I interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to introduce you to another dear friend! My first ever ‘new writing friend’ actually. It’s only fitting that I introduce you this weekend because we ‘met’ thanks to #50PreciousWords, and guess what’s going on right now?!? I guess to be fair, we met because I found her blog (during NaPiBoWriWee), but the first post I read was her award winning #50PreciousWords entry and I knew right at that very moment that I wanted to be her friend! (Creepy much?) So, I watched her blog from afar, low and behold she did the same thing! We swapped comments, for a while and finally connected (via The Writers Match). The rest, my friends, is history. She writes a wonderful combination of silly, refreshing picture books that will make you giggle along with the sweet, simple kind that tug at your heartstrings. I simply adore her ‘voice’ (the writing kind, because I’ve never heard the real thing, of course) and I know you will too! Read on, I invited her over for a drink, and she was kind enough to remind her forgetful, southern friend “I’m LDS (aka Mormon) as well as expecting my 3rd child, so my beverage options are very boring. I should ask for a green smoothie or something healthy, but I’d rather have a chocolate milkshake or a tall glass of milk with a side of cookies, of course.” Done and done. Grab yourself some while you’re at it and read on. In the words of Mrs. Jones, “Welp, here goes nothing….”
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In 2016, I rediscovered my childhood love of writing. I started with reading every kid lit blog, writing book and website I could find. In 2017, I forced myself out of my comfort zone by joining Twitter and participating in writing contests, one of which was Vivian Kirkfield’s #50preciouswords. Vivian is a gold mine of kid lit knowledge and one of the nicest people to boot. If you haven’t yet, you need to read her website ASAP https://viviankirkfield.com/
In a nutshell, for the #50preciouswords contest you only have 50 words to write a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Sounds easy, right? Bahaha! This contest forces you to edit and analyze every precious word in a new way. Oh, and after all that editing, you need to have a strong story that can stand on its own. The idea for my 2017 #50preciouswords story was a Storystorm idea (https://taralazar.com/) I was itching to tell. Tara’s website is another treasure chest of kid lit goodness. #50preciouswords seemed like a perfect time to take this idea and try to mold it into a story. After a few days of revising, analyzing and a few helpful critiques, I felt I had a story that was ready to enter. Also, knowing how I do things, the contest was probably about to end. I put the story on my very neglected blog and had some sweet comments. I spent the rest of the day reading all the talented entries I could. I felt a connection to fellow participants/complete strangers also following their dream of writing for children.
The day the results were posted, I was shocked to see I had placed 19th! I screamed like I’d just won the HGTV Dream Home (also a life goal of mine). I’d entered a few other contests without any success. This was the boost I needed to get through a few more months of writing disappointments. The next week Vivian sent me a personal email congratulating me and letting me know it was time to pick my prize. Seriously, after 251 entries how did she have the energy or time to send a personal message and feedback on my story?
I have two young sons that love to be anything except little boys. My boys never respond to their names. Depending on the day, we have Marshall the dog, Pup the puppy, Charlotte the cat, and Godzilla the T-Rex. It seemed only appropriate I chose as my prize HELLO, MY NAME IS TIGER written & illustrated by the very talented Jennifer P. Goldfinger. https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062399519/hello-my-name-is-tiger
Vivian put me in contact with Jennifer, and she graciously offered to personalize the book. Yes, please! I live in a rural area where the opportunity to attend book signings and meet authors or illustrators is nonexistent. I screamed again (the neighbors were starting to get worried about all this screaming) when this arrived in the mail…
How cute is that? I’m sure this package spread smiles and sunshine from the East Coast all the way to mountains of Utah.
I appreciate the kindness of the kid lit community. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the knowledge and encouragement of authors and these amazing events they sponsor. Thank you for donating your precious time/resources/books. It means the world to us newbies trying to navigate our way into the world of kid lit. Now if you haven’t yet, go write your #50preciouswords story! I can’t wait to read it.
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She’s not kidding either, go find your 50 words, put them together and tell us a story! I’ll be forever grateful for that award-winning story. Do you want to read it? Check here and stay tuned for this year’s entry. You won’t be disappointed! I just want to point out, did you catch that she’s expecting? An interesting bit of foreshadowing, don’t you think! My life has become infinitely more interesting since I added a dash of the Utah mountains to my deep-south Gumbo. In case you want more Megan Jones in your life, your best bet is twitter @rubycargirl. Her tweets are my favorite! She blogs too, rather inconsistently and quietly but they’re always a great read.
On Tuesday I’ll be posting MY #50PreciousWords entry and the following week I get to share my Paper People Interview with Camille Andros!
Thanks for reading, come back anytime!