Monday, January 31, 2011

VBT-Writers on the Move Is Back!

After a nice long two month hiatus VBT-Writers on the Move is ready for action in February 2011.

As always, VBT-Writers on the Move has a great tour planned with writers and authors who collectively, have tons of writing and marketing experience and information to share. I'll be hosting one of these wonderful authors each month along with my other weekly posts and interviews.

One goal I have and VBT-Writers on the Move is to provide more value packed informational content so you can not only learn about the authors, their books and services, but also pick up tips and advice on writing, ghostwriting, marketing, and more.

So, look over the schedule below. Each day in February a different author and information will be presented. Just follow the schedule and click on the corresponding day. However, don't forget to stop by here each day too. I'll be posting a link to the Writers on the Move stop and some writing tips as well.

Writers on the Move’s February 2011 Tour Schedule

1st Debra Eckerling is featuring Jennifer Gladden
2nd Kathy Stemke is featuring Jenny Turner
3rd Nancy Famolari is featuring Jennifer Wylie
4th Margaret Fieland is featuring Nancy Famolari
5th Carolyn Howard-Johnson is featuring Mayra Calvani
6th Heather Paye is featuring Virginia Grenier
7th Marvin Wilson is featuring Mari Taylor
8th Stephen Tremp is featuring Carolyn Howard-Johnson
9th Darcia Helle is featuring Margaret Fieland
10th Martha Swirzinski is featuring Kathy Stemke
11th Heidi Thomas is featuring Karen Cioffi
12th Dallas Woodburn is featuring Maggie Ball
13th Karen Cioffi is featuring Stephen Tremp
14th Maggie Ball is featuring Donna McDine
15th Virginia Grenier is featuring Shelby Patrick
16th Kevin McNamee is featuring Darcia Helle
17th Elysabeth Eldering is featuring Dallas Woodburn
18th Marietta Taylor is featuring Heidi Thomas
19th Robert Medak is featuring Debra Eckerling
20th Donna McDine is featuring Heather Paye
21st Shelby Patrick is featuring Robert Medak
22nd Mayra Calvani is featuring Martha Swirzinski
23rd Jennifer Gladen is featuring Elysabeth Eldering
24th Jenny Turner is featuring Marvin Wilson
25th Jennifer Wylie is featuring Kevin McNamee

Please follow along and be sure to leave comments!

Do you have a wonderful story but need a second pair of eyes to look it over?

Then we have some people who are willing to help you out from editing to professional critiques. We all need our stories looked at by others who have experience in the writing world.
Let SFC Publishing help you make your dreams come true.

Have you written or illustrated a children's book and you need to get the word out about it? Are you an author or illustrator working on building your platform? Or are you trying to get the word out about workshops or services you offer writers, illustrators, parents and teachers? Then Stores for Children Publishing is here to help. You’ll find our World of Ink Tour is the perfect way to get your books or services out in front of the buying public and build your platform as a writer, illustrator or expect in your field.
SFC Newsletter for Writers was created for children's writers or anyone who loves to write. Each monthly newsletter is sent via email as a PDF for free and contains tips on writing, how other writers started down the road to success through trial and error, success stories on being published, contests, writing markets, and much more.
At SFC Newsletter for Writers, we believe writers naturally want to help those starting out. We know you will enjoy this free monthly newsletter loaded with helpful information, fun stories about the writing life, and the successes of fellow writers.  

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Utah Children's Writers: Writer Zen: We Are Our Own Protagonists

I really liked this blog post and wanted to share it with you. Utah Children's Writers: Writer Zen: We Are Our Own Protagonists: "by Deren Hansen As the protagonist approaches the climax of our novel, we pull out all the stops, throw ever thing at them, and turn what ..."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Using Time Wisely When Writing Articles

Writing articles can actually take a good amount of time when you combine all the necessary preparations along with the writing process itself. In fact it is not unusual to begin monitoring the time you invest in this process which can than lead to writer's block. The more time you realize you spent the more frustrated you become and this disrupts your flow of thoughts adding even more time to the writing process. Is there a way to write articles but avoid the various 'barriers' that are bound to occur that lead to more frustration and time spent in the process?

Here are 5 tips on writing articles which help to break down the process allowing you to consistently make progress thereby minimizing any wasted time.

Pull Your Thought Together - Stop

Take the time preferably away from your computer and brainstorm some ideas to determine what you want to write about. As ideas come to mind jot them down and continue to brainstorm different ideas. To start yourself off think about something you have recently completed successfully or perhaps something you want to learn more about. Make sure these ideas are relevant to what your niche is or what you are promoting.

Determine Your Direction - On Paper

Also complete this step away from the computer screen. The change of scenery and the lack of pressure you put on yourself sitting at the keyboard will allow your 'creative' juices to flow more easily. Let's face it how much inspiration will you get staring at the same keyboard?

Look at the topics you have already listed and determine what it is you want to discuss about them or what point you want to make. At this point jot down the thoughts you have come up with and begin to rough out an outline to your article.

Establish Your Train of Thought

Now that you have established a rough outline your article is beginning to take shape. Make notes in your outline about what points you want to make under each section. Jot down any other ideas that may come to mind in the appropriate section of the outline so that when you actually start the writing process it will flow easily.

Get to Work

Let the writing process begin! Using your notes you can now quickly begin to write knowing in advance what your topics are and what direction you intend to take them. As your fingers 'fly' across the keyboards you have your note to refer back on to refresh your memory and keep you 'moving' forward.

Address Writer's Block IMMEDIATELY

When this occurs, and it will, review what you have written to see if this does not put you back on track. If need be leave your work station for a 'thinking' break to help establish your train of thought once again. If all else fails go take on any other task that needs to be completed so that you are at least accomplishing something. By doing this it will help relieve the pressure building within you from the frustrations of making little or no progress.

Writer's block is something that can and will occur on occasion no matter how well prepared you may be. The key is to not let the frustration of it build in you since this will only make matters worse.

Writing articles involves much more than simply just sitting down and tapping away on your keyboard. When you consider how long the writing process takes you need to also factor in the necessary preparation. Another consideration of course is the occasional bout of writer's block that affects just about anybody who writes articles. The 3 tips on writing that were reviewed here address these factors or more appropriately their causes. By following these suggestions you are better able streamline the entire process and maximize your productivity. It boils down to not allowing needless disruptions to keep you idle when you could be more productive doing something else.

About The Author
TJ Philpott is an author and Internet entrepreneur based out of North Carolina.

For more tips about writing articles and to also receive a free instructional manual that teaches valuable niche research techniques visit:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

12 Nuggets of Writing Wisdom

by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ
1. Work hard to become competent.
Neil Gaiman said, "There's no magic formula. To become a competent writer, you 
write until you start to sound like you, and then you keep on writing. Finish 
things you start. Get better."
2. View life from different perspectives.
Douglas Clegg said, "Get out and live and travel and see the world from 
perspectives other than the one with which you've been saddled. Youth doesn't 
last very long, and it might be better to participate in life awhile before 
writing from it."
3. Write one page at a time.
John Steinbeck said, "When I face the desolate impossibility of writing 500 pages, 
a sick sense of failure falls on me and I know I can never do it. This happens 
every time. Then gradually I write one page and then another. One day's work is 
all I can permit myself to contemplate and I eliminate the possibility of ever 
4. Strive for vigorous writing.
William Strunk, Jr. said, "Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A 
sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary 
sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines 
and a machine no unnecessary parts."
5. Be vigilant and ever ready.
Earl Nightingale said, "Ideas are elusive, slippery things. Best to keep a pad of 
paper and a pencil at your bedside, so you can stab them during the night before 
they get away."
6. Develop your own writing voice.
Michael Chabon said, "A voice, not merely recognizable, but original, unique, 
engaging and above all derived from, reflecting, and advancing the meaning of 
the story itself, is necessary to good and worthwhile literature."
7. Write with confidence.
William Zinsser said, "Don't say you were a bit confused and sort of tired and 
a little depressed and somewhat annoyed. Be tired. Be confused. Be depressed. 
Be annoyed. Don't hedge your prose with little timidities. Good writing is lean 
and confident."
8. Develop a writing habit.
Richard North Patterson said, "Cultivate steady work habits: a schedule that 
contemplates either regular work hours every week or a certain number of pages. 
Artistic inspiration is one of the most overrated premises for a writing schedule; 
a writer should try to get pages done on a regular basis, then work to improve 
them. If one waits for inspiration, rather than treating writing like a serious 
task, it becomes much harder to ever finish a book."
9. Write right now.
Jack London said, "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a 
10. Venture out and attempt to be read and published.
John Campbell said, "The reason 99% of all stories written are not bought by 
editors is very simple. Editors never buy manuscripts that are left on the 
closet shelf at home."
11. Rejection is part of the writing life.
Meg Cabot said, "You are not a hundred dollar bill. Not everyone is going to 
like you or your story. Do not take rejection personally."
12. Write with passion.
Ann Patchett said, "The end result for a writer may be finding a publisher, but 
publishing is not anywhere near the beginning or the middle of this process. So 
when we advise young people about writing, it would be best if we could move 
students away from that kind of thinking and say, 'Write because you're passionate 
about it. Think of yourself as a glass blower. You don't blow your first glass 
and take it to Tiffany's. You blow your first glass, and you smash it. You blow 
it again, and you smash it.'" 
Copyright (c) 2004 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ
Shery created WriteSparks! - a software that generates over 10 *million* 
Story Sparkers for Writers. Download WriteSparks! Lite for fr*e - 

I hope today's article spurs you into action. Let the stories inside you 
spill out onto the page.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Free Fourth Annual Catholic Writers’ Conference

CONTACT:  Karina Fabian Phone:  (805) 285-0108,
Ann Margaret Lewis Phone:  (317) 755-2693

For Immediate Release

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Conducts Seminar at Free Online Conference

World Wide Web--Writers, editors, agents, and other publishing professionals from around the world are gearing up for the free fourth annual Catholic Writers’ Conference Online, featuring veteran presenters like Carolyn Howard-Johnson, multi-award winning novelist, poet and book marketer.

The online conference will run from March 21 to 27, 2011 and is sponsored by the Catholic Writer’s Guild. It is free and open to writers of all levels who register before March 1. Writers needn’t be Catholic. It is conducted in an online forum at

Workshops and live online chats cover the gamut of writing topics from idea generation to marketing a published novel; traditional and self-publishing, article writing and fiction, and much more. In addition, prominent Catholic publishers will hear pitches, giving authors an unprecedented opportunity to chat personally regardless of their ability to travel.

The Catholic conferences draw hundreds of participants and more than scores of editors and writing professionals. Conference organizer Karina Fabian says, "Even in good economic times, it's hard for writers to attend live conferences, but this year, we think it's even more important to help careers by utilizing an online format. We're so grateful that our presenters are willing to share their time and talent."

Previously publishers considering pitches have included well known Catholic and secular publishers like Pauline, large Christian publishers like Thomas Nelson, and smaller presses like White Rose. This year, Fabian hopes to add some agents as well.

The conference features presenters from all aspects of the publishing world. Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally books for writers including The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't ( ) and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success ( She is also an instructor for UCLA Extension Writers' Program.

Carolyn will present on How writers (including fiction writers) can make Twitter work for them. Twitter can drive traffic to blogs, Web sites and other social networks. She says, “Twitter can even sell books!”

Although the conference is offered at no charge, donations are accepted; proceeds go toward future conferences. To register or for more information, go to

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Interview Friday with SFC Book Reviewer Kris Quinn Christopherson

Kris Quinn Christopherson is not only one of the many Stories for Children book reviewers; she is also a wife, mother, children's literature lover and reviewer, writer, and proudly known as “Kris the Reader” through weekly story times in her community.  A Southern-born girl who lives on a farm in the Midwest, she is raising confident readers who adore a good story, and working hard to create her own good stories.  Kris has edited and written for the National Military Family Association (NFMA) online publications.  She is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, and is a member of SCBWI.  Her essays have appeared on and cribsheet, an online column from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  She blogs about her journeys in reading to and for others, writing what she knows, and raising her family…not necessarily in that order on .

VS: I want to thank you Kris for being my guest here on The Writing Mama today. I know being a parent, SFC book viewer and writer can be hard. So to start here is the first question…

How many children do you have and what are their ages?

Kris: I have three children: my son, Jakob will be 11 in February, and my daughters are Shelby, age 7, and Ellie, age 5.

VS: As a mom, what do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?

Kris: I am not sure that I really do balance the two very well, so I appreciate the fact that you asked, “how do you HELP”, not HOW do you balance. My writing is done whenever I can steal some time from family life. I carry a notebook around that I jot down ideas, I use my laptop during my girls’ ballet classes, and I have scribbled a scene while studying spelling words with my son. 

VS: How long have you been writing?

Kris: For as long as I can remember! I remember writing and coloring a book called “My Friend the Rainbow” when I was in elementary school. I have always enjoyed writing–even papers for school. I didn’t really focus on writing other than in my journals, until about 10 years ago, when I enrolled in the Institute of Children’s Literature. My writing was put on hold for a few years until my children were a bit older, and I was able to find the time for my writing again. 

VS: What inspired you to write?

Kris: My love of reading inspired me to write. I love a good story, and I delight in getting lost in a book, and I wanted to create a story other could get lost in as well. 

VS: Now you are also a member of the SFC Team as one of our book reviewers. Can you share with us a little about what you do?

Kris: I have a fantastic time reading and reviewing books for SFC. Publishers and authors contact me with recently published books for review. I have also had the privilege to review a few testing programs that help students prepare for tests.  Once I have read and reviewed the books, I donate the books to my local schools or library, and/or to the program where I conduct story times at local daycares. 

VS: What is a typical writing day like for you?

Kris: My typical writing day is more of a typical writing night. I seem to find the easiest time is in the evenings when my children are in bed and then I can really concentrate on my writing. I am a list person, so I will make lists during the day of things I want to work on, deadlines I need to meet, etc. Throughout the day, I am reading blogs, newsletters about writing, perhaps thinking of an opening that will hook the readers, but the majority of actual writing is done when daytime duties are done.  

VS: Is your family supportive of your writing?

Kris: Very! They are my best audience, albeit, probably a tad biased one. At my son’s parent-teacher conference he told his teacher how his mom was a writer – I loved that! 

VS: What was the first thing you ever had published?

Kris: It was a personal essay about a favorite grandparent memory on I wrote about a picture of my son and my dad walking across a wooden bridge with my dad looking down at my then two-year-old son. I adore the picture.  

VS: What type of books do you mostly write?

Kris: Picture books. I have not attempted a young adult novel or an early reader chapter book – I feel that my strength lies in capturing the imaginations for younger children.  I also write personal essays regarding my life as a mom. 

VS: Can you share with us why you love writing and working with children’s lit?

Kris: I absolutely adore books, but children’s literature is such a beautiful and enchanting genre. You can teach lessons through children’s lit, you can create different worlds for children to imagine through children’s lit, and you can connect children with others through children’s lit. It is so gratifying and just plain fun to see children’s faces light up when reading a great book. How vital reading and language is, is also a reason I love writing and working with children’s lit. My son struggled with reading and I could see how he was transformed when it finally clicked and he became a reader. A whole new world opened for him reading street signs, menus, pictures books, Harry Potter, and just the confidence he acquired with being able to read in class without feeling embarrassed.  Children’s literature is HUGE, and so important.   

VS: What do you enjoy most about writing?

Kris: I enjoy being creative. I enjoy taking a snippet of an idea and working hard to turn it into a story that will make a reader smile when it is done. 

VS: What is the most difficult part of writing?

Kris: I think it can be extremely difficult to find just the right way to tell my story with a strong voice, and not be preachy, or bore the reader. You do not want to talk down to the young readers, but you want to entertain and capture their imaginations with characters they can relate to. 

VS: What is the best writing advice you ever received?

Kris: To call myself a writer. It sounds simple, but I still have to remind myself that I am a writer, not just someone who likes to write. And, to make the time for writing… simple, but it is easy to push my writing aside when life gets busy. 

VS: Do you find it hard to balance your personal writing time with your other jobs?

Kris: Yes!  I do the accounting for our family business, and am a stay at home mom. Along with the obligations that come with a business and with a family, I work hard to do things I enjoy, and as with everyone, it can be hard to make the time for other than what needs to be done right way…the immediacy of life gets in the way of my writing, but I just keep plugging away as best I can. 

VS: Tell us about your writing space?

Kris: My writing space is mainly my laptop in my favorite chair in the family room. I do have a desk, which I do work at, but I am at my most creative and productive when I am at my laptop and not at my desk. My desk is usually reserved for the bill paying, the permission slip signing, and the accounting for the farm. I have a tote filled with books, notebooks, and my writing folders that I can carry easily to wherever I am. I am definitely a portable writer!

VS: What would we be surprised to learn about you?

Kris: That I live on a farm! Maybe that just surprises me still! When my husband got out of the Navy, we moved back to his hometown and joined the farming world with his dad and uncle. We do not have animals, just crops, but it is a very different world than I ever knew growing up in Alabama and Florida. 

VS: How do you see the future of publishing, both traditional and electronic?

Kris: I feel that there is enough room for both traditional and electronic publishing, but realize that the electronic publishing world is big, I do own a Kindle, and love it… but I think that actual books will always be vital for children – bedtime stories will always be a part of our culture, and schools need books, children need books. I enjoy websites that provide stories for kids, but I still think that kids will always need, and want, to experience holding books and turning pages for years to come. 

VS: What well-known writers do you admire most?

Kris: I recently read the Ramona books with my daughter again…Beverly Cleary can tell such a lovely story! It was great fun to be introduced to her again. 
Laura Ingalls Wilder….  Mo Willems…. Maeve Binchy…. Jodi Picoult…. Robert Munsch….Eric Carle….

VS: Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?

Kris: I have entered a few, but have not received any awards. I will keep trying... I think competitions are good for me, as they give me a deadline. 

VS: Is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama”?

Kris: I was fortunate to take a writing class, Mother Words, from an amazing and supportive mama writer/teacher who quoted some other mama writers – telling how it takes courage to write about motherhood, which I find true, but I think it takes courage to write in general. You put your thoughts, ideas, and creations on paper for others to read, criticize, and hopefully fall in love with… that takes courage! I hope I always will have the courage to write, and I hope all of us Writing Mamas will. 

VS: I thank you for taking the time to share with my readers about being a writing mama and SFC Team member.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blog Talk Radio: Stories for Children

Join me LIVE on my RFK Stories for Children show on #BlogTalkRadio at or call 1 (646) 595-4478

The Maggie Project: A Review of Little Shepherd

The Maggie Project: A Review of Little Shepherd: "Little Shepherd by Cheryl C. Malandrinos; illus. by Eugene RubleAges 4 – 8 Guardian Angel Publishing, ..."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Interview Friday with SFC Assistant Nonfiction Editor Randi Lynn Mrvos

I thought I would do something a bit different over the next few months. As you all know, I have reopened Stories for Children Magazine and have also added to the SFC Team at Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. Each team member at SFC has an interesting background, not just in writing, but in general and I thought how fun would it be to really get to know these wonderful people who help me bring Stories for Children to you.

So to start off, I have asked our Assistant Nonfiction Editor Randi Lynn Mrvos to be the first SFC Team guest interview. Randi has been a contributor to Stories for Children Magazine since the beginning and I cannot tell you how exciting it is to be working with her behind the scenes now. She has shared some very interesting topics in the past with our readership and is one very talented nonfiction writer.

Randi Lynn Mrvos writes for children's and writers' magazines. She is an award-winning picture book writer, a columnist for the writers’ newsletter Extra Innings, an editor for the educational website, and my assistant nonfiction editor for Stories for Children Magazine. Her publishing credits include Scholastic Books, Gryphon House, Highlights for Children, Byline, Mothering, and The Christian Scientist Monitor.

VS: Randi, I want to thank you for being my guest here on The Writing Mama today. I know being a parent and writer can be hard and I find myself asking if I giving my three children enough attention throughout the day. I am sure you have been in my shoes from time to time. So to start here is the first question…

How many children do you have and what are their ages?

Randi: I have one daughter, who will turn sixteen next month.

VS: As a mom of a teenager, I’m sure you are very busy. I know I am. What do you do to help balance your writing life with your family life?

Randi: My family comes first. So I write during the weekdays when my husband is at work and my daughter is at school. 

VS: You sound so much like me. I can’t wait until our last is in school, giving me more writing time. However, spending the time I do with family is so important. It is so true that family should come first. Randi, can you share with us how long have you been writing?

Randi: I’ve been writing for sixteen years.

VS: What inspired you to write?  

Randi: When I was a teenager, I took a creative writing class and loved it.  But with college and a full-time job, writing took a back seat.  Many years later after my daughter was born, my husband read to her every night.  I discovered that some of the picture books were beautiful masterpieces, while others missed the mark completely.  I thought I could do better, so I took writing classes, got published in medical journals, joined SCBWI, and began writing for children.

VS: Now you are also a member of the SFC Team. Can you share with us a little about what you do? 

Randi: I receive submissions, check to see if they’ve followed the guidelines, ask for revisions if necessary, and determine if the content is appropriate for SFC.

VS: Randi, I know your busy with writing and SFC stuff. I’m wondering, what is a typical writing day like for you? 

Randi: My writing varies every day. Usually, after I drop off my daughter at school, I sit down to write. To begin, I check my three e-mail accounts: SFC, Viatouch, and my personal email. If I have a Viatouch submission, I may have to edit a piece. For SFC, I may need to write to an author to revise. For my own work, I focus on pieces which have a deadline and then move on to other pieces that need editing. Some days I research markets and other days, I build content for my blog.

VS: I still don’t know how you do it all. Is your family supportive of your writing?  

Randi: Absolutely. My husband is my first reader and editor, and my daughter makes suggestions that improve my work. They share in the joys of my success.

VS: That’s wonderful. I’m so glad you have a very supportive family. Many writers do not. Now, have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, how did you ‘cure’ it? 

Randi: I don’t usually have writer’s block, but on rare occasions, my muse fails to appear. So I may get some exercise or take a walk. Taking a break from the computer helps start the flow of creative ideas.

VS: Great tips. I tend to take the baby for a brisk walk to help clear my head or take the kids for ice cream. For some reason, ice cream always helps my muse. LOL. What was the first thing you ever had published?

Randi: The very first article I published appeared in a medical journal. My first published children’s article was a nonfiction piece titled “The Amazing Barkless Basenji” for Wee Ones magazine.

VS: Now, you also writer books…what type of books do you mostly write?  

Randi: I write picture books.

VS: Can you share with us why you love writing and working with children’s lit?

Randi: I like to research topics (maybe it’s the scientist in me) and then find creative ways to weave my discoveries into pieces that educate and entertain children.  

VS: What do you enjoy most about writing?

Randi: I like the solitude, the quiet house, the click of the keyboard, the taste of coffee, my cat purring while sharing my chair, the thrill of getting the words down just right.

VS: What is the most difficult part of writing?

Randi: Dealing with rejection is difficult, but it’s a part of the writing process.     

VS: I don’t think any of us like rejections. Okay, so what is the best writing advice you ever received? 

Randi: An editor at Dial Books for Young Readers once told me that when you speak about or pitch your book, do so with passion.

VS: So true and wonderful advice for all those writers out there currently pitching their books. Do you find it hard to balance your personal writing time with your other job(s)? 

Randi: I’m lucky that I was able to retire from the medical field. But, I still have to carve out time each day to write.

VS: You are lucky, but I would say the two editing jobs are like jobs in the way you have to work your writing around them. Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Randi: I’ve written Maggie and the Third Grade Blues, a funny picture book about a girl who’s afraid she’s going to be sent back to the second grade because she doesn’t have a topic for a summer vacation report. Another picture book, In Search of Awe, is the story of a young boy who helps look for his grandfather’s hometown others say has vanished.

VS: I do hope you’ll let us review them at SFC, too. They sound wonderful. Now Randi, can you tell us about your writing space?

Randi: I write in my husband’s study, the tiniest room in the house. The walls are covered with crayon pictures, diplomas, and posters. Bookcases are stuffed with books, pictures, DVD’s, music and photo albums, and a variety of lighthouses. The writing desk faces a window, where I look out and gaze at a majestic oak tree, playful squirrels, and squawking blue jays.   

VS: That sounds very inspirational. So Randi, what would we be surprised to learn about you? 

Randi: I was a Medical Technologist for over 20 years, used to take ballet, wasn’t sure I wanted to be a mother (OMG, how that changed), and I make a mean Chicken Marsala.

VS: Okay, the ballet I didn’t even know about. I took it as well when I way younger and wan’t very good. With all the changes going on in our world, how do you see the future of publishing, both traditional and electronic? 

Randi: It’s hard to predict, but I can envision more advances with electronic publishing.

VS: I have to agree with you on that. Okay, so what tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them see publication? 

Randi: Find time to write every day, even if it’s only for twenty minutes. Have a first reader review your work. Edit your work. Read writers’ magazines. Study the publications for which you wish to pitch. Always follow the publisher’s guidelines. Start building your credentials by writing nonfiction—trust me, it’s easier to get published than fiction.

VS: Very true about how there are more chances in nonfiction than fiction or even poetry. Now I would like to know what well known writers do you admire most?

Randi: Kate DiCamillo, Mem Fox, Jane Yolen, Lois Elhert, Theodor Seuss Geisel, Jon Scieszka to name a few.

VS: You named a few of my favorites, too. Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?

Randi: Every year I participate in the Writer’s Digest, the Tennessee Mountain Writers, and the Alabama Writers Conclave contests. I’ve won two awards for Maggie and the Third Grade Blues as well as other awards for other picture books.

VS: I think everyone can see why you’re on the SFC Team. I’m so lucky to have you. So is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama”?

Randi: Let nothing get in the way of your passion for writing.

VS: Randi, thank you for taking the time to share with my readers about being a writing mama and SFC Team member.

You can learn more about Randi Lynn Mvros at the follow places:

Randi’s blog, The Maggie Project is also part of the World of Ink Tours. Stop by and learn more about Randi, her books and writing, along with book reviews and interviews with others.