What Not To Do Wednesday on The Failures in Success

Sometimes, I just can’t take another minute of bad news. Fortunately, today was not one of those days. Today I read the newspaper.

And thank goodness, grasshopper, or I would have missed a nice little story on Page one of the Gwinnett Daily Post about a young man named Deep.

Young Deep was speaking at his former high school about what looks to all like a whole bunch of academic success that he’s enjoyed. But, Deep pointed out, there were quite a few failures along the way, too. It’s just that when we see highly successful folk, we don’t think about all the heartache and failure endured to get there. It’s the old Thomas Edison and the light bulb story, I guess. We see the single light and not the days of darkness Edison struggled through.

But here’s what Deep and Edison didn’t do: they didn’t quit. So, if you want to be a successful writer, grasshopper, you’re going to have to accept the failure it takes to get there.

Some of us have to accept a lot more failure than others. But you know what old Emily Dickinson had to say about that: Success is counted sweetest by those who n’er succeed. (Wait a minute-n’er succeed? How about “Success is counted sweetest by those who work really, really hard and screw up a lot but eventually succeed”? Yeah, that sounds a lot better.)

Almost forgot! You have one more day to zip over to Finders and Keepers and post a comment for a chance to win Rachel Dillon’s beautiful picture book!

Perfectly Good Reasons for A Missing Post

So, I was just conversing with a friend about blogging and such, and how I always try to post on Finding Something Friday. And then I went and missed my post on Friday. But I have perfectly good reasons that are, coincidentally, writing-related.

Reason One:

My very last ever Institute of Children’s Lit assignment was due on Friday. It was kind of a long and involved assignment that required not only a splendiferous children’s story, but also three different market analyses and a cover letter. I had more or less finished the assignment by Friday; all I had left to do was a quick edit of the more or less finished story, the three analyses and the cover letter.

Reason Two:

Facebook keeps sucking me into its vortex of virtual voyeurism. That may not sound like a legitimate reason, but believe me when I say resistance is futile. Unless you are the beneficent Mr. Hall. He left a message for me about Facebook…I’m not sure whether he’s making fun of my note system of leaving messages on the mirror, or if he’s making a statement about Facebook. Or possibly, Mr. Hall has managed to make two statements in one. For the sake of the kiddies, I attempted to convert certain letters to asterisks (no pun intended) before taking the picture.

Is Mr. Hall trying to tell me something? And if you happen to come across my ICL assignment, somewhere on Facebook, let me know, huh?

PEEK-A-BOOK: Through Endangered Eyes

Rachel Dillon is a gifted artist and author who’s kicking off the inaugural feature PEEK-A-BOOK here at Finders & Keepers! When her picture book, Through Endangered Eyes, came in the mail, I sat down right then and there to read it.

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Here’s what I loved (and what you’re going to love, too!), and your PEEK into this wonderful book!

zebra-spread_page_12Rachel uses a unique artistic technique to capture the beauty of the animals.

zebra-spread_page_2Each endangered animal is accompanied by a short, lyrical poem, just the right size for little ones to learn something new!

At the back of the book, Rachel gives even more information. It’s not every book that can save the world, or at least a few animals therein. But Rachel’s Through Endangered Eyes gives little ones a chance to see how every animal, from the smallest to the largest,  impacts our planet and how very important it is for everyone, from the smallest to the largest, to protect our endangered friends!

And since we’re all about finding stuff here at Finders & Keepers, I asked Rachel what feelings she found during the journey of her book. Here, in her own words, is what Rachel had to say about her experience:

Surprised – It was very surprising how easy the book of poetry and paintings came into my head. I really didn’t sit down and say, “I’m going to write a children’s book,” it just simply happened. It is hard to explain, other than saying the book has been inside me for a long time. I am just glad a publisher took a chance and published my book.

Inspired – After my daughter was born, I felt a desperation to do more than my marketing job. I wanted to make a difference in the world, no matter how small. I put together all that I love in my book: writing, painting, teaching kids and helping animals.

Impressed – When my daughter was two she stepped on an ant – on purpose. I scolded her and told her that the ant had a purpose on Earth and she didn’t have a right to end its life. Yes, maybe a bit harsh for a two year old, but the message got across to her. Two years later, my son was two and my daughter was four. My son stepped on an ant – on purpose. My daughter looked at her brother in horror and started to cry, “Don’t step on ants! They have a purpose on our Earth!” My heart was filled with joy at how passionate my daughter had become about animals, and I felt a glimmer of hope for the world!

Touched – When my book was finally delivered, after six years of hard work, my daughter took it to her teacher as a gift. She clutched the book to her chest all the way to her classroom. When she handed the book to her teacher she said, “This is my mom’s book. She wrote it and painted it.” I think what touched me the most was the pride she had in her face and voice. That moment made the emotional journey of getting published, all worthwhile.

Words to keep in any writer’s heart. And now, though I dearly love Rachel’s book, I’m giving you a chance to win Through Endangered Eyes. Because this is a book that should be shared with little ones and my little ones are all grown up (though my all-grown-up son LOVED this book…I guess you never really outgrow wonderful picture books!)

So, leave a comment here anytime before May 1st. Tell me what your favorite animal is, and I’ll randomly draw a winner (okay, I’m just going to say that Sally the crazy dog will probably draw the winner. That’s always an adventure!). I’ll even mail you the book. And who knows? Maybe Rachel will include your favorite in her next picture book. Because this is an artist and author that I think may write more books we’ll want to PEEK into!

Win a Wonderful Children’s Book (If I Can Stand To Give It Away)


Oh, I love this book: Through Endangered Eyes by Rachel Dillon. Tomorrow, the author will be leaving a few words at Finders & Keepers, the blog where I find children’s stuff you’ll want to keep.

Guess that’s why I want to keep Rachel’s book so badly. She sent it ahead of the blog tour date so I could take a peek. And I really enjoyed the poetry (and April is Poetry Month!), plus the amazing art. In fact, when one of the junior Halls saw the book, he stopped right then and there, read the whole thing, and pronounced it “terrific.” I suppose once a picture book lover, always a picture book lover.

But my junior Halls are all grown up. And this is a picture book that should be shared with little ones. Read the book, save the world’s ecosystem. Check out my new feature called “Peek-a-Book” on Friday, April 24, for a closer peek at Through Endangered Eyes. And sign up to win! (But I’m keeping the magnet and bookmark!)

Finding a Keeper: Ypulse

Ypulse is one of those sites I’ve seen several times, but for one reason or another, never quite got around to visiting. Until today.

I read a great interview on Shelli Wells’ blog, Market My Words, from one of the folksjumping1 at Ypulse. That’s all the little push I needed to check out this marketing site aimed at tweens, teens and young adults.

If you write for tweens, teens, or young adults, it might behoove you to take a look, too. Wonder what they’re reading? Ypulse can you tell that. What the kids are watching? Ypulse can you tell that, too. The newest fad in youth foods?

Um, well, I’ll bet if there is a new fad in food going on with the under 20 crowd, Ypulse would know. In fact, I think I’ll look it up now. And quite possibly write my next kid’s story about it.

What do you need to know? Bet you’ll find out at Ypulse.