Monday, May 22, 2017

Reading and Writing go Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

I love to read and I love to write. They go together like peanut butter and jelly (which I love almost as much as reading and writing).

But sometimes I have too many pots on the stove as the old saying goes.

I recently finished reading Woman of Courage, an inspirational book that takes place in the 1830s, by Wanda E. Brunstetter and Twice Betrayed, a YA that takes place during the Revolutionary War, by Gayle C. Krause. 

I am currently reading two MGs - Silent Boy by Lois Lowry and Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge by Kristen L. Gray. I am enjoying both and am looking forward to finishing them. 

I am also reading One for Agnes, One for Effie, an inspirational book by Nancy Merical. Nancy is a member of my writing group.

As you can see, I have a wide range of books I read. I must admit, though, I enjoy reading MG the most.

While doing all this reading, I am also writing. And unfortunately I am also writing numerous manuscripts.

I feel I need to concentrate on just one and get it finished.

I am still working on my cookbook that is currently titled,  LET'S EAT! There's no place like home COOKING! In addition to regular recipes, it has a few non-edible recipes, sections on old-fashioned tablecloths, food traditions and superstitions, old-fashioned aprons - even how to make a few from denim jeans and cloth calendars, cooking tips, and pages in the back to write down your own treasured recipes. On my other blog, I have posted many recipes on my other blog and some of these are included in this book. 

I am also making changes to my novella, Lucy of Tuppers Hollow, which takes place in 1908.

And I have a chapter book which I would love to get back to, but has been put on hold temporarily. 

Do you work on more than one book or manuscript at a time or do you finish one before starting another?

Any tips on finishing your projects?

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Book Review - Fever 1793

I write. I write all the time. But I also squeeze in time to read.

You become a better writer by reading what you write.

I read in the evenings, I read when my husband and I are riding around and I read whenever I can find the time.

I recently read Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson.
I had heard of this book and always wanted to read it.
(In case you don't know, I love historical fiction)
It is for young adults and has an appendix in the back giving information about the facts of the time period and famous people touched by the fever.

Here is the blurb from the back:
During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out.
Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie's world upside down. At her feverish mother's insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease.

If you like historical fiction, I feel you will like this book. It is very detailed in sections about how life was like during that time period. You can tell she did a lot of research. It is so sad they did not know how yellow fever was caught and spread.
When they bled people, it just made chills go down me.
When the characters mentioned swatting mosquitoes away from their faces, I cringed.

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it?

What have you read lately?

Janet Smart
author of Duck and Cover

Sunday, April 16, 2017

This and That

I like to edit, but sometimes I don't know when to quit. Recently I have been wondering if I should make my other MG book take place in the then and now or keep it in the 1960s.

I like it in the 1960s. But I have had one person say she thinks it should take place now - in 2017.

I haven't had any luck in getting it published, so I have been toying with the idea of changing it. I have made another word copy of it and have been making the changes it needs to make it take place in the present day.

Decisions, decisions . . .

Do you like having your stories set in the past?


I have been having fun with Duck and Cover that was recently released. I have had two book signings and have another one planned for early June.

My cousin and I volunteer at the local Senior Center. We do a craft workshop once a week. I just love our Crazy Crafters (that is the name we voted on)The Director wants me to read a chapter of my book and do a little presentation. I finally gave in and said I would do it and decided that afterward my cousin and I would do a craft with our craft class that has something to do with the story. I am now looking forward to it. It will be a lot of fun.

Recently, I was excited that Homer Hickam took the time to read my book and send me a following blurb:

"Duck and Cover is a charming novel of young people coming of age during a very frightening time, the early 1960's at the height of the Cold War. Set in West Virginia, Smart's characters are as real as the hills in which they live, and as enduring. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and believe this author is one to watch (and read) now and in the future." –

Homer Hickam, author Rocket Boys/October Sky and Carrying Albert Home


There are soooo many books on Amazon and I have no idea how my sales are doing on there, but if any of you have read it, I would love if you could write an online review.

Any suggestions or ideas on how to get your book noticed among all those listed?

I have an author page on Facebook. You can find it here.  

Monday, March 20, 2017

Book Release!

I had been a stay-at-home mom since I married.
I dabbled in sewing, quilting, crafting, couponing/refunding---and raised three boys, which I consider my greatest accomplishment.

Ten years ago, with my husband getting close to retirement, I started writing. I had been working on a picture book about picking berries. I thought it wasn't half bad. I found out about a writing group that met once a month in Ripley. I called one of the members and started attending the meetings. I got up my nerve to read it in front of the group. They were very nice, but I found out I didn't know much about writing.

Thankfully, I am a pretty quick learner.

A year later, I got a story published in an anthology. Then shortly thereafter, I started writing a children's column in a monthly regional magazine.

Along with writing PBs, I got brave and wrote two MG manuscripts. They have been sent out many times and received many rejections.

My second MG, Duck and Cover, took first place in the 2015 WV Writer's annual spring writing contest! Woo hoo! I had placed many times in the annual contest, but this was my first 1st Place!

I did a little more research on publishers. I found one that only published first-time authors and only published MG and YA.
They were not a vanity publisher. I didn't have to pay anything.
I took the chance and sent Duck and Cover to them.

They accepted it! It was officially put up on Amazon the end of February. It is available in paperback, kindle, and Nook on Barnes and Noble.

What is my advice? Never give up. Keep working on your manuscript until you get it the best you can get it --- and send it out.
And keep sending it out until you find someone who likes it as much as you do.

My book is going to be featured in the next few weeks on a couple of writer's blogs.

Today (Monday)it will be on the GROG Blog. Click over and check out the interview. Comment and you will be in a drawing for a free copy of my book.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Quotes About Failing and Succeeding

I am on a lot of email lists. That can be good and that can be bad.
The bad part is your email box stays full.
The good news is you can receive a lot of useful or uplifting information coming to you every day.

I received an email from bookbaby.  They shared these three great quotes that really hit home:

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."
Theodore Roosevelt

"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."
Henry Ford

Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
How many times have you received a rejection letter?
I can't remember the times I have received one in the mail. But, look at it this way, you are at least sending out manuscripts. You tried to get published. A lot of people write and write, but never submit.

When you get a rejection, pick up your spirits and send again. That next submission just might be the one that gets published.

And, don't lose your enthusiasm. If you love your story, keep improving it and keep sending it in. Give someone else a chance to fall in love with it, too.

Which one of the quotes do you like best?

Stay tuned.
My next post will be about my success story.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Little Golden Books 75th Anniversary

I found out the other day that Little Golden Books celebrate their 75th anniversary this year!

As you can see, I am a collector of Little Golden Books. This picture was taken in 2008, I have added more to my stash since then. Notice what they are stored in. This used to be an old floor-model radio. Someone cut off the front of it, put in shelves and added two glass doors. I picked it up at a yard sale for around $3.  I love it!

Most of my Little Golden Books are yard sale and thrift store finds, too. I have paid anywhere from 10 cents to $1 for them. I would say that most were obtained for 25 cents.

The first Little Golden Books were released in September 1942. There were twelve of them, all priced at 25 cents each.

 The first 12 books to be released were: “Three Little Kittens,” “Bedtime Stories,” “The Alphabet A-Z,” “Mother Goose,” “Prayers for Children,” “The Little Red Hen,” “Nursery Songs,” “The Poky Little Puppy,” “The Golden Book of Fairy Tales,” “Baby’s Book,” “The Animals of Farmer Jones” and “This Little Piggy.”

At last county, The Poky Little Puppy has sold more than 15 million copies!

Wow! Wouldn't we all like to have a picture book we've written sell that many copies. 

What is your favorite Little Golden Book?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Storystorm! Jot the PB Ideas Down

Storystorm, formally PiBoIdMo is ready to start!

Click here to sign up at Tara's sight and get ready to weather the storm of ideas that are developing in your head.

I have joined. If you write picture books, I hope you do, too.

What can you lose?

You can't lose anything, but you can gain picture book ideas that may just be the one that an agent or publisher is looking for.

You can also gain (by writing down an idea every day during January) prizes which include professional consults, signed books, original art, writerly gadgets and gizmos.

Never won anything, you say. Don't ever say never. I have won prizes before and so can you. But more importantly we will win knowledge in the field of writing for children, and we all can benefit from that.

In January, Tara will have helpful posts on her blog daily by  professional authors, illustrators and experts in creativity.

 You have until January 7th to officially register on Tara's site. But don't delay, do it today.

Are you a picture book writer?
Do you want to be a picture book writer?

I would love to hear if you are going to enter or not. Let me know by commenting.

Even if you don't join StoryStorm, and you love to write for children, you can visit her site each day to read some wonderful and learning blog posts.

Happy writing in 2017!

Let the storm begin!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Keeping Busy Writing

December is coming to a close and we soon will start a new year.
Hopefully, a new year filled with writing, reading and getting our work out there for the world to see.

December has been a very busy place at our house.
I haven't been blogging much.
Santa is liable to leave me a lump of coal in my stocking.

Let's just hope it is a pretty lump of coal!    

I have been writing the weekly column for the Ripley Senior Center for a number of months now. I was asked to take over when their regular columnist stepped down for a while.
I try to make it interesting for everyone to read and people have been telling me how they enjoy reading it each week. Along with conducting craft classes there every Wednesday with my cousin, it is part of my small contribution to the center.

I am still writing a monthly column for kids in Two-Lane Livin', a regional magazine in our area. The magazine goes out to approximately 18,000 households each month.

I enjoy writing for the magazine. It is a challenge each month to come up with something new to write. I like to keep my articles informative, fun and interesting. I always learn something new when I research for new topics to write about.

You can click on this link and read online copies of the magazine.

I kept my new years resolution for about half of the year. But, I tried to do my research and send out my stories to publishers that I felt my work really had a chance at being published. I think that is one of the most important factors in getting published. We need to send our work out to the right place.

Have any of you had any luck in the past year at getting your stories published? I'd love to hear of your success in the comment section. Let us all celebrate with you!

I hope in the coming new year I will have good news to share with you about my writing.  

No matter how you celebrate it -
I wish you all a very happy holiday season.