Category Archives: giveaways

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers, 2017, and a Chance to Win a Googillion Dollars!

Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers is just around the corner. I can’t believe it. And we already have dates, and faculty, for next year. What? I know!


What would YOU do with a googillion dollars?

I would get allergy medicine that didn’t cause Alzheimer’s or dementia and the pills would really work.


What is your main character’s secret desire? How does this work with the story and the major dramatic question?

Look closer. What is the real secret desire? Does everything in the novel point to this want? Will your character be better or worse if he achieves his goal?

How will you change after writing this book?

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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, giveaways, Plot, writing process

Three Thing Thursday AND A Day of Accountability

So sorry! I forget to post yesterday.

Too much stress.


1. Post your beginnings from last week’s writing–IF you want to share. I am very excited about what you have done.

2. Post your favorite song to write to.

3. LOTS of prizes–new-and-never-used-before prizes–at the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference this summer. So far I am hearing about guest critiques, critiques from the conference, time to talk career with an agent, month-long mentors, free books, and more! Those of you who have already registered, please let your friends know about the conference.



(That’s today!)

How are you all doing with writing? With the important stuff?

Ann Dee’s baby is sweet and beautiful and he LOVES me!

(The most important thing I accomplished this week . . . Getting to see my friend. And her baby. I am so lucky to know Ann Dee Ellis.)

I’m reading parts  two novels for others and making comments. I hope to finish those both today.

I received pages for THE HAVEN that I have to go through. Plan to work on that today. I have to really take my time. That book was a bear.

And here was the biggest thing I did as far as writing–I sent a proposal for a sequel to The Chosen One.

I know. I can’t believe it either. I can already see all my writing friends’ face. Shock.


Mostly, though, what I have been worrying over is where we will live.

So hard, this not knowing.


So keep the Williams’ Girls in your prayers, if you have time.

Know that we love all of you out there.

And Happiest Writing Weekend!


Filed under Agents, Ann Dee, Editors, giveaways, three thing thursday


When I’m washing the dishes, I think of first lines of novels. The one that keeps coming up is, “One day a dog sat on my face.”

This is a very good line for many reasons:

A. It could work in many genres. Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Memoir, etc. etc.

B. It immediately introduces a problem.

C. We already know the MC has some personal problems.

We have talked a lot on this blog about the importance of first lines. Tonight, as my kids run around naked after their bath, I am going to discuss why I think this is especially important for this week’s contest. First of all, you have very few words to do a lot of things. As usual, you have to create a complex, interesting character. Second, you have to have a conflict that we care about. And then, as per the contest, you have to set the whole thing in a world where all is not right. Your first line can be a great friend for doing all this.

The first line is it sets the mood. Like this one from FEED:

We went to to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.

Here we have a problem. We have a voice. We have a character. And we have the moon.

Not all dystopian novels start out with such a blatant setting cue, but you don’t have a lot of room for this contest. You have to do your work and do it quickly. What are some of your favorite dystopian novels? Do you remember any first lines?

I’m not going to lie, like Carol said, dystopian is very very hard for me. I’ve tried it and I’ve failed. Miserably. I’m in awe of people who do it well. For that reason I am very excited to see this week’s entries. Good luck and happy writing!

OH and lest I forget, the winner this week of the P@H is A. Muse or in other words, Ms. Renae Salisbury. Yay!


Filed under First Line, giveaways

guest post by catherine fisher (and win a book!)

Today I have a guest post by Catherine Fisher, the author of INCARCERON and SAPPHIQUE! And a chance to win a copy of SAPPHIQUE (which is highly anticipated and just released). So please read on…

The Key, the Glove and the Stars.

I like symbols. Metaphors are the heart of poetry, and of stories too. Often when I write a book I have a magic object at its centre, an object that can not only do amazing things, but which holds a secret symbolism just because of what it is. The major symbol in my novel INCARCERON was pretty clear to me from the start. The one object you would never find in a prison is a key. So when Finn comes across the crystal ‘artifact’ he is the only one who knows what it is. A key is the ultimate symbol of escape. Of unlocking, opening up. Getting out.

In the sequel, SAPPHIQUE, I needed a new object, something that could be worn. I settled on a glove, because I’ve always found gloves rather sinister. Collapsible hands that you put your own hand into. I once wrote a short story about a pair of red opera gloves with a murderous mind of their own.So the Glove that was once the Prison’s, and then Sapphique’s, becomes the way of joining them both again. The other image that glitters through both books is that of the stars. For the inmates of the prison, the stars mean everything good, remote, unreachable. They’ve forgotten what the stars look like, only knowing they are Outside, and they shine. When Finn sees them he is overwhelmed with joy.

I borrowed this symbol from Dante’s stunning poem The Divine Comedy. For him the stars are the ultimate symbol of love and good. He ends each of his three parts – Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso with the word ‘stellae’- stars. Which is why I ended Sapphique (almost!) with that word. And why I quote Dante’s final line at the front of SAPPHIQUE.

After all, even writers should pay their debts.

Thanks for the great guest post, Catherine! And for a chance to win a hardcover copy of SAPPHIQUE, please click here to leave a comment.

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Filed under giveaways