Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Manuela Pentangelo - Guest Illustrator

Manuela was born in Holland, but has lived in Italy all of her life. She studied architecture in college, but knew there was more she wanted to do.Manuela has taken many classes in her journey into children's illustration. She studied croquet class in Denmark at the "The Animation Workshop." She did mock-up for publicity at "John Kaverdash" in Italy. A class for creating stained-glass windows. And most recently, she studied mixed painting styles with Svjetlan Junakovic.Manuela says instead of a silver spoon in her mouth, she was born with a pencil and a paintbrush.She is a member of the SCBWI, lives near Milan, and often visits London to sketch at the British Museum or travels around places...wherever her inspiration takes her.

DMc: What inspires you as you begin a new project?

When I start a new project I tend to read the story and try to get in, to know better who is living it. Going trough the web in search of pictures that can make me feel who I'm going to read. Visualize background, well it depends on where it is, if I have details from who give me the project or if it is a place of fantasy. Days scribbling here and there despairing myself, telling myself argh I will not survive this, then somehow it comes out by itself and flows.

DMc: Was there a person from your childhood who encouraged you to pursue your artistic talent?

Well my parents helped and help me a lot, but one day years ago, I was in an office job and I met my still friend Cristiano Lissoni, somehow working together pushed me pursuing my goals.
DMc: What was the best piece of advice you received when you started your career as an illustrator?

DRAW, DRAW, DRAW and fight and believe in what you are doing, else why are you doing it.

DMc: Who are some of your favorite children's illustrators?

Well I sure have a lot, but I love Chriss Riddell, Tony DiTerlizzi and
Sarah McIntire.

DMc: Please describe your path to success in becoming an artist? Where there any particular obstacles that you needed to overcome?

A path, oh well let me see, a path... mmm... draw, draw, draw, believe and promote yourself as much as you can, have ideas, never feel that you know all you need to know 'cause is not true, study the libraries, the books, the children’s and the parents. Obstacles mm... payment, here in Italy sometimes it's a bit hard, oh and well the lack of planning you cannot at start especially plan so much what project to follow or not. But the nice part is that, is true sometimes I work around the day, but yet again one day there is the sun, fresh air and you can decide to go out and work later or bring your work with you and smell the air.

DMc: Please describe the collaboration involved between you, the publisher, and the author.

Collaboration, wow yes, I work with different hours also so is not always so simple, but I like a lot collaboration, 'cause also if I get angry sometimes or I cannot really understand where to some talking brings, I know at the end the all is to have a better project and that's what gave me the possibility to improve myself. If I look at 3 years ago, I surely can see the difference and I feel I can do better, but a real good part is 'cause I have the possibility to work with people who believes in their work.

Learn more about Manuela’s colorful world at: http://www.piedenero.com/

Monday, March 30, 2009

Guest Illustrator - Manuela Pentangelo on March 31st

Children's Illustrator, Manuela Pentangelo to be guest illustrator on March 31st. Manuela was born in Holland and has lived in Italy all her life. Manuela says instead of a silver spoon in her mouth, she was born with a pencil and a paintbrush.

Come along for this colorful interview. Manueala will check-in throughout the day to answer your questions.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Stories for Children Publishing Launches New Blog

Stories for Children Magazine
a trademark of Stories for Children Publishing, LLC
A monthly Ezine for Children (3 to 12)
Web site: http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org


CONTACT: Donna M. McDine
Marketing Manager, Stories for Children Magazine
Email: DonnaMcDine@storiesforchildrenmagazine.org
Phone: 800-670-4416

For Immediate Release

Stories for Children Publishing Launches New Blog:
SFC Families Matter 2 Us

Join us April 1, 2009 for the launch of a new blog from Stories for Children: SFC Families Matter 2 Us – http://familiesmatter2us.blogspot.com.

Our mission is to share resources that introduce families to products and services to help strengthen, support, and challenge children academically and bring the family unit closer together. SFC Publishing brings children on a adventure into the Word of Ink, as well as parents, teachers, authors, illustrators, schools, grandparents, publishers, editors, libraries, and readers around the globe who log onto our Families Matter blog.

Visit Stories for Children: Families Matter 2 Us blog at: http://familiesmatter2us.blogspot.com

Don’t forget to stop by Stories for Children Magazine at: http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org to enjoy the celebration of our two-year anniversary.


Full Media Kit, Magazine Cover Art, and more are available electronically upon request.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Guest Authors & Illustrator Visits at Write What Inspires You!

Guest Authors and Illustrator Schedule for Write What Inspires You! Blog:

Tuesday, March 31st ~ children's illustrator, Manuela Pentangelo.

Wednesday, April 1st ~ Christian children's author, Patti Ogden.

Friday, April 3rd, ~ children's author, Scott Heydt.

Wednesday, April 8th ~ children's author, Lori Scott

Monday, April 6th, ~ children's author, Margot Finke.

Be sure to stop by and leave a comment or question.Each guest will be on hand periodically throughout the day to field your questions.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Guest Author - Bruce Atchison

Bruce and I met through a mutual writing friend, Simon Rose. From the moment Bruce was introduced to me I was intrigued. Come along for this wonderful interview and you will surely surf away being inspired.

DMc: What was the hardest part of writing about your own life in Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School)?

BA: The most difficult thing for me was to face those painful memories head on. I tend to suppress bad recollections but that just lets them fester like an infection. Lancing those bad memory boils was painful but I now feel a lot better about what happened. I still believe it was absolutely reprehensible for me to be sent 500 miles away from home for months at a stretch but I no longer feel emotionally torn up when a song or a word stirs up those Jericho memories. Even the dreams of being back there don't upset me as they once did.

DMc: In this book, you are candid about your negative experiences at Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind. Have you received any backlash from the school or the deaf and blind community? If yes, how did you handle it?

BA: So far, nobody from the Government of British Columbia has contacted me about what I wrote. Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind was closed in 1998 because of the sexual molestation of at least 350 deaf students, perpetrated by both staff and fellow pupils, so I don't have any worries about retribution from the school administrators. I did receive some negative correspondence from a few people who enjoyed their experiences at blind schools and believed that those institutions did them many favours. I quit one e-mail group after I made my case for my views of Jericho and several people thought I was being ungrateful for the education that I received. Fortunately, I've corresponded with other blind school alumni who felt as I do about such institutions. Additionally, I've read quite a few talking books on the subject of blind schools and most of them agreed with my assessment that such places do more harm to the students than they do good. So far, no deaf person has written to praise or condemn my book.

DMc: What inspired you to write Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School)?

BA: I had originally enrolled in a www.writersweekly.com course on writing an autobiography. When I was finished, I had enough material for a very thick book. Only my family members would be interested in such a tome so I realized I would have to heavily edit it. Since my exile to Jericho was the most dramatic period of my life, I cut that part out of the manuscript and made that text into a memoir. Various friends also had expressed astonishment when I told them that I was sent so far from home, beginning at age seven. I thought the general public should know about what went on in that government-run school. I realize that what we visually-impaired inmates suffered was minor compared to the experiences of orphans and native children but I still felt that my case was a valid one.

DMc: Please share with us the basis of your first book, When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living with Bunnies)?

BA: I wrote this book in memoir form because almost all the books about rabbits are "how to" guides. Before I knew better, I kept rabbits in small cages and treated them as furry amusements instead of as proper companion animals. I wouldn't have bothered reading instructions back in the eighties, since I thought I knew how to take care of bunnies, but I would have read stories about them. When I ventured onto the web in 1996, I discovered the House Rabbit Society at www.rabbit.org and the alt.pets.rabbits newsgroup. I was astonished to learn that bunnies could be litter trained, that they can live up to 10 years, that they behave better when spayed or neutered, and that they have intelligent minds. I adopted Gideon from the animal shelter a year later and he showed me that the posters on alt.pets.rabbits as well as the PetBunny e-mail list were right about the personalities of bunnies. I felt I should write my experiences in a book because my non-rabbit-owning friends were continually amazed when I told them of what I had learned. Though people in general seem to buy instruction manuals, I've found that several hundred readers enjoyed the antics of Gideon and the rest of the bunnies I've cared for. After all, who would expect that a rabbit would hurl rolled-up socks between his legs like a football quarterback? I also related many charming stories and amazing facts about bunnies in that book. Visitors to my house are still surprised at the keen intelligence of my long-eared companions.

DMc: How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

BA: I started with an outline and added to it as memories came to me. For the rabbit book, I watched home videos and read old e-mail messages to remind me of what my fur balls did as well as how they reacted to things. For the Jericho book, I had to rely more on memories since I had no other records of what happened. Listening to old songs from the sixties brought back the ambience of the times and a flood of half-forgotten memories. As for how I wrote my manuscripts, I worked with WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS as it's such a reliable program and operating system. Because my vision is so poor, I have special software and hardware that lets me hear what I've typed and what's on the screen. When I finished writing each chapter separately, I combined them and edited the entire manuscript. After I hired an editor to spot any mistakes that I missed, I had the books self-published.

DMc: Please share with us your latest project(s)?

BA: I'm currently writing a third, and most likely final, memoir called How I Was Razed (And How I discovered Authentic Christianity). When I became a Christian in 1969 at a vacation bible school held in the basement of my sister's friend's house, I had nobody to mentor me. Consequently, I had no idea of what being a believer was all about. Through a series of circumstances, I was brought to a house church that met in the basement of a woman's home. They claimed that they had an anointed teacher of God who knew more truth than any other minister or denomination. I believed all sorts of things that aren't in scripture since I didn't know any better. Because they kept condemning me for not being healed when they laid hands on me and prayed for my miracle, I turned my back on God for nine years. I came to my senses after I realized that I was making a mess of my life and that it was nobody's fault that I had poor sight. Now, I want to reach out to all those who have been hurt by legalistic pseudo-churches and judgmental leaders to tell them that Christianity is not like what they experienced at all. Eventually, I want to learn how to write fiction. There are a few stories floating around in my mind that I believe would be worth publishing. I also want to build my own web site, have my own domain, and join Facebook.

Bruce Atchison - author of Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind
School) and When a Man Loves a Rabbit ((Learning and Living With Bunnies)



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Guest Author - Bruce Atchison - March 25th

Join me on Wednesday, March 25th when children's author, Bruce Atchison, joins me as my guest author.

Bruce Atchison, a legally blind writer, has written scores of
freelance articles since 1996. Their topics ranged from a visit to the Voice of Russia World Service in Moscow to a hilarious April Fools joke played on his class by his grade 3 teacher. Bruce's articles have appeared in an eclectic mix of publications, from glossy magazines to photocopied underground "zines."

He has also written 2 books. When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) relates his adventures and misadventures
of having rabbits as house pets as well as the fascinating facts he learned about them. It was published in 2006. A year later, he wrote Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School). it's his memoir about what it was like to be sent 500 miles from home for months at a stretch, beginning when he was 7 years old.

Bruce is currently working on How I Was Razed (and How I found Authentic Christianity), an account of his spiritual journey through various betrayals of his faith to the eventual discovery of what genuine Christianity is. He lives in a tiny hamlet in the western Canadian province of Alberta with 4 house rabbits.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Carolyn Howard-Johnson ~ Guest Author Today!

I'm delighted to have Carolyn Howard-Johnson here today as my guest author. Carolyn's expertise will astound you. Don't miss this opportunity to ask any question you may have...you will surely walk away feeling pleased you asked away.
Using "I" As a Conceit

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success

I don't know when I learned the word "conceited." I was raised in Utah where most of us didn't use "conceit" in the sense of an elaborate or strained metaphor but rather to mean that someone thought they were extra-super special. The little girl across the street who snubbed me because I didn't wear long stockings with garters (which was an immediate tipoff that I was not her kind) was "conceited" rather than prejudiced. The kid who was quick to make a point of how bright he was when I made a mistake was "conceited" rather than arrogant (or insecure). Gawd! I loved the word "conceited." I could apply it to so many situations and avoid learning new vocabulary words.

Of course, in a culture where being extra-super humble was valued, I soon noticed that our English language is, indeed, "conceited."

I'm speaking of the way we capitalize the pronoun "I." None of the other pronouns are capped. So what about this "I," standing tall no matter where you find it in a sentence?

Recently as I tutored students in accent reduction and American culture I noticed that some languages (like Japanese) seem to do quite well without pronouns of any sort. I did a little research. Some languages like Hebrew and Arabic, don't capitalize any of their letters and some, like German, capitalize every darn noun. So, English—a Germanic language at its roots—just carried on the German proclivity for caps.

But the question remained. Why only the "I?" Why not "them" and "you" and all the others. Caroline Winter, a 2008 Fulbright scholar, says "England was where the capital "I" first reared its dotless head . . . .Apparently someone back then decided that just "i" after it had been diminished from the original Germanic 'ich' was not substantial enough to stand alone." It had to do with an artistic approach to fonts. The story goes that long ago in the days of handset type or even teletype machines little sticks and dots standing all alone looked like broken bits of lead or scrappy orphan letters.

Then there is the idea that religion played a part in capitalizing the "I." Rastafarians (and some others, too) think in terms of humankind as being one with God and therefore—one has to presume—it would be rather blasphemous not to capitalize "I" just as one does "God." Capitals, after all, are a way to honor a word or concept.

Which, of course, brings us back to the idea that we speakers of English are just plain "conceited."
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an instructor for UCLA Extension's world-renown Writers' Program. Her next class on promoting fiction and nonfiction is August 1, a one day seminar. She is author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers including The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. It is a USA Book News award-winner as well as the winner of the Reader View's Literary Award and a finalist in the New Generation Book Awards. She is the recipient of both the California Legislature's Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and is a popular speaker and actor. Her website is www.HowToDoItFrugally.com.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
E-mail: HoJoNews@aol.com

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Carolyn Howard-Johnson ~ Guest Author - March 23rd

Join me on Monday, March 23rd when Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Foot Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success will be my guest author.

Carolyn will check-in periodically to field your questions.

Friday, March 20, 2009

2009 Children's Choice Book Awards

The nominees for the 2009 Children's Choice Book Awards were recently announced. I'm excited to say that books illustrated by three of JacketFlap's members are among the nominees! Please join me in congratulating the three nominees by clicking their names below and leaving a congratulations comment on their profiles:

Willow, illustrated by Cyd Moore

Sort it Out!, illustrated by Sherry Rogers

Those Darn Squirrels!, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

Voting for the finalists is now open. Children and teens are able to cast their vote for their favorite books, author, and illustrator at bookstores, school libraries, and online until Sunday, May 3, 2009. Close to 15,000 children and teens from around the US spent months reading and evaluating books submitted by publishers. The five favorite books published in 2008 in each of these categories are open for a nation-wide vote in March and April 2009 in each of four grade categories: K-2nd, 3rd-4th, 5th-6th, and Teen as well as Favorite Author, and Favorite Illustrator. The winner in each category will be named at a gala during Children's Book Week on May 12th, 2009 in New York City as part of Children's Book Week (May 11-17, 2009), the oldest national literacy event in the United States.

To enhance the awareness of the awards, the Children's Book Council is working with JacketFlap again this year to create a Children's Choice Book Awards Widget, which displays a different finalist book every time it loads on a web site or blog.

You can get the Widget for your own blog or web site at:http://www.jacketflap.com/widgets/widget.asp?widgetname=cbc2Please spread the word to children so they can vote.

Remember, voting ends May 3, 2009!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Guardian Angel Publishing - New Releases


Author/Photographer: Kim McDougall

Reanie is a shy girl. She has a new step dad whose shoulders seem to fill their small house. Afraid to disappoint him, she retreats to her room whenever Bill asks her to play. But when he invites her on a photo safari in the creek, Reanie can't resist. As the father and daughter splash through the water, they encounter many creatures. Bill teaches Reanie how to handle a camera, and her new step-dad doesn't seem so strange anymore.Illustrated with Kim Chatel's stunning photography, this is more than a story. It is a journey with Reanie as she finds her voice and her artistic talent. The back of the book includes five non-fiction pages about photography: a glossary of terms, tips on taking better pictures and historical tidbits about photography.

Author: Vishpriya (Vandhana Veerni) Artist: Eugene Ruble

Throughout my growing years, character formation made a distinct mark. Through innumerous stories and daily experience, my parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents continuously re-iterated the importance of good character and how it helps form the person you are in future.

Author: Diane Luise Kirk Artist: Susann Batson
It’s Christmas Eve in Nebraska, 1874 with a blizzard on the way. And fifteen-year-old Rachel would rather be back in Omaha wearing ruffled silk dresses and preparing for Christmas balls than taking care of her ill mother and infant brother. When five Indians show up at their door, she has no one to turn to for help and has to rely on her instincts to keep her family safe. One page of teacher's notes included. Suggested age for readers: 7-12

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Guest Authors and Illustrator Schedule

Several guest authors and one illustrator scheduled to visit Write What Inspires You!

Monday, March 23rd ~ Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Foot Forard to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success.

Tuesday, March 31st ~ children's illustrator, Manuela Pentangelo. Manuela was born in Holland and has lived in Italy all her life. Manuela says instead of a silver spoon in her mouth, she was born with a pencil and a paintbrush.

Wednesday, April 1st ~ Christian children's author, Patti Ogden.

Friday, April 3rd, ~ children's author, Scott Heydt.

Monday, April 6th, ~ children's author, Margot Finke.

Be sure to stop by and leave a comment or question.

Each guest will be on hand periodically throughout the day to field your questions.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Children's Writers' Coaching Club

Need help creating your career as a children's writer or illustrator?


Do you want to learn ways to make more of the career you already have?

Then join the Children's Writers' Coaching Club! As a member of this club, you'll work with both published and aspiring children's writers and illustrators to create the children's writing or illustrating career of your dreams.

Visit: http://www.cwcoachingclub.com/ for more details.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stories for Children Magazine - Announcements to be Made

Stanley Bookman is in a playful mood and wants to drop some hints about the exciting announcements Stories for Children Magazine will make in April 2009:

Hint 1: What special offer is SFC Magazine offering only on their website in April? Guess you'll have to wait and see. LOL.

Hint 2: What does the Food Network and SFC Magazine have in common? Visit http://storiesforchildrenma... on April 1st to find out.

Hint 3: What five things use SFC in their titles? Visit http://storiesforchildrenma... on April 5th to find out!

Hint 4: How many SFC Granny Award winners from 2008? Find out on April 6th at http://storiesforchildrenma... and read the April issue.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Notes from the Horn Book

Notes from the Horn Book, FREE electronic newsletter is perfect for parents and anyone else who is looking for good new books for children and teenagers. Each monthly issue features interviews with leading writers and illustrators, brief recommendations of noteworthy titles, and the latest news from the children's book world. It's written and published by Horn Book editors, the most trusted authorities in the field.

Tell your friends, your colleagues, or your classmates. Help us spread the good word about Notes from the Horn Book!

Sign-up today to receive their email newsletter at: http://www.hbook.com/newsletter/subscribe.html

A taste of this month's issue:

Outside adventures:

Rain or shine, playing outdoors can be great fun, but sometimes you encounter more excitement than you bargained for. Here are four picture books that revel in the possibilities.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Simon Rose - Guest Author Today!

I am thrilled to have Simon Rose as my guest today!
Simon is a science fiction and fantasy author, of The Heretic's Tomb, The Emerald Curse, The Clone Conspiracy, The Sorcerer's Letterbox and The Alchemist's Portrait.
Simon will be checking-in throughout the day to answer any questions you may have. Even if you feel he has been asked your question a 1,000 times before...go ahead...ask away!
Q. Simon, in addition to your five books, do you have a new one coming out in 2009?
A. Yes, The Doomsday Mask (pictured) will be published this spring. It's once again for 8-12 age group, and in the science fiction and fantasy genre-- it's a fast-paced adventure about ancient civilizations, mysterious artifacts and shadowy secret societies. You can read its synopsis at http://www.simon-rose.com/doomsday.htm.I've also another completed novel on a paranormal theme, numerous projects for future novels and am working on several picture books with a local illustrator.
Q. Where do you get your ideas from?
A. To be honest, anywhere and everywhere really... out walking the dog, driving in the car, something overheard in a conversation, a newspaper story, a billboard, an item on the evening news, other books, historical events, other people's stories, movies, or even something out of the blue. Some may never be used, but I try to record as many as I can. I never know when they might fit in with a story I'm writing. Even ideas that don't seem to work right away may have a use in the future.
Q. Why science fiction and fantasy?
A. One of the best things about writing for kids is that I can write about the kinds of things that fascinated me when I was young. Stories can be very imaginative if they are for children, which makes writing them so much fun. And, of course, in science fiction or fantasy, more or less anything you can imagine is possible, as you craft stories involving ancient mysteries, the unexplained, the paranormal, science fiction, time travel, parallel universes, alternate realities, weird and wonderful characters and a multitude of what if scenarios.
Q. What did you read growing up?
A. Lots of science fiction, as well fantasy writers and ghost stories. I also read a tremendous number of comic books, in which the stories took me across the universe, into strange dimensions, into the land of the Norse gods or had me swinging from the New York rooftops. At high school, I studied a lot of history and have retained my interest in the subject up to the present day. I also read voraciously on ancient civilizations, mysteries, the supernatural, and the unexplained.
Q. Now that you're all grown-up, do you visit schools and spend time with kids?
A. Yes, I offer a wide range of presentations workshops and author in residence programs for schools and libraries. I cover such topics as where ideas come from, story structure, editing and revision, character development, time travel stories, history and research, which you can learn more about at http://www.simon-rose.com/school_programs.htm
Q. What about adults? Do you ever work with them?
A. Yes, I conduct workshops on writing and publishing your children novel on a regular basis. I also offer editing and critiquing services and a number of online writing workshops, exploring where ideas come from and how writers turn them into stories, basic story structure, plot development, creating characters, developing dialogue and so on, as well as looking at marketing and promotion for children's authors. I've got all that info listed on my website.
Q. Do you do any other type of writing?
A. In addition to novel writing, I offer copywriting services for business, such as editorial content for websites, as well book reviews and articles for magazines and online publications on a wide variety of topics.
Thanks very much, Simon, for this interview. Best of luck to you in all your writing endeavors!
You can learn more about Simon and his books at http://www.simon-rose.com/ or at his blog at http://simon-rose.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Simon Rose - Guest Author - March 12th

Join me on Thursday, March 12th when Simon Rose will be my guest author.

Don't miss this opportunity to interact with Simon and pick his brain (so to speak) with your questions.

Not only is Simon a well accomplished novelist, he offers writing workshops.

Stay tuned and learn more about Simon and his illustrious career.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Changes at Stories for Children Magazine

Changes at Stories for Children Magazine

I want to let you all know that some exciting changes are happening at Stories for Children Magazine. We'll be announcing those changes this coming April. http://apps.facebook.com/causes/posts/148284?m=7d290bcb
Also, we are going to add a beneficiary to this cause. The goal is not to only spread the word about Stories for Children Magazine and to reach those who would like to be sponsors to help us reach our goal of becoming a print magazine, but to also help those who have less than we do. We know times are tough for everyone, but for many it's much tougher.
The reason? Because they were already struggling like we are now, so just imagine what it must be like for them with the U.S. and Global economy on the rocks. We hope you'll help us grow this cause, spread the word about Stories for Children Magazine, become a sponsor, and help those who are less fortunate.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Simon Rose - Online Workshops for Children and Young Adults

Simon Rose is now running online workshops for children and young adults, ages eight to sixteen, conducted via e mail.
Details of the workshops offered are available at http://www.simon-rose.com/online_wkshp_yngadults.htm
Basically, it's like having an online writer in residence, right in your own home, as aspiring young authors have the unique opportunity to work with a published author.

Even if you don't have children in this age range, please help in spreading the word about these workshops by passing this information on to those in your social circles who may be interested.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Simon Rose
The Doomsday Mask 2009
The Heretic's Tomb 2007
The Emerald Curse 2006
The Clone Conspiracy 2005
The Sorcerer's Letterbox 2004
The Alchemist's Portrait 2003
Manuscript Critiques - Online Workshops - School Programs
Coaching for Writers - Editing - Copywriting - Autographed Books
"Proud to be an advocate of deaf literacy"

Saturday, March 7, 2009

"The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway! ~ Winner Announced

Congratulations to Erin Goodman http://eringoodman.com/blog/ for winning a signed copy of Writer Mama by Christina Katz!

Thank you to all for stopping by and participating with your comments...I enjoyed reading your input.

Be sure to visit Christina at her next stop Saturday, March 7th: Anne-Marie Nichols: A Mama’s Rant - http://www.amamasrant.com/

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Writer Mama Two-Year Anniversary Blog Tour Giveaway! Post #6

As promised Christina Katz is my guest author today. I met Christina at the NY Book Expo almost two years ago when I purchased her book, Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids and to my delight Christina signed my copy. It is the perfect book to have in your writer’s library. Without further ado, I present to you Christina Katz.

Okay, so yesterday, I was talking about how writers often struggle with book proposals and how it can be the same story with query letters. But the writers I’ve met over the years who don’t have trouble writing queries or proposals are typically more comfortable with selling themselves than your most.

This brings me to a point I’ve been making lately when I speak and teach about the four skill sets that all writers need to have to be competitive in these times. The first two are:

- Continually improving writing craft.

- Selling words by pitching yourself.

In the Writer Mama story that I’ve been telling, you can see how my willingness to pitch myself and my book concept was instrumental to landing a book deal eventually.

But sometimes I encounter writers who like to grumble. And one thing they like to grumble about is how “somebody else” stole their idea, wrote it down and got it published.

Well, if that is the case, then guess what they are not doing enough? They are probably not pitching their ideas as much as they could. Because if they were, they would be the one ushering their ideas into print instead of watching others beat them to the byline.

Not that I’m not sympathetic. Wishing you’d written it first happens to the best of us. But if it happens often then the skill to work on next is SELLING. I need to work on it. You need to work on it. And so does every writer.

Today's Book Drawing: To enter to win a signed, numbered copy of Writer Mama, answer the following question in this blog's comments:

What can writers do to improve their sales skills? What have you done? What have you seen other writers do? Any creative solutions?

Thanks for participating! Only US residents, or folks with a US mailing address can participate in the drawing. Please only enter once per day.

Where will the drawing be tomorrow? Visit http://thewritermama.wordpress.com/ to continue reading the rest of the Writer Mama story throughout March 2009!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Christina Katz, The Writer Mama Two Year Blog Giveaway

Join me on Friday, March 6th when Christina Katz, author of Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids (Writer's Digest Books 2007) is my guest author for the day.

"Kids change your life, but they don't necessarily have to end your career. Stay-at-home moms will love this handy guide to rearing a successful writing career while raising their children. The busy mom's guide to writing life, this book gives stay-at-moms the encouragement and advice they need including everything from getting started and finding ideas to actually finding time to do the work - something not easy to do with the pitter-patter of little feet. With advice on how to network and form a a business, this nurturing guide covers everything a writer mama needs to succeed at her second job."
Be sure to leave a comment and answer Christina's question and be automatically placed into a drawing for a FREE copy of Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Contest - Write What Inspires You Newsletter!


Refer an opt-in subscriber to the “Write What Inspires You!” Newsletter and automatically be entered in the drawing for:
“Writing Kit: Everything You Need to Get Creative, Start Writing, and Get Published,” From the Editors of Writer’s Digest Books.

  • Make sure the person you refer includes their name & email address and your name & email address in the opt-in box at the top of my website: http://www.donnamcdine.com or within their email to: dmcdine@optonline.net
  • Contest ends: April 30, 2009
  • Winner Announced: May 2009 issue of the “Write What Inspires You!” Newsletter

Monday, March 2, 2009

Guest Author ~ Wendy Burt-Thomas, author of The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters

Please welcome my guest author of the day, Wendy Burt-Thomas. She is a full-time freelance writer, editor and copywriter with more than 1,000 published pieces. Her third book, "The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters" hit stores in January 2009.

1. Q: Can you tell us about your book?

The book was a great fit for me because I'd been teaching "Breaking Into Freelance Writing" for about eight years. In the workshop, I covered a lot of what is in this book: writing query letters to get articles in magazines, to land an agent, or to get a book deal with a publisher. Since I'm a full-time freelance magazine writer and editor with two previous books, this was incredibly fun to write because it didn't require tons of research. I was lucky enough to receive lots of great sample query letters from writers and authors that I use as "good" examples in the book. I wrote all the "bad" examples myself because I didn't dare ask for contributions that I knew I'd be ripping apart!

In addition to the ins and outs of what makes a good query, the book covers things like why (or why not) to get an agent, where to find one and how to choose one; writing a synopsis or proposal; selling different rights to your work; other forms of correspondence; and what editors and agents look for in new writers.

It was really important to me that the book not be a dry, boring reference book, but rather an entertaining read (while still being chock full of information). I was thrilled that Writer's Digest let me keep all the humor.

2. Q: Why are query letters so important?

Breaking into the publishing world is hard enough right now. Unless you have a serious "in" of some kind, you really need a great query letter to impress an agent or acquisitions editor. Essentially, your query letter is your first impression. If they like your idea (and voice and writing style and background), they'll either request a proposal, sample chapters, or the entire manuscript. If they don't like your query letter, you've got to pitch it to another agency/publisher. Unlike a manuscript, which can be edited or reworked if an editor thinks it has promise, you only get one shot with your query. Make it count!

I see a lot of authors who spend months (or years) finishing their book, only to rush through the process of crafting a good, solid query letter. What a waste! If agents/editors turn you down based on a bad query letter, you've blown your chance of getting them to read your manuscript. It could be the next bestseller, but they'll never see it. My advice is to put as much effort into your query as you did your book. If it's not fabulous, don't send it until it is.

3. Q: You're also a magazine editor. What is your biggest gripe regarding queries?

Queries that show that the writer obviously hasn't read our publication. I'll admit that I did this when I was a new writer too – submitted blindly to any publication whose name sounded even remotely related to my topic. One of the examples I use was when I submitted a parenting article to a magazine for senior citizens. Oops! A well-written query pitching an article that's not a match for the magazine isn't going to get you any further than a poorly written query.

4. Q: There's an entire chapter in the book about agents. Do you think all new writers should get agents?

Probably 99% of new writers should get an agent. There are lots of reasons, but my top three are: 1) Many of the larger publishing houses won't even look at unagented submissions now; 2) Agents can negotiate better rights and more money on your behalf; 3) Agents know the industry trends, changes and staff better than you ever could.

5. Q: You've been a mentor, coach or editor for many writers. What do you think is the most common reason that good writers don't get published?

Poor marketing skills. I see so many writers that are either too afraid, too uniformed, or frankly, too lazy, to market their work. They think their job is done when the write "the end" but writing is only half of the process. I've always told people who took my class that there are tons of great writers in the world who will never get published. I'd rather be a good writer who eats lobster than a great writer who eats hot dogs. I make a living as a writer because I spend as much time marketing as I do writing.

6. Q: What are some of the biggest misconceptions that writers have about getting a book deal?

That they'll be rich overnight, that they don't need to promote their book once it's published, that publishing houses will send them on world book tours, that people will recognize them at the airport. Still, you can make great money as an author if you're prepared to put in the effort. If it wasn't possible, there wouldn't be so many full-time writers.

7. Q: What must-read books do you recommend to new writers?

Christina Katz (author of "Writer Mama") has a new book out called "Get Known Before the Book Deal" - which is fabulous. Also, Stephen King's "On Writing" and David Morrell's "Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing." Anything by Anne Lamott or my Dad, Steve Burt.

8. Q: What's the biggest lesson you've learned as a full-time writer?

Seize every opportunity - especially when you first start writing. I remember telling someone about a really high-paying writing gig I got and he said, "Wow. You have the best luck!" I thought, "Luck has nothing to do with it! I've worked hard to get where I am." Later that week I read this great quote: "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity." It's absolutely true. And writing queries is only about luck in this sense. If you're prepared with a good query and/or manuscript, when the opportunity comes along you'll be successful.

9. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Writing the "bad" query letters. I've read – and written! – so many horrible ones over the years that it was a little too easy to craft them. But misery loves company and we ALL love to read really bad query letters, right?

10. Q: What do you want readers to learn from your book?

I want them to understand that while writing a good query letter is important, it doesn't have to be overwhelming. You can break it down into parts, learn from any first-round rejections, and read other good queries to help understand what works. I also want them to remember that writing is fun. Sometimes new writers get so caught up in the procedures that they lose their original voice in a query. Don't bury your style under formalities and to-the-letter formatting.

To learn more about Wendy or her three books, visit http://www.guidetoqueryletters.com/. If you have a writing-related question, you can also post it on http://askwendy.wordpress.com/.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Interview of Donna McDine by Mayra Calvani at Suite 101.com

Interview of Donna McDine by Mayra Calvani at Suite101.com
Donna McDine has been a cashier, a personal assistant, a web designer, and now is finally where she belongs... in the world of children’s literature. "My mind, body, and soul soar to amazing depths of creativity that make my words and world sing," says Donna. "My previous careers have been so different, each I gave my all, but I’ve always ached for something more fulfilling."

It wasn’t until she read an ad by the Institute of Children’s Literature for their aptitude test in 2006 that she took the plunge. She filled it out and to her pure delight she was accepted into the program. She hasn't looked back since.