PiBoIdMo Day 7-9… by Tracey M. Cox




Hiccups In the Road

What happens when you get thrown off track? When the wind is taken out of your sails? When the world doesn’t make sense?

You take a pause. You gather your loved ones close. You try to make sense of this crazy world.

Last Friday, I found out one of my best friends died. Unexpectedly. Just poof. He’s gone. His wife and children are devastated, his friends are devasted, and the world kept turning. I stopped writing, trying to come up with ideas. Honestly, I hadn’t read a post since then. I’ve spent this weekend regrouping. Taking time with my family. Letting my mind come back to normal.

But this morning I woke up itching to get back into PiBoIdMo. I dropped Son#3 off at school and came back home to work a little.

I’m sharing this with you to let you know that even with 30 Ideas looming, things happen… good and bad. If you need to take a break? TAKE IT! Don’t feel guilty. You’re a writer… you’ll write.

Now I’m playing catch up. 🙂 That’s okay. I have two days to work on, plus today’s post. So this is what I’ve gotten out of it so far…

Day 7
Idea Generator


Don’t be afraid to be silly. Cut a piece of paper into small strips. Write a word on each piece. Use different categories like… People, places, things, holidays, and actions. Put them in a jar or a hat, mix them up, and pull two or three slips out. Wacky ideas? Who cares! Some of the best books are totally off the wall. Need an example: Green Eggs & Ham! I mean really? Wow!


Day 8

DangerGeneral.svg.medWhat will get us all? Distractions! Facebook, family, squirrels… And nope, I had not read this post until today! *see above note* Sometimes distractions are a good thing. They will take our mind off of NOT writing a ding-dang thing, but they can be distracting us from doing our work too. Sometimes we can wire our brain and get into a routine to prepare the juices to begin flowing. So get off of Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest, pay no attention to the huge squirrel looking for the pecans that you need to pick up, and write!

Day 9
Question Everything


What can the future hold? A lot when you are four! Ask one and you’ll see that the possibilities are endless. Can’t climb a tree? Use spring shoes. Can’t fly? Grow wings or strap on a jet pack. Can’t never could. It does a writer wonders to think like the age group you are writing for. I guess that’s why I love writing picture books. It is an age of innocence, of learning, of exploring, of thinking anything is possible.


So how are you doing? I’ve got 6 ideas!!! Yay.

Let me know how you are doing?
What observations have you made about your writing?
I’d love to know what you think.

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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PiBoIdMo Day 1-3… by Tracey M. Cox



PiBoIdMo is off and going!!!! I’m wondering how you are doing?

Me?   Well, I’m getting it going too. 🙂 I’ve got my cup of joe, my thinking cap on, and my laptop open to today’s post. Yes, letting that inspiration strike. So what have I written? One idea. Yes, one. I have the inkling for number two, but one for sure so far. Here’s what I’ve gotten out of the past three days…

Day 1
Stretch the Truth

Don’t be afraid to go silly and outrageous with your writing. Think about some of the great pbs that are being published now… a picture-less picture book, some taken from songs, other twist older stories around. Take time to think like a child. I remember I had a very wild and vivid imagination when I was little. *my poor mother* Tap back into that and use it to it’s full potential.

Day 2
Free Your Mind

Do something different. Do you write? Doodle! Do you illustrate? Use a different medium. Do something totally different and immerse yourself in it. Enjoy doing it and let your mind ease. I have found that that alone will get the juices going. That’s why I will think of something while I’m taking a shower, or riding in the car looking at the scenery passing, or taking a walk. By letting go, our mind is free to create. In other words, DON”T STRESS about writing. 😉  I know easier said than done.

Day 3
Time Management

Tick-Tock, who’s afraid of the clock? Besides Captain Hook? Me! Yep, it’s hard to squeeze writing into life. You have jobs, family, home, events, and something is always going on or popping up. You want to write, right? How bad do you want it? I have found that if you want something bad enough, you will find a way. I can remember when my boys were little. I would write during wrestling practice, at the ball field, when they would take naps. I got up early or went to bed late. Now that they are grown? I still have to squeeze my writing time in, but I DO! I don’t write every day, but it is regularly. Plus I have my voice recorder on my phone to catch ideas while I’m not near paper or laptop.

So there is my summary of the first 3 days of PiBoIdMo. Btw, I stopped writing this post because idea #2 took off and I had to come back to finish it. See, making time to write!

Happy writing!

Let me know how you are doing on your PiBoIdMo journey.
Do you have some ideas flowing yet? It’s only the beginning of the month. There’s plenty of time.


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Read!!!Celebrate Picture Books!!!

It’s November and that means it’s Picture Book Month


And it’s Picture Book Ideas Month…



Can you hear me cheering?????? */*  */*  */*

Take time to read a great picture book every day. If you are a writer or illustrator, click on the PiBoIdMo banner above and join Tara Lazar’s month long idea generating adventure. Today is the first day and sign-ups go through this week. So it’s not too late to join.

I’ll be journaling about PiBoIdMo this month and would love to see a few others join me in the adventure.

Let me know what you are going to do to celebrate picture books.

Happy Writing!

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~ Happy Halloweenie ~ and a Spooky Recipe for Writers by Tracey M. Cox


It’s Halloweenie and it’s time for writers to have a magical spell!!!!

It’s October 31st and I thought why should the kiddies have all the fun?!? I looked over some of my articles I had written over the years and I came upon a secret spell. One just for writers.

WHAT?!!!? you say. There are no magical spells to help writers?!!!?

Well, I beg to differ. *sly smile* See there are certain ingredients you can add, mix them together, and you have a sure fire way of honing your craft and becoming a better writer. See, I stumbled upon this one dark and stormy night…


… The crazed face, masked by the glowing embers, could not be of an ordinary writer. No, only one who had gone mad. A swirling cloud of smoke erupted from the large black pot as the writer flung out her arms. She shook a fist at the ceiling. “You said there was no such thing. Thought you could hide it? HA! You were wrong. Do you hear me? I’ll show you.”

Turning to the table the writer snatched up a worn tattered book. “The recipe? I found THE recipe,” she calls out to no one and everyone.

One yellow page turns after another. Finally her finger rests below a name. Her laughter echoes off the walls sending spiders and rats scurrying. “Waaahahahaaaaaaa. ‘How to Write Children’s Story and Get It Published…”

With a clash of thunder, lightning flickered an eerie glow on the room. The wind howled has it increased.

“…Bits of pencil lead, gallons of tears and sweat.

A character in trouble, an ending they can’t forget.

Dashes of plot twist to turn readers loop de loops.

Throw in a CWIM book and names of writer chat groups.

Conference notes, newsletters, an editor’s ear.

Bubble, boil, simmer and rejections you’ll never fear.

Let it cool off for a week, two, or three.

Add your critique group to point out what you didn’t see.

Five heaps of patience, determination, and trust as the words you pluck.

Rewrite, revise, then send it off and…Good Luck.”

Platform Building… What Is It and Why Is It Important by Tracey M. Cox

 PLATFORM BUILDING… What Is It and Why Is It Important


Now that I have wrapped up my blog posts on Author Visits, I would like to go back to my regular schedule of post. 🙂

So Platform Building is still a hot topic. Below I have a video where I talk about Platform Building and Branding in general. As the weeks go on, I will go more into the different social media outlets and how to use them more effectively. Hopefully, with video! 🙂

So bear with me and I hope you get something out of it.


Let me know what you thought of my ideas and video.
Do you have a certain Social Media Outlet you would like to see?
Have questions about a Social Media Outlet that you would like to see addressed?
Let me know.

Until later…

Happy Writing!

Free Pass Friday: Q&A SCHOOL VISITS… How to Prepare


Today I’m continuing my block of post on…


Every now and then I will have interviews, Q&As, and such that give you an inside look. I will be posting them under my Free Pass Friday series.

I held a live Q&A the other night and would like to share the result with all of you. There were a lot of great questions. So here is the video:

I hope you enjoyed it and that it answered some of the questions you might have had about Preparing for SCHOOL VISITS.

Let me know what you think about what all I said.
Do you have any questions?
Is there another angle you would like to see covered?
What do you do to prepare for a school visit?

Until next time…

Happy Writing!

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www. WHERE Can You Hold a School Visit


www. Where Can You Hold A School Visit

Today I’m continuing my block of posts on…


A few people have asked me where am I able to hold a SCHOOL VISIT at? My answer to this question is literally almost anywhere! In today’s technology, we don’t have to physically be somewhere to be able to see and hear someone.

While I absolutely LOVE going to a school and holding an in person visit, that may not always be an option. Distance and school budgets can be a big factor.

Schools budgets are getting tighter and tighter. While they encourage interaction, they may not be able to afford an author’s honorarium, plus traveling expense.

I have had several schools in-state that want to book me, but because of the travel expense they cannot afford it. There is mileage rate. I charge $0.56/mile, which is Federal Standard Mileage Rate. For places where I have over 2+ hours driving time, I request a hotel for the night before. If there is an extended drive, authors can ask for plane tickets too.

???So What To Do???

Welcome to the internet! 🙂

You can still visit schools by offering online visits. I offer these through Skype or Google+Hangouts. If you do a Google+Hangouts On Air, you can record the event for later use too.

Set up is simple.

If you have a Google email account you are ready to go. Hangouts selection is on a column bar on the right-side of your screen. Add your contact person to one of your circles and you can connect with the via Hangouts.

For Skype, you’ll need to create an account and download the free software. Add your contact person and you are ready.

I always like to do a test run with the school. This helps get any bugs out, wiring difficulties, sound check, and visual components.

There is a website you can sign up with: Skype In the Classroom, where you can post your presentations.
PROS: Great place to get your name out there. You are seen world wide. Your not restricted by regions.
CONS: Your presentations have to be free. I do ask them to send home a few flyers. (One on me, my bio, and one about my books, which also includes my website.) I also send them a flyer so they can announce that I will be ‘visiting’ their school.

It’s a wonderful experience. I have visited New Jersey, Alabama, Texas, and a few other places with this great avenue.

If you choose to do this: For the free ones, may I suggest paring down one or two of your presentations. Maybe do a quick reading and then allow 10 minutes for q&a. Maybe send a form before-hand letting them explore the writing process and then you can go over it and give them 10 minutes for follow-up and/or q&a.

The point being, the only thing to stop you from visiting a school is your own creativity. So that shouldn’t stop any of you. We are writers and illustrators after all. 🙂

Hopefully this gave you some ideas and maybe got you thinking some too.

Let me know what you think about online visits?
What do you think about in person visits?
Do you have any questions about online or in person visits?
Let me know.

Until next time,

Happy Writing!

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