Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week 4!

It’s June, my lovelies!

It came without playdates!
It came without school!
It came without Charmin, hand wipes, or the pool!
COVID-19 didn’t stop June – it came!
Somehow or other it came just the same! 😊🌸☀️

I invite you all virtually to my back porch for a little sunshine and lemonade 😊

IMG_9861

Ready to write?

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a 7 week writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun during this bizarre stay-at-home spring!

You get to write your own story, enjoy and be entertained by everyone else’s stories, and get yourself in the running for some awesome prizes (please see the end of the blog post for a list of all the prize goodies!)

To be eligible for the prize drawing you must enter all 7 weeks.

For a full description of the challenge or to add your Week #1 entry, please go HERE (Week #1)

To add your Week #2 entry, please go HERE (Week #2)

To add your Week #3 entry, please go HERE (Week #3)

 

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #4 for Week of June 1:

So far we’ve played with characters, setting, and emotion (or a combination, depending on where your random choosing landed you), with nursery rhymes and point of view, and with a picture prompt, fun names, and a plot point! 😊   This week we’re going to fracture fairy tales by playing with setting!

Choose a fairy tale from Column A, and a setting from Column B.  If you like, you may also include a random object from Column C but that is optional.  Write a 100 word story for kids where your version of the fairy tale takes place in your choice of setting (including your random object if you wish!)

 

Column A: Fairy Tale Column B: Setting Column C: Random Object
The Gingerbread Boy Wild West polka dot umbrella
Cinderella Pirate Ship green balloon
Hansel & Gretel Mount Everest bubblegum

 

  • Stories can rhyme or not – totally up to you!
  • You can go under or over 100 words if you want to – also totally up to you! – 100 is a guideline
  • If you’re deeply inspired by another Fairy Tale or Setting that is not on the list you can use that instead – as long as you rewrite a fairy tale in a different setting from the original – the purpose here is inspiration and to get you writing!
  • For simplicity’s sake (and to aid skimming readers who might be interested in a particular thing) please say which fairy tale and which setting you’re using at the top of your entry along with your title and word count.

 

Here is my sample (which I wrote in extreme haste because I’m still working on revisions – deadlines, deadlines!😊) (and which you should not feel compelled to read unless you want to boost your confidence because it is both not particularly good and. overly long!):

The (Not) Gingerbread Cowboy
(Gingerbread Boy – Wild West)
(way too many words 😊 – I didn’t have time to make it shorter!)

Once upon a time, Farmer Bubba and his lovely bride Thunder Lily had the most beautiful ranch in the Wild West.
The grass was emerald green.
The rivers were pure as morning dew.
The cattle were sleek and fat and gave such rich, creamy milk that all the ice cream makers in the world fought over who would get it.
But even with all this beauty and excellent ice cream, Bubba and Thunder Lily were sad.  For though they were surrounded every spring by velvet-eyed calves and stilt-legged foals, fluffy chicks, pink piglets, and wooly lambs, they never had a child of their own.  Thunder Lily was not one to sit around moping, however.  “If I can’t have a child, I’ll make one,” she told her darling Bubba.
She got cornmeal and buttermilk, eggs, salt, and bacon drippings, and quick as you like she whipped up a sturdy little Cornpone Cowboy.
“We’ll call him Charlemagne,” she said as she plucked the skillet lovingly from the barbecue pit.
“You’ll have to catch me first,” snorted the Cornpone Cowboy, and off he rode as fast as his cowpony could carry him.
He passed the pigpen and the piglets grunted, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
“Don’t call me that!” said the Cornpone Cowboy.  Besides, he knew better.
He doffed his cowboy hat and sang,
“Git along little piggies, git along.
If I stop then your tummies will be my new home!
I was born to ride the open range,
so forgive me if I’m on my way!”
And off he galloped.
He passed the sheepfold and the lambs baaed, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
“Don’t call me that!” said the Cornpone Cowboy. Besides, he knew better.
He doffed his cowboy hat and sang,
“Git along little lambkins, git along.
If I stop then your tummies will be my new home!
I was born to ride the open range,
so forgive me if I’m on my way!”
And off he galloped.
He passed the cow barn and the calves mooed, “Oh, Charlemagne! Come be our friend!”
“Why does everyone insist on calling me that?” said the Cornpone Cowboy.  And you can guess how things went from there.
And so it was at the hen house… the horse pasture… and the goat shed.
Along about sundown a voice called, “Hey, Cowboy! Won’t you come set a spell by the campfire?”
“Don’t mind if I do,” said the Cornpone Cowboy, tuckered out from galloping. He hopped down from his pony, spurs a-janglin’, and came face to face with. . .
. . . COYOTE!
Quick as a wink he twirled his lariat. . . .
. . . hog-tied Coyote. . .
. . . and lit off for home!
When Bubba and Thunder Lily heard his story, Thunder Lily said, “That’s our boy! Lightning fast!”
Which is how he came to be called Lightning Charlie instead of Charlemagne (because really, who could live with that?) and they all lived happily ever after in a home that wasn’t anyone’s tummy!

 

Now come join the fun! Get some writing done! Encourage your kids (or students) to give it a try! Or just have a good time together reading what other folks have written!

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

(And remember, for full details on the 7 week challenge you can check HERE)

 

Check out the Week #4 stories!

Untitled – Sue Lancaster (Cinderella, Mount Everest)

Cinder of the Seven Seas – Candice Marley Conner (Cinderella, Mount Everest)

Gingerbread What? – Linda Schueler (Hansel & Gretel, pirate ship, bubblegum)

Untitled – Genevieve Petrillo (Gingerbread Boy, pirate ship, polka dot umbrella)

Cinder Sherpani, Base Camp Scullery Maid – Jess Murray (Cinderella, Mount Everest, polka dot umbrella)

Cinderella Sails Away – Barbara Renner (Cinderella, pirate ship)

Hansel and Gretel Duel It Out – Jamie Bechtelheimer (Hansel and Gretel, wild west)

The Fairy Godfather Does Not Know Best – Colleen Murphy (Cinderella, pirate ship)

Shiver Me Timbers, A Gingerbread Boy! – Sara Ackerman (Gingerbread boy, pirate ship)

Caliope Cowgirl And The Three Leopards – Cindy Boyll (Goldilocks, wild west)

Pirate Anne – Mary Van Beuren (Cinderella, pirate ship, bubblegum)

The Big Bad Nice Wolf – Marley Conner age 9 (Three Little Pigs, Candy Land)

A Pirate-y Happily Ever After – Brenda Whitehead (Cinderella, pirate ship)

The Peak of Passion? – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (Cinderella, Mount Everest)

Walk The Plank! – Brittany Pomales (Hansel & Gretel, pirate ship)

Captain Blackbeard’s Just Desserts – Kristy Nuttall (Gingerbread Boy, pirate ship)

Traveling With Gretel – Leslie Denkers (Hansel & Gretel, Mount Everest)

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who completed the challenge will be drawn randomly and matched with prizes drawn randomly until we run out! 😊

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 gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazone, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, suggesting them for school visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

For Spacious Skies by Nancy Churnin, award-winning author of so many fabulous books I don’t have space to list them all! Visit her website or Amazon Page!

For Spacious Skies

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Kirstine Erekson Call, author of THE RAINDROP WHO COULDN’T FALL (Character Publishing 2013) and the forthcoming MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD (Little Bee Books, September 2020), COW SAYS MEOW (HMH March 2021), and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown Spring 2021)

Kirsti Call Mootilda

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), HAYFEST: A Holiday Quest (ABCs Press 2010), and LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018)

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lindsay Hanson Metcalf, author of BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST (September 2020), FARMERS UNITE!: PLANTING A PROTEST FOR FAIR PRICES (Calkins Creek November 2020), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Lindsay+H.+Metcalf+(CREDIT+ANNA+JACKSON)+copy Beatric Potter

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non rhyming) from Kaye Baillie, author of BOO LOVES BOOKS (New Frontier Publishing October 2020), and MESSAGE IN A SOCK (Midnight Sun Publishing 2018)

kaye-baillie-author-headshot Boo Loves Books message-in-a-sock-cover-1_2

Your choice of EITHER a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Virtual Visit with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican 2015), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 1.51.59 PM King Cake baby Keila No Voice Too Small

 

15 Minute Video Chat – ask your questions about writing, research, submissions – whatever’s on your mind! –  with Christy Mihaly, author of DIET FOR A CHANGING PLANET: Food for Thought(Twenty-first Century Books/Lerner 2018), HEY, HEY, HAY!
A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) , and FREE FOR YOU AND ME: What Our First Amendment Means (Albert Whitman March 2020)

Chris closeup Free For You And Me HEY, HEY, HAY! Cover

Quick Impressions on your Picture Book Manuscript from Rosie Pova, author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork 2017), the forthcoming SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing March 2021) and others.

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

RONAN THE LIBRARIAN, (Roaring Brook Press April 2020) brand new fromfabulous author Tara Luebbe

Ronan

Your Choice of EITHER A Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction, non-rhyming) or an Ask Anything 15 Minute Video or Phone Chat with Tara Luebbe, author of  SHARK NATE-O,(Little Bee Books 2018), I AM FAMOUS ( Albert Whitman 2018), I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019), OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019), and RONAN THE LIBRARIAN (Roaring Brook Press 2020) (see above)

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

Sherry Howard, author of Rock And Roll Woods (Spork 2018) and a series of Nonfiction Middle Grade titles for Escape Publishing (2019)

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

is offering 6 of her nonfiction middle grade titles which will go to 6 lucky winners!

Ann Whitford Paul, author of Writing Picture Books (being donated by Becky Scharnhorst below), the book we ALL use as our picture book bible 😊, and countless wonderful picture books, is offering signed copies of her IF ANIMALS… Series (Farrar Straus Giroux):

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

If Animals Went To School (2019)         If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008)

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

If Animals Said I Love You (2017)        If Animals Celebrated Christmas (2018)

If you would like to benefit from her picture book wisdom, please sign up for her newsletter HERE!

A hand lettered quote of someone’s choice from a picture book,  or a quote about reading or writing that could be framed as a gift for a child’s bedroom, a writer you know and love, or an inspiration for writing in your own work space (why shouldn’t you give yourself a present?!) offered by Kristy Roser Nuttall! (Samples below – you can choose your own quote!)

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

Making Picture Book Magic – Self Study Class any month (x3)

MPBM

Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Writing Picture Books Revised and Expanded Edition: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by [Ann Whitford Paul]

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Big Magic

The Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (only available for Kindle) (x2)

The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by [Linda Ashman]

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

Magnetic Poetry - Little Box of Happiness Kit - Words for Refrigerator - Write Poems and Letters on The Fridge - Made in The USA

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

5358C071-383B-4EF4-ADFD-353F737E23E5_1_201_a

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week #3!

I know.  It’s Monday.  When the last thing we need is confusion!

Here’s the situation:

It was brought to my attention that “Eenie Meenie Miney Mini” was a poor choice of name for my writing challenge.

I chose it innocently, thinking of the rhyme as a childhood game of random choice that was fun to say.  Nothing more.  I thought it a good representation for the challenge because it’s something kids (and kid lit writers) are familiar with and it represents making random choices, as we do with the prompt selection.

But someone more educated than I pointed out that it was based on a rhyme that was racist and potentially terribly offensive to anyone who knew its origin.

Now that I know, I cannot in good conscience keep the original name in such a public way.  I would never want to offend anyone.  So I have changed the name to the less-fun-to-say-but-more-appropriate Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge.  I changed the graphic and tried to go back and correct all the places I used the original term.  If I missed any I apologize and hope no one will be offended.

But it is still the same writing game and you are still in the right place!

Onward then, to the newly named but still the same

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a 7 week writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun during this bizarre stay-at-home spring!

You get to write your own story, enjoy and be entertained by everyone else’s stories, and get yourself in the running for some awesome prizes (please see the end of the blog post for a list of all the prize goodies!)

To be eligible for the prize drawing you must enter all 7 weeks.

For a full description of the challenge or to add your Week #1 entry, please go HERE (Week #1)

To add your Week #2 entry, please go HERE (Week #2)

 

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #3 for Week of May 25:

So far we’ve played with characters, setting, and emotion (or a combination, depending on where your random choosing landed you), and with nursery rhymes and point of view. 😊   This week we’re going to play with a picture prompt, fun names, and a plot point!

Here’s the picture, drawn by the incredibly talented Julie Rowan-Zoch (illustrator of LOUIS by Tom Lichtenheld forthcoming from HMH October 6, 2020!) and used with her permission for your writing fun 😊 (Thank you, Julie!!! 💕)

2953C608-C019-4000-88CB-EE72BFAC62D8_1_201_a

illustration copyright Julie Rowan-Zoch 2020 used by permission

 

These will be the characters in your story!

Now, choose character names from the following list and one of the plot points!

Character Name Plot Point
Mugsy Make a friend
Tick Tock Share a secret
Delphine Get in an argument
Henry Cook up a plan
Marigold Get in trouble
Pip
Zico

Write a 100 word story for kids about the pictured characters, using two of the name choices and one of the plot scenarios and post it in the comment section below!

  • Stories can rhyme or not – totally up to you!
  • You can go under or over 100 words if you want to – also totally up to you! – 100 is a guideline
  • If you’re deeply inspired by character names that are not on the list you can use them instead – the purpose here is inspiration and to get you writing, not specific names!
  • For simplicity’s sake (and to aid skimming readers who might be interested in a particular thing) please say which plot point you’re using at the top of your entry along with your name, word count, and title if you have one.

 

I’m going to have to skip my sample today – I have a deadline this week and I used up my blog post writing time on tasks I hadn’t planned for – but if I have time and can add a sample later in the week I will! 😊 Meanwhile, I am SO looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with!  There have been so many amazingly creative, clever, fun, and entertaining stories written so far!!!

Now come join the fun! Get some writing done! Encourage your kids (or students) to give it a try! Or just have a good time together reading what other folks have written!

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

(And remember, for full details on the 7 week challenge you can check HERE)

 

Check out the Week #3 stories!

Mugsy Shares A Secret – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf  (share a secret)

Time For A New Bird Feeder – Jess Murray (cook up a plan)

Who’s The Favorite – Sue Lancaster (get in an argument)

Ball Trouble – Genevieve Petrillo (cook up a plan)

Henry And The Wind-Up Chick – Rose Cappelli (share a secret)

Name Game – Brenda Whitehead (share a secret/make a friend)

Tick Tock Pip – Leslie Denkers (get in trouble/cook up a plan)

Pip’s Plan – Barbara Renner (cook up a plan)

Duck Hunt – Colleen Murphy

Henry And Marigold – Linda Staszak (make a friend)

Marigold And Mugsy’s Dance Battle – Jamie Bechtelheimer (get in an argument, make a friend)

Henry And Marigold Get In An Argument – Sara Ackerman (get in an argument)

Hank, Pip And The Garden – Susan Schipper (get in trouble)

Mugsy And Marigold’s Morning – Deb Sullivan (cook up a plan)

Delphine’s Secret – Linda Schueler (share a secret)

Pip’s Perfect Partner – Jill Lambert (cook up a plan)

Miss Marigold Fluffington – Susan Inez (hatches a plan)

A Day At The Dog Park – Matthew Lasley

Pip And Dip – Sarah Meade (get in trouble)

Tik Tok Of Zico – Candice Marley Conner (get in trouble)

Henry And Pip Make Friends – Marley Conner age 9! (make a friend)

Tick Tock Makes A Friend – Mary Van Beuren (make a friend)

Mugsy And Marigold – Cindy. S. Boyll (share a secret)

A Pal To Play With – Ashley Congdon (make a friend)

Dot And Edna: Chick Trouble – Deb Buschman (get in trouble)

Storm Secrets (Zack & Pip Share A Secret) – Di Litwer (share a secret)

Tick Tock’s Luck – Michelle S. Kennedy (get in trouble)

Different And Yet Alike – Eleanor Ann Peterson (get in an argument)

Marigold And Mugsy Hatch A Plan – Patricia Nozell (make a plan)

Henry And Marigold – Beverly Baird (make a friend)

Pip And Zico Share A Secret – Corine Timmer (share a secret)

Henry And Marigold Cook Up A Plan – Susan Krevat (cook up a plan)

Mugsy The Chick’s Tricky Trick – Rebecca Gardyn Levington (cook up a plan)

Pip And Zico Cook A Plan – Ketan, Aiyka & Ravi Ram (cook up a plan)

Pip And Henry – Mia Geiger (plot a secret)

Pip And Zico Share A Secret – Kristy Nuttall (share a secret)

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who completed the challenge will be drawn randomly and matched with prizes drawn randomly until we run out! 😊

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 gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazone, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, suggesting them for school visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

For Spacious Skies by Nancy Churnin, award-winning author of so many fabulous books I don’t have space to list them all! Visit her website or Amazon Page!

For Spacious Skies

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Kirstine Erekson Call, author of THE RAINDROP WHO COULDN’T FALL (Character Publishing 2013) and the forthcoming MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD (Little Bee Books, September 2020), COW SAYS MEOW (HMH March 2021), and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown Spring 2021)

Kirsti Call Mootilda

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), HAYFEST: A Holiday Quest (ABCs Press 2010), and LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018)

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lindsay Hanson Metcalf, author of BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST (September 2020), FARMERS UNITE!: PLANTING A PROTEST FOR FAIR PRICES (Calkins Creek November 2020), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Lindsay+H.+Metcalf+(CREDIT+ANNA+JACKSON)+copy Beatric Potter

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non rhyming) from Kaye Baillie, author of BOO LOVES BOOKS (New Frontier Publishing October 2020), and MESSAGE IN A SOCK (Midnight Sun Publishing 2018)

kaye-baillie-author-headshot Boo Loves Books message-in-a-sock-cover-1_2

Your choice of EITHER a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Virtual Visit with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican 2015), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 1.51.59 PM King Cake baby Keila No Voice Too Small

 

15 Minute Video Chat – ask your questions about writing, research, submissions – whatever’s on your mind! –  with Christy Mihaly, author of DIET FOR A CHANGING PLANET: Food for Thought(Twenty-first Century Books/Lerner 2018), HEY, HEY, HAY!
A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) , and FREE FOR YOU AND ME: What Our First Amendment Means (Albert Whitman March 2020)

Chris closeup Free For You And Me HEY, HEY, HAY! Cover

Quick Impressions on your Picture Book Manuscript from Rosie Pova, author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork 2017), the forthcoming SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing March 2021) and others.

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

RONAN THE LIBRARIAN, (Roaring Brook Press April 2020) brand new fromfabulous author Tara Luebbe

Ronan

Your Choice of EITHER A Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction, non-rhyming) or an Ask Anything 15 Minute Video or Phone Chat with Tara Luebbe, author of  SHARK NATE-O,(Little Bee Books 2018), I AM FAMOUS ( Albert Whitman 2018), I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019), OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019), and RONAN THE LIBRARIAN (Roaring Brook Press 2020) (see above)

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

Sherry Howard, author of Rock And Roll Woods (Spork 2018) and a series of Nonfiction Middle Grade titles for Escape Publishing (2019)

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

is offering 6 of her nonfiction middle grade titles which will go to 6 lucky winners!

Ann Whitford Paul, author of Writing Picture Books (being donated by Becky Scharnhorst below), the book we ALL use as our picture book bible 😊, and countless wonderful picture books, is offering signed copies of her IF ANIMALS… Series (Farrar Straus Giroux):

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

If Animals Went To School (2019)         If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008)

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

If Animals Said I Love You (2017)        If Animals Celebrated Christmas (2018)

If you would like to benefit from her picture book wisdom, please sign up for her newsletter HERE!

A hand lettered quote of someone’s choice from a picture book,  or a quote about reading or writing that could be framed as a gift for a child’s bedroom, a writer you know and love, or an inspiration for writing in your own work space (why shouldn’t you give yourself a present?!) offered by Kristy Roser Nuttall! (Samples below – you can choose your own quote!)

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

Making Picture Book Magic – Self Study Class any month (x3)

MPBM

Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Writing Picture Books Revised and Expanded Edition: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by [Ann Whitford Paul]

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Big Magic

The Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (only available for Kindle) (x2)

The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by [Linda Ashman]

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

Magnetic Poetry - Little Box of Happiness Kit - Words for Refrigerator - Write Poems and Letters on The Fridge - Made in The USA

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

5358C071-383B-4EF4-ADFD-353F737E23E5_1_201_a

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week #2!

I hope everyone ate their Wheaties this morning because it’s time for the Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge Week #2!!!

 

Mix 'n' Match Mini Writing Challenge

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun during this bizarre stay-at-home spring!

You get to write your own story, enjoy and be entertained by everyone else’s stories, and get yourself in the running for some awesome prizes (please see the end of the blog post for a list of all the prize goodies!)

For a full description of the challenge or to enter your Week #1 entry, please go HERE

 

Let’s jump into Week #2!

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #2 for Week of May 18:

Last week we played with characters, setting, and emotion, or a combination, depending on where your eenie meenie miney moe-ing landed you. 😊   This week we’re going to play with Point of View!

Eenie meenie miney moe, choose a Nursery Rhyme below. . . and rewrite its story (for kids) in 100 words from the point of view of someone or something else mentioned in (or conceivably associated with) the rhyme.  For example, if you choose Humpty Dumpty from the list, you can write the story of that famous tumbling egg incident from the point of view of the wall, or one of the king’s horses, or one of the king’s men, or a tree hanging over the wall watching the drama unfold, or the grass underneath that got landed on, or the chicken that laid Humpty Dumpty to begin with, or anything else you dream up! Post your story in the comment section below to get your Week #2 entry in!

  • Stories can rhyme or not – totally up to you!
  • You can go under or over 100 words if you want to – also totally up to you! – 100 is a guideline
  • If you’re deeply inspired by another Nursery Rhyme that is not on the list below you can use that instead – as long as you rewrite a nursery rhyme from a different point of view from the original – the purpose here is inspiration and to get you writing!
  • For simplicity’s sake (and to aid skimming readers who might be interested in a particular thing) please say which rhyme and what point of view you’re using at the top of your entry along with your word count.

Choose a rhyme: (rhymes included for your convenience in remembering the words 😊)

Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Hickory Dickory Dock
Hickory dickory dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck one
The mouse ran down
Hickory dickory dock.

Hickory dickory dock
The mouse ran up the clock
The clock struck two
The mouse went “boo!”
Hickory dickory dock.

Three… the mouse went weeee
Four…The mouse went “no more!”

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky, twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.

Jack And Jill
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got, and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper,
He went to bed to mend his head,
With vinegar and brown paper

There Was A Crooked Man
There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
and they all lived together in a little crooked house.

 

Here’s a little sample 😊

 

Week #2: Humpty Dumpty, POV of lawn beneath the wall (199 words)

Rock Til You Drop

Okay, so technically? It might be that Humpty Dumpty didn’t exactly fall off that wall.

It was the night of the Rock ‘Til You Drop Dance Contest, and that egg head was taunting me.

“I’m going to win!” he boasted. “You can’t rock and you can’t roll!”

He showed off his moves, rocking and rolling on his round behind.

I was green with envy.  But I wouldn’t let him mow me down.

“I may be lawn,” I shouted back, “but I can sway to the beat better than you!”

I showed off my moves. Swish! Swoosh!

Then I laid it down.  “Besides, I’m taller than you.  No one will even see you!”

I watched him boil.  He knew I was right.

“Unless. . .” I said slyly, “you get up on that wall. . .”

Humpty enlisted one of the king’s horses to help him up.  He teetered on top.  “Just watch me shake my booty!” he gloated.

The beat boomed.

“Shake-shake-shake!” I dared him.

Humpty shook.

But the wall was narrow.

Too narrow for that big-bottomed-boy!

Rock…

…roll…

BLAM!

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!

I won!

I had egg on my face, but it was worth it!

 

 

So come join the fun! Get some writing done! Encourage your kids (or students) to give it a try! Or just have a good time together reading what other folks have written!

Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

(And remember, for full details on the 7 week challenge you can check HERE)

 

Check out the Week #2 stories!

 

The Water’s Tale – Jess Murray (Jack & Jill, water’s POV)

The Moon Above The World So High – Candice Marley Conner (Twinkle Twinkle, moon’s POV)

I Am Not Afraid – Genevieve Petrillo (Itsy Bitsy Spider, Little Miss Muffet’s POV)

Jack And Jill Continued… – Colleen Owen Murphy (Jack & Jill, Jill’s POV)

No Running In My House! – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (Hickory Dickory, clock’s POV)

Twinkle Twinkle Neon Light – Corine Timmer (Twinkle Twinkle, star POV)

Little Miss Muffet – Susan Inez (Little Miss Muffet)

Children, Children – Rose Cappelli (Twinkle Twinkle, star POV)

Star’s Reply – Sue Lancaster (Twinkle Twinkle, star POV)

Not Again! – Dot Anson (Hey Diddle Diddle, moon’s POV)

The Clock Snaps – Sara Ackerman (Hickory Dickory, clock’s POV)

Cutie Lamb – Jamie Bechtelheimer (Mary Had A Little Lamb, lamb’s POV)

A Little Crooked Smile – Brittany Pomales (There Was A Crooked Man, house’s POV)

Twinkle Twinkle, Little Bear – Brenda Whitehead (Twinkle Twinkle, star POV)

Who’s To Blame? – Sue Lancaster (Jack & Jill, multiple POVs)

Teacher Had A Long School Day – Amy Flynn (Mary Had A Little Lamb, teacher’s POV)

The Clock – Linda Schueler (Hickory Dickory, clock’s POV)

There Was A Crooked Man – Barbara Renner (There Was A Crooked Man, cat’s POV)

Baa Baa Black Sheep – Shariffa Keshavjee (Baa Baa Black Sheep)

The Wall And The Fall – Michelle S. Kennedy (Humpty Dumpty, wall’s POV)

Look! A Crook! – Jill Lambert (There Was A Crooked Man, stile’s POV)

Hickory Dickory Dock – Susan Schipper (Hickory Dickory, mouse during quarantine POV)

Jack Sprat – Leslie Denkers (Jack Sprat, dog’s POV)

Humpty Dumpty – Anne Cavanaugh Sawan (Humpty Dumpty, mother’s POV)

Lenny The Lamb – Ashley Congdon (Mary Had A Little Lamb, lamb’s POV)

Hickory Dickory Dock – Kristy Nuttall (Hickory Dickory, clock’s POV)

Jack Is Still At It – Boyll(Jack Be Nimble, narrator’s POV)

Vinegar’s View – Deb Sullivan (Jack And Jill, vinegar’s POV)

Pail’s Tale – Patricia Nozell (Jack And Jill, pail’s POV)

Jack And Jill (And Jen) Go Up The Hill Again – Sarah Meade (Jack And Jill, big sister’s POV)

That Icky Spider – Linda Staszak (Itsy Bitsy Spider, house’s POV)

Do You See Me – Michelle S. Kennedy (Twinkle Twinkle, star’s POV)

Trying Something New – Dawn Young (Itsy Bitsy Spider)

Raindrops –  Shariffa Keshavjee (Raindrops)

The Unbreakable – Jarmila (Humpty Dumpty, king’s horse POV)

Old King Cole: A Limerick – Marty (Old King Cole, fiddler’s POV)

Yes, You Can – Rebecca Gardyn Levington (Twinkle Twinkle, star’s POV)

Hickory Dickory Dock – Matthew Lasley (Hickory Dickory, cat’s POV)

Operation: Find Little Bo Peep – Di Litwer (Little Bo Peep, sheep detective’s POV)

Baa Baa Black Sheep – Susan Krevat (Baa Baa Black Sheep, little boy down the lane’s POV)

Hickory Dickory Dock – Everard Anson (Hickory Dickory, clock’s POV)

There Was A Crooked Man – Liz Kehrli (There Was A Crooked Man, crow’s POV)

Hey Diddle Diddle – Beverly Baird (Hey Diddle Diddle, moon’s POV)

Our Friend Humpty – Mia Geiger (Humpty Dumpty)

Miss Mary Mack – Mary Van Beuren (Miss Mary Mack, elephant’s POV)

Spout Off – Deb Buschman (Itsy Bitsy Spider, water spout’s POV)

Twinkle Twinkle Little Bear – Lori Himmel (Twinkle Twinkle, Little Bear (ursa minor)’s POV)

Jack & Jill – Ketan Ram (Jack & Jill, hill’s POV)

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – Ketan Ram (Twinkle Twinkle, moon’s POV)

Cock-a-doodle Doo, My Dame Has Lost Her Shoe – Ketan & Ravi Ram (Cock-a-doodle Doo, fiddle bow’s POV)

Jack And Jill – Kay DiVerde (Jack & Jill, Jill’s POV)

 

PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who completed the challenge will be drawn randomly and matched with prizes drawn randomly until we run out! 😊

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 gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazone, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, suggesting them for school visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

For Spacious Skies by Nancy Churnin, award-winning author of so many fabulous books I don’t have space to list them all! Visit her website or Amazon Page!

For Spacious Skies

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Kirstine Erekson Call, author of THE RAINDROP WHO COULDN’T FALL (Character Publishing 2013) and the forthcoming MOOTILDA’S BAD MOOD (Little Bee Books, September 2020), COW SAYS MEOW (HMH March 2021), and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown Spring 2021)

Kirsti Call Mootilda

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), HAYFEST: A Holiday Quest (ABCs Press 2010), and LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018)

Ellen Leventhal Lola Can't Leap

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lindsay Hanson Metcalf, author of BEATRIX POTTER, SCIENTIST (September 2020), FARMERS UNITE!: PLANTING A PROTEST FOR FAIR PRICES (Calkins Creek November 2020), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Lindsay+H.+Metcalf+(CREDIT+ANNA+JACKSON)+copy Beatric Potter

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non rhyming) from Kaye Baillie, author of BOO LOVES BOOKS (New Frontier Publishing October 2020), and MESSAGE IN A SOCK (Midnight Sun Publishing 2018)

kaye-baillie-author-headshot Boo Loves Books message-in-a-sock-cover-1_2

Your choice of EITHER a Picture Book Manuscript Critique or a Virtual Visit with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican 2015), and NO VOICE TOO SMALL: FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY (Charlesbridge September 2020)

Screen Shot 2020-05-11 at 1.51.59 PM King Cake baby Keila No Voice Too Small

 

15 Minute Video Chat – ask your questions about writing, research, submissions – whatever’s on your mind! –  with Christy Mihaly, author of DIET FOR A CHANGING PLANET: Food for Thought(Twenty-first Century Books/Lerner 2018), HEY, HEY, HAY!
A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) , and FREE FOR YOU AND ME: What Our First Amendment Means (Albert Whitman March 2020)

Chris closeup Free For You And Me HEY, HEY, HAY! Cover

Quick Impressions on your Picture Book Manuscript from Rosie Pova, author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork 2017), the forthcoming SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing March 2021) and others.

Rosie Pova Sunday Rain

RONAN THE LIBRARIAN, (Roaring Brook Press April 2020) brand new fromfabulous author Tara Luebbe

Ronan

Your Choice of EITHER A Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction, non-rhyming) or an Ask Anything 15 Minute Video or Phone Chat with Tara Luebbe, author of  SHARK NATE-O,(Little Bee Books 2018), I AM FAMOUS ( Albert Whitman 2018), I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019), OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019), and RONAN THE LIBRARIAN (Roaring Brook Press 2020) (see above)

Tara Luebbe Shark Nate-O

Sherry Howard, author of Rock And Roll Woods (Spork 2018) and a series of Nonfiction Middle Grade titles for Escape Publishing (2019)

Sherry Howard (4) Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Sherry Howard MG NF Books

is offering 6 of her nonfiction middle grade titles which will go to 6 lucky winners!

Ann Whitford Paul, author of Writing Picture Books (being donated by Becky Scharnhorst below), the book we ALL use as our picture book bible 😊, and countless wonderful picture books, is offering signed copies of her IF ANIMALS… Series (Farrar Straus Giroux):

Ann Whitford Paul

If Animals Went To School                     If Animals Kissed Good Night

If Animals Went To School (2019)         If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008)

If Animals Said I Love You                     If Animals Celebrated Christmas

If Animals Said I Love You (2017)        If Animals Celebrated Christmas (2018)

If you would like to benefit from her picture book wisdom, please sign up for her newsletter HERE!

A hand lettered quote of someone’s choice from a picture book,  or a quote about reading or writing that could be framed as a gift for a child’s bedroom, a writer you know and love, or an inspiration for writing in your own work space (why shouldn’t you give yourself a present?!) offered by Kristy Roser Nuttall! (Samples below – you can choose your own quote!)

Kristy Nuttall 20200512_092224 20200512_091604

Making Picture Book Magic – Self Study Class any month (x3)

MPBM

Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul, donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Writing Picture Books Revised and Expanded Edition: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication by [Ann Whitford Paul]

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert donated by Becky Scharnhorst whose debut picture book P.S. Camp Wildwood Stinks will be released in Summer 2021 from Philomel!

Big Magic

The Nuts & Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books by Linda Ashman (only available for Kindle) (x2)

The Nuts and Bolts Guide to Writing Picture Books by [Linda Ashman]

Magnetic Poetry – Little Box of Happiness

Magnetic Poetry - Little Box of Happiness Kit - Words for Refrigerator - Write Poems and Letters on The Fridge - Made in The USA

 

The Story Book Knight by Helen Docherty

storybook knight

This Book Is Gray by Lindsay Ward

This Book Is Gray

Story Cubes

Screen Shot 2020-05-10 at 11.23.08 PM

Writing Journal (x10)

5358C071-383B-4EF4-ADFD-353F737E23E5_1_201_a

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

The 2019 Holiday Contest WINNERS!!!

 

 

          🎄             ⭐️             ✡️             ❄️             🕎             ☃️             🎄

 

Well, hello there, my little cupcakes!

It’s Thursday, so you know what that means!

For starters, it means you’re a little confused!

This is the second time this week you’ve come to visit on a day I don’t post!

But that is delightful in every way because I am ALWAYS glad to see you!

And as it turns out, I kind of thought you might wander in, so I made you something.

Yes! I really did!

All by myself!

It IS the holiday baking season after all . . .

. . . which got me to thinking, wouldn’t we all like to know what kind of holiday cookie we are?

I mean, I know wondering about that keeps me up at night. . . !😊

The rest of the world may be busy figuring out their elf names or their reindeer names, but that is so last year.

You are so special that you are the ONLY people IN THE WOLRD who get to discover what kind of cookie you are!  Check it out!

What Kind Of Holiday Cookie Are You_

And now you know how I spend my time – thinking up cookie flavors and types, randomizing the lists, and employing canva to make festive charts.  No wonder I haven’t vacuumed😊

Allow me to introduce myself:  Chocolate Chip Crinkle Cookie!!!  (which I think describes me to a T since I love chocolate and I am quite crinkly-looking now that I’m more than half a century old!😊)

So now that you all know what kind of cookie you are (please feel free to share in the comments!) you can all go off happily to your holiday whirlwind of shopping and wrapping and cooking and baking and traveling or tidying depending whether your visiting or hosting and etc, etc, etc!

Bon voyage!

See you next year!

                                                 ❄️

                                                                                                                                    ❄️

                       ❄️                                                              ❄️

                                                      ❄️

                                                                                                ❄️

                         ❄️                                           ❄️

                                                                                                                   ❄️

 

Tra-la-la…

Oh!

You’re still here?

Not that I mind, but . . .

. . . was there something you wanted?

Besides your cookie name?

It’s almost as if you’re hanging around . . .

. . . waiting for something . . .

. . . like . . .

. . . maybe . . .

. . . to find out who won

THE 9TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONTEST!!!

Holiday

~ for children’s writers ~

 

As always, I was thrilled to see so many wonderful stories!  Really!  It is amazing and inspiring, not to mention VERY entertaining!  There is just so much talent out there amongst you all!

But as you well know by now, with large entry numbers, all of high quality, come hard choices.  My assistant judges and I worked hard to winnow the total down to a manageable number of finalists that we felt were truly all-around deserving of that distinction, and those were the ones we presented to you on Monday for your vote.

There were, however, a few entries that barely missed being finalists, and many other entries that were outstanding in certain areas even though they might not have qualified all-around for one reason or another, or that the judges couldn’t reach a consensus on.

So my assistant judges and I would like to award recognition and a small prize to the following authors for the following merits:

1.  For Honorable Mention In The Competition As A Whole: (entries we truly wrestled with not including in the finalists!)

Carmen Castillo Gilbert for Andres SAVES la Navidad (beautifully written with a natural interweaving of Spanish vocabulary and a lovely depiction of a grandmother/grandson relationship)

Colleen Murphy for The Recipe (beautifully written and poignant – a tug-on-the-heartstrings story with a hopeful ending)

Janet Smart for Ho! Ho! Ho! Yum! (fun and kid-friendly with a delightfully conscientious mouse 🙂 )

Sarah Meade for Claire’s Big Christmas Trip (we could imagine her special outing to New York City perfectly!)

Maria Antonia for Last Christmas Cookie (great portrayal of sibling interaction and a nicely executed twist ending!)

Lori Sheroan for Watch And Learn (an entry we loved for its beautiful setting and wonderful characterization done in very few words as well as its Appalachian folk tale flavor)

Deb Sullivan for A Great Treat (energetic, kid-friendly and fun!)

Kathy Halsey for Likin’ Lichen . . . Or Marshmallows? (fun and believably kid – favorite line: “Their eyes – how they twinkled. Their noses – So hairy. Their antlers – so tall and a teensy bit scary.” 🙂 )

Katrina Swenson for The Great Cookie Escape (original, creative and entertaining Point of View (the cookies!) very well written!)

Kelly Pope Adamson for Recipe For A Snowman (very creative – who knew you could make a snowman without snow?!)

 

2. For Fun, Well-Written Twists on Familiar Tales:

Brenda Covert for A Surprise For General Gingerbread (well written and fun, not exactly based on the tale, but the main character is technically a Gingerbread Man 🙂 )

Jill Lambert for Even Trolls Deserve A Treat (a kind-hearted twist on The Three Billy Goats Gruff)

Angela Verges for Cora’s Christmas Cookies (a cute twist on The Little Red Hen)

Stacey Miller for A Fairy Tale Treat (a twist on Hansel And Gretel with a touch of the The Three Little Pigs thrown in – favorite line: “A book of 101 Things To Make With A Turnip” 🙂 )

 

 

3. For Top Of The Naughty List:

Sarah Hetu-Radny for A Trickster’s Treat (that Ellery was up to every kind of no-good! – good job with character!)

 

4. For Poetic Writing and Original Format:

Tracy Curran for The Choice Of A Tree (lovely language, poignant story which she somehow wrote in the shape of a Christmas tree!)

 

5. For Excellence In Representing A Different Holiday Tradition: (not already in the Finals or All-Around HM)

Jyoti Rajan Gopal for Luscious Laddoos: A Sweet Story (wonderfully descriptive and mouth-watering!)

 

 

6. For Best Entry Based On A True Story:

Pat Finnegan for A Taste Of Peace (based on the Christmas Eve truce in hostilities on the Western Front)

 

 

Congratulations to all of you for fantastic elements of your stories!  You may all email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com subject line Prize Winner to collect your award badge and prize, which is five dollars in a format that can be emailed for you to put toward something you’d like at a large online store (and I’m being cryptic because when I did this for Halloweensie I got a ton of problematic spam mail because of the way I worded the post, but hopefully you can figure it out.  The store starts with the letter A 🙂 )

 

And now…

…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

The announcement of the WINNERS OF THE 2019 HOLIDAY CONTEST as voted on by you, our esteemed readers!!!

rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat-rat-a-tat

DDDRRRUUUMMM RRROOOLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!

In First Place

Winner of the whole shebang…

who gets first choice of all the prizes…

Rebecca Gardyn Levington
for

The Greatest Latke Topping!!!

Congratulations, Rebecca, on a fun, kid-friendly story written in spot-on rhyme with a delightfully humorous ending that was clearly very popular with a LOT of readers!!!  It ain’t over til Ketchup comes to the table! 🙂

In Second Place

Laurie Carmody
for
All I Want For Christmas

Congratulations, Laurie, on a fun, kid-friendly entry that made us laugh at yet another use for the poor. much-maligned fruit cake 🙂  You get to pick your prize after Rebecca.

In Third Place

Kelly Kandra Hughes
for

Christmas Peach Pie

Congratulations, Kelly, on an entry that made us long for peach pie and admire your little main character for being willing to embrace the naughty list to get that pie! 🙂  You get to pick your prize after Rebecca and Laurie.

In Fourth Place

Sue Lancaster
for
Grandpa Ted’s Garden Shed

Congratulations, Sue, on a fun story about a holiday treat that wasn’t food!!! with a great ending that left us wondering what exactly Grandpa gets up to in his spare time… 🙂  You get to pick your prize after Rebecca, Laurie, and Kelly!

In Fifth Place… a tie! between

Kailei Pew                                                                                      Anne Lipton
for                                                                                                       for
       A Christmas Treat For Mama                                                         Vinarterta With Amma

Congratulations, Kelly, on a sweet story that embraced the true spirit of the season, and Congratulations, Anne, on a beautifully-written story full of lovely language that introduced us to a different holiday tradition!  Great job both of you!  You get to pick your prizes after Rebecca, Laurie, Kelly, and Sue… and we may have to negotiate a little (which is why I try to avoid ties, but when they happen they happen!)

In Seventh Place…

Lara Elliot
for
Gingerbread Family

Congratulations, Lara!  We loved how Isabel found a way to make the best of things, not only saving the cookies but celebrating each member of the family for their uniqueness!  I’m sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now 🙂

In Eighth Place…

Gabrielle Cardwell
for
Biscuit’s Christmas Treat

Congratulations, Gabrielle!  We loved that your story celebrated a dog’s POV of a Christmas walk through the neighborhood, and we felt like we knew Biscuit!  You get to pick after Lara 🙂

In Ninth Place

Tracy Curran
for
The Gingerbread Sleigh

Congratulations, Tracy, on your mouth-watering entry written in excellent rhyme with a wonderful ending!  You get to pick after Gabrielle 🙂

In Tenth Place

Brenda Whitehead
for
Christmas Eve Treats

Congratulations, Brenda, on a lovely entry that celebrated the love between a grandmother and granddaughter and came around to such a sweet ending where their roles were reversed.  You get to pick your prize after Tracy!

In Eleventh Place

Deborah Bence Boerema
for
Christmas Kitchen Chaos

Congratulations, Deborah, on an entry that perfectly portrayed the way things seem to go in the kitchen this time of year with a lovely ending that showed it’s the who not the what that matters!  You get to pick after Brenda!

All the winners should email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com with the subject heading Prize Winner so we can work out details for you to receive your prizes!  (The sooner the better!)  And for your convenience, the whole prize list is included at the bottom of this post.

Congratulations again to all our winners – it was a stiff competition!! – and congratulations to EVERYONE who wrote and entered a story in the contest.  You all deserve a huge round of applause and a Holiday Treat (see what I did there?  🙂 )

Thank you to everyone who helped make this contest SO MUCH FUN, whether by writing an entry, reading people’s stories, leaving comments for the authors, and/or voting in the finals, or by donating a prize.  It’s because of all of you that this contest was such a success, so many, many thanks from the bottom of my heart!

As I… hmm… maybe didn’t mention…? but seem to do every year so you’re probably not surprised, I’m taking a little blogging break so I can spend time with my family – I’ve got children to fetch, cookies to bake, Christmas presents to shop for and wrap, and my sister and her family arriving from Georgia! 🙂  So I will see you all in a couple weeks – most probably the first week of January 🙂

So now, I want to wish you all a happy and healthy holiday filled with love, laughter, joy, and family, and a happy, healthy and successful new year!  It is a pleasure and a privilege to get to spend time with you all, and I’m happy and grateful to know each and every one of you!

Looking forward to all the things we’ll do in 2020!

Happy Holidays, and all best wishes for a wonderful New Year!!!

Screen Shot 2017-12-18 at 4.46.14 PM

 

 

 

The Prizes!:  OMG! So much awesomeness!!!

 

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Children’s Literary Agent Melissa Richeson of Apokedak Literary!!! Melissa will read and give a written critique of your picture book manuscript plus a 10 minute phone call to talk!!!

MG/YA First 1500 Words Critique from Children’s Literary Agent Melissa Richeson of Apokedak Literary!!! Melissa will read and give a written critique of the first 1500 words of your MG or YA manuscript!!!

Melissa Richeson

Literary Agent Melissa Richeson

Melissa is currently looking to build her client list and is focusing on children’s book authors—picture books through young adult. She’s drawn to witty wording and whimsical design for picture books, humor and quick pacing for chapter books, charming mysteries or magic in middle grade, and fresh, character-driven stories in young adult. She’s not the best fit for horror, high fantasy, or graphic violence of any kind

.

 

 

Art of Arc Writing Course from writer and editor Alayne Kay Christian!

Art of ArcArt of Arc is an independent-study picture book writing course. Most stories have some sort of arc. Many successful picture books are built around an arc. Understanding story and character arcs will help give your story order and the tension that will energize it from the beginning to the end. This energy will not only drive your protagonist forward – it will also drive readers to turn pages and keep reading.

The purpose of this course is to deepen your understanding of picture books written with a classic arc and to introduce you to many other picture books structures. The course also addresses a number of common issues that weaken a story and common writing mistakes that authors make.

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or non-rhyming) from Penny Parker Klostermann, talented author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House 2015) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (Random House 2017)

fb844-penny 495eb-penny A Cooked Up Fairy Tale

Rhyming Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Dawn Young, author of THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids 2019)

Young headshot hi res for blog - jacket

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Melissa Stoller, author of SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Spork 2018), READY, SET, GORILLA! (Spork 2018), and THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION (chapter books) (Spork 2017)

Picture2 Picture1 gorilla

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Julie Abery, author of LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA (Amicus Ink 2019) and the forthcoming YUSRA SWIMS (Creative Editions February 2020) and LITTLE MONKEY and LITTLE HIPPO (Amicus Ink February 2020)

julie abery Yusra Swims

Little Tiger Cover Little Panda Cover Little Monkey Little Hippo

Book Bundle #1 – Nonfiction

Signed Copies of multiple star- and award-winning picture books

SONNY’S BRIDGE: JAZZ LEGEND SONNY ROLLINS FINDS HIS GROOVE (Charlesbridge 2019) and A PLACE TO LAND (Charlesbridge 2019)

and

A PLACE TO LAND: MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AND THE SPEECH THAT INSPIRED A NATION (Charlesbridge 2019) by Barry Wittenstein

barry-wittenstein-photo Sonny's Bridge A Place To Land

 

Book Bundle #2 – Two By Tara Plus One

Personalized, signed copies of OPERATION PHOTOBOMB (Albert Whitman 2019) and I USED TO BE FAMOUS (Albert Whitman 2019) by Tara Luebbe

Tara Luebbe Operation Photobomb I Used To Be Famous

and a personalized signed copy of MOTHER TERESA: THE LITTLE PENCIL IN GOD’S HAND (Spork 2019) by Patricia Saunders

patricia-saunders_orig  Mother Teresa cover

Children's Writers And Illustrators 2020

(Charlesbridge 2019)

Making A Living Writing Books For Kids: Tips, Techniques, and Tales from a Working Children’s Author – by Laura Purdie Salas

Making A Living

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, Amazone, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

Monday Funday Short & Sweet

Hey Everyone!

Isn’t it great to be back in the swing of things?

Well, almost back in the swing… since I didn’t realize until about midnight that today was the 3rd Monday of the month already which means it’s a Short & Sweet day! 🙂

SS Spring Badge Susanna Hill - Final Small

badge created by Loni Edwards

But since we’re all just starting into the new school year – not just as writers, but many of us as teachers and students as well – I thought it was important to have our beginning-of-the-week (and school year!) inspirational writing prompt.

I hope you’ll enjoy today’s as much as I do! 🙂

milking

Here’s what to do – and your answers can relate to yourself, one of your children, or a character in a story you’re writing… or maybe you’ll create a character for a story you haven’t written yet!  Whoever you choose to write about, hopefully it will end up inspiring story from somewhere!

Okay!  Write each of the following on a piece of paper (or a word doc or whatever)

  1.  a specific ordinary item from your childhood home (e.g. clothespins, books, embroidered doilies)
  2. two product names from your childhood/past (e.g. Clorox, vinegar, Tide)
  3. a phrase describing your childhood home (e.g. dirt under the back porch, slamming screen door, shingles red as sunset)
  4. adjective, adjective, sensory detail relating to the phrase in #3 (e.g. black, glistening, it tasted like beetles)
  5. a plant, flower, tree or natural item from your childhood home (e.g. the forsythia bush, Dutch elm)
  6. description of item in #5 (e.g. whose long gone limbs I remember as if they were my own)
  7. family tradition and family trait (e.g. fudge and eyeglasses, easter eggs and hair in braids)
  8. 2 names of family members (e.g. Imogene and Esther; can also be something like Grammy or Dad)
  9. description of family tendency and another description of family tendency (e.g. know-it-alls and pass-it-ons)
  10. something you were told as a child and something else you were told as a child (e.g. Perk up! and Pipe down!)
  11. 2 representations of religion or lack of (e.g. he restoreth my soul with a cottonball lamb and ten verses I can say myself)
  12. place of birth and family ancestry (e.g. Artemus and Billie’s Branch)
  13. 2 food items that represent your family  (e.g. fried corn and strong coffee)
  14. specific family story about a specific person and detail (e.g. the finger my grandfather lost to the auger)
  15. another detail of another family member (e.g. the eye my father shut to keep his sight)
  16. location of family pictures, mementoes, archives (e.g. under my bed was a dress box spilling old pictures)
  17. line explaining the importance of family items (e.g. those moments snapped before I budded, leaf fall from the family tree)

Now, take everything you wrote and turn it into an I Am From poem by filling in the blanks: (the numbers from above are in parentheses below the lines) (and don’t worry!  there are examples of finished poems below to help you get the idea! 🙂 )

I am from ______________________________
#1 (specific ordinary item)
From ________________________ and __________________________
#2  (product name)                      #2  (product name)
I am from the ______________________________________________
#3 (home description)
___________________ , _________________ , ________________________________
#4 (adjective)              #4 (adjective)           #4 (sensory detail)
I am from _________________________________________ ,
#5  (plant, flower, natural item)
________________________________________________________________________
#6   (description of above item)
I’m from ____________________________ and ______________________________
#7  (family tradition)                         #7   (family trait)
From ______________________________ and _________________________
#8  (name of family member)            #8   (another family name)
I’m from the ____________________________ and ______________________
#9 (description of family tendency)           #9 (another one)
From _________________________________ and ________________________
#10 (something you were told as a child)                #10 (another)
I’m from ___________________________ , __________________________________
#11 (representation of religion or lack of), (further description)
I’m from _______________________________________________
#12 (place of birth and family ancestry)
______________________________________ , ________________________________
#13 (a food item that represents your family)      (another one)
From the ______________________________________________________________
#14 (specific family story about a specific person and detail)
The _________________________________________________________
#15 (another detail of another family member)
_________________________________________________________________
#16 (location of family pictures, mementos, archives)
__________________________________________________________________
#17 (line explaining the importance of family items)

And for examples of finished poems:

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 10.40.34 PM

So try your own!  Have fun with it!  See how poetic and evocative you can make it and share it in the comments below for all of us to enjoy!  Remember, it can be about your own self, your child, or a character from a story you’re working on!

I hope it will give you some inspiration!

(And I will try to add in my own sample this morning, but as I mentioned I wasn’t quite in the swing of things and it’s way too late for me to pull that off now!  We’re talking wee hours 🙂 )

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!

 

Monday Funday Short & Sweet – June

It’s the third Monday of the month, and you know what that means!

 

Well, no, not donuts… although that is a good guess and given the “sweet” in today’s activity maybe we should have donuts…

So, ok, donuts:

dark chocolate creme donut

But what I was actually referring to, you incorrigible donut hounds 🙂 , is Monday Funday Short & Sweets!

SS Spring Badge Susanna Hill - Final Small

badge created by Loni Edwards

Nothing like a little warm-up writing fun to kick off the day and the week, don’t you think?  Who knows what great story idea we might spark from this!

So.

Today’s Short & Sweet will work best if you don’t peek.  I’m not quite sure how to accomplish that on a blog post, so let’s go on the honor system – no scrolling down yet!

First, pick a number from 1 – 10.  Got it?  Write it down.

Now pick a number from 1 – 10 again and write that down.

Now do it again.

And now one last time.

(BTW, it’s okay if you pick the same number more than once.  If you want to make it really random you can roll a pair of dice and just discard any 11s or 12s you get.  Or take an Ace through 10 out of a deck of cards and randomly choose cards to see what numbers you get.)

Hopefully you now have 4 numbers between 1 and 10 written down.  (For example, I have 5, 9, 3, and 2.)

Now.  Use your first number to select from this list:

Character:

  1. a boy who comes from the Land of Nod
  2. a guinea pig who always carries a lucky penny
  3. a princess who is mischievous
  4. a knight who hates to get wet
  5. a dinosaur who is forgetful
  6. a king who loves licorice
  7. a witch who loves to whistle
  8. a monster who is shy
  9. a robot who is to curious
  10. a cowboy who loves bugs

 

Use your second number to select from this list:

Setting:

  1. outer space
  2. a birthday party
  3. the shore of Lake Chaubunagungamaug
  4. a city sidewalk
  5. the edge of a meadow
  6. zoo
  7. the soda fountain
  8. lighthouse
  9. circus
  10. campsite

 

Use your third number to select from this list:

Time:

  1. nap time
  2. June twilight
  3. just after losing first tooth
  4. during a blizzard
  5. snack time
  6. after losing the big game
  7. first light of morning
  8. the day before Halloween
  9. the first really hot day of summer
  10. moments before the school play

 

Use your last number to select from this list:

Situation/Challenge:

  1. someone’s feelings have been hurt
  2. someone is having a bad day
  3. someone had a fight with a friend
  4. someone is stuck or trapped somewhere
  5. someone is lonely
  6. someone can’t climb to the treehouse
  7. someone wishes s/he were bigger
  8. someone is moving away
  9. someone is being chased by an animal
  10. someone broke his/her big toe

You should now have a randomly selected character, setting, time, and situation/challenge – everything you need to prompt a story!

In the comments below, list the 4 you got and write 50-100 words of whatever story they suggest to you!  Don’t agonize!  Don’t over-think!  We’re all among friends.  Just write!  All we’re doing here is priming the pump.  If all you can squeeze out is 50 rusty words, that’s fine!  You wrote 50 words in the middle of your hectic, busy day!  But maybe, just maybe, 25-50 more will trickle out a little less rusty, and maybe after you’ve written your 50-100 here you’ll find you’ve got a gush of clear water rushing forth and a whole  new story will well up and land on your list of accomplishments for today!

Oh, and if you find it’s too hard to include all 4, it’s okay to just use 1, 2, or 3 of the prompts you picked – the exercise is just to get ideas and words flowing 🙂

Here’s my example in case you don’t quite get it:
The numbers I chose were 5, 9, 3, and 2, so I get

Character #5 – a dinosaur who is forgetful
Setting #9 – circus
Time #3 – just after losing first tooth
and Situation/Challenge #2 – someone is having a bad day

Given these prompts, I might write the following 50-100 words:

So far, Reinhold was not having a good day.

He was last to the breakfast table so all the Frosted Flakes were gone.

His favorite blue-sequined tight-rope walking outfit was in the wash, so he had to go to practice wearing the stupid red and green striped one that made him look like a triceratops-shaped elf.

Worst of all (and the reason he had been late to breakfast) he had lost his first tooth.

This should have been a good thing.  He had been looking forward to this moment for months, ever since Jiminy had lost his first tooth…and then Alvin…and then Sparky.

He had begun to worry that maybe his baby teeth were going to stick in there forever.  Maybe he’d never lose a tooth!

But now he had.

And he hadn’t just lost it.  He had LOST it.

 

Tonight the Tooth Fairy would come to the rainbow-colored circus tent where Reinhold was supposed to be sleeping soundly.

She would look under his pillow for his first baby triceratop tooth.

And she would find . . .

NOTHING!

Because Reinhold could not remember where he had put it!

 

Okay.  So I went a little over with 188 words 🙂  But I hope you’ll get carried away too!

See how easy?

Ready, Set, WRITE!!!

I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!!! 🙂

 

 

 

Monday Funday Short & Sweet

Hey, Everybody!

Do you know what day it is?

If you said the third Monday of the month, Monday Funday, the day Short & Sweets returns to a blog near you (er… this one! 🙂 ) then you win the penny prize!

SS Spring Badge Susanna Hill - Final Small

badge created by Loni Edwards

The object of Short & Sweets is to jump start our writing, whether it’s Monday morning or any other time of the week.  Short & Sweets are fun little exercises we can do together and share to get the writing sparks flying!  We will all inspire each other’s creativity.

I’ll supply a challenge.  You put your response in the comments.  Then scroll through and see how everybody else responded.  Maybe whatever you thought up won’t spark a story idea for you, but maybe someone else’s response will!  (And don’t worry – everything will be vague enough that there’s no way 2 people will ever write the same story off the same prompt.  It just doesn’t work that way :))

So are you ready?

Pull up a chair amongst your friends here, help yourself to a breakfasty snack, and let’s get writing!

coffeetea bagels

Here’s today’s challenge: (we’re going nice and simple to ease you in… 🙂 )

Write the opening sentence of a picture book.

The sentence should introduce the main character and the story problem.

For example:  Ava had a hard time falling asleep.

Easy peasy, right?!

Let’s see how many opening sentences we can generate!  Feel free to share more than one!

I’ll start.

Jasmine Bloom had the worst superhero power ever!

Now you go…!

I can’t wait to see what opening sentences you come up with!

Happy writing everyone!  Have a marvelous Monday! 🙂