I may be a children's writer, but I entered the IFW Holiday Romance contest w/ $1,300+ prizes! #amwriting #romance #writingcontest http://bit.ly/holiday-romance. Doesn't everyone love a good romance? FW Holiday Romance Contest Institute for Writers presents our Holiday Romance Contest. Enter an excerpt from your romance manuscript with an emotional scene set during the holiday season. instituteforwriters.lpages.co
As a reading teacher who loves being in the classroom, enhanced online learning has many challenges. However, one of the things that can still be done with ease is story time. The other day I read to my first graders LOVE, SOPHIA ON THE MOON written by Anica Mrose Rissi and beautifully illustrated by Mika Song. My students loved it! And so, did I. The premise of the story is Sophia runs away to the moon with her cat Mr. Wubbles after she is put in timeout. In letters back and forth, Sophia expresses all the wonderful things about the moon, while her mother expresses all the comforts of home Sophia is missing. In this loving exchange, mother and daughter reunite and it is a wonderful reminder to children that no matter how angry our parents may get, they will always love us. And there’s no place like home. Highly recommend this book !
I love contests and during these trying times it's wonderful to get a break from all that's happening around us. A big thank you Kaitlyn Sanchez and Ciara O’Neal for hosting such an awesome event! And thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who will be donating their time and expertise for such amazing prizes. #SpringFlingKidLit
Mabel’s Bunny Pups by Christine Nanfra
Mabel wanted a bunny ever since she read the Peter Rabbit stories.
One day she asked, “Can I get a bunny with long floppy ears?”
Mama said, “Maybe for your birthday.”
But that never happened.
Another day Mabel asked, “Can I get a bunny with a cottontail?
Papa said, “Maybe for Christmas.”
But that never happened.
Again, she asked, “Can I get a bunny with a cute little nose?”
But this time Mama and Papa didn’t answer.
“Maybe Easter?” Mabel asked. Mama and Papa smiled.
Easter was a few days away and Mama said, “We have a surprise for you.”
“A bunny?” she jumped.
“No. Two rescue puppies.”
Two puppies rambled in and plopped by Mabel’s feet.
They weren’t bunnies, but they were cute. Mama asked her to think of names.
Easter morning Mabel bounced out of bed with an idea.
“Ta-Da! Meet our bunny pups: Flopsy and Mopsy!”
Review of Giant Squid by Candace Fleming
As a writer for children, an instructional reading specialist, and a parent, I cannot get enough of this book. It has all the elements a great picture book should have. All of Candace Fleming’s books have a similar style of word play, but as a non-fiction piece it is brilliant.
The reader is immediately drawn into the amazing, mysterious, and dark world of the Giant Squid. And the illustrations by Eric Rohmann are truly remarkable. It is a perfect marriage of art in the written and illustrative forms.
Fleming brings us into the squid’s dark, underwater home. She leaves us with questions that are still unknown about this fascinating creature that has “the biggest eyes on the planet”. And a “terrifying tongue” with eight powerful tentacles that squeeze whatever is in its path. If the words weren’t so captivating it would truly be terrifying. Buy this book. You will not be disappointed.
As a writer, I write about many subjects and across many genres. For the past few years I have been concentrating my efforts on writing for children. Though I love it and feel it is a natural fit for me, especially since I am an elementary school reading teacher, it has also been the most difficult of genres to break through. The competition is vast, and it appears to be quite selective. That said, I am determined to succeed through hard work and perseverance.
I go to writing conferences, read everything I can get my hands on, and of course write. I have a website, as well as a presence on Twitter where I follow all the publishing giants and agents. I belong to a critique group that helps ground me and keeps me from submitting before many revisions later. And through it all, representation and/or a book contract remain elusive. In many ways I liken the submission process to dating and especially dating websites.
After serious review of the available agent/editors, I determine whom I will query. It is a painstaking process looking through manuscript wish lists, which in many ways is similar to reading profile matches online about liking long walks on the beach, sushi and cuddling on cold nights. Determining if agents are still open to subs or, as in the dating world: are they really available and not married? Who the agent represents, and trying to decipher if we would make a good fit? Again, do they really like long walks on the beach or is it a come-on line?
After the send button is pressed, the query is off with a prayer and a hope to the agent/editor, or the ‘match’. The waiting is the hardest. Will they like my story enough to pursue, hence will they like me enough to ask out? Waiting and hoping is the daily mantra, wanting desperately to hear back with positive news, or a date. Because after all, writing, like dating is subjective. Agents don’t know if they like something until they read the story and it sparks something for them. Sort of like sparks flying over a shared bottle of wine.
But the thing is in my world today … I would rather score the contract over the date.
This was previously published on my blog at www.afterdivorce.net. It's an important message to share!
For those of us unfortunate enough to have gone through a divorce, we know it is a tumultuous time in everyone’s life. For you, your ex, both of your extended families, and mostly your children. In fact, you may find yourself thinking and doing things that are out of character of your true self. If you talk to anyone who has gone through it, it is astounding how you will always hear “I don’t know who this person is anymore.” Sadly, they are right! Divorce is life altering and the person you once thought had your back, is the same person wanting to stab you in the back, at least in court.
It’s a fact that people going through divorce are usually more emotionally off keel (temporarily) due to the stress they are under. Because of this they don’t always make rational decisions. However, when children are involved it is imperative to keep as much normalcy as possible for their sake and their long-term stability.
Below is a partial list I found online in an article from Lois Misiewicz (2011). This isn’t her complete list, I made quite a few additions and deletions. Keep in mind, these are not always easy to follow, but in the end taking the high road, even when you know your former spouse isn’t, will send clear signals to your children that they can trust and rely on you. Some of these may sound simple, but again, nothing is simple when it comes to divorce.
4. Your children should not know the details of your divorce… regardless of
their age. They still have a right to love the other parent. Less is more here.
5. If you are in a new relationship don’t expect your children to fall head over
heels for that person just because you have. Keep your emotions at bay. In
fact it would be best for your children to only meet people you see a future
6. If you feel the need to talk trash about your spouse don’t do it when there is
even a remote possibility your children will hear you (another very hard thing
7. Don’t question the children regarding the activities of your (ex) spouse. You
are both done, so move on!
8. You can't change what has already ready happened so don’t continually
rehash the past. Try instead to learn from it for your future relationships.
9. Your children are not messengers. Aside from putting them right in the
middle, you are also relying upon the child to get the message to your spouse
correctly and in the manner you meant it. Do your own communication.
10. Don’t stop the children from seeing the other parent because he or she owes you money.
I know during the process I myself made a few blunders and did things I shouldn’t have. But as time wore on, I realized the only people I was hurting were those I loved the most: my children. If you try to adhere to this advice, you will find your behavior shifting toward rationality and maturity daily. Yes, it is easier said than done, but your child’s well-being is really on the line here, and in many respects, so is yours.
I would love to hear your stories or your comments.
As a writer, it’s important to study your craft. The best way to do that is to read. Read, read, and read some more. Before I started writing picture books, I must have read a few hundred. It’s important to see the structure, to get a feel for the word count, and to study how much the words say as opposed to the illustrations. Since as writers, we tend to overwrite, we can lower word count for picture books by allowing the illustrations to say what we cannot in the short text.
I have also been writing a young adult fiction book for a few months now. So naturally, I’ve been reading quite a bit of this genre. I have found that publishers are allowing writers to really push boundaries on sexuality, gender identification, diversity, and so much more. It’s such an exciting time to be a writer. Plus, it does seem that editors and agents are more accessible thanks to Twitter and other social media platforms.
As exciting as it is, it also seems harder than ever to break through. Of course, self-publishing is an option. One that I have already accomplished for my non-fiction book on divorce for my readers of my website www.afterdivorce.net. I didn’t attempt the traditional publishing route, since my purpose was to finish as soon as possible to have something to offer my readers on my website. However, more and more writers are taking the self-publishing route since the traditional route takes such an agonizing long time, with many rejections dotted along the way. But being quite determined, I am persevering and not giving up. In fact, I see it happening in my not-so-distant future.
So, in my quest to read as much YA as possible, I have stumbled on some really good ones, to some not so good ones. Naturally, like anything, there are hits and misses, but some are just plain out there that I shake my head and wonder how did this get published? Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the norm.
The YA market welcomes innovators to forge new paths and once taboo subjects are welcome. A YA book I recently read THE LAST TO LET GO, by Amber Smith tackles family domestic abuse as well as a young girl discovering and embracing her identity. I thought it was extremely well-written and Smith showed how the abuse manifested in the main character and her siblings, instead of telling the reader abuse stories.
Also, when you read books about writing or go to writing conferences there seems to be an extensive amount of time spent on the many dos and don’ts to know. But just as there must be a framework of sorts to follow, it’s also good to know that it’s just that: an outline to follow that is not set in stone. For instance, I read that in YA there should be limited point of view, yet the book ONE OF US IS LYING, by Karen M. McManus has four main characters, each having their point of views. It was exciting to read, and the different characters kept the story moving at a great pace.
During this innovative time in writing, it’s also important to settle into a rhythm of sorts and find a critique group. During a conference I went to last year, one agent mentioned that she would never even consider taking on a client if he/she wasn’t in a critique group. At first I thought that was a bit harsh, but after being in one, I get it. I find I am held accountable to a higher standard with my writing to someone other than myself. I believe it has improved my writing and I am more prolific than ever before.
As writers we must study our craft by reading, writing and getting critiqued regularly. It’s the only way we learn and grow. It’s also important to keep up with publishing trends, and one helpful, informative way is through Publisher’s Weekly.
As always, keep up the good writing and reading. Wishing you many successfully writing blessings to come.
I am a writer. Having had the passion and love of the written word since I was able to hold a pencil, makes me a grateful writer and reader. I am constantly reading something. Whether it’s a book, a magazine, a newspaper (yes, I am old enough that I still love to get ink on my hands) or an online article.
I have always been a passionate person by nature. I love passionately, especially my family. I work as a reading specialist with elementary school children and I am always excited when they have those “aha” moments. It fills me to the brim. Reading and writing have been important to me my whole life, and I realize that having those skills has helped me throughout my life. I focus on both reading and writing with my students. I know that in order to write well, children must learn the basic elements of storytelling. This happens by reading, discussing and analyzing the text they read. Reading and writing are the most essential skills children can learn. It helps them in every subject they study.
Years ago, when I was young and naïve, I fancied that someday when I was able to only be a writer, I would live in a cabin with a huge picture window seeing nature unfold before me. But truth is, as writers we cannot write in isolation, nor can we live in isolation. This notion appealed to my socially-introverted self at the time, but then who or what would we write about? For without being around people, how would we observe them? For interacting with others is food for our souls, sustenance for our writing, it gives us more wordplay, and nuances for our dialogue. As I tell my students, in order to understand dialogue, you must read fiction. How can teachers teach building believable characters, without the student knowing and understanding their own favorite characters from books?
As a writer, who is often busy with much on my plate, finding the time to write can be as elusive as finding that proverbial needle in a haystack. That has always been the dilemma for me. When I had young children, writing was for stolen moments in between naps or early mornings. When I began working again, writing was for nighttime when everyone was sleeping. Now that my children are all out, I still work full-time, plus I have my mother with me who needs care, so once again I have to schedule my time to write. The point is, we all have busy lives, and there is always an event, company staying with us, children, pets, and so on that get in the way of our writing. But we must forge ahead and find the time. Because writing isn’t just a thing we do, it’s who we are. It’s our passion and we are always hoping that it is our tour de force.
The thing is: every writer I know, feels compelled to do what they do. It’s an internal calling that must be pursued. If we weren’t compelled, why we would subscribe to the nearly constant rejection? Let’s face it, rejection isn’t easy, especially in the beginning. Not that the rejection gets easier, but it is more logical when you realize it isn’t about you, it’s about the work. Even the well-known, highly prolific, Jane Yolen, still finds she gets rejections. Knowing that helps me realize that it is truly about the work. It doesn’t matter how many books you’ve had published—though I imagine it helps a little—what matters is the work. Every piece we submit needs to shine as bright as the sunniest day. For after all, we want our work to be published. We want our words to matter. We want to envision a family sitting together reading our book. We want to leave a legacy of our words. Why you ask? Simply because we are writers. It's what we do!
I write Picture Books, Chapter Books and YA.