Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Interview with Tara Cattie Luebbe and Mentorship Contest Announcement

profile-picTara Cattie Luebbe will host her Writing With the Stars mentorship contest early next year where authors and illustrators can apply to be mentored by an established author or illustrator. Tara's debut picture book is set to release Spring of 2018, but she's been involved in picture books as a former bookstore owner and gained a retailer's eye for what sells. She kindly shared some of her experiences about her time as a bookstore owner that you can read about on my site (link below). Enjoy getting to know Tara a bit, then check out her awesome contest for un-agented picture book writers/illustrators. Good luck to all who apply!
Tara, you had a baptism by fire in searching out good children’s lit with your oldest son who’d finished all the Harry Potter books by first grade. It sounds like keeping up with his book appetite is what prompted you to open your toy and bookstore. 
I think I got into picture books like a lot of writers, I had kids. My first born was a voracious reader and so I spent a lot of time looking for new books to keep him satisfied. He did not like to read one book over and over, he always wanted a new one. He went on to read all the Harry Potters by the end of first grade. I was blessed to have two more sons after that, and they are all equally avid readers, which makes me so happy. 
Because my background was in retail buying, I followed a dream and opened a toy and book store. My store catered to children 0-6, so the only books I sold were picture books. My selection was very different than the chain store down the way. I spent hours at market buying new books and searching out the best picture books from smaller pubs, foreign pubs and the wonderful backlist. As an indie, I had no requirements to carry anything from a corporate office. If I didn’t like the book, I didn’t carry it, even if it was a huge seller elsewhere. It was a highly curated collection reflective of my taste.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Susanna Hill's Holiday Contest Entry

If you're a fan of Susanna Hill's blog, you'll know that her holiday writing contest is open now! The rules for this year: 

"Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) using the basic format/concept of The Twelve Days Of Christmas! Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 300 words..."

And coming in exactly at 300 words, my 2016 entry:

Griselda's Christmas Witch List 

by Johnell DeWitt

Dear Santy Claws,
You haven’t brought me anything for eleven Christmases. I’ve been a good witch, so I’m sure it’s a mistake.
Yours wickedly,

Dear Griselda,
You have been a good witch. Please send your list.
SantA ClaUS 

Dear Santy Claws,
Here’s my list from each of the Christmases you missed (plus interest):
12 hungry children
11 tubs of frosting
10 walls of gingerbread
9 taffy curtains
8 giant gum drops
7 yards of licorice
6 pounds of peppermints
5 chocolate soldiers
4 cookie cobblestones
3 sugared steps
2 candied roof tops
And this year, an industrial-sized child proof oven.
All the Worst,

Dear Griselda,
I thought your list sounded familiar. Fortunately, I read to my elves every night. We will not bring you children for Christmas.
Santa Claus—no “y” and no claws.

Dear Santy Claws,
I only want the sweet kiddies to help me decorate my gingerbread house. It gets lonely for witches at Christmas. How could a nice guy like you think so ill of me?
Grumbly yours,

Dear Griselda,
I’m sure then, that the recipe for ‘Kid Knee Pie’ was not meant to be on the back of your last letter? 
Santa—with an A and Claus—no WS!

Dear Santy Claws,
I recycle like all good witches. I reused that old paper to write you a letter. If you send it back, I’ll return it to the recycling bin.
Impatiently awaiting my presents,

Dear Griselda,
Some kids and the other presents will arrive soon.
Merry Christmas,
Santy Claws

Dear Twerp,
Those baby goats ate everything! All they left was the oven, and I’m not setting one foot near there. I read too, you know. You just wait until October 31st. No treats for you!
Never yours,