Fabulous Finishes – Happy Easter


Easter Cat

Here Comes the Easter Cat

by Deborah Underwood


(Warning…spoiler alert)

Cat is determined to be the Easter Bunny, until he finds out how much work it will be and how few naps he’ll get to take. So instead, he decides to help the Easter Bunny by giving the hard-working Easter egg hider a lift and a hand. In the end however, even though the cat and the Easter Bunny become friends and the cat no longer wants to be the Easter Cat, it looks like there’s still trouble ahead and no stopping him from becoming the …Christmas Cat!
Great lead to the obvious sequel Here Comes the Christmas Cat or maybe even Santa Cat is Comin’ to Town ;)


March Madness…

It’s here….Susanna Leonard Hill’s March Madness Writing Contest!


The Contest: Write a children’s story, in poetry or prosemaximum 400 words, that is a fractured fairy tale.
My story:
Goldibawks and the Three Pairs

Once upon a time there lived a mama duck, a daddy duck and junior duck.

One day after mama fixed seaweed stew they went out for a waddle while it cooled.

Meanwhile nearby, Goldibawks, a young chicken as yellow as the sun, who had just wandered out from the countryside, spotted an ad.





c/o National Chicken Athletic Association

Wattles wiggling, Golidbawks was eggstatic.  Back on the farm, the roosters refused to let her play. This was her chance to show those roosters in the coop that this chick can play hoop!

In a shirt, skirt and heels, Goldibawks needed gym clothes but she was too far from home. Just then she saw the ducks’ house. She knocked. No one answered. She tried the door and it opened so she let herself in.

Goldibawks looked around for gym shorts.

She found papa’s pair but they were too boring.

She found mama’s pair but they were too bright.

She found junior’s pair and they were just right, so she put them on.

Next Goldibawks looked for socks.

She found papa’s pair but they were too dingy.

She found mama’s pair but they were too white.

She found junior’s pair and they were just right, so she put them on.

Finally, Goldibawks looked for some cool kicks.

She found papa’s pair but they were too heavy.

She found mama’s pair but they were too light.

She found junior’s pair and they were just right, so she put them on.

Then the ducks burst in. Goldibawks hid.

“Somebody tried on my shorts, socks and sneakers,”  quacked papa duck.

“Somebody tried on my shorts, socks and sneakers,”  quacked mama duck.

“Somebody tried on my shorts, socks and sneakers, and still has them on,”  quacked junior duck.

With that, they spied Golidbawks, dressed in junior’s gear.

“I can eggsplain,” she clucked and told the ducks the whole story.

Eggcited for Goldibawks, the ducks escorted her to the arena.

Goldibawks joined the team alongside Charles Bawkley, Larry Byrd, Mag-chick Johnson and Michael Jord-hen.

She had a stellar game, with a dozen dunks , half a dozen assists and went twelve for twelve from the fowl line.

Her signature Goldibawks blocks and the team’s peck and roll offense led them to the NCAA championship game, which they won when Goldi tipped in the winning shot!


We all seek inspiration.


To win

To work hard

When we’re frustrated

When we have a deadline

When we’re just plain exhausted

Or when we’re ready to give up.

Some get inspiration from music

Some from family and friends

Some from a slogan

And some just have it within them.

When you’re feeling uninspired, find your source of inspiration.

Yesterday there was a great deal of discussion on Facebook about why authors do not/should not write rhyming picture books in first person. So, guilty of writing first person rhyming picture books, I was obviously discouraged by this discussion. And later, while I was sharing this story with my son, I was reminded of yet another rhyming PB I had written in first person. During our chat, I said in a pitiful voice, “Shoot, Keep Your Eye on the Ball is first person rhyming too.”

My son (12 years old)  turned to me and  said, “Mom, don’t listen to them. Anything’s possible.”

So…with no music, no slogan and just the sound of my son’s voice, I was inspired beyond compare. My young son was insightful enough to think outside the box and believed it enough to say it out loud – my wise, young son reminded me that anything’s possible. That’s the best inspiration ever.

After some research I found many successful first person rhyming books:

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!  by Karen Baeumont
Being Friends by Karen Beaumont
I Like Myself! by Karen Baeumont
1 Zany Zoo by Lori Degman
The Secret Science project that Almost Ate My School by Judy Sierra
Zombelina by Kristyn Crow
Bedtime at the Swamp by Kristyn Crow
The Middles Child Blues by Kristyn Crow
I’ve Got an Elephant  by Anne Ginkel
Just Another Morning by Linda Ashman
How Do You Hug a Porcupine by Laurie Isop
Snowmen All Year by Caralyn Buehner
Would I Ever Lie to You by Caralyn Buehner
Math Attack by Joan Horton
The Night before Easter by Natasha Wing
The Night Before the Tooth Fairy by Natasha Wing
The Night Before the 100th Day of School by Natasha Wing
The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing
The Night Before The Night Before Christmas by Natasha Wing
The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing
The Night Before The New Baby by Natasha Wing
Me With You by Kristy Dempsey
The Things I Can Do by Jeff Mack
My School’s a Zoo by Stu Smith
If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen
Crazy Hair by Neil Gaiman
Skunks by David Greenberg
Today I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis
It’s Hard to be Five by Jamie Lee Curtis
And To Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss
If All the Animal Came Inside by Eric Pinder
I Love My Pirate Papa
Tea with Grandpa (Roaring Brook Press, April 2014)

How is it that kids are always right?

Picture books here, there and everywhere…

2014-02-10 19_48_34The view from my desk – in just one direction! I tell myself  ”enough already, just write” but I never listen and before you know it,  I’m back at the book store or the Scholastic warehouse buying books, or back to the library checking out everything I can get my hands on. Hmm…did someone say crazy?

Picture book crazy that is…in case you were wondering ;)

Fabulous Finishes


sophieSophie’s Squash – A Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book

by Pat Zietlow Miller

When Sophie decides that the squash she chose at the local famer’s market is “just the right size to hold in her arms. Just the right size to bounce on her knee. Just the right size to love,” it becomes  Sophie’s new friend Bernice. Sophie and Bernice do everything together until one day when Bernice looks blotchy. After the man at the farmer’s market tells Sophie that fresh air, good, clean dirt and a little love will keep a squash healthy, she buries Bernice in the yard. Later that spring when  Sophie spots a sprout where she buried Bernice, she spend times with it. Soon the spout grows two tiny squash, Bonnie and Baxter, who are “just the right size for Sophie to hold in her arms and  bounce on her knee. Just the right size to love.” Great loop back to the beginning!

“Picture Books are so easy to write. I mean anyone can do it.” Really elephant?

The following video, created by my friend and fellow critique group member, the very talented Mandy Yates is hysterical, but on the flip side, often all too true! Writers beware of the elephants out there! Elephants, before calling it easy, please read PBs – many, many PBs and learn the craft for everyone’s sake.

Happy New Year






2013 was a good year, a great year actually.

I completed Dr. Mira Reisberg’s Picture Book Academy and Marsha Diane Arnold and Dr. Mira Reisberg’s Writing Wonderful Character Driven Picture Books courses. Taking these courses was one of the best things I could have ever done for my writing career. Not only did I learn a ton, but both courses confirmed what I had learned while studying the craft and reading thousands of PBs on my own. Through the PB Academy course, I made some wonderful friends and became a part of one of the most talented critique groups ever!

In October I was selected to receive a one-on-one critique at our AZ SCBWI conference with a brilliant editor.

Then to end the year in the most amazing way possible…my holiday mishap story ‘Twas the Night Baafore Christmas won first place in Susanna Leonard Hill’s 3rd annual Holiday story contest.

bean1This post is about celebrating! Celebrating a bit of success after years and years of working hard to become a better writer!

Here’s to 2014…can’t wait to see what happens!

‘Twas the Night BaaFore Christmas

Susanna Leonard Hill’s 3rd Annual Holiday Writing Contest Is Here!

The Contest:  Write a children’s story about a holiday mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster. Not to exceed 350 words.          Thank you Susanna for this opportunity.

‘Twas the Night BaaFore Christmas

It’s Christmas Eve night, and I’ve stared at the clock,

for hours and hours…it’s time for the flock.

“I’m desperate. I need you,” I yell to the sheep.

“Start jumping or something, I must get to sleep.

Tonight’s Christmas Eve and I want a new drum,

but if I’m not sleeping, then Santa won’t come.”

They jump and I count, but soon it gets boring.

Tonight more than ever, I need to be snoring.

They’re puffing and panting and I’m wide awake.

We finally agree what we need is a break.

The sheep want a drink, so we sneak out the door

and tiptoe until…they spot goodies galore!

Dashing and darting, they scatter like mice,

they slip and they slide, like the floor’s made of ice.

They skid toward the tree and then in a flash,

it tilts, and it tips, and it topples down CRASH!

Sheep 1, 2 and 3 start stuffing themselves

with branches and balls and breakable elves.

Sheep 5’s eating cookies, while 7 and 8

are licking up crumbs and chomping the plate.

Sheep 10’s busy munching, there’s green in his teeth.

Oh great, he just wolfed down my mother’s new wreath.

Sheep 9 blares the music, and now the whole flock

wiggles their wool to the Jingle Baaaaa-ell Rock!

I get them warm milk and I read them a book.

With milk they want cookies, so 6 tries to cook.

There’s flour and sugar and eggs on the wall.

Sheep 4 wants his mommy so he starts to bawl.

I do what my mom does, I sing lullabies.

As soon as he hears them, 11 just cries.

7 is wailing, then 8 and then 9.

Then all of a sudden, they all start to whine.

They’re worn-out, I’m tired. With so much to do,

It’s time to round up every ram and each ewe.

There’s 1, 2 and 34, 5, 6  and 7,

there’s 8 and there’s 9, and 10 and 11

Oh no, now the counting has put them to sleep.

Dear Santa, bring brooms, I’ve got so much to sweep.


Go for it!

untitled chanceOn the heels of a incredibly inspirational month of PiBoIdMo posts that helped us generate all kinds of wonderful new PB ideas, I thought this quote from Anne Lamott was appropriate.

Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere ~Anne Lamott

Of those thirty ideas, some will be hits, some misses and some simply “what was I thinkings?”

Give them a chance, go for it, and write, write, write and make each month a PiBoIdMo.