Tag Archives: Tara Lazar

2019 The Year to Follow Friends

1 Jan

I’ve proclaimed 2019 the year I follow more of my friends’ blogs.

For years, I have followed Tara Lazar for her funny wit and her generous giving spirit. This morning I anxiously opened my Word Press to read the installment of this year’s Storystorm. It was a great article written by Cathy Breisacher about using picture prompts to generate story ideas. Check out the adorable cover to her new book coming out this March.

Afterwards, I checked out my reader list. It’s been a long time since I’ve read any blog posts from my reader and I was surprised to find that I don’t know more than half of the people I was following. I made a conscious effort to read and comment on those I know personally and those who I know through association. And I deleted many I had never heard of and don’t remember following or for what reason. But what bothered me is that I know a LOT more people who have blogs that are not currently on my feed. So… if you want me to follow (and hopefully periodically read) your blog, please leave a link or your address in the comments below and I will add you to my reading list.

Here’s to 2019! A year to support fellow writers and illustrators!

Spring Training

26 Mar

lucy-psychiatristWas your winter writing as depressing as mine? ACK!

The story accepted by an honest-to-goodness editor in a real publishing house was turned down in the acquisitions meeting.

But I pulled myself together in time for the new year. And what a fun-filled, jam-packed year it’s been so far!

I spent January gathering ideas with Tara Lazar in Storystorm (aka PiBoIdMo). February brought a blizzard of information at the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York. And March has been a whirlwind of reading mentor texts with Carrie Charley Brown in ReFoReMo.

Now, with a fresh arsenal of writing ideas, information, and mentor texts I’m ready to take on a new season.

CharacterSpring Training is upon us and I’m going to be ready for the big game!

 It’s time to get off the bench and stretch those writing muscles. fce54108a076897bcd7844d5c2ad99ab




I’m working on honing my craft, developing those mad writing skills…

until I hit one out of the ballpark!  bfb5b5cf1817b81725091347991476b8

And when I finally get that call…


all that training and practice and diligence will have paid off! your-a-good-man-charlie-brown-baseball-game-youtube-o3Vo6x-clipart


Special thanks to Charles M. Schulz, creator of the Peanuts characters, for his wisdom, creativity, inspiration, and many years of humor.






The Monstore

18 Jul

15945853The Monstore written by Tara Lazar and illustrated by James Burks (2013)

The Monstore is a secret place where you can buy a monster to do almost anything you want… Zack only wanted one monster to do one thing – to frighten his pesky little sister away. So Zack bought Manfred the monster. But Manfred didn’t do his job. In fact he taught Zack’s little sister, Gracie, where the best hiding places were and together Manfred and Gracie scared Zack. Now Zack had a bigger problem, a pesky little sister, a monster who isn’t doing his job, and a strict ‘no returns’ policy at The Monstore. So Zack bought Mookie, who didn’t do the job either. Neither did Mojo. As a matter of fact, none of the monsters Zack bought could frighten his little sister away.  The monsters all became Gracie’s friends and The Monstore refused returns or exchanges. Finally Zack gave up and went to the basement to sleep. But there was one thing Zach didn’t count on… Gracie needed him! Only Zach could help Gracie sleep at night when she (and all the monsters) were afraid of a dark shadow in the middle of the night. It was a sparkly glittery tiara, and Zack was the only one brave enough to remove it from the room.  In appreciation of Zack’s heroism, Gracie and the monsters cleaned up Zack’s bedroom and moved out. Then Gracie opened her own Monstore in the shed behind the house!

Tara Lazar has created a place like no other, a Monstore! She expertly takes the reader into a world of goofy, crazy, monsters and has you believing such a place actually exists. (And who’s to say it doesn’t?) In this kooky, wacky world, two siblings learn to love and appreciate each other.

James Burks has the ability to bring this place to life, one monster at a time. In the dark foreboding rooms, he gives the reader silly, quirky monsters to brighten up the night. Who could possibly be afraid of the dark with these colorful characters for friends?

This story is sure to turn any monster-loving fiend into a monsterly mass of giggles. I love the antics and individuality of each of the monsters, but what I really love is the bond that Zack and Gracie finally form when they see each other in a new light. Readers with siblings will surely love this story.  But whether or not you have a sibling – or two – or three – or more, you will be swept up in the fun-filled possibility of The Monstore.  Just remember, No Refunds, No Returns, No Exchanges!

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

http://taralazar.com/2013/11/02/piboidmo-day-2-sudipta-bardhan-quallen/    http://nerdychicksrule.com/

Idea Wheel  http://wheeldecide.com/  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!

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