Book Giveaway: SASSAFRAS AND HER TINY TAIL by Candice Marley Conner

Writing and Illustrating

Candice Marley Conner has a new  picture book titled, SASSAFRAS AND HER TINY TAIL, illustrated by Heath Gray and published by Maclaren-Cochrane Publishing. They have agreed to send a book with one lucky winner living in the US. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Candice, and Heath!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Sometimes your differences make you a hero.

Squirrels need their tails for balance and to communicate so with her stubby, bristly tail, Sassafras is the laughingstock of…

View original post 1,087 more words

Tuesday Debut – Presenting Candice Marley Conner!

Susanna Leonard Hill

Nothing is better than a good Tuesday Debut except. . .when you get to announce the winner of a PB MS critique offered by the last Tuesday Debut!

The randomly chosen lucky winner of a PB MS critique from Christine Van Zandt is MDK45!

MDK45, come on down! (You’ll have to contact me, I think because I don’t have contact info for you! 😊)

Now! Onto today’s Tuesday Debut where we get to meet the lovely and talented Candice Marley Conner, hear about her journey, even get to see some of the original notes she wrote in her journal which were the first seeds of her debut picture book, SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL! (How can you not love a squirrel named Sassafras?!)

Ready?

Let’s go!

SASSAFRAS AND HER TEENY TINY TAIL
written by Candice Marley Conner
Illustrated by Heath Gray
MacLaren-Cochrane Publishing
June 8, 2021
fiction…

View original post 2,736 more words

10th Annual Holiday Contest!

The holidays are officially here when children’s author and contest extraordinaire, Susanna Hill, announces her latest holiday writing contest! This year’s theme is holiday helpers and it immediately put me in mind of a conversation I had with my daughter earlier this year.

She pulled me aside and very solemnly asked the big question: is Santa real?

Y’all. I felt the pivot in the moment–when my little girl was growing up. So I explained how mamas and daddies and grandparents, and all the good adults in kid’s lives are Helpers. We still have the magic in our home and I think she likes having a special secret from her little brother. (Though when she made the connection and asked about our Elf on the Shelf, Alanagator, it took a bit more for her to digest.)

Here’s my entry, right at 250 words. I hope you enjoy it and that the holiday magic is alive and well in your home.

This adorable furry potato just joined our family for my daughter’s 10th birthday. She likes books and tea parties as much as we do!

Guinea Pig Help Comes Wrapped in Snuggles & Squeaks

By Candice Marley Conner

I snuggled in closer. My girl was worrying over something the same way I worry on my cherry sticks. “Wheek?” I asked. Maybe Addie needed something to chew on.

Addie looked wide-eyed at Mama. “I need to ask you a question,” she whispered.

Mama sat next to her and gave me a pat. I wiggled my rump. “I’m listening.”

“Is Santa real?”

“Does a giant elf come down a chimney we don’t have? No, sweetheart. Does Christmas have a special kind of magic where songs make you happy and hot chocolate is like a hug to your insides, and people surprise you with all the good they’re capable of? Absolutely.”

Addie smushed her face in my fur so I tickled her cheek with my whiskers.

“You’re a Helper now.”

“What does that mean?”

“You know how we saw Santa at the bakery, then at the grocery store ringing the bell? Your little brother noticed the beards were different and I said the Christmas Spirit needs Helpers. Those nice people were helping Santa. Sam doesn’t know. It’s up to you to keep the secret safe and the magic alive for him.”

“I can do that,” Addie said. Mama hugged her.

“Wheek?” I asked. Can guinea pigs be Helpers?

“Always,” Addie whispered.

As Mama turned off the light, Addie said, “Does this mean you’re the tooth fairy too?”

“Yes.”

“Whew. Fairies sneaking into my room always made me nervous. Like, what do they DO with all those teeth?”

I squeaked in agreement.

Cover Story

A writing challenge I recently participated in that I highly recommend to other writers & creatives!

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Sometimes writers feel we have to limit what we share on social media and in our work: I write memoir, why does anyone want to see my garden? My book is a parenting journey—can I write an essay about addiction? But our whole selves make our creative work. Seeing a writer’s favorite topics juxtaposed shows why you’re writing about those things. Parenting informs your writing on trauma. Gardening influences your thoughts on social justice. Readers want to see what inspires us as well as the words we create.

These topics and interests are your “content buckets” full of ideas for books, essays, articles and social media posts. Everything you see and have a strong feeling about. Every problem people have that you could advise on. Every experience you’re willing to share, so readers discover, “I’m not the only one who feels like this.”

One way to name your content buckets…

View original post 1,090 more words

Bringing the Writing Workshop to You: Creativity Exercises for the Stuck-At-Home Writer

Activities to get creativity flowing…brainstorms and origin stories.

The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Last summer, two other authors and I held a Lil’ Haints Creative Writing Workshop at the bookstore tailored to young authors from nine to fourteen. It was absolutely amazing to see the kids’ eyes light up as they told us about the stories they were working on. The students inspired us just as much as we inspired them, I think.

As I was casting around for ideas on how I could use my talents in this uncertain, coronavirus time to help others, I wondered, could putting my Lil’ Haints workshopping lessons online help encourage and entertain young authors at home?

What follows is the workshop I gave on “Brainstorms & Origin Stories” redesigned for this format:

Today’s workshop is about how to be a creative person—whether you write, draw, or underwater basket weave as my middle school teacher used to say. Being creative is about keeping yourself open to possibilities…

View original post 727 more words

Laughter is the Best Vaccine: Funny Books to Get You Through These Coronavirus Times

Need to boost your immune system with a good laugh and the books that’ll make that happen? Here’s a post I wrote for the indie bookstore I work at as a kidlit specialist.

The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A ghost walks into a bookshop. The owner asks, “How can I help you?” Ghost says, “I’m here for the BOOOOks.”

Yeah, that was more groan-worthy than a haunted staircase. But in these weird times of uncertainty and distancing ourselves from friends and family, having a sense of humor, and feeding it, is one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves.

A good guffaw can help soothe tension and physical symptoms of stress by stimulating circulation and relaxing muscles. Positive thoughts (which go hand in hand with laughing) releases neuropeptides that help battle stress and potentially more serious illnesses. Thus boosting your immune system.

A shared joke can help you deal with difficult situations and bond you with a person more fully, even if you can’t be within six feet of them.

Laughter can also be as helpful as a workout…

View original post 553 more words

Valentine’s Day Giveaway

Love is in the air! But so is something else…

Hi, y’all! If you’re a newsletter follower, then you already know about the Mobile Writers’ Guild’s third annual anthology that recently released called Valentine’s Day Pieces. It’s a collection of short stories, creative non fiction, and poetry. Some fun-filled and loving, others chilling when love goes awry.

AnthologyGiveawayPicAnd because this Valentine’s Day I want y’all to know how much I appreciate the time and attention and positive thoughts from you to follow my tangly journey to publication, I’m giving away a copy! And it’s not only signed by me, so that’s pretty cool.

All you have to do to enter is SIGN UP HERE for my newsletter. If you’re already subscribed, you’re already entered, easy-peasy. I’ll have the kiddos draw Sunday evening and announce the winner on my facebook author page so you can get it before February 14th.

Thanks so much! Y’all enjoy the upcoming chocolate and king cake season that will soon be upon us!

I also want to thank my critique partner, Carrie Dalby, for walking me through all things newsletter-ish. Like this giveaway for instance, lol. If y’all like Southern Gothic family sagas and/or YA historical fiction, go check out her books!

Writing Goals: Looking Back on 2019

MGTreeWe’re about to load up the car to visit family for Christmas but I wanted to take a moment and look back at my year writing-wise. It’s helpful to see where I’ve been to know where I’m going (or at least in what direction), and I encourage you to do the same.

This was the year I took a leap and invested in myself. I started off January by taking a Children’s Book Academy course as well as enrolling in a Writing Magic class. I learned a lot from both and ended up being inspired by Mira, the founder of CBA, to write a new picture book manuscript that earned a Golden Ticket to submit to three editors of houses I normally couldn’t submit to on my own. It’s also Girl Scout Cookie season so January was pretty packed, haha. Submissions: 1 YA, 1 sub (full request!); 3 PBs, 3 subs

February submissions: 3 PBs, 3 subs; 1 MG, 2 subs (another request!) and y’all know I can’t resist Susanna Hill’s ValenTINY writing contest.

March was Mardi Gras and more submissions: 1 MG, 5 subs (2 full requests!), 1 YA, 1 sub (contract offered and accepted with Owl Hollow Press!); 3 PBs, 5 subs; 1 BB, 1 sub. I entered the amazingly generous, Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Precious Words contest for the first time. I also wo’manned a table at the Mobile Literary Fest and did a reading (I’m slowly getting more comfortable with those, but gotta get better at making eye contact!).

April showers brought another writing contest, a Spring Fling from the lovely Kaitlyn Sanchez where I received Honorable Mention. I also helped plan Indie Bookstore Day with the Mobile Writers’ Guild and The Haunted Bookshop. Submissions: 1 MG, 1 sub; 1 PB, 1 sub; 1 YA, 1 sub.

The first week in May was NaPiBoWriWee or 7 picture book drafts in 7 days which was A LOT of fun and I ended up with 2 viable manuscripts and 1 magazine piece. Submissions: 1 YA, 1 sub (full request!); 3 magazine, 3 subs; 1 PB, 1 sub. I also started to work part time at The Haunted Bookshop, our local indie bookstore which is just the best.

HBS13thArtWalk

With authors and critique partners Carrie Dalby & Joyce Scarbrough

In June, I was an instructor with two other fabulous ladies at the Lil’ Haints Creative Writing Summer Workshop. It was so much fun hearing ideas and brainstorming with young writers. I submitted 1 short story which was accepted for publication and just came out this October. I received a pitmad request as well as sent out 3 more picture book queries. I also submitted a chapter book to SCBWI’s Southern Breeze writing contest and won first place–WIK 2020, here I come!

July submissions: 1 MG, 1 sub; 1 PB, 1 sub

August submissions: 1 PBs, 2 subs; 1 CB, 1 sub; 1 MG, 1 sub; 1 BB, 1 sub

September: 1 MG, 4 subs (2 full requests which led to me signing with my new agent!); 1 YA, 1 sub; 1 PB, 1 sub; A picture book I submitted April of last year was accepted for publication!

October: my submissions stop because I sign with the amazing and intuitive Katelyn Detweiler of Jill Grinberg Literary Management and we’re busy working on my mg, Marvel & Happy. My short story, “The Levee and Bea Pearl” is published in OHP’s anthology, Cabinet of Curiosities. And my Publishers Weekly announcement for Bea Pearl released! I also helped judge A Fall Frenzy which was tough because there were SO MANY exceptional entries. PWannouncement

I now have a GoodReads page for THE EXISTENCE OF BEA PEARL, joined the #Roaring20sdebut group, and have my very own writerly newsletter! (The sign-up link is on my Contact page, if you’d like to see what that’s all about)

I’m sure I’ve forgotten things but I really need to help the kiddos pack–no telling what they’ll bring on their own. So I wish all of you the happiest of holidays and hope you take a moment to reflect on everything you’ve accomplished in 2019 too!