Friday, April 29, 2011

Write a book this summer!

Write and Publish YOUR Book in 16 weeks when you join Suzanne Lieurance's Working Writer’s Book Bootcamp!
boot camp

Are you ready to write a novel but you don’t know how to get started?

Or maybe you’ve started your novel dozens of times only to stop midway through so you NEVER finish writing it?

OR – perhaps you want to write a nonfiction book that will become your “signature” product, which will take your business to new levels?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then Suzanne Lieurance's Working Writer’s Book Bootcamp is just what you need.

For complete details about this program, email Suzanne at with the words “Working Writer’s Book Bootcamp” in the subject line. She'll send you complete details including the syllabus.

I already signed up for this bootcamp (the novel version) and I'm incredibly excited. I'm a big procrastinator when it comes to finishing novels so I believe this is a valuable investment in my writing career. I have been a member of the Working Writer's Club for over a year now, so I know how wonderful Suzanne is as a coach. My writing has bloomed since I've been under her umbrella. Suzanne is an energetic and inspiring coach. She'll demand a lot from you--but only to push you to your full potential.

The bootcamp will start in June and last through September.

If you're interested, write to Suzanne for details and please let her know you heard about the bootcamp from Mayra's Secret Bookcase.

Don't keep putting your dreams aside for later. Stop procrastinating and do something for yourself and your writing career. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Guest post: "Why Your Blog is Important for Book Promotion," by Hayley Rose

You’ve just put a considerable amount of time researching and writing your book and your days are now spent promoting it. While there are numerous online and offline vehicles you can use to promote your book, having a blog is possibly one of the most important.

For those with static websites, meaning your content doesn’t change frequently, your blog is the one component that provides fresh content. Search engines love new and relevant content and if you’re spending even an ounce of your time promoting your book online through various social media channels, your blog can be the driving factor between being found or lost in cyberspace.

Reasons Why Your Blog is a Critical Tool

Your Blog Content

The content you provide on your blog not only builds online awareness of your book, but it establishes your social media credibility. There’s a direct correlation between your relevant content and the traffic that’s funneled to your site. The more blog posts you provide, the higher your website will rank.

The Information You Provide

Internet users are constantly looking for information and your blog is well-suited to provide them with the information they are looking to get. Your visitors may be future authors or want to know about your upcoming book-signing events. They may want to know more about your niche or where to purchase your book. Whatever people are looking for, you can engage your visitors with the information they seek.

Your Blog is Interactive

Your blog provides a platform for people to interact with you by commenting on your blog posts. It’s easy to sit behind your computer screen and blast out information about your book, but online marketing is still about forming relationships. Encouraging your blog visitors to comment on your posts aides in establishing relationships between you and your fans.

Your Blog Can Be Universal

Cyberspace is global and your blog can be accessed by people in all corners of the world. You’re no longer limited to local awareness in cyberspace. Your blog can open up new channels for your book promotion.

Your Blog is Your Link to Your Social Media Efforts

Promoting your blog via social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook can be linked back to your blog and relaying information your blog visitors are seeking . Social media isn’t about creating useless noise, but quenching your visitor’s thirst for your knowledge.

So blog and blog often. Think of what your targeted audience might want to know and read and provide them with that content.

About the Author:

Hayley Rose grew up in the beach side town of Pacific Palisades, California, to a family of visual artists. In the early 90's she traveled the U.S. with her band Crush Violet. In 1994, after a family reunion, she was inspired to write a children's book. Her first book, Fifo “When I Grow Up” was published in 2002. Fifo “50 States” is the second book in the Fifo series. Along with writing children’s books, Hayley has been working in entertainment business management for the past 15 years specializing in concert touring. She has worked with many “A list” musicians including, Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart and Candlebox, and hopes to one day soon release an album of children’s songs. She is a currently member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and resides in Los Angeles, CA. You can read more at or join the Facebook fan page at

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

7 picture books in 7 days... "NaPiBoWriWee"

Are you up to the challenge of writing 7 picture books in 7 days? Then be sure to join The National Picture Book Writing Week, hosted by Paula Yoo, author of GOOD ENOUGH.

The marathon lasts from May 1-7. Read all about it HERE.

I wish I could take part in this, but I'm afraid I'll be INCREDIBLY busy next week preparing for my picture book writing workshop. For those interested, please check out the details at


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And the winner is....

The winner of the Easter Eggstravaganza Blog Hop is.......................................

Thrifty Sassy Mommy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations! I'll be contacting you by email today!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop!

I'm thrilled to participate in the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop, hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Once Upon a Twilight.

The Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop is scheduled from 12:01 AM April 20th until 11:59 PM April 25th.

Prize winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 26th. There are 263 blogs participating in this hop, so there will be plenty of prizes for all of you book lovers!

To visit all participating blogs, click HERE or HERE.

I'll be giving away autographed copies of the following children's books to ONE lucky winner:

To ENTER my giveaway, become my blog follower and leave a comment under this post.

Additional entries:

Follow me on Twitter and leave another comment here letting me know you did.

Join my Fan Page on Facebook and leave another comment here letting me know you did.

Good luck!!!! :-)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My upcoming book


My publisher just sent me the cover for one of my upcoming picture books, The Water Cycle. I'm so excited! I think the cover is very cute! This will be the first book in a series of four about the weather. I'm not sure of the release date yet. Probably early summer.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Children Learn with Stories," by Suzanne McPherson

Are you looking for a new way to teach your children manners? Have you prepared your child for the surgery of a loved one? Do they know what happens at a funeral? Obviously these things don't just come up in every day conversation, however preparing young people for common situations before they happen is difficult. Writing about an emotionally scary thing and reading it to your child before something happens can prepare them for an upcoming uncomfortable event.

Thirty-two years ago my grandmother began writing an annual family Easter story. In the beginning each child, had a speaking part and she left blanks in sentences to add their friends names. Now, I am committed to continue to write the Easter story. The story is then printed out on the printer and mailed out to all of my aunts and uncles and cousins. The purpose of the story is to teach lessons to the kids, in a non-threatening sort of way. Each child still has speaking parts and they all live in the Magic Forest with characters that have been inspired by my grandmother, Beatrix Potter and Mother Goose. Through the years I have changed the story from what my grandmother had been writing, but we both hold the same idea that it must include Easter, as a religious holiday, and a lesson. As the years have gone on I have also been including things from my grandmothers past, a time before the kids were born, to help them learn about her.

As an example one story I have written involves someone having surgery. I take one of the animals, Peter Rabbit, and write about the medical process as you would see it from a child's view point. I talk about going in for tests, meeting the doctors, being wheeled into surgery on a bed. When they wake up they are tired and a little sore and nurses, who are also from the Magic Forest, take care of the patient. They take their temperature, blood pressure and bring them medicine. They receive visitors, who are the children of the Magic Forest, and soon the room fills with lovely flowers. Everyone helps to care for the patient once they are brought home.

Sometimes the children participate in a rodeo. In this scenario they learn how to be good winners and, good losers and learn how to be happy for someone else. When it is an election year, elections are held in the Magic Forest. Each participant discusses what they will change and the children get to discuss and vote on who they think is the best candidate. To keep things from getting to intense there is always someone playing a prank in the story.

It's best to print in a very plain font, use lots of pictures and color. Imagine yourself in elementary school and use words that kids can read on their own. Bold each child's name as they `speak' in the story. Put in updated photos of the children and label them with their names and ages. For cousins that live far away this may be the only way that you get to see each other. Refer to the story as experiences come up in the family. Remind them how the characters in the Magic Forest responded.

There is more then one way to teach children the things they need to know. Stories are a great way for children to learn. The writing of the story can be passed around from year to year, so make sure that you save all the picture files for the next author. You can get great characters by searching through your children's books, pictures can come from their, favorite books, coloring books, or the internet. By trading off the obligation, everyone gets to put their own imagination into the story. Be consistent when using the characters, it will make it easier to follow from year to year. Print pages on different colors of paper. Ask for others input if you get stumped about what to use for a plot. World events are a great thing to create your own story around. Children discuss these things between themselves at school, so give your child good information to take the fear out of the conversation.

Using a holiday to write your family story makes certain that it is written every year about the same time and soon the kids will be waiting by the mailbox. Writing an annual story is a great way to use your imagination and prepare kids for new experiences. Make a great cover for your book and don't forget to sign your work!

About the author: I am the artist behind Style In Stone jewelry at I also enjoy writing and am the author and publisher of our annual family Easter story. I love doing this because it allows me to help parents teach their children in a different way, through stories which include their cousins and family. I have a blog on alternative healing to encourage others to seek out a way to help themselves have emotionally, spiritually and physically happy lives. Visit my blog at Watch for my forthcoming book on ways to tweak your health.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Children's books about Mother's Day

This great little list was put together by For more information about the books, just click on the links. These are great books to read with your child on Mother's Day!

Mother's Day Books for Kids - A Ride on Mother's Back: A Day of Baby Carrying around the World A Ride on Mother's Back: A Day of Baby Carrying around the World
by Emery Bernhard, Durga Bernhard (Illustrator)
Mother's Day Books for Kids - Are You My Mother? Are You My Mother?
by P.D. Eastman
Mother's Day Books for Kids - Before I Was Your Mother Before I Was Your Mother
by Kathryn Lasky, LeUyen Pham (Illustrator)
Mother's Day Books for Kids - Happy Mother's Day, Mami! Happy Mother's Day, Mami!
by Leslie Valdes, Jason Fruchter (Illustrator)
Mother's Day Books for Kids - Love You Forever Love You Forever
by Robert Muncsh
Mother's Day Books for Kids - Mother's Day Mother's Day
by Anne Rockwell, Lizzy Rockwell (Illustrator)
Mother's Day Books for Kids - Mother's Mother's Day Mother's Mother's Day
by Lorna Balian

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Advanced Membership Level of CWCC Now Available

Advanced Membership Level of CWCC Now Available
If you're a published children's book author and/or illustrator, get the help you need to take your career to the next level!


This month's tele-workshop for Advanced Members of the CWCC will take place on Thursday, April 14, 2011 at NOON CDT. Nancy I. Sanders will present Creating Effective Subplots and Memorable Secondary Characters.

Find out all the benefits of Advanced Membership in our club here now!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Special Mother's Day Showcase at the National Writing for Children Center

Special Mother's Day Showcase - at a Special Price!

The National Writing for Children Center is looking for children's books about mothers (and mothers and their children) for a special Mother's Day Showcase in May.

The center is offering a special price for this Mother's Day Showcase.

Get the details here!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"Why Feedback from Kids is Essential for a Successful Children’s Book, " by Meagan Thomsen

Author and book review Managing Editor Irene Watson explains what's amiss the children's literature industry and how her new kids website bucks tradition with innovation.

(Austin, TX) The idea that kids are the best judges of what other kids want to read may not sound revolutionary, but in a world where children's books are written, published, reviewed and promoted by adults, it's actually a novel idea. An idea so simple, yet so profound, that it took a group of kids to make Irene Watson realize what the children's literature industry was missing.

Watson is the founder and managing editor of book review and author publicity service website When the company began in late 2005, it offered children's book reviews written by adults. Then, one day, an author volunteered her manuscripts to be reviewed by a group of children. Seven kids were organized to review the book, and their feedback overwhelming voiced the novel as "stupid." This came as a bit of a surprise to Watson, because the book had already received wonderful reviews from dozens of independent reviewers--who were all adults.

"That's when I started thinking, 'There's something wrong with this picture,'" Watson said. The stark contrast between the rave reviews from the adults and the rotten reviews from the kids prompted Watson to seriously reconsider the children's book section of her book review website. After all, kids are the target audience for kid's books, not adults.

In the spring of 2007, Watson started a new website,, with book reviews by kids, for kids. In order to create a reading group of volunteer reviewers, Watson polled numerous children and met with some in person. The kids reading group currently consists of twelve kids from across the United States one from Canada who range in age from 1 to 16 years old. Each of the reviewers is asked to give their open and honest opinion.

Watson's research and experience also indicates that kids are very interested in fantasy, science fiction and mystery novels, but have little attention for self-help books. One author sent in a review request for a book about handling bullies, and Watson had to beg one of the older reviewers to read it because none of her other volunteers were interested. Some self-help and historical fiction novels have been so unappealing to kids that even when offered compensation for the review, Watson was unable to entice anyone for the job.

Over the past year and half, Watson has come to the conclusion that what many authors and publishers think are good ideas for children's books, don't actually interest their target audience. Self-help books, "feel good books," and "pink" books have all flopped when presented to kid reviewers. Watson suggests that if one wants to write a best-selling children's book, a kid's input is not only helpful, but necessary.

"Write what kids want to read," Watson said. "But don't ask kids you know to read your manuscript; truth only comes from kids when they know they won't get into trouble for giving their honest opinion."

Why Feedback from Kids is Essential for a Successful Children’s Book By Meagan Thomsen

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Reasources parents can use to teach their kids to read

Carol Fraser Boles talks with Suzanne Lieurance about resources parents can use to help their children learn to read.

Listen to internet radio with Suzanne on Blog Talk Radio

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Guest post by Sean McCartney, author of SECRETS OF THE MAGICAL MEDALLIONS

Let me first thank Mayra for allowing me to talk with all of you today.

My name is Sean McCartney and I am the author of the new young adult action adventure series entitled THE TREASURE HUNTERS CLUB: SECRETS OF THE MAGICAL MEDALLIONS.

The book was released July 6, 2010 and is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, and my web site

My road to publication is probably like many others. I started getting serious about writing novels in 2001. I wrote my first, THE 65th TEAM in the summer of 2001 and sent it out waiting for all the offers to come in. The only thing that came through the mail was…

REJECTION! And lots of it.

I was stunned. Didn’t these publishers know that every word I put down was gold? That every thought must be perfect because I took the time? So I wrote another novel and another and the same thing kept happening.

REJECTION! What I didn’t understand at the time and after years of working on novels I see now was that I did not respect the words, the sentences or the paragraphs. I left story lines hanging. I assumed the reader would get it. The truth was I didn’t get it.

A friend of mine pointed out something that Mark Twain said and I have used as my guideline for the rest of my novels. “The difference between the right word and the wrong word is like the difference between lightening and a lightening bug.”

With that idea in mind I wrote a fantasy novel called BLACK KNIGHT CHRONICLES: RISE OF EVIL and sent it out. I was able to land an agent with that book and we embarked on looking for a publisher.

My agent sent the manuscript to all the big time publishers and some took a look but nothing came of it. They seemed to like the idea but I was told the market was saturated with fantasy books about knights and dragons and another wasn’t needed.

This was frustrating because during this time I mapped out a five book series and even wrote the second book to BLACK KNIGHT CHRONICLES called SHADOW WARS.

Finally after eight years I decided to write something I would have found myself reading as a kid. I wanted to combine the mystery of the Hardy Boys with the action and adventure of Indiana Jones and national Treasure and thus THE TREASURE HUNTERS CLUB was born.

I really liked it. Of course I liked the other ones too but I decided to take a new approach with sending the book out for publication. I only queried small publishers. No agent this time, just me.

The rejections still came but there was a different tone to what came back. The publishers liked the ideas and the story but with the economy tanking at the time they didn’t feel they could do TREASURE HUNTERS CLUB justice.

Then on July 17, 2011 I received the e-mail from Mountainland Publishing wanting to publish my book I felt like I’d won the lottery.

Over the next year I went through the ups and downs of working with a small, relatively new publisher, but that is another story entirely.

I encourage you, because begging is undignified, to get yourself a copy of THE TREASURE HUNTERS CLUB: SECRETS OF THE MAGICAL MEDALLIONS and kick back and enjoy a fun, fast paced and exciting adventure.

Thanks again for the opportunity and I hope to hear from all of you.

About the author:

Sean Paul McCartney (he’s not related to the Beatle) was born in 1971. He graduated from Alfred University in upstate New York with a Bachelor’s in Communications in 1993. From there he played two exciting season traveling around the world with the Washington Generals playing against the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. In 1996 Sean earned his Masters in Education and embarked on a career as a teacher. He is employed by Plain Local Schools in Canton , OH . The first book in the series The Treasure Hunters Club: Secrets of the Magical Medallions introduces the four teens Tommy Reed, Jackson Miller, Shannon McDougal and Chris Henderson. The series is a cross between The Hardy Boys and Indiana Jones with a touch of National Treasure. You can visit Sean’s web site at or e-mail him at Visit his The Treasure Hunters Club: Secrets of the Magic Medallions Facebook Fan Page by clicking here!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My article on Stories for Children Magazine!

My nonfiction article, "Look! A Giant Atom!" appears in the April issue of Stories for Children Magazine!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tips for reading with and to your child

Suzanne Lieurance, founder of The National Writing for Children Center, offers tips on how to read with and to your child.

Great audio!

Here's another audio on how to choose books for your child: