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!
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.”
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.


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


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!

Brunhilda’s Backwards Blog Tour


Please welcome the talented Shawna Tenney, author and illustrator of Brunhilda’s Backwards Day, which is out just in time for Halloween! You’re not going to want to miss her fantastic tips for writing delightful picture book page turns.

Four Ways to Write Delightful Picture Book Page Turns

By Shawna Tenney


What do picture books have that no short story can ever have? Page turns!

I had so much fun with the page turns in Brunhilda’s Backwards Day. Whenever Brunhilda cast a spell, the result was hidden behind the page turn. And the outcome was always a surprise!

There are two parts to a page turn. The first part is the pause before the page turn, where tension is built and we feel an anticipation for what comes next. And the second part is the surprise after the page turn, or the punch line.

A great page turn can be accomplished in many different ways. Here are four ideas for creating a fun page turn. Remember, the keys are anticipation and surprise.



  1. Cause and effect– Show what happens first, and when you turn the page, show what happened because of that. I used this kind of page turn a lot in Brunhilda’s Backwards Day to show the cause and effect of Brunhilda’s spells.


  1. Stopping and starting a sentence– Stop in the middle of a sentence and finish it on the next page. You can even use transition words like: then, but, and, when, and finally.


  1. A continuation of an image– Start an image on one page and finish it on the next page. Or only show a small part of what is going on, and zoom out to show the whole picture after the page turn.


  1. Use a question– Ask a question on one page, and answer it after you turn the page.



Great page turns can be like a guessing game. The parent who is reading the book can sense a surprise is coming just around the page turn, and can ask the child, “what do you think will happen?” Children love to guess, and they are often right! Page turns give the parent and child great chances to interact.

One thing that could make a page turn even more exciting, if your story allows for it, is to show what happens in the surprise instead of telling. Let the pictures tell most or all of what happens in the surprise. This will make the action even more fun! Kids will have a great time describing what is going on.

What elements can you incorporate into your manuscript to make great surprises for your page turns? I can’t wait to see what’s waiting behind your next page turn!

shawna-tenney-author-photo-small-2 Shawna J.C. Tenney is an author and illustrator with a passion for picture books. Her work can be found in many children’s books, magazines and games. Brunhilda’s Backwards Day, Shawna’s first book as both author and illustrator, was published by Sky Pony Press. Shawna is also the host of the Stories Unbound Podcast, where she loves helping other authors and illustrators. Shawna lives in the beautiful state of Utah with her husband and two kids. Visit her online at shawnajctenney.com or on Twitter at @shawnajctenney. Find more fun with Brunhilda and The Cat at www.shawnajctenney.com/brunhilda.



Visit the other awesome stops on Shawna Tenney’s blog tour!

Blog Tour Announcement


Monday, October 3

Guest post by Shawna

My Word Playground  


Tuesday, October 4

Guest post by Shawna

Frog on a Blog  


Wednesday, October 5

Book Review

Good Reads with Ronna


Thursday, October 6

Guest post by Shawna with giveaway

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)


Friday, October 7

Book Review and giveaway

The Late Bloomers Blog


 Sunday, October 9

Podcast book review

The Best Book Ever This Week 


Monday, October 10

Book review

A Simple Life, Really?!


Tuesday, October 11

Illustrator Interview and giveaway

J.E. Morris Illustration


Wednesday, October 12

Book Review and giveaway

My Word Playground 


Thursday, October 13

Blog tour wrap up and giveaway

Shawna J.C. Tenney

Help Wanted: Seeking Picture Book Lovers

Frog on a BlogFrog_on_a_blog[1]

Do you love picture books? Do you enjoy talking or writing about picture books? If so, I Need You!





I need quality PICTURE BOOK RELATED guest articles. Anything picture book related and of value to my blog readers is most welcome. My blog readers are parents, teachers, librarians, writers, picture book enthusiasts, artists, and, of course, kids.

The only compensation I can offer is publication on Frog On A Blog. If you’re a children’s picture book author or illustrator, you are welcome to mention your book(s). However, your article can’t be just an advertisement for your books, it must offer something more to my blog readers. (Authors/Illustrators: If you have a picture book coming out soon, I’m happy to spotlight its book birthday. Click here for more information.) 


If you’re interested in writing a guest article for Frog On A Blog, please use the form on my Contact page and tell me what you have in mind. I look forward to hearing from you!

~Lauri F. 🙂