My name is Cara J. Stevens, and I’m a children’s author, editor and freelance writer. I write to tell stories, inform, educate, inspire, encourage and entertain readers, but I also write to let the characters in my head have their say.
Today I am a writer in search of a story.
Trying to breathe in but the stillness
won’t let me catch my breath.
Fingers poised on the keys
26 letters to choose from
None seem to fit
A cold, wet nose at my leg
Somehow sensing my emptiness, my companion offers to fill it the only way he knows how
He brings a shoe.
Not mine, but still.
The message is clear.
Leash in hand. One leads the other
Out into the world.
A fog swirls, creating a bubble of us
The February breeze blows fragrant air, carrying a scent…
Last week, I got a text from an acquaintance I hadn’t seen or spoken to in years. “I just got the same car as you!”
I was stunned. How did she know? We knew noone in common. We lived on opposite ends of the continent. I barely remembered being friends with her, but apparently when we first met, we must have connected on Facebook, at which point I promptly forgot she even existed. She never posted, but that didn’t stop her from keeping tabs on what I, and everyone else she had connected with, was up to.
She was a…
It took more than a decade to build up a freelance practice that allowed me to freelance full-time. To be fair, I am, by nature, an overly cautious person, especially when it comes to money. But I’m not going to lie: it can take a long time to make the transition from working full-time for a company to becoming a freelance writer.
Walk in bad circles
Swim in a whirlpool of doubt
Drown in old habits
When I was a tween, I was always on the lookout for a deeper meaning. A message could be found in a fortune cookie just as easily as an ad in a teen magazine. One ad in particular struck my imagination: Gloria Vanderbilt’s perfume. The slogan — “Break free and feel how splendid you are” — really hit the mark for me. The imagery drove the message home — a swan, clearly transformed from an ugly duckling, appeared mid-glide on a glassy lake. If a swan…
In the past two years, I’ve edited 18 picture books and advised on a dozen more. I’ve also turned down about 50 manuscripts that weren’t yet ready for an editor’s critical eye. The number one reason I send authors back to the drawing board is that they’ve submitted an idea, not a manuscript.
It’s a hard truth to tell someone who has poured out all their hopes onto a page in raw optimism and inspiration that what they have presented to you isn’t what they think it is. Most of the time, what feels like a perfect first draft to…
A family tradition delivering Meals on Wheels continues through the holidays
This tanka poem is in response to Dennett’s prompt: Empty Bellies
Our list grows longer
The car filled with kids and bags
We ring the doorbell
Happy Holidays, we shout
Bags gone, hearts full, We head home
This year, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve both fell on Thursdays, which also happens to be our delivery day for Meals on Wheels. …
2020 stole many things from all of us: freedom to travel, gather, spend time with loved ones, go to work, and just about every daily activity we took for granted.
For me, I think it also took away much of my grooviness: the part of me that practiced yoga and felt like it centered me or grounded me; the part that walked into a used bookstore and decided in advance to buy the fifth book I touched; the part that wanted to dye my hair purple because no one expected me to; the part that thought running and setting exercise…
For many years, I’ve dreamed of attending a low-residence MFA program, but the cost is prohibitive and I can’t really commit to two or more years away from work to study a craft I’m already earning a living at.
When March 2020 hit, my freelance writing gigs ground to a halt. I had free time as far as the eye could see while everyone else in my family was busy at work or with school. …
Bookishly Yours, by Cara Stevens, features articles about writing, musings on life, attempts at humor, and interviews with kidlit authors and illustrators.