A Mother’s Love

A Mother’s Love

A woman pressed her finger into the inky blue night sky.

You too left tiny fingerprints on my soul – a constant reminder that I am not myself only.

The two best aspects of my being walk side-by-side. They call me “Mom”.

My heart still beats beside you as it did the first nine months.

You are never alone. My thoughts are always with you.

We see stars that have extinguished years ago. Still burning bright.

When I am gone, may you still hear my heartbeat, feel the brush of my fingertips on your brow.

May the light of my love never burn out, but always guide you.

-Rachel McKee

guradian angel

Writing Update: Pick Your Favorite

Hi friends,

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged anything about my writing endeavors.

I have four picture book manuscripts that I am going to start querying to agents.

For fun, could you please pick the project/pitch that is the most interesting to you? The book you would most likely pick up for yourself and the children in your life. Please answer in the comment section below.

A) Elsie Goes to Work

During summer break, Elsie goes to work with her mother at a greenhouse. One day, she sees the most beautiful rosebush and wants it for her own. One problem, she may have neglected the last plant her mother bought for her, and now her mother won’t buy her another. She strikes a deal with the owner of the greenhouse: if she helps for the day, she can have the rosebush. How hard can work be? The reward of a job-well-done smells sweet, and Elsie learns that hard work pays off in more ways than one.

B) Mrs. Irish

When Anna’s friend, Mrs. Irish falls ill, Anna must take charge by making the cure for her friend. Anna learns that her mysterious older friend is a witch, and her magic goes wacky when she is sick. Finding the ingredients proves difficult when Anna must deal with a cantankerous cat and rogue fairies that see an opportunity to wreak havoc. Mrs. Irish’s enchanted cottage has been turned upside-down and Anna must cure Mrs. Irish before her house crumbles around them.

C) Cinnamon’s Foal

Hayden and her friends await the arrival of a new baby foal at the stable where they ride. Everyone is surprised and saddened when the foals mother dies during the birth. The girls work together to make sure the new foal has excellent care. By helping the foal, the girls realize that they are healing themselves by caring for the baby who needs them.

D) Animal Diner

Miles learns at school that he can be anything. He knows that he is destined to be a great chef. Nothing can stand in his way. Miles realizes that it’s going to be hard to cook when he isn’t allowed to use the stove or that he can’t reach the mixing bowls. He isn’t even allowed to be in the kitchen without adult supervision. Miles reverts to making food in his backyard. Mud pies and worm spaghetti are fun to make, but Miles yearns for someone to appreciate his skill. Just when Miles’ dreams of becoming a chef begin to fry, a surprise dinner party gathers to enjoy the feast that Miles has carefully arranged.

(Yes, its a bit odd I used my husband’s name for a protagonist but it just fit!)

Have a great day everyone!

-Rachel McKee

Ever Optimistic

I participated in another Twitter Pitch party. I haven’t received and “hearts” on my pitch.

THE LITTLE PRINCESS + THE SECRET GARDEN

An independent girl takes a job at a whimsical greenhouse in hopes of a beautiful reward. She will have to rely on her determination and pluck to get through the mud, worms, and other messy challenges. #PitMad #PB

The road to publishing is long for most. I have a degree in literature, and I quit a career in technical editing and writing to stay at home with my children. That is when I started this blog.

I’ve been writing intensely for almost 10 years. To some that’s a lot, to others just a warm up to the publishing marathon. For me it’s joy and frustration, maddening and elation.

The bottom line is that I believe this is my path. I am suppose to write. Whatever that means.

I may not receive any likes on my pitch, but I did pitch. I had a screaming seven-month-old and a two-year-old vying for my phone and attention, but I pitched! I’m proud of that.

-Rachel

Essay or Children’s Book?

Every children’s book is a short story, but not every short story is a children’s book.

I’ve been writing children’s literature for about a year, and I still have so much to learn. Where can I improve most? Stop over thinking, and over complicating the story.

Even though my goal is to reach children, I’m still writing for adults. My strongest writing is short non-fiction. Therefore, my children book manuscripts are based on my own childhood. That’s my comfort zone.

The problem though, is that I’m reflecting on these experiences with the eyes of an adult – and that is how they are written.

Children understand big concepts, and depending on the age, they are starting to grasp big emotions. However, when I start focusing on the moral, and lessons-learned from my experiences, the fun and adventure can fade out of focus.

I’ve edited a lot of children’s book manuscripts that are “in-work” and I’ve noticed this trend. We need to write to keep a child’s attention and it’s hard, we want to put our big adult ideas all over it. Kids are smart, they have keen ears, and when we start hammering morals and lessons into stories all they hear is, “preach, preach, preach” and let’s be honest, nobody wants to hear that (especially a seven-year-old). Yet children’s book authors are quick to make that mistake.

So, if you’re wondering where my focus is when I’m editing its to take the “preach” out of my text. Carefully weaving the moral or lesson into the story.

I typically let my writing lead and I follow. Sometimes I’m disappointed when I set out to write a children’s book and end up with a personal essay, but I firmly believe that we write how and when we need to write. Through writing we dig into our sub-conscious and unravel a truth we’ve been searching inward to find.

If we end with a different genre than we intended, well then, so be it.

-Rachel McKee

Looking Back

When you look back,
may the sun illuminate every raindrop, shadow, and angry cloud.

Find the golden line of clarity around every moment you asked,
“Why me?!”.

May you see the beauty of the sunlight and rain that make up your life
and realize you needed both to grow.

May you draw strength and wisdom from every storm,
and let peace fill your soul.

 

-Rachel McKee

For My Valentine

Your mere existence reminds me every day that anything is possible. Your gentle, patient, loving nature, so unlike anything I’d experienced before. You, my husband are beyond anything I’d ever known.

Nobody makes me laugh like you do. You are so funny without trying.

I’m still in awe of you. I still crush hard on you. You are the one I want to be with forever. You are my home.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you my Love.

*******

AND Happy Valentine’s Day to you my friends! This year Miles surprised me with inflatable stand up paddle boards. I’m SO excited to get out and use them. Stay tuned for pictures of our paddling adventures.

Photography note: Miles staged this photo last weekend. We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs getting that pose.

♥Have a wonderful day.♥

-Rachel McKee

Take Me Home River

Take me home river.

Ride your current,

go with the flow.

By childhood dreams

and brother streams,

Take me home river,

take me home.

Stars guide the way,

to the family that stayed.

The light burns inside,

for the kin who strayed.

Take me home river,

take me home.

– Rachel McKee

Micro Fiction: Nowhere

There are places in my head that I’ve created. I’d like to go to one in particular.

The walls, the floor, and the ceiling are wet, glossy stones. The air is heavy with the smell of Earth and water.

There is one large window with a view of a deep green field. Wild lavender bushes burst through the green and shake in the breeze.

I perch inside this residential cave upon the bench that surrounds a circular Koi pond. Lily pads float on top of the water and the bright orange fish slither about.

The tinkling fountain vibrates around the room and fills my ears.

I am there and yet I’m not. Just as this room exists but does not.

-Rachel McKee

Parent’s Accomplishments and Failures: Why We Should Celebrate Both

Growing up, and even now, I knew how lucky I was to have my mother. She always put me and my brother first. Her patience was vast, but it was not limitless.

Sometimes when I have a “bad parent day” and I snap, yell, show my teeth and scream into a pillow, I think about my mother. Her ocean of patience. How she would help me solve all of  my little-kid problems. She was gentle, thoughtful, and loving.

Instead of this comforting me, or pushing me to do better, I feel worst about my own parenting failures. When I think of my mother’s near saint-hood I begin to wonder why I didn’t inherit those motherly genes. But the other day, I flashed on a vivid memory:

My mother slamming the front door hard enough to make the windows shutter. Her stomping down our front porch to go to the laundry room. (Our laundry room had a separate, outdoor entrance.) Throughout her mad march, she would swear and mumble things like, “Ungrateful, spoiled, frustrating.”. I would scream through my window as she walked by, “I can hear you!” She didn’t care and she didn’t stop, she just kept right on with her mumbling madness. The laundry room was on the other side of my room and I could hear her swear and pound on the washer and dryer with her fists, until eventually she would begin to sob.

I realized upon reflection that I relate to her most through her imperfections.

Her outbursts that at the time offended my seven-year-old-self, actually brings great comfort now that I too understand the stress of parenthood.

After her laundry room breakdowns, she would always come back inside and apologize. She would explain why she was mad and frustrated and we would talk about our fight.

Our reconciliations were perhaps the greatest lessons she could bestow upon me as a child. I appreciate them more as a stressed-out adult.

None of us are perfect and we all lose our minds at times. To pretend that we don’t would be a disservice to our own children. The most important lesson she taught me was to own up to my mistakes and show myself grace when I fall.

Her parenting techniques have stuck with me and are reflected in the care of my own children. I hope my children see the patience in me that my own mother wore like a shawl around her strong shoulders, but when I slip, as she did too, I hope I recover with grace and love.

Rachel McKee