Wednesday, March 3, 2021

March's RYS Guest Gurus - Callie and Lynne Marie


at Spork Books, a Division of Clear Fork Media (

1. What do you LOVE about children’s books?

I love how Children’s books open the door to a whole new world, and it gives us an insight into something we might not get to experience in real life.

2. What brought you to children’s books? 

I had published a couple of YA books when I started working on my first PB. I loved it so much that I realized I wanted to make it the main focus of my company moving forward.


3. What do you look for in a project to acquire for Spork?

I want something that is unique that I am not likely to see a similar project in another publishing house’s catalog. I want to open up the world even more for children.


4. What drew you to your favorite Spork books? 

All of my favorite projects have been fun because of the subject matter, the creativity of the illustrator, and the relationship with the author. I always love when you know the story has great structure and is a well put together book. 


5. What is a common issue with the submissions you receive?

Usually they have a lot of unnecessary words or the story structure isn’t strong all the way through.


6. Please share a submission tip with our Members. 

Do a little research before submitting. Don’t address your query letter to “To whom this may concern” or to the wrong person.


7. Please share a revision Tip for our Members. 

If an editor ask for a revision, don’t revise it right then and send it back the same day. Take some time to think about the revisions and then send back in a timely manner.


8. Name a subject you would like to see in your in-box. 

I would like to see stories with an agricultural or slice of life spin.


9. Name something to avoid sending to your in-box. 

I am currently not looking for any cute animals does cute thing books.


10. Share a fun fact about YOU! 

Here are 10 random facts about me:

1) I was featured on the tv show Texas Country Reporter in 1999 for my work with the Bobwhite Brigade.

2) I teach art classes to six 7-12 year old one afternoon a week.

3) I'm terribly addicted to Dr. Pepper.

4) I adore Classic Movies. My favorite one is Breakfast at Tiffany's

5) My minor was German in College. I was inspired to learn it because my Grandmother was a first generation American and spoke German when I was little.

6) I was published for the first time when I was in 4th grade. It was a Poem called "I am Me"

7) I was Youth Conservationist of the Year for Texas in 1998

8) I'm the 4th generation in my family to own a community Newspaper

9) I grew up on a cotton farm that has been in my family for over 100 years.

10) I was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and then again in 2019 and just recently celebrated 6 months cancer free!

CONGRATULATIONS, DEAR CALLIE -- You are an Inspiration to us ALL!  

Check Out Callie's Books Here: [#Ad] 


And now, here's:


1. What do you LOVE about children’s books?

I love the story, art, imagination, and varied experiences they portray. And, that they can take you away -- from a bad day, a rainy day, a boring summer or anything that limits your world and experience at a particular time.


2. What brought you to children’s books? 

I had wanted to be an Author since I received my first Scholastic Book Club flyer, but I took

a long path and  experienced many other things before coming here. I do think that those

experiences helped shape my worldview and filled my writing well. Formerly, I was a paralegal,

a paid book reviewer of fiction books, and dabbled in romantic comedy writing and screen

writing before fully committing to children’s books. 

 Check Out Lynne Marie's Books Here: [#Ad] 

3. What do you look for in a project to acquire for Dancing Flamingo?

I am looking for anything that’s a celebration of life and basically touches upon at least

one of these concepts in the Dancing Flamingo tagline: A Celebration of Art and Culture,

Kindness and Curiosity. That’s a wide net, but it gives an idea :) 



It was a Goldilocks retelling which spoke to my love of folklore fables and fairytales, and

since I have read them all for my pre-publication research for Moldilocks, I knew it was

fresh and different. Besides being a celebration of folktales, it also demonstrated curiosity

and kindness. And of course, it inspired really wonderful art! 


5. What is a common issue with the submissions you receive?

To be honest, there are many, and all very common, including: Not a child-accessible main

character, not a kid-friendly concept, problem or theme, no story structure, no cohesiveness,

and a resolution that’s not satisfying. Also that the main character does not have agency

over the story and/or solve the story problem and that the plot does not move forward. It’s

clear that many who write picture books are not actively reading and study picture books

to see what has been done, what hasn’t been done, what works and how it works. It’s the

reason behind starting the Tinker and Talk Book Chat on Sundays 6:00 PM EST. So that we

all have access to picture books and are able to discuss and learn from them. 


6. Please share a submission tip with our Members. 

Publishing is an industry and being a writer is a profession. Both should be respected.

Read the submission guidelines (and follow them of course), and submit only your very best,

polished work. If you don’t it will be a no and you will have likely missed an opportunity for

the manuscript to sell, had it been fully-formed. 


7. Please share a revision Tip for our Members. 

Each time you review your manuscript look at one thing that I had on my list of submission

problems above. Then repeat with another aspect. It’s important to have checks and balances

and make certain you focus on one thing at a time and revise thoroughly and effectively,

even if it means re-visioning your original idea. If you do, when you are done, your manuscript

will sing. 

8. Name a subject you would like to see in your in-box. 

Oh, there’s so much I love and want to see! However, I would love something that combines

animals and culture. 

 9. Name something to avoid sending to your in-box. 

Anything that is poorly written or is unimaginative and dry. 


10. Share fun facts about YOU! 

I was a Pog Mom to a total of five Hedgehogs and Spike from Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten

and Hedgehog's 100th Day of School is inspired by my very first one -- Apollo Nike (NIGHKEY - nicknamed Spiky Nike).

But to mirror Callie, here are some fun facts about ME: 
1. I was born in Brooklyn and am a true New Yorker, but I was always drawn to Boston and
later found out my birth family was from there.

2.     The first place I flew alone as a child of 12, was Humble, Texas - where our bus got

cornered by a long horn steer!

3.     I was adopted and grew up thinking my parents were dead, but found and met my

Birth Mother and Father both at 26 years old.

4.     I have two half brothers who I never go to meet because they died of Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy. Oddly, before I even knew of them, I was active in Special Olympics and a big fan of Jerry Lewis' Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy.

5.    When I was 18 -21 my ex-boyfriend was a Music Producer and I got to meet and hang out with many new wave bands, like Duran Duran, Power Station, the Go Gos and so many more!

6.     Me and one of my besties tried one of those Fish Pedicures in Mexico and lived to tell about it.

7.    I have been to Disney World many, many times, as well as Disneyland and Euro Disney. The other parks are on my list :)

8.     I have a morbid fascination with graves and have been to many, many famous graves / monuments all over the world to pay tribute, including Princess Diana, Claude Monet, Molly Brown, and many other Titanic associated people (including the Mass Graves at Halifax), William Wallace, Alexander Graham Bell, St. Patrick and many US Presidents - to name just a small few.

9.     I love history and folklore of all countries and studied both the Salem Witchcraft Trials, The Holocaust in Children's Literature in School and Folklore and Fairy Tales (as well as Myths) in College.

10.     I've watched over 92 K-Dramas so far (Korean Dramas) and am planning a trip to Korean in 2022.

Bonus: My dog Anakin is the second Belgian Schipperke I owned. Dante was the first, who we got when my son was only 6.


Also is there anything in particular you want or don't want to give rating and

feedback on?

I can pretty much rise to the challenge of any manner of stories as I’ve written Fiction

and Non-fiction and also write in rhyme, but at this time, I prefer not to rate synopses

or novels. 

Feel Free to Check Out First Pages with Callie and Lynne Marie


We look forward to helping you move forward on your journey! 



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