Thoughts of Earth Day, Seashells and Fireflies

THOUGHTS OF EARTH DAY, SEASHELLS AND FIREFLIES

Earlier this month, I traveled to Tallahassee, Florida, to receive the Gold Medal/Reichert Award in the children’s literature category of the 2015 Florida Book Awards for my picture book, IT’S A SEASHELL DAY.

I stayed on after the FBA events to participate in the Word of South festival of literature and music (http://www.wordofsouthfestival.com), doing a mini-workshop at the storytelling area for kids and appearing as a member of the FBA winners speaker panel for grownups.

There were just  three of us:  Susan Cerulean, http://comingtopass,  Gold Medal winner for Florida non-fiction for her adult title, Coming to Pass: Florida’s Coastal Islands in a Gulf of Change with photographs by David Moynahan (University of Georgia, 2015); ...

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CELEBRATE WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

CELEBRATE WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

Although women have made great contributions to society, science, government and the arts since the dawn of time, it was not until the establishment of WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH, now celebrated each March, that their achievements have been officially and publicly recognized.

Molly Williams, an African-American woman whose legendary service battling a New York City blaze in 1818 is the basis of my children’s book, MOLLY BY GOLLY! THE LEGEND OF MOLLY WILLIAMS, AMERICA’S FIRST FEMALE FIREFIGHTER, is one such lady.  But she is not the only wonderful heroine I discovered in my research on female fire fighters...

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STILL CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

SPOTLIGHT ON MOLLY WILLIAMS, AFRICAN-AMERICAN FIREFIGHTER LEGEND

When my picture book based on the adventures of America’s first female firefighter, Molly Williams, was released in 2012, I did several interviews for bloggers.  One of the nicest was this one, from DEBtastic Reads, debtasticreads.wordpress.com. DEBtastic Reads! is Debbi Michiko Florence’s blog featuring author interviews and book buzz for books for kids and teens. I’ve know Debbi for years and it was a pleasure ‘talking’ with her about this book of mine, which went on to win the bronze medal in the 2013 Florida Book Awards, and others.  As for Debbi’s writing life, I’m happy to report that the first two books of her chapter book series, Jasmine Toguchi, will be released May 2017 with FSG...

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Celebrating Black History Month

CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH AND MOLLY WILLIAMS, AFRICAN-AMERICAN FIREFIGHTING LEGEND

Black History Month gives us all a rare chance to meet or become re-acquainted with African-Americans of achievement in history.  One such individual is Molly Williams, who was not only the first female firefighter in America but also an African-American living in New York City in the early 1800’s.  Her story, while little known when I found it, was memorable.  I’d love to tell you how I ‘met’ Molly and why I HAD to tell her story.

As a writer, I’m always looking for a good idea for “the next book”.

However, some of my best book ideas have come looking for me.

That’s just what happened with MOLLY BY GOLLY! The Legend of Molly Williams, America’s First Female Firefighter. 

I’d just star...

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Welcome to the NEW DianneOchiltree.com

WELCOME TO THE NEW DIANNEOCHILTREE.COM!

The name is the same, but dianneochiltree.com has a brand-new look. The focus is still on ‘all things kidslit’ including manuscript critique and editing services for aspiring writers of all ages. Check out the book reviews, and upcoming author events, too. We’ll be adding new blog posts, photos and useful literacy resources as we move forward. I hope you’ll visit dianneochiltree.com again as my author website continues to grow!

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10 Steps To a Better Body (of Work)

10 Steps To a Better Body (of Work)

What Fitness Training Taught Me About Writing

I took my first aerobic exercise class years ago, after the birth of our first child. Although I never quite regained my pre-pregnancy figure, I’ve been a dedicated fitness fanatic ever since. Whether weight-lifting or jogging, the time spent in pursuit of muscle tone has taught me lessons which can be applied to my writing efforts as well.

1. GET TO THE GYM. This is an obvious first step, but one that has tripped up many a new health club member. You can’t see the results of a stair-climbing machine on your thighs until you’ve actually stepped onto it. Likewise, you can’t finish manuscripts and query letters until you’ve spent the hours required in front of the word processor or typewriter.

2...

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To Blog or Not to Blog

TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG?

That is “the question” facing pretty much all of us involved with the world of books today. Although I’m pretty good at maintaining an author website…it remains to be seen if I could maintain the large commitment of energy and time required to make a splash in the every-expanding universe of the internet blog-o-sphere. Since I working on the answer to the question myself, I’m tossing it out to those who have bravely gone where this writer is just now treading. Some of the answers are below. Kudos to all those who have pulled off this balancing act in their business and creative lives!

Cynthia Leitich Smith

www.cynthialeitichsmith.com

I believe that blogs are having a steadily increasing impact on sales, though I’m not sure how we could quantify it...

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Basic Toolkit for Children’s and Young Adult Writers

BASIC TOOLKIT FOR CHILDREN’S AND YOUNG ADULT WRITERS

Best organization to join for information on craft, marketing, and publishers in the field is the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, http://www.scbwi.org/

Your national membership enables you to connect with other writers and/or illustrators via online chats, through-the-mail critique partnerships, and regional conferences.

There are hundreds of websites devoted to or including information about writing and marketing stories for young readers. Here are a few internet addresses to start your discovery process.

Margot Finke: http://mysite.verizon.net/mfinke/index.html

The Purple Crayon: http://www.underdown.org/

Verla Kay: http://www.verlakay.com/

Cynthia Leitich Smith: http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/

Write 4 Kids: ht...

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Sample Query Letter

Sample Query Letter

A USEFUL TEMPLATE: YOUR HANDY-DANDY SAMPLE QUERY LETTER
(First step:  use business letterhead with your complete address, phone number, email)

(Date)

Editor’s Name (Make sure it’s spelled correctly!)
Editor’s Title (Is it the most current job title…assistant editor, editor, senior editor, etc.?)
Imprint Name (Doublecheck spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.)
Publisher Name (Ditto the above…get it right!)
Address (Is it complete, with street, city, state, zip code?  Is it up-to-date? Don’t trust old information. Even if you’ve submitted to this editor or publisher before, look it up in the latest directory or market guide. Publishers move and merge all the time.)

Dear Mr. or Ms. (fill in the blank):

(Provide this information in roughly this order)

HOW I KNOW YOU ...

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How to Play the Writing Game

HOW TO PLAY (AND WIN) THE WRITING GAME

Much like brewing the perfect cup or coffee, there’s more than one way to write something and get it published.  You try different methods until one works for you.

So, in an effort to augment my own advice given in this section, below are some other sources for what I think is pretty good guidance from others in the business.  Check back from time to time for additions to the ‘starter kit’ selection below.  And, please email me at Dianne@DianneOchiltree.com if you stumble across a source that you think would be worthwhile to add to this list.

From Rick Rishman, book marketing expert, on the top ten mistakes authors make in the submission process as posted on Kathleen Gage’s ‘Street Smarts Marketing’ blog: http://www...

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