Susanna Hill’s 8th Annual Holiday Contest Entry

I often mention how important it is to be writing and be submitting. Writing hones our craft and submitting…well…without submitting, your work will sit in a drawer or folder or computer file and never help a child deal with a problem or make someone smile.

One of the least stressful ways of submitting is to enter a writing challenge or contest. That’s why I host #50PreciousWords every March. If you win, that’s great! If you don’t, no worries. You exercised your writing muscle and connected with the kidlit community. A win-win situation!

I’ve been participating in Susanna Hill’s writing contests for EIGHT years. That’s right, folks…EIGHT! She is a fabulous mentor to all writers and the Holiday Contest is only one of the many ways she reaches out. This year I’m honored to be one of the prizes.

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The contest rules: A story, 250 words or less, appropriate for children ages 12 and under about a Holiday Hero.

And here is my entry. Continue reading

If You Plant It, Will It Grow?

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I usually post a picture book review and craft on Friday. But, as I mentioned last week, I’m taking a short blog break. This month I’m enrolled in Kristen Fulton’s Non-Fiction Archaeology class AND participating in her WOW NonFicPic week of writing. I’m overwhelmed with all that I am learning and doing – but loving every minute of it. I took out a total of 144 non-fiction picture books from the library this month to help me with my research and writing.

Plus, I’m trying to establish my first vegetable and herb garden here in New Hampshire – I forgot how much bending is involved when you plant and weed.

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Getting back to gardening reminded me how similar it is to writing, revising and submitting.

With gardening, first you do your research: what plants will grow in your area and how will you care for them. Then you do the work: Plant, weed, fertilize. You give it time and perhaps a few prayers for sunny days and gentle rains. And then, if all goes well, you reap in the harvest.

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With writing, you also need to do your research. You think about your passions, find out if there are other books out there on the subject, read and study other books to use as mentor texts, check out various agents or editors who might be looking for your kind of writing. Then you work. You write and revise and write and revise and write and revise. You submit your story to critique groups. You revise again and again. You submit to Rate Your Story or get professional critiques. You send your story out. Next, you give it time and maybe pray a bit for an agent who is blown away by your story or an editor who is looking for just that title. And finally, you reap the harvest when an agent offers you representation and an editor offers you a book contract and children who read your book say, “Please, read it again!”

I stopped by here to post the link to an article on submissions – Alayne Kay Christian has a brilliant on-going series and she invited me to participate – what an honor!

I hope you will all visit her blog – and after you read what I wrote, I know you will want to check out the previous posts from other writers in this incredible kid lit community. The ‘All About Submissions’ series is a wealth of information and stellar resources.

http://alaynekaychristian.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/all-about-submissions-guest-blogger-vivian-kirkfield-trying-back-doors-a-few-thoughts-about-submitting-to-small-press-publishers/

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Clarike Bowman-Jahn is a Goal-Buster!

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Another month has passed. I can’t believe it is March 1st already. Time is passing by so quickly.

And that’s why it is so important to focus on what you want to do, set your goals and decide what steps you will take to reach them…otherwise, it will be December and you will look back and be disappointed that you didn’t try.

My Goal-Buster guest today will NOT be disappointed when she looks back on 2014…that is for sure.

Please welcome a dear lady and wonderful children’s author, CLARIKE BOWMAN JAHN

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 Hi Friends!

I am writing this for my friend, Vivian Kirkfield, and hope it’s up to snuff. I have looked back on last year long enough to know that I did well. One of my picture books is coming out next summer, and we are putting the finishing touches on the illustrations. This is one of the nice perks with working with a small press; the publisher lets us work with the illustrator. This book is “Edmund Pickle Chin, a Rescue Donkey Story” that I co authored with Susan April Elwood. My acknowledgement page is totally for The Round Hill Writer’s Group because they gave me so many good ideas to incorporate in this book.

One of the great things I did last year was to participate in Susanna Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic class. And that is the book all ready to be queried.

One of the things I did in 2013 was start a Picture Book Critique Group from people interested in it who attended the 2011 SCBWI conference. We had a brilliant bunch of us sharing a new manuscript every month. I also wrote three other manuscripts and one is totally ready for the querying process. This leaves the other two in need of revision and professional editing which is in my goals for 2014.

Also in 2014, I will start Continue reading

Will Write for Cookies – Children’s Author and Advocate Susanne Gervay

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WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

TODAY’S GUEST

SUSANNE GERVAY

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I first met Susanne Gervay in the lobby of the Hotel Grand Pacific in Singapore. I attended several of her presentations at the 2013 AFCC/SCBWI conference and sat next to her for many of the functions.

Susanne is kind and generous and funny and smart…I was thrilled when she agreed to step into the spotlight today. I know you will find her answers enlightening. I’m going to be printing out her writing tips to keep posted on my wall – I need to remember them – especially #4. And she is sharing a really special recipe that I am sure you will want to try!

Susanne…I know you are extremely busy with your own writing, your speaking engagements all over the world, your hotel in Sydney, your family and the many children’s causes you advocate for. It was kind of you to agree to be interviewed and I know everyone is anxious to hear from you.

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

Johanna Spyri – Heidi.

 

Elizabeth George Speare – The Witch of Blackbird Pond

 

Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne of Green Gables .

 

Eleanor H. Porter – Pollyanna

 

May Gibbs illustrator of the gumnut babies

 

Beatrix Potter illustrator of Peter Rabbit

 

 

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?

 

I wish I knew I should have worked on my manuscripts, edited them, let them sit for a while, until I looked at them again, before I sent them to publishers.  It would have reduced the heart aches of rejection.

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I also wish Continue reading

Monday Writing Magic: 4 Timely Tips

Monday Writing Magic: The Leap from Reading to Writing

The leap from being a lover of books to becoming a lover of writing was not a very big one for me.  I’ve always loved to write . In elementary school, I carried around a small spiral notebook and would jot down little poems.  As a kindergarten teacher, I developed a program that utilized children’s picture books, not only for entertainment and enjoyment, but also to help young children deal with the challenges they encounter in those early years.  But it wasn’t until my own children were born that I began to write my own picture book stories.  And perhaps I have my husband to thank for that.

You see, my husband is an avid fly-fisherman and years ago he also refinished bamboo fly rods – he actually wrote a book on Continue reading

How Can a Writer Stay Motivated?

Are you on a writing journey?

Head over to Julie Hedlund’s blog and you will find out a little bit more about mine.

I’m guest posting there and sharing my amazing experience with the 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge.

http://www.juliehedlund.com/tuesday-12×12-vivian-kirkfield/

The encouragement and inspiration I’ve found in this kid lit community is so important to keep one going in the right direction.