Winner Announcement 5/5/21

Congratulations to Janet Frenck Sheets winner of the picture book critique from Lisa Rogers, author of HOUND WON’T GO

Congratulations to Katie and Luna winner of PAWS, by Kate Foster.

Winner, please email me so that I can connect you with the authors for your prizes.

Don’t forget, there are still amazing giveaways from Chana Stiefel, Rosie Pova, Kim Tomsic, Karen Cotton, and Michal Baby. Comment on individual posts to enter the giveaways.

Welcome Author Michal Babay – Giveaway Alert

Today I am happy to share my interview with Michal Babay, author of I’M A GLUTEN-SNIFFING SERVICE DOG, illustrated by Ela Smietanka. We have bonded over dogs, writing, children, and our Judaism. As you’ll see she’s incorporated all of those things into her recent release and her newly announced book. So happy for both of these books.

Michal is offering one lucky winner a copy of her book, I’M A GLUTEN-SNIFFING SERVICE DOG, illustrated by Ela Smietanka.

What were you like at the age of your target audience?

I loved stuffed animals, dolls, books, and (of course) dogs! I used to hide under the table with a pile of books and our family dog. It was my special cave of books and joy!

What inspires you?

I love finding the funny in everyday life. No matter how difficult or scary a situation may be, I’m always able to find something absurdly amusing. It may be completely unfunny to anyone else, but that’s ok. Just knowing I can make myself laugh inspires me to keep going, no matter what life has decided to throw in my path.

What do you hope readers take away from your book?

My big hope for this book is that readers understand how serious this autoimmune disease actually is. I also hope readers understand how essential, but terribly difficult, it is for people with celiac disease to stay 100% gluten free for their entire life. 

What can we look forward to next?

I just announced a new book with Charlesbridge, illustrated by the fabulous Paula Cohen. It’s called The Incredible Shrinking Lunchroom, and it’s a modern revision of the classic Yiddish folktale It Could Always Be Worse. My version is a wild adventure that takes place in chaotic lunchroom of Parley Elementary. I also have another project in the works that I can’t wait to announce in the future! 

To connect with Michal and learn more about her books:

Twitter @MicBabay, Instagram @micbabay, website

This week’s winner announcement coming Wednesday

I’m traveling at the moment and didn’t pick the winners for Lisa Rogers’ or Kate Foster’s giveaways yet. Comment on those posts to enter! Winners coming later this week!

Also, don’t miss amazing giveaways from Chana Stiefel, Kim Tomsic, Rosie Pova, and Karen Cotton. Plus another amazing interview coming tomorrow!

Welcome Author Karen Cotton – Giveaway Alert

Today, I welcome Karen Cotton to the blog. She’s one of many talented authors from my Rocky Mountain SCBWI group. Karen is offering one lucky winner a virtual writing class or one-on-one time to talk about writing or her books. Comment on this post to enter the giveaway.

What were you like at the age of your target audience?

I loved playing music on my piano, and writing and reading books. As a family we played games and hung out. My brother and I played video games together, rode bikes and played with the neighbor kids. I also loved watching cartoons on Saturday morning, and watching Disney movies like Cinderella, which was my favorite at that time.  One of my favorite places to go was the library, which I spent hours at and came home with stacks of books and records.  My most exciting thing that I looked forward to was the Scholastic book fairs at school, because that meant my parents would buy me a book for my home library. I also loved playing with my dolls. I owned Strawberry Shortcake dolls, a doll named Mandy, Barbies, Cabbage Patch Kids, and My Little Ponies.  I saved them all and my little girl now loves playing with them.

I also liked going to visit the city, Salt Lake City, Utah with my mom and grandparents. The city was three hours away from where I lived in Green River, Wyoming. We also traveled a lot and I loved dinosaurs and fossils. This photo was taken in Vernal, Utah at the dinosaur museum.

What inspires you?

My family inspires me, in particular my nine-year-old daughter. I listen to a lot of types of music and I sing and play a lot of instruments. So, music also inspires me. Nature, God, gardening, cooking, dinosaurs, animals, experiences from my time as a journalist all inspire me. I was inspired by writing an article about the police and sheriff’s departments K-9 Units. Later I also saw them do a demonstration at the library that I took my daughter to watch. That’s where the idea for my book, K-9 & DEPUTY HEROES of the LARAMIE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT came from.

What’s something you hope readers take away from your books?

I just would love it if my readers feel inspired to make a change in the world or learn more about the subjects I write about. And if they feel compelled to also be a writer of any sort. To also always write that story that’s in their heart, and tell it, no matter how many rejections it gets. Life is short, precious, and you have a unique voice that deserves to be heard. 

What’s next for you?

My friend, Lorenzo Leonard is co-writing the screenplay with me for CAROL AND SANTA. We hope to pitch it to Hollywood executives soon. I am working on a sequel to CAROL AND SANTA. Its original movie deal fell through due to the pandemic and funding etc.

 I am working on a cook book/memoir, that goes along with my facebook page called Cooking with the Cottons where my daughter and I cook together. It may become a YouTube channel. I am collaborating on a picture book with an author/illustrator, Trace Puckett, about cultures. I am working on a picture book about outer space.  I am writing a romance for adults under my pen name, but it is considered a sweet romance. I occasionally write articles for my online magazine

To connect with Karen or find out more about her books:



Welcome Author Kim Tomsic – Giveaway for Teachers

I am thrilled to welcome author extraordinaire and friend Kim Tomsic to the blog today. The day I met Kim at my first SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) I felt like I’d known her forever and it was a turning point in my new life in Colorado. She probably didn’t know the impact she made that day, but that’s the kind of wonderful person she is. Kim is the author of middle grade books, THE 11:11 WISH and THE 12TH CANDLE and a fabulous picture book GUITAR GENIUS: How Les Paul Engineered the Solid Body Electric Guitar and Rocked the World. Her soon-to-be released picture book, THE ELEPHANTS COME HOME, illustrated by Hadley Hooper will be out in the world on May 18th. Go ahead, preorder it now!

Kim is generously offering one lucky winner a classroom Zoom visit where she’ll read THE ELEPHANTS COME HOME and answer questions. Comment on the blogpost to enter the giveaway!

What were you like at the age of your target audience?

I was a wild child! I didn’t like to brush my hair (it took too much time), or go to bed (I didn’t want to miss out on anything), or eat French toast if it was smothered in butter (gross). I loved animals and had a rabbit, cats, and several hamsters. We moved a lot because my father was military, and I remember being painfully shy. Somehow that shifted, because today I am a card-carrying extrovert!  

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by reading all kinds of books, be it commercial, literary, poetry, comics, fiction, nonfiction, picture books through YA novels, graphic novels, and also adult novels (including murder mysteries, period pieces, you name it). I love continued learning (I’m working toward my MFAC at Hamline University) and experiencing and studying the variety of forms and structures that can deliver story. I’m also inspired by hearing tales on NPR and little snippets in the news. I’m especially inspired by school visits and talking to children, and by master classes and attending conferences. Lastly, I love taking long walks as I let new pieces of inspiration settle in—ahhhh, there’s nothing like a long walk to get the brain siphon out which new idea to explore next.

What’s something you hope readers take away from your new book?

My newest book, THE ELEPHANTS COME HOME, releases with Chronicle Books on May 18, 2021 (ISBN: 978-1452127835). I hope children fall in love with the elephants and become curious about the magic of these beautiful and wondrous creatures.  I hope some children are sparked to investigate what it means to be an eco-warrior. And finally, I hope that children who need a bridge to talk about friendship and death are able to use this story as a safe and comfortable entry point. 

What’s next for you?

Next up—THE TRUTH ABOUT FIFTH GRADE, which will release with HarperCollins in Summer 2023. I am co-writing this book with the award-winning illustrator Mark Parisi. This is an epistolary “he said-she said” romp (and of course my character delivers the accurate version 😊). It will be illustrated by Mark similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Mark Parisi is an amazing comic whose art is syndicated in over 100 newspapers across the United States. He is hysterical and a blast to work with. I cannot wait for this story to be on bookshelves!  

To connect with Kim and find out more about her books:

Website: Twitter

Facebook Instagram

Winner Announcement 4/26/21

Congratulations to Elli Plunkett, winner of SHAPED BY HER HANDS: POTTER MARIA MARTINEZ, by Anna Harber Freeman and Barbara Gonzalez and illustrated by Aphelandra.

Congratulations to Tonnye Fletcher, winner of Jolene Gutiérrez’s giveaway of BIONIC BEASTS or a picture book critique.

Winners, please email me at Ljrwritenow at so that I can connect you with our generous authors. If you are looking for more wonderful giveaways, check out interviews with Lisa Rogers, Kate Foster, Chana Stiefel, and more interviews coming tomorrow and Saturday!

Welcome Author Rosie Pova – Swag Giveaway

Today I have Rosie Pova visiting the blog. Her new book, SUNDAY RAIN, illustrated by Amariah Rauscher was recently featured in the New York Times! Rosie is offering one lucky reader a swag bag of goodies! Comment on the post to enter the giveaway.

What were you like at age of your target audience?

I was a shy kid, very much an introvert, and very crafty. I always found something to do when I was by myself. I was also collecting things. But there were a lot of kids in the 12-story apartment building I grew up in Bulgaria, so we played together outdoors a lot, too: jumping rope, hopscotch, all kinds of games involving a ball etc. 

What inspires you? Books? Music? Experiences?

All of the above, really — books, music, experiences — for sure! Plus, my kids. 

What’s something you hope your readers will take away from your books?

Depending on which book of mine they’re reading, the story might prompt a conversation between the children and their parents, grandparents or educators. But I also hope that the readers get inspired to explore more, to think outside the box, be encouraged to be themselves and be confident, reach out and make a new friend… And of course, to keep their imaginations wild, their curiosity alive, and have fun!

What’s next for you?

Yes, lots is happening! I have a new book in the pipeline, THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE: A STORY ABOUT SUCCESS and it’ll release this summer in Mainland China, and then in the spring of 2022 — in the USA. My agent and I are currently on submission with a few stories, so hopefully there will be more good news to share in the near future. Meanwhile, I am constantly writing and revising, also serving as a judge for Rate Your Story, so that keeps me quite busy. 

In addition, I am teaching online picture book writing classes and have many students that I help on their journeys.  I am going to a book festival in Winnsboro and will be on a panel there, I will also be taking part in a virtual children’s books discussion panel on May 6th, organized and co-hosted by my local indie bookstore here in Dallas and Writing Workshops Dallas. The event is free, but people would have to register in order to attend and there’s only a limited number of seats available. You can check out the details and sign up here: 

Finally, I am booking school author visits, both virtual and in-person (for whenever that’s an option again), so teachers and librarians who are considering booking authors for their schools, please visit my programs and presentations page on my website where you’ll find options in a variety of packages as well as excellent testimonials on my visits. And I hope to hear from you, and get to meet and inspire your students!

To connect with Rosie and find out more about her books:

Website: FB:

Twitter: @RosiePOV   [] IG:

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