Sunday, January 31, 2010

National Writing for Children Center's blog chain starts tomorrow!

Hi all,

I'll be taking part in a blog chain all this week (starting tomorrow) that originates at the National Writing for Children Center.

Visit the link to find out more about the blog chain.

I plan to write a new post each day for the next 8 days. I hope you'll stop by to say hello!


Agent contest!

Mary Cole, one of the agents at Andrea Brown Literary Agency is having a contest.

Show her the first 500 words of your completed middle-grade or young adult novel!

Check out the details HERE.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Dog, Amigo...

I think the problem is a faulty transistor...

Friday, January 29, 2010 reviews my book!

It's always thrilling to receive a new positive review...

"The themes of not only the pleasure that reading can be, but compassion, friendship and kindness make this book a lovely little read to share with your children. The illustrations are bright and peppy, and children will completely love the woodland world that is
created in the book."

Link to complete review:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review of LISTEN TO THE GHOST, By Beverly Stowe McClure

Title: Listen to the Ghost

Written by: Beverly Stowe McClure

Soft cover: 159 pages

Ages: 12 & up

Publisher: Twilight Times Books

ISBN: 1-933353-51-1

Publication: 2003

Reviewed by Donna McDine

Jade Dalton is at the threshold of her eighteenth birthday and is to spend summer vacation at her grand-parents home in Charleston, South Carolina with her brother, David and her best girlfriend, Elaine. Strange occurrences happen to Jade, from musical sounds at night to pink mists.

"Out of the corner of her eye, Jade caught movement. Ha! I see you. She swung around. She blinked. She blinked again. She rubbed her eyes and stared in awe at a faint pink mist hovering over the fireplace mantel on the far wall."

Over time, events and auras are seen by all and a journey of past truths is the path Jade must take to put the spirit to rest. As the summer progresses it is revealed through the resident ghost, Phoebe, that the lives of Jade, Matt and her ex-boyfriend Kurt are intertwined with the past. To be able to fit all the pieces together, Jade is more determined then ever to solve the mystery and reunite past loves, so that all involved can continue on their path...whether it be in this life or the afterlife.

Beverly Stowe McClure places you in the midst of the action from the get go. And her expertise brings you along for Jade Dalton's mysterious journey with the feeling that you are there and you can't help but cheer the heroine on. Visit Beverly at:

Donna is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and is a member of the SCBWI and The National Writing for Children Center. Using her children, extended family, and their friends as inspiration, she consistently studies the children's magazine markets for submittal of articles and short stories. Donna also continues to participate in children and young adult writing workshops and critique groups on an ongoing basis to sharpen her writing skills.

Visit her at: or

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"A Dozen Ways to Market Your Book If You're a Children's Book Author ," by Suzanne Lieurance

Whether you self-publish your books for children or you go with a traditional publisher, most of the marketing for your books will be left up to you, the author. Here are a dozen ways to market your books for kids:

1. Set up a website for your writing and include an opt-in box on the site so people can sign up for your mailing list. Sell your books directly from your site and offer a bonus when they buy the book directly from you. An autographed copy of the book is a GREAT bonus, for example. If you don't wish to keep copies of the book on hand to sell and mail yourself, then include a link from yourself to your publisher's site or other online bookstores that carry your book. But offer to mail anyone who buys your book an autographed bookplate.

2. Try to find some way to relate your book to the school curriculum. Then, create lesson plans, study guides, or discussion questions for your book. Turn these guides into simple .pdf files that teachers, librarians, and parents can download FREE from your site to use with your book. Also, write a press release that tells about your free lesson plans or study guides and how your book that has recently been released is now available to help classroom teachers get specific content across to their students. Submit this press release to online sites that will distribute it to a variety of online sources free.

3. If possible, form a partnership with some large organization that relates to the topic of your book. For example, if you've written a book about exotic animals, offer to partner with your local zoo. When they have special events, offer to be part of these events and show up to sell and sign your book. Incorporate information about the zoo into your promotional literature and in your local presentations.

4. Take part in local events that will give you the chance to sell your book and let people know you're a hometown author. I'm not talking about ONLY book signings at bookstores. Your community probably has some sort of street fair or community event in the fall or spring, where members of the local business association, or just local business owners, can purchase booth (or tent) space to promote their business. You can purchase space at one of these events to sell and sign your book.

5. Create a book trailer or have one created for you to generate more interest in your book. Put this trailer up at your site, of course. Also, get it on and and other places online where your readers (and potential readers) are likely to see it. You can also have other friends and associates put the trailer on their websites with a link back to your site for more information about you and your other books.

6. Set up your own local book tour. Co-op with other local authors to do this. Contact your local SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Authors and Illustrators) if you don't know any other local children's authors. Get in touch with a few of these authors and suggest you contact local bookstores to do a Children's Book Day or other event where you can all set up your books at a big table in the store and sell and sign your books. The bookstores might not be as receptive to having one author do a book signings if this is your first book, so no one knows you as an author yet. But, if several children's book authors can be present in the store for a signing - and all are seated at one big table - this will attract attention to people in the store. It will also give the store something to announce ahead of time in their newsletter or at their website. And, with several authors taking part in this, each author's readership (or just family and friends) will draw a crowd to the store, which will interest the person in charge of special events at the bookstore.

7. Take part in virtual book tours through blogs and podcasts. Again, contact members of your local SCBWI chapter. Many of these writers will have websites or blogs and they'd be happy to have you as a "guest blogger" for the day. Line up 5 of these sites to be a "guest blogger" and you've got a week long virtual blog tour!

8. Be sure you offer school visits as part of your marketing efforts. But expand your presentations to include local libraries, recreation or community centers, and even summer camps and after school programs.

9. Write and distribute a press release about your book if your publisher has not already done this. If you have never written a press release, though, hire a professional PR service (or freelance press release writer) to write the release for you and then submit the release to local publications, but also have it sent out by an online PR distribution service.

10. Scout around online and find as many appropriate internet radio shows as you can, then email the person who schedules guests for these shows and offer to be a guest. Start with Book Bites for Kids, of course.

11. Teach workshops about some aspect of writing for children and use your book as part of the class materials. Be sure the cost of the workshop includes the cost of your book.

12. Make article marketing part of your overall plan for selling your book. Find out how to write short articles and submit them to article directories in order to drive traffic to your website or blog.

There are all sorts of ways to market your book. You're only limited by your own creativity and imagination. Listen to Book Bites for Kids every weekday afternoon at 2:00 central time at for more marketing tips from other children's book authors.

And, when your pen won't budge, read The Morning Nudge. Find out more about The Morning Nudge at

Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime freelance writer, children's author, and The Working Writer's Coach. She is the founder and director of the National Writing for Children Center and host for Book Bites for Kids, a talk show about children's books that airs LIVE on every weekday afternoon at 2:00 CST.

Suzanne Lieurance - EzineArticles Expert Author

Monday, January 25, 2010

This Week's Guests on Book Bites for Kids

This from Suzanne Lieurance's
National Writing for Children Center Weekly Update...

The Children's Writers' Coaching Club brings you Book Bites for Kids every weekday afternoon at 2:00 central time on blogtalkradio.

Listen to the show at

Monday's Guest is Manjula Naraynan
Author of The Red Red Car

The Red Red Car

Tuesday's Guest is Dianne de Las Casas
Author of The Cajun Cornbread Boy
NOTE: This is a previously recorded interview.
The Cajun Cornbread Boy

Wednesday is Promo Day!
Listeners are invited to call in during the LIVE show at
646-716-9239 with publishing news or
questions about writing for children.

Thursday's Guest is Shel Horowitz
Author of Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers
NOTE: This is a previously recorded interview.
Grassroots Marketing for Authors

Friday's Guest is Bobbie Hinman
Author of The Knot Fairy
NOTE: This is a previously recorded interview.
The Knot Fairy

Be a Guest on Book Bites for Kids: If you're a published children's book author and you'd like to be a guest on Book Bites for Kids, send an email to Tyler, our program director, at:

This Week's Teleclass

Ever thought of writing an historical novel for young people? This Thursday, January 28, 2010, Lea Wait, who's written four acclaimed middle grade novels set in 19th century America, will give you pointers for what you need to consider before you start.

Where should your story take place? When? How much research will you need to do? What's the best way to do it? And how can you make your book authentic, but still exciting and interesting to kids today?

Lea has the answers to those - and any other - questions you may have! Join her, January 28, 2010, at 3:00 p.m. CDT for this fun and informative LIVE teleclass.

Can't attend the LIVE teleclass?

No problem. Registration includes a link to the recording of the teleclass, so you can listen to it whenever you like.

Note: Our weekly teleclasses are included in the price of membership in the Children's Writers' Coaching Club. But nonclub members can attend our weekly teleclasses by paying a registration fee of $5.97 per teleclass.

Click here for more information and to register!

A Chat with Author Simon Rose

Listen to this episode of Get Published, a podcast for writers, which features a chat with children's author - and instructor for the Children's Writers' Coaching Club - Simon Rose.

Click here to listen now!

Need a Little Help With Your Writing?

Learn to Write for Children
CWCC logo
Having trouble breaking into print as a children's writer?

Then you need the Children's Writers' Coaching Club!

We'll teach you everything you need to know to become a published children's writer!

You'll learn how to study the markets, so you have the best chance of selling the stories, articles, and other materials you write.

You'll learn how to create a weekly marketing plan so you can achieve your writing and publishing goals in 2010!

Click here to find out all the club has to offer!

Writing for Children - Finding Age Appropriate Words
by Karen Cioffi

Writing in general can be a tough business; writing for children is even tougher. Writing for children has its own unique tricks, processes, and rules; one of those rules is using words that are age appropriate.

How this differs from writing in general is that the children's writing arena is divided into specific age groups. There are picture books and rebus stories for the very young child. The story line and text are simple; they need to tell a story including basic conflict and action, but they are geared toward the comprehension of young children.

Next comes early readers. Again, the words used and plot are relatively simple to help the child learn to read.

Click here to read the rest of this article!

That's all for now.

Don't forget to visit the National Writing for Children Center every day for new articles, teaching tips, book reviews, and MORE!

Have a wonderful week!

Contact Information

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Interview with children's author Ronica Stromberg

Ronica Stromberg is the author of four children's books, including two recently released novels for tweens and teens, A Shadow in the Dark and Living It Up to Live It Down, and an international picture book, The Time-for-Bed Angel. Her stories have appeared in 18 anthologies and various magazines and newspapers. She keeps a blog HERE.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I knew I wanted to be an author since third grade. I loved books and couldn't wait to see my words in print and the pictures to go along with them. Whenever I saw paintings or illustrations of other children I would make up stories in my mind about them.

Even before any of my words hit print, I was writing in a diary every day without any intention of it getting published. Writing seems to be a part of my DNA.

Tell us about your recent release. What was your inspiration for it?

I have two new novels, for tweens and teens. A Shadow in the Dark is a mystery about a girl who’s seen at the windows of a farmhouse and yet never comes outside. The main character in the book becomes a sleuth to find out who the girl is and why she never comes out. The inspiration for this book is an experience from my own childhood when I heard that a girl lived in a house not far from my grandmother’s and I was warned to stay away.

The second book, Living It Up to Live It Down, deals primarily with the question, "Why is the pastor’s kid always the worst?" I am not a pastor’s kid, but a lot of my friends were, and their experiences informed this book.

Are you a disciplined writer? What is your working style?

I am not a disciplined writer. I’m a mother first. When my kids are older, perhaps I’ll be able to focus more on my writing career, but right now, I do what I can with the time I have. I don’t write every day but take an occasional day here and there and write for most of it. I’m getting published and making progress. I’d like to be more disciplined — that’s always a goal for me — but I am writing and getting published even without following the classic advice, “Write every day.”

Do you like to outline and plot ahead, or are you more of a stream-of-consciousness writer?

Both. I started out being more stream-of-consciousness, but this can make for some hellish experiences revising. I’m becoming more of a plotter as I go along. I usually have the beginning and the end of a story in mind before I start out writing. Sometimes the ending changes before I get there. I usually have several plot points for the middle section of the book, but they’re more skeletal. These can all change as I begin fleshing out the novel.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your works?

I keep a blog at I’m involved in several writing groups, and some of the beginning writers in them expressed a wish to see into the day-to-day life of a writer. They also had general questions about advances, royalties, and such. My blog is an attempt to give them insight and answers.

Where are your books available?

My picture book, The Time-for-Bed Angel, was first published in the United Kingdom in 2008 and now is available in bookstores around the world. I recently had a Philippine blogger tell me she had seen it in her local bookstore. The book is carried by distributors in both the Christian and main market in the United States, so it’s available to almost any bookstore.

My books published by Royal Fireworks Press are harder to find. Royal Fireworks recently lost their distributor, so right now, my books — A Shadow in the Dark, Living It Up to Live It Down, and The Glass Inheritance — are available from the publisher at its Web site, I’m expecting the books to be available on and other on-line sites soon.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New releases from Guardian Angel Publishing

As I Watch, a Littlest Angels by Author, CHITRA SOUNDAR and artist SAMANTHA BELL. Read about how a tiny egg changes into a creepy crawly and then into a colorful, elegant butterfly. The repetitive text helps young readers to join in the reading.

The Sister Exchange, a Littlest Angels by author KEVIN MCNAMEE and artist KIT GRADY. Dealing with sibling rivalry in a fun and creative way, The Sister Exchange reinforces the bond between siblings, and increases reasoning skills through comparison.

Poodle & Doodle a Guardian Angel Animals & Pets, by author DONNA SHEPHERD and artist JACK FOSTER. Angel thinks her life is ruined when Leah brings home a new dog. Will her worst fears be realized or will the new arrival make life better than Angel could have ever imagined?

Circulation Celebration: The Sum of Our Parts Series, an Academic Wings, by author BILL KIRK and artist EUGENE RUBLE. "Circulation Celebration" is an anatomical rhyme which is all about the blood inside you and how the heart keeps it circulating so all of your tissue cells get fed and stay healthy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Review of Poodle and Doodle, by Donna Shepherd

Poodle & Doodle

By Donna Shepherd

Guardian Angel Publishing

Author: Donna J Shepherd
Artist: Jack Foster

PRINT: 978-1-61633-017-0
EBook: 978-1-61633-018-7

Visit the purchasing page at

Poodle & Doodle have their own blog at


Poodle & Doodle is the delightful new children’s picture book by talented author Donna Shepherd.

The story, told in rhyme, is from Donna’s poodle’s perspective. Our prissy poodle, Angel, isn’t happy, not happy at all, because all of a sudden there’s a new addition to the family: Scruffy, a labradoodle! It’s not only the fact that Scruffy is not a pure poodle like Angel, but that he’s also rude, disorganized, and is always sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. Scruffy makes a mess when he eats, looks like a ‘mangy mongrel’ (in Angel’s eyes), gobbles sandwiches off the countertop, and even knocks Angel around with his crazy antics, among other things. Angel is at his wit’s end on what to do. But then she realizes having Scruffy around isn’t so bad after all…

This is a fun, cute story that will delight children of all ages, especially those who love dogs. The artwork, done in the computer in bright, happy colors, complements the book perfectly. It has an important underlying message: nobody's perfect and one must always look at the positive side of people--or dogs! My 12-year old daughter also read it and loved it, and although she’s old now for this type of book, she said: “If I were 5 I would ask you to read it to me every night.” Coming from a child, I think that says a lot.

About Donna Shepherd:

Donna J. Shepherd looks at everyday life and finds God's fingerprints everywhere. A columnist for The Dabbling Mum and NABBW, her articles and poetry have been published in Reminisce Extra, Just Between Us, Guideposts for Kids, Wee Ones, and more. Her devotionals and stories appear in Daily Grace for Women (Honor Books), Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms (Warner Books), and The Best Grandma in the World (Howard Books) to name a few.

Donna's children's book,
Topsy Turvy Land (Hidden Pictures Publishing, July 2005) has been described by one reviewer as "a perfect read for young children." Children's devos, Topsy Turvy Time, are shared monthly on CWAHM.

Her book,
Ouch! Sunburn!(Guardian Angel Publishing), contains snappy rhymes along with 15 colorful and fun illustrations by Kevin Scott Collier, and helps children see the need to protect their skin in the sun. Sun Safety Tips in the back of the book reinforce the book's theme.

No More Gunk (Guardian Angel Publishing), short, playful rhymes and Kevin Scott Collier’s humorous illustrations help children learn in a fun way the importance of proper dental hygiene. Tooth Tips in the back of the book encourage children to take care of their teeth.

Her newest book, Dotty's Topsy Tale, tackles the subject of discrimination.

For the past seventeen years, Donna's husband has pastored an
Assemblies of God church in Ohio. Donna is pursuing a Theology degree. She's the Women's Ministries President, Adult Bible Class Teacher, pianist, singer, and speaker.

Read Sadie's (Donna's labradoodle) interview with my dog, Amigo, on Pets & Their Authors!