The Brilliance of Children


Children are brilliant. Their words are rooted by feelings and truth. They can teach us so much about the simplicity of life and the purity in honesty if we take the time to not just listen to them but actually hear them. Their brains are innocent, unsullied and not littered with the stresses, problems and disquiet that we create as adults. All that waste gets in the way of our creativity as we grow. Let’s face it, without our personal creativity, we don’t really have our entire self.

Ryan has given me many ideas for my stories and I ask him questions often that can help give my stories more of a child’s perspective. He always asks me to tell him a new story at bedtime and that has also given me tons of new ideas. A story I recently finished revising and is ready to be sent to an editor is one I came up with at bedtime. It’s about a grumpy grizzly bear and a frog that won’t stop jumping on the bears head. The bear does all these crazy things to get the frog off his head and then at the end he finds that the frog really made him laugh for the first time in his life. That’s the gist of it. I’ve received some extremely helpful revision tips in 12×12 and I think it’s ready for the next step. Finally. Wish me luck!


Ryan shenanigans:

Summer 2015 – We were driving and Ryan saw a lady walking on the side of the road with a cane and he asked, “Why does that lady have a kickstand?” Then a few seconds later an ambulance went by the other way and he said, “Oh no, her kick stand must not have worked.”


Writing Resources:

I’ve discovered a blog that lists current writing contests. This is another avenue that can open up doors. Make sure to read the submission guidelines carefully:

Highlights Magazine also takes submissions throughout the year:

Lists of agents currently accepting new work:



Site is having technical issues it seems and won’t post book reviews to blogs currently.


Stories about our favorite authors and books:



Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss, made his big break into children’s literature with the first book he both wrote and illustrated, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. It required a great deal of persistence as it was rejected 27 times before being published by Vanguard Press.

So don’t give up! Rejections are just part of the journey, not a dead-end.


Happiness-What does it mean to you?



Happiness; noun  hap·pi·ness  \ˈha-pē-nəs\

  • :the state of being happy
  • :an experience that makes you happy

What does it mean to you?

When I write my stories, I have the ability to create a world that I want. I can control it in every aspect possible. I create my character’s happiness, sadness, loneliness etc. Writing in itself makes me truly happy. It makes me content, peaceful and completely HAPPY…what makes you happy?

All stories I create must have some sort of conflict or struggle. No different than life right? So just like my stories when I’m creating my characters, I have to create my own happiness also. No single person can do it for me. If we sit around waiting for it to tap us on the arm one day and say, “Hey! There you are! I’ve been looking for you foooorrrevver…”, it will never happen.

See the joy in small things. Yup, like that ole cliché Stop and Smell the Damn Roses. Well, yes, I’m saying; stop and smell your damn roses! NO I didn’t say your finger, I said your roses. We grow our own roses every second of our lives. But do we really feel them? Ponder that for a second….

Make these little roses in your life BIGGER than what they are. Bigger than the tragedies that deplete us. Grow them. Water them. Feed them. We linger on and make our struggles so much bigger than our happiness, so why not even the score a bit. I think we deserve it.

It’s a crazy unpredictable world that we know can throw some crap into our fans and  so much of it is completely out of our control. They hurt like Hell. I mean hurt like Hell. We consume ourselves with what we should have done or could have done or should do or could do. That’s what we do. I do too…

All we can do is try to live in the moment. Today. Now. Accept ourselves and our struggles but try in every way we can to not only create our experiences that make happiness but create it in others. Smile at a stranger or pay for someone’s coffee in line. These little things can make us all happier inside in spite of it all. There will always be a problem and situations we can’t change…bite it right back in the ass.

Let’s dwell a little on the things that could possibly make us smile…make the happy little things BIGGER than any of the sadness.  Because honestly, at the end of the day, it’s the little joys and the happiness you create for yourself that you have to hold on to…

Now, go create your happiness…


Writing Children’s books – Quick catch-up blog post


Hello all! Since my last post I have begun tightening up four books and doing  a ton of revisions to others. I also have a couple more stories started. In my 12×12 writing community I have learned that you should have several books ready to go when you start submitting to agents. Thanks to my peers on 12×12, their amazing editors/published authors (our writing elves) and featured authors tips and webinars, I’m well on my way to start submitting again. It’s an amazing community and I’m proud to be part of it. In addition to traditional publishing, I’d like to try the independent route by publishing an electronic book to Amazon/Kindle.

Although it can be quite overwhelming to find time to do 12×12, research, write, blog, work full time, have a personal life (almost nonexistent at times) and (most importantly) raise my son, I have found one thought that helps me put it into perspective;

If you are trying to find time, it will never happen. You have to create time. Even if it’s only 30 minutes a day, that’s still 30 minutes further in writing and learning then you were the day before.

So that’s the quick catch-up on me…I’ll be sharing what I learn about the writing industry as I go along and I hope you will join me for the ride and get some useful information from it. Plus I have some hilarious stories to share about Ryan and plan to still add short posts on the history behind some of our favorite stories from when we were kids, along with new stories my son and I read now…


Research ideas:

For anyone who writes in rhyme, I found an amazing editor/author who has a class available on this and I’d like to share her rhyme and meter webinar that is packed full of useful tips. They are correct when they say if you don’t know what your four major metric feet are, like iamb or trochee, or the names of the metrical lines, DON’T even think about sending it to an agent or publishing house. Here’s an example below. Bold syllables are the stressed syllables and the others are the unstressed syllables. Each metric foot contains stressed and unstressed beats. First you figure out your metric foot. The below example is trochee. Then figure out how many  metric feet are in the line of the stanza. In this case, there are four (tetrameter):

Tull-y was a ti-ny mon-ster. = 4  /u/u/u/u = trochaic tetrameter

With time and practice, it will all fall into place. Here’s Renee’s webinar that will get you started to understanding it all – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_efGfR9DvY

If you want to gain a wealth of knowledge and contacts in the art and industry of writing and publishing children’s books, please check out the link below. 12×12 is an amazing challenge that has honestly become priceless to me. Registration is closed for 2016 but you can sign up to be on the waiting list for 2017. I recommend it. http://12x12challenge.com/


Goodreads Review:

Lastly, my Goodreads review is on, I know an old lady who swallowed a fly. Check it out!

I’m always looking for new people to connect with so please sign up for my monthly posts!  This is an important step in building an authors platform. So even if you aren’t within the writing community, I’d still love for you to connect with me here! Just click the Subscribe button on my page to sign up. Thank you for your support!



AMAZING – 12×12!!!


Ry and I were upstairs doing our “read a huge pile of books” thing before bed one night. We were both in a really silly mood. He asked me to hand him his sippy cup and I said, “No way.”  He giggled and asked a few more times and I kept saying, “No way.” Finally, I handed it to him. He gave me serious look and yelled, “Thank you for your cooperation mum!” Five syllables! Amazing…

Last month I started an amazing writing challenge class called 12×12. It’s a year-long journey where you complete 12 ready to submit picture book manuscripts. But there’s way more to it than that! And I’m not quite sure I can truly explain the awesomeness of it, but I will try. We receive critiques on our writing and query letters. We learn a ton on everything to do with picture book writing. We share all of our information and knowledge and we have our own Facebook group. The forum is so user friendly and everyone is wonderful to work with. I’m so happy that I joined! I have just started my third story draft. I’m so excited! Another great aspect is that there will be two agents a month that we are able to submit to. Being a 12×12’er gets us out of the slush pile with these agents.
Published author Emma Walton Hamilton http://www.juliehedlund.com/emma-walton-hamilton-january-12-x-12-featured-author/#comment-31381 will also be doing critiques on our work! I’m so excited about this!
In addition, there are featured authors each month that give valuable resources and we can enter to win prizes each month. Last month the prize was a free writing course from Emma that normally costs $300!
I recommend this to anyone who wants to further themselves in writing. Is anyone out there doing this class already? I’d love to hear from you! I’ve heard some chatter out there about it so I thought I’d ask. Please let me know! I’d love to connect with you on the forum! So I will definitely still be posting blogs but I will be focusing on 12×12 first and foremost.

Check out Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 link below! You will not be disappointed I assure you. Sign up ends 2/28/14 for the year!


Cover Fonts

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers.
I just ordered his books. His blog is amazing. Check it out!


The right font is an important ingredient for successful cover design. It can also be one of the more challenging elements to perfect.

What to look for

  • The cover text should fit the genre or subject matter.
  • It should look like the font belongs on the cover.
  • The font should inspire interest in the book.
  • It shouldn’t be a distraction.
  • The text should be easy to read. Any uncommon words should be immediately clear.
  • Key words should stand out in the thumbnail.
  • Pixelation, stray marks, blurriness, and other issues will detract from the cover.
  • Too many different fonts on the cover is a problem. Two different fonts must work well together.


We’ll look at a movie and t.v. show. Although these aren’t books, the font is equally important—more so, if you count the money invested.

Check out the font for Disney’s Frozen: movies.disney.com/frozen. It fits the content…

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Live Free or Ride! – Try Your Hand at the Next Installment of the New Hampshire Pulp Fiction

For anyone interested in trying to get published locally, check this out!! Also a great blog to follow!

Live to Write - Write to Live

The New Yorker not returning your calls? Likewise The Paris Review? Don’t despair; New Hampshire Pulp Fiction might just be your ticket to fame if not fortune. Okay, when it comes to fame, make that at least a few, local minutes of it.

The brainchild of Rick Broussard, editor of New Hampshire Magazine and George Geers, owner of Plaidswede Publishing, three volumes of NH Pulp Fiction have already been published. Another is due out in February. Their goal is to produce enjoyable, highly readable collections of short stories while providing a publishing opportunity for both established and new writers. All stories take place, at least in part, in New Hampshire.

Having stories in two of the books, Live Free or Die, Die, Die and Live Free or Sci FiLFDDD_02I can testify that the project has been both a lot of fun and personally rewarding. While I…

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