Sunday, December 8, 2019



Exciting *NEW* Critique Offering!

Zoom Manuscript Tune-Ups 


For those interested, I offer weekly Zoom Manuscript Critique Tune-ups on Thursdays at 1:30 and 
7:00 PM EST. Please note that I also hold these on select Tuesdays, and will hold them for entire critique 
groups by appointment. 

How does this work? 

Message me to let me know you are interested in participating, and I will add you to the facebook group. 

Once in the group, you can claim your spot in either the Thursday 1:30 PM or the 7:00 PM critique group. If you want to reserve a spot for your critique group on a specific date, contact me to check availability. 

You can send payment of $10 to me via Venmo to @Lynne-Marie-1 or via Friends-and-Family Paypal (or Paypal with fees added in) to 

Then, send your picture book manuscript up to 650 words in Word Document Format to me at If your manuscript is longer, please mark 650 words. If it's not much longer, I may go to the end, it depends on time and how fast it reads. 

Fifteen minutes before the scheduled session, I will post the link to the chat in the Facebook group. Please be in the chat at least five (5) minutes before the scheduled time. 

NOTE: If you have not downloaded onto your computer, you will need to do that ahead 
of time so that you won't be late. 

I will screen-share the manuscripts so that we can all see them and I will invite peers to comment when I have completed my thoughts. I spend about 15/20 minutes total on each manuscript, including reading, commenting
both as I go and overall big picture at the end. In the remaining few minutes, our group will add comments as 

If you have any additional questions, please feel to PM me at Lynne Marie on Facebook, or 
or e-mail me at

I look forward to helping you pave your road to success!

Lynne Marie

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Apprehension-Inspiring Art Note by Lynne Marie

OK I admit it. I use art notes. Maybe even more often than most people.

I try to use them as though they cost me money I don't want to spend. However, I have to admit that one might get the impression that I am wealthy. But hey, no one's perfect.

I also admit that I have more art notes in earlier drafts than I do when I send the manuscript. By the time I send the manuscript I have whittled away any non-essential ones that I might have been using as a crutch or just plain old didn't need.

Here's some tips on what should be in the art note:

1.  Something that cannot be shown in the text (but is important).
2.  Something that should not be shown in the text (but is important).

So, don't include colors or other details that are not integral to the story, or details that can be inferred from the text. Remember to leave most details up to the illustrator.

In Little Red Riding Hood, you wouldn't need:                                                                                                         [Art: Cloak is red.] 

I'll likely come back and update this post at a later date and update with examples, but for now, hopefully this will suffice.

Here's how to portray an art note.

This method was passed along by my co-Agent, Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary Agency. I use it currently as well and have never gotten any negative comments about it.

                               [Art: Main character is a Dog, standing on head, viewing the world upside down.] 

1. Use proper capitalization.
2. Use proper punctuation.
3. Right justify.
4. Make blue so the reader can easily skip over when just reading the text.
5. One point smaller font (same font).

I've just recently interviewed Frances Gilbert / Doubleday, for Children's Book Insider, and she agrees that one should do art notes properly but not stress too much about them.

I doubt anyone ever rejected a book they loved because of an art note. Still, in the interest of professionalism, write only essential art notes, in the best way possible. Good luck!

NOTE: If you find this Note helpful, please FOLLOW this page and SIGN UP top right to receive more tips and writing information, as well as special pitch and critique offers, in your in box! THANK YOU!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

THREE REASONS TO READ: Monkey on the Run by Leo Timmers

TITLE: Monkey on the Run

PUBLISHER: Gecko Press, 2018

JACKETFLAP: Monkey is trying to get home. Toot toot! 


1.    It's active and engaging. 
2.    The art is wonderful. 
3.    Kids will be entertained by the theme on each spread. 
BONUS: Take away -- so many things to discuss and count on each spread. 

Buy the book here:

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

THE PICTURE BOOK MECHANIC: Zoom Manuscript Tune-Ups - Thursday Opening


For those interested, there are a few openings for my Zoom Manuscript Critique Tune-ups on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 1:30 and 7:00 PM EST. 

How does this work? 

Message me to let me know you are interested in participating, and I will add you to the facebook group. 

Once in the group, you can claim your spot in either the Thursday 1:30 PM or the 7:00 PM critique group. 

You can send payment of $10 to me via Venmo to @Lynne-Marie-1 or via Friends-and-Family Paypal (or Paypal with fees added in) to 

Then send your picture book manuscript up to 650 words in Word Document Format to me at If your manuscript is longer, please mark 650 words. If it's not much longer, I may go to the end, it depends on time and how fast it reads. 

Fifteen minutes before the scheduled session, I will post the link to the chat in the Facebook group. Please be in the chat 
by the scheduled time. If you have not downloaded onto your computer, you will need to do that ahead of time. 

I will screenshare the manuscripts so that we can all see them and I will invite peers to comment when I have completed my thoughts.

If you have any additional questions, please feel to PM me at Lynne Marie on FB or e-mail me at

I look forward to helping you pave your road to success!

Lynne Marie

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

11th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards - VOTE FOR MOLDILOCKS

                          VOTE FOR  MOLDILOCKS! 

The 11th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards is going on and you can WRITE IN votes! Please help my little adoptee see the light of day by writing her in. 

If you reread this book, you will see that this book is not only a fun Halloween read, but shows an adoptive family and adoptee pre-adoption and examines some of their needs and also subtly shows that it is not easy to acclimate into a new household. Importantly it shows that adopting a child isn't always a wonderful thing for just the child, but the family. Everybody wins! There's so much more to this book than meets the eye! 

For those who don't realized I'm an adoptee and there's little flecks of my own knowledge and experience in this book. 

I've copied and pasted the rules below in case there's any confusion. Moldilocks is not showing up now, but you can write her in, and hopefully will show up as one of the top-five written-in votes. Please help me get this little adoptee the recognition she deserves. A vote for Moldilocks is a vote for bringing families together!

Thanks in advance for your continued support!  

2019 Rules & Eligibility

The 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards have three rounds of voting open to all registered Goodreads members. Winners will be announced December 10, 2019.

Opening Round: Nov 05 - 10

Voting opens to 15 official nominees, and write-in votes can be placed for any eligible book (see eligibility below).

Semifinal Round: Nov 12 - 17

The top five write-in votes in each of the categories become official nominees. Additional write-ins no longer accepted.

Final Round: Nov 19 - Dec 02

The field narrows to the top 10 books in each category, and members have one last chance to vote!

2019 Eligibility

Books published in the United States in English, including works in translation and other significant rereleases, between November 16, 2018, and November 15, 2019, are eligible for the 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards. Books published between November 16, 2019, and November 15, 2020, will be eligible for the 2020 awards.
We analyze statistics from the millions of books added, rated, and reviewed on Goodreads to nominate 15 books in each category. Opening round official nominees must have an average rating of 3.50 or higher at the time of launch. Write-in votes may be cast for eligible books with any average rating, and write-in votes will be weighted by the book's Goodreads statistics to determine the top five books to be added as official nominees in the Semifinal Round. A book may be nominated in no more than one genre category, but can also be nominated in the Debut Novel category. Only one book in a series may be nominated per category. An author may receive multiple nominations within a single category if he or she has more than one eligible series or more than one eligible stand-alone book.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


It was a busy day for me today for many reasons, most of all busy with doing important author stuff like promotion and marketing, but that doesn't mean I didn't take some time to celebrate this wonderful book's birthday with a nice bowl of Korean Ramyun. To be honest I just LOVE this book and am so happy with the way it turned out.

My lunch choice was inspired not only by my love for travel and for Korea, but because I was so sad to have finally finished watching all 20 episodes of the K-Drama REPLY 1988 last night. While it took a while to get off the ground with so many characters, it is definitely one of my top favorites!

Here's a Korean Ramyun recipe in case you want to join me!

I was too busy to make the authentic Danish Cinnamon rolls and share the recipe and pictures here as I had planned, but I will, soon! These were inspired by my visits to Denmark this summer.

And here's some tasty reading for when you're done!

The appetizers...

2019-11-05 Lets Eat Journey on Writing and Illustrating Blog

2019-11-05 Simply Seven - Jena Benton

And here's how to get the main course:

THANK YOU for Celebrating with me! Let's Eat! 

Friday, November 1, 2019

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY Barnyard Bubbe's Hanukkah by J.Klein-Higger and B. Sharf (by the Authors)

JKH: Hi Lynn Marie! Thanks so much for inviting us to share our “story behind the story” with you. I’m Joni Klein-Higger.

BS: I’m Barbara Sharf.

 JKH and BS: And we are the co-authors of Barnyard Bubbe’s Hanukkah.

JKH: The initial concept for our board book, Barnyard Bubbe’s Hanukkah, was inspired by Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Ho Ho Ho” writing challenge: Create a children’s holiday story using the basic format/concept of the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” A song! I thought it would have been a breeze for me to write since I was a songwriter with plenty of holiday songs under my belt.

Wrong. Though I had the nuts and bolts of a cute holiday story, it still needed spunk, so I called my funny (and fun!) friend, Barbara Sharf, to help bring my story to life.

BS: “You want me to help you write a book? You’re kidding, right?” Though Joni and I collaborated on musical spiels in the past, I never thought writing a book would be in my future, let alone writing a children’s picture book. But then I thought, hey, why not? Joni had the idea of a “bubbe,” (Yiddish for “grandmother,”) who makes potato latkes for Hanukkah. I love animals and thought it would be fun to have farm animals anonymously leave a present for Barnyard Bubbe each night of the holiday.

JKH: Barbara and I always worked well together, and once she got involved in writing Barnyard Bubbe’s Hanukkah with me, the creative sparks started to fly. We finished our book in no time flat. The greatest challenge was agreeing to the sounds different animals made.

BS: Baah or Maah?  What sound would a dog’s paw make knocking on a door? You get the idea.

JKH: Then we tweaked, tweaked and tweaked some more until we were ready to send it to Lerner Publishing Group/Kar-Ben Publishing.

BS: Since then, Joni and I have collaborated on several other stories, and I’m proud to say I recently joined SCBWI and am writing picture books of my own.

JKH: I’ve seen her manuscripts, and must say, she’s off to an awesome start!
Barnyard Bubbe’s Hanukkah hit the shelves September 1, 2019, and Barbara and I love sharing it with children around the country.

BS: And we have such a fun musical author presentation. We sing some of Joni’s original songs.

JKH: And “you know who…” that’s right, the funny lady sitting next to me…, uses her acting and singing talents to portray Barnyard Bubbe.

BS: That’s the story behind our story. Thanks for reading, everyone.
JKH: And thank you, Lynne Marie!

Barnyard Bubbe’s Hanukkah was released by Lerner Publishing Group/Kar-Ben Publishing September 1, 2019.

You can view the book trailer for Barnyard Bubbe’s Hanukkah at:

You can see a book sample here:

Joni Klein-Higger is an award-winning children’s book author, songwriter and musical theater playwright. Her middle grade novel, Coby Ryan Harris is Officially Fat, won a Children’s Literary Classics Gold Award, and her picture book, Rainbow of Friendship, is the recipient of the 2015 Creative Child Magazine Book of the Year Award. Joni’s songs have been recorded by various artists, have been featured in motion pictures, and her children’s songs and musicals can be frequently heard ringing throughout the halls of preschools, elementary schools and middle schools across the country. Visit Joni at her website: and Facebook: Joni Klein-Higger Books

Barbara Sharf is a children’s book author and actor who loves writing fun, quirky picture books. Her love for animals frequently shines through in her work. Just ask her dog, Sophie! Originally from Philadelphia, Barbara now lives in Tampa Bay, Florida and is a member of SCBWI and WIFT. This is her debut picture book. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

THREE REASONS TO READ: Birdsong by Julie Flett

TITLE: Birdsong
PUBLISHER: Greystone Kids, 2019

JACKETFLAP: When a young girl moves to her new home far away from the sea, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of nature and art. 

As the seasons change, can the girl navigate the failing health of her new friend?

Award-winning Cree-Metis author Julie Flett's textured images of birds, flowers, art and landscapes bring vibrancy and warmth to this powerful story, which highlights the joys of inter-generational friendship and shared passions. 


1.    It's lovely and lyrical book about a rare and beautiful friendship. 
2.    There are few books which highlight Native American characters and its nice to see that this one does. 
3.    This book is a soothing portrayal of loss and how to look at it in an honest and reverent perspective that leaves room for healing. 

BONUS TAKEAWAY: It is written in a way that really appeals to adults as well, so it is a wonderful book to be shared between adult and child. 

Buy the book here:


Thursday, October 24, 2019

THREE REASONS TO READ: All Colors by Amalia Hoffman (Board Book)

Image result for all colors by amalia hoffman

TITLE: All Colors
PUBLISHER: Schiffer Kids, 2019

JACKETFLAP: This board book introduces children to COLORS and textures while conveying a message about friendship, tolerance and inclusion. Each page introduces a new color, creating the image of a boy. Different strokes make up each body part, and at the end the boy joins his friends, all made of different combinations, leading him to the discovery that friends come in all colors.

Image result for all colors by amalia hoffman


1.    It's a unique portrayal of colors.
2.    It fosters creativity and inspires related activities.
3.    It inspires us to embrace differences.

See the author perform!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

CHECK OUT: My Interview in the Palm Beach Post

Check out My Latest Interview, in South Florida's Palm Beach Post!

THREE REASONS TO READ: Little Red Rhyming Hood by Sue Fliess Illustrated by Petros Bouloubasis

TITLE: Little Red Rhyming Hood
AUTHOR: Sue Fliess
ILLUSTRATOR: Petros Bouloubasis
PUBLISHER: Albert Whitman & Company, 2019


Red only speaks in rhyme. 
And now she's bullied all the time. 

Little Red's poetry skills make her a target for Big Brad Wolf -- and friendless. But one afternoon, she hears about a rhyming contest that could change everything.

Maybe I'll meet kids like me, 
who also speak in poetry!

Then Brad sneaks up and scares the rhyme right out of her and into him!

Help me! Make it go away!
I don't want to rhyme all day!

Can they learn to work together to right the rhyme?


1.    Such a clever, modern fracture of the Little Red Riding Hood tale.
2.    Such a clever twist for a bullying tale.
3.    Such a satisfying resolution.

BONUS REASON: We should always try to walk in someone else's shoes before putting them down. Also, working together is better than working against one another.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY: Just Read with Lori Degman


by Lori Degman

When I do school visits, I am usually asked “How long does it take to write your stories?”  And my answer is always, “It depends on the story.”  I spent several years revising my first book,1 Zany Zoo, and it was many more years before it was published.  In contrast, I spent five months revising Just Read and it sold about nine months later.  Sometimes a story just pours onto the page without the struggle others impose. I think one reason Just Read was easier to write and edit is because it doesn’t have a true story arc – and plotting is usually what slows me down.

Here’s how the story came about: 
Growing up, reading was hard for me – I was always in the lowest reading group.  Actually, I’m still a really slow reader.  It wasn’t until I discovered the type of books I really love to read (murder mysteries with short chapters and anything by Stephen King) and figured out the best place and ways for me to read (i.e.: not laying down or I’ll fall asleep), that I started to enjoy reading. Because of this, I wanted to write a story that would encourage kids to read – and to do it any way they want or can. JUST READ!  I wrote my first draft as more of a traditional story about a girl who has just learned how to read and loves it so much, she reads anything and everything she sees – cereal boxes, washing instruction tags on clothes, street signs.  It gets out of control because she just can’t stop reading**.  While writing that story, I thought it might be better to have a group of diverse kids who love to read and have a book club in a tree fort. Then I got the idea to break it down into when, where, what, how and with whom you can read.  At that point, it was just a matter of creating reading scenarios with those things in mind. 
**I’ve started working on that story again – so I call DIBS!
I shared the manuscript with my critique groups and other writer-friends and got some helpful feedback and a lot of encouragement to send it out – so I did and Meredith Mundy (then at Sterling) bought it.  Sterling found the perfect illustrator – Victoria Tentler-Krylov!  She had just been a runner up in the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Winter Conference Portfolio Showcase.  She topped herself this year – she was the grand prize winner of the showcase this past February!  So, needless to say, the illustrations for Just Read are amazing!

I want to give a shout out to SCBWI (Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators) because they’ve been instrumental in most of my publishing successes!  Here’s how they were involved with Just Read.  I had attended the SCBWI-New Jersey annual conference in 2015 and did a “First Pages” session with Sterling editor, Meredith Mundy, and another editor.  I was happy when they laughed in all the right places, but they both seemed uninterested in seeing more of the manuscript – or more from me.  I’m a professional rejectee, so I took it in my stride.  Well, five months later, I received an email from Meredith asking if the story was still available and to send it if it was.  Of course it was available (and it still is in case any editors are interested J)!  I sent her the story, and she took a pass, but invited me to send more manuscripts.  I did and one of them was Just Read.  

She also accepted my upcoming book, Like a Girl, which came out in August.  Thanks, SCBWI!

BIO: Lori Degman is a teacher for the deaf and hard-of-hearing students. She is the winner of Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories New Author contest. Lori has two grown sons and lives with her husband in Vernon Hills, Illinois. Learn more about her at: