Cover Reveal and #Giveaway!

There are few things more exciting than finding out that one of your former critique group members is getting her book published! So, obviously, I was thrilled when Catherine Bailey contacted me about the upcoming release of her picture book, MIND YOUR MONSTERS! (Sterling, August 2015). Today is the big cover reveal, and I wanted to be a part of it. As if the cover reveal wasnt intriguing enough, Catherine is also hosting a GIVEAWAY on her Facebook page! Without further ado, feast your eyes on the cover below. Then read Catherines message about how to enter her GIVEAWAY!

Message from Catherine Bailey: 

Here it is – my official, final, fabulous cover for MIND YOUR MONSTERS! I am so, so excited to finally share this wonderful artwork. Thank You Dani and Oriol! I am celebrating with a giveaway. To participate, visit my Facebook page at catherinebaileybooks. Then share this cover on Facebook, Twitter, or any social media, let me know in the comments on Facebook, and Ill make sure youre entered to win. The winner will also receive a monstrously cute goody bag to help pass the time until MIND YOUR MONSTERS stomps forth in August. The deadline to enter is 3/13/15 and the winner will be announced the next day.

Good luck everyone!

2014 NaNoWriMo Results

For the last month, Ive been living and breathing NaNoWriMo. I didnt answer my phone, I cancelled dentist appointments, I almost forgot to pick my kids up from school one day . . . But now that November is gone and NaNoWriMo is officially over, its time to emerge from my home office, stretch my fingers, let my eyes adjust to the light, and total up the number of words Ive written.

The goal of NaNoWriMo was to write 50,000 words in thirty days. The bad news is that I fell short. (Why does Thanksgiving have to be in November?) The good news is that I wrote 43,000 words. For me, thats a success story. After all, I wrote 20,000 more words than I did last November, and now I have the bulk of the first draft of my new novel written. In case anyone is wondering, its a thriller about a couple of evil Realtors in downtown Chicago. Theres still a lot more writing to do, but Im hoping to complete my first draft by January so I can begin the revision process.

The 23,000 words that I wrote in NaNoWriMo 2013 became my first equestrian young adult novel, Trail of Secrets. Im still trying to locate the perfect publisher/agent for that book. Ill be sure to post updates of any developments.

In the meantime, I hope everyone is starting to get in the holiday spirit!

Do you have a NaNoWriMo success story? Please share!

Holiday Writing Contest Results

I dont know whats happening at your house, but over here my kids are REALLY excited for Christmas!  Only one more day until Santa and his reindeer land on our roof and deliver presents to all the *good* boys and girls.  But before I send you off to enjoy your holidays, I wanted to let you know the results of Susanna Leonard Hills 3rd Annual Holiday Writing Contest.  Those of you who LIKE my author Facebook page already know the results, but this is for the rest of you.  Wait a second . . . Why dont you LIKE my author Facebook page?  CLICK HERE!  Thanks.

Okay, back to the subject at hand.  Thank you to everyone who read my entry in the Holiday Writing Contest!  Susanna and the other judges chose my story, The Gift Horse, to be one of 14 finalists out of 116 entries.  I couldnt believe it!  Then the voters (you!) voted The Gift Horse into third place.  Thank you!!  I am ecstatic to have won a professional picture book manuscript critique from editor Erin Molta.  Ill write a future post to let you know how that goes.

Before I sign off, I want to extend a huge CONGRATULATIONS to the other winners.  The first place prize went to Twas the Night Baafore Christmas by Dawn Young, and the second place prize went to, The Great Christmas Morning Mix-Up, by Kristen Foote!  You can visit Susanna Leonard Hills blog for the complete list of winners.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Holiday Writing Contest

Its time for Susanna Leonard Hills 3rd Annual Holiday Writing Contest!  This year the task is to write a childrens story of no more than 350 words about a Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster.  Susanna is offering amazing prizes!  Be sure to stop by Susannas blog and read all the great entries, and then return to her blog on Monday the 16th Wednesday the 18th to vote on the Finalists.  Voting will close Wednesday at 5 pm EST.  The winners will be announced on Thursday, the 19th.

Thank you for stopping by to read my entry.

Happy Holidays!

THE GIFT HORSE

By Laura Wolfe

[349 words]

Mistletoe clip-clopped past the reindeer’s empty stalls.  As Santa prepared to deliver presents around the world, Mistletoe dreamed of spreading Christmas magic too.  But horses can’t fly and Mistletoe’s nose didn’t glow.

Just before the reindeer ascended into the sky, Mistletoe noticed a present poking out of Santas sack.  It said, To Santa. Love, Mrs. Claus.  Mistletoe neighed, bucked, and whinnied to alert Santa of the mistake, but he was too late.  The sleigh was gone.

Mistletoe peered inside Santa’s cottage.  Mrs. Claus slept peacefully.  There wasn’t a single present for Santa under the Christmas tree.

This is horrible, thought Mistletoe.  Santa surprises everyone with presents on Christmas, but there are no  presents for Santa!

Then Mistletoe understood that he had the power to make Christmas magic.  He cantered to Santa’s barn.

“Santa is giving away his only present,” Mistletoe told Owl.  “Let’s surprise Santa with gifts on Christmas morning, just like he surprises us.”

“That’s a brilliant idea,” agreed wise Owl.

“But I don’t have anything to give him,” said Mistletoe.

“We all have gifts to give,” said Owl.  “I’ll pluck my fluffy feathers to make a pillow.”

“I’ll paint my eggs to make ornaments for Santa’s tree,” said Chicken.

“I’ll knit my wool into a cozy sweater,” said Sheep.

“I’ll whip my milk into creamy pudding,” said Cow.

Mistletoe polished one of his horseshoes until it sparkled.  He would give it to Santa for good luck.

The animals worked hard on their gifts.  When they heard sleigh bells in the distance, Mistletoe galloped to Santa’s cottage and arranged the gifts under the tree.  Mistletoe raced back to the barn where he and the other animals quickly went to sleep.

On Christmas morning, Mistletoe awoke to find TWO peppermints in his saddle bag!  But Mistletoe’s best gift was still to come.  He trotted to Santa’s cottage and watched Santa open his presents.  Santa and Mrs. Claus’ eyes twinkled brighter than the snow.  Mistletoe’s teeth stretched into a smile.

“Now you know my secret,” said Santa, winking at Mistletoe.  “Giving to others is the best gift of all.”