Friday, November 26, 2010

Being Grateful for Writers and Community...and a Free Book

Thanksgiving weekend. Here I sit, eating left over apple pie (my kids ate all of the pumpkin!) and waiting for my cup of tea to cool. I’m thinking about this writing journey of the last few years.

(Now is a good time for the flashback-I’m-reflecting-on-pleasant-memories music. Bee dee boo, be dee boo… And maybe some fuzzy picture of me looking thoughtful that fades into a montage of scenes where I’m typing diligently away… Sorry. I really was a film student at one point in time.)

Anyway…. I’ve been thinking about how amazing the children’s writing community really is. Most of the people I’ve encountered since I’ve started really focusing on writing have been considerate, kind, helpful, and encouraging – and that goes a long way when you are just starting off in any endeavor, let alone something as difficult and – let’s face it – personal as writing.

My thankful thoughts today are going out to the folks who have been there, been available, listened and encouraged and generally nudged me along on this adventure.

Like other local authors I know, especially Linda and Lisa. They have been a source of great information and encouragement…and growing friendship along the way. The simple fact that they and others I’ve met through SCBWI here in Ohio are so willing to share their experiences (and an occasional falafel) is pretty darned amazing.

Speaking of authors – I’ve also had pretty fantastic experiences with other authors since starting this blog. I’ve gotten very brave about writing to writers (no matter who they are or how famous) to tell them how much I admire their work. And I often add a quick request for an interview. So far, I’ve found that most writers I’ve contacted are very willing to participate, which means spending some of their valuable writing time writing to me instead of writing books! Pretty cool, right?

Not to mention writers who took time to offer advice on the hunt for agents. I had some of those e-mail “conversations”, too. The simple fact that a couple of best-selling authors would be positive and encouraging to a perfect stranger (me!) about the craft and the biz…just something to recognize and be thankful for, I think.

And even agents and editors who have turned my project down. Yep…you read that right. I’m even grateful for their input, comments, and yes…encouragement.

This community of children’s writers and children’s book professionals is one of a kind. And I’m glad to be a fledgling member.

So…in the spirit of offering encouragement and sharing what I know with others, I’d like to offer another book drawing! I’m giving away a copy of SEIZE THE STORY by Victoria Hanley – a book about writing craft and storytelling. It is marketed as a resource for teen writers, but I found the information on plot, character, dialog, etc. all helpful and useful to a number of my own projects.

If you’d like to enter the drawing for this great writing craft book – just type a comment below. It would be great if you’d tell me something you are grateful for this Thanksgiving holiday, too. And if you link to Carpe Keyboard from your Facebook or other social network, leave me a comment about that, too. I’ll put your name in the drawing twice!

I’ll draw for the winner on Saturday, December 4. Good luck! And be thankful!


  1. Thanks for directing me to your blog through an COSCBWI e-mail! I like your generous spirit and great selection of links. I look forward to perusing some of your older posts.

    Here's one of the things I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving: my writers' group. Their feedback is always supportive and useful. Better yet: It's one thing to get people to read and comment on a chapter or two of a manuscript. But the whole thing? A second time around after a full revision? What a gift!

  2. Wow that's great :) Lot's of things to be grateful for, that's for sure.

    When it comes to writing, I find myself thankful that all of those people take time to read my story, and some to tell me what they thought about it. It's a real motivation ^^

    I still think it's wonderful that you give away books. You are not only being generous, but in your own way, encouraging others to read. The book you're giving away this time looks very useful for young writers like myself, and my dad even told me today, I need to find out more about constructing a story :)

  3. I am thankful of all I've accomplished writing-wise within the last year! I've gone from writing for a local freebie publication to writing for 3 paying local news websites. I was also able to do a phone interview with Ann M. Martin, author of "The Baby-sitters Club" series which were my favorite books as a kid. I've also started a blog that I love. To round out my list I've also been reading a lot more, and collecting some of my favorite children's books as well. It's been a good year as a writer for me!

    I will also link to Facebook; you can find me at

  4. Hi Karen, congrats to you for following your dream! There really is no other way to live, right? I do extras work for our local film school (Florida State) so it's interesting to me that you have a bit of film in your background too - I find that film work makes my writing work better, because I have learned to "see" things from different angles. Here's my Thanksgiving post: I hope that it conveys how humbly grateful I am to have never had to worry about an utter lack of food.

  5. I'm linking to you on Twitter as well!

  6. I'm grateful to having YOU as a writing partner! Thanks for a lovely post!

  7. Karen,
    I found you on She Writes a community that I am delighted to have found! I agree that most writers in the children's writing and in other genres are extremely generous and warm-hearted people. I have been a member of SCBWI New York for almost 10 years and now I have my own blog where I interview authors and review books, my own radio show once a month on Blog Talk Radio where I interview authors and publishers and my own book If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, a YA is being published in September as an e-book by MuseItUp Publishing. I love the writing community and I don't think I would be having my book published if I hadn't become friendly with the publisher before she started her company.:) When I first started out I was lucky enough to have had Paula Danziger as a workshop teacher and she is the reason I wrote this book. You can contact any writer, I believe, because if you are a writer too, any writer will want to know you.:) I'm happy to meet you too! I am thankful for all the wonderful writers that I have met and of course for having my book published after five years of trying.

    I'm linking you to my Facebook page:

    Also to my Twitter:

  8. Wow...after reading your other comments, I feel like such a newbie. I am just getting started again, but I am thankful for retirement after a 20 year career as a College Counselor and the fact that I have all four of my kids grown and settled which is giving me TIME to write. I am blogging now and finding great satisfaction in connecting with other folks through this world. I consider myself to be an incredibly blessed woman!

  9. I'm getting little chills. We all have so much to be grateful for, don't we? Thanks so much for sharing your feelings of thankfulness. And it is so fun to see some new names among the comments!

  10. For friends who would cut off their right leg if it would save our life and who love our kids as much as we do; for people who show kindness through random acts of affection and reassure us with simply a smile and a look that says when you need me – I’m here, and even if you don’t need me – I’m still here; for the gift of a curious mind; for forgiveness and new beginnings; for the opportunity to give more than we receive; for adventures not yet lived and a willingness to pursue them; for knowing it’s never, ever going to be just so; for a warm home and good health; for children who don’t always listen but who are perfectly themselves and allowed to be so; for people who give not because they have to, but because it’s who they are; and to know, in spite of what is true – or because of it, we persevere ~ we are grateful.

  11. Hi Karen,

    Just back from being with my family for Thanksgiving, and I'm enjoying your blog! I'm a N/F author and SCBWI member living in Cincinnati. This is a wonderful writing community -- I got my first contract by networking with other SCBWI members here in southwest Ohio.

    Keep up all your good work!

    Kerrie Hollihan