Saturday, April 1, 2023

Are We There Yet #Springflingkidlit

Spring has sprung! (At least so says my tulips and the kids' Spring Break schedule.) To celebrate the season, Ciara O'Neal and Kaitlyn Sanchez are hosting the Spring Fling Kidlit challenge. Enter here. 

The basics: Choose a kid-appropriate gif to inspire a 150-word of less story for kids 12 and under. The Spring Fling contest officially begins on Saturday April 1st and closes April 3rd. 

I was inspired by this gif of a whale mom and baby migrating, a journey that starts in April.  Aww! So cute!

(Gif Link)

Are We There Yet? 

By Lauri C. Meyers

The ocean warms with spring.
Gulls have taken wing.
The current’s pull is strong
And hums migration’s song.
Mama whale conveys 
The change of coming days,

                “Northern waters call!”
But baby tries to stall. 
I like this seaweed reef 
That tickles me beneath.
                            “There’s a world to see!
                               Come explore with me.”
            I’ll miss my dolphin friends
            And how the sunlight bends.
                               “No matter where you roam,
                                The ocean is your home.” 
            How far will we go? 
                                “A thousand miles or so.”
            That’s too far I fear. 
                                “You’ll always have me near.”
            Tell me what we’ll see.
                                “Ice that’s floating free.”
            What’s it like at night?
                                “A dancing sky of light.”
            Will there be any fun? 
                                “Plankton by the ton.” 
            I’ll learn to fish I bet!
            Mom, are we there yet?
                                “Do you feel the chill?
                                  An end of journey thrill?”
Jump in celebration—
               I swam my first migration!

Monday, March 20, 2023

Fancy Meeting You here! #50PreciousWords

In life things aren't always exactly the way you want them. Like possibly one day your kids want to do "something fun" and you want to do "the four hundred things on your to-do list." When those situations arise, I try to find some sort of compromise. Perhaps this means the kids help move piles of rocks in the backyard and I give them wheelbarrow rides. Or we clean a closet and then play with the toys we found. 

Maybe your husband wants to "hike up the side of a mountain so we can look down at the ground below" and you want to remind him you can see the ground right here without your thighs burning. So it begrudgingly agrees to a 2 mile walk with a waterfall (because I'm a sucker for a waterfall.)

Friendship often means meeting halfway, too. This is the theme I chose for my 50 Precious Words Contest entry this year which won an HONORABLE MENTION FOR FRIENDSHIP! Yay! [Note: It's completely appropriate for you to tear up some paper and throw it in an exuberant confetti display at this point.]  And congratulations to all the contest winners!

I hope you enjoy my poem (under 50 words) ... 

*** So I fashioned this picture from clipart in Canva and I had to kind of copy and paste Ostrich's head, so I hope you don't look too closely! #notanillustrator

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Is it REALLY Valentine's Day?

 February means being misled by a groundhog, tricked by the crocuses, and bamboozled by the weather. And that's before you add in general Valentine's uncertainty of whether He loves me or He loves me not. Of course, that would leave anyone feeling SKEPTICAL... which brings us to this year's Valentiny contest!

The contest is hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill (who is author friends with a very nice groundhog who wouldn't mislead anyone) and the rules are: write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone feels skeptical!    

Now I initially thought "skeptical" was a big feeling for little kids, but then I remembered my kids don't believe a single thing I say. 

        "Carrots are healthy"   


        "Don't wait to study until the night before a test." 


        "I'm brushing my teeth!" 

                            Mom, we all know you are just sitting in there playing games on your phone. 

It's true. Kids SHOULD be skeptical of their parents... Read all the fun entries over at Susanna's blog. 

Love is an Adventure


By Lauri C. Meyers

Dad unwrapped a balloon. Mom opened a scarf.

“You guys give boring Valentine’s gifts,” I said.

“Boring?” Dad gawked. “These remind us of falling in love.”

“Literally falling! I skydived past your Dad’s hot air balloon,” Mom explained. “He was cute, so I yelled ‘Call me!’”

I raised my eyebrows. Mom doesn’t skydive!

“But I didn’t know her number!” Dad said. “Luckily, the next day while bull riding, I saw your mother in a barrel. I yelled, ‘Number?’ Then I got bucked off.”

“I miss rodeo clowning,” Mom sighed

I rolled my eyes. Dad hate clowns!

“The next week, I was snowshoeing a glacier. Your Dad raced by on a dog sled. I yelled, ‘534-’”

“But a polar bear chased me away! I couldn’t hear the rest.”

My mouth hung open. My parents hate snow!

“Later that month, I flipped my kayak in a dangerous swamp,” Dad whispered.

“I was training alligators nearby. I heard the splash,” Mom said. “Snappy Al married us right then and there.”

“An alligator married you?!” I squinted at them. “How did you really fall in love?”

They winked. “Open your gift!”

“A week at Pirate Adventure Camp?” I read the pamphlet. “Plank diving! Shark riding! Sword fighting!”

“Create your own story about falling in love … with adventure.”


Saturday, October 29, 2022

Halloweensie! The House Creatures' Halloween

Forget the trick-or-treating and candy and costumes and watching your jack-o-lantern slowly collapse into a gooey mess... Halloween means it's Halloweensie time! 

This is my 11th year writing for this contest, and thanks to Susanna Leonard Hill it just gets more fun every year. If you want to play along, the rules are to write a story or poem for kids in 100 words or under about Halloween with this year's contest words (treat, slither, scare.) Entries must be posted in the comments of the contest blog post

After we decorated the house for Halloween this year, I noticed the dog looking at the decorations (and us) like we were very weird. That inspired this story about the surprise the creatures of the house might feel when they creep out at night. 

Here is my entry: 

The House Creatures’ Halloween (100 words)


By Lauri C. Meyers


When night falls, the house creatures wake. But things look spookier.

Mouse snuffles for crumbs, but… “Squeak! A glowing ghost!”       

She scampers into a hole.

Bat hovers over apples, but… “Eek! A fangy vampire!”

He dives into a hole.

Centipede hunts for a bite, but… “Yikes! A monstrous spider!”

It slithers into a hole.

this work is titled: "I'm not an illustrator but 
still had fun doodling"

Cat prowls for a late-night snack. Suddenly, he sniffs a whiff of sneaking, flying, creeping beasties near a skeleton.

The animals shake and jump!

“Yowl! The skeleton is alive!” The cat runs scared.

The house creatures crawl out and celebrate on a feast of Halloween treats. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Why Critique is Worth Celebrating

 One of the most beautiful parts of writing Kidlit is critiquing. 

    "Um, hearing why your story sucks doesn't sound beautiful," you say. 

But that feedback, no matter how devastatingly true, even if it causes you to painfully rewrite a rhyming stanza or throw a character off a plane without a parachute, is critical to getting your story read. And that's what we all want...our lovely story babies in the hands of others as smiles spread on their faces at the fun in our words. 

    "Remember that time they suggested your story about a tree was actually about the process of grieving and then you cried for like two days?" you say like a wickedly popular 17-year-old.

That was amazing. A critique partner able to identify an emotion I didn't even realize I had infused into that story. Understanding my story's layers made writing a query letter easier too. The flipside is also true, a critiquer (just like any reader) may see a meaning behind a character's action that you didn't intend but is true to her read.   

Actual pen used to recently
kill a character.

    "Well, what's the best kind of critique group?" you say. 

Critique groups can come in all shapes and sizes. I have a group of four writers from 12x12 which exchanges pieces in email. Another group of four was set up this summer via the selfless offer of Hannah Holt to connect similar writers looking for partners. This group which I lovingly call the NeRDLes (because of our initials) works on google docs and is even brave enough to critique rhyme. Another critique group chats in a Facebook group and posts in Tapatalk. I also have some lovely critique partners always willing for an impromptu exchange. 

    "Why are you in so many groups?" you question with an unnecessary eyeroll. 

Groups often have a life cycle. Life babies...back to school... job changes... sickness... and your critique friends (and you!) may need to step back at times. A once busy group can turn to crickets. Members can change focus between picture books and longer works. Other times new opportunities may mean you need more support. As a PB Chat Mentor in 2021 I had a lot of manuscripts to polish. Since joining 12x12, I am successfully writing more drafts, and new manuscripts mean more critiques. I also try to not hit the same group with multiple revisions of a story, because it's no longer a fresh read. 

    "You are so right and have been incredibly convincing about the power of critique groups!" I type right after you have taken a bite of cruller, but I'm pretty sure that's what you were going to say. 

Want to celebrate the wonder of critiquing?! Join in PB Critique Fest. Sponsored by Brian Gehrlein and his PB Spotlight page, this is a chance to win a critique from an author, illustrator or agent and show your support for the kidlit community. Follow the #PBCritiqueFest hashtags on twitter to join in the fun. 

And THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all my critique partners out there who help me move my manuscripts forward. And THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for letting me be a part of your work, too. 

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Say Howdy to Cowboy Bob!

Well, my Spring was wild with school activities, my Summer frolicked with fun, and I've rolled right into back to school! Fall is always a productive season with lots of revisions to chew on and many contests to inspire new pieces. 

One of those contests is Fall Frenzy hosted by Lydia Lukidis and Kaitlyn Sanchez. To join in, just pick one of the images from Lydia's site for inspiration and write a story in 200 words or less. 

This picture gave me all the feels and inspired a little 200 word ditty about Cowboy Bob. 

Halloween- Credit: Brian Wangenheim for Unsplash

Cowboy Bob's Candy

By Lauri C. Meyers

Cowboy Bob hugged his candy. “I’m not sharing my sweet vittles with those rascally trick-or-treaters this year!”  

“I’ll hand out beans!” Cowboy Bob laughed. But he loved his beans.

“I’ll fill their bags with oats!” Cowboy Bob hop-skipped. But Horsiepoo needed her feed.

Cowboy Bob slapped his knee. “I’ve got a gravy idea!”

He got busy lickety-split spookifying the ranch. Gravestones lined the trail, ghosts hung from branches, and spiderwebs stretched from post to post. Horsiepoo wore vampire fangs. Cowboy Bob got gussied up with a roll in the dirt and some guts on his shirt.

            “Those lil’ uns will be too scared to trot up my path.” Zombie Cowboy Bob rested his boots on the porch and grabbed his bowl of sweets.  

Suddenly, lights flickered on the path. Giggles bounced off the fence. It was a stampede!

“I think these critters plumb like being scared,” Cowboy Bob cried. Candy flew faster than a hooty owl in a storm.

Cowboy Bob checked his bowl. “Two pieces left for us, Horsiepoo!”

“Trick-or-treat!” a little witch called. “I love your spooky ranch, Cowboy Bob!”

“Aww, shucks,” Cowboy Bob said dropping both pieces in her bag. “My candy sure makes those trick-or-treaters sweet.”



Saturday, April 2, 2022

Why Owls - a Spring Fling Poem

It's snowing one day and hot the next, so it must be Spring!

The Spring Fling Kidlit contest is open for entries through 4/3/22. This contest hosted by Ciara O'neal and Kaitlyn Sanchez is for stories under 150 words for kids under 12 inspired by a gif. You can enter here.

(I don't know the original source for this meme...
but thank you for breaking my brain mystery photographer)
My entry is based on a gif that has been bothering me since I saw it last exposes the truth of owls long legs. It's makes me laugh thinking about it!

"Excuse Me" on Giphy

Why Owls

By Lauri C. Meyers


I know why owls have giant eyes:

For super sight at night,

Tapered tips on powered wings

For stealthy gliding flight,

Heads that swivel all around

Extending what they hear

With feathered ears to funnel sounds

Of rodents creeping near,

Offset ears triangulate

The spot to grab the prey,

Talons spread to stun a mouse

And carry it away.

Sharpened beak for tearing food

Because they cannot chew,

But why they hide flamingo legs

I haven’t any clue!

(from Zenoshogun on Imgur)
Whooooo spent too much time looking at owl gifs? That was me, but it can be you too! If you need more owls, I recommend: 
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