Nancy's Books

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Every book begins with an idea. Sometimes the idea needs minutes, hours, and days to take shape; sometimes weeks and months. The idea may gush forth like a flood with the characters and plot quickly following; others form as slowly as a tree growing from a tiny seed.

Years ago, my husband and I visited Niagara Falls and I was enchanted with the beauty, roar, mist, and majesty of the waterfall, nature’s handiwork at its finest. Still, I didn’t consider writing a picture book about the subject. One morning about four years ago, I watched a program on TV that featured Niagara Falls. Like magic, the idea of a book grabbed hold and refused to let go. I checked out armloads of books from my public library—anything and everything that centered on Niagara Falls. I was most intrigued by the daredevils who challenged gravity as they tightrope-walked across the Falls and those who enclosed themselves in various types of containers and plunged over the Falls, taking risks with calculated emphasis on survival. Most of all I was interested in someone who was the first person to perform a stunt.

That someone was Annie Edson Taylor. She was 62 years old, definitely an unlikely candidate to be the first person to ride a barrel over the Falls. The more I read about Annie, the more intrigued I became.

Hooked, I was. Annie’s story was one children would enjoy. Since boys tend to not read books about females, I added a section about other Niagara Falls daredevils, primarily males who performed stunts. Some succeeded; some did not. My goal was to include facts that would fascinate children in the same way I was fascinated.

Today, four years later, I hold that book in my hands for the very first time. From idea to story, my book was born.                                                                                                               

Call for submissions for adult writers:

Big Fiction’s Knickerbocker Prize. Online submission deadline is February 28, 2013 for Big Fiction’s Knickerbocker Prize. Open to long-form fiction, between 7,500 – 30,000 words. First- and second-place entries will receive $500 / $250 and publication. Lauren Groff (author of the novels Arcadia and The Monsters of Templeton, and the story collection Delicate Edible Birds) will judge. All entries will be considered for publication, and all participants will receive a copy of the contest issue. The winning entries will be announced on our website in May 2013. For complete guidelines:

Call for submissions for young writers:

Speak Up Press publishes Speak Up Online quarterly, featuring the original fiction, nonfiction, and poetry of teens (13-19 years old).  IN 2013, SUBMISSIONS ARE ACCEPTED APRIL 1, 2013-AUGUST 31, 2013. Send Submissions in the body of an email to:

Submission guidelines at

Check out more contests on my blog:


  1. Congrats on holding your book for the very first time! what a rush that must can I get this book?

    1. It's a wonderful feeling that you will realize because your writing is so good it's getting noticed by editors. Amazon, B & N, or any bookstore can order Barreling Over Niagara...or you can get it from me. Thanks!

  2. Congratulations. It must be a wonderful feeling. The book looks really cute.

    1. True, I get jittery when I hold my books for the first time. Thanks!