Nancy's Books

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Today’s Children’s Books


Diverse books are now in demand. Publishers are looking for books about children from different ethnic backgrounds who participate in everyday activities, not necessarily in an activity that showcases a different country or culture, but those are popular, too. Diverse books depict families and cultures, promoting understanding and acceptance.

Own Voices is also popular. The definition encompasses all forms of diversity, including disability, sexual orientation, and religion by authors who write about circumstances within their own experiences. This prevents glaring stereotypes or common misconceptions.

Write about a subject kids enjoy. What do kids like? I wrote a book, THE TRUTH ABOUT PRINCESSES, a nonfiction book focusing on fairy tale princesses. When I do book signings, little girls often reach for that book first.

Boys love trucks and cars and rocks. On a school visit, a parent asked me if I had a book on rocks. She said every time she did laundry, she found rocks in her son’s pants. Voila! An idea for a book. As it turns out, I did a six-book series on rocks. Other topics kids love are robots, ballerinas, heavy machinery, cowboys, super heroes, and animals. Listen to what parents and children request.

Notice what is not in the marketplace. One Sunday when I was employed as a librarian, I read an article about pink dolphins. The next day I checked the distributor’s list and could not find a book on the subject. Once again, voila! I had an idea for a book and a couple of years later, I held my literary baby, ON THE BANKS OF THE AMAZON, for the first time. Editors are intrigued with new and different topics.

Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
Save the Earth Poetry Prize.  Open to high school students, grades 11 & 12. Genre: Poem (1). Poems submitted should, in any way possible, evoke humankind’s awareness of the natural world and nature as such. Prize: $200 awarded to seven winners. Deadline: March 31, 2018.
Submissions guidelines at https://sites.google.com/site/savetheearthpoems/

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:

Speculative Literature Foundation Older Writers Grand. Restrictions: Open to writers who are fifty years of age or older at the time of grant application. Genre: Speculative fiction. Prize: $500.   Deadline: March 31, 2018. 

Submissions guidelines at http://speculativeliterature.org/grants/slf-older-writers-grant/

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.
Leave a message or check out my blog at www.nancykellyallen.com
 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Getting Ideas and Writing a Book


I had the wonderful opportunity to visit with students at an elementary school last week. Such visits inspire me to write more and to the best of my ability. Students' interest and questions spur me on.
Two questions in particular resonated: How long does it take to write a book? How do you find ideas to write about?
I wrestle with an idea anywhere from a week to years (thirteen years, as in the case of AMAZING GRACE). DEAR KOMODO DRAGON, my latest picture book, required less time, about two years.
When I visited the Louisville Zoo, I saw a Komodo dragon named “Big Man.” At nearly eight-feet long, he lived up to his name. This king of the lizards wagged a long, yellow tongue and shuffled every step. A close look and a bit of imagination conjured my first instinct:  write about this animal, whose ancient ancestors dated back millions of years. The species had staked its claim on planet Earth and held tight. A story had to be in there somewhere.
I wrestled with the idea of how to write about this amazing animal in a way that had not been done. A few days later, I talked with a group of young students about what they enjoyed. One young girl said she loved to receive letters, but almost never did. The others echoed her, voicing the excitement of receiving their own mail.
The two ideas—Komodo dragons and letters—simmered, scrambled, and stuck together. Out popped a brand new idea: a book about a Komodo dragon pen pal. Once I figured out the structure—a series of letters—I began brainstorming and outlining the plot. Since I knew almost nothing about Komodo dragons, I spent a lot of time researching facts. I gathered a basket full of information. From that, I selected the most interesting facts that would appeal to the readers.
Each book is different and the amount of time to write a book varies.
Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
Storybook Online. Tons of activities including writing stories, read original stories, create interactive stories and much more.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Blue Mesa Review accepts previously unpublished work in Fiction (up to 6,000 words), Nonfiction (up to 6,000 words), Poetry (up to 3 poems), and Visual Art. We have a rotating editorial board, so each issue is fresh and unique. In general, we are seeking strong voices and lively, compelling narrative with a fine eye for craft. We look forward to reading your best work!
Submissions guidelines at https://bluemesareview.submittable.com/submit

Nancy Kelly Allen has written 40+ children’s books and a cookbook, SPIRIT OF KENTUCKY: BOURBON COOKBOOK.

Leave a message or check out my blog at www.nancykellyallen.com