Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Picture Books and Memories

By Susan J Berger
We all know Memorial Day is not just for picnics. But sometimes, that's easy to forget.
I remember Memorial Day parades from my childhood in the 1950's. In those days we not only had soldiers from World War II and the Korean War. Riding in autos draped in bunting were soldiers from the Spanish American War, World War I, and even the Civil War. A parade of wars going back almost a century. I remember marveling at the Civil War veterans. Fewer of them each year.
I haven't been to a memorial Day Parade since I left the small towns I used to live in New York and Connecticut. I am sure those parades still exist. 
I also remember fondly teen books by Janet Lambert set against a background of World War II and a bit before. The Penny Parrish series are still available as Kindle books. So are some of the Jordan Family books. I read the first one, Just Jennifer over and over. It was published in 1945 and is only available in hardback.
I mention these because these books could be considered source material. I am unaware of any current books set against a background of WWII in America. Maybe one of you would like to write one?
I did find three picture books about Memorial Day and one about soldier moms.
I deep searched and found a few self published ones with no reviews.
Any one want to add to the field?  Here are my finds. I wish you inspirations for new books and a Happy Memorial Day.

Kate Messner's new picture book Rolling Thunder illustrated by Greg Ruth, pays tribute to Washington DC's Memorial Day Parade.
Every Memorial Day in Washington, DC, more than a million veterans and their supporters gather for the Rolling Thunder® Ride for Freedom, a demonstration that pays tribute to the men and women of the US armed forces. This lyrical story honors the bravery and sacrifice of those American heroes -- the ones who have returned home, and the ones who haven't.

Here are the first lines:

Lines of bikes are miles long,
Shining, half a million strong.
Rumbling, grumbling engines roar.
Peace signs. High  Fives
Spirits soar.

Of course the inimitable Eve Bunting has a picture book about Memorial Day. The Wall. It's illustrated by Ronald Himler.

This is the wall, my grandfather's wall. On it are the names of those killed in a war, long ago.
"Where is Grandpa's name?" I ask.

The Poppy Lady Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans by Barbara Walsh. Illustrated by Layne Johnson
When American soldiers entered World War I, Moina Belle Michael, a schoolteacher from Georgia, knew she had to act. Some of the soldiers were her students and friends. Almost single-handedly, Moina worked to establish the red poppy as the symbol to honor and remember soldiers. And she devoted the rest of her life to making sure the symbol would last forever. Thanks to her hard work, that symbol remains strong today. Author Barbara Elizabeth Walsh and artist Layne Johnson worked with experts, primary documents, and Moina's great-nieces to better understand Moina's determination to honor the war veterans.

Hero Mom by Melinda Hardin. Illustrated by Bryan Langdon

Our Mom's are superheros.
My mom doesn't leap over tall buildings—she builds them.
 My mom doesn't fly in to save the day—well, sometimes she does.
My mom doesn't command animals—she works with them to find missing people and dangerous objects.
Do you know any other Memorial Day picture books? Please share.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Revisit Avonlea with Victoria, Sam and Hilde

Netflix has a new version of Anne of Green Gables called Anne With an E. From what I  read in Vanity Fair it's more Dickens than L.M. Montgomery.  Other reviewers agree.  Some reviewers like it's darker side. You decide for yourselves what you think.
For those of us who are devoted to Anne, Pen and Ink is republishing Hilde Garcia and Victoria and Sam Kroll's 2014 account to their journey to Avonlea.

Our Journey to Avonlea.

by Sam and Victoria Krol

with some thoughts from our mom, Hilde Garcia

I always knew that Avonlea was a fictions name that L. M. Montgomery gave to the setting that served as a backdrop for her novels.  She grew up in Cavendish, the prettiest spot on the north shore, as many have commented, and in her enchanting novels, she had us all fall in love with a place called Avonlea.

Then on Canada Day, while in line for Cow's Creamery ice cream, the best ice cream we have ever tasted, a lovely family told us that we had to go to Avonlea. I, of course, said, that was not the real name of the town, but they said, "No, you have to go to Avonlea.  It's an actual place."  Well, we attempted to find it on our phone and the woman says, "You can't miss it.  It's on the way to Montgomery's Cavendish home."  Imagine my delight when I thought about really traveling there. No journey to P. E. I. could be complete without a visit to Avonlea.

SO we put our phone away. No one else had theirs out and we trusted we'd find it in the morning. I stayed up late that night and read all about it on the internet though, and couldn't sleep for the anticipation of being able to walk through time.

I wondered if it would be captivating for the rest of my crew.  From what I could tell, we were going to go back in time and "play" as if we were in the novel.  It sounded like fun to me, but you know how kids are today, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

SO here are their takes on visiting Avonlea.
It was fun pretending to live in 1901.  Josie Pye asked me what air conditioning was when I mentioned it to her.  So I explained it during flag making time.  We also did wool dying with Ms. Rachel Lynde.  We had to fetch water from the water pump because there wasn't a sink.  And then we brought the bucket back to the tub where we were going to place the wool.  We all took turns.
"Today, we are going to dye wool," Mrs. Rachel Lynde said.  Then she pulled out some samples in different stages of the dye process.  The she said, "We're going to use this new fangled thing called Kool-aid."  Some adults chuckled.  Then she let us smell it.  It smelled like beets.  She poured the grape kool-aid into the bucket full of water.  Then she stirred it, then she dumped in the yarn and said "Let's soak the yarn in the bucket until 4 o'clock.  I ended up coming back two days later and I bought the yarn I helped die and made a scarf for me and one for my doll.
Then we did a whole bunch of other stuff.
For example, step dancing, square dancing, (not the same thing), pie eating contest, and more.
Okay readers, here's a little news flash.  The whole time we were on Prince Edward Island, we saw no one on a CELL PHONE!!  And in Avonlea, everyone was having wholesome fun!!!  The second day in Avonlea, I went to and played around with Josie Pye who was glad we had returned.  We had this shannanigan going on that started when she wrote Anne's name incorrectly on the chalk board.  My middle name is Anne, with an e, so I had to let her know.
It all started when Josie Pye told a falsehood on the first day of school.  She said that Anne broke her tablet over Gilbert's head 117 times. We knew that couldn't be true, because we saw it, it was only once.  I of course, defended Anne and told Josie my middle name was Anne, with an e.
Josie said, "It should be Victoria Josie."  And preceded to call me that the rest of the day.  During knitting with Mrs. Lynde, she announced it to everyone in the store.  I went, "Uggh!"  My dad asked why I was annoyed and I said, "Because she dislikes that my name is Anne and is calling me Victoria Josie." (But I secretly love it.)
During this whole time, Josie was waiting for me so we could go and play, but I told her I would catch up with her.  My dad and I decide to have some fun and we ran back to the school house and wrote on the chalk board Josie's name wrong five different ways.  We wrote Josey Pye, Josee Pie, Josie with the Pi symbol, and even José Torta which is Josie Pye in Spanish.
Then she came and read it and left me a note, "Dear Viktoreeeah Josie, You should focus on your spelling more. Love JOSIE PYE."  What I loved was how much she played along and she was all grown up and loved pretending.
It was hard to say goodbye.  She hugged me and told me to have a safe journey out West.  I could have stayed in Avonlea forever.
When I went to Avonlea in Prince Edward Island, which is in Canada, I played a game called Crokinole with three of the townspeople who were named Tommy, Gilbert, and Moody.  Crokinole is a game where you shoot discs across the circular game board trying to land in the higher scoring regions of the board, while also attempting to knock away opposing discs.  We played about ten games together on one of the games I shot the disc so hard that it bounced off of the board and landed in Moody's shirt pocket.  Since there were four people, we made teams of two.  Every few games, we switched teams so we got to play with everybody.  Crokinole is a game that's hard, but fun.
There was also a fair and in the fair they had a pie eating contest.  The contestants that were in the pie eating contest were my mom, known as Hilde, a town boy, and two other visitors.  The winner of the pie eating contest was one of the two visitors.  My mom didn't win because the crust was stuck to the plate and she couldn't get it up off of the plate!  The contest was very funny because you could only eat with your mouth. What I mean is you couldn't use your hands.  At the end of the pie contest, my sister and I, started to dip our fingers in the pie. A few dips later, my mom told us to stop.  All the contestants had a pie mustache and by the way, the pie was chocolate!
We also participated in a sack race.  Well, it was actually four sack races. One for the small and young ones, one for the the big and older kids and two for the adults- ladies and gentlemen.  My sister got placed in the little kid race because she is short and she WON first place, and was given an
"I love Gilbert!" tattoo.  In the older kid race, I WON that race and I got the same tattoo.  My mom yelled, "Those are my twins."  My mom asked if I could have the tattoo so I gave it to her.
The adult race was very funny.  My dad came in last place because he fell down.  My mom got 3rd place because two taller girls beat her by one jump and they tied.  I think it was too close, but there wasn't any kind of replay camera.
I also played a kick ball game and threw balls into a wooden board that had holes in it and every time you made it in, you had to back up and throw from a farther distance. I did really well in that game.
And the pig races were awesome! It was fun and I didn't want to go.
Today's kids have a world of electronic gadgets at their fingertips. Many children today do not look up when they speak to you, have trouble reading facial expressions, and simply cannot pretend, converse, or make believe.  It's a travesty.

Avonlea to all the visitors that came and to me was a haven, hope that we haven't lost all the kids of today just yet. So many kids loved the story and loved that it was brought to life.  My kids reveled in it and suspended their reality for not one day, but two, as we simply couldn't get enough of the first day there.

The second day, feeling like we had come home, I simply let the kids run amuck doing whatever they wanted while I wandered around and shopped. They shadowed the town "children" and played with them and even skipped down the side walk.

Happier times. Simpler times.  I cannot wait to return.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Dispatch #64: Not My Story II

A Musical
by Lupe Fernandez

Last time on Not My Story,  I wrote about Ms. N_, Vietnamese hair stylist, harrowing escape from Viet Nam at age 14 on a raft. The story was hers to tell. Not mine to embellish.

But my job is to tell stories. What if Ms. N_'s story was a screenplay in Hollywood studio development hell? What would they do?

Based on a True Story

Change the Title
  • Raft
  • Escape from Terror
  • South China Sea Travel Tips

Add Love Interest
  • Ms. N_ falls in love with a pirate, but her loyalties are divided between running away with her dream-boat or staying with ailing grandmother and face hardship in a refugee camp.
  • Ms. N_ meets a cute boy on on the raft, but he has an ailing grandmother who disapproves of refugee romance. Will the they consummate their forbidden love?
  • Ms. N_, after her boyfriend is killed by pirates, becomes a pirate and ravages the South China Sea in search of her beloved's murderers. Will she find love again? (Grandmother is written out.)
South China Sea. Caribbean. What's the difference?

Action, Action, Action
  • Ms. N_ is caught in the middle of an international naval incident, bringing the superpowers to the brink of World War III.
  • Ms. N_ fights off aquatic monsters to save her ailing grandmother and fellow refuges.
  • Ms. N_ versus Zombies.

You get the idea.
Tasteless Elements
  • Ms. N_ is played by a Caucasian actress.
  • Ms. N_ makes soft-focus, orchestra music love on the raft.
  • Ms. N_ stays glamorous. Everybody knows exposure to sun, starvation and salt sea spray is good for the skin.

Based on True Story.

Ms. N_'s father served in the South Vietnamese Army, killed in 1972. Commenting on the disposal of her father's remains, Ms. N_ said, “They dig a hole where you die and dump you in."

Still not my story.
What's not your story?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Mother Goose Day and Other Story Inspirations


Mother Goose Day

Rhymes in Full Text

The Real Mother Goose is one of the larger collections of rhymes for children. It was originally published in 1916 and has pen and watercolor illustrations. Project Gutenberg provides the complete book in HTML and plain text and access to individual rhymes by title and by first line.

Rhymes Recited on Video


In 1958, Cyril Ritchard, Boris Karloff, and Celeste Holm recorded Mother Goose for Caedmon Records. The sometimes creepy voice performances (Boris Karloff played Dr. Frankenstein’s monster and voiced the Grinch in How The Grinch Stole Christmas) are accompanied by music and illustrations.


In 1957, Walt Disney released The Truth About Mother Goose. Selected rhymes are recited and then a story explaining their origin follows:


In 1984 the popular children’s entertainers Sharon, Lois and Bram released an LP titled Mainly Mother Goose. The CD may be available in local libraries; a track list can be found Wikipedia. Many of these songs can be found on YouTube. Sharon, Lois & Bram's Elephant Show also aired a program devoted, in part, to Mother Goose:

Monday, April 24, 2017

More Blog Reviews!!



By Hilde Garcia

here is my second review from the first ten sites that talked about HOW TO WRITE A BLOG POST.  
These are sites 4, 5 and 6. And they are so great.  I really enjoyed reviewing them.
Happy Reading!

101 Fabulous Blog Topic Ideas

I started off the year all gung-ho and self-righteous that I had a solid editorial plan and a never-ending list of blog post ideas I could ride through winter and beyond. But like many bloggers, I hit a wall. Ooops. My topics were boring. The content I’d planned lacked sparkle. I was tired, stuck, burned-out. I needed an infusion of creative ideas that would get my blogatude back on track. So I wrote this list of possibilities for myself, and I’m sharing them with you.

Here are six basic types of posts you can write, plus 101 blog post ideas and prompts. I threw in a few links to other resources in case you want more.

“Best of the web” posts
Essays – personal
General interest posts
How-to posts
Ideas for how-to posts:
Interviews and profiles
Ideas for interviews:
Opinions, rebuttals, trends, debates, and predictions
Ideas for opinion and predictions pieces:
Recap posts
Media-related posts

And on her site, each one of these topics has at least 10 examples each!


What makes a blog post bad?

There are lots of reasons a blog post could be less-than-perfect. Poor formatting. Poor grammar. Poor word choice. Poor shareability. 

The most pervasive problem? 

Poor flow. The post jumps from one idea to the next to the next and then circles around again for a split second to the first idea, then back to the fourth, and so on. Or the post reads like a stream of consciousness -- but it wasn't a stylistic choice. 

Luckily, you have a simple solution. Before diving headfirst into writing your post, you can create an outline.

I'm not talking about jotting down a few quick bullet points -- even experienced writers can go astray with just a few talking points. I'm talking a fully fleshed-out outline with enough details that make it virtually impossible for your writing to go off the deep end. And it's pretty easy to do.

1) Nail your working title.

2) Write down as many distinct takeaways from the article as you can.

3) Break up those takeaways into larger sections.

4) Add more takeaways to some sections. 

5) Revise, remove, and reorganize details in each section.

6) Include links to your examples and/or data.

7) If any details come to you that you don't want to forget, add them in. 

You’re beating your head against a wall. Staring at a blank screen. You need to write a blog post fast, and it’s got to be good.

You google “writers block” and hope to find a solution. If you had all day or all weekend to write, you know you’d come up with something. You always do.

But this time, you only have a few hours, and you can’t think of anything. Maybe you’ll just skip it. Who’s going to notice?

Stop. Right. There. If you’ve been posting regularly, your readers are going to notice. Even if they don’t, you will. And one of the most critical keys to a writer’s success is following good writing habits—and sticking with them.

Plus, the problem isn’t the vague, catch-all excuse called writer’s block. The problem is that you don’t have a system in place you can rely on.

Using a standard outline based on a 5-part essay can be a lifesaver.
With an outline, you can go from blank screen to polished post in a few hours or less, depending on the length and complexity.

No matter what kind of blog post you’re writing, though, or how much time you take, using an outline can reduce time, stress, and worry. Plus it keeps you organized and on track, especially if you’re writing something long and involved.

Ready, set, go!

1. Pick a topic

2. Create a working headline

3. Brainstorm, choose, and develop at least 2-3 main points

4. Write an introduction

5. Write a conclusion or call to action

6. Edit, revise, and proofread

7. Post it!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Submit. Then Revise and submit again.

by Susan J Berger

I think writing is easier than submitting. It's hard to send your story out knowing that there is a very good possibility you will be rejected.
Today I read a post on Literary Rambles on R&R (revise and resubmit) from the POV of agent Natalie Lokosil of The Bradford Agency and debut author Lindsey Becker. 

Lindsey writes of her journey to acceptance with her debut book. The Star Thief. Literary Rambles is always worth reading and is a great guide to agents. If you are not using it as a resource, you're missing a good bet.  I put the link to the post above.
Just in case you want to check out The Bradford Agency, here's a link to their guidelines.
and Here's  a link to Natalie's page
I've submitted to Sarah and Laura at The Bradford Agency. (Neither of them do picture books.) I think I would like to try Natalie.
Last week I got out two picture book queries - the snail mail kind.
Clarion Book, a division of Houghton Mifflin is now accepting unsolicited submission for children's books and separately for artwork.

Children’s Books:

Manuscript Submission Guidelines

Clarion Books and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers are the hardcover imprints of the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers Division.
Please note: Presently, only Clarion Books is accepting unsolicited submissions. HMH Books for Young Readers will not be reviewing unsolicited submissions at this time.
While we accept unsolicited and unagented submissions, we do not respond unless we are interested in publishing the work or would like to request a revision. Our time frame for a response is up to twelve weeks. We regret that we cannot respond personally to every submission, but each manuscript does receive careful consideration.
Your manuscript should be typed and submitted via mail. We do not accept submissions by e-mail or fax. Please do not send a self-addressed return envelope or postcard, as materials will not be returned. Manuscripts will be recycled if we determine that they are not a match for our publishing program.
For picture books and novels, please send the entire manuscript. For nonfiction, submit a synopsis and sample chapters.
When submitting work to any publishing house, it is useful to check your local bookstore or library to get a sense of the company’s publishing style. This research may also help you determine which HMH imprint is best for your work. Please submit exclusively to one HMH imprint.
Submissions to Clarion Books should be sent to the following address:
Clarion Books / Submissions
3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10016

Illustration Submission Guidelines

The design department receives samples from potential illustrators of picture books and fiction book jackets for Clarion Books and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers. (Illustrations that are part of a picture book dummy with text should be submitted to the editorial department per the instructions above.)
Send color copies or tear sheets; do not send original artwork or slides. Please show a limited selection of your strongest work. Illustrations that feature children or animals are helpful, but feel free to submit other subject matter. Samples will not be returned. We will contact you only if we have a potential illustration assignment.
Our mailing addresses are as follows:
Clarion Books OR Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Design Department / Art Samples

3 Park Avenue South, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
Design Department / Art Samples

125 High Street
Boston, MA 02110
I vow to do at least one submission next week. On a happier note, I have two books eligible for the Crystal Kite Awards. Two. How's that for wonderfulness?

Earthquake, 2nd Edition is a non fiction book about Earthquakes with factoids and some fun experiments. and Mom, is There a Santa Claus? is a picture book about - well the title says it all.

 If I had don't this post last week, I could have asked for votes.
Timing is everything.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Dispatch #63: Not My Story


by Lupe Fernandez

While getting my remaining hair cut, Ms. N_, the hair stylist at Super De Duper Haircuts tells me she had come to the United States in 1980 at age 14.

On a boat.

“Not really a boat," Ms. N_  says.

She lives in Saigon - renamed Ho Chi Min City - and leaves Vietnam with her Grandmother aboard a make-shift boat. More like raft. The raft is crammed with people and travels with other groups of rafts. Somewhere south-southwest on the South China Sea, the motor breaks down. Ms. N_, her grandmother and the other passengers are adrift off the coast.

A boat of pirates motors close and tows the rafts for a few nautical miles and then leaves them.

Another boat comes along and tows the rafts along the coast and then leaves them.

On and on, past the Mekong Delta, past the Ca Mau Cape, Viet Nam's southern tip, then northwest along the coast of Cambodia until the remaining rafts drift off a coastline.

How long at sea? Five days? Months? Ms. N_ doesn't know. She remembers hunger, thirst and her grandmother.

“Many didn’t make it. Girls were raped. Some drowned.”

At night the rafts wash ashore on a beach.

"They asked the locals where they were and told us we were in Thailand," Ms. N_ says. "Locals told us to go to a church to get help."

Ms. N_ and her Grandmother are interned in a refugee camp.

“People I tell don’t know what hunger is. We had two buckets of water. They supposed to be full but they were not full. They in a hurry to pour it in and it falls out.” Ms. N_ gestures with her hand to show water level in bucket.

"Today I still don’t like to waste food.”

Ms. N_ and her grandmother got out of the camp by having a sponsor in the United States. Her grandmother died after they reached America.

Here in California, she has a husband, also Vietnamese, two grown children and works at Super De Duper Haircuts.

After Ms. N_ relates her harrowing tale, I think, "there's a YA novel here. Or a non-fiction bio. Or..."

There are questions I don't ask. Was she assaulted by pirates? How long was she in the refugee camp? How did her grandmother die? What does she think about today's Vietnamese immigrants?

I would be stealing Ms. N_'s experience for my own gain. Besides, others writers can tell this story better. It's good to know when to back off.

This is not my story. I didn't live it. What was I doing at age fourteen? Thinking about girls at Winton Jr. High.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Review that Blog!

by Hilde Garcia

Hello Readers. Well, as promised, here is my review of the top three sites Google took me to when I asked the simple question "quick ideas for writing a blog post."  Remember, about 176 million links showed up, but I am going to focus on the top ten!
How to Brainstorm and Write an Epic Blog Post in 4 Simple

Bryan Harris writes a fabulous post about how to write an epic blog in 4 simple steps. For full details, check out his post, but the gist of it is:
What if instead of writing blog posts you only answered questions?

An excerpt from his site:
If my wife asks me “Bryan, why do you think most people never act on their ideas?”

I would answer in less than 5 seconds with at least 3 minutes worth of dialogue.

No prep. No outline. No research.

However, if I were trying to write an article entitled “The 7 Reasons Your Idea Will Never Become A Business”

Gridlock. All dry. Words … are … hard.

There is something fundamentally different with writing about a TOPIC as opposed to answering someone’s specific QUESTION.

So, when you are stuck, try the following steps outlined by Bryan in his post:

Step 1: Don’t write, record

Step 2: Transcribe your audio

Step 3: Pretty it up

Step 4: Write 5 different headlines

Step 5: Publish

He has some great videos and an excellent easy to understand explanation about buffer analytics and how they can help you reach your audience more effectively.
Thanks Bryan.


Darren Browse has an amazing quick list of things that will give you a greaet blog post.  I like how #9 connects with Bryan Harris’ use of buffer analytics.  And I like how he ended this post with his own #15 suggestion- ask your reader questions.
I am personally taking #3 and #4 to heart and am re-promising myself to do #12, #17 and #19 better!  

  1. Tell your story– it is one of the key things that will make your content stand out of the crowd
  2. Share how you feel – it will take your readers to a deeper place and make it more relatable
  3. You’ll never please everyone – the sooner you make peace with this reality, the better!
  4. Write about things that matter to you – passion is infectious and your readers will catch ahold of it. Tell the world something important.
  5. Inform, inspire and interact – aim to do these things every week (read more on this)!
  6. Experiment with different styles of writing – it will help you find your voice
  7. Mix up the length of your postsshort can be sweet but long can be epic!
  8. When an idea strikes – drop everything and capture it!
  9. Do everything you can to understand who is reading your blog – it will make you much more useful to them.
  10. Before you publish – ask what you want your reader to do after reading your post – and edit accordingly. Calls to action are important!
  11. Become hyper aware of problems – and obsessively write posts that solve them.
  12. Put aside time to create quality content – it doesn’t just appear
  13. Put aside time to edit and your posts – it will take them to the next level
  14. Get a life – you’ll be a much more interesting writer if you’ve lived a little
  15. Ask your readers questions – it will make them feel like they belong and you’ll learn a lot from their answers!
  16. Take your readers on a journey – posts that build from one to another can be powerful. Build momentum and create anticipation and you'll hook readers for the long term.
  17. Brainstorm regularly – generating ideas for future posts now can save a lot of pain later and help you keep things rolling. I highly recommend mind mapping.
  18. Not every post needs to go viral – shareable content will help you grow but it may not serve your current readers best.
  19. Write, Write Write – the more you practice, the better you will get
  20. Publish selectively – you don’t need to publish everything you write

What quick blog writing tips would you add?

Thanks Darren, these are great.


Ok, so Neil Patel seems to be as busy as I am, so I checked out his blog to see how he stays afloat. 
For full details, check out his post, but the main points are:

From his post:
You’ll never succeed at content marketing if you can’t create content on a regular basis. In essence, you need to learn how to streamline your content creation.

The good news is it’s not that hard. I’ve figured out how to streamline my content creation process. It works so well that I write eight blog posts a week. I publish three times a week on Quick Sprout, and I guest-post five times a week.

Here’s how I streamline my content creation, and here’s how you can too:

Step #1: Generate a list of potential topics

Time limit: You should spend no more than ten minutes on coming up with content ideas.

Step #2: Create an outline

Time limit: You should spend no more than twenty minutes on creating an outline. If it takes longer than that, you are picking topics that you are not very familiar with.

Step #3: Write

Time limit: You should spend no more than sixty minutes on finishing your post. The writing portion typically takes me forty-five minutes, and then I spend fifteen minutes re-reading and adjusting the post.

Step #4: Proofread, add a picture and schedule

Time limit: You shouldn’t spend any time on this step. Hire someone to do Step #4.

Neil says that "It’s not that hard to streamline your content creation process. You just need to figure out how many times a week (or month) you want to publish content and stick with it.

Once you decide on the frequency of posting, make sure you create a few extra posts in addition to the required number. That way, if something doesn’t work out, you’ll have a few backup posts. Your readers will feel you are consistent even if you drop the ball with your content creation process."

My writing partners keep reminding me that I should use my teacher vacation days to write several posts as back ups so I don't drop the ball, but I can’t find my way out from the grading pile even during vacations!

However, what I did learn is that posting a blog isn't always about what you are interested in, you have to connect with your readers and two of these sites give me really concrete ways in which to do that. I like procedures and a solid process and these bloggers really have created a system that works for them, but has a universal appeal. I know that I for one, am going to try to recreate some of their tips for my own break throughs in the world of blogging.
I will be back soon with more reviews of links that will help you with THE BLOG.
And  a parting question:

What things do you do to generate your weekly blog posts?
See I am already employing number #15! Enquiring minds want to know! 
I dare you to reply.