Today is Friday, December 30, 2016…which is significant for several reasons.
It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday…so I’ll be reviewing a wonderful picture book.
But I’ve got a couple of other things to tell you, so, hold onto your hats! Today’s post is chock full of good stuff!
First of all, for the last several years, Julie Hedlund has gifted the kidlit community with the 12 Days of Christmas for Writers. This daily video prompt gives you a chance to take a look at your accomplishments, pat yourself on the back for your successes, as well as your failures…because failures mean that you are one step closer to reaching your goals. There is still time to join in – this is the type of challenge that can help you get on the right track for 2017. And her post, The Anti-Resolution Revolution, is a must-read. As per her suggestion, here is a short list of what made me smile in 2016:
- There was a fabulous turnout for my #50PreciousWords writing contest in March that celebrated the birthday of Dr. Seuss. I expected perhaps a dozen friends to submit stories…but in the end, we had 128 awesome entries. I was blown away with the quality of the stories…and fifteen people walked away with prizes…a critique with my incredible agent, Essie White, a seat in Kristen Fulton’s Nonfiction Archaeology class, a critique from me, and a dozen brand-new books. As many of you know, the writer who won first place chose the agent critique and is now represented by Storm Literary Agency! Which just goes to show that entering contests and writing challenges is definitely a valuable step toward publication. I’m already planning the 2017 contest and hope to see all of you there. If you have something you’d like to offer as a prize (critique, signed art, book), your donation will be much appreciated.
- In April, I attended my first real SCBWI conference…in Chicago. It was fantastic. And in July, I spent a glorious week in Georgia at the WOW Retreat.
- Sweet Dreams, Sarah became available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes &Noble, and several Indie bookstore sites…and the cover is all I could have hoped for. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens in this business, there was a delay and the publication date has been pushed back till 2018. But I am turning lemons into lemonade and using this time as an opportunity to lift up the picture books that will launch in 2017.
- With the accountability of 12×12, I wrote 12 picture book drafts and revised them and others.
- Several of my manuscripts received very positive editor feedback…and I revised two of them for specific editors. Three stories are still out on submission and hopefully we will hear good news in 2017.
- Three new nonfiction picture book manuscripts are ready to send to my agent – who knows – maybe one of them will catch an editor’s eye. What I am finding out is that this business is 100% subjective…and if you’ve written a great story, there is an editor out there who WILL fall in love with it.
- Thanks to the prayers and positive thoughts of friends and family, I sailed through major surgery this summer.
I’ll stop with lucky number seven!
Another thing I want to mention is that since 2009, countless writers and illustrators have participated in Tara Lazar’s month-long challenge, PiBoIdMo. But for 2017, she’s changed things up…so grab your snow boots and get ready for a blizzard of ideas and inspiration…STORYSTORM is on the horizon and it’s time to sign up.
I can tell you from my own experience that keeping a journal or notebook of ideas really works…my first Picture Book Idea Month notebook contained an idea about a pristine mountain river where animals converged…I wrote that picture book draft for 12×12…and, after dozens of rounds with critique buddies, the polished manuscript went out on submission and got lots of positive feedback from editors. Right now we are waiting to hear back from a major house…but whatever the outcome, it’s an indication that the process works and these challenges can help move you along towards your goals.
Last of all, I want to share some changes I’m making in my blog posts. For the past four years, my Will Write for Cookies series has been honored to interview dozens of authors and illustrators. On the third Saturday of every month, we’ve all enjoyed an informative Q&A with Katharine Holabird, Iza Trapani, Duncan Tonatiuh, Josh Funk, Susanna Leonard Hill, Sylvia Liu, Jill Esbaum, and so many more. Each guest has shared an inside peek into their writing process, what they wished they had known from the start, plus a favorite cookie or other sweet treat recipe. And for 2017, it’s going to get even better!
When I discovered that the publication date of Sweet Dreams, Sarah was being pushed back to February 2018, I knew I had to find a way to turn disappointment into something positive. What about featuring ALL the 2017 picture books on Perfect Picture Book Friday and their authors and/or illustrators on Will Write for Cookies? YES! YES! YES! And many of those posts will offer a book giveaway as well!
Speaking of giveaways, it’s time for one of those, I believe. Earlier this month, we were fortunate enough to have a Q&A with author/illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh. And I promised a giveaway of his newest picture book, The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanos.
AND THE WINNER IS:
Congratulations, Kathy…PM me or email me with your address and I will get this beautiful book out to you ASAP.
And now, dear friends and readers, since many people take the opportunity of the New Year to make plans to reach their goals and follow their dreams, our Perfect Picture Book is all about believing in yourself and following your dreams.
THE COW WHO CLIMBED A TREE
Written and illustrated by Gemma Merino
Publisher: Albert Whitman (2016)
Ages: Preschool – Grade 3
Be true to yourself, follow your dream, ingenuity
Tina isn’t like the other cows. She believes that the sky is the limit and that everything is possible. But her sisters aren’t convinced―and when Tina tells them she has climbed a tree and met a dragon, they decide that her nonsense has gone too far. Off they go into the woods to find her…and soon discover a world of surprises!
“Tina was a very curious cow. She had a thirst for discovery.”
Why I like this book:
- I read this story to my grandson and he asked for it the next day.
- I love the whimsical illustrations.
- Most of all, I love the simple, concise way the author is able to convey the emotions of Tina and the message of the importance of following your dreams.
This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.
I’m wishing all of you a New Year that blossoms with joy, good health, and much success! See you next year!
I’m a sucker for challenges – and Julie Hedlund put a new one together that I just could not resist.
The12 Days of Christmas – There is still a week left – and the previous days are archived so you can catch up easily!
Julie asked that we celebrate what we HAVE accomplished rather than dwell on what we haven’t.
She encouraged us to make a list of our successes and surprises, before thinking of any failures or disappointments.
And this makes sense…it’s the mindset I encouraged in my kindergarteners when I was teaching. It’s the parenting approach I followed with my own kids. Positive thinking does generate positive results!
So here is a rundown of how I spent the past year.
2014 might have been the Chinese Year of the Horse…but for me, it was the Year of Continue reading