Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Looking in the Chrystal ball.....

Facebook say....#1 A breakthrough! I spent all of December following up on agents and editors I met at conferences. I am ready! (FB also predicted I'll win the lottery. Of course Illinois does not have the funds to pay out and I don't play, but....)

Of course that will mean some serious writing and social media platform building. Editing, editing, editing. And the fun of meeting with great critique groups!

Why? Because there is a story inside that can touch the life of a child somewhere and the gnawing to write it will not stop! And I like cow noises.....

Happy new year to writers everywhere!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Reviews are pouring in!

SOME of us have known since 2008 that the Tailors was the Christmas story of a lifetime! Now the world knows. We are so proud of our own JB Michaels!

Tip of the Icicle! See more at


Friday, December 18, 2015

Writing Plans for 2016

12x12 Challenge to write 1 picture book and make 1 revision every month

Rate Your Story with the chance for 18 editorial critiques of picture books

ReFoReMo a month of analyzing 5 picture books a day

NaPiBoWriWee a week of developing a picture books every day

SCBWI-IA Spring Fling and Prairie Writers

2 spectacular monthly critique groups

maintain FB author page weekly

update blogs Peek in the Nest and The Write 6 weekly

Who else has plans?

Friday, December 4, 2015

Conference Follow Up

I went to two conferences recently - one in person and one online - where agents and editors agreed to look at one piece from each person attending who would submit according to their guidelines. So the last few days I have been compiling a spreadsheet of who wants an attachment, or a form or "in the body of the e-mail," plus going over all my notes to see which one might like "Lizards Got Talent" and which is better for "How to Get a Dog in 10 Easy Steps." Then each manuscript has been given one last go over. Now to customize the cover letters to include specific things they said at the conference! But if by mid-month I have 8 new queries out that will by pass the slush pile (or in some cases get in the door without an agent), and if only 1 of them hits the right person at the right time....We'll drink to that!

Friday, November 27, 2015

The ONLY book you will need this Christmas!

Here it is - on Amazon and ready to give your Christmas spirits a real lift!

Your children ages 5-12 are tired of the same old Christmas books. Or you would love to start a new tradition of family reading with a heartwarming but adventuresome holiday story they have NOT heard before.

Welcome to the tiny magic world of the Tannembaum Tailors! It is their job to keep the tree safe and holiday spirits joyful for the entire season. Most year it is easy. But in one house one year....that's where the story begins. From there we travel to the heart of it all - the North Pole for some gripping action and make-you-gasp adventure as the Tailors rush to save Christmas.

JB Michaels is a teacher, father and charter member of the Write 6!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Today is Prarie Writers

Big day in Writer World - SCBWI Prarie Writer's Day! Three of us are headed up there and hoping to run into The Pefect agent or editor to kick start our careers!

There are numerous tips on how to schmooze and work the system at conferences. As writers we tend to be introverts so this is far harder than social media platform building! But this particular conference has lots of opportunities so we going for it!

This could be the one!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Free - with Benefits!

One last thing to say about the great platform class of October - we were forced (hehehehe) to make a structured program for writing/platforming for November. I did mine on a Google calendar with reminders. It works! Something about the tug of the e mail is stronger than the topic on my list!

I wonder if the same strategy will work with exercise...
better not risk it.....

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Surviving Platform

What a great month of platform building! I took a free class through Writer's Digest (Robert Lee Brewer, Writer's Market) and got pushed into Tweeting! That is probably not my prime venue, but I do LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, and blog. What I learned was the important of linking those for more exposure. Just barely scratched the surface but realizing how important it is!

Now to choose favorites and find time to write and platform!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Links YOU can use!

An exciting day in the writing world!

Need to know about query letters? Check out the 12x12 November 10 webinar

And from our own Write 6 - Proudly presenting Mister Michaels newsletter featuring up to the minute info on the Tannenbaum Tailors Debut!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

loose ends

Not every day is perky, perky in the writing world.

I have several items out of professional critique - back in November. I have a couple of small animal creatures in my brain for the 12x12 story, but no idea what the little guys will do. I have a veritable slush pile out for consideration and the countdown to "After 8 weeks if you have not heard from us...." Every trip to the bookstore shows me another adaptation of Pete the Cat, who I love but is taking shelf space! And now the agent thinks children's books without a platform are not worth pushing. If I could draw I might be ready to self publish.

So why do I write, or continue to write?

Ah well - we all get bummer days. Then Monday some new agent will be listed on Writer's Digest and I'll rev up the hope again!

Time for a nap.

Friday, October 23, 2015


 For the last 2 years I have worked with a literary agent in the Christian market. I have learned a ton from her about how to put together proposals and research platform data. I have networked on my end, had several pieces looked at by Christian publishers, but no sale.

This week I had a letter stating that the agency is taking a new direction, and it appears my agent is going to be busy on other projects.

The letter was not personally addressed. Essentially the message was that the industry publishes fewer book and are not taking risks. If the author does not have a big author platform "(yours included)" ...well, here's the name of their new project by someone who does.

This is quite a sad change from when the criteria was a good story and good writing, not name recognition. It is especially hard to see it in the Christian publishing world. Not sure Paul could get his Collected Letters published in this environment!

Writing is full of rejection. Luckily raising teenagers gave me skin of an elephant and 10 years in seminary taught me tenacity! Traveling to developing nations taught me to use squat toilet, but that may not quite so useful in this situation.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Scaling the Platform wall

I am feeling a little over-rejected at the moment so I decided to work on a 31 day platform challenge at I also have some of my favorite manuscripts out for professional critique.

Today we are participating in a live tweet. I am one of those who still reviews punctuation and capitalization even in e mails and FB posts - but the Tweet world seems to come so fast. Like messaging - but I only message people who know I can't spell.

Facebook, blogs, Twitter, website - how much time do authors spend on this? When do they write? I hope to get some guidelines as we work through the month. I still wonder - with all this effort, am I attracting the right group? Should I be on sites with other writers or on sites with moms who might buy the books?

If, that is, I ever stop getting rejections!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fall 2015 books

Interesting list - mostly because the publishers are not the big traditional ones! The smaller ones may not be open to submission, either, but I'll check. You gotta have HOPE - or, failing that, stubbornness...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


It's time to ponder the October 12x12 rough draft and revisions. Somehow the revisions come daily - and for sure after a critique meeting! (Thanks, guys!)

This month I am fascinated by Prairie Dogs - found the cutest video about some action called a jump-yip! Bet that is the title. The Native word for the little guy is Pispiza. So that's his name. But what is the story?

Here's a picture of the little chubby cheeked critter from Wikipedia. Not a source I use for research, but the pictures are so cute! What is it about small rodents?

Live in very social colonies and kiss to greet each other. There is so much there!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Professional Critiques

One piece of advice from the PB Summit - when manuscript revisions seem circular (Leave it in! Take it out!) on the advise of critique groups (I have two live groups plus 12x12 and SCBWI), it is time for a professional. I have two stories out to the pros now: Frank: the Wolf who Cried "Pig!" and How to Get a Dog in 10 Easy Steps. (See picture for the dog who proves it can be done!) Both critiques got discounts after taking the editor's classes. I like that better than sending because I already have an online relationship with the editor. And after the PB summit we have access to agents normally closed to submission so I want these stories Totally Ready!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Best Conference ever!

All Day Saturday (really ALL day!) was spent in front of the computer - one 20 minute break and some stretching but tons of terrific information! Tips from agents and editors, too. Attendees from all over the world and no line at the Ladies' bathroom!

Best learning: so many ways to be published including a new "hybrid" category. Platform can appeal to other writers or potential buyers/readers. Have to think that over some more. Also of course: revise, revise, revise. But not too much. Sigh.

I'll speak to my coauthor, Hairy Potter, about more revisions.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Reigniting the BLOG

The Write 6 have been together in person monthly (or so) since 2008! That includes 4 babies (soon 5), a wedding of one member performed by another, several parent deaths, and lots of revisions!

My next phase of the journey is to blog on my writing regularly this month.

Biggest joy: the initial idea and writing the first draft. I always think it is done! How could it get better?

Biggest challenge: steaming mounds of rejections and more recently just being widely ignored.

Here we go!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book cover

Coming in Fall 2016!

Friday, April 10, 2015

n March I took the Reforemo challenge of studying 5 picture books a day every day! I also decided to look at all the places besides libraries I could get picture books - airports, museum stories, even Alcatraz on a trip to SF! Fun month. Sometimes I felt overwhelmed by the total brilliance of a few and other times annoyed that such YUK got published. Lots more stuff in rhyme (not always perfect!) than the editors behind the slush piles would have us believe!  
I'm looking forward to the "Revising and Re-Imagining Your Picture Book" webinar, coming up April 29 from Eileen Robinson and Harold Underdown of Kid's Book Revisions. I'm hoping it will help me improve my picture book manuscript. If you write picture books, you should look into it! #PBwebinar
Kid's Book Revisions

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 - the Big One!

New year - ready for action!

Just sent off 3 manuscripts to editors/agents from our SCBWI fall meeting, applied for the Laura Crawford mentorship and send a first page critique application for January. I am also working on a Grown Up travel piece for a contest - and Sunday's sermon!

Let's write!