Category Archives: Encouragement

A May Wish in December

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christmas 2017 little housesMy little sugar plums, before we flop face first into holiday festivities, let me present you with a wee present. It’s a simple gift of words, wishes really, of all I hope for you this season and the new year through.

A May Wish in December

May your inner child remain your cherished friend.

May you pounce on opportunities before analysis paralyzes you.

May you run out of excuses by January 2.

May your friends’ success refine you into a world-class cheerleader.

May you believe any praise you receive as easily as you do criticism.

May you be dauntless, deliberate and delightful.

May you be your most authentic you. (Duplicates or substitutions will not be accepted.)

May you be unapologetic in your nonsense, whimsy and quirkitude.

May you be deaf to your inner critic, but alert to wise counsel.

May grace be your brand and kindness your second nature.

May fear be an energizer, not an extinguisher.

May you crave authenticity more than notoriety.

May you knock your own sweet socks off.

If you are a dreamer come in
If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar
A hoper, a pray-er, a magic-bean-buyer
If you’re a pretender com sit by my fire
For we have some flax golden tales to spin
Come in! 
Come in! ~ Shel Silverstein

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Congrats x 5 Giveaway Winners!

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Mr. Tarzan Malarkey and the gang down at the law firm of Starsky & Hutch have tabulated the results of the Frog on a Dime 5th Birthday Giveaway! FB Team

Congratulations to these 5 lucky winners . . .

  • Monica Harris
  • Becky K
  • Robin Korb
  • Rondi Olson
  • Angela Verges

FB BadgerMany thanks to everyone who entered, posted, re-Tweeted and shared such kind words of encouragement and genius suggestions. I appreciate you all so much, my little crescent rolls!

(Psst. Winners, please provide me with your mailing address via FB messaging or the Frog on a Dime contact page and I will get your surprise zooming your way!)

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again. ~ Lewis Carroll

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High 5! Happy 5th Birthday Giveaway!

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Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Can you believe it, my shiny little pomegranates? We’ve reached FIVE full years of Frog on a Dime. My desire to be an encouragement to you has come full circle over and over so many times, thanks to you, I’m a curlicue.

To thank you-thank you-thank you, I’m offering FIVE chances to win one of FIVE Happy 5th Birthday Giveaway Surprises.

Five quick-as-a-wink ways to enter:

  • Become a new follower of Frog on a Dime. (Sign up via the home page.)
  • Invite a friend to visit Frog on a Dime.
  • Comment under this post on Facebook.*
  • Like and retweet this post on Twitter.
  • Share a comment, suggestion or question on this post below.*

*Your brilliant suggestions for future post topics, your writing-related questions or nominations for guest bloggers are especially welcome.

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Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Enter by 5 p.m. (EST) on Monday, December 11.

I can’t wait to pass out the surprise prizes. So, hop to it!

I grabbed a pile of dust, and holding it up, foolishly asked for as many birthdays as the grains of dust, I forgot to ask that they be years of youth. ~ Ovid

(Prizes will be sent to US addresses only.)

Some & Soon & Specificity

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Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Let me give you the truth. (And yes, you can handle the truth.) I am frustrated by the lack of progress with my Work In Progress (WIP). Perhaps calling it a SIP–Snail In Progress is more accurate. I suspect one (of the many) reasons for my slogginess is the overwhelmingness of it all. Novels are so stinkin’ big and messy and apt to misbehave at every page turn. You know? I think maybe you do, my ginger snap.

So, I’ve been on high alert for a simple way to progressively make more progress, and I think I may have landed on something–specificity.  Lemme explain.

Last week, I was at this training for my day job and one of the speakers (Dr. Don Berwick) used a catchy phrase that sent up a flare in my brain:

“Some is not a number. Soon is not a time.”

Say, that’s, why, that’s true. The doc had something there.

Then! I read this quote by the brilliant and darling Kathryn Erskine recipient of the 2010 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. She said, “I don’t like the word soon because you don’t know when it’s going to sneak up on you and turn into NOW. Or maybe it’ll be the kind of soon that never happens.”

 

But wait, there’s more.

Then! I listened to this guy I “met” on Facebook. Comedian Tim Minchin addressed a graduating class at the University of Western Australia. (You should listen to the whole thing, ahem, after you finish reading my post, si vous plait. It’s really kind of brilliant.) Anyway, among his many glinty shards of wisdom, Minchin imparted this gem–“I advocate passionate dedication to the pursuit of short-term goals. Be micro-ambitious.”

Is it just me, or is there a theme emerging?

You see it too? Oh, good.

adams-pumpkin-2So, let’s say you (and by you, I mean, I) want to write a middle grade novel. You need at least a good solid 30,000 words. That’s daunting. But instead of diddling (or in my case, doodling), why not passionately dedicate to the pursuit of a short-term goal?

Let’s do the math and get very specific. (I cannot believe I’m going to do math in front of you. The terror.)

You are going to write 30,000 in 6 months.

That equates to 5,000 words a month.

And that means you’d need to pump out about 210 words a day (six days a week).

That’s less than one page of writing a day. It’s specific. It’s possible. (I want to see nodding here.)

It’s not easy, but it’s a lot less scary than staring down the whole 30K.

Am I right? Yes, yes, of course. (Again with some nodding please.)

Instead of being macro-lethargic, I can be micro-ambitious–and reach my goal. I will be declared dauntless! Okay, okay, so it’s not sexy, but a declaration of dauntlessness ain’t nothin’ poo-poo.

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

While I say “no” to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) each November (sorry, my little pumpkin muffins), I am sure the momentum it creates can be intoxicating. If that kind of specificity works for you, I say huzzah! Ever forward!

Remember, my chicken dumplings, some is not a number.  Soon is not a time. Specificity is the ticket to getting things done.

Now that you (and I) know this, let’s become micro-ambitious sometime soon, mm-kay?

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

 

17 Things I Want to Remember Not to Forget After I’m Published

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signsClinging to the assumption I will one day be published, I am proactively compiling a list of things I want to remember not to forget once the dream toggles to reality. For safekeeping and future reference, I am storing my self-reminder stockpile here.

And sure, you can read them, if you want, my little twice-baked potato.

Vicky, when you become published . . .

  1. Remember not to complain about advances or book signings and other such publishing blah-dee-blah in front of writers who are pre-published. Reflect on what it was like being left out of the conversation or feeling resentful hearing those complaints. For the love of F&Gs, do not be a Diva McWhinypants.
  2. Remember to remain thankful when parts of the publishing process fail to measure up to what you thought they would be. Behind every delicious meal there’s a messy kitchen. You need to embrace both.
  3. Remember writers write. Just because you’re published now doesn’t mean you get to slack off.
  4. Remember to say thank you humbly without pushing away the compliment (should you be so lucky to receive one). You don’t want the person praising you to feel stupid for liking your work.
  5. Remember you are not the first person on the planet to get published. Other important things are going on in the world that have absolutely nothing to do with you or your book.
  6. Remember to give back – to your local SCBWI chapter, to your local library and to your beloved cheering section.
  7. Remember to be sensitive to those who will find your good news bittersweet. You know how hard it was to act all mature and supportive when your insides were turning to macaroni salad over someone else’s big break. Do not apologize for your success, but aim to keep your relationships balanced—it’s not all about you. Even if your friend is trying to pretend like she’s cool with you talking about every interaction with your new editor, give her some air. She can be genuinely happy for you and still hate your guts for a while. Remember how that felt? Your friend is smart and she will process this and you two will be okay. Just don’t push for it to happen. Be cool.
  8. Remember “your” book was a total team effort. Remember to acknowledge the epic efforts of your agent, editor, art director, copy editor, publisher and marketing team who went all in to make your book real.
  9. Remember to let it really soak in. Being a debut author is a big deal and while you hope to publish many more books, this is the one that changed everything and will probably be the most celebrated, so don’t save the party for the future.
  10. Remember not to hover over Amazon ratings and Goodreads reviews. Do you hear me?
  11. Remember no one is obligated to like, much less buy, your book. Do you like everything that’s in print? Okay then.
  12. Remember not to be shocked or disappointed when your launch day comes and the world looks pretty much like it did the day before. Your book will probably not be the first thing people think of when they roll over and hit the snooze button. Crazy, right?
  13. Remember you are still going to deal with rejection, the emotional roller coaster and disappointment.
  14. Remember once you have an ISBN, people will tend to give more weight to your “wisdom,” but don’t let that buckle your common sense. If you don’t know the answer to a question, let’s say on a panel discussion, it’s okay to say I’m still learning and defer to someone with more knowledge.
  15. Remember what people told you about second books and how it can make you freeze up out of fear it won’t measure up to your first book. That’s normal. Thaw out already.
  16. Remember it’s okay to say no. You don’t have to talk to every school group or travel to the far-reaches of Arewethereyet to speak to a five-person book club. You still need to protect time for writing, friending and other -ings.
  17. Remember to set your sights on a new dream. Your first book is not a finish line, it’s the starter pistol.

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep. ~ William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Come on in! Summer Open House Presents Kelly DiPucchio & Super Manny! Giveaway

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My little sparklers, the first time I met Kelly DiPucchio we were at an SCBWI – Michigan conference many years ago. Kelly was wearing a feather boa (not exactly standard issue for children’s writers!) and I thought, “Who is this amazing person?” There are many ways to answer that question–Kelly is a prolific New York Times bestselling picture book author. She is a creative, thoughtful and kindhearted woman. And best of all, Kelly is my friend. I could not be more delighted to have her join us for Summer Open House 2017.

Today, July 4, is the birthday of Kelly’s newest picture book is SUPER MANNY STANDS UP!

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Atheneum Books for Young Readers (July 4, 2017)

“This charming story marries the mania for superheroes with a potent anti-bullying message, making it an apt tale for present times. Super Manny, an imaginative raccoon child…declares out loud to the world his own fearlessness and strength in words that children will want to echo…. With great read-aloud potential, this story could be used by both parents and teachers to introduce concepts of courage and standing up to bullies from the youngest preschoolers up.” (Kirkus Reviews, May 2017)

Watch this super SUPER MANNY trailer!

You can enter for a chance to win your very own copy of SUPER MANNY to enjoy yourself or share with a beloved child in your life.

  • All you need to do is leave a comment at the end of this post!
    • Leave a favorite quote to add to the new “Worth Repeating” page, and you’ll get two chances.
    • AND if you become a new follower of Frog on a Dime, you’ll get three chances to win!

Drawing takes place Saturday, July 8 at Noon. 

Lemon sliceSince Kelly was kind enough to stop by for the Summer Open House, how could I resist offering her a seat on the Frog on a Dime porch swing for some lemonade and conversation?

What role has mindfulness and/or intuition played in your writing career?

Mindfulness has played a tremendous role in my writing career and life. I could tell you many stories about how different meditation practices have inspired new book ideas and even completed manuscripts in one sitting. I’ve come to learn over the years that meditation doesn’t mean you have to be in a lotus position on the floor with sandalwood incense and white candles burning. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that and I, myself, enjoy creating those sacred spaces occasionally before I write but I can also create mindfulness by taking walks in nature or sitting in the sun or even folding clean laundry (definitely my least favorite).

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

Okay, probably only writers and artists will understand this but MONDAY. Mondays mean I’m getting back to my routine and there’s something very empowering and hopeful about having the full week ahead of me so I can get things done. Usually, by Friday, I’m lamenting about how much more I should have gotten done that week!

I know this is rather personal, but what is under your bed?

A few wayward socks (see Question #10), an empty suitcase, stray dryer sheets, a peaceful colony of dust bunnies, a flashlight and copies of A Course in Miracles and Autobiography of a Yogi (for good energy).

Who makes you laugh the most?

A few years ago, I definitely would have answered, “My husband!” However, now I’d have to say my son is closing in on a tie for first place. My husband and I take pride in the fact that we’ve birthed and raised some very funny people.

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

I’d probably be Swiss because I’m pale and holy.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

My kids. I know that sounds incredibly hokey and cliché but nothing else in my life can even come close.

Kelly, now be honest, kind of music feels like torture to you?

Heavy metal. That answer should not come as a big surprise to anyone who knows me because I will openly admit to loving Barry Manilow.

What is your inner adult/inner child ratio?

50% Adult. 25% Child. 25% Dog.

If you could make a guest appearance on a sit com, which one would it be–and why?

Probably Modern Family because I love the cast and the show.

Describe your sock drawer in three words or less.

Messy. Mismatched. Merry.

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

A totally different person.

Your favorite punctuation mark: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Favorite food or drink while writing: Coffee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fantasy road trip destination:

Well, you can’t get there by road but my inner compass keeps pointing me in the direction of Ireland. Cross my pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers I will get there one day!

Kelly, thank you so much for stopping by. I think you’re super!

And best o’ luck with Ireland!

Be mindful. Be grateful. Be positive. Be true. Be kind. ~ Roy Bennett

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Summer Open House Is Coming!

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Summer is here, my little gooey s’mores. Tis the season for bare feet, blue skies, blazing sunsets and bon fires.

And you  know what else?

It’s almost time for Frog on a Dime’s 2nd Annual Summer OpenFrog 3 House featuring . . .

  • phenomenal New York Times bestselling author (guess who!)
  • Drawings for giggle-inducing giveaways you will love
  • Special opps for new followers
  • And MORE! [insert “oooo” here!]

I can hardly wait!

Okay, I’ve nearly exceeded my exclamation point allowance, so let me simply encourage you to hop on by the first week of July. My little sparklers, you will not want to miss this! (Oops. There I go again! Again!)

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
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