Monday, March 28, 2011

Need a New Story Idea? Play with Puppets!

I wasn't planning on writing the other day when I was spending time with my little guy. We were busy playing. We got out the puppets. Then he sat back and said, "okay Mom, go."

"But I don't know any stories right now," I said. It was early and I am not a morning person. (Read, I have absolutely no meaningful thoughts until at least 10 a.m.) But, when your little person is waiting for you to tell them a story and you have all these cute little characters like red monkeys, fairies with rainbow hair, blue and lime dragons, and a crazy orange guy with fuzzy hair to choose tend to get ideas.

So I put on a little puppet show. "Do another one!" he said. (I guess I did okay, but I had a pretty lenient audience.) I did another. And another. And another. You know what? I was starting to get ideas. Lots of ideas. Some even worthy of fleshing out in a manuscript.

I got out a notepad and jotted some notes. I put on lots and lots of puppet plays. I had fun, my little guy was happy, and I guess I was working too. Can't beat that!

If you're looking for a way to come up with some new ideas try playing with some puppets. You never know what you'll come up with! It helps to have a little person around to put on a show for, but kids love puppet shows so I suspect that you'll be able to find someone to appreciate your puppetry if you look around.

Warning: Playing with puppets can cause the user to act extremely silly! Use without caution.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Monster List of Picture Book Agents - Liza Pulitzer-Voges, Eden Street

Liza Pulitzer-Voges represents a lot of amazing authors. She worked at Kirchoff Wohlberg for 25 years before starting her own agency, Eden Street.

It was hard to find much current information on Ms. Voges, but there is one recent  interview at Mother.Write. (Repeat.) which is a must read.

She has a page at AgentQuery with a little submission information.

You can see some response statistics on Querytracker. It looks like Eden Street does not always respond to submissions, but don't let that stop you. Ms. Voges' agency is top notch.

The Eden Street website is great. It lists authors, news, and submission guidelines. Note that along with the submission guidelines that although there is an email address listed, Ms. Voges requests submissions via postal mail.

Liza Pulitzer-Voges represents some well published clients such as:

Alyssa Satin Capucilli

There is a full list on clients on the Eden Street website.

This post is part of the Monster List of Picture Book Agents. If you have any changes that you think should be made to this listing, please contact me or leave them in the comments. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Writing on TV

Yes, I watched it--Celebrity Apprentice. The episode where the celebrities have to write a picture book and one team wins and gets their book published. As I watched I could hear my writer friend's eyes rolling, even from way up here on my mountain. Yup, writers know that writing a good picture book isn't as easy as it looks by any means.

But if you think about it, with all the reality shows that are on TV it is rare to see any that involve writing because watching someone write is, well, boring. So there's the conundrum. Do we want to see writing on TV? I'm not sure. But if they are going to show people writing on TV the picture book is the logical choice because it is short and visual. I know, I know. Now everyone is going to think writing a picture book is easy. They are going to think every one can do it. Slush piles are going to grow even bigger. The last remaining houses open to submissions are going to close and go agented only.

I actually did wonder if the closing of submissions by Marshall Cavendish the week or so prior to the airing of Celebrity Apprentice had anything to do with the foreseen numbers of submissions they might get from being on national TV and judging and therefore approving(to the untrained eye) picture books that were literally written overnight.

So was it a good thing or a bad thing? I did like seeing a children's book editor and an illustrator on TV. I did like seeing picture books being featured and talked about. I guess it's just like everything else. You gotta take the good with the bad. Now wouldn't it be fun to see some real picture book authors compete to win a publication deal. What? No? Nobody would care because we're not famous? Oh. Okay. We'll just keep writing books for kids anyway, because that's what we do. And we're not afraid to work hard to get it right.

Friday, March 11, 2011


So, I just read a post by the awesome Mike Jung at the Emu's Debut blog. I was awed by his deep thoughts on success, his caring for writers, and amazed that the same quote by Marianne Williamson I go back to from time to time resonated with him too:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I also laughed about his thoughts on our interview. He had high hopes and aspirations. I would expect nothing less from him! So yeah, after reading all these deep and touching thoughts I remembered a story...about emu.

You see, when my husband and I moved to Washington state we took care of a farm on a one lane “highway” which was more of a long winding two-lane forested road through a bunch of farmhouses. There wasn't a lot of traffic besides the occasional car and logging trucks, all of which drove too fast in my opinion. It was winter, the road was covered in ice and snow, shouldn't people slow down a little?

Anyhow, we were out feeding the goats and chickens. We looked up to the road, and there in the middle of winter, running down the icy road was an EMU! Incase you don't know, emus--the animal type, not the debut author type--do not naturally belong in Washington state. It ran back and forth past the barn for quite a while slipping on the ice and freaking out. No one came looking for it, so we decided we'd better catch the poor thing.

'Our' Emu.

The thing is, emus are not that easy to catch. My husband, being the wild man he is, got his lasso and ran after the giant bird. He tried to lasso it while I kept it from running off into the forest. Once he got that lasso over the bird's head it was a wild and crazy ride. Of course, it tried to run. He sort of tackled it, but the bird was tough. And it fought back. Emus have really powerful legs and sharp claws. Very sharp. It kicked. It sliced! Right through my husband's sweatshirt like it was nothing. It tried to gut him! Luckily he was wearing lots of layers since it was so cold out. And, being the feisty animal lovers that we are, we wrangled that ungracious emu down to the farm and built it a nice little place to stay. It took all winter to find the person he belonged too, but they were really happy to have him back. And we were sorta glad to have him gone. Emus--at least the animal type--are not at all cuddly.

So, that's my emu story. Not nearly as touching as Mike's, but emu-y in it's own way.

Oh my gosh! I love this book cover!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bedtime Monster is an App!

I found out today that Bedtime Monster is available as an iphone app! How cool is that? I don't have an iphone or an ipad but I'm going to have to find a way to check it out. What are the chances I'm going to find a mountain person with an iphone? If you want to check it out, you can find it here. I'd love to hear what you think!