Recently I came across a review of my first book Cowgirl Lessons that I had not seen before. While favorable, it questioned my use of Cowgirl in the title. The reviewer questioned it as the story had noting to do with western riding (in the reviewers opinion – said it was English) or the cowgirl […]
By : raerankin | Oct 16, 2018

Do you like to write?

I spent the day a few weekends ago at a craft fair in Redmond, WA. It was a beautiful day up here in the Pacific Northwest, one of those rare days as we come out of winter where the sun is out and it’s not too hot. The craft fair was sparsely attended, probably due […]
By : raerankin | Jun 24, 2018

I’ve Written a Children’s Book Now What? Budget & Business Planning

I realized as I was getting ready to start writing the post giving tips on how to find an illustrator that I had not written anything about budget. Don’t cringe. Understanding your budget is a critical part of this process not only for finding an illustrator, but once you have that book in hand and […]
By : raerankin | Jun 15, 2018

I’ve Written a Children’s Book, Now What? Part VI

Illustrations There are many decisions an independent author must make when deciding to publish a children’s book. And one of the biggest decisions revolves around illustrations. If you are trying to publish your book traditionally through a publishing company, you more than likely will not have to choose an illustrator. Most traditional publishing houses do […]
By : raerankin | May 18, 2018

Z is for Zucchini Bread and the Zoo

When I was growing up, my grandmother had a house on the Oregon coast in a small town called Arch Cape. Arch Cape is a beautiful spot, just south of Cannon Beach (famous for it’s Haystack Rock). Every summer until I was in 8th grade my sister and I spent a month at her house. […]
By : raerankin | May 1, 2018

Y is for Yens

If you are a Gilmore Girls fanatic like I  am you will certainly recall the episode where Rory goes golfing with her grandfather. As they are walking along, Richard says to Rory, I suppose you have a yen for travelling. To which Rory responds,  “I am up to my ears in yens.” With the publication […]
By : raerankin | Apr 29, 2018

X Marks the Spot

Most of us have gone through a period where we were (or still are) fascinated by pirates. For most we probably started this fascination by watching  Disney’s Peter Pan or Robin Hood. Our pirating adventures have been furthered by Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Carribbean  (my favorite ride at Disneyland) and the Dread […]
By : raerankin | Apr 28, 2018

W is for Writing

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a question I’ve gotten in several interviews, it’s the one where I’m asked, “When did I know I was a writer?” I can pinpoint events in my life that have led me on this journey to where I am now, but to seriously say, “Hey everyone look at […]
By : raerankin | Apr 27, 2018

V is for Vignette

I have written numerous blog posts here on the definition of a word and its relation to writing. Today as I was brainstorming on the letter V (you almost got a post about vineyards), I landed on the word vignette. A vignette is a short description or scene more about evoking meaning through imagery than […]
By : raerankin | Apr 27, 2018

U is for the Unknown

Unknown adjective not known; not within the range of one’s knowledge, experience, or understanding; strange; unfamiliar. not discovered, explored, identified, or ascertained:the unknown parts of Antarctica. not widely known; not famous; obscure: an unknown writer.   I found it rather ironic when I decided to write this post about the word unknown and how it […]
By : raerankin | Apr 25, 2018

T is for The Golden Flip-Flop: A Cinderella Story (Part One)

Authors Note: This was originally supposed to be a short, sort of silly story that my husband and I made up on the fly one night recently after he gave me a gold flip flop necklace for our anniversary. When I sat down to write it for T, it took a mind of its own […]
By : raerankin | Apr 25, 2018

S is for Storyline

I am currently working on my next children’s picture book. For those of you who read my first, Cowgirl Lessons, you will happy to know I am working on another horse book. While writing my first two children’s books I had a vision of the storyline before I started. This one is a little different. […]
By : raerankin | Apr 22, 2018

R is for Reading

One of the most common pieces of advice most writers receive is to never stop reading. Read in your genre, read books about the craft, read books that interest you. I read a lot. I drive my husband a little crazy because I can read while he watches TV. He will ask me if I […]
By : raerankin | Apr 21, 2018

Q is for Quirks

Quirk – noun – a peculiar behavioral habit. Writers are an odd bunch. A club I embrace wholeheartedly. Part of the time we live in a fantasy world within our head, voices chattering at us trying to get our attention to tell their story. Other times we are frantically writing (or trying to write) those […]
By : raerankin | Apr 20, 2018

P is for Playlists

When I was a teenager we called play lists, mix tapes. We created these tapes by waiting by the radio for the song we wanted to record to come on, hoping to recognize it from the first few seconds that came through the speaker of our boom box. Our fingers hovering over the record button […]
By : raerankin | Apr 19, 2018

O is for Obstacles

I find we as writers have a tendency to put obstacles in the way of our writing. Whether we admit to it or not, they are there. Sometimes it is a physical obstacle. Over extending ourselves to the point of having no time whatsoever to write. Following the proverbial rabbit down the hole we call […]
By : raerankin | Apr 18, 2018

N is for Neville

I bet most of you thought I was going to talk about Neville Longbottom from the Harry Potter series but alas, although he was one of my favorite characters, especially played by Matthew Lewis, it is not the Neville I speak of. When I was in my second year of college I was introduced to […]
By : raerankin | Apr 17, 2018

M is for Mountain

There are beautiful mountains all over the world. I live in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, have seen the snow covered mountain ranges of Alaska, and stood at the base of the Matterhorn and the Swiss Alps. But none have my heart as much as the mountain of my youth. I grew up at the […]
By : raerankin | Apr 15, 2018

L is for Library

Some of my earliest memories (besides digging in the dirt with my best friend) are of my mother taking me to the library. I would race to the shelves and dig through the stacks to find my favorite books. One in particular, called Molly’s Moe, I must have checked out at least once every other […]
By : raerankin | Apr 14, 2018

K is for Kindred Spirits

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables Ok I admit it. I’m an Anne of Green Gables nerd. It is one of my favorite book series and I absolutely love […]
By : raerankin | Apr 12, 2018

J is for Juggling

Finding time to write while working full time, having an active child, a second job doing consulting work, time for my hubby, and all the other interests I have is a juggling act to say the least. I have found that unfortunately some of the day to day interests I have need to be kicked […]
By : raerankin | Apr 11, 2018

I is for Inspiration

I recently read an article about the top ten things publishers don’t want to hear in query letters. I was struck by the author pointing out that publishers don’t want to hear what inspired you to write the story. They must hear it a lot, so much so that it has lost credibility with them. […]
By : raerankin | Apr 11, 2018

H is for Horse

When we first moved to the PNW, Liz wanted to get back into riding. She had about two years off while we lived in Utah. After some research, I started her at a local ranch taking lessons once a week. Everything went well for the the first few months, then we flew back to California […]
By : raerankin | Apr 10, 2018

G is for Ghost

When I was about 12 or 13, I remember being fascinated with reading books on UFOs, Bigfoot, ghosts, ESP, the supernatural. I grew up in the town of Mt. Shasta. Some consider the mountain to be one of the spirtual wonders of the world. I grew up with people flooding into town to witness the […]
By : raerankin | Apr 8, 2018

F is for Family

I’ve been participating in an Instagram challenge this month called #bookparty18. Each day there is a different prompt to post that is book related. Today’s prompt was a book with an awesome mom character. I posted a picture of A Year on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball. What I like about this book is the way […]
By : raerankin | Apr 7, 2018

E is for Erin

I’d like to take a moment and introduce you to one of my sisters of the heart. I met her when we were in 2nd grade (no counting how many years). I can only imagine now what that conversation was like back then. “I like horses do you like horses? I like to read, do […]
By : raerankin | Apr 7, 2018

D is for Daughter

When I hit the letter D today, I was stumped for awhile. So many people participating in the endeavor had a month to plan themes around the letters and here I was (already starting a few days behind) wondering what I was going to write about the letter D. I settled on writing a little […]
By : raerankin | Apr 7, 2018

C is for Challenge

The definition of a challenge is a call to take part in a contest or a competition. A call to take part in. A contest or competition. What the basic definition doesn’t point out is that a challenge can be internal or external. For the most part we writers face the internal challenge, letting our […]
By : raerankin | Apr 6, 2018

B is for Bear

I’ve decided to play a little word association with the letters as they come up for this blogging challenge. Possibly pick the first word that comes to my head when I say the letter out loud. As the title of this blog suggests, bear was the first thing I thought of when I said “B.”  […]
By : raerankin | Apr 5, 2018

A is for Adventure

I have always been the one friend that is up for adventure. So when I was listening to a recent podcast (Vikki J. Carter’s Authors of the Pacific Northwest), I was introduced to the A to Z Bloggers Challenge. The A to Z challenge basically challenges Bloggers to blog 26 times in the month of […]
By : raerankin | Apr 4, 2018

Book Review: Barney the Lopsided Mule

I was recently out on the internet reaching out to other children’s book authors when I came across The Cowgirl Poet, Liz Hughley. Her back story intrigued me, having grown up listening to my father’s stories of packing supplies into fire lookout towers in the Idaho and Montana wilderness. Liz spent a good portion of […]
By : raerankin | Dec 13, 2017

I’ve Written A Children’s Book, Now What? Part V

If you have been following my current blog series, I’ve been talking about the process once you’ve completed writing your children’s book. So far we’ve discussed critique and editing, number of pages and trim size, character mapping, and storyboarding. We are getting closer to that all important aspect of finding an illustrator. Illustrations are as […]
By : raerankin | Nov 25, 2017

I’ve Written a Children’s Book, Now What? Part IV?

Story Boarding  At this point in your journey to publish your children’s book, you are probably wondering what to do next.  This is a good point to start focusing your attention on what you want your illustrations to look like.   Storyboarding was originally created by the Walt Disney company as a way of visually displaying, […]
By : raerankin | Nov 20, 2017

I’ve Written A Children’s Book Now What? Part III

Character Mapping Depending on where you are in the process of writing your book, character mapping will prove to be an invaluable step.  I actually recommend you start character mapping even before you start writing. This is where you really get to know your characters, who they are, what motivates them, etc. Although sometimes your […]
By : raerankin | Nov 11, 2017

I’ve Written a Children’s Book, Now What? Part II

Number of Pages and Trim Size I’ve been seeing a lot of questions from people on the groups I follow on Facebook who have just finished writing their story and want to know how to find an illustrator. My first reaction is SLOW DOWN! There are still plenty of things you need to consider before […]
By : raerankin | Nov 4, 2017

I’ve Written a Children’s Book, Now What? Part I

I’ve Written a Children’s Book, Now What? Part 1: Critique and Editing I’m taking this from the viewpoint that you have made the decision to self-publish your children’s book. Maybe you have sent it to publishers and have already received rejection notices OR you have decided to go the self-publishing route from the get go. […]
By : raerankin | Oct 21, 2017

Becoming an Author

Becoming an author has been a life long dream of mine. I started becoming interested in writing when I was in 7th grade. I remember my 7th grade English teacher (because back then it was still called English) encouraged me to write. Both she and my mom both said one day I would write the […]
By : raerankin | Oct 18, 2017