The public is invited to attend the next meeting of the Creative Flemington Team this Tuesday, November 11th at 7:00 PM in Flemington Borough Hall (38 Park Avenue, Flemington, NJ). Topic of discussion: the creative and artistic future of Flemington.

Please join us! All are welcome and encouraged to attend!

Happy National Writing Day to all of our CWG members, friends, and supporters! We hope that you have your pencils sharpened and your laptops charged to write write that next great short story, poem, novel, biography, magazine article…

(interview by CWG President Sheila Wright)

Sheila: Hello Al, and welcome to “The Writer’s Journey!”

You are one of the original members of CWG, and it is a pleasure for me to introduce you to our readers and to share the exciting news of your new book Mutiny and the Mouse: Seymour in the Pacific.

Al: Thank you Sheila and the CWG for inviting me to chat with you about my work.

Sheila: I like to start off interviews by asking writers how they came to write for children. How did you transition from writing technical articles and books in computer technology to writing children’s stories?


(interview by CWG President Sheila Wright)

Sheila: Hello, Margie, and welcome to The Writer’s Journey!

Margie: Hi, Sheila – great to reconnect again, and thanks for having me!

Sheila: I thought that I would start off our interview by letting readers know how we met. You and I had the opportunity to attend the Highlights Foundation publishing workshop hosted by Clay Winters in 2008. I believe that you were still working on your recently published Merinda and the Magic Mirror manuscript at that time. (more…)

You can now follow CWG news and events on Twitter as well as Facebook! @CWGORG

Hope to connect with you there!

Happy National Book Lover’s Day, Everyone! We hope that your weekend is “booked” with great reading!

An editorial by CWG President/Co-Founder, Sheila Wright

As cofounders of The Children’s Writer’s Guild (CWG), my husband Jack and I have worked for the past six years with writers wishing to develop their craft in the field of children’s literature. We have had the opportunity to watch both aspiring and seasoned writers grow beyond their own expectations and to enjoy the fellowship that comes from shared writing experiences. As co-facilitators of our Guild’s local manuscript critique groups, we have over the years consistently offered our members the same sound advice: read widely in the field of children’s publishing, stick with the critique process (which includes editing the work of others), join SCBWI (Society for Children’s Writer’s and Illustrators), attend professional writing workshops and conferences, etc. However, this important checklist (short of a MFA in Children’s Literature) always left me personally with an unsatisfied desire to offer something more in support of those struggling to be published. Recently, I found that “something,” and it can be summed up in two words: Highlights Foundation.


Interview by Anne Mazer

To me no man is himself; he is the sum total of his past. . .–William Faulkner

There are many reasons why I am a writer. I would say that the need to write came from the sudden death of my father when I was six and the upheaval of family and the ensuing poverty—not immediately, but certainly by my middle grade and high school years. But I ALSO became a writer because of teachers.

First there was my mean 2nd grade teacher, Miss Lampart. She wasn’t only mean, she was terrifying, somewhat like the teacher in Roald Dahl’s book Matilda. She wore spiky heels and There are lots of jangly bracelets; she had big red lips and long, red, very sharp fingernails, which she often dug into the cheeks of little second graders. At least she dug them into mine! Nearly every morning of second grade, when it was time for school, I’d tell my mother that I was sick and should stay home. Mostly, she made me go to school, but I got really good at play-acting illness and did stay home a lot. One day, Miss Lampart made me stay in at recess to write a story or poem to go along with my drawing of a rabbit. My best friend stayed in with me and encouraged me, “Hurry up and write something! Recess will be over,” she told me. I held my head and moaned, “I can’t think of anything to write,” I said. “Just write something!” she told me. So faced with my first deadline, I wrote a poem because a story was too many words. The poem turned out to be my first published piece, thanks to Miss Lampart. She was still mean, but I wouldn’t have had that wonderful feeling of accomplishment without her. So it was that ART got me into writing, and then it was MUSIC that taught me how to keep going.

I started playing the violin in fifth grade, and by sixth grade I thought I was getting pretty good. Not as good as Irene Wetzelberg the Concertmistress of the orchestra, but not bad. Then my music teacher taped me playing an etude from a Samual Applebaum book. I sounded like a screechy cat fight and wanted to end my failed career as a violinist. My music teacher wouldn’t let me. Thank you, Mr. Pierce, because I did keep practicing and I did get better! I ended up becoming the Concertmistress in high school, but if I had quit I never would have known or believed that I could do that! I learned that playing an instrument is a process, much the same way that learning to write is a process. You don’t start out writing publishable prose. At least I didn’t, but I knew that if I kept working at it I’d get better. If I’d quit the violin in sixth grade, I don’t think that I’d have become successful as a writer or have a book with my name on it. I am a writer because someone believed in my talent and wouldn’t let me quit. Believing in myself then was very very hard for me, but, now, fortunately, it’s only about every other day.

Later on there were others—my senior English teacher, Mrs. Chamberlin who submitted a poem of mine that was published, and Patricia Reilly Giff, who read an early attempt of mine and told me, “Oh, you are a writer!” Of course, I believed her and kept writing and writing and writing for ten more years before my first book contract came for Annie’s Choice.

Today I write historical fiction. I love to read history and to research, but what I really love are people. Not just people living now, but people who were alive before I was born. I want to know what they wore, what they did from jobs to favorite pastimes, how their lives were like mine and how they differed. I’ve been told that what I write isn’t really historical fiction because I don’t connect my stories to famous people or important historical events like war, for example. But what is more important than people in everyday life going about their business and creating the real fabric of our society? They are the people I want to capture, the people I want to put in my books.

Tall Tales of PurplelandA hearty congratulations to CWG member Robert Peyser, whose book Tall Tales of Purpleland is now available on Amazon.

“This Is Not My Hat” is a very simple book. The characters are a big fish, a small fish, a lobster, a hat and a very thick bed of seaweed.

The small fish takes the big fish’s hat while he is sleeping and swims away with it. The small fish thinks he will be able to keep the hat and the big fish will not notice it is missing.

When the big fish wakes up and notices his hat is gone, the chase begins. The small fish passes a lobster on a rock and heads towards a thick bed of seaweed where he could hide.

The big fish swims the same path as the small fish, passes the lobster (the lobster points to where the small fish went) and swims into the seaweed. The big fish comes out of the seaweed with his hat.

Most of the chase is pictures. No words are needed to see where the fish are going. Only the small fish has a speaking part and the reader will be able to tell what the big fish and lobster are doing by their actions.

I enjoyed this book very much because of its simple pictures and how a picture can explain what is going on without any words.

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“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”
— C. S. Lewis