Happy Holidays! Writing With The Stars Mentorship Opportunity!!!

Hi Everyone!

Writing With The Stars is running their mentorship contest again and I thought you’d all like to participate because there are so many amazing opportunities!  And someone who heard about it on my blog last year was one of the winners!  This year it could be YOU! 🙂


Writing with the Stars is a picture book contest where writers and illustrators apply to win a mentorship from published authors and illustrators. The mentors will evaluate the applications and pick a winner to work with for three months. The contest is open to unpublished and un-agented picture book writers and illustrators. All the details can be found at http://beckytarabooks.com/wwts-contest/

Doesn’t that sound amazing?!  And you could win a mentorship with Andrea Loni, Alistair Heim, Stacy McAnulty, Lindsay Ward, Josh Funk, Laura Gehl, Adam Lehrhaupt, Corey Rosen Schwartz, Annie Silvestro, Lori Degman, and many more!

Such an incredible opportunity!

Please share with anyone you know who might be interested!

Full details are at this link: http://beckytarabooks.com/wwts-contest/

Consider it a little holiday gift to you! 🙂  Good luck!!!


Perfect Picture Book Friday – Maurice The Unbeastly


Right now this very second while you are reading this, I am winging my way to the Lone Star State for the North Texas SCBWI Conference!

Sing with me!
“The stars at night
are shining bright
deep in the heart of Texas!”

Okay.  I confess that’s all I know.  But I am very excited!  I have only been to Texas once before and that was a drive-thru on a family cross-country trip when I was 12.  My only memory of Texas is of being forced to eat Velveeta sandwiches on white bread whilst we drove.  Yuck!  Seriously, whose idea was THAT?!  So I’m hoping it’s going to be a lot more fun this time… if I survive my presentation… which I have been nailbiting over for weeks already!  If you hear a jackhammering sound, that’s just my teeth chattering with nerves! 🙂


I’m thrilled beyond measure to be sharing this fabulous book today, written by the very talented Amy Dixon.  Such fun!  I love it!  I hope you love it 🙂


Title: Maurice The Unbeastly

Written By: Amy Dixon

Illustrated By: Karl James Mountford

Sterling Children’s Books, September 2017, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: individuality, being true to yourself, monsters, humor

Opening: “Maurice was not like the other beasts.  His voice was as sweet and refreshing as dandelion lemonade on a hot day.

Brief Synopsis: Maurice the beast is a misfit, about as un-beastly as they come.  His worried parents enroll him in the Abominable Academy For Brutish Beasts, hoping to help their son be more like he should.  But Maurice is just different… and maybe that’s not a bad thing!

Links To Resources: make a collage of pictures that represents who you are; make a list of at least 5 words that describe you; draw a picture of yourself doing something you love to do; write a poem about someone who makes you feel valued; draw a picture of the animal you feel is most like you and make a list of at least 5 words that explain why you are like that animal (e.g. brave, pretty, strong, fast, etc..)

Why I Like This Book: Maurice is delightful!  He is so gloriously and humorously un-beastly, with his melodious voice like “dandelion lemonade on a hot day”, his love for organic kale, and his smile which makes him “ridiculously photogenic”.  And when it comes to “messy meat eating” he asks for “the vegetarian option” 🙂  You’ve got to love a character who is so much himself in spite of how different he is from his peers.  And this is a message so many kids can benefit from, because we should all be true to ourselves.  The art is perfect for the story in shades of muted rust, green, and black with touches of red and white, and includes fun details like the Academy sign with the slogan “Hear us roar.  Hit the floor.  We’re the mighty carnivore!”, and Maurice pictured with birds and flowers.  A humorous, entertaining but also sweet read!

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 please wish me luck in Texas!!!!!!!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey

Well, folks, the groundhogs have spoken!

And apparently they were not all on the same page!

Punxsutawney Phil said 6 more weeks of winter.

Punxsutawney Phyllis was on the fence at first, but reluctantly ended up concurring with Phil when the sun undeniably came out and cast her shadow in all its beauteous perfection 🙂

Staten Island Chuck (short for Charles G. Hogg VII 🙂 ), who has the best track record of accuracy at 80%, said early spring.  (And you may be pleased to know that the current Chuck is actually a girl… so she’s probably right! 🙂 )

Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam agreed with Chuck.

So as you can see there is some furry headshaking and dispute over what will actually happen.  I guess we’ll all have to just wait and see who is right and who should have stayed in the burrow 🙂

Early spring or no, we can still enjoy Perfect Picture Books!

Although part of me wants to share a cozy fuzzy book today as an antidote to all that’s happening in the world, I think sometimes there’s an important place for more serious books that address meaningful issues in a way kids can manage and appreciate.  So today I have what I consider a very special book to share.


Title: Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey

Written By: Margriet Ruurs

Illustrated By: Nizar Ali Badr

Orca Book Publishers,  October 2016, nonfiction – bilingual edition English/Arabic

Suitable For Ages: all ages

Themes/Topics: family life, geographic location (Syria), war, hardship, refugees, settling in a new life


illustration copyright Nazir Ali Badr 2016

Opening: “‘Rama, wake up!’
the rooster crowed
every morning when we still lived at home

From my warm bed
I listened as Mama prepared breakfast –
bread, yogurt, juicy red tomoatoes
from our garden.

When I was little, not so long ago,
my brother, Sami, our friends and I
played on sunbaked soil.
We laughed, ran across rocks and sand,
free as birds.

When Papa came in from the fields,
he would sit for a time under the orange tree
and tell stories of our ancestors.

Brief Synopsis: (From the publisher’s description) “Stepping Stones tells the story of Rama and her family, who are forced to flee their once-peaceful village to escape the ravages of the civil war raging ever closer to their home. With only what they can carry on their backs, Rama and her mother, father, grandfather and brother, Sami, set out to walk to freedom in Europe.”


illustration copyright Nazir Ali Badr 2016

Links To Resources: the foreword of the book tells all about how the author discovered the incredible stone artwork of the artist which inspired the story; the back matter gives information on “how you can make a difference”; the book itself is informational and educational

Why I Like This Book: Although this book deals with a very difficult and sensitive topic, one which has the potential to be upsetting to children, the author handles it so beautifully, so gently, with such poetic language, that the story manages to convey a wealth of information and experience in an accessible and palatable way while maintaining enough emotion to be truly meaningful.  It is really masterfully done.  The story is moving.  The art is exquisite.  The message is one everyone – adults and children alike – needs to hear and understand.  Jane Yolen said that “the text would both break and mend your heart.”  I think that describes it well.  An important book that everyone should have the opportunity to read!  The text is bilingual – English/Arabic.


text copyright Margriet Ruurs 2016, illustration copyright Nazir Ali Badr 2016

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!

[Here’s hoping this version will work!  Google forms/spreadsheets does NOT want to cooperate!]

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #228 – When Sheep Fall Asleep (PB)

Well, my friends, what a week THIS has been so far!

For starters, although it maybe wasn’t much in the grand scheme of things, we did finally get a little much-needed rain.  This may not sound like a big deal, but after what has to have been the driest summer on record for a long, long time, the parched ground and drooping trees were clearly grateful!  And there’s something very pleasant about a cool, gray day with the gentle sound of rain pattering on the roof while you work diligently at sudoku puzzles  sporcle quizes  catching up on the Game of Thrones episodes you never got to watch your writing!

Then on Monday, my own little thrill of excitement when I discovered my new books up on Amazon and GoodReads!  There’s something about seeing them there that makes it all feel more real! 🙂  And although I knew that WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH and WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES would be out on July 11, 2017, I did NOT know the publication date for THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT until I saw it up on Amazon – June 6, 2017 – so that was especially fun! 🙂

Coming soon… to a library/bookstore/classroom near you…! 🙂

And now, hopefully a little thrill of excitement for you when I hint that I have writing contest news coming soon… because in case you’ve been too busy to look at the calendar, that Halloweensie time of year is approaching…!  I’m working on prizes, but if anyone has anything to offer or great contacts who might have anything to offer, please feel free to let me know.  With 3 big contests coming up, I can use all the awesome prizes I can get for you guys!!!  Keep it tuned to this station… there will be news SOON! 🙂  And start thinking about those Halloweensie stories….!

Now.  We have all been awake for at least 5 minutes, many of us as many as 7 or even 12 minutes!, so that means it’s time for Something Chocolate.  After all, we can hardly be expected to soldier through a morning of hard writing/parenting/teaching/librarianing without a little pick-me-up!  Hmm… what would be good?  I’m thinking Something Cupcake.  Because cupcakes are yummy, portable, and small enough to eat two…or three… without feeling guilty 🙂


Recipe HERE at HandleTheHeat best-chocolate-cupcakes-02

YUM!  Chocolate/chocolate – simple, classic, elegant, delicious!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Michele who says, “I’m an executive editor at the children’s publishing arm of an entertainment company. As an author, I have published leveled readers, books of word games, a board book set, and children’s apps for iOS and Android–but this is my first attempt at a picture book, and it’s nerve-wracking being on the other side of the desk! I’m a member of SCBWI and Children’s Media Association, and you can find me Tweeting about books, children’s entertainment, and whatever else pops into my mind at @michelewells.”

Find her on the web at @michelewells

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: When Sheep Fall Asleep

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-6)

The Pitch: All Sam wants to do is stay up late. His parents agree to a deal: If he gets into bed and counts sheep all the way up to ten, then he can stay up all night. But the sheep aren’t cooperating, and once the monkeys, elephants, chickens, and even hyenas start crowding in, it’s all Sam can do to keep his room from turning into a zoo!

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 Michele 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 November, so…not so far off at this point!  You could your chance soon to get your pitch up for helpful feedback and have a chance to have it read by editor Erin Molta!

Michele is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to telling all my relatives that my new books are available for preorder (in the hopes that they will honor their familial obligation to support me 🙂 ) and checking Amazon obsessively to see if cover art for the TRUCK book goes up because I can’t wait to see it! 🙂  I am the soul of patience, aren’t I?  Perfectly cut out for a career in the (ahem) fast-paced industry of children’s publishing 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂


Perfect Picture Book Friday – Eat Like A Bear

So there I was, being uber-organized.  My post was written and scheduled not just on time, but AHEAD of time!  And what should happen?

No idea!

But somehow my entire post disappeared – down to the last comma! – so I had to rewrite the whole thing from scratch this morning after barn chores (which was when I realized wordpress had swallowed it whole and my post had never gone up!)  My sincere apologies for the tardiness of this post!

So let’s try again…

It’s May, and on Blueberry Hill, that means the bears are up!

Our bears are black bears – lumbering, relatively peaceful creatures who would just as soon not tangle with people or dogs, but who are more than happy to raid the trash cans in the garage or the bird feeder at every possible opportunity!

We have two regularly-visiting bears in our neck of the woods.  One is young, glossy-coated, and healthy-looking – we have watched him saunter across the yard and help himself to ripe apples from our tree in September.  The other one is an old curmudgeon, scarred and a little thin and scruffy-looking.  His life is much more challenging.  He suffered an injury at some point – caught in a trap? 😦 – and as a result is missing a forefoot.  He has learned to compensate and gets around all right, but I forgive him for raiding the trash cans if I’m foolish enough to leave the garage door open 🙂  Did you know he loves to lick the chocolate residue from inside the foil chocolate easter egg wrappers?  Clearly we are twins separated at birth 🙂

Since I have bears on the brain, today’s Perfect Picture Book is about bears – not black bears, but the threatened brown/grizzly bear that roams the wilds of Alaska and the Rockies and such.  I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Eat Like A Bear

Title: Eat Like A Bear

Written By: April Pulley Sayre

Illustrated By: Steve Jenkins

Henry Holt & Co, October 2013, Nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: nonfiction, animals (bears – brown/grizzly), nature

Opening: “Can you eat like a bear?
Awake in April.  Find food.
But where?

Drink like a bear — from a stream.
Leaping trout?  None about.
Bushes?  Bare.  No berries there.
It’s been four long months since fall,
when you were full.

Brief Synopsis: From the jacket: “Can you eat like a bear?  Be a grizzly bear, waking up in spring.  What is there to eat in April?  In May?  Sniff, listen, and look.  Paw, claw, and pull.  Catch fish, munch berries, and nibble seed-filled pine cones.  But be sure to fill up for the long winter ahead…”

Links To Resources: the back matter in the book is a resource in itself, filled with information on brown/grizzly bears, their habits, habitats, diet, threatened status, and current scientific studies.

Why I Like This Book: the text is interesting, simple and accessible, yet written in engaging language that is fun to read aloud, including little repeated patterns like “paw, claw, pull” that young listeners will learn to anticipate and join in on.  The information presented is age-appropriate and not overwhelming.  The art is a perfect complement for the text – very appealing, making the potentially-scary grizzly bear fairly warm and friendly-looking.  My knowledge of artistic technique is virtually non-existent, but Booklist described it thus: “Jenkins fixes the action in the Rocky Mountains with his trademark cut- and torn-paper collage. Using a variety of materials, including handmade Mexican bark paper for the bears, he achieves a remarkable variety of line and texture, as crisp leaves and flowers contrast with fuzzy fur” which I think gives a pretty good idea of what it looks like 🙂  This is a great title for the nonfiction lover in your life, or for a classroom or library!

I hope you like it as much as I do 🙂


Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 1.29.39 PM

Text copyright April Pulley Sayre 2013, Illustration copyright Steve Jenkins 2013

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 you chose for this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂


Oops! :)

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Due to a shocking lack of planning, I have no PPBF post for today!  Blame it on the birthday celebrations 🙂  Or possibly the senility of my advancing age 🙂

If I have time this weekend to tackle getting that google form and spreadsheet up for you all I will, but I’m not fast at it yet, and I’m going visiting in the Far North so… I’d say the possibility of that is slim to slimmer.

I apologize for falling asleep at the switch, but anyone who posts this week is welcome to just add this week’s book to next week’s list.

Have a wonderful weekend!!! 🙂

Would You Read It Wednesday #208 – The Grumps (PB) PLUS The February And March Pitch Picks!

I hope you ate your Wheaties this morning, lovelies!  We’ve got a full agenda today!

First, we must consult our horoscopes.

Mine says, “Treat yourself to Something Chocolate!”

(Okay.  I admit it didn’t say exactly that… But it did say “You have a wonderful opportunity for refreshment” which is practically the same thing!  Given the comments that followed it was clearly referring to refreshment and renewal in your personal life, but that’s a little too serious for me… So since horoscopes are open to interpretation I choose to interpret refreshment as chocolate 🙂 )

And since we’re going to have Something Chocolate in about one minute, I think we can all agree it’s surprisingly accurate! 🙂

Now that we know it’s going to be a delightfully chocolate-filled day, on to the Pitch Picks!

(I hope you are all sufficiently caffeinated to follow the complexities of Pitch Pick division below.  If not, you may be excused to get a cup of coffee but please come right back!  Loitering in the hall is against school rules and will likely earn you a one-way ticket to the principal’s office 🙂 )

The February and March pitches got a little sideways due to the Valentiny Contest in February followed by a month with 5 Wednesdays, so in the interest of evening things out we shall have the February Pitch Pick with the two February pitches plus the first March pitch, and then the March Pitch Pick which has the other 4 March pitches.


The February Pitch Pick:

#1 Lynne Marie – The Dino Store (PB ages 4-8)

Open this book and be transported to – THE DINO-STORE, where dinosaurs are not only NOT extinct, but you can choose from an assortment of plant eaters, meat eaters, big dinosaurs and small dinosaurs – some discovered and some yet to be discovered! You can slide down the back of an Apatosaurus, wow your friends with a Stegosaurus at Show ‘N Tell or scare a bully away with Tyrannosaurus – which dinosaur will you choose?

#2 Tracey – Mary Alice (PB ages 12 and under)

Mary Alice is a little tugboat who wishes she could have passengers on board. One fateful morning, as smoke tumbled out of the two tallest towers, a call came over the radio. Mary Alice turned to to help rescue the people who were stranded on Lower Manhattan.
Mary Alice will bridge the gap with the children born after 9/11. This story will also show readers that no matter how small you are, you can achieve mighty things. After all, everyone has a little hero inside of them.  
On 9/11,  the largest sea evacuation in world history happened. Hearing the United States Coastguard call, many mariners converged onto Lower Manhattan to rescue almost a half a million people. Mary Alice, a blue-collared tugboat, was one of the vessels used. 
 ***I have permission from the Donjon company to use their boat’s name and they have verified the facts of the story.


#3 Stacia  – Mia and the Marathon (PB/ER)

Mia loves running and so does Mama. While Mama is getting ready for her longest race ever, Mia discovers new, exciting ways she can get ready too.  Mia can’t wait to cheer on Mama but oh no! On Race Day, Mia and Daddy can’t find Mama in the big crowd of runners! Don’t worry: Mia is prepared and knows exactly what to do.  It’s time for Mia to cheer her favorite, loudest, cheeriest, cheer ever.

Please cast your vote in the poll below for your favorite February Pitch by Sunday April 17 at 5 PM EDT.

The March Pitch Pick:

#1 Christie – Kitty Clawdette The Broadway Pet (PB ages 4-8)

Kitty Clawdette aches to be a star on Broadway, but she’s an unknown talent with no experience — because she’s a homeless cat. With the help of her lucky star, the theater janitor, she gets her big break and learns there is something more important than fame.

#2 Tracy – TroublE with a Capital” E”!  (PB/ER)

Trouble, sometimes it finds you and even follows you home. That’s exactly what happens one extraordinary day when Jack, the perfect pooch, sniffs out the perfect friend. Together the unlikely duo find companionship, love, and yes, trouble! Stirring up trouble isn’t perfect, but it sure is a lot more fun. Sometimes, “T-r-o-u-b-l-E,” can be spelled with a capital E.

#3 Heather – The Hero Of Foggy Basin (PB ages 3-6)

A happy-go-lucky stray dog, who doesn’t want a home, wanders into a town that’s always blanketed by fog—and can’t find the way out. Dog brightens the lives of the gloomy townsfolk and tries to fetch them the sun. Just when it seems this task can’t be done, he meets a trio of children who help him find his way again.


#4 Patricia – Bird And The Baker (PB ages 4-8)

A rainbow-winged, golden-tufted songbird forages each day for grain. When a popular bakery opens nearby, Bird cannot find enough to feed her family. She trades her songs and rainbow wings for more grain, but Bird must use her brain when the baker demands her golden crown, too.

Please cast your vote for your favorite March Pitch in the poll below by Sunday April 17 at 5 PM EDT.

Thank you all for reading and voting!  The pitchers and I are all so grateful!  Shall we have a little refreshment now- i.e. Something Chocolate? (See?  My horoscope was totally right! 🙂 )

Since we have a birthday in our family today, I think we should have cake! 🙂

Super Decadent Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Fudge Frosting!

Now then, onto today’s pitch which comes to us from Ingrid who says, “Hi! I’m Ingrid Boydston, as a mom/kindergarten teacher &theater director I realized I am a full time story teller. So I’ve been writing my stories down, learning the benefits of editing and critique partners for the past 3 years. Now I’m excited to present this pitch to you.  You find me tweeting as IngridBoydston@ingridboydston and on FaceBook as Ingrid Boydston.”

Here is her pitch:

Working Title: The Grumps

Age/Genre: Picture Book (ages 3-6)

The Pitch:  Sometimes you wake-up feeling so grumpy you just want to stay that way! Good thing a good friend knows the only way to help is to be grumpy too. Kind of…

Spend the day with the Grumps and you just might discover a smile hiding under that frown.

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 Ingrid improve her pitch.  Helpful examples of possible alternate wordings are welcome.  (However, I must ask that comments be constructive and respectful.  I reserve the right not to publish comments that are mean because that is not what this is about.)


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

Ingrid is looking forward to your thoughts on her pitch!  I am looking forward to sharing my “newsletter” with you VERY SOON!  I say “newsletter” because it’s not really a newsletter per se… but it will (hopefully) be something fun and useful for you! 🙂

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!!! 🙂

A Link List Experiment

Hi Everyone!

Please forgive this odd post, but I’m trying to figure out how to get a link list on this blog that will work for PPBF and the contests.

Here’s an experimental list powered by Linky Tools.

Anyone who wants is welcome to add their blog url to the link list.  I’m hoping at least a few people will be willing because I want to see how the list looks, and find out whether you guys find it easy or annoying to use.  I think it’s going to take you off my site to enter your blog url… but then I’m hoping the list itself will show up here.

Fingers crossed…!  And thanks in advance to anyone who is willing to try it and give feedback!


Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Oh, Boy! We’re Going To Have Some Fun Now!

Ask, and ye shall receive.

That’s how I operate around here.

When you guys want something, I do my best to accommodate 🙂

Some of y’all had a bright idea about a “writing contest in February to break up the winter doldrums”…

…and far be it from me to deny your heart’s desire…

…so here we go!

You know how in October we do the Halloweensie Contest – weensie because the entries are not very long and written for little people?

Well, prepare yourselves for the First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Contest! 🙂

valentiny logo

The First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!

Valentiny because it’s also not very long and also for little people 🙂

Halloweensie and Valentiny – a match made in… well, okay, maybe not heaven, but definitely in the hare-brained scheming mind of Yours Truly 🙂

Due to the fact that this is a new contest being put together on short notice, it is just possible that the people in charge around here haven’t worked out all the details quite yet (i.e. there’s a certain amount of scrambling for prizes for y’all… still working on that!) (Also there is the link list difficulty to sort out…)  But here’s what we’ve got so far!

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is grumpy!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone grumpy (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂  You can go under the word count but not over! Title is not included in the word count.)  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Monday February 8th and Friday February 12th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my February 8th post.  There will be no Would You Read It that week, and no PPBF, so the post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to 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 that post once it’s up. (Or, if you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you!)

The Judging: over the weekend, my lovely 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 February 15th or Tuesday February 16th (depending on how many entries we get.)  The winner will be announced on Friday February 19th. (And there will be no WYRI or PPBF that week either so that everyone will have time to read and vote and so that we don’t confuse PPBF with announcing winners.)  If we get more than 20 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st through 3rd.  If we get a large turn out, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it… like I said, there’s a bit of prize acquisition and organization to be accomplished yet!  But since this is a new contest, there may be a smaller number of entries… we shall see 🙂

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using grumpiness and success in making us feel the grumpiness!
  3. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  4. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics
  5. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

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 clout with anyone who could offer a good prize please contact me at once! 🙂  But so far prizes will include:

Enrollment in Julie Hedlund and Emma Walton Hamilton’s Complete Picture Book Submissions System!

I Heart Picture Books – a 5-pack of Valentine picture books including A Crankenstein Valentine by Samantha Berger, Love, Ruby Valentine by Laurie B. Friedman,  Zombie In Love by Kelly DiPucchio, Love, Splat by Rob Scotton, and Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood PLUS 3 Endangered Species Chocolate Bars!

(Don’t worry! – I promise I’m working on rummaging up more prizes! :))

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 🙂

Many, many thanks to Julie and Emma for their very generous prize offering!

I literally cannot wait to read your stories!!! 🙂

Have a Marvelous Monday everyone! 🙂

Hold That Holiday Thought…


So, remember how I said I might post the finalists Monday or it might be Tuesday?


as you’ve probably guessed by now, it might not be Monday.

Because that’s today.  And apparently the judges (who shall be nameless) are having some trouble reaching a consensus.  And Judging Rules state clearly that there shall be no twisting of arms, issuing of invective, or threatening to withhold chocolate for purposes of coercion!

So, sorry to keep you waiting, but we want to do a good job and there are so many great entries!

Meanwhile, continue to enjoy reading and commenting on all the fabulous entries at

And if you’re in the mood for a little writerly holiday shopping, let me refer you to an older post

(And no, we have certainly not been distracted by visions of sugar plums, nor have we spent more time eating chocolate than judging!  We are hard at work!  We promise! Although there was a small incident of gingerbread baking…and eating… and if you haven’t had gingerbread with hot fudge sauce and homemade whipped cream, let me tell you… you need to get right on that! :))
See you tomorrow, good lord willing and the creek don’t rise!  And thank you for your patience!