Monday, December 27, 2010


The Morning Nudge I received recently from Suzanne Lieurance is one I wanted to share, in part, with you. If you are not part of her Morning Nudge program, I strongly suggest you consider doing so. Her daily "nudges" are extremely helpful in focusing one's day in the right direction.

As we look to the start of the new year, we always consider our progress or lack thereof on goals from this past year, make resolutions and set new goals for the upcoming year. I found Suzanne's suggestions particulary helpful as I consider where I've been and where I am heading in this new year.

Per Suzanne, ask yourself:

1. What worked? In 2010, what did I do that allowed me to accomplish my professional goals or at least took me closer to accomplishing those goals?

2. What didn't work? In 2010, what did I do that really didn't take me closer to accomplishing my professional goals?

3. What's next? Based on what worked and what didn't work in 2010, what do I need to do in 2011 to accomplish my career goals?

Please consider visiting Suzanne's website and signing up for The Morning Nudge Club. You won't regret it! For more information, go to

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you all a blessed holiday season and very Merry Christmas. Here's to toasting that the New Year brings all the time and balance you need to begin the 2011 writing year with a bang!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Children's Writing Trends

I recently happened upon this information and thought it may be helpful and interesting to many of you. I know, for myself anyway, it is difficult to keep a pulse on all the different books and themes out there, what is most or least popular, etc. I found this list helpful in that regard and hope you do too.

Scholastic Experts Issue List of ‘Ten Trends in Children’s Books from 2010’
Posted December 8th, 2010 by rthomasScholastic Press ReleasesCorporate NewsJudy NewmanScholasticScholastic Book ClubsScholastic Book FairsScholastic experts pick top 10 trends in children's books in 2010
New York, NY — December 8, 2010 — Scholastic, the largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, today released a list of 10 Trends in Children's Books from 2010. The list was compiled by editors from Scholastic, including children’s literature experts from Scholastic Book Clubs and Scholastic Book Fairs, divisions of Scholastic that distribute books from all publishers through schools nationwide.

"We've seen some exciting innovation in children’s publishing in 2010, including new formats and platforms for storytelling that are helping more and more kids become book lovers," said Judy Newman, President of Scholastic Book Clubs. "At the same time, we’re seeing a rejuvenation of some classic genres, which I think is evidence of the timeless power that stories and characters have on the lives of children."

1.The expanding Young Adult (YA) audience: More and more adults are reading YA books, as the audience for these stories expands.
2.The year of dystopian fiction: With best-selling series like The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, readers can’t seem to get enough of fiction that suggests the future may be worse than the present.
3.Mythology-based fantasy: Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series set the trend – and now series like The Kane Chronicles, Lost Heroes of Olympus and Goddess Girls are capitalizing.
4.Multimedia series: The 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek and The Search for WondLa are hooking readers with stories that go beyond the printed page and meet kids where they are online or via video.
5.A focus on popular characters – from all media: Kids love to read books about characters they know and recognize from books, movies and television shows. Titles centered around those popular characters (like Fancy Nancy, David Shannon's “David,” or Toy Story characters) are top sellers.
6.The shift in picture books: Publishers are publishing about 25 to 30 percent fewer picture book titles than they used to as some parents want their kids to read more challenging books at younger ages. The new trend is leading to popular picture book characters such as Pinkalicious, Splat Cat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear showing up in Beginning Reader books.
7.The return to humor: Given the effects of the recession on families, it is nice to see a rise in the humor category, fueled by the success of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Dav Pilkey's The Adventures of Ook & Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, and popular media characters like Spongebob, and Phineas & Ferb.
8.The rise of the diary and journal format: The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is the most well-know example of this trend, but the success of Wimpy Kid is leading to popular titles such as Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries, The Popularity Papers, and Big Nate.
9.Special-needs protagonists: There is a growing body of literary fiction with main characters who have special needs, particularly Aspergers Syndrome and Autism. Examples: My Brother Charlie, Marcelo in the Real World, Mockingbird, and Rules.
10.Paranormal romance beyond vampires: The success of titles like Shiver and Linger, Beautiful Creatures, Immortal, and Prophesy of the Sisters shows this genre is still uber-popular and continues to expand.
For more information about Scholastic, visit our Media Room at


Tyler Reed

Sara Sinek

Monday, December 13, 2010

Children's Writer Contest

In case you do not subscribe to Children's Writer and have not seen this, here is a wonderful contest with great pay out and exposure in the much acclaimed Children's Writer. For further information, see


The rewards are publication in Children’s Writer,
cash prizes, winners’ certificates, and valuable
training in disciplined writing.

If you like writing for children and contests, read on . . .

We constantly hear from editors that the vast majority of the manuscripts they receive are rejected because they were not written to the editor’s specifications. Few editors will consider a story or article that does not meet their specs—precisely.

Writing contests also have exact specifications. That’s why we encourage writers—all writers, new ones and old pros too—to enter contests. They’re excellent professional training experiences and, if you win, they can get you published and pay healthy prize money.

The winners in this contest will be published in Children’s Writer, the monthly newsletter that goes to almost 1,300 children’s book and magazine editors in North America. Along with the winning piece, we’ll publish an article about it and the other top-ranked entries and their authors. There are also cash prizes. The cash prizes alone are a lot of good reasons to write a piece and enter.

Current Contest:
Kindergarten Story

A fictional story or nonfiction about family life or school for ages 5-6, up to 150 words. The story should be appropriate to five- and six-year-olds learning to read on their own. It should be fun, use vocabulary and syntax well, and have high interest for a kindergartener. Take great care not to write too high for this age. Know what a five- or six-year-old can and cannot read. Originality and the overall quality of writing will also be considered. Publishability is the ultimate criterion.

Entries must be received by February 28, 2011. Current subscribers to Children’s Writer enter free. All others pay an entry fee of $15, which includes an 8-month subscription. Winners will be announced in the July 2011 issue. Prizes: $500 for first place plus publication in Children’s Writer, $250 for second place, and $100 for third, fourth, and fifth places.

Now warm up your computer and write a $500-winning kindergarten story!

The contest rules are important. Please read them carefully.

Obtain Official Entry Form or make online submission
You may submit your entry either online, using our safe and secure entry page, or by regular mail. If you choose to submit online, you'll need to complete your manuscript and save it to a file on your computer.

If you need to pay a reading fee you will be directed to the payment section first.

Children's Writer Subscribers (online submission):
To submit a free entry online, you will need your Children's Writer account number, which is located in our email to you or on your Children's Writer mailing label in the name/address block. For subscribers who are students, it is the same as your student number. Please Click Here to continue.

You will be directed to the Free Entry section.

Non-subscribers (online submission):
If you do not subscribe to Children's Writer, your online entry is welcome. Please click here to continue.

You will be directed to the section requiring the payment of a $15 reading fee.

For Mail-in Entries:
To submit manuscript entries through the mail, please click here to obtain an entry form.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Be A Writer

Do you find yourself caught in the midst of holiday chaos? Torn between shopping, wrapping, baking and preparing for meals? As a writer mom, it is always easy to feel the pull of what needs to be done around the house or for the family. The dishes piled in the sink, the laundry load that has fluffed four times before you decide to take the time to pull it out and fold it, meals to cook, the house to clean...the list goes on and on. The holidays,however, add a whole new level of items to the things-to-do list.

As I sat here this morning thinking about my day and how to balance writing with some of the household and Christmas items I need to accomplish as well today, I read Susan Shaughnessy's words in WALKING ON ALLIGATORS, and they put, very simply, into perspective how to start my day.

"Today, I am going to act like the writer I want to be. I will fend off all distractions. I will write."

So, for the morning, at least, I will write. The afternoon may be spent on all the other stuff that needs to get finished while the kids are at school, but, all too frequently, I let all that stuff eat up the whole day in an effort to get it done. One thing leads to the next which leads to the next and soon there is not a stitch of time left for writing. Not, I will write.

How about you? Are you finding it difficult to fit it all in this holiday season? If so, I'd love to hear what is working for you in terms of time management.