Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sorry for the last minute notice but I just found out about this. I've signed up - I love the pressure! You should sign up too!

7 Picture Books in 7 Days!
Sponsored by

In the spirit of National Novel Writing Month ("NaNoWriMo") where
people across the country try to write a complete novel in one month,
the fine folks at have decided to start the first
ever National Picture Book Writing Week, affectionately nicknamed

The goal? To write 7 picture books in 7 days.

All NaPiBoWriWee participants should register on my website
) and comment on my blogs every day with your own progress.

For those of you who participate in the first annual NaPiBoWriWee, I
will select a winner at random on the 7th day - that winner will
receive an autographed copy of my latest picture book, "SHINING STAR:
THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY" (Lee & Low Books, 2009).

(For more info on the book, go here:

The basic rules? Just write 7 complete and separate picture books in
one week. Each picture book must have a clear beginning, middle, and
end. There is no required minimum word count because picture book
lengths can vary from 50 words to 2000 words, depending on the genre.

I will be posting a blog every day for seven days with picture book
writing tips and encouragement and updates on my own progress, plus
links to The Three Silly Chicks (http:// who will also be providing similar
helpful blog tips.

For everyone who has a website or blog - you are encouraged to promote
NaPiBoWriWee on your blog/website/myspace/Facebook/Twitter. I only
request that you provide a link to my website -

And for those of you attending the national Society for Children's
Book Writers & Illustrators ( conference in August,
let me know and I'll arrange for an informal gathering during the
conference so we can meet in person and celebrate our first

For more info, contact me at

To summarize, the basic rules:

1. Midnight May 1st to 11:59 p.m. May 7th: Write 7 separate and
complete picture books.
2. You are NOT allowed to write the same picture book in 7 variations.
Each book must be complete and separate.
3. No minimum word count. Instead, each book must have a clear
beginning, middle and end.
4. You are allowed to brainstorm and research book topics before May
5. You are NOT allowed to write a single word of your draft until
midnight May 1st.
6. There is NO minimum word count required. The fine folks of
NaPiBoWriWee require nothing but your word of honor. We will embrace
the Honor Code. If you say you have written 7 complete picture book
drafts in 7 days, we will believe you. Besides, why would you lie to
us? You're writing picture books for little children! Picture Book
Authors are nice, honest people who would never lie!
7. Please register on in order to write comments
on Paula's blog every day with your progress and questions.
8. If you plan to blog about your NaPiBoWriWee journey, please include
a link to:
9. A winner will be chosen from random of all the people who comment
from May 1-7 on That winner will receive an
autographed copy of Paula Yoo's latest picture book biography,
"SHINING STAR: THE ANNA MAY WONG STORY" (Lee & Low Books 2009) by June
2009 when the book is released.
10. For those of you attending the national Society of Children Book
Writers & Illustrators ( conference in August, let
me know and I'll arrange for an informal gathering during the
conference so we can meet in person and celebrate our first

Good luck and I look forward to writing 7 picture books in 7 days with

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What Your Blog Says About Your Personality

I found this on the Shrinking Violets' blog and it was fun and interesting so I thought I'd share it. There's a site called that tells your personality type (based on your blog) using the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator.

I checked out my blog, Habitual Rhymer, and it said my personality type, based on my blog, is an ESTP - Extrovert, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving. Here's how they describe ESTP people:

ESTP - The Doers

The active and playful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention . They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new thatn following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

I also took a Meyers Brigg-type assessment at It said I am an ESFP type - Extrovert, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving. Here's how they describe ESFP people:

- "Entertainer". Radiates attractive warmth and optimism. Smooth, witty, charming, clever. Fun to be with. Very generous. 8.5% of the total population.

You should try both of these - they're fun!

Friday, April 17, 2009


I meant to post this sooner but I forgot - duh! There's a great contest on Winston Breen's website:

He has a puzzle every day, starting yesterday and going until April 22. Every day, someone with the correct solution to that day's puzzle will be chosen at random and will win a copy of his latest book The Potato Chip Puzzles. At the end of the week, one person with all seven correct solutions, will be chosen at random and will win every single one of G.P. Putnam's Sons Spring 2009 children's and YA books, plus advance reading copies of numerous Fall 2009 books!

So, even if you didn't start yesterday (I missed it too if it makes you feel better) you can still enter for the rest of the daily prizes. Also, the previous puzzles are still available so you can solve them and enter for the grand prize. I just emailed the solution to today's puzzle (I think it's the correct solution) and plan to do the rest of them. I'm also going to buy the book tomorrow - it looks great!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poems by Arnold Spilka and me

I found a poem by Arnold Spilka that reminded me of a poem I wrote my Freshman year in college. Here's Mr. Spilka's poem:


Don't tell me that I talk too much!
Don't say it!
Don't you dare!
I only say important things
Like why it's raining where.
Or when or how or why or what
Might happen here or there.
And why a thing is this or that
And who is bound to care.
So don't tell me I talk too much!
Don't say it!

Here's my poem. The assignment was to write a poem about myself as an introduction to the other students in class. All the other poems were really serious - oops!


I think I'm too short.
My friends say "Yes". My mother says "No".
I think I'm too fat.
My friends say "Yes". My mother says "No".
I think I talk too much.
My friends say "Yes". My mother says "No".
I think I'll move back home.
My friends say "YES!", my mother says "NOOOO!".

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jack Prelutsky

Here's one of my favorite Jack Prelutsky poems:


I am the only ME I AM
who qualifies as me;
no ME I AM has been before,
and none will ever be.

No other ME I AM can feel
the feelings I've within
no other ME I AM can fit
precisely in my skin.

There is no other ME I AM
who thinks the thoughts I do;
the world contains one ME I AM,
there is no room for two.

I am the only ME I AM
this earth shall ever see;
that ME I AM I always am
is no one else but me!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Poetry Month - better late than never!

It's poetry month and I'm two weeks behind.
I know that I blew it - I hope you don't mind.
Beginning right now, I'll post one poem each day,
I promise my 'real life' won't get in the way.
So send me your poems that are written in rhyme,
And I'll do my best to make up for lost time!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Saga Continues

As I mentioned in my last post, I had started reading everything I could on what to do after you get a book deal. One thing I read is that a great time to get an agent is after you've gotten an offer from a publisher. A year earlier, I had started an agent search, with no offers in sight, but there was one agent who had liked the story I sent and asked to read more. She said she didn't like the other stories as well but suggested I write in prose and, if I did, I could contact her again.

Well, I had a new story in prose (I wrote it because of her suggestion) so I decided to contact her again. I told her about the contest and book deal and I sent edited versions of the manuscripts I'd sent before, along with my new story in prose. I'm happy to say, she really liked the stories and offered to represent me! So now, Jamie Weiss Chilton of Andrea Brown Literary Agency, is my new agent and I'm sooo thrilled!

Members of my critique group asked exactly how she made the offer - email? Phone call? How long did it take? Here's the timeline of how it happened:

January 14, 2009 -
After several emails, I got "the call" from Jamie. I did lots of jumping and screaming (inside my head because I was in Target). I told her I'd call back after I got home and put away my frozen food. When I got home, we had a great phone conversation - I had my pre-typed list of questions (I was so proud of myself for being prepared)! I was too nervous and excited to read the list so I just flipped it over and wrote frantic notes on the back. At the end of the call, Jamie said she'd like to offer representation but had to run it past Andrea Brown first! WOW!

January 15, 2009 -
I got a message from Jamie saying she spoke with Andrea and was officially offering representation. Lots of jumping and screaming in my kitchen!

January 16, 2009 -
I called Jamie back and accepted her offer. We talked about the AB Lit contract (she emailed a sample) and said she'd send the real one in the mail. More jumping and screaming!

January 20, 2009 -
The contract came in the mail. MJAS! I signed them and was at the post office in five minutes.

February 2, 2009 - I got the contract back - signed by Jamie and Andrea Brown. Also a nice note from Andrea welcoming me aboard. No more jumping and screaming - I was jaded by this point - not! Since then, Jamie has handled the contract for 1 ZANY ZOO (yeah!) and has two of my stories out to editors. She's fantastic!!

I'm not sure if anyone's reading this blog but, if you are, do you have any "how I got my agent" stories to share?

Friday, April 3, 2009

My First Post - part 2

When we last met... it was the day before Thanksgiving, I'd won the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories contest, and was sworn to at least a month of silence.

December 8, 2008 -
I got a call from "my editor" :) and we talked about my manuscript, the contract terms, and upcoming revisions. She emailed the general terms of the contract and I quickly accepted before she could change her mind.

December 15, 2008 - I got a call from the Cheerios SOS marketing rep about promotion and upcoming interviews with newspapers and possibly radio - gulp! She said that the announcement wouldn't occur until the end of January or beginning of February and again swore me to secrecy! Since the first day, I'd slowly leaked out the news to my closest friends and other family members. Still, no mention of Cheerios or S&S. This was pretty good for me - just ask my sisters!

January, 2009 -
I started reading everything I could about what to do in preparation for a book release. One of the things I read, again and again, was to have a "web presence" so I began researching how to create a website and blog.

February - March, 2008 -
I signed up with Go Daddy, got a domain name, and began the arduous journey of creating a website! Compared to building a website, making this blog was a breeze! So, here we are. That's the story of how I came to have this blog and my website.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My First Post

I almost posted this yesterday but I knew people would think it was an April Fool's Day joke so I held off until today.

Welcome to my blog. I finally finished my website, and realized I wanted a blog to share my writing experiences, news about the writing world and, of course, my opinions. So, here it is.

You're probably wondering why I needed a website in the first place. Here's a time line of the events that led to its inception:

May, 2008 - I submitted my manuscript, 1 Zany Zoo, to the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories contest. I figured I probably wouldn't win but you can't win if you don't enter, so...

September, 2008 - The winner was supposed to be notified this month - I never heard from them so I knew it wasn't me. Time to polish up the manuscript and submit it to publishers.

October, 2008 - I sent the manuscript for critique by a speaker at the Prairie Writer's Day Conference (the annual SCBWI - Illinois conference).

November 15, 2008 - When I arrived at the conference, I excitedly read the critique of my story and quickly took an emotional nosedive! The editor had written a couple of positive things and then proceeded to point out problems throughout the entire manuscript. I had thought it was in really good shape when I submitted it and couldn't believe how off my judgment was. But, used to rejection (I've had plenty of practice), I took it in stride and vowed to consider the editor's suggestions and rework the story.

November 26, 2008 - It was the day before Thanksgiving and I was getting ready for dinner at my house when I got a Fed-ex package with a letter stating that I was one of the three winners of the Cheerios contest! I read it ten times to find the "catch" then finally accepted that I actually was in the top three. I naturally assumed I'd won second or third place, which I thought was pretty good! I figured that, even though it wasn't the grand prize winner, it would be something I could mention in future cover letters.

I happily continued my Thanksgiving preparations when I got a phone call from a General Mills representative who said I was the grand prize winner! I screamed so loudly, my husband and kids rushed upstairs to make sure I was okay. I couldn't believe it!! I can't remember anything the representative said, except that I had to keep it a secret until it would be announced in January. Of course, I immediately called my mom, sisters and brother. My kids told all their friends but none of us mentioned Cheerios or Simon & Schuster. It was going to be a long couple of months!

More tomorrow...

(That wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be!)