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Participation Badge v Prizes

5 Nov

Have you grabbed your Official Picture Book Idea Month Participant badge yet?


Find Out More Here and Here.


This is my third year participating, and I can’t say enough about it! Every year I come away with more ideas and more inspiration to keep going. I’ve settled into a rhythm that works for me and I’m happy say I’m on target for completing the challenge again this year.

There are no first, second, or third prizes. There are no honorable mentions. Everyone participates on the honor system. The prizes come to all who participate in the form of inspiration and picture book ideas. Of course there’s always a chance you’ll win one of the random drawing prizes… fingers crossed, these prizes are awesome!








The Not-So-Perfect Penguin

28 Jul


The Not-So-Perfect Penguin written and illustrated by Steve Smallman (2014)

Percy is part of a perfect penguin waddle. All the penguins eat sensibly, waddle seriously, and swim smoothly… all except Percy.  Percy is loud, rambunctious, and silly. One day in the middle of a huddle to keep warm, Percy lets out a loud and smelly FAAAAAART! All the other penguins send him away. Percy is cold and alone. And the other penguins realize how dull life is without him. So they go out in search of him. They find him frozen next to his snow-penguin, and they huddle around to melt him. When the snow is melted, Percy’s flippers were free to TICKLE…TICKLE…TICKLE!

Steve Smallman has brought to life a delightful little friend. At the end of the book, Steve Smallman encourages young readers to think about themselves and how they treat others with topics like: talk about things that may annoy others, what does it feel like to be ignored by your friends, and how it’s okay to be a little different and still fit in with a group.

I love the ending… “Surrounded by happy penguins, Percy felt that maybe he didn’t need to be perfect after all. His friends loved him just as he was.”

Lots o’ Links to PiBoIdMo 2013

6 Dec

This has been more than a month of learning.  It has been a month of connecting, inspiring, and encouraging.  I have met some wonderful people through PiBoIdMo and made lots of new writing connections, but more so… friends!  Many thanks to Tara Lazar for all the links to awesome writers, teachers, and literary geniuses!


I’ve spent too much time reading and learning not to have recorded some ideas that I can go back to later as needed.  Having done all this for myself seems a little selfish, so I decided to leave my notes in my blog for anyone else who needs a quick shot of inspiration or motivation.  With each one, I added the link back to Tara Lazar and her amazing Picture Book Idea Month blog.  Of course, one could simply go back to Tara’s  archives and search for the posts, but for me it was easier to have my own set of links with my notes for quick reference.  If you decide to copy this list (by all means, do) you may want to rewrite the notes to suit your own needs.  I went with a one or two line description to jog my memory.

And let me once again thank Tara Lazar publicly for hosting this wonderful online event! I have learned so much through humor, wit, sassiness, silliness, creativity, honesty, and professionalism!

Pre-Pi Bo Id Mo 2013

1.  Leeza Hernandez

Pledge to take Ten-Minutes-a-Day for yourself!

2.  Marcie Colleen

Prepare Your Writing Space

3.  Julie Hedlund

Founder of 12×12

Tara’s PiBoIdMo is almost considered a mandatory first step to 12×12.

4.  Betsy Devany

Have Fun!   Got out of cooking Thanksgiving Dinner so she could write!!!!

5.  Kayleen West

Didn’t start writing until she was 48 years old.  Started with PiBoIdMo2011 and has already published two books with two, almost three more contracted.

6.  Julie Falatko

Sneak Up on Sneaky Ideas and Catch Them

7.  Dianne de Las Casas

How End Papers can Enhance a Picture Book

Pi Bo Id Mo 2013

1.  Tammi Sauer

Start with a Title:  Showcase a Main Character, focus on the Setting, Create a Sense of Suspense, Utilize Fun Language Play

2.  Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen’s

Idea Wheel  Characters x Outcomes  CxO=#of story ideas.

3.  Greg Pizzoli

Sometimes limitations will force you to be creative.

Doing the work you feel driven to do, can produce work you might not expect.

4.  Katie Davis

30 Days of Picture Book Inspiration  (One Activity per Day to Work On)

5.  Ryan Sias

LOOK!  Favorite places to look are kids, kids again, and library/bookstore, galleries/museums, and internet.

6.  Michael Garland

Not all ideas will be books.  Go with your heart when writing, you never know which ideas will be published.

7.  Pat Zietlow Miller

Finds Inspiration in the Air and in Other Books   Snippets of Words and Admiration

8.  Mike Allegra

Importance of Play and Imagination to Creative Writing

9.  Paul Schmid

I think, therefore I am stuck.  (Or how I tell my brain to shut up so I can be creative.)

10.  Drew Daywalt

Muse in a Man-Cave

11.  Todd McQueen

Ships and Harbors   Will the idea float?

12.  Elizabeth Rose Stanton


13.  Jane Yolen

Show up!  Luck only happens if you’re already working on it!

14.  Zachariah Ohora

Pimp Your Character!

15.  Adam Lehrhaupt

Writer’s Block:  10 Ideas to Jump Start Your Brain

16.  Anne Marie Pace

Inspiration comes from Hope, Deadlines, The Ticking Clock, My Kids, and Kid Readers

17.  Lenore & Daniel Jennewein

Collaboration:  Give each other space.  Check your ego at the door.  Try to have fun!

18.  Dorina Lazo Gilmore

Cooking with mama, grandmas, and aunties gave her material to write.

19.  Maria Guion

Inspiration is a scam!  Stay away from oracles and romantics!  Sit down at your desk and work!

20.  Pat Miller

Back Door Ideas:  Piggyback, Get Emotional, Mother of Invention, Carry a Net, Plant Bulbs

21.  Steve Barr

Look and Listen

3 Part Chart:  Main Character/Setting/Supporting Characters  (Mash-up Activity)

22.  Bitsy Kemper

Writing Time- Use it Wisely    Blog or Manuscript?   Manuscript always wins!

23.  Kelly Light

Drive and Determination!  Work 10-hour days, 7 days a week!

24.  Maria Gianferrari

Embrace failure as a recipe for success.

Recipe:  Knead/Change genres or format, Marinate/Let it sit a bit, Fold In/a new point of view, Set Aside/Take a break and procrastinate  and lots more.

25.  Wendy Martin

Themes:  Most books fall into 3 categories –  happy/silly, scientific, and biographical.

Out of the Box Themes – death, cancer, alzheimer’s, down’s syndrome, loss of friend (life issues)

26.  Renee Kurilla

Windy Day – Pay attention to everyday things (like wind) to get really great ideas.

27.  Annette Simon

Used book titles, stacked on top of each other, photo of spines to tell story!  Genius!

28.  Joni Sussman

Write for a Jewish market.  Can you turn a story into a Hanukkah story?

Contact Tara directly for the email address and subject line code to submit to Joni Sussman at Kar-Ben Publishing.

29. Kami Kinard

“You can’t wait for inspiration.  You have to go after it with a club.”  Jack London

30.  Laurie Keller

TRUST YOUR OWN INSTINCTS  Write what you like, and tell it your voice.

Post Pi Bo Id Mo 2013

 Take the PiBoIdMo Pledge:

I do solemnly swear that I have faithfully executed
the PiBoIdMo 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge,
and will, to the best of my ability,
parlay my ideas into picture book manuscripts.

1. Corey Rosen Schwartz

Weigh your best options.  Check Amazon to see what competing titles are out there.  Shop out manuscripts to editors/agents.

2.  Kristi Valiant

Work on the Big Picture until you have a unique story.  Then master the details!

3. Stacy McAnulty

BOM your story!  (Billing Out Material)  Engineer the Creativity!  Make a spreadsheet of characters, settings, problems, etc and work out details integral to the story.

4. Ame Dyckman

Take only your best ideas, write a title and opening line for each, then tape them all over your house!  Look at them every day and let them speak to you until you have a full manuscript!

5.  Artie Bennet

Final day of Picture Book Idea Month.  Artie Bennet entertains us with The Butt Book!  Somebody has go there, might as well be him!

6.  Tara Lazar

Tara leaves us with a parting message and a link to her most popular post, Self-Ended Picture Book Layout.

This has been a wonderful experience and a wild ride!  Thank you Tara and all the contributors to the community.  You are much appreciated!

Picture Book Idea Month – Day 10

10 Nov


Inspiration comes to us in many different forms and at different times.  I didn’t exactly get a story idea today, but I did get inspiration.  It came in the form of a bible reading at church this morning.  It probably actually started a little earlier than that, because I was one of the readers of the scripture, and I was practicing my passage last night and this morning.  I was reading from the second letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians, “God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.”  With this simple prayer, I am inspired and I wish the same for all my fellow writers of every faith.  For I truly believe that those who write for children do so with good deeds and words.  To know children is to know love.  And therefore, to speak to children must be to speak with love.  Peace!

Picture Book Idea Month – Day 5

5 Nov

Writing can be like navigating a maze.  There are so many choices and so many roadblocks.  It’s easy to fall into the notion that you’ve got a wonderful idea and so therefore the story will just write itself.  Wrong!  Along the path from beginning to end, you have to make good choices.  Characters, Setting, Problems, Solution…

November is PiBoIdMo.  And as writers and authors of picture books, we are being challenged to come up with 30 ideas in 30 days.  This, in and of itself is a lofty goal and to be taken lightly.  But I’d like to talk about what happens afterwards.    Eventually we will work on developing these ideas into one or more manuscripts.  This might be an easier task if we ask ourselves a few questions along the way, maybe start adding more notes to our idea pages.  I don’t mean write the whole first draft, but maybe just let the editor take a peek at the idea.  I think our PiBoIdMo work will be stronger for it.



Should my main character be male or female?  Is my main character a person or an animal?  What makes him/her lovable, or at least likable?  How old is my character?  What unique attributes does my main character have?  And how will these help him/her?


How will the setting influence the character’s journey?  Is the setting helpful or a hinderance?  Can or should the main character alter the setting?  Where will the character be at the end of the story?  Is the setting an actual place or a state of being?



How many problems will the character encounter along the journey?  Will he/she be able to overcome the obstacles?  Can the main character solve his/her own problem, or will they need help?  How is the character changed by facing these problems?



Solutions too, can be particularly difficult.  A solution can’t be so easy as to make the reader wonder why this character was so stumped to begin with.  And it can’t very well come out of left field.  So how will I lead the reader toward the solution from the beginning?  Or should it be a surprise ending?

Isn’t it amazing!  (pun intended)  And writing for children makes every one of these choices all the more challenging.  We must keep the story moving forward and wrap everything up in less than a thousand words!


For more information go to

For more information go to

Picture Book Idea Month – Day 1

1 Nov

Let’s see….

Coming up with ideas is easy no sweat a piece of cake…. oh never mind, I’ll just change my profile picture to a giraffe instead!  Hey wait, giraffe… a green giraffe who doesn’t have any friends, oh was that already taken?  OK, I can do this… just let it flow freely… water flows freely.  Coffee!  Maybe I’ll just stop for a minute and make myself a cup.  Anybody else? I’m already up, let me get you something.  Now, focus… I feel a little like Pooh tapping his head, “Think, Think, Think”  Hmmm…nothing.  Check your facebook page,  check your PiBoIdMo post… great idea!  Tammi Sauer suggested coming up with just the titles today and work on the story behind the titles later.  Now I’ve got a goal.  Yeah, not even one.  Let’s try again.  Did you know that I just exhaled exactly nine times in one minute?  Is that too much?  Is that not enough?  Akkkk… I don’t know the appropriate number of times a normal person exhales in one minute!   Quick, someone google that for me, I might be dying!


Now, google, that’s a funny word.  I bet if I spend the rest of the day on google I could come up with some TOTALLY AWESOME picture book ideas and titles today….


Picture Book Idea Month

Picture Book Idea Month

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