Nancy's Books

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Today, I’m thrilled to have picture book author, Stephanie Burkhart, as a guest. Stephanie grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire. She currently works for LAPD as a dispatcher and has two additional books, The Giving Meadow and First Flag of New Hampshire.
Nancy:  Welcome, Stephanie. I’m so glad to have you here today to discuss your latest book, Brady’s Lost Blanket
Steph: Thank you for having me. I’m happy to share my book and writing experience with others. In Brady’s Lost Blanket, Brady is a sensitive young boy who takes a blankie wherever he goes. After traveling with his parents to visit his new cousin, Brady accidently leaves his blanket behind.
 Nancy: This book can be quite useful to parents whose child has had a similar experience. What was the hardest part of writing it?
 Steph: I find that children's stories are truly inspired and when the story comes, it comes quickly. There was nothing "hard" about it.  Even the editing of the story went smoothly. I suppose there's a lot of anxieties of letting an illustrator you don't know illustrate the story, but 4RV uses a great set of illustrators and Bridget McKenna did a wonderful job with the illustrations.
 Nancy: For me, writing picture books is extremely difficult. I love how the writing process evolved quickly and smoothly for you. What advice would you give to those who want to get a publishing contract for a manuscript?
Steph: Study writing. Understand the craft of writing: point of view narration, description, and using an economy of words. Draft bios so you get to know each character before you start writing. I take at least two weeks to prep a novel by researching characters, setting, historical background, and drafting a flexible plot.  Before I submitted my novel to a publisher, I entered it in the Writer's Digest Annual Contest. They're looking for short stories with a word count of 4k and under. Writing short stories teaches you to use an economy of words. When you submit to publishers, be patient. The publishing world is a "slow" business and nothing happens overnight. Be patient.
Nancy: Being patient is a must. A picture book, once accepted by a publisher, usually takes at least two years for publication. How did you develop the idea for this picture book?
 Steph: One of my husband's relatives told me a story about her grandson, how he was attached to his blankie and how it was hard for him without it.  I recalled my own childhood and how I was attached to my blankie.  It was a security crutch, but there's a time to let the blankie go.  It's like your first step to growing up.
I wanted to write Brady's Lost Blanket for those kids who have blankies and might be reluctant to give them up.  I hope the story is inspiring and helps children understand there are other things you can fall back on when you don't have your blankie.
 Nancy: I’m sure readers will enjoy this story. I certainly did. What did you enjoy most about writing the book?
 Steph: I enjoyed crafting a story that wouldn't be too "preachy." I think a lot of children will identify with Brady because the story is one that kids with blankies can understand.
 Nancy: You’ve written a wonderful story. Where can readers find your book?
 Steph:  Amazon:
Nancy: Stephanie, I wish you much success with Brady’s Lost Blanket. Thank you for sharing your literary experiences.
Call for Submissions for young Writers:
Magic Dragon Magazine. Work should be neatly printed or typed. If you type it, please double-space. Stories and essays can be up to three pages, poetry up to 30 lines. It is ok to send writing that you have also illustrated. You can write about anything that is important to you; it can be serious or funny, true or fiction. If you send originals and want them returned, enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
You may send writing by e-mail to Be sure your writing or art has your name and age with it and an e-mail address where you can be reached.
Permission to Publish – Each piece of writing or art must have a “Permission to Publish” form attached. (Teachers – If you are submitting work from a class, please be sure each piece has a Permission to Publish form.)
Published Work – Each writer and artist whose work is published in Magic Dragon will receive one copy of the issue in which the work appears.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Blaze magazine is full of fun facts, cool games and crafts, and fascinating articles on horses, horse kids and the natural world they share. Promoting literacy of course, it’s great for learning about not only horses, but also about nature, history, creative arts, character traits and much more. Geared for kids aged 8 to 14, the magazine is published quarterly. And what’s more, Blaze is also a real-life horse. She’s a flash Rocky Mountain and the official mascot of the magazine. Subscribers call her their own! Pays 25 cents/word.
Submission guidelines at


  1. Thanks for having me here today, Nancy. If anyone has any questions, please ask.

    Steph Burkhart
    Romance Under the Moonlight

  2. Hi Steph,

    Your book sounds like it will help kids and moms. There's nothing worse than struggling with the kids to set aside a treasured item. Both of my girls had blankies. I kept them and sent the blankets to the girls once they were moms. Their kids didn't take to them but at least the moms had a part of their history. Both of my daughters appreciated that I had held onto them.

    I admire your can-do spirit, Steph. Wishing you the best with this new release!