RIP, Cecil the Lion 2

I, like hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people am sickened, saddened, and outraged over the tragic death Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe

Much has been said and written in plenty of forums about Cecil’s death at the hand of a trophy hunter. I myself have said much and felt far more. I don’t want to use this post, however, to continue that discussion. Instead, I want to DO something.

For several days, I’ve just felt helpless. Too often, these tragedies occur and then fall out of consciousness so quickly we’re left to wonder if anything will ever change. I’ve handled my own desire to take action in the past by donating money to causes as they’ve arisen. I wanted to do more this time.

TROOP CoverAs an author, one of the reasons I write is to make a difference in the world with my books. My first published book, A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS, makes an appeal at the end to protect wild animals and their habitats. It also, I suddenly remembered, features a “pride of lions.”

This book is now technically out of print, but I still have a healthy amount of stock right here in my house. So here is what I am going to do.

The retail price of TROOP is $16.95, but in support of World Lion Day on August 10, I am offering copies for $15 for the next 10 days. For every book sold, I will donate $5 to WildCru, the organization that had placed a collar on Cecil and had been studying him since 2008 as part of their mission to promote lion conservation. I will take a video recording of my donation so that you all will see how much I’m able to contribute. Here is the link if you’d like to take advantage of the opportunity to buy a book AND support a great cause.




A few points before I provide more info on WildCru and on TROOP.

  • ALL purchasers will be ALSO entered into a drawing to win a print of the gorgeous lion spread from TROOP by
    A "Pride of Lions" print from illustrator Pamela Baron

    A “Pride of Lions” print from illustrator Pamela Baron

    illustrator Pamela Baron. The winner will be announced on August 11.

  • I regret that this offer is only for folks living in the U.S., due to shipping costs.
  • Speaking of shipping, there is a flat rate of $5, regardless of how many books you purchase.
  • If you want your book signed or personalized, there is a space under “instructions to seller” where you can leave this information.
  • If you can’t or don’t want to buy the book, shares of any kind to those who might be are equally appreciated! Some samples are provided below.
  • Likewise, if you are not interested in the book, I encourage you to learn more about WildCru and it’s mission, and consider making a direct donation.
  • I welcome and appreciate comments on my blog posts. However, I do ask you to refrain from comments pertaining to all of the other suffering that is going on in the world among both humans and animals and asking why Cecil’s death is more important than those. It isn’t. There is enough misery and tragedy to go around, and believe me, I contribute both time and money to many other worthy causes. In this case, I was moved to respond in this way. Thank you!

More about WildCru and their work with lions

At the WildCRU, in the Recanati-Kaplan Centre at Oxford, we are studying lions in various parts of Africa to uncover the science that will inform and underpin their conservation. This is urgent, because lion numbers are precariously low, estimated at fewer than 30,000 across the continent and we have evidence that there are actually fewer. We have worked on the lions of Hwange National Park, with the support and collaboration of the excellent Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. Our goal is to understand the threats that lions face, and to use cutting-edge science to develop solutions to those threats. Our work is scientific, we have satellite-tracked the movements of over a hundred lions and monitored every detail of the lives of more than 500 individuals, but WildCRU’s work is also highly practical – we run a courageous anti-poaching team, a local conservation theatre group, and education campaign that gets information into every school in the district, and we work with local farmers to help them live alongside lions and improve their livelihoods.

More about A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS

First published as a storybook app for the iPad and named as a Top 50 “Best Apps for Kids” by The Guardian (now available, along with it’s companion A SHIVER OF SHARKS on iTunes via the Demibooks Storytime app), TROOP is an award-winning book featuring collective nouns for animal groups told in romping, read-aloud rhyme.

A “surfeit” of skunks, a “caravan” of camels, and a “flamboyance” of flamingoes are just a few of the animal groups both kids and grown-ups will learn about, all of them accompanied by stunning watercolor illustrations from artist Pamela Baron.

Once again, here is the link if you’d like a to receive copy of A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS and donate $5 to WildCru as part of your purchase, PLUS be entered for the drawing for the beautiful Pride of Lions print.




Swipe copy for sharing

Shares appreciated too! Hopefully these pre-written posts for FB and Twitter will make it easier for you.

Twitter

Get a AND support + in memory of  (Click to Tweet this)

Get A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS and support too.  (Click to Tweet this)

I just bought A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS + supported #lionconservation #WildCRU #cecilthelion http://bit.ly/1Ige5gc (Click to Tweet this)

Facebook

One of my Facebook children’s author friends is donating $5 to WildCru and lion conservation for each of these books, A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS purchased now through August 10 (World Lion Day). In memory of Cecil the Lion. There’s a special on the book itself, plus a chance to win a gorgeous print from the book featuring a Pride of Lions. Here’s the link with all of the details. http://wp.me/p2pGqV-3CZ

Image for Instagram and other social media sites

Honoring Cecil (2)

Last, but not least, I owe thanks to Jimmy Kimmel, whose monologue about Cecil was not only courageous and inspiring, but it also brought my attention to the worthy work that WildCru is doing in support of wildlife conservation. Here is the link if you haven’t seen it yet. WildCru reports that more than $150,000 has been donated as a direct result of Jimmy’s plea to take action in support of lions. So nice to see celebrities using their platforms in efforts to make the world a better place instead of to share selfies of boobs and backsides in support of their own fame. Just sayin’! Thanks, Jimmy!

Categories: A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Books, Children's Books, Giveaway, Picture Books · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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TimMcCanna_8x10_smToday I have the great pleasure of introducing someone to the How I Got My Agent series who is not only a mind-blowingly (that is totally a word) talented writer and musician, but also someone I’m fortunate to call a friend. Tim McCanna tells the story of how we first met and came to collaborate on a couple of my projects, so I won’t steal his thunder, but let’s just say that the first time you encounter Tim’s work – whether his writing, music, or blockbuster videos – the only viable response is, “Wow!” Add to that the fact that he is just about the nicest person on the planet, and Tim becomes a “quadruple threat” on his way to sure stardom in the children’s writing world. It’s been an honor in every way to work with him and to have him “in my corner” on this crazy publishing journey. Please welcome Tim! 

How long had you been writing before seeking an agent, and what made you decide it was time to look for one?

Thanks for having me, Julie! You know, I had zero strategy when I started out writing picture books in 2009. Within months I was submitting to slush piles and I have a binder full of form rejection letters to prove it. I eventually mixed in some agent submissions here and there, but I really didn’t know what I wanted or needed in an agent.

In 2010, Caryn Wiseman from Andrea Brown Literary spoke at a local SCBWI conference. I liked her right away (as everyone in the session did) and submitted to her after the event. Alas, my story didn’t resonate with her, so she kindly passed.

At some point I dialed down the submitting and focused on improving my craft and building my network. I participated in Picture Book Idea Month and 12×12, kept attending conferences, joined a critique group, and wrote lots of new stories. Three years later, I had a much more robust portfolio of polished manuscripts. Plus, I became an Assistant Regional Advisor for my local SCBWI chapter, and I even sold my picture book Teeny Tiny Trucks on my own. At that point, I felt like my work was strong enough and I understood the industry so much better that I started to think about who might be the perfect agent for me.

What kind of research did you do before submitting?

In the early days, all I had was my copy of The Children’s Book Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market. I occasionally queried agents who were spotlighted on LiteraryRambles.com. Of course, meeting folks (or at least sitting in on their sessions) at conferences to get a sense of who they are is always a good thing. I’m a total introvert at events with lots of people. But volunteering for my SCBWI chapter created great icebreakers and gave me opportunities to just talk to editors and agents without trying to wow them in sixty seconds with an elevator pitch.

The dreaded questions: How many queries? How many rejections?

Oh gosh. Lots of both. In the first three years before I made my first sale, I submitted around 15 manuscripts of various length and style to twenty or thirty different publishers and at least a dozen different agents. I never once got one of those personal, magical, uplifting, hand-written rejection letters of encouragement from editors you hear about. I wonder if they’re just urban legends.

For a while there, I was completely flummoxed. What was I doing wrong? Why didn’t anyone other than my critique group partners like my stories!? Granted, 2009 to 2011 were especially tight years in the publishing world, but I began to slip into a resentful dark place. I pulled myself out of that self-inflicted slump by focusing on writing shorter, snappier, more commercial stories while getting out and volunteering and joining online communities. A positive attitude and persistence is key. We’re very lucky that the kidlit industry is so friendly and supportive.

Was it difficult to find an agent who wanted to represent an author focusing solely on picture books?

Not really. That never came up. I had an early chapter reader to show a slightly longer work, and I’m currently writing a middle grade novel that I mentioned in my follow-up emails, so perhaps having a little variety helped. All I knew was I didn’t want to beg for representation. I was going to wait for an agent who loved my work and was enthusiastic about partnering with me.

How did you know your agent was “the one”?

So, nearly four years after first seeing Caryn at that regional conference, she participated in an Agent’s Day event in San Francisco in early Fall 2014. I submitted my rhyming picture book Bitty Bot! for critique and she immediately connected with it. After a couple weeks of sharing additional pieces with her and talking some more, she officially offered and I officially accepted! That just goes to show that “no thanks” doesn’t necessarily mean “not ever.”

Caryn has a great business sense—and I really kinda don’t. She also offers editorial feedback, which I knew I wanted in an agent. And she didn’t shy away from my rhymers. That was crucial. I write both rhyme and prose, but I knew if an agent said, “Gee, rhyming books are tough to sell,” that we weren’t a good match.

If 12 x 12 helped you in any way during your agent search/development of craft, can you tell us how? (P.S. It is TOTALLY okay if the answer is no. I am not trying to “lead” you 🙂 )

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. 12×12 has done a lot for me. At its core, 12×12 is about writing. Getting those first drafts down. I love the simple goal-setting aspect of it. But of course, there’s much more. The community, the support, the people, the networking, the knowledge you gain from the blog and forums. It’s a great resource that became a lovely part of my journey as a children’s writer.

Katie Davis’s kidlit podcast, which led to writing a song for 12×12, which led to writing a song for Julie’s A Troop is a Group of Monkeys app, which led to my selling Teeny Tiny Trucks to the same publisher. It was a 2-year domino effect that I never planned!

Tell us something that is on your “bucket list.” Something you’ve dreamed of doing all your life but have yet to accomplish (besides publishing a book, which you’ve already checked off! 🙂 )

Two words: Dog Dancing. It’s totally a thing.

What’s up next/what are you working on now?

Well, after signing with Caryn, we sold Bitty Bot! a month or so later in a 2-book deal to Paula Wiseman Books at Simon & Schuster. Woo! The first book comes out Fall 2016, and I’m tossing around ideas for a sequel right now. My working title is Bitty Bot 2: Bitty Does Something Else In a New Location, Perhaps During a Holiday, Or Not.

Tim McCanna played accordion in a punk rock band and composed very silly sci-fi musicals in New York City before he finally got a real job as a children’s book author. When he’s not daydreaming about dancing with dogs, Tim serves as Assistant Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators San Francisco/South chapter. He lives in Mountain View, CA with his wife and two kids. Find Tim online at www.timmccanna.com.

Categories: 12 x 12, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Children's Books, How I Got My Agent, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries, Storybook Apps · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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anti-resolutionThree years ago I wrote a blog post that garnered quite a bit of attention. It was titled, 2012 Anti-Resolution Revolution. I skipped 2013, but got back on track in 2014. I’m bringing this tradition with me into 2015, and I’ve asked participants in my 12 Days of Christmas for Writers program to do the same.

Here is an excerpt from the original post:

It is so tempting to start listing all the things one wants to accomplish at the start of a New Year, but in my experience, the process (and thus the result) is flawed.

I believe the reason resolutions often don’t work is because they start from a place of lack, of negativity, of failure.  We think about all the things we weren’t happy with in the previous year and set out to “fix” them in the new one…  Lose weight = I weigh too much…  Make more money = I don’t have enough money.  Write more often = I don’t write enough

There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals, and achieving them is even better.  However, the goals need to be set on a strong foundation… Let’s first celebrate success and then determine how to carry that forward into the New Year rather than berating ourselves for what did not get done

It is CRITICAL to reflect on what you DID accomplish in the previous year. How else can you build from the base you already have? If you don’t take the time to tally up and celebrate what you’ve already accomplished, your resolutions will crumble. You’ll be starting from scratch in every category, and starting from scratch feels scary.

Here is what GOALS (vs. resolutions) look like when crafted this way. Lose weight = What did I do last year to improve my health, and what can I do to continue that progress? Make more money = How much money did I make last year, from which sources, and how can I increase output from those sources and add new ones? Write more often = What did I write this year and how am I going to use that writing in the new year while also writing new stories/articles/books, etc.?

Because I am a firm believer that it takes far more courage to celebrate and compliment yourself than it does to criticize and berate yourself, I’ve invited 12 Days of Christmas for Writers participants to post their successes on their blogs and websites too. Feel free to share links to your posts in the comments here!

Here is a list of my major professional accomplishments of 2014. 

  1. I wrote 7 new picture book drafts and revised 12. Plus I wrote a book proposal. That’s a personal best for me in terms of volume of writing!!
  2. Launched the third year of the 12 x 12 picture book writing challenge with a spruced up Membership Forum. Grew to 750 members!
  3. A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS storybook app won the Independent Book Publisher’s Association Benjamin Franklin Digital Gold Award.
  4. A SHIVER OF SHARKS storybook app won a 2014 Digital Book Award.
  5. Attended the first-ever Picture Book Boot Camp with THE Jane Yolen at her home in Massachusetts.
  6. My agent, Erzsi Deak, took my one of my books out on submission (still awaiting responses).
  7. Ran the second annual Writer’s Renaissance retreat in Florence Italy to great success.
  8. Launched a brand new website for Writer’s Renaissance.Me with MLFY
  9. Filed my first tax return as a single, self-employed person.
  10. Launched a comprehensive online course – How to Make Money as a Writer.
  11. Launched The Ultimate Guide to Picture Book Submissions (with my friend and colleague Emma Walton Hamilton).
  12. Participated as a speaker in the SCBWI-MI webinar series on the topic of being an Author Entrepreneur.
  13. Met with all Denver-area bookstores to plan events for the launch of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN and to get them to carry the print version of A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS.
  14. Learned, once and for all, to use Scrivener. I have to credit Joe Michael’s excellent course,* which I keep open every time I write in the program.
  15. Presented at the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction conference on the topic of changes in the publishing industry, storybook apps, and connecting with your audience.
  16. Presented at the New Jersey SCBWI conference on the topics of author-entrepreneurship and crowdfunding.
  17. Attended the LA-SCBWI Annual Summer conference and was interviewed by Lee Wind for the Official SCBWI Blog.
  18. MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN released on September 9th!
  19. My first radio show interview took place the day before my book launch party.
  20. Held hugely successful book launch at Saturn Booksellers in my hometown of Gaylord, MI. (psst… Saturn still has signed copies of the book in their store…)
  21. Visited all three elementary schools, for free, in my hometown during my launch week.
  22. Presented at the SCBWI-MI conference on the subject of 21st century publishing.
  23. Presented at my first-ever book festival – The Southern Festival of Books – with MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN illustrator Susan Eaddy.
  24. Conducted school visits and several bookstore signings with Susan Eaddy, including Parnassus Books, The Tattered Cover, The Book Bar, The Bookies, and Boulder Bookstore. (As a public service announcement, ALL of these stores have signed copies of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN)
  25. Fulfilled all the rewards for Kickstarter backers of MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN.
  26. MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN was nominated for the 2014 CYBILS awards in the picture book category.
  27. Spent a week in London doing research for my picture book biography.
  28. Launched a brand new website for the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge
  29. Participated in PiBoIdMo and came up with 28 new picture book ideas, one of which is already drafted.
  30. Hired a bookkeeper and have begun to get my business finances in order, not just for tax season but also for planning and forecasting.
  31. Continued to contribute to Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast.

I’m quite happy with this list. 🙂

Now it’s your turn to make YOUR list! Share in the comments if you’d like. 🙂

*I love Joe’s course so much I became an affiliate. That means if you use my link and make a purchase, I get a small commission. As always, I NEVER recommend anything I don’t love and use myself. But it is important to do your own due diligence before making any purchase to determine whether it will work for you and/or meet your needs. 🙂

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Apps, Authors, Brain Burps About Books, Creativity, Crowdfunding, Holidays, Italy, My Love For You Is The Sun, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Poetry, Publishing, SCBWI, Storybook Apps, Works in Progress, Writer's Renaissance, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Rocky hunkers down at our B & B in Denver

Rocky hunkers down at our B & B in Denver

A fabulous week culminating in my birthday. What more could a girl want?

Quotes on Gratitude

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. And that’s my religion.” — Abraham Lincoln

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” — Voltaire

“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.” — Alan Cohen

Gratitude list for the week ending May 24

  1. My birthday! And all the love and wishes and blessings that came with it.
  2. Treating myself to a two-night stay at a quaint bed & breakfast in downtown Denver.
  3. Being able to take Rocky with me to said B & B.

    Jay is now a published author/illustrator :-)

    Jay is now a published author/illustrator 🙂

  4. Meeting with three indie bookstores in Denver and having all three of them excited about stocking my book(s) and setting up future author events!
  5. Books, Books, Books. Next to family and friends, I’m most grateful, always, for books.
  6. I bought books for my kids that caused them both to sit down and read for hours yesterday.
  7. Homemade gifts from my kids for my birthday
  8. Setting up the book launch for MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN at Saturn Booksellers in my hometown of Gaylord, MI
  9. Making progress on a book proposal
  10. Em’s 5th grade orchestra concert

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Birthdays, Books, Children's Books, Dogs, Family, Friendship, Gratitude Sunday, Picture Books, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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TroopPNGThanks to everyone who entered the sweepstakes to help me celebrate A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS winning the Independent Book Publisher’s Association Digital Gold Award a couple of weeks ago.

Winners were selected randomly via Rafflecopter, but I must say it tickled my fancy that the grand prize winner had sent us a picture of himself reading the print version of TROOP to his granddaughter. HERE are all of the winners:

 

Winner Damon reading print version of TROOP with his granddaughter

Winner Damon reading print version of TROOP with his granddaughter

Winner of the GRAND PRIZE of a $100 Gift Card to Amazon OR the iTunes store is…

Damon Dean!!

The Two Winners of 1 set (each) of download codes for the app versions of A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS and A SHIVER OF SHARKS are…

Sara Lynn Eastler and Gandamu Baka!!

Winner of an adorable stuffed monkey and a bag of TROOP and SHIVER customized M & M’s is…

Jackie Gove Bryla!!

Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who joined in the fun.

Categories: A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Apps, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, Giveaway, Picture Books, Storybook Apps · Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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TROOP IBPA BannerThis was the kind of week that makes me feel like I should go buy a lottery ticket. I started the week with the news that A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS won an Independent Book Publisher’s Association Digital Gold award, and I’ve been on a high ever since.

So yeah, it’s been a good one. 🙂

I heard One Love by Bob Marley a few days ago and thought the chorus is a fitting “Gratitude” quote for this week’s post, especially in light of the inspiring We Need Diverse Books campaign.

One Love! What about the one heart? 
Let’s get together and feel all right
As it was in the beginning (One Love!);
So shall it be in the end (One Heart!),

Give thanks and praise to the Lord, and I will feel all right;
Let’s get together and feel all right.

Gratitude list for the week ending May 3rd

  1. TROOP won an IBPA Benjamin Franklin Digital Gold award!! (Yes I know I’ve mentioned this a few times this week :-)). Don’t forget to join me in the celebration by entering my sweepstakes to WIN awesome prizes.
  2. SO MANY PEOPLE sent good wishes and congratulations over all forms of social media, email, and phone calls. It was overwhelming (in a great way). My mom even sent me flowers!
  3. Boulder Book Store called to say they are stocking TROOP after finding out about the award.
  4. My fantabulous friend Katie Davis made me this video.
  5. My favorite children’s author, Jane Yolen, is my 12 x 12 Featured Author this month.
  6. My agent told me she’s taking one of my picture book manuscripts out on submission.
  7. It was so gratifying to see more than a dozen 12 x 12 members gather at the NESCBWI conference this weekend. I love this community!
  8. Another 12 x 12 member signed with an agent this week as a result of her participation.
  9. I ramped up my physical activity thanks to my new Fitbit. Feel more energetic than I have in a long time.
  10. I received several amazing testimonials from this year’s Writer’s Renaissance participants.

Seriously? I get a book award, the news that a new manuscript is going out on submission AND Jane Yolen all in one week? Pinch me!

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: 12 x 12, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Apps, Authors, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, Friendship, Giveaway, Gratitude Sunday, Picture Books, Publishing, Storybook Apps · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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troop ibpaBFDA_Awards_Seals_GOLD_highresWhen I found out late last week that A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS was an Independent Publisher’s Association Benjamin Franklin Award Gold winner, needless to say I went a little bananas! I wrote all about it in this post, also published today.

Having to wait the whole weekend before sharing was excruciating, but now I am CELEBRATING with a sweepstakes for YOU. That’s right, these fabulous prizes are yours for the taking. Instructions for entering the Rafflecopter and the rules are below.

  1. GRAND PRIZE = $100 gift card to EITHER the Apple iTunes store OR Amazon.com
  2. 8 x 10 print of your choice of TROOP or SHIVER illustration, signed by illustrator Pamela Baron
  3. FREE download codes (one each) for both TROOP and SHIVER – there will be two winners drawn for this prize
  4. An adorable stuffed monkey + a bag of TROOP and SHIVER customized M & Ms

    Stuffed monkey prize similar to this one if not exactly the same.

    Stuffed monkey prize similar to this one if not exactly the same.

Although purchasing (or owning) a print version of TROOP is one of the ways to win, there are MANY others – something for everyone. These are all listed on the Rafflecopter below, but here is a bit more information on each.

UPDATE! The sweepstakes will now be open until Friday, May 9th to give people who purchase the print version of TROOP an opportunity to write reviews and increase their chances of winning.

  1. Purchase a copy of the print version of TROOP (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound – if you live in the Denver/Boulder corridor, TROOP is stocked at the Boulder Pearl Street, Thornton Creek, Westminster, and 16th Street Mall B&N locations). Then email your receipt per the instructions in the R/C. OR, if you already own a copy, snap a shot of yourself with your book and email using the same instructions.
  2. Write an honest review of TROOP on Amazon (It counts if you’ve already left one – just enter the link according to the instructions). Note that is IS acceptable to copy and paste reviews from one site to another. 🙂
  3. Write an honest review of TROOP on Barnes & Noble
  4. Write an honest review of TROOP on Goodreads
  5. Once per day, you may tweet about the giveaway. A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS is Benjamin Franklin Digital Award Winner! Celebrate with #giveaway of $100 #giftcard. http://wp.me/p2 (Click to tweet this)
  6. Once per day, you may share the giveaway on Facebook. The kids’ storybook app A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS is a Benjamin Franklin Digital Award Winner! Author @JulieFHedlund is celebrating with a great sweepstakes. http://wp.me/p2pGqV-3h8
  7. If you haven’t already, you can like my Author Page on Facebook.

Rules

Must be a resident of the United States (SO sorry to my international friends, but trying to comply with sweepstakes rules/laws in multiple countries proved too much for me!). No purchase necessary. Winners will be announced on Monday, May 12th 2014. Prizes will be shipped no later than May 23rd, 2014. Winners will be required to provide an email and/or mailing address in order to receive prizes. Prizes must be claimed within three business days of the winners being announced or alternate winners will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Categories: A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Apps, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Giveaway, Picture Books, Rhyming · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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BFDA_Awards_Seals_GOLD_highresI am honored, humbled, and quite frankly gobsmacked to announce that A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS has been awarded a Gold Benjamin Franklin Digital Award by the Independent Book Publishers Association.

In the comments sent to my (awesome!) publisher Little Bahalia, one judge wrote:

“This is an excellent enhanced e-book for kids that introduces the fun plural nouns of various animal groupings—a pride of lions, a bloat of hippopotami, an ostentation of peacocks, etc. Super fun.” [Five stars!]

And even more heartwarming for a writer, and of rhyme in particular, the writing quality component of the award achieved FIVE STARS, and one judge had this to say:

“The book has a nice rhyme structure–not too overbearing, nicely constructed, not forced.” [Five stars!]

On their website, the IBPA acknowledges that the definition of “book” continues to evolve, and they established the Digital awards category to “honor and encourage the field’s innovators.” 

TROOP has received critical acclaim in reviews, most notably being named by the Guardian last year as a Top 50 App for Kids, but this is its first award, and it is major. So I am in the mood to celebrate with a SWEEPSTAKES featuring amazing prizes! I hope you’ll join in the fun. Click here to go there now.

Thank you for celebrating with us!

Categories: A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Apps, Authors, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Giveaway, Picture Books, Publishing, Rhyming, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Rocky coming home after 4 days in intensive care!

Rocky coming home after 4 days in intensive care!

As I said in this week’s Gratitude Sunday post, I am beyond grateful for EVERYONE who helped with Rocky’s care and recovery in the aftermath of his shooting. I am still overwhelmed by all of the love and support received from every corner of our lives.

One thing I didn’t mention is that many people offered to donate funds toward Rocky’s care and/or set up a website to take donations. Taking these kind people up on their offers was tempting because his expenses were, as you can imagine, significant and unplanned. Paying those expenses are, without a doubt, a hardship for us, but the truth is I DO have savings and I DO have a loving and supportive family to help me. Many others have neither. So once the dust settles and I get caught up a bit, I am going to do a fundraiser in support of the emergency funds at both Rocky’s family veterinary hospital and the emergency hospital where he spent most of his time following the shooting. These funds are used to care for animals when the owners truly cannot pay and/or stray animals are found suffering and brought in for care.

In the meantime, there IS a way you can help me and my family, and that is by supporting my work, as the financial impact of this tragedy goes beyond the veterinary costs and into lost income.

The month of January is when I earn the bulk of my income for the calendar year because registration for the 12 x 12 picture 12 x 12 new badgebook writing challenge is open and the greatest number of people sign up. I lost a full week of work during what should have been the busiest week of registration. So if you are a current member of 12 x 12 or a fellow writer who believes the challenge is worthwhile, sharing the news that registration is open and/or how much you are enjoying 12 x 12 on Facebook, Twitter, etc. would be fantastic. Here are several “Click to Tweets” that can be used on Twitter or cut and pasted into Facebook.

Calling all #picturebook writers! Join 500+ of your peers in the #12x challenge. Write, revise, critique, submit. http://ow.ly/t5BIy (Click to Tweet this)

So glad I joined @JulieFHedlund’s #12x challenge for #picturebook writers. Amazing community and resources! http://ow.ly/t5BIy #kidlit (Click to Tweet this)

Want to submit #picturebook mss to an #agent each month? Join #12x at the GOLD level. http://ow.ly/t5Cdf #publishing #kidlit (Click to Tweet this)

For Facebook: January 2014 is drawing to a close. If you haven’t joined the 12 x 12 picture book writing challenge yet, you’ll need to act quickly if you want to submit to an agent in February. Three different membership levels provide something for everyone. Soon registration will be closed until 2015. Hope to see you there! http://www.juliehedlund.com/registration-for-2014/

Available in bookstores everywhere!

Available in bookstores everywhere!

Another way you can support my work, if you have children in your lives who enjoy books, is by purchasing a copy of A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS. If you have an iPad, you can get the interactive versions of the two apps featured in the book, TROOP and A SHIVER OF SHARKS (2014 Digital Book Award Winner!).

Another way to help is by leaving honest reviews on Amazon and/or Goodreads if you already own a hard copy of TROOP. The book has very few ratings and reviews at the moment, both of which are needed to make it appear higher in searches.

Lastly, I am running a giveaway of TROOP on Goodreads right now to help spread the word about the book AND build an audience before my next book, MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN comes out in the fall. Simply sharing the giveaway on Twitter and/or Facebook would be appreciated.

Thank you all so much! If none of these options work for you, simply sending positive thoughts goes a long, long way. 🙂

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Apps, Charity, Children's Books, Digital Publishing, Dogs, Family, Friendship, Gratitude Sunday, Picture Books, Social Media, Volunteer/Community, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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anti-resolutionTwo years ago I wrote a blog post that grabbed the attention and touched the heart of none other than Katie Davis, who is now one of my very best friends. It was titled, 2012 Anti-Resolution Revolution. Katie was so inspired by that post, she created her own special tool to capture her accomplishments throughout the year and evaluate them at the end. She has graciously offered to share this workbook with you – click here for more info.

Here is an excerpt from the original post:

It is so tempting to start listing all the things one wants to accomplish at the start of a New Year, but in my experience, the process (and thus the result) is flawed.

I believe the reason resolutions often don’t work is because they start from a place of lack, of negativity, of failure.  We think about all the things we weren’t happy with in the previous year and set out to “fix” them in the new one…  Lose weight = I weigh too much…  Make more money = I don’t have enough money.  Write more often = I don’t write enough

There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals, and achieving them is even better.  However, the goals need to be set on a strong foundation.  So I figured, why not start with what I did accomplish this year and set goals from there.  Let’s first celebrate success and then determine how to carry that forward into the New Year, rather than berating ourselves for what did not get done..

I didn’t write a similar post in 2013, but I should have. It is CRITICAL to reflect on what you DID accomplish in the previous year. How else can you build from the base you already have? If you don’t take the time to tally up and celebrate what you’ve already accomplished, your resolutions will crumble. You’ll be starting from scratch in every category, and starting from scratch feels scary.

Here is what GOALS (vs. resolutions) look like when crafted this way. Lose weight = What did I do last year to improve my health, and what can I do to continue that progress? Make more money = How much money did I make last year, from which sources, and how can I increase output from those sources and add new ones? Write more often = What did I write this year and how am I going to use that writing in the new year while also writing new stories/articles/books, etc.?

Here’s an example from my own year. All year long, in my head, I lamented how little writing I got done. So much so that by the end of the year I was sure I’d done almost nothing. Yesterday, when I tallied it all up, I was pleasantly to find I’d written far more than I thought I had. I had written full drafts that I’d completely forgotten about. Drafts that I can continue revising and working with this year.

I am a firm believer that it takes far more courage to celebrate and compliment yourself than it does to criticize and berate yourself. So let’s get started.

Here is a list of my major professional accomplishments of 2013. 

In addition to this list, I ran the 12 x 12 challenge all year, wrote new drafts and revised existing ones, and continued to contribute to Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast. Whew! I’ll be sure to come back to this whenever I feel discouraged about how much I “don’t get done.” 🙂

Now it’s your turn to make YOUR list!

Categories: 12 x 12, A Shiver of Sharks, A Troop is a Group of Monkeys, Agents, Apps, Authors, Bologna Children's Book Fair, Brain Burps About Books, Children's Books, Crowdfunding, Digital Publishing, ebooks, Florence, Goals, Holidays, How I Got My Agent, Italy, PiBoIdMo, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries, SCBWI, Social Media, Storybook Apps, Travel, Video Idiot Boot Camp, Works in Progress, Writer's Renaissance, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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