Sunday, March 25, 2018


I meant to put out this offer on New Year's Day, 2018. But already it has been one of those years. I was sick, my daughter contracted Flu A, my father had a heart attack (and thankfully, survived) and my car got stolen from the hospital parking lot (and thankfully later recovered, although with damage. And since all of this has resulted in more bills, better late than never!

First, here's my BIO:

Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Sparkhouse Family, 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares (Sterling, pending)  and Let’s Eat Around the World (Beaming Books, 2019) as well as two pending books in the series and more forthcoming. She lives on a lake in South Florida with her daughter, son, a Schipperke named Anakin and several resident water birds. You can learn more about her at

FOR A LIMITED TIME, you can take advantage of my manuscript critique and editing services at a lower cost.

TERMS: Payment received prior to services rendered, in the form of Venmo (@Lynne-Marie-1) Friends and Family Paypal OR Paypal with Fees ( Please note that this pricing is already heavily reduced, so I need to receive the correct payment quote, not a reduced payment with paypal fees taken out.

PLEASE NOTE: If you send the wrong amount by sending Paypal Goods and Services without adding on the Extra Fees, you will need to send a 2nd amount to correct the amount. So please be careful when sending. Either FRIENDS AND FAMILY or PAYPAL FOR GOODS AND SERVICES PLUS FEES (which I believe are around .30 plus 2.9% per transaction) or VENMO (a Paypal App) will be accepted. 

The rates below are for picture books for to 700 words. If your picture book is longer that this, there is a $5.00 surcharge for each additional amount up to 150 words. So, for example a Manuscript of 975 words would have a $10 surcharge. If you are adding your 1-2 line pitch at the top, which is fine and highly recommended, please add $2.50 to the total. Honed pitches will get you attention in queries and in twitter pitches so this step is very important!

COST: $20.18 per picture book Manuscript

NOTE: You can buy more than one of these and get a discount if you PRE-PAY at the time of your first order. For example, $100 will get you five (5) Picture Book Critiques on account.

COST: $25.18 per picture book Manuscript

NOTE: You can buy more than one of these and get a discount if you PRE-PAY at the time of your first order. For example, $100 will get you FOUR (4) Picture Book Critiques on account, PLUS an extra 10 Minutes of Phone Consultation.

COST: $27.68

NOTE: You can buy more than one of these and get a discount if you PRE-PAY at the time of your first order. For example, $100 will get you FOUR (4) Picture Book Critique / Consultations on account.

COST: $25.00
Follow-up critique on revisions, if not pre-purchased, will be $25.00 and will include a telephone consultation for any portion 1 hour's time not used up by the critique.

COST: $5.00
Cover Letters, whether pre-purchased or not, will be $5.00.

COST: $5.00
If you have previously purchased a critique from me prior to 3/30/18 and did not get to take advantage of the Add-On Phone Consult, you can do so NOW for only $5. We will pull up the critiqued manuscript and discuss for 15 minutes.

COST: $10
Each session will be 10 minutes via telephone. PRE-PAY for 6 "Hone Your Pitch Sessions" at $60 and get 1 Pitch Session FREE. Great for cover letter pitches or twitter pitch contests!

I will edit your bio for your query letter for an additional $5 charge.

Please feel contact me to check in and see if the sale is still valid, and/or for regular rates on pitches, cover letters, picture book manuscripts, chapter books and MORE.

Here is what clients have said recently:

You are efficient! Thank you so much for your very helpful, speedy feedback! That was one of the most thorough critiques I've ever received. 

I want to say thank you for your critique of my story. I’ve had a chance to review it a few times and your notes and suggestions will be extremely helpful for my revision. I obviously have a lot of work still to do on this story, but I want to continue to develop it into, hopefully a polished manuscript for submission. Your thoughtful and detailed critique has set me in the right direction.

You don't know how much joy you brought me when I saw your critique and that is priceless. Thank you for continuing to motivate me as a fellow writer. Alicia Minor.

Thank you so much, Lynne. Your insights on both of these pieces are incredible. You've given me a LOT to think about and I'm excited to tackle the revisions. Very much appreciated!

Many thanks for the detailed critique! I have already incorporated many of your changes and ideas.

Lynne Marie has been a critique partner for years. She has great insight into what makes a picture book work. And this is a bargain price— buy five! Sherry Hyberger Howard
Many thanks, again, for this extremely insightful and helpful critique! I can't wait to work on revisions.

I have never learned so much from someone's critiques as I have from yours. You make me see things so much clearer. They have been thoughtful and honest. You have no clue how much you are teaching me. Thank you SO much. 

I didn’t know what to expect with my first critique, but Lynne Marie made the entire process painless and enjoyable! My manuscript took so many necessary turns and twists that I didn’t even know I needed! Andrea Jaimes

Thank you for your incredibly helpful feedback!  You have given me a lot to think about.

Feel free to contact me for more testimonials. 

For a limited time, if you book a Vacation Package through me as a Travel Agent, I will give you two (2) picture book manuscript critiques of up to 750 words PLUS two (2) 15 minute telephone consultations. Details: Offers available upon final payment and only on packages which are non-refundable or have insurance. Not combinable with other Pixie Perks like Cruise Line Door Decorations, Onboard Credits or Gift Cards.

PPBF: A Review of Bird, Balloon, Bear by Ill Sung Na

TITLE: Bird, Balloon, Bear
AUTHOR: Il Sung Na
PUBLISHER: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017
IMPRINT: Borzoi Books

SNIPPET: It was Bird's first day in a new forest and he was looking for a friend. It wasn't long before he found someone! But Bird was too shy to say hello. 

When he finally felt brave enough... was TOO LATE! Bear already had a friend. 

A simple and effectively-told story of a bird, a balloon and a bear with a satisfying ending and the subtle message that good things may come to those who wait, but yet take action when they receive the call. Bird's story is depicted in somewhat simple, soft and beautiful art which also lends to the appeal of this sweet story. 

While some of the sentences might be considered a bit tell-y, it ends up working well and I wouldn't change a thing. We are brought straight to the heart of the matter without delay and the sparse text is enhanced with the emotion portrayed in the art. 

This story gives hope for second chances, which are well worth the wait. 

RATING: 5 out of 5 Peas 

Friday, February 23, 2018


Congratulations to the Susanna Hill's Valentiny Contest Semi-Finalists.

If you have not done so already, please take a moment and vote for YOUR favorite teeny-tiny story!


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

SUSANNA HILL's 3rd Annual Valentiny Writing Contest - A Valentine's Day for Milton Monster by Lynne Marie

by Lynne Marie 
Word Count: 214
“Go on ahead, Matilda,” Milton prodded.
“What are you up to?” asked his sister.
“Searching for worms,” said Milton.

Alone, he emptied his backpack. Hopefully, I’ll get others to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Even if I need to sway them one monster at a time.
He counted supplies.
Chocolate candy
Fuzzy lovey
Red roses
Mushy card

He placed the gifts, then peeked from behind a tombstone.
Myrtle Magog stopped, read and ran. AHHHHHHHHHH!!!
Milton wilted.
He sifted through the toppled trinkets.
Too sweet?
Too fluffy?
Too rosy?
Too mushy?
With a heavy heart, he headed to school.

“I saw what you’re up to,” said Matilda. “Holidays are for humans. No monster eats chocolate hearts. YUK!”
“Thanks for the idea!” Milton exclaimed.
“Oh, no!” said Matilda.  
Hope soaring, Milton raced off.  

He dug and dipped.
He snipped and sewed.
He ruined and rhymed.

After school, Matilda found several items by her cubby:
Chocolate-covered worms,
a zombie doll,
a thorn bouquet and
a card:
Candy is rotten,
Presents are worse.
To my great horror,
I’m writing in verse.
Be my Malentine!
Slugs and Hisses,

“So maybe  Malentine’s Day isn’t the worst idea ever.” Matilda took a bite of her chocolate-covered worms. “Yum, not bad.”

Milton smiled from his hiding spot. One monster at a time...

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Here's A Way to Win a Critique from ME or Other Prizes

CONTEST: Enter Susanna Hill's Valen-tiny Contest

The Sad Story of Why I Didn't Participate In MCBD 2018

I was supposed to participate in MCBD 2018, but didn't. There, I said it. I feel extremely guilty. Let's face it -- it would have meant a lot of hits to my website to be in the Link-y, but I just couldn't do it. I was assigned a book to read and I read it. Several times in fact. However, I am not a fake person (alas, no poker face here) and cannot publish fake reviews and gush over a book that I really did not enjoy. So I thought, in the interests of everyone working toward publishing and circulating the *best* children's literature we can, that I would discuss the reasons I could not participate this year.

Honestly, who doesn't love a good story that's both new and different? Coming from the concept that there's no new stories only old stories told with new slants, it's refreshing to see stories told from points of view we haven't heard from before. However, when a story -- a picture book story -- begins with several main characters each drawn to  *specific* diverse backgrounds, it starts off feeling considerably heavy-handed.   Just sticking with this point for a moment -- these exact characters coming together (one of each race and religion) feels a bit, well, er...

  1. deliberately created rather than arising naturally or spontaneously.

Secondly, this many characters is quite a lot for a picture book to today's standard which is 300-500 words average, so likely these character are going to play out as nothing more than "one-note."
There's no room at all for each character's narrative arc to develop. Not one character grew or changed either physically or emotionally. Each one was the same at the end of the book as in the beginning.

The best thing about reading a book is going on the journey with the main character -- both physical and emotional, as the main character(s) attempts to solve the story problem and fails several times, each time learning and growing until ultimately achieving that satisfying resolution of succeeding or accepting the consequences. Unfortunately, in this case, the plot was contrived, too.

So for me, characters, even in picture books represent children with struggles and their journeys. They do not represent an entire ethic group in a cookie-cutter character, but a person IN an ethnic group. They represent an individual who grows and changes. And if that individual finds magic (and I do believe there can be magic in stories) it comes from SOMETHING and is not just planted there and it is earned.

So let's keep mining the fields for those diverse stories and sharing them. But let's be honest to kids. They deserve that.

Friday, January 26, 2018

PPBF: I Will Not EAT YOU by Adam Lehrhaupt & Scott Magoon (Review by Lynne Marie)

TITLE: I Will Not Eat You
AUTHOR: Adam Lehrhaupt
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster
IMPRINT: Paula Wiseman Books
EDITOR: Sylvie Frank
YEAR: 2016

JACKET FLAP: Theodore thinks EVERYTHING is a potential meal. Until something NEW approaches his cave. A BOY. Has Theodore found his favorite food? Or something more?

SNIPPET: Theodore lived in a cave. It was a quiet cave and that's the way he liked it. 

For those who are studying the art of writing for children, the above beginning is what is called, "the ordinary world." It is a great way to ground, and also start, a story, as long as you show a crack in it.

Here it comes.

One morning, a bird flew up to the cave. It tweeted and squawked at Theodore.  Tweet. Tweet. Squawk. Squawk. Tweet. 

Theodore thought. Does it want me to eat it? 

An so this is the inciting event that initiates Theodore's story problem, which just gets bigger, and bigger, despite Theodore not being hungry and also attempting to ignore these problems.

For me, this is one of these books that you have to read several times to appreciate just how superbly clever and well done it is. Everything in it is planted (although subtly) in the beginning and important to the story, and every thing plays out as perfectly as it should. I am thankful to have had the fortunate opportunity to see Sylvie Frank discuss this book in a presentation at SCBWI Miami.

And I LOVE the ending. Pick up a copy and read it for yourself.

Please do leave your thoughts as to what YOU think about this book in the comment section. This is a fun one to discuss.

RATING: 4 Stars