Pat McCarthy is the author of a dozen nonfiction books for children and young adults. She has published numerous stories, articles, puzzles and quizzes in magazines for children and adults. She teaches for the Institute of Children's Literature. She has also written encyclopedia articles and school curriculum. Pat is a retired elementary school teacher who subs to remain in touch with kids. Her hobbies are photography, travel, birding and scrapbooking.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Productive Writing Day

Well, I got quite a lot done today. I sent out letters to seven publishers that do YA biographies, asking if they have any biographies to assign.

I sent resumes, too.

Then I wrote three articles and submitted them to

One is on what you need to get started in scrapbooking, one is on Flag Day and the other is on the history of jigsaw puzzles. If I don't sub tomorrow, I hope to get caught up with my lessons from ICL. I didn't get any new ones today - just a check. I've gotten seven new students, but have only heard from one so far. I already critiqued her assignment and wrote the letter. I know she will be anxious to hear. Hope to get more students soon.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Church Today

It was nice to go to church this morning. It's the first time I've been home on Sunday morning since Easter! I told Pete, our pastor, that I think I'm going to be home the next two weekends, too.

I researched several short articles today and wrote one about Memorial Day and submitted it to . Didn't realize till after I submitted it that they only approve articles during working hours, so I guess it will get posted after the fact. I'd better get the one about Flag Day done and posted in a more timely manner!
I'm trying to go through all the tubs of stuff I took out of the garage when I made it into a family room. I want to have a garage sale to make money for the West Virginia trip, so I have to have it by the middle of June.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

A Fun Day of Subbing

I had an interesting experience when I was subbing in fifth grade the other day. A boy raised his hand and said, "What did you say your name was?" I said, "Miss McCarthy." He asked, "Is that McCarthy or McCartney?" I told him. He asked, "How do you spell that?" I spelled it for him. He gave me a strange look, then said, "What is your first name?" When I said it was Pat, he said, "Did you write that Daniel Boone book?" I said I had, and he cried, "Hey, guys, she wrote the Daniel Boone book that Mrs. H. has in her room! That blue one!" They seemed quite impressed, then a girl pulled my Henry Ford book out of her desk and said, "Then she wrote this one, too!" Kind of fun to be just a LITTLE bit famous!

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Please Read My Articles at

All nine of the articles that I had submitted so far to are now live on the site. I'd appreciate it if some of you would go read some of them and comment on them or rate them. I'm surprised how many of them are being read and are being used.They're supposed to approve them faster after you have ten, but the last ones only took a day to be approved. Also I just submitted number 10.

As soon as school is out in two weeks, I want to start writing some longer articles to submit to magazines. I may use some of the articles I've posted as the basis for longer articles. It's been a long time since I've submitted to magazines. Really, since I started the first book in 1998. I also need to send out query letters to publishers who do biographies to see if they have any to assign.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Mohican State Park

I spent the weekend at beautiful Mohican State Park in northeastern Ohio. I was attending the Ohio Ornithological Society's annual conference, so everything was about birds. Four of us shared a cabin, which was very nice. Regina and I had a bedroom with twin beds, and so did Steve and Dave. We had a livingroom with gas fireplace and TV, a fully-equipped kitchen, bathroom and a screened-in porch. It cost us about half what it would have cost to stay in the lodge. The food was great and the field trips were good. Saw about 70 species of birds, and added Kentucky Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler and Louisiana Waterthrush to the warblers on my year list.

The trip inspired two articles for the Article Challenge, so I wrote them and submitted them last night. They are still pending approval, so it will probably be a few days before they are live. One is called "Upgrade Your Bird Identification Skills by Learning Mnemonics" and the other is called "Amish Swallows Help Save Cliff Swallows in Ohio." I decided to write the first one when I felt the need to learn more of the birds' songs and calls in order to identify ones I couldn't see. The second was inspired by a visit to an Amish farm, where there was a colony of cliff swallows which included hundreds of nests.

Quite a few people have viewed my first two articles, "Migratory Bird Day at Magee Marsh" and "Eight Easy Steps to Writing an Article for Children." You can see my articles at .

I also submitted three other short travel articles today which were published several years ago. I own the rights to them, so it was okay to use them again.

Now I need to get to work and get some more written!

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Read My Article at the National Writing for Children Center!

Suzanne Lieurance has picked up my article from to use at the National Writing for Children Center.

The article is entitled "Eight Easy Steps to Writing an Article for Children." Read it at the National Writing for Children Center or at

This weekend marks the last of my travels for a month or so. I'm going to Mohican State Park in northern Ohio for the Ohio Ornithological Society's annual conference. Next week I plan to write a BUNCH of articles!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My First Two Articles Have Been Posted!

The first two articles I wrote for the Lieurance-King Spring Article Challenge are up on The titles are "Eight Easy Steps to Writing an Article for Children" and "Migratory Bird Day at Magee Marsh." The second one is about three days late, since Migratory Bird Day was Saturday, but the migration through Magee Marsh is still going strong. I drove up there today (three hours) and birded till about 4:00, then drove home. Lots of warblers are still passing through.

Now that those two articles have been approved, I need to get busy writing some more. This weekend I'm going to the Ohio Ornithological Society annual conference at Mohican State Park in eastern Ohio. I had planned to go from there to my sister's to spend a week with her, but plans changed. She spent Friday through today in the hospital with a bad attack of colitis, so she doesn't feel up to having company. She will be eating a very bland diet and resting a lot, which won't fit into our usual style of scrapbook shopping, eating out and scrapbooking. So I'll have next week at home to clean, write articles, and maybe sub a couple of days.

I've also agreed to do a scrapbooking blog for . As soon as I have the URL for that blog and have made my first post, I'll let you know what it is.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

First Two Article Finished!

Well, I have my first two articles written for the Article Challenge! One is about writing articles for children's magazines and the other is about May birding at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area in Northern Ohio.

I haven't posted them to an article directory yet, but when I do, I'll give you the URL so you can read them.

I did figure out how to get a picture on this blog. Now I'll see if it stays where it belongs or moves below this post, which I'm afraid it will do. I'd like to add some photos to the Smoky Mountains post if I still can.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Stalled at Writing!

Well, my writing has been pretty much stalled for a long time, so in order to give it a boost, I've joined the Lieurance-King Spring Article Challenge sponsored by writers Suzanne Lieurance and Kristen King. I first met Suzanne online on a writing list, then we became fellow authors for Enslow. I met her in person at a children's writers' workshop at Wildacres in North Carolina several years ago. We've been friends ever since.

The challenge is to write 30 articles in May and June and post them to article directories online. From there editors of newsletters or online magazines can pick them up and use them. I wondered at first why I should give away 30 articles instead of submitting them to paying markets, but Suzanne has convinced me that this will give me more traffic to my blog and more exposure for my writing.

Since the articles are short, around 400-500 words, I can still write longer, more in-depth articles on the same topics for submission to magazines. So I decided to give it a try. If I write 30 articles in two months, I should be in the article-writing mode and be able to jump from this to submitting to magazines. I haven't done that since I started writing my first book in 1998. Guess it's about time I got back to it. After ten books, I feel like I'd like to do some magazine stuff, although I would also love to do more books, especially biographies.

So I'm off to write my first article. I'll check in tomorrow and tell you it's all done!


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Too Busy to Post!

I've been busy and haven't blogged for awhile. I recently spent a week in the Smoky Mountains, photographing the national park. We only spent half a day in Gatlinburg. Some people think Gatlinburg is synonymous with the Smokies. I think it's too commercialized - a real tourist trap. I did have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe there, which was an experience. I'm glad that the $10 hamburger really was the best one I've ever had! Also enjoyed looking at Ken Jenkins' photography at his Beneath the Smoke gallery.

No thanks to the nice young man there whom we asked about a drug store or grocery so we could buy Airborne (cold medicine.) He told us what road to take to find Food City. "You can't miss it. It's on the left. You'll think you've gone too far, but you haven't." Well, after 21 miles, we decided that we had, indeed, gone too far! I'd have turned around sooner, but my friend was driving and he kept thinking we couldn't have missed it. We got right back to the edge of Gatlinburg and there it was, FOOD CITY! The only problem is that the building faces away from Gatlinburg and the only sign is on the front of the building! So there is NO way we could have seen it without turning around and looking back. He COULD have said, "It's across from the municipal building."

Despite that mishap, we had a wonderful time and got some great pictures. We stayed in Townsend with 39 other people from several photo clubs, mostly from Dayton, Ohio. Spent most of our time in Cade's Cove, where we photographed bears, wild turkeys, pileated woodpeckers, deer, trees, mountains, fog, flowers, log cabins, and much much more. My photos are far superior to the ones I took the weekend before with the same camera. The difference? I used my tripod. I don't like using it and had gotten out of the habit, but I was shooting with Tim and he was using his all the time, so I decided to try it. It wasn't so bad, and the results were definitely worth the bother.

I took over 1000 pictures, but you can do that with digital and not waste film or money. Each evening, I put them on my laptop and cleared my card. I thought I might have lost all my photos, though. On Friday night, I found out that my laptop doesn't like Dr. Pepper as much as I do! I had a fourth of a bottle setting there and accidentally knocked it over. It landed on something and I saw a few drops that had squirted out the top. I wiped them off the table and went on downloading my pictures. Then I went through and turned them rightside up, then was deleting a few slightly blurry ones, when the monitor went off. I thought something was unplugged, so checked all the connections. All okay. So I turned it so the light shone on the keyboard and saw....several big drops of Dr. Pepper. I turned the laptop upside down and about two tablespoons of liquid came out.

I couldn't get it to come back on then, or Saturday or Sunday. I was hoping someone could take out the hard drive and get the photos off it. Got home Sunday night, and Monday I tried turning on the laptop. It came on and has worked fine ever since! Needless to say, I will NOT have any liquid near it again. And I put all the photos on CD's in case my reprieve is temporary!

Pat McCarthy

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