Friday’s Fun Find: Boo, Y’all!

contest and pumpkin 001As if October isn’t fun enough with my birthday, there’s also great big gobs of spooky, creepy, gory stuff with Halloween!

So while The Beneficent Mr. Hall is kicking me out gifting me with a lovely writer’s retreat up in the Blue Ridge Mountains (OOOOoooooOOOoooo), I might find time for a little Halloween fun. You can join me, in spirit at least.

Susanna Leonard Hill’s sponsoring her Third Annual Halloweensie Contest! All you have to do is come up with a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for children and then post it to your blog between October 28th and October 31st for judging.  And if you need a little inspiration, you might want to read something wicked this way comes.

Check out the blurbs from Simon and Schuster’s latest Best Halloween Books for Adults. Or maybe just check out the trailers. ‘Cause seriously, this is some scary reading, y’all.

Matt de la Peña, All-Around Swell Author

I just got back from Wik’13, the SCBWI conference in Birmingham, and as always had such a delightful time. But I’m sort of kicking myself for not signing up for Matt de la Peña’s intensive on dialogue. I know it would’ve been swell.

He was the keynote speaker–I laughed, I cried, I learned. (I might not have actually cried, unless it was from laughing. But seriously, he’s an engaging speaker. If he’s ever in your area, go see him. And take your boy readers.)

So I bought one of his books,

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and it’s a great read. But more than that, it’s a good template for wanna-be published authors like me (and maybe you, too). It’s a well-crafted story, with layered characters and terrific pacing and plotting. And I’m not just saying that because Matt very graciously agreed to have his picture taken with Cathy-on-a-Stick.

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Or wrote such a sweet note when he signed his book.

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Friday’s Fun Find: Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Think Positive for Kids!

2013-10-10 13.05.44Opening a box with books never gets old, but opening this box was especially fun. I couldn’t wait to read the stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Think Positive for Kids!

I knew a couple friends had stories inside, and it’s always fun for me to see a byline I know and read that story. Sioux Roslawski, who often drops in to comment here, had a story called, “Help By the Bagful” which just about had me in tears. Her story reminded me of an old Andy Griffith episode when Opie wouldn’t give his money to a charity fund. He was saving up for something special. Which just goes to prove that generosity doesn’t just happen in make-believe, but also in the hearts of little boys in Sioux’s class.

Writer friend, Beth Davis Cato (I mentioned her latest success last August) also had a story called, “I Pledge Allegiance.” Her 7th grade courage and patriotism was so inspiring, I got choked up all over again.

Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Think Positive for Kids will go on sale at the end of October. For that Fun Friday, I’ll have a book giveaway and tell you about my story. And maybe a few more encouraging stories. Honestly, these are such good stories–and even grown-up kids need to think positive!