Picture Book Idea Month is Now STORYSTORM!



During last month’s virtual book tour, I spoke a lot about Picture Book Idea Month and how it helped me to come up with more story ideas than ever before and led to the publication of Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and Amos Faces His Bully being under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing. Though it used to take place in November and was limited to picture book authors, its founder, Tara Lazar, moved this annual event to January and renamed it STORYSTORM so that the broader scope can inspire even more writers to fulfill their dreams. You can read more about the changes here.

While I was goofing off between Christmas and New Year’s I missed all this fun stuff, so I am playing catch up now. Good thing it’s only January 2. 🙂

Want to join us? Register here by January 7th!

2016 Goal Review & 2017 Writing Goals


Oh me, oh my. I blinked my eyes and 2016 was done. I set myself three goals for this year and achieved only one: I attended writing group fairly consistently, missing only a few. I’m long past the point of being disappointed when I don’t hit a writing goal. What did bum me out is that I wasn’t disciplined enough to review my goals more than once since December. It’s important to review goals at least once a quarter to stay focused.

Enough whining, because good stuff happened in 2016. Here’s what I accomplished:

Book Release

This November, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving was released by Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP). This was totally unexpected, so I had to make time to promote the book once it came out. I still have a few copies available for review if anyone is interested. You can email me at ccmal(at)charter(dot)net. Please put “Mac and Cheese” in the subject line.

Amelia’s Mission

One of my goals was to finish this middle grade novel by the end of the year. That didn’t happen, but I am now in the middle of Chapter 16, so there’s progress.

Writers Conference and Agent Meeting

I sat on the planning committee for WriteAngles again this year. We ended up having an agent slot open, so I snagged it. I’ve met enough agents at this point that it is no longer intimidating and practice is always good. I pitched Amelia’s Mission and she helped me polish my query letter.

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That leaves my edits for The Sisterhood as a totally untouched goal from 2016. This is the first full-length novel I completed. It needs a lot of editing, which I didn’t get to this year. I’m going to hold off on it for now. It’s too large of a project for me to commit to tackle in 2017. I truly want to get Amelia’s Mission finished first anyway.

Searching for Popularity is an incomplete manuscript that I changed from memoir to young adult novel. It probably won’t garner much of my attention until Amelia’s Mission is done.

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The following completed books are searching for a home:

A New Home (chapter book) – Romeo, Juliet, and Peter are three abandoned kittens searching for a new home.

Crabby Cathy (picture book) – Cathy is a mean girl who shoves people around in the schoolyard and takes things that aren’t hers. But when Amy and Chloe decide to befriend this bully, they see a side to Cathy they didn’t know existed.

Everybody’s Home for Christmas (chapter book) – Rachel is sad that her military father isn’t around for Christmas like the other dads. With some encouragement from her mom, she spends the days putting together a care package to send to him in Afghanistan, and before she goes to bed each night she prays for his safe return. Will Rachel experience a Christmas miracle?

The Real Cinderella Story (picture book) – A snarky story of Cinderella told by one of her sisters.


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Amos Faces His Bully is under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing. Wouldn’t it be great if an illustrator took on that project and it released in 2017? That is my hope.

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Considering my real estate work schedule and my family commitments, I am keeping it simple again this year.

  1. Participate in Picture Book Idea Month in January. I’ve participated in this endeavor twice, which resulted in Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving being published, Amos Faces His Bully being under contract, and four other picture books written. I’m game to do it again.
  2. Submit two short stories this year.
  3. Contribute to Guardian Angel Kids e-zine once this year.
  4. Seek out guest blogging opportunities once a quarter.
  5. Write four chapters of Amelia’s Mission by June.
  6. Attend writing group monthly.

Are you setting your goals for 2017 yet? Want to share any of them?

PiBoIdMo 2013 Registration is OPEN!


Well, it’s that time of year again. Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo) is almost here. Tara Lazar has another great lineup of guest bloggers and prizes again this year. To make this a more manageable project for me this year, I am only going to blog about my progress on a weekly basis. so here is my promise:

I do solemnly swear
that I will faithfully execute
the PiBoIdMo 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge,
and will, to the best of my ability,
parlay my ideas into
picture book manuscripts
throughout the year.

This has been successful for me the past couple of years, so I hope I’m up to the challenge again this year.

Picture Book Idea Month Winner!



I’m a winner! I’m a winner! Here is the beautiful badge to go along with the 30 ideas I came up with during Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). Congratulations to all who participated. Even if you didn’t end up with 30 ideas, any new idea will bring you closer to a new picture book manuscript. Thanks goes out to Tara Lazar and all the authors and illustrators who provided inspiration and encouragement along the way. Now I’m looking forward to 12 x 12 in 2013. Can I write 12 picture books next year? I don’t know. We’ll have to see how it goes.

Picture Book Idea Month – Day 30 (The End!)

piboidmo12participantIt is the last day of Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). Coordinated by Tara Lazar, this annual event asks writers to set a goal of coming up with 30 picture book ideas during the 30 days of November. Phew! I made it again this year. Now, I have 12 x 12 in 2013 to look forward. This event asks writers to set a goal of writing 12 picture books over the 12 months of 2013. I’m game.

PICTURE BOOK IDEA #30: And my final idea for PiBoIdMo 2012 is the story of a cat’s adventures flying to his new home in Massachusetts. I figure he might meet some other interesting animals along the way. He would also be thrilled to meet his new family.