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November—typically this month I’m a blogging fool, organizing Picture Book Idea Month posts, participants and prizes. But PiBoIdMo has been moved to January, a new year, a fresh start. The new news about the annual writing challenge is that I’m working hard on the new name and logo, which I will reveal shortly, along with the changes in scope. So the news is that there is no news? Yeah, sorry ’bout that. I feel badly, so let me cheer you up with Snoopy, who always makes me feel better. (Plus, added bonus: BUNNIES!!!)

snoopybunnies

And some of you will feel even better, because I am playing Oprah again today with my favorite things: giveaways. I did not realize it had been months since I announced prize winners, so I have a bunch here. Congratulations to all and be on the lookout for an email from me.

NADIA: THE GIRL WHO COULDN’T SIT STILL Winner
Carol Gordon Ekster

MY BIG TREE Winner
Shuko

MONSTERS GO NIGHT-NIGHT Winner
Danielle Hammelef

LILLA’S SUNFLOWERS Winner
Bethany Johnson

SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS Winner
Marlaina Gray

MONSTER TRUCKS Winner
Diana Owen

BRUNHILDA’S BACKWARDS DAY Winner
Melissa Stoller

MARIA GIANFERRARI Winners
Query Pass: Genevieve Petrillo
PB Critique: Mary Jo Wagner
Book: Kelly Conroy

There are still open giveaways, so give the blog a scroll. Plus I’ll have another one next week. Boy, with all the blogging lately, it sure does feel like November…doesn’t it, Snoopy?

snoopytoast

 

MuggyMeter

The humidity whacks me in the face each time I step outside, so yeah, it’s August. Already.

Every summer I entertain grandiose plans to write outdoors while enjoying a picnic of luscious home-made ciabatta sandwiches and baked goods the likes of which would make The Barefoot Contessa swoon. I buy light, airy dresses, relish being barefoot in the cool grass and imagine the stack of manuscripts I will have completed, polished and prompting auction offers…

And then August smacks me upside the head. Already.

Nasty, vile August. Why do you curse me so?! You let my children out of camp teeming with bug bite scabs, force me to endure three-hour back-to-school lines at Staples, and leave my computer devoid of new manuscripts.

Well, at least someone is winning this month. Finally, a list of all the prize winners from recent giveaways!

A MORNING WITH GRANDPA WINNER:
JENNIFER PHILLIPS

PENNY & JELLY WINNERS:
CLAIRE BOBROW
POLLY RENNER
STELLA LOPEZ

THE STORY CIRCLE WINNER:
NADINE GAMBLE

DUMP TRUCK DUCK WINNER:
DEBRA SHUMAKER

Congratulations, everyone! I will be emailing you shortly.

Now, because I want everyone to be a winner in August, here are some excellent writing articles I’ve come across lately. All are worth a read!

howtobeabetterwriter

And finally, one of my favorite books OF ALL TIME, although I discovered it only a couple years ago, is MEMOIRS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND by Matthew Dicks. Matthew offers a fabulous newsletter jam-packed with writing and storytelling tips. You can even win a storytelling consult with him. He is a multiple winner of Moth’s Story Slam and GrandSlam competitions. He posted an engaging TEDx talk recently about how to hone your story radar and even improve your life in the process. I encourage you to watch:

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I hope this video makes your August better than mine!

I got zapped with the flu two weeks ago. Really walloped me, like being endlessly pummeled with pillows at a sleepover party. Just when I thought I was getting better—PHHHHHHUMPT! Down I went. Cold compresses, hot tea, lukewarm toast. Sleepless nights, endless days. What a funk!

Now I’m happy to be back in the land of the living. Did you know there’s a sun out there? And trees budding? Birds singing?

calvinflies

There’s also winners waiting to be announced!

clarksville

Natalie Lynn Tanner, c’mon down! You won a copy of Pat Zietlow Miller’s THE QUICKEST KID IN CLARKSVILLE!

logivss

Hey, Pat! PJHollow, that is! You won a Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard!

I'mNotHatchingjacket

And Rimna! PEEP & EGG is yours!

I will be emailing the winners shortly. Thanks to everyone who entered.

Didn’t win? Here’s another chance!

In celebration of being well again, and in celebration of my first-born’s 13th birthday TODAY (OMG, I’m the mother of a teenager!!!), and in celebration of my fourth book, NORMAL NORMAN, I’m giving away an extended classroom Skype session. I’ll teach a writing lesson that fits in with your current curriculum. Yes, a custom half-hour lesson just for your class or your child’s class…or your homeschool group. All you have to do is leave a comment below. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.

And now I shall get back to writing. I took an extra-long break while I was sick, although I think I missed an opportunity to capture hilarity that only 103-degree-fever hallucinations can create!

Oh boy, I didn’t realize how far behind I was in picking winners to various giveaways. I would say “my bad” but I don’t like that phrase.”My laziness” is more like it!

lazydog

Well, things have been BUSY, though. I’ve got three–soon to be four–manuscripts under submission. And I’ve been editing others on their way to the printer. NORMAL NORMAN, out next March, just got a cover! Isn’t he (and his junior scientist pal) adorable???

normalnormancoverfinal

There’s supposed to be a giveaway for LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD on Goodreads, but it hit some snafu and I’m trying to get it snafuless. Un-snafued? And don’t even get me started on Facebook ads! I’ve been getting emails “Your ad has been approved” and then ten minutes later, “Your ad has been disapproved” and then “That was a mistake, you are approved” in an endless loop.

Finally, I’ve been firming up the schedule for this year’s PiBoIdMo. I’m almost ready to go with the guest blogging calendar, agent-prizes, 2015 logo and participant badges (all by Troy Cummings). You’ll definitely want to meet our new friend “Bulby”! Please be sure to join our PiBoIdMo Facebook discussion group for all the latest/greatest.

I’m also making PDF hand-outs for PiBoIdMo Kick-Off parties if your SCBWI chapter wants to host a picture book schmooze-fest in late October or early November. I’m available to Skype into your party, too. As usual, I’ll be in my pajamas.

pajamadance

Just email me at tarakidlit at gmail for details. (And dance moves.)

Anyway, here are all the WINNAHS from recent (and not-so-recent) contests. I’ll be emailing y’all shortly! Congratulations!

FGD_1

FIRST GRADE DROPOUT Winner:

KAREN LAWLER!

HI RES BATS & FROGS cover

IT’S RAINING BATS & FROGS Winner:

FRANNYB!

therewasanolddragon

THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON Winner:

SANDY PERLIC!

bearbookwithinbook

FRACTURED FAIRY TALE SKYPE Winners:

KATRINA MOORE
KORBY SAUNDERS
JEN GARRETT
AMY BANSAK
HELENA DRENNAN

Thanks everyone!

Hmmm…I need a clever ending to this post. I always do a clever ending!

Oh, I got nuthin’. Kermit, take over for me, will ya?

kermittype

I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK, released last week (!!!!!), tells a fractured fairytale only in dialogue…which I wouldn’t normally recommend, because the speech bubbles can obscure illustrations. But if you’re working with the genius that is Benji Davies, you don’t have to worry. Because somehow, he fits it all in! And it’s all gorgeous, dahlinks!

This book took four years to come to print—like a fine bouillabaisse, it simmered long. (Sorry, I just heard that on TV and guffawed, so I had to use it.)

Here’s one of my favorite spreads of the book turned into a coloring page. It’s a quick PDF download. Click it, print it out, share it, make up dialogue for Prince Zilch and Papa Bear! What are they saying? (Is it something about the tourists posting to Instagram? I dunno, they don’t look like millenials to me.)

bearbookcoloringpageimage

Enjoy!

And now…onto some winnahs…

First, let me say this to everyone who has bought the book, shared it and otherwise helped spread the word:

Merci Buckets (1)

See, my buckets overfloweth! (Overfloweth = what I think Gwyneth should have named Apple.)

It takes a village to sell a book, and I’m grateful!

Bear Book final cover

Here are the winners of a signed, personalized I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK from my Facebook author page and PiBoIdMo group contest:

JANET DISOTELL
CARISSA MINA
DAMON DEAN

Congratulations! I’ll be contacting you shortly to arrange delivery!

Well, now I must bid you a fair adieu because I’m taking a little blogging break. (Honestly, if I can stay away for three days, I’ll be flabbergasted. Like you were reading the “fine bouillabaisse” line above.)

bouillabaisse

GONE FISHING! (To make this, of course!)

Another sunny summer morning! I hope you’ve got a cuppa java or your favorite AM liquid mojo and you’re settling into a day of writing.

As promised, here are the two winners for debut author Maria Gianferrari’s PENNY & JELLY book and critique giveaway!

Penny and Jelly

Book Winner:

DAVID ROBERTSON!

Critique Winner:

HEATHER HATCH!

Congratulations! I’ll be emailing you shortly!

Now, onto some shenanigans…

This week I did a bookstore appearance.

emptychairs

Now, I debated if I should post this publicly. It doesn’t look so good for me, does it? It’s downright embarrassing!

But I wanted to let aspiring authors know that THESE THINGS HAPPEN. Sometimes, on a sunny Monday afternoon in the summer (or a crisp autumn Saturday, or a frigid winter morning, or an ordinary Wednesday evening) people just don’t show up.

Every author has had this happen to them at one time or another. You laugh it off. And you go on.

But you also remember that once you have a book published, it doesn’t mean people will come rushing to see you. Most people don’t know who you are. And they probably don’t care. You MUST have another reason, besides having a published book, for appearing at a bookstore. A book is not enough to bring people in to see you. Offer something you know your readers will want. Add value. Add other authors. Add games, activities, a writing workshop, SOMETHING.

I posted this picture on my Facebook timeline this week and received over a hundred responses, mostly from other authors and illustrators saying, “Been there, done that.” You see, IT HAPPENS. (It’s like a break-up cliché: “It’s not you; it’s them.”)

Also on Facebook this week, PiBoIdMo participants suggested adding writing prompt videos to this year’s challenge, so I’m seriously thinking about it!

FBPiBovideo

If you have suggestions for this year’s PiBoIdMo, I hope you’ll share them in the comments.

In the meantime, here’s a Kidlit.TV video that I filmed on Monday, the HOTTEST day of the year. OUTSIDE. (What was I thinking?) It contains behind-the-scenes secrets about I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK, which releases in 12 days, not that I’m counting or anything. LOL.

Bear Book final cover

Enjoy your summer weekend, everyone. And stay tuned because more giveaways are happening very soon!

Oh, how I adore how patient you’ve all been!

Juggling summer vacation, booking and blogging is mind-boggling. (Say that 10 times fast.)

We have a lot of winners to announce…but first…I’d like to tell you about I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK ’cause it’s my sophomore outing, and, like sophomore year in high school, I’m really nervous about it! (And I might have a teeny crush on the boy with the locker next to mine.)

Facebook-Template-BEAR

I slaved over this Facebook cover image. Seriously, it took me two hours because I kept putting stuff where the portrait photo and menus appear. I got smart and downloaded a template…but then I had to rejigger it all…as I was searching for my lost jigger of salt. (Yes, margaritas were necessary fuel.)

For anyone who doesn’t have a photo app on their computer, you can do all this online for free at ipiccy.com.

If you’d like to use this image as your Facebook cover photo, I’d appreciate the support! Let me know if you do in the comments. I’ll be giving away three signed copies of BEAR to anyone who shares news of this book. Pre-order info is on Simon & Schuster’s site here. It releases August 4th! AHHHHHhhhhhhhh!

And now, without further ado, the winners of all the recent giveaways! Margaritas all around!

dressme

Winner of DRESS ME! by Sarah Frances Hardy:

NADINE GAMBLE!

Fiction Magic Title screenshot

Winner of FICTION MAGIC card set by Deb Lund:

JENNETTE MUTOLO!

WhoseTools

Winner of WHOSE TOOLS? by Toni Buzzeo:

GLORIA! (from Austin)

ginnylouisehighrescover

Winner of GINNY LOUISE AND THE SCHOOL SHOWDOWN by Tammi Sauer:

CARYN CALDWELL!

Book Giveaway

Winner of WHEREVER YOU GO by Pat Zietlow Miller:

DENITA JOHNSON!

Winner of art print by Eliza Wheeler:

DANA ARNIM!

Cat Nap cover TARA

Winners of CAT NAP art prints by Toni Yuly:

ERIKA HITCHCOCK
ANNA TODARO
JOY FRERICHS

Congratulations! I’ll be emailing y’all soon!

If you didn’t win, don’t worry, I’ve yet to pick lucky folks for Maria Gianferrari’s book and critique giveaway. That’s coming next week, so there’s still time to enter!

Thanks again for visiting my blog. Stay tuned for more summer giveaways! (Sorry, margaritas sold separately. Some assembly required.)

I typically don’t like to upload JUST a winner announcement…I like to shove something else in there to ensure the post is entertaining and informative as well.

So, here.

mcconaughey

OK, so that’s neither entertaining nor informative. But it is hilarious.

What do you think he was saying at that moment? (Guess in the comments.)

Personally, I think he was scatting.

Or casting a groovy employment spell upon the graduating masses.

Or perhaps asking for a sammich.

Performing “The Eensy-Weensy Spider”? (Deb Lund’s guess.)

Now that we’ve had a little fun, let’s get onto the winnahs.

The winnah of OWL BOY by Brian Schatell is:

JIM CHAIZE

The THREE winnahs of framed BE A FRIEND art from the incomparable Salina Yoon are:

SANDI LAWSON
DANIELLE DUFAYET
SHERI RAD

Whooppeee-do-dooo-beeee! (Hmm, this may be what McConaughey was saying.)

Congratulations to the winners and please be on the lookout for an email from me!

Hey look, Jerry won a prize in a box of cereal!

jerryprize

Well, he’s going to be mighty jealous of you PiBoIdMo’ers—because your prizes sure beat a Honey Comb tattoo. (Your prizes are BIG, yeah-yeah-yeah. They’re not SMALL, no-no-no.)

It’s time for the final prizes of PiBoIdMo, the ones offered by our guest bloggers during the month of November. There’s artwork, signed books and critiques galore!

How were the winners selected? I used Random.org to pick a number that corresponded with the order in which you commented on each prize post. Then I checked the winner’s name against the list of registered participants and those who signed the Winner’s Pledge. The name had to appear in both places. If the person commented twice on any of those three posts, they were disqualified. Winners were eligible for one prize only. If a name was selected twice, they were removed and another number was picked by Random.org.

All winners will be emailed within the next few days. If you do not receive an email from me, first check your spam folder, then contact me directly.

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OK, so let’s start with the PRIZES YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT! These are prizes offered by people who did not guest blog but felt compelled to contribute to the event. Thank you Tamson, Suzanne and Alayne!

First, editor Tamson Weston offered a picture book critique for manuscripts under 1000 words. The winner is:
SUZY LEOPOLD

Next, illustrator Suzanne del Rizzo offered a signed, personalized copy of her picture book SKINK ON THE BRINK. It goes to:
BRENNA FRIESNER

Finally, Alayne Kay Christian offered a picture book critique. The lucky one is:
DARYL GOTTIER

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Now let’s move on to the prizes offered by PiBoIdMo guest bloggers.

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Tammi Sauer’s Prize

NUGGET & FANG Prize Pack
JANET HALFMANN

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Greg Pizzoli’s Prize

Hand Screenprinted Cards
AMIE VALORE-CAPLAN

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Ryan Sias’s Prize

Original ZOE & ROBOT Drawing
COURTENAY SCHURMAN

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Michael Garland’s Prizes

Signed Hardcopies of the Following Books:

SANTA KID
SHERRY WALZ

MISS SMITH AND THE INCREDIBLE STORYBOOK
DONNA J. SHEPHERD

MISS SMITH AND THE HAUNTED LIBRARY
TONYA LIPPERT

MISS SMITH READS AGAIN
SUZANNE KAUFMAN

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Todd McQueen’s Prizes

Signed Hardcopy of BE IN CHARGE (Five Winners)
SUE PODUSKA
JANET SMART
LISA CONNORS
JENNIFER VOIGT KAPLAN
ALEXA KAUFHOLD

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Elizabeth Rose Stanton’s Prize

Signed Hardcopy of HENNY (when released)
RICK STARKEY

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The Jenneweins’ Prize

Signed Hardopy of CHICK-O-SAURUS REX and a personalize illustration by Daniel Jennewein
LINDA HOFKE

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Dorina Lazo Gilmore’s Prize

Signed Hardcopy of CORA COOKS PANCIT
JULIE GRASSO

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Melissa Guion’s Prize

BABY PENGUINS EVERYWHERE Prize Pack
ANN BIRNIE

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Pat Miller’s Prizes

Choice of Picture Book with Audio CD
MELINE SCHEIDEL

Picture Book Critique
VIVIAN KIRKFIELD

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Steve Barr’s Prizes

Signed Copy of DRAW CRAZY CREATURES (Two Winners)
DAWN MITCHELL
LAURI MEYERS

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Kelly Light’s Prize

Signed copies of THE QUIRKS and ELVIS AND THE UNDERDOGS
STACY GRAY

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Maria Gianferrari’s Prize

Picture Book Critique
SUE HEAVENRICH

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Wendy’s Martin’s Prize

Signed F&G of RABBIT’S SONG
THIS KID ERIK

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Renee Kurilla’s Prizes

8.5 x 11 Print from her Etsy Shop (Two winners)
CAROLYN ROHRBAUGH
SHIELA FULLER

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Annette Simon’s Prize

ROBOT ZOMBIE FRANKENSTEIN! Prize Pack
GRANT JENKINSON

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Joni Sussman’s Prize

KAR-BEN Books Prize Pack
COREY ROSEN SCHWARTZ

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Kami Kinard’s Prize

Critique of Kidlit Manuscript – 10 Pages
MELANIE ELLSWORTH

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Laurie Keller’s Prize

ARNIE THE DOUGHNUT Prize Pack
MARGARET GREANIAS

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thatsallfolks

Well, that’s all folks! This officially concludes PiBoIdMo 2013. It’s been a blast! Thank you for your enthusiasm throughout the event, in your comments and your participation in the Facebook group. I could not do it without you—and that’s not cliché, that’s TRUTH.

Please remember to contact me should any of your PiBoIdMo ideas win a contest, an agent or a contract. I love highlighting your success stories!

But for now, write on! Be sure to consider some of these other picture book writing challenges offered throughout the year:

…and, of course, PiBoIdMo 2014! See you next November!

Who shall roll the drums this time?

drumming

Sorry, Anna Kendrick canceled last minute and this is all I could get on short notice.

So there’s more prizes to give away…all the Post-PiBo goodies!

Again, winners were selected with the help of Random.org and double checking and blah-di-blah-di-blah-blah. You know the drill by now.

So let’s go…

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Ame Dyckman’s Prize

TEA PARTY RULES Prize Pack
LORI ALEXANDER

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Stacy McAnulty’s Prizes

Signed hardcopy of DEAR SANTASAURUS
CATHY BIGGERSTAFF

Picture book critique
MARY CROCKETT

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Kristi Valiant’s Prize

Picture book critique
SUZI GUINA

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Corey Rosen Schwartz’s Prize

Signed hardcopy of GOLDI ROCKS AND THE THREE BEARS
ELLEN MOTT

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Weeeeee! Congratulations to the winners! Be on the lookout for an email from me.

That’s all for today, folks. Stay tuned for the rest of the PiBoIdMo prizes!

As a children's book author and mother of two, I'm pushing a stroller along the path to publication. I collect shiny doodads on the journey and share them here. You've found a kidlit treasure box.

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THE WHIZBANG WORDBOOK
illustrator TBA
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Summer/Fall 2018

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