The 9th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!!!!

***CONTEST UPDATE***

I apologize for the fact that I am behind schedule posting the finalists.  I know you are all waiting.  I did not anticipate 324 entries or I would have given myself and the other judges more time.  We will do our best to have the finalists posted by tomorrow or Saturday.

 

Lizard toes and dragon scales! It’s time for . . .

The 9TH Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!

halloweensie-pumpkin

~ for children’s writers ~

The Contest: write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words potion, cobweb, and trick.  Your story can be scary, funny, sweet, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people 🙂  (And yes, I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  We got over 235 fantastic entries last year, so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. potions, cobwebbed, trickery, whathaveyou 🙂  NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined 🙂 )

Post: your story on your blog between right now this very second and Thursday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below (not your blog’s main url because if you post again after your entry during the dates of the contest, the judges will find the wrong post!)  There will be no Tuesday Debut, Perfect Picture Book or Would You Read It posts for the duration of the contest so the links will stay up for everyone to visit and enjoy.  If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section below (please include your byline! If your posting handle is something like MamaWritesByNightlight I can’t identify you.)  If you have difficulty posting in the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post it for you.  Please place your entry in the body of the email including your title and byline at the topNO ATTACHMENTS!  And please do not submit entries before the start of the contest!  Please submit your entry only ONCE! If you add it to the blog link list, and the comments, and email me to post it, things get very confusing!  I try to stay as glued to my desk as possible, but sometimes I have to get up so if I don’t respond to your email or approve your post immediately, don’t panic!  I’ll get to it as soon as I can!

The Judging: in a grueling marathon over the coming days, my devoted assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3  6  9  12? top choices (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with winnowing, so we’ll see!) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 4th (if the judging takes longer than we expect if could be later…but we will do our best!)  The winner will be announced on Thursday November 7th (good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 🙂 )

Judging criteria will be as follows:

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

The Prizes:  SO AMAZING! What a generous community we have to donate so much awesomeness!!! 🙂

Go Directly To Go! Skip The Slushpile at Blue Whale Press and Get Your PB Manuscript Directly On The Editor’s Desk!!!

Submit your picture book manuscript directly to editor Alayne Christian for her consideration and critique. Helpful feedback is a certainty, publication could be a possibility!

blue whale logo

Who Will Will You Cover Reveal Official  thumbnail_randall-randall-cover-ISBN9780981493879-highres

Blue Whale Press is an SCBWI PAL publisher of children’s books that focuses on stories involving themes of friendship and/or personal challenge. Most often, stories are selected for publishing due to their inherent educational or moral value. But as a general rule, a good dose of humor or a tug at the heart doesn’t hurt their chances of being published either. While a few chapter books and a middle grade are on their list, their focus is picture books. As a boutique publisher who doesn’t mind taking risks, Blue Whale Press considers itself to be a launch pad for authors and illustrators hoping to establish themselves.

For more info: https://www.bluewhalepress.com/

Hone Your Skills with the Lyrical Language Lab Rhyme & Meter Self Study Crash Course (11 Lessons) from accomplished writer and poet Renee LaTulippe

INTENSIVE RHYME AND METER CRASH COURSE

This option contains all the same lessons as Module 1 of Renee’s fully guided course, including all supplemental materials, downloads, and audio/video components. This is the option to choose if you need to build a strong foundation in the mechanics of rhyming picture books and poetry. The major focus is on the four main types of meter and how to use mixed and varied meter. Other topics include rhythm, cadence, breath, scansion, rhyme, sound devices, figurative language, imagery, and diction.
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You also have the opportunity to submit two of your assignments to Renee for feedback, and have email access to ask questions about the lessons as you complete them. Although lessons will arrive every other day, you are free to complete them at your own pace.
See the course description above for more information.

For more info: https://www.reneelatulippe.com/writing-courses/ (scroll down)

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming, Non-Rhyming, Fiction, or Nonfiction – Vivian is open to any type of picture book critique) from Vivian Kirkfield author of SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN (Pomegranate 2019), MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD (Little Bee, January 14, 2020), and more…

Sweet Dreams Cover Template Revised Screen Shot 2018-12-05 at 10.39.16 PM

Nonfiction Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Christine Evans, author of EVELYN THE ADVENTUROUS ENTOMOLOGIST (Innovation Press, September 2019)

Evelyn cover Christine Evans

Rhyming Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Carrie Finison, author of DOZENS OF DOUGHNUTS and DON’T HUG DOUG, forthcoming from Putnam in August 2020 and Spring 2021.

Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 8.35.37 AM   Carrie-Finison-200x300

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming please) from Janet Johnson author of HELP WANTED, MUST LOVE BOOKS (Capstone, March 2020) as well as the MG novel THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE OF THE PB & J SOCIETY (Capstone 2016)

must love books JanetJohnson.AuthorPic

Fiction OR Nonfiction Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming please) from Darshana Khiani, author of HOW TO WEAR A SARI forthcoming from HMH/Versify, Spring 2021

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Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming please) from Gabi Snyder, author of TWO DOGS ON A TRIKE, forthcoming from Abrams Appleseed, May 2020 and LISTEN, forthcoming from S&S/Wiseman, Spring 2021

twodogsonatrike_cov gabi-snyder-profile-pic

Query Letter Critique from Dee Romito, author of PIES FROM NOWHERE: HOW GEORGIA GILMORE SUSTAINED THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT (Little Bee Books, 2018) as well as several middle grade books.

pies from nowhere dee romito

Book Bundle #1 – Nonfiction
Signed Copies of WAITING FOR PUMPSIE (Charlesbridge, 2017) and THE BOO-BOOS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD (Charlesbridge, 2018) by Barry Wittenstein

and JURASSIC RAT (Spork, June 2019) by Eleanor Ann Peterson.

waiting-for-pumpsie boo boos barry-wittenstein-photo

EP 3  EP 2

Book Bundle #2  – Board Books
Personalized Signed Copies of LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA (both Amicus Ink, 2019) by Julie Abery

Little Tiger Cover Little Panda Cover julie abery

Book Bundle #3  – Holiday Books
Personalized signed copy of NOT SO SCARY, JERRY (Spork, 2017) by Shelley Kinder

Personalized signed copy of THE QUEEN AND THE FIRST CHRISTMAS TREE (Albert Whitman, 2018) by Nancy Churnin

The Night Baafore Christmas (WorthyKids 2019) by Dawn Young

Jerry  The Queen and the First Christmas Tree hi res for blog - jacket

shelley-kinder_orig         nancy churnin              Young headshot

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

Now then, my pretties! It’s past the witching hour in the dead of night – very appropriate for a Halloween story, don’t you think? – and the time has come for my sample entry (which I seriously almost did not get done!)  I seem to have developed a bad habit of having editorial deadlines that land in the middle of these contests, so I freely own up to the fact that I way exceeded the word count because I simply didn’t have time to make it shorter.  My apologies for totally cheating!  It’s not even like it’s any good as a result… but it does come to a sort of an ending😊 If nothing else, it should fill you with confidence in your own MUCH MUCH better efforts!!!

Runaway Imagination
(so many words I’m not even writing it down!😊)

Costumes, make-up, pounding feet
Rushing out to trick-or-treat.
Almost at the farmyard gate
Witch Lucinda hollers, “Wait!
In this Halloween commotion
I forgot my poison potion!”
Sets her plastic pumpkin down.
“Go ahead!  We’ll meet in town!”
Grabs her potion. Comes back quick.
But someone’s played an awful trick!
Her pumpkin pail, left on the ground,
Has disappeared and can’t be found!
Nevermind. A bag will do.
The witch zooms off to join her crew.
But halfway down the old farm road
She sees a sight that stops her cold.
In the shadows of the night
Glides a shape of ghostly white
Issuing an eerie moan
That makes Lucinda RUN for home!
Ghost flies past her fleeing faster
Surely this will be disaster!
Stops short at the barnyard fence.
Suddenly it all makes sense.
Head stuck in her pumpkin pail
Covered in a cobweb veil,
This is not a scary ghost!
Just a foolish baby goat!

Never say I’m not willing to embarrass myself for you! 😊😊😊 That is true love!😊

I can’t wait to read all of your entries!  I’m so looking forward to them!  I hope there will be a lot – the more the merrier!  And there are still nearly 4 days to write, so you have time if you haven’t written yet.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.  And your reading friends – parents, teachers, etc.  The more people who read and enjoy your stories, the better!!!

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

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

Happy Writing and Happy Halloween!!! 🙂  🎃

And don’t miss the 197!!! fabulous entries that are posted in the comments below!  (And HURRAY! I FINALLY figured out how to make links (THANK YOU AMY!) so you can click directly through to each story to read and comment for the talented authors!!!)
(Where authors’ first names were the same/same spelling I tried to add last names)
1. Witch’s Brew – Corine
2. A Webbed Witch – Kelly
3. Trick Or Treat – Krystal
6. Vampire Stains – Jocelyn
8. One Magical Day – Heather
9. The Lure Of Chocolate – Glenda
10. A Trick Or A Treat? – Glenda
11. Booty And A Beat – Chelsea
13. Little Brother – Lindsey
15. The Halloween Night Bookstore – Sherry Peace
16. The Halloween Heist – Deb Sullivan
17. Halloweensie Treats – Deborah Williams
18. Sweet Snookums – Linda Staszak
19. Scaredy-Cat – Natalie
20. My Surprise Punch – Natalie
21. Tricks For Treat – Megan Walvoord
22. She’ll Be Back – Linda Staszak
23. Tacky Trick – Jill
24. True Brew – Karen
25. Uncanny Cantations – Diana Gibson
26. Sylvester The Spider – MaryLee
27. A Silken Surprise – Tara
30. The Halloween Spell Test – Mary Vander Plas
31. Some Arachnid – Mary Vander Plas
32. One Halloween Night – Dianne Moritz
33. Web Magic – Marcia
35. Cobs In Cahoots – Linda Staszak
36. Halloween Love – Polly
37. Lil Witch, MBA – Annie
38. Sneaky Sister – Keatley
39. Boo Quiet To Spook? – Sandy
40. The Witch’s Dilemma – Susan Summers
41. Halloween Hijinks – Susan Summers
42. Lottie’s Spin On Halloween – Marty Lapointe-Malchik
43. Smelloween – Deb  Buschman
44. Monster School – Erin Rew
47. The Halloween Hop – Sue
48. The Web – Anne
49. What Witch Whips Up – Linda Hofke
50. The Magician – Susan Drew
53. Witchy’s Party – Judy
54. This Little Piggy – Kaylynn
55. A Handsome Prince – Kaylynn
57. My Own Man – Kaylynn
60. Potion Prank – Kristy
62. Ghost’s Pest Problem – Maryna
63. A Spider’s Cobweb Tale – Michelle Kennedy
64. The Little Cobweb With Big Dreams – Michelle Kennedy
65. Five Silly Witches – Mary Vander Plas
66. The Halloween Shortcut – Marty Bellis
67. A Potion Gone Wrong – Michelle Kennedy
68. Witch 101 – Lauren Neil
69. A Halloween Treat – Stacy
70. The Pretty Little Witch – Lucretia
71. Sally The Witch – Natalie
72. Greta Ghost’s Great Escape – Laura Bower
73. The Trick-Or-Treat Crusader – Laurie Carmody
74. Trick-urkey – Kelly 
75. Wendela The Witch – Valerie
76. Trick Or Treat? – Marcia
77. Brewed For You – Diana Gibson
78. No Thank You – Diana Gibson
80. Halloween Hornswoggled – Kristy
83. Three Cauldrons Full! (Play-On Baa Baa Black Sheep Nursery Rhyme) – Erin
84. It’s Party Time – Marty Bellis
85. Cobweb Soup – Kathy Shanahan
86. Goblin Hates Halloween – Ashley Fagan
87. Halloween Forever – Mary Rudzinski
88. Twinkle Twinkle Little Witch – Debbie Vidovich
89. A Pot Of Potion – Cheryl
90. A Famous Witch – Jill
91. A Halloween Visit – Paul
92. Cobwebs – Paul
95. Grandma’s Halloween Tricks – Debbie Wanninkhof
96. Cinderella’s Halloween – Stephanie
97. Bowl Of Sweets – Augusta
98. Boo Who? – Lolly
100. Spinny Has A Ball! – Donna
101. Most Beautiful? – Donna
102. Tricky Witch Test – Ingrid
104. Cobweb Stew – Kathy Rahoy
105. Cat And Ady – Megan Kunz
106. Witcheroo Switcheroo – Amy Brazda
107. I Don’t Want To Go – Amy Brazda
108. Hallo-wedgies – Linda Staszak
109. The Invisible Dog – Kathi
110. Trim The Tree – Amy Duchene
111. Tricky Nicky – Rebecca
112. Cobweb Commotion– Charlotte
113. Bitsy The Spider – Thelia
115. Perfectly You – Mona
117. Bella’s Barnyard Halloween – Deb Buschman
118. The Perfect Caw-stume – Amy Duchene
119. Halloween Spook – Shariffa
120. Night Of Hallows – Shariffa
121. Sneaky Spiders – Ranessa
122. Big Tea Love Stew – Laura Heath
123. Webster – Mary Miller
124. Whoo! Whoo! Will Help! – Deb Buschman
126. Who Should I Be? – Ashley Congdon
127. Frankie And Frogg Pick A Costume – Ashley Congdon
128. The Sad Jackie-O-Lantern – Mary Thorpe
129. What Had They Found? – Mary Thorpe
130. Agatha’s Not So Witchy Halloween – Kristen Reinsel
132. The Witches’ Rock – Mary Warth
133. Halloween Ubuntu – Elaine
134. Fake Ghost: A Sonnet – Jane
135. Trick Or Treat! – Cassy
138. Tricky Witchy – Mia
139. Grunt And Runt – Barbara
140. Snowflake The Scary – Becky
141. Only In America – Mindy
143. What Spider Saw – Terri
144. Sable Spins Halloween – Darcee
145. Ghost’s Birthday Party – Sherry Fellores
146. A Hairy Trick – Joel
147. Always Pack The Potion – Sharon
148. Witchy Wobbles – Stacey
150. The Frozen Witch – Amber
151. My Granny Is A Witch – Margaret
153. Halloween Story – Rafique
155. Witch’s Trick – Susan Halko
156. A Batty Halloween – Katie Schwartz
157. Black Cat’s Dream – Kathy M
159. Master Of Potions – Katie Williams
160. A New Addition To The Family! – Susan Valli
161. Halloweenie Dog – Kristina
163. Cast-Off Candies – Jennifer Broedel
164. Mighty Monty – Kelly Swemba
165. Spider’s First Halloween – Cynthia Argentine
166. Halloweenie Hide And Seek Ye – Michele Ziemke
169. Dark Dark Magic – Pat
170. Save-This-Night – Pat
171. Casper, Jasper, And Fang – Gabrielle
172. Jimmy The Meanie – Jen
173. Itchy Witchy Underwear – Katrina
174. Halloween Night – Susan Burd
175. Ghost Trail – Cynthia Stone-Medina
176. Fatty Batty – Vanessa
178. My Mummy’s A Witch – Tracy Curran
179. Goldiwitch – Dave
180. The Scaredy-Ghost – Kate
181. The HalloWeenteam – Dedra
183. Is It Really Halloween – Shariffa
184. Incantations – Elizabeth
187. Zippity Zora – Kristy
188. Halloween Party – Chandra
189. Halloween Howl – Chandra
191. Haunted House – Chandra
194. The Thud In The Cellar – Michelle
195. A MOMster’s Warning – Stephanie Shaw
196. An Un-afraid – Erin Fleming
197. Witch’s Halloween Party – Vanessa

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Nadine Poper!

Yee haw!  It’s Tuesday! And you know what that means!

Time to meet another brand new author and find out how she navigated the path to publication!

Today I’m happy to introduce Nadine Poper and her funny informational-fiction sea story, RANDALL AND RANDALL!

RANDALL AND RANDALL
written by Nadine Poper
illustrated by Polina Gortman
published by Blue Whale Press
release date Oct. 1, 2019
fiction picture book, ages 4-8

thumbnail_randall-randall-cover-ISBN9780981493879-highres

This very funny informational-fiction story about one of the sea’s naturally-existent odd couples illustrates how certain species depend upon their symbiotic relationship for survival.

 

SUSANNA: Welcome, Nadine! And thank you so much for coming to share your book journey with us today!  Where did the idea for this book come from?

NADINE: The idea for RANDALL AND RANDALL came while researching unusual animal relationships ( I actually Googled ‘unusual animals relationships’, I think). When I saw that a specific species of goby fish and snapping shrimp have this symbiotic relationship, a light bulb went on. I said to myself, “There is a story here!  I don’t know exactly what yet, but there is a story here.”

 

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

NADINE: Writing this story didn’t take too long.  The more I researched these two animals and their natural relationship, the idea for their friendship (and their slight moment of animosity) formed rather quickly. Their true behaviors in the ocean were so comical to me that the plot just rolled out.

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

NADINE: RANDALL AND RANDALL didn’t go through a ton of revisions. I was pretty satisfied from the beginning with the overall storyline that came out of my head. The Spanish language needed to be tweaked often because I knew I wasn’t going to get it correct right away. That was probably where I spent most of my revision time, on the Spanish.

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

NADINE: I had taken it to my critique groups at least twice. I wasn’t getting a lot of advice or feedback that was major. t just felt that it was ready to submit.

 

SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

NADINE: RANDALL AND RANDALL is not the manuscript I queried to the editor Alayne Christian at Blue Whale initially. I had queried her with my book that is coming out November 1 titled PORCUPETTE AND MOPPET. It just so happens that R&R is coming out first. I do not have an agent but at the time I queried Blue Whale, I had queries out to agents. I saw that Blue Whale was looking to grow their list and I felt that PORCUPETTE AND MOPPET was what they were looking for.

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

NADINE: I received an email from Alayne two days after submitting saying that she would like to talk to me about it and when would be a good time. We arranged a call for two days after that email. I was offered a contract for it. I didn’t accept immediately since the manuscript was out to agents, one of which expressed interest as well. As the industry expectation and out of courtesy, I had contacted that agent to let her know of Blue Whale’s offer. After about two weeks, I had made my decision to sign with Blue Whale. During that time, I had sent Alayne RANDALL AND RANDALL, which she also wanted to sign. I was just beyond thrilled at this point!

SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract?  (If you care to share J)

NADINE: Honestly, I don’t think I did anything! How boring, right?  I should have made one of your amazing chocolate recipes Susanna from Would You Read It Wednesdays and celebrated with that!

 

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

 

NADINE: I didn’t have any experience with contracts so I wasn’t completely sure of what was acceptable, but it turns out that yes, the contract was extremely fair and is pretty much right on target with what I hear about other authors’ deals. Since I submitted right to a publishing house and without an agent, my royalties are slightly higher.

 

SUSANNA: Tell us a little bit about the editorial process?

NADINE: There weren’t too many big changes to the manuscript. Alayne had suggested some areas needed clarification since the one Randall is singing and then he goes into spotting a predator. The way I had it written, it seemed as if Randall was still singing when he wasn’t. The ending is stronger too because of a suggestion Alayne had made.

 

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

NADINE: Aren’t the illustrations just so awesome??  From the beginning, Alayne had sent me a list of illustrators she had come across and whose worked she liked. I was encouraged to look at all their online portfolios and share my thoughts with her. We then agreed on Polina. I can’t quite pinpoint why I was drawn to Polina’s art, but that it just felt that my Randalls would be in good hands with her. I saw proofs and sketches along the way. I didn’t really have my own vision of what the characters or the setting was to look like. Polina’s attention to detail in the undersea world she created is impressively meticulous. That part I never imaged. As far as art notes, looking back, I think the copy I sent initially may have had one or two about the animals that the goby Randall was calling predators. I realize now that they weren’t necessary. So, no. I don’t think I had art notes.

R&R interior page

text copyright Nadine Poper 2019, illustration copyright Polina Gortman 2019

 

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

NADINE: Yes. Kirkus actually awarded RANDALL AND RANDALL a blue star. That was thrilling.

 

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

NADINE: The offer came April of 2018 and real copies will be available October 1, 2019. So 18 months from query to release.

 

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

NADINE: Blue Whale has created a book trailer and has sent the book out for reviews. Alayne is busy on social media too.

 

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

NADINE: Well, I started writing seriously in 2013 so about 5 years.

Porcupette and Moppet cover

coming soon from Nadine Poper

 

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers, Nadine!  We so appreciate everything you shared with us today and wish you the very best with RANDALL AND RANDALL and your forthcoming PORCUPETTE AND MOPPET!

 

nadine-poper

Author Nadine Poper

www.nadinepoper.weebly.com
PORCUPETTE AND MOPPET 2019 
RANDALL AND RANDALL 2019
“A clever introduction to a scientific concept with an accessible moral.”-Kirkus
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Readers, if you have questions for Nadine, please post them in the comments below and if she has time I’m sure she’ll respond!

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

Indiebound
Amazon

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, 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

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?

 

 

 

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Sarah Hoppe!

It’s time for Tuesday Debut, and today’s debut is very nearly a double!

We have our lovely and talented debut author, Sarah Hoppe, and her debut picture book is one of the earliest to be released by the brand new Blue Whale Press, owned and operated by Alayne Christian and Steve Kemp.  Be sure to check out their site and submissions page!

But first, let’s have a look at Sarah’s beautiful book!!!

Who Will? Will You?
Author: Sarah Hoppe
Illustrator: Milanka Reardon
Date of Publication: August 2019
Fiction, Picture Book
Age Range: 4-8

Who Will Will You Cover Reveal Official

Lottie’s discovery of an extraordinary pup on the beach leads her to search all over town for someone to help.  It takes someone special to care for this very special pup.

 

SUSANNA: Welcome, Sarah!  Where did the idea for this book come from?

SARAH: The idea came to me, in part, due to my son’s love of nonfiction.  He always has a stack of nonfiction by his bed, for pre-bedtime perusal.  He loves animals and had a seal book he shared with me one evening.  A baby seal is called a pup, and so are some other baby animals.  I started thinking about a case of pup confusion and the story fell into place in my head.

 

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

SARAH: Though this is a work of fiction, it has a lot of animal facts within the story. The story structure was there, but it took a while to research the animals I wanted to include.  I also wrote some back matter. It was important to me to make the back matter fun, engaging, and most importantly, true.  I got books from the library, I poured over the internet.  It was fun, but I would get burnt out and take breaks.  That process took a while, working on and off with other things as well.

 

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Sarah’s writing space – so pretty 😊

 

SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

SARAH: My story went through a few revisions.  Who Will? Will You? is different from my other manuscripts, in that it had a definite outline right from the beginning.  I’m usually a lot looser when I write, but with this story, I knew a had to happen, then b, then c. But, this is the one getting published, so maybe I should outline more!

 

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

SARAH: I knew it was ready when all the facts were there, the repetitive lines made sense, and I addressed the feedback from critique partners.

One of the many things critique partners are great for is bringing new mindsets.  Sometimes you don’t even see what’s wrong in your story.  My opening lines have changed, but the main character was initially racing while crab-walking.  I thought it was so cute, and showed off her spunky, daring nature. Several people who read it thought the main character was a crab.  I thought something like, Where on earth did you get that idea?  Then I re-read it with fresh eyes and realized I had written an ill-worded confusing paragraph.

 

SUSANNA: That is such a good point, Sarah.  We live with our stories in our heads – we’re the ones that invented everything – so it all makes sense to us!  It takes objective readers to show us where things might not be clear!  When and how did you submit?

SARAH: I am currently seeking an agent.  It is awesome, though, that are a lot of publishers who will accept unagented submissions.

I’ve sent many submissions directly to publishers through my writing journey.  I submitted Who Will? Will You? plus a query letter directly to the publishing house as well, through a writer’s group called 12×12. Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge is a fantastic group to be in.  I’d consider it a must for new writers.  So, some members of the group get a chance to submit through 12×12, and you bypass the slush pile.  That’s what happened to me with Blue Whale Press.

 

SUSANNA: I second a hearty two-thumbs-up recommendation for 12×12!  When did you get “the call”?  (Best moment ever! ☺)

SARAH: I had received a couple of rejections, and the manuscript was out on multiple submissions when I got an email from Blue Whale Press.  They wanted to set up a phone call.  Well, I didn’t want to be overly optimistic, but I thought they wouldn’t call if they weren’t interested.  They weren’t going to call to tell me how horrible it was, right? Right?! Well, maybe they wanted me to revise and resubmit.  Either way, I was a ball of nerves.

But Alayne Christian at Blue Whale was so nice!  Blue Whale Press is a small publisher, and I felt that was perfect for my first book.  I knew I wouldn’t get lost in the shuffle.  It has been a wonderful experience.

 

SUSANNA:  Alayne is amazing! I know you’ll have a great experience with her! How did you celebrate signing your contract?

SARAH: I called my mom!  Then I called my sister and my husband.  Then I danced around with my dogs.

 

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

SARAH: I don’t have an agent and didn’t know what to expect in a contract.  I became a member of The Author’s Guild and used their resources to study my contract before I signed. It was the right move for me and I’m excited about the results.

 

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

SARAH: There will always be revisions, but most of mine were pretty minor.  They asked for an extra (small) scene and made a couple of wording changes.  The back matter was shortened.

The most significant change was the title.  It’s completely different!  I submitted it with the title Little Lost Pup.  I honestly didn’t love it, but couldn’t think of a better replacement.  Well, they didn’t love it either and gave multiple suggestions.  I was strangely attached to something I didn’t really like.  I think it had been Little Lost Pup for so long, that it was hard to imagine it any other way.  Alayne was extremely patient with me.  She explained why she felt it needed a new title, and I agreed.  Then it became easier to let it go.

 

SUSANNA: I love the title you came up with, so, well done!  What was your experience of the illustration process like?

SARAH: One benefit of working with a small press is the amount of feedback I was able to give.  Alayne and I looked through artists’ portfolios together (via email) and picked our favorites.  I’ve seen sketches, rough copies and finished digital files.  I was asked my opinion on the look of the people and animals in the story. I’ve been included and valued every step of the way.

When I read a book, images just pop into my head. Yes, Sarah, that’s the magic of books, you know. Even if the author says a character looks one way, I have some image already there and it’s not leaving.

That’s how it was with Who Will? Will You?  For reasons unknown to me, in my head, the illustrations looked like Felicia Bond’s work in the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books.

I had looked at Milanka Reardon’s portfolio.  I knew her work was beautiful and I knew it was different from Felicia Bond’s style. Still, I wasn’t ready for the main character, Lottie, to come to life like she did.

Both Felicia and Milanka are talented illustrators, but Milanka was truly meant for this text. She created a world of pastel backgrounds and detailed expressions.  It was nothing like I thought but better than I imagined.

I didn’t submit the story with art notes, other than to specify the kind of pup at the beginning.  The reader won’t know what it is, but the illustrator needed to.

 

 

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

SARAH: About one year.

 

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

SARAH: Blue Whale has arranged interviews on blogs for me. They’ve created a beautiful book trailer.  Alayne featured it at an SCBWI event. And they have been submitting copies for reviews as promised.

 

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

SARAH: I’ve really tried to up my social media game.  I’ve sought and completed blog interviews.  I will do some local book tours next school year when the book is out.  I will reach out to the local writing group and the local library.

 

 

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

SARAH: About two years.

 

 

SUSANNA: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this series and paying it forward to other writers, Sarah!  It was generous of you to share your writing experience with us!  We all wish you the best of luck with this and future books!!!

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Author Sarah Hoppe

Twitter: @Sarahlhoppe

 

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

As yet, there are no links for purchase or pre-order, but please keep an eye out!  The book is due for publication in August!

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

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

Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat