept you coming back to your manuscript?

There were times when I put the manuscript away for a month or more as I moved to other projects like picture books. But I was always drawn back to Emily’s story and her need to have a dog of her own. And I keep thinking about the reasons she couldn’t have one, and what her never-give-up attitude would drive her to do. The more time Emily and I spent together, the more I enjoyed reading her story over and over as I revised.

How did you prepare to write the historical backdrop of Emily’s story?

To do it justice, I had to do a lot of research into the 1960s. Once I dug into topics related to the war and wrote some scenes, I reached out to two Vietnam veterans for their perspectives. Those interviews made all the difference as I continued writing, getting critiques and gathering suggestions. Two years into the project, I found another veteran who not only reviewed everything the first two veterans gave me, he even helped me make some scenes stronger. At that point, my confidence with the historical aspect of the story grew and it was easier to finish the book.

It sounds like you really put your heart into this novel, Rachel. What do you hope your readers take away from THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT?

I’ve always felt deep down that Emily’s story had to be told. I’m so glad I was the one to tell it. I like to think young readers will be inspired by Emily’s determination and the way she’s able to think through problems to find solutions. By the time they reach the last page, I hope kids think of Emily as a new friend and feel a bit sad the story’s over.

That’s beautiful. So, Rachel, what’s next for you?

My editor at Late November Literary tells me she’s waiting for a sequel, so I’d better get writing it!

Best wishes to you! Thanks so much for making this year’s Summer Open House extra special.

Published by Late November Literary

Rachel Anderson grew up in Freeland, Michigan, a small farming community with lots of wide open spaces. As kids, Rachel and her sister took full advantage of that room to roam while riding their horses–sometimes bareback–mile after mile. Neighbors were friends, and most everyone, whether town folk or farm folk, knew one another. And of course, Rachel had a dog.

Today, Rachel still loves animals and her community. When she’s not writing, Rachel volunteers at her local pregnancy resource center and her church. Rachel is an active, long-time member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and writes picture books, as well as novels for middle grade children and young adults.

Artwork by Vicky Lorencen

Enter FROG ON A DIME’S SUMMER OPEN HOUSE GIVEAWAY!

The winner of the random drawing will receive:

  • TWO autographed copies of THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT—one for you to enjoy, and one to share with a child you love. Rachel will even include a personalized autograph message, if you wish!
  • Summer Journal for capturing those glimmering, elusive ideas like fireflies.
  • PLUS! A special surprise (and no, it’s not a puppy!)

To enter, simply leave a message in the comment section below.*

Enter by Noon (EDT) on Friday, July 10.

*Limit one entry per person. (GIANT EXCEPTION! If you invite a friend to follow Frog on a Dime (and they do), you can enter twice—and so can your friend!)

Pick up THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT at your local independent bookseller or order online today!

BARNES & NOBLE

AMAZON

LATE NOVEMBER LITERARY

Summer Open House Coming Soon

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Next week, be ready to pop in for Frog on a Dime’s annual Summer Open House featuring:

  • Special guest interview. You’ll love meeting this delightful debut author.
  • Best giveaway drawing ever! Enter for a chance to win not one, but two autographed copies of our guest’s heartwarming middle grade. That’s one copy for you to enjoy and one to give to a child you love. PLUS, bonus gifts!
  • NEW Frog on a Dime features. Be among the first to take the Summer Open House tour.

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~ Henry James

Photos by Vicky Lorencen

Give your words

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Some of the encouraging mail that’s arrived in recent weeks.

Like a lot of creative people, I’m comfy with my own company. As a writer, in particular, my introvertuosity is an asset. Just me and my muse, that’s it. (That is, IF Edna isn’t too busy getting her bunions buffed or some such fiddle faddle.)

It’s one thing to choose solitude. It’s quite another to live in pandemic-necessitated government-mandated isolation. Oh, yes. Quite. a. nother. You know that for yourselves, don’t you my little mini muffins.

Despite our natural desire to go solo in our shells (crisis or no crisis), empathy compels us to seek ways to reach out. I want to suggest one such way we writers can make a difference and you can do it all on your own–you can give your words.

I got a squirrelly postcard!
Original artwork by Rebecca Van Slyke

Over the last three weeks, more “no special occasion” cards and little surprises have arrived in my mailbox than I might receive in six months. In addition to encouraging notes, a friend who is an illustrator created a custom made activity book, and a writer friend made me a hand painted postcard–featuring a springy squirrel! On top of those came gifts of note cards designed by the sender and pretty note paper (Mmmm. I do love paper.) Even my cat, Finny, received a kind card with a birdy on it and catnip tucked inside. As you can imagine, being the recipient of all that sweetness pumped helium into my heavy heart. How did I get so lucky?

I’ve been sending personalized doodles, notes and silly surprises too. Taking a moment to center my thoughts on someone else while I write a message and imagine the smile (I hope!) it will bring, is a welcome antidote to these dreary, disorienting days. I want you to experience that too.

You might enjoy sending an unsuspecting someone a silly card, a sweet postcard or actual letter. No fancy stationery? No worries. You say you have the handwriting of a 4th year med student? No sweat. Type a message and print it out. (Have fun with the fonts!) When it comes to sending NSOIJTOY (that’s No Special Occasion I’m Just Thinking of You) mail, anything goes–so long as you give your words. That’s the best part, my little apricot tarts.

If you’re not up to writing, even a letter, you’re not alone. And listen, there is zero judgement here. The brilliant Emma Dryden shared this article on social media that explains why it’s okay to resist the pressure to use these unexpected extra hours to be productive (aka, write, do a major revision, create new art, etc.). It really is okay. Please don’t feel pushed.

And if reading this post all the way to here —-> is all you can manage today, my little warm buttered toast, that is 110% okay. Honestly. And I’m not just saying that because you chose to expend your energy and ebbing ability to concentrate to read my blog post. I’m saying you’re 123% okay. (I’m terrible with numbers, but that sure seems like a lot of okay to me.)

If you feel like writing a teensy bit (like .5%), you can leave a comment below. And then, if some flabberjabber has the nerve to ask you what you’ve written lately, you send them on over to Frog on a Dime, and say “Looky there!”

In the event you should feel an energy shift and get a hankering for something writing-related as a distraction, here’s a whole list of options. Please enjoy, and again, no pressure. Your pace is up to you.

Whatever you choose to do, in whatever way you do it–and whenever you’re ready to do it–please, give your words.

There is no small act of kindness. Every compassionate act makes large the world. ~ Mary Anne Radmacher