• "I don't want to die..."

    A reflection on Les Brown's analogy as recited by Denzel Washington in a commencement speech:

    Imagine you're on your deathbed, and standing around your bed are the ghosts representing your unfulfilled potential. The ghosts of the ideas you never acted on.  The ghosts of the talents you didn't use.  And they're standing around your bed angry, disappointed, upset.  "We came to you because you could have brought us to life," they say, "And now we go to the grave together."  So I ask you today, how many ghosts are going to be around your bed when your time comes?

  • Critique Groups: Why They're Necessary to Perfect Your Writing Skills (and Manuscript)

    The reason I believe critique groups are invaluable... necessary is because these are other authors and/or illustrators who are wanting to improve their own knowledge of the industry and craft, who are working on sharpening their own skills.  They're well suited to help you develop your story to reach the masses, whereas a consumer (my friends and family) may only be asking, "Do I like it?"  A critique group member is looking at each word selection, the tempo of your rhyme, the color of your main character's shirt on this foggy day in the woods.  I think critique groups are to writers what small groups are to church members - a way to know the material deeper and apply it better with much-needed accountability. 
  • Why Representation Really Matters: Diversity in Children's Books

    "If a child never sees himself in media, he can feel invisible, forgotten, like people don’t care about him or don’t want to know about him.  If he never sees other characters who look and talk and walk like him defeating the dragons and becoming the hero, maybe he’s less likely to think he can do it.  After all, kids learn through modeling.  Stories show children what’s possible."  Let's explore why representation in books matters and what to do about it.
  • Book Inspiration: How I Dream Up My Book Ideas

    Most of my children's books ideas come from daily living - my kids, my own childhood, or simple phrases I hear throughout the day.  
  • How I Named My Company: "The Orange Chair"

    That Orange Chair, next to her stack of books piled high,
    which lasted but a little while.
    For Gma loved to read and read, 
    to consume books really.
    Which led us to the bookstore, 
    getting lost for hours in wistful wonder,
    i.e., picking up more books than we put back down,
    sheepishly giggling at the checkout counter...
    "Don't tell us the total!" ...