Will Write for Cookies: Callie Metler Smith PLUS Giveaway


Plate of Cookies








I’ve haven’t met our Will Write for Cookies guest in person yet. But I’ve shared the stage with her on picture book writing webinars and I’ve chatted with her in many Facebook forums…and I know that one day, our paths will cross and we will get to hug each other. And that will make me very happy because Callie Metler-Smith is one of the kindest, sweetest, and friendliest publishers I know. She’s the editor for Clear Fork/Spork and is responsible for a bunch of awesome books that have launched within the past year: LOLA CAN’T LEAP by Ellen Leventhal; THE MASTERPIECE by Shelley Kinder; SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH by Melissa Stoller; and so many more.

Callie Metler-Smith is the owner of Clear Fork Media Group in Stamford, Texas. She has owned the Stamford American since 2009 and Clear Fork Publishing since 2014. When not working on her corner of the Stamford Square, she is spending time with her husband, Philip and two sons, Logan and Ben.


ME: A great big welcome to you, Callie! Thank you so much for stopping by. I know everyone is anxious to hear more about you and your writerly/editorial journey.

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

CALLIE: My all-time favorite book when I was growing up was There’s a Monster at the end of this book. I remember sitting with my mom asking her to read it to me over and over again. I loved to read from the time I knew how and was passionate about the Sweet Valley High books, Babysitters Club, Nancy Drew, and Trixie Belden. I don’t remember really loving picture books until my oldest son, Logan, was born and reading with him became a key interaction between us. His favorites were the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series, Click, Clack, Moo, and Skippy Jon Jones.

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

CALLIE: One of the biggest things I wish I had learned earlier was how important having a very specific mission statement of the story can really help shape the story. If your story can’t be summed up in one sentence, usually this can be an indication of too much going on with a story or that it isn’t focused enough.

In my personal writing, I also think I’ve developed an appreciation for not forcing a story when it isn’t working but instead letting it sit and develop for a while in my head before reproaching it. I think I could have saved myself many hours staring at a blank page.

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

CALLIE: It is funny that you asked this because I use to have a very defined writing ritual when I was writing five or six news stories a week in addition to my weekly editor’s column. It consisted of spinach and artichoke dip, the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Dr. Pepper. I was also very strict about it being a No Kid Zone.


As I’ve grown as a writer, I’ve noticed that for me it isn’t as much about the ritual as it is just setting clear and defined times to be creative and realize that I needed to be intentional about writing. I’m still big on it being a no interruption zone, but I’m much more laid back about the when and where. I also write in a combination of formats, but since I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year being the mom taxi to two teenage boys, I’ve fallen in love with writing on my iPhone in google drive.


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

CALLIE: The when often depends on what I’m working on. I still tend to write news stories first thing in the morning when my mind is the clearest and focused because it is normally very technical and requires a lot of details, notes, and sometimes tape-recorded interviews. My other writing is mainly done on the weekends, usually on Sunday afternoons.


ME: Why do you write for children and/or why did you decide to become a children’s book editor/publisher?

CALLIE: Words have been one of the great love affairs of my life. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t pouring over a book and enjoying how the author had weaved together their story. My first career path was in the newspaper world where I really dealt with a high volume of both writing and editing. This gave way to my bookstore, which expanded my love for books and gave me a lot more knowledge of how the publishing world worked. I knew about four years before I published the first book that I was heading in that direction, but it wasn’t until I published my first Children’s book that I really fell in love the industry. The pay off from knowing that you have had a hand in putting a beautiful story into the world has a value for me that is priceless. I also really love working with authors and illustrators.



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

CALLIE: My biggest piece of advice for aspiring writers is to ALWAYS continue to believe in yourself. When getting feedback, take it all in and implement what rings true for you and your writing. When getting a rejection, always remember that that rejection is putting you closer to the yes and finding the person that will believe in your writing as much as you do.

Oh my goodness…Callie…this has been amazing! It’s especially helpful for us as writers to hear insights from someone who is an editor AND a writer! And I need to share with everyone in case they don’t know it…Callie is especially passionate about giving new authors and illustrators a chance…when she reads a story or sees samples from an illustrator that she loves, she does everything she can to move forward with the project. That is quite spectacular, if you ask me!

santa and son

And now, my friends, we have even more Will Write for Cookies awesomeness…Callie is providing a VERY special cookie recipe!

CALLIE: I would recommend Monster Cookies which are Logan’s favorite!


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 4 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup candy-coated milk chocolate pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a very large bowl, beat the eggs.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients in order, mixing well.
  4. Use an ice cream scoop to put on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

CALLIE: Logan’s favorite part is the m&m pieces so usually, I add extra or change it up with Reece’s Pieces. Makes me hungry just thinking about it!

Me, too, Callie! I just may have to make a cup of tea and scrounge around for some cookie-like treat to go with it.

Meanwhile, dear friends, please don’t forget to leave a comment because Callie is giving away not one, but two copies of HOW TO BABYSIT A LOGAN. There will be a copy given away to one person who comments on yesterday’s Perfect Picture Book Friday and another copy for today’s Will Write for Cookies. Thank you so much, Callie!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. If you find yourself with a bit of free time and want to delve into the story of SWEET DREAMS, SARAH, there is a discussion going on at the Missing Voices Facebook Group…and Tuesday, May 28 at 8pm Eastern time, I’ll be hanging out in a live FB chat, answering questions. I hope you’ll stop by over the next week and a half and then get your questions ready for the 28th.



40 thoughts on “Will Write for Cookies: Callie Metler Smith PLUS Giveaway

  1. This recipe looks delicious! We have company coming this weekend and I think these cookies will go a long way toward making them feel welcome. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh two amazing ladies I look up to in this industry, it was si amazing to sit here and join your chat, thank you for sharing.
    First, I have to say, I don’t know how both if you ladies do so much everyday, I’m super impressed.

    Second, everything you sold rings so true with me. I got so close to giving up so many times with rejections, but I had wonderful cps, and amazing people like you ladies sharing their stories, so I would set my stories aside and come back, and keep trying new things, and here I am two years after my journey started, and I have a book deal on the way and an agent who believes in me! “My biggest piece of advice for aspiring writers is to ALWAYS continue to believe in yourself.” I can’t echo this more! A no doesn’t mean you’re not amazing or your book is t amazing, you just haven’t found the one who gets you and your story yet, keep working and connecting, and everyone can make it. Callie, your webinars inspire so many more than you know and Vivian your social media support, well, the world needs it (I needed it when we first started chatting anyway), so both of you ladies, thank you for he bottom of my heart for helping me on my journey and for helping so many others.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I simply love this story and the Illustrations. I’m in awe of Callie’s talent and so excited to read about her writing journey. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your advice about the one line strong mission statement hit me over the top of my head and is awesome description that rings true with me. I’m keeping this gem in mind when I write from now on.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You have wonderful writing tips, Callie. Congrats on your book. The title is a grabber, for sure. Thanks, Vivian, for the heads up on your FB chat.


  6. Sweet Valley High series–woohoo! That series kept me going when I moved to a brand new country in 9thG (oy vey!) Anyway, loved hearing your story, Callie. Always amazed at all that you’ve accomplished & keep on accomplishing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you. I love your advice about having a mission statement and about giving the story time to percolate an develop. And most important to continue to believe in yourself. I’ll have to try the cookie recipe but I will have to cut back on the sugar. I’ll let you know how it comes out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • And i love, love, love: “The pay off from knowing that you have had a hand in putting a beautiful story into the world has a value for me that is priceless.”. (I couldn’t figure out a way to edit my comment above)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for sharing these great writing tips (especially the part about just believing in yourself). How to Babysit a Logan looks amazing! Thank you both for this lovely interview (and yum…know what I’ll be baking this weekend) ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Vivian,
    Super to read your interview with our publisher extrodinaire, Callie Metler Smith!

    Yes, I agree she is absolutely fabulous, knowledgable, giving, kind, smart, beautiful…..I have enjoyed working with her so much as my publisher on my debut, ‘Crow Spirit’!
    ‘How to Babysit a Logan’ looks fabulous.
    Her heart is as big as the state of Texas.
    Cookies included.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Have been trying for 2 days to post. Let’s see what happens this time…Thanks for inviting me to join you for tea and cookies and great conversation, Vivian and Callie. Two beautiful people invited me to their tea party. That’s pretty special! And what I’m taking home is, BELIEVE (in me and all my friends!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • YAY…your comment is here, Mona! So sorry you have had issues with posting…but I’m glad it worked this time. And add PERSISTENCE to the BELIEVE, right? Happy you are here with us, enjoying the tea and cookies and conversation!


  11. Excellent post, Vivian! I enjoyed learning more about Callie, her writing journey, and the inspiration she shared. Now to try those Monster cookies!


  12. Thanks for the fabulous post, Vivian and Callie! And I appreciate the shout out of Scarlet, Vivian! I’m so lucky to call Super Woman Callie my publisher and friend! Cheers to another beautiful book. Hugs to you both!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Just loved reading about Callie’s writing process – she’s an expert! Congrats on the new book “How to Babysit a Logan” – can’t wait to read it. Thanks, Vivian for another great interview. I always learn something new!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I love the cover of How to Babysit a Logan. The textures and patterns of the material are quite arresting. Makes me want to open the book. Also, I think the mission statement concept is interesting. I’ve written for nonprofits for a long time, and it makes sense to have a mission statement in that world, but then transfering the concept to writing and thinking about story’s mission statement instead of the pitch as a way to shape the story definitely makes extraneous details fall away.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Callie and Vivian–You two are destined to meet for a huge hug! You’re brilliantly vibrant people who go beyond being talented writers. You encourage and support our community with honest words about the triumphs and trials of writing for children. I have four submissions out now…a time of waiting with hope and angst. Your words help bolster my continued belief in myself.
    Vivian, hearing you read SWEET DREAMS, SARAH in the Australian video filled me with such joy. Your words captured the struggle and sweetness of Sarah’s accomplishment. Your book is a mentor text for my interest in writing nonfiction picture books. Someday I’ll tackle that genre and have you to thank.
    Callie, I admire and applaud your committed life to the publishing world. Your passion for providing the “best” stories that reach beyond the page to the heart of children is evident in this interview. Congrats on your upcoming book HOW TO BABYSIT A LOGAN! May you have continued joy and success.


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