October 28, 2011

Fun Friday Foto Fextravaganza - Halloween! - and Warm Fuzzies!

Important Update to the Halloweensie Contest!
Want to enter but don't have a blog?  No problem!  Just copy and paste your entry into the comment section on Monday!  (We may all be doing that if I don't get the Linky Tool thing figured out :))

To start today's festivities, I ask you all to witness my awesome fun foto!  I realize, of course, that this is technically another pumpkin, but it's so unbelievable I have to show you.  Prepare to be amazed!
No pumpkin I ever carved came out looking remotely that artistic.  In fact, the ones I carve are generally no longer recognizable as pumpkins...

But if you're going to get nitpicky and require something Halloween but non-pumpkin, I always go for the cuteness.  How's this?
Catherine and Stacy have fun fotos up, too, so please go check out theirs!  Anyone else who would like to join in the fun, please post a 0-12-year-old friendly photo that says HALLOWEEN to you on your blog, then hop back here or Catherine's blog and put your link in the comments so everyone can come visit you.

Now, onto item #2: The Warm Fuzzies Blogfest!

Juliana Brandt is running this awesome fest.  Please visit her over at her brand new beautiful website.  This week's discussion topic is as follows:

This week, be it good or bad, funny or sad, share with us the best response you’ve heard when you’ve told someone you’re a writer. Also, tell us, do you tell other people that you’re a writer?

So here are my thoughts.

For a long time, I didn't tell anyone I was a writer.  I mentioned it once or twice and was met by the question, "Oh!  What books have you written?" at which point I was forced to confess that I'd written all kinds of things but none of them were published.  So I stopped mentioning it.

Then came the wonderful day when I got an actual offer from an actual, reputable publishing house.  At last I could say I was a writer and when people asked the inevitable I could say, "I wrote The House That Mack Built!"  To which most people would say, "O-oh!" in an uncertain voice with that look that said clearly, I've never heard of that so it must not be too good.  (Or they would say, "You mean The House That Jack Built?" as if I might not know the title of my own book...)

A book or two later, when I was starting to feel a little more like a writer, people would say, "What have you written that I would have heard of?"  Well, truthfully, most people aren't all that well-versed in young children's literature.  If it's not on the New York Times Bestseller list, they probably haven't heard of it, and I have never been on the New York Times Bestseller List... yet!  So I would mention my 2 or 3 titles, they would look at me blankly, and there would be an awkward pause in the conversation.

Another frequent response is, "Oh, I'm going to write a book.  I have tons of ideas.  I just haven't gotten around to it yet."  Like it's easy, something to be tossed off in a spare afternoon.

But somewhere along the line I have become comfortable with the fact that I am a writer.  Maybe not famous.  Maybe not the best writer in the world.  But a writer is who I am.  Nowadays when people ask what I do I say I'm a writer, and I say it with assurance.  And I feel a certain sense of pride.  Neither I nor my books are particularly well-known (can you say virtually unheard of :)) but I feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

As to the best moments, I have a couple.  One I wrote about last week - when a woman asked me to sign a copy of Can't Sleep Without Sheep for her newborn daughter, to be the very first book in her child's library.  There is no way to beat that.  Really.

And a few others, when people have told me that one of my books is their child's favorite.  That it is read over and over in their house.  That's why we write.  To share our stories and hopefully make someone's day a little better.  To me, there is no higher compliment than to be told something I wrote is treasured by a child.

So that's my Warm Fuzzy :)

I hope you all have a great weekend, and I hope you're all ready for Halloween - stocked up on candy that of course you are most certainly not going to eat any of yourself... except for a few pieces that are required to fulfill your Something Chocolate quota for Would You Read It... :) and ready to don your costume.  In case anyone is wondering, this year I will be dressing up as a write-at-home mom.  It's a stretch, I know, but sometimes you've got to get out of your comfort zone :)

And I hope everyone is ready for the Halloweensie Contest (click the link if you don't know about it yet) on Monday!  I've already heard from one person that her entry is ready to go.  I'm so excited!  I can't wait to read everyone's creative 100 words!

See you Monday!  Trick or treat!


  1. My pumpkins always look like that. *lying*

    I was in the hospital with Christopher our son a few months back. (He's there a lot.) I had my laptop and was trying to finish a first draft on a picture book. Hubby told this man who was wondering what I was doing that I was a writer. The man proceeded to tell me he had an idea and figured it would take him about six weeks to write the novel and he would send it to a publisher right away. *cringe* ;-)

    Happy Halloween. I have got to schedule my Fun Friday posts earlier. *writing a note to self*

  2. Robyn - I know - why does everyone think writing is easy? It's not! And don't worry - I end up frantically scrounging and tacking other stuff onto my fun fridays at the last minute - it's like Peggy Eddleman said on her blog - we're all suffering from N.E.T.S. (not enough time syndrome!) And someone - who I'm apparently related to - commented that she also suffers from NUMTW - not using my time wisely! :)

  3. That's such an unbelievable pumpkin! Can't imagine how long that took.
    I'm not at that point yet where I can freely talk about being a writer. I get nervous when people ask me about what I'm working on, and I don't have anything published yet, aside from magazine articles. I'd like to say I'll feel more confident when I do get my first book contract but then I've never been comfortable talking about myself, period.

  4. Dawn - I totally know the feeling! And yet, today, I have to do a live radio interview. YIKES! Wish me luck!

  5. I love you warm fuzzy - great that you are comfortable and confident in your writer persona, it's as it should be.

    My camera died in San Francisco this summer but as soon as I buy a new one (don't have an Iphone) I will start posting some photos.

  6. Joanna - I'm comfortable with who I am, but still not comfortable talking about it! I don't have an iphone either. I have something else... an android maybe? But it has a camera which I can sometimes figure out how to use :)

  7. Thanks for sharing your warm fuzzies Susanna! It's nice to know we are not alone in this thing. Happy Halloween weekend!

  8. Thanks for sharing Susanna! Someday I'll be more confident like you. :)

    Have a great weekend!

  9. Coleen - Happy Halloween to you too :)

    Kelley - I can say I am a writer with assurance, but confidence is something I have yet to attain I'm afraid! I'm the queen of self-doubt. Maybe a few more books down the line, if that ever happens... :)

  10. That first one is awesome. The second picture is so cute!

    I know what you mean about being hesitant to tell someone you're a writer. And really, non-writers out there, should you be asking, "What have you written that I've heard of?" How many books exist? Can't someone be a writer without YOU knowing about their book(s)? Are you the ultimate authority on ALL books? Why would you want to make people feel bad?

    Happy Halloween, Susan!

  11. I didn't attempt a pumpkin this year. That's a beautiful carving.

    I'm revising my 100-word entry.

    Thanks for the shout out.

    I appreciate you sharing your experience. We often think it will get easier once published. I think it just changes. I'm enjoying reading your books.

  12. Theresa - I know, right? Happy Halloween to you too!

    Stacy - see, now I have another warm fuzzy! You telling me you're enjoying my books has just made my day :)

  13. Great pumpkin photos! And, I really appreciated your sharing your comments about being a writer, even after being published. Definitely want to check out your books -- have only seen the trailer of "Can't Sleep Without Sheep." Your titles are intriguing. And, I enjoyed your post about visiting a school. - Pat

  14. Love the pictures. I wish I could carve pumpkins like that. Some people can do the most amazing things! Love it. Have a great weekend.

  15. Great picture, Susanna. And a great story. I know what you mean. I'm finally feeling confident in telling people I'm a writer. And it doesn't have as much to do with what I've written as it does that sense of purpose you spoke of.

  16. That was such a fuzzy wuzzy post!!! I look forward to the day I can say with such assurance "I'm a writer!" :D

  17. I really enjoyed that warm fuzzy story. By the way, have I mentioned how much I love your blog? The warm friendly feel to it makes it the first blog I check out when I'm cruising through the blog-o-sphere.

  18. Patricia - thank you so much. Let me know how you like the books (or don't :)) after you check them out, and if you'd like to see other trailers go to YouTube and search for slhill1 and all 5 will come up.

    Abby - thanks! You too!

    Ruth - so true. And really, if you write, you're a writer, and you shouldn't have to explain or justify or prove anything to anyone!

    Ms. Saba - you can say it now! I've read your rule of three posts - you ARE a writer!

    Randy - thank you so much! That means so much to me :) Now I have another warm fuzzy :)

  19. Loved the other trailers -- just checked them out. Very creative and you've had a lot of hits on them. Now, will have to get your books. :)
    Will let you know. I have a stack I plan to review around specific subjects, but will let you know.

  20. LOL at all the reactions. :) That is so why I don't tell many people I write. But I will. One day, I will. :)

  21. Just found your blog with Warm Fuzzies - loved this post and, well, the whole blog. New follower :)

  22. I'm carving the pumpkin tomorrow and it will definitely NOT look like that. I don't even have the patience (or skill) to try. But I do love it. It's so pretty.

    I hate the question, "Would I have read it?" Like I know what the person has read. Even if I wrote a best selling novel, it doesn't mean I going to know if they've read it. ;)

  23. That pumpkin is A-mazing!

    "To me, there is no higher compliment than to be told something I wrote is treasured by a child."

    That is so heartfelt and beautiful. I feel the exact same way. There isn't anything better than having someone else value our work, especially a child :)

  24. Aww, cute witch-kitty! I don;t think I'll ever be comfortable about calling myself a writer until I actually get something published.

    Thanks for reminding I'm supposed to be doing Juliana's Warm Fuzzies Blogfest -- d'oh!

  25. That pumpkin is INCREDIBLE! I'm totally going to carve mine like that. ;)

  26. Never got good at pumpkin carving, so now I just display pumpkins au naturel. Love your best moments of people interacting with you as an author. What an incredible feeling to write the first book bought for a newborn's library! Wow.

    I'm visiting from the Warm Fuzzies Blogfest. Great meeting you!

    Kim Van Sickler

  27. All of our pumpkins rotted early (too much rain in NJ this summer and fall) and I just never made it out to get more pumpkins. So we are opting out of pumpkin carving this year.I think I will miss the seeds more than the actual carving.
    Ah, the warm fuzzies. They are so far and few between and absolutely need to be appreciated when they happen. I am lucky in that while working on my early reader book, I also write for an online news site in my town. When people ask what I do and I say I'm a writer, I love it.
    My best moment was a year ago when I met a man at our town's Fair in the Square. We had a table set up and he asked who I was from the site. I told him and he smiled.
    He said, "I have to tell you. You saved my marriage. That series you wrote on your Search for a Nursery School helped us so much. We had had a bad experience and your coverage of nursery schools in town helped us find the right one for our daughter. My wife thinks I'm a hero." You never know who reads what you write, but to meet this dad and hear his story made my day.

  28. Congrats on being published! I'm on my out in Feb. Just stopping by via the Warm Fuzzies Blog Fest to say "hi" and follow. :)

  29. I love your warm fuzzy! Children are who we write for after all.

    Technical question: how do we find out what the upcoming foto fest theme is so we can participate? :-)

  30. Well, Julie :) in a normal week I would have posted it Monday. Or at the very latest Wednesday :) But this week, since I was out of the loop, I think we're going to skip it (since Catherine and I haven't thought one up yet and tomorrow's Friday!)


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