Archive for May 2012


Posted May 29, 2012 by LediaR in Uncategorized


Writing and Illustrating

May Illustration by Roberta Baird. Roberta was featured on January 7th this year.

How you approach a critique session is as important as the actual critique. When authors are new to the field, focused solely on getting published, or bringing their “best manuscript ever” to a critique session, they often apply The Romantic Approach. It looks like this:

You slide into your seat for your long-anticipated critique. The editor or agent says, “I’m so glad you came to this conference. Your manuscript is brilliant. I have to work with you.”  You rush to your pens, sign dotted lines, and with mere tweaking (if any) have a wonderfully reviewed, bestselling book in the hands of children, families, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and bloggers everywhere.

Within the same calendar year, of course.

Though The Romantic Approach sounds romantic, (Romantic, defined as “unrealistic”  it is fulfilling only before the critique…

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Posted May 27, 2012 by LediaR in Uncategorized

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Posted May 23, 2012 by LediaR in Uncategorized

Manic Mode! “Self-Publishing in Free Fall” Part Two   2 comments

My journey as a writer began when my two younger sisters and I would would lie awake in our bunk beds. While they listened, I made up stories resembling fairy tales to tell them. Later, in high school, I wrote free verse poetry, inspired by pop/rock songs such as Neal Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and “Make it With You” by David Gates of the pop-rock bandBread. The stories and poetry I created took little more than imagination and heart to construct. Which is important, but…

A secret that I share when asked about my personal journey as a writer is that from elementary to high schoolgrammar was not an easy subject for me. I struggled constantly with simple things such as sentence structure and proper spelling. To this day, commas still drive me crazy. So, before venturing into the terrifying, wonderful world of self-publishing, I had first to learn the “rules” of writing, whether nonfiction or fiction was the desired outcome. To create compelling fiction, I would need a strong understanding of story structure, character, plot, scene, action, and dialogue.

There are scores of books on writing technique lining the shelves of my bookcase. At one time, I had so many that I loaded up the beginner books and gave them away to the local library and my weekly writers’ group. Over the years, I have taken correspondence writing course, attended writer‘s conferences, as well as taking literature and writing courses in college. I still study and listen to authors that I admire teach me the tricks of the trade. All the while, I continue to write and hone my skills. I know if I want to sell my writing, I must first become a skilled writer.

Determination and the willingness to make my dreams come true have proved powerful tools for me. That coupled with hours upon hours of writing and rewriting to get the desired results. To remind myself of what it takes to write well, I think about how to create a beautiful, livable house. Only a skilled architecture will do to draw up the plans. After that, I would trust only experienced carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and other craftsmen to build it. It is the same when it comes to creating sellable writing.


Manic Mode! “Self-Publishing in Free Fall” Part One   Leave a comment

Cover of

Cover of Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

Dangling… free-falling… that is how it feels. Alone, brave heart shaking, I wake up wondering what is this sensation? My breath catches in my chest. It feels as if the world is coming to an end. I search for the reasons.

Now I remember, it’s because I released my baby into the unknown. It took years of nurturing, research, writing, rewriting, choosing just the right cover. Feeling bold and brave to do this thing all by myself. Now I want to curl up in a ball and disappear. Succeed or fail, it’s all so terrifying!

And it’s not just the fact that I decided to self publish my book. It’s also because the rent it due and the refrigerator looks very empty. If I don’t pay the car payment, they will come and take it away. So, I work to pay my bills and then I come home and write and plan and dream of the day when work and writing fall under the same column.

I can’t give in to the fear. I tried that before and it left me frustrated and empty. But this fear is almost overwhelming, like I’m standing at the edge of the abyss and it looks very dark below.

So I close my eyes and draw in a deep trembling breath, believing that “I can succeed. All that is possible to anyone, it possible to me!” Wallace D. Wattles wrote that near the beginning of the twentieth century and it still holds true today.

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” Susan Jeffers Ph.D. wrote that and I listened to her words of encouragement over and over on the audio CD of her book by the same title. So, why am I still afraid?

Because I pulled away from the pack. I had the audacity not to follow the status quo and work at a job that I do not really like, doing something for the rest of my life that I don’t really want to do. Instead, I dared to follow my dreams. And my dreams are big and life is precious and short. Each day is a gift that I want to open and relish and be glad about.

It is terrifying, yes. But the alternative is monstrous! So horrible in fact that I run as fast as I can from it. To not follow my dreams is, frankly, unthinkable.

Some of you may be asking, what process brought me to this terrible, wonderful place? If you stick around, I will tell you. But be forewarned, this is not an adventure for the weak of mind or heart. You have to be very brave and completely determined. If you think you are ready, follow me.


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The first time I read Gabriel García Márquez, I wanted to write like him. It was one thing wanting to, and quite another being able to. But I learnt a lot of lessons along the way.

1. Desire: In 1951, Márquez returned from a trip home to Aracataca, his home town, to write Leaf Storm (1955), his first novel. ‘From the moment I wrote Leaf Storm I realized I wanted to be a writer and that nobody could stop me and that the only thing left for me to do was to try to be the best writer in the world.’

2. First sentences are important: First sentences are important for they ‘can be the laboratory for testing the style, the structure and even the length of the book.’ Each and every Márquez book begins with a stunner. From One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967): ‘Many years later, as he…

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Posted May 5, 2012 by LediaR in Uncategorized

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