HaPpY 2017!


~ WeLcOmE 2017 ~

The clock has struck midnight and a new year has begun. I like the beginning of the year. You get a fresh start. A new chapter. Another chance.

As most of you know I’m against making resolutions. *heehee* I don’t like to  set myself up for disaster. Instead, I like to reflect on the year that’s just passed and focus on the positive. To build upon that and to lift my spirits in a positive movement.

So here’s my challenge to you all for 2017…

Make a list of FIVE things that were positive for you this year and one dream you would like to see happen. ONLY five? Yeppers, that’s it. Five. Seems easy, right? For some it will be. For others, it will be a stretch. Let’s face it, 2016 was a pretty rough year for most. Honestly, I’m glad it over. BUT I know there were some memorable moments hidden in there. Let’s go find them! Here’s mine:

  1. My ear surgery was more than successful! Not only was the doctor able relieve the pain and pressure, but I can hear now. It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever been able to hear properly out of my right ear.
  2. I signed with an agent! I’m still amazed and smiling. It’s wonderful to know you have someone in your corner. Rooting you on. Making you better. Wanting you to succeed as much as you want to.
  3. I debuted as illustrator! Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum was my first picture book where I was an author AND illustrator!!!
  4. I  kicked off my Marketing Business in 2016! I have three clients right now. This year I plan to take on a few more. I also was hired at a local business part-time. I really am enjoying it too. My boss and I get along (which is important… some of you know my horror story), I get to meet new people, and I’m constantly learning.  🙂
  5. I’m writing my first YA. While it doesn’t seem like a milestone to some. It is a mountain for this picture book writer! I’m really learning how to delve deeper and try different approaches to my writing. And guess what!???! It is helping my pb writing too! Imagine that!!!  🙂

Now my dream…

I have two really.

  1. Personally, I want to be medically better by the end of the year. I’ve already started on that road this past year, but there are some other things on the horizon that need to be cleared up.
  2. Business-wise, Make a sale. Of course, I know there are so many variables with this one, but I can produce the best work I can and give it my best shot. 😀

Okay, whew, yes, that last five-one was harder than I wanted it to be. hahahhaha. So what are your five things? It doesn’t have to be huge, just what is important to you. What is your dream? Let’s bring 2017 in on a positive note. Here’s to a wonderful year full of love, laughter, peace, & books!

Until next time…
Happy Writing!

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Thinking Thursday: Storyboarding

BLOG- StoryboardingStoryboarding

When I write a picture book the one thing I make sure of is page breaks. Are there enough? Page breaks can be scene changes or a climatic pause in the story. Think page turners. What will make the reader excited about turning to the next spread?

One way to make sure I’m covering the basics is I will map out a story. Or STORYBOARD it. This is where I will take chunks of text and begin to pace the story over pages.  Here are several ways I storyboard.

  1. I usually start on a piece of paper.

    Picture A

    I will create small thumbnails of my story as I go along. Each time I come to a break I’ll go to the next block. It doesn’t matter if you can’t draw a lick, this technique will help you visualize your story.
    I usually use this piece of paper once. When I have another story ready, I will follow the same format as Picture A.

  2. I also work a presentation board.

    Picture B

    Think of this as thumbnails on steroids. I create a bigger version of my thumbnail and I will also cut up my manuscript and put the words with the pictures they belong to. This will help me see if my pictures match the pacing of my story.
    I mark up the board with the same format as Picture A. Then I use post-it notes for my pictures and words. By doing this, I can reuse this board over and over again.

  3. I have made a small book too.
    Picture C

    Picture C

    Once I have my story where I like it I do the ultimate storyboarding. I create a book! What better way to experience your story??? This is the best test to page turns, story climaxes, and scenery changes. You will see the flow and pacing as a read will.

Now it’s your turn.

Pick up your current ms that is ready to go. Begin to storyboard. See where your breaks fall.

I know for me, I usually have a revision of two to do to make sure the pacing matches the page turns.

Happy Writing!

Until next time,


What do you think of this post?
Do you storyboard?
Do you use these techniques? Have any different ones you would like to share?
Post your storyboard on Twitter or Facebook and tag me in it! I would love to see what you are doing.


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www. Wednesday – KatieDavis.com

http://www.Wednesday —> www.KatieDavis.com

If you’ve been following me long, then I know you’ve heard me talk about this ^^^ lady!

Katie Davis is an author entrepreneur, video making, marketing guru kind of gal! Her website is full of information. It will encourage you to write, to market, to get your video cameras rolling, to putting yourself out there and have a platform to stand on.

Take some time to fully explore her website and listen to a podcast or two. You won’t regret the time spent.

Let me know what you think about Katie’s website.
Have you used any of her services?
Are there any other website you would like to see featured here?
Let me know!

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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Thinking Thursday – Writing/Illustrating Groups


Writing / Illustrating Groups

Why is it important to join groups?   I’ve heard a lot of people ask this. They are worried about ideas being stolen, techniques being copied, among other things. Honestly, I know of one person who has had this problem. ONE in fifteen years!

The benefits far outweigh the fears. In writing and illustrating groups I have found a tribe like no other. They get “me”!!! They know the struggles. The triumphs. The self-doubt. The isolation. The fear of rejection. The Snoopy Dancing of acceptance. EVERYTHING! They know ‘me’ and they know ‘you’ too. We all go through these things.

I’ve been able to share techniques, learn about workshops, books, conferences, all to help me better myself.

I’ve been able to help those who don’t have as much experience as me too. Although I feel as if I’m a newbie at things too. I have never stopped learning about my craft.

They are there to listen to your whine and offer the perfect cheese to go with it.   😀   <big, cheesy grin>

They are my support group, my cheerleaders, my friends.

You can find groups through email and social media. Here are a few I have found invaluable on Facebook:

There are so many more on Facebook. Just search for what you are looking for!

One forum I tell EVERYONE to check out is:

There are so many out there, but those are a few of my favorites.

Get out and mingle. You are sure to find great people and friends who know your heart.


Let me know what groups you have found beneficial?
What other ways do you have to mingle?
Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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www. KidLit411.com




Are you a writer and/or illustrator who would like to find a lot of information all in one place? Then KidLit411 is for you.

On the KidLit411 website, you can find information on agents, courses, conferences, contests, challenges, and so many other things. This is a great website that is compact and full of information.


Go check them out!


Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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#summersparks DAY 2: The Power of Doodling by Alison Hertz

Summer Sparks

The Power of Doodling
By: Alison Hertz


When Tracey asked me to create a blog post for the Summer Sparks Challenge, I knew that I had to share the power of doodling. I am a writer and an artist and over the years whether I’ve considered myself “a writer who likes to draw” or an “artist who enjoys writing” has flip flopped many times. What has been consistent throughout my life is using the art of doodling to both help spark creative flow and to “see” my characters and my story develop.


Whether or not you’ve ever used your writing tools (pen, pencil, computer) to doodle, it’s not too late to start. There is no drawing skill required for doodling and you might surprise yourself. You may have seen Sunny Brown on TED talks about the Power of Doodling and if you missed it, you can click on this link: https://www.ted.com/talks/sunni_brown. Her point and mine is that the act of letting your pencil flow across the page gets areas of your brain active and helps you tap into your creativity mind.

I have three different ways for you to use doodling when you sit to write a picture book or any other genre of your choice:


#1 Before you write, doodle. Sit down with a piece of notebook paper and just draw loopty-loos down the rows – this is a pre-cursive exercise that a child learning to write might be asked to do in school. Create rows of circles, wiggles, zig-zags, and arcs. Draw slow flowing lines across your page while your mind thinks about your characters and your story. Let your mind wander and don’t think about what your pencil is creating on the page. See your story unfold in your mind. Then begin writing.


#2 See your Character – What is she or he like? I don’t just mean physical characteristics like glasses or curly hair (unless these are essential parts of this character). I’m referring to how your character represents him or herself. Does she stands in a slumpy position or does she stand confidently? Doodle. Does he have something sticking out of his pocket that is a hint of more information about this character? Doodle. Does your character look down at his toes afraid of the world or look to sky ready for any challenge. What does your character eat? Doodle it. What does his bedroom look like? Doodle it. Who are his or her friends? What does your character like to do? Doodle all of these things. Doodles are super loose sketches for your eyes only. None of these things might end up in your book but all of them are important to getting to know your character.


#3 See your Story – Write a scene and then doodle something from it. Doodle an object, character, action, or setting from that scene or the next one. These doodles are for you so if you draw an oval to represent one character and a rectangle to represent another, that’s fine. This isn’t an art contest and it isn’t about how realistic you can draw a setting for your scene. Stick figures and geometric shapes are totally acceptable for doodling. Whatever you draw will not only help you see what is showing in the scene, “seeing your story” will help you reduce or tighten your word count. For Picture Books writers – if your character is wearing a hat, your text doesn’t need to describe it and if he or she is standing in a kitchen or a playground or anywhere else, your text never needs to describe your setting because the illustrator will show it. For Chapter Book and Novel writers – when you doodle a setting, you might realize that there could be a WHATEVER behind the WHOEVER doing something that will foreshadow a part of the plot. Think about books like Rebecca Stead’s WHEN YOU REACH ME, with all of the details for the story wrap up tucked throughout the story. Let doodling help you find where you can tuck in those details. See your story.


There are many books like John Truby’s THE ANATOMY OF STORY and Jordan E. Rosenfeld’s MAKE A SCENE that teach writers how to tell stories the way movies do; one scene at a time. The best written stories are the ones that allow us to jump in and live the story, see it all around us, be a part of it, and get to know the characters. Doodling (even blobs and stick figures) can help you to see your characters and your story before you write and while you write.


Alison Hertz

Alison K. Hertz



juggling reading wire

Q&A about Alison…

Did you always want to be an author?
    I began writing stories when I was nine years old at summer camp. At the end of each day, I would jot down a few sentences about the crazy activities we did and then make up different endings.

When did you start drawing?
    I have been drawing since I could hold a crayon. My teachers in elementary school thought that I wasn’t paying attention in class because I was so busy drawing the characters on the posters that decorated the room. Hey teachers, I was listening. I was just drawing, too.

What is your favorite media to work with?
    I love to draw with blue colored pencils. When I studied architecture and city planning in college, we were taught to sketch with non-photo blue so it would not show when we made copies. When I studied toy design, I sketched everything in blue pencils; beginning my drawings with light blue and working darker as the drawing became more defined. Now I use my blue sketches as the bottom layer in Sketchbook Pro on my computer.

Where do you come up with your story ideas?
    I’ve always worn many hats. I have been a circus performer, toy designer, camp director, teacher, author, illustrator, and a mom. There are many stories to create from my own experiences as well as from the silly things that I see happening around me everyday. If you don’t see stories unfolding around you, spend some time anywhere that kids hang out.

What made you decide to try to get your stories and your artwork published?
    I want to share my stories with lots of kids. The more giggles, the better. I also would love to hear that my stories inspire kids to read. Reading takes you on adventures and educates your mind about anything and everything you ever wanted to know.

Circus? Toy Designer? Really?
    Yes, I performed in the circus when I was 12-16 years old and yes, I designed hundreds of toys that were sold in major retail stores. I believe in Carpe Diem – Seize the Day. If there is something you want to learn to do – do it. Maybe you want to play piano, learn to speak Spanish, hike the Grand Canyon, learn how to play tennis, … If it’s legal and it’s safe, go for it.

Alison is the author of:




Writing Prompt

I host a daily drawing challenge called

Doodle Day LogoDoodle Day and the group and daily prompts are on Facebook. Whether you are someone who doesn’t think they can draw a straight line with a ruler or a professional artist, Doodle Day is a place to get the create juices flowing and it just might spark your next great idea.   CLICK ON THE DOODLE DAY LOGO to join Alison’s group and get loads of prompts!


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!

www.Wednesday… KidLit TV


KidLit TV, which will launch in the fall, will be the online video resource for the greater KidLit Community.

So why am I telling you about this web site now? There has been a FB group created for KidLit TV. This group will be your place to post videos or links to videos! Share your book trailers, news videos, interview videos, school visits, book signings, how-to advice on everything from creating awesome picture books to making animated presentations. You can also share others that you have found helpful, even if you have not created them. This is your video group in the KidLit world. 

I spoke with Julie Gribble, the creative brains behind KidLit TV and here’s what she had to say about it:


Our exciting new venture, KidLit TV, will leverage our experience with other forms of media to help parents, teachers, and librarians learn more about the world of children’s literature. It will feature interviews with children’s book authors and illustrators and will be an online visual resource for the greater KidLit Community.
The KidLit TV website and YouTube channel will be launching in fall 2014!

Remember the FB Group Page I mentioned earlier. There is a ‘soft’ launch going on TONIGHT! Julie and I will be online at 8 pm est to answer your questions and take suggestions.
If you haven’t received an invite to the virtual launch, let me know you would like to be invited. We’ll have to be friends on fb. You can friend me on my page. Also here is the page for the KIDLIT TV FB GROUP PAGE.

Hope to see you all there. Now, get those videos going!




Only three more days to sign-up for


There’s a line up full of great advice, story sparks, and some prizes scattered throughout.

So go to this JUNE 1st POST to SIGN-UP!

***Sign-up is June 1st through June 14th.  You MUST comment on the June 1st post, complete the challenge, and comment on the last post to be eligible for prizes.***