Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
SFC Blog: Families Matter: Try This Reading and Writing Activity with Your Ch...: "Do you want to include a fun reading activity with a twist during family night this week? Here is an idea. Take this easy reader story and c..."
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Stories for Children Magazine
a trademark of Stories for Children Publishing, LLC
An Ezine for Children (3 to 12)
M E D I A R E L E A S E
CONTACT: VS Grenier
Founder & Owner, Stories for Children Magazine
For Immediate Release
Stories for Children Magazine Reopens Its Doors!
The exciting growth and changes continue to occur at Stories for Children Magazine and we are pleased to announce its reopening! This award-winning Ezine shut down for a short hiatus as their Founder, Owner and Editor-in-Chief VS Grenier gave birth to a wonderful baby girl.
"Being a mother takes a lot out of you, but now that my little girl is old enough to play in my office and my other kids are back in school . . . it's time to reopen Stories for Children Magazine," states VS Grenier. "I've really missed working with our great list of authors and illustrators. In addition, I am looking forward to working with the new SFC Team. We have a few of our old team members back, but we've added a lot of new faces as well."
Stories for Children Magazine's first issue is planned for April 2011. They are open to submissions and are looking for fiction, nonfiction, poems, crafts, activities, puzzles and youth submissions to fill their April, May and Summer 2011 issues. You can find their guidelines at http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org under the contributors section.
Even though the relaunch issue is not until April 2011, you can still visit this fun, family friendly Ezine each month. "We'll be posting book reviews, crafts, coloring pages and more for FREE each month," states Grenier.
Stories for Children Magazine placed in the Top Ten for Best Magazine in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry in the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2008. So come take an adventure in the World of Ink with Stories for Children Magazine – http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org.
Learn more about Stories for Children Magazine at http://storiesforchildrenmagazine.org
Full Media Kit, Magazine Cover Art and more are available upon request electronically.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I have to have the hook. Knowing what the hook is that will make my story stand out from a hundred other stories is a new concept for me. Somehow I thought the hook would develop as the characters, plot, and storyline came together. Make the hook the first item to complete before everything else in the story no matter who the character is, no matter the setting, ask yourself what will be the hook that makes the reader want to know the rest.
Deciding on the hook of your story before writing the query will show the editor that you have something new and different. Trust that your story will follow. Try it and let me know what you think about the process. Now I am off to find my hook for my next story idea.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
This process for plotting is a "Meet in the Middle" process and is a great way to get an overview of how your idea looks from beginning to end and back. Check out the article at http://mayrassecretbookcase.blogspot.com and let me know what you find.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Cooper and Me is a series of children’s picture books that was inspired by my eleven-year-old daughter’s passion for art and her love for animals. Since Alexa could hold a pencil in her hand she would draw. Her love for art started when she was very young and grew stronger as her talent developed. Alexa has always loved to share stories about the things she is passionate about. Her wonderful imagination and her love to share stories about animals developed into a love for writing. The main character, Cooper, is our family dog, a black Labrador retriever. When Alexa first decided to write and illustrate a book, she came up with a theme of a little girl’s first day of school and how her mother helps her to overcome her jitters. Through the love of a mother and the family dog, “Cooper and Me” makes a little girl’s fear of the first day of school okay. I helped Alexa with the story and am happy to say that I became Alexa’s co-author.
There are currently four books in the series that include the original Cooper and Me, Cooper and Me and the First Halloween, Cooper and Me and the Military, and Cooper and Me and the Winter Adventure. Each book also includes a CD with a narration of the book and original musical scores.
The theme for each book was inspired by something personal to Alexa. In Cooper and Me and the First Halloween, the story tells the tale about Cooper and his best friend Trooper, a German Shepard, who are excited to experience their first trick-or-treat. The mischievous duo is up to some Halloween antics. But our smaller dog, a Morkie named Bella, summons up some magical powers and does not let them get away with their tricks so easily. Bella decides to teach the two bigger dogs a lesson and turns them into unicorns! Will Bella use her magic wand to turn them back? You’ll have to read the story to see.
Follow the tour to day 2 at http://kristibernard.wordpress.com/ for more fun.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
My writing career is due, in part, to two Nancys.
I’ve loved books since I was first able to hold one. In about the third grade it occurred to me that somebody had to write those books I loved. I decided that one day, one of those somebodies would be me. Writing books didn’t seem too lofty a goal for my nine-year-old self. My parents had taught me that I could do anything I set my mind to. Plus I had a secret weapon: Nancy Drew.
My mom loved Nancy when she was a girl, so one year for Christmas, Santa brought me The Hidden Staircase and The Bungalow Mystery. I was hooked. I devoured Nancy Drew books as fast as I could get them. This was during the late sixties and early seventies, a time when girls were still being told they couldn’t do the same things boys could. But I knew better—I had Nancy.
Nancy could do anything better than anyone, including the detectives on the River Heights police force. If Nancy took an art course, she was the best artist in the class. If Nancy enrolled in karate, she’d be taking down the instructor after only a couple lessons. If Nancy wrote a book, it would be an immediate bestseller and instant classic. And if Nancy could do it, I could do it.
I wrote stories all through grade school, and in high school actually had a short story published. I went to college, earned a degree in art, and started working and raising a family. I still dreamed of being a writer, but I wasn’t sure how to start. That’s when I ran headlong into the second Nancy: Nancy Weston, Patricia Wettig’s character on the TV show “thirtysomething.”
Nancy Weston was an artist who wrote and illustrated a picture book and got it published. This really cheesed me off. This Nancy, this character on a TV show, was stealing my dream! (Okay, she also had to battle cancer and deal with a philandering husband. Still.) It was just the kick in the pants I needed. I bought writing books. I went to writing conferences. I got a subscription to Writer’s Digest. I was a writer, dadgummit. It was time I started acting like one.
I was fortunate; my stories soon began being published in children’s magazines. In the years since, I’ve written hundreds of short stories and poems, twelve nonfiction books, three ghostwritten series books, and several novels.
My newest book is Nocturne, a younger YA fantasy. The publisher, Mirrorstone, published a hugely successful series of Practical Guides, such as A Practical Guide to Wizardy, A Practical Guide to Dragons, A Practical Guide to Monsters. They’re mock nonfiction, tongue-in-cheek guidebooks that teach you how to cast spells, ride dragons, and defend yourself from various fantasy creatures. When Mirrorstone began publishing companion novels, they asked me to write the companion to A Practical Guide to Vampires.
I started with setting: a cobblestone street in a Victorian London-ish city. I created my main character, fifteen-year-old Flannery Lane, an intrepid, resourceful girl (not unlike Nancy Drew) who possesses remarkable magical powers. As a baby, Flan is found on the doorstep of a wizard and raised as his neice in the rooms above his bookshop. Because her powers are so strong, they attract evil, so she is forbidden from using them. Now, if you possessed powerful magic but were forbidden from using it, what would you do? That’s exactly what Flan does. She secretly practices her magic and of course attracts unspeakable evil: a vampire, who terrorizes the city and kidnaps her uncle.
Nocturne is my first fantasy novel, and I hope readers enjoy it. If so, they have two Nancys to thank.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Meet Author Mieke Blommestein- her story about how she began writing stories is facinating.
If some one would have asked me a year ago if I was going to be an Author or writer one day, I would have said: I don't think so.
It all began a couple of years ago. As a long-term care Aid my life was pretty busy, and my mind was full of chatter at the end of the day. I started to practice meditation, to still the mind. Every morning and evening I would close my eyes and meditate for 20 or 30 minutes. After a couple of years it became part of my routine just like eating and sleeping. Then one morning during a meditation I saw a vision of a monk. He called him self-Emanuel and said he was a storyteller. In my vision he invited me to sit with him in a beautiful garden, and asked me to pick up a pen and piece of paper. And as I listened to the words coming in my mind I wrote the stories down. I never knew when this vision of the monk would come to me, but when it did, I knew to pick up my pen and I would listen to the story. Over the past few years I have accumulated many stories, tucked away in a binder, collecting dust. Then one morning in 2008 the vision of the Monk Emanuel appeared again, this time I only heard: What are you going to do with these stories. Are you going to leave them on the shelf, accumulating dust? I knew then that I had to send these stories out in the world.
With the support of my Husband, family and Friends I started to do some research. First I bought the book" Self Publishing in Canada from Suzanne Anderson", and read it from beginning to end. I followed all the necessary steps, and before I knew it my, first self-published book arrived at my doorstep. It was like giving birth all over again, just in a different way. The story: The tale of Miss Spider who spun her web was the first story that I received during my morning meditation. I listened to the words that I received during this meditation. It is a story about a Spider that has two voices in her head. One voice is kind and loving, the other is loud and angry. It is for all of us to recognize the kind and loving voice inside our head, instead of listening to our loud and angry voice. This story is a wonderful teaching tool for parents, and it will inspire and help children to listen to their own soft, loving and kind inner voices.
Diane Perruzzi did the illustrations. She is an amazing artist, and I am thankful for her wonderful work that made Miss Spider come alive. Diane lives in Sacramento (California) and her website is www.DianePerruzzi.com
THE NEXT STORY I RECEIVED DURING A MEDITATION IS CALLED: THE TALE OF CHARLIE THE TOAD, AND THIS WILL BE PUBLISHED IN 2011. DIANE PERRUZZI IS WORKING ON THE ILLUSTRATIONS.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Meet Author Suzanne Marion- What a great story this author came up with. Enjoy learning about Suzanne and follow her on the rest of her book/blog tour.
One day about two years ago my granddaughter Christina, who is now nine years old, called me with a dilemma of major proportions. She said, “Grandma, I don’t know which tutu to wear to my ballet class today. I have TONS of tutus in my closet.”
I said, “Christina, you mean you have too too many tutus?” At that point we dissolved in laughter, and an idea was born! I wrote a story for her about her problem, suggesting a solution, after due consideration. By a serendipitous twist of fate, the first violinist in my weekly chamber music group asked to read my latest tale. She then asked me if she could show it to her mother, and of course I said, “Of course.” Her mother turned out to be marvelous artist Marj Hales, who began to create gorgeous watercolors of little girls in ballet costumes of different shades. They were too beautiful to remain hidden, so the next step was to self-publish our book, ‘Too Too Many Tutus.’ It has been well-received, and we have enjoyed seeing little girls and their parents enjoying it.
Within a year it became apparent that the little boys of our acquaintance deserved a tale also. Not every little boy enjoys tales of tutus. My grandson Evan was at the time a fan of dragons, and his sister Margarita favored unicorns. The morality tale of Donner the Western Dragon and his best friend, Una the Unicorn, was written. Marj’s watercolors of dragons and unicorns are unparalleled, so we knew we had to publish this book also. Once again, the children enjoy it, and we are gratified.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Meet Author Mayra Calvani- This book is a must for those wanting to be in the know about writing and book reviewing. Read about this children's author and follow the tour.
I never thought I’d become a children’s book author. Yes, I started writing fiction when I was about 12, but, back then, I wrote paranormal suspense. I guess all those movies in black & white about werewolves, vampires and witches must have had a strong effect on me. This taste for the supernatural continued throughout my teens, twenties and early thirties. It wasn’t until I had my second child that, somehow, I got bitten by the children’s story bug. Reading all those picture books to my kids at night must have been a big influence. So, one day, I decided to sit down and write a children’s story. That first story eventually became my first published children’s book, Crash! I’ve been writing for children since that day, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve always compared writing for children as walking on a rainbow. It’s a world full of color, full of possibilities. There’s so much room for exaggeration and the ridiculous, the more you let your imagination run wild, the better you’ll be.
I still write fiction and nonfiction for adults, but I have to admit that children’s literature is my new passion. I’m not talking only about picture books, but middle grade and young adult fiction as well.
My latest book, How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event, is my first nonfiction book for kids. Unlike my earlier picture books, which are geared toward 3 to 8 year olds, this one is for middle graders ages 9 to 12. The book (actually, it is more of a booklet, only 45 pages long), is based on an article I wrote a couple of years ago. The article was aimed at grownups but I thought it would be a great idea to write a similar version for kids. I searched on Amazon to see if there were similar books, and I wasn’t able to find many. I think there was one or two, if I remember it correctly. So I approached my publisher, Lida Quillen of Twilight Times Books, with the idea and she liked it enough to offer me a contract based on the proposal, which was basically the table of contents and a sample chapter.
Like the antisocial little rodent in my picture book, Humberto the Bookworm Hamster, I’ve had my nose stuck in a book my whole life, and I know I would have loved the idea of starting my own book club if only I’d had the right advice. The more we can instil a love of literature in young people, the better. I know this is self serving, but my book would make a lovely Christmas gift to any girl who loves books.
In How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event, using simple steps and examples, I go through the whole process of starting and managing a book club, as well as turning it into a fun, exciting social event. At the end of most sections there’s space for note taking where readers can make lists and write down ideas such as possible members, club names, etc. There’s also a section where I explain the different genres and a list of popular middle-grade authors with links to their websites.
My goal was to encourage young people to enjoy books and reading and to create a short, practical, quick reference guide for them to use. To read reviews and an excerpt of How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event, please visit: http://mayrassecretbookcase.com/Middle_Grade.html
Follow Mayra to day 2 of her tour here:
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Meet Author Nicole Weaver- I am happy to share with you this information regarding a fine author who writes for children. Check this out.
I decided to write for children because I see a tremendous need for good quality books that portray children of color in a positive light. Additionally, I want to write books that can expose all children to a foreign language at an early age.
I lived near the beach in Haiti. There was a nesting site for sea turtles near my home; consequently sea turtles came ashore all the time to lay their eggs. My father frequently ordered the maid to make stew out of the turtles. I remember vividly how that devastated me. One day I came across a sea turtle while collecting sea shells, I wanted so badly to return the turtle back to the ocean, but much to my dismay I was not strong enough. My father and his brothers carried the sea turtle to the kitchen and had the maid make stew out of it. That memory propelled me to write a story about what happened on the beach so many years ago.
Monday, October 4, 2010
You will find the tour schedule, learn about free drawings and give aways, and learn what the site offers to new and experienced writers.
Meet Author Karen Cioffi- I am so glad to introduce you to a wonderful children's author. Read all about her here:
I’ve loved to write and draw since grade school, In my teen years I wrote a lot of poetry, but I never thought of writing as a career. Instead, I went into accounting. I was working as an assistant controller for a manufacturing company when I was diagnosed with MS in 2000.
Around this time, my younger daughter, Robyn, was going to college for her teaching degree, majoring in children’s literature. I’d read her school papers and sometimes help her with research, and it rekindled my interest in writing.
Then my first grandson was born and we sang a family lullaby to him at bedtime and nap time. He loved it and it seemed to soothe him and ease him into sleep.
I wrote the lullaby over 30 years ago because my firstborn didn't like sleeping. I sang it to her as I paced the hallway carrying her in my arms to get her to sleep, and again when she'd wake in the middle of the night. I did the same thing with my second daughter, and it became a family lullaby.
Having the lullaby reintroduced into the family through my grandson, Robyn thought it would make a wonderful bedtime story. At first I wasn’t interested in turning it into a book, but she truly believed in it. So, we collaborated and came up with picture book that has the sheet music to the lullaby at the end of the story.
We wondered what publishing route we should take, and I did submit it around for several months to traditional publishers, but, uncertain of what the MS would bring at the time, I decided to self-publish. So, the second round of work began, researching POD companies.
I created a spreadsheet and did a comparison of a few companies, and ended up going with BookSurge (now with CreateSpace). I have to say they were great; they were helpful and professional.
So, that’s how Day’s End Lullaby the bedtime picture came to be. Next on the agenda was the promotion. Promotion is the really tough part of getting a book published. And, before it was released in October 2008, I joined the Children’s Writers Coaching Club in June of 2008. I wish I joined a year earlier, but better late than never. Suzanne taught me so many things I didn’t know about writing for children, and there are things I still have to learn, but I’m taking the steps necessary to continue to hone my craft.
I also joined in the Muse Online Writers Conference in October 2008. I learned a great deal about promotion there. The most useful marketing workshop was one give by Denise Cassino. She explained a number of marketing strategies and suggested the workshop attendees form a virtual book touring group – and that’s what some of us did. In a pitch in the Muse Online Writers Conference in October 2009, I pitched a children’s fantasy chapter book to 4RV Publishing, and it was accepted.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
I will be featuring an author a day for the next week. It will be a Meet the Author launch to a week long tour for each of the featured children's authors. More information can be found at Author Showcase at the National Writing for Children Center... join the fun.