Writing

  • Art,  Updates,  Writing

    My Writing & Illustration Goals for 2022

    It’s 2022, and I haven’t blogged in a long period of time!  What better time to start blogging than when I make a goal list for the year? No, seriously, tell me so I get it right the next time I take a break from my blog. If you know me, you know that I don’t like making resolutions. To me resolutions feel too much like a pass/fail situation. I do like to make a lot of lofty goals that I know I wont achieve them all.

     

    1. Finish sketching my PB & GN dummy. Normally, I wouldn’t make a dummy for a graphic novel, but this particular graphic novel is picture book length so it makes sense.

    2. Finish a draft of my MG kitty novel. Cats are in most of my stories. While this is a specific novel it’s could be almost any MG book I write

    3. Draft 2 GN scripts. This is the minimum amount of GN scripts I want to write this year. I’m sure I will get more ideas, but I want to draft two this year.

    4. Put together a new graphic novel package for one of the new scripts.

    5. Submit my polished work to agents.

    6. Write 12 picture book manuscripts. I’d like to draft at least 12 decent picture book manuscripts. I’m in the 12×12 and I’d like to win this year! https://www.12x12challenge.com/

    7. Make sure I make use of critique groups and other resources.

    8. Interview authors & Illustrators and post about BIPOC, Disabled and LGBTQIA+ books.

    9. Keep up with my list of resources on my blog.

    10. Blog at least once a month about the books I’ve read and other updates! 

    11. Edit at least one of my novels for submission.

     

    I think that’s a good list of things. I doubt if I’ll get to them all, but it’s good to have a list of goals up. What are your goals for this year?

  • Art,  courses,  Events,  Writing

    Upcoming Kidlit Events and Classes

    I’ve been meaning for some time to update this blog with upcoming kidlit events. These events will mostly be focused on BIPOC, Disabled, LGBTQIA+ ect. resources. I will try to update this as much as possible, but only will post updates once or twice a month on the blog. I have added a resource tab on my website. You can also see the list of resources here: https://www.daniduck.com/kidlit-events-and-resources/

     

    January

    Author Mentor Match for MG- Adult novels: https://authormentormatch.com/ Jan 12-14

    Windows and Mirrors Scholarship for New England SCBWI Annual Conference. Submission window Jan 1- 31st https://newengland.scbwi.org/new-england-scbwi-scholarships/nescbwi-windows-mirrors-scholarship/

    DV Con – From the creators of #DVPit. This free conference is for self identifying marginalized book creators. Excellent conference! January 22 – 23 https://www.dvpit.com/register-2022

     

    February

    Annick Press Mentorship – The deadline for the first round of submissions is February 8, 2021

    https://www.annickpress.com/Submission-Guidelines/Annick-Press-Mentorship-Program

     

    May

    Mastering Graphic Novels Live is happening in May 2022 for the Children’s Book Academy. There are scholarships for all of the big courses. Mira Reisberg rarely gets enough BIPOC applying. Sign up for the newsletter to be informed of scholarships and other events the CBA has to offer: https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/2022graphicnovels.html

     

    Unannouced/Ongoing

    The Queer Kidlit Chat Mentorship for LGBTQIA+ people will be happening again this year! There will be an announcement on #QueerKidlit chat when this happens.

    A list of calls for submissions sorted by month: https://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/p/calls-for-submissions.html

     

    Year Round

     

    Classes

    OC Art Studios – Open Studio sessions where Larissa will critique illustration work (I highly recommend these). https://larissamarantz.com/oc-art-studios.html Larissa offers scholarships to her classes for Black and AAPI students.

     

    Chats

    Queer Kidlit Chat – On Twitter #Queerkidlit chat is Wednesday nights at 5:30pm PT/8:30pm ET. LGBTQIA+ people and allies welcome!

    Kidlit Art Chat – On Twitter #KidlitArt chat is Thusday nights at 6:00pm PT/ 9:00pm ET. A fantastic chat for kidlit illustrators!

     

    Other Websites: 

    The Brown Bookshelf – A website dedicated to create awareness for Black stories:  https://thebrownbookshelf.com/

    Editors of Color – A website to hire BIPOC editors. Search for an editor in a huge number of categories or post a job. BIPOC can join the database. https://editorsofcolor.com/

    Diverse Picture Books – A list of picture books created by diverse authors/illustrators https://bookshop.org/shop/diversepicturebooks

     Kidlit 411 – a website dedicated to kidlit. Events, classes and tons of resources: http://www.kidlit411.com/

     

  • Art,  Education,  Events,  Updates,  Writing

    Events, Classes and Submissions!

    I thought that October was going to be my busiest month this year, but it looks like this month is just as busy or busier! I don’t know how this happened. I’m going to talk about what I’m working on later, but for now here are some events, classes and submissions that I’ve been telling people about. It’s just that there are so many that I just want them in one place!

    Picture Book Palooza 

    Price: $20 (or donate more to help this cause!)

    Runs Dec 5-7th! It’s a big online event that talks about all aspects of Picture Books. The event is to raise money for diversity scholarships for the Children’s Book Academy. It’s $20 and there are a lot of prizes. All webinars are recorded:

    https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/pbpalooza2020.html

    SCBWI Graphic Novel Conference

    Turning Writing and Illustrator Ideas into Graphic Novels

    Price: Varies

    Date- 01/16/2021
    10:00 am – 3:30 pm

    A one day conference for graphic novel writers and illustrators. When I signed up there were a few spots left with Natascha Morris for a paid critique. Submission opportunity available after the conference!

     

    https://indiana.scbwi.org/events/turning-writing-and-illustrator-ideas-into-graphic-novels/

    Black Friday Bootcamp with Storyteller Academy! 

    Price: Free

    Arree Chung is the founder and one of the teachers at the wonderful storyteller academy. Come join in the free event and see if the Storyteller Academy is right for you! I’ve learned a ton at this academy and my son adored the kids classes that were offered!

     

    Storyteller Academy Black Friday Bootcamp

     

    YALL WRITE

    A YA writing event. Most of the webinars are for YA writers, but there was a talk on MG books. I haven’t watched the events so it could be good for MG writers as well. There is a talk for graphic novelists and one with a queer talk!

    This event is now over, but most of the webinars are posted on Youtube!

    YallWrite Twitter: https://twitter.com/YALLFest

    Website: https://www.yallwrite.org/

    Youtube Replays:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLuk7vwjbCbcfvt5K22xlF_6HS4WWcCoB

    7 Turns – Novel Writing Course

    This is an absolutely wonderful course to take for anyone wanting to write a novel for any age. Ksenia teaches the 7 turns of creating a novel giving you an excellent and fully customizable blueprint to make your novel sing. The community surrounding this course is very supportive and I love everything I’ve learned.

    7 Turns Vision: To be the world’s first creative healing company, to create a healthy place to work for, and to build a safe, trusted, and uplifting online community where people can share and discover any story they want.

    https://www.7turns.io/about

    The 2021 Craft & Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books

    A wonderful course by the Children’s Book Academy. Work on your writing craft with three fantastic teachers. Submission opportunity after the course with 10 Editors, Agents and Publishers who will look at your work!

    I have been in the illustration course 3 times. It is a fantastic learning opportunity. I learn something new every time I’m in a CBA course.

    https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/cbwpb.html

    The BIPOC Bookshelf

    A list of BIPOC Editors and Agents. Not all agents on this list are open to submissions!

    “The purpose of the BIPOC Editors & Agents database is to be used by both literary publishing professionals and potential writers –  with the goal of bringing more stories from the perspective of BIPOC writers into the world through traditional publishing.” 

     

    The BIPOC Twitter Account:

    https://twitter.com/BIPOC_Bookshelf

    Website:

    https://www.bipocbookshelf.com/editors-agents

  • Art,  Events,  Writing

    Picture Book Palooza!

    I haven’t been able to post for over a month. October was busier than expected this year! I have a lot more to talk about, but I want to get started by talking about Picture Book Palooza! https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/pbpalooza2020.html

    Join the PB Palooza

    Picture book Palooza is going into it’s second year. The cost for entry is only $20 and you get so much great information. This is a fundraising event so that Mira Reisberg can continue to give class scholarships to BIPOC, Disabled, LGBTQIA+, Low Income ect.! These scholarships are designed to help even out the publishing playing field. In many of the Children’s Book Academy classes students get to show their work directly to Editors, Agents and Art Directors. Students are all given an equal chance to showcase their work in front of these industry professionals.

    What You’ll Learn

    It feels like 100 years since last year’s event, but I do know that it was epic. I just learned so much from taking part of the event. There were so many wonderful presenters. Lots of fantastic conversations and a ton of learning. You’ll get a lot of your industry questions answered. The events are: 21st Century Nonfiction, Fiction From Life, Writing for Social Justice, Kidlit Community Resources, How to Write Funny, Fiction vs. Concept Books, Editor & Agent Panel, and an Illustration & Writing Panel. Plus a break out Zoom room where you can get all of your questions answered!

    The information you’ll get in this event is equivalent to an event put on a bigger organization. You will find that the people invited have information that will help you no matter what your level in writing or illustration. The information given in this event is current and relevant to those just starting out and those who have been in the industry for a while. Take a look at the picture below and go to https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/pbpalooza2020.html to see the list of all the wonderful people involved with this event! There is also a full list of what’s happening when there too!

    Why I Love the Children’s Book Academy

    I have learned so much in taking the Craft and Business of Illustrating Picture Books! I have taken the class twice and am currently a helper in this past class (and will be a helper in future classes as well). I just love seeing people go from good to great in these classes. Every single person who does the course works ends up with a huge jump in skills from start of the class to end. Also I mentioned that you get to show your work to actual Agents, Illustrators and ADs after class. Not to just any publishing companies, either. These are a range of great companies (that vary every class) that could give you a huge advantage going into or continuing your illustration or writing career! Please join me for this event! If you missed the link before here it is again: https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/pbpalooza2020.html 

  • Art,  Events,  Fun,  Writing

    Announcing #QueerKidlit

    I want to invite you all to a new Twitter chat! The chat is called #QueerKidlit and will be Wednesday nights 5:30pm PT/ 8:30pm ET. It’s hosted by Jenette Bradley (@jeanettebradly) and myself (@daniduck). The very first event will be Wednesday August 12th! All LGBTQIA+ people and allies welcome! This event is for both kidlit writers and illustrators.

    There are lots of things we are working out about this chat. Please come with ideas for things you’d like to see! 

    Logo art by Jeanette Bradley.

     

  • Art,  Books,  Writing

    Wednesday Updates

    I’m going to start doing weekly updates again! I will be posting my own creative goals (and maybe some artwork), my current reads, and any art/writing events and fun stuff that’s coming up. The format and name for this may change a bit, but I’m really excited to have time to do these updates again.

    Creative Goals:

    I just got an iPad Pro. I’m currently using it to work on some illustration work! I have a cat book that I think will work well with on the iPad.

    I have another cat graphic novel that I’m doing on my desktop. I am almost done with the images for this, but it is taking some time. I’m hoping that the work for this will give me more things to share for Smart Dummies later this year! 

    Currently Reading:

    I have honestly not had much time for reading in recent years and that’s been very sad for me. I am listening to a TON of audiobooks right now. It’s easier for me to listen to something while I’m working on art or cleaning the house than it is to sit and read. I can read so much faster than I can listen, so I was resistant at first. I found that I do love listening to these books. I’ve had so much fun hearing these stories.

    Stories I’ve read in the last little while:

    Full Disclosure by Cameryn Garrett

    Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

    Tarnished are the Stars by Rosilee Thor

    The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

    A Song Below Water by Bethany C Morrow

    The Black Flamingo By Dean Atta

    The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

    King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender

    The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

    Most of these are by Black authors other than Tarnished are the Stars and The Henna Wars. These are both queer stories! I highly recommend reading all of these books. 

    Currently Reading: All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson  

    This book is different from all the books I’ve been reading lately, because it’s nonfiction. It’s a memoir/manifesto. I’d also say there are CW for this book of sexual abuse, general abuse, homophobia, transphobia, racism and repeated use of the f-word and n-word. The writer of this book is Black, queer and does not put the bad things that happened in his life in a good light. 

    More Fun Stuff:

    Just around the corner is the SCBWI Summer Spectacular conference! I’m attending this event. It starts Friday  July 31st and runs through August 4th. I’m very excited for this to start. I honestly keep forgetting the start date, so posting the date here is as much for myself as it is for you! https://www.scbwi.org/events/scbwi-summer-spectacular-2020/

    The Children’s Book Academy is having their Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books starting August 31st. This is an absolutely fantastic class. You will learn so much in this class. The fantastic Larissa Marantz is a new teacher in this course. She is absolutely fantastic! It will be the best year to take this class. ADs, Editors and Agents will be looking at your work at the end of the course so sign up now! https://www.childrensbookacademy.com/2020-craft–business-of-illustrating-childrens-books.html

  • Books,  Uncategorized,  Writing

    2020 Book Releases!

    I had so wanted to do a Black only book release post today to support Black Lives Matter.  Unfortunately, I didn’t responses to my Tweets yet (I’m still going to try). It’s expected because it took me some time to get responses to my author posts. If you are Black you can still comment here and hopefully I can get several people for a dedicated post.  https://twitter.com/DaniDuck/status/1267504987367587847

    Even if I’ve already posted your work please feel free to submit you book again for a second post! 

    I do have some Black authors below, and am also including other POC to the list. I may have missed a few people, so feel free to let me know if I missed you!

    ———-

    Books for Grown-Ups

    Dragonborn by Whitney Rines

    Five Amaranthine coveting godhood commit horrific actions against mortals and the world they share and are granted twisted versions of their desire.
    Dragonborn follows the story of Fayet and his own journey to humanity, by watching mortals over time. He eventually falls for a mortal woman named Ayshir and assuming a mortal shell builds a family and home with her.

    However, the events preceding their union and the ones that that follow after, slowly bring a darkness that threatens to destroy his family.

     

    Website: https://www.whitneyrines.com/

    Buy Dragonborn and preview Whitney’s Other Books: https://www.whitneyrines.com/publications

     

     

    This is My America by Kim Johnson

    Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?

    Preorder the Book: 

    https://www.getunderlined.com/books/608329/this-is-my-america-by-kim-johnson/

    Kim’s Website: https://www.kcjohnsonwrites.com/

     

     

    I Should Have Worn A Curtain by Samyra Alexander

    This quick read follows one woman’s struggle to accept her childhood trauma, face her relationship with food with honesty and bravery, and overcome an illness that has kept her silent too long.

    Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088KBYT6C

    Folow Samyra: https://twitter.com/SamyraTell

     

     

     

     

    Fears and Love by Halima ADISA

    Get the Book: https://twitter.com/leemah_deesah/status/1256860072401006593

    Follow Leema: https://twitter.com/leemah_deesah

     

     

     

     

    Island Seas by V.E. WilchCombe

    Can 12yr old Michael Jones survive the night alone on Lightning Cay? It belongs to them, everyone knows this! Island myths and legends come to life in my new fantasy novella.

    Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084LL15MD

    V.E. Wilchcombe’s Website: https://starbeam88.wixsite.com/mysite-4

     

     

     

    Calculated Murder by H.G Ahedi

    In New York, Roumoult Cranston is infamously known for his keen interest in bizarre cases. So, when Garner Moss, a millionaire playboy is murdered by rich ex model, he is not intrigued. Fate intervenes when Roumoult becomes a prime suspect who was not only at the crime scene but also benefits from the dead man’s will.

    With only seven suspects, including Roumoult, who killed Garner Moss might be a simple question to answer, but why? When motives like jealously, revenge, lust, money, power do not apply, the quest to answer this question will open a Pandora box because, in the case of the Calculated Murder, the living and the dead tread on dangerous terrain.

    Buy the Book: amazon.com/H.G-Ahedi/e/B0

     

    H.G’s Ahedi’s Website: https://harbeerahedi.wordpress.com/hedi

     

    Older by Emily Schaubeck

    A collection of poetry and prose for the lost and broken hearted. As everyone is on their journey to healing as I am.

    Buy The Book: https://www.amazon.com/Older-Emily-Schaubeck/dp/1082090662

     


    Kidlit Books

    Not Your American Girl by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang

    Lauren and her best friend, Tara, have always done absolutely everything together. So when they don’t have any classes together in sixth grade, it’s disastrous. The solution? Trying out for the school play. Lauren, who loves to sing, wonders if maybe, just maybe, she will be the star instead of Tara this time.

    But when the show is cast, Lauren lands in the ensemble, while Tara scores the lead role. Their teacher explains: Lauren just doesn’t look the part of the all-American girl. What audience would believe that she, half-Jewish, half-Chinese Lauren, was the everygirl star from Pleasant Valley, USA?

    From amidst the ensemble, Lauren tries to support her best friend. But when she can’t bring herself to sing anymore, her spot in the play and her friendship are in jeopardy. With the help of a button-making business, the music of Patsy Cline, and her two bickering grandmothers, can Lauren find her voice again?

    Buy the Book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VVTB9Q2

    Madelyn’s Website: http://www.madelynrosenberg.com/

    Wendy’s Website: http://wendyshang.com

     

    The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

    Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, and it only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life. Flávia is beautiful and charismatic, and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat decide to showcase their talent as henna artists. In a fight to prove who is the best, their lives become more tangled, but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush, especially since Flávia seems to like her back.

    As the competition heats up, Nishat has a decision to make: stay in the closet for her family, or put aside her differences with Flávia and give their relationship a chance.

    Buy The Book & Adiba’s Website: https://adibajaigirdar.com/the-henna-wars

    Adiba’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/adiba_j

     

    The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho Illustrated by Jess X. Snow

    Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo just like Grandma. The haenyeo dive off the coast of Jeju Island to pluck treasures from the sea–generations of Korean women have done so for centuries. To Dayeon, the haenyeo are as strong and graceful as mermaids. To give her strength, Dayeon eats Grandma’s abalone porridge. She practices holding her breath while they do the dishes. And when Grandma suits up for her next dive, Dayeon grabs her suit, flippers, and goggles. A scary memory of the sea keeps Dayeon clinging to the shore, but with Grandma’s guidance, Dayeon comes to appreciate the ocean’s many gifts.

    Buy The Book: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/609075/the-ocean-calls-by-tina-cho-illustrated-by-jess-x-snow/

    Tina’s Website: https://www.tinamcho.com/

    Jess’ Website: http://www.jessxsnow.com/

     

  • Events,  Spring into Writing,  Uncategorized,  Writing

    A Spring into Writing Thank You!

    Thank you so much for participating in Spring into Writing this year! This was only the second year for the event. I have a survey you can fill out if you’d like: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CCTXW3Q

    Here is a badge for anyone who wants an “I Won” badge. If you did any writing at all this month, congratulations you won Spring into Writing!

    You have until next Monday (June 8th) to enter for the following 3 prizes

    1. A critique with Kaitlyn Sanchez of your work.

    https://www.daniduck.com/warren-of-writing-voice-kaitlyn-sanchez-plus-a-prize/

    2. Website building help from Dani:

    https://www.daniduck.com/the-mighty-intisar-khanani/

     

    PRIZE

    @%@%@%@%@%@%

    The third prize is 3 pieces of promotional material for your book!

    If you have a book coming out soon you might need help with making post cards, bookmarks, posters, book plates ect. I will do the set up and design for these with simple art if wanted. (If you have a different business I can help with that as well).*

    To enter: Comment below to tell me how you liked Spring into Writing!

    Please comment on as many posts as possible! 

    *If you would rather me help you set up a website I can do that. Prize winner must contact me 30 days after winning. Prize must be redeemed within 6 months after  prize is announced.

     

  • Art,  Spring into Writing,  Writing

    The Not So Whiny Whiny Lisa Chen-Wing

    Lisa Chen-Wing is just hilarious. Anyone can write a story about their life, but it takes a special kind of person to make other people laugh about that experience. Lisa’s  webcomic Whiny Whiny Pancakes is all about Lisa’s life with her kids. This comic is hilarious and very dear to my heart. I love reading this comic and I hope you will too!

     

     

    Lisa’s website: http://whinywhinypancakes.com/

    —————

    9 Reasons Why

    By Lisa Whiny Whiny Pancakes

     

    2 Reasons why I started a semi-autobiographical web comic

    1. My friend looked at a web comic and said ‘Hey, you could do that!’
    2. I said ‘Hey, I could do that.’

     

    5 Reasons why you should start a web comic.

    1. Making more social media accounts is extremely easy.
    2. The best way to get better at something is to do it regularly.
    3. It’s a great way to practice new skills and techniques.
    4. Getting a few likes from randos on the internet is a great ego boost.
    5. It’s not a huge time commitment.

     

    1 Reason why you shouldn’t start to draw a web comic

    1. Nobody really cares about your web comic.

     

    1 Reason you should draw your web comic anyway.

    1. Outsider artists, the ones who toil their whole lives in obscurity, are the real heroes. 

    Since I don’t have the integrity of an outsider artist, only the same number of followers: (Instagram @whinywhinypancakes, Twitter @WhinyPancakes, Facebook @whinywhinypancakes, URL: whinywhinypancakes.com, other URL: elsiedub.com)

  • Spring into Writing,  Writing

    Count on Fun with Dawn Young

    Dawn Young is on my blog talking about everything writing and fun. That’s right, Dawn has taken on the spirit of Spring into Writing and is talking about her favorite ways to write. So grab a hot drink (or a cold one, I wont judge) and curl up with this wonderful post by Dawn! 

    You can read more about Dawn and her work here: https://www.dawnyoungbooks.com/ 

    The sun is shining. Flowers are blooming. Birds are chirping. It’s springtime and here we are in Spring into Writing – a perfect time to take that “leap forward” and have some fun!

    So how exactly do you have fun writing, when sometimes it’s hard to even start writing, especially when that blank page of paper sitting in front of you seems to be daring you to even try, staring at you as if to say, “So, whatcha got?” or, “Ha! I knew it! You’re as blank as I am!”?

    spring

    But there are ways to start and definitely ways to have fun! I’m sure what’s considered fun is different for everyone, but here are some things that work for me to make writing fun and they may work for you too…

    Humor. To have fun with writing, I go for humor. I love to write funny, wacky stories. In my books, The Night Baafore Christmas (WorthyKids, December 2019), Counting Elephants (Hachette, March 2020) and the soon to be released, The Night Baafore Easter (WorthyKids, January 2021), my goal was to make kids laugh. Since some of my best memories include reading to my kids while they were plopped in my lap, all giggling at silly, clever picture books, I wanted to create that experience for other children. In these books, I went for craziness and chaos.

    Rhyme. I love writing in rhyme. To me, it’s fun to write andread. Some of my favorite books are written in rhyme. I love when the rhyme creates a rhythm that makes the words flow, as if your reading was set on cruise control. The Night Baafore Christmas is written in rhyme because, other that the fact that I think it’s fun to write in rhyme, I thought the rhyme created a rollicking rhythm which complemented the Christmas chaos.

    Figurative language and specifically alliteration is fun to write and even more fun to read. Think back to being a kid. Remember how fun it was to try and say “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” and “She sells seashells by the seashore”? Although I wouldn’t advise that level of alliteration, otherwise you’d find yourself tripping over your own tongue, certainly some is fun. My book vThe Night Baafore Christmas is full of alliteration, like these lines:

    Bo reads them a story, they listen and look, till 10 licks a page and devours the book.

    Sheep 9 scared of monsters hides under the rug, while 8 missing mommy, holds Bo in a hug. “

    And “Bo races to rescue his mother’s new wreath.” The r sounds make the sentence roll off your tongue.

    Wordplay. The Night Baafore Christmashas word play in the title. I used Baafore instead of Before because, as you may have guessed, there are sheep in the story, and many of them. The Baafore was a fun way to introduce the sheep without actually saying there are sheep in this story. Then in the story I have them discover the fridge and bellow “baaffet!” to add more word play.

    Internal rhyme. Again, think back to being a kid. Remember how fun it was to say “The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.”? In The Night Baafore Christmas, I tried to add as much internal rhyme as I could, like “while Bo saves the angel, sheep 1, 2 and 3 nibble non-stop to the top of the tree.”

    Unexpected twist. Well, I can’t reveal the twist in The Night Baafore Christmasbecause it would spoil the ending, so you’ll have to read it for yourself…

    Write about things you love. Your natural love for the subject will inherently come through, so think of the things you like to do and use that as material for your stories.

    Something I think is fun is math. As former mechanical engineer turned writer, I don’t get many opportunities to do math, except of course when I help my kids with their homework, which usually doesn’t go well, since they do not appreciate my math enthusiasm. We all know most kids roll their eyes at the thought of math, so I wanted to get kids to have fun with math. With Counting Elephants, my goal was to make the book fun to read so kids would feel that sense of enjoyment, connect that feeling to math and have a more positive view of math in general.

    Shake things up. I’ve read counting book after counting book with my kids, but they were typically the same ̶ a number on the page and some items that add to that number. And that’s great for the really little kids, but I wanted to take counting to the next level. I wanted kids to do more than count. I wanted them to add and subtract. I imagined an addition character, counting items, while a subtraction character made them disappear. I put them together and Voilà! I came up with a Counter who tries to count her ten elephants while her magician friend – POOF! – makes it impossible. Ten, nine, eight… each time we get back to counting, one of the elephants has been changed into something unexpected. In Counting Elephants, kids are adding new things in and subtracting elephants out to come up with a total of 10. And what better way for kids to have fun than to have things go a little crazy.

    Unexpected twist. Once again, but this time in Counting Elephants, I can’t reveal the twist or it will spoil the ending, so you’ll have to read for yourself.

    Pay attention to what makes you smile, laugh and fill up with joy. Use what you’re passionate about when you write to take that leap and Spring into Writing and have some fun.

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    Dawn Young bio:

    Dawn graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, and later with an MBA. For years, Dawn worked as an engineer and, later, manager at a large aerospace company, until her creative side called her to pursue her dream of writing children’s books. After reading and writing hundreds of corporate documents, none of which were titled The Little Engineer Who Could or Don’t Let the Pigeon Fly the Airbus, Dawn is thrilled to now be reading and writing picture books instead.

    Dawn is also a math enthusiast. When she’s not busy writing and reading, she can be found doing math problems, sometimes just because… In high school, Dawn’s dream was to have a math equation named after her, but now, she believes having her name on the cover of books is a million times better! Dawn lives with her husband, three children and golden retriever in sunny Arizona. She is the author of The Night Baafore Christmas (WorthyKids, Oct 2019), Counting Elephants (Hachette, March 2020), and the soon to be released The Night Baafore Easter (WorthyKids, Jan 2021).

    Buy Dawn’s Books:

    Counting Elephants: https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/dawn-young/counting-elephants/9780762466931/

    The Night Baafore Christmas: https://www.amazon.com/Night-Baafore-Christmas-Dawn-Young/dp/1546014586/