#50PRECIOUSWORDS 2021 is Officially OPEN!

Art by Vicky Fang

WELCOME TO ALL! Whether you have participated in previous years or you are just dipping your toes in for the first time – whether you are a pre-published author or you have multiple books out there already – I am so very glad you are here!

The #50PreciousWords 2021 International Writing Contest is OVER and the 51 finalists will be announced March 31. If you have trouble accessing the entries, you are not alone. We had so many comments (over 10,000), I think we broke WordPress, but the tech gurus are at work trying to resolve the issue. Thank you so much for your patience.

Congratulations to all who participated! We had a record 763 entries! The linky list is complete. You can find your story or a particular story by scrolling down and clicking on the link. PLEASE NOTE: THE LINKY LIST IS NOT WORKING RIGHT NOW. But you can read many of the entries by scrolling through.

I hope you will visit many of the stories.- getting positive comments is a great validation for writers – and reading other stories is a wonderful learning tool for all of us!

I’ll be reading all of these amazing stories…and so will my assistant judges. There are going to be some very difficult decisions to make…so many of the stories are top-notch – several feel like they should be on shelves already! But right now, please celebrate your courage and hard work! YOU DID IT! And, if you didn’t participate this year with a story, I hope you will next year! Because we all have a story to tell – and I’d love to read your precious words.

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#50PreciousWords 2020 Contest is OFFICIALLY OPEN

WELCOME, WELCOME to the FIFTH ANNUAL #50PreciousWords Contest!!!

I am so very happy you’ve stopped by!

Art by Vicky Fang

When I first got the idea for this contest back in 2016, I thought a few of my friends might take pity on me and submit a story – to my surprise, there were 128 entries! The winner that year went on to sign with my wonderful agent, Essie White, and the story that won is now part of a beautiful board book series. Several other entries over the years have become books…and I’m thrilled with the positive energy that this contest generates. Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday PLUS Looking Back, Moving Forward, and the WInner is…

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!

12-days

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. With the accountability of 12×12, I wrote 12 picture book drafts and revised them and others.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!

storystorm

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.

Plate of Cookies

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!

p-and-w

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:

 

KATHY HALSEY

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.

cow-who-climbed-a-tree

THE COW WHO CLIMBED A TREE

Written and illustrated by Gemma Merino

Publisher: Albert Whitman (2016)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 3

Themes:

Be true to yourself, follow your dream, ingenuity

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

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!

Opening Lines:

“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!

 

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