COVER REVEAL! The Children at the Playground #TCATPG

Blog- Cover Reveal TCatPG

of The Children at the Playground

It’s here! It’s here. I have had so many amazing things going on in the background that I haven’t been able to share. This is one that I’ve been sitting on!!!! The cover reveal of…


What can you do at the playground?  The Children at the Playground is a fun picture book set to the rhythm of “The Wheels on the Bus.” Perfect for active story times or to read before, after, or during a playground visit.

Dolores Costello did an amazing job on the illustrations and I cannot wait for you all to be able to see it!!!! Thank you bunches, Dolores!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AND NOW, without further ado…

The Children at the Playground

The Children At the Playground


Written by: Tracey M. Cox (that’s me!!!)
Illustrated by: Dolores Costello
Published by: Xist Publishing

Thankyou for celebrating with me on this new reveal!


Let me know what you think of the cover!
Would you be interested in doing a review of it?
Stay tune for the BOOK TRAILER!

Until next time…

Happy Writing!


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Tuesday Tips – Accepting Challenges



Why should you challenge yourself as a writer or participate in challenges as a writer?

258d6c97a3a5a340f70c9bf3d103f9baSimple. It makes you grow. As writers, we tend to stay inside a bubble. Our own little bubble. Where we know what we are doing, how to approach the topic, how to face what lays ahead.  When you are in a challenge, you push yourself. To do more. To explore more. To find more. To reach down deep more. We grow. We find the magic that makes our story soar and eventually make our readers fall in love.

This is why I do challenges. I want to grow as a writer and make my work better. I challenge myself to write 12 first drafts in 12 months each year. I’ve participated in Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo each year (except one). I am still reading through Carrie Charley Brown’s ReFoReMo (first year). I also hold Summer Sparks to help others (and myself) out on ideas.

The fact is, I will never stop learning, and neither should you. It is what drives us and keeps us on our toes.

SO. To all that, I am challenging myself (kicking myself in the tush really) to get my picture book reviews going again. I have revamped my goals for that blog, given it a new home, and a new title…

PB & J’More
Picture Book Reviews and Activities
Get Stuck On Writing

I will vlog about picture books and also give links to fun activities to tie into each book.

To begin with, I will only do reviews for the month of April, because…


A to Z Challenge

This challenge is to create a theme and blog about it for the month of April.

Well being a picture book writer and all, I am going to blog about picture books who’s title start with each letter of the alphabet. I hope you will enjoy what all I have to say and find some great reads. So click on over, follow me there too if you like, and let get prepared to explore some great reads!

Let me know what you think about challenges.
Do you know of some great ones that you are participating in?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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Thinking Thursday – Inspiring


I am very honored to have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by three amazing bloggers themselves: Sue Leopold, Donna McDine, and Cat Michaels.

Part of being nominated was to reveal 7 things about myself and to nominate others…

7 Things About Me:

  1. I’m short. 5’2″ to be exact. Yes, I have to use a step ladder or climb onto the counter to reach things on the top shelf at my house.
  2. I love to sing. If you read my One Lovely Blog Award post, you know I can yodel, but I love to sing too. My grandfather use to record himself playing the steel guitar. In the background, you could hear a little girl signing along. Yep, that was me.  🙂
  3. I was a tomboy. I loved to play in the dirt and football. Still do.  🙂
  4. I never want to grow up. Getting old stinks. Seriously!
  5. I like cold weather, but not FREEZING cold.
  6. Spring is my favorite time of the year. Everything is beginning or renewing… and it’s still cool.
  7. I grew up as an only child, but I have 10 siblings, 5 brothers and 5 sisters to be exact.  I lived with my mom and grandparents and didn’t have a sister from my mom until I was almost 12. I didn’t know my dad’s side until I was 25 and found out I had six other siblings. Can you say the best of both worlds?  🙂

There are so many inspirational bloggers out there that have been nominated. If I nominate you again, feel free to pass AND it is not mandatory that you participate either.

  • Katie Davis –  blog and  podcast
  • Julie Gribble’s New York Media Works blog

These two are full of so much information and inspire me to be a better writer and promoter.

Hope you enjoyed!


Until next time…

Happy Writing!

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
** Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
*** Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other
tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign-up page.
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Tuesday Tip: Paying It Forward


Paying it forward

Sometimes you never know when you have helped people. Sometimes you do. Being recognized isn’t the reason why I have been posting though. I have learned things… sometimes (more than most) the hard way. When I was starting out, I had a few people who were gracious to me. They answered questions and gave me some helpful hints. One author wrote to me to say thank you for my kind words about her. *fan girl scream*

Last week I was pleasantly surprised by Keila Dawson. She nominated me for the ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD.


I think you rock too!

I nominate the following bloggers, because I find them paying it forward and just want to say, “You guys RAWK!” Thank you for the time and dedication you put into the KidLit Community! Take a moment to visit their blogs and you will definitely find useful information and inspiration.

  1. Julie Hedlund (12×12 Founder)
  2. Susanna Leonard Hill (PPBF & Making PB Magic)
  3. Tara Lazar (PiBoIdMo Founder)
  4. Carrie Charley Brown (ReFoReMo Founder)
  5. Beth Stillmore (Writer and Champion of Writers)
  6. Kathryn Howes (#RaisingReaders, Writer)

Now, I’m suppose to share…

7 things people might not know about me: 

  1. I was a cheerleader in elementary school and can still do a split.
  2. I know how to snowboard and rollerskate.
  3. My eyes are so brown, they are almost black.
  4. When I was little, I wanted to be a Roller Derby Queen when I grew up. Or a mime. HA!
  5. I can play the keyboard and use to be in a band.
  6. My favorite class in elementary school was Performing Arts. I love to draw, paint, create puppets, perform, etc!
  7. I know how to yodel.


Pay it forward! Here are the rules for accepting this award:

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate up to 15 bloggers you admire and inform the nominees by commenting on their blog.

Well done fellow bloggers! Pass it on!

Let me know what you think about my crazy 7 things.
What other blogs do you find valuable?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

* Don’t miss one post! Email sign-ups are over here —>
** Did you enjoy this post? Feel free to LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT ON THIS POST.
Easy, peasy buttons found  below.
*** Sign up for my  N E W S L E T T E R ! I will be sharing writing challenges and other
tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign-up page.
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#summersparks DAY 9: Building a Platform by: Tracey M. Cox

Summer Sparks


Can You Build It? Yes, You Can!

I want to touch on something that everyone is hearing about right now. PLATFORM BUILDING. I’m going to start with some basic information.   WHAT IS A PLATFORM A platform is quite simply how your audience views you. Are you helpful in the reading community? Do you give great resources for writers or illustrators? Do you offer material for teachers or librarians? Your platform focus should be who you want your audience to be. Your platform will also help build trust between you and your audience. This will create a ripple effect to where people will look for your books, material, advice, and spread word-of-mouth.   WHO NEEDS A PLATFORM EVERYONE needs a platform. I’m serious! If you are an enteprenuer (and that’s what you are writers!!!!), then you need a platform. Your platform will help you get your word out without being so pushy. People will come to understand you and feel they know you by the material you put out. This builds trust.   WHY DO WE NEED A PLATFORM We need a platform to expand our audience. People use different venues for information. By using more than one venue, you can reach more people and have a better chance of improving your search engine optimization on the internet. Who doesn’t want to have their links at the top of the search field?!?   WHERE CAN YOU FIND A PLATFORM Platform building is found on the internet (social media), the material you put out (books, magazine, newspapers), word of mouth, networking, reputation.   WHEN SHOULD YOU START BUILDING YOUR PLATFORM Now! Yes, I said right now. It does not matter if you don’t have a book out or if you have 50 books out. Begin now. Or start over now. Get a direction you want to take and stay on course. The more you have out there (and have it consistent), the more your audience will build trust with you and your products.       So now that you have an idea, let’s think about the building process. Think of PLATFORM BUILDING as a house that your identity lives in. What do you need for a sturdy, stable house? A foundation, material to build with, things to keep your material in place, and a roof.


Website/Blog Yes, you need to have one or both of these. What is the first thing you do when you want to find out information about something? If you are like me, you Google it. Right? Having a website is a solid foundation to where you can place your information in one place. If you have a blog, you can make an about me page where people can get to know you more. This is where people will come back time and again to get the information they need on you. Make it interesting and useful.   BUILDING MATERIAL: Content What do you want to be known for? Think along the lines of the field you are in… Non-Fiction or Fiction. Which children’s genre? Useful information such as agent or publishing information. Maybe you have resources for teachers, parents, or librarians. Do you want to target writers or illustrators? How about helping reluctant readers? There are plenty of ways you can reach people and have a great way of communicating.   KEEPING IT IN PLACE: Social Media Outlets Nail down what and who you want to reach by using social media. There are so many outlets out there. YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram are only a few. Try a few out. What I like to do is give it a good week to see if I really like it or not. You will find out what works for you, what you like and dislike, and they best avenues to reach your audience.   ROOF: Keeping it all in place Make sure people can find you easily. I’ve done this by trying to keep my ID consistent with my media outlets. You can find me by searching Tracey M. Cox, traceymcox, or traceymcoxauthor on any of my outlets. Also if you can put all this in one place that is an added plus. Remember your foundation? Yep, I have my links on my website in the top boarder. I also have most of them on my blog.     The thing to remember is it will take time to build your platform. Those of us who seem to be all over the place? Well, we’ve been building for a while. Take it one block at a time. Update often to keep your search engine optimization up. Just keep building, building, building. Before you know it, things will come together and you will have built a great platform that is sturdy and a great house for your identity to live in. :::LEAVE A COMMENT::: Let me know which social media outlets you struggle with? Which would you like to know more about?

Tracey M. Cox

wpid-2012-01-01-18.01.43.jpg Tracey M. Cox has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a children’s author, local liaison for the Southern Breeze region of SCBWI, Founder/Director of Books Love & Taters Book Festival, co-founder (with Julie Gribble) of KidLit TV, and host of SUMMER SPARKS Writing Challenge. She also offers services on critiques with non- rhyming pb ms & as a platform building consultant. She lives in South Georgia with her husband, three children, and various fur-babies.


Website Blog Facebook Twitter


We are entepreneurs. Maybe some of us were when we were children also. How many of you had a lemonade stand? Or maybe a paper route? I sold flowers… that I clipped from my grandmothers yard… when she wasn’t looking. *I know. BAD, TRACEY! BAD!* Some of us might have volunteered too. Make a list about the different businesses children can do. Now pick three and do some research. See if it’s been written about. Can you think of a unique angle?

Tracey will be giving away your choice of one of her picture books:

ShapingUptheYearcoverart   RibbertsWayHome8x300[1]   LGHL-small   justthethingtobe8x300   ADT-8x150   Arachnabet

to those of you who PRE-REGISTERED, COMMENT on this post, and COMPLETE the challenge.
Go to this RAFFLECOPTER LINK TO ENTER into the drawing to win under Tracey’s post!

Missed a SUMMER SPARK? Don’t worry, you can find them here:

Day 1: In Celebration of Summer Magic  by Kelly Milner Halls
Day 2:  The Power of Doodling  by Alison K. Hertz
Day 3: Cause & Effect  by Alayne Kay Christian
Day 4: How to be a Marketing Ninja  by Corey Rosen Schwartz
Day 5: A Visual Writing Prompt: Begin at the End  by Julie Gribble
Day 6: The Final Word  by Jodi Moore
Day 7: Inspiration Station  by Susanna Hill
Day 8: Voice and Word Choice in Picture Books by Tara Lazar
Day 9: Platform Building Can You Build It? Yes, You Can!  by Tracey M. Cox
Day 10: 5 Ways to Hook Your Reader with Your Very First Line  by Kirsti Call
Day 11: Burning Down the House aka Revision by Donna Earnhardt
Day 12: Persistence  by Donna M. McDine
Day 13: Writing Your Way to a Spark  by Kris Dinnison
Day 14: Hope In Your Heart  by Carol Gordon Ekster
BONUS: What Songs Rock Your World?  by Claire Rudolf Murphy
Follow-up #1: TIPS
Follow-up #2: 9 Ways to Tighten Your Story
Prize Announcement: Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

Monday Marketing: Google+



Yes, Google+ is important. Yes, you really should have an account.  And I can give you one GIGANTIC reason why… *hint* it’s the first word… “GOOGLE”.

Google is the #1 search engine. Think about it. A few years ago, you talked about searching for something on the internet. Today we say, “Google it.”. Boom, Bang, Done.

Google+, like any smo, has it’s pluses and minuses. You can find family and friends, create circles, and join communities. BUT there are also Hangouts on there. You can talk to someone face to face and have an actual social interaction with them. WHICH IS GREAT! Who doesn’t like human contact, to see someone smile, or to hear them laugh!

For your business sense, it’s great. I’ve created several circles to where I can send messages to specific individuals. Like writers, family, friends, media specialist, etc. This way you don’t have to worry about bothering everyone else about your latest presentation for schools or the new book signing you may have coming up or the family vacation pictures of you on the river with NOOOOOOO make-up.  See, not meant for everyone’s eyes. hahahhahahaa.

While it is another smo to keep up with and remember to post and share across, I have found that it is a valuable asset to someone with their own business.

Hope to post some tips about Google+ next week.

Let me know…
What you use Google+ for?
What are the benefits?
What ideas on marketing have you found useful?

until then…


*Don’t forget to sign-up for email updates! Easy sign-up can be found over here… —>

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Marketing Monday… Meese-ka, Moose-ka, Marketeer: KATIE DAVIS

Hello everyone.

Today I am trying out something new. It ties into marketing and I hope you learn something just as much as me. 🙂





(transcript coming soon)



Katie Davis is an author/illustrator and an award-winning video marketing maven. She’s written and illustrated picture books, mid-grade, and young adult novels through traditional publishers such as Harcourt, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Diversion Books. Her independent publications include a picture book, and two marketing guides for adult writers.

Katie has used her experience in publishing to establish her coaching business helping other writers. She does this on many levels, teaching tech-wary writers how to build and strengthen their platforms through video, and coaching writers on social media and marketing, or as Katie calls it, “making friends and meeting people.”

You can subscribe to Katie’s Youtube channel at KatieDavis.TV or the #1 podcast in itunes in Children’s Publishing by going to


Buy her book:HOW TO PROMOTE  YOUR CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOK: Tips, Tricks, & Secrets to Create a Bestseller and begin learning right away!



Go to this link HERE to find out how!


Let me know what you think about this video and/or the book!
Let me know if you are interested in an interview too.



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Nov 11-15 – PiBoIdMo – One Week Crammed Into One Post

Ok, so my week has gotten away from me to post on me blog! *bad Tracey! no biscuit. :(* Things like this happen. Life gets in the way and things come up. Like doctor visits, and children needing the computer for school, and you get a migraine the size of Texas (or at least that’s the way it feels), and  and and….

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, here is what I have been doing writing wise this week.. OOPs! Didn’t put it in my list above. Fine, pretend I did. HA! Anywho, don’t forget, I’m reading PiBoIdMo Blog and Picture Book Month Blog this month… getting tidbits, inspiration, and hope that there are others out there just as crazy as I am. 🙂    😀     😉     Click on the links above  to go to those websites and see what I’m talking about. Onward ho….

Nov.11 – We were encouraged to think about our stories as ships. You don’t want a rickety, rackety one out on the open seas now do you? NOPE! You want a ship that is seaworthy. One that has been put together with fine craftsmanship, looked over and passed inspection, one that has been tested and found suitable. The same it should be with your writing.
I remember when I first started writing. I thought my work was FAB! That no one would turn it down. In fact I would have several editors bid-warring over me. I just knew it. Well as Gomer would say, “SURPRISE! SURPRISE! SURPRISE!” *hang head low, hang head low, hang head low*  Yeah, I got a bid-war going alright. To see who could send a rejection back faster. Then I had an editor tell me that I had potential. *picks head up* WAHHHH?!? She told me what I was doing wrong, which was doing the illustrators job, and to get a critique group and begin to get my word count under control. I listened. I worked on my craft, I tried it out with my critique group, I got it better and better, and sent it back out ready to sail the treacherous waters of the slush pile.
There’s a lot of behind the wall work that many don’t know about. I sure didn’t when I started, but that is how we learn, and how we get better.

Nov. 12 – Tuesday’s blogger talked about my favorite thing to do when I should be writing… PRO-CRAS-TINA-TION!  *cue the heavenly sounds* Only her suggestion actually could help get the creative juices going. She suggested to doodle! Which is so fun to do. Go a head, I know you want to right now. I’ll wait…
Ok, feel better? 🙂  Now what can a doodle do with writing? A lot really. I’ve tried this several times. I’ve come up with a camel, a slide, a hot mess, all kinds of things. The fact that you are letting your mind loose helps get it into a better mode to write. Have I come up with a story line yet doing this? No, not YET. BUUUUUUUT I have had a few characters or scenes make their way into my stories from doing this.
So grab a paper and pencil and make a scribble OR put some dots on the page randomly and connect them. Turn the page all different directions and see if you notice something new.
Have fun!

Nov. 13 – Jane Yolen, yes THE Jane Yolen, was the blogger on Wednesday. How lovely!!!! Yes, I’m a fan and I did my ‘fan girl’ scream when I saw her post.   :p   She said to write the story, no matter what. Do what you want. Write what you want. And don’t care what anyone else thinks. WOW! She shared an inspirational story of hers about the war and the statue of an angel she saw on a building. She wrote the story and didn’t care how long it was or that the content may be a little too old for picture books. She believed in her story. She made it work!
You really never do know where inspiration will strike. She is one who has walked the walked and talked the talked.
Believe in yourself and your work. No. Matter. What!

Nov. 14 – Add a little bling-bling to your characters. Thursdays blogger had me smiling and laughing and thinking! By adding accessories to our characters we make them more rounded. Sometimes they go into a different direction than what we think of them too. WOW!!! Definitely got me thinking here!!!
WHERE’S MY PAPER AND PENCIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wait, I’m on the laptop… file, new doc, and type…

Nov. 15 – WHEW! LONG post but we made it!!!!!!!!!! And what a great post today was. He talked about *gulp, whispers* writer’s block. *dum dum DUMMMMMMM!* Scary, ain’t it? But all writers have it at one time or the other. The blogger gave some excellent questions to ask to get over the hurdle and get back on the writing horse again. I’m saving them for me and the next time I begin to stare at the wall, get the blank stare, and start drooling.   😉


And we are done and caught up. Woo hoo. Now to get my files opened up and get to posting some ideas I’ve had even while writing this!

Happy Writing!

Nov 9th & 10 – PiBoIdMo – Don’t think & Surround yourself with inspiration!

I didn’t get on yesterday to post. So I am catching up today… Two-For-One! WooHoo!

So the posts on the PiBoIdMo Blog this weekend have been about how to approach your writing.

Saturday encourages you not to think too much while you write. WHAAAAA?!? Really, DON’T use your brain. I have found that when I’m trying to write my ‘editor’ will start talking to me…
“You wrote that word wrong.” “That sentence doesn’t flow right.” “That one was a fragment.” “You  aren’t even on the same subject here.” Where did this character/problem come from?” “Are you sure you know what you are doing?” “You know this writing sucks, right.”
Yeah, you get the picture. By the end I’m frustrated and questioning myself and my writing. I get up cranky and not in a very good mood.
SO, DO NOT allow your editor a toe into the situation. I have learned to turn it off or tune it out. When you just let go and write, your creativity will come out. Who cares if it doesn’t make sense! I can say one name… Dr. Seuss. There.   :p   to the ‘editor’ in my head.

Sunday post was about surrounding yourself with inspiration. He said he had a Writing Cave. *sawoon* I would LOOOOOOOOVE to do this. I already have a few things to get started too. 🙂 I have an email I’m very proud of from Eve Bunting, who is someone I hope to be like one day. Several original artwork from my books, a letter from a preschool group, TONS of books too. hmmm, now I need a corner or room. heeheheeee. What better way to get inspired than to remember things that got you to this spot!

And I must say it is the 10th. That means we are 1/3 of the way through PiBoIdMo. I am actually surprised to see what I have accomplished this month when I started tallying things. I have over 40 ideas! WOAH! Of those I have 12 outlines. Of those 12 outlines, I have 3 first drafts written. Wowie-wow-wow! I can’t believe how much this month has challenged me already. I’m not stopping though. I’m going to keep plugging away. I hope you are too.


  • Let me know how you distract yourself to get your creative self going?
  • What would you put in your WRITING CAVE??
  • How is your PiBoIdMo going???

Happy Writing!

November 5/6 – PiBoIdMo – Look & Use Your Heart

Okay, okay. I didn’t get on my laptop yesterday.  *bad, Tracey! Bad!*  So I’m going to combine both of the days today.

Yesterday the post was about looking around you to get your ideas. Which I find greatly rewarding. I tell people this too. But don’t just look with your eyes. Think like a child. What I see and what a 5 year old sees while looking at a yard full of leaves is two totally different things.

  • Yard work
  • Scavenger hunt

By looking at things/situations from a different angle can be refreshing too. I know it has helped me when I’m STRESSED out! hahaha.


Today’s post on TARA LAZAR’S BLOG is about using your heart. I love this because it gives you the freedom for writing with out restrictions. Who cares if it isn’t a suitable picture book idea? Who cares if there are 25 gazillion other books about the same subject? Who cares if no one else cares about the color coordination of your main characters’ underwear drawer? WHO CARES!!! JUST WRITE!!! It does our hearts good to writer, us writers. I know i have many scraps of papers, files, half-way finished stories, and completed stories that will never be “publishable”, BUT they are mine. 🙂


What I got out of both posts is freedom to look and freedom to dream.  Now go catch those shooting stars!

Happy Writing!