Tuesday, April 26, 2016

THINK QUICK with Author Pat Miller and The Hole Story of the Doughnut

Hi Pat! Congrats on your upcoming May 3 release of THE HOLE STORY OF THE DOUGHNUT.  I love that in honoring the life of an inventor, children can see the journey, as well. All of the THINK QUICK themes below appear in your book.  Let’s see which way you lean.  Remember, THINK QUICK!

On Doughnuts:

Sinkers or holey cakes?

Holey cakes. I love puns!

Plain or fancy?

Chocolate. Can be either plain or fancy as long as it’s chocolate.

On Doughnut Research Motivation:

Hunger or curiousity? 

Curiosity. I took doughnuts for granted and didn’t realize that it was known who invented them. That started me digging.

On Challenges:

Take the voyage or watch from afar?

Definitely take the voyage. The fun and the growth are in the risks of the voyage.

On Cooks:

Team up or work alone? 

In the kitchen—team. I don’t like to cook unless doing it with a loved one. Writing—definitely like doing it alone.

On New Opportunities:

Seize the moment or take baby steps? 

Seize the moment. I’m very impulsive—leaping, than looking.

On Inventions:

Experiment or research first? 

If it’s possible to research first, I do that. If not, then I find out by experimenting and create my own research.

On Tall Tales:
Sit back and enjoy or make one of your own? 

I LOVE to hear storytellers!

On Books:

The Hole Story of the Doughnut or The Hole Story of the Doughnut? 


Thanks for THINKing QUICK with us, Pat! 

(Review by Carrie Charley Brown)

Pat Miller is the author of Substitute Groundhog (Junior Library Guild selection), and Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution (both from Albert Whitman); We’re Going on a Book Hunt and Library Monkeys (both from Upstart). The Hole Story of the Doughnut is a biography and a Junior Library Guild Selection (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Pat and her husband live near Houston. Their three children have given them seven grandkids, ages 6 and under. All of them LOVE to be read to.

Pat is the organizer of NF 4 NF, a writing craft conference for children’s nonfiction writers. The third conference will be September 22-25, 2016. She is a certified master gardener, enjoys traveling, and counts dark chocolate as a vegetable. You can follow her writing journey on her blog Pat Miller's Write Mind, Nonfiction Facebook group, or website, linked above.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April Mentor Text Check in and Challenge: Endings

By Kirsti Call

Have you ever read a book where the ending didn’t satisfy you? I think we all have! Endings determine what we think of a book. If we like the way a book ends, we'll recommend it to others or even re-read it. Jane Yolen says the best endings surprise us with something that seems inevitable. Many of my favorite picture books follow that formula.  

Here’s the April Mentor Text Challenge:  Read at least 3 of your favorite picture books, notice the endings, and ask yourself these 3 questions: 

1. Why are they satisfying?  
2. Is the end predictable or surprising?  
3. What about the ending makes you want to read the story again?  

Now look at your manuscripts and ask yourself these questions:

1. Is the end satisfying?  
2. Is it surprising, yet inevitable?  
3. Is it as well written as the beginning?

There are so many stellar books with endings that make you want to read the book again. Let's use them to help us write stories with powerful endings that resonate with people! 

What books do you recommend as mentor texts for incredible endings?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Author Stephanie Campisi Talks Mentor Texts

By Carrie Charley Brown

Many of you are in withdrawal after the whirlwind of daily education from ReFoReMo in March. So why not get down to business again? Today, we talk mentor texts with debut picture book author, Stephanie Campisi. 

Welcome, Stephanie, and thanks for joining us!  Happy Book Birthday!
Do you utilize picture books as mentor texts?  If so, how? 

I don’t use them as mentor texts as such, but I read widely, deeply and voraciously, and there’s no doubt that each book changes and affects me in some way. When you steep yourself in reading, it’s hard not to come away with new insights and ideas to apply to your own work – whether consciously or unconsciously.

How has reading picture books helped you discover who you are as a writer?

Picture books have helped me as a writer in all sorts of unexpected, delightful ways. They’ve given me permission to tap into my inner sense of whimsy, and to really think about what parts of a story need to be told explicitly, and which parts can be created through the reading process. They encourage you to put your trust in the reader rather than trying to assert your authorial voice all the time.

Between picture books, poetry and working as a copywriter specializing in packaging copy, I’ve become a lot better at focusing in on the essence of what I’m trying to convey or explore. (Well, except in interviews.) Given all the verbose, overwrought novel manuscripts I have hidden under my bed, it’s been an exciting turning point.

Were there any particular mentor texts that inspired you in the creation of your debut picture book, THE UGLY DUMPLING?

Hans Christian Anderson’s The Ugly Duckling was the inspiration behind The Ugly Dumpling, although I’ve taken just a few liberties with the text - I’m not sure that Hans would have been on board with a cockroach as a supporting character, but oh well! I was also – and still am – on a poetry kick at the time I began working on the book, which explains the free verse nature of the text. I love the way that the form of a poem can shape its reading, and I think that it lends itself perfectly to the picture book format, so it was exciting to be able to explore this at (relative) length.

Thanks for joining us today, Stephanie! Best wishes with your blog tour! To gather more about why you'll want to check out Stephanie's book as a mentor text, click HERE.

Stephanie Campisi is an Australian-born, Portland-based author who writes twisty odysseys involving strange characters and stranger plots. She credits shameless eavesdropping with the majority of her ideas, and is small and quiet enough that people readily share with her their tall tales and darkest secrets, which she then makes taller, darker, and occasionally more handsome. She suspects she might have made an excellent spy. She has slept in a cemetery, has a friend who was bullied by a prince, and has travelled from one end of Malaysia to the other on a very hot train with a pungent durian in her lap. Two of the three statements in the previous sentence are true. Or maybe they all are. The Ugly Dumpling is her picture book debut. You can follow her at www.stephaniecampisi.com or on Twitter @stephcampisi.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Last Two Prizes

Hey guys!

In relation to our ReFoReMo Day 29 Rafflecopter, we have two final winners to announce:

Winner of a picture book critique from Carrie Charley Brown:
-Donna Rossman!

Winner of The Raindrop Who Couldn't Fall by Kirsti Call:
-Shelley Kinder!
Congratulations! And congratulations to everyone, again, for the hard work and progress made! There will be lots of amazing picture books coming out of the ReFoReMo family over time. Won't it be exciting to cheer for each other as each new book comes out?  

"See" you Tuesday!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

2016 ReFoReMo Prize Drawing Winners

We’ve been hearing wonderful feedback about the education you received during ReFoReMo 2016 this year! Check out this glowing review:

What a great program you all have created!! I was a fellow in the National Writing project and although intense...this was right up there!! I can't tell you how much I learned about picture books,...the writing, the mentor notes, terminology, reading, reading, reading, and inspiration, which was amazing!! Thank you all for your hard work and dedication...because that's what it takes to do something this wonderful!!!”

So yes, ReFoReMo is a prize in itself!  We loved reading all of your grateful comments…thank you so much for taking the time to leave them for us! You are a wonderful family!

We are so excited to announce the prize drawing winners for the 2016 ReFoReMo Picture Book Challenge! (Be sure to read all the way to the end of the post. You'll find a surprise!)

Emma Walton Hamilton’s Editor in a Box Revision Kit (From Emma)
-Lauren Kerstein  

One copy of CAVEMAN A B.C. STORY (By Janee Trasler)

-Amanda Sincavage

One Copy of Rock-a-Bye Romp (By Linda Ashman)

-Terri Degezelle

One Copy of Henry Wants More (By Linda Ashman)

-MD Knabb

One Copy of All We Know (By Linda Ashman)

-Joanna Pastro

One copy of Mentor Texts for Writers E-book (By Marcie Flinchum Atkins)

-Mary Jo Wagner

-Sandra Jenkins 

One copy of I WISH YOU MORE (From Illustrator Tom Lichtenheld)

-Karen Brady 

One copy of Anne Whitford Paul's, Writing Picture Books (From Janie Reinart)
-Christie Allred

One copy of PENNY & JELLY: THE SCHOOL SHOW (By Maria Gianferrari)

-Megan Taraszkiewicz

One copy of Uninvited Guests (By Jen Swanson)

-Cecilia McCarthy 

One online course: Art of Arc (From Alayne Kay Christian)

-Ashley Dalin Bankhead

One Picture Book Critique each (From Matthew Winner)

-Angie Quantrell 

-Kimberly Marcus

-Lori Gravley

One Copy of What About Moose? (By Corey Rosen-Schwartz)

-Jena Benton 

One Copy of Think Big (By Liz Garton Scanlon)

-Rachel Hamby 

One Copy of Me with You (From Kristy Dempsey)

-Suzanne Poulter Harris

One Copy of Superhero Instruction Manual (By Kristy Dempsey)
-Rosie Pova 

One Self-Paced Course, The Hero's Art Journey (From Mira Reisberg)
-Holly Hall 

One Signed & Doodled Copy of Where Are My Books? (By Debbie Ridpath Ohi)
-Susan Zonca 

One Copy of Interstellar Cinderella (By Deborah Underwood)
-Sydney O’Neill 

One Copy of A ___ Can Be... Book, Winner's Choice (By Laura Purdie Salas)
-Rita Lorraine Hubbard 

One Sketch & Bookmark (from Russ Cox)
-Anita Banks

Thanks again to our author-educators for not only donating their time and expertise, but also this wide array of prizes!

And now, a prize for everyone!
As you may know, Carrie Charley Brown (your ReFoReMo Mama), offers fiction picture book critiques of 800 words or less. Carrie is offering fully registered ReFoReMo participants $25 off her critique services until April 15! Current prices and services are detailed HERE. To take advantage of this limited-time discount, contact Carrie HERE. Please mention ReFoReMo along with your picture book writing experience, and a pitch for your project, including word count.  Carrie will respond with availability and payment information. 

And one more!

Author-educator Alayne Kay Christian is offering a 25% discount on her course ART OF ARC: How to Analyze Your Picture Book Manuscript to the first 20 ReFoReMo members who contact her via her website. The deadline is April 12, 2016.  Be sure to mention ReFoReMo in your email. Alayne will contact you from there!

In fairness to ReFoReMo members who have already taken the course, Alayne is offering a 25% discount on a critique of any manuscript that has gone through the Art of Arc analysis process. This offer is for the first 5 people who contact her. The deadline is April 12, 2016. See contact info above.

More ReFoReMo education is on the way! We’ll now resume our weekly Tuesday schedule. Keep watch for an author interview next Tuesday.

(Oh, and if there are any Blogger peeps out there that have had this problem with spacing in the post, we'd love to know how to fix it! Thanks!)

Keep reading and researching!

Carrie & Kirsti
Your ReFoReMo Mamas