Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Princess Peabody and the Stinky Cheese Comes to Life

I love, love, love Susanna Hill's contests. But what do I love more than her writing contests? Her illustration contests.. because I don't even have to enter!  Ahh, that's a relief. No revising my fingers to the bone to meet her itty bitty word limits and chocolate-induced constraints. Thankfully, I love revising. *wink, wink*

No, the best part is actually getting to see my story The Princess and the Stinky Cheese come to life at the hands of amazing artists. (And all the finalists' stories too - a total of 42 illustrators participated!)

I have learned so much watching this contest unfold. How critical it is to inspire illustration without dictating it. The importance of smart details. The amazing number of ways artists can demonstrate the stinkiness of cheese!

Each artist took a unique approach to the story. Each one found a detail to add to enhance the story and to make it their own. Thank you Susanna for hosting and to each of the artists who participated.

I thought it would be fun to see the story and all the different illustrations in one place. Hold on to your noses... 

By Catherine Constance
(used with permission)
The Princess and the Stinky Cheese

By Lauri C Meyers

"If you don't find a princess to marry soon," the Queen said, "I'll be forced to give the crown to the dog."

"Mother, your ridiculous "true princess" tests are the problem," Prince Plumbottom whined. "Let's see. Merida didn't feel the grain of rice in her pillow."

"Snored like a bear."

By Coleen Patrick
(used with permission)
"Fiona couldn't taste donkey snot in her soup."

"Gobbled it down like a dragon."

"Even if a princess passed your test," Prince Plumbottom said, "Princesses are so boring. I want to marry a daring lass!"

"Very well, son. We will look for a true princess who is also daring. I know just the right test."

"Here comes a girl now, and she has a branch in her hair!" he clapped his hands. "This young woman has had an adventure." The prince skipped over to the soaking wet maiden.  

By Grace Woodall
(used with permission)
"Hello, I'm Prince Plumbottom."

"Hello, I'm Princess Peabody," she said. "I was tracking a rattlesnake, but I fell into the river and now I'm quite lost."

"A rattlesnake? How daring!" the prince squealed. "Won't you join us for lunch?"

Princess Peabody wiped her muddy face with a napkin. She was about to blow her nose, but stopped when she heard the Queen whisper "Stinky Cheese Test" to the prince. She had heard of queens like this.  
By Telaina Muir
(used with permission)

"Cheese, dear?" the Queen asked.

"Oh, it's a lovely green," Princess Peabody said. "But it's not nearly stinky enough."

The prince beamed.

The Queen thumped on the table. "Cook! Bring the stinkier cheese!"

The cook held a handkerchief over her nose and presented the stinkier cheese.

By Heather Dent
(used with permission)
"Yummy. It smells like an ogre's shoe," the princess said. "But my Kingdom has much stinkier cheese."

The Queen's face turned red. "Guards! Find the stinkiest cheese in the land!"

The knights returned with a metal trunk which smelled like a dragon's armpit.

"Open it!" the Queen commanded.

By Joanne Roberts
(used with permission)
The knights closed their armor masks and reached with a sword to open the chest.  The stench was so horrific, so terrible, so ... stinky that everyone fainted.

Everyone except Princess Peabody.

She fed the stinky cheese to the royal dog who didn't mind the smell at all. Then she blew her nose, finally clearing it of river mud.

The Queen came to and saw the empty cheese plate. "A true princess!"

Prince Plumbottom declared, "A daring princess!"

"Burp!" The dog agreed. And they all lived stinkily ever after. 
By Sallianne Norelli
(used with permission)

**There are two more great illustrations by Ellen Injerd and Laura Miller which I will post too if I get their okay...but you can see them by clicking on the links!**

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Book for Writers - Wild Mind

I had a lovely, uneventful, swimming and eating vacation. The only very slight problem was my notebook. It was pretty enough with nice Mexican-ish stripes. And the paper felt satisfyingly sturdy and smooth. The only problem was the blankness of the pages.

My girls helped to remedy the situation. Filling that first blank with anything is always a relief.  

This portrait of me (quite accurate, no?) really got me motivated.

Finally, the book - Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life by Natalie Goldberg provided the trigger for my pen to move. At the end of Chapter 2 Natalie encourages writers to complete a timed writing session. To kick it off, write "I remember." Anytime your pen hesitates, start another "I remember" sentence.  This was an effective way to trick me into writing just to write.

Now here's the kicker. Natalie suggests using "I don't remember" sentences every so often. When you're exploring a topic, this switch of perspective can highlight deeper insights than your basic memory.

For instance I started writing about how I used to collect cans and bottles around the pond next to my house and take them to the recycling center for 50 cents a pound. Which is a nice little reminiscence. But I don’t remember anyone telling me to do it. I don't remember what I spent the money on. And I don't remember ever getting in trouble for sometimes not emptying all of the black pond goo out of the bottles (which would have ever-so-slightly increased the weight.)  There's incentive, stakes, and risk in the story which I might not of dug around for otherwise.

I'm only half way through the book, but so far it is an engaging read full of helpful "try this" exercises.

Now, enough vacation, time to get to work!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spring Break!

Oh dear, I'm going on vacation tomorrow, and I realize it already appears I have been on vacation! It's been almost two weeks since my last post, how does that happen so fast?

Well, like they say, time flies when you're having fun, and 2014 has been fun!

I had my first short story "Copernica" published in the January edition of Spaceports & Spidersilk. If you enjoy daring post dragon apocalypse teen angst, then this is for you! (Smashwords or Barnes & Noble

(footprint by clblood via sxc.hu)
I learned a lot during ReViMo (Revision Month) in January, and I'm still having a good time in ReViMo's Facebook group. Plus I won the Children's Book Academy's Grammar Groove course with Miranda Paul. Her lessons have been very helpful far beyond grammar advice.

I won 3rd place in Susanna Hill's March Madness story (Yay! Thank you everyone!) and had a great time writing about Princess Peabody, too.

[Insert break here where children get strep throat and the main bathroom is being remodeled while picture book edits start to pile up.]

April is bringing the first RhyPiBoMo, and holy cow is Angie Karcher putting on a poetry show. She has guest posts by poets and also creates an educational poetry lesson with each post.

Plus I completed my registration for the NJ SCBWI conference in June (which if you've registered for a conference before you know involves 26 1/2 pieces of paper, cross referencing of times and agents and workshops, and leaving time for kidlit socialization - dizzying!)

I think a brief vacation in the warm sun after a great start to the year and the ALL-WORK-AND-NO-FUN-MAKES-JACK-A-DULL-BOY kind of winter we had. I've decided to not bring any revisions (officially) with me, though I'm sure my relaxed brain will be gnawing on the stories anyhow.  I will be bringing an empty notebook which I hope to not bring back empty. 

Happy Spring Break!
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