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Get Your Work Critiqued! #PBCritiqueFest

24 Oct
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Special thanks to Picture Book Spotlight’s Mr. Brian Gehrlein for sponsoring the FUNTASTICALLY KIND AND FREE #PBCritiqueFest. There’s no trick to this Halloween treat. Simply fill out the Google survey and you’re eligible to receive ONE of THIRTY-ONE critiques from some of the industry’s finest wordsmiths, artists, and agents.

The clock is ticking, you have until October 31st to enter!!!

My uber talented critique group partner Ms. Cheryl Johnson won last year and HIGHLY recommends the experience to one and all!!!

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StoryStorm 2019: May Bountiful Ideas Rain Upon Us

1 Jan

StoryStorm, the brainchild of creative picture book penner Tara Lazar, is an inspiring challenge to writers of all inclinations to create 30 individual ideas for a story/plot/concept/book throughout the month of January. To further motivate, Lazar’s site provides a daily insightful guest blog from fellow writers/illustrators.

StoryStorm is the evolution of Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo), which centered exclusively on picture book ideas, and occurred during the hectic month of November (it clashed with National Novel Writing Month). Registration is free, just make sure to post a comment with your name on the registration post, and then you’ll be able to win a slew of cool kid lit related prizes, permitting you post a comment on each inspiration guest post. Be sure to also subscribe so your inbox will be filled with daily inspiration.

Both incarnations are widely popular with thousands of published and aspiring authors as well as classrooms of students participating to develop routine muse-filled habits while embracing their inner creator. In 2018, I decided to continue on my own with PiBoIdMo in November, but am also happy and encouraged to creatively ride out the ‘Storm in 2019!


I’m already one idea in with Wood You?, a meta picture book response to deforestation and both the liberal and conservative stances on protecting the earth’s trees. Think of it as the Lorax, but less furry and more direct and analytical. I certainly need to work on my pitches, as that book (from what I just wrote) sounds AWFUL!!!! 🙂

Bring on the Ideas: 2014 PiBoIdMo

29 Oct

It’s that time of year again!

Now that we’ve filled our mouths with Halloween candy, allow that sweet sugar to muse our brains with 30 delicious ideas for picture books. If you haven’t already, please sign-up for the 6th Annual Picture Book Idea Month hosted by the lovely Tara Lazar. On a personal note, for the second year in a row, my 9th grade English honors students will participate for extra credit. I hope to share their creative ideas with you in the future!


2013 PiBoIdMo

24 Oct

While fall is cooling our bodies as winter prepares to visit, allow Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month to warm your creative soul!


CraveWriting has participated for the past three years and looks forward to awakening from a dormant period of children’s book writing hibernation. We strongly encourage all imaginators to participate by visiting and creating 30 original picture book ideas during the month of November.

Happy imagining everyone!

Writing Contest: 2012 Family Circle Fiction

31 Mar

“Art has never been a popularity contest.” – James Levine

2012 Family Circle Fiction Contest

2011 Contest Winners

One crucial way to prepare for a contest is to study the previous winners. Click to here to read 2011’s winning entries.


*From the official Family Circle Contest Website, for full details please visit this site.

Contest begins March 1, 2012, and ends September 7, 2012. Entries must be postmarked on or before September 7, 2012, and received by September 14, 2012. Entries will not be acknowledged or returned.

ENTRY: Submit an original (written by entrant), fiction short story of no more than 2,500 words, typed, double-spaced and page numbered on 8-1/2x11paper. Entries must be unpublished and may not have won any prize or award.

LIMIT: Up to two (2) entries per person will be accepted but each entry must be a unique short story. No group entries.

ELIGIBILITY: Legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia, 21 years of age or older are eligible to enter.

WINNER SELECTION: On or about October 15, 2012, a qualified panel of judges will judge eligible entries equally on the basis of sustained writing ability (25%), topic creativity (25%), originality (25%), and overall excellence (25%). One (1) grand prize winner and two (2) runners-up will be selected. In the event of a tie, a qualified panel of judges will determine the winner based on the criterion of overall excellence.

PRIZING: One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive a prize package including a check for $750.00, a gift certificate to one (1) course of his or her choice, up to a value of $610.00, one (1) year AvantGuild membership valued at $55.00, and a one (1) year How-to Video membership valued at $99.00. Total approximate retail value of grand prize package $1,514.00. One (1) Second Place winner will receive a check for $250.00, a one (1) year AvantGuild membership valued at $55.00, and a one (1) year How-to Video membership valued at $99.00. Total retail value (?RV?) of second place prize package $404.00. One (1) Third Place winner will receive a check for $250.00 and a one (1) year AvantGuild membership valued at $55.00. Total RV of third place prize package $305.00. One (1) prize per household.

Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

Writing Contest: The Writer’s Short Story 2012

27 Mar

From The Writer Website:

Here’s your chance to win money and get published!

In collaboration with Gotham Writers’ Workshop, Writer’s Magazine is sponsoring The Writer2012 Short-Story Contest, which offers great prizes to the top three finishers!

Contest prizes:

• First prize: $1,000; a free 10-week creative writing workshop offered online by Gotham Writers’ Workshop ($420 value); publication in The Writer and on; and a one-year subscription to The Writer. • Second prize: $300; free enrollment in a four-week How to Get Published seminar taught online by a literary agent and Gotham Writers’ Workshop ($150 value); publication on; and a one-year subscription to The Writer. • Third prize: $200; free enrollment in a four-week How to Get Publishedseminar taught online by a literary agent and Gotham Writers’ Workshop ($150 value); publication on; and a one-year subscription to The Writer.

Contest Overview: We’re looking for your original, unpublished short stories up to 2,000 words. Entries must be in English and submitted by the author, who must be at least 18 years old at the time of entry. No explicit sex, graphic language or graphic violence. Entries will be judged based on creativity, sense of story, characterization, and overall quality of writing, including grammar, punctuation and syntax. Writers may submit more than one story, but each story must be accompanied by a separate entry fee. Complete rules and FAQs are available at

Entry fee:$10 per story submitted.Deadline: All entries must be submitted online by midnight (EDT) on April 30, 2012.

CONTEST: Twas the Night Before Christmas Remix

21 Dec

Twas several nights before Christmas and you have a chance to find an extra gift under the tree this year. All you need is some holiday cheer, a plateful of rhyme, and a stocking full of creativity. Interested? Then enter an online contest asking participants to pen an original version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” To enter or find out more head on over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog! But you better hurry up as entries are due no later than Thursday, December 22nd at 11:59pm.

To read the original 1822 poem by Clement Clarke Moore click here.

Special thanks to Erik from “This Kid Reviews Books” for spreading the good word about this festive contest!

Check back soon as I’ll be posting my entry.

Happy holiday contest writing imaginators!

CONTEST: Katherine Paterson Prize

1 Jun


Official Website:

Deadline: June 30th (postmarked)

Fee: $20

How: Online or snail mail.

Prize: 1st: $1K & publication / 3 HMs: $100 (1-YA, 1-MG, 1-PB)

Specifics: Unpublished story or novel excerpt. Maximum: 10,000 words. May include a synopsis if entry is an excerpt.

Be sure to visit the contest site for the complete texts of last year’s winner (young adult fiction), and the runners up in young adult fiction, middle grade, and picture book.

2011 Judge: Kimberly Willis Holt

Info: Anyone can enter. All entries considered for general publication as well as for the Katherine Paterson Prize. Multiple entries permitted. Each one $20. E-mail: w/ questions.

Be sure to search the Hunger Mountain website as they have other contests available throughout the year in various genres.

CONTEST: 2011 Cheerios New Author

19 May

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

The chances of winning a writing contest may be as slim as being picked up out of publisher’s ‘slush pile,’ but a competitive nature and a ‘what if’ mentality can give you the confidence to enter.

For those imaginators who are 18 years of age, a legal US citizen/resident and are unpublished (have never been paid or written work), I urge you to enter the 2011 Cheerios New Author Contest.

Since March 22 and until July 15th, Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program will be accepting electronic submissions of original picture book manuscripts (text only) of up to 500 words.  Please note that information is available in both english and espanol. It’s nice to see that applicants can enter manuscripts in espanol as well. For more specific rules please consult their website.

There is no entrance fee, and the grand prize s $5,000 with a possible contract with Simon and Schuster, with two runner-up $1,000 prizes. The chance of having a mini-version of your book placed in boxes of Cheerios is too good to pass up. But contestants beware.

The key phrase, “No limit on number of entries per person” may distinguish yours fears, but just keep in mind that each manuscript entered into the contest is a sort-of ‘exclusive submission.’

For example, If I feel one of my stories fits the mold for this contest, can I still send it to an agent or editor? I recommend using caution. For example, if you submit a manuscript to a publisher, typically you’ll wait up to 3 months before it’s understood they aren’t interested. Consequently, if you enter the contest in July, if you are a winner you will have to only wait 3 months (October 15th, 2011).

So should you send all of your manuscripts? I say choose 1 to 3 that you feel fit the needs of the contest, and if you don’t hear anything on October 15th, give the manuscript(s) another round of editing and then send to multiple editors and agents.

Judging from past winners, I would keep it short, cute, poetic, and universal. This has to be a book that all demographics could appreciate and identify with.

Special thanks to fellow imaginator Christine Cassello for reminding CraveWriting about this wonderful contest!

Good luck to all you imaginators out there!

CONTEST: FOX Comedy Script

16 Feb

“In humor, as in golf, the follow-through is as important as the swing.” – John Lahr, New Yorker reviewer

“Screenwriting is like ironing. You move forward a little bit and go back and smooth things out.” – Paul Thomas Anderson

Imaginators shouldn’t limit themselves to one medium to express their creativity. While children’s writing has grown to become my passion, a hunger for screenwriting still echoes deep within my belly.

If you dabble in scripts, or have a desire to write screenplays, I recommend the 4th annual FOX-NYTVF (New York Television Festival) Comedy Script Contest.

There is no fee to enter, and the contest is open to YS residents 18 years and over. Scripts should be written for a original 30-minute comedy series. Entries are accepted beginning on April 4th and close on April 18th, or when 1,500 submissions have been received. The winning writer will be awarded a $25,000 and a developmental deal with FOX. For official rules please visit the

Having entered my pilot ‘Habitat for Insanity’ two years ago, I can say this contest is the perfect excuse to motivate you to pen an entire TV script. Why not give it a shot, and maybe we’ll be laughing at your brilliance.

Good luck everyone!