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A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community

Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.

      So many people take the time to make us feel special, don't they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook.        


                                       Kindness ROCKS!          

To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. And because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating too!

Wow, where do I start?  There are so many writers I want to thank.  I'm incredibly lucky to have my wonderful mentor, Joyce Sweeney. She's helped me grow so much as a writer (everything from plotting and characterization, to writing a dazzling first chapter and strong scenes that always move the action forward).  She's been there for me every step of the way--celebrating great news, and giving me hugs and pep talks after some heart-breaking rejections.  I'm sending her a bookstore certificate as a surprise thank you for everything she has done for me!

Another huge thank you goes out to Marjetta Geerling who recently gave me an awesome critique that I hope will take my MG from being great to can't-turn-it-down awesome.  Marjetta helped point out that I tend to make things too easy for my main character.  Even though I torture her a lot, I often fix problems too quickly and sometimes have things happen to her instead of having her actions cause bad things to happen.  Wow...my eyes are wide open now!  I'm excited that my revision is almost done, and am thrilled that Joyce, Marjetta, and my critique groups have helped my manuscript shine so brightly. I recently sent Marjetta a special thank you gift, but had to thank her again in today's post.

How do I even begin to fit in the rest of the people who have been amazing friends and critique partners?  I want each and every one of you to know how much you mean to me, and how grateful I am for everything.  You've all helped me improve my writing, have been there to support me, cheer with me, and encourage me every step of the way.  One of the best things that came from the second time I went to Rutgers was getting to know two online friends better, and forming an informal critique group with them.  Thanks so much, Kim Sabatini and Jodi Moore for everything.  And I'm really glad you brought Megan Gilpin into our critique family--I owe the three of you so much.  xoxo  

NI (Novel Idea) has helped me so much through the years.  Thanks to Amie Borst, Ann Marie Meyers, Rose Cooper, Jen Swanson, and all the past members, too!

RQ (Revision Queens) has been a huge help with my picture books through the years.  Thanks Laura Crawford, Amy Dawn DeLuna, Cathy Cronin, Leslie McCrary, and all past members (both in RQ and the previous name, TBA). :)  

Thanks to everyone past and present in The Prose Shop, my weekly group led by the amazing Joyce Sweeney, my monthly Boca group, and all the amazing writers I've swapped critiques with through the years (the picture book crits have been a huge help, and I'm really grateful to those of you who took the time to critique an entire novel, like Karen Schwartz, Shel Delisle, Amanda Coppedge, Heather Burke, and Sharon Pavon--and those who helped me have huge breakthroughs like David Case, Stacie Ramey, Kerry Cerra, and Nicole Cabrera).  I wish I could name more of you, but this post already has enough words to create two to three picture books!    

I hope you all know how much you mean to me.  I'm sending a huge thank you for always pushing me to write the best possible novels and picture books.  You all rock, and I feel so lucky to have you in my life.  (((Hugs)))  I'm also incredibly grateful to all my writing friends who have been there to cheer me on, offer advice, and share all kinds of sweet comments through here, Facebook, and Twitter.    

I wish I could give every single one of you a gift today...but even though that isn't possible, I'm going to close my eyes and wish that you all receive fantastic writing news, and that we'll have tons of reasons to celebrate soon!  And in honor of everything you've done for me, I'll pay it forward by offering one critique of a picture book or the first ten pages of a chapter book, MG, or YA.  Just leave a comment below and I'll randomly draw a winner on Thursday and announce who it is on Friday.  I'll give you an extra entry for each time you share this link (don't forget to let me know so I can add all your entries).   I can't wait to read the winning pages.  Good luck!   

One of the reasons I jumped at the chance to participate is that The Bookshelf Muse has been a fantastic resource for me and other writers (I've given the link to so many writing friends through the years). Becca and Angela have put so much into their fantastic site...and now their e-book.  After everything they've done, I'm thrilled to help celebrate the launch of their e-book and give a huge shout out to people who have made a world of difference to me because they're such amazing friends and critiquers.

Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you as well, so hop on over to The Bookshelf Muse to pick it up.

Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge?  Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout out, or show your appreciation in another way.  Kindness makes the world go round. :)  

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( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 14th, 2012 02:19 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful post! There are so many people who touch our writer-lives and help us to move forward. Thanks, Mindy!

Beth Stilborn (I'm not really anonymous!)

May. 14th, 2012 02:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Beth. It's nice to have an excuse to make time to thank all those people who are always there to help us. I say it to them all the time, but it's great to shout it out to the world. :)

Robin Lemke
May. 14th, 2012 03:30 pm (UTC)
What a lovely post, Mindy! And look, I forced myself to say something nice before I said, "ME! ME!" and flailed my hand in the air. I'd love to win a crit from you!
It sounds like you have a wonderful "village" for writing. :)
May. 16th, 2012 03:01 am (UTC)
Re: :)
LOL, thanks Robin. :) I do feel lucky to have an incredible writing village. I can't imagine doing this without them.

I have a feeling you have an awesome village, too...but it's always great to have a pair of fresh eyes on a manuscript.
May. 14th, 2012 05:12 pm (UTC)
Mindy, I am so blessed to have you in my life, not only as a valued critique partner, but as a treasured and precious friend! Thank you for this shout-out...may the good wishes come back to you a million-fold!

Love you more than words can say!!! <3

Edited at 2012-05-14 05:14 pm (UTC)
May. 16th, 2012 03:05 am (UTC)
You're welcome, Jodi. You have to be one of the world's best cheerleaders and friends, and I hope that all the good vibes you send out for everyone come back to you a million-fold. I'm so lucky to have such a sweet, supportive, and caring friend and critique partner.

Love you, too! (((Hugs)))
May. 14th, 2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
Writerly friends make so our lives so wonderful. I don't know what I'd do without mine! Glad to see you on this Blitz!
May. 16th, 2012 03:15 am (UTC)
Thanks, C. Lee. I feel the same way about my writerly friends, and love the supportive community we have online.

I'm glad you participated in the Blitz, too! I saw that you didn't use your LJ for it, and tried to follow your link on the Bookshelf Muse site, but it didn't work.
(no subject) - sealy38 - May. 16th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 14th, 2012 07:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks to all
I feel very grateful for all the super kind and generous people in the children's book community for their terrific blogs, the time their volunteer for SCBWI and similar organizations, showing up for booksignings and conferences, and maintaining message boards like Verla Kay. It has been a welcoming and fun experience for a newbie like me!

I'd love to win a PB critique - thank you for the opportunity!

cathy54321 at hotmail dot com
Cathy Mealey
May. 16th, 2012 03:17 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks to all
I'm glad you're enjoying the writing community, Cathy. I love how friendly, supportive, and helpful everyone in kidlit is.

You're welcome for the free critique opportunity. Good luck!
May. 14th, 2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
This is SUCH a great RAOK post! I think for me, the best thing about today is reading all these posts, and seeing the tangible ways that writers have made such an impact on someone else. Thank you for sharing all these amazing people with us, Mindy! I am wishing you and them buckets of good news & creative vibes!

Thanks so much for doing this with us!

May. 16th, 2012 03:21 am (UTC)
Thanks, Angela. And wow--thanks so much for stopping by, even though you must be incredibly busy now.

This is definitely one of the best launch ideas, ever--and I'm thrilled to be a part of it. The kidlit world is filled with amazing, supportive people, and this is the perfect way to show our appreciation and celebrate your book launch at the same time.

I've loved the online version of your Emotion Thesaurus for years, and am thrilled to have it on my iPad now. Thank you for all you and Becca have done for the writing community!

Edited at 2012-05-16 03:22 am (UTC)
Jennifer Rumberger
May. 14th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful post. It sounds like you have a great writing community! And how kind of you to pass the kindness along!
May. 16th, 2012 03:24 am (UTC)
Thanks, Jennifer. It felt wonderful to give a shout out to my critique buddies. If the post wasn't already so long, I would've loved to give a shout out to all the awesome people who run challenges to help keep us motivated and inspired...and all the participants who encourage each other every step of the way.
May. 14th, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
I really appreciate how kind you've been to me, Mindy. When I finally took the plunge and joined twitter (and my icon was that stupid egg), you were the first person to follow me. I SO appreciated that!!
May. 17th, 2012 04:59 am (UTC)
Thanks, Tessa. And aw, your sweet comment made my day! It can feel so lonely when you first join a site like Twitter. I'm glad you didn't have to be alone there for long. :)
Rosie Pova
May. 14th, 2012 11:03 pm (UTC)
Vote For Kindness!
Kindness is the way to go, for there is no other way. At least not one to carry you forward. It's scary to think how its patential impact is boundless and the people involved are heros of their own kind.

Support among writers is so very important, because just like 'it takes a village to raise a child,' it takes a community to deliver a book and paying it forward is always a good idea.

Great post, Mindy, thank you!

Edited at 2012-05-16 06:22 pm (UTC)
May. 17th, 2012 05:02 am (UTC)
Re: Vote For Kindness!
Thanks for your sweet message, Rosie! I've received so much help since I became active in SCBWI--from tips, to agent suggestions, and critiques. I love having the chance to pay it forward!

It's funny how most people picture writers locked away with only a computer. It really does take a community to get a manuscript strong enough to go anywhere near an agent, editor, or bookstore.
Tina Wheatcraft Cho
May. 15th, 2012 02:02 am (UTC)
I'd love to win a critique from you! Thanks for spreading the kindness!
May. 17th, 2012 05:06 am (UTC)
Re: kindness
You're welcome, Tina. Thanks for entering and celebrating Random Acts of Kindness. Good luck!!
May. 15th, 2012 03:29 am (UTC)
Hi, Mindy! Thanks for this generous offer. I enjoy reading your posts and have often wished I lived closer to Florida so I could go to your SCBWI events (although I LOVE the ones in Seattle). Please include me in your drawing.
-Jan O'Neil
May. 17th, 2012 05:05 am (UTC)
Thanks so much, Jan. I wish you lived close enough to attend FL events too...but I'm thrilled that you have fantastic ones in Seattle.

You're included in the drawing. I'll choose the winner tomorrow night and post the name on Friday. Good luck!
May. 15th, 2012 04:16 am (UTC)
Hi Mindy, It's thrilling to watch you speed full-steam ahead with your writing! This Blitz is a wonderful way to say thank you to all your critique partners and friends! What a super opportunity for some very lucky person to get a critique from you:)
May. 15th, 2012 04:30 am (UTC)
Hi Mindy, This is so awesome! I can't pass up a chance to win a critique:)

May. 17th, 2012 05:09 am (UTC)
Thanks, Sue. I'm sorry you had so many problems leaving a comment, and am glad I was able to rescue this and the one above from the Spam filter.

You're entered to win the critique. Good luck!
Rosie Pova
May. 15th, 2012 03:38 pm (UTC)
Spread Some Kindness
Just shared the link to this post on FB. Thanks again, Mindy.
May. 17th, 2012 05:09 am (UTC)
Re: Spread Some Kindness
Thanks, Rosie! I'll make sure your name is entered twice. Good luck. :)
May. 18th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
I'm having so much fun reading all these posts! People are really quite awesome sometimes, aren't they?
May. 19th, 2012 02:41 am (UTC)
The posts are a lot of fun to read! Maybe RAOK will turn into an annual event. :)
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )


Mindy&#39;s head shot
Mindy Alyse Weiss
I write humorous middle-grade novels with heart and quirky picture books.

I'm an Administrator on the SCBWI Blueboard, the FL SCBWI Newsletter Editor and Critique Group Coordinator, and a proud member of From The Mixed Up Files...of Middle-Grade Authors

I've been married for twenty years and have two beautiful daughters, an adventurous Bullmasador adopted from The Humane Society, and an adorable Beagle/Pointer mix pup who was rescued from the Everglades.

I've been published in Highlights three times and placed in the 80th Writer's Digest Competition.


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