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Viewing Blog: Margot's BOOKS for KIDS + Writing News, Most Recent at Top
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Keeping tabs on Margot's latest BOOKS, + great writing hints, articles and other books. ALSO: links to her website, her Manuscript Critique Service - complete with personal guidance, and many pages of insightful help for writers of children's books.
Statistics for Margot's BOOKS for KIDS + Writing News

Number of Readers that added this blog to their MyJacketFlap: 14
1. margotfinke


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2. Bill Gates Offers Kids the Truth about LIFE!

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School
about eleven (11) things they did not and will not learn in school. 
He talked about how feel-good, politically correct teachings has created a generation of kids with no concept of reality, and how this concept has set them up for failure in the real world.

Rule 1 : Life is not fair - get used to it!
Rule 2 : The world doesn't care about your self-esteem.  The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity.  Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping:  They called it opportunity.
Rule 6 : If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7 : Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were so before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8 : Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer.  This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9 : Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping

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A mid-grade book with boys and  reluctant readers in mind,
It takes readers to a cattle station in the
Aussie outback of the 1950s 

by making the most fun and interesting comments about
a short story I wrote to introduce the characters.

Taconi and Claude's BIG 2011 Adventure

Let your boy or reluctant reader read my short story,
and then make whatever comments or review they please.

They could WIN themselves a


Below are pictures of a few of the weird, scary and wonderful
experiences reading this book offers your child.

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4. COLOR eReaders Could Change the Reading Habits of the US.

E-Readers With Color Open Door for Pictures
New York Times
article by Julie Bosma

Millions of consumers have embraced black-and-white e-readers like the Kindle for reading simple novels or nonfiction — but books with color illustrations have generally remained better read in print.

Now publishers are making headway in converting their enormous libraries of illustrated titles to e-books, hoping to capitalize on the growing popularity of the Apple iPad and the Nook Color and their ability to showcase books with color photographs and illustrations.

Some of the most popular children’s picture books of all time will be available, including some of the “Olivia” picture books, published by Simon & Schuster. You can read the complete article in the New York Times:


Would you like to be an author whose books
are read on a Color Nook or an iPad,
as well as hard copy?

Learn the tricks of the children's writing trade from
Suzanne Lieurance and her team of writing coaches.


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5. Memories of Aussie Christmases Past

Memories of
     Christmas Down-under:         
as only my mum could do it.
 by Margot Finke

My mother was the heart and soul of our small Australian family. I have lived in Oregon now for many years, yet memories of Mom presiding over special family occasions are tucked away in my mind. Mom was the most honest person I ever knew.  She had a true inner compass that made her an excellent judge of people. If she told me a certain person was up to no good, I learned that time would prove her right.

Mom was a great storyteller. On days when the northwest wind cut like a knife, or she was sewing me a skirt, or baking cakes and cookies, she would tell stories of what it was like when she was a girl. I learned to know and appreciate the many great qualities of my long dead grandfather through her loving tales. My dad had eight sisters and one brother, most of whom I had never met. However, the affectionate, funny, and sometimes sad stories she told about them, made me feel I knew each aunt and uncle personally. My mom was not perfect, but over the years, I find myself using her moral yardstick on my own children, and wishing she were here to imbue them with her own unique sense of integrity, humor, and fair play.

No occasion in our house was more special to Mom than Christmas. Mum was not religious. To her, Christmas meant forgetting the differences of the past year, and gathering together as a loving family. Aussie Christmases, where hot blue skies and one inch down-pours, made the mosquito net over my bed a must. Now, when I sit by the fire at night, weary from baking holiday cookies, memories flood over me – of how special Mom made those early Christmases.  If I close my eyes, I can again hear the chitter of flying foxes: fruit bats that nightly raided our mango tree.  I am whisked back to my childhood, when Mom tucked me in every night, told me a fun story about the birds who lived in the cumquat tree outside my bedroom window, and woke me every morning with a hug. She made my world safe.

Mom always baked our Christmas cake and puddings early.  Assorted dried fruits, drowning in brandy, gave our house a definite alcoholic buzz!  After cooking, the cake received a final brandy bath.  Then, it was retired to the top shelf of the kitchen cupboard, to age gracefully, wrapped in greaseproof paper and an old towel. The puddings were boiled, then tied up in old pieces of sheeting.  Mom hung them from the rafters under our house, like so many Halloween goblins waiting to be set free.  Cookies and cakes, pies and tarts, all flowed from Mom’s fingers to the oven.  School vacation time allowed me to help, and listen to a selection of her much loved tales.  The aroma of Christmas cake and pudding saturate my childhood recollections.

Our table groaned under the weight of

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6. BE THERE BEDTIME STORIES - for those who CAN'T be there!


New Website Enables Families to
Be There for the Holidays
IRVINE, CA, December 1, 2010 
Webcam bedtime stories is an innovative new technology being added to the list of family-friendly media, this Christmas. ALISON SANSONE is Creator of BE THERE BEDTIME STORIES, a new website that combines e-books and video of a family storyteller.

Irvine, CA (PRWEB) December 1, 2010
The process takes place entirely on the 
in three steps: 
1) select a children’s book from the bookstore,
2) read the story in front of a webcam as it displays on the computer screen,
3) the child receives an email with the link to view the e-book on the website with video of the storyteller positioned on each page.

The beta website went live in September of this year with over one hundred published children’s books available in the online bookstore. There are one hundred more titles in production with the interface, from five different publishers so far, including ten original works to be published by 


The business model for BE THERE BEDTIME STORIES was inspired by her own problem of living far from her only two nieces, who live in Chicago. SANSONE was working in video production at the time, in Orange County, California. “I was unable to be a part of their development - unable to be recognized when I would visit once a year,” SANSONE explains her frustration. “Bedtime stories seemed a convenient and entertaining activity that would solve that problem.”

SANSONE explains the findings of the initial two months of testing. “The effects exceeded my expectations. When I visited my nieces for the first time after four story recordings, they instantly latched onto me from the moment I walked in the door.”

An additional finding from the beta launch is children were excited to read a story back to family members, regardless of their reading level. “We believe this broadens the scope of users and the value to families as a fun and new alternative to existing multi-media products on the market,” SANSONE concludes.

SANSONE expects grandparents and military families] to see the value of a recorded bedtime story over live or real-time webcam services as a way to utilize more family members for childhood development, and to preserve those family memories for future generations. The stories are priced at $11.99 for unlimited children and there is currently a Buy One Get One Free holiday special. Live storytelling and Mobile App delivery are

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7. "Whimsmore" for Elfish Gifts and Fun!

Home of the Glimmer Glen Elves
Aunt Linda

Take a peek at Whimsmoore's  winter offerings.

 Each seasonal chapter is full of elf and human
activities, poems, recipes, and suggested books
for families with young children.
Delightfully illustrated, too.

There are many pages of fun, games, gifts, and
wise Elfin sayings

Click on any of the links along the top of each page
  and discover another Elfish delight

This delight is 

Can you guess the names of the elves above?
The answer is waiting for you in 


"Horatio Humble Beats the Big D" - dyslexia
"Ruthie and the Hippo's Fat Behind"
(both with parent-teacher guides)

"Rattlesnake Jam"
(written for boys)

8. Great NEW Resource for Educators

The New Teacher Resource Coaching Center
Dorit Sasson

You are invited to join with other dedicated educators as a part of this growing professional site. The NTRCC is a support center that empowers educators and their students with purpose and passion.

•    Do you strive to become an inspiring and empowering teacher?
•    Are you a beginning teacher looking for strategies to help you not just survive but thrive in  
     the classroom?
•    Are you a veteran teacher looking for ways to brush up your classroom management so you 
     can enjoy your teaching career?

New Teacher Resource Coaching Center  invites teacher leaders and dedicated educators as a part of this growing professional membership site. The NTRCC is a support center designed for professionals who want to empower their educators and their teaching and students with a purpose and passion.

Members of the center gain unlimited access to a wealth of articles, tip sheets, templates, teleseminars, and other great resources that will help them build their teaching career to the next level.

Specifically, members receive:
1. Access to two monthly teleseminars taught by a professional elementary, middle school or high school educator who knows the tricks of the trade and what works and what doesn't

2. Unlimited support to classroom tested resources including charts, checklists and tip sheets on a wide range of teaching areas

3. Specials, offers and special promotions on various teaching materials and instructional resources offered through the NTRCC.

To become a member, all you have to do is sign up. You'll be prompted to provide a password, contact information and payment registration. Once you receive your access number, you will be able to log-in anytime - 24/7!
to find out more about the center
and how you can join!

Membership in the NTRCC is just a modest $7.97 a month.
Special holiday savings! Get the second month
of membership FREE when you purchase
a one month's membership.

to read reviews

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9. A Wonderful Christmas Book for Kids

Today it is my pleasure to introduce the multi-talented

Cheryl Malandrinos

Author of
" Little Shepherd"
Guardian Angel Publishing

Cheryl is a children's author and a freelance writer and editor. A regular contributor for Writer2Writer: her articles focus on increasing productivity through time management and organization. A founding member of Musing Our Children, Ms. Malandrinos is also Editor in Chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens.

Cheryl is also a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Little Shepherd is her first children’s book. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two young daughters. She also has a son who is married.

You can visit Cheryl online or the Little Shepherd blog
"Children's author Cheryl C. Malandrinos has re-explored and created a beautiful re-enactment of Christ the Lord’s birth in a unique and awe inspiring rendition which surely will become classical reading in Christian religious school studies and home libraries."

From a review of "Little Shepherd" by Donna McDine, author of the children’s historical storybook, The Golden Pathway

ISBN (eBook) 978-1-61633-086-6; 1616330864
(Soft cover) 978-1-61633-085-9; 1616330856

Little Shepherd Blog:
http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/ http://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com/

Links for where to buy:
Barnes & Noble
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10. Great Stuff for Children's Writers - Lots FREE!

Kim Komando Is the Internet
and On-line Guru I Trust.

When it comes to my computer, I am paranoid about safety. No letting some cute app from a vague source creep onto my hard drive. I only download what gets Kim's approval - tested bug free and works as listed. This applies to the fun stuff she suggests, as well as serious protection, and the latest in teckie goodies.

So, dig into the goodies listed below( above the initials K.K.) without fear.
Kim Komando has your back!!

A new study examines how children perceive e-book technology. A quarter of the children had read an e-book. Over half of the children said they wanted to try it. Educators hope this indicates a path toward increased recreational reading. E-books are now incredibly popular.

Amazon Launches Kindle Web Service
Amazon has just launched Kindle for the Web. This new service allows users to read the first chapter of any e-book online. Amazon does not charge for the privilege. Third-party Web sites can embed chapters.

11. Self Publishing Pays Off - New PDF Reader Rocks! + More Goodies!

Self Publishing Can Pay OFF

Read Jane Friedman's ( Writer's Digest) interview of two
authors who auctioned off their self published

book to Random House.

Talk about

The Next 2 Recommendations come via
Kim Komando

She is the on-line and on-radio computer Guru I trust.
Kim tests everything she recommends first, for
hidden nasties and greatquality performance.

The New

(Systems: Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7)
This powerful, new PDF program, ROC

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12. The 2010 Muse Online Writer's Conference is FREE.- Coming - Oct 7th - 11th.

The Muse Online Writer's Conference
is coming in October.
Sign up now!

Lea Schizas, that whirlwind of talent and
energy, is working her tail off lining
up experts to help YOU.

Don't miss this terrific opportunity!

Lea has booked editors, publishers, published authors, play-writes, agents and more, to help writers of all genres write better, find the perfect publisher or agent, and learn the tricks of the book promotion trade.

The FREE, Muse Online Conference is the first,

the best, and the only such conference

that has a reputation for

bringing RESULTS!

Click on any of these links for more information:
But FIRST, go to REGISTRATION and secure
your place at Muse Online 2110
13. Join the CHILDREN'S WRITERS COACHING CLUB and enjoy success!


A branch of the
National Writing for Children Center

Learn how to make your
writing go out and earn its keep.

Whether books, articles or for magazines,
Suzanne Lieurance and her writing coaches
will help, guide, and encourage you
to reach your writing goals.

I have been one of Suzanne's coaches for some time, and I really enjoy helping writers find their way to publication. I have a monthly Teleclass that deals with assorted aspects of writing for children: picture books, midgrade and YA + the art of great rhyme and meter.

My next Teleclass is Thursday, Aug 26th
2pm Pacific time

Can Make the Difference Between a Contract or a Rejection.

Join C.W.C.C. now, and enjoy all the perks and benefits.


Pay a small fee, and just
receive a recording o

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Let's begin with the bad news first.

This from a reliable source . . .

950,000 titles out of the 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan sold fewer than 99 copies. Another 200,000 sold fewer than 1,000 copies. Only 25,000 sold more than 5,000 copies. The average book in America sells about 500 copies.

Can you hear me sobbing?


From Writers Digest comes the following
opportunity to jump into the future of publishing.

In the past year, people across the writing industry, from authors to agents and book publishers, have been buzzing about Enhanced eBooks, but nobody seems to know exactly what they are.

Will enhanced ebooks change the way that
readers experience your writing?

What do authors need to know about emerging
formats, devices, and how to discover
the best enhancements for
each type of book?

Can't make the WEBcast?

Everyone who registers for this Live WEBcast will receive the full presentation as a digital download afterward, so you can watch it again and again, on any device you want.

Sign up today so you won't miss this amazing opportunity!

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15. Better WAKE UP Indie Book Stores!

Be warned,
This is a RANT

(I am specificall
y referring to those
who write books for children)

All authors know how hard it is to get books, published by small publishers ( or heaven forbid, self-published - no matter how high the quality) into the big book chains.

By this, I mean . . .


and not those just available online.

Even after book signings that are hugely successful, an author's books might not stick around to see another shopping day.

I promote Independant Bookstores on my Website, because I really regret the way big bookstore chains, as well as Amazon and others, have lured book buyers away from the small and cozy, kid and parent friendly local bookstores. As usual, "money talked," and the far cheaper prices the Big Guys offered forced huge numbers of small bookstores out of business.


We send them Press Releases and other cool information, offer book signings, design fliers for them to hand out, do interviews that give their stores a plug - and still few make an effort to stock our children's books.


Can't they see that?

No one expects bookstores to buy badly printed and badly written books. But how can they ignore so many books that are kid friendly, and sure to Hook Kids on Reading?


Together we could bring wonderful books
to children, parents, and schools.
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(Women on Writing)

Offers a huge range
of helpful links and writi
ng advice.

Fiction's Building Blocks
by Sue Bradford Edwards

This is one such article.
Sue knows her stuff, so mosey on over
and pick her brains!

Whether they write romance or mysteries, chick lit or literary fiction, top-notch women’s writers know the key to selling their work is to create a scene. No, I don’t mean arguing with their agent. Or even butting heads with their editor.
The scenes they create are the ongoing viewable action and dialogue that we all use to tell our stories. Read on to find out how scenes work and how to use them to strengthen your fiction. Click the header to read more.


Also in the same W.O.W. issue:

Where Are We?
Using Setting & Description in Creative Yet
Crucial Ways
- by Darcy Pattison

“Where am I? And why should I care?”

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17. "Spellbound Books & Gifts" - a Community Outreach Haven.

Let me introduce you to a multifaceted lady:

./ Dennise Sleeper
is a wife and a home schooling
mom of 5,
a bookstore owner, and a
community center


Dennise told me he opened the bookstore because there wasn't one there. People told her not to do it, because no one around there wanted to read. She replied, "That is a perfect reason to open a bookstore. I definately believe in education and therefore the name:

SPELL is for spelling and education.
BOUND is because books are bound.

Spellbound Books is kid friendly -
just what's needed to HOOK that reluctant reader.

," because you can't pu
t a good book down.

She lives in Homestead, Florida, and her life goal is to be the best Mom possible, and run Spellbound Books and Gifts, in conjunction with many other activities that compliment books and reading, and also enhance the lives of local families.

Dennise wanted her bookstore to encourage learning, reading, and just plain old fun. So, if you are lucky enough to live in Homestead, here are a few of the activities that will HOOK you, and keep you SPELLBOUND.

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18. STOP PRESS - Help for Children's Writers!

Two pieces of great news for those
who write for children

The first comes from Harold Underdown
owner of the fabled "Purple Crayon."

The big news is that Harold has set up an "Editor Profiles" page, with so far two profiles: one for Margaret McElderry and one for Arianne Lewin. There are links to related resources, and there will be more profiles in the future.

He has also added a few more updates to the Who's Moving Where page, which keeps track of editors moving and leaving.


And he's done a pretty thorough update of his Visual Resources (pictures and maps) links page. Additional suggested links for this page are welcome.


Please stop by!

Harold Underdown
The Purple Crayon:
A Children's Book Editor's Site

And if you don't browse the Purple Crayon regularly,
you'll miss all the gems of writing
wisdom provided there.



My 2nd great news is about
Anastasia Suen

She wishes all writers a happy summer, and hopes you all stay cool.<

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Heather Kephart's
"Picture Book Shelf'

is a way to find picture books that have
been read and recommended.

Heather, a writer herself, has taken the time to read and review dozens of picture books, so you can find one that is right for your child.

Her Review Page is courtesy of`

where you can also . . .

If you want to keep ahead of the children's writing and reading curve, join Jacket Flap. It's where dedicated writers network, research the right publisher for their book, and find wonderful books for the kids in their lives.


Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques

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20. "Ruthie and the Hippo's Fat Behind" is waiting for you!!

All Parents and Teachers.
I can now offer you a TWO-FER

Both Books Published by
G.A.P. (Guardian Angel Publishing)

My just published -

"Ruthie and the Hippo's Fat Behind" - for girls
Ilustrator: K.C. Snider

Rhyming story that tells how big changes can turn

a child into a brat - and what it took to get
Ruthie back to her normal happy self.

(Parent-teacher guide included)

Coming soon to AMAZON - B&N - Target and more
NOW through G.A.P. Publishing and my Website


"Rattlesnake Jam" - for boys.
Illustrator: Kevin Scott Collier

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21. A PROFESSIONAL CRITIQUE Will Help Polish Your Manuscript.

I want to tell children's writers about my
Manuscript Critique Service

I have been critiquing for a long time now, and
nothing thrills me more than hearing
that one of my clients has had
their book accepted.

For your comfort, let me list my Critique ground rules

For writers of Midgrades and Young Adult books.

+ Picture Books (rhyming & non-rhyming).
These rules are for your protection,
as well as mine.

Personal Guidance is My Specialty!

I never go ahead with a critique until I am sure we
both agree on the fee, as well as my initial suggestions.

Visit my Manuscript Critique Service for more
, and to read
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22. "Ruthie" + "Taconi and Claude" - Coming to YOUR Bookshelf SOON!

Well folks, if I were a horse these last few
months, they would have shot me!!

Fortunately, I am a writer of books for children.
So I can regroup, and find alternate
ways to promote my two new books
from G.A.P. Publishing.

Due to an injury (knee replacement) in the game of life, I am forced to promote my 2 new books listed below, via this Blog +
"Hook Kids on Reading"
and my Website,

"Margot Finke's World of Books for Children."

I will also be Twittering like mad, making Facebook my daily destination, +
begging, borrowing, or stealing, whatever other Blog time I can finagle out of friends and foes alike.
This is WAR -
and I won't let my lousy, gimpy, slow to heal knee ,
win the battle. I had to postpone publication
once, because I simply could not manage it.

Now I am ready to PUSH ahead with promotion -

Run for cover if you're a wimp, because my 2 new books
will soon HIT THE STORES!


"Ruthie and the Hippo's Fat Behind"
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23. "KNEES UP" - Latest Buletin from Margot Finke!

If you wondered where I've been for the past two months, here's the scoop -


On January 5th, I had titanium knee replacement surgery. After the hospital and doctor bills began to roll in, I felt as if I REALLY was a genuine $6,000,000 woman! Piece of cake - right?


Thanks to a horrible reaction to the blood thinners I had to take, what I imagined as my easy recovery and exercise regimen suddenly spiraled into a fast bleeding ulcer, a rush to the emergency room, a transfusion of 4 pints of blood, + 3 days in critical care. NOW it would all be plain sailing - apart from the tough exercises - right?


No such luck, mates. Next, I had a powerfully bad reaction to the extra strong antibiotics I now had to take. These were to kill the bacteria in my stomach that would cause me further bleeding ulcers if I did not get rid of them, ASAP. Let me tell you a little secret: if I never see our downstairs bathroom again it will be too soon!!

All these fun and games put a huge kink in my knee recovery progress, as well as plunge my energy and enthusiasm level for anything that didn't involve sleep and pain medication, at zero - minus a whole bunch! This week is the first time I have opened my computer since the day before I went into hospital for knee surgery ( Jan 4th), and put all my writing lists on "no mail."

I want to apologise to all who contacted me (via my website) wanting critiques. I did let the various on-line lists know I would be off line for a while, but I had no idea my time off-line would stretch so long. I will be sending each of those who contacted me an e-mail letting them know how sorry I am about the delay in answering their requests.

I also want to to thank the many wonderful writer friends who sent me cards, and e-mail good wishes. Your thoughtful and encouraging words lifted my spirits on bad days, and made the good days so much better.

I am now slowly picking up the pieces of my life.

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24. eBOOKS are Great Last Minute Stocking Stuffers !

Santa's Clock is Ticking!

You're desperate for a few last minute
stocking-stuffers for the kids in your life.


From my
"Bald Eagle RULES!"

Great quality eBOOKS will. . .

* Encourage reluctant readers to READ

* They are GREEN and save TREES!

* Kids today ARE computer savvy

* eBOOKS are FUN to READ!

*eBOOKS cost far less

to download

At Fictionwise or ReadersEden


Autographed B
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25. Double "Learning" Whammy - Anastasia and Dori

Anastasia Suen

is offering
Intensive Picture Book Basics Workshop
Jan 6-Feb 24, 2010

Learn the basic elements of a picture book story (hook, theme, arc, beats, story-boarding, and read aloud), as you study 5 picture books per lesson.

is a 6 lesson email course. I will send you a new lesson each Wednesday. You have 2 weeks to complete each lesson, so the workshop lasts 8 weeks - $149 USD

After you complete this Basics workshop,
write and edit your picture book in
the Intensive
Picture Book Work-in-Progress Workshop

Anastasia's book, "Picture Writing" is a must have
for those wanting to write for


And for those eager to write rhyming
picture books


Study, dissect, and inhale, two articles
on rhyme and meter
by Dori Chaconas

A fun story with terrific characters is not enough. You need rhyme and meter that flows from line-to-line and from verse-to-verse, smooth as a champion skier down a fresh slope.

Editors do not hate rhyming stories -
they just hate the 99

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