What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'writing contests')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: writing contests, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 111
1. #DVpit: A Twitter Pitching Event for Marginalized Authors

While the number of diverse books is increasing, the number of new diverse authors entering the field remains low. Significant barriers remain for authors of color, Native authors, disabled authors, and other marginalized voices. With that in mind, we are excited to share information on this special Twitter event, #DVpit, created to showcase pitches by marginalized voices and help connect them to agents and editors. The information below is cross-posted with permission from literary agent Beth Phelan’s website.   

#DVpit

A Twitter Pitching Event, Hosted + Moderated by Beth Phelan

April 19, 2016
8:00AM EST – 8:00PM EST

#DVpit

What is #DVpit?


#DVpit is a Twitter event created to showcase pitches about and especially by marginalized voices. This includes (but is not limited to): Native peoples and people of color; people living and/or born/raised in underrepresented cultures and countries; disabled persons; people with illness; people on marginalized ends of the socioeconomic, cultural and/or religious spectrum; people identifying as LGBTQIA+; and more.


What kind of work can you submit?


The participating agents and editors are looking for a variety of work, including all categories of fiction for adults, teens, and children, as well as nonfiction—as long as they qualify per the paragraph above.

Please only pitch your completed, unpublished manuscripts.


How do you submit?


Your pitch must fit the 140-character max, and must also include the hashtag #DVpit.

Please try to include category and/or genre hashtags in your pitch.

We will trust that your pitch is for a diverse book, but if you want a quick way to make the diversity in your work more apparent in your short pitch (and you can fit a few more characters), I also encourage you to include an abbreviation as an easier way to get that information across. Examples: OWN (to suggest #ownvoices), POC, LGBT, DIS (disability), IMM (immigration), etc.

These codes are up to you—I’m in no place to judge or police how, or even if, you box your experience. If you’ve already perfected your pitch and/or simply don’t see the value in including these codes, please remember they are optional. You will *not* be at a disadvantage if you don’t include them! If you do want to add, please make the abbreviation as clear and straightforward as possible for our agents/editors.

Please pitch no more than once per hour, per manuscript. You may use the same pitch, or shake things up by using different pitches for the same project. You may pitch more than one project at a time, as long as they are completed and unpublished.

Please do not tweet the agents/editors directly!

The event will run from 8:00AM EST until 8:00PM EST, so please only tweet your pitches during that block of time.


What happens next?


Agents/editors will your “like” your pitch tweet if they’d like to see material from you, so please don’t “like” other authors’ pitches. Please also do not retweet. To show support, you can always reply with compliments.

Each agent/editor will have their own preferences for receiving submissions, so if you get a “like” from someone, please refer to their Twitter feed to see what they ask for, and how you can contact them.

All of these agents/editors are invested in finding more marginalized voices, so if you’re comfortable with it (and ONLY if you are comfortable with it), you are encouraged you to self-identify in your query, or just simply let us know that the story and/or character(s) reflect your own experience (or even in your pitch if you have the space and the inclination).

If you see that multiple agents/editors from the same group have “liked” your pitch, please contact them directly for their policy, or reach out to Beth Phelan who can help you find out.

Keep in mind that many agents/editors will get sidetracked with their usual work or unexpected crises and may have to revisit the feed after the event is over. So don’t be surprised if you receive “likes” after the period closes!


Who is participating?


Over 50 agents and editors will be participating, and since this is a public event, more are likely to join in on the day! Our own Stacy Whitman, publisher of our Tu Books imprint, will be participating. See the full list here.

Please be sure to research any agent or publisher that “likes” your pitch. There is no obligation to submit your work to anyone you don’t want to.


For more details and a list of resources to help with your pitch, visit Beth Phelan’s post. Best of luck and happy pitching!

0 Comments on #DVpit: A Twitter Pitching Event for Marginalized Authors as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
2. Announcing our 2015 New Voices Award Winner

New York, NY—January 15, 2015—LEE  & LOW BOOKS is proud to New Voices Award sealannounce that Lisa Brathwaite of Stone Mountain, Georgia, is the winner of the company’s sixteenth annual New Voices Award. Her manuscript, Show and Tell: The Story of Eunice Johnson and the Ebony Fashion Fair, is a picture book biography of Eunice Johnson, African American publishing executive and founder of the Ebony Fashion Fair. Since childhood, Eunice had a passion for fashion. She enjoyed sewing her own clothes and took pride in her original style and immaculate technique. As an adult, she and her husband founded Ebony, a magazine that celebrates African American life and culture. And in 1958, Eunice created the Ebony Fashion Fair, a fund-raising event that quickly evolved into a nationwide tour that showcased high fashion for the African American audience and challenged accepted standards to embrace beauty in all forms.

Lisa Brathwaite is a cultural engagement advisor with Welcoming America and a volunteer with Dress for Success Atlanta. As a young girl, Lisa was interested in fashion and found Ebony a source of encouragement and confidence. She became enamored with Eunice Johnson’s journey and was inspired to write about this great businesswoman and fashion icon. Lisa will receive a prize of $1,000 and a publication contract.

LEE & LOW BOOKS is also proud to announce that Li Yun Alvarado of Long Beach, California, has been chosen as the New Voices Honor winner for her manuscript A Star Named Rosita: The Rita Moreno Story, a picture book biography of film and theater star Rita Moreno. A native of Puerto Rico, Rita immigrated in 1936 to the United States, where she discovered her talent for performing. She rose to Hollywood stardom and became a pioneer for Latina women, overcoming barriers and stereotypes to win an Academy Award for her role in the musical West Side Story (1961). As a young Puerto Rican performing arts student in New York City, Li Yun Alvarado was deeply affected by Rita Moreno’s story and was motivated to write about Rita’s inspirational work for a new generation of readers and performers. Li Yun will receive a prize of $500.

Congratulations to Lisa Brathwaite and Li Yun Alvarado!

ABOUT THE AWARD: Established in 2000, the New Voices Award is an annual award given by LEE & LOW BOOKS to an unpublished author of color for a picture book manuscript. Past winners include It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw by Don Tate,  winner of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award Honor, Bird by Zetta Elliott, an ALA Notable Book, and, most recently, Juna’s Jar by Jane Bahk, a Spring 2015 Junior Library Guild selection.

The award was established to combat the low numbers of authors of color in children’s book publishing and to help new authors break into the field. LEE & LOW BOOKS is committed to nurturing new authors. The company has introduced more than one hundred new authors and illustrators to the children’s book world and 68% of authors and illustrators published by LEE & LOW BOOKS are people of color. For more information, visit our New Voices Award page.

Authors of color who write for older readers are encouraged to learn about our New Visions Award for middle grade and young adult manuscripts as well.

0 Comments on Announcing our 2015 New Voices Award Winner as of 1/19/2016 5:52:00 PM
Add a Comment
3. Monday Munchday...An Exciting Announcement!

Darlings!

So nice of you to drop by on Monday and visit me!  I missed you so over the weekend :)

And you won't be sorry for coming over!

I have SUCH exciting news!!!

Guess what???

I have invented a new recipe!

Yes!  It's true!

I must give credit where credit is due.  I was inspired by Shelley Kinder in a blog comment on the Halloweensie Winner's post.  During all the talk about nuts vs. no nuts in dessert, she suggested the benefits of peanut butter chips... and an idea was born!

Lo and behold, my new recipe:

Take the brownie recipe of your choice and add 1/2 (or 1/2 +) cup of peanut butter chips!  YUM!

And this gave rise to ANOTHER idea... add 1/2 (or 1/2+) cup of toffee chips!

OR add 1/2 (or 1/2+) cup of crushed peppermint!

OR go the s'mores route and add 1/2 cup mini marshmallows and 1/4-1/2 cup graham cracker cereal!  (Although that might get mushy... I'll have to experiment...!  Maybe crushed graham cracker at the bottom with the brownie batter mixed with marshmallows added on top...?)

I KNOW!

And you're welcome, because I know I have just given you a whole new outlook on your holiday baking plans! :)

At least, I've given MYSELF a whole new outlook on MY holiday baking plans! :)

And the added benefit?  An unexpected Monday Something Chocolate Snack:



Please forgive the photos - I'm a baker not a photographer :) - but I promise they taste delicious!!! :)

So, thanks for stopping by.  I hope it was worth your time.  And I hope you weren't expecting anything else...

What?

You were expecting something else?

Well in that case...

...maybe I should tell you...

...that it's time for...


The 5th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!
WA-HOOO!!!! :)

The Contest:  Write a children's story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) beginning with any version of "Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop."  You may use that actual opening, or you may change it to any similar version "[Verb of your choice]ing [any preposition you choose] the [any item you choose] [any preposition you choose] the [venue of your choice]."  For example, "Surfing along the wind-whipped waves at the Yuletide barbeque," or "Wandering through the pine-sweet woods at the cut-your-own tree farm," or "Quarreling in the checkout line at the local Toys R Us," or "Waltzing among the candy canes at the Holiday Bazaar"....   You get the idea, I'm sure :)  But "Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop" is completely acceptable too - whatever works for you :)  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words (I know!  So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest :))  (It can be as short as you like (the judges will be grateful :)), but no more than 350!)  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  The more creative the better!  No illustration notes please. (And yes, if you feel compelled to submit more than one entry you may, just remember you're competing against yourself!)

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between 12:01 AM EST Monday December 7 and Friday December 11 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on the official holiday contest post which will go up on my blog on Monday December 7 and remain up through Sunday December 13 (no WYRI or PPBF during that week.)  If you don't have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments on my December 7th post.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I'll post your entry for you! But please don't send attachments!  Just copy and paste your story into the email.)

The Judging:  My lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 10-12 finalists (depending on the number of entries) which will be posted here on either Monday December 14 or Tuesday December 15 (depending on the number of entries :)) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Thursday December 17 at 5 PM EST and the winners will be announced on Friday December 18.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place.  Judging criteria will be kid appeal/kid-friendliness, creativity, quality of story, quality of writing, and originality.

The Prizes!:  Ok, so I'm still working on the prize list and will have to update, but here are some of the prizes that will be offered, and I think we're going to have some additional awesomeness to add! (items in color are links for more info!):


 - A picture book manuscript critique by talented author/illustrator Iza Trapani, author of JINGLE BELLS, OLD KING COLE, ITSY BITSY SPIDER, and many, many more!
 - a picture book manuscript critique by the fabulous Lori Degman, author of 1 ZANY ZOO and COCK-A-DOODLE OOPS!
 - Enrollment in Making Picture Book Magic (my online picture book writing class - in January or a later month to be mutually agreed upon by the winner and me)
 2016 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market  and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.
 - a pack of Susanna Leonard Hill's amazing What's The Story Cards (hitherto un-introduced to the world!)

I can't thank these authors enough for their incredible generosity!  Please visit their sites, buy and recommend their books to your friends with kids, write them nice reviews on Amazon, GoodReads etc if you've read and liked their books, and show your appreciation to them in any way you can!

And now!  Sharpen those pencils!  Top off those coffee mugs!  Get those derrieres in your chairs!  And start writing those prize-winning entries!!!

I can't wait for the festivities to begin! :)


0 Comments on Monday Munchday...An Exciting Announcement! as of 11/16/2015 4:54:00 AM
Add a Comment
4. The 2015 Halloweensie Contest FINALISTS! - Vote For Your Favorite!!!

Darlings?

Is that you?

I can't see that far...

...from my spot on the floor...

I'm delirious after an agonizing weekend of trying to choose 10 finalists out of more than 10 times that number of entries, all of them wonderful in one way or another!  (And no.  We did not choose 10.  We chose a baker's dozen - 13 for Halloween!)

The fact that I am flat on the floor is nothing to worry about.  Really.  I'm fine.  And so are the other judges.  You just can't see them because they crawled off to bed in the wee hours and have yet to emerge.

Seriously.  There is no need to worry about us.  But we won't say no to chocolate if you wish to send some our way and help us recover :)

We had the biggest turn out we've ever had in terms of number of entries - 145! - and the overall quality of the entries was fantastic.  Really, it is readily apparent that the quality of entries in these contests is improving every time.  This means there are fewer obvious standouts, almost none that are easy to cut, and there a LOT of very good ones that we have to get very nit-picky over!  It is agony, I tell you!

Before we get to the actual list of finalists, I have a couple things to say.  (I know you're shocked :))

First of all, I want to thank EVERYONE who took the time and care to write an entry for this contest.  You all did a fabulous job and provided great enjoyment for many!

Second, I'd also like to thank EVERYONE - writer, reader, or both - who took the time to go around and read as many entries as you could and leave supportive comments.  This means so much to the writers who worked hard on their stories.  It helps them see what they did well, as well as giving them the joy of knowing that their stories were read and enjoyed.  I hope you all got as much delight  and entertainment out of the reading as I did!  Plus, we got to meet quite a few new people which was a wonderful added bonus! :)

Third, before I list the finalists, I want to say again how difficult it was too choose!  There were so many amazing entries.  Really.  I could find at least something terrific about every single one.  The sheer volume of entries meant that many good ones had to be cut.  So if yours didn't make the final cut please don't feel bad.  There was a huge amount of competition.  Judging, no matter how hard we try to be objective, is always subjective at a certain point - we all have our own preferences for what makes a great story.  And the fact that you didn't make the final cut DOES NOT mean you didn't write a great story.  Everyone who plonked their butt in a chair and worked hard to write a story for this contest is a winner!  You showed up.  You did your best work.  You practiced your craft.  You wrote to specifications and a deadline.  You bravely shared your writing with the world.  And you have a brand new story that is now yours to expand beyond 100 words if you like and maybe submit at some point to a magazine or as a PB manuscript.  So bravo to everyone who entered!

Now.  Onto the judging criteria which were as follows:
1. Kid-appeal! - These stories are intended for a young audience, so entries that were well-written but lacked child-friendliness did not make the cut.
2.  Halloweeniness - the rules stated a Halloween story, so entries that failed to mention anything Halloween-y did not make the cut even if they were well-written.
3. Quality of story - the rules stated that entries were to tell a story, so if they appeared to be more of a description or mood piece, they didn't make the cut.  We looked for a character and a true story arc.
4. Quality of Writing: we took note of spelling, grammar, punctuation etc.  In addition, for the rhymers, we looked at rhyme and meter (for which we are sticklers!)  We also looked at overall writing quality and use of language.
5. Originality and creativity - because that is often what sets one story above another.

A surprising number of this year's entries were amazingly written... but failed to really tell a story!  They were more descriptions, lists, or mood pieces.  So as awesome as they were, we had to make some very hard calls.

Without further ado, I present to you the 2015 Halloweensie Contest Finalists.  A mix of poetry and prose, stories for younger readers and slightly older (but still kid) readers, funny, spooky, and cute.  Please read through them carefully, take your time, think it over, and vote for your favorite.  To help with objectivity, finalists are listed by title only, not by author.

And I'd like to be very clear about the voting process.  You are MOST welcome to share a link to this post on FB, twitter, or wherever you like to hang out, and encourage people to come read ALL the finalists and vote for the one they think is best.  Please do that.  The more people who read and enjoy these stories the better, and the more objective votes we get the better.  HOWEVER (and I want to be very clear on this) please do not ask people to vote for a specific number or title, or for the story about the pumpkin ballerina or whatever.  Trolling for votes or trying to influence the outcome is counter to the spirit of this competition which is supposed to be based on merit.  I thank you in advance for respecting this.

#1.  Leila's First Halloween

Tears puddle in Leila’s dark eyes. Tomorrow is the Halloween costume parade at her new school.
“Costumes cost money,” Mama sighs. “I can’t buy something you wear once for this strange holiday. Any extra money must be sent to our sisters and brothers in Aleppo.”
Halloween haunts Leila’s thoughts. A stomach ache? Mama never lets her miss school. A costume from Teacher’s bin? Her classmates will laugh.
“I know!” she cries, grabbing a navy pullover and red leggings.
As her classmates don costumes, Leila asks Teacher for 50 stars and white tape.
“I’m an American now, an American flag!”

#2 Pirate Prepares For Halloween
Pirate wonders what to wear.
Knitted cap with dreadlocked hair?
Striped pajamas? Bandoleer?
Same old shorts she’s worn all year?
Black bandana? New tattoo?
She can’t dress like pirates do!

But a costume would delight
on this dark and haunted night.
Zombie? Werewolf? Ninja? Cat?
Too cliché, she can’t wear that.
Pirate wants to go disguised,
but her friends should be surprised.

Pirate gathers what she needs:
old bandana, borrowed beads,
Jolly Roger, tattered lace.
Then she snips and sews with grace.
When her tutu is all set.
Sauté, plié, pirouette.
Pirate plans a dance routine
to perform on Halloween.

#3 Spooky Spies
He focused a triangle on the approaching costumed family.
“That Jack-O-Lantern is watching me,” said Franz.
“Don’t be silly,” said his mother, “It’s just a pumpkin.”
“It winked at me!” yelped Tess, “Creepy, haunted pumpkin!”
“Impossible,” scoffed their mother, ”On to next house!”
Hours later, after the last trick-or-treater had gone home,
a lone man waltzed down the dark street.
“Report, Jack-O,” he murmured.
“Evening, sir. I have your list. 100 kids said trick-or-treat. 95 kids said thank you. Five kids took their candy and ran,” reported Jack-O-Lantern.
“Excellent.” said the man, “See you next October.”
“Goodnight, Santa,” replied Jack-O-Lantern.

#4 Nothing To Wear
It was Halloween day,
soon to be night.
Where darkness would lurk,
between Halloween lights.
But Harry and Ava
had nothing to wear.
No colourful costume,
to give folks a scare.
So off they both set,
to "Costumes'R'us".
Hitching a ride, on the
666 bus.
They said to the driver,
"Your costume is cool.
Totally haunting,
just like a ghoul"
He smiled and he nodded
"it's Costumes'R'us"
then he drove them both there,
and they jumped off the bus.
But the shop sign said "closed",
How could that be?
Then the driver and bus,
disappeared from the street.

#5 Grow-A-Ghoul
“Grow-a-Ghoul in 31 days. Guaranteed to be a hit on Halloween. Keep your Ghoul in a dark closet, and feed them a cup of fruit punch every day,” read Meredith.
“Oh goody,” said Ethan, “I can’t wait to scare the pants off Franz Findley.
“My ghoul is going to haunt the whole town,” boasted Sarah.
On October 31st, the ghouls floated out of the closet.
“WOOOOOOO,” wailed Meredith’s ghoul.
“AAAHHHHOOOOO,” moaned Ethan’s ghoul.
“Let’s be best friends! We can hold hands and wear matching princess costumes!” exclaimed Sarah’s ghoul.
“Oh dear,” said Sarah, “My ghoul is broken.”

#6 The Unicorn Ate My Candy Corn: A Halloween Tall Tale
My costume’s crumpled in a heap,
My candy’s in the pail.
Blinking eyes, I’m close to sleep
Until I hear a wail.
And then a snort. And clacking feet.
I think my room is haunted.
A voice neighed out, “I NEED A TREAT!”
I ask what kind it wanted.
“The sweetest treat, shaped like my horn.
With bands of orange and yellow.
I’m craving all your candy corn!”
I hear the creature bellow.
My room is dark, but now I see
Four legs, a mane. . . a horn?
Who ate the treats? It wasn’t me.
I blame the unicorn.

#7 Paisley The Ghostling
Paisley loved Halloween.
What other day could a ghostling wear a costume, trick-or-treat, and play in the
dark?
Paisley wished she could join the fun, but she had scare duty like all the other ghostlings.
Boo-hoo. What's a ghost to do?
An idea came as quick as a spook.
She'd wear a costume and haunt the kids trick-or-treating.
Paisley dressed as broccoli.
Vegetables were sure to bring a fright.
Paisley yelled, “Eat your vegetables!”
All the kids screamed.
Paisley had a spooktacular time.
Next year she will go as parsnip.

#8 A Meaty Trick-or-Treat
Once upon a Trick or Treat,
T. Rex set out to get some meat.
He and friends went door to door,
Until their bags could hold no more.
"T" raced home past ghosts and clowns,
Costumed pets, and haunted frowns.
When safely home, he dumped his treats:
Frog legs, pork, and scrumptious meats,
Gizzards, ribs, roast beef, and turkey,
White meat, dark meat, Jamaican jerky!
Then "T" saw something quite bizarre...
A package labeled, "CHOCOLATE BAR."
He grabbed it, halved it, took a bite,
But something simply wasn't right.
He stuffed some bacon in between,
And CHOMPED his Halloween Supreme

#9 An Alien Goes Trick-or-Treating
Allen the Alien has landed on Earth on a cold, dark October night.
“Cool costume!” shouts a princess.
“Take me to your leader,” quips a vampire.
“Beep. Boop. Bop,” greets a robot.
Allen is confused.
“Where did his mother find that outfit?” remarks a witch dragging along a little ghost.
The Earthlings are playing dress up!
Allen puts on his costume – jeans, t-shirt, cap, sneakers. Aliens love to dress up as Earthlings.
Allen follows four ninja turtles to a haunted house.
“Trick or Treat!”
“Poor kid doesn’t have a costume,” whispers the ogre handing out candy.
Allen smiles.

#10 Spider's Halloween Debut
Spider spun her sticky web
and scrutinized the scene below.
A ghoulish ghost and ghastly witch
were putting on a scary show
to entertain a costumed crew
who bravely watched the chilling sight.
The audience heard gruesome groans
and shivered in the cold, dark night.
Spider itched to join the fun,
to haunt, to scare, to steal the show.
She dropped a line and skittered down,
but no one looked… so she let go
and landed on the witch’s neck.
Spider scampered, spider crawled,
She heard a screech! She heard a howl!

Creepy spider spooked them all.

#11 The Haunting

Tonight when children go to bed,
I’ll be that thing that they all dread.
I’ll creep into their darkened room,
A spirit from the grave exhumed.
For this is Halloween tonight,
When even darkness shakes with fright,
But I’ll be laughing with delight
When frightened children bolt upright!
What’s that in the children’s room?
A gang of youngsters in costume!
They’re waiting for me in the dark,
A clown, a monster,
…is that a shark?
Now it’s me who shakes with fright!
The children laughing with delight,
I bolt back to my burial site,
I won’t be haunting them tonight!

#12 The Teensy-Weensy Witch

On Halloween night: October thirty-one,
A teensy-weensy witch shrieked "Let's have fun!"
She packed her tiny spell book in her pointy purple hat,
Put on her witch's costume, grabbed her broomstick and her cat.
They left the tiny house in the thickening gloom,
And zoomed in the air on her itsy-bitsy broom.
Out of the dark came a haunting "Whoooooo...
Watch out witches we're after you!"
The witch gave a wobble, the broomstick took a crash,
Landing in a puddle with one ginormous splash!!!!!
DAGNABIT YOU GHOSTS OUT IN THE BLACK!!
Next Halloween I'll get you back!!!

#13 Goodnight Halloween

In the dark gray room
Lay a tattered costume
A dim glow-stick
And a bent witch broom
And the smell of
Fresh chocolate’s sugar perfume
And there were three little ghosts
Haunting a house
And a pair of black cats
With a little toy mouse
And a sad saggy pumpkin, flame guttered out
Goodnight room
Goodnight broom
Goodnight sweets I can’t consume
Goodnight mouse
Goodnight cat
Goodnight house and witch’s hat
Goodnight glowstick
Goodnight ghosts
Goodnight pumpkin-love you most
Goodnight socks and tired feet
Goodnight Halloween
Goodnight trick or treat

Now that you've had a chance to read through the finalists, please vote for the entry you feel deserves to win in the poll below by 5PM EST Wednesday November 4.
2015 Halloweensie Contest
Tune in Thursday November 5 to see THE WINNERS!!!

Thank you all so much for taking the time to write (if you did), read, and vote!  These contests simply wouldn't be what they are without all of you!

I can't wait to see who the winners will be!

Tune in Thursday... same bat time, same bat station :)

(And we will have a regularly scheduled Would You Read It on Wednesday too!)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to lie on the couch and eat bonbons all day.

Okay.

Not really.

I'm actually driving to Vermont as we speak and will be in the car all day, so forgive me if I don't reply to your blog comments until later!

But don't worry - I have plenty of miniature Halloween chocolate bars to keep my sustained whilst I drive... and A Clash Of Kings on audible to listen to (yes, I'm officially hooked on the Game of Thrones series! :))

Have a marvelous Monday everyone!!!

0 Comments on The 2015 Halloweensie Contest FINALISTS! - Vote For Your Favorite!!! as of 11/2/2015 4:21:00 AM
Add a Comment
5. The 5th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest - aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!!!

Ear of snake and tongue of bat!  It's finally time for...

The 5th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!
aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!!!


courtesy google images
The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words costumedark, and haunt.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie - because it's not very long and it's for little people :)  (And yes, I know 100 words is short but that's part of the fun and the challenge!  We got over 130 fantastic entries last year so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form - e.g. haunt, haunts, haunted, darkness, darkening, costumed, whathaveyou :)  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between right now this very second and Friday October 30th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the link list below.  There will be no Would You Read It this week, and no PPBF, so the post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy.  If you don't have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of that post once it's up. (Or, if you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I'll post it for you!)

The Judging: in a grueling, marathon weekend, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee - you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we'll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 2nd.  The winner will be announced in a special Thursday post on November 5th.  If we get more than 20 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st through 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turn out we did last year, all bets are off.  I may post as many as 10 finalists and I'll probably end up giving everyone a prize :)  But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it :)

The Prizes: as always, our generous community has contributed some truly amazing prizes!

 - a read and comments on a PB ms by fabulous agent Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency!!!

Tricia Lawrence - Agent

Tricia is the "Pacific Northwest branch" of EMLA—born and raised in Oregon, and now lives in Seattle. After 19 years of working as a developmental and production-based editor (from kids books to college textbooks, but mostly college textbooks), she joined the EMLA team in March 2011 as a social media strategist.

As agent, Tricia represents picture books/chapter books that look at the world in a unique and unusual way, with characters that are alive both on and off the page, and middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction that offers strong worldbuilding, wounded narrators, and stories that grab a reader and won't let go.

Tricia loves hiking, camping out in the woods, and collecting rocks. She loves BBC America and anything British. She has way too many books and not enough bookshelves. You can find Tricia's writing about blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, and other social media topics (for authors and the publishing industry at large) here and here.

 - a picture book manuscript critique by Diana Murray!  website

Diana Murray writes stories and poems for children. She is the author of several forthcoming picture books, including CITY SHAPES illustrated by Bryan Collier (Little, Brown, June 2016), GRIMELDA: THE VERY MESSY WITCH illustrated by Heather Ross (Katherine Tegen Books /HarperCollins, July 2016), NED THE KNITTING PIRATE illustrated by Leslie Lammle (Roaring Brook Press /Macmillan, August 2016), and GROGGLE'S MONSTER VALENTINEillustrated by Bats Langley (Sky Pony Press, Fall 2016). 


Diana was awarded the 2010 SCBWI Barbara Karlin Work-in-Progress Grant for a picture book manuscript. She has many poems published and forthcoming in magazines, including SpiderHighlightsHigh Five, and Hello. Diana won the SCBWI Magazine Merit Award for poetry in 2013 and 2014, as well as the Honor Award in 2013. Diana is represented by Brianne Johnson at Writers House literary agency. She recently moved from the Bronx to a nearby suburb, where she lives with her husband, two very messy children, and a goldfish named Pickle. 


 - a query critique from Heather Ayris Burnell, founder of the Sub It Club

Heather is a mom by day, children's book writer by night, and librarian on the side. Her picture book, Bedtime Monster, is published by Raven Tree Press. She has far too many manuscripts in various stages of development. If only she didn't need sleep! Represented by Sean McCarthy Literary Agency.


- a 6 month subscription to One Stop For Writers (value $50)

 - an e-pub or PDF copy (winner's choice) of Linda Ashman's Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books.

 - personalized signed copies of Sarah Frances Hardy's Dress Me! and Paint Me!


 - a personalized signed copy of Amy Dixon's Sophie's Animal Parade


 - a personalized signed copy of Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca Gomez's What About Moose?

- a personalized signed copy of Penny Parker Klostermann's There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed A Knight

Please join me again in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N or anywhere else if you like them, or supporting them in any other way you can dream up :)

Now then.  Time for my sample entry which I provide because I would never ask you to do anything I wouldn't do myself.  Also, in case anyone is worried about the quality of their entry they have only to read my truly horrific attempt to be filled with confidence that their's is MUCH better!  I have to confess, I was really down to the wire this year (my schedule is a little bit nuts!), so, ahem, yeah.. maybe I'll think up something better during the week and swap it!

So, here goes nothing...!

Halloween Surprise! (100 words)

Halloween.  Trick-or-treat.
Spooky shadows.  Darkenedstreet.
Suddenly my brother, Jay,
Tugs my arm.  “Let’s go this way!”
He pulls me off the beaten track,
Passes Old Man Clancy’s shack.
Creeping fog licks at our heels.
I don’t like the way this feels.
Something glides in silent flight,
Ghostly shapes against the night.
“Witches!  Let’s go home!” I say.
“Owls.  Let’s go on,” says Jay.
Spidered moonlight through the trees.
Heartbeat pounding.  Shaky knees.
Up ahead this haunted night
Monsters dance by bonfire light!
Turning!  Running!
Then, “SURPRISE!”
Costumed monsters end disguise.
Cake and presents, friends who say,
“Happy Halloween Birthday!”

Everyone feeling better about their stories now?  I should certainly HOPE so! :)

I can't wait to read all of yours!  I'm so looking forward to them!  I hope there will be a lot - the more the merrier!  And there are still 4 days to write, so you have time if you haven't written yet.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.

Remember to put your post-specific link (not your general blog link or people will find the wrong page if you post again before the contest is over) in the list below!

Happy Writing and Happy Halloween!!! :)


0 Comments on The 5th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest - aahhhrrrooooOOOOO!!!! as of 10/26/2015 4:23:00 AM
Add a Comment
6. It's About That Time...!

Happy Columbus Day everyone!

I hope you're all enjoying days off from school and work!!!

You know what I always say?

What better way to celebrate Columbus Day then by talking about Halloween?!

And what's more interesting, fun and exciting about Halloween then anything else (except for miniature candy bars that have no calories because of their tiny-ness!)???

The 5th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!
Can you believe we're at the 5th???!!!


courtesy google images
The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words costumedark, and haunt.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie - because it's not very long and it's for little people :)  (And yes, I know 100 words is short but that's part of the fun and the challenge!  We got over 130 fantastic entries last year so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form - e.g. haunt, haunts, haunted, darkness, darkening, costumed, whathaveyou :)  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Monday October 26th and Friday October 30th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my October 26th post.  There will be no Would You Read It that week, and no PPBF, so the post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy.  If you don't have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of that post once it's up. (Or, if you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I'll post it for you!)

The Judging: in a grueling, marathon weekend, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee - you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we'll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 2nd.  The winner will be announced in a special Thursday post on November 5th.  If we get more than 20 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st through 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turn out we did last year, all bets are off.  I may post as many as 10 finalists and I'll probably end up giving everyone a prize :)  But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it :)

The Prizes:  yeah... I'm still working on the prizes :)  Feel free to chime in in the comments if there's something you'd particularly like to win! :)  But prizes will include:

 - a read and comments on a PB ms by fabulous agent Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency!!!
 - a 6 month subscription to One Stop For Writers (value $50)
 - an e-pub or PDF copy (winner's choice) of Linda Ashman's Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books.
 - hopefully some other critiques and helpful books/resources... like I said, I'm still working on it :)

Plus whatever else I dream up in the meantime :)

I hope those fantabulous prizes fill you with enthusiasm for the contest!

So sharpen your pencils!

Get your butt in that chair!

See what amazing, knock-your-socks-off story you can dream up!

It's a chance to hone your writing skills, practice your craft, write to specifications and a deadline, win amazing prizes, AND get to read and enjoy the wonderful stories written by all your fellows :)

Many thanks to Tricia for her very generous prize offering!

I literally cannot wait to read your stories!!! :)

Have a Marvelous Monday everyone! :)



0 Comments on It's About That Time...! as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
7. How a Writing Contest for Students is Changing the Immigration Narrative

LEE & LOW BOOKS has two writing contests for unpublished authors of color: the New Voices Award, for picture book manuscripts, and the New Visions Award, for middle grade and young adult manuscripts. Both contests, which are now open for submissions aim to recognize the diverse voices and talent among new authors of color who might otherwise remain under the radar of mainstream publishing.

In this guest post, we wanted to highlight another groundbreaking writing contest that’s bringing attention to marginalized voices and fostering a love of writing in students: the Celebrate America Writing Contest run by the American Immigration Council. Coming into its 19th year, the Celebrate America Writing Contest for fifth graders has been bringing attention to the contributions of immigrants in America through the eyes and pens of our youngest writers.

In this guest post, Claire Tesh, Senior Manager of Education at the American Immigration Council, discusses the mission of the Celebrate America Writing Contest and how it has helped to shape the immigration narrative.claire tesh

It is impossible to escape the negative vitriol and hateful rhetoric around the issue of immigration that dominates the headlines, talk radio, popular culture, and in some cases the dinner table. In an effort to educate children and communities about the value of immigration to our society The American Immigration Council teams up with schools and community groups to provide young people the resources and information necessary to think critically about immigration from both a historical and contemporary perspective, while working collaboratively and learning about themselves and their communities.

The American Immigration Council developed “Celebrate America,” an annual national creative writing contest for fifth graders, because they are at the age where they are discovering their place in the world both locally and globally. They are also finding their own voice, opinions and ideas through writing, creating and sharing.   Students at this age start making sense of current events; they have a better working knowledge of basic history, and have a sense of global awareness.

Thousands of Entries

“Celebrate America” began 19 years ago with just a couple dozen entries. Today it has grown to over 5,000 entries annually! Since 1997 a total of close to 75,000 students have participated in two dozen cities, in nearly 750 schools and community centers across the nation.

As the lead on the contest since 2006, I have read thousands of entries and have attended numerous events featuring the writers. It is difficult to pick just one example, but in 2008 the winning entry America is a Refuge really showed how much a 10-12 year old can comprehend about the issue. That year, the winner, Cameron Busby, explained to a reporter from the Tucson Citizen that “I want to be a horror writer when I grow up,” and in order to tell the story of America being a place people come to be safe and thrive, he used bits and pieces of some of his classmate’s true horror stories of their own or their family member’s immigration journeys. This excerpt shows the young writer’s entry and how he made sense of injustice and how America has always been a nation symbolic as a beacon for hope:

A small child holds out a hoping

hand,

a crumb of bread,

or even a penny just to be fed

Hoping America is a refuge. A 

child weeps over her mother’s 

lifeless body,

the tears streaming down her

face

Praying America is a refuge.

Part of the reason why it’s a popular contest is because it fits neatly with the fifth grade curriculum and it is easy for teachers to implement by offering timely lessons and expository learning opportunities from classroom visits by experts to interactive web-based games. The contest is unique in that it allows for any written work that captures the essence of why the writer is proud that America is a nation of immigrants and students can express themselves through narrative, descriptive, expository, or persuasive writings, poetry, and other forms of written expressions. The teaching and learning opportunities the contest brings to both the classroom and the community has made it very popular and most teachers who participate do so year after year.In the Classroom

Monica Chun, a teacher from Seattle who has participated in the contest for several years and whose student, Erin Stark, was a national winner in 2013, starts the assignment by asking students to ask their relatives at home a question: “Who was the first person in our family to come to America?” No matter what ethnicity or how recent or distant a family’s arrival be, every student is going to have a unique answer to this question.

Involving the Community

”Celebrate America” encourages youth, families and surrounding communities to evaluate and appreciate the effects of immigration in their own lives. The unique contest includes the following components:

  • Immigration attorneys or trained volunteers visit classrooms, whether in person or virtually. The visitors give short presentations about the history of American immigration and the contributions immigrants have made over the years;
  • Teachers complement the contest by implementing lessons about immigration, social justice and diversity into their curriculum;
  • The American Immigration Council provides classrooms with innovative, relevant, and interactive lessons and resources;
  • Communities organize events, naturalization ceremonies and other celebrations to showcase the local winners;
  • The winning entry from each locale is sent to the national office and judged by well-known journalists, immigration judges and award winning authors;
  • The winning entry is read into the Congressional record, a flag is flown over the Capitol in the winner’s honor and the winner reads their entry at a 700+ person event that celebrates immigration; and
  • In the submissions the youth voice brings hope that there will be solutions to the immigration debate.

The American Immigration Council believes that teachers, parents, and students are essential to building a collective movement toward a better future: in our classrooms, in our schools, and in the larger society.   With the community’s engagement, educators, parents and students can help bridge this divide and approach the issue of immigration with intelligence and empathy.

american immigration council

Contest Impact

The contest has an impact not only in the schools and communities that participate, but also in the halls of Congress. Each year when the winning entry is read into the Congressional Record, it is rewarding to know that our leaders are hearing words of wisdom from a young person who has big ideas and who has chosen to use their voice to invite others to learn about immigration and to celebrate America’s diversity.

When the winning entries are read to new citizens at naturalization ceremonies or at dinner galas in communities of all sizes, almost every attendee has tears in their eyes because the young readers are speaking from their hearts and they represent the future. Each and every year the young writers continue to surprise us with the depth and empathy in their writings whether it is their common sense solutions to an immigration system or the story of their own immigrant background. Any writer, no matter how old and how experienced, should look at these entries to get a sense for authentic voice and various styles of writing. The thousands of students who submit to the contest get recognized in their communities and the affect is exponential because students start in the classroom and their voice continues to be shared within their schools, within their communities and beyond.

The students participating in “Celebrate America” are America’s future citizens, voters, educators and activists and it is truly an honor to shape the contest so that it provides some of the tools to think critically about immigration and to learn to explore the economic and moral effects of immigration policy as they engage in the public debates. But, today as we try to navigate the complicated maze that is immigration law and policy, it is through their incredible choice of words, that they are our guides, our teachers, and our voices of reason.

For further information on eligibility and submission process:

0 Comments on How a Writing Contest for Students is Changing the Immigration Narrative as of 8/24/2015 10:02:00 AM
Add a Comment
8. Two Authors Share What “Voice” Means To Them

New Voices Award sealThis year marks our sixteenth annual New Voices Award, Lee & Low’s writing contest for unpublished writers of color.

In this blog series, past New Voices winners gather to give advice for aspiring writers. This month, we’re talking about what “voice” means to an author.

When discussing the various elements of writing craft, “voice” seems to be the most difficult to pin down. You can’t plot it on a chart or even clearly define what the word means, and yet it is one of the most important elements of a story. Editors (and readers) are always looking for strong, distinct voices. It is an invisible string that echoes throughout a story and pulls the reader in. And when an author or character’s voice is nonexistent or inconsistent, it is the first thing we notice.

Voice builds trust between the author, characters, and readers. To develop a strong voice that will ring true, an author needs to understand both the story and him/herself as a writer. What is the tone of the story? Who are your characters? If a key feature—gender, age, cultural background—of the main character changes, would the voice change? It should! There are many ways to approach “voice,” and below, Linda Boyden and Paula Yoo share their techniques.

Linda Boyden, author of The Blue Roses, New Voices Winner 2000New Voices Winners (1)

The Blue Roses was my first published book. I had written many picture book manuscripts prior to it, most of which are still gathering dust and mold, but now I see how that process was vital for me to evolve as a writer. I developed the voice of this main character, Rosalie, by experimenting.
I wrote many versions of the book. I considered writing it inthird person, having one of the adult
characters do the narrating for about a nano-second; in my heart I knew this was Rosalie’s story and no one else’s, but that didn’t stop me from more experimenting. I tried having her voice be that of a child, but Papa’s death would have been too harsh an experience for a child to deal with objectively. Instead, Rosalie narrates as her adult self, after having had enough time to smooth the edges of her loss. So experiment until you understand the heart of your character; that’s where you’ll find their true voice. 

Paula Yoo, author of Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds, New Voices Winner 2005

For me, voice comes out of nowhere. I can’t predict when I will find the “voice” of my story. Voice is not only the way my main character narrates the story (his/her style of speaking, their point of view, their personality) but also in the tone of the entire story (humorous, tragic, touching). Sometimes I find my “voice” AFTER I do a ton of research and preparation, such as figuring out the story beats and plot twists and the character’s emotional journey/arc. Sometimes the voice finds ME first—I’ll just start writing a story from the point of view of a character that has taken over me because he/she has something important and unique to say. Ultimately, I think “voice” for me comes from my heart. What moves me emotionally when I write? What about a story or character makes me laugh or cry? For me, “Voice” is the heart of my story—what emotions do I want to bring out in not only in my readers but also in myself? You can write a book that has the most original and surprising plot, the most compelling and fascinating characters, and a unique setting. But if there is no EMOTION, then that book falls flat. That’s where “Voice” comes in—“Voice” determines the emotion behind the story. I wish I could give a more specific answer with facts and evidence, but when it comes to writing from the heart, there is no formula.

 

0 Comments on Two Authors Share What “Voice” Means To Them as of 8/13/2015 1:28:00 PM
Add a Comment
9. Authors of Color: Submit Your Manuscript to the New Visions Award!

new visions award winnerSummer is already here! That means that the third annual NEW VISIONS AWARD is now open for submissions! Established by Tu Books, an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS that publishes middle grade and young adult books, the award is a fantastic chance for new authors of color to break into the world of publishing for young readers.

The New Visions Award writing contest is awarded for a middle grade or young adult manuscript, and is open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a middle grade or young adult novel published. The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize and a publication contract with LEE & LOW BOOKS.

Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani, the first New Visions Award winner, was named a Junior Library Guild Selection and received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.

The New Visions Award is modeled after LEE & LOW BOOKS’ successful New Voices Award for picture book manuscripts. New Voices submissions we have published include Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee StoryIt Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw, and Bird.

The deadline for this award is October 31, 2015.

For more eligibility and submissions details, visit the New Visions Award page. Spread the word to any authors you know who may be interested. Happy writing to you all and best of luck!

 

 

0 Comments on Authors of Color: Submit Your Manuscript to the New Visions Award! as of 6/18/2015 12:43:00 PM
Add a Comment
10. Five Authors Share Their Favorite Writing Prompts

New Voices Award sealThis year marks our sixteenth annual New Voices Award, Lee & Low’s writing contest for unpublished writers of color.

In this blog series, past New Voices winners gather to give advice for new writers. This month, we’re talking about writing prompts and what gets the creative juices flowing.

Linda Boyden, author of The Blue Roses, New Voices Winner 2000

Prompts are all around us. When I do school visits, I refer to the place where our imaginations live as the “Cosmic Goo,” and urge them to wander outside looking and listening to the wonders that spark our imaginations to awake. Nature is a never-ending source of writing inspirations. Because I am a voracious reader, I glean phrases from the books I devour. Since the Espresso Shotend of 2011, I have written a poem a day as the means to jump-start my prose writing. I use many of the phrases I’ve underlined in the books I own for my daily poetry prompt.

Paula Yoo, author of Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds, New Voices Winner 2003

My favorite writing prompt is to write from the point of view of an animal. It’s a writing exercise I teach in my writing classes as well. I love this writing exercise not only because I’m an animal lover and Crazy Cat Lady (ha) but because it forces you to think from the point of view of someone who is definitely NOT YOU. You have to know and embody the nature and physicality of the animal character, and it forces you to look at story and emotion with a new perspective. It’s a great exercise for point of view writing, and it helps me when I do write another children’s book because I am very conscious of writing from a child’s perspective, which is so different from mine as an adult.

Glenda Armand, author of Love Twelve Miles Long, New Voices Winner 2006

I don’t need much to prompt me to write. Usually I have the opposite problem. I need to a compelling reason to stop writing:

It’s past midnight and I have to substitute teach in the morning.

Clothes are mildewing in the washer.

The fridge would be empty if not for egg whites and ketchup.

On the other hand, a writing prompt for me would be an early morning after a good night’s sleep: My mind is clear.

My thoughts are flowing.

My coffee is steaming.

My computer is calling.

I answer the call.

Pamela Tuck, author of As Fast As Words Could Fly, New Voices Winner 2007

I don’t really write from prompts, but what I try to use as a guideline for all my writing is the use of sensory details: Seeing, Hearing, Feeling, Smelling and Tasting. It’s not always relevant to include all of these details, but it’s good to include at least 3 within a scene. If I feel that I can’t move forward in a story, I’ll “step inside” my character and try to figure out what “I” am seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling or tasting at that point. If my character is neutral, then it’s time to rewrite the scene.

Jennifer Torres, author of Finding the Music, New Voices Winner 2011

I enjoy finding and thinking about interesting writing prompts, but I don’t have a favorite. I have to confess, when it comes to writing prompts, I usually don’t get past the “thinking about it” stage. However, I used to work for a daily newspaper, and I learned from that experience how valuable it can be to cultivate a habit of writing – in a structured way – every day. And I turn to newspapers, sometimes, when I’m stuck or need a place to start. Headlines can make for some pretty great prompts. Direct quotes are even better – like an overheard piece of conversation. Here’s one that helped me pull FINDING THE MUSIC into focus: “He wanted to rest in peace, but with music.”

0 Comments on Five Authors Share Their Favorite Writing Prompts as of 5/27/2015 2:29:00 PM
Add a Comment
11. Submit Your Picture Book Manuscript to the New Voices Award!

New Voices Award sealSummer is almost there! That means that the sixteenth annual NEW VOICES AWARD is now open for submissions. Established in 2000, the New Voices Award was one of the first (and remains one of the only) writing contests specifically designed to help authors of color break into publishing, an industry in which they are still dramatically underrepresented.

Change requires more than just goodwill; it requires concrete action. The New Voices Award is a concrete step towards evening the playing field by seeking out talented new authors of color who might otherwise remain under the radar of mainstream publishing.

NEW VOICES AWARD submissions we have published include Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story, It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw, and Bird.

The contest is open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a children’s picture book published.

The deadline for this award is September 30, 2015.

For more eligibility and submissions details, visit the New Voices Award page and read these FAQs. Spread the word to any authors you know who may be interested. Happy writing to you all and best of luck!

 

 

 

0 Comments on Submit Your Picture Book Manuscript to the New Voices Award! as of 5/15/2015 12:53:00 PM
Add a Comment
12. Tu Books Announces Winner of New Visions Award Contest for Writers of Color

new visions award winnerNew York, NY— May 7, 2015— Tu Books, the middle grade and young adult imprint of respected multicultural children’s publisher LEE & LOW BOOKS, is thrilled to announce that author Axie Oh has won its second annual New Visions Award for her young adult science fiction novel, The Amaterasu Project.

The award honors a fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel for young readers by an author of color who has not previously published a novel for that age group. It was established to encourage new talent and to offer authors of color a chance to break into a tough and predominantly white market.

The Amaterasu Project takes place in a futuristic Korea wracked by war and a run by a militarized government, where the greatest weapon—and perhaps the greatest hope—is a genetically modified girl. “The futuristic sci-fi setting is inspired by a combination of Japanese concept art and animated television series,” says Oh. “I hope my new book gives to readers what books have always given to me—a new world to explore and new characters to fall in love with.” Oh will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and a publication contract with Tu Books.

Last year, books by authors of color comprised less than six percent of the total number of books published for young readers, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The annual New Visions Award is a step toward the day when all young readers can see themselves in books.

Two books were chosen as New Visions Award Honors: Yamile Saied Mendez’s On These Magic Shores and Andrea Wang’s Eco-Agent Owen Chang. On These Magic Shores is a contemporary middle grade novel with a touch of magical realism about 12-year-old Minerva, who must step up to take care of her younger sisters when her mother, who is undocumented, goes missing. Eco-Agent Owen Chang is a humorous middle grade mystery about Owen Chang, a middle schooler who moonlights as a secret agent for an undercover environmental organization. Mendez and Wang will each receive a cash prize of $500.

While writing their manuscripts, both Wang and Méndez stressed the importance of seeking out books by and about people of color. “I naturally gravitate toward books by authors of color because they tell stories that mirror my experience as a person of color too,” says Méndez. Similarly, Wang says, “I’m all for reading books that are outside your comfort zone or told from an unfamiliar perspective. Personally, I would rather expand my reading horizons than restrict it.”

ABOUT: Tu Books, an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, publishes diverse speculative fiction for young readers. It is the company’s mission to publish books that all young readers can identify with and enjoy. For more information, visit leeandlow.com/imprints/3.

###

0 Comments on Tu Books Announces Winner of New Visions Award Contest for Writers of Color as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
13. Meet Our New Visions Award Finalists: Part III

Last month we announced the six finalists for our 2015 New Visions Award. The Award recognizes a middle grade or young adult novel in the sci-fi, fantasy, or mystery genres by an unpublished author of color (our first New Visions Award winner, Ink and Ashes, will be released this June!).

As our award committee gets to know the finalists through their novels, we wanted to give our blog readers a chance to get to know these talented writers as well. We asked each finalist some questions. In previous posts, we interviewed finalists Grace Rowe and Andrea Wang, and finalists Shilpa Kamat and Rishonda Anthony.

Below authors Yamile Saied Méndez and Axie Oh answser:

Yamile Mendez thumbnailYamile Saied Méndez, “On These Magic Shores”

Tell us a little about the main character in your novel.

 My main character is twelve-year old Minerva Soledad Madrid and she can’t wait to grow up. The oldest of three girls, she’s a Latina who speaks Spanish and who’s proud of her cultural heritage. Her parents are of Argentine descent, and her mom (who’s raising the girls by herself) teaches the girls the Argentine traditions she grew up with. She sings the lullabies of her childhood, and most importantly, she passes on her belief in the Peques (short for Pequeñitos, the Little Ones), the Argentine fairies, who follow their families as they move around the world. Because the family doesn’t have a support system, Minerva had to step up and be a second mother for her sisters while their mother works two jobs to make ends meet. Minerva wants to be the first Latina president of the United States. She’s determined and focused. She doesn’t believe in magic, but she wants to, oh how she wants to believe the fairies take care of her and her sisters while their mom is away! In the story, Minerva learns how to be a child again (kind of like a reverse Peter Pan) because magic is really all around us!

What advice would you give your younger self about writing?   Don’t pay attention to the inner editor!

If I could send my younger self a message, it would be: follow you heart, write what you want to write, and trust your voice. I wrote my first story in the first grade, and looking for validation, I showed it to my uncle. Instead of the praise I expected, he told me a few things that didn’t work in his expert opinion. After that, I started writing with my inner editor reading over my shoulder, until I got to a point in which I wasn’t sure anyone would ever be interested in what I wanted to say. Don’t pay attention to the inner editor! Get the story out of your heart! There’s a lot of time to fix things during revision. Revision is your friend.

I also would say a big THANK YOU. My younger self was a little like Minerva: determined and persistent. I taught myself English at a young age, and I’m forever grateful to little Yamile for all the hard work. It’s paying off!

What is your writing process? What techniques do you use to get past writer’s block?

I wrote my first full novel during NaNoWriMo back in 2008. My goal was to win NaNo by writing 50,000 words in 24 days (I found out about National Novel Writing Month on November 6th, but I still reached my goal). Since then, I’ve learned to pour out my first draft on the page and then go back and revise. This has resulted in a lot of drafts that will never see the light of day, but it has also produced some powerful writing that came straight from my heart (like the NaNo in 2013, a few days after my mother passed away). I write every day, or at least, most days. Sometimes my ideas are born of a single word, or a person I see who makes me wonder about their lives. Sometimes the ideas simmer in my head and my heart for years, until I feel I ready to tell them. Right now I’m working on a story that was born about twelve years ago when I lived in Puerto Rico. I’ve learned that even if something I write isn’t ready for me to share with my critique group, it’s still an important piece of writing because it taught me what doesn’t work or what needs more depth. I love to do writing exercises from craft books like Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway et al, Steering the Craft, by Ursula Le Guin, and The Plot Whisperer, by Martha Alderson. Even if not all of these exercises end up in my manuscript, I often find wonderful information about my characters (or myself) that helps me tell the story better.

Recently, there’s been quite a lot of debate over the idea of readers who choose to take a break from books written by a certain group, such as white male authors. What’s your take on this?

First of all, I feel that people should read whatever they want to read without fear of mocking or teasing of any kind. I naturally gravitate toward books by authors of color because they tell stories that mirror my experience as a person of color too. As a child, I never remembered who wrote what. I loved Little Women and Heidi because I identified with Jo March and Heidi who lived with her grandpa. But as an adult and a writer, I want to learn from the masters how to tell the stories that inhabit my mind and my heart, and there’s no better way than to read their stories to know how to tell mine.

What are your favorite books or writers in the same genre as your manuscript? 

I have hundreds of favorite books, but in middle grade I love everything by Katherine Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia is my favorite), Gary D. Schmidt (Okay for Now), Shannon Hale (Princess Academy), Kelly Barnhill (The Witch’s Boy. Wow!), and Erin Bow (Pain Kate). I also love everything by Meg Medina (especially The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind) and Julia Alvarez (the Tia Lola books are the best!), and of course Pam Muñoz Ryan (Esperanza Rising). But my favorite stories ever are fairy tales, from all over the world, and of course Peter Pan has a special place in my heart.

Axie Oh thumbnailAxie Oh, “The Amaterasu Project”

Tell us a little about the main character in your novel.

His name is Lee Jaewon (Koreans put their surnames before their given names). He’s 18-years-old. He’s a quiet, keep under the radar type of person, with a strong sense of loyalty and a distrust of hope. At the start of the book, he lives alone in a dingy apartment in Old Seoul (my future Korea is split between Old and Neo Seoul). He hasn’t spoken to his best friend in three years. He’s rejecting these mysterious envelopes full of cash, sent from his mother who he hasn’t seen since he was eight. I see him as a character with a very tired soul who longs to forgive everyone who’s hurt him in his life, yet doesn’t know how to begin, or even if it matters.

 Physically, he looks like Lee Jong Suk. If you don’t know who that is, well, you’re in for a treat: Google him! (He’s a South Korean actor).

What advice would you give your younger self about writing?

You are fabulous! Keep on doing what you’re doing! Okay, maybe that’s not advice. More like ego-boosting. But every teenager needs a good ego-boost now and then, especially when writing, which is literally pouring your soul onto a page.

What is your writing process? What techniques do you use to get past writer’s block?

My writing process is pretty linear. I outline heavily, with scene-setting and dialogue for some significant scenes that will appear in the novel. I do character and worldbuilding charts. I compile pictures/illustrations of places and people who inhabit the spirit of my characters. Then I go through the whole book, from the first chapter to the last, with heavy editing in between. Then of course more revisions. The last two steps are printing the whole book out and attacking it with a bunch of colorful pens. The more colors the better! And then reading the whole book out loud while recording it. THEN I send it to my beta readers and critique partners – this is the point where I can’t make it any better by myself. As for writer’s block, when I come up

As for writer’s block, when I come up against that particular wall, I always start with the spark that made me want to write the book in the first place. The characters. I go back to the sketches I wrote of the characters and add onto them, delving deeper into their backgrounds and psyches. And/or I’ll re-read scenes I’ve already written that contain the “voice” of the characters, which makes me fall in love with the characters all over again. It’s all about making myself believe in the characters so that I want to finish their story.

Recently, there’s been quite a lot of debate over the idea of readers who choose to take a break from books written by a certain group, such as white male authors. What’s your take on this?

The idea behind this, I believe – at least for avoiding white, male authors specifically – is that by avoiding this group, you will therefore seek out stories written by women, people of color or LGBT writers, enriching your perspective of the world, which is always a viable and recommended thing to do.

As a reader, I seek out stories with strong coming-of-age themes and themes of love, in all its shapes and forms. When I read, it’s about seeking these types of books in an inclusive setting.

What are your favorite books or writers in the same genre as your manuscript, and why?

Tough one because I haven’t read enough YA Sci-Fi to have particular favorites. I watch a lot of Sci-Fi dramas and anime (which heavily influenced my novel), but I don’t particularly have favorite books that are in the YA Sci-Fi genre. For example, one of my favorite anime/manga franchises is the Gundam franchise, which deals with futuristic societies, technological advancements and very human themes of love, hate, honor and betrayal.

Recently, I read the first two books in Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners series, which were pretty awesome – jam-packed with action and strong themes of what it means to be a hero.

On the opposite end of Sci-Fi, focusing more on character, I really love the quiet strength of Diana Peterfreund’s For Darkness Shows the Stars, a dystopic re-telling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, taking place on a futuristic Pacific Islands.

0 Comments on Meet Our New Visions Award Finalists: Part III as of 4/16/2015 1:11:00 PM
Add a Comment
14. Awards and Grants for Authors of Color

Getting your book published is difficult, and unfortunately it tends to be much harder when you’re a Person of Color. While there are more diverse books being published, there’s still a lot of work to do!

Fortunately there are awards and grants out there help writers of color achieve their publication dreams.

We’ve created a list of awards and grants to help you get started!

New Voices Award – Established in 2000, is for the unpublished author of color for a picture book manuscript.

Awards and Grants for Writers of ColorNew Visions Award – Modeled after LEE & LOW’s New Voices Award, this award is for Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Mystery middle grade or YA novels.

SCBWI Emerging Voices Grant – This award is given to two unpublished writers or illustrators from ethnic and/or cultural backgrounds that are traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America and who have a ready-to-submit completed work for children.

The Angela Johnson Scholarship from Vermont College of Fine Arts – This scholarship is for new students of color of an ethnic minority for VCFA’s MFA program.

Vaunda Micheaux Nelson Scholarship from Hamline College – “Annual award given to a new or current student in the program who shows exceptional promise as a writer of color.”

We Need Diverse Books Short Story Contest - This short story contest was inspired by Walter Dean Myers’ quote, “Once I began to read, I began to exist.”

The Scholastic Asian Book Award – This award is for Asian writers writing books set in Asia aimed at children 6-18 years of age.

Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund – This fund enables writers of color to attend the Clarion writing workshops where writer Octavia Butler got her start.

SLF Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds Grants – These grants are new works and works in progress. The Diverse Writers Grant focuses on writers from underrepresented and underprivileged backgrounds, and the Diverse Worlds Grant is for stories that best present a diverse world, regardless of the author’s background.

Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award – This one time grant is awarded to an emerging writer of color of crime fiction.

NYFA Artists’ Fellowships – These fellowships are for residents of New York State and/or Indian Nations located in New York State.

Golden Baobab Prizes for Literature – These annual awards recognize emerging African writers and illustrators.

The Sillerman First Prize for African Poets – This prize is for unpublished African poets.

What other awards and grants do you recommend for authors of color?

0 Comments on Awards and Grants for Authors of Color as of 2/19/2015 1:35:00 PM
Add a Comment
15. Whistle A Happy Tune

Good Monday, All!

So nice of you to pop by!

Remember on Friday I told you I had exciting news to share?

I'm guessing that's why you're here.

Because of the exciting news I promised.

I said, "Come on over as soon as you wake up!"

And look!  Here you are!

You're so wonderful :)

Okay!

Exciting news!

Guess what I did?

No, really!  Guess!

Never mind.  I'll tell you.

I made up a song!

Yep!

It's true!

Want to hear it?

Well, not actually hear it - I didn't have time to make a video or a recording - but hear it in the sense that I can tell you the tune and the words and you can imagine me singing it to you...

Yes?  Are you ready?

Okay.  The tune is "The Bear Went Over The Mountain" (because I live on a mountain, as you may recall, and I saw a bear a little over a week ago, which you may also recall.)

Ready?

OH. . . !!!!!!!
The dog went over the mountain
The dog went over the mountain
The dog went over the mounTAIN....
Because she saw a bear!
WOOF!

There!

What do you think?

Are you amazed?

I'm pretty amazed with myself, I have to tell you.  It's not every day someone writes a song like that!  (Hey!  Did someone say, "Thank goodness!"?  I heard that!  Keep it nice, people.  We can't all be as musically gifted as I am, but that's no reason to unleash the green-eyed monster!)

So I can now add "Songwriter" to my resume!

Happy sigh :)

Alrighty.  See you on Wednesday for Would You Read It.

Unless you've got nothing to do right now. . .
. . . and you're feeling reluctant to leave because you enjoyed my song so much that you want to hear it again. . .
. . . and you're also thinking that maybe... just MAYBE... you'd like to hear about. . .
(Oh, golly!  That was fun while it lasted! Hehehe!). . .




The 4th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we've no place to go
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!


The Contest:  Write a children's story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) in which wild weather impacts the holidays!  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words (I know!  So much freedom after the Halloweensie Contest :))  (It can be as short as you like, but no more than 350!)  Any kind of weather will do: sun, rain, sleet, heatwave, blizzard, tsunami, monsoon, hurricane, hail, tornado, etc!  Weather may be atypical for your setting (rain in Maine, frost in Florida), it may be extreme (blizzard instead of regular snow, drought instead of lush greenery), or it may be unheard of (spring flowers in Antarctica, snow in the Sahara, bathing suit weather at the North Pole), but whatever you choose, make us feel the impact on the holidays!  The wild weather may be a hindrance, a wish-come-true, a threat, a pleasant surprise, etc.  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  The wilder and wackier the better!  No illustration notes please. (And yes, if you feel compelled to submit more than one entry you may, just remember you're competing against yourself!)

Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between Monday December 8 and Friday December 12 at 11:59 PM EST, and your post-specific link should be added to the link list on the official holiday contest post which will go up on my blog on Monday December 8 and remain up through Sunday December 14 (no WYRI or PPBF during that week.)  If you don't have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments on my December 8th post.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I'll post your entry for you!)

The Judging:  My lovely assistant(s) and I will narrow down the entrants to 10-12 finalists (depending on the number of entries) which will be posted here on either Monday December 15 or Tuesday December 16 (depending on the number of entries :)) for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Thursday December 18 at 5 PM EST and the winners will be announced on Friday December 19.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to tenth place.  Judging criteria will be kid appeal/kid-friendliness, creativity of weather use in plot, quality of story, quality of writing, and originality.

The Prizes!:  Well, I hope these prizes are going to knock your socks off!!!  In the spirit of the holidays, winners will be named for 1st - 10th place.  In addition to the incredible fame of being able to say you won (or placed in) the Pretty Much World Famous 4th Annual Holiday Contest, the following AMAZING prizes will be awarded: (items in color are links for more info!)

 - A picture book manuscript read and critique by Shari Dash Greenspan, Editor of the multi-award winning Flashlight Press!  I encourage you to sign up for their newsletter HERE!
 - A picture book manuscript read and critique by Jennifer Mattson, Agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency!
 - Enrollment in Renee LaTulippe's highly praised and recommended Lyrical Language Lab Course (in a month to be mutually agreed upon by the winner and Renee) ($249 value!)
 - Enrollment in Jon Bard and Laura Backes's fantastic Kindle Kids Mastery Course ($197 value!)
 - Enrollment in Making Picture Book Magic (my online picture book writing class - in March or a later month to be mutually agreed upon by the winner and me)
 - A picture book manuscript critique by fabulous author Amy Dixon, author of MARATHON MOUSE and the forthcoming SOPHIE'S ANIMAL PARADE.
 - (Hopefully) 2 or 3 PB MS Critiques from other fabulous authors - TBA
 2015 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, a signed copy of Boy And Poi Poi Puppy by Linda Boyden, and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

I can't thank these editors, agents, authors, and other industry professionals enough for their incredible generosity!  Please visit their sites, spread the word of their classes, buy and recommend their books to your friends with kids, and show your appreciation to them in any way you can!

And now!  Sharpen those pencils!  Top off those coffee mugs!  Get those derrieres in your chairs!  And start writing those prize-winning entries!!!

I can't wait for the festivities to begin! :)



0 Comments on Whistle A Happy Tune as of 11/17/2014 5:37:00 AM
Add a Comment
16. An Interview with Lin Oliver on SCBWI’S Emerging Voices Award

On this blog we’ve often discussed our own New Voices and New Visions awards for unpublished authors of color. Today we wanted to spotlight another great award specifically for authors of color: the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

scbwi Emerging Voices Award

The On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award is a grant created to “foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books.” It offers two writers or writer/illustrators from under-represented backgrounds the chance to receive:

  • An all-expense paid trip to the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles August 1-4, 2015 (transportation and hotel)
  • Tuition to the SCBWI Summer Conference
  • A manuscript consultation at the Summer Conference with an industry professional
  • An additional meeting with an industry professional
  • Tuition to the Summer Conference Writers or Illustrators Intensive
  • A press release

We interviewed Lin Oliver, Executive Director of SCBWI, about the creation of the award and the role of SCBWI in diversifying the world of children’s book publishing.

When was the Emerging Voices Award established?

The SCBWI Emerging Voices Award was established in 2012, with funding from Martin and Sue Schmitt of the 455 Foundation.  The grant was created to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books. Each year, we select two writers or writer-illustrators for an all expense paid trip to the summer SCBWI conference, which includes a manuscript consultation and additional mentoring.  Qualified applicants must be from an ethnic or cultural background that is under-represented in children’s literature in America, such as Black or African-Americans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, American Indians or Asian-Americans.

Why did the SCBWI decide to establish the award?
The SCBWI is committed to encouraging the creation of a diverse body of literature for children. We believe that all children should be able to see themselves on the page and all readers will benefit from participating in diverse experiences through literature.  The representation of many cultures of ethnicities is vastly under-represented in today’s marketplace, and we hope this Award is a step to correcting that situation.

Have any past Emerging Voices winners gone on to receive publication contracts or publish books?

The award is still very young—there were three winners in 2012, and two in 2013.  As of now, all five winners are having their work-in-progress shared with editors and agents in the field.  There are no sales to report yet, but we feel confident that their work is in professional hands and receiving every possible consideration.

Emerging Voices Award winners

From L to R: Martin Schmitt, award winner Jennifer Baker, award winner Dow Phumiruk, and Sue Ganz-Schmitt

How do you perceive the SCBWI’s role in the greater movement for more diverse children’s books?

As the largest organization of children’s book writers and illustrators, we believe we play a leadership role in the movement to increase diversity in our field. We always make sure that the faculties of our national conferences include publishers, agents, authors and illustrators of diverse backgrounds.  We encourage our members to support and promote books from these publishers, authors and illustrators.  We often publish articles and papers about the role of diversity in children’s books, and work with other organizations such as the Children’s Book Council, First Book and We Need Diverse Books who are involved in this important initiative.

We all acknowledge the need to support aspiring authors of color, but their eventual success will be determined by the marketplace.  It is crucial that the these books prove to be not only artistic and social successes, but also commercially viable.From your perspective at the SCBWI, what are a few of the biggest obstacles that you see aspiring authors of color facing?

We all acknowledge the need to support aspiring authors of color, but their eventual success will be determined by the marketplace.  It is crucial that the these books prove to be not only artistic and social successes, but also commercially viable.  This is a challenge not just for children’s books but for our whole society—-we need to all show interest in and embrace all the diverse cultures that make up America.

Has the SCBWI taken any other steps to promote diversity among its membership?

In addition to the Emerging Voices Award, we have a special category in our Work in Progress Awards for multi-cultural books.  Many of our scholarships have been awarded to students of color. And our Amber Brown Grant sends authors to low-income schools who have never been able to afford an author visit.

How can publishers and the SCBWI work together to create a more inclusive industry?

In the past year, the We Need Diverse Books campaign has done a wonderful job of creating awareness of the lack of diversity in our field. That is the first step. The SCBWI will continue to provide opportunities for publishers to discover new talent. The publishers need to put forth their best effort to publish those books, and together, the SCBWI and the publishing community need to market those books and help bring them to the forefront in the consumer consciousness.

More information about The Society of Children’s Book Writers and all of its programs can be found at scbwi.org.  Please visit us.


Filed under: Awards, Diversity 102, Diversity, Race, and Representation, Publishing 101, Writer Resources Tagged: Emerging Voices Award, SCBWI, writers of color, writing contests, writing resources

1 Comments on An Interview with Lin Oliver on SCBWI’S Emerging Voices Award, last added: 10/11/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
17. About That Exciting Announcement I Promised Last Week

Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Last week I told you I had something exciting to tell you today and I do!

Are you ready?

dddddrrrrruuuuummmmmrrrrrooooollllllllll!!!!!

This week . . .

. . .

. . . Stop & Shop bath tissue is on sale for $.75 off!!!

I know!  It's not every day you get such incredible news!

So bring the van and load up, alrighty?  I knew you'd want to know!

Okey-dokey, then.

Thanks for stopping by.

I hope you all have a Marvelous Monday :)

See you on Wednesday for Would You Read It.

Bye.

Buh-bye now.

Bye! :)

Oh, but wait.  I guess there was one more thing. . .

Apparently I'm becoming very nice in my old age, because here it is, only October 6, with a full 3 weeks to go, and I'm announcing. . .

DUHN DUHN DUHN. . . !


The 4th Annual HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!
That's right!  It's about that time!


courtesy google images
The Contest:  write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words), using the words pumpkin, broomstick, and creak.   Your story can be scary, funny or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words (you can count candy corn as one word) and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie - because it's not very long and it's for little people :)  (And yes, I know 100 words is short but that's part of the fun and the challenge!  We got nearly 80 fantastic entries last year so I know you can do it!)  Also, you may use the words in any form - e.g. creak, creaky, creaks, creaking, creaked.

Post your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Monday October 27th and Friday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list that will accompany my October 27th post.  There will be no Would You Read It that week, and no PPBF, so the post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy.  If you don't have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section of that post once it's up. (Or, if you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I'll post it for you!)

The Judging: in a grueling, marathon weekend, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 3 top choices (hee hee hee - you know how much trouble I have with only 3, so we'll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday November 3rd.  The winner will be announced in a special Thursday post on November 6th.  If we get more than 20 entries, I will post 6 finalists and give prizes for 1st through 3rd.  If by some chance we get the kind of turn out we did last year, all bets are off.  I may post as many as 10 finalists and I'll probably end up giving everyone a prize :)  But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it :)

The Prizes:  yeah... I'm still working on the prizes :)  Feel free to chime in in the comments if there's something you'd particularly like to win! :)  But prizes will include:
 - Julie Hedlund's fantastic new course How To Make Money As An Author, interesting, educational and suitable for writers at any stage of their career,
 - a 2015 membership to Children's Book Insider, an absolutely fabulous resource for kid lit writers of all kinds generously offered by Jon Bard and Laura Backes,
 - a picture book manuscript critique from the renowned Alayne Christian (prose only, 800 words or less),
 - an e-pub or PDF copy (winner's choice) of Linda Ashman's Nuts And Bolts Guide To Writing Picture Books.
 - a PDF copy of Ryan Sias's A Spooky-Doodle E-Book, "doodle pages, drawing lessons and writing prompts inspire kids to invent their own stories, characters and artwork." 

Plus whatever else I dream up in the meantime :)

I hope those fantabulous prizes fill you with enthusiasm for the contest!

So sharpen your pencils!

Get your butt in that chair!

See what amazing, knock-your-socks-off story you can dream up!

It's a chance to hone your writing skills, practice your craft, write to specifications and a deadline, win amazing prizes, AND get to read and enjoy the wonderful stories written by all your fellows :)

Many thanks to Julie, Jon and Laura, Alayne, Linda, and Ryan for their very generous prize offerings!

I literally cannot wait to read your stories!!! :)

Now, for real, have a Marvelous Monday everyone! :)


0 Comments on About That Exciting Announcement I Promised Last Week as of 10/6/2014 5:11:00 AM
Add a Comment
18. Border-patrolling us. Fabulist fiction contest. Hard SF contest. L.A. latino sci-fi workshops.


Border Patrol Nation

Most U.S. citizens tend to think stopping undocumented workers at the border is a good thing that won't affect them. They should check out Todd Miller's new book about what militarization has done to the Land of the Free. It's entitled Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Homeland Security and here's some facts from it.

"The U.S. borders have long been Constitution-free zones where more or less anything goes, including warrantless searches of various sorts. In the twenty-first century, however, the border itself, north as well as south, has not only been increasingly up-armored, but redefined as a 100-mile-wide strip around the country.

"Our “borders” now cover an expanse in which nearly 200 million Americans, or two-thirds of the U.S. population, live. Included are nine of the 10 largest metropolitan areas. If you live in Florida, Maine, or Michigan, for example, no matter how far inland you may be, you are “on the border.” You can be stopped, interrogated, and searched “on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.”


See a bigger No Constitution map.


Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Chapbook Contest

I own a copy of a previous winner, In A Town Called Mundomuerto, and love the magical realist writing of author Randall Silvis. Anyway, the submission period for this contest doesn't begin until August, but this posting will give you speculative fiction writers time to get manuscripts prepared. There is a reading fee.

From the Omnidawnwebsite:
The winner of the annual Omnidawn Fabulist Fiction Chapbook Competition receives a $1,000 prize, publication of their chapbook with full-color cover, 100 copies, and display advertising and publicity.Fabulist Fiction includes magic realism and literary forms of fantasy, science fiction, horror, fable, and myth. Stories can be primarily realistic, with elements of non-realism, or primarily, or entirely non-realistic.

Open to all writers. All stories must be original, in English, and unpublished. 5,000 to 12,000 words, consisting of either one story or multiple stories. Online entries must be received between Aug. 1 and Oct. 22, 2014. Reading fee $18. We expect to publish the winning chapbook in August of 2015. 

About Omnidawn: "Since 2001, we publish writing that opens us anew to the myriad ways that language may bring new light, new awareness to us.
We began Omnidawn because of our belief that lively, culturally pertinent, emotionally and intellectually engaging literature can be of great value, and we wanted to participate in the dissemination of such work. We believe our society needs small presses so that widely diverse ideas and points-of-view are easily accessible to everyone.”


Issues Science Fiction Contest

If you're more into writing "hard" sci-fi, here's a contest with a $1500 honorarium and only requires one-page about what you would write! No reading fee.

"Authors should submit a précis or brief treatment (no more than 250 words) of a science fiction story idea that explores themes in science, technology, and society. Submissions must be received by June 1, 2014.

"Stories should fall into one of the following five theme areas: Big data / artificial intelligence / brain science; Education / jobs / future of the economy; Defense / security / privacy / freedom; Biomedicine / genetics / health / future of the human; Future of scientific research / automation of research & discovery. IST will select up to five semi-finalists for each category. Authors will have 3 months to submit their story, between 2,500 and 5,000 words. Winning stories will be published in IST, and authors awarded a $1,500 honorarium. Read all the details."

Issues in Science and Technology (IST), a quarterly journal that explores the intersections of science, technology, society, and policy. The editors of IST believe science fiction (SF) can help to bring key challenges and dilemmas in science and technology to an influential readership in new and compelling ways. Scientists, engineers, researchers, and policymakers often only see small pieces of an issue. SF writers can imagine entire worlds. By fully thinking through how today’s critical issues will play out, science fiction inspires, cautions, and guides those shaping our future. Throughout 2015, IST will publish one SF story per issue, on topics of broad societal interest.


Denver Museo's children's summer camp




Latino Science Fiction Explored

And if you haven't heard yet, I'll be in L.A. next week and hope to meet and talk with everyone who can attend. This is a precedent-setting gathering of 6 Latino sci-fi authors! What could happen? Quién sabe, pero vamos a ver.

The Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies Program at University of California, Riverside will host “A Day of Latino Science Fiction” next Wednesday, April 30, to be held in the Interdisciplinary Symposium Room (INTS 1113). Free and open to the public.


The morning author panel will feature 1. Mario Acevedo, author of the bestselling Felix Gomez detective-vampire series (The Nymphos of Rocky Flats, chosen by Barnes & Noble as one of the best Paranormal Fantasy Novels of the Decade, and finalist in the Colorado Book Awards and the International Latino Book Awards.

2. Science-fiction and cyberpunk novelist Ernesto Hogan (Cortez on Jupiter); the co-authors of Lunar Braceros 2125-2148, 3. Rosaura Sánchez and 4. Beatrice Pita. The afternoon panel features writer and director 5. Jesús Treviño (Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Babylon 5 and the book The Fabulous Sinkhole); and Michael Sedano, La Bloga Latino lit blogger; as well as Ph.D. candidates Danny Valencia, Rubén Mendoza and Paris Brown.

6. I'll be there talking about my alternate-world fantasy novel The Closet of Discarded Dreams (and about sci-fi stories) that took honorable mention in the International Latino Book Awards’ Fantasy/Sci-Fi, last year.

Come and find out about getting your spec lit published, the market for Latino sci-fi, the state of Latino spec lit and what the future might hold for our obras. It should be a chingón time, and we hope you come to add your voice and opinions. Check the details, especially about parking.

Es todo, hoy,
RudyG

0 Comments on Border-patrolling us. Fabulist fiction contest. Hard SF contest. L.A. latino sci-fi workshops. as of 4/26/2014 10:51:00 AM
Add a Comment
19. Meet Our New Visions Finalists, Part V: Diversity in Genre Fiction

New Visions Award sealIn January we announced the finalists of our first New Visions Award, a new writing award for a debut author of color for a middle grade or young adult science fiction, fantasy, or mystery novel. Over the last few weeks, we’ve highlighted these talented finalists on our blog as they answer questions about what inspires them, the writing process, and more. Perhaps among these five finalists you’ll find your next favorite author!

Previously, our New Visions finalists shared their experiences as young readers, and whether they saw themselves represented in books.

In this last post, they share their final thoughts on diversity in genre fiction for middle grade and young adult readers:

Ailynn Knox-Collins

I applaud the efforts that publishers like Tu Books are making to bring diversity into children’s lite  rature. I am humbled and grateful to have been given a small part to play here. I may not ever be published but I will always be writing and will most certainly be a reader for the rest of my life. As a teacher of children from all over the world, I am excited to introduce them to a new stage of diversity in books, where they may find themselves reflected in the stories.

From where I stand, the future of children's fiction is looking up.From where I stand, the future of children’s fiction is looking up. They will see more and more books where the covers feature people like them, of all races and creeds, beliefs and lifestyles. Everyone will have a chance to be a hero and every reader will find a place for themselves in the thrilling worlds of mystery, fantasy and science fiction. I can’t hide the huge smile on my face because the child in me is thrilled. I am so proud to be a part of this movement. I hope more writers of color will be encouraged to write from their cultural backgrounds and enrich the book world with new ideas. It wouldn’t surprise me that although the names and settings have been changed, in the end, we’ll discover that there is much that we share with each other; that we have more in common than we realize.

Valynne E. Maetani

Somewhere out there are children just like me. They use reading as a way to escape life’s obstacles. They enjoy being sucked into magical worlds that challenge their imaginations. Sometimes books help them realize their problems are not as bad as they seem. They realize through characters that difficulties are a part of the human experience, but there are others like them who feel and react the same way they do.

In other ways, those same children might be not like me. They are children who might know little about Japan and its foods or customs. They may not have any idea what’s it’s like to grow up Japanese-American or understand how deep-rooted our traditions are.

For all children, books are a way of making connections and allowing them to experience something new. Diversity in middle grade and young adult literature enriches the reading experience by increasing the breadth and depth of what our children have access to, and because of this, there is also an increased chance for children to connect and learn. Both characters and authors of color can provide an introduction to unique perspectives. I find that most intolerance stems from a lack of understanding, and books are one forum which can equip children with information. I’m not naïve enough to think diversity in genre fiction will change everything, but every time we connect with a child, we open doors, and that makes writing worth it.

Rahul Kanakia

In any discussion of diversity, the shadow constituency is white people. Obviously, it’s really nice for teens of color to see depictions of themselves in the media that they consume. But unless those depictions also appeal in some way to white people, then those depictions will not get the major play People don't consume media because it's good for them. They consume it because they want to be entertained.that they need in order to be published and widely distributed in a way that makes sure they get into the hands of people of color.

And, of course, we all know that it’s good for white people to see the diversity of the world. But that also doesn’t matter. People don’t consume media because it’s good for them. They consume it because they want to be entertained.

So the challenge is to create depictions of PoC that are also entertaining to white people. It’s hard. And it’s often a bit unsatisfying. Writing for an outsider audience means including explanations and “authentic” detail that insiders don’t necessarily need, or want, to see. And if you veer too much in that direction, then you alienate people of your own culture. And that alienation can often be good business, actually, because those people are actually just a tiny fraction of your audience and in terms of getting fame and book sales it makes a lot more sense to feed the preferences of a white audience that hungers for PoC characters who hang around in this tiny sweet spot where they’re alien enough to be picturesque but also relatable enough that they don’t pose a serious challenge to majority culture.

Akwaeke Emezi

I’m curious about what effect it would have had on me as a child and young adult to have had access to more fiction with characters that looked like me, or that came from cultures that I could have related to with more ease. I’ll never know, but I believe that kids nowadays should definitely have access to all that material and I am grateful for all those who are working to make this happen.

Disclaimer- I’m not very immersed in the writer world so this conversation is somewhat new to me. However, it seems to me that diversity in genre fiction (or the lack thereof) is essentially a race issue- who is considered the default race and the limited range of cultures, descriptions, etc that spring forth from that. It’s just not representative of the real world and it does people and children of color a disservice. Stories help people relate to whatever they’re reading about- I had no problem as a child believing that pixies lived in my compound or imagining that the tree in our backyard was The Faraway Tree even though all Enid Blyton characters were white. All children (all people, actually) would benefit greatly from having access to diverse fiction and being exposed to different cultures and people.

Ibi Zoboi

Culturally relevant stories will equip these students with the level of critical thinking skills the standards are asking of them.I teach in New York City public schools as a writer-in-residence.  So I have a pretty good idea of what inner city children and teens are dealing with in terms of literacy. These new Common Core Learning Standards are asking students to read broadly and deeply—more informational nonfiction texts.  And part of my job entails listening to teachers complain how this is a huge leap for many of their students. They’re being asked to argue these complex ideas and think critically, yet they have very little sense of themselves, their world and their place in it.

When I teach fiction in places like Brooklyn and the Bronx, I’d get so many blue-eyed, blonde-haired characters in these stories you’d think we were in Norman Rockwell’s America.  They’re emulating what they have to read. Reading the classics is a good thing. But culturally relevant stories will equip these students with the level of critical thinking skills the standards are asking of them.  A great number of sci-fi classics can be paired with well-written YA dystopian novels, for example.  And what if they can see themselves and their culture in these books?  Orwell’s 1984 then becomes that much more relevant.

Underrepresented students who experience school closures, substandard housing, and violence need to be able to think critically about a genre MG or YA novel and how it relates to them.  They need to see themselves taking center stage in heroic stories before they can begin to affect change in their own communities.

Further Reading:

Meet Our New Visions Finalists I: How we got involved in the New Visions Award

Meet Our New Visions Finalists II: How we got involved in the New Visions Award

Meet Our New Visions Finalists III: Writing for people of different backgrounds

Meet Our New Vision Finalists IV: Your relationship to books as a young reader


Filed under: guest blogger, Musings & Ponderings, Tu Books Tagged: diversity, New Visions Award, Power of Words, promoting diversity, Race issues, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Teens/YA, Tu Books, writing contests

3 Comments on Meet Our New Visions Finalists, Part V: Diversity in Genre Fiction, last added: 3/14/2013
Display Comments Add a Comment
20. A Winning Writer's Jump-Start: Lee & Low's New Voices Contest



Today’s post not only officially restarts our TeachingAuthors blog after a brief Summer Hiatus.
It jump-starts our writers’ engines with a winning opportunity: Lee & Low’s New Voices Contest.
That’s right: jump-starts.
IMHO, a Writing Contest serves as the perfect external battery to get any writer goinggoinggoing and moving forward.

Think Motivation – i.e. publication, prize money, a publisher’s attention, for example.
Think Focus – i.e. a specific format, theme or subject matter.
Think Opportunity – i.e. a guaranteed reading and audience!
And don’t forget DEADLINE – in this case, September 30, 2013.
(Deadlines excel at keeping writers writing.)

For those unfamiliar with this independent publisher, Lee & Low Books focuses on diversity, specializing in high quality multicultural children’s books.  The company’s mission is “to meet the need for stories that all children can identify with and enjoy.  They pride themselves on books about everyone, for everyone.

Established in 2000, the annual New Voices Award is given to a writer of color of a children’s picture book manuscript. The Award winner receives a cash prize of $1,000 and Lee & Low’s standard publication contract, including the basic advance and royalties for a first-time author.  An Honor Award winner will receive a cash prize of $500.

Check out these published winners that went on to win – other - awards: Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The SammyLee Story and TheBlue Roses.


Writers who have published other work in venues such as children’s magazines, young adult or adult fiction or nonfiction are eligible.  Only un-agented submissions will be accepted.

Work that has been published in any format published online or independently is not eligible for this award.

To click on the previous years’ winners and learn more about embracing this winning opportunity, click HERE. 

As luck would have it, in her recent June 27 blog post, Anastasia Suen interviewed Pamela Tuck, author of AS FAST AS WORDS COULD FLY which won the 2007 Lee & Low New Voices Award.  This debut picture book tells a story based on Ms. Tuck’s dad’s journey of desegregating the Pitt County School System in Greenville, NC in the 1960’s.

Of course, when it comes to Writing Contests and external batteries, it goes without saying: one might lose the Contest but still drive away a Winner.

Just last month, one of my students shared her Good News that while she hadn’t won the Highlights Fiction Contest this year, the magazine wished to purchase her story in rhyme for publication!

And two months ago, another writer’s Honorable Mention in a themed blog’s picture book contest kept her believing in and submitting her original manuscript.

I love sharing with Young Writers how Christopher Paul Curtis’ college manuscript became the novel The Watsons Go to Birmingham which eventually lost out in the no-longer-offered Delacorte Contest.  But he did win an editor (Wendy Lamb) plus the chance to revise, allowing the book to go on to win a Newbery Honor.

So,
TeachingAuthors is up and running again!
Stay tuned for more Contests to jump-start your writing.
And be sure to check out our newest Writing Contests Links page.
 
Good Luck!
(And keep us in the Loop.)

Esther Hershenhorn

3 Comments on A Winning Writer's Jump-Start: Lee & Low's New Voices Contest, last added: 7/18/2013
Display Comments Add a Comment
21. Where Can A Young Writer Get Published? Happy Poetry Friday!

. ~
Howdy, Campers and happy 

...which is over at Check it Out today ~
thanks for hosting today, Jone!
.
We've returned from our blog-cation tanned and rested.  Esther kicks off this round's topic about contests with her post on Lee and Low's New Voices Contest, including several juicy tidbits (did you know that an early version of Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watsons Go to Birmingham lost a contest before it went on to win the Newbery?) 

Jeanne Marie continues the discussion, touching on Las Vegas, mowing lawns, selling one's first born, her years as a Hollywood scriptwriter, and winning Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's scholarship.

On today's TeachingAuthors menu:
  • links to contests for young writers;
  • a poem about the delicious feeling when you learn you're going to be published;
  • the secret about entering contests.
Links to contests for young writers:
Here's the page on my personal website which lists a few select contests (including a peace poetry contest), and here, on the TeachingAuthors website, Carmela has compiled a ton more.

My poem for Poetry Friday:
I vividly remember learning I'd won a writing contest when I was in second grade.  Winning came with a fancy bookmark(!) and a certificate to Martindale's Bookstore in Santa Monica for any book in the entire store!  I was intoxicated.  Any book! 

I chose Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham, much to my father's disappointment. 
(He had his heart set on The Big Book of Japanese Fairy Tales.)

Winning a contest, getting something published...the POW! of this is experience is indescribable. And no matter how many books you have published, or how many of your poems are in magazines and anthologies, most writers will tell you that an acceptance is an acceptance--the ZING! is as powerful each time.

And so, Campers: get out of your comfort zone and enter a contest or try to get something published (which is the same thing, if you think about it). 

Which brings us to today's poem. It's in my verse novel, Girl Coming in for a Landing--a novel in poems, illustrated by Elaine Clayton (Knopf, 2002).  It can be performed by one, two, or three people.  

PUBLISHED!
by April Halprin Wayland

A letter in the mail!
They're going to PUBLISH my poem.
In their magazine.
In June.

My brain is exploding!  I can’t sleep!
I woke up early,
my body buzzy
like a playground ball boing-ing down a long hallway.

THEY'RE GOING TO PUBLISH MY POEM!
I won’t tell anyone. 
I’ll wait until the magazine comes out.
How can I wait that long?

I won’t tell anyone.
I’ll just casually hand them the magazine
or wait
until someone at school sees it.

What will Carlo think?
What will Frank think?
What will Yen-Mei think?
What will Leslie think?????????

I won’t tell anyone.
I won’t tell anyone
and boy,
will they be surprised.

They’re going to
publish my poem!
My poem!  My poem!
Who can I call at 5:30 in the morning?

 
So, teens, 'tweens, ten-year-olds, scribblers...all: go forth and enter!  


Because here's the secret:
whether or not you win, 
you've won.
poem and drawing © April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved

Today's post is by April Halprin Wayland who thanks you from the bottom of her sandy toes for reading this far.













































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































6 Comments on Where Can A Young Writer Get Published? Happy Poetry Friday!, last added: 7/23/2013
Display Comments Add a Comment
22. Writing Contests: You Can't Lose

     As a kid, writing was the one thing I knew I could do well.  There weren't many opportunities for me to shine, until I discovered writing contests. 

     Ironically, (for some whose first published book was a historical fiction set in Civil Rights Era Mississippi), my first writing award was courtesy of....of all things....the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  In eighth grade I came in second place in a city-wide essay contest. The subject?General Peter Alexander Stewart, a fairly obscure Confederate officer.  Trust me, in those pre-Interenet days, it took several weekends of camping out in the reference section of the library before I dredged up enough information for a 500 word essay. On Awards Day, I proudly skipped to the auditorium stage to collect my five dollar prize.

     Five dollars equaled ten hours of babysitting.

     Winning was good.   I was hooked.

      I was blessed to have grown up when Mississippi had an annual state Arts Festival.  Along with a multitude of other arts related events, there was a statewide junior writing contest for high school students.  I won the short story contest  my sophomore year. My prize?  Fifty bucks and lunch with Willie Morris. I had no idea who Willie Morris was other than the former editor of Harpers.  (Later he would write My Dog Skip and I would come to admire his talent.) Then I just knew he was an Important Writer from Mississippi.   I later found out that my hometown writing idol Eudora Welty had been one of the writing contest judges.

     Fifty bucks = One hundred hours of babysitting.

     Winning was good.

     Winning gave me confidence.  Having conquered Mississippi, I didn't think twice about entering a contest sponsored by the Girl Scout magazine, American Girl (not to be confused with the magazine sponsored by the Pleasant Company and the American Girl dolls.) Winning the top short story prize made me positively cocky. I actually got some fan mail, plus a strange phone call from a Baptist youth group in Florida, who wanted to know the "story-behind-the-story."

      The prize? A ridiculous amount of money (to a sixteen-year-old) for something I banged out in study hall one day.  My math skills could no longer translate it to babysitting hours.

     From American Girl it was a short hop to the Grandmama of junior writing contests...the Seventeen Magazine short story contest.  Seventeen Magazine was our fashion-beauty-dating bible. In between the  pictures of Christie Brinkley in hot pants and floppy hats and the Bonnie Bell Lipsmackers ads, there were at least two short stories per issue by nationally recognized authors. (One that made a huge impression on me was by Pulitzer winner, Annie Proulx.)  I entered the contest, hardly believing my own daring.  these girls were good.  They went to fancy Eastern private schools.  Could I compete? I could and I did.  I came in second behind a teenage Joyce Maynard who had just published her first book at 19.

     So what's my point?  My point is that I was allowed to experience early success and gain confidence through these contests.  Even those there was a decades long gap between winning my last contest and selling my first book, I never lost that winning feeling, that confidence that deep down, I had what it took.

     I no longer enter contests.  Most of them aren't open to me as a published writer.  The last one I entered was 25 years ago when Delacorte Press still had their First Middle Grade contest.  However, I recommend entering contests for several reasons.

     1.  A deadline.  When you ares till a pre-published author, writing is can get shoved to the bottom of your priority list. After all, the only person who expects you to write is you. There isn't a publishing deadline, no editor emailing you for revisions.  A contest deadline makes you accountable for getting the work done.

     2.  Honing your craft.  Contests not only have deadline, they have rules. Word counts. Specific genres, formats, subject matter.  Working within contest parameters disciplines your writing.

     3.  Winning.  Winning isn't always about publication or money.  Sometimes the prizes are a conference scholarship or a free critique.  Whatever the prize, it is usually something that will help you in your quest to become a better writer.  (A caveat: I am wary of contests from entities I don't know that charge an entry fee.  Some of these are just plain scams.  When in, doubt check Predators and Editors.)

Posted by Mary Ann Rodman



   

5 Comments on Writing Contests: You Can't Lose, last added: 7/23/2013
Display Comments Add a Comment
23. A Few More Words about Contests

I have the pleasure of wrapping up this series of posts about writing contests. Unlike Mary Ann, I've never won any money in a writing contest, but several of my entries, including the first two I submitted way back in high school, did lead to publication. The poem April shared in her post perfectly captures the sense of elation those publications gave me. In fact, it was that feeling that inspired me to want to become a writer.

As Esther mentioned in her post, I've updated our Links page to include a section on writing contests. I've added a few more since Esther's post, including the Shabo Award for Picture Book Writers. Entry deadline for that one is August 10 this year, so if you're interested, don't delay. And if you know of any contests I missed, please share the information as a comment below.

There's one contest I'd like to discuss here that I couldn't provide a permanent link to because it changes every year, and that's the fiction contest associated with the annual SCBWI Midsouth Fall Conference. Last year, I entered the YA category and was fortunate to receive an Honorable Mention. While that hasn't led to publication (yet), I believe that mentioning the honor has brought more attention to my queries--at least I'm getting personalized rejections. :-) I also know that one of the agents attending the conference went up to a contest winner and asked if she was seeking representation. When the winner said "yes," the agent asked to read her winning manuscript.

Unfortunately, the 2013 SCBWI Midsouth Fiction Contest is already sold out, though there are still openings to attend the conference. But there are plenty of other SCBWI contest and grant opportunities. For example, last year, SCBWI-Illinois offered a contest as part of the annual Prairie Writer's Day. I don't know if that contest will be offered again this year, but you can watch for details on the Illinois regional events page at SCBWI. And there are all sorts of awards and grants available through SCBWI, which you can read about on the official website.

As my fellow TeachingAuthors have already mentioned, one of the benefits of entering a contest is that it provides a deadline as motivation to finish a project. I have also entered contests where, even if you don't win a prize, you receive a critique of your submission. This is true of many of the contests offered by individual chapters of the Romance Writers Association. Author Stephie Smith regularly updates an online list of such contests, including those for young adult literature. Two other contests I've entered that offer critiques and that are open to YA and/or children's literature are the Pacific Northwest Writer's Association Literary Contest and The Sandy.

If we haven't given you enough reasons for researching and entering writing contests, read this blog post at writers-editors.com. And for tips from former contest judges, see this contest tip sheetalso from writers-editors.com.

Do keep us posted if you enter any of the contests we've mentioned in this series, whether or not your entry wins. And good luck!

Happy writing!
Carmela    

0 Comments on A Few More Words about Contests as of 7/26/2013 9:14:00 AM
Add a Comment
24. New Voices Award Winners: Where Are They Now?

New Voices Award sealLast month we brought together past New Voices Award winners to see what it was like to publish their first books. Today, in our final installment in the series, we ask these talented authors to share what they have been doing since entering the contest. guest blogger

This year marks our 14th annual New Voices Award writing contest. Every year, LEE & LOW BOOKS gives the New Voices Award to a debut author of color for a picture book manuscript. The submission deadline this year is September 30, 2013, so get those manuscripts in!

Q: What have you been up to in the time since your book won the New Voices Award or Honor?

Linda BoydenLinda Boyden, The Blue Roses  (our first New Voices Award Winner)

Winning the first New Voices Award for The Blue Roses gave me something I didn’t have before: confidence in myself as a writer. I had had a distinguished teaching career, but as a fledgling writer, it seemed I’d never get out of the slush pile. After the New Voices Award, my book also garnered the Paterson Prize and Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers Children’s Book of the Year. Buoyed by this incredible good luck, I wrote more and queried more. Though not represented by an agent at that time, I was lucky again and found a publishing home with the University of New Mexico Press for my next two picture books. The UNMP editor I worked with, W. Clark Whitehorn, convinced me to do my own illustrations for both Powwow’s Coming and Giveaways: An ABC Book of Loanwords from the Americas. Recently I’ve written and illustrated my fourth picture book, Boy and Poi Poi Puppy from Progressive Rising Phoenix Press and signed with Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary for my YA novel. I’ve been very lucky and thank Lee & Low Books for believing in me and for the wonderful jump-start!

Paula YooPaula Yoo, Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story

I won the New Voices Award in 2003 for Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story. Since then, I have had the honor of having two more books with Lee & Low Books. My second book came out in 2009. Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story, illustrated by Lin Wang, was a biography about Chinese American Anna May Wong’s rags to riches life from a laundryman’s daughter to an international Hollywood film star. I also have a third book picture book biography coming out with Lee & Low soon, too. Stay tuned for more details! I also had a YA novel published in 2008 (Good Enough from HarperCollins) and I’ve worked on a bunch of TV shows as a TV writer/producer, most recently with SyFy’s EUREKA. But most exciting of all… ever since winning the New Voices Award, I adopted three cats. Hmmm… now how can I sneak my three cats into my next Lee & Low book?

Glenda ArmandGlenda Armand, Love Twelve Miles Long

Since I won the Award, I have retired from my “day job” as a teacher and school librarian. While working part-time, I have been able to spend a lot more time writing.  I love it. I am also happy to say that, next year, Lee & Low will publish my second book about a very talented man with an unlikely dream who I discovered while researching Love Twelve Miles Long.

Don TateDon Tate, It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw

As a longtime children’s book illustrator, I have several new books out that I painted. But winning the New Voices Honor award launched my writing career. Winning the award boosted my confidence with words. Since then, I’ve written several more picture books. My next authored book will publish in 2015. I will also illustrate this book. I have another authored book under contract, and I can’t wait to share that news, too. I’m thankful that Lee & Low recognized and nurtured my writing talents.

Jennifer TorresJennifer Torres, Finding the Music  (2011 New Voices Winner)

The most significant thing I’ve done since my book won the New Voices Award was have a second daughter! Soledad Daisy was born in March of this year. She and her big sister, Alice, are truly delightful people and it is a joy to watch them grow.

I’ve also been working hard at editing and revising my book, Finding the Music. Though it can be challenging, this is honestly one of my favorite parts of the writing process. To hear a professional’s insights on what you’ve written is illuminating and so helpful. I’m really proud of the way the book is shaping up and of how far it has come since I submitted the manuscript.

Otherwise, I continue to write – I am finishing a book for middle-grade readers, and I contribute regularly to newspapers and magazines as a freelance journalist. I also work for University of the Pacific, helping to lead an early literacy campaign. This is exciting – and so important. We know that the ability to read proficiently by the end of third grade is a make-or-break benchmark in a child’s education. Kids who aren’t strong readers when they leave third grade tend to fall behind, and it can be very difficult to ever catch up. Unfortunately, in my community, only 34 percent of third graders can read at grade level. For children of color, and for kids whose first language isn’t English, that percentage is even smaller. That’s one of the reasons it’s such an honor for me to work with Lee & Low – it’s crucial for all of us to support the literacy of all children.

More from our past New Voices winners:

Advice for New Writers from our New Voices Award Winners

New Voices Award Winners: “How I Started Writing”

New Voices Award Winners: Publishing Your First Book


Filed under: guest blogger, Musings & Ponderings, Resources Tagged: children's books, lee and low books, New Voices Award, writing, writing contests, writing resources

0 Comments on New Voices Award Winners: Where Are They Now? as of 9/25/2013 1:48:00 PM
Add a Comment
25. Contests

Two contests crossed my desk that I thought might be interesting. The first is for anyone. Chronicle Books is looking for a new humorous book, of any length or genre, to publish as their second (annual?), The Great Tumblr Book Search. Unpublished writers are encouraged to submit a story.

GTBS_eblast14sm.1

For every hit, there has to be a sequel. The Great Tumblr Book Search is back and the search for the next big humor book is on! Last year, Chronicle Books partnered with Tumblr on the first-annual Great Tumblr Book Search. The winning Tumblr was Sht Rough Drafts by Paul Laudiero. Chronicle offered Laudiero a publishing contract and now Sht Rough Drafts the book is coming to a bookstore near you on April 15th. And YOU could be next!

How to Enter:  Use Tumblr to explain your humor book idea. Then our editors will judge the entries and choose a grand-prize winner whose idea will be considered for publication. You may use an existing Tumblr or create a new Tumblr to illustrate your book idea. Just make us laugh!

Contest Details at Chronicle Books Tumblr

Hurry, the contest ends 3/31/2014Read the official rules and submit your Tumblr entry now! Winners will be announced by April 30th.

1 Grand Prize:

  • Book idea considered for publication
  • $300 of Chronicle books
  •  Feedback session with a Chronicle Books editor

3 Runners-Up:

  • $100 of Chronicle books
  • Written critique from Chronicle Books editors

Questions? Email contests@chroniclebooks.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“The second contest is for kids. Peachtree Publisher is asking kids to write an essay in celebration of the April release of Charlie Bumpers and the Nice Gnome (reviewed here). Mrs. Burke, Charlie’s teacher, will explain.

You vs. Who? Contest & Giveaway

Mrs. Burke“Since the title of Teacher of the Year was bestowed upon me, I’ve received a number of inquiries on an array of subjects.

“What is my first name? What activities are best for fourth graders? Did I suffer any lasting effects from the flying sneaker incident? How is my snap so impressively loud?

“I’ve been asked to answer a few of those questions here today.

Snap Fingers

“The Snap”

“The snap, I’m afraid, is one of the most fiercely guarded secrets of the Empire—Mrs. Burke’s Empire, that is. The technique was passed down in a sacred trust from my mother, and I couldn’t possibly divulge it here.

“Actually, I suppose I could, but my hood of ninjas would instantaneously escort every person reading this post to a remote island surrounded by man-eating octopi. I doubt the secret of the snap would do you much good in such an exile.

“Activities, however, I am happy to share!

“1. Plays:  Each year, the citizens of Mrs. Burke’s Empire perform a play. I’m not given to bragging, but this year’s—The Sorcerer’s Castle—might be this director’s masterpiece. I’ve found that my students learn quite a bit about themselves when they’re forced to play someone else.

“2. Writing:  I suggest having your students write about their own experiences. Here’s a prompt that works well with my own students: You vs. Who?

“Students must write a story about a time they faced some sort of obstacle. Stories can be silly or serious; true or fictional; about school, home, or extra-curriculars! Give it a title like Suzie Rice vs. The Vacuum of Suction Destruction or Mrs. Burke vs. The Slippery Ramen Noodle.

“3. Contests:  When all other hope is lost and mutiny seems inescapable, make it a contest. In fact, let’s do just that! Have your child, student, or library patrons answer the You vs. Who? prompt.

“You (the teacher, librarian, parent, etc.) must send the stories to the folks at Peachtree Publishers via e-mail or snail mail before the deadline. (March 26, 2014) See details below. Win a glorious prize and bring honor to your own empire!”

Charlie Bumpers Gnome Title

CONTEST DETAILS

PRIZE: Peachtree Publishers is giving away ten (10) Charlie Bumpers prize packs!

Nine winners will receive one (1) hardcover copy of Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year, (reviewed HERE), and one (1) galley of Charlie Bumpers vs. The Really Nice Gnome (April 2014!).

One Grand Prize winner will receive one (1) hardcover copy of Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year, one (1) hardcover copy of Charlie Bumpers vs. The Really Nice Gnome, and one (1) Audio Book CD of Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year (performed by author and Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Bill Harley!).

TO ENTER: Students must write a story about a time they faced some sort of obstacle like Charlie does. Adult must send the stories in to Peachtree Publishers via e-mail or snail mail. Stories can be silly or serious; true or fictional; about school, home, or extra-curriculars!

E-mail Address:  publicity(at)peachtree(dash)online(dot)com

Snail Mail Address:

Peachtree Publishers

Publicity Dept.

1700 Chattahoochee Ave.

Atlanta, GA 30318

DEADLINE: Contest ends March 26, 2014, at 11:59 pm EST

OPEN TO: US Addresses Only

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay, what are you waiting for? Get those sharp pencils or fully charged computer out and get to writing. Imagination encouraged!

 


Filed under: Contests, For Writers, Interesting Links Tagged: aspiring authors, Charllie Bumpers and the Nice Gnome Contest, Chronicle Books, contests, Peachtree Publishers, The Great Tumblr Book Search, unpublished authors, writing contests, writing contests for kids

Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts