Category Archives: mixed bag

Congrats to the Summer Open House Giveaway Winner!

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Many thanks to everyone who hopped in for Frog on a Dime’s 2020 Summer Open House. I hope you enjoyed the new features to make the site easier to navigate and search, my little raspberry lemonades. If you missed it, be sure to check out the NEW Rejection Recovery page. (Or at the very least, take comfort in knowing it’s there when/if you need it!)

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

And now . . . [cue drum roll, please]

I am pleased to announce the winner of this year’s

Summer Open House Giveaway!

ELIZABETH WESTRA

Elizabeth, you will receive not one but TWO personally autographed copies of Rachel Anderson’s debut novel THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT–one for you to enjoy and one to share with a young reader you love. Your prize package will also include a journal for capturing ideas while you’re summer daydreaming AND a surprise! Congratulations! Thank you for entering.

Rachel Anderson, author of THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT, published by Late November Literary

Please be sure to read the giveaway disclaimer below (you know, for legal purposes and stuff).

Disclaimer(s): No purchase necessary (or even an option). Shipping & handling included. Safe when used as directed. Do not submerge. Batteries not included. Dryclean only. Frog on a Dime is furnishing this Prize Package “as is.” None of the authors, contributors, agents, editors, miscreants, vandals, ambidextrous nose miners, or anyone else connected with Frog on a Dime, in any way whatsoever, can be held responsible for your (mis)use of the contents of the Prize Package. Remain seated until the ride has come to a complete stop. Do not refrigerate after opening. Contents may settle during shipment. Prize Package sold by weight, not by volume. Frog on a Dime does not provide any warranty of the item(s) whatsoever, whether expressed, implied, or statutory (whatever that is), including, but not limited to, any warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or any warranty that the contents of the item will be error-free (because). Use at your own risk. Subject to approval. Driver does not carry cash. No substitutions. Do not fold, staple or mutilate. Some restrictions apply (but you can’t make me say what). Void where prohibited. Employees must wash hands. For off-road use only. All terms and conditions shall be rendered null and void on a whim. If state laws apply to you, some or all of the above disclaimers, exclusions, or limitations may not apply to you and you may have additional rights. (Go You!) I know you are but what am I. This tag may not be removed except by the consumer under penalty of law. (Ooo, scary!) See store for details.

Photo by Vicky Lorencen

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language

Henry James

Welcome! Summer Open House 2020

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It’s time to celebrate the dog days of summer with a special guest—debut author Rachel Anderson, author of THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT.

Published by Late November Literary

Let’s hop right into a Summer Lightning Round of Q & A with Rachel . . .

What is your favorite day of the week–and yes, why? 

Wow. I’d forgotten there are different days of the week. Being retired does that.

What is under your bed? (Remember, Frog on a Dime is a judgement-free zone.)

Two ear plugs the cat stole from my dresser (hubby snores sometimes).

If you were a cheese, what kind would you be?

Mozzarella.

Hmm. Interesting. Mozzarella because . . .

It’s versatile, yet predictable (I think).

Quick. What is your inner adult/inner child ratio?

I’d say 70/30 on most days, except when I’m writing for kids, then it’s 10/90. If I could get rid of that 10 percent adult, I’d be so much easier on myself when it comes to revisions.

If you hadn’t become a writer, what would you be? 

I am a creative person, so that’s who I’d still be without writing. My muse would be different, though. And maybe that muse wouldn’t hide for days on end.

I feel melancholy descending. Let’s move on.

Your favorite punctuation mark is:

!

How come?

It makes a statement! Or an overstatement!!

Okay!!!! Thank you!

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final Summer Lightning Q & A, uh, Q. It’s a fill in the blank: my favorite food to eat while writing is_______________________.

I’d like to eat a bag of Cheetos, but the cheese messes up the keyboard.

I’ll send you a can of compressed air. You’ll be good to go.

Great job, Rachel. Now, it’s time to dig a bit deeper. Not to worry. I’ll be gentle.

You look pretty happy in your photo. What’s it like to have your dream finally delivered and decked out on your dining room table?

I’m absolutely delighted to be holding my middle grade historical fiction novel in my hands. It’s a wonderful feeling. I’ve worked hard on this novel for many years.

Surprise! 

Eleven year old Emily Hanover learns the golden retriever next door has a litter of MUTT PUPS and her neighbor doesn’t want them. In SECRET, Emily rescues the little mutts only to DISCOVER puppies are LOUD, always hungry and a whole lot of work. How will she keep them fed AND out of sight?

Your novel centers on a girl, Emily. How did you two get your start?

I don’t remember the year I began writing Emily’s story, but back then, it was just a simple story about a girl who wants a dog. I didn’t know anything about story structure, point of view or character development until I joined SCBWI and began attending conferences and workshops. After that, I had the tools to build my story into something special.

What kept you coming back to your manuscript?

There were times when I put the manuscript away for a month or more as I moved to other projects like picture books. But I was always drawn back to Emily’s story and her need to have a dog of her own. And I keep thinking about the reasons she couldn’t have one, and what her never-give-up attitude would drive her to do. The more time Emily and I spent together, the more I enjoyed reading her story over and over as I revised.

How did you prepare to write the historical backdrop of Emily’s story?

To do it justice, I had to do a lot of research into the 1960s. Once I dug into topics related to the war and wrote some scenes, I reached out to two Vietnam veterans for their perspectives. Those interviews made all the difference as I continued writing, getting critiques and gathering suggestions. Two years into the project, I found another veteran who not only reviewed everything the first two veterans gave me, he even helped me make some scenes stronger. At that point, my confidence with the historical aspect of the story grew and it was easier to finish the book.

It sounds like you really put your heart into this novel, Rachel. What do you hope your readers take away from THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT?

I’ve always felt deep down that Emily’s story had to be told. I’m so glad I was the one to tell it. I like to think young readers will be inspired by Emily’s determination and the way she’s able to think through problems to find solutions. By the time they reach the last page, I hope kids think of Emily as a new friend and feel a bit sad the story’s over.

That’s beautiful. So, Rachel, what’s next for you?

My editor at Late November Literary tells me she’s waiting for a sequel, so I’d better get writing it!

Best wishes to you! Thanks so much for making this year’s Summer Open House extra special.

Published by Late November Literary

Rachel Anderson grew up in Freeland, Michigan, a small farming community with lots of wide open spaces. As kids, Rachel and her sister took full advantage of that room to roam while riding their horses–sometimes bareback–mile after mile. Neighbors were friends, and most everyone, whether town folk or farm folk, knew one another. And of course, Rachel had a dog.

Today, Rachel still loves animals and her community. When she’s not writing, Rachel volunteers at her local pregnancy resource center and her church. Rachel is an active, long-time member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and writes picture books, as well as novels for middle grade children and young adults.

Artwork by Vicky Lorencen

Enter FROG ON A DIME’S SUMMER OPEN HOUSE GIVEAWAY!

The winner of the random drawing will receive:

  • TWO autographed copies of THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT—one for you to enjoy, and one to share with a child you love. Rachel will even include a personalized autograph message, if you wish!
  • Summer Journal for capturing those glimmering, elusive ideas like fireflies.
  • PLUS! A special surprise (and no, it’s not a puppy!)

To enter, simply leave a message in the comment section below.*

Enter by Noon (EDT) on Friday, July 10.

*Limit one entry per person. (GIANT EXCEPTION! If you invite a friend to follow Frog on a Dime (and they do), you can enter twice—and so can your friend!)

Pick up THE PUPPY PREDICAMENT at your local independent bookseller or order online today!

BARNES & NOBLE

AMAZON

LATE NOVEMBER LITERARY

Summer Open House Coming Soon

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Next week, be ready to pop in for Frog on a Dime’s annual Summer Open House featuring:

  • Special guest interview. You’ll love meeting this delightful debut author.
  • Best giveaway drawing ever! Enter for a chance to win not one, but two autographed copies of our guest’s heartwarming middle grade. That’s one copy for you to enjoy and one to give to a child you love. PLUS, bonus gifts!
  • NEW Frog on a Dime features. Be among the first to take the Summer Open House tour.

Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~ Henry James

Photos by Vicky Lorencen

One 7th Celebration Winner!

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Mr. Popover (left), Tarzan Malarkey (center) and associates

On behalf of on the accounting firm of Popover, Frenchpress & Malarkey and their associates, Frog on a Dimes wishes to congratulate Kim Patrie— winner of our birthday grand prize giveaway! Be watching your mail box!

Mister Moses Frenchpress of
Popover, Frenchpress & Malarkey

Many thanks to everyone who entered the drawing by submitting your favorite 7-letter words. Check out this sampling of 7 dazzling examples:

  • Pizzazz
  • Awesome
  • Sparkle
  • Welcome
  • Writing
  • Willowy
  • Kumquat

My warm-as-a- marshmallow-lounging- in-a-cup-of-cocoa gratitude goes out to everyone who visited Frog on a Dime this year. Your encouragement and support mean so much–for 7 years and counting!

Wishing you a blissful New Year, my Little Cream Puffs!

Hope

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,

Whispering ‘it will be happier’..”

~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

Surprise! You’re the Sublime Summertime Prize Winner!

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This year’s summer giveaway has been my favorite. Reading your childhood memories sparked my recollections of so far gone summers.

  • Running through the sprinkler with my sister or wading in our little dark green inflatable pool with a smiling dolphin looking up from the bottom. (I feared sea creatures back then, and would only wade around the inner perimeter of the pool because I didn’t want to step on that dolphin. He looked suspiciously sharky to me and I wanted to keep all ten toes.)
  • Loading up the car on a hot afternoon and heading to a local lake or river and coming home with sand stuck to my “everywheres.”
  • Picking strawberries with my mom.
  • Going to Vacation Bible School.
  • Slurping home-frozen popsicles.
  • Rambling family road trips.
  • Reading outside while swatting away maddening mosquitoes.
  • Watching my sister catch tadpoles and frogs in the creek near our house (again, only watching – you know, the whole “sea life” thing).
  • Donning PJs and going to a drive-in movie.
  • Eating corn on the cob with no front teeth.
  • Being bothered by the sound of chirping crickets when we moved from our city house to the country.
  • Having a lemonade stand (which was a challenge considering we lived on a dead end street).
  • Falling off the jungle gym repeatedly (no wonder I have back issues).
  • Wearing a gob of baking soda paste on a bee sting. And calamine lotion on poison ivy bumps.
  • Riding my brown Huffy around and around our subdivision.
  • Building a fort in the woods with my neighborhood friends.
  • Staying with my aunt and cousin (a boy) and playing GI Joes on a sandy hill.
  • Watching the lights change on the waterfall fountain my grandpa had built into the side of a hill.
  • Going out for A&W root beer.
  • Strolling through the sensory overload that was the county fair.
  • Eating watermelon and trying not to swallow the seeds. (Who wants to have a melon belly with green vines coming out your ears?)
  • Getting to stay up late. Following fireflies. Counting stars.
  • Learning to love the sound of the crickets outside our open bedroom windows.
  • Feeling like summer was an entire year unto itself. 

See what you started?

Looking good, Olympic Mountains of Washington! Photo by Vicky Lorencen

So, thank you very much to everyone who shared a memory, a story or a snippet of their childhood summer memories. I enjoyed reading all of them. The winner of this year’s giveaway package was chosen at random, but after you read her submission, I think you’ll agree, she deserves the prize times two. 

My warmest, summery congratulations to Rachel Anderson! You’ve won a prize package filled with snacks, a craft book, a journal, a slinky and all sorts of fun stuff. Be watching your mail box! 

Rachel shared this summer memory: 

As a kid way back in the day, my ultimate favorite thing to do was to ride horses with my sister. We rode for miles and miles, jumping creeks, racing through hayfields and plodding lazily along rivers. Life was good.

Here is part of a poem I wrote about riding: 

Two little sisters, eight and ten,
Dashed up to the farm and then
Jumped on horses for a ride
Raced the field, side by side.
Galloping without a care
Going here and going there. 

What a lovely memory. Enjoy these last lingering days of summer, my little strawberry shortcakes.

Every summer, like roses, childhood returns. ~ Marty Rubin

Season’s Greetings!

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Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one. ~ Brad Paisley 

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language 
And next year’s words await another voice
. ~ T.S. Eliot

Dearest Readers,

My warmest wishes to you for a joy-filled holiday that lifts your spirits, gives you happy memories and provides you with time to be with those you love best.

We can look forward to welcoming in 2019 together. Let’s fill it with creativity and courage to try new things. And, as always, we’ll give each other encouragement all the year through.

Cheers, my little snap dragons!


I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever
. ~ Neil Gaiman

How to Recognize Value

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frog on a dime color RED 1a

Illustration by Matt Faulkner

I am participating in a writing contest—You Are Enough—hosted by Positive Writer. The aim of the contest is to draft a blog post that will provide encouragement to fellow writers. Well, if you’ve ever visited Frog on a Dime, you know that’s what my hokey-pokey blog is all about. Regardless if I win, I hope this post energizes your creative spirit. (And that you find cookies in your cupboard.)

My husband likes to watch Prospectors on the Weather Channel. Prospectors  follows real, modern-day diggers of gold and gem stones. I like The Voice, a reality show/singing competition. Recently, I recognized the two shows intersect.

Prospectors endure extreme cold, looming storm fronts and other dangerous conditions to find the prize—a smoky topaz, a ruby, an aquamarine or even gold. Judges on The Voice listen to some lackluster auditions while searching for someone with golden pipes. So, the singers and the smoky topaz are treasures. That’s the obvious comparison, but there’s something more.

Were the stones beautiful while still encased in layers of limestone? I would say, yes. It wasn’t the touch of a prospector’s pick or palm that made them precious. And what about the hopefuls who appear on The Voice? It’s certainly not the judge’s ears or their feedback that make those singers amazing. The vocalists were outstanding before they ever walked on stage.

Here’s what I want you to know, my fragile little tea cups—you and your writing have intrinsic value before you receive a single word of praise. Think of all of the painters and poets who never received acclaim during their lifetimes. How sad to think they thought of themselves as “almosts” and even failures. You don’t need to have your name on a dust jacket to be a writer of worth. Interested editors or agents are simply recognizing what’s already there—like a prospector uncovering a lump of turquoise or a judge discovering a brilliant performer. Okay, okay, you make a good point. Like the unearthed gemstones or a singer’s vocal range, your work (and gosh, yes, mine) could benefit from a good polishing to bring out its true luster. But just because something can be improved doesn’t mean it wasn’t extraordinary to begin with.

Yes, I can hear the b-b-b-BUT coming. But I waaaaant an agent to love my work. I waaaant an editor to offer me a contract. I waaaaant readers to send me fan mail. Of course you do (and so do I). That kind of validation is wonderful, but remember–your work isn’t valued because it’s recognized. It’s recognized because it’s valuable–regardless. And first and foremost, you have to recognize that for yourself, my little lemon square.

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world. ~ Philip Pullman

 

We Have a Winner at the Frog on a Dime Summer Open House

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TheSecretHeirCongratulations to Pat Trattles–you are the winner of an autographed copy of a brand new, scintillating summertime read–THE SECRET HEIRby Janice Broyles. 
Janice Broyles
Many thanks to everyone who stopped by the Summer Open House. It was lovely to hear from all of you!
_______

THE SECRET HEIR retells the story of David and the princess Michal. One lives in a palace; the other sleeps under the stars. Though they come from vastly different worlds, Michal and David are drawn together. When King Saul uncovers David’s secret and vows to kill him, Michal is torn between her love for her father and feelings for David. Two kings, two men she deeply loves but for different reasons — one heart-broken in two.

THE SECRET HEIR is filled with drama, romance and intrigue for older teens, young adults and beyond.

Published by Heritage Beacon Press, THE SECRET HEIR was released on July 11. You can order it from your local independent bookstore, as well as online book distributors, including Amazon.

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Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.  ~ Henry James

Meet Young Writer, Miss Indiya Draw

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Indiya Pic (1)

Young writer, Indiya Draw

At a recent Family Writing Night at Paragon Charter Academy, I had the honor of meeting fellow writer Indiya Draw. Indiya is a multi-talented 4th grader who not only enjoys writing, she is also an excellent basketball player. “My biggest talent is dribbling two balls at once.” (I can’t even dribble one!)

Like most writers, Indiya enjoys reading. Right now, her favorite books are from The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby series by George Beard and Harold Hutchins. “I also like Dr. Seuss because I like how tsuper diaper babyhe rhyming sounds.” (Me too.)

paragon visit 4Indiya is a writer with  a tender heart for people and all living things. Her favorite animal is the serval cat. “Because they are cute!” And if she could do one thing to make the world a better place, Indiya said, “For everybody to have a home.”

Paragon visit 3

Indiya won the Frog on a Dime Guest Spot Drawing!

Indiya likes to write because “you can make up anything you want.” Of course, having a world of options can create a challenge too. She said, “Thinking up a topic is the hardest part about writing.” All writers can relate to that, Indiya! I am confident your amazing imagination will continue to inspire you to write many more stories. (How about a story about those adorable serval cats?) Paragon visit Feb 2018

It was a pleasure to meet Indiya and her family, and all of the students and their loved ones who collaborated to create their own stories. I wish you all many more opportunities to experience the joy of writing together.

Write on!

So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains. ~ Dr. Seuss Paragon visit 2

 

 

Why I can’t write outside my race, I think. Probably.

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Frog 3This is not a how-to.

It is a thought in progress.

This longer-than-usual post is not intended to persuade you to think a certain way. I’m simply sharing my struggle. In full transparency, I do hope it will encourage you to wrestle too.

I am puzzling over the question – how can I, a middle-aged white lady, promote greater diversity in children’s literature? Further, can I personally contribute my own work?

And now my noodle is steaming. Just call me Ms. Ramen Head.

Let me get specific now.

See, five years ago a character came to me while I was at an SCBWI-Michigan spring conference. I was in a breakout session with Donna Gephart. And, this kid, he never moved out of my head.

I LOVE this guy. But as a character, he is a challenge combo (without a side of fries. Darn.)

First, he is a him, but I can handle that. I like writing boy characters best.

He chose a hobby I have no idea how to do, but I can try to learn.

And, finally, he is African American. Yep. That’s where things get complicated. I didn’t decide that about him. It’s simply part of who he is–a significant part.

Now I am capturing his story in a middle grade novel, but I’m facing a few teensy questions. Oh, you know, like:

  • If it’s okay to me to write outside my gender, why not my race?
  • Is it really necessary for this character to be African American for his story to be told?
  • Am I betraying my character if I change his race?
  • If I do write outside my race, what is the potential for causing more harm than good (even with the benefit of sensitivity readers)?
  • If my book is published, what happens when I show up at a school with primarily African American students?
  • As an un-established author, am I prepared to face the elevated scrutiny my story will receive?

To go even deeper . . .

Executive Editor at Dutton Books for Young Readers Andrew Karre posed these questions at a recent SCBWI conference:

  • How diverse is the well of literature I draw from?
  • Why do I want to write a diverse character? In other words, where are the roots of my desire to write this character?
  • Is my only point of engagement with diversity limited to my manuscript?

In the end, all I want to create is a story that’s authentic and engaging. Most of all, I want this kid I love to be proud of the way I told his story. I think I can best do that without pushing myself to do things that will quite potentially hurt my readers and distract them from the story I want to tell. And so, since I have decided not to write outside my race, I think. Probably. I am asking:

  • How can I offer a diverse perspective in a way that’s true to myself?
  • How can I support diverse authors and diverse books?
  • How can I expand my understanding of all that diversity means?

Here’s the part I do know:

  • There’s clueless. That’s sad.
  • There’s clueless about being clueless. That’s dangerous.

I’m “pleased” to say I know that I’m clueless about a lot of things related to diversity, and really, that’s not the worst place to start. It means I need to be humble, and willing to learn, listen and ask questions. That I can do without question.

Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. Won’t you join me, my little Caramel Apples?

If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained. ~ Neil Gaiman