Wednesday, March 30, 2011

SFC Magazine News 4/1/2011 - WorldOfInkNetwork | Internet Radio | Blog Talk Radio

SFC Magazine News 4/1/2011 - WorldOfInkNetwork | Internet Radio | Blog Talk Radio

Stories for Children Magazine April ’11 Issue

After a year hiatus, Stories for Children Magazine is pleased to announce its re-launch with the April 2011 issue. This award-winning Ezine has delighted children around the world for three years, featured children’s authors and illustrators from top publishers to small indie publications, and given free worksheets to educators and homeschool parents.

Stories for Children Magazine’s April 2011 issue will feature award-winning author Janet Halfmann. Janet has more than thirty fiction and nonfiction children’s books. Before becoming a children’s author, Janet was a daily newspaper reporter, children’s magazine editor, and a creator of coloring and activity books for Golden Books. She is the mother of four and the grandmother of four. When Janet isn’t writing, she enjoys gardening, exploring nature, visiting living-history museums, and spending time with her family. She grew up on a farm in mid-Michigan and now lives in Wisconsin.

Even though you cannot buy the relaunch issue until April 4, 2011, you can still visit this fun, family friendly Ezine. “We’ll be posting book reviews, crafts, coloring pages and more for FREE each month,” states Grenier. “You can also meet our featured guests each issue month on our new Blog Talk World of Ink Network Radio show, SFC Magazine News at Our show airs the 1st of each issue month. We also offer other family and writing related shows during the month as well.”

Stories for Children Magazine placed in the Top Ten for Best Magazine in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry in the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2008. So come take an adventure in the World of Ink with Stories for Children Magazine

Learn more about Stories for Children Magazine at

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Writing Goals with World of Ink guest author Sherry Ellis

     As writers, we are responsible for creating our own work structure.  No one makes us write.  No one tells us how much to write or when to do it.  If we are to be productive writers, we have to monitor ourselves.  Goals are one way to do that.

     The goals we set should be measurable and attainable.  Measurable goals are goals that require some kind of output.  It might be to write a certain number of pages per day.  Or it might be to send out a certain number of query letters per month.  Whatever the goal is, it should be quantifiable.

     Goals should also be attainable.  For a goal to be attainable, we have to be honest with ourselves.  So ask yourself, do you really have the time to crank out a five-hundred-page novel in six months?  Are you really going to earn $40,000 a year as a writer?  Our goals should be realistic, recognizing what is possible in our own lives and what is possible in the world of writing.

     It is a good idea, when setting goals, to include a mix of long-term and short-term goals.  When setting long-term goals, ask yourself where you want to be a year from now.  Where do you want to be five years from now?   These questions help you chart your course.  They serve as a guide when you start making short-term goals.  Short- term goals are usually ones that require output.  Examples of short-term goals would be writing a certain number of hours per week, or producing a certain number of articles per month.  These are the “baby steps’ in helping us achieve our long-term goals and dreams.

     The important thing about goals is that we have to check our progress regularly.  Are we meeting our goals?  Are we exceeding them?  Do we need to make adjustments?  If something doesn’t seem to be working, what can we do differently?

     The beauty of goals is that they can be changed.  It’s our job to make sure our goals are working for us.  If we are diligent about making, following, and checking our goals, then we have a greater chance of being productive and successful writers.  

About Sherry Ellis:
Sherry Ellis is a freelance writer who writes articles for parenting magazines and children’s publications.  Her first book, That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN, was published in 2005.  Her second, That Mama is a Grouch, was published in May of 2010.  It was honored as a finalist in the Parenting/Family category of the 2010 USA Book News Awards. 

Sherry is also a professional musician who plays and teaches violin, viola, and piano.  Ms. Ellis lives in Loveland, Ohio with her husband and two children.

You can learn more about Sherry Ellis and her books at

Monday, March 28, 2011

Teen Word Factory: Elements: The Building Blocks of Everything

Teen Word Factory: Elements: The Building Blocks of Everything: "Last time, I wrote about what to do after you've got your story written. This time, I'd like to discuss what the basic building blocks are f..."

Tips to Help You Find Your Writing Voice

Editors and readers alike will usually ignore the voiceless writers who write stale, uninteresting articles. What everybody is looking for is a fresh voice that will get readers' attention.

Basically, your voice means your style, the manner in which you're writing and you feel most comfortable writing. No one will be really able to define what a writer's voice is, but everybody knows it when they see it.

Finding your writing voice can be a difficult and complex process. Believe it or not, even the famous writers took years to find their voice. Writing courses and workshops can help writers find their voice. However, there things you can do starting right now to find your writing voice.

Here are some tips on how you can add your own voice to your written work:

1. Be original. Many new writers follow in the footsteps of the established writers they admire. This may often result in plain lack of creativity for the writer. So try to break any patterns you have by writing something original and new every time you start to create.

2. Write from the heart. If you don't feel what you write, if you are not in touch with yourself, probably your readers won't be either. You'll find your voice in the most intense moments -- when you feel like grabbing a pencil and writing away.

3. Simple is better. Many writers strive to express themselves in complicated ways. But keep it simple and write as you speak. Record yourself speaking and then compare it to your pieces.

4. Learn to edit. It is easy to be carried away once you start writing. Sometimes, you may need to cut some of the pieces you have written just to add more value to the essence. Your voice will come through if you continually distill your writing.

5. Don't listen too much to your inner critic. Your inner self could give you constructive criticisms, but it could also prevent you from finding your voice. Listen to your inner critic, but don't allow it to interfere while you're still in the writing process.

6. Be open. Learn to open yourself every time you write. Reveal your innermost desires, hopes, fears and dreams. If you feel embarrassed, perhaps it's your voice showing up.

Now that you have some ideas about how to find your voice, discovery will be a lot easier. What are you waiting for? Start writing and finding your voice!

Copyright © Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

About Shery: Shery is the creator of WriteSparks!™- a software that generates over 10 *million* Story Sparkers for Writers. Download WriteSparks!™ Lite for free at

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Utah Children's Writers: Surviving the Publishing Process

Utah Children's Writers: Surviving the Publishing Process: This week I thought I would share with you some insight on surviving the publishing process. Instead of giving you an editor's viewpoint, I asked author and professional musician Sherry Ellis to share her point of view of the publication process.

Friday, March 25, 2011

SFC Blog: Families Matter: World of Ink Double Book Giveaway!

SFC Blog: Families Matter: World of Ink Double Book Giveaway!: " Sherry Ellis is a freelance writer who writes articles for parenting magazines and children’s publications. Her first book, Tha..."

What makes a good chidren's story / book?

There is no interview with an SFC Team Member today. Instead I have a wonderful guest post to share from World of Ink Tour Guests Tom Listul & Heather Listul Hewitt.

What makes a good chidren's story / book ?

Every children’s story that I have enjoyed has had some main ingredients. 

Interesting Characters and Story Line
First and foremost, it is important to have interesting characters and an interesting story line that will hold the reader’s attention. Children need to be able to relate to the story and have fun reading it. 

The words in a children’s story are the core of the book, but the illustrations are also very important. The overall feeling of a story can change dramatically depending on how the words are depicted through pictures. 

I think a good children’s story has illustrations that match the message that the words are trying to depict. It is also fun to see illustrations that are unique and colorful, because they will capture a child’s attention. 

Rhyme, Patterns or Hidden Messages
Some of my favorite children’s books are ones that have unique rhymes, patterns or hidden messages. People enjoy seeing and reading something different than what is already on the shelves so it is good to take chances. 

Tips on Writing for Children
  • Think like a kid. 
  • Use your imagination. 
  • Try to remember what you enjoyed reading about as a child. 
  • Ask children you know for their input or to rate your idea. You might be surprised with how they respond.
  • Simplify what you are writing depending on the age group you are targeting. 
  • The most important thing is just to have fun with writing and to enjoy the process. It is likely that children will enjoy it if you had fun with it and were creative.   

About the authors:
Tom Listul wrote Monkey Made Dream with his daughter, Heather Listul Hewitt, when she was eight years old. A farmer from southwest Minnesota, he is also a singer/songwriter. Listul made Monkey Made Dream into a children’s song and has sang it at numerous coffee houses and children’s classrooms. Hewitt is now a speech-language pathologist, who works for a school district with students of all ages. She enjoys helping children develop literacy skills and a love for reading.

Learn more about Tom Listul and Heather Listul Hewitt at their World of Ink Tour Page!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Featured Guest Interview with Author Sudipta Bardh...

SFC Blog: Families Matter: Featured Guest Interview with Author Sudipta Bardh...: "Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen never thought she’d grow up to be a writer. As a child, she thought of being a doctor (but she’s afraid of ..."

Do You Need Kids to Write for Kids?

Do You Need Kids to Write for Kids?

What do Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Margaret Wise Brown and Beatrix Potter all have in common? Other than being beloved authors and household names, none had children of their own. And yet that didn't stop them from creating books that children have cherished for generations.

There's a difference between having a child, and having a childlike sensibility. Simply being a parent doesn't mean you can effectively tell a story from a child's point of view. Sure, having kids can help, and if you're paying attention you'll gain valuable insight into their world. But I've read lots of manuscripts by parents and grandparents who feel it's their job to teach a lesson to the world's young ones (and their own offspring in particular, who simply won't listen when it's time to turn off the TV and do their homework). Not to mention that they have to work all five of their children's names into the book, as well as the family dog.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Article Wed: Breaking Through The Barriers Of Writer's Block

Writer's block occurs when we lose our train of thought or have seemingly run out of ideas. When this occurs it is only natural to increase your determination to get the writing process back on track. Actually this can make the situation worse since it introduces more pressure which further constricts your ability to develop new writing ideas.

What to do?

Here are 3 tips to use for idea generation or to recapture your train of thought when the writing process for you comes to a grinding halt.

Review What You Wrote

This often can help to get your thinking back on track. When you lose your focus the best thing to do is 'retract' your previous steps to pick back up on your trail of thought. By reviewing your most recently documented content you can determine what your point is and the direction you were taking it. This can be a very effective way of snapping out of the writers block that has stalled your efforts.

Leave Your Work Station

Changing environments often accomplishes two things. It reduces the pressure and frustration that was building upon you to produce while sitting at your work station. It also presents new scenery which is helpful for idea generation. Sometimes it can take the most insignificant 'nudge' such as seeing a bird in flight or hearing a comment in passing to help you regain your momentum.

Also helpful when you are 'stuck' for the right words are to verbalize what it is you want to say. Your thought flow more clearly when you verbalize them because you are NOT trying to ALSO focus on documenting them at the same time.

Start a New Task

Starting on something new allows you to continue to make progress by actually accomplishing something else. This also will once again alleviate the stress and mounting frustration building in you from the writers block. Once the pressure has been relieved your thoughts will tend to flow more freely allowing you to recapture your lost momentum. At the very least you are making progress on another task so your time is not being wasted.

There is never a good time for writer's block to strike but it is inevitable that it will affect you at some point especially if you write a lot. Nothing can be more frustrating than having the writing process disrupted by an inexplicable loss of ideas. Whether you are trying to generate new writing ideas or simply recapture a previous pattern of thought writers' block can be difficult to overcome. The 3 tips suggestions above are effective for either idea generation or to simply regain previous patterns of thought. By taking a break or moving on to another task you immediately remove the building frustrations you are experiencing. By doing so this results in less pressure on you which than allows your creative thoughts to flow freely once again. At this point you can now 'pick up' where you have left off and finish that brilliant composition you were working on!

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

For more tips about overcoming writer’s block and to also receive a free instructional manual that teaches valuable niche research techniques visit:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Co-Authors Tom Listul and Heather Listul Hewitt to be Featured Guests on RRRadio-RFK: Stories for Children

For Immediate Release

 Co-Authors Tom Listul and Heather Listul Hewitt to be Featured Guests on
RRRadio-RFK: Stories for Children –March 21, 2011 

Blog Talk Radio’s Robin Falls Kids Show: Stories for Children with hosts (VS Grenier, D.M. Cunningham and Kris Quinn Christopherson) will be chatting with father and daughter author team Tom Listul and Heather Listul Hewitt about their book, Monkey Made Dream. Tom and Heather will also be sharing writing tips, and trials and tribulations of the writer’s life.

Tom Listul wrote Monkey Made Dream with his daughter, Heather Listul Hewitt, when she was eight years old. A farmer from southwest Minnesota, he is also a singer/songwriter. Listul made Monkey Made Dream into a children’s song and has sang it at numerous coffee houses and children’s classrooms. Hewitt is now a speech-language pathologist, who works for a school district with students of all ages. She enjoys helping children develop literacy skills and a love for reading.

The show will be live March 21, 2011 at 1pm EST (12pm Central, 11am MST, and 10am PST). Tune in at the RRRadio’s site at
or listen/call in at (646) 595-4478. (Note: The show is also available on demand at the same link.)

Learn more about Tom Listul and Heather Listul Hewitt and their book, Monkey Made Dream at

Learn more about Stories for Children Publishing, LLC at:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Interview Friday with SFC Poetry Assistant Edtior Jamie DeMumbrum

Jamie DeMumbrum, Assistant Poetry Editor of SFC, lives in Loveland, Ohio, with her husband, two teenaged children, and a hairy, high-maintenance dog. After blinking and watching her babies start to drive and think about college, she decided to pursue her interest in freelance writing for children and, sometimes, parents. When she isn’t warming the bleachers at a football, basketball, or lacrosse game, she loves all kinds of reading, writing, editing, and sewing for her home.

VS: 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?

Jamie: My husband and I have a 16-year-old sophomore daughter and a 17-year-old junior son.

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

Jamie: Having teenagers can be a little easier, time-wise, than having little ones. That said...we still have lacrosse, basketball, football, church, school events, and family time together. So, while I do have more time that I can call my own, it’s still a juggling act, and sometimes I fail miserably. I am working on writing every day—a goal I haven’t achieved yet, but I am working on it. Realizing that creativity can come in spurts and doesn’t require half-day blocks is helping in the balancing act.

VS: I think you’re still pretty busy even if you do have teens. Maybe even busier than I am. I at least still get naptime breaks, however, I still don’t write every day. How long have you been writing?

Jamie: I started, officially, about 3 years ago, taking classes and taking a few chances. But it really started years ago when I would read books and stories to my students and then to my own children. I did keep journals and locked diaries (that was the big thing, then) when I was younger, worked on the school yearbook in high school, and tried my hand at some poetry and creative writing in college. Looking back, that Creative Writing class was one of my favorites!

VS: What inspired you to write?

Jamie: I’ve always loved reading—especially books or stories that leave me with that warm-all-over feeling. I love to learn new things, and books are one avenue to that learning. When I finished my teaching career, I realized that being a mom meant I would always be a teacher! Writing is another avenue to teaching, so it seems like a natural fit.

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

Jamie: I am the Assistant Poetry Editor at SFC. That means I get to read all of the poems that writers submit to SFC with the hopes of being selected, sent on to the Poetry Editor, then to the Editor-in-Chief, then published. It’s a lot of fun, but I also take my role seriously. As a writer myself, I completely understand how difficult it is to take a chance and send something off to a publication, then wait for a reply. Writers put so much of themselves into their work, and what editors (and assistant editors!) say back to them can be very important to their development. Also, I want SFC Magazine to keep getting more and more successful. The fact that I can be a small part of that is a fantastic feeling!

VS: And we’re glad to have you on board, too. So Jamie, what is a typical writing day like for you when you do get the time?

Jamie: I get up, do all the morning stuff (eat, shower, get kids off to school), then settle at my kitchen table. I am most productive if I have had a good night’s sleep and have a plan. I usually break my day up into 2-hour increments and change tasks after each of those 2-hours. If it’s not too miserable outside, I’ll take my dog for a walk in between. That helps keep me fresh and get the creative juices flowing again. (It also makes the dog happy.) I have found that a change of scenery really helps me; sometimes that takes me to a coffee shop, the deck, or even my dining room. I don’t know why that helps, but it does! Also, absolutely NO television. Then, before I know it, my kids are coming home from school…

VS: I break my day up into short sessions. I find I’m more creative and better at what I’m doing. Glad you’ve found a system that works for you. Is your family supportive of your writing?

Jamie: My family is truly supportive. They are always encouraging and are even willing to eat cereal for supper if I didn’t get around to making something! Their confidence in me has kept me going. Actually, feeling a little accountable to them is a good thing. I am a person who is learning the self-discipline required to be a writer. Having my kids and husband ask me what I am working on keeps me working and trying to accomplish on days when that might not happen.

VS: Okay, I need your family. I would love not having to cook dinner. I really hate stopping just to cook. LOL. Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, how did you ‘cure’ it?

Jamie: Is it okay to say “Everyday”? Until I actually put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, I suffer from writer’s block. Just pushing through it is sometimes the cure. Also, I confess, I like to take classes. I love the inspiration I feel when I learn new things, and the energy from others (even online) keeps me charged.

VS: Thanks for really opening up on that last question. Many writers I think like to believe they never get writer’s block even though I think we all get it from time to time. What was the first thing you ever had published?

Jamie: It was a poem in college in a campus literary magazine. It was pretty exciting!

VS: There is nothing like that first publication. One reason why I make sure SFC is very open to helping new writers. Jamie, can you share with us what type of books do you mostly write?

Jamie: I have not written a book—yet. That is on my list. I am taking a class starting next week about writing middle-grade novels. I am so excited to start!

VS: You still have plenty of time. I know authors who didn’t sit and write their first book until they were grandmas. Can you share with us why you love writing and working with children’s lit?

Jamie: I love the creativity involved in writing. Even in non-fiction or copy writing, creativity is huge. I am truly happiest when I have created something—even if it doesn’t get published. Children’s literature is exciting, fun, thought provoking, and challenging. When a kid reads something and learns something from it, is inspired by it, or is entertained by it, well, that’s just the best thing I can think of! That writer has made a difference—maybe on a huge level or maybe just to that one person—but they made a difference. That is the dream that encourages me the most.

VS: What do you enjoy most about writing?

Jamie: The creativity of writing brings me the most pleasure. I also love a challenge. And believe me, it is challenging. J

VS: Okay, now you can’t use this last answer for this next question. What is the most difficult part of writing?

Jamie: Focusing and finishing. I tend to be interested in too many things!

VS: Aren’t we all. What is the best writing advice you ever received?

Jamie: My son likes to quote Nike to me: Just do it. (Nike is right, and so is he.)

VS: My old motto from when I was in high school and on the track team. I think I still have those old Nikes around here somewhere. Now Jamie, do you find it hard to balance your personal writing time with your other job(s)?

Jamie: It is sometimes difficult. If my other projects make me feel too tired, then my personal writing gets pushed to the side…The key for me is to remember that my personal writing gives me energy, and if I would just do it, I would not feel so tired.

VS: Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?

Jamie: I have a few non-fiction articles that are at various stages of development. I also have this middle-grade novel floating around in my head. And there’s this blog idea…

VS: I hope you’re thinking of submitting a few of them to SFC now that we pay and really need nonfiction. Hint…hint. J Can you tell us a little about your writing space?

Jamie: It varies. Right now, I am at my kitchen table. Later, when the sun moves, it will be in the dining room. Soon, I hope to have a lighter, brighter den. (That one requires painting, and I have to be in the mood for painting.) I always have a pad of paper and a pen beside me, even if I am using the computer. I’m kind of old-school, that way.

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

Jamie: I have not traveled west of Minneapolis! Someday, I hope to travel widely, but that hasn’t happened yet. My husband and kids, on the other hand, do get around. My daughter is going to Namibia, Africa, this summer. Her brother went there two years ago. I think I live vicariously through them.

VS: If you do get out West…I would love to meet up and I think you would like it out this way. I might be a little bias on that though being from California and now living in Utah. Okay, Jamie…with all the changes in publishing, how do you see the future of publishing, both traditional and electronic?

Jamie: I love the feel of a book in my hands, and I know I am not alone. One of the best places in the world is my favorite bookstore. I also love gadgets, however, and think I want a Nook…In other words, I like both worlds and hope they can play nicely together. Change is inevitable, but it does not mean it’s got to be one way or the other. I hope we keep the best of both!

VS: What tips can you give writing parents with children at home to help them see publication?

Jamie: Stop thinking about it and do it. Learn continuously. Squeeze out every second you can now—even if it’s only 15 minutes a day. It really will add up! That only get one chance with your own children. Don’t miss a moment with them. The time balance is constantly changing, so hang in there. You will never regret it.

Also, connect with other writers. Once you start “confessing” your dream, you will start to hear about other writers or opportunities in your area. Don’t be shy about emailing them. I have found writers to be tremendously generous with their time and advice. (Stalking isn’t cool, but a well-written letter is almost always welcome!)

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

Jamie: Mary Pope Osborne. My kids LOVED the Magic Tree House books. She found a wonderful niche and dove in.

Kate DiCamillo. Her characters are flesh-and-blood, and her stories are fabulous and genuine.

J.K.Rowling. Her books have inspired a whole new generation—and their parents!

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

Jamie: Another “on my to-do list.” There are some great opportunities out there—the choices can be pretty over-whelming. If I can work on that, “focus” thing and pick out one or two that would make it more possible for me.

VS: Don’t worry, SFC will help you see this goals on your list through. Before we go Jamie, is there anything else you would like to share with us about being a “Writing Mama”?

Jamie: I feel very privileged to have this opportunity on The Writing Mama and at Stories for Children Magazine. It’s been fun to share some of my thoughts about writing and some of my goals. I’m looking forward to learning more and writing more—and seeing where all of this takes me. It truly is an adventure!

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

You can learn more about Jamie at her websites:
Something new in the works! Hope to be launching soon.

Also, don’t forget to come back each week to read more about one of the SFC Team Members and SFC’s World of Ink Tour Guests.

There is always something new here from writing tips to interviews and once I get the re-launch issue of Stories for Children Magazine (April 2011) out…I’ll be posting my ramblings here again, too.

Jamie DeMumbrum's Websites: