Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy News

Highlights just sent me an acceptance for some of my work. I'll post the full details when they are available, but in the meantime, YIPPEE!!! And let's throw in a few WHOO-HOOs, shall we ?!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I Won!!!


How cool is this - I entered a contest on the PiBoIdMo blog, and I won! The details of the contest are here:

The assignment was to fill in a response to Mr. Turtleneck's statement. I thought his comment was utterly smack-worthy, which led me to the cage-fighting reference. The cartoon was created by talented illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Debbie's work includes the fantastically funny "I'm Bored."

Thank you so much Tara and Debbie for the opportunity. You guys really put the jingle in my bells this Christmas.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

12 x 12 in 2013

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Registration for 12 x 12 in 2013 opens January 2d people, January 2d. That's super soon!!! I'm super excited!!! I'm super over-using exclamation points!!!

According to the website: 12 x 12 in 2013 will be all it was in 2012 and MORE. Participants will not only be encouraged and supported as they attempt to write one picture book draft a month, but also to revise one and submit one as additional, optional goals. There will of course be more outstanding featured authors giving away fabulous prizes that will help you in your craft. And we will have a brand new forum to share and exchange information in addition to the Facebook group – so everyone who joins can participate 100%.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hire An Illustrator

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Though I'm not pursuing self-publishing myself, I've had a few requests for posts about the subject. As a one-time graphic designer and Cartoon Network intern, I'm obsessed with illustrations and so I thought I'd post the introduction of this helpful how-to: "There has been a significant increase in small press or self-publishing, as ways of getting your work out there increase outside of traditional publishing streams... this booklet is intended to educate those who have never commissioned illustrations..." Text by Randy Gallegos

Pajama Press Open to Queries Dec 1!!

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**UPDATE: I recently confirmed with Pajama Press that they do accept work from American authors**

According to their website: 

Due to an overwhelming volume of submissions, Pajama Press is not accepting submissions or queries at this time. Email queries will be accepted after December 1, 2012:

Pajama Press does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. If you would like to request permission to send us a digital copy of your manuscript, please email a query to Your query should include an overview of your book, information about your writing background, and an excerpt. Pajama Press prefers not to receive simultaneous submissions. Please notify us if you are submitting your manuscript to another publisher.

In the interest of saving trees, Pajama Press does not accept physical manuscripts. Any manuscripts mailed to our office will be recycled unopened.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mirror Publishing

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According to their website: We are accepting submissions for children’s books, 
young adult books, and full length books.  We do not publish books of poetry, 
cook books, or comic novels. Please only submit one manuscript.  We can only 
consider and work with one book at a time from any author.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Seven Days

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Seven days, if you count today, until the end of PiBoIdMo. That's seven more picture book ideas. Or, in my case, 14 more. Possibly 17. Or 27. This challenge has been great for me and the ideas are just bubbling up everywhere. Now all I have to do is write them - you know - the hard part. Eh, I'll worry about that in December.

Arthur A. Levine Books

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According to their website: "We look for strong writing, beautiful artwork, authentic emotion, and ideas or perspectives we haven't seen before, and we greatly enjoy working with debut authors and illustrators." This publisher accepts unsolicited manuscripts.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Andrews McMeel Publishing / Accord

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Andrews McMeel Publishing publishes general nonfiction trade books, gift books and humor books, publishing up to 300 new titles annually. Their children's books include board books and novelty books.

Schiffer Books

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Schiffer Publishing has over 6000 titles, including Children's books, Photography, Art and Artists, Aviation and Military. According to their website: "New ideas and authors are the lifeblood of what we do here. We have gathered together a team of people who will do everything they can to make the concept of a book become a reality. If you are one of those people who always dreamed of writing a book, we would love to hear from you"

Gobble Gobble

It's that time of year again - the holidays! A marathon of runny noses and house guests and cookies and wrapping paper and grocery trips and Christmas cards and sweaters (even Florida gets chilly) and online shopping and lists and packing and unpacking and digital photos and did I mention cookies? Oh, and birthdays. Apparently every child in my daughter's class was born in December - and my mom. And my brother in law. And my best friend from childhood who I never talk to anymore but I still send gifts to.

So it's busy at my house just like I'm sure it is busy at your house. But I want to take a minute and reflect on what I am grateful for. Besides the obvious healthy family, happy home thing. I am grateful for ... publishers who still accept unsolicited manuscripts. Thank you publishers who still accept unsolicited manuscripts. You give me hope.

Monday, November 5, 2012

August House

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Just playing around tonight - checking out publishers instead of folding laundry. 

August House is the highly-acclaimed and award-winning multimedia publisher of children's stories, folktale anthologies and resource books. Over the last 25 years, August House has developed one of the most respected collections of stories from around the world. Parents, teachers, and librarians love these stories because of their integrity and authenticity.

Friday, November 2, 2012


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It's Day Two of PiBoIdMo and I've already come up with my picture book idea. Actually I came up with TWO!! One I'll probably work on and another that I'll share here because it's silly and weird and sort of awful but maybe inspiring and, hey, why not?

The Jumba Wumba Spider: This fresh twist on the itsy bitsy classic follows Jerome the Jumba Wumba spider as he tackles obesity and acceptance in the bug world. From his lonely perch on reinforced webbing, Jerome watches (through many, many eyes) other arachnids skitter and scamper up and down that skinny ol' water spout...

Or something like that.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day One

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One the first day of PiBoIdMo the hours were whizzing by and I was worried I wouldn't be able to come up with a picture book idea. On day one. Day one!! But then, driving home from the grocery store, I had the cutest idea. And when I got home I wrote it down in my spreadsheet and I am so thrilled. It's like a little pet and I just want to hold it and cuddle it. Yea PiBoIdMo!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Current Obsession

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As a former professional researcher I adore digging into a project. And since I'm looking into agents, well let's just say I'm a little obsessed with my online research. Here is one of the "great for newbies like me" resources I found - a list of what to look for in an independent agency's website. Green flags for the green writer, if you will. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Picking a Conference

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I'm on vacation so no writing, no revising, no stalking the Verla Kay Bluebo..., LOL. You know I'm kidding right? I can't help myself! So I've I slipped away from my dear children to check on the world of PBs, and found these two links:

The first takes you to a list of which agents will be attending upcoming (primarily children's writing) conferences. The second is for editors.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Registration Opens Today

Wake up, kidlit campers! Rise and shine! It’s time to register for Picture Book Idea Month!

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

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Yes I am focused on picture books, and No I haven't forgotten about the magazine market. I have a few poems on submission and always keep an eye out for opportunities. 

Highlights magazine is running a fabulous contest, as follows: "Stories for beginning readers in 500 words or fewer. We welcome stories of any genre (mystery, historical fiction, sports, humor, holiday, friendship, etc.) as long as the stories are intended for kids ages 6–8."

There is no entry fee and all submissions must be postmarked between January 1 and January 31, 2013.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shenanigan Books

This New Jersey-based company produces unique picture, craft and board books for preschool to third grade, richly illustrated and skillfully written stories, that inspire and delight young readers. Its founder, illustrator/author, Mary Watson, hand-selects books that capture the imagination and make bedtime-reading a treasured family tradition. Journey to foreign lands or into the magical worlds of mermaids, fairies or beasties with Shenanigan’s multicultural and fantasy titles. Or just laugh out loud with Shenanigan’s humorous titles. Please include a brief author biography, book synopsis and contact information with your submission. Picture book manuscripts should be about 1,500 words. Email manuscripts to: 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tick Tock Plot Clock

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This fabulous post outlines, well, an outline. It provides a rough format for plotting out your picture book. It has proven very useful as I try to write the rough drafts of two manuscripts.

Sylvan Dell

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According to their website: The picture books that we publish are usually, but not always, fictional stories that relate to animals, nature, the environment, science, and math. All books should subtly convey an educational theme through a warm story that is fun to read and that will grab a child’s attention. 

There is also a list of what they are and are NOT looking for.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Did It!

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I submitted to a few amazing agents. I was on the fence about the whole process but I've done a bit (okay, a LOT) of research and there are some seriously talented agents out there who handle picture books. I think my favorite part is reading their interviews and being all, like "OMG - I love that book!" or "I like cheese plates and quirky books too!" Soooo, fingers crossed people. Fingers crossed.

A Little Motivation

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30 Writing Tips from 30 Authors

With gems like "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass," you are bound to find some inspiration. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Word Count

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Doing a bit of picture book research? Need to know how many words are in a certain book? Just go to the following site and follow the prompts. Be careful to type in the title exactly as it appears on the book, and Voila! Someone else did the hard work so you don't have to!

Click on the link below, select STORE, then click on the "AR BookFinder" link.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

To Agent, or Not to Agent...

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That is the question. I have no clue about the answer. I never thought I could get an agent without a book under my belt, so I have been submitting directly to well-researched, targeted small publishers. But now I am reconsidering, in which case this list will come in handy:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Flash Light Press

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This marvelous publisher focuses on family / social situation picture books. They are one of my "holy grail" publishers - check out their books, read their author and editor interviews online, they are amazing!

According to their submissions guidelines: "Stories should have universal themes and deal with family or social situations. They should appeal to 4-8 year olds and have approximately 1,000 words. Most of all, they should feel like they'd fit our line. Please spend some time looking through our website and reading about our books to determine whether your story might be a fit. Remember, we only publish picture books."

Saturday, October 6, 2012

PB Agents

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They do exist. And the proof is here:

Check out this link and other useful resources on the blog of fellow blue-boarder Katie Clark.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Shen's Books

Shen's Books is dedicated to producing children's literature that emphasizes cultural diversity and tolerance, with a focus on introducing children to the cultures of Asia. We are currently only considering picture book manuscripts of fewer than 2500 words. Stories must reflect the culture of an Asian country or that of Asian-Americans. Stories involving multiple ethnicities and tolerance will be considered as long as at least one culture depicted is Asian.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Second Story Press

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Thank you for your interest in Second Story Press. We are currently accepting samples of unsolicited manuscripts. We are a Canadian feminist press publishing books of special interest to women. Our list is a mix of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. We look for manuscripts dealing with the many diverse and varied aspects of the lives of girls and women. If you feel that your manuscript fits with our list, please send it according to the instructions below. If you are a US author, you may want to consider sending your manuscript to one of the many US publishing houses; we try to focus on Canadian authors. Note we do not publish poetry, rhyming picture books, or books with anthropomorphized animals.

Knowonder *UPDATE*

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I just received an email update about Knowonder's submissions policy: 

"We wanted to give you an update today because we have suspended accepting new story applications for the time being. The reason is simply because we have received so many great subscriptions that we need a bit more time to get through them all. We have received a few emails recently inquiring as to the status of a story, so please know that we are still working on reading them all and you should hear back from us in the next 30 to 60 days! We anticipate beginning to accept submissions again somewhere toward the end of the year. Jan 1st, 2013 is our deadline we've given ourselves."

This really is a great website so don't forget to check back with them in January. My short story, Library Lesson, won their Reader's Choice award - a wonderful experience. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's Coming... PiBoIdMo!!

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Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) is a November writing challenge specifically for picture book writers. Unlike the NaNoWriMo challenge for novelists, PiBoIdMo participants don’t have to write a manuscript (but you can if the mood strikes!). The challenge is to create 30 new picture book story ideas in 30 days. Those who do are eligible for prizes at the end of the month, like a consultation with a literary agent, signed original art, autographed picture books, and story critiques. And everyone wins this prize: a fat file of ideas to help inspire your stories throughout the year. For details, visit:


It's been a good week - My Light magazine just sent me an acceptance letter for my poem, Where Prayer Ends. The work will appear in the November issue. My Light is an online catholic magazine for children. Learn more here:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Silver Lining

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I reported earlier that Stories for Children is closing down its online magazine - such sad news. BUT they are putting out one final Back to School issue, which includes my poem House Parade. I received the contributor's copy of the magazine today and it looks great. The issue will be available online shortly - so keep an eye out:

Free Online Course in Verse

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Audrey Owen, editor at Writer's Helper, offers free writing courses from her site. Learn how to write correctly, and powerfully. Classes include verse for children.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Bewitching Castle

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The 4th Annual Spooktacular Rhyming contest will be taking place at The Storyteller's Scroll from October 1st to the 14th. Submissions must be a maximum of 250 words, written in rhyme, and centered on a witch or an enchanted castle.  Good luck little goblins!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

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VeloPress is the leading endurance sports book publisher. Drawing from the expertise of the top experts in endurance sports, VeloPress books help cyclists, triathletes, and runners develop the fitness, skills, and knowledge to meet any challenge. VeloPress celebrates the icons, athletes, and personalities of endurance sports through historical, biographical, and photography books. VeloPress has published a few children's books.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Picture Book Database

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Every now an then I have an original, fabulous book idea, and I get really excited. That is, until I do my homework and discover that fifteen other people have had the same original, fabulous idea. Very annoying BUT a problem best discovered before submission. The Children's Picture Book Database at Miami University is one of my research resources. It offers:
  • abstracts of over 5000 children's picture books;
  • search capabilities for over 950 keywords, including topics, concepts, and skills which describe each book;
  • weblinks for keywords so you can integrate your up-to-date content knowledge with our picture book resources

Saturday, September 22, 2012


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Immedium publishes innovative, influential, and insightful books and collaborates with creators who have the same goals. Immedium values fresh ideas, dynamic perspectives, and can-do creativity and transforms them into media that have vibrant markets and international potential. We serve audiences who appreciate originality, skill, and a compelling message. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Story Pie Press

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This publisher's current needs include health related/special interest picture books. Authors, please submit queries to If we are interested in reviewing your manuscript, you will be asked to send it in full electronically. For more, visit:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sky Pony Press

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According to their submissions guidelines: 

We will consider picture books, early readers, midgrade novels, novelties, and informational books for all ages. Although we are not searching for YA fiction in particular, we would consider projects that tied in with the subject areas in which we are publishing. We are mainly publishing single titles but are open to series ideas. Our parent company publishes many excellent books in the fields of ecology, independent living, farm living, wilderness living, recycling, and other green topics, and this will be a theme in our children's book line. We are also searching for books that have strong educational themes and that help inform children of the world in which they live. We are also interested in books with special needs themes, such as autism, ADHD, food allergies, and so forth. Website:


Here is a link to submission guidelines for another religious (but less overtly so) publication, Pockets magazine. Pockets is inter-denominational, and their readers include children of many cultures and ethnic backgrounds. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Light

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My Light is a Catholic Magazine dedicated to helping children understand their faith. They are actively seeking submissions for November and December. 

Monday, September 17, 2012


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Have a great idea for a book? Will the book be thoroughly evangelical Christian in its perspective? If so, Crossway wants to hear from you. Send an e-mail query and, if your idea fits within their acquisitions guidelines, they will invite a proposal. Please do not send a proposal or manuscript without first sending an e-mail query.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Star Bright Books

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This company welcomes submissions for picture books and longer works, both fiction and non-fiction.  Please note that they are particularly interested in books that satisfy their goal of publishing books that are entertaining, meaningful and sensitive to the needs of all children.

Where were you?!

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Well, I was at Sea World and Aquatica with my eldest daughter. She loved it. I loved that they had potties every ten feet. And, at the end of the week, I completed my first ever  triathlon. Lest you think I am actually some sort of athlete, you should know that several other competitors were wearing costumes, and some people were drinking beer. It was THAT kind of triathlon. 

But I'm back now - so check in for more small press publishers! (and, you know, struggling writer stuff...)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Storey Publishing

The mission of Storey Publishing is to publish practical information that encourages personal independence in harmony with the environment. We seek to do this in a positive atmosphere that promotes editorial quality, team spirit, and profitability. They describe their children's books as follows: 

For kids who are crazy for horses, wild about nature, or in love with animals, we’ve got books to feed their frenzy. Curious kids who are seeking to know more and do more love our puzzles and games books, pull-out poster books, nature exploration guides, and how-to books on riding and caring for horses.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Character Publishing

I rarely submit manuscripts because I'm too busy torturing myself over every syllable BUT I did send off my most polished picture book to Character Publishing. I like their approach towards children's books, and I love their interest in "quirky" stuff.

If you are interested in submitting to them, take a moment to become familiar with their mission. The focus of this company is to allow parents and children to selectively enhance certain character traits in a particular child.