Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for Signs of TROUBLE

Signs of Trouble by Janet Ann Collins
Illustrated by Jack Foster

Print ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-111-5; 1616331119

eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-112-2; 1616331127


Children with learning disabilities get separated from their Special Education class on a field trip and use what they’ve learned to get reunited with them. The included activities can help children learn safety rules, understanding of people with special needs, basic reading skills, and creative writing skills.


Signs of Trouble is an adventurous story about two girls, a special ed student and her partner,  who get separated from their group. With a communication mix-up and a trip to the bathroom, the girls discover they are...gulp...lost!

During this edge-of -the-seat story,  we follow the characters as they face a real life test on what to do if you are lost.  Do they go with that strange lady who offered to help them find their group? Do they go looking for their group? Should they try to find the group meeting place on their own?

With some quick thinking and a creative solution,  the girls find a way to draw attention to themselves and get the help they needed.

This is a delightfully written story that all children can relate to. I loved at the end of the book there are a large variety of academic activities. More fascinating fun with author Janet A Collins!

Where to get Signs of Trouble:

Guardian Angel Publishing

About Janet A Collins:

Janet Ann Collins is a retired teacher who used to work at California School for the Deaf, Was a substitute teacher in many Special Education classes, and raised three foster sons with special needs in addition to her birth daughter.

She was a freelance feature writer for a newspaper in the San Francisco Bay Area, is a columnist for the Antique Auction Explorer and her work has appeared in dozens of other publications. Collins is the author of two other books with Guardian Angel Publishing, The Peril of the Sinister Scientist and Secret Service Saint.

About Jack Foster:

Jack Foster, children’s book illustrator, has illustrated more books for Guardian Angel Publishing, SHOO CAT!, Klutzy Kantor

You can see more of Jack’s work and leave him a comment at

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for Seuss

Now that we've dealt with the topic of rejection, I'd like to offer some inspiration. Just because your manuscript is rejected, doesn't mean it lacks merit. It could be quite good.

His book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street , was rejected 28 times before being published. In fact one well known comment was "“This is too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant its selling.” Wow!  But he persisted. With persistence comes payoff.  He later went on to write more classics such as The Cat in the Cat , Green Eggs and Ham, and  How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

So when that next rejection comes along, thing Seuss!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Awards for My Blog

You'll see two new awards for my blog awarded by Jingle :

The Talented Writer Award

And the Blogger Buddy Award.

Thanks Jingle!

R is for Rejections

As Editor-in-Chief of My Light Magazine, I had run into times where I've had to reject a manuscript. It's the thing I like LEAST about running the magazine.  However, if the magazine is to improve and accomplish it's goal to spread the Catholic faith to our readers, we must be selective.
As writers, how should we handle rejections? The professional thing to do would be to take the editor's advice - if any is offered (see Why You Get Form Rejections) and resubmit elsewhere. Unless the editor asks for a resubmission, I would avoid it.  If you are fortunate enough for this request, be sure to refresh the editor's memory by simply stating, "Per your request I have addressed the issues and am resubmitting...".

It rarely helps to defend your manuscript once it is rejected. Yes, you will be remembered by the editors - but not the way you hope.You don't want to be remembered for negative behavior and risk appearing unprofessional.

The best thing to do is run the manuscript through your critique group - yes  YET AGAIN, reassess your markets, and submit elsewhere.

The effort will pay off. That manuscript will be ready for that one right publication. Then it and you will be remembered for your writing skill - not your reaction to a rejection.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Q is for Quality Submissions

When submitting to an editor of a magazine or a book publisher, it is important to produce quality submissions to avoid an immediate rejection. When sending your manuscript, after ensuring it is ready, be sure to prepare a cover letter - even if you are submitting through electronic communication. The cover letter maintains a professional quality to your submission. Be sure it includes the title, what it's about, and how it fits in with the publication.

When writing the manuscript, keep the publishing company's guidelines in mind. What is the suggested age level? Word count?Topic or theme? No matter how well written the manuscript is, it will be rejected if it doesn't meet the guidelines.

Before submitting your work, it should have gone through several rounds in a critique group. This helps catch spelling, grammar and syntax errors. If an editor has to correct too much,he or she will pass on the manuscript.

Keeping all these tips in mind will help you produce a quality manuscript - one that is hopefully on its way to publication.

P is for Program: Jennifer Wylie's contribution to a Short Story Program

Encouraging the love of reading.

by Jennifer Wylie

I am really excited about my first short story series. Tales of Ever is part of a new short story program being put out by Echelon Press.

Electric Shorts is a pilot program for reluctant readers. Each series contains six short stories presented once per month as electronic downloads (eBooks), much the same as a television series. Tales of Ever is a fantasy series written for young adults (13-17 year olds). The first instalment, Banished, debuted March 1st, a new instalment will be available the first tuesday of the month ending in August. At only $.99 each, the short stories are affordable for all walks of life.

I was lucky enough to have a mother who was an avid reader, and became one myself at an early age. I've now passed the love of reading onto to my own children. Tales of Ever is full of action and written to captivate even the most reluctant readers. I'm hoping to share the joy of reading with many young adults.

One of my favorite parts of a new work is creating the world it takes place in. Sometimes the differences between 'our world' and my invented world are few, mostly the differences being magic or what beings are there. But not always.

My new short story series also has a new world. It is drastically different from what we could consider 'normal'. Needless to say, I'm having the most fun EVER (excuse the pun) creating this world as well. Though technically, Ever is not a world, but a place. I wanted Ever to be bizarre, crazy, and also wild and dangerous. Part of its deadliness is that nothing is normal or known. At least not to someone from earth. My character does her best to describe the crazy world she has been banished too, and I have a great time coming up with her descriptions of things. For example when she lands in Ever she falls on the border between two drastically different environments, a desert and a jungle. “The sand is pink. Not the washed out pink of granite, but clashed-really-bad-with-my-hair bright pink.” The jungle she describes as “one colored by some crazy kindergarten kids, maybe.”

I'm very excited the series will be six stories long. Misha, my main character, stays in the Rainbow Jungle for the first two shorts, however in the 3rd she travels to the Tall Forrest. I'm sure many interesting things will happen there! The second of the series, Fire Girl, was released April 5th and the third, Shadow Boy will come out May 3rd.

I hope you all enjoy the worlds I create! Happy reading and thanks so much for having me today!

Series: Tales of Ever

#1 Banished

by Jen Wylie

Short Story 0.99

Published March 1 2011 by Echelon Press

Series Blurb:

Welcome to Ever.

Ever, a deadly realm where feared, powerful and dangerous magical beings are banished. Though very large, it is not a world but a magically created prison. You can’t break through its circular boundary. Who, or what, made Ever? I’ve no idea. They were powerful, and cruel. That is all I can tell you.

Ever is like and unlike every other world. Nothing is safe. Safety is a dream. Ever is a nightmare. Few survive their first day. Nothing is what it seems. If something appears safe, it isn’t. If something appears dangerous, well it is, but probably more so than you think.

Ever has no sun, no moon, no stars at night. Time is told by the ever changing color of the sky where portals open, dropping new inhabitants, or new terrors. Time does pass. Don’t worry, you won’t get old. You won’t live that long.

The landscape changes without reason form dessert to jungles. The flora isn’t safe at any time. There is food, if you can find it without getting eaten yourself. Most plants and animals are poisonous. So is the water.

Are you afraid? You should be. This is the end. It gets worse of course. Remember the portals? Do think angels come through? Rarely the innocent do. Mostly, it is people of evil, people too powerful to kill. Their magic works here. The creature’s are worse.

Do you understand? Well you will eventually, or you’ll die. There is no escaping Ever. Ever.

Banished Blurb:

My life was normal. It sucked, but it was normal. At least until I got this new power. I can control fire. It would be cool if it wasn’t so dangerous and if I knew how to use it. Pretty much my sucky life took a nose dive once I got it. Yup, everything gone. I suppose I should be thankful some uncle I never heard of took me in. Turns out the whole family isn’t normal and my power is a lot more dangerous than I thought. I thought things couldn’t get any worse. I was wrong. They banished me to Ever.

If I’m lucky, I might survive my first day.

Fire Girl Blurb:

Surviving Ever may not be easy, but somehow I’m managing. So far. Luckily I’ve made a new friend, Jadus. He’s not exactly human, but he’s teaching me how to survive here. Even though I’m tired, I’m hungry and I miss home, he makes life bearable. Despite the not human thing I think I may be falling for him. Unfortunately Ever isn’t the place for romance. Now I have to deal with a barbarian king and a crazy shape-shifting witch on top of the everyday dangers. With each day that passes it becomes more important I learn to control my fire powers. If I can’t I might lose everything; any hope of finding my dad, Jadus…my life.

Available at:






Jennifer Wylie was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. In a cosmic twist of fate she dislikes the snow and cold.

Before settling down to raise a family, she attained a BA from Queens University and worked in retail and sales.

Thanks to her mother she acquired a love of books at an early age and began writing in public school. She constantly has stories floating around in her head, and finds it amazing most people don’t. Jennifer writes various forms of fantasy, both novels and short stories. Sweet light is her debut novel to be published in 2011.

Jennifer resides in rural Ontario, Canada with her husband, two boys, Australian shepherd a flock of birds and a disagreeable amount of wildlife.

My website:

My blog:

Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for One Pelican at a Time

One Pelican at a Time

by Nancy Stewart
Illustrated by Samantha Bell

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-61633-138-2; 1616331380
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-61633-139-9; 1616331399
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61633-140-5; 1616331402


 Bella and Britt love living by the beach. When they find oil washing to shore from a gulf spill, they want to help but are told there is nothing for kids to do. But when their old friend, the crooked beak pelican, becomes covered with oil, they help save his life by their quick thinking and action.


One Pelican at a Time by Nancy Stewart is an inspiring story about two friends, a crooked beaked pelican and an oil spill. Bella and Britt discover the damage an oil spill caused in the Gulf of Mexico one afternoon. With a sense of urgency, the girls look for a way to help save the beach and the animals, but are told there's not much a child can do. 

However, when their old friend, the crooked beaked pelican gets harmed by the oil, the girls knew they had to do something. With some smart, quick, thinking they find help for the pelican and in the process learn the many steps it takes to fix a big problem like an oil spill. 

Author Nancy Stewart handled this big issue with great style. In addition to the story, she offers resources for more information on the event of an oil spill. Illustrator Samantha Bell's artwork complimented the story well with colorful, bright, and realistic illustrations.

One Pelican at a Time is an all around great book.

Get a taste for yourself in the trailer below:

Where to get One Pelican at a Time:
Guardian Angel Publishing
Barnes and Noble

About Nancy Stewart:
After having been an elementary school teacher, a consultant with New Options Inc. in New York City, and a university professor of education, Nancy now writes children’s books full time. She, her husband, and three sons lived in London for eight years where she was a consultant to several universities, including Cambridge.

Nancy travels extensively through out the world, most particularly Africa. She is the US chair of a charity in Lamu, Kenya, that places girls in intermediate schools to allow them to further their education. She and her family live in St. Louis and Clearwater Beach, Florida. Nancy is the author of two other Bella books, Bella Saves the Beach and Sea Turtle Summer. Both will be published by Guardian Angel Publishing. Visit Nancy at as well as her blog at

About Samantha Bell

Samantha Bell lives in the upstate of South Carolina with her husband, four children, and lots of animals. She’s a homeschooling mom by day and a writer and illustrator by night. Her poems, stories, articles, and illustrations have been published both online and in print. Please view her online portfolio at as well as her art lessons for children at

Saturday, April 16, 2011


What did I say? NANoWRIMo? It's an acronym for National NOvel WRIting MOnth. This is a month long event designed to get writers moving. For different reasons, a write may have story, or novel idea in our heads but can't seem to get it out. Often what's causing the writer's block  is fear. Are we going to get it wrong? Will it work out? Will the novel say what I want it to say?

Pretty soon, we're stuck and we're not writing anything. One of the goals of NANOWRIMO is to get you writing - without the worry of editing, word counting, plotting, or even making sense at this point. They give you a month to write 50,000 word novel in November.You go to the website and upload to their system your word counts. They go into full detail here about the entire process. The best part is the website has many resources to support your effort including, blogs, motivational postings, forums to connect with other writers, tips, etc. I did it a few years ago and was successful.

So this November, stop on by the NANOWRIMO site and give it a try.

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for Marta’s Gargantuan Wings

Marta's Gargantuan Wings
By: J. Aday Kennedy
Illustrated by: Eugene Ruble

Published by Guardian Angel Publishing
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-093-4; 1616330937
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-094-1; 1616330945

Reluctant readers will devour the humorous and thought provoking tale. A Pegasus that resembles
a mule, a witty monkey that defends him and a hateful bird teach children looks aren’t important.
What makes someone appear strange or different could be what makes them able to save the
Marta's Gargantuan Wings is a wonderful story about friendship and values. What is important in a person? Is it our looks, success, or beauty? Or is it more than that.
In this inspiring tale, Marta, a brown, spotty pegasus with gargantuan sized wings, is hurt when  Aljor, her beautiful blue friend insults her. Soon, the lovable Marta begins to believe what Aljor says about her. Her best friend, Stajon the monkey tries to cheer Marta up by going for a fly in the sky.  But while flying they discover a fire - and Aljor is hurt and needs help.
This is a great story not only about friendship, but about values. Do we only help the people who are nice to us all the time and forget about the ones who hurt us? Or are we to be Christ-like and turn the other cheek, especially when someone is in danger.
The detailed illustrations by Eugene Ruble fit the story well and captured the characters.
This is a great read that many children will enjoy.

Get your copies here:

Guardian Angel Publishing



About Jessica Kennedy

J. Aday Kennedy, the differently-abled author, is an award winning, multi-publishedauthor of inspirational/Christian articles and essays for adults and of children’s literature. As a ventilator dependent quadriplegic, she is making her dreams come true one story at a time. As a speaker, Aday entertains, instructs, motivates and inspires audiences of all ages. She has two picture books, Klutzy Kantor and Marta’s Gargantuan Wings, published by Guardian Angel Publishing. To learn more about her and her writing, visit her website and blog.

About Eugene Ruble

Eugene E. Ruble’s 40 years of art encompasses: graphic art and design, freelance illustration, and cartooning, working with publishers, corporations and individual clients. Ruble teaches caricature art, cartooning, painting and basic drawing classes at St. Louis community centers, public schools, YMCAs and colleges. He also illustrates children’s books. Look for his books at Guardian Angel Publishing. Eugene is a 30-year Distinguished Member of the St. Louis Artists’ Guild.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for Let it All Out

When trying to get down some story or plot ideas the best way to get things moving is to let it all out. Before I get too deep into a writing project, I brainstorm it all out. I write down ideas I came up with when the story idea hit me, but I also am open to more ideas. Sometimes this is where the best ideas, twists, and surprises pop up.

I get either a blank piece of paper - or a new word document if using the computer and then just write. I write the general story idea, character ideas, plots, settings, traits, background information, etc.

You will likely come up with more than you will need. But that is fine. It's the beginning of that manuscript's file. Many times you will find treasures hidden deep inside your brainstorming experiences.

So remember - when you're coming up with a new idea - especially if you're stuck on something: Let it All Out!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Klutzy Kantor

Klutzy Kantor

By Jessica Kennedy
Illustrations by Jack Foster

Print ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-051-4; 1-61633-051-1
eBook ISBN 13: 978-1-61633-052-1; 1-61633-052-X

Published by: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Everyday Kantor Pegasus practices solving riddles. A tricky leprechaun attempts to outsmart him by giving him a next to impossible riddle to solve.To end his clumsy ways he must solve it. Children learn the benefit of practice and to focus on their strengths.

Klutzy Kantor is a funny, witty book about the value of practicing to reach your goals. When Kantor the pegasus tires of flying into trees and bumping into other creatures, Kantor deciedes he doesn't want to be klutzy anymore. When he learns he must solve a riddle from the cunning, undefeated Cobbledom for his wish to be granted, he begins to prepare.  Kantor practices and practices with his friends until he is ready. But when Cobbledom presents the toughest riddle Kantor ever encountered, Kantor begins to get nervous. Will his practice pay off?  

Jessica Kennedy captures well Kantor's emotions as he battles Cobbledom. "Think Kantor, think," I found myself silently cheering. The adage "Practice makes perfect" applies here.  I think children in all areas of life - sports, school, extra curricular activities, and hobbies can learn a lesson from the determined Kantor. To achieve your goals, you must practice.  

Jack Foster's illustrations are the icing on the cake. His artwork is colorful and detail oriented. He captures the characters well in each lively illustration.

The book trailer for Klutzy Kantor includes the original song "Go Me" :

To get your own copy of this entertaining book, visit:

Guardian Angel Publishing

About Jessica Kennedy

J. Aday Kennedy, the differently-abled author, is an award winning, multi-publishedauthor of inspirational/Christian articles and essays for adults and of children’s literature. As a ventilator dependent quadriplegic, she is making her dreams come true one story at a time. As a speaker, Aday entertains, instructs, motivates and inspires audiences of all ages. She has two picture books, Klutzy Kantor and Marta’s Gargantuan Wings, published by Guardian Angel Publishing. To learn more about her and her writing, visit her website and blog.

About Illustrator Jack Foster:

Jack Foster, children’s book illustrator, has illustrated more books for Guardian
Angel Publishing, SHOO CAT!, Klutzy Kantor, and Murmur on the Oink Express.

Jack also illustrates for online magazines, Stories for Children and Guardian

Angel Kids. He spent many years as a political cartoonist for five Chicago area
newspapers but his cute style described as a Muppet-Disney mix, is kid friendly and just right for children’s books. You can see more of Jack’s work and leave him a comment at 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Joy of Writing - Part 2 - Awards!

Another thing I love about writing and blogging - is the support from other writers. For example, I received a comment and an award from author/illustrator Diedre  Eden Coppel stating she awarded my blog the Inspiring Blog Award. Thank you for the honor Diedre. Please stop by and check out her blog at: 

Joys of Writing

Writing has always been a part of me. Ever since I was little I wrote poems to my teachers, narratives of my life, or journals on just about everything ( which were always filled with drama).  What do I love about writing? What are the joys of writing?
In fiction, you watch as your characters and story ideas develop into a full fleshed out manuscript - one that's hopefully off to publication.

Word play. Finding different ways to say things - getting creative with words and their uses.

Perfecting your piece - or editing. This fit my personality well. I enjoyed playing with the sentences that didn't sound just right until I had that light bulb moment when I knew the sentence revealed exactly what I wanted it to say.

The most  joyful of all, though is to watch your work become a published piece of literature. Especially as a children's author - it is rewarding to see children laugh at things in the story or ask to hear it over and over again.

There are many other joys of writing that haven't been listed here. What are yours?

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for Interviews

One great way to promote your books is to appear in interviews. readers often want to hear about your new book, project, tips and fun facts. It helps them feel connected to you and in turn interested in your writing. More interest can turn into more sales.

What should you talk about during an interview?

An interview will ask you general questions about yourself or your writing. It is up to you how much or how little you share. Whatever you choose, try to include something your readers might identify with. Is there a silly habbit, favorite pet, top activity in your life in which some people might connect with. This is important because your reader can identify with you. It also encourages comments if your interview is on a blog.

When should you interview?
Anytime you can do an interview is beneficial - but it's even better to get them done after the hype dies down about your new book. The  few months after the release it is easy for the book to get "lost" among the many new releases coming out. An interview at this time is a good way to remind readers about your book and the important tale you have to tell.

Now What?
Once your interview is completed, be sure to promote it and encourage people to read it and learn more about you. Let all your Facebook and Twitter friends know! Share the link with your e-mail list.  Encourage people in your Yahoo or Google groups to visit and comment. If you're in a virtual tour or promotional group, be sure to encourage their visits as well. Visit other blogs and interviews and ask others to return the favor. The more people who visit the interview, the more people will know about you as an author and your book. 

So - what was your favorite or most interesting question asked in a interview?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Horatio Humble Beats the Big D

Horatio Humble Beats the Big D

Book information:

Horatio Humble Beats the Big D – dyslexia

(A rhyming picture book)

Print ISBN: 978-1-61633-101-6; 1616331011

eBook ISBN: 978-1-61633-102-3; 161633102X


As a teacher’s aide, I discovered that many children, especially boys, have dyslexia or other types of learning disabilities. I wrote this PB with those problems in mind.

Horatio is a smart boy who can’t read. The thought of special Ed. freaks him out. “NO WAY!” But go he does, and surprising results follow .

This is fun to read. It shows that dyslexic kids CAN learn to read. It also encourages parents to diagnose early and find help. A parent/teacher guide offers clues, plus helpful links to more informative websites.


Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D” is a humbling rhyming picture book about a tough topic. The “Big D” turns out to be Dyslexia, which is a common learning disability involving reading.

Author Margot Finke tells the tale with witty rhyme and illuminating words. In the picture book, Horatio runs into reading problems such as words clumping “into frightening herds” and his tongue jumbling “words without success”. This is just a sample of the wonderful mosaic of words Margot Finke presents in the story.

As a reader, I couldn’t help but get caught up in the emotions with Horatio as he dreaded the looming parent-teacher conference, learned what Dyslexia is and unwillingly attended “special class”.

Margot Finke handled the rhyming well in this smooth reading picture book. I barely noticed the rhyme as I rooted for Horatio to overcome the “Big D”. Horatio is a character I won’t soon forget.

I fully recommend this book for any child battling the “Big D”, but also for all children who can identify with reading problems. In addition to this wonderful story, more information and resources are listed at the end of the book on Dyslexia. As a parent and a teacher, I find this book a great addition to the bookshelf.

Where to get Horatio Humble Beats the Big “D”:

GAP Page
Autographed copies (BUY My Books)

More information on the book:



G is for Guardian Angel Publishing

My first two picture books, A Star in the Night and Teresa's Shadow are published through a great publishing company called Guardian Angel Publishing.(also called GAP) 

Guardian Angel Publishing is a children's book publishing company which publishes books for ages 2 through 12. There are picture books, rhyming books, musical books, e-books, print books and more recently books available through iTunes. As published on their home page, their mission is to "change the world on child at a time" through inspirational and faith filled books.

With all the competition reading has with video games and TV, Guardian Angel Publishing is keeping up with the times and technology in order to keep inspiring children to read.

A new division of GAP is the Guardian Angel Kids Magazine (also called GAK). The magazine expands on GAP's mission and provides a "healthy and safe entertainment for 2-12 year old children, featuring games and activities from our Guardian Angel books and characters." Recently, my story The Sleepover was published in the April 2011 issue on Health. The magazine not only features, stories and articles, but has interactive learning games, often based on popular book characters from GAP.

What do you think about this innovative, faith filled and fun publishing company?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for Frederico the Mouse Violinist

A few months ago I reviewed a great new children's book titled Frederico the Mouse Violinist, by Mayra Calvani.  This continues to be a favorite of mine of Guardian Angel Publishing. This great tale about Frederico learning to play the violin is an inspiration to musicians and those interested in the field of music. I can just see future musicians wrapping themselves up in a blanket and enjoying this wonderful story.

You've read my review before of this enchanting book. Here's what some others had to say:

"Truly a new classic in picture books! " --  Nancy I Sanders

"Frederico the Mouse Violinist struck a very special chord in my heart" --Nicole Weaver

Visit the links below for more reviews, information and how to purchase this great new book:


Ending the Story

What should be one of the most important parts of a story or book you're working on? The ending. Many times, we can overlook the ending or not give it as much thought as the the plotting, editing or revising. But a good, solid ending may make or break your sale. You want that editor who is considering your manuscript to practically hear the "good ending" music playing in her head. It should be the big "pop" of your work.

Your ending shouldn't just be a "happy ending" but it should be a satisfying ending. We bring our characters through a long, life changing journey in which they should have learned something. We should have a strong sense of what they learned and why. Why was that lesson important? Does it make them a better person? Friend? Does it teach us something about ourselves or others? Can the readers relate to the story  and connect to it?

In addittion, all or most loose ends should be tied up. We should be able to say, "That's why this happened in the beginning of the story." We should see everything in the story come together full circle.

This seems like a tall order, but if we're careful and plan our story out well, the ending will highlight the story. Like the rest of the manuscript, it takes time, determination and hard work. Then maybe the story will have that "pop" that an editor is looking for. It could just get you that acceptance.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for Dos and Don'ts of Dialogue

Dialogue is an important part of any story or book. It moves the story along, gives pertinent information and makes the characters more interesting. But is there a time when dialogue is bad?

Yes! Dialogue can either make or break your manuscript - especially to a busy editor reviewing your work for publication. So how can you avoid the pitfalls of dialogue?

  • Use dialogue as an uneventful exchange of words. For example:
Tom: Hi
Mary: Hi
Tom: What's new?
Mary: Nothing
Tom: Oh. OK
Mary: Why?
Tom: No reason.

  • Use too many fancy tags. "he said" and "she said" are almost invisible. If you add too many fancy tags at the end of dialogue, it can get distracting. For Example:
"I won the race," Jack exclaimed.
"How," Mike questioned, "Tim was way ahead of you."
"I had a burst of energy and passed him," Jake squealed.

  • Use tags that you can't speak. For example:
"I'm tired," sighed Amy.
"Me too," breathed Sarah.



  • Use dialogue in a smart way. Use it to move the story forward.
  • Use "invisible" tags such as "he said" and "she said"
  • Make hellos, goodbyes and conversation starters short. If you spend too long on them, the story will drag on.
  • And most of all - DO have FUN with it!

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Chapter Books

Once our children learn how to read and have mastered picture books, they soon move on to chapter books. When we as authors write chapter books, we need to keep in mind the readers' interests, age levels, and reading ability to ensure their enjoyment of our adventure. Here is where we need more descriptive, colorful language so that our reader can "see" the characters and see the story play out in front of them.

The reader needs to be there right along with the main characters. Can they smell the salty sea air? Can they hear the buzz of the airplane over head? Can they feel the hot, grainy sand under their toes? Can they taste the chocolaty, sweet fudge pop from the Ice Cream Truck? Can they see the bright, blue, cloudless sky decorated with a flying seagull overhead?

We need to  pay attention to the storyline and the direction the plot is taking. Is this a quiet, uneventful day at the beach with nothing much to move the story along? Or does some unidentified object wash ashore raising questions in the reader. Questions like: what is that object, Is this the beginning of a mystery, Is this a clue,
why does this show up now?

These are all things to think about as we venture into creating a satisfying chapter book. Good luck and I'll see you on the book shelf.

B is for Be There Bedtime Stories

What's your favorite bedtime story?  For many kids, hearing a bedtime story is a perfect end to the bedtime routine. It's also a great way to introduce your child to reading and books. The best thing about bedtime stories is the quality time you and your child, grand child or other family memeber spend together.

Sometimes, we can't always be there in person, however. Maybe you live across the country from your grandchildren. Maybe you're serving our country overseas. Whatever the obstacle might be, a company titled Be There Bedtime Stories has found a way for you to be there. They teamed up with Guardian Angel Publishing to help you read a bedtime story for your family member.  You just purchase the e-book of your choice in their e-store, tape yourself reading the story to your children through your webcam (most laptops now have a built in webcam) and send it off in an e-mail to that special someone. And if you're in a generous mood, they have a program called ‘Be There Bright Stars Network’ in which you can donate a story to military families or children's hospitals for parents in need.  What a wonderful program all around.

A is for A to Z Blogging Challenge

I joined, albeit - a few days late- the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. I just learned about it and think this is a great way to blog more often than when the inspiration hits. The goal of the challenge is to post something every day on your blog except Sundays so that there will be 26 April posts - one for each letter of the Alphabet. To read more about the challenge click on the side banner or visit the A to Z blog. I will be doing this on two of my blogs: Random Thoughts About God and my Author blog.

The Random Thoughts blog will be themed. of course, on God and the Church. What a great mid-Lenten challenge!

My author blog will be themed on writing, writing for children, my books, book reviews, My Light Magazine and other similar topics.

Be sure to follow along and join in the fun! Don't worry if you're a day or two late - do what I did and roll up those sleeves and jump on in!

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