Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Just one line. . .

Just one line is all I need to make my story complete.
Right now it's close, but not quite done, not quite nice and neat.

I know just what I want to say, but can't type it out just so,
The feelings are clear in my mind and I don't know which way to go.

All I need is just one line, and here I've written more,
Maybe I'll take an average, and even out the score.

My goal is to find that line, and finish it today,
The next step is to revise. . . but first I think I'll play!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Reflections on 2011

2011 was an interesting year.

I watched my children grow physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and in all other . ..allys imaginable.  I am so proud of all 4 of them!

I saw changes develop in my personal relationships with both family and friends that I never could have predicted.

I have seen my husband grow professionally and take on new responsibilities in his job. He is flourishing!

I have seen myself develop new strengths in a variety of areas of my life, and I am proud of myself.

I have also discovered areas of myself that I would like to change---I hope to work on those in 2012.

I hope that you all can take a few minutes of time to reflect on your 2011, and to think about what is in your future for 2012.

Best wishes, and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Writer's Block

Normally writer's block wouldn't be a problem, however, today it is really bothering me.  Normally I work very well under deadlines, today it is not happening.  Normally, I can come up with some sort of idea to at least start with, today I am drawing a blank.

I have signed on to be part of a collaborative book with many other authors.  I am writing the opening pages of the book, and I am feeling intimidated.  I agreed to do this because I thought that it would be a good challenge for me.  The opening of a book is very important, it is where you hook your reader.  It is where they decide if they want to turn the page for more. . .or not.

I have a topic, I know what I need to do, but the words are just not coming out right now.  I am worried that I am going to let down my fellow authors.  More importantly, if I let down my readers, they will not want to turn the page and read the works of the other authors and illustrators involved with this project.

I need an inspiration, some sort of 'ah ha!' moment.

I hope that I am up to the challenge. . . . wish me luck!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sandi Writes Books

This year my youngest children entered first grade, and after 12 years of having some portion of my children home with me every day, we have finally reached a point in the Hershenson household where all 4 children are in school full day.  This was VERY strange for me in the beginning of the school year.  So quiet in the house.  Just me, the fish, and the dog.

I decided that this was the year that I was going to make a full time commitment to writing.  While I have yet to be written a  check for all of my hard work, I am right now viewing this as an unpaid internship.  I have been gaining experience in all aspects of my 'company', Sandi Writes Books.

  • product development
  • editorial department
  • human relations
  • social media
  • marketing and promotions
  • technology
  • research and education
  • finance (nothing coming in just yet, but money is certainly going out for courses, contests, and books)

Ten years ago I certainly would not have predicted that this is what I would be doing.  I love it, and for now, I wouldn't want to be doing anything differently.

So 2011 is leaving me with a full time commitment to writing, let's hope that 2012 comes in with someone who is interested in helping me share my writing with the world.

Any takers?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Only 3 Days Left to Vote!

In just 3 days the voting round of the MeeGenius Author Challenge 2011 will be complete.  As of this posting, I am in 92nd place for my story, Dear Tooth Fairy, and 133rd place for I Am Penelope-Mae Pickleberg! (out of 398 stories)

This has been a fantastic journey so far.  I have truly enjoyed reading the stories of the other authors, and I have enjoyed sharing with my peers what this challenge is all about.  GETTING CHILDREN TO READ!

As a child I always had a book in my hand, in my backpack, in my desk, and next to my bed.  Children today, my own included, don't do this.  They have their iTouches, ipads, and laptops.  If they are going to read, they are going to do it through the means that they are most comfortable with.  That means electronically.  MeeGenius is just one of many ways out there that provides this opportunity for even the youngest readers.

I hope that you have taken a look at the website, and read some of the stories (maybe even voted for a few).  It doesn't matter who the winner is.  Just know that some lucky school is going to receive a FREE e-book library for one year.  Hopefully this will catch on, and other schools will find means to obtain e-book libraries as well.

It is our responsibility as parents, teachers, and authors to do whatever it takes to get our children reading!

So I ask you to click on the links above and VOTE.  Whether it by for my stories, someone else's, or both, please VOTE!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cybils Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literacy Awards

This is a fantastic list of books.  I have read a few of them, but not enough.  I think that I might print out the list, go to my local bookstore, grab a cup of coffee, and read through them.  Anyone want to join me?

Happy reading to all of you!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blog Updates

I have made a few updates to The Write Stuff!  Check out the column to the right!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

MeeGenius Author Challenge Update

With just 1 week and 6 days left for you to vote in the MeeGenius Author Challenge 2011, I though that I would give you an update of where things are at:

398 stories in the competition

I am currently ranked at #87 with my story, Dear Tooth Fairy,

I am currently ranked at #132 with my story, I am Penelope-Mae Pickleberg!

As I told you in my last post, I am determined to make a break into the industry, and this could be it!  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE vote for me (or at least read my story and make a comment--I love feedback)!  

I know that it is completely unprofessional to beg. . . but as Lori Degman said in her comments last time--"a published author is an unpublished author who didn't quit."

Friday, December 2, 2011

My New Strategies

Today is a day of mixed emotions for me.  I have had to temporarily let go of something that has been near and dear to my heart for a while, and I am trying to figure out how to make the situation a better one.  I knew that this was coming, but when reality sets in it is not the same as just thinking about it.

I have decided to take on a new outlook!  I am not looking at this as a lost opportunity, but rather a gained opportunity.  I will now have more time to work on developing my career as a writer.  While I may not become the next Tommie dePalo, Shel Silverstein, or Judy Blume. . . I can certainly try.

I think that I am going to work on some new strategies for breaking into the field.

Maybe I will put together a portfolio of all of my work and show up at the door of an agency.  I will WOW them with my charming smile, charismatic personality, and they will be begging me to read my works, and will be setting up my world book tour to begin right away.

Maybe I will hire a sky writer to fly my titles above the headquarters at Scholastic, Random House, and Houghton Mifflin Books.  The company executives will call off work for all employees so that they can schedule an all day search for the author who came up with those puff of smoke titles.

Or maybe, I can go into libraries and book stores around the country and clear out a shelf or two leaving a sign saying:  RESERVED FOR BOOKS WRITTEN BY SANDI HERSHENSON ONLY.

While my ideas may be a little grandiose, you can sense my determination.  I WILL get there someday, and hopefully, at least one of my manuscripts will land on the desk of someone who believes in my writing and wants to help me take it somewhere.  Someone who believes that my stories will get into the hearts of children, and will make a difference in their reading.

I will continue to enter contests like the MeeGenius Author Challenge and hope that people will like my style and vote for me.  Click these links if you want to see my entires(I would beg, plead, and grovel for you to vote for me--but that might be a little much )  and

I will continue to model great reading for my own children, and to talk about reading and writing wherever I go.  In fact, maybe I will make others so sick of hearing about it that they will want to publish me just to get me to stop talking.

In any case, thank you all for reading my lengthy vent--I know that I certainly feel better!  I now need to pick myself up by my slippers (since I work from home I don't wear boots to pick up my boot straps) and get to work!

Happy reading and writing everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Reflection on PiBoIdMo

November 2011 was one that will go down in the history books for me in terms of my career as a writer.  No, I haven't been offered a contract.  No, I haven't found an agent.  No, I haven't won a Newberry Award.  What I did was grow as a writer.

This month not only did I participate in PiBoIdMo, but I truly committed myself to sharing my stories with children.  This commitment is in the hopes of enticing more children to read, and to enjoy it.  I have always written as a hobby, but now all of my children are in school full day, and I have the time to spend on perfecting my craft (although, I don't know if one ever reaches perfection--but we certainly can try).

To lay it out more specifically, in November I:

  •  came up with 35 different picture book ideas
  •  wrote 4 different rough drafts (2 of which are pretty close to being complete)
  •  joined an international online critique group.  
  • connected with 2 different illustrators so as to put together 2 different stories to submit to uTales (
  • have been promoting my stories in the MeeGenius Author Challenge 2011 in hopes of winning a free ebook library for my children's school 
  • interviewed a prominent member of the children's writing world (check back to this blog in the coming weeks to see the interview)
  • signed up to follow many, many, many more children's writing blogs
  • registered myself to participate in 12x12 in 2012
I feel like PiBoIdMo was successful for me.  I feel charged up and ready to write.  I hope that you do to, and I hope that someday you will all get to read the books that have come out of the great month of November 2011.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Thank you all so much for your votes so far.  I has been a lot of fun checking in to see where all of the stories are at in the MeeGenius Author Challenge.

As of this posting my two stories are doing very well.  Dear Tooth Fairy, has 81 votes and is ranked #61 out of 398 stories.  I Am Penelope-Mae Pickleberg! has 60 votes and is ranked #103 out of 398 stories.

It has been a life long dream of mine to publish a children's book.  I know that with both determination and patience it will come, it may not be in this contest, but it WILL come.  Please help me out by continuing to vote, and to spread the word to all of your friends, family members, co-workers, mail carriers, dry cleaners, dentists, hair stylists, teachers, plumbers, mechanics. . . basically anyone who you meet.

Thank you so much for all of your support!  Here are the links again!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Time to Vote in the MeeGenius Author Challenge

If you recall, I told all of you back in September that I entered 2 stories in the MeeGenius Author Challenge.  Starting today through December 18 you may vote for the stories that you like.  By simply clicking on the 'Like' button, you cast your vote.

I would love it if you might take a few minutes to read both of my submissions, and if you enjoy them--click that button (you are able to vote for more than one story).  I really appreciate any help that you can offer to me, and please spread the word to anyone and EVERYONE that you know.

Thank you so much!

Read At Least 20 Minutes a Day!

A friend of mine from high school shared this on Facebook, and it is too good not to pass on!

Read at Least 20 Minutes a Day!

Let's figure it out -- mathematically!

Student A reads 20 minutes a night x 5 times each week.
Student B reads only 4 minutes a night or not at all!

Step 1: Multiply minutes a night x 5 times each week.
Student A reads 20 minutes x 5 times a week = 100 min/week.
Student B reads 4 minutes x 5 times a week = 20 min/week.

Step 2: Multiply minutes a week x 4 weeks each month.
Student A reads 400 minutes a month.
Student B reads 80 minutes a month.

Step 3: Multiply minutes a month x 9 months/school year.
Student A reads 36000 minutes in a school year.
Student B reads 720 minutes in a school year.

Student A practices reading the equivalent of ten school days a year.
Student B gets the equivalent of only two school days of reading

By the end of 6th grade if Student A and Student B maintain these
same reading habits, Student A will have read the equivalent of 60
whole school days. Student B will have read the equivalent of only
12 school days.

One would expect the gap of information retained will have widened
considerably and so, undoubtedly, will school performance.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Thanksgiving Reflection

Now that the turkey has begun to digest, and the dishwasher is running the next load, I have had some time to reflect upon what I am thankful for.  I am thankful for my family, my health, and the roof over my head.

I am also very thankful for the country that I live in.  Here, I was able to attend fantastic schools that allowed me to explore my interests and my creativity.

I am thankful that I live in a family today that understands my passion for writing and allows me the freedom to take a chance on a career that may or may not happen.

I am thankful for bookstores.  While they may be closing all around the country, bookstores have provided a place for children to go and discover new worlds.

I am thankful that I know how to read.  If not for knowing how to read, I wouldn't know how to write, and I wouldn't be able to share stories with others.

I am thankful for children--especially my own--you inspire, you create wonder, you share your unconditional love.

I wish you all a thankful year!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm a poet. . . and I didn't even know it!

Yesterday as I was working on my newest idea for Picture Book Month something very strange happened to me.  My entire story came out of my finger tips and onto my keyboard in 2 line couplets.  I have never had a story come to me so easily.  It clicks, it works!  However it rhymes.

Here is my question for all of you. . . is it a story, is it a poem, or is it both?  What actually qualifies a work of writing as a story or a poem?  Is it word count? Is it style?  Is it the author's decision?  I don't know.  I could use some advice on this one.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What do the words really mean?

Today on Facebook Bruce Coville posted a beautiful video that I would like to share with all of you.  It reminds us to not just read the words on the page, but to truly read into their meaning.  Take all written words to heart.  You never know how you may effect someone else. . . enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Last Night at the Bookstore I discovered Cloudette

Last night I was at my local bookstore with my husband. We started with a cup of coffee and a great conversation.  Slowly we meandered our way over to the stacks.  We began together looking at intellectual books.  He could see my head frequently turning to look at the children's department.  He could tell that he was rapidly loosing my participation in the conversation at hand and finally said to me. . . "ok, go!"  He knew exactly where I wanted to be.

When I arrived at the children's department I didn't even know where to begin!  The Thanksgiving books at their very own display?  The section for local authors? New releases?  I chose new releases, and ran out of time before I was able to get anywhere else.

A beautiful book that I had never seen before caught my eye, Cloudette, by Tom Lichtneheld.  Initially, I was taken by it's beautiful, simple blue cover.  It felt soft to me.  Relaxing.  I had to open it and read it on the spot.

Cloudette is a small cloud who loves all of the attention that she receives for being cute.  However, after awhile, she comes to the realization that while she is cute, she is not doing anything big and important like the many of the other clouds.  After being blown away by a large home, Cloudette realizes how she can do something valuable, and gains a new confidence in herself.

Lichtenheld does a wonderful job through both his words and illustrations of sharing the story of Cloudette and her adventures.    This is a story that will leave you believing that you can do anything that you set your mind to, and that you can do it with a smile.

Enjoy, and check out Tom Lichtenheld's website at

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

E-book sales are growing. . . but is reading?

The article below, published in today's issue of Shelf Awareness, discusses how the sales of e-books are on the rise.  As you all know from previous posts, I have very mixed feelings about digital books, especially for kids.  

With the closures of Borders as well as other bookstores around the country, I find it interesting how e-book sales have taken off.  My my question, however, is this.  Are people reading as often as they did prior to the e-book boom, are they reading more, or are they reading less?

What are your thoughts?

BISG Consumer Survey: E-Book Passion Unabated

E-book sales will continue to grow as readers show increased loyalty to, and satisfaction with, the digital format, according to the second volume of the Book Industry Study Group's Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading survey.

"The e-book market is developing very fast, with consumer attitudes and behaviors changing over the course of months, rather than years," said Angela Bole, BISG's deputy executive director.

Among the findings of the new BISG survey:
  • Nearly 50% of print book consumers who have also acquired an e-book during the past 18 months would wait up to three months for the e-version of a book from a favorite author, rather than immediately read it in print. A year ago, only 38% said they would wait this long.
  • More than 46% of those who say they acquire e-books at least weekly (considered "Power Buyers" in this survey) report that they have increased their dollars spent for books in all formats, compared with 30.4% of all survey respondents.
  • Amazon continues to be the preferred source for e-books (70%) and e-book information (44%), followed by Barnes & Noble (26%) and Apple, but libraries are gaining ground.
  • Seventy-five percent of respondents said are satisfied with their e-reading device, including more than 38% of respondents who reported being "very satisfied." Less than 5% said they felt their e-reading device was not a good value for the money.
  • While the cost of e-reading devices remains a concern, the single most popular answer to the question of what hinders respondents from reading more e-books was "nothing," at 33% (up from 17.6% a year ago).

Volume Three of BISG's Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading has just launched and will cover e-book consumer behaviors from now through September 2012.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Why I love Picture Books--one of many reasons

Last night as I was reading Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth to my 6 year old twins before bed, I realized one of the most wonderful reasons why I like picture books.  Picture books connect generations of families.

My girls are in first grade, and their reading skill have suddenly progressed very quickly.  Before we started reading, one of my daughters told me that she could read the cover to me.  Not only did she read the title, but she also read to me the names of the author and illustrator, Lucy Bate and Diane de Groat, respectively.  Now I have read this book hundreds of times from sharing it with my mom when I was a little girl, to sharing with each of my four daughters.  However, this time was different.  As she read to me Diane de Groat's name, something rang a bell.

Diane de Groat is my friend on Facebook!  She is an illustrator that I have contact with.  I now run in the same social circles as someone who helped to create positive childhood experiences for me.  My mom read the book to me, I read it to my children, and I have a direct connection to the illustrator!

I can only hope that someday my written words are shared with generations of families.  Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth has made all of us smile.

Thank you Diane de Groat. . . you have made a difference

Please visit Diane's website

Friday, November 4, 2011

Another New Story!

I can't believe how much fun I am having with Picture Book Month!  This morning I fleshed out an entire manuscript, and you won't believe what inspired it. . .

I lost my husband's pants in the laundry!  That triggered a story in me!  It has evolved already so far from his pants and it is a lot of fun.  I can't wait to now sit down and really dig into the editing.  Editing is my favorite part of the entire writing process.

I will keep you updated each day on how my picture book ideas are going.

Please be sure to take a look at  If you are a fan of digital books, this is really a fantastic site.  I truly believe that it is going to change the way that children read books.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 1--Picture Book Month

I have already written most of the first draft of my picture book story for Day 1 of Picture Book Month!  This is so exciting!  How am I going to take my mind off of this idea to work on a new idea for Day 2 tomorrow?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tomorrow is the Start of Picture Book Month!

November is my favorite month of the year for many reasons.
1.  I love fall!
2.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.
3.  My birthday

I am so excited about the new challenge upon which I am going to embark. In my October 24th post I told you all about the contest where you come up with a new picture book idea for each of the 30 days of November.

I, however, am a VERY impatient person, and my creativity got the best of me.  I started early.  I already have 10 new ideas!  Hopefully, by the end of November I will have at least 40 new picture book ideas.  Now that doesn't mean all of them will become best sellers (although that would be REALLY nice), it simply means that I now have ideas to work on.  This will get me back to my laptop and writing.  While I truly love most of the manuscripts that I have already written,  I am definitely ready for some new stories.

I will be posting on my blog everyday how my journey through this contest is going.  I will be keeping my ideas to myself, but I will keep you posted on my progress.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Interview With Dian Curtis Regan

For my first interview, I have had the distinct honor and pleasure of interviewing author, Dian Curtis Regan.  
Dian is a long-time member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and is a former "Member of the Year."
She has been inducted into the Oklahoma Professional Writers' Hall of Fame and has received a "Distinguished Medal of Service in Children's Literature" from the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers.
In 2001, the library at Escuela de las Americas in La Lecheria, Venezuela, was dedicated to her and became the "Dian Curtis Regan Library." Her manuscripts are being archived in the Education Library at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Dian is from Colorado Springs and lived in Colorado for many years. After graduating from the University of Colorado in Boulder, she taught school in Denver before becoming a full-time author and speaker.
Besides Colorado, Dian has lived in Texas, Oklahoma, and Venezuela. Presently, she lives in Kansas and will be moving back to Colorado in 2012.

Please visit Dian's website at  

1.    Why do you write? What motivates you to write for children?
I think a true writer can't NOT write (to use a double negative—bad, bad….)  It's in the blood.  Even when I'm telling myself I'm taking time off, I still daydream story ideas.  The urge to create is a strong one.

2.    How do you feel about ebooks for young children? Do you feel that they are changing the way that children are learning to read?
They ARE changing the way children learn to read, but to me, it's all good.  E-rights are automatically part of every book contract now.  And I am very eager to usher back into e-print all of my out of print books.  I still get emails and requests about/for them, so I am on board.  The part I don't like is the unfair author/illustrator e-royalty rates right now.

3.    Do you tend to follow a specific process when you are writing a story?  What stage of your writing process do you most enjoy?
I have a ritual when starting a new project.  I suspect most writers do.  For me, once the bug has bitten hard enough, I buy a new binder to keep the research notes, ideas, and a hard copy of a manuscript all in one place.
Author, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, recently blogged about beginning-a-new-book rituals.  Scan down for my input—and a photo of the colorful binders of projects-in-progress.
The stage of the process I enjoy most is the completion of a rough draft.  That is when you have clay to mold into form.  That is when you figure out what your story is really about.  A stage when all things are possible.

4.    Do you have any advice for up and coming writers?
1. Read
2. It's HARD.  Hard to find time to write, hard to figure out a complex plot without taking the easy and expected route, hard to deal with rejection, hard to find a publisher. 
If you know that going in, but refuse to fear the difficulty; refuse to allow yourself to give up or be discouraged by delays, and keep listening to honest criticism and learning from your attempts, you WILL have success eventually.
Case in point:  an unpublished writer in my local critique group had been writing for ten years, and working on a novel (that we had been reading and critiquing) for six years.  She was turned down by agents, but persisted and finally got one.  She was turned down by publishers but persisted and finally got one.
Finally, last fall, her first novel was published.  We had a launch party to celebrate her long-awaited success.  And then?  Three months later, that novel won the Newbery Award. 
If she'd been in a hurry to dash off a novel and try to get it published, her work would not have grown into the complex and compelling story it became.
3. Read.

5.    What is your favorite picture book of all time? Why?
 May I mention two?  One is All the Lassies by Liesel Moak Skorpen. When I taught writing, it seemed like every beginning writer had an 'I want a pet' story.  One of my first published pieces was also an 'I want a pet' story. To me, All the Lassies is the quintessential story with that plot.  If you can come up with a better one, then write it!
The second favorite picture book is Carmina, Come Dance by Mary Whittington.  It's a wonderful fantasy story with such lyrical language, it invites you to read it over and over again.


Dian Curtis Regan is the author of more than 50 books for young readers, ranging from picture books to young adult novels. Titles include Princess Nevermore, The World According to Kaley, and Barnyard Slam. New books this fall include The Snow Blew Inn, a picture book from Holiday House, and Rocky Cave Kids: The Dragon Stone, a chapter book from Marshall Cavendish.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


November is Picture Book Month!

Personally, I hold picture books very near and dear to my heart.  Not only do I love to write them, but I love to read them!  What could be better than snuggling with a child, a stack of picture books, and time to read?

PIcture books are a child's first doorway into the fabulous world of reading.  As I discussed in a previous post, however,  I do believe that there is a place for ebooks.  After all, as a society we need to do whatever it takes to get a person to read.

Yet, it is amazing to see the look on a child's face when they first learn to turn the page.  Discovering the story on the next page is exciting!  The colors, the words, the feel of the paper in one's hands.  All of this is an experience that is becoming lost in the digital age.

Do yourself a favor throughout the entire month of November, pick up a picture book (or 2, or 3, or more), find a child (or you can enjoy the books yourself if you don't have a child handy), and read.  Enjoy the adventures that you will discover in books!

Here is a link to the Picture Book Month website.  check it out!  

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Contest!

I just found out about this fantastic contest for anyone who is interested.  Picture Book Idea of the Month!

I am going to do it, I hope that you will too!

Recipe for a Picture Book

I have taken a brief hiatus from writing as my family just celebrated my oldest daughter becoming a Bat Mitzvah this past weekend.  I am so proud of her!  She was poised, confident, strong, and most importantly, happy with herself.  As a family, we couldn't have asked for a nicer weekend.

I wrote a small speech that I delivered to my daughter during her service.  Interestingly enough, it was the easiest piece that I have ever written.  Now the writer in me is trying to analyze why I had to do very little editing.  It was a completely different writing experience than I had ever had, and I believe that it was some of my best work to date.

The answer is easy.  The best writing comes from the writer's heart, and this speech most certainly did.  I sat at my computer, and my speech was written in 15 minutes.  I knew exactly what I wanted to say.  My daughter was my inspiration.  She was my topic as well as my audience.  While I read the speech in front of others, I was only telling the story to her--it didn't matter what others thought of my story to her.

As picture book authors, how do we define our target audience?  Are we writing for the adults who are reading the books to their children, or are we writing for the children only?  I think that this is a tough question to answer.  As a parent, I tend read to my children with less emotion if it is a story that does not interest me.  However, as an author, I have a message that I want to share with children and I want to do it on their terms, not necessarily their parents'.

Based on all of this, I have come up with a simple recipe for a picture book.  Please follow below, and as my grandmother alway said, 'adjust to taste.'

2 cups-- topic
dash-- editing
1 cup-- parent audience
2 cups-- child audience
as much as you have-- inspiration from the heart

Mix well.  Share with others.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Something startled me out of bed just as the sun began to rise. As I put my feet on the carpet, I found out that there were a couple of my children who obviously had spent the night next to my bed.  As I tiptoed around them I felt something cold slip between my toes.  Melted ice cream!

As I ran to the bathroom to get a towel, I could see the chocolate footprints fading with each step.  Even thought the chocolate was no longer visible, my feet felt sticky.  I washed them off, and decided to attempt to go back to sleep for a little while.

As I climbed back into the comfort of my bed, I looked over and noticed the empty ice cream carton next to my pillow! At that moment, I realized the dream I had last night, was not a dream. I must have been sleep walking again! 

Going back to sleep was no longer an option!  I got up and quickly flipped on lights throughout the house.  I needed to see what else I had done in my sleep.  With all of my banging around, my daughter began to stir.

The saga begins. . .

Here is the latest update on our collaborative story.  Keep up the good work!

Something startled me out of bed just as the sun began to rise. As I put my feet on the carpet, I found out that there were a couple of my children who obviously had spent the night next to my bed.  As I tiptoed around them I felt something cold slip between my toes.  Melted ice cream!

As I ran to the bathroom to get a towel, I could see the chocolate footprints fading with each step.  Even thought the chocolate was no longer visible, my feet felt sticky.  I washed them off, and decided to attempt to go back to sleep for a little while.

Looking for a new book?

Have you ever wondered about why your child can't pull their nose out of their latest book?  Find out!  Scholastic has put together a list of children's books that adults should be reading.

Click on the link below and enjoy!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Story Starter Update

OK folks, only one person has participated in this story.  Time to add on to it.  Below is what we've got so far.  I have added some more myself.  Get your creative minds working!

Something startled me out of bed just as the sun began to rise. As I put my feet on the carpet, I found out that there were a couple of my children who obviously had spent the night next to my bed.  As I tiptoed around them I felt something cold slip between my toes.  Melted ice cream!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Check out this blog!

I have had the great fortune of being connected with Geralyn Broder Murray, a very talented writer.  Take a look at her 2 blogs and see if you can relate.  I know that I can!

HTML Stands for How To Make Lunch

Recently, as I have been sharing with more and more of my friends that I am working on publishing children's books, I have been asked what I think about e-books for young children.

I don't have a simple answer for this.

I am really a traditional person when it comes to communication.  While I don't use a stone tablet and a chisel, I do miss the card catalogue when I visit the library.  My Day Runner calendar is filled with post-its, and while I do have a smart phone, I only use it as a phone and for email.  I ask my kids to help me with the computer, and to me HTML stands for 'How To Make Lunch'.

Getting back to the topic. . .

I am in favor of anything that can get a child to read.  Whether it be a magazine, the label on a candy bar, a dictionary, a picture book, or a sign along the freeway, reading is an invaluable skill that can only lead to amazing adventures.

I have always loved books!  The feel of getting into the story by turning the pages to see what will happen next is exciting.  I enjoy watching my bookmark move closer to the end of the book.  As a parent, sitting with a child and teaching them how to turn the pages for the first time, how to make sure that they are holding the book right side up, and teaching them to follow the words with their fingers is a mind blowing experience.  Right before your eyes, a whole new world of learning is discovered!

However, today's kids (and many adults) prefer the digital age.  I guess that it is time that I join the 21st century.  If we can teach our children to read the e-books and not only have the e-book read the story to the child, then I think that they are great.  E-book publishers have developed so many ways that children can interact with the stories and can challenge their imaginations.  I do believe that adults do need to make the extra effort to encourage our children to make the best use of these applications and to actually do the reading-- to explore the story rather than to allow the electronic device of their choice to do all of the work for them.

It saddens me to see so many book stores either changing their structure or closing down.  Just the other day, I was in our local book store and a large quantity of book shelves had been removed and replaced by toys.  Educational toys, but nevertheless, toys.  In fact, to even arrive at the children's book section of the store, one must first walk past the toys.  If you were 6 years old where would you gravitate towards in a store-- the books or the toys?

I would like to make a promise to everyone, and I hope that you will make this promise too.

I, Sandi Hershenson, do promise to make every effort to help children to enjoy reading.  Whether they read with a book in hand or on a digital device, I will encourage them to read.

Now I am going to go read my cookbook on HTML.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Please Participate in this Story. . .

I had this idea to help get all of our creative juices flowing.  It is the start of a new season, and we are all ready for a jump start.  I thought that I would post a story starter for everyone to participate in.  I will write the first sentence, and each one of you can add to it as you wish.  I will continue to post updates all week long, and let's see where the story goes!  I hope that you enjoy it, I know that we can write a fantastic story together!

Here it goes:

Something startled me out of bed just as the sun began to rise.


As a new member of the blogging world, I am doing my best to make my blog user friendly, interesting to my readers, and helpful to those in the business of writing for children.

I am asking for your help. . . what would you like to see on The Write Stuff?  How can I better publicize the site?  I am open to any and all feedback.

Just let your fingers to the typing, and share with me!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Top Ten Banned Books of the Year

An article came out about the Top Ten Banned Books of the Year.  It makes me so angry that books are banned at all.

Just because cigarettes are produced, you don't have to choose to smoke them.

Just because a movie is in the theater, you don't have to choose to see it.

Just because a big piece of chocolate is sitting in front of you, you don't have to eat it (however, we do have somewhat of an obligation to eat chocolate--the most important food group).

All kidding aside,  just because a book has been published, you don't have to choose to purchase or read it. But who are we to make that choice for someone else?  If the book is not of interest to you, or you find it offensive.. . .don't read it; but still allow others to make that decision for themselves.

I Clicked Submit Again!

After careful editing and reformatting, I have submitted another manuscript to the MeeGenius Author Challenge.  It feels great and scary at the same time.  I have been working for several years on both of the stories that I submitted.  They are like the 5th and 6th children that I never had, and now I am sending them out into the real world to make it on their own.  I can only hope that those who read my stories, think that I was a good parent to them.

I'll keep you posted on the progress. . . won't know anything until the end of November.  The waiting is the hardest part!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Joining the Write Stuff

Several of you have told me that you have tried to join The Write Stuff but it is not working.  All you need to do is to click on this link to the blog and on the right hand side there is a button that says 'Join this Site'

Please try again.  It should work.

Thanks for supporting the Write Stuff!

Happy Birthday Shel Silverstein!

Today would have been the 81st birthday of Shel Silverstein.

The world of children's literature lost a fantastic author, poet, illustrator, and songwriter when he passed away in 1999.  Look through your bookshelves and enjoy a Shel Silverstein story today. I find that his books are most enjoyable when shared with someone else.

Here are a few that are on my shelf at home:

The Giving Tree
Where the Sidewalk Ends
A Light in the Attic
The Missing Piece
The Missing Piece Meets the Big O
A Giraffe and A Half
Runny Babbit
Falling Up

Also, a new book has been released, Everything On It.  I can't wait to add it to my collection!

Happy Reading!

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Philosopy

“The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.” 
 Ayn Rand

I am going to get a book published someday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Banned Book Week

Banned Book Week begins this Saturday, September 24 and runs through October 1.  Banned Book Week is designed to celebrate the First Amendment and the freedom that we have as Americans to read whatever we like.  Support Banned Book Week by talking with your children. . . and maybe share a banned book (or two) with them.  I have listed a just a few suggestions below.  How many of them have you read? Enjoy!

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Catcher in the Rye
The Chocolate War
Flowers for Algernon
Harry Potter Books #1-7
The Lorax
Of Mice and Men
Anne Frank:  The Diary of a Young Girl
Harriet the Spy
A Light in the Attic
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
The Pigman
James and the Giant Peach
The Giving Tree
The Giver
A Wrinkle in Time
Where the Sidewalk Ends

A Fabulous Publishing Website

This morning as I was surfing the internet for news in children's publishing, I came across the website, Publishing Perspectives.  It is probably not new to everyone, but it is new to me.  It is an online daily newsletter about the world of book publishing.  The newsletter focuses on the digital age of books, and they just launched a new bi-weekly edition dedicated to children's books.  I can't wait to get my first email from them!

Take a look, this is a fabulous way to keep in touch with the latest in the industry.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Down, One to Go!

I just clicked 'submit' and sent in the first of 2 manuscripts to the MeeGenius Author Challenge.  Please keep your fingers crossed (and toes, and any other parts that you are able to cross).  If I make it to the voting round, I will be sure to let you know.  I will need your votes to win!

It is an interesting experience entering a contest.  Not only do you, as an author, want to share your story and your creativity with others, but you have to follow someone else's rules.  Creative people aren't always very good at following restrictions put on them by someone else.  Character count, single spacing, triple spacing. . . .This certainly forces one to be very selective in the words chosen--make every letter count!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Great Post Today. . . thanks Emma Dryden for Sharing!

Check this out!  Every author should join GoodReads!  I know that I will!

I found a new contest!

Good morning everyone!  In searching other writers' blogs this morning, I discovered a new contest that I am going to enter.  The MeeGenius Author Challenge 2011

I am really excited about it, and I hope that you will all cheer me on!  I am going to begin working on my manuscript today and will keep you posted on my progress.  In fact, I have a story that I have been working on for some time already that I believe would be perfect!

MeeGenius publishes e-books for children.  Now I know what you all are thinking, based on yesterday's post, you all know that I am a paper and pencil kind of gal.  However, I need a way to break into this industry so that my voice can be heard.  Children someday are going to be begging to hear Sandi Hershenson stories (let's all keep our fingers crossed).

Mark your calendars because from November 28-December 18 is the Manuscript Voting Round of the contest.  During this time the publishers will be counting the popular vote on the submitted stories.  All you will need to do is click the 'LIKE' button next to the story that you like the most--- I hope that it will be mine.  Don't worry, I will remind you to do it when the time comes.

Wish me luck!

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Wheels are Turning. . .

Starting the blog last night has revived my excitement for writing.  I have been suffering from a sever case of writer's block lately, and this was just the right thing to get me going again.  I have been thinking about how to revise previous works, and my brain has been conjuring up new story ideas.  I keep checking back to see how many people are interested in my blog.  So far you have been responding on Facebook, but only 2 of my favorite writers have actually joined.  Come on, you can do it. . . you are in good company here!

Now that all of my children are back in school, I am really looking forward to working on my craft.  Writing has always been a hobby of mine.  In recent years, however, I have been taking it much more seriously.  I have been a participant in several different critique groups, both online and in person, as well as been an active member in SCBWI-LA (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators-Los Angeles).  I am bravely and cautiously submitting my manuscripts to editors, publishers, and agents all over the country.  Waiting by the mailbox for a letter or checking the inbox for an email with even the smallest amount of feedback can be absolute torture! Patience is not always my strong suit.

I find that attending weekend retreats with SCBWI to be extremely inspirational.   I love having no interruptions to simply write.  The critique sessions never feel long enough, and the lectures are so informative.  I highly recommend them to anyone who enjoys writing.  Unfortunately, I missed my favorite retreat, the Working Writer's Retreat, last weekend.  Maybe next year.. .

I have even recently ventured into the world of writing for adults.  I entered the Life Lessons contest for Real Simple Magazine (a fantastic magazine, by the way).  My submission is in, and winners will be announced in January.  I will keep you posted on how that goes. . . wish me luck!  Maybe more contests are in my future.  If you see any that you think I might be interested in, please let me know.

I have actually even begun to focus on adult reading again.  With young children it is often difficult to find time to sit and read beyond easy readers.  I enjoy picking up a good novel and escaping into the story.  It is nice to pretend to be in a different time or place and block out all of my daily activities.  I hope that my reading is demonstrating to my children how to be adult readers some day as well, and not just focused on things that require electricity.

I am saddened by the fact that children spend a lot of time playing video games, texting, and watching TV (my own children are absolutely included in that group).  I think that there is something so special about sitting with a book in hand and feeling the texture of the page.  Soaking in the story in a non-electronic way.  I realize that e-books are the new trend, but I am sort of old fashioned on this one.  Hey, I still use a paper calendar--can't seem to use my Blackberry for much more than a phone.  I believe that e-books certainly have a purpose and a place.  For young children, however, I hope that they learn to appreciate the joys of snuggling under a blanket with a book.  Some of my most special memories with my own kids are around story time--teaching them to first turn a page, reading the same books over and over again, and calling the dog so that he doesn't miss story time before bed.  As soon as Benjie hears me say 'story time' he come running from anywhere in the house and jumps into my lap with no regard for blocking the pictures!

Let me know your thoughts. . .

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Inaugural Post!

Ok Everyone, here it goes!  I have never done this before, and I am a little nervous about taking on this great adventure.  I find it challenging to be a writer in so many ways, yet exciting in so many more.  I have written children's picture books for years, and every time that I share my work with others, I sit on pins and needles hoping for a positive response.  I am not quite sure how this blog is going to evolve, but I hope that you will be patient with me while I figure it out.  Check back in with me periodically as I update things. Wish me luck, and I invite you to come along for the ride!