Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Rhymer Throw-down Entry

As posted previously, we are having a friendly rhymer throw-down amongst some Storyteller Academy folks to push ourselves to try a rhyming picture book. I must admit, it has been difficult to even get to the lousy draft phase. Hats off to people who write in rhyme. I have enjoyed this exercise (and already have a prose version inspired by this one), and am adding my entry:

Ninja Cat Attack

Midnight prowling, grumbly tummy.
Time to feast on something yummy.

Empty food dish?! Woe is me. 
Life is through! Catastrophe!

No surrender! Time for action.
My poor tum needs satisfaction

Come on human, I need cat chow. 
No more sleeping. Get up. "ME-NOW.” 

Kitten scorned?! Enough of that. [Cat gets dumped outside bedroom door.]
Time to bring out … Ninja Cat. 

Ninja Cat spies tasty kibble.
Going in for one sweet nibble. 

Flatten ears and arch the back.  
Here comes Ninja Cat’s A-

Foiled! Defeated. And unseated.
Ninja Cat feels quite depleted.

Hark! What’s that? A feathered snack? [Sees a bird outside the window.]
Come on Ninja! Cat A-

Curse that window, freshly cleaned.
Ninja Cat got submarined. 

Submarine? That sounds like fish.
Mac would make a tasty dish. [Fish’s name is Mac, maybe another fish is there named Cheese, but Cheese is hiding.]

Sneaky swimmer. Hold still, Mac!
Got to Ninja Cat A—

Sushi's gone. All hope is dashed! 
Ninja Cat is fading fast. 

Drastic measures. Spot is sleeping.
Ninja Cat is kitty creeping. [Dog has snack near bed.]

One more pounce to get that snack,
Here comes Ninja’s sneak A-

Fur is flying. Spot is growling.
Ninja Cat is hissing, yowling. 

Could it be? Inside that sack.
Ninja Cat needs this A-

Yummy kibble. No more growling. [Dog is eating kibble and Ninja Cat’s tummy isn’t growling.]
Ninja Cat is back to prowling. 

Pillow’s waiting. Sun is dawning.
Ninja Cat can't stop the yawning. 

Purring into dreams so deep.
Ninja Cat is fast A-

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Rhymer Throw-down

Under the leadership of the talented Pamela Courtney, we are hosting a tiny, crappy-draft challenge for a small group of writers brave enough to attempt a rhyming manuscript.  

We finished a poetry writing intensive with Diana Murray through Arree Chung's Storyteller Academy and Pamela threw down the challenge to dust off some rhyming ambitions (of which I have none, but love the discipline of trying), to write a crappy first, rhyming draft of 200 words-ish by July 22 using any of the prompts: 

  • All Things Ninja
  • That's When I Noticed It
  • Something Wasn't Quite Right
  • When the Sun Shines or 
  • I Didn't want To
My draft is still a WIP and will be posted by deadline. Others, and you know who you are, may post theirs in the comments section when ready, or add your link to your blog, or contact me to post on your behalf. 

May the rhyming odds be ever in your favor! 



My entry:

Friday, October 26, 2018

Halloweensie 2018: The Were-Cauldron's Bite

Courtesy of my daughter

It's here, it's here, that spooky time of year! 

I love Susanna Hill's Halloweensie contest, and after a long year of playing mom and dad while my husband served overseas, and another move across the ocean, I'm so excited to have something to add. 

The rules for this year are: "Write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words shiver, cauldron, and howl."

And coming in at 100 words (and with the added fun of my daughter's artwork), here's my Halloween poem:

The Were-Cauldron’s Bite

A pinch of shiver, a dash of scream,
one werewolf’s howl, a blood-moon beam.

A hard stir left, a quick swirl right.
The witches mix up this year’s fright.

The cauldron shakes, and sprouts long fangs.
Its feet grow claws. Its rim grows bangs.

Two ears pop out atop its lid,
and listen for that one scared kid …

Who’s clutching candy—all alone—
trembling on his way back home.

It hears him now, that poor, doomed soul,
and lurches from its fiery hole.

The cauldron’s teeth snap through the air.
The candy’s gone! So kids, BE-WERE!


Monday, October 30, 2017

Halloweensie Entry 2017


I'm squeaking my entry in. It's been a gloriously busy week--all great things, so I can't complain. I love Susanna Hill's holiday writing contests, and the Halloweensie is one of my faves. 

This years rules: 

"Write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words candy cornmonster, and shadow. (Candy corn will be counted as 1 word.)"

My entry for this year coming in at 97 words:

The Choco-candy Momster

You see that thing in Mom’s old clothes?
We put her there to scare the crows,
but I know something no one knows…

On Halloween she leaves her post 
to find the sweets she loves the most.

M&Ms and Monster Mixes,
Baby Ruths and Hershey Kisses,

Toffee Heaths and almond Snickers,
which she steals from treat or trickers.

The only candy that she scorns,
are sicky, sweety candy corns.

So …

If you see her shadow creeping
do not stop her candy-reaping

Drop all your choco-goody snacks
but take your corns …

… or she’ll be back.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Illustration Notes: To Include or Not to Include...

Illustration notes—the bane of a writer’s existence. There are so many conflicting opinions about illustration notes, it’s hard to know where to begin. First off, an illustration note is a quick description of what the author envisions at a certain point in the story. The notes are intended to stand in place of an illustration that might be needed in order for the reader to understand what the author intended.
An illustration note is not a play-by-play of how the author sees the characters, settings, and scenery of the story.
Here’s an example using Where the Wild Things Are:
“The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind …” [Art: Max is wearing a white wolf suit with buttons down the front and is nailing a line of tied-up clothes to his bedroom wall.]
That is a bad—scold it and send it to time out—illustration note. In fact, you DO NOT need an illustration note for that line at all. It’s perfectly fine just the way it is.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Interview with Agent Natascha Morris

Natascha is a new agent at Bookends Literary and a former editorial assistant for Simon & Schuster. She is open to submissions for picture books, middle grade, and young adult across multiple genres: contemporary, mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, historical fiction, and narrative non-fiction. She is looking for authors, illustrators, and author-illustrators. 
Thank you, Natascha, for your insightful answers.
What was your favorite role during your days as an editorial assistant at Simon & Schuster? 
There were two things I loved about working at Simon & Schuster: reading the submissions to find that standout project, and working with the design team to come up with great covers. As an agent, I can still find that diamond in the rough, but I will miss coming up with cover concepts. 
Were there any manuscripts you helped acquire that you’re particularly proud of? 
Kit Frick’s See All the Stars (Summer 2018) is one I’m particularly proud of. Read it on submission and fell in love with it. I also had the opportunity to offer editorial notes. Kit is an amazingly talented writer who changed the whole manuscript with a few smart line changes. I’d love to find an author like her.
Could you walk us through the acquisitions process—what stars had to align in order for S&S to select a manuscript for publication?
Every book is different and sometimes, editors don’t follow the process. But in general, once an editor has a project they want to pursue, they take it to the editorial meeting. If the other editors agree (and sometimes they don’t), the editor takes it to acquisitions. I worked at two literary imprints, so quality of writing was a big factor. After that it came down to a host of factors: editorial taste, vision for the project, and market saturation. Publishing is subjective, and sometimes timing plays a part of that. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Interview with Agent Wendi Gu

It’s a new year so let’s start it off with an interview from new-ish agent Wendi Gu of Greenburger Associates. She represents one of my critique partners, so I already know she has great taste (if I could insert the grinning emoticon here, I would). Wendi is looking for authors, author-illustrators and illustrators only. And, as you’ll see by her answers, she will be a champ of an advocate for any client she takes on. Wendi reps kidlit and some adult lit–read on for details. Thank you, Wendi, for your time!
You’re a new agent at Greenburger Associates and have been working with Brenda Bowen—wow. What led you to agenting and to Greenburger? 
Brenda Bowen indeed! She’s been a fabulous, encouraging mentor, and I’m very lucky to work with her. I came into agenting by accident–I knew I wanted to be in New York, and that I wanted to work in books. When I was still studying creative writing at Northwestern, I sent an internship application to every single publishing house and agency I could find. I wasn’t very picky then. At that point, I didn’t even know that there was a difference between agenting and editing! Or what an imprint was. Or what “delivery advance” meant. I never heard back from most places. But lo and behold, I received an internship offer from Greenburger, and worked there the summer before my final year of college. A few months before I was slated to graduate, I got a call that Greenburger was looking to fill an assistant position. I snapped up the position. Then, about a year ago, I was given the green light to agent my own titles. 
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