Thursday, August 23, 2012

#140 The Many Sources of Monkey Tales

     In this post I want to tell you about the long and winding path that my little beginning reader called Monkey Tales took in becoming the eBook for Nook and Kindles that it is today.

     The current book was once three separate manuscripts about the monkey family.  They each had their own source; a bit like the tributaries of the Missouri River where I grew up in South Dakota.

     The first manuscript was once called Moekey the Monkey.  Most of the ideas in it were based on the dynamics I was observing every day with my growing children.  You see, we have two daughters who are six years apart in age. Younger Daughter was once very resentful of the fact that the rest of us were allowed to do some things that she was not. For instance, we could all stay up later at night, watch certain  television shows, and drive cars.  It didn't seem fair to her.

     When I wrote about the monkey family, I was creating a fantasy world in which a mother (me) might solve our problems in a loving and wonderful way--a world in which I could be a hero. 

     Of course, it was time that eventually fixed everything.  Younger Daughter grew up, and the age difference no longer mattered so much to anybody.

     The chapter about the ant tunnels came from a second manuscript called "Ant Tunnels for One".  The idea for that story came from an event in my own childhood.  One day when I was a third-grader and my brother was a first-grader, we noticed a large ant hill on the sidewalk in front of a church near our house.  We hurried home, collected some big spoons from the silverware drawer, and returned to dig up the ant hill.  

     The ants were not happy!  We raced home with biting ants crawling all over our legs and feet.  Our mother hurried to run water in the tub so that we could wash the angry ants down the drain. It was a tough lesson, and I'll never forget it.

     My story ideas about swinging on vines and losing teeth came from experiences as a mother and a first grade teacher.  Sometimes lunch money and other things were also lost in the sand under the school monkey bars, but I couldn't think of a way to work those concepts into my stories--at least not yet.

     Monkeys are funny animals.  I have always loved those silly brown sock monkeys with the big red mouths.  I even made one for a family member who was celebrating his high school graduation after finishing a successful high school basketball career.  Of course I dressed the monkey in an appropriate team uniform.

     My point is, the ideas for our stories can come from anywhere.  

     Next time I will discuss the two starting places for Margaret's Christmas Cookies.

     On my other blog, I have made recommendations for eBooks about animals. Remember to check it out by clicking on the following link:


     And keep reading...   


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

#139 Circles in the Wind's Beginnings

     Circles in the Wind has had several names.  The Dandelion was the most obvious and one of the first.

     Desert dandelions in Arizona are different from the long-stemmed beauties I remember from my childhood in South Dakota.  We used to collect armloads of them at the city park, then braid the stems to make necklaces and bracelets.  

     Of course the parachutes with their tiny seeds always went sailing away on the wind from our breath, and I couldn't imagine why our father didn't appreciate those lovely images when we did it in our yard at home.  

     As an adult, after I wrote my first draft in celebration of the life cycle of dandelions, I created seventeen illustrations on 12 x 18 inch watercolor paper using watercolor paints and a black fine-line marker.

     After several revisions, my manuscript had settled into its current format of poetic prose, and I began to send copies and query letters to publishers.  

     In 1992, I received a detailed response from one editor who suggested that I revise my story, eliminating the anthropomorphized characters, and then resubmit it. (The term "anthropomorphize" means to "give human characteristics to nonhuman things".)  

     Thrilled with the input and encouraged by the attention, I changed the manuscript and sent it back to her.  I also foolishly erased the faces from the illustrations of the little seed, plant, sun, wind, and flower. 

     Unfortunately, the publisher was still unable to offer a contract for my story.

     When I later published Circles in the Wind as an ebook, I used my original manuscript and added the little faces to my illustrations again, trusting myself to create the picture book in my own way. I am happy with the results, and it has been well received in the Amazon stores.

     Circles in the Wind by Lynda is currently listed on both Amazon for its Kindles, and Barnes&Noble for their Nook, and sells for $2.99.

     Please feel free to visit my other blog,  My current post offers recommended historical fiction for kids in ebook formats.

     Next time I will tell you how the ideas for my little beginning reader called Monkey Tales by Lynda developed.

     Meanwhile, please keep reading...