Announcing The Winners Of The In Just Spring Contest!!!

It’s finally here!

The day you’ve all been waiting for!


No, seriously, I know you’ve been on pins and needles all weekend, wondering who the winner of a picture book manuscript read and comments by editor Laura Galvin of Kidsbooks was going to be.

And I fully intend to tell you, right after I recite Moby Dick.

“Moby Dick: Or The Whale, by Herman Melville.  Chapter 1.  Loomings.
Call me Ishmael.  Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no  money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world….”

Hang on.  This is a really long book.  I think I need a drink of water.

Also, it’s really heavy.

And I’m already bored.

Now.  Where was I?

Oh yes.  You were wondering about who won the In Just Spring Contest.

Which reminds me that when I was little, one of my favorite things about spring was that it was finally warm enough to take my pogo stick outside and jump.  I was (and still AM if I may say so) an extremely good pogo sticker.  If only pogo sticking were an Olympic Sport….  Anyway, I grew up in a fourth floor apartment in New York City, and though my mom would let us do many things in the kitchen (roller skate, skate board, climb the walls in the back hall… well, okay, maybe she didn’t exactly let us, but we did it :)) she was very firm about the pogo stick.  It was an outdoor toy.  And our downstairs neighbors had enough trouble dealing with the sound of roller skates and skateboards, and the water damage from the bathtub flooding we perpetrated every night… but that’s another story…  But anyway, technically, a pogo stick is a big spring.  In a way.  So you can see how relevant this story is.  About springing in spring.

Okay.  I’m sorry.  I’ll stop fooling around 🙂

We had the best turnout of writers we’ve ever had for this contest – 42 – a record we’ll have to aim to beat next time 🙂 – and the best turnout of voters for the finalists.  After 4 days of voting (which I know from the comments caused everyone trouble – all the entries were SO GOOD!) the results are in.



Congratulations, Teresa!  Winning this contest was no mean feat!  And now, in addition to the fame of winning a Pretty Much World Famous Susanna Hill Contest, you have the opportunity to send one of your picture book manuscripts to editor Laura Galvin at Kidsbooks!  Please email me for details, or, if for some reason you want the alternate prize, please let me know!

2nd Place, and winner of a $25 Amazon gift certificate as well as her choice of the books listed below (unless Teresa for some reason doesn’t want the first place prize in which case they’ll swap) is:


Congratulations, Wendy!  Fame for you too! 🙂  Please email me with your choice 🙂

3rd place, and winner of her choice of the craft books listed below is:


Congratulations, Jill!  And there’s plenty of fame to go around 🙂  Please email me with your choice 🙂

Congratulations again, not only to the winners and other finalists, but to ALL the writers who worked hard, polished stories, bravely posted them for all of us to read, and provided us all with wonderful entertainment.

Thank you to all the writers who entered, all the readers who read and commented, and all the voters who agonized and chose.

The contests couldn’t happen without you all! 🙂

Sigh.  So now it’s back to normal blogging life.  I have such fun with the contests that I’m always sorry when they’re over.  But we still have great things to look forward to: a new Would You Read It on Wednesday, new Perfect Picture Books on Friday, Easter candy… although that’s not technically limited to my blog… 🙂

So have a happy and productive Monday, everyone!

Now.  I’m off to hunt down a certain small brown marmot who has some explaining to do about why it’s SNOWING! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday PLUS Please Vote!

Happy first Friday of spring, everyone!

I am not letting the fact that it continues to be 20 degrees, windy, and snowy get me down.  It is officially spring!  Time is on our side 🙂  I haven’t seen Phyllis is days… she’s keeping a low profile.  I think she might actually be on the lam, hiding out in sunny Mexico where it feels like spring has arrived.  She and I are going to have words when she gets back! 🙂

Speaking of spring, if you have not yet had a chance to vote for your favorite finalist in the In Just Spring Contest, please go HERE – the voting is open until tomorrow – Saturday Match 23 at midnight.  It’s quite a tight race, and there’s an amazing prize on the line, so pretty please vote!

The In Just Spring Contest!

Please read the fantastic finalist stories and vote for your favorite HERE!!!

I had actually intended to skip Perfect Picture Book Friday today, so that the post with the vote would stay up until the poll closed, but I realized I forgot to say that ahead of time, and I thought some of you dedicated bloggers probably had PPBs scheduled to post today and I didn’t want to stand you up.  My compromise, such as it is :), is to not post a PPB today myself, but put up the contest voting reminder in pretty colors, and then post the link up list for you all to attach your wonderful books to so we can all come visit 🙂

So please add your post-specific link to the list below and we’ll all come add to our weekend library list! 🙂

Have a great weekend, everyone, and stay tuned Monday for the announcement of the In Just Spring Contest winner!  Ooh, the suspense!!! 🙂

The In Just Spring Contest!!!

The In Just Spring Contest!

Hurray!  It’s here!!  The In Just Spring Contest!!!  And so timely, because I’m really ready for spring and it doesn’t seem to be obliging just yet 🙂

The Contest:  Write a children’s story, in poetry or prosemaximum 350 words.

The story must be about something that really says “SPRING” to you – something that really makes you feel that spring is here!  It can be nature oriented – the robins or geese returning, eggs hatching, flowers blooming, baby animals being born, bears waking up, sunshine or rain, etc.  It can be holiday oriented – St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, April Fools’ Day etc.  It can be school oriented – the spring pageant, spring vacation, the spring talent show.  It can be activity oriented – picnics, bike riding, baseball – anything at all that makes you think spring.

The only other requirement is that the last line must be “[Character Name] knew Spring was really here!” or “[Character Name] knew Spring was here at last!”  (You can also write in first person if you want – e.g. I knew Spring was really here…. and present tense is fine too.)  I’ve given the rhymers amongst you a choice… but if you can’t make either option work with your rhyme scheme you have permission to tweak it slightly as long as the essential meaning stays the same.

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between Friday March 15 at 12:01 AM EDT and Monday March 18 at 11:59 PM EDT, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on this post which will remain up through Tuesday March 19 (no new post on Monday March 18).  If you don’t have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments here.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I’ll post your entry for you!)

The Judge:  My lovely assistant and I will narrow down the entrants to five finalists (or possibly a couple more if we get a lot of entries :)) which will be posted here on Wednesday March 20 (no WYRI that day) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed at midnight March 23 and the winner will be announced on Monday March 25.

The Prizes!:
The First Place Winner will get the chance to put one of his/her picture book manuscripts in the hands of editor Laura Galvin of KidsBooks for a read and comments! (and who knows? she might love it! :))

If we get more than 20 entries, prizes will be give through 3rd place.  2nd Place will receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate, and 3rd place will receive his/her choice of the craft books listed below.

Should the winner happen not to be a picture book writer or for some reason not want to show his/her work to an actual real live editor at an actual real live publishing house, he/she will receive a $25 gift certificate to Amazon and a choice of Writing Picture Books: A Hands On Guide From Story Creation To Publication by Ann Whitford Paul, Writing With Pictures: How To Write And Illustrate Children’s Books by Uri Shulevitz, How To Write A Children’s Book And Get It Published by Barbara Seuling, The Writer’s Guide To Crafting Stories For Children by Nancy Lamb, or 2013 Children’s Writers And Illustrators Market by Chuck Sambuchino, and the editor prize will go to the highest placed finisher who wants it.

Here is my sample, squeezing in just under the wire at 348 words:

That’s Better

     As soon as the hockey rink opened in November, Charlie shot out the door with Dad to go skating.

     “Hold it, mister!” said Mom.

     Charlie skidded to a stop.

     Mom pulled a hat down over his ears.  She wound a scarf around his neck.  She slid mittens on his hands.  “That’s better.”

     Charlie didn’t think so.  “I itch,” he complained.

     Mom shrugged.  “No warm clothes, no skating.”

     That was a no-brainer.  Hat, scarf, and mittens stayed on, and Dad and Charlie went to the rink.

     When the first snow fell in December, Charlie raced outside to build a snowman.

     “Hold it, mister!” said Mom.

     Mom pulled the hat over his ears, wound the scarf around his neck, and slid the mittens on his hands.  Then she zipped him into his winter jacket and stuffed his feet in clunky boots.  “That’s better.”

     Charlie didn’t think so.  “I’m hot,” he complained.

     “You won’t be when you get outside,” said Mom.  “Now scoot.”

     Charlie scooted.

     In January, when the deep cold gave the snow a perfect icy crust, Charlie sped out to sled.
     “Hold it, mister!” said Mom.
     Out came the hat, the scarf, the mittens, and the boots, but this time Mom bundled him into his snowsuit.  “That’s better.”
     “Mo-om,” said Charlie.  “I can’t even walk!”
     “You can stay in and help me fold laundry,” Mom offered.
     “Hmmm,” said Charlie, “maybe I can walk,” and out the door he shuffled.
     All through February and March, for tobogganing, fort-building, and snowball-fighting, Charlie could not get out the door without every inch covered in warm clothes.
     “I’m tired of winter,” he said.
     Then the days got longer.  The sun got warmer.  The snow melted, and one day there were robins on the lawn.
     Charlie opened the door and the air was soft and warm.
     “Hold it, mister!” said Mom.
     “Please, Mom,” begged Charlie.  “I don’t want all those clothes.”
     Mom smiled.  She put his baseball cap on his head and handed him his ball and glove.
     “That’s better!” said Charlie.  He hugged her and laughed.  “Now I know spring is really here!”

Now.  I KNOW you can all do better than THAT – talk about circling the drain! – so take heart and get those stories posted!  I can’t wait to read them! 🙂  Don’t forget to add your post-specific link to the list below so that we can all come read your stories and feel like spring is coming!  The list will stay up through midnight Tuesday March 19.

Good luck! 🙂
And please remember to check the comment section!  There are already entries there from Linda, Jill, Pat, Marie-Therese, Nancy C, Jenny, Doris, Nancy M, Kimberly, and Lizzie.  (You may have to scroll down aways…)

Would You Read It Wednesday #80 – Phewie Hughie (PB) PLUS The February Pitch Pick Winner

Woo-hoo!  It’s Wednesday!  And you know what that means 🙂

Something Chocolate!!!

Help yourselves, dahlings 🙂

Before we get started, I’d like to thank everyone who participated to help our young Jedi friend, Renn, get through his long days in the hospital.  If you didn’t get a chance to see all the wonderful creations from our large-hearted community, please go HERE and hop through the link list.  Prepare to be blown away! 🙂  Just so you know, and can all send extra thoughts and prayers, today is the really tough day, but he will hopefully be able to go home at the end of it or tomorrow.

Also, I’d like to remind you all (and let’s be honest, I’m reminding myself while I’m at it :)) that the In Just Spring Contest (details HERE) opens on Friday March 15 (that’s in 2 days, peeps!) and the first place winner will get to have one of their picture book manuscripts read by editor Laura Galvin at KidsBooks (or, should the winner happen not to write picture books or want a read by an actual real live editor at a real live publishing house, the winner will get a writing book and gift certificate and the editor prize will go to the next highest placed finisher who wants it! :))  So I hope you’re all getting your stories finished up!

This also means that there will be no Perfect Picture Book Friday link up this Friday because we will be reading the fabulous stories written by you! 🙂 and there will also not be a new post Monday (so we can keep reading your stories) or a WYRI next Wednesday because we will be voting on who should win.  Hopefully we will actually get some entries for this contest or it will be a very boring blog week here on Blueberry Hill 🙂

Now, onto WYRI business!  Anyone need another slice of cake? 🙂

The winner of the February Pitch Pick is Wendy with her pitch for Why Fireflies Should NEVER Drink Soda!  Congratulations, Wendy!!!  (Apparently Wendy is the name to have – we’ve had Wendys win two months in a row :))  And congratulations to all our pitchers for excellent pitches, all of which were improved thanks to reader feedback.

Today’s pitch comes to us from Denise.  Denise says, “I’m a lover of all things Anne of Green Gables and Maud Montgomery so am so thankful to live on PEI. I’m also a Christian mom of 4 wonderful children, all named for Lucy Maud Montgomery characters of some sort. When I’m not cleaning, baking, playing, I do get to go to Bible Study and take Rilla, age 7, and Emily. (boys aren’t ready for that yet lol)… I think it’s important that our kids go so they will learn more about God and get used to hearing about God, thereby loving Him more.  I also collect paper dolls.  My daughter is in the works of making some more clothes just for Phyllis, who’s a very patient lass, she is 🙂

You can visit Denise:

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Phewie Hughie
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 4-8)
The Pitch: Hughie loves his toots. The louder the better, but because Hughie thought everyone should love his toots, he had a hard time understanding why no one appreciated his wonderful ability until two children come to an important dinner and Hughie’s dad reminds him to remember his manners.  Mayhem happens after Hughie realizes he just can’t hold it in.   Will Hughie find a way to control his engine’s noise and find friends along the way?

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 Denise 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 the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in May so send in your pitches for your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Denise is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to the In Just Spring Contest (for which I haven’t even begun writing my sample, so you can only imagine how dreadful it’s going to be :))  I can’t wait to read lots and lots of stories about spring, lovely spring!… so I really hope we get some 🙂

Have a great day, everyone! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #78 – Oakley’s Keys (PB) AND The Prize For The In Just Spring Contest!

If this post actually goes up in time it will be pretty much of a miracle.  I have reached new heights of doltdom!  Which I will tell you about… just don’t let me forget to tell you the awesome fantastic In Just Spring Contest Prize News afterwards!

My husband’s car needs brake work, so since it’s on warranty we had to take it to the dealership.  After work.  “I’ll drive from the train station,” says he, “and you meet me and follow.”

Fine.  Except I got behind The. Slowest. Car.  On. Earth! coming down our mountain to the train station, so he got ahead.  “I’ll pull over after the covered bridge,” says he, “and you’ll catch up.”

Fine.  Except I went through the covered bridge, looked on both sides of the road, no husband.  But there’s a little parking area there, so I pulled over and called him, thinking maybe somehow he was behind me.

“No!” says he.  “I’m up ahead on the hill.  Past the light.”  Well. that’s not exactly right after the covered bridge but…

Fine.  I take my foot off the brake.  Princess Blue Kitty rolls forward willingly.  I look to the left. and right to pull out and suddenly, out of nowhere, GRINDCRUNCHGROWLGROANSCREECH!  WHAT THE ???  Princess Blue Kitty can move neither forward nor backward.  Her engine groans.  Her poor little body shudders.  “OMG!  I’ve wrecked my car!” I shriek and shut off the engine, disengaging the blue tooth and effectively hanging up on my husband.

Yeah.  So what happened?  There was a GIANT rock, which had rolled from somewhere nearby where it was meant to be decorative, down into the little gully between the parking area and the road.  Too low to see (also it blended in with the gravel in the darkness) and too low even to hit with my bumper, it was positioned in just such a way that my front passenger side tire somehow rolled up on it like a ramp then slid off, leaving poor Princess Blue Kitty stranded in the air, her front right side completely off the ground.  Impaled, as it were, on a rock!  Oh the agony!  And the indignity!  And can I just remind us all that it was in a place where no rock that size should have been!

A rumbly diesel engine dually, a hydraulic jack, a lot of chain and a hook, some cardboard to crawl under the car on, several blocks of wood, a flashlight, a tire iron, a very nice guy form New Zealand, and a genius named Loren later, we managed to coax Blue Kitty down off her rock.

Needless to say, we didn’t get home until very late.  But luckily the princess does not seem to have sustained any mortal damage.  Although I believe there is a danger of internal injury, so I will probably take her to her dealership later just in case.  If it stops sleeting.

Anyway.  To make a short story even longer, PHEW!  What an evening.  Which leads me to the fact that it was some ridiculous hour and I hadn’t started writing this post.  Or loading today’s lesson for my course into the email template.  Hence the miracle!

Chocolate anyone?  I think we seriously need it after that harrowing adventure!  Here.  I’ll put some fruit on it so you breakfast purists can feel okay about it 🙂

Now, would you stop telling me ridiculous stories about your inability to drive so we can get down to Would You Read It?! 🙂

Today’s pitch comes to us from Yvonne.  Yvonee says, “I have a background in early childhood and the visual arts and am a mother of boys, from baby to teen, and one in between.  I write picture books mainly but I also write short stories and non fiction articles for older children. So far I am only active on twitter
I am trying to work up the courage to post something on my Tumblr blog, maybe this will be the push I  need.
Here is her pitch:

Working Title: Oakley’s Keys
Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-6)
The Pitch:  Intruder Alert!
Oakley hides away with his parent’s car keys. He’ll do anything to get the attention away from his drooling baby brother Dan. But wherever Oakley hides, Dan finds him, from loop-the-looping around a star to playing tag with tigers. And when creepy creatures crawl out of a pirate treasure chest, it is up to Oakley to use his brotherly love to save Dan, drool not included.
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 Yvonne 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 the Would You Read It tab in the bar above.  There are openings in April so we could really use some new pitches!  It’s your chance to be read by editor Erin Molta!

Yvonne is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to making sure Princess Blue Kitty hasn’t sustained any lasting injury.  I am not looking forward to how many times over the rest of my life I’m going to hear, “Remember the time you got your car stuck on that rock?” 🙂

Have a great day, everyone!

OH!  See?  I told you not to let me forget!

I have fantastic news.  Seriously.  Fantastic!

Remember that contest I told you about on Monday?  The In Just Spring Writing Contest?  Remember how I said I was still working on the prize but was hoping for something knock-your-socks-off amazing?

Well hang onto your socks!!!

The winner of the In Just Spring Contest will receive the opportunity to send a picture book manuscript to none other than Laura Galvin, Editor at Kidsbooks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That’s right, my friends!  You’ll have the chance to put a manuscript you wrote on an actual real live editor’s desk at an actual publishing house and be guaranteed that she will read it and offer constructive feedback!  And who knows… she might love it…! 🙂

Personally, I really cannot think of a more awesome prize.  I hope you agree.  But on the off chance that the winner is someone who doesn’t write picture books, or who for some reason doesn’t want this chance, I will think of a fun back up (probably a writing craft book and/or an Amazon gift card) to give them, and the chance to be read by Laura will go to the highest placed writer who wants it.

How’s that for a great way to start your Wednesday?! 🙂  So put on those thinking caps.  Warm up those pencils.  It’s time to write an amazing Spring Story so you can submit a manuscript to Laura Galvin!  (And many many thanks to Laura for so generously agreeing to do this! :))

Now, for real, have a great day 🙂