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. Laura Anne Miller says:

    AWESOME & INSPIRATIONAL post about pesty perseverance ! I needed that. Congrats & thank you, Amy…and I love Ramona and her buoyant spirit! Accomplishments-humbly I would say my 2 daughters are women I admire….more recently, it's not as exciting as skydiving, rock climbing, or as inspiring as some of the trials these remarkable women have survived – but I overcame my fear of not having a steady income (when our school closed) and chose to stay home to take art/writing classes, join 12×12, and work full time at putting together a children's pb. It's been a roller coaster and I've been tempted to get a 'real job,' but I'm sticking it out.

  2. Stina Lindenblatt says:

    I love this line: I followed that player around on the field
    like a stray puppy who was once given a scrap and was hoping for more.

    Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Great analogy. 😀

  3. Laura Renauld says:

    Very inspiring, Amy! While I cannot say I've accomplished my goal of publishing a children's book yet, I can say that, during college, I accomplished my goal of studying abroad by spending 4 months in Accra, Ghana at the University of Legon. What an incredible experience! Maybe I can draw on that for a book…

  4. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Marathon Mouse is awesome! And I love Ramona too – it was great to be reminded of her spunkiness 🙂 How totally cool that you found your ancestor and got your certificate! Are you part Cherokee? (Also, by my reckoning, 13 plus 22 only equals 29, or possibly even 27 :))

  5. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Wow, that sounds very brave, Erik, and quite an accomplishment! I'm not sure I would have been so keen on the no guard rails part. Of course, I am not as coordinated as one might wish – yesterday I fell off a horse 🙂 There were no guard rails on her either 🙂

  6. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    So glad if you found Amy's post uplifting, Laura! And I think what you're doing is a HUGE accomplishment that takes great bravery and commitment. And having seen your art for the first time today, I think you're on the right track. I love Grumpy Kitty 🙂

  7. Patricia Tilton says:

    I really want this book. Forgot to say what I accomplished: I stayed in a retreat in the middle of Brazil for two weeks and had to live with a huge lizard in my bathroom, and baby lizards rummaging through my clothing. I had to overcome my fear and make peace with their being there. Not a trip about comfort — but one about being comfortable with self and overcoming fears.

  8. pennyklostermann says:

    Wonderful post, Amy! It was very inspiring for those of us hoping to get published.

    Accomplishment…I have to say that being named the 21012 Barbara Karlin Grant runner-up is HIGH on my list. It made me feel as if my dream can come true. I still pinch myself when I think about it….And with that said…of course I would love to win the book! I LOVE PICTURE BOOKS! LOVE THEM…WANT TO MARRY THEM!!! AND LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER WITH THEM, OF COURSE!!!

    Halloweensie…I'll bet you're posting tomorrow since it is 8:45 EST and I just got over here:-) I was busy subbing in a library today…is that the dream substitute job or what??? Anyway, I am looking forward to voting.

  9. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Glad you liked the post, Penny! And that is QUITE an accomplishment of which you should feel mightily proud! 🙂 Yes, I'm posting tomorrow… that seemed to be the popular choice since tomorrow is all around a day of voting 🙂

  10. Amy Dixon says:

    Hannah, you are amazing! I just did a half-marathon and it was hard. But I am realizing it is a little like childbirth…you forget the pain and before you know it, you are signing up for another one!!!

  11. Kim says:

    Penny, I didn't know you were a runner-up for the Barbara Karlin Grant! Did that get you any attention from publishers or agents? Wow, congratulations!!!

  12. Kirsten Larson says:

    Hooray for Amy! Thanks for the always-helpful reminder that persistence pays off. As for an accomplishment, no marathons here. However, I did complete a professional cooking course at The New School of Cooking, though my weeknight dinners would never let on.

  13. Amy Dixon says:

    I have traveled enough to imagine that living overseas is quite an accomplishment! And homeschooling…don't even get me started…you moms that homeschool are like superheroes!

  14. Cally Jackson says:

    I'd forgotten all about Ramona until I read your post, Amy. She's a fantastic character. I love the look of the Marathon Mouse so hope I'm lucky enough to win it!

    Something I've accomplished… hmm… I realise this is probably a little lame since I'm amongst many other writers with much greater achievements than me, but I feel pretty proud to have successfully self published my debut novel, The Big Smoke, last month. The fact that I managed to produce a polished, professional product while working full time and while in my third trimester of pregnancy makes me very happy. 🙂

  15. Elizabeth Stevens Omlor says:

    I just loved this post! I think you have inspired us all Amy the Pest! I think I was just ready to give up on a certain ms, but now I know to trust my gut…Elizabeth the Pest it is!

    Something that I accomplished. Well, I went back to grad school, part-time when I had a two and a half year old and an EIGHT MONTH OLD thinking it would be easier when they were young. MAN OH MAN was I WRONG! Sleep? Ah, who needs it? I made it through my first semester, holding the world record for days sick (all but two weeks). But I am almost done and I have learned to sleep more, caffeinate less. I have also learned that I have a very supportive family.

    I would just love to win a copy of this book! Thatnks so much ladies for brightening my day! xoxo

  16. Loni Edwards says:

    I loved this post, Amy! Ramona the Brave is an awesome character. I love your idea of being a pest. And your book looks so adorable! I am very fond of mice, well any rodent for that matter (as you can see by my avatar!). Something I have accomplished is that I raced in the Mount Marathon (3022 ft) race in Seward, Alaska.

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