The 2017 Halloweensie Contest WINNERS!!!

Golly, would you look at us?!

We are something else, aren’t we?

Masters of accomplishment!

All the way to Friday already!

Which of course means Perfect Picture Books.

Except for today.

Today it does not mean Perfect Picture Books.

This is because the people in charge around here have had a scheduling foul-up of monstrous proportions which clearly took place in the shadowy underbelly of the administration and left us all in a rut as sticky as candy corn!

There is no other explanation.

Although, now that I think about it, it may have been that, due to budget cuts, the lighting was extremely dim, making it very difficult to discern what was written on the calendar amongst the long shadows cast by the one remaining light bulb, and the PICOS (Person In Charge Of Scheduling…er… which would be me) was so hopped up on candy corn that she was trying to make sense of the schedule whilst dancing the monster mash and thus failed to realize that today – Friday – was supposed to be for Perfect Picture Books.

I think it must have been that.

Unless…

It’s just possible that an army of candy corn led by General Sugarshadow rumbled into my office in orange camo monster trucks and staged a coups, and the new regime insists that every day is National Tri-Colored Undigestible Candy Day and to heck with perfect picture books because they are not made out of sugar nor can they be used as a traction aid in inclement weather.

Be that as it may, according to my sources it is Friday.  And that means, it’s time for Perfect Picture Books.  So let’s get to it, shall we?

Oh.

Wait a minute.

Didn’t some monstrously candy-corn-headed nitwit just say something shadowy about a scheduling conflict?

I’ll have my people get in touch with your people and sort this whole scheduling conundrum out!

Meanwhile, perhaps you’d like to engage in the age-old debate over pop-tarts: toast them? or eat them cold?  Where do you weigh in on this critical issue?

Or maybe we should discuss the qualifications one should look for in a scheduling assistant… because clearly I could use some advice…

Or maybe…

…just maybe…

you’d like to hear about

THE WINNERS
OF
The 7th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!

WA-HOOOOOOO!!!!!

 

As you are all aware by now, we had a record turnout for the Halloweensie Contest – 244 entries!  Holy Halloweensie!  Who’d-a-thunk it?

I was thrilled beyond measure to see so many wonderful stories and meet so many new writers!

But with large entry numbers 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 on Monday 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 (one reason being that, at a certain point, we just had to stop adding finalists to the list! :))

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: (all-arond well-written stories we loved that just missed the finals for one small reason or another!)

Vanessa Marcus for Scary To Someone

Ryan Roberts for Pumpkin Patch

Jennifer Buchet for Gobblewolly’s Halloweensie Treasure

Katherine Rothstein for Sharkcula

Joni Klein-Higger for Ten Dancing Monsters

Jen Bagan for Shadow Monster

Nancy Granberry for Monster Had A Little Ghost

Nancy Riley for Monster’s Woe

Jill Proctor for Monster Marathon

Delfina Salimbene for The Sweet Tooth Trick Or Treat

Jennifer Raudenbush for Montgomery Monster

 

 

2.  For Great Kid Appeal: (not already in the finals)

Greg Bray for Killer Candy Corn Costume

Ann Martin for Who Scared Who? (also very cute story!)

Diana (Peach?) for Monster Under The Bed

 

3.  For Best Descriptive/Mood Piece:

Terri Ross for Witchy (delightfully Halloweensie mood)

Meryl Cullom for Watch Out! (spooky)

 

4.  For Best Use of Poetic Language: (not already in the finals)

Maria Marshall for A Halloween Treasure (lovely mood)

Janie Reinart for Parade Of Horribles (spooky mood)

 

5. For Spookiest Entry: (not already in the finals)

Brianna Zamborsky for The Lock

Lynley Stace for Sweetie

 

6. For Funniest Entry: (not already in the finals)

Nina Q. Haines for Broomstick Sale

Sandy Perlic for Trick Or Treats For Monster?

 

7. For Sweetest Entry: (not already in the finals)

Jennifer Prevost for Candie’s Monster Shadows

Candace Kubinec for No Costume Required

 

8.  For Best Written Original Point of View: (not already in the finals)

Kaye Baillie for House Hates Halloween (POV of a haunted house)

 

9. For Fun Concept With Great Potential:

B.L. Bachman for Witch Hiccups

 

10.  For Favorite Character:

Julie Abery for her Teensy-Weensy Witch

Jean James for her Evil Dr. Gerbil 🙂

 

11.  For Best Entry In 12 Words! 🙂 :

Danielle Hammelef for A Shadow’s Secret

 

12. For Cleverest Parody Close To Judge #1’s Heart 🙂 :

Julie LaCombe for When Your Monster Has The Sneazles

 

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)

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

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

In paperback: (PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR SNAIL MAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR EMAIL!)

Show & Tell In A Nutshell: Demonstrated Transitions From Telling To Showing 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

OR

If you already have all these, or can’t decide, or want to build up your wish list fund:

A $5 Amazon Email Gift Certificate

Now then.  A word about the prizes before I announce the winners.

We have 12 fabulous prizes, generously donated by authors and various professionals in the writing field.  My policy is to let the first place winner have first pick of all the prizes, the second place winner have second choice, etc.  That way hopefully nobody gets something they already have, and hopefully everyone gets something that’s valuable to them.  All prizes are listed at the bottom of this post for your convenience in perusing the goodies 🙂

Now.

Finally!

Onto the moment you’ve all been waiting for. . .

. . . the reason you got out of bed this morning. . .

. . .  in spite of shadows under your bleary eyes. . .

. . . and the candy corn that is stuck in your monsterly bed head!!!

. . . THE WINNERS OF THE 2017 HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST as chosen by you, our esteemed voters!!!!!

 

In First Place, winner of the whole entire contest and top of the heap who gets first choice of all the prizes…

Dawn Young

for

Clomp, Stomp, Chomp!

Congratulations, Dawn, on a delightful and humorous entry with good tension that was all around well done and clearly very popular!!!

In Second Place,

Debbie Day

for

Attack Of The Vampire Cookie

Congratulations, Debbie, on a creative, wonderfully written entry with a great title! You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Dawn chooses!

In Third Place,

Lucretia Schafroth
 for

Marvin…The Monster

 

Congratulations, Lucretia, on an entertaining entry with a great surprise ending that we all loved!  You get first choice of the prizes that are left after Dawn and Debbie choose!

In Fourth Place,

Jennifer Broedel
for
Beware The Candysnatch

Congratulations, Jennifer, on a fun version of the classic rhyme with a great ending!  You get to pick a prize after Dawn, Debbie, and Lucretia!

In Fifth Place,

Judy Sobanski
for
Vampire Has A Sweet Tooth

Congratulations, Judy, on your well written entry with a resourceful MC!  You get to pick your prize after Dawn, Debbie, Lucretia, and Jennifer!

In Sixth Place,

Kelly Conroy

for

Werewolf Trick Or Treat

Congratulations, Kelly, on your well written just-the-right-amount-of-scary entry! You get to pick your prize after Dawn, Debbie, Lucretia, Jennifer, and Judy!

In Seventh Place,

Jessica Bennett
for
Shadow Play

Congratulations, Jessica, on your delightfully spooky story!  I’m sure you get the idea of the prize picking by now! 🙂

In Eighth Place,

Chambrae Griffith
for
Boogley’s Halloween

Congratulations, Chambrae, for a wonderful character and well written story with a nice surprise ending!  You get to pick your prize after Jessica.

In Ninth Place

Susie Sawyer
for
The Scariest House On The Block

Congratulations, Susie, on your humorous depiction of every kid’s worst Halloween nightmare 🙂  You get to prize pick after Chambrae.

In Tenth Place,

Katie Frawley
for
Vampette’s Visions

Congratulations, Katie, on a fun backward twist of an entry that we all loved!  You get to pick a prize after Susie…!

In Eleventh Place, a tie between

Jennifer Cole Judd                        and                  Sara Gentry
for                                                                         for
Bathilda’s Scary Surprise                                Jimmy’s Nighttime Guest

Congratulations Jen and Sara on your wonderful, kid-friendly, fun-spooky entries!  You two will have to fight over the last two prizes, but I’ll give priority to whoever emails me first 🙂

And, I don’t think I need to remind anyone that in addition to all these fabulous prizes, everyone mentioned on this page has bragging rights as having won or placed in the Pretty Much World Famous Halloweensie Contest!  Not just anyone can say that 🙂

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!  Finalists who did not finish in the top 12 (Christine and Deborah) may also contact me for their choice of the Kindle or paperback prizes listed above.  If you choose a prize that requires snail mailing, PLEASE include your snail mail address so we don’t have to email back and forth too many times 🙂

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, a confetti parade, and a large amount of chocolate cake 🙂

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, or by donating a prize!  It’s because of all of you that this contest was such a success, so many, many thanks from the bottom of my heart!

And before we go, I will give you all advance warning so you can start planning a little time into your December schedule…

The 7th Annual Holiday Writing Contest will be coming up sometime in the neighborhood of December 8-12 so we can all fully enjoy it and still have time for last minute holiday things.  I will do my best to post the rules well in advance (maybe the Saturday after Thanksgiving, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise! 🙂 ) so you all have time to work on your stories!

Have a terrific weekend everyone, and thanks again for making the Halloweensie Contest such a wonderful time for all! 🙂

The Prizes:

– a read and Skype critique of a picture book manuscript by the fabulous editor Callie Metler-Smith of Clear Fork/Spork Publishing!!!

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 10.55.48 PM

– a spot in Renee LaTulippe’s fantastic INTENSIVE RHYME AND METER SELF-STUDY COURSE!!!

 

– a 30 minute Skype conversation/critique of a picture book manuscript with the amazingly wonderful and talented author Penny Klostermann!!! (THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT – Random House 2015, A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE – Random House 2017)

Penny Klostermann

–  a webinar of your choice from among the selection offered by Julie Hedlund on her Teachable site (details of selection choice to be discussed with Julie)

julie h

Julie Hedlund

– a picture book manuscript critique from accomplished author/illustrator Cori Doerrfeld (PENNY LOVES PINK – Little Brown 2011, LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO: THE REAL STORY – Dial 2012 and the forthcoming THE RABBIT LISTENED – Dial 2018 and THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF ESTHER THE WONDER PIG – Little Brown 2018, and many, many more!)

0c24b-cori_bio_pic

Cori Doerrfeld

– a picture book manuscript critique from talented author Lynne Marie (HEDGEHOG GOES TO KINDERGARTEN – Scholastic 2011, HEDGEHOG’S 100th DAY OF SCHOOL –  Scholastic 2017, THE STAR OF THE CHRISTMAS PLAY – Sparkhouse Family 2018 and MOLDILOCKS AND THE 3 SCARES – Sterling, TBA. Her stories, articles and poems have appeared in many magazines, including Family Fun, Highlights, High Five, Spider and Baby Bug. She’s a Feature Columnist/On-staff writer for Children’s Book Insider, a book reviewer and a 2016/17 Cybils Picture Book Panelist. She’s a former New Yorker who now lives a simpler life on a lake in South Florida with her daughter and several resident water birds.

lynne marie

Lynne Marie

– a query letter critique from SubIt Club Founder and fabulous author Heather Burnell (BEDTIME MONSTER – Raven Tree Press 2010, KICK! JUMP! CHOP!: The Adventures of the Ninjabread Man – Sterling 2017)

heather burnell

Heather Burnell

– an e-pub or PDF copy (winner’s choice) of Linda Ashman‘s Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books. OR a paperback copy of Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation To Publication (on the off chance you don’t already have it 🙂 )

–  a Bundle Of Books from KidLit411 (must be selected by someone in the USA due to postage) which will include picture books and middle grade book, about 7 in total, details still to come.  (Totally awesome for writers, readers, parents, teachers, or gift-givers!!!)

– a personalized signed copy of GRIMELDA AND THE SPOOKTACULAR PET SHOW by Diana Murray PLUS a personalized signed copy of BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER by Andria Rosenbaum
Grimelda 2big sis little monster

 

 

 

 

 

 

– a personalized signed copy of MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN by Nancy Churnin

Manjhi

– a copy of MEET WOOF & QUACK by Jamie Swenson and donated by the illustrator, Ryan Sias

woof and quack

Please join me again in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N or anywhere else if you like them, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #268 – The Wildness In Mellie Feye (MG)

(Go HERE to read the Halloweensie finalists and vote for your favorite!)

Does anyone know how it is possible that Thanksgiving is a week from tomorrow???!!!

Seriously!  I do not know where October and November went!

I guess that’s what happens when you’re very busy 🙂

giphy

Since I am so busy (and we got such a tremendously wonderful number of entries in the Halloweensie Contest!) the posting schedule got a little messed up.

The poll is still up for you to vote for your favorite Halloweensie entry until tomorrow at noon.  If you haven’t had a chance to read the finalists and vote, please go HERE.  We need all the votes we can get!  Tell your friends and relations to come read and vote for their favorite too!  They will have the pleasure of reading some fantastically entertaining stories and it will only take them a couple minutes! 🙂

Even though I didn’t want to interrupt the voting, I also didn’t want to disappoint Candice who is signed up for Would You Read It today.  So please have a look at her pitch below and let her know what you think!

To give you strength, here is Something Chocolate!

Oreo Brookie Layer Cake

Mmmm!  Lip-smackin’ YUM!

I know that will fortify you for the job ahead! 🙂

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Candice who says, “An avid reader of fairytales, I have to take turns with my six and four year-old on who gets to play the villain. Evil cackles have been mastered by all.. I blog at candicemarleyconner.wordpress.com, tweet @candice_marleyc, and facebook at www.facebook.com/CMarleyConnerAuthor ”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Wildness In Mellie Feye

Age/Genre: Upper Middle Grade Eco-Fairytale Retelling

The Pitch: Mellie isn’t sure what her mama’s curse made her—a half sea serpent, a water spirit, a freak of a mermaid. Or simply cursed.

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 Candice 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 January, 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!

Candice is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to seeing who wins the Halloweensie Contest… which we will know on FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

The 2017 Halloweensie Contest FINALISTS! (at long last…!)

Hello, Everybodeeee!

SO nice of you to drop by for a Monday morning visit!

Pull your chair up to the kitchen table and pour yourselves a cup of tea or coffee while I rummage about and see what kind of second breakfast goodies I have around here…

Hmmm…..

Ah!

How about this?

assorted breakfast pastries             breakfast pastries 2

Luckily I always keep a few plates of assorted pastries on hand just in case someone should drop by.  My motto is: be prepared!  Also: breakfast is the most important meal of the day… and should therefore be eaten at least twice! (Clearly I could have been a girl scout…if I had been so inclined…! 🙂 )

So, how’re things?  What’s new?

I think there’s something important we need to talk about…

Yes….

I’m referring to that most critical of topics!

Are you ready?

Well then…

How early is too early to put up your Holiday Decorations?

And while we’re at it, when is it really okay to start listening to Holiday Music?

Now, I know some people never take their decorations down.  That certainly saves time and work!

And I, personally, have been known to get Holly Jolly Christmas stuck in my head in July, for no reason I can ever seem to pinpoint!

But I think most people would argue that…

What?

You couldn’t care less?

Really?!

About something as VERY CRUCIAL as the appropriate putting up of decorations and belting out of holiday tunes?!

So what brought you over for coffee hour, then?

Halloween?

Halloween is over!

Why on earth would we want to talk about that?

Oohhhh….

Halloweensie!

Right!

You want to know who the 2017 Halloweensie Writing Contest Finalists are!!!

(And here I thought you just came for the pleasure of my company… and maybe the chocolate croissants…! 🙂 )

All righty, then!  If that’s what you want, Here. We. Go!

We had the biggest turn out we’ve ever had in terms of number of entries – 244! – and the overall quality of the entries was fantastic.  Every contest I am thrilled to see that the quality of the entries has gone up yet another notch.  This means there are fewer obvious standouts, almost none that are easy to cut, and there are a LOT of very good ones that we have to get very nit-picky over!  It is agony, I tell you!

Before we get to the actual list of finalists, I have a couple things to say.  (I know you’re shocked :))

First of all, I want to thank EVERYONE who took the time and care to write an entry for this contest.  You all did a fabulous job and provided great enjoyment for many!

Second, I’d also like to thank EVERYONE – writer, reader, or both – who took the time to go around and read as many entries as you could and leave supportive comments.  This means so much to the writers who worked hard on their stories.  It helps them see what they did well, as well as giving them the joy of knowing that their stories were read and enjoyed.  I hope you all got as much delight  and entertainment out of the reading as I did!  Plus, we got to meet quite a few new people which was a wonderful added bonus! 🙂

Third, before I list the finalists, I want to say again how difficult it was too choose!  There were so many amazing entries.  Really.  I could find at least something terrific about every single one.  The sheer volume of entries meant that many good ones had to be cut.  So if yours didn’t make the final cut please don’t feel bad.  There was a huge amount of competition.  Judging, no matter how hard we try to be objective, is always subjective at a certain point – we all have our own preferences for what makes a great story.  And the fact that you didn’t make the final cut DOES NOT mean you didn’t write a great story.  Everyone who plonked their butt in a chair and worked hard to write a story for this contest is a winner!  You showed up.  You did your best work.  You practiced your craft.  You wrote to specifications and a deadline.  You bravely shared your writing with the world.  And you have a brand new story that is now yours to expand beyond 100 words if you like and maybe submit at some point to a magazine or as a PB manuscript.  So bravo to everyone who entered!

Now.  Onto the judging criteria which were as follows:

1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience, so entries that were well-written but lacked child-friendliness did not make the cut.

2.  Halloweeniness – the rules stated a Halloween story, so entries that failed to mention anything Halloween-y did not make the cut even if they were well-written.

3. Quality of story – the rules stated that entries were to tell a story, so if they appeared to be more of a description or mood piece, they didn’t make the cut.  We looked for a character and a true story arc.

4. Quality of Writing: we took note of spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  In addition, for the rhymers, we looked at rhyme and meter (for which we are sticklers!)  We also looked at overall writing quality and use of language.

5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.

A surprising number of this year’s entries were amazingly written… but in spite of the warning, still failed to really tell a story.  This is SO TOUGH in 100 words – I totally get it.  But some people managed better than others.  There were any number of entries that were superbly written that we wanted to choose, but when we got right down to it, there really just wasn’t much story… not compared to some of the other entries that really managed to tell one.  They were more descriptions, lists, or mood pieces.  So as awesome as they were, we had to make some very hard calls.  A couple were too adult.  Some, because of the cruelly limiting word count were a little hard to follow.  Some of the rhyming ones we really liked were too off-meter to make the cut.  Some entries were just so close, but missed out because of one relatively small thing!  One of our favorites – a clever, fun story we all enjoyed – switched verb tenses repeatedly from present to past and we had to let it go!  Another of our favorites was written in rhyme, and while the 2nd-4th stanzas were okay, the first one never found its rhythm and didn’t flow or match the other stanzas. So we had to cut that one 😦  A couple of others were interesting and educational in a nonfiction-y way, but didn’t feel as much like stories to us as we wanted them to.   GAH!  So hard!

So, without further ado, I present to you the 2017 Halloweensie Contest Finalists.  A mix of poetry and prose, stories for younger readers and slightly older (but still kid) readers, funny, spooky, and cute.  Please read through them carefully, take your time, think it over, and vote for your favorite.  To help with objectivity, finalists are listed by title only, not by author.

And I’d like to be very clear about the voting process.  You are MOST welcome to share a link to this post on FB, twitter, or wherever you like to hang out, and encourage people to come read ALL the finalists and vote for the one they think is best.  Please do that.  The more people who read and enjoy these stories the better, and the more objective votes we get the better.  HOWEVER (and I want to be very clear on this) please do not ask people to vote for a specific number or title, or for the story about the pumpkin ballerina or whatever.  Trolling for votes or trying to influence the outcome is counter to the spirit of this competition which is supposed to be based on merit.  I thank you in advance for respecting this.

So here we go!

#1 Attack Of The Vampire Cookie
On Halloween morning, a cookie is baked,
frosted in crimson and black.
With candy corn fangs and peppermint eyes,
it’s finished –  a vampire bat.

On Halloween midday, the party guests come,
craving a Halloween treat.
Before they can reach the desserts on the shelf,
a cookie escapes to the street.

On Halloween evening, up in the sky
Something bizarre is in flight.
A shadowy monster with candy corn fangs
is looking for children to bite.

On Halloween night, while kids trick-or-treat,
a creature descends, mean and vicious.
“Look!” says a child, “caught in this branch,
a bat cookie. Mmmm, tastes delicious!”

#2 Vampette’s Visions
Little Vampette snuggled into her coffin.
When I wake, it will be Halloween Night!
But soon…
SNIFFLE,
SNUFFLE,
SMOOCH!
“Bunnies!” Vampette shrieked.
She tossed them some candy-corn to satisfy their hunger and slammed the coffin lid.
Vampette peeped out. All was quiet, until…
FLITTER,
FLUTTER,
FLY!
“Butterflies!”
She flung death lilies at the swarm and ducked back into her coffin.
Vampette settle down once more, until…
SQUEAK,
CREAK,
CRACK!
Vampette lifted her lid and peeked out.
A shadow fell across her coffin.
“Wake up, little monster. It’s Halloween Night!”
“Mummy?”
“You were having a daymare!”
Vampette sighed. “Phew. Happy Halloween!”

#3 Boogley’s Halloween
Boogley brewed up something sweet,
a candy-corny scrumptious treat.
But when the shadows crept around,
no trick-or-treaters could be found.
“I wish they’d knock upon my door.
Don’t be frightened, I won’t roar.”
He brushed his fangs, shined up his horns,
cleared the webs and trimmed the thorns.
He heard a creak, “Is ss-someone there?”
He grabbed his tasty treat to share.
The breeze howled in, lights flickered low,
then Boogley saw an eerie glow.
A monster with a crown and wand,
gleaming eyes and curls of blond.
He backed up slow, in full retreat,
that’s when she shouted…
“TRICK-OR-TREAT!”

#4 Shadow Play
House creaks.
Witch-hand branches scratch.
Moon sails in ghostly clouds on Halloween night.
Big sister, so grown up, hands out candy.
She looks bored.
I’ll fix that.
Flashlight: check.
Dracula cape: check.
Candy corn fangs: check.
The shadow creeps down the staircase ahead of me.
Vampire wings flap, teeth bare.
The monstrous shape crosses the door,
touches her shoulder.
“Marcellllaaa…” it hisses.
Shrieks and screams!
M&M’s everywhere!
Mini candy bars fly like shotgun shells.
Marcella sprawls among the rubble.
“You almost scared me to death!”
But now I crouch beside her,
staring at the shadow
still
looming
over
us.

#5 Vampire Has A Sweet Tooth
Young Victor Vampire moped because he’d lost his second fang.
“A toothless ghoul just isn’t cool!” he told his monster gang.
“I feel ya, dude, said Skelton. “Last year I broke a bone.”
“My throat was sore,” said Frankie Stein. “I couldn’t growl or moan.”
Vic huddled in the shadows while he sucked on candy corn.
“This is the ONLY Halloween I’ve missed since I was born!”
Then suddenly Vic smiled wide, as happy as could be.
The candy corn became his fangs,
“Hey monsters…wait for me!

#6 Marvin…The Monster
Marvin tucked himself into the corner. He couldn’t risk anyone seeing him lurking…watching…
waiting…
for the Trick-or-Treaters.
He’d prepared for months, laser-focused on tonight’s mission…
finding the perfect spot…
mastering a flawless special effect…
to thoroughly spook the costumed kids.
As children swarmed onto the porch, Marvin jumped in front of the light…
striking his ninja pose…
casting a huge, creepy shadow…
and screeched, “BOOO!”
“MONSTER! RUN!” shrieked the kids.
Dropping their Halloween loot, they careened off the porch.
Tasting a piece while carrying the bounty to his lair, …
Marvin, the chipmunk, thought…
‘OPERATION CANDY CORN’…
SUCCESS!

#7 Bathilda’s Scary Surprise
Bathilda haunts the shadowed streets,
watching kids munch trick-or-treats.
She moans: “There are no treats for me,
when those monsters all run free!
Candy corn and gummi bears–
I get nothing for my scares!
On Halloween, I’m always bored,
but this year, I won’t be ignored.”
Into the moonlight, thin and pale,
she leaps and groans a ghastly wail.
The startled children flee in fright.
Bathilda cackles with delight.
She gathers up forgotten snacks
from all of the abandoned sacks.
Then moans again, “It all looks sweet,
but I forgot that ghosts can’t eat!”

#8 Beware The Candysnatch
It’s Halloween night, and I’m snug in my bed,
as visions of candy corn dance in my head.
The night’s trick-or-treating brought in quite the haul
of candy bars, lollipops, bubble gum all
hidden, tucked carefully under my covers.
And yet, I feel certain a monster still hovers.
It’s not the dark shadows that trouble me most.
I fear no rogue werewolf, aged mummy, or ghost.
The sinister phantom I worry about
is lurking beside me now, snatching claws out.
A theft-proof alarm bell just might come in handy…
My sister wants ALL of my Halloween candy.

#9 Unveiled Terror
Fear of Halloween monsters has kept Jack hiding since nightfall. He’s had nothing to eat but stale candy corn. His rumbling stomach and aching muscles now coax him from his cramped refuge.

With his first cautious movement, chaos erupts! Jack’s body is bound. His legs tangle. A hood envelops his head. Something grabs Jack and whips him into the air.

Jack gasps in horror when he glimpses a ghostly shadow through his veil. The cover is torn from his face, thrusting him into brightness. He trembles as a voice cackles,

“Jack, you silly dog! Stop dragging the sheets off my bed.”

#10 CLOMP, STOMP, CHOMP!
CLOMP CLOMP
There’s a noise and I’m no longer sleeping
and Yikes! there’s a shadow that’s crawling and creeping.
It’s hairy and scary and has a huge horn.
monster that’ s growling, “Me want candy corn!”
It grunts and it groans and it’s down on all fours.
I toss my whole bag to the creature, “It’s yours!”
I’m under the covers and scared half to death.
I quietly peek out while holding my breath.
It enters. STOMP STOMP
Comes closer. CHOMP CHOMP
Hey wait!
That big beast with the horrible horn?
Is my sister, still dressed as a pink unicorn!

#11 Lulu And Betty’s World Record
Lulu’s pumpkin overshadowed the vegetable patch.
“Time for the World Record weigh-in!” Lulu told Betty, her chicken.
Betty tilted her head… and went back to chomping candy corn.
Lulu embraced her pumpkin and heeeeaaaved….
THUMP!
Lulu scratched her head, “Why are you so light?”
Lulu tapped: hollow! And monster teeth marks blighted the squash’s skin.
“Noooo! I won’t win now.”
Betty pecked the deflated pumpkin.
“Perfect!” said Lulu, clapping.
Lulu carved for hours following Betty’s pecks.
On Halloween night Lulu and Betty’s pumpkin illuminated the town. And smashed the biggest jack-o’-lantern world record.

#12 Werewolf Trick Or Treat
The werewolf wore his costume.
His sack jam-packed with treats,
Like candy corn and Snickers,
He couldn’t wait to eat.

But lurking in the forest,
There was a gruesome pack,
Who shot out from the shadows,
To steal the werewolf’s sack.

The werewolf chased the trio,
Down sidewalks and through lawns,
But when he caught up to them,
The candy was all gone.

“You monsters ate my candy!”
His rage began to brew.
“The candy’s in your bellies…
So now I must eat you.”

#13 The Scariest House On The Block
“Brace yourself, Bobby,” Penelope said.
Anxiety’s shadow enveloped his head.
“Why me?” Bobby whimpered, his voice growing thin.
“Because it’s your turn,” she replied with a grin.
He knocked on the door, and its monstrous feet
approached with a rhythmic, unwavering beat.
It opened the door and met Bobby’s eye.
“Trick or Treat,” Bobby mumbled and tried not to cry.
With a candy corn smile and breath just as gross,
it grabbed Bobby’s head and pulled him in close.
Then … SMACK!—its red lips planted square on his face.
Bobby suffered a kiss from his Aunt Mary Grace.

#14 Jimmy’s Nighttime Guest
Jimmy lay awake in bed,
quaking, shaking, filled with dread.
Shadows cast upon the wall
must mean monsters came to call.

One stood like a triangle,
pointy, tall, and terrible.
Jimmy wondered if this beast
hunted for its dinner feast.

Peeking out behind his sheet,
bracing for a sure defeat,
waiting for a monster raid,
Jimmy felt his courage fade.

Trembling in his bed with fright,
Jimmy reached out for the light,
never to expect this sight.

Resting on the radio,
something blocked his night-light’s glow.
Not a monster’s tooth or horn –
one small piece of candy corn!

 

Now that you’ve had a chance to read through the finalists, please vote for the entry you feel deserves to win in the poll below by 12PM EST (Noon) Thursday November 16.

We will have a regularly scheduled Would You Read It on Wednesday, but I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to read and vote on Halloweensie.

Tune in Friday November 17 to see THE WINNERS!!!  (yeah… we’re going to have to skip PPBF because of the timing getting messed up by the judging taking so long – sorry about that!)

Thank you all so much for taking the time to write (if you did), read, and vote!  These contests simply wouldn’t be what they are without all of you!

I can’t wait to see who the winners will be!

Tune in Friday… same bat time, same bat station 🙂

(Although don’t forget WYRI on Wednesday!)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to lie on the couch and eat bonbons all day.

Okay.

Not really.

I have to catch up with students, critique work, and stuff with a deadline!

But there might still be chocolate involved 🙂

Have a marvelous Monday everyone!!!  And please make sure you VOTE!  With this many finalists, we will need A LOT of votes!

Freaky Friday :)

Darlings!

I am trying desperately to finish the Halloweensie judging!

SUCH a challenge!  You all did an unbelievable job and having to cut anyone from the list is practically impossible.  Vast quantities of chocolate are required for this Herculean task!

I mean seriously!  There were 244 fantastic entries and somehow the other judges and I have to cull them down to a dozen…preferably without doing each other bodily injury! 🙂  I can assure you there is a great deal of hair-tearing, tooth-gnashing, and rending of garments going on around here!

So I’m not posting a Perfect Picture Book today because I’m buried under Halloweensie stories.

But I will put the link list here for those of you who want to Perfect Picture Book Party 🙂

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!

I’m hopinghopinghoping to have the finalist list up by later today… or tomorrow… 🙂  Wish us luck!!!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #267 – Dewey Drops (PB)

Hey there, friends!

(If I still have any friends out there due to my interrupted and extremely tardy judging of the Halloweensie Contest!)

I sincerely apologize for the delay!

You know how, for a while, nothing happens at all… and then all of a sudden everything happens at once?

That’s been the last week or two for me!  So I’m sorry it messed with the contest!  And I will do my level best to get the judging done and the finalists up ASAP!  Friday if possible… more likely the weekend… but that remains to be seen!

Meanwhile, let’s interrupt our regularly scheduled Halloweensie programming for our regularly scheduled Would You Read It programming! 🙂

First things first, though.  I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty desperate for Something Chocolate!  A girl needs her fuel! 🙂 I don’t personally have any leftover Halloween Candy, but for those of you who do, here’s a recipe to use some of it up 🙂

Candy Bar Cheese Cake

Candy Bar Cheesecake

Recipe HERE at Sugar Hero!

Doesn’t it just give you energy to look at that?  Never mind taste it… YUM!!!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Jennifer.  Jennifer Prevost is a wife, mom and picture book writer of the pre-published variety. She’s dreamed of seeing her words in print for as long as she can remember (and feels blessed to have made it this far.) You can find her at her blog, Magnolias & Manuscripts (http://magnoliasandmanuscripts.wordpress.com/blog) where she’s capturing her writing journey and asking questions to authors far more successful than she. If she’s not there, she’s probably somewhere jotting down ideas, playing with her kids or chasing her big, goofy, dog Rex with a cup of coffee in her hand. (Also check IG and Facebook @jennifergprevost, and maybe one of these days, she’ll figure out Twitter)

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Dewey Drops

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-7)

The Pitch: Dewey heard the rumblings, this rainfall would be a big one. As he peeked over the edge of the cloud to check the drop zone, he saw the thing he dreaded most of all. All he wanted was to make someone smile, but would he ever get the chance?

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 Jennifer 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 January, 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!

Jennifer is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to finishing the Halloweensie judging for you and getting the finalists up for your vote!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

And stay tuned for the posting of the Halloweensie Finalists!  IT WILL HAPPEN!!!

(just not quite sure exactly when! 🙂 )

 

The 7th Annual Halloweensie Contest aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!

My sincere apologies that the finalists are not going to be listed for your votes until at least Wednesday!  Editorial deadlines… enough said.  I’m so sorry for the delay and will do my very best to get the finalists posted as soon as possible!  Thank you for your patience and understanding ❤ 

Ear of bat and toe of worm!  It’s finally time for. . .

The 7th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!

~ for children’s writers ~

aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!!!!

halloweensie-pumpkin

The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words candy corn, monster, and shadow. (Candy corn will be counted as 1 word.)  Your story can be scary, funny, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂  (And yes, I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  We got nearly 150 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. monsters, monstrous, shadowy, shadowed, whathaveyou 🙂  NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined 🙂 )

Post: your story on your blog between right now this very second and Tuesday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below.  There will be no Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy.  If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section below (please include your byline if your posting handle is something like AwesomeWriter92 so I can identify you.)  If you have difficulty posting in the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it for you.  Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the top – NO ATTACHMENTS!
Please Note: although you are welcome to submit more than one entry, please only post each entry ONCE!  If you post it on your blog (preferred method) everyone will come visit you and you’ll make new friends! 🙂  If you don’t have a blog, post it in the comment section below.  If you’re unable to post, please email me with your entry and byline in the body of the email.  Please DO NOT post on your blog, and in the comments, and send me an email to post.  It makes things confusing!
P.S.  Although I try to stay glued to my computer 24/7 I am sometimes forced to leave my desk.  If you haven’t commented on my blog before, your comment won’t show up until I approve it.  It may take a little while if I’m away from my desk.  Likewise, if you send me an entry to post, I promise I will do it as soon as I can!

The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the following days, my devoted assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 6th (sooner if possible, although I’m warning you ahead of time I have a deadline for something else and if time gets dicey the finalists may get posted later.)  The winner will be announced on Thursday November 9th, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 🙂  If we get more than 25 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st – 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turnout we’ve had the past couple years, I may post as many as 10-12 finalists and I’ll probably end up giving everyone a prize 🙂  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!

Judging criteria will be as follows:

  • 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
  • 2.  Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
  • 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 🙂  Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
  • 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 🙂  Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.

The Prizes:

– a read and Skype critique of a picture book manuscript by the fabulous editor Callie Metler-Smith of Clear Fork/Spork Publishing!!!

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 10.55.48 PM

– a spot in Renee LaTulippe’s fantastic INTENSIVE RHYME AND METER SELF-STUDY COURSE!!!

 

– a 30 minute Skype conversation/critique of a picture book manuscript with the amazingly wonderful and talented author Penny Klostermann!!! (THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT – Random House 2015, A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE – Random House 2017)

Penny Klostermann

–  a webinar of your choice from among the selection offered by Julie Hedlund on her Teachable site (details of selection choice to be discussed with Julie)

julie h

Julie Hedlund

– a picture book manuscript critique from accomplished author/illustrator Cori Doerrfeld (PENNY LOVES PINK – Little Brown 2011, LITTLE BUNNY FOO FOO: THE REAL STORY – Dial 2012 and the forthcoming THE RABBIT LISTENED – Dial 2018 and THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF ESTHER THE WONDER PIG – Little Brown 2018, and many, many more!)

0c24b-cori_bio_pic

Cori Doerrfeld

– a picture book manuscript critique from talented author Lynne Marie (HEDGEHOG GOES TO KINDERGARTEN – Scholastic 2011)

lynne marie

Lynne Marie

– a query letter critique from SubIt Club Founder and fabulous author Heather Burnell (BEDTIME MONSTER – Raven Tree Press 2010, KICK! JUMP! CHOP!: The Adventures of the Ninjabread Man – Sterling 2017)

heather burnell

Heather Burnell

– an e-pub or PDF copy (winner’s choice) of Linda Ashman‘s Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books. OR a paperback copy of Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation To Publication (on the off chance you don’t already have it 🙂 )

–  a Bundle Of Books from KidLit411 (must be selected by someone in the USA due to postage) which will include picture books and middle grade book, about 7 in total, details still to come.  (Totally awesome for writers, readers, parents, teachers, or gift-givers!!!)

– a personalized signed copy of GRIMELDA AND THE SPOOKTACULAR PET SHOW by Diana Murray PLUS a personalized signed copy of BIG SISTER, LITTLE MONSTER by Andria Rosenbaum
Grimelda 2big sis little monster

 

 

 

 

 

 

– a personalized signed copy of MANJHI MOVES A MOUNTAIN by Nancy Churnin

Manjhi

– a copy of MEET WOOF & QUACK by Jamie Swenson and donated by the illustrator, Ryan Sias

woof and quack

Please join me again in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N or anywhere else if you like them, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up 🙂

Now then.  Time for my sample entry which I provide because I would never ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.  Also, in case anyone is worried about the quality of their entry they have only to read my truly horrific attempt to be filled with confidence that their’s is MUCH better!  I have to confess, I was really down to the wire this year (my schedule is a lot nuts!), I have some looming deadlines for various things… which is why I may be a little behind getting started reading entries and why the judging may be slightly delayed… just so you know… but I digress!

So, here goes nothing…!

Sneak Attack! (95 words)

Minnie Monster feels forlorn.
How she craves some candy corn!
Why do children have no clue
That monsters covet candy too?
Min peers out the closet door.
Plastic pumpkin on Jen’s floor
Brimming full of trick-or-treat
Surely more than Jen can eat!
What’s a monster girl to do
But help herself to just a few?
Min darts left, then tiptoes right.
Silent, stealthy, out of sight.
Candy corn within her reach,
Min emits a fearful screech!
Hurtles underneath Jen’s bed.
Hides her hairy monster head
From the THING that scared her so –
Nothing but her own shadow!

[And the two lines I had to cut from the end because they took the word count to 105:
Moral of this monster tale?
Don’t filch from another’s pail!  🙂 ]

Now then, darlings!  Is everyone feeling better about their way-better-than-that! stories?  I certainly HOPE so! 🙂

I can’t wait to read all of your entries!  I’m so looking forward to them!  I hope there will be a lot – the more the merrier!  And there are still nearly 5 days to write, so you have time if you haven’t written yet.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.  And your reading friends – parents, teachers, etc.  The more people who read and enjoy your stories, the better!!!

Contest Entrants, remember to add your post-specific link to the google form below so we can all come read your awesome stories!  (Post-specific means not your main blog url, but the actual url of the post that has your story in it – otherwise if you post again before the contest ends, your link will take readers… and judges!… to the wrong place!)

Eager Readers – just go along the list of links, click on them, and enjoy the stories!

Happy Writing and Happy Halloween!!! 🙂  🎃

And don’t miss the 135!!! fabulous entries that are posted in the comments below!  (Unfortunately I can’t make links to them, but please scroll through and read and comment for the talented authors!!!)
1.   Scaredy-Crow Joe – Ingrid
2.   The Bone Spider – Shelemur
3.   The Best In The Bowl – Susan S
4.   Fall Forest Stew At Edora Park – Kristen
5.   Scary To Someone – Vanessa
6.   The Trick In The Treat – Corine
7.   Vampette’s Visions – Katie
8.   Pumpkin Patch – Ryan
9.   The Spooky Night Of Halloween – Nina
10. Screamoween – Lindsay
11. The Baddies’ Curse – Cindy
12. Fangsmith’s Missing Fangs – Ann
13. Shadow Play – Jessica
14. Candy Corn: Sweet Or Scary – Jodi
15. Little Monster’s First Halloween – Kathy M
16. Halloween Blizzard – Marilyn U
17. The Scary Sweet – Megan W
18. The Shadow – Megan W
19. The Neighbor Kid – Viji
20. Dancing In The Moonlight – Kathy E
21. “Knock, Knock” – Jerry
22. Gobblewolly’s Halloweensie Treasure – Jennifer B
23. Raven’s Trick – Sydney
24. Sugar Monster’s Revenge – Sydney
25. Corny Smile Costume – Sheri
26. Unveiled Terror – Deborah
27. Trick Or Treat – Claire
28. Halloween With My Sister – Hilda
29. Sharkcula – Katherine
30. Monster Ball – Marilyn G
31. Happy Halloween Volcano – Barbara
32. Boogley’s Halloween – Chambrae
33. Pumpkin Patch – Summer
34. Victor Frank Bakes A Monster – Chambrae
35. Harry’s Favorite Night – Karen
36. The Monster – Judy V
37. The Candy Corn Monster – Gail
38. The Chilling Search For Candy Corn – Laurie
39. The Candy Corn-Eating Contest – Robin
40.  Witchy – Terri
41. The Purple Monster And The Candy Corn – Janet
42. The Purple Monster – Janet
43. Vampire Has A Sweet Tooth – Judy S
44. Candy Monster – Jennifer G
45. Nitro’s Halloween Surprise – Jenifer
46. Beware The Candy Snatch – Jennifer B
47. The Five Houses On Halloween – Cindy
48. Only Around Halloween – Janie
49. Broomstick Sale – Nina
50. The Candy Corn Monster – Marje
51. The Rumor – Judy V
52. Trick Or Treats For Monster? – Sandy
53. Witch Hiccups – B.L.
54. Manny’s Perfect Costume – Anne
55. Shadows Of The Candy Corn Monster – Sarah
56. A Real Witch – Brook
57. Fright Night – Marty
58. Beware The Great Candy Corn – Jenna
59. In The Ginger House Of Licorice Flax – Megan H
60. Do You Know About… – Robyn
61. I’m Not A Candy Corn – Kristen D
62. Halloween – Bah Humbug! – Susan R
63. Shhh – Michael
64. My Favorite Holiday – Jenna
65. Monster’s Shadow – Marcia
66. A Terrible Monster – Anne L
67. Candy Corn Meadow – Megan H
68. Monster’s Brave Halloween – Dee
69. Halloween – Best Day Ever! – Kathy B
70. The Scariest Monster – Dina
71. Marvin…The Monster – Lucretia
72. A Halloween Feast – Elaine
73. Monster Manners – Cheryl
74. Halloween Goodies – Tiffany
75. Pumpkin P.I. – Heather
76. Who Killed Candy Corn? – Beth
77. Sweet Halloween – Tasha
78. Ten Dancing Monsters – Joni
79. The Candy Corn Trap – Nancy R
80. Halloween Raid – Laura
81. Tricky Nicknames – Valerie
82. Shadow Monster – Jen
83. Monster Shadow – Erin
84. Charlotte’s Colorful Night And The Unstuck Candy – Barbara
85. Monster Had A Little Ghost – Nancy
86. The Quest – Linda
87. Watch Out! – Meryl
88. Monster Mayhem – Mary
89. Monster’s Treat – Bridget
90. The Watcher – Mare
91. Spooky Old House – Sherry F
92. Untitled – Katie S
93. The Monster Ball – Anne S
94. Bathilda’s Scary Surprise – Jennifer J
95. House Hates Halloween – Kaye
96. Not So Scary – Judy C
97. Monster’s Pay Day – Sherri
98. The Scary House – Lauren
99. The History Of Candy Corn – Ashley
100. Jimmy’s Nighttime Guest – Sara
101. Trick Or Treat – Kathy S
102. Freaky Pet – Mandy
103. The Shadow Of The Candy Corn Monster – Jim
104. Lonely Halloween – Sparkle
105. The Truth About Halloween – Keatley
106. Sweet Dreams – Risa
107. Call Backs – Risa
108. Sendak Admirer – Risa
109. Ghosts and Goblins and Gremlins, Oh, My! – Mia
110. Monster’s Woe – Nancy R
111. The Great Candy Corn Debate – Mary M
112. Trick Or Be My Treat – Corine
113. It’s All About The Treats – Sharon E
114. Hildy – Sharon E
115. Monster Imposter – Jeanette
116. Even Ghosts Get Scared – JC
117. Witchie On Her Toes – Kathleen
118. Candy Corn’s Big Night – Sharon W
119. Where Is Lilu? – Veronica
120. Which Witch? – Mary W
121. Oh My! – Judy V
122. No Candy Corn! – Grace
123. Monster Suprise – Mona
124. Shadowy Footsteps – Midge
125. Halloween No Fear – Deborah A
126. Scary Mary’s Halloween Harvest – Amy B
127. Me And My Shadow – Laura G
128. Boycott Halloween – Laura G
129. The Walk Home – JC
130. Candy Corn Mystery – Charlotte S
131. Needed: Halloween Partner – Marjorie
132. Mrs. Smith’s Halloween – Marjorie
133. Monster Jr.’s Halloween – Edna
134. Max’s Halloween Costume – Donna
135. The Scariest House On The Block – Susie

Would You Read It Wednesday #266 – Gus’s Big Idea (PB)

Good 6-Days-Until-Halloween-Morning-But-Only-2-Days-Until-Halloweensie-Morning, Darlings! (not that we’re counting down or anything! 🙂 )

I’m sure you were wondering, so let me just say that 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins are grown in the United States each year, and the Top 5 Pumpkin Producing States are (get ready!…and hold your breath to see if you live in one of them!) Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California!

 

The Largest Pumpkin Ever weighed in at 1,502 pounds!!! on October 7, 2006, grown by Ron Wallace of Greene, Rhode Island, even though Rhode Island is not a Top 5 Pumpkin Growing State.

The Largest Pumpkin PIE Ever was baked in New Bremen, Ohio in 2010 and was 20 feet in diameter and weighed 3,699 pounds!  Here’s the recipe in case you need to whip up a little pie for your family 🙂  1,212 lbs of canned pumpkin, 2,796 eggs (233 dozen), 109 gallons of evaporated milk, 525 pounds of sugar, 7 pounds of salt and 14.5 pounds of cinnamon!!!

pierecord2010_02

The Most-Lit-Jack-OLanterns-On-Display were at Let It Shine in New Hampshire (which also didn’t make the Top 5 List yet still manages to hold up its little pumpkiny head 🙂 ) with 30,581 on October 19, 2013.

Pumpkin Festival

So!  Have I given you all a picture book story starter for the day?  Maybe a little inspiration for Halloweensie?! 🙂

Before you’re off and writing, have a snack and give your two cents on today’s Would You Read It 🙂

Since Halloween is almost upon us, for today’s Something Chocolate I have something really fun!  Kid-Friendly Easy Halloween Pops – Spider, Skeleton, Frankenstein, and Monster!  (Made out of Oreos – YUM!)

Kid-Friendly Easy Halloween Pops

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 11.56.17 AM

Full printable recipes and video tutorial HERE on Chelsea’s Messy Apron

 

Have fun munching on those! (and also making them with your kids! 🙂 )

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Laura who says, “I’m a reading specialist and environmental educator who lived in Chicago, IL until moving to the Rocky Mountains in 2016. I can be followed (are you following me?) @ljrwritenow on Twitter and my blog is APictureASongALiteraryquote.wordpress.com where I write about a variety of things that inspire me including nature, dogs, being a Cubs fan, my adventures in travel and gardening, and my writing.” [Please note that Laura once lived in a Top 5 Pumpkin Producing State but left of her own free will 🙂 ]

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Gus’s Big Idea

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-9)

The Pitch:  What happens one morning when Gus tells his big sister Aliana that he wants to be in charge for the day? Using his imagination, he and Aliana find magic in the clouds near their Rocky Mountain home. When they tell Mom about it, she helps them create a cloud at home. Easy to follow hands on science project included.

This book is part of a series highlighting a kickass girl who uses creativity and curiosity about science to teach her brother, test her parents’ patience and make the world a better place.

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 Laura 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.  At this point, we’re looking into January for new pitches, 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! But reserve your space now – they go like hotcakes at the start of the new writing year! 🙂

Laura is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to Book Club tonight!  Our book for the month was A Man Called Ove (which, if you’re wondering, is pronounce ooh-va – who’d a thought?!) and as of the writing of this post I haven’t quite finished it but I have to say I really like it!  The writer has a real way with language and humor, and is a master at evoking an emotional response as you read.  I recommend it (with the warning that you may have to soldier through the beginning a little but it’s worth it! 🙂 )

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Dough Knights And Dragons

Good Morning, fellow picture book peeps!

I don’t know about you, but there are so many books I want to post for Perfect Picture Book Friday lately that there aren’t enough Fridays!  As you well know, by this time next week we’ll be up to our Jack-O-Lantern grins in the Halloweensie Writing Contest, so we’ll have to skip our perfect picture books… but for a very good cause!  I can promise you the stories that will be entered will be so much fun to read that you won’t even notice we’re not doing PPBF 🙂

But for today, I have another delightful book to share!  And just wait til you see the activity kit that goes along with it – I tell you, it made my writerly heart go pitter-pat! 🙂

Dough Knights

Title: Dough Knights And Dragons

Written By: Dee Leone

Illustrated By: George Ermos

Sterling Children’s Books, October 3 2017, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: friendship, creative problem solving, standing for what you believe

Opening: “In a magical kingdom far to the east
lived a very small knight and a very large beast.
One day while collecting fresh herbs in a glen
the young knight discovered a well-hidden den.
It was filled with ingredients he’d not seen before.
The lad couldn’t resist – he just had to explore!

Brief Synopsis: A young knight and a friendly dragon meet by chance in the woods and become friends when they discover they both love to cook.  But the kingdom has a law that knights and dragons must fight each other.  The friends can’t bear the thought!  Can they cook up a clever way to avoid fighting and put an end to the silly law?

Links To Resources: Fantastic activity kit from the author! Read with A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale by Penny Klostermann and compare and contrast 🙂 (Sorry if I just gave you a ghastly flashback to high school English essays 🙂 )

dough knights int

text copyright Dee Leone 2017, illustration copyright George Ermos 2017

Why I Like This Book: This is such a fun, imaginative story.  I love that the boy and the dragon develop a close friendship over cooking and baking, (something you might not expect of a boy and a dragon 🙂 ) but that there is also a real element of tension because of the law that requires them to fight.  And I love that they stand up for what they believe in and find a creative solution to the problem.  The rhyme is catchy and fun to read aloud, and the art is entertaining, colorful and delightful – a perfect complement to the story!

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!!! 🙂  and come to the NYS Sheep & Wool Festival if you’re in the area!  I’d love to see you!!! 🙂

 

Would You Read It Wednesday #265 – The Magician’s Apprentice (PB)

All of a sudden there’s a nip in the air!

We even had a light frost last night!

So I think I’m right on base when I suggest the warming goodness of Hot Fudge Cheesecake Brownies for our Something Chocolate this morning.  Sounds like breakfast to me… 🙂  I dare you to eat fruit cup after a look at these… and just imagine the warm, chocolatey smell that could be wafting through your house right now…! 🙂

Hot Fudge Cheesecake Brownies Health Food 🙂

Ah!  Don’t you feel warmer and more motivated already?  I’m pretty sure chocolate has an inspirationa element as well – eat chocolate=write books – a direct correlation 🙂  (Or here’s hoping, anyway, because I’ve got to get some serious writing done ASAP!!!)

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Leonie whom you will remember from September with her pitch for I’m Hungry Mummy.  She says, “Writing is my fun, I love putting pen to paper and watching a story unfold. I just know you’ll love my stories too! I live in Melbourne, Australia and work for a big company during the day and write early in the morning or late into the night. My husband, 3 daughters and I live in a Bayside community with our pooch, Jade – a German Short-haired Pointer. My love of reading started when I was a young girl and continued into my first job as a librarian. I now spend as much time as I can, reading and writing fiction.”

Find her on the web on Face Book at Leonie Hearn – Author, and on Twitter @leonie_hearn

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Magician’s Apprentice

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)

The Pitch: The boys are preparing for a show, but Sam keeps forgetting his costume! An outfit disappears and they need to find who stole it!

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 Leonie 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.  At this point, we’re probably looking into the new year for dates, so you have a little time to prepare and polish your pitches, but sign up now to secure a date so you can get helpful feedback and have a chance to have your pitch read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Leonie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival this weekend!  I’ll be at the booth in Building B run by Merritt Bookstore.  I will be reading and signing along with the fabulous and wonderful Iza Trapani, Nancy Furstinger, and Nancy Shaw…and probably some others!  I hope you’ll all come and join us!  Buy books for Christmas presents!  Eat some delicious fall fair food!  Immerse yourself in all things yarn and knitting, weaving and crocheting, cozy and crafty!  It’s such a fun event!

Oh, and in case you missed it Monday, since that’s not a regular posting day around here, the 2017 Halloweensie Writing Contest Guidelines have been announced!  Check them out and have some fun! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂  And go make those brownies! 🙂

 

BIC Folks! – Announcing The 7th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest Guidelines!!!

What with all that’s been going on lately, I have totally lost track of this month!

This is probably the Monday I should be posting a Short & Sweet or an Oh, Susanna! or something. . .

. . .but instead. . .

EVEN BETTER!. . .

. . .I’m announcing. . .

. . .get ready for it. . . !

The 7th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!

halloweensie-pumpkin

~ for children’s writers ~

The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words candy corn, monster, and shadow. (Candy corn will be counted as 1 word.)  Your story can be scary, funny, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂  (And yes, I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  We got nearly 150 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. monsters, monstrous, shadowy, shadowed, whathaveyou 🙂  NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined 🙂 )

Post: your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Friday October 27th and Tuesday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my special October 27th post.  There will be no Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy.  If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of my October 27th post once it’s up (please include your byline if your posting handle is something like AwesomeWriter92 so I can identify you.)  If you have difficulty posting in the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it for you.  Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the top – NO ATTACHMENTS!  And please do not submit entries before the start of the contest!

The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the following days, my devoted assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 6th (sooner if possible, although I’m warning you ahead of time I have a deadline for something else and if time gets dicey the finalists may get posted later.)  The winner will be announced on Thursday November 9th, good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 🙂  If we get more than 25 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st – 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turnout we’ve had the past couple years, I may post as many as 10-12 finalists and I’ll probably end up giving everyone a prize 🙂  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!

Judging criteria will be as follows:

  • 1. Kid-appeal! – These stories are intended for a young audience (ages 12 and under), so we’re looking for stories that children will enjoy and relate to.
  • 2.  Halloweeniness – the rules state a Halloween story, so it must be crystal clear that the story is about Halloween, not just some random spooky night.
  • 3. Quality of story – entries must tell a story, including a main character of some kind and a true story arc even if it’s tiny 🙂  Entries must not be merely descriptions or mood pieces.
  • 4. Quality of Writing: check your spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  If you’re going to rhyme, give us your best 🙂  Overall writing quality and use of language are also important.
  • 5. Originality and creativity – because that is often what sets one story above another.

The Prizes:  yeah… I’m still working on the prizes 🙂  Feel free to chime in in the comments if there’s something you’d particularly like to win! 🙂  Or if you have something awesome to offer!  But for starters, prizes will include:

– a read and Skype critique of a picture book manuscript by the fabulous editor Callie Metler-Smith of Clear Fork/Spork Publishing!!!

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 10.55.48 PM

–  a webinar of your choice from among the selection offered by Julie Hedlund on her Teachable site (details of selection choice to follow)

julie h

– picture book manuscript critiques (several amazing and highly qualified people are stepping up for this – details to come)

– an e-pub or PDF copy (winner’s choice) of Linda Ashman‘s Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books.

– a whole bunch of fantastic books, some signed, some offered in packages of 3 or more (details to come)

Plus stay tuned because other great stuff is coming! 🙂

I hope those fantabulous prizes will at least whet your appetite for the contest!

Many, many thanks to Callie, Julie, and the PB MS critiquers for their very generous prize offerings!

So sharpen your pencils!

Get your butt in that chair!

See what amazing, knock-your-socks-off story you can dream up!

It’s a chance to hone your writing skills, practice your craft, write to specifications and a deadline, win amazing prizes, AND get to read and enjoy the wonderful stories written by all your fellows 🙂

I am SO looking forward to seeing what you all come up with!!!

Have a Marvelous Monday everyone! 🙂