Sunday, May 29, 2016

Blog I'm Following: Nancy Kelly Allen-Writing Workshop

Welcome to my blog. This blog is all about writing tips for writers and teachers of writing. Each week I will address one aspect of writing. Occasionally, I will post tips about no-fee contests and calls for submissions by publishers. If you would like to know more about me or my books, check out my website at (This is from Nancy's blog, you can click on link to visit her blog.)
Why I follow Nancy's blog:
Nancy has lots of experience writing for children, and her blog caters to those like me that want to improve their writing.
Each week Nancy posts articles on how she writes, or just gives me something to inspire me to write.
This weeks blog is about where we find inspiration!
Nancy mentions calls for submissions for magazines. These are broken down into call for young writers and adult writers. She also list contests!
I love contests and many of these are no -fees!

So if you are like me and always looking for ways to improve or be inspired, check out her blog and tell her Sheila sent you!

If you have a favorite blog you follow, please list it the comments. It can even be your own!
Don't forget to enter the contest for May's book giveaways. Winners will be announced next week.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Chapter after Chapter by Heather Sellers

This is one of the books I'm giving away this month. It is fast becoming a favorite and will be hard to part with. So you know what I do when that happens? Buy another copy of course!

Instead of outlining this book and telling you all about the goodies inside, I'm going to focus on chapter four. Why? Because this is an area I struggle with and am really excited about learning how to do this and maybe just adding my take on it too.

So what is Chapter Four? The Book 100. In other words,  read 100 books, which I have already done thank you very much. Ahh but I didn't read them as a writer! I got so wrapped up in the book I forgot to study it. So the book 100 is making note cards of books you chose to use as mentor texts (another thing I'm learning and will feature more in a later blog so stay tuned.)
Read books of the genre you write. What did they do well? Was there great dialogue? Did they do suspense in a dramatic way, building up to a climax?
How did the book start? Chapter endings leave you not wanting to put the book down?

 Heather suggests you keep this information you mined on note cards and have this information on them for quick referral:

Title of book:
Book in a sentence [just to remember it]:
Book in a paragraph [pretend it's your book and you're explaining it to an agent who has just asked you, "What's your book about?"]: ( I find this a great way to prep for pitching. It's so much easier form me to tell you about someone else's book than mine.)
Best thing about this book: (Here is where I'm putting in my 2 cents worth. I'm playing around with color coding the index cards for things like plot, character, dialogue. You get the drift? So if I'm beating my brains trying to remember which book that has good example of dialogue, or the mystery that built suspense to a sitting on the edge of my chair to see what happens next, I can just look for the color in my box).
List of memorable, useful techniques [like (I'm inserting my own version here) transitions; page 67"; good dialogue between children,  page 8"):

Leave a comment to books you have used as mentor texts.

Hope this helps and don't forget to register for a chance to win this book. USA residents only.
See you next week.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency: The Case of the Missing Moonstone book review

The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency: The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford and illustrated by Kelly Murphy.

Published in 2015 by Yearling. 203 pages.
Yearling Mystery ages 8-12
US $6.99
ISBN: 978-0-385-75443-9

Jordan Stratford writes a unique historical mystery in that the characters are historical and all else is fiction. Kelly Murphy depicts the year 1826 with beautiful black and white drawings.
Two protagonists join forces to form The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency.
Lady Ada Byron, in real life, a mathematician and daughter of the poet Lord Byron.
Mary Godwin, the author of Frankenstein and the daughter of feminist writer, Mary Wollstonecraft.

It all starts when Mary goes to be tutored with Lady Ada Byron.
Ada is just weird. She doesn't pay attention during lessons and often corrects the teacher when she does stay in the classroom. Mary is amazed and a little fearful. If the tutor gets canned as so many before, will she be able to continue her studies?

Ada notices that Mary has a knack for observation, picking up on peoples feelings, and begins to understand more about the outside world.
When the tutor introduces her to the newspaper, she is enthralled, but also disturbed that clever criminals would not be caught. Would the criminals be smarter than Ada? Ada doesn't think so and sets out to prove it.
So Ada only eleven and Mary, fourteen, decide to be "secret " detectives. they put an advertisement in the paper and get their first case. A young woman's maid confesses to stealing a necklace. The woman doesn't believe her and hires Mary and Ada and to find the real culprit.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I do. this is the first in a series. I am also offering this book in this months giveaway. Enter by using the rafflecoptor or by leaving a comment. USA residents only.
See you next week when I review the book Chapter after Chapter by Heather Sellers.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there, whether they be aunts, sisters, or friends.
If you would like to share a tribute to your mother please leave a comment with a link to your blog or Facebook page or wherever you have it posted.

This is year is our first year without our mom for Mother's day.  When my mother-in-law passed away, it was hard, but now that they are both gone it is doubly hard.
One of the things I would like to thank my mother for is that she instilled in us to be friends to each other. To help each other when needed, to be there.
I know that she would be proud of us now, it didn't take a lifetime for her to see her girls grow up and not only be sisters, but friends as well.

I would also like to say I had the best mother-in-law. My husband tells me often how much she and I are alike, and I'm proud to say this is a compliment and not insult!
We would often commiserate together on how awful our husbands were and end up laughing about it.

Me, and sisters Sherry, June, Angela, and Glenda after a homemade Ice Cream party.

me and sister-in-law, Evelyn Dawson who helped counsel our children when they wouldn't listen to us.

Left: Roi Solberg, Right: Kathleen Leech sitting Marie Renfro My mother-in-law and her two sister.

Me and my mom on her 85th birthday.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Winners of Book Giveaway New Book Giveaway Announced

Special thank you to Irene Latham for donating her books to the April Book Giveaway.

If you are interested in doing the same, email me at

Kristi Veitenheimer winner!

Cathy Hall winner!

Virgina Rinkel winner!

May Book Giveaway

May Book Giveaway

Next Sunday is Mother's Day so I would like to open next weeks blog to everyone to honor their mother.
Please leave a comment with your blog site if you have posted something in honor of Mother's Day.

Thank you and to all the mothers out there, hope you have a nice Mother's Day.