#PubDay for Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum in a Dish


#PubDay for
Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum
in a Dish!

It’s here! It’s here!

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Bring in the balloons! Throw the confetti!
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Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum in a Dish is now available on my publisher’s website!


A dish of bubble gum and learning to count has never been so much fun! Match colors and watch the bubble get bigger and bigger as you count higher and higher. Chomp, chomp, chew, chew. Look at the bubble you blew! Suggested age range for readers: 1-6

I’m just a little excited. *you couldn’t tell could you?* I am hitting TWO milestones with this book:
1) This is my debut as an illustrator. Some of you didn’t even know that I drew. But I do.  😀  Over the last few years, I’ve been honing my craft and studying others work. I’ve been learning my own voice for my illustrations too. I post tidbits and sneak peaks over on instagram.
2) This is my 10th picture book! *wow-oh-wow* I’m humbled. Truly, I am. I’ve been published by two small houses. (I will be adding a third soon!) They are so supportive and believe in my work and in me. Small publishing houses have some mighty big ❤ s!

I tried something new with this book. I put a call out for people who were interested in being on my LAUNCH TEAM. I had an amazing response… about 20 people.  *wow, again!* I sent them an ARC (Advance Reader’s Copy) pdf and my cover art. What they will do in return is give an honest review *I don’t expect 5 stars and bon-bons 😉 *, and a shout out on social media. Will this help? I dunno! So we shall see together, okay? I plan on writing a follow-up blog post on the results I see.

Thank you everyone for following me on my journey here. Here’s to more posts and books!


What do you think about my book?
What about a launch team? Do you think they are a good idea?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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Thinking Thursday – SUMMER SPARKS!

Summer Sparks

I hope you are ready for another challenge!???!

Yes, I’ll be hosting Summer Sparks once again this year! Have you been looking for this post? Are you ready to get those ideas sparking??? This year, I’m going to try something a little different. COMMENT on this post and let me know if you are planning on taking the challenge. BUT to qualify for any giveaways you must comment on every giveaway post. Yep, no pre-sign ups. Although I would love to know you are going to take the challenge. I want to keep this light and fun.

So what exactly do you need to do for this years challenge?

  1. FOLLOW this blog!  If you don’t already do this, email notification is over here.   —>
  2. COMMENT on this post. This is so I know you are taking the challenge. No cut off. If you have come into the challenge a little late, no problem. Comment now.  🙂
  3. THINKING CAPS on! You will need to come up with 14 pb ideas in 14 days. You are on the honor system and will take the pledge at the end of this challenge.
  4. COMMENT on the guest bloggers post. Let them know what you think. Did something click? Have you had a brain blast because of what they said? Do this especially if they are offering a giveaway.
  5. SHARE the posts! Seriously, help get the word out about the challenge and then what we are saying. Help spread the word.
  6. Friend/Like/Follow the guest bloggers! Let’s show them some linky love.
  7. Take THE PLEDGE at the end of the challenge! Let me know if you got your 14 ideas
  8. HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

While I still have a few spots open. If anyone who is picture book published would like to be a guest blogger. let me know!


Go to this page to read more about it and see lasts years posts.


Let me know that you will be participating in Summer Sparks 2015!!!!

Until next time,

Happy Writing!

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tidbits related to the kidlit industry. Click  ~HERE~  to be directed to my
Newsletter sign-up page.
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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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Feature Friday: ReFoReMo hosted by Carrie Charley Brown

Reading for Research Month

We know we love to write. We know we need to learn to write well to be published. So how do we go about to learning? There are classes we can take. Webinars we can watch. Speakers to listen to.

Another great way to learn?  R-E-A-D! Yes, read! By submersing yourself into your genre, you will see what works and what doesn’t. Read the classics to see what has carried them this far. Read the mid-list to see what can make you stay steady. Read the newly published to see what is on the pulse of publishing and how your writing can fit in.

By reading a combination of publishing years you can begin to see the patterns of publishing. Things that are considered ‘classics’ wouldn’t be published now. Stories that are coming out this year might not have been published 10 years ago. Use the current books as mentor text. You will see word count, topics, and trends that are similar and will help direct you to better writing.

Carrie Charley Brown came up with a genius of a plan to help writers collaborate together and learn from each other with mentoring texts. Her and I were talking the other day, and she graciously answered some of my questions:


Q1: Name of writing challenge?

Reading for Research Month, or ReFoReMo

Q2: Do you have a website?

Of course!  You can find more information at:


Q3: Date of sign-ups?

February 15-March 1

Q4: Date writing challenge runs?

March 1-31

Q5: Why did you come up with this challenge?

I’ve grown as a writer by participating in challenges such as PiBoIdMo, the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge, and ReviMo. At the same time, I read a lot of picture books as research tools and I wanted to share that inspiration with others.  

Q6: What do you hope people will gain from this challenge?

Guest author-educators will allow us to step into their shoes as they use picture books as tools. My hope is that picture book writers will gain a deeper understanding of how to use mentor texts to grow as writers. I also hope the consistent practice of reading picture books will immerse them into the form they write.

Q7: What else would you like to include?

Sometimes people don’t realize that fiction takes research, too. I write mainly picture book fiction and could not imagine writing without first understanding what is constantly being released in our market. Writers need to stick together and share. ReFoReMo will allow us to be there for one another in both fiction and nonfiction.





Carrie Charley Brown

Carrie Charley Brown juggles ideas every day as a children’s writer, teacher, blogger, and mom. She is the founder of the 2015 ReFoReMo Challenge, or Reading for Research Month. You can learn more about Carrie’s writing journey, her KidLit Services, ReFoReMo, and many other amazing authors and resources, at her blogsite Carrie On… Together!


Thanks Carrie!
I am also honored to be one of the Author-Educators for the challenge.   🙂

Hope you all will join us. Click on the link, banner, or ~ HERE~ to take you over there.

Let me know what you think about this post.
Have you read any great picture books lately?
Do you know of any writing challenges you would like to see featured here?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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Newsletter sign-up page.
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…Interrupting Previous Scheduled Program


This is not a test…

The ALA Awards Are This Morning!

ALA15logoI’m interrupting my regular blog posts and posting early, because…

The Awards are coming!

The Awards are coming!

Let me get off my horse and zip over and watch! You can too! It starts at 9 am, est!!!


You can follow along on Twitter too:  #ALAyma

Come back Wednesday to get a recap of the Awards!!!

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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Newsletter sign-up page.
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Marketing Your School Visits… WHO to contact


Marketing Your School Visits… WHO to Contact

Today I’m continuing my block of posts on…


So you  are a published author. You have several presentations ready.You want to get the word out that you are available for visits. Now you have the daunting task of trying to determine who to contact.

Here are some things I learned by trial and error:


Most of the people in your local community will probably already know you are a writer… especially your local librarian.  🙂
Contact the public libraries in your area and see if you can come in for story hour. Or maybe the would be interested in starting a story hour and you would love to help kick it off.

Contact your local schools. I call the front desk and speak with the receptionist. I tell them several things:

  1. Who I was.
  2. What I did.
  3. Where I lived.
  4. What I wanted to achieve.

Hi! I’m Tracey M. Cox, a children’s author. I live here in Georgia. I would like to send your contact person some information about my presentations I offer for school visits. Can you help me with that information?

By using those keywords of “author”, “school visit” “contact person”, I usually don’t have a very hard time finding out who I should contact.


Ahh, The sticky question of money. I will confess this. The first year I did not charge a fee. I went around locally and didn’t ask for mileage reimbursement either. I DID require them to allow me to sell my books. I wanted to get my ‘sailor legs’ under me. They were my guinea pigs *heehee* and I learned more than they could ever pay me for.

Now? Now I charge a fee, I charge for mileage (outside a 30 mile radius), and I require them to allow me to sell my books. Sometimes I can get them to pre-sell my books too, which is wonderful! Because I hate to run out of a particular book.

I think you should base your fees on three major things:

  1. WHERE are you located?
    Think honestly about this. I live in a rural community, 1 1/2 hours from a big city, 2+ hours from any major city. They will not have the funds a major city will have. They will not have the resources (unless they have an amazing volunteer-parent program) to do research on funding, grants, donation out reach. Because of these factors, I do not charge as much as someone in Atlanta or New York City.
  2. WHAT can you offer?
    How much knowledge do you have?  Experience is key. The more you know, the more you can offer.
    What all do you have to offer? Presentations are key here. Are you going to read a story? The writing process? Ideas session? How to become submission ready? Writing workshop? Specialty program? All this can lead to different types of presentations.
    Well-known awards speak volumes. Lesser known awards may or may not help with the rate you charge. So take into account of this.

Once you’ve gotten some great contacts locally, spread out. I radiated out of my local area and eventually put together a list of contact people in my whole state. After a few phone calls, you will begin to notice a pattern of who your contact person will be. I switch over from phone calls to websites. Most school’s websites list an email for you to contact.

I have found that your contact people can change from state to state…

  • Principal / Head Master
  • Media Specialist
  • Superintendent / Chief School Administrator

These are the main titles I have found for the contact people.


To keep all my information straight, I store everything on a spreadsheet. This helps keep everything in one spot. I include the school’s name, address, and phone number, and the contact person’s name and email. This way when I do a follow up OR begin again in the next school year, all my work has been done. All I will need to do is update any information as needed.

This is my School Visit Information spreadsheet. Feel free to use or modify to suit your needs.


Now that you have a contact person, start sending out your introductory email. Keep it brief, but informative. Get them hooked into wanting to book you. Kind of like all those queries we’ve been writing.  😉

Don’t forget to do a follow-up email 2-4 weeks later. This is a great ‘reminder’ that you had contacted them already and know they have busy schedules.

Contact them at least twice a year (this doesn’t include follow-up emails) I will do one at the beginning of the school year and then another one after winter break. You want to remind them about you and your presentations, but not seem too pushy.

I hope this helps break the ice on you getting your name out there. It’s another scary place us writers/illustrators put ourselves in. First with our stories and editors/agents. Now with our books and schools. Good luck!

Let me know what you think about this post.
Do you have other tricks on finding out who your contact person is?
Have a suggestion on something you would like to see covered?
Let me know!

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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