July 12, 2018


Children's Writer's World, photo Felipe Portella

 Surprisingly audacious reflections of a humble writer 



The Deadliest Crab


"Want to go crab fishing?" asks my husband.

That's my cue to join him to watch an episode of the Deadliest Catch.  Or as I like to call it, the Deadliest Crab.

Deadliest Catch follows six sea captains and their crew as they hunt for elusive Alaskan crab.  Viewers can always count on drama.  Sea captains battle:
  • arctic storms with hurricane-force winds and 40 foot waves
  • ice floes
  • snow blindness
  • crew management 
  • accidents that cause serious injury or death 
  • fatigue
  • health issues (back issues and conditions brought on by stress)
  • equipment failure which may lead to fires, oil leaks, power outage, or loss of steering 

Deadliest Crab
On top of all that, the captain must find crab. That's tricky because radar doesn't detect crabs resting upon the bottom of the sea. 

Many captains must rely on intuition to locate the crab.  Others refer to logs which indicate the location and numbers of crabs caught in years gone by.  And captains will use  devices that mimic the sound of a crab-feeding frenzy or rely on smelly crab farts to lead them to rich crab grounds.



Crab fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.  It seems like once a season, Deadliest Catch airs footage of the United States Coast Guard searching for crewmen of capsized vessels or retrieving injured fishermen from a deck—a feat in itself as swimmers lower a rescue basket from a helicopter through rough wind onto a rocking ship.

photo Steve HalamasSea captain Josh Harris says, "It's not a sport for the weak or the weak-minded."

From time to time, a little levity peppers the show with the crew pulling silly pranks like filling a fisherman's boots with water and then freezing them or moving a captain's boat (unbeknownst to him) to another dock.

When an episode gets bloody
however, (say like when a steel crane smashes a forehead) or gross (or when a wound is lanced or part of a finger is lost), I'll look away while my husband replays the scene to be sure he hadn't missed any gore.

I may have writely challenges (marketing Maggie, submitting to agents, producing Kid's Imagination Train, writing two blogs) but these are nothing compared to fishing the Bering Sea.

Writing for children is demanding (ask any children's author) but it's not usually deadly.  With writing, you may face rejection, but you don't run the risk of getting bloody and gory...

and you never have to be on the lookout for crab farts.  

CWW is published twice a month.

À la prochaine! 



July 2, 2018

 Children's Writer's World, photo Tom Pottiger

Surprisingly audacious reflections of a humble writer




One and Not Done 


I never used to be a Wildcat fan.

Pretty shameful being that I graduated from the University of Kentucky.

But over the last few years, I can't get enough of UK basketball.  I think what attracted me to the game is our charismatic coach John Calipari.

photo James Motter
Though Calipari has taken six teams to the NCAA Final Fours and led UK to win the championship (2012), many criticize him for supporting the principle of one and done—having a basketball player play one season and then be eligible to get drafted for the NBA.

According to the wildcatbluenation.com "The one and done situation is good for players whose talent is certainly ready for the NBA. Kentucky Basketball has allowed many players in the last 7 seasons to fulfill a dream. They are able to support their family by playing the game they love.
No one should question a decision made by an 18 year old kid that is NBA ready to leave school and get paid to play. Kentucky has offered these types of players the opportunity for a fast track to the pros."

But because of this doctrine, Calipari has his work cut out coaching a team largely comprised of freshman.  

For that, I admire him.  He seems to care about his players and wants them to do well, despite his frequent rant "OUT"—meaning have a seat on the bench and contemplate what you did wrong.  Time-out on the bench is usually not for long.  Players always get multiple chances to get back into the game.
That's the way I wish writing was like, having multiple chances to think about what went wrong (with a submission) and then go back and get it right.  Usually a writer gets one chance and one chance only.  Rarely do writers get a second chance to submit an edited version of their work to a publisher or an agent.

photo Stephan Baker
With Kid's Imagination Train ezine however, writers get multiple chances to edit their manuscripts.  They learn how to revise their work so that it can be published.  Like Calipari, I want them to do well.

Kid's Imagination Train writers are not one and done's.  Our writers submit again and again to KIT after their first acceptance.  In fact, some writers have been with our little ezine for over five years.

I admit some writers publish once with us and move on to the pros (Highlights, Ranger Rick, Boys' Life).  They exemplify UK's latest slogan: succeed-and-proceed which now replaces the three-word mantra.  But most of our writers are loyal and recognize they get a privileged opportunity to work on their game.





CWW is published twice a month.

À la prochaine!