Friday, December 10, 2010

Children's Book Drive!


I'm organizing a book drive and am currently recruiting volunteers in order to make it all possible. If you would like to help out in anyway please contact me at wordrendezvous (at) gmail (dot) com.You may also leave a message here in the comment section on the blog Never Ending Stories For Children

 We will need books (new or gently used) in English and in Spanish. Where the books go will depend on the response I receive from all of you. If we receive enough books we will be able to send some to Mexico and others to book charities all over the USA.

If you are someone who reviews books and have ARC's that you would like to donate books, please contact me. If you would like to spread the word on your blog about it, go ahead and post about it! Above all else: tweet about the book drive like crazy and share this post on facebook. I'm counting on all of you! 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fanatic Friday

Today is all about what I like! Yea!

I have to mention a great lady today! An Author from Aurstralia, who I will be bold enough to call friend even though I hardly know her, has reached magnificent-reach-the-stars status. I first met her at the online conference writoncon and discovered she is one of the hosts of pblitchat! Since then I have been amazed with her and her publication success. I'm so happy that Samuel's Kisses is now in print!! Go Karen Collum! You Rock! Join her as she spreads the word about her book! Who doesn't like to help out a fellow author anyhow? I'd love to do an interview with her! I'll just have to see what she says about that!

I came across this fantastic list today. One that should be near and dear to authors everywhere, even if you don't know about it yet. The author of the blog Playing by the Book has divulged information on Book Charities! What fun! I'm all over it! I just may use this fantastic list someday when I have books or money to donate, etc. The list is being updated so if you know of a charity currently not on the list, contact the blog author. I wonder if there are book charites in Mexico! I'm sure there are. It is just a matter of looking. How's that for a nice little treasure hunt over the weekend?


Tomorrow, December 4, 2010 is Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day. Click the banner to the right for locations! If you can't find a participating bookstore, well who says you can't take your kiddo to the bookstore! I say go for it!

Also, don't forget about my Author Birthday Reading Challenge for the month of December! Read books and earn prizes! Spread the word! 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tis the Season. It begins with a C.


This month is all about Christmas! There are so many things I could say about the holiday season, but because this blog is centered around kidlit, I'd like to mention something from the literary world that pertains to December.

This month I'm reminded of one special guy. He begins with a C and ends with...cot.

I'd also like to replace the teddy bear with a book. Can I do that? There that's better! There's nothing the imagination cannot remedy. 

I'm reminded of Mr. Caldecott due to one fact:

"Children eagerly awaited the two books illustrated by him, priced at a shilling each, which came out each Christmas for eight years."--TTLG blog  Yeah it's that time of year. 

Okay two facts: 

I find it interesting that despite, and against his fathers wishes, he found a career in illustration. He followed his dreams. That is BIG folks! He broke away from the norm. He broke away to reach his aspirations and meet HIS expectations of success. Mr. Caldecott, you are one of my heroes! 

I suppose you could say he is the Santa Clause of the literary world for Illustrators. I suppose those who hope to be worthy of the award must seem like the children who traverse about the Christmas tree with glee in their eye as they wait to open gifts. I suppose an illustrator must feel like a giddy child just before Christmas with eyes all aglow in the event they have the opportunity to accept such an offer as The Caldecott. But, Oh, what an honor to have your name given as an award to others for all their hard work and bloomability! I can't imagine what that must feel like! The Caldecott Award is an illustrators dream come true. I'd say it takes a lot of bloomablity to get to that point in an illustrators career. Hard work it is, and without illustrators we authors wouldn't have a chance at picture books (unless you like stick figures that is) now would we. So this is a hats off and a "hip hip hurray" to Illustrators everywhere! 

If you could pick the books who win the award, which ones would you find worthy? Yes, today you get to be our literary Santa Clause. I'll reveal my picks later in the day. I want to see if I agree with yours first. Ha ha! I like to spin things like that. 

Also don't forget the Author Birthday Reading Challenge! Spread the word! There are prizes to be had! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Awards and a Fun Contest and Challenge

Read all the way to the end for information on the contest challenge!! 

I have several things to do today. First I have AWARDS to give out! I know how you lost boys and girls love awards! I have been thinking on this one for some time and it seems there are many fellow bloggers I could give this award to but I believe there are two that stand out

These three ladies are wonderful at motivating me and sharing their thoughts after many of my posts. They always have great insight into whatever I may write! Thanks gals  for all your support and comments! Congrats! Come claim your award! Here it is:

The three lovely ladies are:

You really must visit her blog That's Write. She has so many colorful opinions. She does reviews of books from time to time and is also an aspiring author and an editor. Who would have thought! Go Leigh! You won't want to miss out. She is full of surprises.

Adina West!!! 
A fellow Crusader and lovely lady on a wonderful journey towards publication! Please step on up and over to her blog Stairways and Landings

This gal shares my love for none other than Alice in Wonderland, or at least her blog title Through the Looking Glass would suggest so. Either way she is one fun blogger! So waste no time. Hop on over for a very important date with her blog!

I also promised a bit of fun was on the way for those of you who read or follow my blog!! I wasn't joshing you! It's coming! I'll reveal the challenge now so that everyone can sign up but you will just have to wait until after Santa comes to receive the prize. I want to be sure everyone hears about this one! 

So here's how you get points to earn the prize:

1. Follow this blog: +3 pts
2. Read at least one book from the list of author birthdays for the month specified (in this case December 2010) The more you read, the more points you get! For every book you read you will get +3 pts and/or  +5 pts  for answering a question about the book (these will be listed below also but not all books will have a question).
3. Spread the word: blog about this challenge, tweet about it, put the banner on the sidebar of your blog, or link back to this post through facebook. Comment and give a talley on this post of your points. Please also list the link(s) to your blog, tweet, or Facebook page that cover the challenge/contest. Follow this step closely and it will get you a good +5 pts.
5. Be sure your kid gets that special book he/she has been wanting to read (from good ol' St Nick of course). +8 pts if you post a picture on your blog of your kiddo reading it and comment with the link! 

***contest is for USA, Canada, and Mexico only*** 

Thats it! Whoever has the most points wins! If there happens to be a tie, well then I'll have to do a raffle.

The winner will get a book or a few books from the authors listed below!!!! Once the winner is selected I will contact them to get shipping information in order to send out the prize.

Here is the official banner to add to your blog ! So spread the word on the challenge:

Authors with birthdays in December are being listed below!  Happy Birthday!! Read as many books as you can as not all books by the author(s) will be listed. I'll be adding to the list as I find more so keep making your own list and checking it twice so you know what you have read! You will feel quite like Santa Clause before the month is over!

1. Jan Brett --the perfect author for this month as she has written many winter and Christmas themed books such as: Christmas Trolls, The Mitten, The Hat, The Twelve Days of Christmas, and Gingerbread Baby! Her Birthday falls on December 1, 1949.
2. David Macaulay : the guy who knows it all! His birthday falls on December 2, 1946.
3. Andrea Zimmerman is the author of Trashy Town. Her birthday is December 2nd.
3. Monro Leaf was born December 4,  and is the author of The Story of Ferdinand.  
4. James Thurber born December 8, 1894. Author of Many Moons and The 13 Clocks, among others.
5. Joel Chandler Harris is the author of the fictional character Uncle Remus who narrates several African American folktales such as (compiled by Joel Chandler Harris).

Fun fact:
"Beatrix Potter illustrated eight scenes from the Uncle Remus stories between 1893 and 1896, coinciding with the first drawings of Peter Rabbit. Potter's family had favored the Uncle Remus stories during her youth, and she was particularly impressed by the way Harris turned "the ordinary into the extraordinary." 

6.Jean de Brunhoff is the author of the adored Babar books. His birthday falls on December 9, 1899.
7.  Rumer Godden who wrote Little Plum  and other books. Her birthday falls on December 10, 1907.
8. George MacDonald is the author of The Princess and the Goblin he was born in 1824 on December 10th
9. Mary Norton is the author of  The Borrowers  books, The Magic Bedknob, and Bonfires and Broomsticks. She was born December 10, 1903.
10. William Joyce was born December 11, 1957 and is the author of George Shrinks. 
11. Tamora Pierce born December 13, 1954. She is the author of the Song of the Lioness books. 
12. For YA readers: Jane Austin was born December 16, 1775 and is the author of Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. 
13. Mick Inkpen Was born December 21, 1952 and is the author of the Kipper the Dog books,  Wibbly Pig, Threadbear, and Lullabyhullaballoo. 
14. Jarrett J. Krosoczka is the author of Punk Farm, Baghead, Bubblebath Pirates, and a few other books, including some graphic novels. He was born December 22, 1977.
15. John Gruelle born December 24, 1880 is probably most famous for his stories of Raggedy Ann and Andy. 
16. Jean Van Leeuwen  December 26, 1937. She has several books so take a peek here.
17. Carol Ryrie Brink was born on December 28, 1895 and is best known for her book Caddie Woodlawn.
18. Cynthia DeFelice is the author of  One Potato, Two Potato; Clever Crow; The Dancing Skeleton; Mule Eggs; The Real Dulcie Campbell; Three Perfect Peaches; and a few other books. She was born December 28, 1951.
19. Richard Atwater was born December 29, 1892 and is the author of Mr Popper's Penguins.
20. Molly Garrett Bang is the author of The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher and many other books. She was born  December 29, 1943.
21.Rudyard Kipling is the author of The Jungle Book. His birthday is December 30, 1865.
22. Mercer Mayer was born December 30, and is the author of the popular Little Critter books.
23.Cynthia Leitich Smith born December 31, she is the  author of Holler Loudly, and many other fabulous books. Visit her blog Cynsations.
24. Gerald McDermott born, December 31, 1941, is the author of  Arrow to the Sun and Creation.

Questions: TBA 

1. Which of Jan Brett's books is similar to the story of the Three Little Pigs?

Monday, November 29, 2010

What's Up Prima?

While watching Snow White the other day, my little one looks over and says to me:

     "Mommy, the queen from Snow White looks like Maleficent, they must be cousins."

I had to chuckle. Then I got to thinking about...nothing else other than literary cousins (AKA the primo/prima of written word). Now what makes something a literary cousin so to speak? I figure they have to have some similarities. Right? Right. This is the kind of thing we authors wonder about. Is it appropriate to mention in a query that our book is similar to another? I mean does a literary agent or editor really want to hear all that? Besides what makes a book so fantastic if it is considered to be a literary prima to another book already out there?

So while looking out for ourselves we search titles on Amazon. We then Google similar titles all for the sake of originality. Then that dreaded moment comes when we discover how unoriginal we really are--"Wo is me! Aye me. Little me. Our book is drowning," you say to your muse. You are perfectly still. Then it dawns on you that lemons don't make juicy lemonade without a twist  of the fruit and a little sugar, and running shoes aren't much aid to a runner without that special double knot in them to keep them secure on the feet. So you take a conference call with your manuscript, and why not, you have worked so hard on it? Does it have a similar voice, plot, setting, character(s)? You nail down the similarities and you chip away at the pieces that you fear have any slight echo. I'm not talking plagiarism. That little devil is a whole other story. Your creation just had to be a bit similar. How could you have known, you were too busy creating it! Slowly you realize something else. Aha! There it is! A hybrid. Your hybrid. 

Finally you pick yourself up from the nitty gritty dirt. You wipe your face. You tinker away until the sun goes down...and voila you are back in the game! Enough said. You are having a blast! 

You will find that there are sure to be ridiculous (shall I say hefty) amounts of literature similar to your own (even if but a smidge, a smudge, a little pinch even) if you are a writer. Somewhere out there every writer has at least one rockin' prima. The great thing about literature is that everything no matter how similar it is, has a spin or a twist on it. If it didn't, you wouldn't get a kick out of these Literary Prima's that may have caught your fancy, maybe you even found that they glimmer equal amounts--to your delight:



and just when you think you have had enough, here is a link to introduce you to MORE spin-offs of classics! 



So similar and yet so different! Both a lot of fun to read before bed! 



...both very adventurous bears who are more worried more about their tummies than the conflict at hand. Do I need to mention Corduroy too? 

And what about all those stories about witches who don't quite fit the norm, like:



..too many to post here! If you recall any others feel free to mention them by commenting. 

I could go on, but instead I have some insight for you...

Upon further research on this topic I found this bit of information in an article* by author Maria Nikolajeva: 

"Harold Bloom discusses in his widely known study The Anxiety of Influence (1973) a pattern of literary evolution in which every writer has a model, The Great Literary Father, from whose influence he (writers are by definition male in Bloom's theory) must liberate himself. A true writer will, according to Bloom, achieve at least some degree of freedom from the model, both by absorbing and transforming his strength."  

I found this quite interesting. I feel it is true we all have a model or model(s) that we pattern our writing after simply because we have read them and enjoyed them so much. This does not go to say that we do not struggle or fail to find our own voice in our writing aside from what we have come to enjoy in other works of literature. 

Reading further on into the article*, Nikolajeva states that "...the anxiety of not being able to compete with the Master is an inevitable part of the creative process."  Without the feat of overcoming that fear, no author ever proceeds onward toward the high aspiration of publication. Or possibly the fear spurs the author on instead. What do you think?

I have to agree that this is something we all hope and aspire to--to be able to measure ourselves apart from the literary "master(s)" who came before us--to be able to measure our success and define our writing for what it truly is when our words come face to face with the critic or more importantly the author themselves. 

Those who paved that great literary path so that we too can lay our own brick down on the path--I hold my pen upward to them! 

*Article from:  Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature Article date: May 1, 2008 Author: Nikolajeva, Maria

The article mentioned above is really very interesting. If you wish to read further (although this link does not give the full article only more than I have shared with you) you can click here to read more.

Your thoughts are as usual welcome in the comments!! What say you?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Leave Nothing But Tracks: Social Media Suicide

As a writer/reader I find that there are certain passages that leave a mark on me, in my writing, or in another's writing. It could be a mark for the better, one that helps define my writing style or one that helps me to break out of my shell--even if moving onward toward success is something I'd like to do on my terms--but being a writer makes that almost impossible with all the elements of social media available at my fingertips. So, unlike the mysterious, unseen, Sasquatch, I feel I have to believe that I'm following the motto, "leave nothing but tracks!" Because let's face it, if you don't put yourself out there, you might as well be invisible, and for an aspiring author....well, that is practically career suicide. Anyone else feel the same?

The beautiful thing about blogging and the blogosphere is that there is support to be found in it. So don't shy away from all of it. Take a peek and dive into it, just remember to set your priorities straight first--moderation is key! 

Below is a song that sums up my feelings about the whole balance between, "promote the book/author with social media" versus "make your writing the best out there" versus "use all the mediums/innovations for your book in order to reach a huge audience." There are so many innovations cropping up in the writing world...and I feel this song grasps the attitude of focus that it all requires and yet is a reminder to keep things real and fun! It also sums up the world of "aspiring" for me. What do you think?

As you listen keep in mind that where it says "music/song/lyrics" in the song, you need to be thinking "writing/words/book/novel, etc" in order for me to get the point across. Where it says " music for the television"  be thinking "e-book/nookbook for the kindle/nook, etc".  "record label, would be "publishing world" You get the idea, I hope. In no way am I bashing anyone or their efforts here--just saying it's a tough world, but that one can make it out there and hit success, but only if they are willing to "leave nothing but tracks."

Any opinions? Don't be a Sasquatch...let's leave tracks all within moderation of course. I want to hear all about your hard work! Project Mayhem has something to say about it. Here is the link.  

Monday, November 1, 2010

When You Wish Upon A Star

Several things going on today:

PiBoIdMo 2010 BEGINS! Yippee!

Also it is Open Mic Monday at the Query Tracker Blog (QTB) they are taking YOUR questions about "writing, editing, agents and the journey to publication." Don't miss out!

Masterpiece Monday! Down at Sergio Ruzzier's blog Hey, Rabbit! there all kinds of books just hopping about to be read. Lists of favorites from kidlit lovers all over the blogosphere compiled right on his blog! I figure it's time I compile my own list!

I've found some learn-to-read books for my kiddo--fun ones mind you--thanks to a tweet from the tweet vine! I'll share them with you! So here is the code name...Molly Coxe! Check her out, or at least her books! Here is a link with a list of her books!

Finally I've compiled a list of my favorite books! You should too. I'd love to see what your favorite PB are! Maybe later I'll compile similar lists for YA and MG books. I hope you'll share your favorites too! There are so many more I'm sure will become favorites as I begin to read them! So to all aspiring authors--keep writing!

These are my favorites, in no particular order (I couldn't stop at ten):

SkippyJon Jones (series)


 Now I have a wish, upon a star...

Dear Ommwriter:

Please make your program compatible with Windows and HP. There I said it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"I was sure that I was going to write stories myself when I grew up. It's important to put it like that: not 'I am a writer,' but rather 'I write stories.' If you put the emphasis on yourself rather than your work, you're in danger of thinking that you're the most important thing. But you're not. The story is what matters, and you're only the servant, and your job is to get it out on time and in good order." –Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials trilogy

Ehhh!  So I couldn't help myself! I had to post this quote for you! I figure this is pretty good stuff to read just before you sit down to write. 

Also don't forget Query Tracker is hosting a pitch contest for PB/MG/YA only. Here is the link. It ends tomorrow morning! Today is the last day to enter! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Wee Little Notice

Wow! Thanks to all who read the blog! I've reached 100!

I have to take a break. I can't seem to get out from under the weather! The medicine I took for a respiratory infection had some side effects (which I won't mention here). So hopefully it will all be over this week and I can get back to blogging next week.

I'm going to have to do something a bit different once PiBoIdMo starts. I'm thinking my posts will be centered around that event and less around my agenda or usual topics/themed posts.

I have two awards I still need to give away and I've been thinking long and hard about who they will go to. I'll reveal that when I get back.

Also, please do comment on what kind of fun prizes you would like here. I really would love to know what gets you excited. I have something fun in store for you--a little surprise.

So do enjoy your Halloween or maybe even Dia de los Muertos!

Here is a fun draw your own Jack-o-Lantern website to keep you busy.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fanatic Friday

Here are some of my great finds from all over the web--things I've been focusing on learning and mastering:

Cynthia Leitich Smith put out an interview with Gayle Brandeis who is the author of My Life With The Lincolns. You can read the interview at her blog Cynsations. Brandeis answers questions about being an author and a mother. She also speaks about her research process, etc.


Now this is the kind of librarian we all need! This is one determined librarian! I certainly wish all libraries had enough dinero for all the wonderful programs that they provide the public, especially those that are for children.

I sometimes still have a bit of trouble classifying my WIP. Do you? Well, have no fear! The Big Ol' Genre Glossary is here to help--brought to you by Jennifer Laughran, a literary agent specializing in children's and YA fiction. This is a moment you should have full clarity on--a defining moment for any author as they realize what it is they truly love to write!

Ever wonder about those confusing paragraph/chapter breaks? Sometimes they can be a kick in the rear...unless you understand them. Not Enough Words certainly cleared it up for me!

I've been watching the SF Giants baseball games with my DH and I have to say that not only is their pitcher Tim Lincecum quite handsome, but he is also extremely talented! I'd like to be able to say I'm just as good a pitcher myself. I'm hoping you feel the same. So here's a head start on that. Here and here are some more wonderful links to help out. I hope it helps!

Also, If you haven't checked out who my wonderful fellow crusaders are, please do so by clicking the badge to the right!

What aspect(s) of the craft have you been focusing on in your writing? Post the link if you have it!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tinker with Tools Tuesday: Ka Boom!

I'm so excited! Tonight I will be at the Charlotte Motor Speedway observing a Zambelli Fireworks show! I've been anticipating this for quite a while now and finally this is the night it will happen. I know I have said it before but here it is again: sometimes the best tool an author can have in his/her pocket is...

*drum roll and colorful confetti*

RESEARCH...plenty of it!

I can't stress that enough. It is important to know what you are writing about. It is important to get it right. I like to get it right! Don't you?

I'd like to think an author should be precisely like Curious George. Yup! That clever monkey knows what he is doing! Can anyone really ever be too curious? I don't know about that one.

photo credit

<-----see this here? That is Zambelli doing its job!

I plan to take the kids at a later time in the future.

Hopefully I'll get a picture or two to share with you guys, if they allow it. I feel like I'm going undercover. In a way I am. I'll be under cover by the darkness just before I hear that first Ka-Boom!  Bad joke? No? I'm laughing anyway.

Have you had any fun research adventures lately? Any that got you deep in trouble like Curious George? I've heard of some authors who actually go undercover for research. Have you? 

Sidenote: We just got a puppy and I need a few suggestions. I was thinking of naming the dog after literary figures or after an animal from a kidlit story? Any ideas? Anyone ever named pets this way? 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Masterpiece Monday

I'm currently making a Piñata so this post will have to be short, but read through to the end for clues as to what is in store for all of you as I near 100 followers!

Here are a few books that have caught my eye:

Keeping with the Latina/Hispanic theme...

Here are some books by Julia Alvarez. I love how she covers many controversial topics that children may have a hard time understanding. What better way to help children understand change, different cultures, adoption issues, and political issues, than to write a story about them. 

An adopted girl finally searches for her past. 


A Picture book story about "a secret tribe of beautiful people who live underwater in 'cool blue caves hung with seashells and seaweed.' Avoiding humans at all costs, they come out to hunt for food only at night. But the most remarkable thing about theciguapas is that their feet are on backward."

The story about a girl from the Dominican Republic. When Anita's "father gets taken away by the secret police, Anita and her mother go into hiding in order to avoid capture. Anita, of course, keeps a diary."


 A story about Mexican immigrant workers and the challenges their children/families encounter in the face of deportation as a result of  being undocumented. 


One last book that sounds like a fun read but is not from the multicultural genre:

Here is a prologue from the book. It held me at the edge of my seat. I better go buy this one soon! 

I have to say a BIG thank you to all my Lost Boys and Girls and those following through Facebook Networked Blogs! You guys are awesome! I'm nearing 100 followers and I keep thinking, "Oh no what to do! What will I do when I reach 100 followers (through blogger not FB)?" So I'll let you know now--I do have something planned for you. What I need to know is what kind of prizes would you like? PB, MG, YA Books? Critiques? Fabulous notebooks to store those amazing story ideas in? Pens that shine on the page as you write about your amazing adventures in Neverland, or maybe just your journal? An LED booklight?Anything else that comes to mind? Spit it out while you can! I can't wait for the fun to begin! 


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