2021 Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge Week #7!

Can you believe it?

We’ve arrived at Week #7!

The last week of the 2021 Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge!

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a 7 week writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost, a little inspiration, or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun!

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 which continues to grow!)

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

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

To read the Week #2 entries or add your Week #2 entry, please go HERE (Week #2)

To read the Week #3 entries or add your Week #3 entry, please go HERE (Week #3)

To read the Week #4 entries or add your Week #4 entry, please go HERE (Week #4)

To read the Week #5 entries or add your Week #5 entry, please go HERE (Week #5)

To read the Week #6 entries of add your Week #6 entry, please go HERE (Week #6)

Before we get to today’s challenge, one little housekeeping detail:

If you want to qualify for the prize drawing, you must have completed an entry for each of the 7 weeks and posted them on the appropriate week’s post by Saturday June 26th at midnight Eastern time in order to qualify, so that I can post the winners on Monday June 28th! So take note of that deadline – all 7 completed and posted by Saturday June 26th at midnight!

Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #7 for Week of June 21:

So far we’ve played with character needs/goals, writing a cumulative story, a picture prompt with random words and a secret, turning songs into stories with themes, concept stories in particular settings, and relationships and emotions between characters! 😊 This week, since it’s the last week, it seems fitting that we do something with endings.

But not just anything. . . 😊

Endings do not exist in a vacuum. In order for endings to feel satisfying – make readers, laugh, cry, gasp with amazed delight, or sigh with satisfaction – the ending must feel connected to the beginning.

So. This week, choose a beginning from Column A and an ending from Column B and write a 100 word story for kids that fits between them using a tidbit of onomatopoeia from Column C if you want to (just for fun 😊).

Column A – BeginningsColumn B – EndingsColumn C – Onomatopoeia (optional)
Once upon a time…And that is why she/he tucked it very carefully into her/his pocket.splish, splash, sploosh
When [Character Name] woke up, a thunderstorm was brewing.  “OH, NO!” (or, “HURRAY!”)Then he/she snuggled close and whispered with a smile, “I love you more than marshmallows.”kackata-kack-krack-POP!
It all began when the mermaid’s tail got caught on the handle of [Character Name]’s umbrella.Never let an alligator get in the way of your plans!plink-plank-plunk
She/he wasn’t always a bad piggy.So he/she/they rushed back out of the woods shout-singing Ain’t No Bugs On Us until he/she/they was/were really, truly, sure it was true!slurrrp
There was a sloth who lived all alone.[Character Name] knew summer was here at last!buzzz bzzz-bzzz
[Character Name] was all ready for the beach!Aunt Ruby was right.  It had been a better day!splop
We’re finally on our way! We’re having the best time ever! Until…Inch by inch, step by step, they made it all the way to the tippy top.chirp
Holly, Molly, Ollie, Wally, and Little Boo packed a picnic and set out in search of adventure.And so he/she/they did.bee-beep
On the Fourth of July, Max went into hiding.And they lived happily ever after.murmur
[Character Name] had a problem with watermelon.Shushshush, the waves whispered. Shushshush.hissss

  • 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 just a guideline.
  • If you’re deeply inspired by a beginning or ending or some onomatopoeia that isn’t here, go for it! – the purpose here is inspiration and to get you writing! Please just tell us what you’re using at the top of your entry.
  • For simplicity’s sake (and to aid skimming readers who might be interested in a particular thing) please say which column items you’re using at the top of your entry along with your name, title, and word count.
  • I have been so enjoying reading all your amazing stories every week – so many different, creative, delightful, entertaining stories! – that I’m sad this is the last hurrah for this year!

    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 #7 Stories:

    Beach Baby – Bru Benson

    The Worm’s Halloween Adventure – Marty Findley

    Perfect Piggy – Robin Currie

    Watermelon Woes – Rose Cappelli

    Beach Bound – Sue Lancaster

    The Unexpected Ride – Dawn Young

    Sloth Finds A Friend – Jen Subra

    The Fairy And The Thunderstorm – Erin Cleary

    Will Summer Begin? – Erika Romero

    Max And The Fireworks – Sara Kruger

    Melodia’s “Mis” Adventure – Susan E. Schipper

    Untitled – Lauren Scott

    Max And The Alligator – Marta Cutler

    Duck’s Creek – Bevin Rolfs Spencer

    Sam’s Trouble With Watermelon – Lyn Jekowsky

    Game, Game, Go Away! – Hannah Roy LaGrone

    Watermelon Delight – Jeannette Suhr

    The Fear Of Fireworks – Amy Leskowski

    Merchant Pips – Elenore Byrne

    The Very Slow Sloth – Isabel Cruz Rodriguez

    Sloth And The sUAS (Small Unmanned Aircraft System) – Laura Bower

    Why Piggies Have Curly Tails – Jill Lambert

    Dorothy’s Umbrella – Brenna Jeanneret

    Beach Adventure – Ashley Sierra

    Sloth And Bee – Linda Schueler

    Maddy Wants More, More, More – Sarah Meade

    Climbing Up – Marty Findley

    This Little Piggy – Marty Bellis

    Sloth And The Bees In The Tree – Barbara Renner

    Munch Goes The Pirate – Aly Kenna

    Marianna And The Mermaid – Sally Yorke-Viney

    Undersea Soiree – Nicole Loos Miller

    Ella’s Wild Ride – Michelle S. Kennedy

    A S’more By The Fire – Allison Strick

    The Ant Raid – Deb Sullivan

    A Wagonful Of Trouble – Susan Summers

    A Nap And A Watermelon Field – Jana Mattern

    Rules For A Pig-Perfect Life – Joyce Uglow

    Wanted: ESPR – Colleen Own Murphy

    Not So Bad After All – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf

    Watermelon Problem – Mia Geiger

    A. Sloth Or Not A. Sloth – Katie Schwartz

    Saltwater Kisses – JC Kelly

    Where There’s A Skate There’s A Way – Sarah Hawklyn

    The Prince And His Alligator – Deb Buschman

    The Lonely Sloth – Ashley B. Pedigo

    Untitled – Lauri Meyers

    Tilly’s Mermaid – Dianne Irving

    Untitled – Padgy Soltis

    PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

    When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who complete 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! 😊

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

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    ⭐️ 30 Minute Q&A with Penny Klostermann

    ⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique OR Query Letter Critique (Winner’s Choice) from Jennifer Buchet, debut author of LITTLE MEDUSA’S HAIR DO-LEMMA (Clear Fork/Spork May 11, 2021)

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    ⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique from Jen Raudenbush, agented writer of picture books, middle grade, and poetry. (Represented by Natascha Morris of The Tobias Literary Agency)

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    Jen Raudenbush

    ⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique OR Query Letter Critique (Winner’s Choice) from the lovely and talented Sara Kruger!

    Sara Kruger

    ⭐️ 30 minute Zoom chat about anything industry related (manuscript, query letter, best practices for querying) with Becky Scharnhorst, amazing author of MY SCHOOL STINKS (Philomel Books, July 6, 2021)

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    ⭐️Picture Book Manuscript Critique with Audio Recording by author and poet Sarah Meade Sarah will do a written critique of your manuscript and include an audio recording of her first read-through of the manuscript. The audio recording is to help the author hear how the story flows and/or where a new reader may stumble when reading aloud.

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    ⭐️ Webinar: How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro by author and editor Alayne Kay Christian

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    ⭐️ A copy of Mary Kole’s Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Writers, donated by Nicole Loos Miller

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    ⭐️ A personalized signed copy of SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL (MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing 2021) by Candice Marley Conner
    

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    ⭐️ Making Picture Book Magic Self Study Class (any month)

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    ⭐️A copy of A FLOOD OF KINDNESS by Ellen Leventhal

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    ⭐️A copy of MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe by Vivian Kirkfield

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    ⭐️A copy of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT by Penny Parker Klostermann

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    ⭐️A copy of SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE by Cathy Ballou Mealey

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    ⭐️A copy of BINDU’S BINDIS by Supriya Kelkar

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    ⭐️A copy of PHOEBE DUPREE IS COMING TO TEA! 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

    ⭐️Picture Book Writers Rock! Mug for the writing fuel of your choice! 😊

    ⭐️Writing Journal (with a side of prompts 😊)

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    Tuesday Debut – Presenting Candice Marley Conner!

    Nothing is better than a good Tuesday Debut except. . .when you get to announce the winner of a PB MS critique offered by the last Tuesday Debut!

    The randomly chosen lucky winner of a PB MS critique from Christine Van Zandt is MDK45!

    MDK45, come on down! (You’ll have to contact me, I think because I don’t have contact info for you! 😊)

    Now! Onto today’s Tuesday Debut where we get to meet the lovely and talented Candice Marley Conner, hear about her journey, even get to see some of the original notes she wrote in her journal which were the first seeds of her debut picture book, SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL! (How can you not love a squirrel named Sassafras?!)

    Ready?

    Let’s go!

    SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL
    written by Candice Marley Conner
    Illustrated by Heath Gray
    MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing
    June 8, 2021
    fiction, 4-8

    With her scraggly, bristly tail, Sassafras is teased right off her tree branch. But when danger strikes, what makes her different might just help her save the day.

    SUSANNA: Welcome, Candice! Thank you so much for joining us today! We are excited to hear all about how SASSAFRAS came to be! Where did the idea for this book come from?

    CANDICE: The idea for this book came from a stroller-ride and a neighborhood squirrel. My one-year-old (now ten) was teething, I was writing my first young adult novel, and we both desperately needed to get out of the house. I’ve learned that anytime I hit a writing block, or my kiddos start whining, that fresh air is best at fixing what ails us. On our walk, we saw a squirrel in a neighbor’s yard that had the scrawniest, stubbiest tail I had ever seen. Immediately, the brainstorms began: squirrels use their long tails for balance, so could this one leap from limb to limb? Squirrel tails signal danger, etc, so did this one have a hard time communicating? And on the other side of the coin, what advantages could this squirrel have by being different? By the time we returned home, Sassafras’s story was ready to be put down on paper.

    Candice’s work buddies – her son playing with the squirrels
    in the square across from their local independent bookstore,
    The Haunted Bookshop

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

    CANDICE: The initial draft wrote itself in my head, then all I had to do was get it written down in my journal before the idea-spark disappeared. The problem I ran into was that I’d never written a picture book manuscript before. I was writing YA and had written poetry, short stories, and what I thought was middle grade (spoiler: it was not, lol) in college. I had a LOT to learn about concise writing and page turns and everything that makes picture books re-readable. Even character names! Initial drafts had cutesy alliterative names like Sam and Sally for the side character squirrels, though those quickly changed when I realized my kiddo audience would expect better 😊 (disclaimer: alliteration is my fave).

    Candice’s writing journal showing original notes for SASSAFRAS! Wow! How cool is that?

    SUSANNA: Did you go through many revisions?

    CANDICE: The main idea stayed the same but it went through a lot of tightening. I love alliteration and word play so every picture book I read to my daughter showed me how to do this by example. Then I learned about making book dummies through SCBWI and that helped me with tension and page turns.

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

    CANDICE: I did make the mistake of submitting too early before I learned everything I needed to. Such as show versus tell. Children’s author, Ariel Bernstein, offered a picture book manuscript review to pre-published authors on twitter, and while I didn’t win, she graciously gave me great tips on how to show and cut the tell. So I kinda did win in that regard since my next query resulted in a yes 😊

    SUSANNA: When and how did you submit?

    CANDICE: I submitted directly to publishing houses and received form rejections. Probably because I hadn’t learned everything I needed to yet. I didn’t have the writing community I do now and that makes such a difference. In the meantime, I had finished the YA mentioned earlier and signed that with an agent. She mainly represents YA and adult so when I stumbled across MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing on Facebook and connected with one of their authors who had a great experience with them, I asked her if I could submit and she gave me the go-ahead to query.

    SUSANNA: How long after you found out about your book going to acquisitions (if you did) or after you submitted were you told it was a “yes”?

    CANDICE: MCP is a small publishing house so it didn’t go to acquisitions. I submitted my manuscript and cover letter August 3rd, 2017 and by that afternoon the editor responded to make sure I knew it was royalty-based.

    SUSANNA: When did you get “the call”, which these days is more likely to be “the email”?

    CANDICE: Yes, it was an email about three weeks later which I was grateful for as phone calls make me nervous, haha! (< that was nervous laughter just thinking about a phone call)

    SUSANNA: How long was it between getting your offer and getting your contract to sign?

    CANDICE: She sent the offer a couple days before the contract. I have awesome critique partners who were already published so they helped me look over the contract and I signed it on September 1st, 2017.

    SUSANNA: How did you celebrate signing your contract? 

    CANDICE: Lots of spontaneous dancing with the kiddos, wine cheers-ing with the hubs, exclamation points in that day’s journal entry, and a blog post I had been eagerly waiting to write for five years. My parents sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers to celebrate.

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

    CANDICE: Yes, MCP was very upfront that since they’re a small house, the contract would be royalty only. A couple of my critique partners had told me stories about authors not able to pay out their advances so I was okay with it. Especially since my royalty percentages were higher—25% on both hard cover and paperback. I also receive two hard cover and two soft cover author copies. I did have to re-sign a contract last year as originally the contract was for one book printed traditionally, and another in dyslexie font which makes the books more accessible to dyslexic readers (both kiddo and their adult readers), and due to COVID making things so hard on everyone, MCP decided to focus solely on dyslexie font. That was fine with me because printing in dyslexie was a main draw to this company. The only thing that wasn’t expected was the publishing timeline. SASSAFRAS was originally set to come out in 2019. Such is life and publishing!

    SUSANNA: That is so interesting! Completely by chance, the week before last our debut – Michelle Vattula – was also published by MacLaren-Cochrane, and also had her book printed in dyslexie. You two are the first to have mentioned that in your debuts! Can you tell us a little about the editorial process?

    CANDICE: The editor was happy with my vision so nothing changed there and then small changes (i.e. grammar, word choices, etc) once I received my pass pages.

    SUSANNA: What was your experience of the illustration process like?

    CANDICE: I was able to see character sketches and my opinion was valued as I was able to choose which sketch went with which character. Early sketches showed the squirrels with what I thought was a crazed look in their eyes (lol) and the art director was very good at relaying my concerns to the illustrator. 

    I didn’t include any art notes in my manuscript though I did include page breaks, which some publishers don’t like but MCP prefers, thank goodness 😊

    interior spread pp. 12-13 of SASSAFRAS – text copyright Candice Marley Conner 2021,
    illustration copyright Heath Gray 2021, MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing

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

    CANDICE: No, though I didn’t expect to with a small publisher.

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

    CANDICE: I signed on September 1st, 2017 and held (hugged) my first copy May 29th, 2021! MCP is print-on-demand, so I ordered copies and my local indie bookstore ordered too, based on how many preorders have come through so far.

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

    CANDICE: MCP listed my book on Bookshop, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. They maintain a website and social media where they post about their authors, illustrators, and books. They’re also good at sharing their author and illustrator’s posts on Facebook.

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

    CANDICE: I was a member of the debut group #NewIn19 and while I obviously didn’t debut with them, I learned SO MUCH about marketing/promotion. And many have offered to review SASSAFRAS which is incredibly kind since it’s two years later.

    I set up a preorder campaign through my local indie for signed copies, and plan on doing a book signing, then story time in a nearby park so we can all social distance and be in the open air. Also, there are tons of squirrels which is perfect for my book and my squirrel-loving seven year-old. I also had stickers made (I used StickerMule—great quality) to give out then and a coloring sheet downloadable on my website. I’d love to do stuff with Girl Scouts too since my daughter is in Girl Scouts so figuring out how to get fun patches made is next on my list of things to do 😊

    I adore fun facts so I also did a social media-wide #SevenTilSassafras marketing plan where I shared a squirrely fun fact a day the week before SASSAFRAS debuted. The teachers commenting on the posts about sharing the facts with their students TOTALLY made my day.

    KidLit411 has a great resource on their Facebook page where bloggers who are open to interviews can post their contact information (including this one! 😊 You rock, Susanna) so I was able to jump on some calendars to share SASSAFRAS and my YA (which actually debuts TODAY!)

    SUSANNA: Oh wow! How exciting! Better get a quick plug in for that too, as long as you’re here 😊 (THE EXISTENCE OF BEA PEARL (Owl Hollow Press, June 15, 2021)) ) How long was it between the time you started writing seriously and the time you sold your first picture book?

    CANDICE: I’ve been writing my entire life but I really got serious in 2011 when I became a stay-at-home mom. So, six years to sell, ten years to have book-in-hand!

    SUSANNA: What is the most important/helpful thing you learned on your way to publication?

    CANDICE: I learned that the time in the trenches (whether it’s query or submission) is so incredibly valuable. I used that time to build my writing community, to accept help and advice from other authors, then pay it forward anyway I can by mentoring young writers, volunteering with SCBWI and twitter contests, and supporting the author-friends I’m meeting along the way. It’s important mentally to have people in the same writing-boat you’re in. So embrace that trench-time, up and coming writers!

    SUSANNA: If your book has been out for at least one statement cycle, has it earned out yet?

    CANDICE: SASSAFRAS has been out for one week today! Woohoo!

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

    CANDICE: A former boss of mine is big into motivational plaques and he gave me one many years ago that I keep on the bookshelf in my office. It’s a quote from Moliere that reads: “Perseverance: the greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” And right next to it is a post-it note with a quote from Jess Keating: “The obstacles ARE the path.” Those two quotes help get me in the right frame of mind on the tough days 😊

    Candice’s work space with motivational quotes

    CANDICE: Thank you so much for having me and Sassafras, Susanna!

    SUSANNA: Thank YOU so much for taking the time to share your experience and expertise with us, Candice! We all really appreciate it and wish you the very best with this and future titles!!!

    Author Candice Marley Conner

    candicemarleyconner.com
    http://www.instagram.com/Candice_marleyconner
    http://www.twitter.com/Candice_marleyc
    http://www.facebook.com/cmarleyconnerauthor

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

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

    Indiebound
    The Haunted Bookshop (signed copies available!)
    Amazon
    Barnes&Noble

    We can help our debut authors successfully launch their careers by:

    – purchasing their books

    – recommending their books to friends and family

    – recommending their books to our children’s teachers and librarians

    – recommending their books to our local libraries and bookstores

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

    – sharing their books on social media

    – reviewing their books on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other sites where people go to learn about books.

    Thank you all for stopping by to read today!  Have a lovely, inspiration-filled Tuesday!  Maybe today is the day you’ll write your debut picture book 😊

    Missed any previous Tuesday Debuts?  Check them out!

    Christy Mihaly – Hey! Hey! Hay! A Tale of Bales And The Machines That Make Them

    Jessie Oliveros – The Remember Balloons

    Beth Anderson – An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin And Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution

    Hannah Holt – The Diamond And The Boy

    Laura Renauld – Porcupine’s Pie

    Annie Romano – Before You Sleep: A Bedtime Book Of Gratitude

    Melissa Stoller – Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush

    Sherry Howard – Rock And Roll Woods

    Kate Narita – 100 Bugs! A Counting Book

    Vivian Kirkfield – Pippa’s Passover Plate

    Laura Roettiger – Aliana Reaches For The Moon

    Matthew Lasley – Pedro’s Pan: A Gold Rush Story

    Natalee Creech – When Day Is Done

    Margaret Chiu Greanias – Maximillian Villainous

    Wendy Greenley – Lola Shapes The Sky

    Danielle Dufayet – You Are Your Strong

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

    Cathy Ballou Mealey – When A Tree Grows

    Pippa Chorley – Counting Sheep

    Sandra Sutter – The Real Farmer In The Dell

    June Smalls – Odd Animals ABC

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

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

    Eleanor Ann Peterson – Jurassic Rat

    Sarah Hoppe – Who Will? Will You?

    Marla LeSage – Pirate Year Round

    Stacey Corrigan – The Pencil Eater

    Shannon Stocker – Can U Save The Day?

    Nadine Poper – Randall And Randall

    Christine Evans – Evelyn The Adventurous Entomologist

    Karen Kiefer – Drawing God (religious market)

    Susan Richmond – Bird Count

    Dawn Young – The Night Baafore Christmas

    Heather Gale – Ho’onani: Hula Warrior

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

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

    Lindsey Hobson – Blossom’s Wish (self pub)

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

    Valerie Bolling – Let’s Dance!

    Janet Johnson – Help Wanted: Must Love Books

    Susi Schaefer – Cat Ladies

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

    Kelly Carey – How Long Is Forever?

    Mary Wagley Copp – Wherever I Go

    Nell Cross Beckerman – Down Under The Pier

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

    Sharon Giltrow – Bedtime, Daddy!

    Gabi Snyder – Two Dogs On A Trike

    Sarah Kurpiel – Lone Wolf

    Vicky Fang – Invent-a-Pet

    Lisa Katzenberger – National Regular Average Ordinary Day

    Pam Webb – Someday We Will

    Abi Cushman – Soaked!

    Teresa Krager – Before Your Birth Day

    Lindsay H. Metcalf – Beatrix Potter, Scientist

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

    Jolene Gutiérrez – Mac And Cheese And The Personal Space Invader

    Julie Rowan-Zoch – Louis (picture book illustration debut!)

    Janie Emaus – Latkes For Santa

    Amy Mucha – A Girl’s Bill Of Rights

    Hope Lim – I Am A Bird

    Melanie Ellsworth – Hip,Hip…Beret!

    Rebecca Kraft Rector – Squish Squash Squished

    Gnome Road Publishing (publishing house debut)

    Sue Heavenrich – 13 Ways To Eat A Fly

    Julie Rowan-Zoch – I’m A Hare So There (author/illustrator debut)

    Nancy Derey Riley – Curiosity’s Discovery (author/illustrator self-published debut)

    Moni Ritchie Hadley – The Star Festival

    Sita Singh – Birds Of A Feather

    Ann Magee – Branches Of Hope: The 9/11 Survivor Tree

    Amanda Davis – 30,000 Stitches: The Inspiring Story of the National 9/11 Flag (nonfiction)

    Jennifer Buchet – Little Medusa’s Hair Do-lemma

    Michelle Vattula – The Stalking Seagulls

    Christine Van Zandt – A Brief History Of Underpants (nonfiction)

    2021 Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge Week #6!

    Look at us! Half way through June and up to Week #6 in our Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge! Can you believe you’ve written at least 5 brand new stories so far (I know some of you are writing more than one per week!) with two weeks of inspiration still to go? Who knows how many new picture books might be getting their start during this challenge!

    So let’s fire up the old brain cells and show Week #6 who’s boss!

    Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a 7 week writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost, a little inspiration, or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun!

    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 which continues to grow!)

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

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

    To read the Week #2 entries or add your Week #2 entry, please go HERE (Week #2)

    To read the Week #3 entries or add your Week #3 entry, please go HERE (Week #3)

    To read the Week #4 entries or add your Week #4 entry, please go HERE (Week #4)

    To read the Week #5 entries or add your Week #5 entry, please go HERE (Week #5)

    Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #6 for Week of June 14:

    So far we’ve played with character needs/goals, writing a cumulative story, a picture prompt with random words and a secret, turning songs into stories with themes, and concept stories in particular settings! 😊 This week, we’re going to explore the importance of relationships and emotion!

    Picture books are often about relationships – parent/child, sibling, friends/enemies, child/pet, grandparent/child, babysitter/child etc. and those relationships can cause emotions or be affected by emotions.

    Choose a main character from Column A, a second character from Column B, and an emotion from Column C and write a 100-word story for kids where the story centers around the emotion between them.  (For example, 2 friends where one is jealous of the other, or a child who feels angry toward his beloved dog for chewing up his prized baseball glove, or a child who feels nervous about visiting her elderly grandmother who is wrinkly and smells like mothballs but whom she is supposed to love.)  Feel free to make “siblings” a dog and a cat, or “friends” a dinosaur and a goat, etc – you don’t have to stick with all human characters – write monsters, fairies, and aliens if you like 😊

    Column A – Character 1 (MC)Column B – Character 2Column C – Emotion
    RosieGrandma or Grandpa (Gran, Grand Dad, Oma, Poppa, etc)awe (looks up to/hero worship)
    TuckPet (any kind – your choice)jealousy
    MaisieFriendanger
    ChipSibling (older, younger, twin, step)sadness
    BentleyMom or Dad or Stepbetrayal
    EsmeBabysitter (any age or gender)boredom
    EnzoDragonworry, anxiety, nervousness
    XanderDinosaurjoy
    DylanFairy Godmotherlove
    AprilEnemypride
    August/Auggie/Gus  resentment

  • 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 a name, relationship or emotion that isn’t included you’re welcome to use it, just please say what it is at the top of your entry – 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 relationship and emotion you’re using at the top of your entry along with your name, word count, and title if you have one.
  • I am ready to be bowled over by your creativity and talent! 

    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 #6 stories!

    Gus – Robin Currie

    My Sister’s For Sale – Rose Cappelli

    Esme And Enzo, Aquatic Besties – Candice Marley Conner

    Alice And Ollie – Joyce Uglow

    Enzo The Pelican – Lyn Jekowsky

    Tuck And Pops – Marty Findley

    Anna And Granna – Marty Findley

    Mighty Maisy – Jen Subra

    Dance! Dance! – Leslie Degnan

    Gus Gets A Pet Dragon – Isabel Cruz Rodriguez

    Big Dog – Marty Findley

    Chip Goes Blip – Laura Bower

    My Grandpop Can Fix Anything – Susan Schipper

    The Chosen One – Sue Lancaster

    Fire Circle – Sarah Hawklyn

    The Festival – Erika Romero

    I Have A Poem For You – Padgy Soltis

    A Fork In The Road – Jill Lambert

    Birthday Surprise – Bevin Rolfs Spencer

    How A Radio Flyer Brought Two Unlikely Friends Together – Erin Cleary

    Maisie And Dana – Sarah Meade

    Dylan Loves His Friend – Barbara Renner

    The Tooth Fairy And The Dragon – Aly Kenna

    Grammy’s Twinkles – Dawn Young

    Date Night Betrayal – Allison Strick

    Maise Marigold Mariah Munder Would Not Let Her Face Go Under – Sara Kruger

    Maisie Astounds – Jeannette Suhr

    Dear Tooth Fairy – Nicole Loos Miller

    Creating Joy – Jeannette Suhr

    I Don’t Need A Babysitter – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf

    According To My Grandma – Marta Cutler

    Bentley’s Bad Behavior – Susan Summers

    A New Day – Mia Geiger

    Rosie’s Great Gramma Mary Onion – Sally Yorke-Viney

    Maisie’s Big Brother – Marty Bellis

    The Fairy Godmother Problem – Ashley Sierra

    The Most(ly) Boring Babysitter – Amy Leskowski

    Love – Lauren Scott

    Maisie’s Surprise – Deb Sullivan

    Little Dragon Worries – Hannah Roy LaGrone

    The Green Dragon – Marta Cutler

    Betrayed – Colleen Owen Murphy

    Hearts More Like Me – Elenore Byrne

    Little Gus Giraffe Goes To Tokyo – Dianne Irving

    I Hate Puppies – Deb Buschman

    Not The Enzo But A Beginning – Bru Benson

    The Great Escape – Katie Schwartz

    Monster And Alien – Brenna Jeanneret

    Late For School – Again – Michelle S. Kennedy

    Xander And The Dinosaurs – Linda Schueler

    Esme And Rex – JC Kelly

    Enzo’s Fire – Ashley B. Pedigo

    Untitled – Lauri Meyers

    PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

    When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who complete 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! 😊

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

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is penny-parker-klostermann.jpg

    ⭐️ 30 Minute Q&A with Penny Klostermann

    ⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique OR Query Letter Critique (Winner’s Choice) from Jennifer Buchet, debut author of LITTLE MEDUSA’S HAIR DO-LEMMA (Clear Fork/Spork May 11, 2021)

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jennifer-buchet.jpg

    

    ⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique from Jen Raudenbush, agented writer of picture books, middle grade, and poetry. (Represented by Natascha Morris of The Tobias Literary Agency)

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jen-raudenbush.jpeg
    Jen Raudenbush

    ⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique OR Query Letter Critique (Winner’s Choice) from the lovely and talented Sara Kruger!

    Sara Kruger

    ⭐️ 30 minute Zoom chat about anything industry related (manuscript, query letter, best practices for querying) with Becky Scharnhorst, amazing author of MY SCHOOL STINKS (Philomel Books, July 6, 2021)

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is becky-scharnhorst-collage.jpeg

    ⭐️Picture Book Manuscript Critique with Audio Recording by author and poet Sarah Meade Sarah will do a written critique of your manuscript and include an audio recording of her first read-through of the manuscript. The audio recording is to help the author hear how the story flows and/or where a new reader may stumble when reading aloud.

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screen-shot-2021-05-23-at-7.58.46-pm.png

    ⭐️ Webinar: How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro by author and editor Alayne Kay Christian

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is alayne-kay-christian.jpg

    ⭐️ A copy of Mary Kole’s Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Writers, donated by Nicole Loos Miller

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is writing-irresistible-kidlit.jpg

    ⭐️ A personalized signed copy of SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL (MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing 2021) by Candice Marley Conner
    

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is squarecover.jpg

    ⭐️ Making Picture Book Magic Self Study Class (any month)

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is email-header-final-susanna-hill.png

    ⭐️A copy of A FLOOD OF KINDNESS by Ellen Leventhal

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a-flood-of-kindness.jpg

    ⭐️A copy of MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe by Vivian Kirkfield

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is making-their-voices-heard.jpg

    ⭐️A copy of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT by Penny Parker Klostermann

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2c5b9-dragon2bcover.jpg

    ⭐️A copy of SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE by Cathy Ballou Mealey

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sloth-cover.jpg

    ⭐️A copy of BINDU’S BINDIS by Supriya Kelkar

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bindus-bindis.jpg

    ⭐️A copy of PHOEBE DUPREE IS COMING TO TEA! 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

    ⭐️Picture Book Writers Rock! Mug for the writing fuel of your choice! 😊

    2021 Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week #4

    Good Monday Morning, Everyone!

    I know it’s Memorial Day and many of you are busy with family celebrations, parades, and honoring those who have done so much for all of us.

    But in case you also have the day off and a little free time. . .

    . . .let’s have some Mix ‘n’ Match fun because it’s time for Week #4!

    Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a 7 week writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost, a little inspiration, or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun!

    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 which continues to grow!)

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

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

    To read the Week #2 entries or add your Week #2 entry, please go HERE (Week #2)

    To read the Week #3 entries or add your Week #3 entry, please go HERE (Week #3)

    Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #4 for Week of May 31:

    So far we’ve played with character needs/goals, writing a cumulative story, and a picture prompt with random words and a secret!  This week we’re going to have some musical fun with themes! 😊

    Choose a song from Column A, a theme from Column B, and an important item from Column C (optional.)  Write a 100 word story for kids where your version of the song tells a story that shows your chosen theme (including your important item if you wish!) You may use the original song opening if you like, but you are not required to (just make it obvious in your writing and/or identify which song you’re using along with your title and word count), and if rhyming isn’t your thing you can write in prose as long as it’s still clear which song you’re working with.  You may add or subtract characters (e.g. Bob and Joe rowed their boat gently down the stream), change the destination (e.g. Row, row, row your boat up the mountainside), change the type of action (e.g. Row, row, row your boat wildly down the stream) etc… Anything you like!  Have fun with it! (For examples in kidlit, see Iza Trapani’s extended nursery rhyme songs.)

    Column A – SongColumn B – ThemeColumn C – Important Item (optional)
    Row, Row, Row Your BoatIt’s important to try new thingsNecklace
    The Itsy Bitsy (Eensie Weensie) SpiderEven when you’re bad, you’re still lovedTeddy bear
    Twinkle, Twinkle Little StarIt’s important to stay true to yourselfBlackberries
    Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it isPink Blankie
    The Bear Went Over The MountainIf you work together you can solve a problemStory book
    Here We Go Round The Mulberry BushYou don’t have to be big to stand up for yourselfMap
    It’s Raining, It’s PouringFriends should always stick togetherTractor
    Jack And JillBelieve in yourself and you can achieve your dreamsMoon
    Rock-A-Bye BabyIf you don’t succeed the first time, try againDaisy

    Post your story in the comment section below! (If for some reason you have trouble posting, you may use the contact form to email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you.)

    • 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 a theme that isn’t included you’re welcome to use it, just please say what it is at the top of your entry – 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 song, theme (and important item if you choose to use one) you’re using at the top of your entry along with your name, word count, and title if you have one.

    I am SO looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with!  You continue to knock my socks off with your creativity every week!!!

    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!

    It’s Raining! It’s Pouring! – Leslie Degnan

    Dreams Inside! – Robin Currie

    Jack And Jill’s New Adventure – Jen Subra

    Untitled – Lauri Meyers

    Charlie’s Search – Rose Cappelli

    Rock A Bye Daisy – Laura Bower

    Arachnid At Your Service – Jill Lambert

    The Itsy Bitsy Spider And The Moon – Erika Romero

    About Our Friends Who Tried To Row A Boat (Perhaps Under A Full Moon?) – Erin Cleary

    Untitled – Lauren Scott

    Believe In All You Imagine – Sally Yorke-Viney

    The Itsy Bitsy Puppy – Marty Findley

    All That Glitters Is Not Gold – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf

    Spunky Little Teddy – Joyce Uglow

    Flap Flap Flap Those Wings – Marty Bellis

    Dress Dress Dress For Rain – Amy Leskowski

    Mark And Grace – Colleen Murphy

    I Love Shopping With My Mom – Sara Kruger

    Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Pet Spider Gone – Aly Kenna

    Where, Oh Where Has My Story Book Gone – Ashley Sierra

    Ninja, Ninja, Little Sneak – Bevin Rolfs Spencer

    Jack And Jill Revisit Their Hill – Ashley B. Pedigo

    Jo And Flo – Christine Alemshah

    Little Lilly’s Blunder – Elenore Byrne

    Ride, Ride, Ride My Bike – Sue Lancaster

    Friends For Life – Deb Sullivan

    Fireflies – Lyn Jekowsky

    The Rescue – Marta Cutler

    Bear’s Fresh Start – Allison Strick

    Rock A Bye Zombie – Susan Summers

    Rainy Day Problem…Solvers – Susan Schipper

    To Grandmother’s House We Go – Jeannette Suhr

    It’s Raining, It’s Pouring – Dianne Irving

    Tinkle, Tinkle, Potty Stress! – Michelle S. Kennedy

    Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone? – Isabel Cruz Rodriguez

    Use Your Map – Padgy Soltis

    The Daisy – Barbara Renner

    Oopsy Daisy! – Marta Cutler

    Yummy, Yummy, Little Pie – Nicole Loos Miller

    The Bat Flew Over The Pumpkins – Sarah Meade

    Read A Book – Dawn Young

    Sun And Moon – Dawn Young

    The Itsy Bitsy Scratchy Spider – Bru Benson

    Wait For Me – Candace Kubinec

    Untitled – Sarah Marhevsky

    It’s Raining, It’s Pouring – Sarah Hawklyn

    Don’t Row The Boat Please – Linda Schueler

    How Much Is That Bicycle In The Window – Mia Geiger

    The Itsy Bitsy Tadpoles– Hannah Roy LaGrone

    Rock Star Baby Brother – Katie Schwartz

    Albert Went Over The Mountain – Deb Buschman

    The Itsy Bitsy Spider Is Bored – Brenna Jeanneret

    The Just Right Story Book – JC Kelly

    PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

    When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who complete 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! 😊

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

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is penny-parker-klostermann.jpg

    ⭐️ 30 Minute Q&A with Penny Klostermann

    ⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique OR Query Letter Critique (Winner’s Choice) from Jennifer Buchet, debut author of LITTLE MEDUSA’S HAIR DO-LEMMA (Clear Fork/Spork May 11, 2021)

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jennifer-buchet.jpg

    

    ⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique from Jen Raudenbush, agented writer of picture books, middle grade, and poetry. (Represented by Natascha Morris of The Tobias Literary Agency)

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jen-raudenbush.jpeg
    Jen Raudenbush

    ⭐️ 30 minute Zoom chat about anything industry related (manuscript, query letter, best practices for querying) with Becky Scharnhorst, amazing author of MY SCHOOL STINKS (Philomel Books, July 6, 2021)

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is becky-scharnhorst-collage.jpeg

    ⭐️Picture Book Manuscript Critique with Audio Recording by author and poet Sarah Meade Sarah will do a written critique of your manuscript and include an audio recording of her first read-through of the manuscript. The audio recording is to help the author hear how the story flows and/or where a new reader may stumble when reading aloud.

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is screen-shot-2021-05-23-at-7.58.46-pm.png

    ⭐️ Webinar: How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro by author and editor Alayne Kay Christian

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is alayne-kay-christian.jpg

    ⭐️ A copy of Mary Kole’s Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Writers, donated by Nicole Loos Miller

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is writing-irresistible-kidlit.jpg

    ⭐️ A personalized signed copy of SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL (MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing 2021) by Candice Marley Conner
    

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is squarecover.jpg

    ⭐️ Making Picture Book Magic Self Study Class (any month)

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is email-header-final-susanna-hill.png

    ⭐️A copy of A FLOOD OF KINDNESS by Ellen Leventhal

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is a-flood-of-kindness.jpg

    ⭐️A copy of MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe by Vivian Kirkfield

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is making-their-voices-heard.jpg

    ⭐️A copy of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT by Penny Parker Klostermann

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2c5b9-dragon2bcover.jpg

    ⭐️A copy of SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE by Cathy Ballou Mealey

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sloth-cover.jpg

    ⭐️A copy of BINDU’S BINDIS by Supriya Kelkar

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bindus-bindis.jpg

    ⭐️ 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

    2021 Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge Week #3

    Ok, writers, are you ready?

    Forget the dishes in the sink, the pile of work in your inbox, and the fact that it’s your mother-in-law’s birthday on Thursday and you still haven’t thought of a good present!

    It’s time to Mix ‘n’ Match your way to a new story! 😊

    Mix ‘n’ Match Mini is a 7 week writing challenge for anyone who needs a little boost, a little inspiration, or a little encouragement to get writing. . . or maybe just a little fun!

    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 which continues to grow!)

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

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

    To read the Week #2 entries or add your Week #2 entry, please go HERE (Week #2)

    Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Prompt #3 for Week of May 24:

    So far we’ve played with character needs/goals, and with writing a cumulative story.  This week we’re going to play with a picture prompt, 3 random words. . . and a secret!

    Here’s the picture, drawn by the incredibly talented Julie Rowan-Zoch (author/illustrator of I’M A HARE, SO THERE! HMH Books For Young Readers 2021, and illustrator of LOUIS by Tom Lichtenheld HMH October 2020!) and used with her permission for your writing fun 😊 (Thank you, Julie!!! 💕)

    illustration copyright Julie Rowan-Zoch 2021 used by permission, all rights reserved

    And here are random words! Choose one from Column A, one from Column B, and one from Column C.

    Column AColumn BColumn C
    raindropspicnicstrawberry tart
    nestrope swingpond
    cherry treemistakebucket/pail
    unicornlosttantrum
    bridgespringadmire

    But wait! There’s a twist! One of the characters has a secret! Which character? What secret? And how does it impact the story? You will probably want to think up your own secret, but in case anyone needs an idea, here are a few suggestions:

    -took something that didn’t belong to them
    -hid something on purpose
    -told someone something that wasn’t true
    -doesn’t want to play hide ‘n’ seek (or duck, duck, goose, or musical chairs, or tag, or. . .)
    -only wants to play hide ‘n’ seek (or duck, duck, goose, or musical chairs, or tag, or. . .)
    -is allergic to acorns
    -wants to invite someone to their birthday party (or for a sleepover, or. . .)
    -is afraid of dogs (or cats, or bicycles, or bees, or swimming, or. . .) and doesn’t want anyone else to know
    -plans to bake a surprise cake for someone
    -has a special present for someone
    -isn’t telling someone something they should
    -secretly really likes someone
    -secretly doesn’t like someone
    -is getting something they know everyone will love

    Write a 100 word story for kids about the pictured characters, using three random words and giving one of the characters a secret which you incorporate into the story, and post your in the comment section below! (If for some reason you have trouble posting, you may use the contact form to email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you.)

    • 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 random words that are not on the list you can use them instead – 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 random words you’re using you’re using at the top of your entry along with your name, word count, and title if you have one.

    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!


    Ruth’s Birthday Surprise – Sue Lancaster

    The Perfect Gift – Erika Romero

    Getting There – Rose Cappelli

    A Hare Raising Mistake – Bru Benson

    Acorn Day – Jen Subra

    The Secret – Marty Findley

    The Secret Spot – Isabel Cruz Rodriguez

    The Smashed Bash – Laura Bower

    The Secrets of Beryl The Bunny – Elenore Byrne

    Hare…Or Not – Susan E. Schipper

    Better Than Acorns – Erin Cleary

    Acorns And, Er, What?! – Marty Bellis

    Bunny’s Problem – Deb Sullivan

    Floppy And The Rope Swing – Dawn Young

    Untitled – Elizabeth Volkmann

    The Cherry Pie Problem – Ashley B. Pedigo

    Chip, Drip, And Skip – Meg King-Sloan

    A Small Mistake – Leslie Degnan

    Turtle’s Strawberry Hill Surprise – Joyce Uglow

    Disappearing Dewberries – Candice Marley Conner

    Rabbit Won’t Have To Wait – Sara Kruger

    Hare Today And Gone Tomorrow: From Brey To Form, A Secret That Saved! – Sally Yorke-Viney

    Miss Bun’s Secret – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf

    A Happy Tail – Marta Cutler

    Safe Cracking Squirrels – Susan Summers

    Clueless Squirrels – Lyn Jekowsky

    Scratch And Scritch’s Show Stopper – Ashley Sierra

    Fireworks – Aly Kenna

    Late Lunch – Hannah Roy LeGrone

    Bunny’s Magic – Dianne Irving

    Thoughtful Harry – Padgy Soltis

    A Secret Entrance – Lauri Meyers

    The Scavenger Hunt – Barbara Renner

    Vanishing Act – Marta Cutler

    Rabbith’th Thee-cret (Rabbit’s Secret) – Allison Strick

    Harah Helps Look – Sarah Meade

    Momo’s Cherry Tree – Bevin Rolfs Spencer

    In The Mood To Play? – Amy Leskowski

    A Couple Of Nuts – Jill Lambert

    Mr. Bunny’s Secret Skill – Mia Geiger

    B-U-N-N-Y Spells Trouble – Jeannette Suhr

    Rainy Picnic – Nicole Loos Miller

    The Secret of Sassafras – Linda Schueler

    A Friend In Need – Candace Kubinec

    Untitled – Lauren Scott

    The Unicorn – Lynn Katz

    Unicorn’s Secret – Michelle S. Kennedy

    The Happiest Habit – Christine Alemshah

    The Bunny’s Secret – Marla Yablon

    Watch Out For Bear? Watch Out For Hare! – Katie Schwartz

    The Will To Win – Colleen Owen Murphy

    Magic Unicorn – Robin Currie

    Happy Spwing – Deb Buschman

    The Unicorn’s Mistake – Brenna Jeanneret

    Tantrum Blues – Sarah Hawklyn

    That Hare – JC Kelly


    PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

    When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who complete 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! 😊

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

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is penny-parker-klostermann.jpg

    ⭐️ 30 Minute Q&A with Penny Klostermann

    ⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique OR Query Letter Critique (Winner’s Choice) from Jennifer Buchet, debut author of LITTLE MEDUSA’S HAIR DO-LEMMA (Clear Fork/Spork May 11, 2021)

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jennifer-buchet.jpg

    

    ⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique from Jen Raudenbush, agented writer of picture books, middle grade, and poetry. (Represented by Natascha Morris of The Tobias Literary Agency)

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jen-raudenbush.jpeg
    Jen Raudenbush

    ⭐️ 30 minute Zoom chat about anything industry related (manuscript, query letter, best practices for querying) with Becky Scharnhorst, amazing author of MY SCHOOL STINKS (Philomel Books, July 6, 2021)

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is becky-scharnhorst-collage.jpeg

    ⭐️Picture Book Manuscript Critique with Audio Recording by author and poet Sarah Meade Sarah will do a written critique of your manuscript and include an audio recording of her first read-through of the manuscript. The audio recording is to help the author hear how the story flows and/or where a new reader may stumble when reading aloud.

    ⭐️ Webinar: How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro by author and editor Alayne Kay Christian

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is alayne-kay-christian.jpg

    ⭐️ A copy of Mary Kole’s Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Writers, donated by Nicole Loos Miller

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is writing-irresistible-kidlit.jpg

    ⭐️ A personalized signed copy of SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL (MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing 2021) by Candice Marley Conner
    

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is squarecover.jpg

    ⭐️ Making Picture Book Magic Self Study Class (any month)

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is email-header-final-susanna-hill.png

    ⭐️A copy of A FLOOD OF KINDNESS by Ellen Leventhal

    ⭐️A copy of MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe by Vivian Kirkfield

    ⭐️A copy of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT by Penny Parker Klostermann

    ⭐️A copy of SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE by Cathy Ballou Mealey

    ⭐️A copy of BINDU’S BINDIS by Supriya Kelkar

    ⭐️ 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

    2021 Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge – Week 2!

    Writers, start your computers!

    It’s time for Week #2 of the 2021 Mix ‘n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge!

    WOOHOO!

    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!

    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…which keeps getting added to!)

    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 17:

    Last week we played with character needs, an important thing to keep in mind when you’re writing because characters should always need or want something desperately – a goal, an object or possession, a role, a quality, to prove something (to herself or someone else), to overcome something. . . You all did splendidly!

    This week we’re going to play with a specific story type: the cumulative tale!

    Cumulative stories build and build, growing sillier, or more chaotic, or more outrageous, or more complicated with each new addition, as in There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly.

    She swallowed the goat to catch the dog …
    She swallowed the dog to catch the cat.
    She swallowed the cat to catch the bird …
    She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
    That wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
    She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.


    Some published examples of clever re-tellings are:

    There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed A Knight by Penny Parker Klostermann
    There Was An Old Monster (Who Swallowed A Tick) by Adrian, Rebecca & Ed Emberly
    There Was An Old Gator Who Swallowed A Moth by B.J. Lee

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it 😊 is to choose an adjective from Column A, a character from Column B, a verb from Column C, and a noun from Column D. Mix ‘n’ Match and write your own version!

    e.g. There Was An Old Cowboy Who Lassoed A Bear
    There Was A Huge Baby Who Lived On A Boat
    There Was A Shy T-Rex Who Wished For A Friend

    Column A – Adj.Column B – CharacterColumn C – VerbColumn D – Noun
    OldMonsterTurned IntoGhost
    SmartGrandmaFollowedToad
    BraveWarthogFought With/BulliedFriend
    ShyT-RexRan From/Ran To/Ran UpSword
    HugeKittenPlayed Tricks OnBear
    SmallPythonWished For/Wished OnMoon/Star
    MeanCowboyLassoedBee
    StrangeBabySwallowedWitch
    WildZookeepTauntedTree
    CuteLionLived With/Lived In/Lived OnBoat

    If choosing from all 4 columns is more than you want, or if you don’t like any of the words but the list inspires you to think up your own words, feel free to use as many or as few from the columns as you like and supply the other words yourself, but you must follow the format:

    There Was A(n) ___ADJ___ ___CHARACTER___ Who ___VERB___ A(HIS, HER, THE) ___NOUN___

    and it must be a cumulative story!

    • 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 just a guideline
    • If you’re deeply inspired by another set of words, go for it! – 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 column items you’re using at the top of your entry along with your name, title, and word count.
      For example:
      There Was A Cute Kitten Who Followed His Nose
      by Marcia Writer
      107 words
      cute, kitten, followed

    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!

    Post your Week #2 story in the comment section below, or, if you have trouble for any reason and can’t post yourself you may email it to me using the Contact Form and I will post it for you.

    Ready, set, WRITE! 😊

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

    Check out the Week #2 stories!

    There Was A Small Baby Who Wished For A Star – Sue Lancaster

    There Was A Wild Warthog Who Wanted To Dance – Sally Yorke-Viney

    There Was A Shy Monster Who Followed A Toad – Jen Subra

    There Was A Young Cowboy Who Lassoed A Bee – Rose Cappelli

    There Was A Strange Witch Who Turned Into A Bee – Candice Marley Conner

    Who Might She Be? – Dawn Young

    There Was A Brave Grandma Who Followed A Star – Erin Cleary

    There Was An Old Grandma – Isabel Cruz Rodriguez

    Where Is Baby’s Bear? – Hannah Roy LaGrone

    There Was A Smart Grandma Who Bullied A Bee – Kimiko Wadriski Lumsden

    Traffic Jam Baby – Elenore Byrne

    There Was A Huge Monster That Lived In A Tree – Erika Romero

    There Was A Huge Baby Who Followed A Bear – Leslie Degman

    I Know A Small Baby Who Swallowed Some Milk – Lauri Meyers

    There Was A Mean Cowboy Who Lassoed A Bee – Aly Kenna

    There Was A Huge Heron Who Followed A Toad – Jill Lambert

    There Was An Old Cowboy Who Wished For A Boat – Candace Kubinec

    There Was A Shy Kitten – Nicole Loos Miller

    There Was A Shy Monster Who Lived On A Star – Susan E. Schipper

    There Was A Small Kitten Who Followed A Toad – Barbara Farr Renner

    There Was A Weird Warthog Who Lassoed A Bear – Lyn Jekowsky

    There Was A Brave Baby Who Followed A Bee – Deb Sullivan

    There Was A Wild Warthog Who Wished For A Witch – Susan Summer

    There Was A Young Writer Who Wrote A Great Word – Sarah Meade

    Wishing Kitten – Julie Kurtz

    There Was An Old Monster Who Wished For A Boat – Brenda Whitehead

    The Nose Of A Kitten – Elizabeth Volkmann

    There Was A Mean Monster Who Swallowed A Toad – Laura Bower

    Come To My Party – Ashley B. Pedigo

    There Was A Brown Cow Who Lived In A Tree – Marty Bellis

    There Was A Strange Cowboy Who Wished For A Friend – Sophia Zafra

    There Was A Shy Lion Who Wished For A Friend – Marta Cutler

    There Was A Brave Woman Who Wrote Down A Note – Ashley Sierra

    The Hungriest Python Turned Into A Boat – Allison Strick

    There Was An Author Who Got Stymied By The Prompt – Joyce Uglow

    There Was A Small Kitten Who Followed A Bee – Diane Irving

    Are you New? – Marla Yablon

    There Was A Shy Lion Who Wished For A Friend – Lauren Scott

    There Was A Strange Kitten Who Lassoed The Moon – Linda Schueler

    There Was A Smart Baby Who Followed A Star – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf

    There Was An Old Grandma Who Followed A Ghost – Marta Cutler

    There Was A Brave Grandma Who Lassoed A Witch – Jeannette Suhr

    There Was A Brave Zookeeper That Taunted A Bear – Sarah Hawklyn

    There Was A Wild Zookeeper Who Ran From A Bear – Jana Mattern

    There Was A Smart T-Rex Who Played Tricks On A Witch – Bevin Rolfs Spencer

    A Huge Baby Swallowed A Witch – Bru Benson

    There Was A Brave Baby Who Followed A Bee – Jamie Bills

    The Old Cowboy – Katie Schwartz

    There Was A Cute Baby Who Charmed A Mommy – Christine Alemshah

    There Was A Brave Baby Who Followed A Bee – Sara Kruger

    There Was A Strange Cowboy Who Lived On A Boat – Michelle S. Kennedy

    The Grandma Who Bullied A Bear – Lynn Katz

    There Was A Brave Baby Who Followed A Witch – Padgy Soltis

    There Was A Shy Monster Who Taunted A Tree – Amy Leskowski

    A New Friend – Mia Geiger

    There Was A Smart Grandma – Marty Findley

    There Was An Old Cowboy Who Lassoed A Star – Melissa Wrex

    There Was An Old Cowboy Who Wanted A Friend – Robin Currie

    Not Guilty – Colleen Owen Murphy

    There Was A Wild Warthog Who Ran Up A Tree – Deb Buschman

    There Was A Wild Grandma Who Turned Into The Moon – Brenna Jeanneret

    There Was An Old Cowboy Who Lassoed A Friend – JC Kelly



    PRIZES & PRIZES OF ALL SHAPES AND SIZES!

    When it comes time for prizes, names of all those who complete 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! 😊

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

    ⭐️ 30 Minute Q&A with Penny Klostermann

    ⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique OR Query Letter Critique (Winner’s Choice) from Jennifer Buchet, debut author of LITTLE MEDUSA’S HAIR DO-LEMMA (Clear Fork/Spork May 11, 2021)

    ⭐️ Picture Book MS Critique from Jen Raudenbush, agented writer of picture books, middle grade, and poetry. (Represented by Natascha Morris of The Tobias Literary Agency)

    Jen Raudenbush

    ⭐️ 30 minute Zoom chat about anything industry related (manuscript, query letter, best practices for querying) with Becky Scharnhorst, amazing author of MY SCHOOL STINKS (Philomel Books, July 6, 2021)

    ⭐️Picture Book Manuscript Critique with Audio Recording by author and poet Sarah Meade (details coming)

    ⭐️ Webinar: How To Write Powerful First Pages Like A Pro by author and editor Alayne Kay Christian

    ⭐️ A copy of Mary Kole’s Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Fiction for Young Adult and Middle Grade Writers, donated by Nicole Loos Miller

    ⭐️ A personalized signed copy of SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL (MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing 2021) by Candice Marley Conner

    ⭐️ Making Picture Book Magic Self Study Class (any month)

    ⭐️A copy of A FLOOD OF KINDNESS by Ellen Leventhal

    ⭐️A copy of MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe by Vivian Kirkfield

    ⭐️A copy of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT by Penny Parker Klostermann

    ⭐️A copy of SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE by Cathy Ballou Mealey

    ⭐️ 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