Thursday, October 15, 2009

Exciting Award News and book drawing!

On September 25th, Kay Winters was in Westfield, Massachusetts to recevie the Carol Otis Hurst Book Prize for her book Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak. As you may know, Carol was an award winning author herself and edited a newsletter that promoted children's literature and conducted workshops for teachers and parents. The cash prize was awarded by the Westfield Athenaeum, which includes Milton Library, Whitney Library, the Jasper Rand Art Museum, and the Edwin Smith Historical Museum. The presentation was made by Chris Lindquist from the library. After the award ceremony, several residents and actors from the Westfield Theater Group performed a readers' theater of Colonial Voices for the audience. Kay said that when she heard her words come alive as those actors spoke them, she got goose bumps! Congratulations, Kay, from all of us! So happy that your work has gotten this special recognition! Please be sure to visit Kay's web-site:

Thank you everyone for joining Kay and me for this interview series! Thank you for leaving such thoughtful comments as well as the fun comments about candy corn, snicker bars, skeleton costumes and more! It's been a wonderful Halloween treat for me. . .and now, I have treats for several of you! Early this morning I set up Kay's books with my pumpkin head ghost and Trick or Treat jack o'lantern and these are the names I drew. . .

The First name drawn for Kay's new book, Whooo's That? is Audra Everetts.
Second name for The Teeny Tiny Ghost book is Jennifer Swanson
Third name for the book: The Teeny Tiny Ghost and the Monster is Kristin Gray

Please send your mailing address to , and I'll post your autographed book asap.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Notes about The Writing Life with Kay Winters

Wednesdsay, October 14, 2009 Thanks for writing in. . .

Librarian Audra E. wrote on FaceBook: "Great interview. . .always interesting and inspiring to hear how authors began writing. Whooo's That? just arrived at the library. Can't wait to bring it home and share it with the kids!"

Teacher Barbaranne sent her comment via gmail: "I found what Kay said to be quite encouraging and supportive. She talked about marketing oneself and I would love for her to talk more on that subject, either publicly or by e-mail. It really helps, as I struggle with my writing, to hear paths to success are peppered with rejections. This interview was very helpful. Thank you, Kay!"

Welcome new member: JFHumble

Tomorrow is the drawing for the autographed books. Whooo will win?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Inside the Writing Life -- Kay Winters' Wisdom

12 October 2009 Kay Winters talks about the writing life!

Whether you're an aspiring writer, a published writer or a book lover, it's pretty much a given that you are stimulated and inspired by what writers have to say about the writing life be it about the craft, publishing, rejection. We can never get enough of it. We always want more, more, more--one more bit of advice, one more magical moment of success. Here now in the Halloween season is a little magic and writing wisdom from Kay Winters' pen:

Q. Where did you get the idea for the Teeny Tiny Ghost?
A. We have a dollhouse. One day I came down the stairs and found everything upside down--the Christmas tree knocked over, the forks and knives on the floor, the baby out of the cradle. . . and I thought maybe a teeny tiny ghost lives in the dollhouse. I wanted to write about a character who was so frightened that he scared himself!
My new book, Whooo's That? was my daughter Linda's idea. She works with pop-up books, and came up with the concept. Really fun to do a book together. We are doing a Christmas one for next year!

Q. When did you start writing?
A. I always wrote from the time I was 7. In the 1960's when I was home with the baby, I tried doing it on a freelance basis, but quickly saw that $5. from the Instructor Magazine or a thank you note from a reading teacher didn't buy enough baby food. So I went back to teaching, which I loved. And did that until I took early retirement. I started writing full time the next day. Two years later, I made the first sale to HarperCollins.

Q. Tell us about that first important sale.
A. I was away at a friend's, and my husband called and said, "The Editor at HarperCollins would be very pleased if you would call her back." My hair still stands on end when I tell that story! She offered me a contract for the Teeny Tiny Ghost!

Q. Are you part of a Writers' Group?
A. Yes! We have a great writers' group. All published authors. We've been together for 16 years. We meet monthly at the Doylestown library.

Q. Once you're published do you still get rejections?
A. Of course! It's part of the process.

Q. Does it get easier once you're published?
A. In many ways it's harder today. I don't have an agent, and so many houses are closed to anyone without one. Also, there seems to be less interest in literary picture books--much more focus on block-busters. I try to do a mix of humor and historical fiction.

Q. Can you tell us a little about your writing process?
A. I don't make outlines. I have an idea, and I sit down and see where it goes. I listen to the characters speak. I revise and revise and revise.

Q. What advice or writing tips can you offer aspiring writers?
A. You need to know that it's not easy. So many people think because they were children once that writing a children's book should be a cinch. Guess again. You have to be willing to keep working at it, go to conferences, take classes, read new books constantly, write constantly--regard it as seriously as you would if you were a lawyer or a teacher. Develop marketing skills; you will be the one doing the marketing.

Q. What are you working on now?
A. I am working on the 15th revision of Voices of the Oregon Trail.

Q. Do you do School visits or speak at conferences?
A. Absolutely! Having been a teacher, I love going back to schools and see what's going on now. There's far too much testing now. Can't teach students to love reading, when all they read are workbooks and answer questions in preparation for tests. I do think we are very busy turning students today into non-readers, non thinkers. No Child Left Behind has a lot to answer for! My goal as an author is to show students the magic of story and creating enthusiasm about reading and writing!

Thanks, Kay, for joining us and for taking time out of your busy book signing/conference schedule to share about your writing life!

Thursday is the drawing for three of Kay's Halloween books--The Teeny Tiny Ghost; The Teeny Tiny Ghost and the Monster; and her featured title, Whooo's That? There's still time to leave a comment here, dm me on Twitter or FaceBook, or e-mail me:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Whooo's That?

WHOOO'S THAT? by Kay Winters
Guess whooo's hiding behind the pumpkin in this interactive lift-the-flap book that's part hide-and-seek, part peekaboo--and all Halloween! Ten jack-o'lantern flaps lift to reveal a host of Halloween creatures, including a mischievous cat, bebopping skeletons, a friendly Frankenstein, and a group of children in costume. Are you ready to trick-or-treat, too? Then lift one more flap for a sweet surprise!
Who wouldn't want this book? It's perfect for your littlest trick-or-treaters, who will meet a smiling pumpkin and Halloween friends on every page. Look closely so you don't miss any of the fun! Illustrations by Jeannine Winston
Praise for Kay Winters' The Teeny Tiny Ghost series (HarperCollins Publisher):
"Get ready for your listeners to give out with boos and whoos, howls and yowls, because this is one ghost they will enthusiastically cheer! (*Starred Review)
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Praise for Whooo's Haunting the Teeny Tiny Ghost: "A lesson in bravery, a spine-tingler and all-out charmer, this is the treat of the Halloween season." --Publisher's Weekly (Starred review)
Who wouldn't want to have a Halloween book autographed by Kay Winters? I love the Teeny Tiny Ghost. He's a perfect Halloween friend for young trick-or-treaters everywhere.
You can meet Kay, hear her speak, and yes, get autographed copies of her books at these bookstores or events:
Farleys Book Store. New Hope, PA October 10th Book Signing
Delaware Valley College October 13th Presentation and book signing
Barnes & Noble at the Promenade Shopes October 14th, Presentation and Book signing
Booktenders Doylestown, PA October 21st Book signing
Educator's Day Souderton, PA October 24th Presentation and book signing
(sponsored by Harleysville Book store)
NJ School Librarian Conference November 14th New Brunswick Presentation/book signing
Natl Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Convention Center, Phila, PA November 21st Presentation and Book signing
Can't make it to one of her events? Learn more about Kay's many books for children by visiting
Leave a comment for a chance to win one of Kay's Halloween books. Post a comment here, e-mail me: and I'll post it for you!
More to come! Interview with Kay Winters is coming up next on October 12th! The drawing for the books will be on October 15th!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Interlude--Publishing News of Members & Reader Comments

Monday, October 5, 2009 A Potpourri of Pleasantries

Member News:

Congratulations to School Librarian, Susan Couture! Her article "Library Games Using Book Jackets" was accepted for publication in the March 2010 issue of Library Sparks magazine. Sounds intriguing, Susan!

Congratulations to Marileta Robinson who writes "The Adventures of Spot" for High Five Magazine (former senior editor at "Highlights for Children"). Marileta was one of the contributing editors commenting on revisions for Writing it Right by Sandy Asher/ Writer's Institute Publications. Highly recommended publication for the revision process.

Big Congratulations to Jennifer Swanson! Her new book, Penny and Rio: The Locked Doghouse Mystery just won the Mom's Choice Award in the Early Reader/JF category! I love Penny & Rio!

Thanks everyone for sharing your good news!

New Comments from e-mail and FaceBook for Part One of KayWinters Interview:

Member/writer Barbaranne e-mailed this comment: "How lovely to read about the happy lives of the authors who tickle our imaginations and help teach them how to relate to the world in which they live. Bravo!"

Author Patricia Hermes wrote on my wall at FB: "Love Kay Winters and her work. Love her smile."

Author/member Laura Lee Wren gave Kay Winters a big thumbs up on FB.

Author/member Deborah Heiligman ( e-mailed this comment: "Yay, Kay! Congratulations on the new book. Don't enter me in the drawing, Clara. I will buy multiple copies of Whooo's That? for my many young friends.

Thanks everyone for writing in. Keep those comments coming. I'll be back tomorrow to share Kay Winters wonderful Halloween books along with her speaking/book signing schedule for the next couple of months!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcome Award Winning Author, Kay Winters!

Thursday, October 1, 2009 Whooo's That?
Kay Winters and I first met about fifteen years ago at a wonderful SCBWI spring retreat in the Poconos. When you first meet Kay, you are at once struck by her poise and charm and most of all her warmth. It's always a delight to meet up with Kay at any writing event or conference. Here's a short bio about Kay in her own words to get you acquainted with her too:
"Stories have always been magic to me. My parents read to me every night. I was an only child who moved 11 times and was in 3 first grades. Books were my constant companions. Going to the library was a big adventure. I'd fasten my roller skates, hang the key around my neck, and zoom off holding a big blue bag to stuff with books."
Kay worked as a teacher, reading specialist, elementary supervisor, and college instructor. She also worked as a consultant at the American Intl Schools in Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Italy, India, and Nepal. "I loved it!" Kay writes. "I spoke at many conferences. But always, at every reading or curriculum conference that I attended, I slipped off to hear the authors speak. That dream would not be denied.
When Peter Catalanotto, a local author, came to one of my schools, I talked to him about my dream of writing children's books. He said, 'Give yourself five years to break in.' I thought to myself, I'd better get going!"
Kay left her teaching job and started all over again, writing books full time. She took classes in New York City at the New School, went to conferences, and wrote every day. A brand new career! After many manuscript submissions and an equal number of rejections, Kay got her first contract from HarperCollins for the Teeny Tiny Ghost. Two weeks later, the second contract was offered by Simon & Schuster for Wolf Watch. And a third contract offer for Did You See What I saw? Poems about School came from Viking.
Today, Kay and her husband live in an old farmhouse in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where she divides her working time between writing, schools visits, and speaking at conferences. Kay says, "It's a Lovely life." Learn more about this special author by visiting her website:
Be sure to leave a comment on this post! Kay has generously donated three autographed books: her new one, Whooo's That? and two of her Teeny Tiny Ghost books. To sweeten the Trick or Treat bag even more, simply leave a comment telling us your favorite Halloween Candy, your best ever costume, a spooky or special Halloween moment. How easy is that? Each time you leave a comment, your name will be put in my Halloween pumpkin for a chance to win one of Kay's books. The drawing will be mid-October so the lucky winners will have their books for Halloween!
Stay tuned! Kay's Halloween books and her schedule for Book Signings and Presentations will be featured in my next post!