Some things just take time. Aged cheese, fine wine, glacially-carved valleys…and my first story in Ladybug Magazine. No, not my first story to be published, nor do I mean my first story in Ladybug (although this is my first one). I’m referring to the first children’s story I ever wrote. Twelve years ago.
I wrote “The Desert Snow” when I first got that spark of an idea that I should try writing for children. The story idea came to me when it had snowed in the California high desert, where I live. I worked on it as a picture book concept for a few weeks then eagerly submitted it for a critique at the upcoming SCBWI National Conference. All fifteen pages of it. Yep, I’d written a 15-page picture book manuscript that had more twists and turns than Lombard Street in San Francisco (!). BUT, I was fortunate enough to have had Lisa Rojany Buccieri as my critiquer. She kindly told me that while my writing had real potential (okay, she used the term “great” :-}, I had to learn the basics of writing a picture book. My story was way too long and lacked focus and structure, but if I could learn how to do those things, it had publishing potential. That was all the encouragement I needed. Thank goodness for good editors!
I kept at this story off and on for years, and after many, many revisions, it was picked up by Ladybug Magazine in 2006. Four years later, I’m proud to say that the story will finally be published, featured in the February 2011 issue of Ladybug Magazine. Not only do I feel the pride in seeing a project through and getting to see it in print, but I have the joy of seeing it illustrated by Siri Weber Feeney, a talented writer-illustrator and good friend of mine (which Ladybug independently hired to do the art work–talk about serendipity!).
Ladybug has made the entire issue about the desert. Lots of fun games, songs, stories and poems all centered around this theme. If you click here you can also find a desert snow game, amongst other things. So look for the February issue in bookstores soon!