Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I Beat the Deadline - And the Giveaway Winner!

I finally got my MG manuscript excerpts with their synopsis's and my PB manuscripts printed today and ready to mail to the WVWriter's Contest. 

Whew! Deadline is Friday.

I don't know why I always take this down to the wire every year, but I do.

Seems like I've been glued to the computer chair lately.

Why is a synopsis so hard to write?

I am so glad that I took them  to my writing group to be critiqued.
They were very helpful and pointed out things that needed to be in it and things that didn't need to be in it.

In celebration I cleaned up my desk (or should I say small table) and the kitchen table behind me. It has been loaded down with my papers and books for too many weeks. It's a good thing we don't eat on it or we would have been going hungry.

Okay, what you all have been waiting on.

We have a winner for Quinn's picture book.

It is Viji Chary! Congratulations to her and thank all of you who commented on the blog post.

Janet Smart   Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Friday, March 8, 2013

PPBF - Outside the Window

OUTSIDE THE WINDOW by Anna Egan Smucker, illustrated by Stacey Schuett (2005 Softcover, 25 pages. Sweet and Gentle Bedtime Story From a Bird's Eye View with Beautiful Illustrations Throughout. Quarrier Press, West Virginia) 

Outside the Window
by Anna Egan Smucker
Illustrated by Stacey Schuett
 Alfred A. Knopf

Theme: Animals, good night book
Age group: preschool - 2nd

Opening Lines:  On a strong leafy branch outside the bedroom window of a little boy, there is a nest. In that nest live a mother bird and her five baby birds. The biggest one loves to eat. The medium-sied one loves to play. The cleanest one loves to take baths.  The chirpiest one loves to hear stories. And the tiniest one is always sleepy. But they are all very curious about the little boy who lives in the house that their nest in the maple tree can almost touch.

Synopsis: This is a cute book with a twist. The birds watch the boy and are constantly asking their mother what the little boy is doing. They want to know if he is playing or what he eats. They want to know if the mother is reading to him yet or if he is asleep. They are full of questions just like inquisitive little kids. When the boy finally goes to sleep, the little birds close their sleepy eyes.

Click here for a site filled with all kinds of bird activities for preschoolers!
Click here for coloring pages of birds.

This was Anna Smucker's second picture book. I think you will like it. I like it because it is about baby birds and their illustrations are beautiful. I also like reading books from fellow West Virginians.

Every Friday, bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see what other people posted, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books. 

Also let me also take this opportunity to tell you about a brand new picture book that is out. I will post about it on another PPBF, after I get my copy. Please click here, for a chance to win this just published picture book about monsters and their ailments. My friend, Quinn, would love to hear your comments. Thank you.

 Posted by Janet F. Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Author Interview and Giveaway!

How would you like  to win a copy of this just  released picture book?
Comment for a chance to win. For extra entries, tweet, post on your blog or share this post on Facebook.
My friend, Quinn Cole, has a new picture book out! It was just released on Monday!

In her book . . . 

Monster friends learn about the body (eardrum, tonsils), symptoms (fever, laryngitis), and treatments (cast, x-ray), while playing baseball, off on field trips, sunning at the beach, at home, and more!

Perfect for those days when parents get an unexpected call from a school or day care provider about a sudden fever, illness, or playground mishap.

The vivid and whimsical illustrations depict young, active monsters tackling everything from allergies, hiccups and nose bleeds to broken bones, immunizations and diabetes.

She took time to answer a few questions for me.

Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that idea?
I have four children and it’s rare when everyone is fully fine. Usually there is someone who has a smashed thumb or allergies or something.

When I started AP, I imagined creating a story that would lessen the stress of illness and medical treatment for children. At first I pictured robots as the main characters, since I love robots, but then I realized that monsters would serve the story better. Monsters are often seen as big and scary by children. I started wondering what would scare a monster. Would they be scared of shots or getting a nosebleed? What would a monster do if he got laryngitis and lost his voice? Did monsters get hiccups or diabetes?

Did you get any rejections on this book before it was accepted?
An agent told me when I first pitched the idea at a conference that combining medical terms in a picture book wouldn’t work. I thought it would. Comments like that just make me want to work harder. I also benefited from a beta test of the text (before there were illustrations) with three classes of students, grades 2-4th. The teachers recorded the students comments and let me know what worked and what didn’t.

Are you working on anything else?
I have a number of stories in various stages of completion. Plus a few stories that are close, but no contract yet.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?
I know everyone says this, but don’t give up. I read a long time ago that most “instant successes” worked at their chosen project for 10 years before it was recognized.

And last, but not least. Where can we buy your book?
The print copy is available through all the major book sellers. The ebook version is just coming out on Kindle, Nook, and iPad.

Here is a link to the book trailer:
It is really neat, be sure and check it out.

Find Alphabet Puke  at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Remember, comment for  your chance  to win. If you post about  it, tweet it or share on your Facebook, let me know and you will get  extra entries for each one. I will have the drawing for the winner next Wednesday, check back to see if you have won!

Posted by Janet F. Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch.


Monday, March 4, 2013

MMGM - Everything on a Waffle


Everything on a Waffle cover.jpg

Everything on a Waffle
by Polly Horvath
Scholastic 2001
Newbery Honor Book

Synopsis: This is a story that takes place in British Columbia. Primrose Squarp is eleven years old and one June day a typhoon arose at sea  and her father's fishing boat was late getting in. Her mother put on her yellow macintosh and hat and went out in a sailboat to find him. Neither of them returned. Meanwhile Primrose stays with a Miss Perfidy and then her Uncle Jack. After suffering from some small accidents she is taken away from her Uncle and put in a foster home with an older couple. The only thing that remains constant is her enjoyment of a restaurant called the Girl on the Red Swing, where each menu item is served on a waffle. Restaurant owner Kate Bowzer takes Primrose under her wing and she teaches her how to cook. Primrose never gives up hope that her parents are still alive and it had me wondering all through the book if they had survived or not.

In case you have not read this book, I will not reveal the end. I recommend you read this good book and see if her parents did survive.

Another added bonus to reading this book is that recipes are included at the end of each chapter.
This book is 32,159  words.

For more middle grade fun, check the links on
Posted by Janet F. Smart on Creative Writing in the Blackberry Patch