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Hurricane Harvey rocked the state of Texas, and its impact continues to wave and ripple across our country. While the destruction has been inconceivable, the response to Harvey and Irma has been a reassuring emblem of love. A reflection of the positive potential of humanity.My friend and picture book writing critique partner Rosie J. Pova…

via When the World Acts Up, Give it a Hug – A Guest Post by Rosie J. Pova — Blog – Anitra Rowe Schulte

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It's wild

I’m excited to announce that Sienna is finally here. If you order the book, I would be happy to mail you a signed bookplate. Just contact me with your address. Below, you will find a video of me reading the first five pages of

Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy: Trying to Make it Rain.

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Proud Mama – Me!

 

 

 

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Proud and happy Grandma – My mom.

 

 

 

 

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Clearfork Publishing

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Following are some links to blog posts I wrote about chapter book writing and a couple of interviews that give a glimpse into my writing world.

A guest post by me for the Chapter Book Challenge – How Writing a Chapter Book is Like Writing a Picture Book

One of my earlier posts – Should my Picture Book be a Chapter Book?

Melissa Stoller gives an inside glimpse into my writing world with her Stories, Creativity, Connection questions.

Laura Clement asks great questions in this interview about my writing life and me on her blog Clement Creations.

BOOK AND CRITIQUE GIVEAWAYS

BOOK GIVEAWAY

If you would like to win a copy of Sienna, the Cowgirl Fairy: Trying to Make it Rain, please leave a comment and specify “book.” Reblog, tweet, or talk about Sienna on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in the hat for you. Check back to discover the winner.

Don’t forget to include your name in the comment.

CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY

If you would like to win a critique of the first three chapters of your chapter book manuscript, please leave a comment and specify “critique.” Reblog, tweet, or talk about Sienna on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in the hat for you. Check back to discover the winner.

Don’t forget to include your name in the comment.

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I’m sporadically participating in the Clear Fork Publishing challenge where my publisher Callie Metler-Smith offers prompts to the Clear Fork Authors and Illustrators. Today’s challenge is Throwback Thursday – “Post a throwback picture that has something to do with you personally.”

Since, I live on an RV, my old photos are in storage. However, I did come across a scanned photo that seemed to relate to the challenge. The photo directed me to a photo journal that I started back in 2004. We were purging our home of fifteen years in preparation for a move from Chicago to North Carolina. I struggled emotionally with letting go of “memories.” I decided to take photos of the “memories” and write about them. Today, I share my Throwback Thursday photo and memories. As I was uploading my photo, I realized that it isn’t my photo. It is one I found somewhere (can’t remember where). But it is very much like my old skate box.

!cid_000a01c746f6$98b29cd0$f300000a@Jen

MY OLD ROLLER SKATES
by Alayne Kay Christian

I’ve clung to them for thirty-five years
Through every move, every closet cleaning, every job, love, birth and death
Each time I run across my old roller skates
I return to my youth
The days when I was wild and free
Unafraid
Willing enough and daring enough to exploreskate
Have fun
Just be

I was happy – not a care in the world
Learning about myself and life
Being myself
My authentic self
The skates were magic
As long as they were with me, all was good
And once I put them on my feet
They empowered me
To be confident and free

I can still feel myself in the golden glow of dim lighting
Gliding across that old wood floor to the rhythm of Motown
Moving effortlessly, leisurely, and happily
The world around me slowly drifts away
Leaving me to fly like a bird
Alone with my heart
Feeling the peace, the oneness, and the joy

Today, I release my old skates into the Universe
Perhaps they will work their magic on someone else
I realize I have done my skates, and the Universe, a disservice
By keeping them prisoner all these years
So, I send them out into the Universe with love
And preserve the magic of my roller skates with this picture
I keep my memories with me as a reminder of who I am
Now, my old roller skates are free

I AM FREE
1/4/04

I shared the above for a couple reasons.

  1. To participate in the challenge.
  2. To share something personal about myself.
  3. And to suggest to anyone who struggles to let go of “memories” represented by stuff that a photo journal is a great way to let go. In addition, any kind of journal writing can be a really good friend during times of letting go.

I hope my sharing has either brought back some memories or inspired you to let go in a different way.

 

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Today, I am sharing a presentation that I made showing how a picture book is made. It shows what the picture book looks like when first printed on an offset printer, it shows how signatures are made. It shows fold and gather, cutting, and stitching. It shows how the cover is attached. And more.

I plan to one day make a video so that the folding process will be easier to see. But I need to enlist the hubs as a photographer. He is sometimes harder to corral than a herd of cats 😉 So, for now, I hope you enjoy this video. Click here if you need a larger view of the video.

 

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About Freedom

by Alayne Kay Christian

This week people, trucks, boats on trailers, and RVs swarmed into the peaceful quiet RV resort were we are staying. Today, the lake is a abuzz, too. A steady stream of boats rock the sailboats docked nearby. The beginning of summer. Fun in the sun. And I think, Memorial Day weekend is a little like Christmas. We sometimes forget what it is really all about.

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Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Day – A day set aside for remembering and honoring the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. I am grateful, everyday, for those who have given their lives, those who have been severely injured, and those who have left their families, friends and homes — all to protect us from harm and to uphold freedom. The following is a modified and abbreviated version of an essay I wrote many years ago. Today, seems like a good day to share it.

Years back, I watched a documentary that followed the life events of several inmates on a prison farm. An elderly man spoke about how freedom comes from within. He made a comparison to all the people out there in the ‘free’ world who are not as free as he who spends his life locked away in prison. He was talking about how we are often prisoners of ourselves. Here we are as free as birds, yet shackled to choices made based on belief systems we have learned from others. We can find freedom from within. We have a choice. Our thoughts and beliefs can imprison us or they can free us.

When the man mentioned the free world, I thought about some of the freest people on earth . . . Americans. We have the freedom to exercise free will. We are free to think for ourselves, question things, and voice our opinions.

I am writing this on Memorial Day weekend. The Indianapolis 500 blares from our television as I write. A woman’s rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner rings in my heart. Next, a twenty-one gun solute honors the memory of our fallen soldiers. The cheering crowd grows silent when a young man steps forward and blows Taps on his trumpet. In honor and gratefulness to all our soldiers, I stop typing. Through a teary haze, I watch thousands of Americans, and some visitors from abroad, gathered in one place for a day of competition, patriotism, and fun. The crowd looks like a sea of red, white, and blue swaying dots. I imagine that they are as free as a flock of colorful birds that have come together through free will.

“The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” – Jeff Miller

“These fallen heroes represent the character of a nation who has a long history of patriotism and honor – and a nation who has fought many battles to keep our country free from threats of terror.” Michael N. Castle

“As America celebrates Memorial Day, we pay tribute to those who have given their lives in our nations wars.” John M. McHugh

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Can you write a children’s story in 50 words? Would you like to try? Are you up for the challenge? If so, check out Vivian Kirkfield’s 50 Precious Words challenge. The deadline is March 6, so get moving! Great prizes! Twenty-one winners – 21 prizes! Includes 50% off coupons for Art of Arc or for Art of Arc alumni 50% off coupons for a critique.

Here is my entry.

WINTER WALK

by Alayne Kay Christian  winter-walk-night-2

Cold air – warm sun
Feet crunch
in snow.

Fragrant pines.
Icy river groans.

Sun slips
behind pines.
Nightfall flaunts black-velvet skies
Evening star
Soft moon glow

Feet crunch
in snow.
Up steps
Through the door
Boots fall
to the floor.

Toasty fire – cozy quilt
Puffy pillow
Muscles hush

Pleasant dreams

 

 

 

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WHERE IS THE LOVE?

heartWHERE IS THE LOVE?

by Alayne Kay Christian

“Until you have learned to be tolerant with those who do not always agree with you: until you have cultivated the habit of saying some kind word of those whom you do not admire: until you have formed the habit of looking for the good instead of the bad there is in others, you will be neither successful nor happy.”  – NAPOLEON HILL

If you haven’t heard, I’m very excited to share that I have signed a multi-book deal with Clear Fork publishing. SIENNA, THE COWGIRL FAIRY: TRYING TO MAKE IT RAIN will be the first chapter book in the series, which is expected to be released in April 2017. More information to follow. I had an outpouring of love and cheers from the writing community, and I am overwhelmingly grateful.

Speaking of love, I spend a great deal of time sharing “the love” by trying to help fellow writers for free outside of my paid services. Why? Because that’s the kind of community I want to be a part of. A community that lifts others up not puts others down. I’ve always been proud to be a part of our loving, kind, and giving writing community. But I’ve noticed that sometimes people get caught up in negativity on social media. Writers talk a lot about diversity. We write about tolerance and acceptance of others. But sometimes we forget to apply them ourselves.

This is a close-knit community where many of us belong to the same groups. This means there is potential that most everybody sees a popular thread. Remember people, publishing houses, agencies, and people’s books that are called out by name in a negative way will likely be read by those being harmed by that discussion. Just for a moment, I will deem myself Grandmother of the kid lit world and ask that everyone, regardless of your personal agenda, please, please, please be respectful and considerate of the feelings of those who have chosen a different path than you or have taken a different path than you think you might choose in the future. For the dreams, goals, hearts, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears that they put into their work make them the same as you. Remember, you are talking about human beings and their projects that are near and dear to their hearts. Before you make a negative comment, consider who might read it, and try putting yourself in their shoes. How would you feel?

Don’t judge. Celebrate. Show some tolerance, acceptance, and compassion to your fellow writers. Bring back the love.

  • If you’re experience makes you concerned that a fellow writer might be making a bad career choice, reach out to them privately.
  • If your experience makes you want to warn new writers about contracts and signing with certain types of publishers or certain agents. Consider doing it in general terms and not by focusing on any one publisher or agent. Or again, do it privately.
  • Lastly, condemning people or their work publically is not cool.

My goal here is to stop negative, hurtful, and harmful discussions. I always welcome comments, but please in the words of Thumper, “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” Much appreciated.

 

 

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