Tuesday Debut – Presenting Illustrator Julie Rowan-Zoch!

Howdy, y’all!

Get ready for something special!

I am SO excited about today’s debut-ess I can hardly sit still enough to type! 😊

For starters, she is a dear friend and a totally awesome person!

She is also one of those people who has really worked hard to earn her place as a published author and illustrator, committing in every way to improving and perfecting her craft.

To top it off, she is the first person to appear on this series as a debut illustrator! Although she is also an author and will be featured here again in March when her debut as an author is released, this picture book features Tom Lichtenheld’s words and her amazing art. Given that Tom himself is well known as an illustrator, you know it’s some kind of special deal that he and his publisher chose someone else to illustrate this book.

And today is this book’s actual birthday! 🎂🎉🎈🧁

So without further ado, I have the very great pleasure of introducing you to my talented friend, Julie Rowan-Zoch and her debut-as-an-illustrator picture book, LOUIS!

LOUIS
By Tom Lichtenheld
Illustrated by Julie Rowan-Zoch
HMH
Oct.6, 2020
Fiction
Age: 4-7

Synopsis: Louis the bear has had enough. From day one, life has been one indignity after another. If he’s not being used as a hankie, he’s being hung out to dry—literally. (No one likes clothespins used on their ears!)

This teddy is sneaking away just as soon as he can. Then again, no use running off in the rain . . .or during a show-and-tell routine. Maybe Louis has something to lose, after all.

JULIE: Hello, Susanna! Thanks for having me to introduce my picture book illustration debut today!

SUSANNA: Hi Julie! Are you kidding? I’m delighted!!! Thank you for being our first ever illustrator debut-ess! Having never illustrated a book myself and only seen the process from the writer’s side, I am eager to hear about how an illustrator takes an author’s text and turns it into a picture book. How were you approached to participate in this project?

JULIE: Via my agent, HMH sent me the manuscript and asked if I would be willing to send preliminary sketches, should I want to be considered as the illustrator. That was late in 2017, and after sending off the images we got a quick reply – I got lucky but the book would not release until Fall 2020.

SUSANNA: What did communication look like with your editor and/or art director concerning the book?

JULIE: From start to finish, all communication was conducted via email. I did get to meet both of them once in real life though!

SUSANNA: Where do you begin? How do you approach it? 

JULIE: Shortly after signing the contract I asked for a more concrete timeline because I work better under a little pressure. I began sending the editor and art director sketches for Louis, a teddy bear and the main character. I sent 3 or 4 different bears knowing I had to be happy with whichever one they chose The only change they asked to make was to use the coloring from one bear, but the shape /line from another! Once I had the bear, and subsequently the boy and his sister, I began creating sketches for the dummy. The mother, bus driver, other toy animals were all developed as I went along with the dummy.

SUSANNA: Were art notes passed on to you via the editor?

JULIE: I believe there were two or three art notes/suggestions included in the manuscript, but I’ll admit I ignored them and allowed the images to appear as I read the text again. After delivering the full dummy, the editor asked if I might revisit one of the art notes, and I did, and we are all happy with the results!

SUSANNA: How long did it take to illustrate the book?

JULIE: I read the manuscript and completed the requested sketches in November 2017. I believe I signed the contract in January 2018. I delivered the first character sketches in early May. Did you notice the huge gap there? That’s because the team was focussed on other work, and final art would not be due until July 2019! After I delivered the sketch dummy, and again after adding color, a lot of revision work began, mostly with notes from the AD [art director], but she worked closely with the editor in giving me comments and/or suggestions. I was always assured I could keep any art elements the way I liked it if I didn’t agree with their suggestions, but I also made constructive arguments if I did want to keep something – as did they if opinions differed! I really enjoyed the collaboration! I think it was around February of 2019 that we wrapped up the dummy revision work and 4+ months later I handed in final art. The decision to include endpapers and a case cover came later, as did a small amount of text revision, which required some illustration changes.

[dummy sketch – the final is quite different]

SUSANNA: What materials, media did you use to create the artwork? Please describe the process.

JULIE: I created everything from dummy sketches to final art in Procreate on the iPad. I used to use the iPencil to draw directly onto the tablet, but while waiting for the stylus to recharge I started using my fingers – and haven’t looked back! Just like traditional work, I lay down my linework first then apply color in different layers. The resolution needed for printing is pretty high, and the higher the resolution the less layers are made available for each file. I struggle with keeping the look of a character consistent, so using layers to drop in a sketch for reference is an advantage. And of course the elements in layers help immensely with revision work! I chose my palette early on and believe I changed just one color for vibrancy after the cover design was finalized. I sent the final files in Photoshop format directly from the iPad to the publisher. On that same day my mother had an accident which required me to fly out that night. Having created everything on the iPad allowed me to make further corrections in the final art from a hospital waiting room – how lucky was that!?!

SUSANNA: Did you have any say in text placement or font choices?

JULIE: I was not given any sort of design instructions or text guidelines before handing in the dummy, so I “wrote” the text into the dummy by hand. Then the AD suggested we collaborate and create a font based off of my handwriting! So I wrote out many pangrams (sentences including all 26 letters of the alphabet) using templates she provided to maintain consistent letter height.

[pangram image]

SUSANNA: What about book dimensions and paper choices?

JULIE: With no pre-stated design guidelines I was able to choose the format myself, which is square. Based off of (one of many!) discussions I’ve had with one of my local children’s librarians, I decided on a square book that allows for a wide spread when opened. (Vicky taught me not to move the book while reading to kids, not to pan from side to side, as the children need the time to focus and absorb the image. If they can’t see from their seated position they should move, or the reader should move back, to accommodate.) After the final work was submitted I was sent single spreads in different papers. One important aspect to me is how rich black looks in a print. In October 2019 I was sent color proofs of the whole book and I think there where maybe two places where 2 color corrections needed to be made, and a “big” correction for the placement of the patch on Louis’ leg on the back cover. 

SUSANNA: What things can writers do to make mss more interesting/engaging/appealing/easy-to-work-with for illustrators?

JULIE: I’m sure you’ve all heard this before, but leave room! Good writing will allow the illustrator to envision images while reading At this stage it is not yet meant for the consumer/reader. I realize this is no easy task, especially since the manuscript must go through the agent and the editor before it reaches the illustrator, but these are all professionals who work with this very unique, collaborative art form. Trust that they can “see” what isn’t in the text. Yes, there will be exceptions for image suggestions that might be necessary to understand the text, but these too should be as shapeless and colorless as possible. 

SUSANNA: How does contract payment work for illustrators?

JULIE: The illustrator receives 1/2 the advance upon signing the contract, and the other 1/2 upon receipt of the final artwork. The same applies to author-illustrators.

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?

JULIE: I am lucky to be able to celebrate publishing milestones with my dear friend and fellow picture book junkie, Julie Hedlund. We meet halfway between our homes at a restaurant that features cheese! I hope we can do that again soon. I also got the fun idea to have a ring made by my friend’s daughter, and if it’s ready soon I will share a photo of the final piece with you.

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

JULIE: I admit I did not give much consideration to the details of a contract before the offer, but I was quite pleased. The rights have also been sold to a publisher in Japan and Israel, and that was something I did not expect so soon. 

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

JULIE: I was lucky to know a couple of other authors through the 12×12 Picture Book Challenge whose debut books were to release in 2020, and joined in on the effort with more authors and illustrators for group promotion and marketing efforts, called The Soaring 20’s. Now I would say we are in it for group support and encouragement efforts, as almost all of us will debut in Corona-Time. Gah! I contacted people like yourself to be featured in an interview or article on their blogs or podcasts. After my editor shared reviews with me, and I in turn shared them with my  Soaring 20’s friends because I was so excited about good reviews, they pointed out that I should make “quote cards”, little graphics tailored for social media with blurbs from the reviews. I contacted my AD in order to incorporate the font she created,  and I shared them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I am in the process of creating resource materials for teachers/parents, and activity sheets are available on the HMH page already – HERE. HMH also ran a giveaway on Twitter for Int’l Teddy Bear Day (9/9), and will do another one on 10/16 for Take Your Teddy to Work/School day. I’m doing a joint outdoor signing event with my critique partner, Beth Anderson as her book, “SMELLY” KELLY releases next week, on 10/13. Fingers crossed for sunny weather!

did you know you could make teddy bears out of towels? 😊

SUSANNA: How many copies did your house do for first printing?

JULIE: I believe it’s 40K. 

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

JULIE: Yes. A unique thing about this book is that I was chosen to illustrate for an illustrator! And a famous one at that! I was surprised from the get-go and didn’t find the courage to ask until I had the opportunity to meet my editor in person. She told me Tom wanted to see what the process would be like! That’s it! But with that in mind I was worried that my work would be looked at with more scrutiny as people would wonder “Why?”. The good reviews put my worries to rest, but also the support and enthusiasm I received from the editor, art director, and design team (I got to meet them as well!) throughout the entire process.

SUSANNA: Julie, thank you so much for joining us today and giving us such an enlightening glimpse of the creation of your debut picture book from the illustrator’s perspective. I learned a lot, and I’m sure everyone else did too! I know I speak for everyone when I wish you all the best of luck with this and future titles! I expect my copy of LOUIS in the mail today, and I can’t wait to read I’M A HARE, SO THERE when it comes out in March!

Illustrator (and soon to be author) Julie Rowan-Zoch

Face Book https://www.facebook.com/ArtistJulieRowanZoch
Twitter @JulieRowanZoch
Instagram @jrzoch
Blog

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

You may purchase Julie’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

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– 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

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job (self pub)

Kathleen Cornell Berman – The Birth Of Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat

Sarah Hoppe – Who Will? Will You?

Marla LeSage – Pirate Year Round

Stacey Corrigan – The Pencil Eater

Shannon Stocker – Can U Save The Day?

Nadine Poper – Randall And Randall

Christine Evans – Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist

Karen Kiefer – Drawing God (religious market)

Susan Richmond – Bird Count

Dawn Young – The Night Baafore Christmas

Heather Gale – Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

Ciara O’Neal – Flamingo Hugs Aren’t For Everyone (self pub)

Theresa Kiser – A Little Catholic’s Book Of Liturgical Colors (religious market)

Lindsey Hobson – Blossom’s Wish (self pub)

Kirsten Larson – Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents An Airplane

Valerie Bolling – Let’s Dance!

Janet Johnson – Help Wanted: Must Love Books

Susi Schaefer – Cat Ladies

Heather Kinser – Small Matters: The Hidden Power of the Unseen

Kelly Carey – How Long Is Forever?

Mary Wagley Copp – Wherever I Go

Nell Cross Beckerman – Down Under The Pier

Claire Noland – Evie’s Field Day: More Than One Way To Win

Sharon Giltrow – Bedtime, Daddy!

Gabi Snyder – Two Dogs On A Trike

Sarah Kurpiel – Lone Wolf

Vicky Fang – Invent-a-Pet

Lisa Katzenberger – National Regular Average Ordinary Day

Pam Webb – Someday We Will

Abi Cushman – Soaked!

Teresa Krager – Before Your Birth Day

Lindsay H. Metcalf – Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Nancy Roe Pimm – Fly, Girl, Fly! Shaesta Waiz Soars Around The World

Jolene Gutiérrez – Mac And Cheese And The Personal Space Invader

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Rosie And Rasmus

Hurray! It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I’m afraid it’s been a rather challenging week, so I’m posting a book I’ve posted before because I have no time. But also because I really really love this book and think everyone should read it 😊 And it’s about love and friendship which seem especially important right now.

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 – Come Sign Up!

Howdy, folks!

So. . . how about that debate last night?

I think some people need a picture book on taking turns and having respect for their classmates 😊

Anyway. . . 😊

We have no pitch for Would You Read It today!

If you guys want to keep having this feature, please send along some submissions!

Here’s Something Chocolate to fuel your creativity!

Brownie Walnut Cookies

Recipe HERE at Sally’s Baking Addiction

(I would personally make these without the walnuts (it’s a texture thing) but if you haven’t visited Sally’s Baking Addiction get thee over there right quick!)

But seriously – YUM! 😊

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 immediately, so you could get your pitch up pretty soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Pull out your pitches, polish them up, and send them along! I look forward to seeing them and filling up the calendar!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Jolene Gutiérrez!

Hi Everyone!

It’s Tuesday, and I’m so excited to introduce you to a new debut-ess! Let’s give a warm welcome to the lovely and talented Jolene Gutiérrez and have a look at her book about learning to respect personal space!

Mac and Cheese and the Personal Space Invader
written by Jolene Gutiérrez
illustrated by Heather Bell
published on August 11, 2020
Clear Fork/Spork Publishing
Fiction, ages 5-9

Oliver hopes he can learn to be a good friend by observing how guinea pig friends Mac and Cheese interact. Snuggling might be OK for guinea pigs, but Oliver’s classmates don’t like him getting in their personal space bubbles!

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for joining us today, Jolene! We are all excited to hear about your journey to publication! Where did the idea for this book come from?

JOLENE: Based on some of my experiences as a teacher librarian and a parent, I know that many kids struggle with the concept of personal space and friendship/social skills. I wanted to write a story that would give kids and adults talking points and tools around these topics.

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

JOLENE: My first draft took me a few weeks to write, but something about it wasn’t quite right. I tinkered with it on and off over a couple of years (in addition to writing other things).

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

JOLENE: Yes, I went through many revisions! Originally, the story included tiny aliens in flying saucers who were zooming into people’s personal space. In 2018, I had a critique with Callie Metler-Smith, owner of Clear Fork Publishing. While we were looking at the manuscript, Callie said, “Why not take out the aliens and just make this about a boy who struggles with personal space? Lots of people can relate to that.”

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

JOLENE: After my initial critique with Callie, she said she’d be interested in seeing the edits I made to my manuscript, so I shared them with her. We went back and forth for 3 or 4 months, tweaking the story and making edits.

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

JOLENE: At the same time I was making edits on Mac and Cheese and the Personal Space Invader with Callie, I was wrapping up one of Mira Reisberg’s Children’s Book Academy courses, the Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Books. I didn’t have an agent at this time, but Mira had invited me to submit one of my other manuscripts to Clear Fork Publishing and Callie invited me to submit Mac and Cheese (then called The Personal Space Invader), so in the summer of 2018, I submitted both manuscripts to Clear Fork.

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

JOLENE: At the end of October in 2018, Callie reached out via email and asked for my address and phone number. . .I was cautiously optimistic. I didn’t want to get too excited and be disappointed. 😉 So when Callie called me and said she and Mira would like to publish Mac and Cheese and the Personal Space Invader, I was over the moon happy!!

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract? 

JOLENE: After I finished screaming and jumping up and down, my family and I went out for dinner at a nice restaurant and I ate chocolate!

SUSANNA: Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?

JOLENE: Much of the revision process happened before Callie offered me a contract. After I signed the contract, there was more work with fine-tuning the manuscript and language and making sure the pagination worked. Although I never say it in the text, my main character Oliver is a boy on the autism spectrum, so I had a few sensitivity readers including people with autism and school counselors who have worked with children with autism, and I incorporated their feedback into my edits as well.

SUSANNA: What can you tell us about your experience of the illustration process?

JOLENE: Before Callie and Mira signed an illustrator, they did show me a few options and asked their favorite illustrator, Heather Bell, to create character sketches. When they shared Heather’s character sketches, I fell in love with her gorgeous illustrations. Mira hosted various video meetings with Heather and I where we looked at the spreads and talked through edits.

From the very beginning, I knew I wanted Oliver to have a notebook where he wrote and sketched his observations about the world, so I included that information in the form of art notes. My first art note in the manuscript read: Mac and Cheese are guinea pigs. Oliver watches them and takes notes/sketches pictures in notebook. Oliver’s notebook is with him throughout the book, and I love the adorable sketches Heather created within. Here’s an example of Oliver with his notebook and one of the sketches he made based on what he saw Mac and Cheese doing.

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

JOLENE: Yes, and that was tough. I made a conscious choice not to label Oliver as a boy with autism, and my reviewer from Kirkus didn’t like that. The reviewer wrote, in part, “Gutiérrez’s simple story, sprinkled with a few Spanish words from the teacher, lacks the context needed to explain why this young, apparent middle grader has no socialization skills, introducing his difficulty with the simple line “I’ve always wondered how to be a good friend.” The author’s note discusses how acceptable personal-space boundaries can vary culturally and individually but does not illuminate Oliver’s particular challenges further.”

I still feel strongly that a person (or reader) doesn’t need to know a child’s diagnosis (if they have one) to treat them as an individual and with respect and compassion. Many people are challenged by personal space, and I didn’t want it to be viewed as something that only people with autism struggle with.

SUSANNA: I understand your reasoning and think it is sound! (And a lot of us have had less than complimentary reviews from Kirkus! 😊) How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?

JOLENE: A little over 1½ years—it felt like a long time, but honestly, this is pretty fast in the picture book world!

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

JOLENE: They’ve promoted Mac and Cheese in blog posts, on their websites, in Mira’s Children’s Book Academy, and on social media.

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

JOLENE: I created a teacher’s guide, activity guide, and craft sheets (with the help of illustrator Heather Bell and my daughter, Shaian Gutiérrez), and created book swag like bookmarks, stickers, and pins (again, with the help of Shaian). I made a book trailer and sell sheets. I am a member of debut book groups Picture Book Buzz and Perfect2020PBs. I was part of a blog tour, participated in Twitter parties, and have done a few virtual school visits. I partnered with my local SCBWI chapter on some events, did a book launch party with local book store Second Store to the Right, was hosted on the Reading with Your Kids podcast, and presented to the Detroit Writing Room. I’m scheduled as a guest presenter for Children’s Book Academy as well.

SUSANNA: Wow! You’ve been busy! How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

JOLENE: Oh, boy. Well, I joined SCBWI in 2008, and at that time, I wanted to write picture books. A friend who was also a writer told me that the picture book market is really difficult to break into, especially since I’m not an illustrator, so she encouraged me to write within another genre. I tried young adult first, but in 2013, I joined Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 group. I still worked on young adult and middle grade as well, but I finally allowed myself to follow my heart write picture books. I received my contract in 2018.

SUSANNA: What is the most important/helpful thing you learned on your way to publication? (Or what is your most helpful piece of advice for up and coming writers?)

JOLENE: I always knew the writing journey would teach me patience. It has also taught me persistence. There were times during this journey that I considered giving up. I’m a teacher/librarian as well, so I would say to myself, “What are you doing? You already have a day job and there aren’t enough hours in the day! You don’t need to write.” But the truth was, I did need to write. Not to pay the bills, but to feed my soul. So I told myself I’d just keep writing as long as I was moved to do so. I gave myself permission to stop if the joy in the process disappeared. But the joy never disappeared, because writing is like magic—you’re conjuring something larger than yourself. I self-talk like that a lot, and another thing I’ve told myself in regards to reaching my goals is that I have two choices: to stop working toward a goal (in which case I’ll never reach that goal), or to continue working toward a goal (in which case I’ll get there eventually). The other thought I would offer is try to surround yourself with a supportive community. The KidLit community is one of the kindest communities you’ll find anywhere. Connect with others who are moved to make magic like you are. Share tips and tricks. Read others’ work. Read their books and leave reviews. Settle in with the people who will hold you up when you’re falling and lift you up when you’ve done well.

Author Jolene Gutierrez

Website: www.jolenegutierrez.com
Facebook: facebook.com/writerjolene                   
Twitter: twitter.com/writerjolene
Instagram: instagram.com/writerjolene/

This is me with Daffodil, a baby squirrel we found right before a blizzard in April 2020. My daughter and I fed him every 2 hours and released him in our back yard in July. He still visits us.

And these are our 3 rescue dogs, Wynter, Echo, and Summer. 😊

SUSANNA: Great advice! Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series, Jolene, and for paying it forward to other writers! I know I speak for everyone when I wish you the very best of luck with this and future titles!!! 😊

JOLENE: Thank YOU so much for this amazing opportunity! I’m so grateful!!

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

You may purchase Jolene’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

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– 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

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job (self pub)

Kathleen Cornell Berman – The Birth Of Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat

Sarah Hoppe – Who Will? Will You?

Marla LeSage – Pirate Year Round

Stacey Corrigan – The Pencil Eater

Shannon Stocker – Can U Save The Day?

Nadine Poper – Randall And Randall

Christine Evans – Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist

Karen Kiefer – Drawing God (religious market)

Susan Richmond – Bird Count

Dawn Young – The Night Baafore Christmas

Heather Gale – Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

Ciara O’Neal – Flamingo Hugs Aren’t For Everyone (self pub)

Theresa Kiser – A Little Catholic’s Book Of Liturgical Colors (religious market)

Lindsey Hobson – Blossom’s Wish (self pub)

Kirsten Larson – Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents An Airplane

Valerie Bolling – Let’s Dance!

Janet Johnson – Help Wanted: Must Love Books

Susi Schaefer – Cat Ladies

Heather Kinser – Small Matters: The Hidden Power of the Unseen

Kelly Carey – How Long Is Forever?

Mary Wagley Copp – Wherever I Go

Nell Cross Beckerman – Down Under The Pier

Claire Noland – Evie’s Field Day: More Than One Way To Win

Sharon Giltrow – Bedtime, Daddy!

Gabi Snyder – Two Dogs On A Trike

Sarah Kurpiel – Lone Wolf

Vicky Fang – Invent-a-Pet

Lisa Katzenberger – National Regular Average Ordinary Day

Pam Webb – Someday We Will

Abi Cushman – Soaked!

Teresa Krager – Before Your Birth Day

Lindsay H. Metcalf – Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Nancy Roe Pimm – Fly, Girl, Fly! Shaesta Waiz Soars Around The World

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away

Hi Everyone!

TGIF! Perfect Picture Book F 😊

I love the book I’m sharing today. It portrays friendship so believably, and the moment of separation with such tenderness. If you’re a writer, this is a wonderful example to study of how to create emotion with simple text and few words.

Title: Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away

Written By: Meg Medina

Illustrated By: Sonia Sanchez

Candlewick, September 2020, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-7

Themes/Topics: friendship, moving, separation

Opening: “Evelyn Del Rey is my mejor amiga, my numero uno best friend.
“Come play, Daniela,” she says, just like she always does.
Just like today is any other day.

text copyright Meg Medina 2020, illustration copyright Sonia Sanchez 2020 Candlewick

Brief Synopsis: Evelyn Del Rey is Daniela’s best friend. They do everything together and even live in twin apartments across the street from each other. But today Evelyn is moving away. Putting off the moment as long as they can, the girls play until it’s time to say goodbye.

Links To Resources: Activity Guide for Families (lots of great activities!)

text copyright Meg Medina 2020, illustration copyright Sonia Sanchez 2020 Candlewick

Why I Like This Book: Like all the best picture books, this book evokes deep emotion with a simple, beautifully crafted and well written story in very few words. Anyone who has ever had to leave someone they love, even for a little while (and I think we’ve all had that experience!) will relate to this story and be touched by it. The colorful art shows the girls’ urban neighborhood and so many little details of their shared experience – holding hands, the string that runs between their bedroom windows so they can pass things back and forth, the stickers they put on each others’ cheeks. And we are left in no doubt at the end about the place each will always have in the heart of the other, even if things have changed and Evelyn will no longer be right next door. Nothing can take the place of your very first best friend.

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!!! 😊

Story Antics – Something New for Self-Published Authors!

I know!

It’s Thursday!

What the heck are we doing here? 😊

It just so happens that I have something a little different to share with you today.

I’ve never done a post like this before, but I happened upon this tidbit of information which I thought some of you might find interesting and helpful.

Everyone who has had the good fortune to be published knows that the next hurdle is sales. And even traditionally published authors can have a hard time getting their books noticed and selling like hotcakes.

For self-published authors without the marketing and distribution power of a publishing house behind them, it can be even harder.

Enter Story Antics!

Today’s post is provided by Lara Solomon, the genius behind this new platform.

I hope you guys will find it interesting and take a moment to explore the site and share with anyone you know who might be interested!

3 Reasons You Should Join Story Antics Today!

You might be reading this thinking, what or who is Story Antics? Good question! It is a new marketplace for self-published and independent children’s books. It was launched this month (September 2020) after self-published author Lara Solomon realized that yes, she could write more books, but there are already so many books out there that readers haven’t discovered. Lara decided rather than writing more books, she would help authors promote their books which often don’t get seen, for a wide variety of reasons.

If you are a self-published or independent children’s author of physical books (audio and ebooks are in the works but that won’t be until 2021) you can add your books to the Story Antics site for FREE.

How easy is it to join Story Antics and what’s involved?

It is very easy, it takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on how many books you have to add, and there are really clear instructions on the site. Plus, if you get stuck you can email for help.

1) Create your author profile here

2) You now can login. Add a photo to your profile and a bit of blurb about you so that customers get to know you

3) Next add your books with at least one image of the book cover and a blurb about the book. Select which age group it is for, the genre and the price

4) Finally, set up the shipping for the books, decide how much you’d like to charge and if you want to offer international shipping

Once your book sells you are sent an email from the site with the customers details for you to mail it out to them.

3 Reasons to Join Story Antics
  1. Promotion and Exposure

Marketing and promoting your books takes time and effort, and can be a daunting task. By adding your books to the Story Antics site they do the marketing and promotion for you. Story Antics is all about promoting their books and Authors through,

· Social media posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Authors can use their socials to promote themselves at NO extra cost

· Email newsletters to potential customers every fortnight highlighting new books and authors

· The website, with book exposure on the homepage

· Monthly Author newsletter with tips and ideas to get more sales

2. A Mini Website

You may have thought, yes, I should get a website, but haven’t got round to it due to time or money. With Story Antics you have a page all about YOU with your books on it. You can even design your page with a banner displaying all your books. Plus, customers can email you directly from the site with questions, comments or fan mail!

3. Cost Effective Marketing Channel

Running Facebook ads, Google ads, growing your own social media can be expensive and time consuming. With Story Antics they take care of all that for you, and only charge a 10% commission when your book sells.

Story Antics takes the pain and headache out of marketing and promoting your books to get sales. They are starting a big PR and advertising campaign from the beginning of October, so now is a great time to get onboard and watch your sales soar!

Thanks for sharing, Lara! And I hope at least some of you find this information valuable – for yourselves or a friend!

Have a great Thursday! 😊

Would You Read It Wednesday #363 – Winx Thinks Dinosaurs (MG)

Howdy, Everyone!

Even though it’s only been autumn for one day, there’s been a nip in the air the past couple mornings – only 36 degrees here on Blueberry Hill. The birds are flocking to the feeder. . . and so are the squirrels. . . and the chipmunks! A friend of mine posted the best picture ever on FB:

This is a whole new level of cheekiness!

How did he even get in there?! 😊

While the chipmunks steal all the birdseed, I have the perfect Something Chocolate for the second day of Autumn – Pumpkin Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake! Doesn’t this look SO delicious???

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake

Recipe HERE at Life Love and Sugar

Also, I know I don’t need to point out that it’s totally healthy, since it’s made out of vegetables (pumpkin and chocolate beans!) and calcium and protein (I mean, that’s what cheesecake is, right? 😊)

So definitely. Have seconds. Or even thirds 😊

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Katie. Katie writes stories and learning resources to engage young minds with big ideas. Happy to leave her desk for family fun and sports Katie is fueled by faith, laughter, and ice cream. She lives in Maryland where one of her favorite runs is the ~10 miles to the Washington Monument in D.C. Her website is here and she’s on Twitter @KTOEngen

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Winx Thinks Dinosaurs

Age/Genre: MG

The Pitch: Winx Muller never outgrew dinosaurs. He’s got the wall art, book stash, and paleontologist autographs to prove it. But his panicky dislike of dirty things means a life spent digging up fossils may never be. And with his parents missing while his older sister, Marta, deals with some mystery illness, Winx doesn’t expect to leave Aunt Lena’s house anytime soon. But while poking around his great aunt’s attic Winx finds a pair of filthy, smelly socks that sing promises of Time Travel. Suddenly the future – and the past – seem wide open. The siblings try everything (even research!) to see Mesozoic dinosaurs. But the Time-Space Continuum does not play and the aftereffects of bungled Time Travel Rules are no joke. Stumbling through unexpected paleontology hot spots, Winx learns to cope with dirty realities without giving up on his ‘dangerous lizard’ 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 Katie 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 as soon as next week, so you could get your pitch up very soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Katie is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to going apple picking. I don’t have an actual time in mind to go, but I want to! 😊 🍎

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 😊

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Nancy Roe Pimm!

It’s Tuesday, everyone! And you know what that means!

It means that today is the first day of Autumn!

from the forthcoming DEAR GRANDMA by Susanna Leonard Hill, illustrated by John Joseph Sourcebooks Wonderland January 5, 2021

Also, it just so happens to be Elephant Appreciation Day! So here are some elephants for you to appreciate 😊

But even more exciting than those things is that Tuesday means it’s time to meet a debut author and have a look at her brand new picture book whose book birthday is TODAY! 😊🎉🧁🎈

I’m delighted to introduce you to the talented Nancy Roe Pimm and her very interesting book about a refugee from Afghanistan who becomes a pilot and travels across five continents!

FLY, GIRL, FLY: SHAESTA WAIZ SOARS AROUND THE WORLD
written by Nancy Roe Pimm
illustrated by Alexandra Bye
Beaming Books
September 22, 2020
Nonfiction ages 5-10.

“You must believe in yourself and allow your dreams to soar.” –Shaesta Waiz
Shaesta Waiz, a refugee from Afghanistan, dreamed of doing great things. But first she had to leave a refugee camp with her family to make a new life in America, overcome gender stereotypes, be the first in her family to go to college, and overcome her fear of flying. After becoming a pilot, Shaesta made the flight of a lifetime by crossing five continents, making thirty stops in twenty-two countries.

SUSANNA: Welcome, Nancy! We’re so thrilled to have you here with us today! Where did the idea for this book come from?

NANCY: I wrote a middle-grade biography titled, The Jerrie Mock Story: The First Woman to Fly Solo Around the World. While I interviewed Jerrie in her Florida living room, she told me a young woman named Shaesta Waiz had visited the week before. Shaesta was an immigrant from Afghanistan, and she sought advice  since she too wished to fly around the world. As Jerrie told me about Shaesta, she put her finger to her temple and said, “Shaesta is a smart girl. She is going to do it.”  Shaesta and I met at an airshow where I was promoting The Jerrie Mock Story and she was planning her circumnavigation of the globe. When Shaesta completed her historic flight, she asked me to write her story.

Nancy Roe Pimm (author) and Shaesta Waiz (pilot)

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

NANCY: It took me two years to write Fly, Girl, Fly. Different versions of this manuscript made it through all of the editorial hoops at two different publishing houses, only to get rejected in acquisitions. Acquisitions is the last hurdle to clear on the path to publication, and it is strictly a business decision and a numbers game at that point. I’m glad I kept moving forward despite the rejections. Sometimes you must fly through turbulence to get to the blue skies ahead.

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

NANCY: I went through lots of revisions with many versions of the manuscript. But looking back, I was able to pull out the best aspects of each revision to create one manuscript that shined. Nothing is really wasted. During the journey to publication I received editorial feedback from professional editors, and I found the experience priceless. Once I signed the contract with Beaming Books, we went through three months of revisions.

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

NANCY: I begin with a very messy first draft. After a few revisions, I bring the manuscript to my monthly critique group. I also love taking my work in progress or WIP to a writer’s retreats. One of my favorites is a weekend retreat given by award-winning picture book author and editor, Michelle Houts.https://michellehouts.com/home-old/editorial-and-consulting-services/

With Fly, Girl, Fly I also hired professional editor and award-winning picture book author Jenn Bailey. After lots of feedback and many revisions, I felt it was ready to submit. (Jenn Bailey can be contacted through reedsy.com)

Nancy’s co-worker – Tessie the cattle dog 😊


SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

NANCY: I do not have an agent. I have eight published narrative nonfiction books and almost all of them were submitted directly to editors who accept unsolicited material. I painstakingly go over each query letter, and my nonfiction proposals go through numerous revisions before submission. I’ve met a few editors at SCBWI conferences and that is how Fly, Girl, Fly came close to publication twice, but crash landed. So, I tried something different—PBPItch, a twitter platform where you can pitch a story idea to editors and agents on certain days of the year. If you a get a “like” from an agent or editor, you need to look up the submission guidelines on their website and send your manuscript for consideration. Another twitter pitch event is #Pitmad

SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”? 

NANCY: Fly, Girl, Fly had spent six months with one editor and three months with another before I finally submitted my pitch in June 2019. I revised a few times for Beaming Books and the contract came in September via email while I was on vacation in Paris. It is always nerve-wracking negotiating the terms without an agent, but the folks at Beaming Books were wonderful.

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract? 

NANCY: After I virtually signed the contract on September 23, 2019, I climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, gave thanks, and raised my hands in victory—for climbing the steps and for getting a book deal. Best moment ever! I also popped the cork on a bottle of champagne!


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

NANCY: This is my debut picture book so I didn’t know what to expect. I hear most picture books take two years or more after the contract is signed. My publisher worked quickly and one year later, September 22, the book is released. I was given a nice advance, 10% royalties, and 20 free copies of the book.

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

NANCY: I had a great experience. The editor and I went through several rounds of revisions, and we were both very respectful in our back and forth. The editor suggested I focus on how Shaesta took on new challenges and built her confidence. Shaesta overcoming her fears was an integral part of the story. We worked together to bring Shaesta’s inspirational story to life in forty pages.

Shaesta Waiz and Nancy Pimm

SUSANNA: Tell us a little about your experience of the illustration process?

NANCY: A big lesson I learned is that picture books are a 50-50 proposition with an author and an editor. An illustrator does not want to see any illustration notes. This is how it was explained to me: “Would you want the illustrator to tell you what to write and what not to write?” I did not send any illustration notes. I did see sketches, and I asked for a few little tweaks. The publisher sent me a digital advanced reading copy (ARC), and I was blown away! Alexandra’s illustrations were stunning. She really portrayed Shaesta’s spunk when needed, and at other times—her fear

Text copyright Nancy Pimm 2020, illustration copyright Alexandra Bye 2020 Beaming Books
Text copyright Nancy Pimm 2020, illustration copyright Alexandra Bye 2020 Beaming Books
Text copyright Nancy Pimm 2020, illustration copyright Alexandra Bye 2020 Beaming Books
Text copyright Nancy Pimm 2020, illustration copyright Alexandra Bye 2020 Beaming Books
  • Dreaming Big
  • Feminism
  • Resilience
  • Opportunity
  • Refugees
  • Aviation

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

NANCY: I just saw a nice review from School Library Journal:
K-Gr 3-Pimm’s debut picture book introduces readers to an inspirational young pilot named Shaesta Waiz, who was born in a refugee camp in Afghanistan. Waiz’s family was able to break free from the camp and move to America. Waiz, who grew up in California, defied expectations in many ways. She overcame language barriers at a young age, studied hard to become the first in her family to graduate from college, and became the first certified female pilot from Afghanistan. At the age of 30, she became the youngest woman in history to fly a single-engine aircraft around the world. Waiz’s story encourages children to never give up. This book could serve as an engaging read-aloud or an enjoyable solo reading experience. Bye’s colorful illustrations are emotive and elegant. Readers will be inspired to chase their own dreams. An author’s note and a personal note to children from Waiz are included. VERDICT Recommended for any classroom, library, or home collection.­Kristin Unruh, Siersma Elem. Sch., Warren, MIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

SUSANNA: How long did it take from offer to having the first copy in your hand?

NANCY: It only took one year from the signing of the contract to holding the book in my hand. My debut picture book arrived one week ago. I hugged it. I looked at my name on its spine. I smelled the book and felt the raised lettering that spells the words, Fly, Girl, Fly on the cover. I’ve never piloted a plane myself, but I felt like I was flying then!

SUSANNA: It’s a wonderful feeling, isn’t it?! What kind of marketing and promotion has your publisher done for this book?

NANCY: Beaming Books sent media releases to flying magazines and parenting magazines. They pitched to major media outlets like Newsweek and TIME, as well as bloggers such as The Children’s Book Review and Mr. Schu Reads. The publisher also sent the book to all awards committees who may be interested.

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

NANCY: I formed a launch team to help spread the word about my new book. I also made promotional material in the form of book marks and flyers. I hope to promote my book through my interactive virtual author visit. I started a newsletter to introduce readers to Shaesta Waiz and share stories that are not in the picture book. You can subscribe to my newsletter at: https://mailchi.mp/4a1c99c8b497/nodream2big.  I wrote a magazine article for Girls in Aviation magazine. Although I try to do what I can, it is more challenging due to the pandemic. Many of the book fairs and author presentations are now cancelled. On a positive note, I am having a virtual book launch party with Cover to Cover Bookstore. Shaesta Waiz lives in Dubai, and she normally would have had to miss out on this event. But since we are all Zooming these days, Shaesta will be a featured guest at the book launch party! Please join us on Saturday, September 26 at 11:00 a.m. ET. The more the merrier! Register on the link below!

https://www.covertocoverchildrensbooks.com/event/fly-girl-fly-zoom-book-launch

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

NANCY: I wrote my first book, Horses, Horses, Horses, at age ten and a picture book, Penelope the Platypus, nearly twenty years ago. Neither of those books ever got published. In those twenty years, though, I have written a couple of novels, and had a bunch of magazine articles and seven nonfiction books published. But the idea of getting the elusive picture book published continued to haunt me. Five years ago, I took action. I studied Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul. I took out my highlighter and read it cover to cover—twice. On each library trip, I checked out 30 picture books. Award-winning picture book author Will Hillenbrand gave me great advice. He said, “Read tons of picture books, take your favorites, and type the text into your computer to learn the rhythm and understand the flow of the picture book.” I went to Society of Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating (SCBWI) conferences and took every picture book breakout session. If you haven’t joined SCBWI, I highly recommend it. I always learn a lot, grow in my craft, and I love the meeting fellow authors.

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

NANCY: There really are no short-cuts. I’ve made many mistakes along the way, but I learned from each and every one. I’ve learned to love revising. Like a potter with clay, we must remove the impurities and get the lumps out. Then you can begin to knead and shape. When you are happy with your creation, fire away! It’s ready to send!  I’ve almost given up on many occasions, but I always found a way to say yes and work even harder. In closing, I wish you the best in your journey and I’ll leave you with a few pointers to consider.

  • Develop your craft (Highlights Foundation, SCBWI conferences, 12 by 12, SCBWI digital webinars, Children’s Book Insider)
  • Join a critique group
  • Read a lot and read as a writer
  • Use mentor texts
  • Keep saying, “Yes!”
  • The three P’s Perseverance, Patience, and Persistence
  • Channel your emotions into your story. The writer’s heart needs to connect to the reader’s heart.

And most of all…never…Never…NEVER give up!!!!

Author Nancy Roe Pimm


www.nancyroepimm.com
@nancyroepimm
Nancy Roe Pimm Facebook
https://mailchi.mp/4a1c99c8b497/nodream2big

SUSANNA: Nancy, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your experience. We all benefit from hearing about other authors’ journeys! I know I speak for everyone when I say best of luck with this and future titles!

NANCY: Thank you, Susanna Leonard Hill, for giving me this opportunity to celebrate my debut picture book and to share with fellow writers. I very much appreciate it!

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

You may purchase Nancy’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

– suggesting them as visiting authors at our children’s schools and our local libraries

– 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

Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

B.J. Lee – There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth

Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

Jill Mangel Weisfeld – Riley The Retriever Wants A New Job (self pub)

Kathleen Cornell Berman – The Birth Of Cool: How Jazz Great Miles Davis Found His Sound

Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat

Sarah Hoppe – Who Will? Will You?

Marla LeSage – Pirate Year Round

Stacey Corrigan – The Pencil Eater

Shannon Stocker – Can U Save The Day?

Nadine Poper – Randall And Randall

Christine Evans – Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist

Karen Kiefer – Drawing God (religious market)

Susan Richmond – Bird Count

Dawn Young – The Night Baafore Christmas

Heather Gale – Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

Ciara O’Neal – Flamingo Hugs Aren’t For Everyone (self pub)

Theresa Kiser – A Little Catholic’s Book Of Liturgical Colors (religious market)

Lindsey Hobson – Blossom’s Wish (self pub)

Kirsten Larson – Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents An Airplane

Valerie Bolling – Let’s Dance!

Janet Johnson – Help Wanted: Must Love Books

Susi Schaefer – Cat Ladies

Heather Kinser – Small Matters: The Hidden Power of the Unseen

Kelly Carey – How Long Is Forever?

Mary Wagley Copp – Wherever I Go

Nell Cross Beckerman – Down Under The Pier

Claire Noland – Evie’s Field Day: More Than One Way To Win

Sharon Giltrow – Bedtime, Daddy!

Gabi Snyder – Two Dogs On A Trike

Sarah Kurpiel – Lone Wolf

Vicky Fang – Invent-a-Pet

Lisa Katzenberger – National Regular Average Ordinary Day

Pam Webb – Someday We Will

Abi Cushman – Soaked!

Teresa Krager – Before Your Birth Day

Lindsay H. Metcalf – Beatrix Potter, Scientist

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Home In The Woods

Hi Everyone!

Welcome back to Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I have a wonderful book to share today that I hope you will all really enjoy!

(Also, as a totally unrelated aside, I am hacking my way through working with the new version of wordpress and pretty much have no idea what I’m doing, so I hope everything will look and work the way it’s supposed to!)

Title: Home In The Woods

Written & Illustrated By: Eliza Wheeler

Nancy Paulsen Books, October 2019, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: making the best of things, family, the meaning of home, history (Great Depression)

Opening: “This is my family.
Marv (8), Rich (10), Ray (14), Mum (34), Eva (3 mo), Bea (12), Dal (2), Lowell (4), and me (Marvel, 6)”
Dad lives with the angels now,
and we need to find a new home
.”

text and illustration copyright Eliza Wheeler 2019, Nancy Paulsen Books

Brief Synopsis: After Dad dies during the Great Depression, Marvel, her mum, and her 7 siblings make their way to a new home – a tar paper shack deep in the woods of Wisconsin. At first it doesn’t feel like home, but as the seasons pass, the family starts to see what could be. They find great joy in being together, discovering the blessings of this new place, and slowly the little shack begins to feel like a home – warm, bright, and full of love.

Links To Resources: An author’s note at the end gives the family history that the story is based upon; draw a picture of your family; ask your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to tell you the stories of their childhoods; try writing them down as stories or poems; write your own childhood story 😊

text and illustration copyright Eliza Wheeler 2019, Nancy Paulsen Books
text and illustration copyright Eliza Wheeler 2019, Nancy Paulsen Books

Why I Like This Book: This book is based on the true story of the author’s grandmother’s childhood, and gives a glimpse of some of the challenges faced by families during the Great Depression in a way that is sensitive, loving, and filled with hope. The sense of family comes through so strongly – the way they all pull together to do what they can and make the best of things, from figuring out how to make delicious meals from whatever they could gather to making up their own games and stories in a home where there were no toys or books. The book beautifully illustrates how much can be accomplished with optimism, working together, inventiveness, and a sense of purpose. The text is spare and poetic, and the watercolor illustrations are lovely. An uplifting story all ages will enjoy!

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 #362 – The Wind Keeper (PB)

Hello, Everyone!!!

Welcome back!

What a summer it has been!

Crazy and busy with family matters of various kinds, both good and not so good, bridal shower and wedding plans, and a new puppy!

The puppy, as it turns out, is a full time job.  I’ve had puppies before – 4 others, actually – and  I know what kind of work is involved, but this one is in a category by herself.  A rescue who was feral for her first 4+ months, she clearly had some traumatic experiences that have left her terrified of people.  So, she’s a work in progress but a nice new friend for me and Scout 😊

ebebc3b5-9be8-491d-9fd5-b6892cd58984_1_105_c ab3d3f2b-f77c-464f-bcd6-d55e2b879b93_1_105_c

As we gear up for the new school year of blogging, I have a question for you.

How does everyone feel about the current weekly features – Tuesday Debut, Would You Read It Wednesday, and Perfect Picture Book Friday?  I find I have a lot of openings – Would You Read It in particular is forlornly unsubscribed at the moment.  After today, I don’t have anyone signed up for the fall.  And there are quite a few openings in Tuesday Debut as well.

If everyone wants to continue these features, great!  Please feel free to sign up!

If everyone is tired of these features and longs for something new, please let me know!  I’m happy to try new things and I want to provide what is most useful to you.  If you have ideas for something you’d like to see instead of what is currently on offer (because I know WYRI and PPBF are long-running features and maybe you don’t find them so interesting anymore. . .) speak right up! 😊 I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

In order to aid your thinking on the matter, how about Something Chocolate?

Mint Chocolate Chip Frozen Dessert

Screen Shot 2020-09-15 at 6.40.01 PMRecipe HERE at Sweet Spicy Kitchen

I think Oreo Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake is a nice mix of summery and chocolate-y goodness 😊

Plus, it has mint, which is a kind of vegetable, so it is technically very healthful 😊

Dig in!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Lindsey. Lindsey is a writer of short stories and children’s picture books. She lives in Southwest Missouri with her husband, daughter, two dachshunds, and six chickens. When not writing, you can find her canoeing, camping, or lounging with her hound dogs.

Find her on the web at:
Twitter: @lindseybhobson
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lindseybhobson

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Wind Keeper

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

The Pitch: On Jenny’s eighth birthday, Papa tells her that she comes from a long line of Wind Keepers. Together they harness the power of the wind to change the seasons and send kites flying high. But when Papa suddenly passes away, her world becomes still. Jenny must find the strength to overcome her grief and bring the wind back to the valley.

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 Lindsey 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 starting next week!, so you could get your pitch up very soon for helpful feedback and a chance to have it read and commented on by editor Erin Molta!

Lindsey is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the blog features here and what you’d like to see!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!!  So glad to see you all again!!! 😊