May 18, 2011

SlushPile Warrior - Erin Liles

Today, I am bringing back an old feature on my blog called SlushPile Warriors. SlushPile Warriors focuses on the trials and tribulations of pursuing publication, and what is learned along the way.

I am delighted to be hosting SlushPile Warrior, Erin Liles, who will be telling us about her own travels on the road to publication.

Erin, please tell us a little a little about yourself:

I grew up in California but moved to Texas when I was in my twenties. After college I went to work for a literacy program where I got to share my love for reading with kids and their parents for almost 10 years. But when my husband decided to go back to work after staying home with our two children for 4 years, I got to do what I always wanted to do, stay home with my kiddos and write!

How many submissions do you have out there now?

About 10

How do you research where to send your manuscripts?

I read Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, but I also do a lot of internet research. I try to stay very connected to other children’s writers through message boards and writer’s groups. Whenever I hear of a publisher, I go to their website and look at their catalogs. If any seem to be similar topics or styles to one of my manuscripts, I will look up the book on and use the preview option to get a better feel for the book.

But nothing beats reading books! No picture book passes through my hands without my checking who published it. My kids are so used to this, that if I have forgotten to look, they will say, “Who published this book mommy?”

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

My biggest goof was that I started submitting before I was truly ready. I tend to be pretty impatient this way. But I have since learned to let a manuscript “sit” for at least a month (usually longer), and have it go through at least three critiques before I’m allowed to even think it’s ready.

Why do you want to be a writer?

I have always loved to write. I remember being around six years old and painstakingly pecking out a story on my parent’s old typewriter. To this day, my parents love to share the stories I wrote as a kid. I was one of those super shy, but imaginative kids, who always had her head buried in a book, so writing stories just seemed like a natural extension to reading.

What is your favorite style of writing? Why?

Although I blog and occasionally write articles, I love writing picture books. I love the challenge of telling a clear and concise story in 700 words or less. I guess it is the style that just feels the most “right” for me.

What is the most frustrating thing about being a writer?

Rejections! Aside from those, the most frustrating thing is trying to get a story so clear that it cannot be misunderstood in any way. I am often surprised when a story of mine goes through a critique and someone totally misunderstood, or saw something in it differently from what I intended.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

Acceptances! Aside from those, finishing a story and having the feeling that what you wrote is good.

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

That while writing is a solitary activity, you really can’t do it alone. You need as much feedback as possible on your work. You also need emotional and technical support from other writers.

Have you been published? If so where?

Yes. I’ve had two stories published at Stories for Children Magazine and a third to be published in June. I have also had a story published at Bumples. And I’ve had a number of parenting articles published in Austin Family Magazine and Mothering online.

How can people find out more about you?

I blog (about whatever I happen to be thinking about at the time) at:

Is there anything else that you would like to share?

I have come to learn that nothing in writing comes quickly or easily. We have to work at it, love it as an art form, and be prepared to wait endlessly for publication. Don’t give up!

Thanks for stopping by Erin and for giving us a chance to get to know you.  Congratulations on your publishing successes!  I'm sure many more will follow.

If any other SlushPile Warriors are interested in being featured, please email me HERE and I’ll send you some interview questions.

May 12, 2011

Featuring Author/Educator - Kathy Stemke

Today I'm delighted to welcome author/educator, Kathy Stemke, to my blog.

Kathy: I’m soooo excited to be here, Kevin.

I'm so glad to hear it.  Any particular reasons for the excitement?

Kathy: Within the next couple of weeks my first printed picture book, “Trouble on Earth Day,” will be available for purchase. I’ve been waiting for over two years for this incredible event to happen.

What’s it about?
Kathy: It’s about friendship, helping others and helping the Earth.

Why will kids like it?

Kathy: They will fall in love with the adorable characters, enjoy learning about recycling, and get lost in the exciting story of two new friends.

What makes your book different than other picture books on the market today?

Kathy: As I said before it is a wonderful story and it has 22 pages of songs, discussion questions, worksheets, games, activities, and recycling projects to do at school or at home.

Can you give us an example of one of the songs?

Kathy: Sure, Kevin. Here’s one verse of Shelby’s Recycling Song.

Tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb

Shelby squirrel saved and saved,
Saved and saved, saved and saved,
Shelby squirrel saved and saved,
She used her things again.

Can you give us an idea of the worksheets and activities you offer in the book?

Kathy: There are word searches and matching activities as well as recycling games and silly compound words. Here’s a darling coloring sheet that kids can get from my blog. While you’re there, you can also sign up for my free monthly newsletter, Movement and Rhythm.

Congratulations on your new book and thanks for stopping by today.

Kathy: You’re welcome. It was fun. Happy spring!

Kathy Stemke’s websites:

Moving Through all Seven Days link:

Follow me on twitter:

Follow me on Facebook:!/kathymarescomatthews.stemke?ref=profile

Follow me on LinkedIn:

May 6, 2011

A Great Review at Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

More reviews are coming in for What Is That Thing? I received a great review from Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection where they say:

In this delightful new story from talented poet and writer, Kevin McNamee, we see him doing what he does best–create a story that youngsters will love.

How sweet I that? They also go on to say:

The artwork by K.C. Snider is absolutely wonderful. From mom the space alien with kitchen utensils sticking out of her head to Jungle Jenna swinging on the vines, her illustrations will capture the hearts of young readers who really want to now how Jenna feels.

To read the full review, please click on the following link.

 To me, one of the finest moments in the life of a writer other than getting an acceptance, is getting a great review. After all the hours spent bringing what was once a vague idea to an actual physical book, someone else looks at it and says, “This is good stuff.” It never fails to bring a smile to my face.

May 4, 2011

Guardian Angel Kids Ezine - May 2011

The latest edition of Guardian Angel Kids Ezine is now available. This month’s theme is All About Horses. I’m the Technology Director for this Ezine and I am very happy to be involved with this online magazine. If you get a chance, please stop by

I’m sure that your kids or grandkids will love it. The Media Release is below.


CONTACT: Donna McDine, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian Angel Kids Ezine



For Immediate Release

Children's Ezine Guardian Angel Kids: All about Horses May 2011 Issue

Horses are beautiful animals and often times are utilized in therapy
programs to help stimuli children with special needs and learning how horses
communicate to a delightful poem of an Arabian Filly the Guardian Angel Kid
May 2011 is sure to be both entertaining and educational.

Without further ado we invite you to come explore the May 2011 issue of
Guardian Angel Kids Ezine -angel-kids. com. And to add to your child's learning
enjoyment be sure to partake in the interactive activities, games, and

Letter from the editor: Donna M. McDine

Featured FLIP Books:

A Horse of Course by Shari Lyle-Soffe and illustrated by Eugene Ruble -
Aaron thinks he received the perfect birthday gift. Is a house the best
place for a horse? Aaron thinks so, but Horace may feel differently.

Clip Clop Tippity Tap: French Vocabulary on the Farm by Kim Chatel and
illustrated by Kathleen Bullock - Learn French vocabulary on the farm with
Mini-moi the pony as he finds a job just his size.

Children poetry and articleS:

"Drinker of the Wind," by Sheila DeCosse - mesmerizes in a delightful poem
about an Arabian Filly and brought to life with Jack Foster's magical

"Sue Sharp: Dream Rider," by Amy Cobb - shares the importance of a
therapeutic horse riding program.

"Horses that Help," by Randi Lynn Mrvos - defines hippotherapy and explains
how this unique equine treatment works.

"How Horses Talk," by Donna Marie West - answers how horses communicate
mostly with body language, using their ears, eyes, lips and teeth, legs and
tail s well as their voices to tell other horses and us what they want and
how they are feeling.

"Using Reflective Learning Logs for Reading Success," by Dorit Sasson -
effective strategies for teachers to add to their professional growth by
observing and reflecting on what goes on in their classrooms.

We look forward to your visit. Thank you for your time and interest.


Full Media Kit and more are available upon request electronically.

If you click the link below, you can see some of my handiwork. :-)

Challenge your child with word jumbles, word puzzles, and mazes at GAK Ezine
interactive games htm