Planting Seeds

I just received my very first rejection letter from a literary agent today. It was very polite and included a “don’t give up!” message. She answered in three days (which I believe is about a month faster than average) and many agents don’t acknowledge a query at all, saying, “If you don’t hear from me in X weeks/months I’m not interested.” In essence, “If your phone’s not ringing, it’s me not calling.” Some agencies get hundreds of queries per week, so I understand that writing personalized rejection letters would take up too much of the time they could be pitching books to publishers and reading more queries.

Getting my first rejection letter makes me feel somehow more official as an author. I wrote “Rejection #1”on it and hung it on my writing room wall. Methinks it’ll soon have plenty of company.

I view agent queries as a farmer views planting seeds. Many seeds must be planted, and many won’t grow, but we only need one to potentially reap a bountiful harvest. Rejection letters are just seeds that didn’t sprout.

With Love,

Russ

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Dreami Dragon Dances

flora-16r_1024x768Dreami Dragon kicks up her heels thanks to the talent and creativity of illustrator Jack Wiens. I love the facial expressions and body language he captures so well. This is the first time we’ve teamed up to create a book together and I’m delighted with the result. If I have my way you’ll be seeing more of his work in at least some of my future books.

Flora Belle and Dreami Dragon are scheduled for release by the end of February hopefully just in time before the birth of our first (as of yet unnamed) granddaughter, as this book is dedicated to her.

With Love,

Russ

 

 

Posted in Carousels, children's books, Children's Picture Books, dragons, horses, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Are there benefits to singing and rhyming verse for children?

I believe singing and rhyming books are often especially fun to read and hear.
With Love,
Russ

Robbie's inspiration

I love nursery rhymes and children’s poetry. When my boys were small we used to listen to children’s songs and nursery rhymes in the car wherever we went. We used to sing along and I even bought them bells and shakers so that they could join in the music making.

I find nursery rhymes very fascinating, particularly when I probe the origins of some of them. Ring a ring o’ Roses for example is alleged to have originated from the black plague. A rosy rash was a symptom of the plague and posies of herbs were carried by people as protection and to cover up the smell of the disease. Sneezing or coughing was a symptom once the disease had progressed and then the sick person usually died and so literally “fell down” dead.

I have often wondered, however, whether there are any specific and acknowledged benefits to be derived…

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More Color and Magic

I’ve decided to have illustrations on both facing pages of most of my latest book, Flora Belle and Dreami Dragon. In my prior children’s books I had text on one facing page and an illustration on the other. The change substantially increases my illustration costs but I believe having illustrations on most facing pages adds much more color and magic to my stories. The image above is an example of the change.

I hope you like the changes.

With Love,

Russ

Posted in Carousels, dragons, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Flora Belle Runs Free!

flora-4_1024x768-2Flora Belle is a carousel horse who decides to go on an adventure in my latest book project titled Flora Belle and Dreami Dragon. It’s due to be released in Mach 2017. Jack Wiens is the illustrator.

With Love,

Russ

 

Posted in Animals, Book Project Updates, Children's Books I Wrote, Children's Stories Under Development, Illustrations, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Meet Flora Belle

flora-2_1024x768I’m pleased to introduce one of the co-stars of my latest book project for young children titled, Flora Belle and Dreami Dragon. Flora Belle is a carousel horse who loves what she does but sometimes gets bored and decides to go on an adventure. I wanted a water color look and feel for this story and selected Jack Wiens as the illustrator. I love his creations and he has been very easy to work with. I plan to release Flora Belle and Dreami Dragon in March 2017 to honor the birth of our first granddaughter who is schedule to be born at about that time.

With Love,

Russ

Posted in Book Project Updates, children's books, Children's Books I Wrote, Children's Stories Under Development, Illustrations, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A New Kind of Book Club by Sarah FitzHenry

What a terrific post about a delightful librarian! May her ideas spread around the world and inspire others to ignite a passion for reading with their own brand of magic!
With Love,
Russ

Nerdy Book Club

Book clubs. As educators, we love them – but for student participants, they can be intimidating. Some students aren’t strong readers; others don’t like talking in front of groups; some readers, like me, can struggle to put their feelings about a text into words. As a child I loved to read. But during book discussions, I found myself lost and confused, feeling like an inconvenience to the group. While I often loved the book, I feared the inevitable discussion. I wanted to move and dance and celebrate the text in a way that felt special to me – instead, we sat around a table while I dreaded my turn to talk. I left most book discussions feeling discouraged and embarrassed; I couldn’t seem to express how much the books meant to me. When I became a school librarian, I knew that I wanted to create a new kind of book…

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