Cover Reveal: FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: An Animal Counting Book

I AM SO HAPPY TODAY!

I get to REVEAL THE COVER of my third debut picture book of 2019!

FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK

four otters cover amazon Continue reading

VIVIANE ELBEE: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

Viviane Headshot

VIVIANE ELBEE

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Perfect Picture Book Friday: TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, my friends. The mailbox has been a flurry of awesome activity this week…lots of new picture books! And since this one is launching in just a couple of days, I wanted to share it with you. PLUS, the author, Viviane Elbee, will be stopping by tomorrow to chat on Will Write for Cookies AND she is offering a copy of her debut picture book for a giveaway!

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TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI

Written by Viviane Elbee

Illustrated by Danni Gowdy

Publlished by Albert Whitman (November 1, 2018)

Ages: 3-6

Themes: Facing fears, friendship

Opening lines: “Uh-oh. It’s snowing and your giraffe wants you to teach her to ski.”

Synopsis: 

What do you do when your giraffe wants to learn how to ski—but she wants to go down the big scary slope and you are NOT a fan of skiing even on the bunny slope? As the boy tries to control his giraffe and lead her to safer spots, he learns something about courage along the way and the reader learns about ski slope etiquette and the rudiments of skiing.

Why I like this book:

  • The illustrations are absolutely adorable as humans and animals strap on skis and share the slopes.
  • Kids will love the story…so over the top hilarious, but with important underlying messages of friendship and facing fears.
  • I enjoyed the larger typeface and I think beginning readers will be encouraged to try to read this themselves.

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Paper Plate Giraffe

giraffe craftPhoto courtesy: https://familymaven.io

Paper plates are one of my favorite classic craft materials. For detailed instructions: https://familymaven.io/kidsactivities/kidsactivities/easy-giraffe-craft-for-kids-NQNcWRx1Z0SwCkAYeJjZ6w/

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway. And come back tomorrow when we chat with Viviane Elbee about her writing journey.

I hope all of you have a wonderful weekend. I’ll be at a local apple orchard with my grandson. Whatever you are doing, stay safe, and remember that authors need our support. Leaving a review, on Amazon, Goodreads, or other review sites, can really give a boost to the potential success of your favorite book!

 

 

 

AMBER HENDRICKS: Will Write for Cookies Plus PB Critique Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

updated author

AMBER HENDRICKS

Hello everyone! You are in for a treat today! It’s always such fun to chat with authors who are friends and critique partners – even I learn more about them during the Q&A.

Amber grew up reading everything she could get her hands on, including the morning cereal boxes. That passion melded into writing, and by the age of 11 she was writing and binding her own “books.” Over the years, Amber has worn many hats. Those include army wife, mother, visual merchandiser, certified pharmacy technician, and childcare professional. But she has always circled back to her first love of telling stories. SOPHIE AND LITTLE STAR is her first book for children.

To learn more about Amber and her writing:

Facebook, Twitter, Publisher website

Okay…so there you go! I just learned that Amber also read cereal boxes! I wonder how many other people do that? I’m so thrilled you stopped by today, my friend. Thank you for offering a pb critique as a giveaway…I can attest to the fact that your feedback is fabulous!

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

AMBER: I don’t remember reading many picture books as a child, outside of Dr. Seuss. What I do remember is the feeling I would get when I held a book. A magical feeling that I was about to go on an incredible adventure and discover amazing new people and places I could only visit in my imagination. I still get that feeling every time I hold a book!

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ME: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?

AMBER: So many things! But one of the important lessons I learned was that publishing takes a very long time. Patience in publishing is a must! There will always be something you’re waiting for: responses to submissions, that new shiny idea, your book to release….  Once I learned to accept and embrace the waiting, I was able to enjoy the process even more and turn my focus onto writing something new.

ME: Where do you like to write – inside, outside, special room, laptop, pen and paper?

AMBER: My laptop sits atop my fireplace mantle, so I write standing up! Standing gives me the freedom to pace around if I’m working through a particularly tough scene or if I want to grab another book for reference. After so many years of standing, I couldn’t imagine writing at a desk.

ME: When do you write – early morning, late in the day, middle of the night, on schedule, as the muse strikes?

AMBER: I have two young children and work a full time job, so it is almost impossible to find time during the day to write. Often, you’ll find me typing away in the late evenings after the kids have gone to bed and all the chores have been done. Though sometimes an idea or perfect line will pop into my mind in the middle of the night!

Writing area

ME: Why do you write for children?

 AMBER: I think there is a certain magic in introducing a child to the love of reading. When I first got the idea to pursue publishing, I thought I’d write Young Adult novels. But I was running a preschool/daycare at the time and picture books were a huge part of our day. I began to see the complexity in those seemingly simple stories and challenged myself to give picture books a try. I fell head-over-heels in love. Four years later, I’m still honing that craft!

ME:  If you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. .

AMBER: To aspiring writers…… Publishing is full of ups and downs. There is no magic formula. Writing will always be hard, and will most likely get harder as you push yourself to learn more and hone your craft. The good news?  We belong to an amazing community of like-minded people who will lift you up and encourage you along the way. Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep learning. You CAN do this!

ME: WOW! Thank you so much, Amber. I love your advice…yes, definitely, there is no magic formula…although you’ve laid out the steps that must be taken: Keep Reading! Keep Writing! Keep Learning! 

I wonder if anyone else is amazed that Amber writes standing up…that is probably a great idea for the back…no bending over and rounding of the spine!  I just may have to try it! And something else I may have to try…Amber’s Mom’s No Bake Cookie! Take it away, Amber.

AMBER: I’m not the best baker, but my mom is and she makes a mean No Bake Cookie!

No Bake Cookies

NO-BAKE COOKIES

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

½ cup milk

½ cup butter

¼ cup cocoa

3 cups quick oats

½ cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp salt

Directions:

Melt ½ cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

Add sugar, milk, and cocoa and mix well.

Bring to a boil for one minute, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and add peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until peanut butter is melted.

Combine oats and salt and add to the pot stirring until well mixed.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto wax paper.

Allow to cool thoroughly and enjoy!

This sounds like pure comfort food to me…I’m going to make them with my grandson the next time he comes over. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to meeting a kidlit friend on Wednesday, one of my inperson critique groups on Thursday, and my local SCBWI group on Friday – so I’d better get busy revising an old nonfition pb bio I want to send to my agent and also get writing on the tentative follow up Pippa story.

And please stay tuned because one day early next week I’m going to have a SURPRISE COVER REVEAL for my FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN:An Animal Counting Book story with a special giveaway in honor of that.

What’s happening in your writing world, my friends? I hope you have a wonderful weekend – the New England foliage is probably coming into its peak…at least here in southern New Hampshire. Don’t forget to leave a commnet to be entered into the giveaway for the FABULOUS PICTURE BOOK CRITIQUE from Amber!

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: SOPHIE AND LITTLE STAR Plus PB Manuscript Critique Giveaway

Did you know that my 5-year old granddaughter’s name is Sophie? She’s a ball of fun and energy…and she LOVES books and hearing stories and having the mailman deliver envelopes with her name on them. And so, when one of my dear friends and critique buddies, Amber Hendricks, wrote a story called Sophie and Little Star and it got published, I knew I’d be getting a copy for her. And of course, sharing it with all of you for Perfect Picture Book Friday!

And guess what? This talented and generous author is gifting some lucky reader with a Picture Book Manuscript Critique…yes! Just make sure you leave a comment and you will be entered into the giveaway.

SALSCover_Final_RGB_NoBleed_Stars

SOPHIE AND LITTLE STAR

Written by Amber Hendricks

Illustrated by Raissa Figueroa

Published by Clear Fork/Spork (2018)

Ages: 3-8

Themes: Friendship, helping one another, determination

Opening lines: 

“Every night, when the sun had set and the stars gathered in the heavens to shine their light on the world, Little Star watched, wishing she could join.”

Synopsis:

“Sophie and Little Star is a delightfully charming tale about friendship and finding where we belong. A wonderful bedtime treat!” -Marissa Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles

When a little star falls from her home in the sky, she finds help from an unexpected friend. Together, the new friends search for a way to send Little Star home, but soon discover that not everyone you meet is kind, or helpful. Little Star begins to wonder if she’ll ever find a way home, and if she does, will she be able to leave her new friend, Sophie, behind?”

Why I like this book:

  • I love stories about friendship, especially those with a bit of pixie dust and magic woven in.
  • I love stories where the main character shows determination – and this one is a mighty girl who just isn’t going to give up until she helps her new friend, Little Star.
  • The illustrations are beautiful and Raissa captures the dreamy night-time feel throughout the pages.
  • I love sweet bedtime stories and so do kids!

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Star-Crafts-for-Kids-10-Ideas-433x650Photo courtesy: https://www.powerfulmothering.com/10-star-crafts-for-kids/

STAR PROJECTS FOR KIDS: For detailed instructions, please go to: https://www.powerfulmothering.com/10-star-crafts-for-kids/

Bundle up and go out in the evening to look up at the stars. Get a book for kids on the constellations and see how many you can identify. Check you library for Child’s Introduction to the Night Sky by Michael Driscoll.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Please make sure you leave a comment to enter the giveaway…and come back tomorrow when Amber visits Picture Books Help Kids Soar and shares her writing journey and a very special No-Bake cookie recipe from her mom.

This post joins all the others on Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday link up where bloggers review their favorite picture books.

And please don’t forget that our favorite authors need our help to spread the word about their books. BUY THEM! REVIEW THEM! TELL OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT THEM!

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush PLUS PB Manuscript Critique Giveaway and Book Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday! Picture books are magical…especially when they are about a magical item. And Perfect Picture Book Friday posts are magical when they have DOUBLE GIVEAWAYS. Yes, author Melissa Stoller is donating both a pb manuscript critique AND a copy of her brand-new picture book! Woo-hoo!

scarlet's magic paintbrush

SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH

Written by Melissa Stoller

Ilustrated by Sandie Sonke

Published by Clear Fork/Spork (October 2018)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Creativity, be yourself, self-esteem

Opening lines: 

“Years ago, Scarlet found a magic paintbrush and everything changed.”

Synopsis: From Amazon: 

What would it be like to have a magic paintbrush?

Scarlet knows. 
She paints perfect pictures . . . until her brush disappears. 
Will she ever be
able to create another 
masterpiece without it?

Why I like this book:

  • The element of magic appeals to kids…who wouldn’t want a brush that magically draws perfect pictures?
  • I loved seeing Scarlet come to the realization that her own creativity is important.
  • The illustrations are full of color…perfect for a book about a girl who loves to paint.

RELATED ACTIVITIES:

Painting With Kids

Painting-Activities-for-Kids-1

Photo courtesy: https://artfulparent.com/painting-activities-kids-60-ideas/

For detailed instructions for 50 painting projects: https://artfulparent.com/painting-activities-kids-60-ideas/

Ask your kids, what would they draw if they had a magic paintbrush? If they could imbue any item with magical powers, what would it be and what would it do? And wouldn’t we all like to have an item that had magical powers? What item would you want to be magical?

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in this double-your-pleasure giveaway. And, when you read Melissa’s book, don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or other review sites. Reviews are like a birthday gift to your favorite author!

And speaking of picture books, for more wonderful recommendations and activities for kids, please hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday link up.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear friends. Safe travels if you are away from home.

 

 

A Couple More Giveaway Winners…and Tips on My Writing Process

Hello my friends.  This post is two-fold…I wanted to announce a couple of giveaway winners before I get too far behind again.

PLUS…I’m part of #Newin19 – a group of debut picture book authors and illustrators whose books are launching in 2019. We have a wonderful new website that will be chock full of peeks into the lives of the authors and illustrators, sneak peeks at their book covers, special events and happenings as we come into the new year, PLUS a blog where we’ll share insights and information of interest to all.

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But first, let’s get to the giveaways.

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Author Maria Gianferrari offered a copy of her brand-new picture book: OPERATION RESCUE DOG. And the winner is…

SARAH TOBIAS

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Author Beth Anderson offered a copy of her brand-new picture book: AN INCONVENIENT ALPHABET: BEN FRANKLIN & NOAH WEBSTER’S SPELLING REVOLUTION. And the winner is: 

ANNIE LYNN

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Hannah Holt, author of A DIAMOND AND A BOY, offered a Picture Book Manuscript Critique. And the winner is…

KAITLYN LEANN SANCHEZ

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And last, I offered a copy of Hannah’s debut pb, A DIAMOND AND A BOY. And the winner is…

PAMELA COURTNEY

Congratulations…and a big thank you to our generous authors. I will connect you all so the prizes can be distributed.

And now, as promised, the link for the post I wrote for the #Newin19 group. The article is called: SEVEN STEPS AND A FEW SECRET INGREDIENTS:

https://newin19.weebly.com/newin19/seven-steps-and-a-few-secret-ingredients

I hope you all stop by to visit our new blog – shout-outs and shares will be much appreciated by all of these talented new authors and illustrators – I’m honored to be part of their group. To tell you the truth, I almost feel like an imposter because this is the THIRD debut picture book author/illustrator group I’ve been in…I was in PicturetheBooks 2017 and also in Epic Eighteens…but they do say that third time’s a charm. Maybe that’s why I have three books debuting next year! 

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And just a heads up…the #Newin19 group is having a Twitter chat with one of kidlit’s favorite people, MATTHEW WINNER. So please, tune in at #Newin19 on your Twitter page on Thursday, October 11th at 8pm EST/7pm CST. He’s going to be asking us all sorts of fun questions!

I hope you all have a wonderful week…I’ll see you on Friday when Melissa Stoller’s Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush is in the spotlight! And then, looking down the road for the next few weeks, Amber Hendricks’ Sophie and Little Star; Viviane Elbee’s Teach Your Giraffe to Ski; Sherry Howard’s Rock & Roll Woods; Brian Lies’ The Rough Patch; and Lisa Amstrutz’ Finding a Dove for Grandpa! WOW!