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It’s a new dawn, It’s a new day, It’s a new life …๏ฟผ

… and I’m feeling good.

Cheers, folks! It’s the eve of a new year here where I am. The morning air is crisp and I spy orange hues in the sky from my bedroom. I am celebrating because there are so many things to be cheerful about despite the media’s constant doom and gloom reports. Yes, there is a new variant circulating the globe. It has multiplied in the hundreds of thousands and travel regulations are changing again. But, cheers! Cheers because I am still alive and will be celebrating a new year. Let’s see what 2022 brings.

Recently, I took part in a 12 Days of Christmas with Julie Hedlund. It’s a group where picture book authors share their thoughts. As that group is a private one, I thought I’d share my thoughts here. We will start with Day 5.

๐™ณ๐šŠ๐šข ๐Ÿป: ๐™ป๐šŽ๐šŠ๐š›๐š—๐š’๐š—๐š๐šœ โœจโœ”๏ธ๐Ÿ. ๐’๐ก๐จ๐ฐ ๐ฎ๐ฉ, ๐ฌ๐ก๐จ๐ฐ ๐ฎ๐ฉ, ๐ฌ๐ก๐จ๐ฐ ๐ฎ๐ฉ, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฆ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ญ๐จ๐จ. I wish I had said this but am co-opting it from Isabel Allende, my muse. I show up everyday, gummy-eyed and bear-breath, with a caffeine-juice, waiting for that moment when my brain kicks in. Then I put in an hour or two of work, writing down rubbish, rants, and ruminations. I split my day up into 3 parts: morning pages for stories, lunch litter for reivisons, and pre-dinner ponderings for story ideas. This I learned from a young artist who sadly joined the angels five years ago. He told me to just get on with what I had to do — write. โœ”๏ธ๐Ÿ. ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฅ๐ข๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐š๐ซ๐ญ๐ฌ (๐š๐ง๐ฒ ๐š๐ซ๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ๐ฆ, ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฆ๐š๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ) ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐›๐ฃ๐ž๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž, ๐š๐ฅ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก ๐š ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐จ๐ง๐š๐ฅ ๐ฅ๐ž๐ง๐ฌ. I wish it weren’t the case, but we are human beings and that is what stories do — resonate with us in different personal ways. I learned to not be too precious about my writing because someone will shrug after reading, someone else will attest to it being meh, and yet another will award me 5 stars. I take what helps me improve and leave to rest what doesn’t resonate. โœ”๏ธ๐Ÿ‘. ๐“๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก ๐ข๐ง ๐œ๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐ก๐ž๐ฌ. This is true: a prolific writer is a voracious reader; a great writer is an astute reader. This is also true: you’re as good a writer as you want to be … the rest of it is learning to be better … and there is always room for improvement. Finally, true too: Writing is a craft and it can be learned. โœ”๏ธ๐Ÿ’. ๐๐จ๐ญ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ก๐š๐ฉ๐ฉ๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐œ๐œ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ, ๐ค๐ž๐ž๐ฉ ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ก๐จ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐œ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฌ๐ž, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐œ๐ž๐ฅ๐ž๐›๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ข๐ซ๐ฌ, ๐๐ข๐ญ๐œ๐ก ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ก๐จ ๐š๐ซ๐ž๐ง’๐ญ, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฆ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ. But first, be like Saint Francis of Assissi and learn to tell who these folks are. It is different strokes for different folks, and in every community, there are those who make you feel safe and those who don’t. We can’t change people, nor should we want to, but we can learn to manage how we want to interact with those in our community. โœ”๏ธ๐Ÿ“. ๐–๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ญ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฌ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ฅ๐๐ซ๐ž๐ง ๐œ๐š๐ง’๐ญ ๐›๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ก๐š๐ซ๐, ๐ง๐จ๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ก๐ž๐š๐ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฌ๐ฆ๐ข๐ฅ๐ž. Smile, not smirk. Do not take offence because you know that this person doesn’t know what they’re talking about. And when they do start to write for children, be that encouraging friend for they will need one. โœ”๏ธ๐Ÿ”. ๐„๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ก๐š๐ฌ ๐š ๐ซ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐›๐ž ๐ฌ๐ก๐š๐ซ๐ž๐ ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ฅ๐. Some are written and documented, others are whispered into the ears of attentive listeners, and many are passed down through retellings of family lore and history. All stories are important and when the time is right, yours too will find themselves transcribed and told. Keep on writing because a journey starts with a single step. Although I write towards getting my stories published, I also write for myself. ๐™ท๐šŽ๐š›๐šŽ ๐šŠ๐š›๐šŽ ๐š–๐šข ๐Ÿผ ๐š๐šŠ๐š”๐šŽ๐šŠ๐š ๐šŠ๐šข๐šœ ๐šœ๐š’๐š—๐šŒ๐šŽ ๐™ธ ๐šŽ๐š–๐š‹๐šŠ๐š›๐š”๐šŽ๐š ๐š˜๐š— ๐š๐š‘๐š’๐šœ ๐š“๐š˜๐šž๐š›๐š—๐šŽ๐šข.

Working backwards, we go to Day 4.

๐™ณ๐šŠ๐šข ๐Ÿบ: ๐™ฒ๐š‘๐šŠ๐š•๐š•๐šŽ๐š—๐š๐šŽ๐šœ, ๐™ณ๐š’๐šœ๐šŠ๐š™๐š™๐š˜๐š’๐š—๐š๐š–๐šŽ๐š—๐š๐šœ & ๐™ต๐šŠ๐š’๐š•๐šž๐š›๐šŽ๐šœ. Well, this is a challenging one, but I will try to share this in small chunks: ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐Ÿ. ๐–๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก ๐š ๐ญ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ง๐š๐ฆ๐ข ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐๐ž๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐š๐ง๐ ๐›๐ซ๐š๐ข๐ง ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ . ๐Ÿ˜ฅ ๐Ÿ. ๐Ž๐ง ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐จ๐ฉ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐š๐ฅ ๐๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ, ๐ข๐ญ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ๐จ ๐ก๐š๐ซ๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ค, ๐ฅ๐ž๐ญ ๐š๐ฅ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ฐ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ž. ๐Ÿคฏ ๐——๐—ถ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐˜€ ๐Ÿ. ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ˆ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ ๐›๐ž ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž๐ง ๐š๐ฌ ๐š ๐ฐ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐œ๐จ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ … ๐ฎ๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐ฅ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ฅ๐ ๐›๐ž๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ฆ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐ž๐ช๐ฎ๐š๐ฅ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฒ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ฉ๐ž๐จ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž. ๐Ÿ˜” ๐Ÿ. ๐๐ž๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐จ๐ฅ๐ ๐ˆ ๐š๐ฆ ๐›๐ž๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐š๐ญ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ง ๐ซ๐ก๐ฒ๐ฆ๐ž. ๐“๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ค๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐ฎ๐๐๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฉ๐จ๐ž๐ญ ๐ข๐ง ๐ฆ๐ž. ๐Ÿ˜ญ ๐…๐š๐ข๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ ๐Ÿ. ๐‡๐š๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐Ÿ’ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ฌ ๐ข๐ง ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ฉ๐จ๐œ๐ค๐ž๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ง ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฒ๐ž๐š๐ซ๐ฌ ๐š๐ ๐จ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฃ๐ž๐œ๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐œ๐จ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ๐จ ๐ง๐ข๐œ๐ก๐ž, ๐ญ๐จ๐จ ๐ช๐ฎ๐ข๐ž๐ญ, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ซ๐œ๐ข๐š๐ฅ ๐ž๐ง๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก … ๐Ÿ˜ž ๐™ฑ๐šž๐š ๐™ธ ๐š™๐š•๐š˜๐š ๐š˜๐š— ๐š‹๐šŽ๐šŒ๐šŠ๐šž๐šœ๐šŽ ๐š ๐š‘๐š˜ ๐š”๐š—๐š˜๐š ๐šœ, ๐š˜๐š—๐šŽ ๐š๐šŠ๐šข, ๐š–๐šŠ๐šข๐š‹๐šŽ ๐š˜๐š—๐šŽ ๐š๐šŠ๐šข …

As folks know, my next book (not a picture book this time) will be releasing on 22 February, 2022. You’re looking at the cover, which I shared on Twitter and LinkedIn a month back. Authors need to do this kinds of things now — market and promote their work. Authors like me, I mean; backlist authors like me, I mean. The world of publishing is a BIG one and there are more books published in this world than anyone of us will ever and can ever read. It is what it is as the written word is king. Like I divide my writing day into three parts, the publishing world divides their authors into three lists: frontlisters, midlisters, and backlisters. You get the drift. As I show up to write everyday despite how I feel, I also show up to tell people about what I’m writing about and have written about despite it being trรจs tiring. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, folks.

Here’s a report on the publishing trends for 2022. Now, I’ll go to Day 3.

๐™ณ๐šŠ๐šข ๐Ÿน: ๐š‚๐šž๐šŒ๐šŒ๐šŽ๐šœ๐šœ๐šŽ๐šœ ๐Ÿ. ๐’๐ข๐ ๐ง๐ž๐ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐€๐ ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐‹๐ฒ๐๐ข๐š ๐’๐ข๐ฅ๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ƒ๐š๐ซ๐ฅ๐ž๐ฒ ๐€๐ง๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐จ๐ง ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐”๐Š ๐ข๐ง ๐‰๐š๐ง๐ฎ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐”๐Š ๐ฐ๐š๐ฌ ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ž๐ซ ๐ฅ๐จ๐œ๐ค๐๐จ๐ฐ๐ง. ๐‹๐ฒ๐๐ข๐š ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐œ๐จ-๐ซ๐ž๐ฉ ๐ฆ๐ž ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐”๐’ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐œ๐จ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐ ๐ฎ๐ž. ๐Ÿ“ข ๐Ÿ. ๐’๐จ๐ฅ๐ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐ฉ๐ข๐œ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž ๐›๐จ๐จ๐ค ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐ฎ๐ฌ๐œ๐ซ๐ข๐ฉ๐ญ๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง ๐Ÿ‘ ๐ฆ๐จ๐ง๐ญ๐ก๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฌ๐ข๐ ๐ง๐ข๐ง๐ . ๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฌ๐ž ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ฒ๐ž๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐›๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ง๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐œ๐ž๐. ๐๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ฒ๐š๐ฒ! ๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฉ๐ข๐œ๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž ๐›๐จ๐จ๐ค๐ฌ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ข๐ง ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‘/๐Ÿ๐Ÿ’, ๐ฌ๐จ ๐ˆ’๐ฏ๐ž ๐›๐ž๐ž๐ง ๐ญ๐จ๐ฅ๐. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ ๐Ÿ‘. ๐‹๐š๐ฎ๐ง๐œ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐๐ž๐›๐ฎ๐ญ ๐˜๐€ ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ฅ ๐Ÿ๐ข๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐จ๐ง ๐…๐ž๐›๐ซ๐ฎ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ, ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ. ๐ˆ๐ญ’๐ฌ ๐š ๐ฉ๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ง๐๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐๐š๐ญ๐ž ๐๐š๐ฒ: ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ. ๐–๐ก๐จ๐š! ๐Ÿฅณ ๐Ÿ’. ๐–๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐š ๐›๐จ๐จ๐ค ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐Ÿ“+ ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ฆ๐š๐ ๐ข๐œ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐Ÿ๐š๐ง๐ญ๐š๐ฌ๐ฒ ๐š๐ฌ ๐ซ๐ž๐ช๐ฎ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐›๐ฒ ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ž๐๐ข๐ญ๐จ๐ซ. ๐ˆ๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐›๐ž ๐š๐ง ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐€๐ฌ๐ข๐š๐ง-๐œ๐š๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐›๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ซ๐ž๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ฆ๐š๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ. ๐Ÿ˜… ๐Ÿ“. ๐Œ๐š๐๐ž ๐ข๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ˆ๐ญ๐š๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ง๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐š ๐›๐ฎ๐จ๐ง ๐ง๐š๐ญ๐š๐ฅ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐š๐ฆ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฒ. ๐ƒ๐จ๐ฎ๐›๐ฅ๐ž ๐ฒ๐š๐ฒ-๐ฒ๐š๐ฒ! ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ”. ๐–๐ซ๐จ๐ญ๐ž ๐ญ๐ฐ๐จ ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ ๐š๐ฆ๐ข๐๐ฌ๐ญ ๐š ๐Ÿ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ซ๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฏ๐ข๐ฌ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฎ๐›๐ฆ๐ข๐ญ๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐Œ๐€ ๐‚๐ก๐ข๐ฅ๐๐ซ๐ž๐ง’๐ฌ ๐‹๐ข๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ž ๐š๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐” ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐‘๐จ๐ž๐ก๐š๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ญ๐จ๐ง. ๐“๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ˆ ๐œ๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ญ ๐š๐ฌ ๐š ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐œ๐œ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ ๐›๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ก๐š๐ซ๐! ๐€๐œ๐š๐๐ž๐ฆ๐ข๐œ ๐ฐ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฌ๐ข๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฅ๐š๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž ๐ˆ ๐ฐ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฌ๐œ๐ก๐จ๐จ๐ฅ ๐ก๐š๐ฌ ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐ฐ๐ก๐š๐ญ. ๐Ÿ˜… ๐š†๐š’๐šœ๐š‘๐š’๐š—๐š ๐šŽ๐šŸ๐šŽ๐š›๐šข๐š˜๐š—๐šŽ ๐š๐š›๐šŽ๐šŠ๐š ๐šœ๐šž๐šŒ๐šŒ๐šŽ๐šœ๐šœ ๐š๐š˜๐š› ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿธ ๐šŠ๐š—๐š ๐š๐š˜๐š’๐š—๐š ๐š๐š˜๐š›๐š ๐šŠ๐š›๐š.

In short, I am counting my blessings.

๐™ท๐šŠ๐š™๐š™๐šข ๐™ฝ๐šŽ๐š  ๐šˆ๐šŽ๐šŠ๐š›!