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A sneak peek at my 46-word submission.



As a writer, I need to build many things into my story to capture the readers attention and make reading it a satisfying experience:


  1. An awesome beginning with an immediate inciting incident. No dilly-dallying here :)

  2. Just the right perspective in which to tell the story: 1st, 2nd or 3rd person POV.

  3. A story arc with plenty of tension.

  4. An important problem that has to be overcome that my future child reader will relate to.

  5. A period of time when all seems like it is going well. And then...

  6. Boom! An unexpected problem.

  7. A satisfying ending that surprises and delights

And all, while leaving room for an illustrator to do their magic.


EricaLeigh Art creating her magic for my book FOREVER HOME.


In a typical picture book manuscript, I have around 500 words to use. Now, imagine doing all this in 50 precious words! Precious is the key-word here, folks... each and every word has to move the story along and be on trial for its life. And what if I want to rhyme?


Fa-Get-A-Bout-It!


Well this week it was time to decide what I was going to submit to @Vivian Kirkfield's

#50preciouswords International Contest. Click on this link to see the awesome submissions and perhaps to enter your own)



This morning I browsed through my writing, and found the one, and bravely hit the submit button one again. I believe this is my 5th year submitting to #50preciouswords. Woohoo!


Through the years....

Some attempts have been a bit wild

Fifty extra points if you can read this out loud.



 (Inspired by IZ DU TAK by Carson Ellis)


Some have even made it into a real book!


(This entry + a few more words, became my book, FOREVER HOME)




But the exercise of writing small NEVER disappoints and more than not, leads to a picture book manuscript. I never know what might inspire me. This year, I am entering a poem that I wrote during my wonderful classes with Renee La Tulippe's Lyrical Language Lab. What a class! I highly recommend it for any writer. (Click on this link to learn more.)


So....


With out further adieu...


Here is my 2024 entry - at a mere 46 words- A CHANGE OF PLANS. Fingers crossed!



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(SUNG TO "THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS")

Bold phrases are sung to ("5... Golden... Rings...)


1 On the day I got the email

the owner said to me:

"Could you come 11 to 3?"



2 Gathering up my items

my husband said to me:

"Here's a hot cup of chamomile tea."



3 On the day of my visit

I am filled with glee!

Can’t wait to do this!

Meeting with the children,

Author’s what I wanted to be.


4 Lugging my book bag

The owner said to me:

"I'm here to help you.

So glad you came.

Here is your spot.

Is there anything else you might need?"



5 As I set up my table

a vendor said to me:

"How I love cats!

So glad you're here.

This is fun,

I'm over there."

As sweet as a person could be.


6 In the first hour of signing,

a small boy said to me,

"My name is Emmett

I love your cats!

I like writing too

Who wrote this?

Guess how old I am?

My baby brother is three."



7 In the next hour of signing

12 voices sung to me:

All the favorite carols

I was getting misty

"Are those your cats?

I have two cats too

one's 'Meow-Meow'

then there's 'Lilly belle.'"

Then I smiled and gladly signed three.


My precious cats: Angel and Camille, How I miss them!


8 While waiting at my table

a vendor said to me:

"My cats have helped me...

deal with my cancer..."

My heart was touched...

Gifted her a book

signed, "To Jean"

Both our hearts were full

Then I cried into my chamomile tea.


Jean, If you see this... I will never forget you.

Your courage, strength and joy despite it all, reminded me of what is really important.


9 Sneaking up the stairway,

my grandie peeked at me:

"Grammie, it is Miller.

We came to see you.

Look at my t-shirt.

I'm feeling hungry.

I miss your cats!

Are you selling books?

Let's go home.

What is in your cup?"

Just my frosty, cold chamomile tea. ;)


Me with three of my grandaughters: Hadleigh, MIller and Quinn


10 On the tenth of the hour

A sweet teen said to me

"Can I have a Kit-Kat?

I really like them

Kitties are amazing

Mine's Russian blue,

But she passed away.

Goodbye is hard!

I want a cat

fingers crossed

Hope they let me soon

Her name will be Elsa McPhee."


A beautiful Russian Blue.

11 In the last few minutes

a grandma asked of me:

"Do you do school visits?

His class would like one

Maybe after Christmas?"

Feeling very grateful

Hugs are the best

When a friend stops by

I miss my cats

They are touching hearts

and teaching

families to adopt

and it makes me so very happy.


If you're a cat person... you know.


12 On the way home from signing

my head is spinning round:

12 Men were singing

11 Children laughing

10 Books a-signing

9 Ladies chatting

8 Men a-waiting

7 Pets adopted

6 Stories sharing

5 grateful moments

4 crying toddlers

3 granddaughters

2 new friends


Finally time for some chamomile tea. :)



Thank you to everyone who stopped by yesterday at Hopkinton Card & Gift.

Special thanks to Julia- for the invite. You have such a beautiful store!

To Julie- for your friendship and ever present smile.

To Jean-who was such a blessing and inspiration.

To my family and grandkids for their never-ending support. When you surprise me at these events it makes my day.

and lastly to Emmett- Keep on writing! Can't wait to buy your book one day and have it signed :)

See you at the next event!

Purchase signed book for the Holidays on my website.

Local pick-up available.


How I miss my writing buddy, Camille

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It’s time.

I flip through the red recipe book,

pulling the ragged paper, stained with Thanksgivings past

and set it on my counter.

Soon my knife is sliding through onions,

little white dices fall into a pile.

It is rhythmic, meditative, despite the many details swirling through my mind.

Celery green soon joins the mirepoix.














Scraping these tiny gems to the side,

I am nine years old, back in Des Moines,

watching my mother pull white Wonder Bread

from a bag with red, blue and yellow balloons-

scattering them on cookie sheets across our kitchen counter

to dry for hours.














Torn into pieces with fingers freshly painted with peach polish,

the dry bread is gently tossed in the pink and white Pyrex bowl

that now holds mine…

With her own her tiny gems, S&P, sage, a sprinkle of water

and copious amounts of butter.













The memory makes me smile,

and wish more than anything,

I could step back into that kitchen and slip my young arms around her.














My turkey waits on the stove,

stuffed, dressed and lovingly coated with butter.

I turn the oven to 325.

The click of the gas brings unexpected tears,

All at once, I am not alone in the silence of this kitchen,

but gathered with the visions of Gram, Nana, Mom, June and all the moms before me,

adorned in aprons,

who on many similar crisp fall days

slid their knives through onions and celery,

making tiny gems of their own.

Hours spent prepping, stirring, baking.




















Creating all the little delicious details which passed on their love

through the comforting scent of turkey tickling noses just in from the cold,

plates piled high with stuffing,

gravy dripping over every scoop.


I can see their smiles,

smell their perfume,

and feel their love.

I am so grateful.

Happy heavenly Thanksgiving.

How I miss you all.

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A Little Bit of This & That

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