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, Editor - Dancing Flamingo Press
February - Helen H. Wu

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

Lynne Marie, Editor - Dancing Flamingo Press

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

Lynne Marie, Editor - Dancing Flamingo Press

April - Evelyn Bookless

and forthcoming Sequel! 

Lynne Marie, Editorial Director of Spork Books / Dancing Flamingo Press

May - Diana Murray

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

Lynne Marie, Editor - Dancing Flamingo Press

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

Lynne Marie, Editor - Dancing Flamingo Press

Lynne Marie, Editor - Dancing Flamingo Press
August - Heather Macht

Junior Editor, Olswanger Literary
Author, Rex the...we-don-t-know! and More! 
(Accepting Picture Books) 

Lynne Marie, Editor - 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! 

JUST ADDED: Jackie Kruzie, Editor - Blue Whale Press has been kind enough to step in for Alayne K. Christensen 

October - Lynne Marie

RYS Owner/Administrator
and many MORE
Editor - Dancing Flamingo Press 
(Accepting Picture Books and Non-Fiction

Poet, Author of Ten Turkeys in the Road
and MORE

Also, Lynne Marie 

RYS Owner/Administrator
and MORE
Editor - Dancing Flamingo Press 
 (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!
Editor - Dancing Flamingo Press 
 (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:

Find Our Speedpass Guidelines HERE:

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.

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:

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!


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.


Send as a Word Document Attachment to:

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:




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: [#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 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.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE: Coffee Mugs for Writers (Advice from A Coffee Drinker/Mug Collector)

Those who know me well likely know that I absolutely love coffee (dark roast, especially) and collect coffee cups. Many of them are from Starbucks New York and Florida, as well as around the US and the world over. I love the way they remind me of treasured travel memories as I sip my morning coffee and remind me that the world is a wide and wonderful place. Others celebrate the magic of Disney and "one man's dream." Still others inspire me to write, like my Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators from many, many years ago.  I even have a Central Perks mug (a present from a dear long-time friend many years ago) to celebrate our friendship and our love for the long-running tv series, Friends. 

I enjoy changing out my coffee cup to fit my mood, and deciding whether it's a regular mug or jumbo mug coffee day. 

In this holiday season, where so many of us are limited to the world within our homes and spend so very much time trying to be inspired, I thought I would recommend some fun and inspiring coffee mugs to start your day with. I may even make this a yearly tradition. 











*This is the one I think I will gift myself this year! 
Love the colors and the inspiration to read. 






And while you are ordering, don't forgot this essential Writer's Tool...



These are just a few of my favorites! They are great gifts for the writer in your life, your critique group, or even, for yourself! 

My wish for you this holiday season is that you fill your cup with whatever inspires you and write, read, revise and revision your way to success! 

And if you are looking for a holiday book, please feel free to check out my Christmas Book, The Star in the Christmas Play, HERE

Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten - art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School – art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling 2019 and Scholastic 2019)  and  Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World -- art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019) and another forthcoming. She’s also the Owner and Administrator of When she’s not cruising around the world, she lives on a lake in South Florida with her family, a Schipperke named Anakin and several resident water birds. Visit her at