Thursday, August 1, 2013

Meet the Author of How Long Will You Love Me?

Meet Friday's Fave Children's Literature author Patti Brassard Jefferson, author and illustrator of How Long Will You Love Me?  She gives excellent advice for aspiring authors.

WD:What inspired you to become a children's author?

PBJ: I think that I wrote my first story when I was 8 or so and it was a tale of a group of kids in the neighborhood and the secret club that they formed in in a tree house. Write what you know, right? As years went by, I think that writing became less fun because there were grades and rules and restrictions. When my daughter was born in 1986, I started to tell her stories and started writing again - mostly because it was fun again. Last year I finally finished all the poems and illustrations for my first children's book and published it this month.

WD: What book(s) have you written that you would like to tell us about?
PBJ: How Long Will You Love Me is a collection of answers to a pretty important question. I think we all have asked at one time or another and the answers in the book help us to see that some love is endless. Each page states a total impossibility and the promise to love until it actually happens: until birds give up flying for commercial air travel, bunnies sing the blues, dolphins lay on the beach getting tan, balloons are made of rocks, freckles play golf, etc. Each silly answer rhymes so that its easy to repeat and the watercolor illustrations on each page also include a hidden heart for the reader to find. It's a sweet book.


WD:Do you have any favorite childhood books?
PBJ: I don't actually remember specific books from my own childhood although I do have vivid memories of reading with the adults in my life including my great grandparents. I was a huge fan of the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books and to this day I enjoy a good mystery.

When my daughter was small, we always enjoyed the Carl books by Alexandra Day because we had rottweilers ourselves and because we could change up the stories to fit the illustrations. A school visit from Marc Brown made her an automatic Arthur fan but I think her favourite was "When You Give A Moose A Muffin" by Laura Numeroff.

WD:Do you have advice for aspiring writers?
PBJ: Yeah... get your book out there! Let people read it. Get honest critiques. When you are ready, work with a compatible illustrator and find a publisher that inspires you. My publisher, Lisa Umina from Halo Publishing International, is an award-winning children's book author herself so she gets the process and has been a great mentor.

If you can't publish traditionally, self-publish. If you can't afford to self-publish, run a KickStarter campaign to raise the funds (I did!). Just do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes to get your book out there.

Don't be afraid of not being successful. Be afraid of not trying.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Check Out My Interview with BBB

Hi everyone! Head over to Beach Bound Books to check out my interview. :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Meet Author Frances Wilhelm

Meet Friday's Fave Children's Literature author Frances Wilhelm. This award winning writer has a new book to be released in October. Read her interview  below for details.

What inspired you to become a children's author?

As an award-winning writer (television), I have been writing since a young child. My inspiration to write has been my mission to make a difference for others. My biggest enjoyment comes from knowing that I've touched someone in a positive way, and my writing is a tool to accomplish that.

What book(s) have you written that you would like to tell us about?
I have written "Why Am I Me?" It's a delightful rhyming picture book addressing one of the most commonly asked questions by children worldwide.


Do you have any favorite childhood books?
 Love You Forever is one of my favorite books of all time. 

Do you have advice for aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Keep marketing. Never stop.

Where can we find you and your books?

The publication date for the book is October 15, 2013 and it's available for pre-sale in August at, amazon, B&N, goodreads, and facebook.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Use of Dialogue Tags


 Last week I talked about the balance of Show & Tell in writing. It seems that every aspect of writing requires careful balance....even dialogue tags. I have to admit that I didn't give it much thought. We were always taught in school to vary the word "said', to make your writing more interesting. I even have a "Said is Dead" chart in my classroom of other words for my children to use in their writing.

 In my quest to improve the craft of show & tell, I ran across more than one reference to dialogue tags.  Did you know that some editors refer to words used instead of said ( such as hissed, whimpered, thundered, demanded, etc,) as bookisms?  Your work may appear amateurish if you use too many of these. Some experts say use of these bookisms take the reader out of the story.

So what does show and tell have to do with this? 
 If you write strong dialogue you won't need to use many of these "bookisms". Your strong dialogue will show the emotion without use of these tags.

Look at this conversation from The End of Something  by Ernest Hemmingway.

"There's going to be a moon tonight," said Nick. He looked across the bay to the hills that were beginning to sharpen against the sky. Beyond the hills he knew the moon was coming up.

"I know it," Marjorie said happily.

"You know everything," Nick said.

"Oh, Nick, please cut it out! Please, please don't be that way!"

"I can't help it," Nick said. "You do. You know everything. That's the trouble. You know you do."
Marjorie did not say anything.

"I've taught you everything. You know you do. What don't you know, anyway?"

"Oh, shut up," Marjorie said. "There comes the moon."

They sat on the blanket without touching each other and watched the moon rise.
"You don't have to talk silly," Marjorie said; "what's really the matter?"

"I don't know."

"Of course you know."

"No I don't."

"Go on and say it."

Nick looked on at the moon, coming up over the hills.
"It isn't fun any more."

  Hemingway had a balance of said, invisible tags(it's understood), and tag with action. 

Should you ever use said-bookism tags? Yes, sparingly. Just like all aspects of writing, dialogue tags require careful balance.  

What are your thoughts on use of dialogue tags?

 He Said, She Said: Dialog Tags and Using Them Effectively by D.M. Johnson

The Use and Abuse of Dialogue Tags by Anne M. Marble

Friday, July 19, 2013

Meet the Author of Ozette's Destiny

It's time once again for Friday's Fave Children's Literature. I'm pleased to introduce this week's featured children's author, Judy Pierce. Learn more about the author of this magical book that will touch your heart. 

What inspired you to become a children's author?
I had written a number of feature articles - mostly about environmental issues - but started writing little stories about a white squirrel named Ozette. Friends encouraged me to write a book, and that is how Tales from Farlandia: Ozette's Destiny was born. I had it professioonally edited then I found a publisher, Pants on Fire Press, and my first book was published in late Febuary. Quite a journey!

What book(s) have you written that you would like to tell us about?
This is my first book, although I am working on the second book in the series.

Do you have any favorite childhood books?
 So many wonderful books to love...I love Charlotte's Web, Beautiful Joe, Winnie the Pooh books, Alice in Wonderland, The Pokey Little Puppy, Wind in the Willows - lots of happy memories.

Do you have advice for aspiring writers?
Keep writing. Getting published - while wonderful - should not be your goal. Write because you have to, because you have something inside of you that needs to be said. Never give up and polish, polish, polish before you even think about sending it to an agent or publisher. Hire a professional editor if you can afford it. It can be money well spent. Believe in yourself. Develop a bit of a thick skin - learn from criticism but don't let it cripple you and stop you from writing. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Show and Tell


 Her heart hammers. She wipes the extra moisture from her palms onto her jeans. The applause of the class signals the end of Billy's presentation, sending a new wave of excitement through her. It's her turn now.

   I don't know if you remember "Show and Tell" when you were a child. This was not a moment to take lightly. It required careful planning and much thought as to what will catch the attention of your classmates, keep them captivated, wanting to know more about what you brought to class. 

   Writers must approach writing the same way.  I've devoted this summer to improve in the craft of show and tell. I'm fortunate that I've found a critique partner who pushes me in this area. My YA novella is in the revising and polishing stage and I've found the balancing act of show and tell is not easy for me.

   A book by James Thayer titled "Show or Tell?" has been helpful for me along with some websites I've listed below.  What tips or thoughts do you have about this?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday Fave Children's Literature-Meet Author Tim Johnson

It's time once again for Friday's Fave Children's Literature. I'm pleased to introduce this week's featured children's author, Tim Johnson. Please read the interview of this talented author.  

What inspired you to become a children's author?
During a trip to Japan as an exchange student in high school I picked up a children's book in Japanese to practice my reading and build my vocabulary. After finding how useful this book was to me and how easy it was to learn and commit new words to memory in the context of a story, I was inspired to create my own character and write children's books written in two languages and specifically written to help children learn new words and phrases.

What book(s) have you written that you would like to tell us about?
Bosley Sees the World and Bosley Goes to the Beach are the first two books in the "Adventures of Bosley Bear" series. They are both currently available in a variety of different languages, all of which include the English translation and are specifically designed to passively teach children new words and phrases in the context of a beautifully illustrated, fun, wholesome bedtime story.

Do you have any favorite childhood books?
Omae Umasou Da Na? (Japanese children's book about a small dinosaur by the name of "Delicious")
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Do you have advice for aspiring writers?

Self publish, and put out quality material. The amount of self published authors out there will eventually overtake the tyranny of the publishing companies and the good quality work will rise to the top.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Meet Children's Author Mariana Llanos

Welcome to Friday Faves Children's Literature. It is my pleasure to interview Mariana Llanos author of Tristan Wolf.

What inspired you to become a children's author?

 I don't know if you can just get inspired to be a writer. I think is something you are born with, you either have it or not. And I think for some people it flourishes out at an early age and some others discover it later in life. I've always written, poems, short stories, anything. Those stories came to my head and made me wander. Many of them ended up in a piece of paper, some others got lost.

What book(s) have you written that you would like to tell us about?

My first published book is called Tristan Wolf. It is the story of Tristan, a boy abandoned in the forest and raised by wolves. It is also the story of his internal struggle to find himself as he sets off on an adventure to meet humans. Along the way he'll find new friends and a big surprise.

It is recommended for readers 8 and up. I am sure that Tristan will spark children's imagination and will make adults go back in time, to the age when they believed anything was possible. 

Do you have any favorite childhood books?

When I was a child I read pretty much anything, but The Little Prince and Alice in Wonderland are the ones I remember the most and the ones that created an impact in me. 

Do you have advice for aspiring writers?

Well, I'm very new in the "business" part of this. I can only tell you to never give up and to chase your dream. There are lots of obstacles but the biggest one is inside us. We just have to keep on writing, no matter what. That's what I'm doing.

Where can we find you and your books?

I also have a blog where I share my thoughts and reviews:

You can connect with me via Facebook:
and on

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Let's Talk Critique

  I'm almost near the finish line with my novella and ready to get some honest feedback. I've never been part of a critique group and have been searching for information about this. I came across an article in my search titled Can Critique Groups Do More Harm than Good? by Kristen Lamb .This is a well written article that gives the pros and cons of critique groups. 
     It a nutshell among the list of pros are that critique groups can...
  •  hold us accountable
  • offer professionalism
  • take our writing to a new level

   Among the list of cons are that critique groups can...
  • become a crutch and prevent growth
  • create bad writing habits
  • deform a manuscript to the point it doesn't have a chance of publication
What are your thoughts on critique groups? Do you use them?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Writing Recipe

I'm honored to be a guest blogger for Nicua Shamira at Terravereum/Earth's Truth. Nicua is a talented lady with a love of nature. (She also called me "young". She is wonderful! :)  Hop over to see my post titled  My Writing Recipe by clicking the picture below.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Friday Faves Children's Literature

 Happy Friday Everyone!
     My Friday Fave Children's Book is Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing  by Judy Blume. Peter and Fudge have the typical big brother,annoying  little brother relationship.Judy Blume is a  master at making these characters come alive. It is impossible to get through a chapter without laughing. This book was a childhood favorite of mine and a favorite of my students today.

   I had the awesome opportunity to listen to her live video chat this week. She's truly one of the greatest children's authors of all time. (Can you tell I'm a huge fan?)  I've included the link to her chat below if you missed it or are interested.

While your here please vote on my poll question  to the left and leave a comment telling me about one of your favorite children's books. You can even tell about one that you wrote if you wish.

Judy Blume Video Chat

Friday, May 31, 2013

Believe in Yourself

     Congratulations to Jacky Pett, the winner of my children's book, The Time Travel Storm.

 “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." -Maya Angelou

    I love to write. Even when I'm not writing, I'm writing. No matter what I'm doing, my mind drifts to a story. I make sure I'm prepared for my mind drifts by carrying a small notebook with me to jot down my ideas.
     There are times though, when my writing doesn't flow or feels forced. It's easy to give up or doubt myself.  I just finished reading a book called You Are a Writer So Start Acting Like One by Jeff Goins. In his book Jeff talks about being true to your voice. I recognize that those times when my writing feels forced is when I'm not being true to who I am as a writer. The story that I have to tell comes from within me. No matter what is "hot" at the moment, I need to stick to my voice and my story.
      This book has inspired my to write what I know and believe in myself.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Kiss in the Dark

“A short story is a different thing all together - a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger.”
Stephen King, Skeleton Crew

       I love quotes from Stephen King. His quotes put writing in perspective for me.

  I'm working on a  young adult novella now dealing with the topic of death. I know..... not fun. The reader experiences the grief process through young Gabby's eyes but also has glimpses of her humor throughout the story.
  My story is almost finished and will need to go through some polishing yet. Maybe it will be someone's kiss in the dark when it's all said and done.

Update: It's polished and finished......Beyond Vica.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Faves Children's Literature

Happy Friday everybody! My Friday Fave Children's book this week come from the same author as last week, Beverly Cleary. Yes, she is my favorite childhood author. Her stories had a way of pulling me in. I remember not being able to wait to hear my teacher read Ramona Quimby stories to us. Ramona's character was so identifiable in that she thought all the things about adults that children think. Her actions are comical.
Link up to tell about your favorite children's book, present or past, or  you can comment below.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Who Hurts the Most From Alcohol Abuse?

 Alcoholism doesn't discriminate. It doesn't care if you're rich or poor. It doesn't matter what color your skin is or if you are a male or female. Can it hurt some more than others? Yes. The children of  alcoholics are hurt the most. It is estimated that 7.5 million children live in a home with a parent that has some type of alcohol disorder. Children are the helpless victims of this disease.
   This is a subject that I feel passionate about. I've seen what living with a alcohol dependent parent can do to a child. Uncertainty, embarrassment, and guilt are some of the feelings these children experience.
  Tegan Taylor is a middle class teenager with educated parents She is also a child of an alcoholic. This is the main character of  the young adult novel I'm currently writing. Writing this novel through the eyes of Tegan has been rewarded and challenging. She leads me tell her story with a touch of humor, but the consequences of her what she lives with are serious.
   I hope to do her justice through this novel, as well as all of the children who live it. I will post again soon with an update on this project.


Monday, May 13, 2013

It's All In the Voice Contest

Hello all. I'm participating in the Heather Webb's It's All in the Voice Blog Hop and Contest.  Here are the first 250 words of a young adult novel I'm currently writing. Thank you for your feedback and I will "hop" around to your blogs to offer advice as well.

   "You should've stayed away from the preacher dude, Hester." I say to the adulterous heroine in the book I'm reading for class. A robin answers me from the top branches of the old oak. The swing under me sways covered by the shade of the oak. A woman's shriek from next door jolts me off the swing and onto my feet sending The Scarlett Letter to tumble from my lap. It lands spine up in the thick grass. Monstrous hedges guard the property line of my yard and that of my neighbor's, blocking my view from what lies beyond them. I search until I find a space in the hedge monsters and am able see into the yard next door. My eyes widen at the scene playing out before them.

  A woman stands inside a bed of daisies swinging a garden hoe. With each swing, a hot pink ribbon bobs from her brimmed hat.

  "Drop it, you evil thing," she cries. "Get out of here." 

  I want to call out to see if she needs my help, but I'm not sure what her name is. My mom took her a "welcome to the  neighborhood" gift basket and a pie when she moved in over the winter, but I didn't pay attention when mom told me her name.

  The woman inches a step forward, pokes at something with the hoe, and shrieks.

 "Oh my lands!"  A huge tomcat dashes to the opposite side of the yard and turns to bare it's teeth. It gives the woman a hiss before disappearing in the hedges. "Oh good Lord!" 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Faves

 Welcome to my first Friday Faves for Children's Literature.  Book lovers and writers all started somewhere. More than likely the love of stories developed as a child. I invite parents, teachers, authors, and all book lovers to share their favorite children's literature.

   I'll start by sharing one my favorite childhood authors, Beverly Clearly. I'm currently reading her story Runaway Ralph.  Her ability to bring Ralph's character to life is amazing. Even though Ralph is a mouse, he has the thoughts, feelings, and interests of a child making him a character children can connect with. What child hasn't thought his parents unfair or siblings annoying?  This is a classic story that continues to be a favorite of mine.

Please link up a favorite children's book. Be sure to link from a blog post telling about the story and why it's a good book for children. Author, parents, teachers, and all book lovers may link up.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Children's Book Week Giveaway

   Children's Book Week is May 13-19. In honor of this book reading celebration, Mother and Daughter Book Reviews, and Youth Literature Book Reviews are having a Kid Lit Blog Hop Giveaway.
 I'm proudly participating in this event honoring two things dear to my heart, children and books.  You may enter to win a signed copy of my story The Time Travel Storm.  You can enter each day from May 13-19.
Click on the Kid Lit Blog Hop button below to find other wonderful book giveaways. Good Luck!

                                                          a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kid Lit Giveaway Hop Sign-Ups

Saturday, May 4, 2013


 If you don't have time to read, you don't have time (or tools) to write. Simple as that. -Stephen King
 Welcome to A Writer's Devotion. I believe the love of reading is the foundation upon which a writer develops.  The desire inside to tell a story or express an idea pours out of a writer's hand. Beyond that it takes hard work to continue to grow and cultivate the craft. Dedication to write each day is a must.
   Join me on this journey as I explore great books to read, share tips from other writers, and share my own trials and triumphs.

     Keep Writing,