Katrina Moore: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

 

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

KatrinaMoore_authorheadshot2018

 

TODAY’S GUEST

KATRINA MOORE

Katrina and I have a lot in common. We both have a masters in education, love to write picture books, are LIttle Bee Books sisters, and are members of the #Newin19 debut picture book author and illustrator group. And teaching is close to our hearts…although Katrina is still knee deep (or perhaps shoulder high, depending on what grade she teaches and how tall/short she is) in the classroom.

Katrina Moore writes and teaches in New Jersey.  Her mission is to Continue reading

DEBBIE GONZALES: Will Write for Cookies Plus SPECIAL GIVEAWAY

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

 

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

DebGonzalesHeadshot

 

TODAY’S GUEST

DEBBIE GONZALES

Hurray for new connections! Joining debut picture book groups has expanded my already rich network of authors and illustrators. And that’s how I came to become acquainted with today’s Will Write for Cookies guest.

Debbie Gonzales is a career educator, curriculum consultant, former school administrator and adjunct professor, a podcaster (The Debcast), and past SCBWI RA for the Austin Chapter. Deb currently devotes her time to writing middle grade novels, crafting teacher guides and various other freelance projects. She’s the author of six transitional readers for New Zealand publisher, Giltedge, and the non-fiction picture book Girls with Guts: The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records (Charlesbridge, 2019). Deb serves as a member of the Michigan Reading Association board and earned her MFA in writing for children and young adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Learn more about Deb and her many projects by accessing her websites at www.debbiegonzales.com and www.guidesbydeb.com.

ME: Welcome, Deb! Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with us. We’ve got a lot to cover, so I’ll get right to the questions.

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

DEB: Sad to say, I can’t recall the names of any beloved childhood authors or illustrators. Believe it or not, I wasn’t an avid reader as a child. While I cherished being in school and enjoyed spelling tests, memorizing math facts and vocabulary words, I wasn’t an independent reader. I wasn’t anti-reading, by any means. It’s just that, in my house, reading wasn’t activity that was practiced or supported. I did, however, fall in LOVE with children’s literature when my first child was born. My son and I thoroughly enjoyed going to the library together. We’d often would fantasize how wonderful it would be if we were to be locked in the library overnight, free to read whatever we wanted to for as long as we wanted to. Sounds like terrific fun, doesn’t it?

 

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

DEB: That marketing was going to be a critical component to the ultimate success of my books, that I would have to consciously put myself out “there” (Wherever “there” might be). That building a publicity platform is as important as crafting a clever query letter. There are lots of ways to establish visibility that don’t feel icky and that are actually fun to do!

 

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

DEB: It depends on what part of the process that I’m in. First, I brainstorm with paper and pencil (You can bet that there’s lots of erasing going on during this phase.). Then I write – more like a brain dump – on a laptop with the internet turned off. In this phase, I am not worried about spelling or sentence structure. I just work to get my thoughts on the page. Lastly, I polish the piece at my desk. I bop around each of these phases as need be.

workspace

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

DEB: Because I have a vibrant freelance business, I must schedule time to get my creative work in. Quite honestly, there are times when a client’s work takes precedence over the needs of my characters (They are very understanding about this, though.). I find that blocking out an entire day to work on creative rather than squeezing minutes in throughout the day works best for me. My ultimate goal is to reserve two full days a week for creative. Let’s keep this plan a secret, okay? We don’t want to disappoint my clients, do we?

ME: Why do you write for children?

DEB: You know, maybe I write for the young Debbie that wasn’t a reader. Perhaps, I’d like to give her opportunity and permission to lose herself in a book, one that I’ve crafted just for her. I’d love to have a nice chat with her about important things such as character development or ways that comprehending a story helps one to better understand their life. I think that’s it. I write for Little Debbie and she seems to like what I say.

Missy

This is Missy! Obviously, she is Deb’s first eyes on every manuscript!

 ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear. 

 

DEB: I’d like to expound on the notion that “there are lots of ways to establish visibility that don’t feel icky and that are actually fun to do”.  For a year and a half before GIRLS WITH GUTS was published, I immersed myself in all things marketing. I read scads of books written by relationship marketing gurus – Micheal Hyatt, Tim Grahl, Derek Sivers, and Jeff Walker to name just a few. While doing so, the thought stuck me that others might like to know about things I’ve learned. As a result, I produced two online courses that were very well-received. And, much to my delight, these efforts paid off! Not only have I established a program based on the principles the gurus presented, the prelaunch sales numbers for my book were phenomenal! It worked!

Currently, I’m developing a program in which I coach authors how to gain clarity, focus, and the skills required to enhance visibility in the kidlit marketplace. The premise for this program is founded on building thoughtful personal and online relationships. To achieve this, we explore options that align with one’s digital skill set and circles of influence. Then, we discover avenues of opportunity to develop a publicity platform that feels authentic and sincere.  The process is remarkably painless. It’s true!

As a giveaway, I’d like to offer an hour-long strategy session during which we will explore options that are just right for you. Enter the drawing and let’s have some visibility platform building fun.

ME: YAY…that is fabulous!!! What a special giveaway! And dear friends, wait till you see the special Vanilla Wafer Hamburger Cookie recipe Deb is sharing with us. You heard me right! Vanilla Wafer HAMBURGER Cookie…the kids are going to love asking for this one!

DEB:  You’re not going to believe how easy it is. My daughter actually won the blue ribbon at an annual back-off for her elementary school with this recipe.

Vanilla Wafer Hamburger Cookies
Ingredients:
  • A box of Vanilla Wafers
  • A bag  of small-sized York peppermint paddies
  • a bag of coconut
  • green food coloring
  • yellow food coloring
  • water
  • sesame seeds
  • a microwave plate or platter
  • two small bowls
  • two spoons
  • a microwave oven
Instructions:
  • Place a generous amount (1/3 of a cup)  of coconut in a bowl. Sprinkle a few drops of green food coloring on the coconut. Mix well. You have just made the lettuce for your Vanilla Wafer Hamburger cookies.Place a generous amount (1/2 of a cup) of coconut in a bowl. Sprinkle a few drops of yellow food coloring on the coconut. Mix well. You have just made the shredded cheese for your Vanilla Wafer Hamburger cookies.
  • To build your hamburgers, place on Vanilla Wafer. top side down, on your plate. Next, place a York peppermint paddy on the the cookie. Sprinkle bits of “lettuce” and “cheese” on the paddy. Cover the “hamburger” with another Vanilla Wafer. Dab small drops of water on the upper portion of the Vanilla Wafer on the top and sprinkle a few sesame seeds on the water.
  • Nuke in the microwave over for 15 to 20 seconds.
  • There you have it! An award-winning and very delicious Vanilla Wafer Hamburger cookie!

WOW…thank you so much, Deb…for your insights in the Q&A, for the very special giveaway, and of course, for the Vanilla Wafer Hamburger Cookie recipe!

And dear readers, please don’t forget to check out Deb’s wonderful new picture book: GIRLS WITH GUTS: The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records.

Remember that the greatest gift we can give our favorite authors is:

  • to buy their books
  • to review their books
  • to tell friends about their books
  • to ask our local library to purchase the book for their collection

And please leave a comment to be entered into the special giveaway…and share, share, share the post for extra chances in the giveaway hat.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful weekend. I’ll be going to have family pictures taken with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson at a chateau in New Hampshire…a chateau in New Hampshire? Below is the family photo we took last year at an apple orchard. when you see this year’s, I guarantee that Jeremy is going to be the same height as I am!

 

Laura Roettiger: Will Write for Cookies Plus Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

 

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

 

LauraRoettiger Headshot 2019

TODAY’S GUEST

LAURA ROETTIGER

 

Happy 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Walk, folks! Our special guest knows all about reaching for the moon…she’s the author of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON.

One of my favorite things is to meet kidlit friends in person. Happily, that happened not too long ago with this wonderful lady. Laura and I had been Facebook friends. Then we found ourselves in the same debut picture book author group. And when we realized she was going to be passing near my house on her way to a writing retreat, we knew we had to make a get-together happen! We did…and it was wonderful!

Laura Roettiger is the author of Aliana Reaches for the Moon, a picture book that draws inspiration from the moon and the curiosity of children. She has enjoyed working with children ever since she was no longer considered a child herself. She was a reading specialist and elementary teacher in Chicago, IL (where my son and his family live) before moving to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado (where I lived for 18 years) where she worked in Environmental Education and is now a mentor for literacy at a STEM school. Her superpower is encouraging curiosity in children and letting them know she believes in them. She has three children of her own (I have three children also…this is uncanny) whose curiosity and creativity led them into STEM related professions.

AlianaReachesfortheMoon-ebook

ME: I’m thrilled to welcome you to Picture Books Help Kids Soar, Laura!

LAURA: Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Vivian! I’m thrilled that we were able to meet in person in June and your contribution to the Kidlit community continues to amaze and impress me. So happy to have you as a friend.

ME: The feeling is mutual, Laura…that’s for sure! We talked about a lot of things when we meet, but here are some questions we didn’t cover. And I know everyone wants to hear your answers. Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

LAURA: I have so many happy memories reading as a child. I loved reading all the Ramona, Beezuz, and Henry books by Beverly Cleary. RAMONA THE PEST was my favorite of all because when she takes a bite from each apple in the bushel, I could imagine what that would feel like and how much trouble I would be in if I tried something like that. She was a very relatable character for me as a little sister.

My favorite book of childhood was ALL OF A KIND FAMILY, by Sydney Taylor because it had so many similarities to my family and made me feel even closer to my grandma.

I also have wonderful memories of reading AMELIA BEDELIA, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, and CHARLOTTE’S WEB at school.

inside spread

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

LAURA: I wish I had found SCBWI right away. I knew there must be a group for picture book writers, but it took me a year of writing to discover it. My local chapter is a strong group of amazing authors and illustrators who I have been fortunate to support and be supported by. Whenever anyone says, “I want to write a book” or “I have an idea for a children’s book,” I suggest they join SCBWI.

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

LAURA: I start writing by hand whether it’s a draft, research, or a brainstorm of words but then I switch to my laptop because it’s easier to organize and less likely to get buried in the archeological dig of paper on my desk.

I usually write in my dining room which is 99% my writing room and only called ‘the dining room’ because the furniture was originally purchased for that purpose. I have a desk that overlooks the forest, but I usually sit at the table which allows me views of a beautiful painting that belonged to my parents, the underside of a log staircase, and a floor to ceiling view of nature.

My creative work often happens when I am hiking or driving in the canyon. I use voice to text and text myself notes all the time. It’s fun to go back and look through my notes and hopefully remember what I was thinking. I’ve written poems, entire scenes, and thought of just the right word for revisions while I’m in nature.

charlie dog

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

LAURA: I try to write in the morning, but never early and only after breakfast and coffee. I know there are plenty of people who get up at 5am and write for an hour while their house is quiet, but I am definitely not one of them. If I hike or workout in the morning, I’m also productive in the afternoon or right after dinner. Rarely do I write something late at night that looks great in the light of the following day. I don’t write every day, but I try to do something writing adjacent every day such as researching agents, reading writing craft books, blogs, or mentor texts, or critiquing. All of these things are part of the process.

laura photography

ME: Why do you write for children?

LAURA: I have spent most of my adult life reading with children as a parent and a teacher. I love children’s literature and I love the way children view the world. When I was a reading specialist, I wrote stories for and with my students. I never wrote them with the expectation of publishing but I ALWAYS wanted to be a writer. Writing for children seems like a natural fit for me given my experience as a reading specialist.

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ME: Also, if you have any thoughts or advice for aspiring writers, please share. As well as anything else you want to talk about that parents, educators, writers, librarians might want to hear. 🙂

LAURA: Vivian, you and I kindred spirits in so many ways. We both put our hearts and souls into children at home and at work. We understand how important that work is and continue that through our writing for children. We also both know how important it is to share our knowledge with others and encourage fellow writers along the way.

My advice for writers, which I am sure you have also shared many times: Join SCBWI. Learn about craft whether that’s through online classes or groups (such as Julie Hedlund’s 12×12), attending conferences and workshops, listening to writing podcasts, and reading craft books. Find critique partners who will help your writing shine and don’t be afraid to revise. Read extensively in the genre you write in. The more you read, the better you understand the market and the better your writing will be.

My advice for parents and educators: Enjoy reading with your children. Let them see you read for pleasure and information. When I worked in an at-risk pre-K program, I was admonished for bringing the newspaper in to read while the children napped. I was right next to my napping charges and didn’t understand what harm would happen if they woke up and saw me reading! I was told I could only read when I was off the clock. Clearly the administration didn’t understand the value of modeling.

We all process information differently so don’t judge what children are reading; encourage them to love reading and they will read more. I always said I didn’t want to teach my students to read. I wanted to teach them to love reading.

My advice to anyone who wants to support authors: Buy books if you can, but also talk about books you love, ask your library to purchase them, write reviews on GoodReads and Amazon. Word of mouth and reviews are both very important ways to help books you love be recognized and loved by others.

back cover

ME: Laura, I love all of your advice. All. Of. It. And I thank you so very much for spending all of this time with us.

To find out more about Laura and her books:

Website: LauraRoettigerBooks.com

Blog: https://lauraroettigerbooks.com/blog/

Aliana Reaches for the Moon

Facebook Page

Twitter: @ljrwritenow

Instagram @AlianaReachesfortheMoon or @ljrwritenow

ME: And here is an OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD sweet treat recipe – take it away, Laura!

LAURA: The pumpkin bread recipe is from a preschool cookbook we made for a fundraiser when my kids were little, so I’ve been making it for a long time. The original recipe calls for 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, and 2/3 cup chopped nuts but I make it with fresh cranberries and chocolate chips and omitted those ingredients. I often include the spices and use only cranberries or chocolate chips and it always comes out delicious so feel free to experiment on those things.

Pumpkin Bread (makes 2 loaves)

2/3 cup butter softened

2 2/3 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling

2/3 cup water

3 1/3 – 3 2/3 cups flour (it should be creamy but not watery)

2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

2/3 12 ounce bag tollhouse semisweet chocolate chips (this is a guess because I never measure)

2/3 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries (I actually stock up on these around Thanksgiving and keep a bunch in my freezer)

 Preheat oven to 350. Grease or use cooking spray on two loaf pans.

Using beaters, cream butter and sugar together. Mix in eggs. Add water and pumpkin and blend well. Add baking soda, salt, and baking powder and mix again. Add flour and mix well. If it looks to watery, add additional flour. Now, by hand mix in chocolate chips and cranberries. Pour into two pans and bake 70 minutes. I usually check the oven at 60 minutes and sometimes it even goes a bit longer than 70 minutes to make sure the center is completely cooked.

bookmark

Thank you so much, Laura…this looks quite yummy. And thank you, everyone, for sticking around till the end. Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of Laura’s wonderful new book, ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON.

And please make sure to be back tomorrow for an ultra special Sunday post that includes an inside look at the journey of self-published author Carmen Gloria, whose lovely Kid’s Astronomy Series has a new book, just in time for this special celebration of space…plus a giveaway of Dear Pluto. And Carmen has a special gift for all of us: click on the link: https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Pluto-Kid-Astronomy-Book-ebook/dp/B07T68GC74/ and you can DOWNLOAD FOR FREE a Kindle ebook version of Dear Pluto…JUST FOR THIS SPECIAL MOON-LANDING WEEKEND!!!

 

 

 

 

Gayle C. Krause: Will Write for Cookies plus Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

 

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

GAYLE C. KRAUSE

I run into today’s Will Write for Cookies guest at so many kidlit online forums, and I even got to meet her at a conference a couple of years ago. But I got to know her a bit better through our interactiion in the #PictureBookBuzz debut picture book author group this year with her beautiful book, DADDY, CAN YOU SEE THE MOON?

As a Master Educationalist, Gayle C. Krause has taught Children’s Literacreative writing, and storytelling techniques to prospective teachers and children’s authors. Her work has been nominated for the Boston Globe /Horn Book and The International Reading Association Award. She’s a PAL member of SCBWI, the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge, a past member of the Historical Novel Society, and The Poets’ Garage. She serves on Angie Karcher’s Rhyming Revolution Committee, selecting the best nationally acclaimed rhyming picture book award from 2015-2018. Ms. Krause writes Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult novels. Rebecca Angus of Golden Wheat Literary Agency represents her. You can find the latest news about her books at www.gayleckrause.com Continue reading

Will Write for Cookies: Callie Metler Smith PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

headshot

 

TODAY’S GUEST

CALLIE METLER-SMITH

 

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 Continue reading

Maryann Coccoa-Leffler: Will Write For Cookies PLUS Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

Cocca-Leffler_MaryAnn-2018a_RGB

 

TODAY’S GUEST

MARYANN COCCOA-LEFFLER

As most of you know, one of the things I love best about this kidlit community is the connections we make. And what could be better than to have a multipublished author/illustrator who wants to critique with you and Continue reading

Will Write for Cookies: JULIE ABERY Plus Giveaway

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

Plate of Cookies

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

julieabery-2

TODAY’S GUEST

 

JULIE ABERY

Today’s guest holds a special place in my heart. I got to know her when she submitted an entry to the first #50PreciousWords Writing Contest in 2016. Now she is a Storm Literary Agency teammate and the author of TWO debut picture books in 2019…plus more in the pipeline.

Julie Abery is a children’s author and Pre-K teacher. Originally from England, she has spent half of her life living in Europe, bringing up her three (now grown up) children and experiencing new languages and cultures. She now calls Switzerland home.

Julie is looking forward to welcoming: her debut board books Little Tiger and Little Panda publishing in Spring 2019 with Amicus Ink with a further two in the Amicus Little Animal Friends series publishing in Spring 2020 ; a nonfiction picture book biography entitled Yusra Swims from Creative Editions (TBA); a true story Mr. Joao and Dindim the Penguin, Kids Can Press (Fall 2020) and a nonfiction picture book Sakamoto and the Sugar-Ditch Kids from Kids Can Press (Spring 2021). She is represented by Essie White of Storm Literary Agency. You can find out more about her on her website: https://littleredstoryshed.wordpress.com/ and connect with her on Twitter or on Facebook: @julieabery

little tiger cover

ME: WELCOME, my friend! It is an absolute pleasure and thrill to have you here. I know my readers want to get to know you a little bit better. Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

JULIE: As a child I loved to read the Amelia Jane books by Enid Blyton. Amelia Jane was a big rag doll with a bright red dress and corkscrew curls. I had a few books in the series… but Naughty Amelia Jane! was my favorite. As the title says, she was naughty and loved to play tricks on the other toys! I was never naughty, of course, just for the record! The book was a compilation of short stories, which were well read and very much loved.

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

JULIE: Probably that writing picture books isn’t as easy as it looks! I sometimes look back at my early work and wonder how I really thought that it was good enough to share with an agent.

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

JULIE: I have my writing table in the lounge, in front of the windows overlooking the garden. I like to watch the birds while I work. I have notebooks too, so I work with pen and paper first and then I transfer onto my laptop.

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

JULIE: I am an early bird, so most of my writing is done in the daytime, although when I am puzzling on rhymes I have been known to wake up in the early hours with the complete stanza in my head, and sometimes the perfect rhyme and meter comes to me when I am out jogging with my dog, so I need a notepad or phone on hand to jot everything down.

little panda cover

ME: Why do you write for children?

JULIE: I love picture books and, as a teacher, I have been fortunate to have a career sharing stories and singing songs with hundreds of children from around the world. Through those years, picture books have been my friends and allies bringing rhyme, rhythm and repetition to the ears of young EAL students. It is the magic that picture books create for children that inspires me to write.

 

ME: Do you have any thoughts for aspiring authors?

JULIE: Read lots. Write lots. Take courses to learn more about your craft. Share your writing with a critique group, listen to what they have to say and revise – lots. And most of all be persistent and patient, because perfecting your story may take longer than you think.

YAY! Persistent! Patience! And read and write and revise! The magic formula, right? Although there is probably nothing magic about it…just hard work and determination. Thank you so much, Julie. I loved having you, and I know you have one more treat for us. And I saw the word ‘ginger’ in the name of the treat, so I know this is something I am going to LOVE!

JULIE:

ginger fairings

GINGER FAIRINGS

85 grams of butter

1 tablespoon golden syrup

170 grams of flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon ground ginger

85 grams fine sugar

Melt the butter and syrup in a pan over a gentle heat. Sift the flour, bicarb., ginger and add these to the melted mixture with the sugar. Mix well. Form the mixture into small balls, using a rounded teaspoon of the mixture for each. Put balls onto an ungreased baking tray, leaving space for each to spread.

Bake in a moderately hot oven, about 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for approx. 8 – 12 minutes or until golden. Leave on the tray to stiffen slightly before placing on a cooling rack.

Oh my goodness! I do love any cookie with ginger. I hope you all give this one a try. In a week or so, I’m going to be hugging Julie in person…how lucky I am! But meanwhile, I’m giving away a copy of each of Julie’s two 2019 board books, LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA to one lucky winner. And if you share on Twitter or Facebook or other social media, please do let me know and I will add another entry for you.

Until the next post (Little Tiger and Little Panda’s book birthday on March 12), I hope you have a wonderful and safe weekend. Right now, I am in Auckland, NZ, reading Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book to a lovely group of little kiddos at a local Auckland library.

auckland library flyer