April 28, 2009

Picture Books on Apple iPhone

My publisher, Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. (GAP) has branched out into the ever evolving world of publishing and now has its first GAP picture book available for Apple's iPhone technology. One of the many things I love about this publisher (besides the fact that they'll publish my books) is that they're willing to take chances and to distribute books in whatever format that people may want. I'm very happy to be associated with a publisher who's willing to make that extra effort to get our books out to a viewing audience. Please see the press release below.


April 2009

Contact: Lynda S. Burch

(314) 276- 8482

Guardian Angel Publishing Licenses and Releases its first Picture Book to iKids PlayT which provides an alternative to gaming by introducing educational opportunities for children with books on the go.

St. Louis, MO, USA: Publisher, Lynda S. Burch has licensed and launched Guardian Angel Publishing's first picture book, Maybe We Are Flamingos to iKids PlayT for its iPhone application, which allows kids to color, paint, rub and read along on touch screen technology.

"We are excited with our newest venture," said GAP President and Publisher Lynda Burch. "Licensing our picture books with iKids PlayT will allow for worldwide English distribution by Apple iTunes Applications of our books on the newest technology to hit the market."

The users can order print book copies directly from their phones. Children can interact with the stories and artwork and entertain themselves while waiting with parents in countless situations. These applications provide an alternative to gaming by introducing educational opportunities for children with books on the go for busy lifestyles.

"Keeping up with rapidly changing book marketplace has been a rewarding experience and we look forward to successful launches of many more GAP books in other new applications for iPhones and iPods with iKids ReadT and iKids StoryT, too." Burch continued.

Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. was launched in late 2004 featuring a unique series of musical eBook download books-Angelic Harmony. Their books expanded from picture books to storybooks, fiction and nonfiction, and chapter books for older beginning readers.

Guardian Angel publishes exceptional and educational books for children 0-12 years of age. They expanded with Academic Wings- with a wealth of teaching aids for teachers. Angel to Angel where kids write and illustrate for kids, Littlest Angels, Guardian Angel Animals and Pets, Guardian Angel Chapbooks for Tweens and Wings of Faith-faith- based stories, which are available as eBook downloads, CDs, print paperback, and video books for TV or mobiles.

More information on Guardian Angel Publishing can be found at http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/

April 22, 2009

To Do List

I have about eight different projects which are in various stages of completion (translation: they still need a lot of work).

Now I’m not counting the random thoughts, the first paragraph or stanza of an idea that I’ve had and then abandoned. I have too many of those to mention. But I keep them around in case the idea bears fruit one day. I’m talking about work that actually has taken on form and substance and could actually see the light of day… not today, but one day. Here they are…

• The shortest of them is a poem that I originally was trying to turn into a rhyming picture book. But I decided that there’s not enough of an idea there to support an entire story, so it’s staying a poem. I just can’t come up with the last stanza though. I’m trying to wrap it up and I’m just not happy with anything I come up with. So occasionally, I open the file, blow the dust off it, and try to come up with an ending. I’ve been doing this for about a year.

• Two middle readers. These are more ambitious projects for me. Until now, I’ve been mainly focusing on picture books. So I’m stepping out of my comfort zone here, but I think that as a writer, I owe that to myself. If I don’t challenge myself, there’s no way I can improve. I have the stories framed out and I think I know where I want to go with these. I just have to fill it out. I think I might be working on these next. I think that these books will serve as good creative outlets for me.

• A coming of age piece that I’ve been discussing with an old friend of mine, he want to write a book about our exploits growing up. This book will be turned into a movie, but the book needs to be written first. This will be a challenge since I’ve never tried writing a collaborative piece before. I’m curious to see how our different styles will mesh and how this will eventually come together.

• The first rhymer I’ve ever written. It was a cute idea with one major flaw. It lacked any kind of plot whatsoever. I’ve spent quite some time trying to surgically insert one into it.

• Another rhymer that is full of stanzas and random lines serving as markers showing where I want the story to go. Now if I could only connect the dots.

• A prose story that needs major revision and restructuring. It’s something that could work, but it would be the literary equivalent of raising a house off of its foundation. I need to brace myself before I take on this project.

• The last one is a prose story that could probably be publisher ready with a minimal amount of effort. The problem here … I just can’t bring myself to work on it. I’m not excited about it any more. So I’m letting this one stew for awhile. If I’m not into it, I’m sure that it will show. I’m not about to become lazy with my writing just so I can complete a story.

So I thought that in coming up with this literary “To Do List” I would be inspired to start working on one of these projects. Fat chance, I think my Muse is on vacation. All I’ve accomplished is opening some files that I haven’t looked at in a while. (Well that, and I got a decent blog entry out of this  ) I’m not giving any excuses here. Writing has always been a cyclical process for me and if I’m not actually writing, there’s always some writing related business to attend to. That should keep me busy until my Muse gets back from the Bahamas.

April 16, 2009

Slush Pile Warrior - Susie Sawyer

Slush Pile Warriors is a new feature which showcases both unpublished writers, established authors, and everyone in between. It focuses on the struggles of pursuing publication, and the things that different writers have learned in trying to make their way out of the slush pile. I am happy to begin this feature by introducing a very talented writer and poet, Slush Pile Warrior, Susie Sawyer.

Please tell us a little a little about yourself.

I grew up in northern Wisconsin surrounded by a family that loved words and music. I have no doubt my desire to write was influenced by daily exposure to song and written word. I attended college in southwestern Wisconsin, where I met my husband, started a career as a legal secretary and started our family. In 2003, we moved back to northern Wisconsin and have since expanded our family to five.

That's when I decided to seriously pursue my interest in writing for children. I spent much of the first year or so learning the business and reading stacks of "how to" books. I found web sites like SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators), Write4Kids and JacketFlap extremely helpful. I also found a slew of information and support at the sites of Harold Underdown and Verla Kay. But it was my involvement in two amazing critique groups that benefited my writing the most: The Poets' Garage and The Prose Shop. Of course Kevin, you are well aware of these groups.  The in-depth critiques and advice I get from these groups continues to be an invaluable part of my writing process.

How many submissions do you have out there now?

According to my submission tracker, I have four manuscripts (a couple are submitted at more than one house), and at least six contest entries being considered.

How do you research where to send your manuscripts?

Every year I buy the CWIM (Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market) and rely mostly on that to begin my research. Beyond that, I use JacketFlap, Harold Underdown's site, Write4Kids and SCBWI, not to mention the information shared with me by fellow writers. Of course, my final research takes place at the web site of the targeted publisher. With the industry changing so fast and frequently, you have to make the publisher's site your final stop before submitting.

What was your biggest submission goof? What did you learn from it?

As I look back at my early subs, I can see that my manuscripts were not nearly polished enough, or well targeted. I made the mistake of sending out my work too early, and to every possible publishing house. The onslaught of rejections was a clear indication that I was doing something wrong. Eventually I learned the art of carefully making a list of potential publishers and organizing it into those that were the best fit, the next-best fit, and the last resort.

Why do you want to be a writer?

What a great question. I really had to think about my answer. I guess I have always been the creative type, so it's certainly an outlet for me that way. But mostly, I think it's the thrill of having a chance to get inside the heads of all those wonderful, amazing kids out there - and being able to plant an idea that makes them smile or say "Wow!" … or just feel something they would not have otherwise. It's a huge responsibility, writing for children, and I don't take it lightly. I want children and the people who read to them to put down my book and feel that it was time well spent.

What is your favorite style of writing? Why?

Poetry, because of the "music" of it. I love the feel of it, the sound of it, the movement of it. When it's done well, it can be incredibly powerful and a great teaching tool. And if it's funny, even better!

I also love the freedom of writing fiction, especially for young children (0-12). I've never liked doing research so I indulge myself in fiction, where I can make anything happen.

What is the most frustrating thing about being a writer?

Striking a balance between what I want to write and what an editor wants to buy. If I write what I think will sell, it's often not what I love to write. But when I try to sell what I love to write, I sometimes struggle to find a home for it. I think we writers needs to be true to our hearts, and continue to write what we love to write. It will show in the quality of our work and eventually will be noticed.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

Sharing my work with children firsthand. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing a smile of the face of a kid who just read or heard something I wrote. School visits are the best!

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?

Not to give up. Also, to make connections with other writers. I have the most wonderful people in this business. Many have become friends that I know I'll keep for the rest of my life. Nobody understands the struggles of being a writer better than another writer.

Have you been published? If so where?

Why yes, I have!!  My poem, The Mermaid was a winner in the Delaware Art Museum's "Art of Storytelling Contest." That same poem is being developed into a picture book, to be illustrated by the amazing artist, Angel Dominguez. My poem, Ask Yourself a Question, won the grand prize in the 13th edition of "Say Good Night to Illiteracy", published by Half Price Books in 2006. I've also been published in the SCBWI "Bulletin" with The Assignment, and online at Tippytales.com with two "Adventure Tales" (A Camping Trip to Remember and Just a Matter of Time). I've also had several poems published in "KidzWonder."

How can people find out more about you? (website, etc.)

Please visit my website: www.susiesawyer.com. You can find out more about me, the works mentioned above, and my other projects there. I LOVE hearing from visitors - please take a moment to sign my Guestbook!

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

Just that I strongly encourage anyone considering writing for children to pursue it. Follow the advice of seasoned writers, join the writing groups, read the "how to" books, go to the seminars and workshops if you can. But most importantly, read as many books as you can that are similar those you want to write, and write every day.

Thank you for stopping by Susie. It was a pleasure hosting you on my blog.

Thank you so much, Kevin, for giving me a chance to introduce myself. I've really enjoyed answering these questions. I feel like I've gotten back in touch with why I do this, and just how far I've come since I began writing for children.

April 8, 2009

Things Humming Along Nicely

I’ve been digging out from the virtual book tour and other assorted matters, but here’s what’s been going on with me lately.

I received the artists’ agreement for two of my picture books, Lightning Strikes and The Soggy Town of Hilltop. Eugene Ruble will illustrate these books. Lightning Strikes is a counting book and Eugene has experience with illustrating his own counting book. Also, The Soggy Town of Hilltop has a certain wackiness factor and Eugene does wacky well. So I’m excited to see what he comes up with.

Also, I’ve seen the draft sketches for If I Could Be Anything. Marina Movshina is illustrating this and I really like the illustrations she came up with. I look forward to seeing the finished artwork. I think it will compliment the text nicely.

I haven’t heard anything about The Sister Exchange lately. That book was originally slated to be my first release. I’ll have to check to see if that’s still the case.

I’ve got some more good news to report. A poem of mine called “Welcome to My Neighborhood” is going to be included in a poetry anthology being published by Marshall Cavendish. The anthology is due out in the fall of 2010. The project is still in the editing phase and is currently being expanded. I submitted another poem to be considered for the anthology. I’ll have to see if it makes the grade. I’ll talk about this a little more when I have some details.

So things are humming along nicely, no finished products or release dates yet. But I’m getting there. I definitely feel like I have some accomplishments that I can be proud of.

April 1, 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Lea Schizas' Book - Bubba and Giganto

Lea, please tell us more about your book, Bubba & Giganto:Odds Against Us.

Bubba hates it when his dad gets a contract for a new project. That means uprooting the family from one city and moving to another. Attending a new school is a major pet peeve of his. His smart alecky nature attracts the bullies in every school he’s attended.

On the first day of school, Bubba bumps into this rather large student. Fearing a confrontation, he wears his tough guy attitude and waits for the punches to begin. Remarkably, the new student apologizes, and Bubba and David (aka Giganto as Bubba eventually nicknames him) become best friends.

Bubba and Giganto try out for the high school soccer team, and that’s when trouble begins. Bubba knew eventually he’d meet the bullies of the school, and he was right.

In the first initial weeks, Bubba learns about a death that occurred the previous year; faces the bullies on several occasions; helps Giganto practice soccer before tryouts; and challenges the bullies to a scrimmage.

Little does Bubba know Giganto holds a secret - one that will place Giganto in a deadly situation.

You can find Lea's book, Bubba & Giganto:Odds Against Us at:

4RV Publishing
Barnes & Noble
The Reading Warehouse