Seven Stories. Seven Days (Day 3 and 4)

For those new to my blog, I am a teacher and a picture book writer.  This is my first ever attempt to try and write seven stories in seven days.  Not a difficult task, you say?  But when this has to fit in around work, family and other responsibilities…not as easy as it sounds. (At least for me.)

Day 3.  Slept through my 5 am alarm.  No time to write before work.  The reality is that today just getting myself to work is the challenge.  And I actually left my lunch at home so I was stuck with the emergency granola bar in my purse.  But it was enough.

Later that day, I was able to write a little.  Is it a story I wrote?  Well, calling it a story would be a stretch.  Maybe its more of a poem.  Actually calling it a poem is a stretch too so maybe it is more of some ideas loosely tied together that my end up becoming a story one day.  I wonder if I’ll ever be able to write anything good again.  So I’d say I took a dip on day 3.

Day 4. Didn’t get up at 5 am but started writing by 6 am and today, I have what I can actually call a first draft of a story.  It seems I have turned the tide as this draft might even have potential.  But I could change my mind about that when I re-read it tomorrow.  We shall see.  This one is called The Rainbow Snake.

So tomorrow is Saturday.  You would think that on the weekend, I ought to be able to write a story each day with no work to interfere, so there is hope for me to complete this challenge.  Stay tuned.

Oh, and just in case you’re curious about picture books I’ve already published, you can check out my debut picture book here

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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Seven Stories. Seven Days.

Seven stories in seven days.  Is it even possible for someone who works full time?  Well, I’m about to find out.  I started today (May 1st) and for the next week I will be writing a picture book draft each day.  Let’s see how I do.

By the way, I did do a little pre-planning with a few ideas up my sleeve on what I might write about. So at least when I get up each day, I have a writing prompt.

Day one.  Planned to get up at 5 am.  Alarm went off but didn’t wake up until 5:40 am.  Wrote a draft titled Blue Heron Gets Hungry.  It is very rough.  But it is a draft.  Maybe it can be polished into something great!  Time will tell.  And now it is 9:15 pm so I better get to bed soon so I can get up and write draft number 2.  I’ll let you all know how I get along.

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Also, check out my debut self-published picture book Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker

Little Steps

I wasn’t sure if I should share this news here but I’m bursting with excitement so here goes….I’m hopeful that there’s an exciting change on the horizon for me.

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So right at the beginning of January, I came across a publisher’s wish list for picture book manuscripts.  It felt like my lucky day as two of the items on the wish list matched one of my manuscripts.  I sent my query and a few days later, I received a request to read my manuscript!  I’m told that it takes around 6 weeks to hear back about a manuscript so I don’t expect to know anything for awhile but cross your fingers for me! It is the first time ever I feel like I actually have a chance to become a traditionally published author.

I’d love to give more details but it is really still a very long shot so it may come to absolutely nothing but right now, there’s hope!

Hope with me, okay?

Pancake Day: February 13, 2018

Hello Lovely Readers!

This year pancake day will be on Tuesday, February the 13th?  Pancake day is sometimes called Shrove Tuesday and it is the last day of feasting before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.  It goes back to the tradition of eating up any remaining rich foods before fasting.

I have my own tradition of making pancakes with my preschoolers on pancake day.  They love to measure the ingredients, stir up the batter, and flip the pancakes.  Of course the best part of all is eating the pancakes. What a treat!

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For fun you can watch the Great Spitafield’s Pancake Race where Londoners go to celebrate.  Perhaps I ought to try something like this with my preschoolers.  And here’s a sweet little pancake song!

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Finally, don’t forget to order Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker a fun little story about friendship, creativity and ingenuity and lots and lots of pancakes.  It is the perfect little story to read on pancake day.

Poke around my blog to find links to all sorts of yummy pancake recipes from some wonderful food bloggers out there in the blogosphere.

If you ask me, any day is a good day for pancakes 🙂

Writing Success in 2017

Resolutions have never been a thing I’ve really believed in.  The problem is that they’re too easy to break and the result is I finally end up feeling badly after I haven’t met the goals I’ve set out to achieve.  So instead of resolutions, I give you my success stories of 2017…

  1. Joined Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 picture book challenge
  2. Posted 4 stories in the 12 by 12 forum, received feedback and revised.
  3. Joined my first ever online critique group.  Love my new critique partners and hope we can keep it going into next year.
  4. Watched every 12×12 webinar at least once.
  5. Submitted short stories to three contests:  Vivian Kirkfield’s 100 word story contest; A. LaFaye’s 50 word short story contest; and Susannah Leonard Hill’s 250 word holiday short story contest
  6. Won the 50 word story contest by A. LaFaye with my story Friendship Soup!! She sent me a hardcover copy of “I Want My Hat Back” by Jon Klassen.
  7. Participated in the summer reading challenge by Rena Traxel; read 43 new-to-me picture books during July and August.
  8. Self-published my first ever picture book: Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker
  9. Revised several manuscripts this year. Revise. Revise. Revise.
  10. Wrote a total of ten picture book drafts this year.
  11. Did my first ever preschool visit as an author.
  12. Got Scrivener so that I can better organize my writing and start working on MG and early chapter books.
  13. Joined Tara Lazar’s Storystorm.
  14. Joined CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers).
  15. Submitted an entry to SCBWI’s Work in Progress writing contest.
  16. Submitted picture book manuscripts to publishers and received two surprisingly kind rejections.
  17. Submitted entries to CANSCAIP’s writing for children competition.
    What are your success stories of 2017? I encourage you to make a list.  You may surprise yourself as I did!

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    Here’s me reading to my outdoor preschool group.

December’s Kid Lit Love: Butterfly Park by Elly Mackay

Hello Lovely Readers!

Now that I have published a book myself, I can better understand the importance of book reviews posted on Goodreads and Amazon.  Blog posts help too 🙂

Though I don’t typically make resolutions, I have decided on one goal for myself this year: to review one amazing picture book each month on my blog, Amazon, and Goodreads.  Yes, I’m on a mission to spread my love for picture books. so if you have little people in your life, or simply love picture books, here we go!

I was lucky enough to come across Butterfly Park by Elly Mackay a couple of months ago at Chapters Bookstore in Victoria, B.C.  The illustrations are so enthralling and the time and detail put into each one is incredible.  It is worth having a look at Elly’s process for creating illustrations, which involves careful cutting of paper, painting, setting up of scenes and then photography.  The images are whimsical and colourful with a balance of clear and soft focus.

Moving to a new town, the main character must leave behind the things she loves.  She  particularly misses the butterflies and must find a way to adapt and make friends in her new town which at first, appears quite bleak and grey.  By the end, she creates and discovers friendship and beauty in Butterfly Park. And she finally feels at home in her new surroundings.

The story and images work together beautifully.  The page turns are suspenseful and the story is totally relatable for young children.  The story is a celebration of friendship, community, beauty, and change.  It is memorable for children and adults alike.

Thanks for reading!  And by the way, I’m hoping a few more people can review my lovely picture book, Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker so if you’ve read it, please take a moment to leave a review.  To enter to win a copy, head over to Goodreads; giveaway closes on January the 27th, 2018!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker by Cynthia Mackey

Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker

by Cynthia Mackey

Giveaway ends January 27, 2018.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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A little peek at my picture book

Here’s a Peek at Katie Shaeffer Pancake Maker by Cynthia Mackey and Paula Nasmith

If your kids love pancakes, collections, pretending to sell things and parties then you need this book.  If you have grandchildren, this book makes a great gift as it will encourage little ones to work with you in the kitchen.  A cute repeated rhyme and a recipe included.  Check it out!

Self-published by an author and illustrator team from Victoria, B.C. Canada

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