The Process

It’s a little late — 9:15pm here in Southern California. I wanted to quickly share my process and feelings towards writing kid’s lit for the first time…

I wrote about 25 or so pages of Ce’Marie’s new early-middle grade chapter book — that has started sounding more like a novel lol.

The process of writing (and illustrating) my first book continues to be a trial-and-error type project. But it has proven to be one of the most rewarding things I’ve done thus far in my life. It’s keeping me creatively on my toes while also forcing me to venture out of my comfort zone. I have joined an awesome group of writers (of different skill and stages) of which I have to actually articulate clearly what it is that I am doing (and/or trying to do), which is awesome. I’ve been saying for over a year how it’s imperative that I learn and practice better articulating Miss CeCe. So this is a great start. I have went on numerous coffee dates and studiously listened in on the other end of a few phone calls with different people who have aided in one way or another to my progress and goals, like teachers, PhD students, school counselors and several others.

I have been learning a lot about myself, what I’m good at, what I can improve on and what I may be OK at but not the best in. This for me is proving to be a journey of self-discovery, to say the least.

My first 25 pages are good, but there’s room for improvement. I need a clearer, more climatic plot.

Today my lovely brother – thanks Rewo :) purchased The Plot Whisperer Workbook for me and it’ll be here tomorrow since he nicely had it shipped overnight. I look forward to diving in and completing the lessons so that I can get back to writing!

It’s so funny to me that I thought I would never write a novel of any sort — the thought unappealing and irrelevant to me. Yet here I am, not only writing a novel but enjoying it!

Stay tuned for writing lessons I learn from my new book I should be receiving tomorrow :)

 

xoxo

Ce’Marie’s Progress & Check-In

Imagine your daughter exploring her imagination, expanding her mind and loving reading. Now imagine her discovering all the possibilities of who she can be. Ce’Marie books offer this, imagination and so much more! Let your little girl get hooked on reading with Ce’Marie as we discover the long-kept secret: being different is the new black. Join the movement!

Above is Ce’Marie’s original pledge to parents and its readers, created in November of 2013.

♥︎

♥︎

Now lets fast-forward to March 2015. By mid-March, I had finished about 3 rough drafts of Ce’Marie picture book. Thinking the third draft would be the one, I started looking into editors and making preliminary plans for Ce’Marie’s launch party. I was so stoked! But I had to slow it down; planning for the launch party was interrupted by the tough realization that Ce’Marie was not all the way, 100% ready for its big debut.

After taking Ce’Marie (text only) to a critique group, I received constructive criticism that made total sense to me. Following the critique, I thought long and hard on my next move. I desperately wanted to be finished with her, but I knew I’d later regret the decision to proceed with putting it out IF I did so purely out of complying with my ego and not because I felt it was best. So, commence with my launch party planning or go the extra mile and figure out what needs to be done to push my newly-finished Ce’Marie picture book to the next level, that was my big question.

I chose the latter.

I knew in my heart there was something more that had to be done to really achieve the high standards, well-worth-it end-result I dream so much about.

So since around the time of my last post on March 20th, I have been re-working book 1 of the Ce’Marie series. And guess what… I’ve decided to turn what started out as a picture book into an early middle grade chapter book! I feel this is the right move and the best direction to take Ce’Marie. I am extremely excited, a bit anxious but more excited. I know Ce’Marie Version 2.0 (hehe) will be the product I’ve been working so hard and diligently to produce; something of substance and value, something I can be proud of and smiling ear-to-ear happy about–and not to mention, have no shame in bragging on! LOL.

This is not to say that I am not happy with the picture book I have created, because I am. I am proud of myself. I did just what I sought out to do–and then some! Like, me, yep me–I did it! I wrote and illustrated my very own children’s picture book! That’s an amazing accomplishment that I take pride in.

My standards for myself are higher than ever. A few friends who have experienced the book in its entirety actually love it just as much as I do. But I do not have a feeling of completion with it, just yet. There is just something missing… And I have accepted this. I have set new goals and timelines of deadlines — this baby is underway and I’m inspired more than ever! CeCe’s going from a luxury Mercedes to a transformer Tesla. Vroom! Vroom! ;) And the picture book itself will definitely not go to waste — in fact, I can’t wait to share how I’m turning this minor “setback” into a major accomplishment and beautifully thought-out product.

So there’s my lengthy update on Ce’Marie. She and her BFFs’ are doing wonderful and going on many cool adventures! Stay tuned, bookworms :)

Until next time friends, Carpe Diem!

And go LIKE us on FB! There’s always cool articles and pictures posted weekly :)

Facebook Page

Also, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below :)

The Impact Art Education in Schools Have on Your Kids

Well Helloooo there!! It’s been a little while since I last wrote a post. But not to fret, ‘cus I’m baaackkk! ;)

So, today, September 14th*, marks the first “official” day of National Arts in Education Week. But I declare all of September National Arts in Education Month! Why? Because the arts are important! And I feel strongly about this topic.

I was that nerd growing up in the public school system who did all of her homework, participated in class and even tutored her older brother and some of her friends. I was the nerd who cried when I was sick, in fear of having to miss school (yes, I was that girl – *chuckles). But I also was a regular kid. A kid who sometimes was too antsy and too hyper to listen attentively to monotone teachers and boring movies for 7-8 hours a day, 5x/week (well 6x/week, if you include Saturday tutoring at Cal State Long Beach). Nevertheless, I needed a break. I needed some excitement. I needed balance.

Arts education gave me that balance.

The harsh reality is: sometimes being in the public school system means one have to deal with bullies, gangs, drugs, overcrowded classes, poverty and an array of other distractions. This is not to say private schools do not have similar issues. I am only giving an account of my experience in public schooling. That being said, arts education provided and currently still provides (for as long as law and state budget-makers will permit), an outlet to students who not only need an escape from monotony, but also students who need an escape from their harsh realities, in and away from school — for example, personal psychological issues (like eating disorders and depression), abuse, gang affiliation, bad neighborhoods etc.

Arts education encourages and damn near forces the participant to use his/her imagination. How, you ask? Well, much, if not all, of the arts require some form of creativity. And in my opinion, creativity comes from seeing something done and using wisdom + our imagination to push the envelope even further. Creativity comes from actual dreams. Its the result of being inspired. And we all know inspiration is all around us, from our environment and life’s events to magazines and museums, inspiration is everywhere and comes in many different forms. Like reading a book, arts education is a swell way to invoke innovation and inspire tomorrow’s leaders.

Still question if arts education is worth your tax dollars?

Why not ask your little ones how they feel about art, dance, music or theatre class? I mean, hey, I’m just a creative person who has always made everything art-related in order to enjoy and appreciate it enough to comprehend and retain the information…

Hey, it makes even more sense now that I further think about it. I was always pushed to be an excellent student and trained to earn good grades. But more often than not, getting that ‘A’ was easier said than done. So I learned to apply what I loved most and excelled in – arts education – to just about every subject in school. Even today, I pull from my days of arts education. I mean, who cares if by playing the violin for 5 years helped developed my auditory skills which enabled me to effortlessly spell tricky words and learn a new language… not to mention is responsible for the countless number of compliments I receive on my excellent, confident posture (to name a few examples ;).

But don’t take my word for it. Ask your kids.

xoxo

*Note: some organizations proclaim National Education Week to be September 7-13

Photo Cred

  • Top Photo: NaeA website

A Night of 4D-Watching, Art-Critiquing, Roscoes-Eating, Fun.

Yesterday I saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in 4D. It. Was. A-Mazing. From the smell of the forest to the light sprinkling of water that fell on my head at every raining scene, I was thoroughly intrigued.

Although i loved the movie, I would rate it a 4.5/5, just because I felt there could be more movement of the chairs at other parts of the movie. But overall, I enjoyed myself.

Next, we attended an event called ‘LA Renaissance’. It was pretty dope. There was art, fashionable people and talent everywhere. I even got a free 6″x8″ graffiti canvas painting from my friend who seems to always talk himself into something…

20140719-174142-63702212.jpg

But the point is not to simply share some of what I did yesterday, but more-so to share how enthusiastic I became during and after the event. I wrote on their glass wall about Ce’Marie – and that made me feel incredible (see photo below). This is one of the first places I advertised Ce’Marie…granted it wasn’t a children’s book type of party… It’s the thought that counts and especially the courage taken that mattered.
* “toddler” steps *

20140719-170948-61788693.jpg20140719-170947-61787841.jpg

I’m ready to take Ce’Marie to the next level – I’m ready to take her into production. I still have a lot of work ahead of me but I definitely look forward to the day that I excitedly post the great news of the e-book (and later paperback) launch.

Stay tuned, my book lovers ;)

xoxo