Posts Tagged ‘childrens book’

Two Paws Up and a Snap for Rewriting.

07/11/2011

I am very  excited to announce that my book, Storee Wryter Gets a Dog, is named A Best Dog Book for Young Readers in the latest issue of Cesar’s Way Magazine. Cesar being Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer, of TV fame.

In honor of the dog theme you may catch me  doing a  spontaneous Snoopy Happy Dance at any moment throughout the coming weeks.

The idea for the Storee Wryter series had been percolating in my creative mind for several years. In fact, the original version of Storee Wryter was very different from the one now available in print, e-book and audio book form.  It was intended as picture book suitable for kids in kindergarten to first grade. The illustrations were clip art and the cover was a self-portrait drawn on card stock. I printed a few copies on my office printer and stapled the pages together.  Then I approached local schools for an opportunity to present the story to a classroom full of kids.

Somehow I pulled it off. I remember being incredibly nervous the day I faced nineteen shining young faces. I was dressed in the same outfit Storee Wryter was wearing in the book.  In the current book Storee represents me at the age of eight. The age I was when I started writing. In the original version Storee was pictured as an adult. I thought it would be a great hook to have the character in the book come to life when doing a reading or book signing.

Most of the kids seemed to enjoy the simple story and I was very pleased when they realized that I was Storee Wryter. However, there was one little critic in the audience  who let me know he felt the story was lame. He rolled his eyes and yawned throughout the reading and when I asked the class if they liked the book he responded with an emphatic, “no.”  That one little voice stayed with me long after I left his school that day. Despite the fact that I knew I had a good concept, I had to agree that something wasn’t quite right and so it sat in my files and in the back of my mind waiting for me to figure out what the problem was.  Eventually I scrapped the orignal version.  Storee Wryter was conceived, in part, to inspire kids to write. I wanted to show them that creativity can be a lifelong passion and that they are natural story tellers now.

That’s when I realized that Storee should be their age. I wrote at eight-years-old. I used the things I knew in everyday life as inspiration. In this new version she would too. Excited by this new inspiration I crafted a completely new story including Crtitique, Storee’s cat, and Addie, a therapy dog in training, providing both Storee and the young readers with inspiration for their writing at the end of each chapter. I  also included writing prompts in the back of the book to encourage the kids to write about their own pets, real or imagined, and send them to Storee on her website or blog.  I was very pleased and thought I was done.  I wasn’t. It took many months and  another complete rewrite suggested by my editor, involving writing for an audience the same age as Storee and expanding the book into a sixty page chapter book,before it was ready to go into production.

Holding the first printed copy in my hands was a moment I will never forget. Receiving  a glowing comment in Cesar’s Way Magazine not only has me dancing in my kitchen, it reconfirmed my belief that the concept is a good one. There will be more Storee Wryter books with Critique as a continuing character.  It was also and excellent reminder that  good writing is, in reality, re-writing. I’m thankful that I listened to my young critic and my wise editor and didn’t stop writing until the book was truly finished.

My question of the week: Have you worked and reworked an idea to finally rewrite it into exactly what you hoped it would be? If so, please tell us what you did and how the story changed through the process.

Now for a short commercial break: Please help me inspire young writers by purchasing a  signed copy of Storee Wryter Gets a Dog for a young reader in your family or donate a copy to a library or charity promoting literacy in your community. To place and order go to: www.storeewryter.com

It’s Been Longer Than A Week

07/07/2011

My intentions were good. I planned on being very good about dates and deadlines and all those things.  I’m pleased to say that writing got in the way. Not the actual putting words on paper or clicking keys on keyboard kind of writing, but the very productive the voices of my characters are talking to me, sort of writing.

I can see the page where I left off and my fingers are itching to get started again. One would think I would be doing that instead of this but that’s not how it works for me. There’s an intangible sense of knowing that comes over me when the time is right. Once that happens I know the words will flow and the story will take shape. Until then I keep my hand in by submitting short stories written months ago or trying out a new market. I teach writing workshops and do readings, all of which I’ve done since the last time I posted here.

At times like this writing is work. However, when the words and ideas are truly flowing writing is like soaring. I know I have to be aware of my surroundings so I don’t crash but the free flow of ideas is such a delight the experience becomes effortless.

Is it like that for you? Do you soar and come to rest in intervals as I do? If not, what does it feel like when the story begins to unfold?

***

I am pleased to say that the work of writing is showing some results as well.  Two of my short stories are scheduled for publication in the online magazine Eerie Digest www.eeriedigest.com Sweet Revenge will appear in the September issue and The Marriage Contract will appear in the October issue.  I like these quirky pieces. Each shows a darker side to this author first published in anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort and who is now the author of a book for young readers, Storee Wryter Gets a Dog, www.storeewryter.com

Do you have multiple writing personalities as I do or is your writing entirely focused on one genre?  I look forward to reading your answers. Until next time, write away!

Unless You’re Already Famous We Won’t Take It

03/25/2011

“There is definitely an audience for a book like this,” the agent said upon hearing my pitch. “But unless you’re already famous a large agency won’t touch it.  I suggest you start sending it out to small presses.”

Since that day I haven’t done anything with the book. My intention at the time was to refine it and send it out. Then  my father-in-law, the subject of the book titled Confessions of an Inadequate Caregiver, began to fail and all of my time was devoted to his care.  Then he died and the book still sits needing all the care and attention I once gave him. I have many excuses as to why I haven’t done anything with it.

It’s too painful to relive the experiences we shared as his mind failed  and his body withered before my eyes.

 I’m too busy with other projects.

What if it’s not as good as I believe it is?

I still think  those things but I have to admit that the voice I hear whispering in my mind most often repeats these words, “Unless you’re already famous we won’t take it.” Then I look at some of the books that are published simply because someone has a recognizable name and I am filled with envy. Many of them never intended to write a book until an agent came calling, ghost writer already in mind.

Not fair! I whine to my writer’s group and all agree for they share the dream and self-doubt inherent in many emerging writers. I’ll get past this feeling. I’ve done it before and I’ll do so again.  For today, I provide you with a short list of authors who never had to query a small or university press  because they were already famous.

 If you have a book to add to the list send it to me in a reply.  I’ll post the results on April 1st.

Paris HiltonConfessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose

Justin Bieber – First Step 2 Forever

NeNe Leakes – Never Make the Same Mistake Twice

Meghan McCain -My Dad, John McCain  Now come on.  Despite what she does now I have to ask,  “A children’s book about John McCain. Really?”

Help! I’m Writing So Much I Haven’t Time To Write

03/19/2011

I spent six hours writing yesterday and produced not one sentence related to my work in progress. All that time was spent on the business of writing. I wrote queries, I worked on material for upcoming workshops and presentations,  I blogged. I Tweeted. I invited people to be my friend on Facebook.

My character, Storee Wryter, blogs and Tweets and can be found on  Facebook too. She’s hoping fans will “Friend” her once Storee Wryter Gets a Dog officially launches on April 19th. 

I surfed the net looking for teacher sites and home school organizations to pitch to. I submitted the book for consideration for inclusion in The Old Schoolhouse Bookstore and was shocked by how fast the response came in.

      ” Thank you for your interest in the Old Schoolhouse Store. Although we strive to provide homeschool families with a wide selection of quality items and would love to include your products in our store, at this time we are fastidiously selecting vendors. We will keep your request on record in the event of situational change.

          However, even though we are not able to add your products to the Schoolhouse Store at this time, The Old Schoolhouse© Magazine offers many other opportunities to reach our large homeschool audience through product reviews, advertising, and other promotional partnerships. If this is something you might be interested in pursuing, I would be happy to pass your information onto those who can serve your needs.”

After I sat and pondered the nuances that could be found in the words, “we are fastidiously selecting vendors,” I responded with a polite,  “Thank you for considering my book,”  and asked that I be contacted to discuss some of the other possibilities. Who knows where they may lead.

Later, Mike and I met with a prospective bookkeeper we hoped to hire to keep track of all the nickles and dimes I’m bringing in from various projects. What we thought was an overwhelming mish mash she assured us was a fun challenge that probably won’t take much time to sort through. I think I love her. And guess what? She homeschools her child and is happy to learn of an unexpected resource to teach writing to kids. She left promising not only to get our financial books in order but also to introduce me to some local homeschool groups. Again I say, “Who knows where that may lead?”

Everything I did yesterday had merit. It’s all a vital part of the writers life and I will do it all again to reach my audience. I also know that I have to continue to create not only for the readers I am working so hard to reach.  But also for me because  I’m a writer.  I have to do it or my brain will explode. 

“Mom, I’m So Into This Book”

03/10/2011

While in Florida last week I gave a copy of my book, Storee Wryter Gets a Dog, to my niece, Madison.  She’s  bright and beautiful and she likes to read.  Knowing that kids are brutally honest I held my breath waiting for my first official critique from my intended audience.  After five days I couldn’t stand the suspense and sent an email to her mother.

Subject: Did Madison like Storee? Message: Since she is in the age range of my target audience I sure hope so. Love, Bobbi

This is her response: 

“It’s funny you email me today.  She was reading it while I drove her to the bus stop this morning and said “Mom, I’m so into this book”  Kudos to you Bobbi.   She was bringing the book to her teacher this morning with a note that explained who the author is and that I wanted to touch base with her about the Author coming to the class room.  I am hoping her and I can meet early next week.

Also, I showed the book to my servers that have children all around Madison’s age and I expressed to them about a possible book signing event here at the Diner and they where thrilled.  I also mentioned this future event to our sales rep that has twin girls that are 8 years old and a few of my customers that I know have children and grandchildren.  I’m drumming up curiosity and interest, everyone stated to let them know when the date will be and they will be here.I’ll be in touch with you, Love Pam.”

Thrilled I logged off my computer and left the house to run an errand. I was barely out of my neighborhood when I started to cry.

Why? Because it has taken years to get this book published and the characters of Storee and her cat, Critique, mean so much to me.  But most of all because the words “Mom, I’m so into this book” are priceless. Today, in this moment, I am a success.

 Some of my favorite books for kids are:

Bees in My Butt by Rebecca Shelley

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (mentioned in Storee Wryter Gets a Dog)

For Boys Only: The Biggest, Baddest Book Ever by Marc Aronson

Earth Smart Crafts by Carrie Anton

Thanks to Tank by Maureen Howard

Pennwriters Conference Offers More Than 45 Workshops

03/08/2011

I’m teaching a two day seminar at the Pennwriters Conference in May. In addition to that  I’ll be attending as many of the workshops  as possible to learn as much as I can from some very successful writers.  For more information on the conference go to http://www.pennwriters.org/prod/

Over three days, you’ll find more than 45 workshops and panels on five different tracks.

IMPROVE YOUR CRAFT
GENRE KNOW-HOW
••KNOW THE BUSINESS
•PROMOTE YOUR WORK
Workshops
A full listing of workshops, by track, is as follows:

IMPROVE YOUR CRAFT GENRE KNOW-HOW THE WRITER‘S LIFE
•Four Truths of Character with Ramona Long
•Balancing Dialogue and Narrative with Terry Friedman
•Avoiding Passivity with Catherine McLean
•The First Page is the Worse with Jason & Heidi Miller
•Shaping Story Arcs with Ramona Long
•The Geography of a Novel with Kristin Bair O’Keeffe
•Psychoses & Psychopaths: Crafting Believable Characters with Brent Maguire
•Acting for Writers with Kathryn Miller Haines and Kathleen George
•What Do I Do Now? with Becky Levine
•Researching the Police with Kathleen George
•Creative Nonfiction with Deanna Adams
•Making it Up: History and Ficiton with Gwyn Cready, Mitchell James Kaplan & Todd DePastino
•Writing Fight & Action Scenes with Jonathan Maberry
•Say YES to YA with Heather Terrell
•Your Life is Poetry with Timons Esaias
•Taking Your Writing to the Screen with Dennis Palumbo
•Researching Historical Fiction with Kathryn Miller Haines
•Breaking into Business Writing with Lisa Kastner
•Environmental Writing with John Wennersten
•A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words Part I & II with Bobbi Carducci
•Drafting the Nonfiction Book Proposal with Deanna Adams
•Travel Writing with Don Helin
•Growing a Critique Group with Becky Levine
•What AM I supposed to say? with Becky Levine
•Writing From the Inside Out with Dennis Palumbo
•Unlocking Your Writing Process with Tamara Girardi
•Goal Setting for Writers with Anne Grenville
•Life Balance for Writers with Anne Grenville
•Writing Meditation with Madhu Wangu

KNOW THE BUSINESS PROMOTE YOUR WORK
•Agent Panel
•Small Press Panel
•From Concept to Bookstore with agent Denise Little
•The Dos and Don’ts of Finding and Agent with agent Victoria Skurnick
•Welcome to the Jungle with agent Barbara Poelle & CJ Lyons
•Effective Social Media with Janet Reid
•The Author-Agent Relationship with Nancy Martin
•Break Free From the Slush Pile with CJ Lyons
•The Pros, Cons & Cautions of Self-Pubbing Nonfiction with Deanna Adams, Carrie Kennedy and bookseller Maryanne Eichorn
•Copyright for Writers in the 21st Century with Tonya Evans
•Build Your Brand! with CJ Lyons
•Twitter for Twits with Tamara Girardi
•Shameless Self-Promotion & Social Networking with Kristin Bair O’Keefe
•No-Nonsense Publicity with Bill Peschel
•Creating a Low-Budget Book Trailer with Gwyn Cready
•How to Give a Great Reading with Kristin Bair O’Keeffe
•Working with Your Local Bookseller with Mary Anne Eichorn

North Woods Poachers – and More Great Books for Boys

02/17/2011

North Woods Poachers (Tweener Press Adventure Series, No. 3)

North Woods Poachers
By Max Elliott Anderson
(Tweener Press)
Teen – YA $10.95
Rating ****

At last I’m beginning to locate some good books for boys and among the very best are those in the Tweener Press Adventure Series by Max Elliott Anderson.

A self-described reluctant reader as a young man, Max Elliott Anderson had a hard time buying into stories about the same two kids saving the world every weekend. In response, he has created a series of mystery/adventure books featuring different characters and new locations for each title. The fact that each book concludes with a Christian message is wonderful bonus parents will applaud and kids will absorb without even noticing.

North Woods Poachers features Andy and C.J. Washburn, young cousins who have come to dread the annual family fishing trip where they are doomed to spend hours each day in a boat with their parents. Andy is determined that this year will be different. Unfortunately his longing for adventure results in much more excitement and adventure than either boy expected.

In the end, the boys discover how much they depend on family and God to guide them and that even a wily fish like Big Wally can teach them a valuable lesson. Highly recommended – for boys (and girls, too) who crave action in their reading.

Other books in the series include: Mountain Cabin Mystery, Big-Rig Rustlers, Long Island Smugglers and Terror and Wolf Lake.

Ratings

* Good
** Very Good
*** Recommended
**** Reviewer’s Choice

Inspiring Kids to Write, My New Book For Young Readers

02/11/2011

Storee Wryter Gets a Dog
by Barbara Simpson Carducci

“Storee’s ideas for her writing often come from her many adventures. And when her friend, Kyria, talks her into getting a new puppy, Storee gets some great ideas for her next book while she and her cat, Critique, have fun watching her puppy learn to become a trained therapy dog.

Join Storee as she learns to train her puppy to be helpful and soothing. Watch as Storee visits a classroom of special needs children, using her dog to reach out. And have fun with Storee as she gains new experiences certain to help her create her next bestseller! But most important of all, find inspiration for your next masterpiece as you read Storee Wryter Gets a Dog.

Attention parents and teachers: For information about  scheduling a school visit or a workshop for young writers please  contact me directly at bcarducci@comcast.net 

Time Flies When You’re Rewriting Your Book

09/22/2010

Last month I received the following message from the editor of my children’s book. “I’d like you to increase your story quite a bit.  Do you think that you’ll be able to handle that? I’m going to give you detailed notes and guidelines to aid you as you write if you’d like to go that route.  …”

“Why not?” I asked  myself.  Then the detailed notes and guidelines arrived.  I didn’t know where to begin. Her comments were color coded. Blue for suggested changes and/or additions. Grey indicated a word or section to be deleted. Green highlighting  (I  have never liked green) was for passages that needed to be rewritten. I was instructed not to delete anything myself. If I wanted something removed I was to put brackets around the text and change the font color to red.  All new passages were to be typed in red, sans brackets.

It took me several readings to make sense of the instructions. However, once I finished rewriting chapter one which encompassed most of the original children’s book, I was in the red zone of creativity. Following the rules got  easier. 

 Writing a chapter book  for kids 8-10 years old is very different from writing a picture book. The characters remained the same but they had to grow along with the story line.  Their vocabulary changed and their interaction with one another  became more complex. Point of view was affected. A talking cat in a picture book is okay. A talking cat in chapter book is not as accepted.  In the expanded version,  Critique, the heroine’s cat, maintains her scrappy attitude but I had to rewrite how she expressed it. The reader now experiences Critique’s personality through the eyes of the main  character, Storee Wryter.  

Then came all the new scenes and expanded information. It was no longer enough to mention that the dog in this book trains to become a therapy dog.  I spent days researching  various training techniques, types of therapy dogs and the costs involved.  I visited a dog trainer and talked with a teacher who has an Education Assistance dog come into her classroom to help teach kids to read.

 I learned a  great deal as the new version of the book evolved and I appreciate having been given the opportunity to stretch my creativity to the benefit of my characters.  And, I’m grateful to the editor for seeing the possibilities I missed when crafting this story.

I write this today not only to share my latest writing challenge but also to explain why this blog has been unattended for a while.  I’m back now and waiting to hear what the editor thinks of the revisions. Her comments are expected on September 30th.  Wish me luck.