I decided to post this month’s check-in a little early, as month-end falls on a Saturday (heads up — the April check-in will be posted on May 1 due to my participation in the April A to Z Challenge).

It’s been another productive month — accountability is a great motivator! Being a part of a couple of inspiring and encouraging writers’ groups is another. I want to give a shout-out to the writing communities of the 12 x 12 in 2012 Facebook Group and our leader, Julie Hedlund and to the Children’s Book Hub, the Hub’s Facebook Group, and our leader, Emma Walton Hamilton. Thank you all!

Now, let’s see what I’ve done this month, and what’s up for next month, shall we?

In the aforementioned 12 x 12 in 2012 (one picture book draft per month for the year), I have written a picture book manuscript that I like and which will likely take its place in a picture book series I’m working on. It has had a couple of revisions thus far, and will get a few more before it heads off to my 12 x 12 critique group.

My February manuscript has had its turn with my critique group, and I’m now polishing it in preparation for the next stage in its journey. One of the perks of involvement in 12 x 12 in 2012 is that there are monthly incentive prizes, and I was delighted to be the one randomly selected in February to receive a manuscript critique from George Shannon, a writer and freelance editor. I am looking forward to sending him my February manuscript.

My regular writing has progressed as well. I am working on a series of picture books, and now have the series title in place and am working on getting a number of manuscripts ready, thinking toward the time when I start the agent-search process. Two manuscripts are complete. Another has just been sent to a freelance editor for manuscript evaluation, as has a stand-alone picture book manuscript.

Out of this picture book series has grown a plan to have a related chapter book series dealing with the same themes. I have begun work on the first book of this series, and am again working through the steps of Emma’s Just Write for Kids picture book writing course, modifying the process to suit the creation of a chapter book.

An itch to get back to an adult fiction project was appeased this month, as I took a look at the current draft, realized I had started with the wrong character, and have embarked on a rewrite.

On the blogging front, I’ve had a good time with Behind the Scenes month, and I hope you have too. As I “build my platform” there will be more arts-related theme months (you can see the planned themes in the sidebar). I have some exciting things lined up — at least, I think they’re exciting.

In April, as I’ve mentioned a few times, I will be participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, one post per day in April (with most Sundays off) following the letters of the alphabet. My theme is the arts and relating terms from the arts world to writing. For the most part, I’ve stuck to the theme. It has been a challenge finding a term for each letter (I am pleased to report success — finally — with the letter Y, although it’s a rather obscure one).

Also in April, there is a special celebration dubbed “National Princess Week” — a collaborative project between Julie Andrews, the Target corporation, and the creative people at Disney. I will be doing my part to celebrate Princess Week, while sticking to the proscribed letters of the A to Z challenge, from April 23 to 27. Watch for a giveaway of two copies of the soon-to-be-released The Very Fairy Princess: Here Comes the Flower Girl by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton (one copy to be accompanied by a special fairy princess wand handmade by a talented woman in Minnesota), a review of the book for Perfect Picture Book Friday, AND most exciting of all, a very special interview with Geraldine, the Very Fairy Princess herself, who will be my Wednesday Worthy on April 25th!

As if that wasn’t enough, I’m participating in an April Reading Challenge. I learned about it from my blogging friend Erik of This Kid Reviews Books, and immediately checked out the blog he referenced, Cindy’s Bookworms Read More Books, to get the full low-down. The requirements are simple — “Using the letters in the month of “April”, read a book that corresponds to each letter. You may use the first letter of the title, the first letter of the author’s first name, or the first letter of the author’s last name. As a bonus, read a book with “April” in the title, or a book with a main character named “April” (spelling does not have to be exact).” This will be an opportunity for me to read a few books that are outside my usual reading fare these days, and to prepare for the month of July, when my blog will have a travel/multicultural theme and I’ll be doing my posting of books for the Reading the World Challenge. My reading choices for the April Reading Challenge are:

A  Andrea’s Fiddle by Blaine Klippenstein (a picture book about a young Metis fiddler in Saskatchewan)

P   Parade: A Stampede of Stories about Ananse, the Trickster Spider by KP Kojo (African folktales)

The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse (a middle-grade novel set in France)

I  I See the Sun in Russia by Dedie King, et al. (a picture book)

London Calling by Edward Bloor (a time-travel middle-grade novel that takes the protagonist back to World War II London)

Bonus: “April”: April and After by Myra and Arthur Stilborn (a book of poetry and photographs — I will relish re-reading this book and remember my dear Aunt Myra who died last week at the age of 95.)

Finally, I’ve just been made aware of an April Platform Challenge on Robert Lee Brewer’s blog, “My Name is Not Bob.” In this challenge, Robert will assign a task related to platform building each day of April. Participants then follow through and complete the task. While my plate is already fair fu’ (to quote my dear Scottish grandmother), I will be doing what I can in this challenge, and look forward to learning a great deal.

Well, I think that’s enough to be going on with!

How was your month? What do you have planned for April?

 

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