Guest Post From Author Amy Dixon! (And A Giveaway!!!)

Happy Monday Everyone!

Boy did I wrestle with this post.

As you know, today is our day for a guest post from Amy Dixon, author of MARATHON MOUSE.  (And did I mention there’s a giveaway?!!)

It was also supposed to be the day I posted the Halloweensie Contest Finalists (of which there are a lot more than 3 because at final count we had 38 entries and 3 finalists was simply not a number I could get down to with so many fantastic stories!!!)

I actually started writing the post thinking I’d put everything in.

But by the time I got to the end of Amy’s part, I knew it wasn’t going to work.  Wonderful as you all are, I felt it was just too much to ask you to go on from Amy’s post to the contest finalists – it was getting VERY long.  So since today is her scheduled day, I hope you will all thoroughly enjoy her post, which is full of inspiring words for writers!  I will post the Halloweensie Contest finalists in a separate post either later on today or tomorrow (which I realize is not a normal posting day for me) – feel free to tell me in the comments which you’d prefer!

So without further ado, heeeeerrrre’s AMY!

Amy Dixon

When I was growing up, some of my favorite books involved one Miss Ramona Quimby. I’m sure I related to her trials as the little sister, and to her attempts to prove herself worthy of admiration and acceptance. I will say though, that Ramona went to much greater lengths to gain such admiration. I never accidentally cracked a raw egg on my head, or wore a Chiquita banana sticker on my face in order to be a part of the latest fad. But I was always delighted by her antics, and always wished, in spite of what seemed like constant embarrassment, that I could be more like her. What perhaps now I would categorize as impulsiveness, I then regarded as bravery. Ramona was brave. I wanted to be brave, too.
It was my affection for Ramona that made the nickname I earned on the soccer field when I was 10 a little more palatable. My sister and I both played on a team called The Golden Touch. I wasn’t a flashy player. I don’t think I ever saved or scored a goal. But our coach would put me in the midfield, point out one of our opponents and say, “Don’t you let her get by you.” I took his charge seriously. I followed that player around on the field like a stray puppy who was once given a scrap and was hoping for more. I would not leave her alone for a second. And so, on the soccer field, I became Amy the Pest.
When I started writing for children six years ago, I had no idea the tenacity that would be required to make things happen in this business. It definitely called for a bit of…pesty-ness.  Not a bombard-agents-and-editors-with-e-mails-and-phone-calls-till-your-name-is-engraved-on-their-list-of-psycho-writers kind of pesty-ness. But a persistent, persevering, resilient kind of pesty-ness. A pesty-ness that revises the same manuscript 27 times until it is just perfect…and then starts from scratch because an editor thinks it would work better in third person.  A pesty-ness that takes in each painful rejection and yet still finds a way to send the story back out again. A pesty-ness that makes us certain those rejections will be fun to share later in a “look how many times my amazing, award-winning story was scoffed at before it sold!” presentation.
And so, 20 years after my days as a half-back for the Golden Touch, Amy the Pest was resurrected. I wrote. I revised. I critiqued. I conferenced. I submitted. I was rejected. I revised some more. I submitted some more. I was rejected some more. I buzzed in the ear of the publishing world, and was swatted away again and again.
But like Ramona and her questions about Steam Shovels and their bathroom habits, I wouldn’t go away. I believed in my work. I had critique partners who believed in my work. And somewhere in there, somewhere in between growing as a writer and learning the business of publishing, I became brave. Brave enough to send out MARATHON MOUSE, even after getting some discouraging editor feedback. (So…all that happens in this book is…he runs? Am I missing something?) Brave enough to get a publisher’s offer on MARATHON MOUSE, and ask the editor for 2 weeks to follow-up with agents before saying yes. Brave enough to now say out loud, “I am a writer.”
Get your copy today! 🙂
So here I am…Amy Dixon, Age 37. Here to encourage you to channel your inner Ramona. Release your pesty-ness.  Learn to be brave. You will grow as a writer, even if, every once in a while, you end up with a little raw egg on your head.

Wasn’t that just terrific?  Thank you so much for those inspiring words, Amy!

I will tell you all that I have read MARATHON MOUSE and will be posting it this Friday as my Perfect Picture Book – it’s fantastic and I highly recommend it and you should all find any excuse you can to buy it! 🙂

In the meantime, one lucky, lucky reader is going to win a signed copy, because Amy is just that wonderful!  All you have to do is leave a comment telling about something you accomplished (like a marathon :))  For example, I could say that once I was Sneezy in our third grade play of Blanche Neige – and if you’ve ever tried to sneeze in French you will know just what an accomplishment that was!  But I realize it’s Monday morning and many of you may not be fully caffeinated yet, so if you can’t remember anything you’ve accomplished at this hour you can just write why you’d like the book 🙂

Stay tuned for the Halloweensie Contest Finalists and don’t forget to let me know if you have a preference for later today or tomorrow.  The post is already written because it used to be half of this one 🙂

Have a lovely Monday 🙂

114 thoughts on “Guest Post From Author Amy Dixon! (And A Giveaway!!!)

  1. delores @ thefeatherednest says:

    What have I accomplished…well let's see…gosh I'm old enough I must have done something. Well, I took over from the wedding planners and did my daughters wedding. That WAS a marathon lol.
    Give yourself a break Susanna and post the contest finalists tomorrow.

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Oh my gosh, Delores – that MUSt have been a marathon! Wedding planning is not for the faint of heart! And it's you guys I'm worrying about needing a break – the contest finalist post is all written and ready to go whenever… although I'm still agonizing over having to cut so many great stories! 😦

  3. Tina Cho says:

    I, too, grew up on Ramona and Beezus books! I like this post, to release your pestyness and bravery! Thanks, Amy and Susanna. What have I accomplished? Nothing sporty, but I've accomplished living overseas for 2.3 years, homeschooling and writing.

  4. iza trapani says:

    Great post, Amy! I loved your line: “I buzzed in the ear of the publishing world, and was swatted away again and again.” It happens to all of us. Perseverance is key! Congrats on your book! Can't wait to read it.

    Something I accomplished? I overcame my fear of heights and became a rock climber and guide!

    Susanna, I think you should break rules and post tomorrow. We will all need some fun reading to offset election day angst!

  5. Ruth Schiffmann says:

    What a wonderful post, Amy. Thanks so much for sharing your story and in the process leaving me feeling inspired and encouraged. I wish you much success with Marathon Mouse and I look forward to reading it myself.

  6. Patricia Nozell says:

    What a terrific post, Amy & Susanna. Peskiness & perseverance- just what I need to get past mile 25 in my quest as a children's writer (even though I can't fathom running a marathon). And maybe a bit more faith in myself.

    What I've accomplished? Some days I wonder. Other days, I look back on the careers I've had & think about the organisations I supported that are still going strong; or I look at my three almost adult kids & think about the times we've persevered together (supporting a child through chemo while commuting across an ocean did take its toll); and then I think about the places I'll go…

    Now, off to decide which golden ring to grab as the carousel spins…

    Re when to post the Halloweensie Contest results, either day it will be a real treat to enjoy the creativity of this wonderful PB community.

    Thank you both for some sunshine on this chilly, snow-showery, November day!

  7. Heather Newman says:

    Thank you, Amy! What a beautiful post on pesty perseverance and a willingness to work your fanny off. Congratulations on your book and I'm looking forward to reading it.

    I would consider my greatest accomplishments to be the decisions in my life that felt like jumping off of the edge of a cliff: pulling my kids out of school, selling the house to travel in an RV, joining a critique group and sending out my stories to be examined and reviewed. All equally exhilarating and terrifying.

  8. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    Thanks for sharing your story Amy! I can't wait to get my hands on your book. (Susanna, I think another day is fine. I agree with Iza's thought about election day. 🙂 Thanks for sharing Amy's story with us).

  9. Joanna Marple says:

    Oh how this pot resonated with me, Amy. And I kind of sneekily hope that editor reads Marathon Mouse and realizes that, yes, she was missing something!

    I am inhaling some of this pesky, pest-pereseverance! Well, I have lived in and adapted to seven very different cultures/nations, and I am about t do it again!

    Susanna, good call to devote this post to Amy, tomorrow would seem a good day to be VOTING on the halloweensie tales!

  10. Patricia Tilton says:

    Love you spirit and perseverance! I am eager to read Susanna's review and your book. Good for you for believing in your work and proving the editor wrong. Great interview!

  11. Robyn Campbell says:

    Excellent post!!! I cannot wait to read your book. *being swatted at* as we speak. For the umpteenth thousandth time. Thanks Amy. And thanks Susanna. Susanna, do not worry about the contest. The finalists will be happy no matter when you post their names. You have a lot going on. Everyone gets that. Hugging you tight. Feel it?

  12. Angela Brown says:

    That is the pesty attitude that works. Thanks so much for sharing your story. And for persevering in your pesty-ness 🙂

  13. nrhatch says:

    Thanks, Amy. I never cracked a raw egg on my head . . . but I did wear a
    Chiquita banana sticker on my face as part of a fad. 😉

    And I'd completely forgotten that until now. 😀

  14. nrhatch says:

    Susannah ~ Glad that you decided to post the Halloweensie Contest finalists in a separate post ~ either
    later today or tomorrow works for me. Thanks again for running such a FUN contest!

  15. Rosi says:

    I accomplished falling asleep sometime after four this morning (ugh!), so the best you will get from me is this sounds like a terrific book, I enjoyed the interview, and thanks for running the giveaway.

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I do, Robyn, MWAH! And glad you liked Amy's post. And ignore the swatting – just keep going back for more! And I'm not worried about me – the post is already written! I'm worried about you guys having to slog through too much! 🙂

  17. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Glad you liked Amy's post, Joanna! And oh my goodness you made me laugh out loud – I was totally not thinking of tomorrow being election day – of course it would be a great day for voting! Everyone will be in the mood 🙂

  18. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    So glad you enjoyed the post, Patricia. And boy, you have accomplished some things no one should have to – kudos to you and I hope it turned out well. And yeah… I can't say I have any plans to run 26.2 miles anytime soon 🙂 although I've done a half-marathon and that seems like the perfect length to me – long enough to feel like you did something amazing but not so long you feel like you got run over by train 🙂

  19. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Iza, you will love your fellow Sky Pony author's book 🙂 And that is quite an accomplishment! I used to climb, mostly at the Gunks, but I never led or guided. And I wasn't afraid of heights either 🙂 Great point about the post 🙂 It think I will post it tomorrow 🙂

  20. Kathy says:

    My accomplishment is taking a writing class. Little steps right. I will have to step up my pesty-ness. I tend to sit back and wait.

  21. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    I grew up with an older sister who constantly impressed upon me that my hair was 'mousey brown' and my eyes were 'mousy brown'…and my parents were extremely overprotective and cautionary…don't go in water over your knees because you might drown, etc. So it's not surprising that I was timid and shy for most of my life. HOWEVER, although I am not fond of heights, I did go skydiving two summers ago with my son…and although I am afraid of the water, I did go on an underwater walk and on a banana boat ride.
    Amy, thank you for this inspiring post…I also loved the post you did on the first day of PiBoIdMo where you talked about writing the stories you want to write! I agree with you 100% that persistence and determination are the key to success (in just about anything). My husband says I am the most tenacious person he has ever known…if I believe in something, I will not give up and will try as many different paths as is necessary to achieve my goal. Congratulations on “Marathon Mouse”…it sounds like just the kind of book I love to read with kids. 🙂
    Susanna…regarding the Halloweensie Contest post…whenever you can is fine with me. 🙂 If you posted every day, I would read each one!

  22. Julie Rowan-Zoch says:

    I agree with Iza – posting tomorrow would be a welcomed delight! And 'hats off' to Amy for making the choice to persevere – it is a choice. One accomplishment I am proud of brought me no accolades or future career advantage – I finished an emotionally difficult apprenticeship I was in no need of (I already registered a different career move); for the sake self-respect I wanted to take it to the end. Still means so much to me. Thanks for reminding me to think about it!

  23. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Om my goodness! Sky diving? That is one I'm really not sure I could do! You are so brave! Glad you enjoyed Amy's post, and you are so nice I can't believe it 🙂 I will probably post the contest finalists tomorrow since that seems to be the popular vote 🙂

  24. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    That is so awesome, Julie. Sometimes it's just really personally important to do something for the sake of doing it or for the principal of not quitting. I'm glad if the post reminded you of something you feel good about!

  25. larissamarks says:

    I'm a huge fan of Amy, and can't wait to get my hands on Marathon Mouse!

    My greatest accomplishment: giving birth to my two kids with no pain medication. That was my “marathon.”

  26. Janet Johnson says:

    Congratulations, Amy! I have learned about the “pestyness” too. Sometimes it's hard to go on, but worth it!

    Something I accomplished? I ran a half marathon. 🙂 Super hard, but that makes me all the more proud at having accomplished it!

  27. Deborah G Eaton says:

    I love this post! Thanks for sharing your love of Ramona. I am proud that I have completed NaNoWriMo 4 times! Maybe with some of that tenacity you talk about I will finish one of my manuscripts and try to get it published : D

  28. Romelle Broas says:

    I love your “pesty-ness,” Amy! You are so right. In this business, we have to be tenacious. Even through the discouragement of editors, you believed in yourself enough to pursue your dream. Love it!

  29. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    WOW! A 4-time NaNo winner??? I am SO impressed! I tried to do it once, and too many things got in the way. Now I do PiBoIdMo which seems infinitely more manageable. If you've written 4 novels, Deborah, you MUST polish and submit. We will all be here to cheer you on! 🙂

  30. Richa Jha says:

    Thanks for this great post, Amy! Learning all the pesty-ness and learning to be brave! I knew the feeling all along, you put the right words to describe them!

  31. Hannah Holt says:

    Thanks so much, Amy. Great words of advice. I've run seven marathons. On was in Vienna and one of them I won my division. But that was in my faster days before having children.

  32. Sidney Schuhmann Levesque says:

    “Marathon Mouse” sounds so cute, and I loved remembering the Ramona days and what a special character that was to me growing up.

    Something I recently accomplished: When I was 13 years old, I discovered genealogy. I was told my great-grandmother was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. I could never prove that she was, so I spent 22 years (yes, I'm 35 years old) trying to find that elusive Patriot ancestor. Only a month ago, after randomly emailing someone I didn't know, did I get the Cherokee tribe application that helped me find my family after all these years! I was so proud when I got the my DAR certificate, I framed it immediately. So many times I wanted to give up looking, but something kept me going. It was worth the wait!

  33. This Kid Reviews Bks says:

    Hmmm… I climbed 140 feet up to a Native American religious place while we were on vacation (Bandelier National Monument). I climbed up on rickety ladders and narrow stone steps (AND there were NO GUARD RAILS ON THE LADDERS!!!!!!!). Yep. It's true. 🙂 I would like the book! Great post Ms. Dixon!

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