Back in December, I participated in #PitMad, a pitching contest on Twitter for authors. For those who aren’t familiar, authors tweet out pitches for their books. Agents and editors then favorite the pitches that they are interested in reading, and authors email them part of their manuscript. Then they wait, hoping that they hear back soon.
I pitched Grace’s Ghosts and got several requests. I sent off my query letter and partial manuscript to most of the people who requested it. And then, I waited. There’s a lot of waiting in publishing. After reading my initial query, a handful wanted to read the whole manuscript.
One of these was an editor at a small press called Immortal Works. After reading my entire manuscript, the editor emailed me with some feedback. She liked my story, but thought it needed a few tweaks. In publishing, this is called a “revise and resubmit.” It’s not a guarantee that a publisher will offer a contract if you make the changes, but it is a great sign. I made the requested edits, and soon thereafter, the editor told me she was going to take it to her board to recommend publication! Again, the book could be shot down at this stage, but I was pretty excited!
Two weeks ago today, I was getting ready to take my daughter to dance. On the way out the door, I checked my email on my phone. There was an email from the editor. I could tell from the preview line that it was good news. They were offering to publish my book! I let out a happy scream, jumped up and down, and hugged my confused kids. When I was able to verbally express what was going on, they screamed and hopped around the room with me.
The release date is not set as of now, but I will keep you updated. I can’t wait to share more news about my book with you all!
The New Year is a great time to look at what we’re doing as parents, teachers, or homeschoolers. I am all about goal setting in my homeschool. One of my main areas of focus in 2018 is writing.
I frequently hear from parents who have a hard time getting their kids to write. Actually, if I am being honest, I have one child who I have to beg to write. Even though he loves books and has a mother who is an author, he still isn’t a huge fan of writing. A lot of this stems from motor skills delays. I will get into that later in the article, but motor skills delays cause frustration when writing for a lot of kids.
Parents worry so much about writing, but there are so many ways to encourage your kids to write. Here’s a few that I hope help you!
- Use Writing Prompts. I’ve linked to some that I created on this site, but you can find more all over the web. Sometimes, the hardest part about writing is just getting started.
- Use voice typing software. Google Docs has free, built-in voice typing software as long as you use it with Chrome. All three of my kids enjoy writing this way. Their vocabularies are bigger when speaking than when writing and their hands don’t tire when voice typing. This is especially true for my eldest, who has a variety of motor skills delays. His brain and his hands don’t work on the same level. If he’s asked to hand write something, it’s like pulling teeth to get a few sentences out of him. With voice typing, he can write a five paragraph essay.
- Expose them to lots of great books. Good readers make good writers!
- Buy them cute notebooks and fun pencils or pens. For some kids, a unicorn notebook or a rocket pencil can make all the difference.
- Cut pictures out of magazines and ask your kids to create a story about the picture. It would be easy to fill a notebook with several pages like this to make this an easy to repeat activity. I did this activity with my Creative Writing students at co-op and they loved it. Just make sure to choose pictures that lead to story telling. A head shot of a man in a business suit is harder to tell a story about than a photo of a dog wearing a tutu.
- Play storytelling games like Story Cubes or Create a Story. Telling stories aloud gets kids in the right mindset to write.
- Allow them to write about their interests. If you have a child who is obsessed with dinosaurs or ballet, it’s okay if a lot of their writing includes this interest. It might be boring for you to read 23 dinosaur stories in week, but a lot of authors have made careers out of such things.
How do you encourage your kids or students to write? Let me know in the comments!
Get your kids writing this Thanksgiving with these writing prompts!
- On Thanksgiving morning, you wake up and find that you are not in your bed. You are in a pen, on a farm, and you have a lot of feathers. You’re a turkey and the farmer is hungry! What do you do?
- Your mom tells you that all pies have been banned by the government this Thanksgiving. What do you do?
- You hate turkey. You hate pie. Most of all, you hate cranberries. How do you convince your parents to make something else for Thanksgiving dinner?
- What are you thankful for this year that you either did not have or did not appreciate last year?
- It’s Thanksgiving Day. Your parents decided to order a delivered meal this year. The doorbell rings. You open it and find three dozen live turkeys waiting for you. What happens next?
- Your crazy Uncle Bob shows up at Thanksgiving with a time machine. He sends you back to the first Thanksgiving. What do you see?
- Your Grandma serves a Thanksgiving dinner of cereal, dog treats, and candy canes. What do you do?
- A strange guest shows up at your Thanksgiving dinner. Who is it and how does your family react?
I think I write for kids because there is a certain authenticity that we can have with children that is harder to accomplish with adults. Kids are not carrying the baggage adults carry. Kids don’t need to pretend that their little hearts are not soft in order to make it through their days. When you are a child, your heart and mind are more willing to soak up all of the goodness books can pour out. I think this is why children’s literature sticks with us throughout our adult lives and is why, years later, our hearts can be healed by simple words.
I don’t know about you, but with all of the sadness in the world right now, I need some healing. I need to be able to believe in the goodness of mankind. I need to be able to remember the happy days of my youth. I need to be able to believe that, as a nation, Americans can do better. I mourn for the people of Orlando. For the families of the victims. For their friends. For our nation as we sit here trying make sense of madness. I pray for change that is long overdue and answers that no one seems to have.
I’ve put together a list of quotes from children’s literature that give me hope. My desire is that they will bring you some hope as well.
And If I may add some words of my own- In “Nellie Nova Takes Flight,” Amelia Earhart has these words of wisdom for Nellie and Niles:
Children’s books continued to bring me joy and wisdom into my adulthood. It really is why I write them. I hope and pray that I can inspire kids in the way I have been inspired.
Today, I hope that you leave this post with your spirit renewed. Our world can often be filled with so much tragedy. but let’s not overlook the good. Let us never forget to BE the good.
I pray for this nation. That we learn to love one another and that we can make the changes needed to overcome hate and fear.
After a few weeks on the market, reviews for my book, “Nellie Nova Takes Flight” have started to accumulate on Amazon. I am so happy that it’s been well-received!
“This book is rich with empowerment and keeps you hooked throughout the whole story with it’s quirky adventures. There is never a dull moment in the Nova family!”
“Nellie Nova is a character who exemplifies what it means to be an intelligent young person. Such a wonderful story. Well written, keeps your child engaged throughout”
“This entire book and story line is an attention grabber.”
“Stephenie Wilson Peterson tells an amazing story that’s just great for kids. In a world full of male protagonists, story for our daughters that really tells them, “you, too, can do anything you set your mind to” is a great thing! I would absolutely recommend this to anyone.”
“I read this aloud to my 6 year old son, and he was intrigued the entire time. He enjoyed the suspense of the unknown, and I agree the storyline was engaging. I appreciate an author that ties in history with fiction – It’s inspirational.
I am so happy to hear that people are enjoying my book!
If you hadn’t had a chance to do so, check it out!