Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Waiting for Spring

It's been a long hard winter for my family for many reasons. The hardest part was the illnesses, hospitalizations, and loved ones lost. But there was also a polar vortex that kept us buried under snow with temperatures in the single digits for far too many days at a time. I knew my family had had enough when my 8 year-old daughter told me she was sick of snow. That, my friends, is a sure tip-off that winter is no longer welcome!

My calendar tells me that wood frog migration should be any day now. So do my daffodils:

Alas, my observations tell me that is not likely...
Much of the ground is still covered with snow.

The lake out back it totally frozen. (So is the "frog pond" where they mate)

Yes, the  temperature the last two days has gotten into the 50's, but snow is predicted for tonight.

I'm hanging in for spring and hoping that I'll see those wood frogs soon!

How's the weather where you are?


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blogging Hiatus

I've been absent for quite some time and decided I should post an update.

My family has had a challenging 6 months for many personal reasons I don't wish to share on the internet. I haven't had time for blogging because my focus has been on my family. Any time I've had for writing has been spent on my stories for children, which is the writing that is most important to me.

To help keep me focused, I participated in the Start the Year off Write challenge which provided daily writing prompts for 21 days. I'm also signed up for Julie Hedlund's 12x12 Picture Book Challenge which is pushing me to write 12 picture book manuscripts in 12 months. I will also revise and submit as many manuscripts as I can during that time. And yes, I'm still plugging away at that YA novel I mentioned once or twice.

Part of what kept me from blogging an update was the feeling that I should set a new schedule and stick to it. The problem is, I just don't know what schedule I can manage. So for now, I'll leave this post here to keep readers informed and I'll return to blogging when it feels manageable.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

KidLit for the Philippines: The Fundraising Continues!

I've been hard at work tallying up our final numbers and making sure all of the pledged donations have been paid directly to UNICEF and Mercy Corps. There are a few high bids that still need to be paid, but I'm hopeful those folks will take care of their donations in the next day or so. 

(If you are a donor and have not heard from me about delivery of your service or item, that means the highest bidder has not yet made the pledged donation. Please do not make arrangements outside of the auction to deliver the items. I know it's easy to communicate these days with Facebook, Twitter and other places on-line).

Drumroll please....

The final auction total is $4627!

But that's not the end! Katie Davis has made an amazing offer. For every full price Video Idiot Boot Camp course she sells, she'll donate HALF of the cost to #KidLitPhil. So far she raised an additional $742.50!

So the current total is: $5369.50! YAY! We broke $5000!! 

Learn about Katie's offer below. And please help spread the word! Let's see how high we can get the grand total.



A few housekeeping details:
  1. Emails have been sent to everyone who was a "highest bidder" and submitted proof of donation to me. If you sent your proof and have not heard from me, please email me ASAP and I'll connect you with the donor of your item. michelle(at)michellecusolito(dot)com
  2. In case you're someone who likes to add up totals... you'll notice that the published highest bids do not equal the total at the top of this page. That is for 2 reasons: Some people donated more than their winning bid; other people made a straight donation and submitted a receipt to me so the donation would count toward #KidLitPhil.
  3. Which brings me to this: If you just heard about #KidLitPhil and don't want to take Katie's course, you can still help. Make a donation to UNICEF or Mercy Corps and send me a copy of your receipt (michelle at michellecusolito dot com) and I'll add it to our total. 
Finally, THANK YOU so much to everyone who donated, bid, tweeted, emailed and otherwise shared news of the auction. You really cannot understand how much it all means to me.

With that, I'm signing off from blogging until the new year. I'll post donation updates on our Facebook page. If you're interested in seeing them, please "like" the page. Come January, I'll publish the final number here on the blog.

Until then, Happy New Year everyone!
With Sincerest Thanks,
Michelle


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

KidLit for the Philippines: An On-Line Auction to Benefit Typhoon Survivors

KidLit for the Philippines is an on-line auction to benefit survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The KidLit community (folks involved in the creation of books for children- authors, illustrators, agents, editors, etc.) has a history of generously supporting others in times of need.

(Two recent examples are KidLit4Japan and Kid-Lit Cares. Greg Fishbone and Kate Messner shared their expertise gleaned from organizing each of those fundraisers and granted me permission to use their guidelines here. Thank you Kate and Greg!)

What exactly is KidLit for the Philippines?

It’s an online talent auction to benefit Mercy Corps and UNICEF relief efforts for Typhoon Haiyan (aka Yolanda). Agents, editors, authors, and illustrators have donated various services and items to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with donations being made directly to Mercy Corps and UNICEF.

The full list of current auction items is below (new items will appear each day). You can click on any item to see all the details, and bidding happens in the comments.  To bid on an item, check the current high bid in the comments, and place a higher bid by leaving your name and bid amount in a new comment, along with some way to contact you.

What happens if I win?

 Winners will be notified when the auction ends and should be prepared to make an online donation directly to Mercy Corps or UNICEF in the amount of the high bid at that time. After you’ve made your donation, you’ll forward your receipt to me, and I’ll put you in touch with the person who donated the service you won so that the two of you can work out the details about how and when. All services will be provided at the convenience of both the person making the donation and the auction winner, but this should happen within three months of the auction’s end unless something else is agreed upon by both parties. Exceptions are noted on some auction pages.

Who is Michelle Cusolito and why is the auction on her blog?
Well, I'm the organizer of this auction. I'm a "pre-published" children's author. (That's a nice way of saying I'm not published, YET). I have benefited from the support and guidance of many, many people in the KidLit community and have been continually impressed by their generosity. 

I was also a Rotary exchange student in the Philippines when I was in high school. From the time I arrived, I was welcomed, loved and supported by my host families, school mates, the Rotary and practically every person I interacted with. I still have many friends and "family" there. Some of them lost family members or were otherwise impacted by the typhoon. 

I hope you'll find items here that you can't live without and you donate lots of money to the relief effort. I also hope you'll support the amazing folks who donated their time, services, books, artwork, etc. Buy their books. Visit their websites. Send them a thank you Tweet.

Even if you choose not to bid, I hope you'll spread the word far and wide to others who might bid. Thank you.

Without further ado...here are the items open for bids right now:

(You can click to jump to individual items from here or scroll down)

Auction Item #2: Portfolio Critique by Hazel Mitchell  CLOSED

Auction #3: Mermaid Tales Sparkling Collection from Author Debbie Dadey CLOSED

Auction #5: Skype visit with Leslie Bulion (CLOSED)


Auction #19: Critique + book from Donna Earnhardt (CLOSED)

Auction #20: Portfolio Review from Russ Cox  (CLOSED)



Monday, December 2, 2013

#KidLitPhil Auction item 33 from Paul Czajak

KidLit for the Philippines is an online talent auction to benefit Mercy Corps and UNICEF relief efforts for Typhoon Haiyan (aka Yolanda). Agents, editors, authors, and illustrators have donated various services and items to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with donations being made directly to Mercy Corps and UNICEF.

Auction #33: School Visit based on the Monster&Me Series

Description:  A 30 -45 minute visit for a daycare or classroom (grade preschool to second grade) within 45 miles of Danvers, MA.  Paul will work out the specifics of the visit with the highest bidder.

Estimated Value: $150

Minimum Bid: $50

Auction Ends: 12/8/2013 at 10:00 PM EST

Bio: Paul Czajak got an ‘F’ with the words “get a tutor” on his college writing paper and after that, never thought he’d become a writer. But after spending twenty years as a chemist, he knew his creativity could no longer be contained. His recently published picture book, Monster Needs a Costume through Scarletta Kids, is the first in the series titled Monster & Me. The second title, Monster Needs his Sleep, is due out in April 2014.

Donor Paul Czajak’s Website: PaulCzajak.com 

Auction Instructions:
* Bid by posting a comment with your bid amount in U.S. dollars; no anonymous bidding.
* Do not bid unless you intend to pay that amount to Mercy Corps or UNICEF.
* To automatically receive updates on the latest bids, check the “Notify Me” box when you submit your comment.
* Highest bid before the end of the auction wins.
* A note about last-minute bidding: If you are used to online auctions that end at an exact, given second, please know that the KidLitPhil auctions don’t work quite that way. Each auction ends when I post the “Auction closed” comment. I do that when my computer turns to 10pm EST, but because I have multiple auctions to close at that time (also because I am human) it will not be precisely at 10pm EST. At any rate, the winning bid is the high bid before the Auction Closed comment, even if the time on your computer reads slightly after 10:00. Thanks for understanding!
* Winning bidder must donate the winning bid amount to a designated charity organization and provide a copy of the receipt within three days of notification.
* For physical items, unless otherwise noted, donor pays standard shipping within the U.S.; winning bidder pays for express shipping or for shipping outside the U.S.

#KidLitPhil Auction item 32 from Katie Davis

KidLit for the Philippines is an online talent auction to benefit Mercy Corps and UNICEF relief efforts for Typhoon Haiyan (aka Yolanda). Agents, editors, authors, and illustrators have donated various services and items to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with donations being made directly to Mercy Corps and UNICEF.

Auction #32: Video Idiot Boot Camp (on-line course)

Description: A course for people who think videos are hard to create. Learn more here: http://videoidiotbootcamp.com/ (Note from Michelle: I haven't taken this on-line course but I did take Katie's face-to-face intro workshop at the Spring NE-SCBWI conference. It was terrific! I'm confident this course will be fantastic.)

Estimated Value: $297

Minimum Bid: $197

Auction Ends: 12/8/2013 at 10:00 PM EST

Bio: Children’s author/illustrator Katie Davis has published nine books and appears monthly on the ABC affiliate show, Good Morning Connecticut, recommending great books for kids. She produces Brain Burps About Books, a podcast about kidlit, a blog and regular newsletter. Katie has volunteered in a maximum-security prison teaching Writing for Children and over the last dozen years has presented at schools and writing conferences. She’s a 2010 Cybils judge and has also judged the Golden Kite, smartwriters.com, and Frontiers in Writing awards. Recently Katie was selected to be on the Honorary Advisory Board for the Brooke Jackman Foundation, a literacy-based charity.

Donor Katie Davis’s website: http://katiedavis.com/

Auction Instructions:
* Bid by posting a comment with your bid amount in U.S. dollars; no anonymous bidding.
* Do not bid unless you intend to pay that amount to Mercy Corps or UNICEF.
* To automatically receive updates on the latest bids, check the “Notify Me” box when you submit your comment.
* Highest bid before the end of the auction wins.
* A note about last-minute bidding: If you are used to online auctions that end at an exact, given second, please know that the KidLitPhil auctions don’t work quite that way. Each auction ends when I post the “Auction closed” comment. I do that when my computer turns to 10pm EST, but because I have multiple auctions to close at that time (also because I am human) it will not be precisely at 10pm EST. At any rate, the winning bid is the high bid before the Auction Closed comment, even if the time on your computer reads slightly after 10:00. Thanks for understanding!
* Winning bidder must donate the winning bid amount to a designated charity organization and provide a copy of the receipt within three days of notification.
* For physical items, unless otherwise noted, donor pays standard shipping within the U.S.; winning bidder pays for express shipping or for shipping outside the U.S.

#KidLitPhil Auction item 31 from Eleanor Rubin

KidLit for the Philippines is an online talent auction to benefit Mercy Corps and UNICEF relief efforts for Typhoon Haiyan (aka Yolanda). Agents, editors, authors, and illustrators have donated various services and items to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with donations being made directly to Mercy Corps and UNICEF.

Auction #31: Sticks and Stones Poster Signed by the Artist



Description: My poster "Sticks and Stones" was created to increase tolerance and to help stop bullying. It is colorful and appealing created originally with watercolor and torn paper. It has been available continuously from 1978. Human Policy Press adapted the Sticks and Stones poster for the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education in the fall of 1992, and the Office of Civil Rights distributed 5,400 posters to elementary schools, high schools as well as college campuses. This poster is no longer available.


Estimated Value: At least $100 (Note from Michelle: several years ago it was valued at $100 but there are so few left, it's probably worth more).

Minimum Bid: $60

Auction Ends: 12/8/2013 at 10:00 PM EST

Bio: I am a printmaker whose artwork is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. My work is currently on view at Boston University in the Biennial exhibit of the Boston Printmakers. I am working on a non-fiction picture book biography described at Beyond the Margins


Donor Eleanor Rubin’s website: http://ellyrubinjournal.typepad.com

Auction Instructions:
* Bid by posting a comment with your bid amount in U.S. dollars; no anonymous bidding.
* Do not bid unless you intend to pay that amount to Mercy Corps or UNICEF.
* To automatically receive updates on the latest bids, check the “Notify Me” box when you submit your comment.
* Highest bid before the end of the auction wins.
* A note about last-minute bidding: If you are used to online auctions that end at an exact, given second, please know that the KidLitPhil auctions don’t work quite that way. Each auction ends when I post the “Auction closed” comment. I do that when my computer turns to 10pm EST, but because I have multiple auctions to close at that time (also because I am human) it will not be precisely at 10pm EST. At any rate, the winning bid is the high bid before the Auction Closed comment, even if the time on your computer reads slightly after 10:00. Thanks for understanding!
* Winning bidder must donate the winning bid amount to a designated charity organization and provide a copy of the receipt within three days of notification.
* For physical items, unless otherwise noted, donor pays standard shipping within the U.S.; winning bidder pays for express shipping or for shipping outside the U.S.