This charming donut is Sprinkles, the main character of Sprinkles to the Rescue (Hurn Publications 2022). This is the work of artist Jitumoni Goswami (see more of her work here), who will illustrate the book.
Although we have a long time to wait before Sprinkles’ book launches, it’s been really fun seeing the book come together, bit by bit and piece by piece. Truly, this book is a partnership, and I am in awe of the emerging artwork!
Each January brings a writing challenge that’s both fun and useful: StoryStorm. This is an idea-generating challenge, in which you try to create 30 ideas in the span of 31 days. Each day there are helpful blog posts, too. You can find the first one here.
I’ve written about StoryStorm before; this is the third year I’ve participated. For this year, though, I want to set myself an additional challenge. You see, my problem with StoryStorm is that the habit of jotting down ideas doesn’t last with me once the challenge ends.
I want to stay in the habit of writing down ideas even when I don’t have a challenge to aim for. So this year, to start small, I challenge myself to come up with ten new ideas each month after StoryStorm. I know that I may very well not keep up with it, but I’m pretty sure that I will get more ideas than if I didn’t set a goal.
Sounds like a good idea, no? And hey, it’s not too late to join StoryStorm!
Every year, Susanna Leonard Hill hosts her Halloweensie contest, which invites writers of children’s literature to write a Halloween story in 100 words or less. Today marks the first day of the Halloweensie contest, so if you want to read some great Halloween stories, hop over to Susanna’s blog!
And here’s my story . . .
The Spookiest House on the Block.
Skeletons dangled from the trees, twisting in the wind. Flickering lights barely illumined the sidewalk.
“Maybe we should just go to the next house,” Aiden whispered.
“No way,” Sophie said. She adjusted her mask, gulped, and crept carefully past clinging cobwebs.
“WELCOME!” Something lurking on the porch turned glowing red eyes towards them. Aiden shrieked.
Sophie ran past the figure and slammed her hand on the doorbell. “Trick or treat!” she gasped.
“Happy Halloween,” replied the man who answered. He dropped several treats into her bag.
Here we are in October. Everyone’s sipping their pumpkin drinks and planning for Halloween. Do you know what else it’s time for? The Fall Writing Frenzy, a contest for kidlit writers. It’s not too late to join the challenge, either! Find the rules here.
And here’s my entry for this year.
Footfalls echo around me as I run, trying to pretend that things are fine, that I’m just a normal kid jogging in the woods. Trying to pretend that I’m bold and brave. Trying to pretend that the red cloaks are not roaming the woods, axes in hand, just looking for a wolf to chop.
Every breath I draw hurts now. If I tried to speak, I would find my throat raw. At least the woods are on my side: I can hear the trees shifting around me to cover my tracks; hear the paths hissing as they shift position behind me. I mouth a silent thank you and keep running, heading for the pack grounds deep in the heart of the woods. Any red cloaks that follow me there will get more wolves than they can handle.
Behind me, hoofbeats pound. Someone is catching up to me. I bite my lip and run faster. I don’t know how long I can keep this up, but I’m almost to pack land. Once I get there, I can shift form and run on four legs.
Uh-oh. Someone’s throwing axes now. First one misses . . . CRACK! Second one? Better aim.
I’m delighted to announce that my next picture book, Sprinkles to the Rescue, will be released in 2022 by Hurn Publications. Please keep an eye open for future updates about artwork, cover reveals, etc. I hope to have more info to share with you in the coming months!
In the meantime, I’ve been working on young adult fiction as well as picture books. I don’t know if any of this work is going to make it to print, but writing these stories has been a LOT of fun. As much as I love picture books, I’ve also really enjoyed the longer scope of a novel. For me, the most fun stage of writing is creating the first draft, and writing a longer book means more time spent on drafting. 😉
I’m in good company: many picture book writers also write in other genres, such as chapter books or middle grade. I’m looking forward to continuing to experiment with writing for different age groups.