Thursday, January 7, 2021

The Story Behind the Story: HOME FOR A WHILE by Lauren Kerstein

The Story Behind the Story: HOME FOR A WHILE

Author: Lauren Kerstein 

Publisher: Magination Press

Illustrated by: Natalia Moore

Publication Date: February 2, 2021


In January 2016, I sat down to write a story about all of the children with whom I’d worked in day treatment centers, private practice, and in their homes. The words poured out of my heart. The original title was TRUE HOME. I wanted to capture the essence of the anxiety, displacement, and resilience of children in the foster care system and children struggling to manage their emotions. When I began working as a child andfamily psychotherapist, my goal was simple. I wanted to help children smile each day who wouldn’t necessarily have smiled otherwise. Although this goal was noble and is still the driving force behind my work, I quickly discovered there was so much more work to do. I realized we so often focus on pathology, negativity, and challenges, rather than strengths. I wanted to be sure that every child and every caregiver with whom I worked saw their strengths and learned how to capitalize on them. I hope HOME FOR A WHILE provides an example of the power of switching your lens, seeing your strengths, and learning ways to effectively manage big feelings for all children and families.

The incredibly insightful editors, art directors, and expert readers at Magination Press helped me polish Calvin’s story until it shined. And the unbelievably talented Natalia Moore brought Calvin’s story to life. Her illustrations breathed wonderful life into this story. I am so grateful! 

When we love others for who they are, we can change their lives forever. HOME FOR A WHILE highlights the power of this simple truth.

Lauren Kerstein is an author and psychotherapist. She is a Jersey girl at heart who currently lives in Colorado with her husband, their two daughters (who are beautiful inside and out), and their rescue dog. She is represented by Deborah Warren with East/West Literary Agency. Lauren's debut: ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE MAKE WAVES (Illustrated by Nate Wragg/Two Lions) splashed into bookstores in 2019. The companion volume, ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE SAY GOOD NIGHT (Illustrated by Nate Wragg/Two Lions), snuggled into bookshelves September 1, 2020. HOME FOR A WHILE (Illustrated by Natalia Moore/Magination Press) is expected February 2, 2021. Lauren also writes books in her field. Lauren is one of the founders of #ReVISIONweek, a judge with RateYour Story, runs a critique business, and is a long-time member of 12x12 and SCBWI. Visit her at www.LaurenKerstein.net, on Twitter @LaurenKerstein, Instagram @LaurenKerstein, or Facebook.

Check out the trailer for ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE MAKE WAVES here: 

Check the trailer out the trailer for ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE SAY GOOD NIGHT here: 

HOME FOR A WHILE is available to preorder

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Introducing...The Story Snowman! from The Picture Book Mechanic

 


If the Story Skeleton didn't speak to you, perhaps this enthusiastic guy will chill 
your character and plot problems! 

Keep on Writing!

Enjoy! 

Monday, January 4, 2021

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Of Happy Birthday Trees by Karen Rostoker-Gruber


Buy Happy Birthday, Trees HERE

TITLE: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TREES

AUTHOR: Karen Rostoker-Gruber

ILLUSTRATOR: Holly Sterling 

PUBLISHER: Kar-Ben

 "Happy Birthday, Trees" backstory:

I was invited to a luncheon given by the PJ Library in New York a while back (pre-COVID). 

They told everyone there that they were looking for board books. I write a lot of board books, 
so when I went home that night I looked in my drawer and pulled out an old manuscript, 
which at that time was called, "Happy Birthday to the Trees." I sent it to the PJ Library and 
won their author incentive award (two thousand dollars). 

Then, Karen Grencik (my agent at the time) sold the book to Joni Sussman, at KarBen. Joni 
shortened the title to "Happy Birthday, Trees," which I like a lot better.

It's a board book about planting a tree with simple rhyming couplets and a repeated refrain. 
It's for the Jewish holiday Tu B'Shevat, which is very similar to Earth Day.

Holly Sterling's illustrations are very lively and colorful! The characters in this book look 
like they are having so much fun that I want to hop into her illustrations!
I also like the characters in my book because they come from diverse backgrounds and they 
are working together in harmony.


Karen Rostoker-Gruber is a multi-award-winning author of over 16 traditionally-published 
books with hundreds of thousands of copies sold. Farmer Kobi's Hanukkah Match, was 
named a National Jewish Book Award Finalist and was awarded the 2016 Outstanding 
Children's Literature Award from the Church and Synagogue Library Association. Her 
books Bandit (Marshall Cavendish 2008), Bandit's Surprise (Marshall Cavendish 2010), 
and Ferret Fun (Marshall Cavendish 2011) all received starred reviews in School Library 
Journal; Rooster Can't Cock-a-Doodle-Doo (Dial 2004) and Bandit were both International 
Reading Association Children's Book Council Children's Choices Award recipients;  three 
of her books, Rooster Can't Cock-a-Doodle-Doo (in 2005), Bandit (in 2009), and 
Ferret Fun (in 2012) were all chosen for the 100 Best Children's Books in the Bureau 
of Education and Research's Best of the Year Handbook.  Rooster Can't Cock-a-Doodle-Doo 
and Ferret Fun were nominated for the Missouri Show Me Award; Bandit was nominated 
for the South Carolina Book Award; and Rooster Can't Cock-a-Doodle-Doo was a 
Dollywood Foundation selection two years in a row (in 2007 the Dollywood Foundation 
bought 73,579 copies and in 2008 it bought 88,996 copies). Karen's book, 
Maddie the Mitzvah Clown, published by Apples and Honey Press, a division of 
Behrman House, was named a PJ Library book selection in July of 2017 and went out to 
21,000 4-year-olds in the US and Canada. Karen's latest books, Happy Birthday, Trees 
(KarBen) and A Crowded Farmhouse Folktale (Whitman), will both be out in 2020.  
Karen is an active member of SCBWI, has twice co-chaired the Rutgers University 
Council on Children's Literature's One-on-One Conference, and is one of the co-founders 
of The Book Meshuggenahs.  http://www.karenrostoker-gruber.com    

 @KarBenPub @TMeshuggenahs












Photo: Karen's Manuscript Files! 

THANK YOU for Sharing Your Story Behind the Story, Karen! 


Thursday, December 31, 2020

Rate Your Story *Guest Guru* Schedule / Membership Perk (and some Speedpasses, too!)

Each Month at least *two* Guest Gurus will take a look at four manuscripts each and give feedback to lucky members who submit that month. This feedback will not be anonymous. On months where there is an editor or agent featured, we will provide wishlists (if applicable) so Members may target submissions. 

You should submit as usual, unless otherwise noted, however, please note that submissions will be chosen on a first-come, first fit basis until all slots are filled, so it may be a good idea to submit in the beginning of a month IF you have appropriate material for that Author/Editor/Agent. 

Also, please note - YOU MUST NOTE IN THE BODY OF YOUR SUBMISSION THAT YOU WISH TO BE CONSIDERED FOR THE GUEST GURU. This is very important as we will not forward without your permission. 

Here's who we have lined up so far, with more to come! 

January - Charlotte Offsay (Accepting Picture Books) 

and a forthcoming Beaming Books and other Title

Lynne Marie, Editorial Director of Spork Books / Dancing Flamingo Press
   (Accepting Picture Books) 
   Note: Lynne Marie will Rate 4 Member Submissions and 4 Speedpass Submissions! 

February - Helen H. Wu

Editor at Yeehoo Press
Author/Illustrator
Illustrator of Be A Coronavirus Fighter
and forthcoming titles

Lynne Marie, Editorial Director of Spork Books / Dancing Flamingo Press
 (Accepting Picture Books) 
   Note: Lynne Marie will Rate 4 Member Submissions and 4 Speedpass Submissions! 


Editor at Spork Books
Watch for Exciting Changes Coming January 1st!
Author/Illustrator
and forthcoming titles

Lynne Marie, Editorial Director of Spork Books / Dancing Flamingo Press
 (Accepting Picture Books) 
   Note: Lynne Marie will Rate 4 Member Submissions and 4 Speedpass Submissions! 

April - Evelyn Bookless

and forthcoming Sequel! 

Lynne Marie, Editorial Director of Spork Books / Dancing Flamingo Press
 (Accepting Picture Books) 
   Note: Lynne Marie will Rate 4 Member Submissions and 4 Speedpass Submissions! 

May - Diana Murray

Poet and Author of Goodnight Veggies
and oh, so many MORE

Lynne Marie, Editorial Director of Spork Books / Dancing Flamingo Press
 (Accepting Picture Books) 
   Note: Lynne Marie will Rate 4 Member Submissions and 4 Speedpass Submissions! 


Junior Agent, Olswanger Literary
Co-Host, Fall Writing Frenzy

Lynne Marie, Editorial Director of Spork Books / Dancing Flamingo Press
 (Accepting Picture Books) 
   Note: Lynne Marie will Rate 4 Member Submissions and 4 Speedpass Submissions! 



Lynne Marie, Editorial Director of Spork Books / Dancing Flamingo Press
 (Accepting Picture Books) 
   Note: Lynne Marie will Rate 4 Member Submissions and 4 Speedpass Submissions! 

August - Barbara Krasner

Author, Goldie Takes a Stand and More! 
Seeking - Novels in Verse - Get them ready!

Lynne Marie, Editorial Director of Spork Books / Dancing Flamingo Press
 (Accepting Picture Books) 
   Note: Lynne Marie will Rate 4 Member Submissions and 4 Speedpass Submissions! 

September - Laura Sassi

Author of Little Ewe and MORE!



JUST ADDED: Lisa Amstutz, 
Storm Literary
Former Judge Lisa Amstutz is popping back in to 
spend time with us -- NOW as an Agent! 









JUST ADDED: Helen Wu / Associate Publishers of Yeehoo Press has been kind enough to add another month in addition to February! 

October - Lynne Marie

RYS Owner/Administrator
and many MORE

Lynne Marie, Editorial Director of Spork Books / Dancing Flamingo Press
 (Accepting Picture Books) 
   Note: Lynne Marie will Rate 4 Member Submissions and 4 Speedpass Submissions! 


Poet, Author of Ten Turkeys in the Road
and MORE

Also, Lynne Marie 

RYS Owner/Administrator
and MORE
 (Accepting Picture Books) 
   Note: Lynne Marie will Rate 4 Member Submissions and 4 Speedpass Submissions! 

December - Rina Singh

Author of Grandmother School and MORE!

Also, Lynne Marie 

RYS Owner/Administrator
and MORE!
 (Accepting Picture Books) 
   Note: Lynne Marie will Rate 4 Member Submissions and 4 Speedpass Submissions! 

The chances for the primary opportunities will be afforded to *Members Only*. 

Find Our Submission Guidelines HERE:
https://www.rateyourstory.org/submission-guidelines

Find Our Speedpass Guidelines HERE:
https://www.rateyourstory.org/copy-of-rys-speed-pass-1


www.rateyourstory.org

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Counting Down to a Big Announcement and The Picture Book Mechanic Prices Going UP!



I'm excited to share that I will have a big announcement coming soon! More details to come on January 1, 2021!

Because of my announcement, I will be raising my pricing menu over at The Picture Book Mechanic Critique, Consultation and Mentoring Services. While you will be paying a little more, you will be getting a little more bang for your buck! You'll find out why, in just four days!  

However, because you have all been such wonderful and supportive clients, I wanted to give you a heads up and allow you to pre-purchase items for next year at the current pricing. 

https://literallylynnemarie.blogspot.com/2019/12/2020-professional-critiques-by-picture.html

If you are going to be serious about becoming published in the next year, I recommend my "Month of Mentoring," which can be broken up over a longer period than one month. 



I have not had time to update my website with my many accolades, but I can certainly provide referrals upon request. 

This offer ends December 31, 2020 at 11:59 PM. No exceptions.

Also feel free to check out Rate Your Story for Ratings and Feedback.

I hope to have the opportunity to assist you on your journey to publication! 






Sunday, December 20, 2020

RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR with First Pages with Callie and Lynne - January 22, 2021

 

Down in the Dumps from the 2020 Grumps?


Turn that Frown Upside Down and

Start Your New Year Off Right with

First Pages with Callie and Lynne (January 22, 2021) 6 PM EST

 I'm excited to announce our *third* FIRST PAGES with Callie and Lynne! Twice the Feedback from two authors / editors!

Please feel free to share with your Critique Group!

Clickable Link Here: https://tinyurl.com/1stPageswithCandL

Submission info below...
Remember, spots are limited -- 
But We'll Start a Wait List 
and Schedule a Second Session if Necessary!


Participants will be e-mailed the link to the Zoom Room on the day of the event. 
Hope to See you There!




PLEASE NOTE: Spork and it's imprints (Spork, &MG, Blue Whale and an exciting new one, coming soon!) are closed to submissions, so this is a good way to get your work seen!

INSTRUCTIONS:

Please format your First Pages as follows --->

Top Line - Name, Title, Genre, Word Count

Following Lines: Double-spaced. Picture books should be formatted as closely to a picture book as possible. If you use a page number, keep it on the same line as the text (or you are losing submission lines).

Make payment at:


Payment and Pages must be received by 3 PM on the date of the event, or yours will be held and read at the next month's event.

SUBMISSION:

Send as a Word Document Attachment to:
RYSSpeedpass@gmail.com

NOTE: For novels with large blocks of text, we will read as much as we can -- to the point where we would stop reading in an editorial meeting because we have read enough to make a decision on the piece. For picture books, we will likely read to the end because they are much sparser. We will comment on areas of strength and areas where the writer could make improvements. We will, also note if we would like to see more, and if the writer may send the full-manuscript to Spork Books.

BONUS: Though Spork and its imprints are closed to submissions, if we say that we would like to see more, you are invited to submit to:

SPORK BOOKS 

https://querymanager.com/query/clearforkmedia/Spork


CALLIE DIRECTLY

https://querymanager.com/query/CallieMetler


DANCING FLAMINGO

https://querymanager.com/query/clearforkmedia/Dancingflamingo


Thank you for participating!

Friday, December 18, 2020

COVER REVEAL/THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY with Kathleen M. Blasi for Milo's Moonlight Mission

 

By Kathleen M. Blasi 

The inspiration for this story was born of a very special night of my own. Hearing of a spectacular Leonid Meteor Storm, we set our alarm for 4 AM, bundled up, and trudged outside, with lawn chairs and blankets in hand. We waited. We watched. The meteorological predictions did not disappoint. I’d never seen anything like it. The next morning, I wrote down my impressions. And then a story began to take shape. In the early stages, it was centered on the magnificence of the meteor storm itself, but I knew to be a story in the true sense, it had to be about something even bigger. I realized that as much as I loved witnessing the storm, those with whom I shared that moment and the time spent together, were equally important. Nature connected us that night, in a quiet, meaningful way. For the four of us, individually, it remains one of our favorite life moments.


Full Synopsis:

Outer space is out there for exploring, and Captain Milo is ready for takeoff! If only he didn’t have to wait for his Second-in-Command—or as he also calls her, Mom—to report for duty. Yet Mom’s list of daily tasks grows ever longer, and she can’t launch until they’re done. So, like any good captain, Milo offers to help!

Work? Check.
Dinner? Check.
Cleanup? Check.

When the weather forecast predicts a middle-of-the-night meteor storm, Captain Milo wants desperately to witness it. But will his Second-in-Command have enough time to accomplish this magical mission with him?
In lyrical prose and charming illustrations, Kathleen M. Blasi and Petronela Dostalova capture how the most spectacular night skies are revealed when we plan for the perfect moment—with loved ones by our sides. This heartwarming tale is perfect for space fans and young budding astronauts!

Some information about the book:
Pre-order Milo's Midnight Mission Here: https://amzn.to/3aiL4ci [#Ad] 
Format: Jacketed Hardcover

Pages: 36
Size: 9.56 X 9.56
Price: $15.99
Age Range: 4-8 years
Publication Date: 06/15/2021
ISBN: 978-1-953458-04-9


Author Bio:
Kathleen Blasi writes books for young readers, including Hosea Plays On (illustrated by Shane W. Evans), A Name of Honor, and Are Organized Sports Better for Kids than Pickup Games?
Active in the children’s writing community, Kathleen has served as Co-President of Rochester Area Children’s Writers & Illustrators and is former Co-Director of the Rochester Children’s Book Festival, for which she and her Co-Director received the 2015 New York State Reading Association Literacy Advocate Award. Kathleen lives in western New York, where, along with writing, she enjoys fostering the curiosity of young storytellers.
Visit her at kmblasi.com to learn more.

Illustrator Bio:
Petronela Dostalova graduated from the Cambridge School of Art with a MA in Children’s Book Illustration. Before the MA she was studying Fine Arts at the University of East Anglia. In 2015 her children’s book project “The Reds and Greens” was highly commended for the Creative Conscience Award. The project was promoting equality. Petronela comes from a Czech-Slovak-Hungarian background but decided to nest into the heart of Suffolk where she currently lives and works with her partner and their dog Haribo. If you don’t find her drawing at her desk, she will be out travelling or cycling somewhere. She likes to be near, in, on or underwater at any time of the day except when she is drawing – she is still working on a way to be able to do these things at the same time.