April happens to be my favorite month. The air is warmer and softer. The light changes. Nature is trying on all her new finery. And some of my favorite people have birthdays this month :)
So in honor of April, I have surprises for you, my friends! (And may I just say, I hope you all ate your Wheaties this morning because I have a lot to say - which I know you'll find shocking since I'm normally such a model of succinctness :))
First, after much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, I have managed the MAP OF MY DREAMS for Phyllis's World Tour. It is so cool that you will be amazed! Here's what you can do:
You can zoom out and see all the places in the world she's been at one time, or zoom in so you can easily click on each marker.
You can change the view from map, to satellite, to hybrid, to terrain!
You can click on the individual markers and they will tell you who she visited in that spot, show a photo you can click to enlarge and clarify, give a short description of her visit, and include a link directly to the associated blog post (it says website which I couldn't change but click on it and it will take you to the blog post.) (Also, I could only attach one link per marker, so for a couple people who posted 2 or 3 times, I put the main post.)
And it has purple markers for the main tour and yellow markers for the school tour!
Check it out! (The only annoying thing is the ad I can't get rid of!)
Here's a screen shot that shows you the whole map without the ad :)
|click HERE for interactive map|
Of course, it makes me notice all the empty areas, so if you know anyone in South America or Greenland or Turkey or such like who wants to join the tour, let me know :)
I know you will all want to try it out right away, but come right back, because more good stuff is coming!
In case you missed it over the weekend, Phyllis visited Rena in Alberta, Canada, (there was an enchanted castle and bull riding involved!) and one of Pam's literacy groups in Atlanta, GA (very cute kids and Phyllis learned a lot about Dr. King, Ghandi, and Rosa Parks!)! Pam will have more posts to come as Phyllis visits with other kids.
It's been a while since the Valentines' Contest, so what better way then a Fabulous Fun-Filled Contest to celebrate spring, and April, and writing for kids, and all the awesome April Birthdays (mine, my dad's, my niece's and my nephew's, your friend and mine Renee's of No Water River, and please, if anyone else celebrates this month let me know and I'll add you to this celebrity list :))
Here are the rules:
Write a children's story about a very creative or unique birthday celebration in 1-300 words! (The 1 is for Cathy if she needs an extra challenge.. and Cathy? it also has to rhyme! :))
It may be prose or poetry, so those of you participating in Poetry Month can join in. Those of you who are participating in the A To Z challenge may title it with anything you want to fit your letter of the day :) Those of you who are participating in 12 X 12 will have your manuscript for the month! And for those of you not participating in any of the above and feeling a little left out, this is your chance to be part of something far less time-consuming :)
Entries must be posted on your blog (or in the comment section of my contest blog post on April 21 if you don't have a blog) between Saturday April 21 and 11:59 PM EDT Tuesday April 24. Add your entry-specific link to the list that will go up with my special post that Saturday. I will not post on Monday April 23 so the list will stay up.) I'm still picking out prizes, but there will be prizes and they will be good and I will let you know when I decide what they are :) (You are invited to suggest prizes if there's something your little hearts especially desire :)) If there are fewer than 20 entries there will be one prize. If there are more than 20 entries there will be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes! The number of entries will also determine the number of finalists that will be posted for you to vote on Monday April 30. (I'm trying not to skip Would You Read It or Perfect Picture Books or overload you with extra posts, hence the wait til Monday the 30th!) (And if more than 20 people comment that they have too much to do in April and won't enter, I will move the contest to May, even though *sob, sniff* it will no longer be The Birthday Month!)
I have a very special extra post that will go up tomorrow! (Yes, tomorrow, even though I usually don't post on Tuesday - it was either that or stuff it into this already overly long post!) But you're going to want to see this one. It is a guest post from the lovely Cori Doerrfeld in which she will share with us how she created her newest book, Little Bunny Foo Foo! Original and published mss will be included so you can see the difference, as well as her first vision of the art and how it morphed into the final version! It's not often you get to see so much process, and Cori has been very kind to share, so I hope you'll all find a little time tomorrow (or when you have a few minutes) to read it.
Now, to finish up this very long post (I always have so many things to share, and only 3 days a week to do it!) we have a quick Oh Susanna question. (The inclusion of Oh Susanna isn't a surprise on Monday, but the question is always a surprise, so it still counts :))
Carter asks, "How many submission-ready manuscripts should I have in my pocket before I begin querying agents? I know which one I want to lead with, but I assume I should have a number of others for an interested agent to read when considering representation."
I would say that, as with so many things in this business, a lot depends on the agent. For some agents, one strong manuscript is all they need. But I think most will want to see more, especially with picture books. My answer would be, lead with your strongest manuscript and have 3 others waiting as back up - enough to show that you've got more than one story in you, and preferably a little bit of a range of your style (if you have a range of style.) For example, if your lead manuscript is roll-on-the-floor funny, maybe one of your others should be a quieter/more thoughtful/different emotion type of story if you also write that kind of story. However, that very much depends on your writing style - some authors produce funny, or emotional, or whatever every single time and that's what they're known for. Basically, you want to have enough to show that the agent will hopefully like at least a couple.
What do the other writers out there think? Would you recommend more than 3 back-ups? Less?
Thank you all for sticking it out to the end of this post! :) Please, have an extra donut on me! See you tomorrow with Cori, and Wednesday with the March Pitch Pick and Delores's Would You Read It pitch. I hope you all have LOTS of fun with the map! :)