July #writemotivation Check in Week 2

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After a wonderful conversation with my best friend this week, (Thank you David!) I finally found myself in the right head space to get to work, and get to work I did!

Yes! Words were written, plots twisted, characters tortured! It felt fantastic. I’m so happy to have cleared away the life clutter. Now, I’m able to focus on what I truly love to do.

Here are my goals for July:

1. Work on requested project until completed! Progress made! Research done for the moment and new words written for the week. YAY, new words! I have critique group this evening, so I’ll get some feedback on earlier chapters – always helpful.

2. Plan out blog posts for month and publish weekly. Done!

3. Read & review at least two books this month – catch up on TBR Challenge. In progress. I’m a little behind on my reading, but I hope to catch up and post my first review early next week.

How’s your month coming along? Feel free to vent, celebrate, etc. No judgment zone here.

As always, if you missed the sign up this month (or aren’t quite ready to declare your goals publicly), you can still follow along with the hashtag #writemotivation on Twitter any time you need some encouragement. They are a fab group of supportive people.

Have a productive week!

Book Review – BERNICE GETS CARRIED AWAY by Hannah E. Harrison

Hannah Harrison Author PhotoI’ve know Hannah Harrison for a few years through our OK SCBWI group and I always look forward to seeing her at our conferences. It’s been such a delight to watch her career and her family grow.

I was so excited when I greeted Hannah at our last spring conference and she said, “I have something for you!” I couldn’t wait to see what it was. When she pulled out an early folded and gathered copy of her new book, I was so thrilled! (I did ask her to sign it for me and she did, of course. She’s such a doll!)

Hannah signing one of her other books for me at our last conference.
Hannah signing another book for me at our last conference.

I’d already pre-ordered a hardback copy months earlier. I’ll have her sign THAT one later to my son. (He’ll probably carry it around all the time like he does her first book, EXTRAORDINARY JANE. He loves elephants, and he loves that book.)

I may have missed something important during the conference as I couldn’t wait to read through Hannah’s book. I fell in love with the artwork and with Bernice’s grumpy little face right away. I think you will, too.

 

Bernice

BERNICE GETS CARRIED AWAY by Hannah E. Harrison

Published by: Dial Books for Young Readers

Release Date: July, 14, 2015

Genres: Children’s, Picture Books

Plot Summary:

Bernice is having a truly rotten time at her friend’s birthday party. First, everyone else gets a piece of cake with a frosting rose. But not Bernice. Then, everyone else gets strawberry-melon soda. Bernice gets the prune-grapefruit juice. And it’s warm. The last straw is the one lousy (squished) candy she gets from the piñata. So when the balloons arrive, Bernice knows just what she has to do: grab them all. And then, poor cross Bernice gets carried up, up, and away. Luckily, she figures out just how to make her way back down to the party…and she brightens lots of other animals’ days on her way.

Hannah Harrison’s gorgeous animal paintings come alive in her second picture book. Her “exceptionally polished” debut, Extraordinary Jane, received starred reviews from KirkusPublisher’s Weekly, and  School Library Journal. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

The artwork is delightfully expressive! How Hannah plays with color, light,  and perspective enhances the emotion of the story so well.

 

Bernice 1

Bernice 2

Just looking at those eyes when Bernice receives that “plain white square from the middle” of the birthday cake, it makes you feel sad all over.

 

Bernice 3

 

One can understand how she gets carried away…

I don’t want to spoil the rest of the story. Needless to say, things get a bit messy before Bernice figures out her problem. Just a lovely book. I know you will enjoy it, and so will young readers.

Hannah has some other exciting projects in the works. She’s just wrapping up the illustrations on her next picture book, MY FRIEND MAGGIE! It’s slated for Dial’s Summer 2016 List. “Maggie is an elephant, and she’s pretty darn cute,” Hannah says. “Her best friend is a beaver named Paula.”
And that’s not all! She’s also signing another two-book contract with Dial for two yet-to-be-determined books! Hooray! More wonderful books from Hannah to look forward to in the future.

 

Learn more about Hannah E. Harrison here.

Follow Hannah on Facebook here.

This exceptional story debuts early next week, so hurry and preorder your copy today!

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SCBWI OK FALL RETREAT 2015 – Fan That Spark

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During the fantastic SCBWI OK Spring Conference this past March, we all got our Spark Ignited.

The next step?

We gotta fan that spark!

Come to our unbelievable Fall Retreat. You won’t want to miss it!

SCBWIFTS

This two-day event, from Friday, October 9th through Saturday, October 10th, will have specially designed tracks for illustrators, picture book writers, and novel writers built in to the programming. There will also be a first pages panel & discussion, and an entire day devoted to editing. Manuscript critiques will also be available. (For full details, visit the OK SCBWI website.)

Meet our speakers:

stacks_image_43Tim Jessell – Tim illustrates the best seller series Secrets Of DroonDog DiariesAmare Stoudemire’s STAT, Stan Lee of Marvel Comics first children’s picture book, and covers for the reissue of Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s Newbery Honor Books. Jessell is also the author and illustrator of two picture books, Amorak and FALCON.

 

Learn more about Tim by visiting his website: www.timjessell.com

 

trasler - photo with puppet-crop-u483Janee Trasler – Janee writes and illustrates clever  and funny picture books like the Chickies series, MIMI AND BEAR IN THE SNOW, CAVEMAN A.B.C. STORY, and BENNY’S CHOCOLATE BUNNY. She’s also been known to sing silly songs and play with puppets.

Learn more about Janee by visiting her website: www.trasler.com

 

AnnaMyersphotoCAnna Myers – This award-winning Oklahoma author has published 20 books to much critical acclaim. She has won the Oklahoma Book Award four times for SPY!, ASSASSIN, GRAVEYARD GIRL, and RED DIRT JESSIE. She was also awarded their lifetime achievement, the Arrell Gibson Award, in 2012. She writes historical and contemporary fiction for young readers. She also had her first picture book, TUMBLEWEED BABY, published in 2014. Most importantly, she was our Oklahoma SCBWI Regional Advisor and fearless leader for 14 years.

Learn more about Anna by visiting her website: www.annamyers.info

 

LindaUrbanLinda Urban – Linda writes picture books and middle grade novels from subjects as varied as an angry mouse expressing emotion (MOUSE WAS MAD), a red-headed boy searching for independence (LITTLE RED HENRY), a girl who dreams of playing pianos only to end up with a wheezy organ (A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT), and a girl who tries to fix a horrible mistake with a birthday wish (THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING). Urban’s characters are written with so much heart, yours will burst while reading about them.

Learn more about Linda by visiting her website: lindaurbanbooks.com

For full details on the retreat and how to register, visit the OK SCBWI website here: oklahoma.scbwi.org/fall-conference-2015/

Hope to see you there!

TweetSome of our speakers and manuscript critiquers may be making guest appearances on upcoming sessions of #okscbwichat on Twitter prior to the retreat, so stay tuned!

 

 

July #writemotivation Check In Week 1

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Another month, another chance to work on those writing goals and cheer on my fellow participants of #writemotivation. If you missed the sign up, you can still follow along with the hashtag on Twitter any time you need some encouragement.

For me, I’ve cleared the decks of all distraction and I’m keeping it simple this month. Less stress, more focus.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Here are my goals for July:

1. Work on requested project until completed! Work in progress, full steam ahead. Yay, progress!

2. Plan out blog posts for month and publish weekly. Posts are planned out and on track. :)saveyou_bg

3. Read & review at least two books this month – catch up on TBR Challenge. I’ve started my first TBR Challenge book of the month, I WILL SAVE YOU by Matt de la Peña. This is his self-proclaimed “sad book”, which should be quite different than MEXICAN WHITEBOY. I really enjoyed that book. So far, I’m hooked on this one, sadness and all. 

So how is your month progressing? Any goals for your writing?

Tammi Sauer Day Proclaimed!

Sometimes in can feel like the arts are being squeezed out of our children’s lives with educational budget cuts gutting arts programs, along with the emphasis on testing, one may worry that creative thought was being pushed out of emphasis altogether. It’s refreshing when city leaders take it upon themselves to thrust children’s literature into the spotlight.

Here’s some fantastic news about one of our very own OK SCBWI authors:

photo credit: Dana Lang Photography
photo credit: Dana Lang Photography

Press Release: July 9 Declared Tammi Sauer Day in Edmond

(Edmond, Oklahoma—June 26, 2015) Edmond Mayor Charles Lamb and the Edmond City Council have declared July 9 to be named in honor of local children’s author Tammi Sauer. Sauer, a three-time winner of the Oklahoma Book Award, is a dedicated Edmond resident who is committed to working with Best of Books, her local independent bookstore. Each year, Best of Books provides Sauer’s books for her many school visits across the state and region.

During Tammi Sauer Day in Edmond, Sauer will be at Best of Books to sign and talk about her latest book Ginny Louise and the School Showdown from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9. She is tentatively scheduled to receive her proclamation at 5:20 and speak at 5:30. Crafts and goodies for kids and refreshments for all will follow.

I had the pleasure of getting a sneak preview of this book at our spring conference and it is just adorable. I got to hold this lovely book in my hands and admire shiny details of spot gloss while reading the tale of Ginny Louise, a hedgehog after my own heart. Her approach to dealing with outlaws of the bully variety is delightful and refreshing.

GINNY LOUISE AND THE SCHOOL SHOWDOWN (Disney-Hyperion, 2015) by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

The Truman Elementary Troublemakers are a bad bunch. Especially these three: Cap’n Catastrophe, Destructo Dude, and Make-My-Day May. But they are no match for Ginny Louise, the new hedgehog in school. Her unwavering cheerfulness in the face of their bullying will make young readers holler with glee. Full of rhymes, wordplay, and comic misunderstanding, this book will lend itself well to reading aloud as well as discussions about peer dynamics. (Plot summary from author’s website.)

Ginny Louise full page

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her editors loved it so much, they asked her to write a second Ginny Louise story! You’ll love Ginny Louise, too. But don’t take my word for it, you can read the Kirkus Review here.

Order your copy today!

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Tammi has twenty-three books under contract with three of those titles debuting in 2015, including Ginny Louise. The two other titles are: Your Alien (Sterling), and Roar! (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster).

I am so happy for Tammi and really enjoy watching her succeed. I may have to buy an additional bookshelf as my Tammi Sauer section is growing by leaps and bounds – I even have a rare signed copy of her first YA book. Don’t tell her, though! She may try to steal it back from me. (I kid.)

Many of us from the OK SCBWI gang plan to be there at Best of Books on July 9th to help Tammi celebrate her special day. If you’re in the neighborhood, or even if you have to travel half a day or so, come on over and join us! It’ll be a grand time!

Learn more about Tammi Sauer here.

Follow Tammi on Twitter here.

 

As an additional bonus, Tammi shares some background information about Ginny Louise on her group blog here.

 

TweetIf you can’t be there for the big event on July 9th, you can catch her on Twitter as Tammi will be our special guest this month on #okscbwichat! Come join us for a live chat with Tammi on July 28th from 7-8pm CST.

 

June #writemotivation Check In Number 3

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This month was quite the mixed bag as far as goal progress has been concerned.

To be honest, life has been throwing me some wicked curveballs lately, which has made just getting out of bed and taking a shower a major accomplishment. After another challenging week, I think I’m finally over the worst of it.

(* fingers crossed* and recognizing I’m totally tempting the fates by saying that.)

Here are my June goals:

1. Make word count goal of 2000 words five days each week. Nope. Total failure.

2. Complete requested project by the end of the month. Same. Not completed. Moving this to top priority – basically living, breathing this project – for next month.

3. Plan blog posts for the month and post weekly. COMPLETED! YAY! 

4. Read & review at least two books. Read total of seven books, and reviewed one. Overachieved on first part and I get partial credit on the other.

Overall, a very wobbly start, but at least it was a start. I know I’ll do better next month, and I’m already planning out how.

How about you? Do you need help sticking to your goals?

If so, why not join us? Sign up for July #writemotivation is open now! Click here if you’d like to join in.

SUMMER NIGHTS is here! – a TGNA post

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It’s Media Monday over at The Great Noveling Adventure and I’m discussing the release of our first flash fiction anthology! It’s a time of joyous celebration for us over at TGNA.

Normally, I give just a preview of the post, but I want share the whole thing here for once. I’d love for you all to download a copy and, of course read my story, A THOUSAND POINTS OF LIGHT.

Here’s the post:

Media Monday is all about giving our readers a gift and what better gift than our own stories?

We decided to add in stories from some of our talented readers. That’s what this site is all about – the shared writing journey.

I had the pleasure of reading through the entries and the agony of helping to eliminate all but the best stories to include alongside our TGNA alumni. This has been such a fun process and I hope you enjoy this collection as much as we enjoyed sharing it with you.

Here it is!

Our very first anthology, ready to download with love from us to you, our faithful readers.

And for FREE!

 

Summer Nights CoverSUMMER NIGHTS is the first flash fiction anthology compiled by The Great Noveling Adventure. The collected stories run the gamut from first love to heartbreak, revenge to forgiveness, redemption to murder. They, like the thirteen authors who contributed them, are widely varied, but they each demonstrate the same truth:

A lot can happen in a single night.

With stories from:
Jenny Adams Perinovic Gabriella Crivilare
Cristina R. Guarino Antonius M. Hogebrandt
Neil Kettles Sarah Kettles Valerie Lawson
Adriana Marachlian Kyrie McCauley L.S. Mooney
Susan Nystoriak Kate Sheeran Swed R.B. Stewart

 

Download your copy now!

 

Download for free: PDF · EPUB · MOBI

 

Please share this with your friends and let us know what you think. You can even post a review on Goodreads!

 

TweetFriendly Twitter reminder:  If you’d like some company as you write, please join us! I host AM #wordsprints @Novel_Adventure weekdays from 7-9am CST. (We’re starting an hour later during the summer months.)