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!

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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!

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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!

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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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Goal-Busters: Moving Ahead in 2014

2013 was a year of change for me. I moved 2000 miles across the country to be closer to our daughter and five-year old grandson.

3 generations on new years eve

2014 will also be a year of moving closer – closer to my dream of having one of my picture book stories published.

Along this journey, I’ve met many others who share this dream – and every month this year, I’ll be turning the spotlight on them and asking them to:

  •  Reveal their goals for 2014
  • Tell us the steps they are taking to reach them
  • Share how they will reward themselves

I hope you will return every 1st Monday of the month to meet them – there will be familiar faces – and some new ones, too.

I thought it only fair for me to go first…so for today, you are stuck with me.

“IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU ARE PLANNING TO FAIL.” – Benjamin Franklin

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I believe that clever Mr. Franklin knew what he was talking about.

Success in any undertaking calls for preparation. I’ve been Continue reading

Check in – Check out – Check up: November Challenges

November appeared on the end of Halloween’s black cat tail…and it’s going to be a busy month!

Have you reached your writing goals so far this year?

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Check-in: At the end of each month, Julie Hedlund requests that we check-in to let her know if we have completed a picture book draft as part of the 12×12 Challenge. I’m happy to say that I have! And please keep in mind that registration for 12×12 in 2014 is just around the corner. If you are looking to be inspired, motivated and encouraged in your picture book writing…THAT IS THE PLACE TO BE! This year, members at the Golden Book level had the opportunity to submit picture book manuscripts to ELEVEN awesome literary agents!

Check-out: I hope you will check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog because she will be announcing the FINALISTS in the Halloweensie Contest. There were almost 80 entriesclick here for her link up post to read some amazingly creative stories. Click here to read my submission: HALLOWEEN DANCE PARTY COUNTDOWN. I’ll add 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.

Sunday Post: On-Going…Picture Books and Projects

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge…today’s theme is ON-GOING.

www.positiveparentalparticipaiton.com

The seasons are on-going…soon it will be spring and the flowers will bloom.

MLK Mini-poster

Black History Month is on-going during the month of February.

Chicago, www.positiveparentalparticipation.com

On January 1st, I celebrated my first day of retirement.

Now that I am retired, I have many on-going projects which I have shared with you.

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De-cluttering the garage is a project that is still on-going.

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School classroom visits are still on-going. This semester I am reading Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems and the children are constructing their own storyboards. I enjoy working with the kids and the teachers and, as a picture book writer, I believe it is important to stay connected with young children.

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I’m taking Emma Walton Hamilton’s “JUST WRITE FOR KIDS’ online picture book writing course…this 8-week class is on-going…fortunately, you can work at your own pace…it’s been WAY more than 8 weeks. What I love most about it so far is that it encourages me to look REALLY carefully at how classic picture books are constructed. With that understanding, I hope to write picture books that kids will want to read over and over again.

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Participating in Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge is on-going. If you haven’t signed up yet, please check out the link…you have until February 28 and then it will be too late to hop aboard this year. As part of the program, I submitted a manuscript this month to agent Stephen Fraser and am currently working on a new manuscript for next month’s submission. I’m excited about this new one…it’s about wildlife conservation. My local and on-line critique group work is on-going as well…reading the manuscripts of others and the comments and suggestions they make on mine is like taking a workshop class. I never realized how helpful it would be to participate in a critique group…I recommend it to everyone who writes.

www.positiveparentalparticipation.com

The chance to win $25 for the literacy charity or organization of your choice is on-going. Simply leave a comment on last Friday’s post. Next Friday I will pick one of the comments using Random.org and that person’s choice will receive a check for $25…$25 is not a fortune, but it can purchase a couple of books…who can say what a difference those few books may make in a child’s life.

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Nancy Hatch’s Writer’s Desk Competition voting is still on-going. If you would like to vote, you can go here. All of the entries are great…I am honored to be among them with my piece…I Write, Therefore I Am.

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My desire to provide quick and easy activities for their kids is on-going. Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, is a wonderful resource for parents and teachers with picture book recommendations, simple craft projects and child-friendly recipes.  Click this link if you would like a copy! Engage your child, encourage creative expression and, most of all, have fun together!

What’s on-going in your life?

 

sunday-post-logo-2013-gifCheck out Jake’s Year of the Snake logo!

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/