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I’ve spent the last several months with my head deep in a dictionary, editing THE WHIZBANG WORDBOOK, so excuse me if I’m a little definition-sensitive these days. But hear me out. This is important stuff.

How many of you have done this—set arbitrary goals that signal, in your mind, that you’ve become a success?

If I get a literary agent, then I’m a success.
If I get one book deal, then I’m a success.

And then you hit those goals, and suddenly, that definition of success gets tossed out the window.

No, one book deal isn’t successful! Two book deals would be!

And then you get those two deals. But again, it’s not enough to be deemed a success in your eyes.

So you compile an entire list of criteria for success.

A lead title!
A starred review!
Two starred reviews! Three! Four!
An Indies NEXT selection!

A Junior Library Guild selection!
A New York Times bestseller!
A Caldecott!!!!

The bar of success keeps inching higher. You are forever chasing it, feeling like a failure for not being successful!

But I’m here to tell you, YOU ARE A SUCCESS.

OK, I’m not telling you this just because *I* think you’re a success and I want to be all warm and fuzzy.

Let’s look at the WORD.

Notice that “success” is part of “succession”:

And that the meaning of succession is someone or something that follows another.

The Latin root of both words is succedere, which means to “come after or follow after.”

So all those goals you’ve lined up? And the ones you’ve already hit? They follow one after another after another and they’re the original definition of success—to continue to reach those goals and thus, form new ones.

You cannot say you’re not successful if you have conquered at least one goal on your list. You are.

The real meaning of being successful is forming goals, reaching them, and ascending to a new level, with loftier goals. As long as you are striving, you are succeeding.

Success is not stagnant. Success is always moving forward.

So FOREVER ONWARD, writers!

Here’s to being a SUCCESS—many times over!

Approximately 2.75 seconds after I tossed a rejection letter into an ever-growing “not right for our needs” pile, I opened this charming Mary Engelbreit card from a friend.

Thank you, Marian.

Thank goodness the hand-written note has not become an extinct sentiment. Marian’s thoughtfulness erased my self-pity. One friend-fan who believes is all I need.

The day got even better when Val Webb emailed sketches of my new blog header. She’s incorporating the main character from one of my middle-grade novels-in-progress. I can’t wait to introduce you to her!

7ate9

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As a children's book author and mother of two, I'm pushing a stroller along the path to publication. I collect shiny doodads on the journey and share them here. You've found a kidlit treasure box.

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My Picture Books

COMING SOON:


illus by Melissa Crowton
Tundra/PRH Canada
June 4, 2019


illus by Ross MacDonald
Disney*Hyperion
October 15, 2019

THREE WAYS TO TRAP A LEPRECHAUN
illus by Vivienne To
HarperCollins
Spring 2020

THE WHIZBANG WORDBOOK
illustrator TBA
Sourcebooks eXplore
August 2020

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