Halfway Point: New Year=New Beginnings (plus June’s Winner and July’s Prize)

In January of this year, I posted about a year-long giveaway called New Year=New Beginnings that I’m offering here on Frog on a Blog–a new prize each month for folks who comment on blog posts. With so much negative energy floating around in the world, I wanted to do something positive to show my gratitude to my followers, fans, and friends for their support.

I cannot believe the year is half over already! Where did the time go?! So far, I’ve given away five prizes, January through May, and have enjoyed every second of it. I love giving! 🙂 Before I announce the winner of prize #6 (June’s prize) I want to say thanks to everyone who’s stuck with me so far. I really appreciate it! I know I didn’t offer much original content for June for you all to comment on or share. I plan to change that for July. And I have already started with a guest post by Susanna Leonard Hill, which you can take a look at by clicking HERE.

Now, let’s recap the prizes I’ve given away so far and announce the winner of June’s prize!

January’s prize was a copy of my book The Peddler’s Bed.

February’s prize was an adorable plushie Curious George.

March’s prize was a set of Pilot’s pens, a Night Writer 2-pack with LED lights, perfect for writing in the dark, and a must have for writers or travelers.

April’s prize was winner’s choice of either a picture book manuscript critique (for writers) or a Personal Library Kit (for book lovers).

May’s prize was a set of two darling bookmarks: A Hippo and a Crocodile.

June’s prize was a Maurice Sendak Nutshell Library box set that includes four tiny classics: Alligators All AroundChicken Soup With RiceOne Was Johnny, and Pierre.

And the winner of June’s prize is…

Krissy (Massey)

Congratulations, Krissy! Please contact me with your address by clicking HERE. Your Nutshell Library will be on its way to you very soon.


If you haven’t won a prize yet, there are still six more chances to win this year! Check out July’s fabulous prize! And even if you can’t win because you’ve won already or because you’re not a US resident, I still welcome your comments and appreciate your support of Frog on a Blog.

July’s prize is a set of two music CDs by the amazing Emily Arrow: Storytime Singalong volumes 1 and 2! These CDs feature original music inspired by picture books. So cool!

Comment on this post or any post during the month of July for your chance to win. For more information on how to qualify for prizes, click HERE.

Due to contest/sweepstakes regulations in other countries, this giveaway is available to U.S. residents only. I’m very sorry fans and followers from other nations. I still appreciate you! All winners are chosen at random.

When Your Books Go On A Blog Tour (plus a Giveaway)

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It’s been a while since I’ve participated in a book blog tour. That’s why I’m extra excited to be a part of the amazing Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog tour celebration of her TWO brand new children’s books WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES and WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH! Take a look at the covers; could they be any cuter?!

I wanted to know how Susanna created her “When Your” series. Her blog tour offered the perfect opportunity to find out! Susanna, the page is yours!

Hello Everyone!

Thank you so much for joining the When Your Books Blog Tour fun!
Lauri thought it would be interesting to talk about writing a series today, since that’s something a lot of us haven’t attempted.
So let’s talk! 🙂

It may surprise you to know that I did not set out to write a series!
Nope.
The WHEN YOUR… books began with a case of the hiccups. (Mine 🙂 )
I don’t know about you, but in my household of 5 kids we have plenty of hiccup remedies…none of them particularly successful, mind you, but all of them guaranteed to induce silliness.

So on the day I got the hiccups, I started thinking about those ridiculous remedies – chasing, tickling, laughing, breath-holding, scaring, drinking backwards etc. – and I suddenly had an idea for a story: When Your [child/animal/something?] Has The Hiccups!

I sat down to write – my goal to produce that one single story.
But as you writers all know, the mind works in mysterious ways, and creativity begets creativity.

I wrote the hiccup story, but before I was even finished with it, I started thinking about sniffles…and baths…and haircuts… 🙂
“Hmmm…,” I said to the dogs who were asleep under my feet. “I wonder if I have more than one book here…!”
The dogs (shockingly) did not reply, but I felt I was onto something.
I knew something about series, obviously. We’ve all read them. But what I was used to thinking of as a series were things like Fancy Nancy – several books that feature the same familiar character in varied situations.
That was not what I had.

So I had to think a little about exactly what makes a series.
Clearly, there has to be an element of coherence – something to hold the stories together even without that familiar main character.
In the case of the WHEN YOUR… books that element of coherence is theme.
Every book in the series addresses “things kids sometimes find unpleasant.”
Baths.
Sniffles.
Haircuts.
Bedtime.
Hiccups.
Etc… 🙂
I would not write a story for this series about how much fun someone’s birthday is – that would not fit!
A common theme is important and helpful, but since the characters change from book to book, I knew I needed more than that.

As I moved from writing the hiccup book to writing the sniffles book, I deliberately incorporated several things:

1. A similar tone and voice.
All the books feature an unseen narrator who offers advice.
The overall tone of the books is humorous.
2. A similar objective.
All of the books are instructional – they tell you how to do something.
3. An animal character who is particularly well-suited (in a kind of backwards way) to the situation – e.g. a lion who needs a bath (because cats hate water) or an elephant with the sniffles (because what could be worse than sniffles with a nose like that?!)
4. A child who is in charge.
5. No adults.
6. An ending where, without realizing it or objecting to it, the child ends up doing whatever s/he was trying to get the animal to do 🙂

Because the stories are about things kids sometimes find unpleasant, I wanted to inject humor, hoping to make those objectionable things seem a little more palatable.

And because these objectionable situations are things kids often have to be coerced into, I wanted the child character to be the one in control (since kids tend to lack that in real life! 🙂 ) and I didn’t want any adults.

As a result, even though each story features a different child, a different animal, and a different situation, they have a cohesiveness that holds them together and makes them feel like a matched set even though each story is just as capable of standing on its own.

Elephant14-15

Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustration copyright © 2017 by Daniel Wiseman
Used by permission of Little Simon

LION-spread-5b

Text copyright © 2017 by Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustration copyright © 2017 by Daniel Wiseman
Used by permission of Little Simon

I hope that gives you a little idea of one way you might go about writing a series. If you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I will do my best to answer in a timely fashion. 🙂

Thanks again for joining the blog tour fun, and I hope you’ll enjoy the books if you get a chance to read them!

And thank you so much, Lauri, for having me here today and for so kindly hosting this stop on the blog tour!

It was my pleasure, Susanna! You’ve given us all a mini lesson on writing a picture book series. Awesome! 

And as if things couldn’t get any better, Susanna is generously offering one signed copy of each book, WHEN YOUR ELEPHANT HAS THE SNIFFLES and WHEN YOUR LION NEEDS A BATH, to one lucky winner.

To win, all you have to do is share your favorite book series in the comments!

A winner will be chosen at random and will receive their books after July 12.

Let’s keep the blog tour fun going! Be sure to visit the rest of the stops on the tour. The schedule is posted below. And don’t forget to visit Susanna’s blog for the “When Your Books Go On A Blog Tour” kickoff post. You may discover more chances to win fabulous prizes. Click Here!

Blog Tour Schedule (1)

Don’t forget to share this post using #whenyourbooks!  Every time you post with #whenyourbooks you get an entry in the end-of-tour raffle for a Special Prize!

Click Here to find out more!

And The Winner Is… (plus February’s Prize)

In January, I posted about a year-long giveaway that I’m offering here on Frog on a Blog–a new prize each month for folks who comment on blog posts. With so much negative energy floating around in the world, especially in recent months, I decided I wanted to do something positive, something to show my gratitude to my followers, fans, and friends for their support. 

The first prize offered, for the month of January, was a signed copy of my picture book The Peddler’s Bed.

Final Final Cover

And the winner is…

Heather Stinnett

Congratulations Heather! Please contact me by clicking HERE. I need your address and how you’d like your book signed.

This month’s prize is a Curious George plushie, all decked out for Valentine’s Day. 

Comment on this post or any post during the month of February for your chance to win. For more information on how to qualify for prizes, click HERE.

Due to contest/sweepstakes regulations in other countries, this giveaway is available to U.S. residents only. I’m very sorry fans and followers from other nations. I still appreciate you! All winners are chosen at random.

It’s Official: The Peddler’s Bed Book Birthday + You’re Invited To The Party + The Giveaway Winner!

Final Final Cover

Today is the official release day of my debut children’s picture book The Peddler’s Bed, illustrated by Bong Redila and published by Ripple Grove Press!

I’m super excited to share this news with all of you! I have a lot to tell you about today, including the “when” and “where” of my book launch party and the announcement of the Giveaway winner, but before I get to that I want to thank everyone who has encouraged my writing endeavors, everyone who has followed Frog on a Blog, and everyone who has preordered a copy of my book. All of your support means so much to me. Thank you! 🙂

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You’re Invited To A Book Birthday Party!

What’s the best way to celebrate the launch of a book? You have a birthday party, of course, and everyone’s invited!

Book Birthday Party (2)

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I’ve Been Profiled!

My publisher, Ripple Grove Press, posted a short profile of me, in the form of an interview, on their website. Find out more about me as an author-who my idols are, where I get my inspiration, what my favorite picture books are, and more by clicking on the Key. 

Ripple Grove Press

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Author PictureMy Pledge

For every 100 copies of The Peddler’s Bed sold for a period of one year (between Sept. 1 2015 and Sept. 1 2016), I pledge to donate one copy to a U.S. school or public library or to another organization that works to put books into the hands of children.

If you are a U.S. school or public librarian or are affiliated with a children’s literacy organization, and would like to receive a copy of The Peddler’s Bed, please use the form on my Contact page to submit your organization for consideration.

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Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Suzanne Knox!

She is the winner of one signed copy of The Peddler’s Bed plus two blank books to share with an emerging author! Suzanne, use the form on my Contact page to send me your address and the name of who you’d like me to sign the book to–and I’ll get your winnings out to you asap. Thank you to everyone who left a comment on the Emerging Authors post and shared it!

{a rainbow of blank books}

{a rainbow of blank books waiting to be filled with the colors of imagination}

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A Request

Authors feel uncomfortable asking this, but it really does make a difference–those of you who have read or plan to read The Peddler’s Bed, please consider leaving an honest review on Amazon, B&N.com, or Goodreads. I’d really appreciate it. 

A big thank you, once again, to all of my supporters, blog and social media followers, book readers, and fans! You’re the best! 🙂

The Legend Of Dust Bunnies: A Fairy’s Tale by Michelle Eastman (PLUS a Special Giveaway!)

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Title: The Legend of Dust Bunnies: a fairy’s tale

Author: Michelle Eastman

Illustrator: Kevin Richter

Publisher/Year: Byway Press/2014

Back Cover Blurb: Join the Dust Fairies on their messy nighttime adventures, and discover how one misfit fairy uses his talent to create something legendary. His story will have families looking at dust bunnies in a new light and may actually give kids an excuse NOT to clean their rooms.

Before I begin my review, I want to report that the Dust Fairies are frequent visitors to my house and, in fact, I do believe they were here just last night. Now, let’s get to the review.

The Legend of Dust Bunnies: a fairy’s tale answers a question many of us have had, probably for a very long time–Where in the world does all that dust come from? And the answer is Dust Fairies! Dust Fairies come out at night and spread, not just dust, but also crumbs, soot, and cobwebs. And they take pride in their work, all of them, except Artie, a freckle-faced fairy who prefers collecting lint, fur, and hair to spreading around dust and crumbs. Because he’s different from the other fairies, he feels lonely and outcast, so he decides to make himself a friend, and thus the Dust Bunny is born. When the others see his new pal, they each beg to have one too, and Artie, proud of his creation, is happy to oblige.

Together, author Michelle Eastman and illustrator Kevin Richter have created an enchanting fairy world that exists right alongside our world. Michelle’s rollicking, rhyming text is fun to read. And the story moves along at a comfortable, easy pace. Kevin’s colorful Dust Fairy characters are sure to be a hit with even the pickiest fairy fanatics. For me, the best part is the adorable Dust Bunnies, each one a perfect match to his Dust Fairy.

Speaking of Dust Bunnies, how would you like to win one? Michelle is generously giving away one copy of The Legend of Dust Bunnies: a fairy’s tale along with a super cute Dust Bunny to keep for your very own! All you have to do is 1. Leave a comment on this post, and 2. Share this post on social media (Twitter, Facebook, blog, etc.) A winner will be chosen at random on Friday, May 29. Good luck!

Michelle Eastman's Dust Bunny Adoption Kit

Michelle Eastman’s Dust Bunny Adoption Kits

The Night Before The Night Before Christmas By Jay Dee (Plus a Giveaway!)

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Title: The Night Before The Night Before Christmas

Author: Jay Dee

Illustrator: Darren Geers

Publisher/Year: Kraine Kreative/2014

Summary: At Santa’s workshop, the night before the night before Christmas is hardy a time to rest. The elves work tirelessly to get the final toys made before Christmas Eve, but Elfie just can’t keep pace. He spends too much time making his toys perfect, and when Santa comes to check on production, everyone is surprised by his reaction.

The Night Before The Night Before Christmas is a beautifully illustrated, timeless tale with a twist. It is the night before Christmas Eve and all of Santa’s elves are at work making the final toys for Santa to deliver to all the good girls and boys the very next night. Main character Elfie is a likable little fellow who takes pride in his work. And he wants the toys he makes to be perfect. His perfectionism is something many of us can relate to; I sure can. But unfortunately for Elfie, this is no time to be perfect. Or is it?

My favorite part of the story, besides the spectacular full-page illustrations, is that Santa himself knows the reason for the season, or put another way, Santa knows the true meaning of Christmas and who and what it is that makes Christmas special. You have to be open to what I call a “time paradox” (the twist) at the end of the story, if you are, I’m confident that you and your children will embrace the feel-good message presented here. Overall, The Night Before The Night Before Christmas is a sweet story about a very special Christmas gift.

Giveaway:  

I am giving away a copy of The Night Before The Night Before Christmas, generously donated by the author, to one lucky person. To qualify for the giveaway, you must 1) follow this blog and 2) comment on this post. I will choose a winner at random, who I will contact via e-mail for a mailing address. Sorry, this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. You have until December 7, 2014 to qualify.

Please share this review and giveaway on social media. Thank you!

Update (12/8/2014): Congratulations to Linda Kautzman, the winner of The Night Before The Night Before Christmas! Thank you to everyone who entered and commented on this post. Look for more chances to win picture books in the future!