Sunday, February 28, 2010

Join the Children's Writer's Coaching Club Now

Come one, Come all.... anyone who wants to write for children... experienced or beginner... we want you to join us at the Children's Writer's Coaching Club. Here are ten reasons why you need to be a club member today:

  1. Fun and friendly atmosphere
  2. A great way to hone your writing skills
  3. Learn about publishing, marketing, and becoming the writer you want to be
  4. Work next to published authors learning from their success
  5. Make new writing friends or find a writing partner
  6. Great opportunity to have your work critiqued on a weekly basis by published author and mentor Suzanne Lieurance
  7. Weekly teleclasses by other published authors like Nancy Sanders, Simon Rose, or Margot Finke offered every week and recorded so you can listen to the links again and again.
  8. Develop a disciplined writing plan to reach your writing goals
  9. Learn to set writing goals you can actually reach
  10. Affordable low monthly fee

An added bonus- learn how to set up a blog, a website, and to market yourself with your personal writer's platform with the guidance and comments from other club members.

This club is the best thing you can do for yourself if you are seriously trying to become a published children's author. You can cancel at anytime if you do not find the club to be everything I mentioned and more. Your success won't happen overnight because success takes work and persistence, but with the club members supporting you through the process, it sure is more fun. See you there.

Check out the new website for the club at or click on the icon on the left side of this blog to join. You won't be disappointed, I promise you.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Freelance Writing Sites for jobs and dreams...

Alaska... a dream for me as I continue to work on my writing dreams. Searching for freelance writing gigs doesn't need to be a dream if you search in the right places...

  • Here are a few sites that I have discovered from blogs, Internet sites, and recommendations from others. Let me know if they help you in your search for freelance writing gigs that pay while you work on the writing dreams in your heart. (Canadian writing jobs) (European writing jobs)

Happy writing....

Monday, February 22, 2010

What Lilly has to say..... a sneak preview.

Attitude.... we all have one. Some days it is a good look at things, and then there are those days when ...well we just don't look at the bright side of anything.

  • Writers have the joy of imagining all kinds of characters with all kinds of attitudes. Characters can even take on a life of there own where the writer really has no control over what attitude may play out in a storyline, and that is exciting. That is when the characters come to life and reach into the heart of the author to take up residence for a time.

My character in my children's book has a childhood form of cancer. Real kids get cancer, so why not a character in a book?

And my character has attitude, as a matter of fact here is a snippet of what Lilly Isabella Lane has to say about having cancer. See if you can feel it, and let me know if she seems real to you, because in my heart she is as real as summer sunshine. She represents every child I have cared for that looks at the bright side of life....and she is in my heart to stay for a while. Gotta love that.

From The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane

I have a childhood form of cancer called ALL or Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Some kids might say it stinks. This is what I have to say about it in my own words.

A is for Attitude. It is all about attitude, a spunky, silly, stubborn attitude, which my parents say I have. They also say that is a good thing if you have cancer, to have a spunky attitude. I'm not sure my teacher agrees, at least not during Math but Spunky is my new middle name.

Check back again to see what else Lilly has to say about having cancer. She is sure to surprise you.

P.s The picture is of my second writing partner who gives me insight into what 3 year old boys do and the true meaning of attitude. Love you E.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Meet My New Character

  • I am a nurse and I am also a freelance writer. In the years that I have taken care of sick children, I have noted a lack in realistic yet hopeful children's books for kids who are dealing with real life diseases like cancer, stories with characters that let kids be kids even if they are very ill.

It seems there is a limited number out there and that adults may be squeamish when it comes to reading books aloud to their children who are also sick, especially if the book includes a child who is ill.

I want to create fictional characters for children that they can read about and relate to but who are most definitely fictional. If a child has a friend who may be ill or if the child is sick, it can be comforting to read about characters who deal with these same issues in the safe pages of a book.

My hope and prayer is that as I create these books and get them in the hands of children, that they may also help to open the line of communication between parent and child when scarey health situations occur.

I am going to introduce some of these fictional characters to parents and friends on this blog. They are based on children that I may have cared for or observed over the course of 34 years of nursing and are not meant to be true accounts of any one child. They are the products of my imagination and are given admirable characteristics of the children I have seen who have dealt with their illness with dignity and bravery.

You may see the bright blue eyes of a toddler, or the heart of a teen. You may watch the chubby cheeks and curls of a first grader, or you may hear the tears of a child in pain. As I write these stories from my heart to the heart of the reader, may you feel and understand what these parents and kids go through.

I hope you will love them like I do. Please feel free to email me or make comments and let me know how I can address the needs of someone you may know or love. And for my readers who are writers, please feel free to critique and give your opinions as well.

Meet my first new character, Lilly Isabella Lane. She is nine years old and she loves silly hats, cats, friends, and soup. Lilly has a disease called Leukemia and she is going to tell a story about what it is like to have cancer in my new book, The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane. This is what Lilly has to say about cancer.

Look for another post soon about what Lilly has to say.

PS. The picture is of my writing partner and grand-daughter who gives me much insight into the hearts of first graders. Love you K.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Complet Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books

  • I am reading The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books by author Harold D. Underdown. Now, I don't want you to think I am an idiot, but I do need things plain and simple because of the time I have. This book is a valuable resource.

Harold Underdown is experienced, is honest, clear, and to the point, and offers simple ideas to making your manuscript ready for publication.

But he offers more than writing advice. He offers the reader an inside look into the publishing world. Any writer who wants to publish, must understand the business side of publishing and this book is an easy to understand text that will get you familiar with this process.

One piece of advice he offers in this book is to READ what children read. How can we know what kids like if we don't read what they are currently reading? Good point, so check out for the annual " Children's Choices". This will give you an idea about the topics, what has been covered well, and what it is that is popular today for kids.

Also, check out Harold Underdown's website at for more writing and publishing resources. The Purple Crayon as his website is titled, will get you on your way to finding information to improve both your writing and your chances of publishing what you write. Let me know what you find and how it has helped you with your writing career.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Submitting your Stories

There are two types of writers, those who write just to write, and those who write to share their words with others.

  • In order to share your words with others submitting your work to a publisher is the natural course most writers take. As a new writer, this is a daunting task until you get in the routine of researching guidelines and submitting on a regular basis.

Here are a couple of tips to make your story stand out from all the other apples in the bowl.

1. Research and follow specific guidelines for the publisher you are submitting to. Many manuscripts get put in the rejection pile because guidelines were not followed or the story was not a fit for the publication.

2. Take a good look at your beginning and your end of the manuscript. Is the beginning engaging and does it grab your reader with the first sentence or does your reader need to read the first two or three paragraphs to be engaged? Many times the beginning paragraphs can be cut and the story can start three paragraphs down where the action really begins. Make certain your ending is quick and doesn't drag out as well. After the climax and wrap up, the story should come to a logical conclusion rather quickly.

3. List the possible publishers for each story. When a rejection comes, and it most likely will, be ready to send the story on to the next publisher on your list assuming they are all suitable for your story.

4. Submit manuscripts and queries on a regular basis. Keeping something ready to submit every week or every month keeps you on a regular writing/submitting schedule and will help to make acceptance more likely eventually. The more you submit, the higher your chances of being with the right publisher at the right time to fill their need.

Keep researching, writing, revising, and submitting. Publishing success will come with patience and persistence.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Writing Blogs-Great Information

  • The community of writers is a fabulous group of people who offer support and information freely for the benefit of others striving for a writing career or to be published.

I have found a couple of great links for writing prompts and tips on writing.

Check out Rick Walton's blog at and click on Rick Creation to get to this blog for some great posts on writing and creating with words.

Also look at author Nathan Hale's blog at for more tips and publishing information

We writers must stick together, friends. Check out these sites and email others you would like listed for fellow writers. Contests, writing conferences, or any other information new writers could benefit from can be listed. Let me know what you find.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Join me in reading an interview by author Mary DeMuth. Her new book THIN PLACES is a tribute to how imperfect we are and how the love of Jesus can fill those imperfect voids. This author bares all in her book and it is a must read for those of us who have secrets and those of us who want to write about the deeper parts of life.

Thin Places Interview
By Mary DeMuth

What trials did you face as a child?

· Childhood sexual abuse at five
· Parents with addictions
· Feelings of being unwanted
· An unsafe home
· Neglect
· Death of a parent
· Loneliness
· Suicidal thoughts
· Three divorces

It’s hard to write all that out and not feel bad for little me. But even in the recounting, I’ve been able to see the thin places in my life, those snatches of moments where God came near. That’s the message and hope of Thin Places, being able to see the nearness of God amidst heartache.

What compelled you to write Thin Places?

I felt sufficiently healed from my past, which had been a long, long journey. And in that healing, I knew I had the perspective I needed to be able to communicate my story with hope. In the past, I’d vomit my story of sexual abuse and neglect on any poor soul who’d listen, not with the intention to help her grow through her story, but to gain empathy.

But now I marvel at the path God’s brought me on, how gently He’s led me to this place of wholeness. From that abundance, I share my story. Why? Because I believe sharing the truth about our stories helps others see their own stories.

While I recorded the audio book for Thin Places, the producer asked me why I’d splay my life out this way.

“Because I don’t want folks to feel alone,” I told him.

“You’ve given a gift,” he said.

I sure hope so.

In this memoir you give readers a candid glimpse into your upbringing. Was it hard to share particular parts of your story?

In some ways, it was easy. I’ve shared my story over a decade now. What was hard was giving myself permission to say it all, to not hold back, to explore the emotions I experienced during the rapes, the drug parties, the feelings of loneliness.

Oddly, though, it was harder for me to share what I’m dealing with now as a result of my upbringing than the actual initial trauma. It’s hard to admit that I’m still so needy, so insecure. After reading the book aloud, I saw I still had areas of growth, particularly in being so hard on myself.

What do you hope readers gain from reading your memoir?

I hope they see hope.

I hope they realize how profound and surprising and radical God’s redemption is.

I hope they’ll see the irresistibility of Jesus.

Some folks wait until grandparents and parents are deceased until they write a memoir, but you wrote yours with some still alive. Was that difficult?

Extremely. In many ways, agonizing. You can be assured that I prayed through every word. I’m thankful for my critique group who walked me through the writing and my stellar editor who helped shape the manuscript into a redemptive story. My goal was not to impugn or point the finger at what went wrong way back when, but to shout about God’s ability to transform a needy, incomplete girl.

It’s never easy to tell the truth, and I know my words may hurt some. But, thankfully, I’ve sought God’s heart in this and I can rest peacefully in knowing that.

Anne Lamott says, “Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you're a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive."

Thin Places is my answer to her quote.

But why go there? Why examine the past? Hasn’t the old passed away?

Yes, of course we must move forward. We must move beyond our pasts. But in order to do that, we must mourn the reality of what happened, not bury it under a rug. I love what Sam says in The Two Towers movie about the importance of telling our stories, no matter how dark: “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad has happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you.”

It’s my sincere hope that my story will stay with readers, not because of its sordidness, but because the Light of Jesus has shined so brightly upon it.

What encouragement or cautions do you have for those wanting to write their story?

First, prayerfully consider if this is something you need to do for therapy rather than publication. It’s very exposing to write a memoir. And sometimes we mistake the compelling feeling we have with publication. God sometimes calls us to write unpublished words, to get everything out on the page for the sake of our own personal healing.

Many of you have read memoirs that are self-indulgent or a poor-me fest. You need to evaluate whether you’re at a good place of healing before you embark on writing your story for everyone to read.

Do you worry that writing a memoir makes you out to be narcissistic?

Of course. Because I’m the main character! As I’ve edited, read and re-read the book, I’ve agonized over that. Now that the book’s released, I am resting. What’s done is done. And I honestly believe that the story isn’t about me. It’s about a rejuvenating God who stooped to rescue a needy, frail girl.

What fears have you battled as this book released?

Because this is such a personal book, I’ve worried about negative reviews. In some ways that’s good because it will force me to find my security and love from the One who made me, rather than the opinions of others. I’ve received some great endorsements, but also some harsh reviews. And those are the ones that knife me! Because the book’s about me!

I worry that I’ll be misunderstood. Or that telling the truth will hurt others. I’ve made a point to disguise nearly everyone and everything in the book, but of course the potential for hurt feelings is high.

I fear opposition by the father of lies. Since this is a truth-filled book, displaying authentic struggle, I have a feeling he won’t like it. I’m thankful for a specific, targeted prayer team around me to pray for protection regarding the release of this book. It’s humbling, actually, to see how God brought those pray-ers together.

Check out her book and let me know how it effected you. I work with teens who have had some of these same abuses done to them and the book was inspiring to me. There is hope for these kids if they get the right information and are offered a spiritual hand.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Following The Steps Set to Be Successful

I have posted about author Nancy I Sanders and her book titled Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children's Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career before and I love sharing tips from her book with others.

  • I have more trouble following the tips myself and staying focused. Some days I have to ask myself whether or not I do this for a hobby or am I seriously trying to build a freelance career?

Today, I am seriously working at building a freelance writing career. Visit my new website at and check out the easy reader manuscript I have posted under the tab titled WHATS NEW. It is a start. The manuscript is for first grade readers and has passed the test with the first graders at a local elementary school so I am encouraged.

But how do you decide if you do this writing gig for a hobby or are pursuing it as a serious career?

Ask yourself a couple of questions to help you decide?

1. How much time do you have to devote to developing your writing career? If you answer an hour or two every 6 months, then you may have to consider your writing a hobby. If you write only when you are in crisis mode or have an argument with your kids, then maybe you are better off to journal for pleasure rather than a full time writing career.

Writing takes time.

2. How much do you want to work at your writing? Writing for a career choice takes not only time but much work. Research, revisions, outlining, submitting, reading, following guidelines, and maintaining records and notes is work. Are you willing to put in the time and work needed to make your writing into a career?

Writing takes work.

3. How much income do you need and how much do you expect to earn as a writer? Analyze your budget and set a reasonable list of financial goals before determining if you can give up your day job. It is important to understand that writing income can be sporadic and you will need to take care of your financial needs as you develop your writing career.

Writing takes time and work but will equal income. Life requires money so make adjustments to your income and your needs to allow time to work as a writer.

Be patient, and don't give up. If being a writer is what you want to do, keep at it. Hone your skills. Read the book by Nancy I. Sanders and other successful freelance writers. Join a writing club or writing group and never give up. You can be a successful writer. No go forth and write.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book Review: America's Black Founders by Nancy I. Sanders

I am pleased to be part of a virtual book tour for author Nancy I. Sanders. She has written many books and articles and her new book fits into Black History Month perfectly for children and teachers.

Nancy has written a wonderful book titled : America's Black Founders- Revolutionary Heroes and Early Leaders

This book is a fabulous resource for children and parents about some of America's African American leaders and heroes and their contributions to American history. The book tells the stories of men, women, soldiers, sailors, merchants, and doctors. It is an interesting mix of the history of community leaders and what it was like to live in those times.

The book includes 21 activities that can be explored. How would you like to write and publish a newspaper for your grade or craft a clay pot? Maybe you would like to design a flag or write a poem? There is even a recipe for pepper pot soup and firecakes. Now wouldn't your classmates like to sample some of that on a cold winter day?

Grab your copy of America's Black Founders-Revolutionary Heroes and Early Leaders

ISBN 978-1-55652-811-8

Chicago Review Press

150 pages for ages 9 and above.

Nancy I. Sanders is also the author of other great books including A Kid's Guide to African American History, D Is for Drinking Gourd, and Old Testament Days.

Nancy has also written books for writers including Yes! You Can. Learn How to Write Children's Books, and Get Them Published and Build a Successful Writing Career.

Check it out. You can also see more of what Nancy writes at or at her website

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Titles... What is in the Title?

Titles.... The title is the very first impression the reader receives. It needs to be catchy, brief, and hook the reader immediately. Yes, your title is important. It is the thumbprint of what is to come.

The title to your article or book will let the reader know right away whether or not it is worth their time and effort to read on. Your title must capture the essence of what it is you want the reader to know so it is important to spend time developing your title.

List several title suggestions at the onset of writing your piece. As you write and develop the article or story, you title idea may change and that's fine too. Make certain that the title always portrays the exact idea or emotion you want the reader to feel. The title must relate someway to the story line, even if it is the twist at the end.

When you have the perfect title check to see if it does any of the following:

1. Catchy

2. Brief

3. Hits an emotional response

4. Clearly depicts a topic ( for nonfiction )

5. Introduces the reader to a character ( specific name the reader can relate to- " Sarah, Plain and Tall)

6. Captures for the reader what you as the author want the reader to see. ( Hook )

If your title does any of the above ideas for you, it will most likely reach the reader in the same way. It is important to give your title the same effort and skill you have given your story or article. But keep in mind and don't be disappointed when an editor still may want to make a change. Editors are experienced in making the most of a title so be open to their suggestions. It will lead to your success.

Check out more information on our blog chain. Follow

Monday, February 1, 2010

Finding Your Niche....

This bear seems to be thinking "Which way do I go?" Do you find yourself thinking the same things when deciding which genre to write in? Or are you having difficulty finding your niche?

I for one, am still trying to find mine. Some days it is nursing articles because that pays the bills, but it leaves me wishing I had time to write more for children. Other days, I write the stories in my heart for children, send them off, and the rejections weeks later have me wondering if children's writing is really the genre I will succeed at.

How do you decide what is best for you? Here are the tips that keep me remembering what it is that I love to do.

1. Join a writing club or critique group in the genre that you love to write in. Here you will learn and improve the skills it takes to be good in one genre. I belong to The Children's Writing Coaching Club and it has taught me so many things about how to write for children. I believe it will be the reason that my stories will see the market place someday and besides that I have made lifelong friends in the process.

2. Explore other avenues that let you try out your writing talents. Some of those other avenues may lead to paid writing gigs and some won't, but you will still continue to hone your writing skills and in turn learn what you really like to write.

3. Continue to take writing classes in person or online. There are some very inexpensive ones that will add to your knowledge base. Be careful when checking out the promises of some of the classes though and keep in mind that you still must do the work... meaning you must write to be better and to offer a product to publish.

4. Make a plan. You must have goals and the daily and weekly steps you will do to meet those goals. Writing in not a get rich scheme. It is hard work and it can take several months to years to build up your skills to obtain success.

5. Do not give up. Even if you must continue to work a full time job, find 15 minutes a day to write and work toward your goals. Success can often be in just writing for yourself. Self-expression is one of the cheapest ways to entertain and improve your health that you can find.

Keep writing the kinds of things you love, and explore a niche you may not be familiar with, but keep at it. In the end you will feel yourself pulled towards the niche or genre that feels right. From there, you can branch out to any area that you research. Read all kinds of material too, because that also helps you to gravitate toward the writing arena you are most comfortable in. Become an expert in one field and from there the sky is the limit.

Remember to have fun with the process too. It can be a long road to publishing and sometimes a lonely one, so the fun is in the writing. Enjoy.

Now...I hope you'll visit the next site on the blog chain sponsored by the National Writing for Children Center. That site is For a list of all the links on the chain, go to


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...