Welcome Author Vivian Kirkfield – Giveaway Alert

Today’s guest is the amazing Vivian Kirkfield. I am lucky enough to count on her when I need writing advice, a critique, and someone to share the ups and downs of our lives. I’m pretty sure she would agree our friendship means a lot. Over the past few years, we discovered how much our lives paralleled each other and the overlaps make it easy to feel like I’ve known her forever. Her recent book FROM HERE TO THERE, was recently published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE, was released in paperback in time for Passover next month. She’s also the host of #50PreciousWords which is an inspiring writing contest with incredible prizes coming in March. Details below.

Vivian is generously offering a 30-minute Zoom chat – it can be with a writer about a WIP or the path to publication. Or with a teacher and their class. Or with a parent and their children. Comment on the blogpost to enter the giveaway. Please share on your social media to help spread the word.

Vivian with her grandson Jeremy on her recent birthday

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

I have several target audiences…the target audience for Pippa’s Passover Plate and for Four Otters Toboggan is probably 4-6 years-old. But the target audience for my nonfiction picture book biographies is probably 7-11 or 12 years-old.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by the lives of ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things. I’m inspired by people who keep doing what needs to be done even when they don’t get recognized for it. I’m inspired by kindness and compassion. I’m inspired by people who help others, even when no one knows they were the ones who helped. And most of my stories, even stories like Pippa’s Passover Plate, are all about those things that inspire me.

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

For Pippa’s Passover Plate, I hope readers will walk away filled with joy – proud of Pippa that she faced her fears and her natural enemies – and with the realization that friends can look different and still be our friends – and that when we all work together, we can accomplish our goals.

I’d love to share this amazing anecdote: When Pippa’s Passover Plate first launched in Feb 2019,  a parent wrote to me. She said her two sons loved the story so much, she and her husband had to read it over and over and over. Isn’t that exactly what we hope and pray for when we write our books? In fact, her sons loved it so much, she translated it into French so that she could read it to them in French also! 

I was so excited to read that! And now that the paperback edition of Pippa’s Passover Plate has just launched, I am going to send her one of the paperback copies with a couple of bookmarks for her sons.

What can we look forward to next?

What’s next? I’m not sure I have enough room on the page. 😊 

I do have another nonfiction picture book biography that will launch in Spring 2023 from Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills & Kane: PEDAL, BALANCE, STEER: Annie Londonderry, First Woman to Bike Around the World. 

I also have two R&Rs with that same editor – all I need is the time to work on them. And my agent just sent out a different picture book biography about a Spanish-American sculptor. She paired it up with art from one of her illustrator clients who lives in Spain. I’ve seen his storyboard thumbnails and they are exquisite! So, fingers crossed for that. 

I also submitted a different picture book biography – about three inventors and a President – to the SCBWI Winter Conference Manuscript Gallery – we’ll see if any editor finds it worthy of her attention.

And of course, on March 2-7 – #50PreciousWords International Writing Contest is happening on my blog. There are FORTY amazing prizes – opportunities to get your manuscript in front of editors and agents who are closed to submission – critiques with published authors – seats in picture book writing classes – and lots more. The guidelines are the same as previous years – a story for children ages 12 and under – 50 words or less – post in the comment section of the contest-specific blog post between March 2 and March 7. Last year we had 392 entries and although I am thrilled to see the contest grow, my judges and I have decided to limit entries to one per writer for this year. So please, sharpen your pencils! I can’t wait to read your precious words. 😊 

Thank you so much, Laura, for having me on your blog! You are a joy to have as a friend – it was such a pleasure to spend time with you in Denver in 2019…here’s to a healthier world and the chance to get together again.

To connect with Vivian and learn more about her books:

Website: www.viviankirkfield.com
Facebook www.facebook.com/viviankirkfield
Twitter: www.twitter.com/viviankirkfield
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/viviankirkfield
Instagram: www.instagram.com/viviankirkfield

Winner Announcements 2/22/21

Congratulations to Ellen Leventhal winner of the AFTER-SCHOOL SUPERSTARS package of 3 books by Claudia Mills.

Congratulations to Lenora Biemans winner of HOME FOR A WHILE by Lauren Kerstein.

Winners, please email me at ljrwritenow at gmail.com so that I may put you in touch with the authors. Don’t forget to comment on other open giveaways from Stan Yan, Natasha Wing, Joana Pastro, and Laura Roettiger (oh, that’s me!) And look for more interviews every Tuesday and Saturday!

Happy Book Birthday to me and Aliana – Giveaway

Today I’m celebrating two years of ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON, being out in the world. One lucky winner will receive a signed copy. Comment on the post, RT, and share on Facebook to be entered in the giveaway.

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

I loved reading, finding insects, being my older sister’s sidekick, and spending time with my Grandma.. I never watched TV and my favorite place to visit was the library.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by so many things but the top five are: nature, children, dogs, travel, and great writing.

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

With ALIANA REACHES FOR THE MOON, I’m so happy children have been inspired to be curious, creative, and even messy. That’s what science and experimentation is all about. I have had countless parents and teachers tell me, they appreciate that ALIANA gives them permission to allow their children to explore.

What can we look forward to next?

I have several picture books that I’ve been querying and am trying to draft a middle grade novel. I have an outline and some of a beat sheet written but I need to start writing! I am enjoying working with other authors and illustrators via my blog to help them promote their work. There’s so much talent in the kid lit community and I’m grateful for the connections and friendships I’ve made.

Twitter: @ljrwritenow Instagram: @ljrwritenow

Winner Announcements!

Congratulations to Annie Lynn/AnnieBirdd Music, LLC, winner of WHY IS MOMMY CRYING? signed by illustrator Heather Bell and written by I. Cori Baill, MD.

Congratulations to Jcamp2020 winner of IT WILL BE OKAY, A STORY OF EMPATHY, KINDNESS, AND FRIENDSHIP signed by author Lisa Katzenberger, illustrated by Jaclyn Sinquett.

Last call to Marcia Williams winner of a full picture book critique from Evelyn Bookless, author of CAPTAIN GREEN AND THE TREE MACHINE, illustrated by Danny Deeptown.

Winners, please email me ljrwritenow at gmail.com so that I can connect you with the author/illustrator. Don’t forget to comment on other open giveaways for books by Lauren Kerstein, Claudia Mills, Stan Yan, Natasha Wing, and Joana Pastro.

Welcome Author Joana Pastro – Giveaway Alert

Today I welcome Joana Pastro whose wonderful, recently released picture book speaks to my heart, LILY BELLE, A DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS. I love books with an empowering message, and when even the title made me smile … but wait until you see what’s inside. She has generously offered a copy to one lucky winner. Comment on the post to be entered in the raffle.

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

My nickname as a toddler was bionic baby, because I was always on the go. I was extremely active, and my mom says I talked non-stop! I spent most of my time with my imagination and playing make believe, but I remember also having quieter more introspective moments. I’ve always loved art and crafts, loved going to museums and watching musicals. My mom considered musicals the best sitter for me! When I was 8, I watched a week long Fred Astaire marathon on TV. 

What inspires you?

It’s such a cliché to say everything, but it’s true! But now that I’m thinking about this, I can say that most of my stories are inspired by either my childhood, like BISA’S CARNAVAL, or by art/history, like LILLYBELLE, A DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS. 

What’s the one thing you hope your readers take away from your books?

I want girls to see themselves in LillyBelle, and understand the power they have, and I really hope all children will be inspired to stand up for themselves and for others. The best feedback I got so far was a video from a three-year-old. When asked why she liked LillyBelle, she said, “Because she can do anything!” It was the cutest thing!

What can we look forward to next?

I have a couple of projects out on submission, which is always exciting. I’m working on several projects, including board books, a chapter book, and a novel. I’m keeping myself busy!

My second book, BISA’S CARNAVAL, comes out in November 2nd, 2021 with Orchard Books. It’s set during Carnaval in Brazil, and it follows a little girl and her Bisa (great-grandmother) as they prepare for the parade. It’s all about family, love and celebrating what matters most.

Joana can be reached at: Twitter: @jopastro Instagram: @joanapastro Website: http://www.joanapastro.com

Welcome Author Natasha Wing – Giveaway Alert for writers

Today, as we celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend and all things love, I welcome best selling author, Natasha Wing. Her books include THE NIGHT BEFORE VALENTINE’S DAY and many other NIGHT BEFORE books plus the delightful, BAGEL IN LOVE, a sweet bakery love story. Natasha is generously offering a 15-minute Zoom “Ask the Author” chat where she will answer questions about writing, submitting, her books, etc. Perfect for writers! Comment on this post to be entered in the raffle.

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

I was a quiet, shy girl, well behaved, and I loved school. I still get excited over freshly sharpened yellow #2 pencils! My favorite books were Dr. Seuss (hence the rhyming stories I write now!) and I also liked Disney fairy tales. I grew up in Connecticut with pets: a gerbil named Ribbles, a white mouse with red eyes named Sherman, and a German Shepherd named Nicky. Now I have a cat named Purrsia.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by celebrations and the marking of time, so things like holidays and first days of school. (I admit I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to overlap holidays so when I walk into stores that have Valentine’s Day stuff out at Christmas, it gives me the willies.) I’m also inspired by women of strength who fought for something they felt was important to save. Like Jackie Kennedy Onassis when she helped save Grand Central Terminal from destruction. Or a story I’m working on now about a mob of matrons who protested the cutting down of the Japanese cherry trees in Washington, D.C. 

What is the one thing you hope your readers take away from your books?

With my Night Before books I hope readers learn about different holidays and different ways to celebrate them. With my non-fictions I hope readers learn about little-known people and historic events. With Bagel In Love and my three joke books, that I like puns and being silly.

What can we look forward to next?

I’ve got four Night Befores coming out: The Night Before Summer Vacation Activity Book (May 2021), The Night Before the Dentist (June 2021), The Night Before Lunar New Year, and The Night Before Second Grade. I also have a fun book for toddlers in the pipeline called Squeak-a-boo! 

Natasha can be reached at:

Twitter: @NatashaWing Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/natashawingbooks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/natashawing Website: http://www.natashawing.com

Charlie and Sienna – a Friendship Story for Valentiny Contest

Today I am sharing my entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Valentiny Contest. https://susannahill.com/2021/01/25/eh-whats-up-doc-announcing-the-guidelines-for-the-6th-annual-valentiny-writing-contest/

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using bravery and success in making us feel the bravery!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it, PROOFREADING!
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different!

Charlie and Sienna -A Friendship Story 211 words

Charlie loved his human, and when she left, he spent long, lonely hours waiting by the window.

As leaves landed on the porch, Charlie noticed Sienna.

She nibbled on the pumpkins. Charlie admired her tail, her delicate movements. He wished Sienna would notice him. But when the pumpkins disappeared, so did Sienna.

Charlie wondered if she would ever return. Had he missed his chance?

Snow swirled. Wind whirled. Charlie’s human couldn’t leave. 

Outside together, she shoveled while Charlie buried his face deep in the piles. The human made a snowdog near Charlie’s window. Carrot nose, pinecone eyes, and a bird seed mouth. She strung cranberries to create his leash. 

Once again inside, Charlie snoozed by the window. 

His ears perked. He blinked hard. Once. Twice. Sienna! 

Perched on her haunches, Sienna pressed her nose to the window. She turned to the snowdog. And back to Charlie. Sienna pulled the carrot up to the window and nibbled under Charlie’s adoring gaze. 

Had she noticed him all along? 

Time to make his move. 

Would she wait for him or run away? 

He mustered his courage and went out to the yard. He sat silently next to his snow counterpart, nudging the cranberry leash into a heart for Sienna.

Without a sound, friendship formed.

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