Kid Lit Author and Advocate

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Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Library Journal is arguably one of the most respected catalogs relied upon for book selections by public libraries. Historically, they’ve only listed books by big-name publishers, but in 2015 that all changed when Library Journal and Biblioboard partnered to form the SELF-e program for self-published and small press authors…

To read the rest of this informative post, click on the link or photo of the Author, Melinda Clayton, below:


Melinda Clayton

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Hoping this year’s book drive is as fabulous as last year!

Michelle Eastman Books

Wow! That’s all I can say about the wonderful authors who donated books to MARCHing Books to Kids of incarcerated parents book drive. I dropped off another huge collection today, and I was able to spend time in the VNS library. It was great to see all of the books on the shelves, but the best part was seeing all of your books. I was able to “Drop Everything And Read” a few days late, and I read many of your awesome books for the first time! You authors are as talented as you are generous. It was a pleasure to read the books you’ve created. The VNS staff members are very appreciative of the outpouring of donations from authors in 12 US states, and 3 additional countries. I’ll have the final book count very soon, but I can tell you the sentiment outweighs that total by loads and…

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I would like to reach out to kid lit authors and book bloggers to get quality books into the hands of deserving kids.

Featured Image -- 1290

Throughout the month of March, I am collecting new children’s books to benefit children of incarcerated parents. Authors, I hope you will consider donating signed copies of your books. Book bloggers, please help us by sharing this information with your readers.

I am a children’s author, teacher, and mom who is passionate about children’s literacy and the power of children’s books. When I learned nearly 2/3 of children, living in poverty, DO NOT own books, I was moved to act. I founded the literacy initiative, Picture Book Pass it On, to raise awareness for literacy issues and get books to kids in need.

Three years ago, the Picture Book Pass it On initiative grew to include a month-long book drive called MARCHing Books to Kids.

Throughout the month of March, MARCHing Books to Kids collects books (ages birth-17 years) for the VNS of Iowa Storybook Project.

VNS of Iowa volunteers travel to The Iowa Correctional Institution, in Mitchellville, once a month. With the aid of volunteers, mothers select one book per child to read via a digital voice recorder.  The audio CD and book are mailed to the child to keep. The mission is to strengthen the bond between parent and child, during incarceration, while promoting reading and literacy.

Since 2015, MARCHing Books to Kids has collected more than 1,500 books.                               Over the years, the drive has received donations from notable children’s authors such as    Robert Munsch (Love You Forever) and Nick Bruel (Bad Kitty series). Last year, more than 30 children’s authors donated signed copies of their books. Owning a book, let alone a book signed by the author, is a joy most of these children have never experienced.

girl wagon

I believe that every child’s Bill of Rights should be indelibly inked with the right to have books read to him/her and to own their very own books.  Many of us take for granted the sacred ritual of cracking open a book and cuddling together while the words and pictures collectively take us away.  You can probably recall having been read to by your parents or caregivers.  You likely hold a special book, from your childhood, close to your heart.  And, until now, you’ve probably not given much thought to how profound that experience can be…Imagine, never having that.

To participate in MARCHing Books to Kids, please follow the 3 calls to action:

#1 Pledge to donate a new book/s to Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, Storybook Project.  Authors are invited to sign their books.

When packing your book/s, please include a note stating that your book is part of the MARCHing Books to Kids initiative.  Books may be mailed to:

VNS of Iowa, Storybook Project

c/o Tabby Kuehl

1111 9th Street

Suite 320

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

#2 Post your pledge on our Facebook page .  Share it on your blog and on social media.  Please include our badge and tags #PBPiO and #MARCHingBookstoKids

#3 Pass it on.  When you post about your pledge, challenge one or more friends to join your #PBPiO  giving chain.  Encourage them to take the pledge and keep passing it on…

I appreciate your help spreading the word. Thank you for making the difference in the lives of children and families in need.


Ana Spoke, author

You walk in and hand it to them. Well, not quite that easy, but close. I’m exhausted from jumping up and down over here – Shizzle, Inc is now available at Readings St Kilda (that’s in Melbourne, Australia). How’s this for starting 2016 with a bang:

Book on the shelf

I always wanted to get my book into a brick-and-mortar bookstore, but did not have a plan on how I was going to get this feat accomplished. My general feeling after reading online articles was that it’s very hard for self-published authors to do so. Perhaps it is, if you expect the bookstore buyers to order books from CreateSpace, but NOT if you are willing to be a supplier yourself, and to sell on consignment (this means you don’t get paid until the book is sold, and the store reserves the right to return the stock to you without payment, if it does not sell).

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HAPPY 2016!!

It’s that time again.

Please share your book(s) &/or blog links now through January 5th!

For those that are new to this post: Once a month I invite fellow authors &/or bloggers to share their novels and blogs. I invite everyone to post links to their personal websites, other social accounts, or advertise a link to BUY (if applicable). Use this space to BRAG about your blog or what you have published! Be proud of your hard-work & not embarrassed to self-promote!

If you have a book for sale (or upcoming)- I will add your book to my list of “authors to read” by the genre – See example here: Authors to Read!

For those who have posted before: Feel free to advertise again. Or- if you have a different book you would like me to add to the list (or different link to buy)- please include it.


Title. Genre.  Release date (if…

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A must-read for anyone who writes!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri

Well, I figure I have one more day to drunkenly torch my platform. Sad thing is I don’t drink. I am apparently this stupid when sober 😛 . Actually I am writing this as a follow up for my rant from the day before yesterday, because knowledge is power.

Writers need this. Your friends and families need this. Readers need this. The more people get how this industry works, the more everyone can start working together for everyone’s benefit.

In my book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World, I go into a LOT more detail and I highly recommend you get a copy if you don’t have one. I spend the first chapters of the book explaining how the various forms of publishing work so you can make an educated decision.

All types of publishing have corresponding…

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Lauri Fortino's Frog On A (B)Log

PB at the Library RoundupThis end-of-year roundup introduces all of the picture books I didn’t get a chance to share over the past year. They were all published this year and are available at my library; perhaps they’re available at yours as well. As you scroll through this long list, my hope is that you will find a few gems that you have not yet read. I’ll see you in the new year with the next post featuring the latest picture books At The Library.Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and successful New Year! 🙂


A boy awakes with the dawn and expresses gratitude for this unique day.

Six little ninjas from Dojo Daycare are going on a field trip to the farm.

An illustrated, interactive story with a narrator who invites the reader to meet a vast array of pet monsters, such as the Yucky Mucky twins, and choose one to take…

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The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

Thank you to all who have purchased one of my books and taken the time to write a review. All profits from my books go to help dogs like these. Current count for 2015 is 123 dogs rescued from kills shelters. It’s definitely going to be a very happy new year for a lot of families. I’m so grateful for anyone who’s helped with this effort in any way.

Bayard Bayard’s freedom photo

BELLA & BUBBA BFFs dumped and rescued together by NorCal Boxer Bella & Bubba BFFs dumped and rescued together. Happy siblings!

constantina Constantina’s freedom photo

CONSTANTINA & PUCI rescued together Constantina & sibling Puci rescued together with happy new mom

Gilbert Gilbert happy and safe in new home

Graciella freedom photo Graciella’s freedom photo

Graciella freedom photo #2 Graciella safe and sound in arms of new dad

Lara Lara’s been rescued and is now with new family

Millie Millie’s freedom photo

Nelson was rescued by Pass4paws Nelson was rescued by Pass4paws

Newt Newt with new mom

Oreo Oreo with new sibling and mom

Oso Oso is home sweet home

Princess Mama Princess mamma and her…

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Debbie was such an awesome presence in the kid lit community. She touched the lives of many, and she will be missed.

Josh Funk Books

I didn’t know Debbie Alvarez all that well. I had been following her blog, The Styling Librarian, for the past few years, and I knew she’d been on the forefront of the kidlit librarian blogosphere. I was a fan of Debbie’s ‘Whatever Wednesday’ posts and the fact that until this fall, all of her posts appeared a day early (due to the fact that she was living and teaching in China). I’d always get to her #IMWAYR posts on Sunday nights.

When I found out that Debbie passed away on Monday after a three year battle with cancer, I was both saddened and shocked. I had no idea she wasn’t well. Her blog was one of the best out there and her enthusiasm for books was unmatched.

In reading Facebook posts written by her friends, a blog post tribute shared by Debbie Ohi, and articles in The Oregonian, I learned just how amazing Debbie…

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I am trying out the new Amazon Giveaway service. Andy Mulberry recently blogged about her experience, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Many authors have a love/hate relationship with Amazon, so I understand if you do not want to participate.

old clown

But, if you are willing to give it a go, Amazon tells me my giveaway is now live and I should, “Share this link to let the world know.” I am quite sure the world has bigger fish to fry…


but here it is:

I appreciate any feedback you have about the entry process. If you’ve used this service, please feel free to share your experiences/opinions.

You are all winners in my book! Thank you!

Girl wearing 1st place medal with arms in the air


A must-read for kid lit authors! It’s hilarious, and TRUE!


An Open Letter to Celebrity Children’s Book Writers

By Paul Czajak

My wife did something shocking that rocked the foundation of our marriage. A betrayal so heinous I asked myself, “Et tu Tracey?” What was this Judas-kiss you ask?

She bought a picture book written by a celebrity.

Before the betrayal: Author and wife at an early signing

I know in the grand scheme of things, or in any scheme of things for that matter, this is small potatoes. But you have to understand, I am a children’s picture book author and the celebrity picture book is the bane of my existence. To give you a sports analogy, it would be like a husband being a Red Sox season ticket holder sitting next to his wife in the stands and she is wearing a Yankees jersey.

Wars have started for less.

You see, as a children’s picture book author I…

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Okay, so I have been blogging for about a year now. But, most days, I  feel as clueless as when I began-still bumbling my way around this curious space.


I’ve tried a few times to develop a weekly theme or topic. So far, I have not hit on one that has stuck.


One thing that has remained constant is the positive, inspiring community of bloggers I’ve come to know. Your talent, generosity, and openness is incredible.



So, with that in mind, each Thursday, I’ll share a favorite thought-provoking quote, and a thank-you to someone in our online community. Here are my “Thursday Thoughts and Thanks” for this week:




My thank-you goes out to blogger Send Sunshine who always seems to find time to do just that.

My Thursday Thoughts and Thanks would be even better if you joined in the fun. Please feel free to share a favorite quote and/or tell us about a blogger who you feel grateful to know. Thank you!





Gulara Vincent, PhD

IMG_5564Last night, I read an inspiring story about Thomas Edison on Facebook. It made me cry, and I’m not entirely sure what this story touched in me.

The story went like this.

One day, Thomas Edison was sent home from school with a note to his mother. With tears in her eyes, his mother read the note out loud:

‘Your son is a genius. The School is too small for him and we don’t have enough good teachers to train him. Please teach him yourself.’

Many years later when his mother died and Edison had become one of the greatest inventors of the century, he found a note among his mother’s papers. It was the note from the school which said:

‘Your son is addled [mentally ill]. We won’t let him come to school anymore.’

Edison cried for hours and then he wrote in his diary: ‘Thomas Alva Edison was…

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Pigeonhole Books


1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
 The Bezert is a unique, imaginative and poetic parable about the value of trust. The main character, Bezert, has never left the safety and comfort of his island home. But when a box magically appears below his window, it proves too tempting not to take a look. By entering the box, the Bezert begins a journey of self-discovery in a dreamlike world of unknowns and mysterious inhabitants. Ultimately expanding the view of himself, his world and learning the value of trusting himself.

2) What inspired you to write this book?
I was working as a freelance editorial illustrator when I created this book many years ago. At the time I also had just begun studying Ayurveda, a timeless   healing philosophy and sister science to Yoga. This book was inspired by a combination of other…

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The Styling Librarian

Today’s focus: Generous people  – It is fun to reflect on one thing each week that really catches my attention, entertains me, and is special enough I just have to share it with the world.

There are so many people that are amazing, giving, and wonderful in the children’s picture book writing and illustrating world. I loved how Debbie Ridpath Ohi created and shared some incredible resources for planning out writing plans.
This was so incredibly generous…

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Thank you again to “Eat the Book” for the Whatever Wednesday meme: David Etkin’s words: “Whatever Wednesday — a chance to post something I’ve seen that I’m diggin’. A cool quote or poster, a picture, student work, a video—you know, WhateverEnjoy!… and consider posting your own Whatever.”

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog through email updates…

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Michelle Eastman Books

Writing a book is a lot of work (understatement of the century). But, self-publishing that sucker makes writing it look like a walk in the park. I was recently trying to explain the process to a good friend of mine. She and her husband are renovating an old Victorian home. As we were swapping “sweat-equity” stories, it dawned on me…the two endeavors are not that dissimilar. The only difference, I told her, is that self-publishing for the first time, is like building your own house, but with no experience, no blueprints, and no tools. Here are my top-ten reasons that self-publishing a book is like building a house.

  1. It always takes longer than you planned
  2. It always costs more than you planned
  3. It’s really exciting at first, then it begins to consume your entire life
  4. Agonizing over the simplest detail seems normal
  5. You wake up, at least once a night…

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Reflecting on the trip…

Michelle Eastman Books

I don’t know why the Row your Boat song popped into my head. Truth be told, I don’t know why any of the random thoughts pop in or out of that squishy blob. But, pop in it did, and the next thing you know I’m off on another one of my metaphorical musings about how the lyrics reflect my self-publishing journey. I have been rowing the “S.S. Self-Publisher” nonstop. She and I have not necessarily gone “gently down the stream”, but we’ve had one heck of an adventure. Just when I think I can’t dig that oar in one more time, I close my eyes and envision the “dream”. Life is but a dream, and we each chart our own course. My dream is to publish a beautiful children’s book, and I’m looking forward to my “merrily, merrily, merrily”.

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A place for Fantasy and Fairy Tale Creatives

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To say the past year has been a whirlwind would be an understatement.


I self-published my first children’s picture book around this time in 2014. Aside from my first year teaching, I have never worked so hard, or felt more inept. But, in both cases, I was determined to learn what I needed to know in order to be successful.

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

I set out to learn the best way to publish my book, but I gained much more than that. I started this blog, fumbled my way around Twitter and a few other social sites, and met a lot of truly wonderful people along the way.

Success is a relative term. And, for me, it has been a dichotomy. I have enjoyed many successful moments. But, for whatever reason, I still beat myself up about my shortcomings (not sure if that is an indie author thing or just an all-around author thing).


They say success breeds success, and despite my attempts to sabotage my own, I’ve managed to publish a second children’s book. I was blessed to work with the same illustrator on what we both feel is our best work to date.

I’ll host the book launch party for my second book tomorrow. And, I’ll also celebrate the one-year anniversary of the book that started me on this wild and winding path.

To mark the event, I am offering both books for $.99 on Kindle from December 4-11.

I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to all of my online friends and colleagues. Being part of this community has definitely been one of the best aspects of becoming an author.


I wish each of you joy in the things you love to do. I’d love to hear about your experiences. Please feel free to leave a reply about your joyful moments.

Here are some of the moments that have brought me joy:




Pigeonhole Books

Just A Duck by Carin BramsenJUST A DUCK? BY CARIN BRAMSEN

1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
Duck has decided to be a cat, and tries to show his good friend, Cat, that he’s just like her. He strives gamely to climb a tree, but when his best efforts fail him, his confidence begins to ebb. In an attempt to cheer him, Cat accidentally lands in deep water, where they both learn just how lucky they are that Duck is a duck. This book is a sequel to Hey, Duck!, told in rhyming dialogue.

2) What inspired you to write this book?
A mental image of Duck trying to slink like his friend, Cat, was the first spark for Just a Duck. I already had a strong sense of Duck’s character from my previous book, Hey, Duck!. He is wildly enthusiastic, inclined to silliness, but with some instinctive wisdom…

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Josh Funk Books

The 7th annual Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) came to a close yesterday and I’d like to congratulate everyone who took part in the challenge.

I’d also like to thank Tara Lazar, the PiBoIdMo founder and organizer. For those who don’t know, Tara spends countless hours each summer and fall lining up guest posts, contacting agents for prizes, organizing a Cafe Press store (where she donates all proceeds to Reading Is Fundamental – RIF), moderating registration, managing the PiBoIdMo Facebook Group, sorting out and awarding prizes, and probably a dozen more things I don’t even know about.

She does this all for us. PiBoIdMo is completely free. For everyone.

And while all of this work does give Tara’s books some exposure, that exposure doesn’t count for much unless we, the PiBoIdMo participants, take action.

So this holiday season, I encourage everyone to purchase at least one (or…

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Pernille Ripp

Yesterday I posted my final picture book post for all of the signposts in the amazing book  Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst.  It has truly been awesome finding picture books to go along with the strategies that can be used for many grade levels and through so many lenses.  I thought it would be nice to gather all 6 posts here for easy reference and also to highlight a few rockstar picture books that can be used for more than one signposts, that way if you have a limited budget for book buying (don’t we all), you can start with these few and still cover a lot.

Here are the links to the original posts, make sure you check out the comments as even more picture book ideas were shared there.

Contrast and Contradiction

Aha Moments

Words of the Wiser

 Tough Questions


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Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

joe mcgeeby Joe McGee

Inspiration…that’s what we’re here to discuss, isn’t it?

To bandy around, to kick back and forth like a dented Campbell’s soup can on a weed-choked school blacktop. You know, the kind of blacktop where a hundred little sneakers will soon be racing around, attached to skinny ankles, attached to band-aide slathered kneecaps, attached to Star Wars t-shirt wearing torsos, attached to toothless grins on eager faces.

You there…yes, you. The adult standing over by the bleachers. Can you—there, that’s better. No shirts tucked in. Can we smear some dirt on your knees? Maybe leave a little cheese doodle smear on your cheek? Let’s put a few candy wrappers, a rock, and a marble or two in your pocket. Good, now we can talk. I mean, after all, we’re talking about writing for kids, right?

How can we write for kids if our adult selves get in the…

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The Legend of the Dust Bunnies
a fairy’s tale

Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie

Both By Michelle R. Eastman

And Illustrated by Kevin Richter

My Reviews

The Legend of the Dust Dunnies - a fairys taleFairies enter your house at night, and yes, it’s true, they spread dust, spider webs, and crumbs EVERYWHERE.  That is, all but one very sad and lonely fairy named Artie. Artie collects thread, lint, and hair.  What does he do with it?  Artie makes a dust bunny to keep him company. When all of the other fairies see it, they each want one too, so Artie sets about making dust bunnies for everyone. And, now you know!

Michelle Eastman’s The Legend of the Dust Bunnies: a fairy’s tale is a delightful story about where dust bunnies come from. Every child is sure to love this wonderfully illustrated book with colorful characters and lilting text.

Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie is the second book in the…

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Book Club Mom

Who's That Indie Author pic

What a great response to Who’s That Indie Author!  Thanks to  everyone who has participated so far.  It has been great to “meet” these interesting authors.  What’s the number one challenge for indie authors?  Marketing and promotion. Here’s the place to get started.  If you are an indie author and want to get your name out there,  see the instructions at the bottom of this post.  Join the Who’s That Indie Author community!

Here’s a recap for September and October.  Be sure to click on the author’s name to view the indie author profile.

Michelle Eastman

Michelle EastmanGenre:  Children’s Picture Books
BooksThe Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale & Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie
Favorite Book:  The Giving Tree  by Shel Silverstein
Biggest Challenge:  Marketing and promotion

Contact Information: Be sure to check out Michelle’s website at Michelle Eastman Books. You can…

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Wow! What an awesome array of kid lit!

The Styling Librarian

Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts  and Unleashing Readers for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! Enjoying books week by week… I decided to spread out what I’m reading recently over a few weeks… so this isn’t everything but I’ve enjoyed them all!

Special posts shared this past week: (There were quite a few!)
Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones, Illustrations by Katie Kath

The Boy Who Knew Everything by Victoria Forester – included a special author feature too!

Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley

absolutelyaggieDust Fairy Tales – Absolutely Aggie by Michelle R. Eastman, illustrated by Kevin Richter

Styling Librarian Book List: Multicultural Books

Little Red Gliding HoodLittle Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar, illustrated by Troy Cummings – special author interview feature as well!

Celebrating other wonderful books I’ve enjoyed recently: 

Red by Jan De Kinder – Wonderful story that dealt with bullying and learning when and…

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A picture book review…times two!

Poetry by Pamela

You know how much I love children’s books! Picture books with a rhyme and a cadence are my personal favorites. And since I read to five different preschool classes every week, I’m always looking for great new books.

I just received two such books and can hardly wait to read them to the kiddos. Blossom the Book Butterfly heartily endorses both books!


The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a fairy tale was the first book I received this week. The pictures are charming and delightful. But the story is what truly makes this book great. Did you ever wonder where the Dust Bunnies come from? Well, read this wonderful story and you will soon see. The cadence of this book makes it quite easy to read aloud. And the illustrations make it a complete picture book. I highly recommend this one for all your young ones. Five out of five stars

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EMU's Debuts

learning how to endure your disappointment and frustration is part of the job of a creative person. — BIG MAGIC, Elizabeth Gilbert

Like many writers, I have been writing stories since childhood. I have always been passionate about stories. I first decided to write fiction for kids and teens as a career path in 2001. I joined SCBWI, received the gift of a mentor in Cynthia Leitich Smith, found critique groups (I moved a lot), went to conferences and workshops, read every craft book available to me, discovered an amazing community on LiveJournal (in 2004), found my writing/critiquing soul partners, wrote and wrote and revised and revised and queried and submitted, and accumulated a healthy pile of rejections.

I had some close calls for different manuscripts — a phone call from an editor (kind and encouraging, but a rejection nonetheless), revising out of contract, going to acquisition, “good”…

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Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 6.29.09 AM

Other writers frequently ask how I somehow manage to get a lot of stuff done, despite my having the attention span of a ferret…with a bad crack habit. Here are 10 ways to help you be productive even if OOH! SHINY!

…even if you tend to be a tad majorly ADD. The following tips are what help ME stay focused. I am NOT a doctor or psychologist or ADD expert. I’m a Jedi master, warp engine inspector, and WRITER so you get what you get.

We’ve been talking this week about how to be able to do all it takes to not only be a digital age author, but to freaking ROCK IT while we are here. Truthfully, the explosion of social media is just proof to me that ADD people will rule the world…which probably explains all those “End of the World” prophesies.

In the meantime? We have dreams…

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Kristen Lamb's Blog

My impression of writers on social media…. My impression of writers on social media…. #tinfoilhat

I am an “Old Dog” of the digital publishing paradigm. When I started out on social media, I did not want to be a social media expert. I enjoyed editing and teaching and longed to write fiction. But every a$$clown with a Twitter handle was a “Social Media Expert” and much of the teaching was nothing short of ridiculous.

Some of the advice was downright predatory (or, in my book, cheating).

In my estimation, most of the tactics were more likely to increase author suicide rates than book sales, so I finally decided to become a Social Media Expert Jedi 😉 .

I’ve been through all the fads. The FREE BOOK Rush of 2010, The Great .99 Book Deal of 2011, The Amazing Algorithmic Alchemy, The Magical Metrics and the Automation Invasion of 2012-2014 (there are still skirmishes along the front).


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Darlene Beck-Jacobson

Writing prompts are an extremely important part of a childhood development. You might be asking “Why is it so important?” or “What do writing prompts have to do with childhood development?” When children are exposed to writing at a young age they learn to think and create and might learn lessons that you never thought of teaching them.

Not only are writing prompts creative and fun, but you can also use this time to spend with your children or students, and watch them grow productively as time ticks forward.

Examples of Fun Writing Prompts:

There are many writing prompts you can look up on the web by simply searching “writing” or “kid lit prompts”. It’s that easy. But today I’m going to give you three writing prompts that I used to give two young girls whenever I babysat them.

Acting                    11144902_1492257091088191_2572614515094927501_o

These girls lived next to my grandparents and were…

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Clarbojahn's Blog

Critique don't criticize by Lucy Spense in Flickr

Hi Readers!

Some of you have asked what I meant by the Oreo method of critique last post. It goes by several names and here is the method I use when I give critiques. And it is the method I like used on me when I receive critiques.

I’ve heard the Oreo method given different names. This has also been called the Hamburger technique. As you read you will see why.

We all need encouragement in our writing. Critique can help or hinder us. Feedback need not be toxic and can do a lot towards getting our writing to shine. Some of us are afraid of getting and giving critiques.  However if you do the Oreo Method of giving them, you are bound to be a valuable player in your critique group.  Here is the method.

One- Give a general statement of praise. Find something you really liked about the…

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Turn and Talk

A colleague mentions that he is a huge fan of historical fiction. You immediately scroll through your list of favorites and ask, “Have you read…?”

You attend a workshop where the presenter sprinkles her content with references to texts that have influenced her ideas about the topic. You click on your favorite book-shopping site and begin to fill your cart.

While standing in line, you overhear some strangers talking about a movie and you can’t help yourself, “Did you guys read the book?” you think, or maybe actually ask!

Book recommendations. They are one of the most essential ways that readers talk about reading. So it seems like a no-brainer to teach kids recommend books. However, only recently have I begun to teach recommending books in a clear and explicit way by teaching the categories readers usually touch upon when recommending books. (I am placing an emphasis on teach because…

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Aromatherapy Information & More

Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie

Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie

Author, Michelle R. Eastman

Illustrator, Kevin Richter


Fairies, music, and dust! Oh my! Aggie is a little Dust Fairy with a big problem. She wants to join the fairy band, but they do not approve of her offbeat style. Aggie is determined to impress them, but that turns out to be harder than she imagined. Just when she thinks she will never find a way to fit in, Aggie discovers it might be more fun to stand out. Lively, rhyming stanzas and vibrant illustrations come together in this magical tale. It is sure to delight boys and girls alike, while imparting a positive message about embracing one’s individuality.

Book Review

‘Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie’ by author, Michelle R. Eastman, is another delightful read. This second book is, also, beautifully illustrated by Kevin Richter. Once again, Michelle R. Eastman has written a creative rhyming book, with…

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julie rowan-zoch

TheBookmaker'sStudioCoverAuthor: Photography: Jake Green; Art Direction: Melanie Mues; Editor: James Cartwright
Publisher: The Bookmaker’s Studio, 2015; Printers: Hacksmith Press
Ages: all
Themes: children’s picture book illustrators, illustration, design
Opening/Introduction: Making books for kids is a humbling profession; months and years of character developing, story refining, composition adjusting, and dummy approving to which your audience will be forever indifferent.

TheBookmaker'sStudio2Summary: (from the kickstarter page) A glimpse inside the studios and minds of some of the world’s best living children’s picturebook makers. A limited edition photo book.

TheBookmaker'sStudioInhaltI supported this kickstarter project because: I am curious, nosy, interested and delighted to have a glimpse into the working spaces of other artists. TheBookmaker'sStudio3

TheBookmaker'sStudio4Resources/activities: Have children list all the things they recognize in the artist’s studios as tools they know or own themselves, then make a second list of things they are surprised to see in an artist’s…

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Pigeonhole Books


1) Please provide a short excerpt of what your children’s book is about.
The Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Tale is a light-hearted story about a serious topic: Being Yourself.

The Legend of Dust Bunnies will open your eyes to a world of dirt and dust that you never knew could be so magical and fun! Did you know that Dust Fairies come into our homes at night and spread dust, drape spider webs, and even spit crumbs into the carpet? They do!  It’s true!  Well, not all fairies. Artie is different. He doesn’t like messes, and he doesn’t fit in. At first, Artie is lonely and unsure of what to do, but then he takes matters into his own hands. When given lemons you’re supposed to make lemonade, right? This story does one better, it turns DUST…

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Book Club Mom

Who's That Indie Author pic

Michelle Eastman (2) Michelle R. Eastman

Author name:  Michelle R. Eastman

Genre:  Children’s Picture Books

BooksThe Legend of Dust Bunnies, a Fairy’s Taleand Dust Fairy Tales: Absolutely Aggie 

DustBunnies_Cover_V2 (2)     Aggie_Cover_Front_v2_Lo

Bio: I began my career as an elementary teacher in the West Des Moines School District. At Iowa Public Television, I wrote and produced educational content.

My work with children, and passion for picture books, inspired me to found the literacy initiative Picture Book Pass it On to get free books to kids in need.

My books take a lighthearted approach to the compelling desire kids have to fit in. The stories validate the need we feel for acceptance, while imparting a subtle message about the joy that can come from embracing one’s individuality. The lively, rhyming stanzas and vivid illustrations appeal to boys and girls alike.

Favorite thing about being a writer: My favorite…

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Josh Funk Books

Several people have asked me how they can support Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast now that it’s out in the world, so I decided to share this info with everyone. If you have a few spare minutes to do any of the items below, that would be greatly appreciated and hugely beneficial.

*Please note that the following information applies to all authors and all books*

  1. Talk about the book with your indie booksellers. Next time you’re in your local indie, ask if they have the book. If they do, it’ll bring it to their attention. If they don’t, maybe they’ll order it or remember next time they’re ordering.
  2. Request that your library purchase a copy. Many libraries have online request systems. But asking your children’s librarian always works (it’s ok. they won’t bite – unless you run. then maybe they will).
  3. Rate and review the book on Amazon here

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By Carrie Charley Brown

No…there is not a cat-fight going on down here in Texas. Ever since John Cusick’s keynote speech at NJ SCBWI Conference, I’ve had a bone to pick with the doubter in my head. Her name is Bertha, thanks to John: “Name that voice in your head that puts you down. Give your anxiety a name.” And Bertha was born.

She has been there for as long as I can remember and sometimes she is down-right ugly. It’s really hard to tune her out and I know I’m not the only writer…the only person that goes through this. Are you aware when your hater starts to hate? Giving Bertha a name was just a great first step. Like saying, “I see you and I’m calling you out!” But, there is more that you can do to curb that voice.

I’ll attribute #1 to John, again.

1) “Keep…

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...and then there was Sarah

Become-a-writerI published my first book, St. Charles at Dusk, on September 26th, 2011. Four years have passed, and with them, more learnings than I could ever fully wrap my mind around. In those early days, I was a woman alone on an island, getting all my advice from Google. I didn’t know a single other author who had published their work.

Flash forward four years. I’m no longer a woman alone on an island, but one surrounded by hundreds of authors, thousands of readers, and years of experience (with many years still ahead). I have seventeen original titles out (and numerous boxed sets), and an endless quantity of ideas. I’ve been lauded by esteemed authors, and appeared on the USA Today Bestsellers list, twice. I’m nowhere near an expert, and far from perfect. I’ve had successes and setbacks, like any author, and I move forward knowing I’ll have more of both…

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