Perfect Picture Book Friday – Holy Squawkamole!

Woo hoo!  It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday (and therefore nearly the weekend! 🙂 )

I saw the cover and the premise of the book I’m sharing today and thought I would like it, so I opened it eagerly.  Sometimes in that situation I am disappointed by the outcome, my initial expectation not quite met.  But this one more than lived up to it’s promise!  It turned out to be really fun and well done and I love it, and I hope you guys will all get a chance to read it!

Holy Squawkamole

Title: Holy Squawkamole!

Written By: Susan Wood

Illustrated By: Laura Gonzalez

Sterling Children’s Books, March 5, 2019, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3 and up

Themes/Topics: fractured folktale, hard work, self-reliance, persistence

Opening: “One day, Little Red Hen was hungry for guacamole.  She looked around her cozy cocina.  She had masa and cumin.  She had beans and queso. But she didn’t have any avocados.  And there’s no guacamole without avocados!

71p8RHtO-BL

Brief Synopsis: In a new twist on an old favorite, the Little Red Hen (gallinita roja) is craving guacamole.  She asks her friends Armadillo, Iguana, Coati, and Snake to help her, but none of them are so inclined…though they are all willing to help eat it once it’s made!  Little Red Hen goes quietly about her business, and when the guacamole is ready, she kindly shares it.  But there’s a bit of a surprise for her friends!

Links To Resources: the back of the book includes “The Story of Guacamole”, a recipe so you can try out making your own Holy Sqauwkamole, and a glossary that tells about the animals, the Spanish words used, and any other terms that may be unfamiliar to young readers.

Why I Like This Book: I love that within the familiar framework of The Little Red Hen we get a brand new story.  Spanish words are sprinkled throughout the text in such a way as to make them understandable in context (though there is also a glossary in the back just in case.) Just as the original story teaches the reader a little something about what goes into baking bread, this version tells us in a fun way about the ingredients and the process of making guacamole.  While the original story uses farmyard animals, this one introduces us to Armadillo, Iguana, Coati, and Snake.  The art is warm, bright, and inviting – perfect for the story – and gallinita roja’s little surprise at the end (a chili pepper! 🙂 ) will have young readers giggling at the expressions on the friends’ faces as they exclaim, “Holy Squawkamole!” 🙂

HS 1

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #316 – Trapped In Trash (PB)

Yippee!

spring banner

Spring has officially sprung, and that calls for Something Chocolate immediately!  What better to way to celebrate than with Whoopie Pies?!

Whoopie Pies

There may not be any grass to walk barefoot in quite yet (at least not in my neck of the woods! 🙂 ) but a little Whoopie Pie indulgence on the back porch in the sunshine works just fine!

Have two! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sarah, whom you will remember from several previous pitches (but not the same Sarah as last week!) Sarah says, “I am an Optometrist, mother, and lover of the outdoors. I live in NH with my husband and two children. I love to paint in my free time, when I’m not writing.”

Find her on the web at www.sarahheturadny.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Trapped In Trash

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)

The Pitch: Matt, Bratt, and Scit-Scat are three rat friends who leave the rat pack and find their own feast.  They become trapped in a trash receptacle.  Nudging not a budge, that can just won’t take a shake.  The whole pack is summoned, and the friends re-think their initial plan.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Sarah improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There is one opening left in May, and more in June, so you have a little time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Sarah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing a PDF of my long-awaited ALPHABEDTIME!  It’s been promised, and hasn’t arrived yet, but it could at any minute!  You never know! Keep your fingers crossed! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Danielle Dufayet!

Hello again, Picture Book-Loving Friends!

I’m so happy to announce today’s Tuesday Debut: Danielle Dufayet and her beautiful and important book, You Are Your Strong!

I always say that picture books are about big emotion for little people (a quote I heard somewhere and can never remember who to attribute it to! but it’s so true.)  Danielle’s book takes that quite literally.  It is all about showing children how to manage some of their more negative emotions – fear, sadness, worry, anger –  when they threaten to become overwhelming.  I think all of us – even adults – can benefit from a little help in that department.  We all struggle sometimes.

And as writers and artists who, some might argue, face more than the average amount of rejection… 🙂 we can all benefit from finding and embracing our strong!

You Are Your Strong
Written by Danielle Dufayet
Illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
Magination Press
March 19, 2019
ages 4-8

YouAreYourStrong-Cover-RGB-72dpi

YAYS: Finding your inner strength to manage big emotions.
You Are Your Strong reassures kids that they can handle big emotions and highlights the benefit of developing inner strength and confidence in oneself.

 

Susanna: Where did your idea come from for You Are Your Strong? 

DanielleThe idea came from: three things: Leaving an unhealthy marriage, being asked what keeps me so strong and, watching the movie Room, where 5 year old Jack (held hostage with his mom in a room) said that he didn’t want his mom to cut his long hair because his hair was his strong. It gave him strength and courage. I thought that was beautiful. It made me want to know what my strong is and other people’s strong. I knew I had a book!

 

Susanna: How long did it take you to write?

DanielleThis manuscript was written fairly quickly. I’d say maybe 6 months from start to final ms. – which is not typical!

 

Susanna:  Did this manuscript require many revisions?

DanielleMaybe around 15 or so – not my usual 30 or more.

 

Susanna: When did you know it was ready for submission?

DanielleI knew it was ready when I had reduced it to the simplest expression I could, and when I had included as many literary devices as necessary for the flow and rhythm. It’s also an internal knowing, an intuition.

 

Susanna: How did you celebrate getting the contract?

DanielleI couldn’t stop smiling for a week. I celebrated with a nice dinner!

 

Susanna: What was the editorial process like?

Danielle: The editing process went so smoothly. My publisher didn’t want to change hardly anything, so that made it easy. We went a little back and forth on the illustrations, however. Magination Press is a dream publisher in my opinion!

 

Susanna: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your journey to publication?

Danielle: I believe in order to be a published author, you have to be disciplined. I knew I had to keep revising, keep submitting, and knowing I would probably get rejected. You have to want it more than anything. You have to push through the doubt and fear and keep moving forward through honing your craft, building relationships, critiquing, reading, etc. etc.

To improve your writing you have to have a thick skin. You have to read your critiques (assuming you’re in a good critique group!) with an open mind. There’s usually always a nugget of truth to ponder –even if you don’t agree with the comment. But, if the feedback doesn’t resonate at all with you, brush it off. Remember, only you can write the story – don’t let the critique derail you from finding it! Stay true to your vision.

The one thing everyone can expect is rejection and that’s the hardest part of the process. Your story may be rejected even if it’s really good –it just may not be the right fit for that publication. You have to discipline your mind to stay on course and remain positive and hopeful that one day your time will come.

I think the one lesson I can impart is this: don’t compare yourself and your journey with anyone else. I used to get mad when I saw a published picture book that I thought was poorly written. I would think to myself, How did this get published and not my book?  Or I’d get discouraged when I’d read a really good picture book. I’d think, I’ll never be that good. All these thoughts are irrelevant, distracting and emotionally draining. I finally learned that all I can do is be the best writer I can be and focus only on that! (That’s not to say mentor texts aren’t the bomb!)

 

Susanna:  Thank you so much for joining us today, Danielle!  We all so appreciate you sharing your knowledge and expertise with us!

Danielle: Thank you so much for the interview, Susanna!!

D.Dufayet Author

Author Danielle Dufayet

Website: https://www.danielledufayetbooks.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danielledufayet\
Twitter: https://twitter.com/danielledufayet
Art Website: https://www.danielledufayet.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ddaniwriter/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/danielledufayet

 

Readers, if you have questions for Danielle, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

You may purchase Danielle’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)

Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

– purchasing their books

– recommending their books to friends and family

– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 🙂

 

Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them out!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Little Tiger AND Little Panda!!!

It’s an extra special Perfect Picture Book Friday today, my friends!

Today we’re celebrating a writer who, like so many of us, shows up and does the work, writing stories, practicing and perfecting her craft day after day, month after month, year after year in whatever time she can find between her work as a preschool teacher, her family, and life in general.  And in the kind of happy outcome that inspires us all, her hard work and perseverance are paying off!

I first got to know Julie Abery (bio and links at end of post) when she began entering my writing contests 5 or 6 years ago with one delightful story after another, several of them featuring the Teensy-Weensy Witch 🙂  In March 2015, she took my class and I had the privilege of working with her for a month while she wrote a wonderful story about a Paper Owl.  She started a blog called Little Red Story Shed (doesn’t that just make you want to go there?!) and then in September of 2017 I was thrilled to see the announcement in PW that she had sold her first two books!!!

I am so happy to share them with you today, just three days after their book birthday!

Although board books and not technically picture books, sometimes it’s fun to share books and activities for youngest readers – the early preschool crowd 🙂 So let’s dive in and have a look at these delightful little books! 🙂

Little Tiger Cover Little Panda Cover

Title: Little Tiger / Little Panda

Written By: Julie Abery

Illustrated By: Suzie Mason

Amicus Ink, March 12 2019, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-5

Themes/Topics: Little Tiger: baby jungle adventure, mother/child love, language fun (rhyme); Little Panda: baby snow adventure, mother/child love, language fun (rhyme)

Opening:

Little Tiger:
Little Tiger
waking,
shaking,
in the morning sun.”

Little Panda:
Little Panda
winking,
blinking,
spies a snowy day.”

Brief Synopsis: Both stories are “day-in-the-life” adventures in which the little one romps and plays and experiments… but mama is always close by to watch over and keep them safe.

Links To Resources: Special Resources straight from the author!!!

Hi Susanna.

Thank you so much for inviting Little Tiger and Little Panda to Blueberry Hill. We have been looking forward to visiting you on Perfect Picture Book Friday for sucha long time!

We are so happy that you and your granddaughters loved our books sooo much! How about a little painting fun to go with the books.

Little Tiger and Little Panda handprints…

Pandahand         tigerhand

They are TIGER-ific!

Fun and easy to make, just don’t forget to have a bowl of soapy water to wash those paint-covered hands.

Or, how about making bookmark corners? We discovered these origami corners on the RedTedArt website, here is the link on how to make the panda version (https://www.redtedart.com/panda-bookmark-corner/?cn-reloaded=1)

This is me learning how to fold the origami bookmark corner.

And this is what the finished article looks like.

pandacorner

How stu-PANDAS is that!

We hope that you enjoyed the Little Tiger and Little Panda craft time. And we are happy to announce that there will be two more books in the Little Animal Friends series publishing with Amicus Ink same time next year!

Thank you so much for taking time to stop by and share these wonderful activities with us, Julie!!!

Why I Like These Books: the stories are sweet, engaging, and accessible to youngest readers/listeners.  The rhyme is fun to read aloud, with perfect rhythm and fun internal rhyme as well as end-of-line-rhyme (e.g. “Little Panda winking, blinking spies a snowy day.  Little Panda stumbling, tumbling, bumbles out to play.”) Both stories let us play and explore along with baby animals, always feeling the safety of mama’s watchful eye and the warmth of her love. Lovely, gentle reads, perfect for bedtime or any time!!!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

julieabery-2

Julie Abery is a children’s author and Pre-K teacher. Originally from England, she has spent half of her life living in Europe, bringing up her three (now grown up) children and experiencing new languages and cultures. She now calls Switzerland home.

Julie is looking forward to welcoming; her debut board books Little Tiger and Little Panda publishing in Spring 2019 with Amicus Ink with a further two in the Amicus Little Animal Friends series publishing in Spring 2020 ; a nonfiction picture book biography entitled Yusra Swims from Creative Editions (TBA); a true story Mr. Joao and Dindim the Penguin, Kids Can Press (Fall 2020) and nonfiction picture book Sakamoto and the Sugar-Ditch Kids from Kids Can Press (Spring 2021).

She is represented by Essie White of Storm Literary Agency.

 Website: https://littleredstoryshed.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @juliedawnabery

Facebook: @julieabery

Would You Read It Wednesday #315 – Charley Finds Her Family (PB)

Mornin’ Folks!

I am counting the minutes until Spring! (10,080!  Or if that sounds like too big a number we can count by hours – 168! or by days – 7! or by weeks – 1!!!)

I realize of course that up here on Blueberry Hill the Spring Equinox does not blossoms and bunnies and green grass make.

But Spring is a state of mind – a state we have official permission to be in in one week!

And I am READY!

So ready  that I’ve got the picnic packed with Something Chocolate!  How do you feel about Italian Chocolate Cake?

I confess, I feel quite good about it 🙂

Italian Chocolate Cake

Doesn’t that look scrumptious?  It’s part of a complete breakfast along with toast, juice, eggs, milk, fruit, and breakfast cereal! 🙂

Now that we are suitably fortified, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Sarah who says, “After spending most of the past decade living in various parts of Europe with my husband, I’ve recently returned to the US. I currently run a freelance business providing editing and book design services to independent authors while continuing to work toward my own publishing dreams, which began with the paid publication of a short story online. I am an active member of SCBWI.”

Find her on the web at:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/SEHolroyd/
Website: https://sarah-holroyd.com

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Charley Finds Her Family

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)

The Pitch: Charley Sock-kitty finds a sock with stripes like hers, and then another one. Her wise friend Patrick the Pony tells Charley socks always come in pairs—they’re twins. Charley wonders if she has a twin like the sock does. Her friends—Bubbles the Yarn-Kitty, Teddy the Bear, & Patrick—help her try to find her family. But Charley discovers she’s had one all along.

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Sarah improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in May, so you have time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Sarah is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to 🌼🌸🌹 SPRING!!! 🌷🌺🌼(although it is marginally possible I may have already mentioned that! 🙂 )

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Wendy Greenley!

It’s time for another thrilling installment of Tuesday Debuts!

Are you ready to meet today’s talented debut-ess?

Please join me in welcoming the wonderful Wendy Greenley as we celebrate her inauguration into the Published Picture Book Author’s Club and get a glimpse of her beautiful book!

Title: Lola Shapes the Sky
Author: Wendy Greenley (!)
Illustrator: Paolo Domeniconi
Publisher: Creative Editions
Date of Publication: March 12, 2019
Fiction with Nonfiction backmatter
Age range: For ages 3-8  (Amazon says 4-8)

Wendy1

Synopsis:There’s a new playful, artistic cloud in the sky. Unfortunately, one loud bossy cloud wants Lola to focus on making weather.  LOLA SHAPES THE SKY embraces every child’s magical experience of imagining whimsical shapes in the clouds with humor and a timeless theme of supporting what makes us each unique.

 

SUSANNA: Where did the idea for this book come from?

WENDY: I came up with the initial idea for this book during Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (now known as Storystorm). I was brainstorming with my husband and son when Lola’s character was born. Talking out loud and bouncing ideas off other people helps me see ideas more clearly. However, while the character stayed with me, the initial plot bears no resemblance to the final product!

 

SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?

WENDY: This manuscript was a labor of love—with heavy emphasis on the labor. Initially, I wanted to turn cloud-watching on its head, with clouds people-watching and it took a workshop with multiple Caldecott-winning artists to convince me otherwise. Your picture book manuscript has to be illustratable after all! After working on it for two years, I put the manuscript in a drawer and didn’t work on it for another full year. During that time, I was able to see how to keep what was important in the manuscript, AND make it illustratable.

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

WENDY: Oh, so many revisions! My final revision was a complete re-envisioning. I completely changed the plot and tone and let go of a slew of sky/cloud jokes that made me laugh (Lola precipitating from embarrassment was a favorite!). Maybe someday some of the material will belong to another story.

 

SUSANNA: When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?

WENDY: The best way I know if my manuscript is submission ready is to get fresh eyes on it. Honest critique partners who will tell you when something is good, and when something is awful, are essential!! I work on a manuscript as long as I can, letting it sit for a week or two after I think it’s done if I can control my impatience. Because it usually isn’t done, and time gives me the necessary distance to evaluate it more dispassionately. As a new writer I didn’t know anything about SCBWI, critique partners, or online classes and webinars. I was about a year into the process when I discovered these valuable resources. The kidlit community is generous!

 

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit? When did you get “the call”?  (Best moment ever! 🙂 )

WENDY: I submitted my initial manuscript to Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary, LLC. And it was rejected. Two years later, I resubmitted the manuscript, acknowledging the earlier submission and the virtually complete rewrite, and this time it was a yes. That’s correct—I resubmitted the same manuscript to an agent that had rejected it. It was essentially a new manuscript, and I thought Karen might be a good fit so I took the leap of faith and it worked out. Karen submitted my manuscript to five publishers, one of which was Creative Editions. It was several months before we received the reply expressing interest, and then another six months before we received a contract, then another four months before I received the final countersigned contract. Publishing is a lesson in patience.

 

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?

WENDY: Telling my critique partners the good news was the best moment. They’ve supported me and my work and it felt like the sale was theirs too! I seriously can’t think of anything that has helped me along my journey more than the great writing friends I’ve made.

Wendy2

quilling courtesy of Stacy Stenberg Jensen!

 

SUSANNA: Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

WENDY: Creative Editions is a small independent publisher located in Mankato, MN. The house originally focused on books for the school market, and had just begun their trade imprint a year or two before we submitted to them. I received a traditional royalty paying contract and advance in line with the numbers reported in Hannah Holt’s extensive survey. (if you’re writing for kiddos and haven’t seen Hannah’s research—go here! https://hannahholt.com/blog/2017/9/25/writing-picture-books-a-look-at-the-number-part-2) I also received fifteen author copies. Two things I didn’t expect was that this publisher doesn’t allow book dedications, and how long it would be from the time the contract was signed (June 2016) until publication—almost three years!

 

SUSANNA: What can you tell us about the editorial process?

WENDY: My editor is the talented Amy Novesky, who is also the author of the gorgeous picture book, Cloth Lullaby. Amy and I went back and forth on several changes, but none of them significantly changed the story. Amy’s vision was in line with mine! The sales and marketing team asked for a list of possible titles—and ended up choosing my original.

 

SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?

WENDY: I didn’t see any of the illustrations until the proof stage. I had seen Paolo’s dreamy style on his website (www.domeniconi.it), but still wasn’t sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to see how Paolo’s art interpreted my words. I didn’t include an art note, so the biggest surprise was the spread where Lola shapes “a pillowy billowy masterpiece.” Because Paolo lives in Bologna, Italy, he illustrated my words with a cloud Mona Lisa! So fun!

Wendy3

 

SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc? What was that like?

WENDY: Kirkus reviewed Lola Shapes the Sky at the end of January. It was thrilling! Until then, it hadn’t felt real in the sense that other people I didn’t know and might never meet could read my book. And I was relieved that the Kirkus reviewer liked it!

 

SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion have you and/or your publisher done for this book?

WENDY: My publisher told me that they’re sending our book to book reviewers and bloggers, but I didn’t get a specific list so it’s a wee bit confusing. I know I’m late to the party—it’s already February as I’m writing this and I haven’t set up an extensive blog tour (thank you, Susanna for being my kickoff!!). Look for me on my Red Fox agency mate Lynne Marie’s blog The Word Playground sometime soon. The balance between family, writing and marketing time is a tricky one. I shared LOLA in my first school SKYPE read alouds in February for WRAD.

My official book launch will be March 23 from 11-2 at the Barnes and Noble in Montgomeryville, PA (stop by and say hi if you’re in the area!). The launch starts with a reading for the children’s story hour and finishes with time for book signings/meet & greet. I’m also scheduled for the NJ nErD Camp in May and the Chesapeake Children’s Book Festival in June. Let me know if there’s somewhere you’d like me to visit! I’ve guest lectured to the creative writing classes at my local community college too, so I enjoy all ages.

 

 

SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

WENDY: I started writing stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul in the early 2000’s. After I sold six stories, I realized that I didn’t want to just write nonfiction (which is what Chicken Soup stories are). The computer that I was using 2004-2012 crashed, and nothing was recovered. So I know I started writing picture books sometime in that period, but no idea of an actual date! My online picture book critique buddies and I found each other five years ago.

 

SUSANNA: Anything else you’d like to share about your book’s journey from inspiration to publication?

WENDY: Keep writing!! This business is a combination of craft, marketing savvy, perseverance and luck. You can work on your craft, marketing savvy and persevere, but you can’t control the luck. Sometimes you work on a manuscript for two years and then just as you’re ready to submit a “big” name announces a project that could be the twin of yours. Remember that the heart of your story is yours alone. Get warm fuzzies from your writing friends then rewrite. Repeat.

You don’t need loads of space or fancy equipment. I’m including a shot of my sad little 34 inches of office space. There is a two drawer file cabinet tucked into another corner across the room. This is probably why there are papers strewn willy-nilly around our house . . .

Wendy5

Nothing fancy needed!  Wendy creates her wonderful stories in 34 inches of office space!

 

 

SUSANNA: Wendy, thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers! I know I speak for all of us when I say how grateful we are for the wisdom and experience you shared today, and we wish you the very best success with your lovely book!

 

Wendy4

Author Wendy Greenley

 

Blog: https://www.wendygreenley.com
Find me on FB: https://www.facebook.com/wendy.greenley.3
Twitter @wendygreenley

 

Readers, if you have questions for Wendy, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

You may purchase Wendy’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)

Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

– purchasing their books

– recommending their books to friends and family

– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 🙂

 

Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them out!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Rosie And Rasmus

Golly!  It seems like forever since we did Perfect Picture Book Friday, what with all the Valentiny Contest excitement!

But here we are, back again today and I have such a sweet, beautiful book to share with you!  I can’t wait for you to see it!

Just a quick note – for anyone who has been faithfully posting PPBF every week, please feel free to add all your recent book review links to today’s list if you like!

And now, prepare for a truly Perfect Picture Book! 🙂

Rosie

Title: Rosie And Rasmus

Written & Illustrated By: Serena Geddes

Aladdin, April 2 2019, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: friendship

Opening: “This is Rosie.
She lives in a little village with cobblestone streets, a water fountain, and an ice cream stand.
Every day Rosie watches and wishes.
She watches as the others play.
She wishes someone would see her.

Rosie 1

Rosie 2

Brief Synopsis: Rosie, a lonely little girl, meets Rasmus, a lonely little dragon, and they discover the extraordinary magic and power of friendship.  When Rasmus has to leave, Rosie finds she has learned more than she realized about making friends.

Links To Resources: Easy Friendship Bracelets; Preschool Bead Friendship Bracelet; Slightly Harder Friendship Bracelet; draw a picture of yourself and a friend doing something together; talk about what friendship means.

Rosie 3

how cute is this dragon?! 🙂

 

Why I Like This Book: To me, this book is just the definition of a perfect picture book! Sweet, simple text that conveys a moving and lovely message about friendship, and enormously appealing art in soft colors with beautiful expression.  Any of us who have ever known (or been) a shy and lonely preschooler can relate to Rosie’s longing for a friend.  You just have to see the page where she and Rasmus meet.  He’s hidden up in a tree, and she’s sitting forlornly on the ground below, and out of the tree comes his tail – only his tail – offering her a flower 🌸   So incredibly sweet!  Rasmus has his own problems.  He can’t fly.  So Rosie does everything in her power to help him.  When his wings finally grow and he has has to fly off and do dragon things, they say a tearful goodbye.  Rosie goes back to her village, once again watching the other children and wishing for a friend.  But this time, she knows what to do.  And I’m not going to tell you, because you just have to read this book and see for yourself!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #314 – Mommy, Where’s Daddy? (PB) PLUS The January Pitch Winner!!!

Hiya folks!

If you’re feeling especially artistic today, it’s probably because it’s Michelangelo’s 544th birthday.  I know this because he and I go way back.  “Best buds” is not a stretch.  As you may or may not know, we are both known for our terrible fashion sense 🙂 And he was a poet who wrote over 300 poems, and a sculptor of great renown, and I am not a poet and my sculpting ability is taxed by making snowmen 🙂  Kindred spirits, obviously.

🙂

Anyway… while we are not talking about ballet… (and in a stunning example of a non sequitur) I’m pleased to announce that the winner of the January Pitch Pick is Dedra with her PB pitch for Mawbellina Ballerina!  Congratulations, Dedra!  Your pitch has been sent to editor Erin Molta for her thoughts!

Congratulations to all our other brave pitchers as well!  You all wrote fabulous pitches and improved them beautifully based on the feedback you received.  It is always a tough pick!  I hope everyone feels that they have solidly improved pitches to send out into the world as a result of their courage in asking for input.

You may not all have gotten to have Erin read your pitches but you have DEFINITELY earned Something Chocolate!!! 🙂 How about some Fudge which is total health food because it’s Paleo-friendly, dairy-free, and gluten-free!  (I think we can just add to that “calorie free” and “guilt free”! 🙂 )

5 Minute Coconut Oil Fudge

I mean, health food doesn’t get much more delicious-looking than that, does it?! 🙂

And it’s so good for you there’s no reason not to indulge in seconds and thirds! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Shell who says, “My name is Shell LeDrew, I live in beautiful Newfoundland, Canada and I am a grateful Mom to my reader Sam 10 and my tornado Buddha Charlie 7.  After a career wearing many hats including that of flight attendant, I married a pilot and wrote a story about it!
Here is a pitch for my silly and sweet 443 word Picture Book (ages 3-7) entitled “Mommy, Where’s Daddy?!””

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Mommy, Where’s Daddy?

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-7)

The Pitch: After Dylan’s day dream of flying fabulous airplanes with his pilot Daddy is interrupted by his Moms insistence of bedtime, he comes up with countless tricks to delay going to bed until he realizes his sleep dream is the way back to being the wingman of his dreams!

So what do you think?  Would You Read It?  YES, MAYBE or NO?

If your answer is YES, please feel free to tell us what you particularly liked and why the pitch piqued your interest.  If your answer is MAYBE or NO, please feel free to tell us what you think could be better in the spirit of helping Shell improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)

Please send YOUR pitches for the coming weeks!  For rules and where to submit, click on this link Would You Read It or on Would You Read it in the dropdown under For Writers in the bar above.  There are openings in May, so you have time to polish your pitch before putting it up for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Shell is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to improving my  sculpting skills in the medium of cookie dough! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Margaret Chiu Greanias!

Welcome to the first Tuesday Debut of March!

Even though we just had a huge snowstorm and are now expecting days of temperatures in the single digits or worse, March holds the promise of spring!  Even if it’s only teasing 🙂

I’m thrilled to introduce today’s debut author, a Making Picture Book Magic graduate and a very talented writer, Margaret Chiu Greanias!

Welcome, Margaret, and congratulations on your villainous debut!

“Maximillian Villainous”
Margaret Chiu Greanias
Illustrated by Lesley Breen Withrow
Running Press Kids
August 28, 2018
Fiction, Ages 4-8

MAX_cover

Synopsis: Maximillian Villainous doesn’t have the heart to be a villain, even though he comes from a long line of famous villains. When he brings home a bunny to be his sidekick, his disapproving mother challenges him and the bunny to become a devious duo… otherwise, the bunny hops.

 

SUSANNA: Where did the idea for this book come from?

MARGARET: The idea for “Maximillian Villainous” came from my kids watching the movie, “Despicable Me.” They were enamored with the characters, and I loved how fun and creative villains could be—the freeze rays, the fart guns, the shrinking down and stealing of landmarks, etc. At the time, I couldn’t recall a picture book about villains. Once I decided my characters would be villains, I gave the main character a quality that would lead to a natural conflict—in this case, having a heart of gold. From there, I chose a problem that would be exacerbated by this quality.

 

SUSANNA: How long did it take you to write this book?

MARGARET: The first draft came relatively fast. However, less than 10% of the words from the first draft made it into the version that was eventually acquired. Ultimately, it took one year and nine months (revising on and off) to get to submission-ready.

workspace

Margaret’s work space

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

MARGARET: I knew from the start that this story might be “the one” for me. People seemed enthusiastic about it and it felt lively and fun. However, something about it wasn’t right (turns out multiple somethings). It took over 30 revisions, including a few complete re-writes, one freelance editor, an agent critique, and an editor workshop to finally get it to submission-ready.

 

SUSANNA: Wow!  That was a lot of hard work!  When did you know your manuscript was ready for submission?
MARGARET: It was after I took an editor workshop through SCBWI mid-South. The format was ideal—the editor critiqued our manuscripts, and then we had the chance to revise for another critique. I did almost a full re-write based on the editor’s first critique and tweaked again based on her second critique. It really helped me to follow the feedback from one trusted source—at that point, I had had so many critiques, and they sometimes conflicted (not everyone shares the same vision for a text), which was hard. I now know to delve deeper into the comments and determine why particular feedback was given. After that workshop, the story just felt ready—there was nothing else I wanted to change.

 

SUSANNA: That is a good point about multiple critiques – it can get confusing – and good advice about having a single trusted source.  When and how did you submit?

MARGARET: Like many others, I began querying too early. I queried in a mish-mosh of ways—testing the waters through contests, twitter pitches, conference submissions, 12×12 submissions, etc. For the query round that got my agent, I cold queried.

 

SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”?  (Best moment ever! 🙂 )

MARGARET: It took about three months for us to get an offer on the story—but even though my manuscript was ready, it wasn’t until six months after I signed with my agent at the time that we went on submission. So patience was important!

My agent thought that I, as a debut, would have better odds if we submitted with an illustrated dummy. We picked the wonderful Lesley Breen Withrow as the illustrator. She has a very bright and happy style to balance my manuscript which was a bit darker. Once she finished the rough dummy, we went on submission and got an offer within 3 months.

IMG_3442

text copyright Margaret Chiu Greanias 2018, illustration copyright Lesley Breen Withrow 2018

 

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?
MARGARET: Of course, I squealed and danced when I first heard we got an offer. After I signed the contract, one of my dearest critique partners arranged an amazing celebration including old and current critique group members (we’d been in a group for 5 years at this point). It was a very sweet way to celebrate.

 

 

SUSANNA: That does sound nice!  Was the contract what you expected in terms of advance, royalty percentage, publication timeline, author copies etc.?

MARGARET: I didn’t know what to expect, but I was happy with what my agent negotiated for me.

 

SUSANNA: What was the editorial process like for you?

MARGARET: We did two rounds of revisions, and my manuscript was definitely better for it. Many changes had to do with simplifying my text so it would be easier for young children to understand. My editor also made a suggestion which helped give the story that “aww” ending.

 

SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about your experience of the illustration process?

MARGARET: I did get to see the illustrations just before they were finalized. My editor was really great about sharing, asking my opinion, and bringing it back to the team. I tried to limit my suggestions to a few, and while they didn’t use all of them, I felt like my opinion was valued.

Also, because Lesley was on board before the story was submitted to publishers, I had a say in the how the characters were illustrated (which may not have been ideal since I didn’t have a strong vision for how Max and his family should appear). In my opinion, the strength of having a separate illustrator is their interpretation and vision of the text. I had vaguely envisioned the characters being human, and they ended up being monsters, which I LOVE!

MV_rainbow spread

text copyright Margaret Chiu Greanias 2018, illustration copyright Lesley Breen Withrow 2018

 

SUSANNA: Did you get to see advance reviews from Kirkus, SLJ, etc?

MARGARET: My editor sent me advance copies of SLJ and Booklist reviews, which was very nice.

The Publishers Weekly review was unexpected. But it was the first review to come out and I was so relieved when I saw it.

My book didn’t get a review from Kirkus…maybe that was lucky?

SUSANNA: Maybe that was lucky! A lot of people seem to have had less than flattering reviews from Kirkus 🙂 How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?

MARGARET: About 1 year and 8 months which is very quick—but we had Lesley lined up plus a dummy already made.

I think 2-3 years is more normal.

 

 

SUSANNA: If your book has been out for at least one statement cycle, has it earned out yet?

MARGARET: I haven’t gotten a statement yet.

 

 

SUSANNA: What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?

MARGARET: Some examples of marketing and promotion that my publisher did included sending review copies to major trade publications and sending pitches to other media including bloggers and instagrammers.

 

 

SUSANNA: Describe any marketing/promotion you did for this book.

MARGARET: By far, the best marketing/promotion I did for my book (and my sanity) was to join a debut group, the Epic 18’s. I learned so much from the other debut authors, especially those whose books launched before mine. I found it very valuable to have this peer community for advice and moral support.

  • We passed ARCs around so we could review each other’s books.
  • We suggested each other’s books for purchase from our libraries.
  • We also held a couple of group promotions including an end of year giveaway and Twitter chat hosted by Matthew Winner.
  • We exchanged information on swag.
  • We promoted each other on social media.
  • I hired a marketing consultancy, Curious City, which I learned about from a fellow Epic 18-er. I paid for a 1-hour consultation and got great ideas for marketing and more interactive book readings.

 

Other marketing/promotion I did:

  • Classroom Discussion Guide
  • Activities, crafts, and coloring pages for my web site
  • Swag—bookmarks, temporary tattoos, postcards, bookplates, stickers
  • Social media promos revolving around the holidays

 

This year, I’m starting to schedule school visits and will be at a local book festival in a couple of months.

bart

Puppet Margaret made of the bunny character from her book to take on school visits!

 

SUSANNA: How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?
MARGARET: About 5.5 years.
SUSANNA: Margaret, thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers! We all so appreciate you being here today!

margaret-4430_media

Author Margaret Chiu Greanias

 

Website: margaretgreanias.com
Social media:
https://twitter.com/MargaretGreania
https://www.instagram.com/margaretgreanias/
https://www.facebook.com/MargaretGreaniasAuthor/

 

Readers, if you have questions for Margaret, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

You may purchase Margaret’s book at:
(all links below are book-specific)

Indiebound
Amazon
Barnes&Noble

We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

– purchasing their books

– recommending their books to friends and family

– recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

– recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

– sharing their books on social media

– reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 🙂

 

Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them out!

Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

2019 Valentiny Contest WINNERS!

Do you know what Thursday is perfect for?

Barely squeaking under the wire of Last Day of February to announce the winners of the 4th Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest for Children’s Writers!!!

valentiny writing contest 2019!

. . .but first a few words from our sponsor (me) which I know shocks you (not!) 🙂

As always, I was thrilled to see so many wonderful stories!  (Did I mention there were nearly 170?!)  Really!  It is amazing and inspiring, not to mention VERY entertaining!  There is just so much talent out there amongst you all!  The other judges and I are blown away anew each time!

But with large entry numbers, all of high quality, come hard choices.  My assistant judges and I worked hard to winnow the total down to a manageable number of finalists that we felt were truly all-around deserving of that distinction, and those were the ones we presented to you last week for your vote.

There were, however, many other entries that were outstanding in certain areas even though they might not have qualified all-around for one reason or another, or that the judges couldn’t reach a consensus on.  It is SO HARD! One of our very favorite entries – well written and full of guilt – never mentioned a thing about Valentine’s Day! Many other entries simply weren’t guilty enough, although they were fabulous in other ways!

So my assistant judges and I would like to award recognition and a small prize to the following authors for the following merits:

1.  For Honorable Mention In The Competition As A Whole: (entries we truly wrestled with not including in the finalists!)

Joy Pitcairn for I Didn’t Give Rufus A Valentine

Kalee Gwarjanski for Chocolates For Mom

Mary Vander Plas for Sasquatch: In Search Of A Valentine

Mia Geiger for All Wrapped Up

Lynn Katz for A Little Heart

 

2. For Great Kid Appeal: (not already mentioned in the finals or other categories)

Helen Ishmurzin for Mila’s Cookies (we could totally see a kid struggling with that temptation! )

Sherry Peace for The Case Of The Missing Valentine’s Candy (fun kid detective work 🙂 )

Jeannine Pao Brown for Change Of Heart (very believable boy behavior 🙂 )

Sarah Hetu-Radny for A Slippery Situation (no one wants to be in trouble 🙂 )

 

3. For Original/Unique/Entertaining POV:

Megan Hoffman for The Sucker (POV of a Valentine sucker! – well-written!)

Deborah Dolan Hunt for Hillary’s Heart (POV of an actual heart! – loved the health angle)

 

4. For Humor:

Sarah Tobias for A Valentine For Mom

Susie Sawyer for Who Will Be Mine? (also wins for shortest entry with only 36 words! 🙂 )

Lauri Meyers for Don’t Eat Your Valentine (dark humor! 🙂 )

 

5. For Great Depiction of Family:

Scott Kinder for Mom’s Valentine (we found all the characters believable and felt like we were there! 🙂 )

 

6. For Favorite Character: 

Joy Pitcairn for I Ate It… (we LOVED Otto – such a believable guilty dog! 🙂 )

Rachel Hobbs for Valentine Cookie Surprise (we loved Carla – so exuberant! and we can imagine an expanded version of this as a picture book! 🙂 )

 

7. For We Loved It But Not Guilty Enough!:

Kelly Conroy for Glitter, Paint, and Glue

Lynn Baldwin for The Year Without Sweethearts

 

8. For Lovely Writing:

Kelly Hughes for Will You Be Mine?

Keely Leim for A Valentine For Papa

 

9. For So Cute!:

Amy Flynn for Tiny Crush

 

10.  For More Appealing For Grown-ups But Well-Written And Enjoyable!
(These entries were terrific but either focused on content we felt was more appropriate for over age 12 or that had humor that we considered funnier for adults than kids)

Emma Wood for No Ordinary Thursday (very sweet, beautifully written, and a believable depiction of husbandly behavior! 🙂 )

 

(And although we’re not awarding prizes for these this time, we always enjoy seeing some of your familiar characters back from other contests for new adventures, including Candice’s Bean and Jilly, Nicole’s Alex and Apple, and Lucretia’s Marvin The Chipmunk 🙂 )

 

Congratulations to all of you for fantastic elements of your stories!  You may all email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com to collect your prize, which is your choice of one of the following: (the titles are all links so you can go see what they’re about) (and if you request a paperback, please include your snail mail address!)

For Kindle:

Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Rhyming Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

How To Query An Agent Or Editor: A Children’s Writer’s Insider Guide From Mentors For Rent by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Getting Published: How To Access Editors: A Children’s Writer’s Insider Guide From Mentors For Rent by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

The Easy Way To Write Picture Books That Sell by Robyn Parnell OR

Self-Publish Your Book: A Quick And Easy Step-By-Step Guide (Writing In A Nutshell Series Book 6) by Jessica Bell, OR

The Write Ideas Creative Writer’s Toolkit: A Genre-Spanning Box Set of Writing Prompts And Creative Exercises by Kate Krake

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi , OR

The Postitive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Attributes by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, OR

The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Flaws by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, OR

The Urban Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To City Spaces by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, OR

The Rural Setting Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Personal And Natural Places by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, OR

The Ultimate Fiction Thesaurus by Sam Stone, OR

Writing In A Nutshell: Writing Workshops To Improve Your Craft (Writing In A Nutshell Series Book 4) by Jessica Bell, OR

In paperback:

Show And Tell In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions From Telling To Showing by Jessica Bell

The Six Senses In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions From Bleak To Bold Narrative by Jessica Bell OR

Adverbs And Cliches In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Subversions Of Adverbs & Cliches Into Gourmet Imagery by Jessica Bell OR

Creating Extraordinary Characters by Angela Hunt, OR

Evoking Emotion by Angela Hunt, OR

Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard, OR

Rhyming Picture Books: The Write Way by Laura Salas and Lisa Bullard

Just For Fun…

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box Of Awesome Kit – Words For Refrigerator (let me know your color choice if you care 🙂 )

 

And now…

…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

The announcement of the WINNERS OF THE 2018 VALENTINY CONTEST as voted on by you!!!

rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat

DDDRRRUUUMMM RRROOOLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!

In First Place

Winner of the whole shebang…

who gets first choice of all the prizes…

Chambrae Griffith
for

Love Bug At The Zoo!!!

Congratulations, Chambrae, on an imaginative, entertaining, well-written poem that made us feel the chaos ensuing from your MC’s guilty behavior! 🙂

In Second Place

Jennifer Broedel
for
Buffa-lonely Love Day

Congratulations, Jennifer, on an entry we loved for your MC’s very believable and understandable grumpiness leading to bad behavior and guilt!  You get to pick your prize after Chambrae.

In Third Place

Anne Sawan
for

A Box Full Of Love

Congratulations, Anne!  You had us laughing over your “chip off the old block” guilt 🙂  You get to pick your prize after Chambrae and Jennifer.

In Fourth Place

Colleen Murphy
for

Mother Knows Best

Congratulations, Colleen, on a delightfully believable story of guilt in perfect rhyme!  You get to pick your prize after Chambrae, Jennifer, and Anne!

In Fifth Place

Tiffany Dickinson
for

Heart Socks For The Win

Congratulations, Tiffany, on your heart-warming story. We felt Alex’s guilt and appreciated her empathy!   You get to pick after Chambrae, Jennifer, Anne, and Colleen!

In Sixth Place

Rose Cappelli
for

The Queen Of Hearts

Congratulations, Rose!  You really made us feel Meg wrestling with her guilt!  I’m sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now 🙂

In Seventh Place…

Katrina Swenson
for
Chadwick The Zombie Cooks Up A Valentine

Congratulations, Katrina!  You won us over with your zombie sweet-maker the same way he won over his fellow zombies 🙂  You get to pick next 🙂

In Eighth Place…

Marty Bellis
for
Guess Who?

Congratulations, Marty!  You captured a child’s good intentions and not-so-good execution perfectly 🙂  You get to pick after Katrina 🙂

In Ninth Place… a tie!

Joyce Schriebman                                                Jill Lambert
for                                                                           for
The Valentine’s Day Mess & Cure                        The Missing Pupcake

Congratulations to both of you on very humorous entries!  You get to pick after Marty 🙂 (And since you tied, we’ll work it out…)

All the winners should email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com with the subject heading Prize Winner so we can work out details for you to receive your prizes!  (The sooner the better!)  And for your convenience, the whole prize list is included at the bottom of this post.  Jose and Beth, if you’d like to choose a prize from the Honorable Mention selection of prizes above you are most welcome to!

Congratulations again to all our winners – it was a stiff competition!! – and congratulations to EVERYONE who wrote and entered a story in the contest.  You all deserve a huge round of applause and a gigantic chocolate heart… or lots of little chocolate hearts… or both… really, you can never have too much chocolate 🙂

Thank you to everyone who helped make this contest SO MUCH FUN, whether by writing an entry, reading people’s stories, leaving comments for the authors, and/or voting in the finals.  It’s because of all of you that this contest was such a success, so many, many thanks from the bottom of my heart!

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone! 🙂

 

The Prizes:  Oh, the awesomeness!  With thanks to all who donated!

“Skip The Slushpile” AND get a Query Letter Critique from Charlotte Wenger, associate editor at Page Street Kids, the picture book division of Page Street Publishing. She earned her Master of Arts in Children’s Literature from Simmons University (then College) and is a board member of the Mazza Museum’s National Advisory Board of Visitors. She enjoys working with debut picture book authors and illustrators and is excited about the 19 Page Street Kids picture books pubbing in 2019.

 
Find Charlotte on Twitter at @WilbursBF_Char, and learn more about Page Street Kids via www.pagestreetpublishing.com, Twitter: @PageStreetKids, and Instagram: pagestreetkids.

Charlotte will read the winner’s picture book manuscript of choice, then send an email letting you know she’s read your story and including one thing you did well and one thing you might work on to improve the manuscript.  In addition, she will give you a query letter critique.  Like all editors, she has a hectic schedule, so she will aim to fulfill the prize within 2 months of receiving the manuscript.

Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the incredibly talented, multi-published author/illustrator Iza Trapani!

Iza 2014  Old MacDonald

Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the Queen of KidLit411 herself, Elaine Kiely Kearns, author of Noah Noasaurus, forthcoming April 1, 2019 from Albert Whitman!

elaine  noah

– Top Ten Reasons for Rejectiona 52 minute webinar from Alayne Kay Christian, author of Butterfly Kisses (picture book) and the Sienna The Cowgirl Fairy series (chapter books), and Content and Developmental Editor of Blue Whale Press.

Alayne butterfly kisses

Webinar Description: If you want tips on some corrective action that you might take to improve your chances of submission success, and/or if you would like to deepen your understanding of plot and arc, this webinar is for you.

(And if you’re interested in seeing what else Alayne has to offer, like her Writing For Children Webinars and Courses page on FB and keep an eye out for upcoming offerings!)

 

15-30 Minute Your Questions Answered Phone Call – with Ryan Sias, author/illustrator of Balloon Toons: Zoe And Robot, Let’s Pretend, Sniff Sniff!, and the Woof And Quack beginning reader series (Green Light Readers), and the Super Doodle Series. He has worked in animation, film, and television, including Sesame Street 🙂

Do you have questions about writing, revising, submitting, whether or not to try for an agent, what happens after the sale, or anything else publishing industry related?  If so, this is your chance to ask away and get answers from a professional!

85044-ryan_headshot  SniffSniffcover-300x300  woof and quack snowy doodle

 

Query Letter Critique by Heather Ayris Burnell, creator of the Sub It Club and author of Bedtime Monster, Kick! Jump! Chop! The Adventures Of The Ninjabread Man, and the Sparkly New Friends early chapter book series from Scholastic!

heather burnell  Kick Jump Chop

2-Pack of Personalized Signed Picture Books from amazing author Melissa StollerScarlet’s Magic Paintbrush and Ready, Set, Gorilla!

Picture2  Picture1 gorilla

The Writer’s Tool Box: Creative Games And Exercises for Inspiring The “Write” Side Of Your BrainAND a $10 Amazon Gift Card

writer's toolbox

Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market 2019 – by Robert Lee Brewer AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card (2 available)

Children's Writer's Guide 2019

I can’t thank these authors enough for their incredible generosity!  Please visit their sites, buy and recommend their books and services to your writer friends and/or friends with kids, write them nice reviews on Amazon, GoodReads etc if you’ve read and liked their books, and show your appreciation to them in any way you can!