One Writer’s Journey

November 27, 2015

Activities: My most recent batch of activities online

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:51 am
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education comJust as I was getting ready to stop working Wednesday afternoon, I got some good news from my editor.  My latest batch of activities are up.

3-D Pumpkin Collage.”  I had a nice little surprise when I pinned this one.  Someone else had already pinned it.  Yay!
Autumn Beaded Bracelet.”  I actually wear this one several times a week.  Two different people have asked me to make this bracelet for them.
Autumn Leaf Bowl.” After taking the photos for publication, I spray painted these bronze.
Autumn Tree Paintings.” I really liked the way this painting turned out.
Felt Jack-O-Lantern.”  Felt scraps can come in handy. This one had also been pinned.
Spooky Self Portrait.” Another one that was a lot of fun.

Language Arts:
Autumn Cinquain.” I love writing poetry activities.  If only I was a poet!
Before and After Halloween Acrostic.” Coming up with an interesting photo for a poem is tricky.  I employed the skeletal Jimmy Gibbs, Jr. for this one.

Paper Pumpkin Numbers.” Preschool math activities generally sell well because they aren’t easy to develop.  1 math activity, 16 others in this batch.

Autumn More or Less.” Learning to weigh.
Candy Corn Balance.” A tricky one to photograph.
Candy Corn Science.” When you buy something like candy corn for a set of activities, try to use it more than once. This one was also pinned.
Glowing Eyes.” This one was a lesson in “you need to try it before you write it up.”  Didn’t work quite how I thought it would.  Fortunately, I was the one to find that out.
Pumpkin Measurements.”  A lesson in the different ways you can measure the same thing.
Scary Science with Spiders.” How to make your own sticky spider web.
Skeleton Hand Print.” Activity #4 that had already been pinned.


This is the first time that I’ve had any activities pinned before I could get to it.  And it wasn’t one but four.  So often we send our work out and are never sure that it connect with people.  This was a nice change.

For those of you in the US, I hope you are finding some time to spend enjoying the holiday weekend.  Take some time to recharge so that you can get going on your writing Monday morning.


February 6, 2015

Activity Writing

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:15 am
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When I write activities for, sometimes I pitch my ideas and then write-up the ones my editor selects.  That was the case with these Valentine’s Day activities.

Valentine’s Venn Diagram” to help teach about “same” and “different.”

Valentine’s Word Game” is a matching game.

I Love Syllables” for practice counting syllables.

Love Spoons” for a Valentine’s Day craft.

Heart Math” for conversation heart related math.

Cool Hearts” is an art project for slightly older kids.

She told me that she needed 3rd grade art, early grade school reading and math and then I pitch a whole list of ideas.  If she ultimately wants 20 write-ups, I try to send her 25-30 ideas.  This group here shows that you really can turn anything into a holiday related activity.  This not only interests young learners who want to do something related to various holidays but also interests editors when you send them ideas that are timely.

Sometimes my editor wants a project on something very specific and often already has the photo.  This take a different kind of creativity because I have to find something that goes along with the photo but somehow goes beyond it to become something “more.”  Admittedly, I prefer pitching and writing my own ideas but this is a different type of challenge and I like doing them too.  My last batch included:

Pinball Machine Game” for a fun rainy day game for a group.

Wax Paper Skating” which is pretty self-explanatory but was a challenge to write up.

Mini Ice Sculptures” sounds like an art project but actually lets young learners familiarize themselves with the properties of ice.

Suncatcher Craft” for a recycling project that uses old CDs or DVDs.

I really like working on activities after doing a bigger project like a book so over the next few weeks I may work on getting a few out to Highlights.




September 4, 2014

Recent Sales

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:59 am
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TootI’ve realized that with all of the busy-ness over the summer I may not have told you about some of my sales.

“Jingle Bell Joy” is a Christmas essay about parenting during the holidays.  It was accepted for the anthology “Mom for the Holidays,” due out by November through Monkey Star Press.  I’ll put up the cover and provide a link as soon as it is all available.
“Learning to Love the Person God Created” is an inspirational essay accepted by Alive Now for their Janurary/February issue.
Schoolwide accepted 4 reprints:  “A Horse of Another Color” (science/genetics), “Gertrude Ederle vs. the English Channel” (reader’s theater/history), “The Mole Meadow Menagerie” (biography), and “Caspians, The Protoarabians” (history).  The piece on Ederle originally appeared in READ magazine. The other three pieces appeared in Young Equestrian.  Susan Tierney, Schoolwide’s Acquisitions and Development Editor, also asked me to rewrite a second reader’s theater script, this one on Elijah McCoy.
CBI accepted 3 how-tos.  The first, on research, will appear in the October newsletter.  The second two pieces are a linked-pair on writing nonfiction.  These will appear on their website.
That’s it for now.  I know — isn’t it enough?  I do still have some other work out there.
Crab Dad, my chapter book, has been out long enough to consider it a “no thank you” and find another market.  I’ll have to check my notes – yes, I keep notes on where to send things next.
I have a picture book with an agent.  I’ll give that one a few more weeks since she was at the SCBWI conference in LA.
Schoolwide has 8 or 9 more pieces that appeared in Young Equestrian.  This deal with Schoolwide has been a real lesson in (1) not selling all rights and (2) getting pieces back out there as reprints.
And I just sent a pitch for 15 activities to my editor, but I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.

March 25, 2013

How to Hook Your Readers with Character Emotion

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:34 am
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Paint chipOn the wall, I spotted a teaching aid made out of tri-toned paint chips. Each paint chip was labeled with an emotion, for example “scared.” Then each color value was labeled with a more or less intense version of said emotion. This meant that the lightest tint on a green paint chip labeled “scared” might be labeled “worried,” the medium tone “afraid,” and the most saturated “terrified.”

There was a whole stack of these paint chips each for a different emotion. Sad. Angry. Happy. They had been made up to help children understand “shades of meaning,” or what to call it when you’re a little scared vs. really scared.

That’s when it hit me.  Writers need to have an equal awareness of emotional intensity.

If I write a piece with my character emotions in the “tints” the entire time, it is going to be very quiet.  That might be ok, but it might also mean that I need to intensify the emotion.

If, on the other hand, I write a piece in which the characters are always elated, terrified or furious, I’m going to wear my reader out.

To read more about my musings on character emotion, check out yesterday’s blog post at the Muffin.


December 17, 2012

What I’ve Learned Writing So Many Activities…

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:49 am
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Education com logoIf you want to see what I’ve been up to, has another batch of my activities online.

I’m learning all kinds of little things while writing up so many craft activities, but my most recent learning experience has been the creative use of synonyms.  I can’t say Bugle Snacks, even if you use them to make chocolate covered Christmas trees, because that could be taken as endorsing Bugle Snacks.  But what else do you call them?  It is much easier when you are talking Rice Crispies (crisp rice cereal) or Oreos (chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies).  But Bugles?   My editor finally came up with “triangle-shaped chips (Bugles).”   This should not be the most challenging part about writing activities, but sometimes it is!

Ah, well.  Live and learn.  Here are the actual activities.

Arts and Crafts
Cherry Blossom Painting.  This is a recycling and painting activity.
Denim Rose.  Recycling or upcycling and sewing.
Egg Cosy.  More sewing.
Rock Pets.  Keep out of sight if you have cats.  For some reason, cats see small, painted stones and think “Wow, I could make that sucker fly!”
Shoe Sketch.  Not the time to discover that your markers have dried out.
Button Art.  Find a frame before doing the project so that you don’t have to unframe something from the entryway to take the photo.  I’m just saying.
Cross-Stitch Painting.  Glitter does not sweep up easily.  Consider this a warning.
Toilet Paper Roll Craft.  Fake wrought iron.
3D Christmas Tree.  Another paper craft.

Hot Dog Dogs.  Something else to hide from nosy cats.
Dragon Eggs.  These were a lot of fun but the colors fade pretty fast.
Chocolate Christmas Trees.  Jared’s favorite.
Hot Chocolate Spoons.  Although he liked these a lot too.

Personal Grooming and Accessories
Homemade Lip Balm.  I keep a pot of this sitting on my desk.
DIY Hair Bow.  This is on a barrette but it would be just as easy to sew it onto a dress or purse.
How to Make a Braided Bracelet.  My personal favorite.  Nice and sparkly — without including glitter.


May 21, 2012

More of my work online

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:37 am
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For those of you who want to see some of what I’ve been working on, here are links to a batch of activities and crafts that I wrote up for

This isn’t the batch that I turned in just a few weeks ago.  That batch included several poetry projects.  My new editor wants more of these so I’ll be casting about for ideas as well as working posts up for One Writer’s Journey  as well.

Hope you all are working on something exciting!


February 7, 2012

My Writing Online

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:43 am
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Things have been busy here in terms of my writing and the good news that comes from that is that several new pieces can now be found online.

My article, “A Writer’s Fitness Plan: How to Work Writing into Your Daily Life,” is now live in the January/February 2012 issue of WOW! Women on Writing. This is the first time that I’ve been asked to include sidebars with a WOW piece so be sure to check it out.

I sold this original tag-styled game to  You can check out  “Play Firefly Flash Tag” here.

And then you can “Make a Yarn Head” by checking out that craft at

I hope you’ll take the time to give these a quick read.


April 12, 2011

My Writing

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:16 am

I wonder if these snap dragons out of my garden would make good silhouettes?

Hip hip hooray for me!   The nine items that I wrote last month for are already on-line.  You can follow the links below to check them out.

Make Flower Silhouettes for Mom.” Of the nine items, this one may be my favorite.  Instead of silhouettes of people, you are making silhouettes of flowers.  Pretty cool looking if I do say so myself.

Make a Matryoshka.”  I’m sure you’ve seen wooden nesting dolls from Russia.  This colored paper version supplies templates but leaves plenty of room for creativity.

Make a House Gift Box” encourages readers to make a gift box that looks like someone’s home.

Make Kid-Safe Fireworks for July 4th” is a quilling styled craft.

Design a Star Spangled Shirt.”  Fabric paint and cookie cutters yield a wearable work of art.

Make a Hanging Earring Organizer.” An embroidery hoop and imagination lead to a personalized organizer for wire earrings.

Play Lines and Shapes Bingo.”  A game for the geometry fans in your life.

Say Thanks with a Big Kiss.” These are the thank you cards I use most often for friends and family.

Sew a Biscornu Pin Cushion.”  This was fun but a bit tricky and I have a friend waiting to receive my sample now that the instructions are on-line.


March 10, 2010

Links to some of my work

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:41 am
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Some more of my work is on-line so I thought I’d take a break from writing query letters and post the links.

First are two pieces on

  • “Sparkle Eggs: Spice Up Easter!” is good craft for an artistic older child who doesn’t want to dye eggs but wants to do something Easter related.  We use them as a center piece every spring.
  • “Make Plastic Bottle Boats” is a good one for when the weather warms up.   Since I live in “man land,” I had to borrow two dolls from my niece for the photo on this one.

I also did an interview with YA author Simone Elkeles.  Since her novels always have a strong romance element, it was perfect for the February, romance-themed, issue of WOW! Women on Writing.

Now, back to writing query letters!


December 22, 2009

What I’ve Been Writing

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:06 am
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While writers often discuss their work on their blogs, it isn’t always easy to show our work to our reader.  Fortunately, my recent project with means that me work is on-line.

I hope you’ll take time to check out a couple of my pieces:

Make Fortunate Cookie Invitations

Play the Crab Soccer Challenge
Create a Mini-Menagerie
Set Up a Solar System of Kids
Whip Up Some Homemade Apple Sauce
Bake a Delectable Apple Crumble

I really enjoyed working with so I hope some of you take the time to stop by the site.  They have some awesome material.

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