Friday, March 27, 2009

10 Things Children Should Know About Prayer

by Susan Taylor Brown

1. Prayer is communication.
It can be spoken or silent. It can be a song or a story. It can be a picture or a dance.

2. Prayer can be done as often as you like.
Every week. Every day. Every hour.

3. Prayer can be done however you want.
There's no right or wrong way to pray.

4. Prayer can be shared, but doesn't have to be.
It can be done alone or with a favorite toy. It can be done with friends, family or pets.

5. Prayer can be done anywhere.
It can be done in your room or at the kitchen table. It can be done out in your yard, at the park or even at the zoo.

6. Prayer can be done in any mood.
You can be happy, sad, angry, scared or confused when you pray.

7. Prayer can be for yourself or someone else.
If you know someone who could use a little help - add them to your prayers.

8. Prayer doesn't need a certain structure, length or specific words.
Whatever words you use, long or short, however your prayer comes out is fine.

9. Prayer doesn't need a special occasion.
There are certain prayers appropriate to special occasions but you don't need to wait for a special time to pray.

10. Prayer doesn't have to be a request.
It can also be used to give thanks for what you have already received. "Thank You" is a perfect prayer.

Susan Taylor Brown is the author of the children's picture book, CAN I PRAY WITH MY EYES OPEN? (ISBN #0786803282) Deciding when and where to pray is something every child wonders and this non-denominational, multicultural book offers an answer. Every child is assured that they can pray when, where, and how they want --- and they will always be heard. The book is available at bookstores everywhere.

Publisher's Weekly called it "...a lovely book. Perfect in its directness and simplicity." Booklist says, "A nice place for parents and children to start a discussion about prayer."

Home page:

Permission granted to freely reproduce and distribute this page in its entirety.

I encourage all parents to read this lovely book with their children.

Write it down,

Monday, March 23, 2009

Put A Tweet in Your Twitter and a Face to Your Book

On Saturday the 21st I attended an East Bay Region SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) workshop presented by children's authors Susan Taylor Brown and Lynn E. Hazen.

Needless to say, two hours is not enough time to absorb all the technical information about social networks unless you are a digital native like Susan Taylor Brown. She will be giving a more in-depth on line social media class for authors, illustrators and book lovers. May 4th – May 7th Class is limited to 20 students. If you are wondering how does a person manage all of this and still find time to write, go here to find out more about this class and how to contact Susan.

Lynn Hazen and Susan Taylor Brown compiled a social media web map list with links to examples. You may download a free copy at this link. When you visit Lynn Hazen’s blog be sure to click on the Kidlitosphere link, a society of bloggers in children’s and young adult literature.

Susan Taylor Browns middle grade novel, Hugging the Rock, a 2007 Notable Children’s Book from the American Library Association. A poignant story in verse about a girl trying to cope when her mother leaves home.

Lynn E. Hazen’s latest release, Shifty is her first Young Adult novel. Lynn also writes picture books and early reader books.

For added inspiration, Lynn closed by reading this fantastic poem by Gotta Book Gregory Pinkus. I’m Pretty Well Connected – a Web 2.0 Poem

Write it down,

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Seven Ways To Craft a Children's Story From Good to Great!

1. Do not under estimate the power of a single word:
Every sentence needs to be peppered with strong words or at least have one. Not only the strongest but the right one. Strong verbs add credibility and specifics. Example: Tiger Woods roared into the Masters Picture…

How will you know? One way is to join a critique group like the Children’s Writer’s Coaching Club. Here you will work with published and aspiring writers and illustrators to create the writing career of your dreams. Join the club Here.

2. Story Movement:
When characters are going from place to place, get them there with minimum interruption. Don’t break the flow of movement with too many thoughts. You can pause the movement at various points. Remember the objective is to get your characters to a destination.

3. Back-story:
Back-story should be woven in small snippets. Don’t stop the flow to tell readers too much about WHY something is going on. Be brief

4. Description:
Weather, emotions, rooms, types of clothes a character wears and such things will add depth to a story, but too much clutters up a storyline, stops the flow of the plot. Don’t make the surroundings more important than the storyline.

5. Motive:
When you have a character do something without showing the reader why, this can make the character appear out of pace with the story. Readers can’t identify with the action unless a motive is shown.

6. Emotional scenes:
Once a character connects with their emotions give your readers enough information to feel character’s emotions. This can be done by revealing snippets of back-story and motive. Also using humor and hyperbole work well.

7. Less is more:
Remove unnecessary words and replace them with a powerful word or two that conveys the message. For example:

My mother was a witch.
It was cancer.

Less is best here because less is strong. The sparseness packs a punch. Two powerful lines using the “to be” verb are very effective. Readers remember the effect before they remember the line.

If you would like more detail you may reference Word Magic for Writers by Cindy Rogers, Children’s Writers Word Book by Alijandra Magilner & Tayopa Magilner, and The Frugal Editor by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Write it down,

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Your Children's Book is Finished - Now What?

Books do not sell themselves. Wouldn’t that be nice? It doesn’t matter if you self-publish or go the traditional route; marketing techniques are the most important part of writing. Read Suzanne Lieurance’s article:

A Dozen Ways to Market Your Book if You’re a Children’s Book Author

Whether you self-publish your books for children or you go with a traditional publisher, most of the marketing for your books will be left up to you, the author. Here are a dozen ways to market your books for kids:

1. Set up a website for your writing and include an opt-in box on the site so people can sign up for your mailing list. Sell your books directly from your site and offer a bonus when they buy the book directly from you. An autographed copy of the book is a GREAT bonus, for example. If you don't wish to keep copies of the book on hand to sell and mail yourself, then include a link from yourself to your publisher's site or other online bookstores that carry your book. But offer to mail anyone who buys your book an autographed bookplate.

2. Try to find some way to relate your book to the school curriculum. Then, create lesson plans, study guides, or discussion questions for your book. Turn these guides into simple .pdf files that teachers, librarians, and parents can download FREE from your site to use with your book. Also, write a press release that tells about your free lesson plans or study guides and how your book that has recently been released is now available to help classroom teachers get specific content across to their students. Submit this press release to online sites that will distribute it to a variety of online sources free.

3. If possible, form a partnership with some large organization that relates to the topic of your book. For example, if you've written a book about exotic animals, offer to partner with your local zoo. When they have special events, offer to be part of these events and show up to sell and sign your book. Incorporate information about the zoo into your promotional literature and in your local presentations.

4. Take part in local events that will give you the chance to sell your book and let people know you're a hometown author. I'm not talking about ONLY book signings at bookstores. Your community probably has some sort of street fair or community event in the fall or spring, where members of the local business association, or just local business owners, can purchase booth (or tent) space to promote their business. You can purchase space at one of these events to sell and sign your book.

5. Create a book trailer or have one created for you to generate more interest in your book. Put this trailer up at your site, of course. Also, get it on and and other places online where your readers (and potential readers) are likely to see it. You can also have other friends and associates put the trailer on their websites with a link back to your site for more information about you and your other books.

6. Set up your own local book tour. Co-op with other local authors to do this.
Contact your local SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Authors and Illustrators) if you don't know any other local children's authors. Get in touch with a few of these authors and suggest you contact local bookstores to do a Children's Book Day or other event where you can all set up your books at a big table in the store and sell and sign your books. The bookstores might not be as receptive to having one author do a book signings if this is your first book, so no one knows you as an author yet. But, if several children's book authors can be present in the store for a signing - and all are seated at one big table - this will attract attention to people in the store. It will also give the store something to announce ahead of time in their newsletter or at their website. And, with several authors taking part in this, each author's readership (or just family and friends) will draw a crowd to the store, which will interest the person in charge of special events at the bookstore.

7. Take part in virtual book tours through blogs and podcasts. Again, contact members of your local SCBWI chapter. Many of these writers will have websites or blogs and they'd be happy to have you as a "guest blogger" for the day. Line up 5 of these sites to be a "guest blogger" and you've got a week long virtual blog tour!

8. Be sure you offer school visits as part of your marketing efforts. But expand your presentations to include local libraries, recreation or community centers, and even summer camps and after school programs.

9. Write and distribute a press release about your book if your publisher has not already done this. If you have never written a press release, though, hire a professional PR service (or freelance press release writer) to write the release for you and then submit the release to local publications, but also have it sent out by an online PR distribution service.

10. Scout around online and find as many appropriate internet radio shows as you can, then email the person who schedules guests for these shows and offer to be a guest. Start with Book Bites for Kids, of course.

11. Teach workshops about some aspect of writing for children and use your book as part of the class materials. Be sure the cost of the workshop includes the cost of your book.

12. Make article marketing part of your overall plan for selling your book. Find out how to write short articles and submit them to article directories in order to drive traffic to your website or blog.

There are all sorts of ways to market your book. You're only limited by your own creativity and imagination. Listen to Book Bites for Kids every weekday afternoon at 2:00 central time at for more marketing tips from other children's book authors.

And, when your pen won't budge, read The Morning Nudge. Find out more about The Morning Nudge at

Article Source:

Monday, March 9, 2009

Award Winning Author Offers Online Workshops for Children and Young Adults

My friend, Simon Rose, science fiction and fantasy author, is offering online workshops for children and young adults ages eight to sixteen. This is a perfect vehicle to inspire, encourage and foster young writers. It is not true that one has to experience thirty years of life or be retired to write books for children and young adults. Many writers began writing when very young but did not have any way of getting good feedback or critique from professionals. A professional author was way out of reach. Not any more.

Simon’s workshops are conducted via email. This is like having your own personal published author right in the same room with you.

Details of Simon's workshops are available here

Also listen to Simon on you tube as he reads a synopsis of his books.

Below is a list of Simon Rose's books. Go to his website at purchase or on

The Doomsday Mask 2009
The Heretic's Tomb 2007
The Emerald Curse 2006
The Clone Conspiracy 2005
The Sorcerer's Letterbox 2004
The Alchemist's Portrait 2003

Write it down,

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Daisy Chain: Chapter One

It is my pleasure to introduce a new book by author Mary E. Demuth.
The first chapter is below for your pleasure. Let me know what you think or go to Mary's blog and let her know.

Jed keeps his family secrets to himself, even to his friend Daisy. She has a few of her own, too. Explore both in the first chapter of Daisy Chain. You can purchase Daisy Chain here, or at your local bookstore.

Chapter One:

Defiance, Texas

It had been thirty roller-coaster years since Daisy Marie Chance forced fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper to fall in love with her. He’d obliged her, dizzied at the thought ever since. It had been that long before Jed could walk through the ruins of Crooked Creek Church, a butterfly flitting a prophecy he never could believe, even today. It was Daisy’s singsong words that gave the butterfly its bewitching manner, those same words that strangled him with newfound love. For years, he wished he’d had an Instamatic camera to capture the moment he fell for Daisy, but then entropy would’ve had its way, fading and creasing Daisy’s face until she’d have looked like an overloved newspaper recipe, wrinkled and unreadable.

Thing was, he could always read Daisy's face. Even then. She’d looked at him square in the eyes that day in 1977, in the exact same spot he stood now, and declared, “Your family ain’t normal, Jed.” And because lies came easy to him, he’d thought, of course my family’s normal. Anyone with eyes could see that. Daisy said a lot of words, being a thirteen-year-old girl and all, but these didn’t make much sense.

Thirty years later they did. They screamed the truth through the empty field where the church used to creak in the wind.

For a hesitant moment, enshrined in the ruins of his childhood, Jed was fourteen again. Filled to the brim with testosterone and pestered by an orange and black tormenter and Daisy's oh-so-true words.

"Your family ain't normal, Jed."

He watched the butterfly loop above the organ, never landing, like it had a thing against church music. Or maybe dust.

He sat on a rickety pew.


He clasped his hands around his ears, hoping Daisy’s words would run away. He hummed "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."

She put her nose right in front of his. He felt her breathing, smelled her Juicy Fruit breath. “You in there?”

He swatted the air between them, hoping she’d disappear. “Yeah. Quit bothering me.” He looked at his watch. Six fifteen. Time to go.

“But your face.” Daisy sat down a Bible’s throw away.

Jed touched his swollen eye. “Yeah? So? What about it?”

“It looks like it hurts.” Daisy scooted closer. She reached her arm his direction.

He inched away.

“The truth, Jed. How’d you get that shiner?”

He watched the butterfly. “I was stupid. Ran my face into a corner.” Thirty seconds had ticked. The watch clicked like a stopwatch, pestering him.

“Faces don’t mess with corners, Jed.”

“Mine did. Chasing Sissy around the house. She said it wasn’t fair because I was bigger. She tied a bandana around my head. I ran after her blind.” Another well-told lie, almost as good as Hap’s stories from the pulpit. Six sixteen. Time to go.

Daisy shook her head. Her long blonde braid whipped back and forth like a tire swing over a swimming hole. She hated bangs, something her mom, Miss Emory, knew, but hacked away at them a few weeks ago anyway, leaving them a crooked mess. Daisy still steamed about it, but her only protest was two yellow clips with smiling daisies pulling the jagged bangs away from her forehead.

“I love you, you know.”

Jed’s face warmed. “Would you quit that please? There’s no room for talk like that.”

“Why not? This is church, right? Aren’t you supposed to say love in church? Besides, you know what street I live on.”

Jed rolled his eyes. “Love Street.”

“That’s right.”

“I don’t see how that makes any difference”

“It makes every difference. It’s destiny, what street you live on.” Daisy turned away from Jed, pulled her braid to her mouth. She bit its stubbled end and groaned like she was gritting teeth. Her angry noise.

The monarch flew in circles in front of Daisy, as if it were trying to lift her mood by dancing on air. It lit upon the pew between the two of them, wings folded up toward the ceiling in prayer.

Daisy bent near the monarch, but the butterfly didn’t flinch. “It means something, sure enough,” she whispered.

“What’s gotten into you? It’s tired, that’s all. And it happened to sit down right there.” Jed pointed his finger at the motionless butterfly.

With one tentative hop, the monarch left the dusty pew for Jed’s dirt-stained fingernail. It seemed to study his face while the sun shone through its papery wings. It flapped once and then flew clear away, out one of the abandoned church’s broken stained glass.

They sat in pew four listening to doves calling each other.

Jed checked his watch. Nearly twenty after.

“It’s a sign. Jed Pepper, you’re going to change the world. You’ve been chosen.”

“You’re frustrating.” Jed stood.

“Am not.”

“Are too.” Jed scatted the air with a wave of his hand, as if doing that would erase the words Daisy spoke, an aerial Etch-a-Sketch.

He walked Crooked Creek Church’s middle aisle backwards, like a sinner unrepentant, while Daisy chattered away. Part of him wanted to leave her behind for good, but another part wanted to listen to her forever and a year. He’d welcome her words to fill the silence of his home.

“Hey Jed?”

“Now what?”

“You be careful.”

“I will.”


“Did anyone ever tell you you’re a pest?”

“Mama does. Every single day. Should I add you to the list?” Her voice got that empty sound whenever she spoke of Miss Emory—a longing for something her mama couldn’t or wouldn’t give her.

He considered his answer. Daisy’s mama scatted her like she was an interrupting fruit fly half the time. He didn’t want to treat her the same. “No, never mind. Forget I said it.”

“I’m a good forgetter.” She smiled.

He couldn’t help but smile in return. “I gotta go.” If he ran, he’d make it.

Daisy stepped out into the aisle, hands on hips. “I’m going to marry you someday. You wait and see.”

Jed rolled his eyes. Girls.

“I’m going to put on a long white dress and you’re going to wear a fine suit. We’re going to tend birds. I can’t live without ‘em.”

A dove shot through an open window, looping frantically through the church, flying crazy-winged out where it came from in a flustering of wings against window pane. For a moment, everything was silent. Dead quiet.

“God’s been here,” Daisy whispered, looking haunted-eyed at Jed.

He looked away.

She tapped him on the shoulder. “And when we’re married, we’re going to have six kids—all girls. Want to know their names?” This time her eyes spelled mischief.

“Not hardly.”

“Petunia, Hollyhock, Primrose, Begonia, Dahlia, and Buttercup.”

Jed leaned against the back pew, eyeing the door of escape. “Sounds more like a garden than a batch of kids.” He knew he should leave, but Daisy held some sort of annoying girl spell over him.

“Very funny.”

“I need to head home.” Jed turned. He untied the back door, hitched closed with baling twine. He’d come in the side way, through a low window, and was going to leave proper this time. Besides, it was the closest way to escape Daisy’s sentences. Next thing, she’d be talking about perfume or how smooth babies’ skin was or going on about the butterfly’s hidden meaning. Anyone knew he wouldn’t change the world. Not today at least. He’d be happy to make it through one day.

Daisy followed him. “You going to leave me here alone? I traipsed all the way from town to come here.”

“It’s not like we don’t meet here every single day. You’ll be fine. How many times have you walked home from here? A thousand? Two?”

“It’s a long walk.”

“For crying out loud, Daisy, this is Defiance, Texas. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Besides, you’ve got God’s eye for protection.”

She looked away, didn’t say a word while seconds ticked away. She took a deep breath, then let it out. “You’ll regret it.” The western sun shone through the church’s broken-out windows brightening the left side of Daisy’s face. She looked almost like an angel, that is, if angels had braided hair and prattled on and on.

“See you later,” he called over his shoulder.

Jed shut the church’s back door, knowing Daisy preferred crawling out of the church like a fugitive. Ever since she read a book about Anne who holed up from Nazis, she’d taken to hiding and sneaking. He tied a rope around the doorknob and a piece of wood sticking out from the doorframe, securing the door.

He faced his world in that moment, let its significance and fury sink into his heart. Would he change the world? Hard to say.