Kid Lit

Kid Lit 411 Birthday Bash!


Kid Lit 411 is hosting three days of giveaways to celebrate their one year anniversary!

What is Kid Lit 411?

Welcome to Kidlit411, your one stop information shop for children’s writers and illustrators. Our goal is to organize relevant information about writing and illustrating for children in one handy spot, right here. Our site includes:

  • Topical Pages – links to articles and resources organized by topics.
  • Author & Illustrator Spotlights – each week, we feature an author and an illustrator (or an author-illustrator), who share their experience with you.
  • The Weekly 411 – each week, we compile the new links that were added during the week in an update post. You can receive this by email by subscribing to email updates (in the left hand sidebar).

So spend some time with us! Browse, click, connect and welcome to the world of kid lit writers and illustrators! If you’re serious about committing to kid lit, we highly recommend that you join the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrators (SCBWI).

About Us

KIDLIT411 founder, Elaine Kiely Kearns is currently chasing the dream as a published author. Armed with a master’s degree in Education and working from her home office, she spends her time perusing the internet for golden nuggets of information about children’s writing and creating her own picture book and middle grade stories.
Sylvia Liu is the other half of KIDLIT411, keeping the site running, adding links, and overseeing the illustrations and Illustrator Spotlight. She is a writer and illustrator. She is the winner of the 2013 Lee and Low New Voices Award and her winning manuscript, A MORNING WITH GONG GONG, will be published as a picture book.  KIDLIT411 links are also contributed by their critique group buddies, Alayne Kay ChristianRenee LaTulippeYvonne MesTeresa Robeson and VICTORIA RICHARDSON WARNECK.

You Can Contribute!

We welcome links and news for the site. Thanks to Sarah Maynard for helping keep our Writing Challenges and Contests & Awards topics up to date.

We also welcome illustrations for the front page. Please send JPGs of your work and your website to

Connect with Us!

Sign up for email updates, and we will send you a weekly post with all the new links added over the past week (The Weekly 411). Join our Facebook group for information and camaraderie. Join our Facebook manuscript swap group to find critique partners.

Show Your Support!

Put the following badge on your websites and link back to us:

(Banner & logo © 2014 Sylvia Liu)

Kidlit411 web badge

Kid Lit 411 is giving away amazing prizes! Signed copies of fabulous children’s books! Manuscript critiques! Phone consultations with literary agents! Spots in incredible kid lit writing classes! And MORE!

And now for the giveaways . . .

All giveaways end at noon, on January 15, 2015.

Day 1: All About Picture Books 

  • THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT, signed by author Drew Daywalt
    Win an autographed copy of the New York Times Bestselling (78 weeks and counting) picture book.

the day the crayons quit

*Click here to enter the Rafflecopter


*Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

  • WHERE ARE MY BOOKS? signed by author-illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi (May 2015 publication)
    What is happening to Spencer’s books each night? Find out in Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s first book that she both authors and illustrates, to be published in May 2015.


*Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

  • OWL MOON signed by Jane Yolen

    Win a signed copy of the Caldecott winning book, OWL MOON. A classic from the distinguished author, Jane Yolen.


*Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

  • STREGA NONA signed by Tomie DePaola

    Win a signed copy of the Caldecott winning book, STREGA NONA from the distinguished author-illustrator, Tomie DePaola.


*Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

  • The Penguin Posse Picture Book Critique Pack (7 critiques!)

 The team behind Kidlit411 is part of a picture book critique group composed of agented, contracted, and published children’s authors. If you win this prize, ALL SEVEN OF US will critique ONE of your picture book manuscripts (under 800 words) just as we would each other’s. Having seven critiques of the same story will give you invaluable feedback on what works and what doesn’t in your story. Members of the team include: 

  • Alayne Kay Christian – author of award-winning independently published picture book, BUTTERFLY KISSES FOR GRANDMA AND GRANDPA (Blue Whale Press) and founder of Sub Six, a writer’s support group for submissions. Her paid critique service is on hiatus now, so this is a great chance to get a critique from her.
  • Elaine Kiely Kearns – elementary school teacher, children’s author, and founder of KidLit411.
  • Renee LaTulippe – kidlit poet with a published collection of poetry and poems in a number of anthologies; co-author of nine award-winning early readers; founder of The Lyrical Language Lab, which teaches kidlit writers to punch up their prose, and children’s poetry blogger at No Water River.
  • Sylvia Liu – children’s author and illustrator who won the 2013 Lee and Low New Voices Award. Her manuscript, A MORNING WITH GONG GONG, will be published as a picture book. The other half of the Kidlit411 team.
  • Yvonne Mes – children’s author and illustrator whose short stories have been published in The School Magazine (Australia) and anthologies. Her picture books, MEET SIDNEY NOLAN (Random House Australia) and OLIVER’S GRUMBLES (Dragon Tales Publishing) are scheduled for publication in late 2015.
  • Teresa Robeson – children’s and adult author who has been published in Babybug, Ladybug, the SCBWI Bulletin, and other magazines; contributor to several science fiction anthologies; represented by Ella Kennen of Corvisiero Literary Agency.
  • Victoria Warneck – children’s writer who has held editorial positions at McGraw-Hill, The MIT Press, Addison-Wesley, and Pearson Education.

*Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

Day 2: All About Craft

  • The Craft of Writing Picture Books: Two 20 minute Critiques from Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and a Discount Code for all FB members for her PB writing course, PICTURE BOOK A TO ZS: CHARACTER BUILDING IN PICTURE BOOKS
    Picture book author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen was featured in our Author Spotlight in September 2014. She is the founder of Kidlit Writing School and an award-winning author whose books include DUCK DUCK MOOSE, TYRANNOSAURUS WRECKS, ORANGUTANGLED, and over thirty more books. Her website is WWW.SUDIPTA.COM and she blogs  at WWW.NERDYCHICKSRULE.COM.
    She is giving away TWO twenty minute critiques by phone for a PB manuscript or the first ten pages of an MG manuscript.
    In addition, all Kidlit411 Facebook members will get a 10% discount for her newest course, PICTURE BOOK A TO ZS: CHARACTER BUILDING IN PICTURE BOOKS, which starts on Jan. 26. Be sure to join our Facebook group to access that code, good only until January 31st, so don’t delay!

*Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

  •  The Craft of Writing Picture Books part 2: Susanna Hill’s Online Course MAKING PICTURE BOOK MAGIC

    Susanna Leonard Hill is the award-winning author of nearly a dozen picture books, including PUNXUTAWNEY PHYLLIS (a Book List Children’s Pick and Amelia Bloomer Project choice), NO SWORD FIGHTING IN THE HOUSE (a Junior Library Guild selection), CAN’T SLEEP WITHOUT SHEEP (a Children’s Book of the Month), and NOT YET ROSE (a Gold Mom’s Choice Award winner).Susanna has generously donated her fabulous online course, Making Picture Book Magic for a May (or later) spot (the class is currently full until May). This award winning author also has a very informative and popular blog at Be sure to be on the lookout for her seasonal contests where you can win fantastic prizes! And you can read a fabulous review of her class by KidLit411 editor Sylvia Liu.

*Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

  • The Craft of Writing Middle Grade: Discount Code for KidLit411 Facebook members for Emma Walton Hamilton’s JUST WRITE FOR MIDDLE GRADE COURSE

    Children’s author Emma Walton Hamilton’s courses on writing picture books, middle grade, and YA, are among the best online writing courses available.

    Emma Walton Hamilton is a best-selling children’s book author, editor, and arts educator. With her mother, actress/author Julie Andrews, Emma has co-authored over twenty children’s books, including THE VERY FAIRY PRINCESS SERIES. Kidlit411 featured her in the Author Spotlight in September 2014.

    Kidlit411 editor Sylvia Liu took her 14-week course, Just Write for Middle Grade course and reviewed it on her blog: “. . . I basically took an in depth college-level course on novel writing. The amount of information that was packed into their course was staggering. The weekly lessons and assignments covered the gamut of writing chapter books and middle grade books (and any novel, really) from page 1 to The End and after.”

    Discount code: For our Facebook members, Emma is offering a 10% discount to her Just Write for Middle Grade course. To access the code, please join our Facebook group. This code is good until January 31, 2015.

*Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

  • The Craft of Revision: Line Notes and 30 Minute Phone Call with Editor Elizabeth Laws on a PB manuscript or 20 pages of an MG/YA manuscript

    A self-described children’s and young adult literature fanatic, Elizabeth Law has worked in the publishing field her whole life, first as an Editor at Viking Children’s Books and Puffin Books, then later as Associate Publisher at Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers and as Publisher at Egmont USA.

    Currently working as a consultant to authors and editors, Elizabeth has edited 15 New York Times bestselling titles and many American Library Association Notable Books and Best Books for Young Adults Adults. Among the many authors she has edited and published are Adam Rapp, Allen Zadoff, Dan Gutman, Holly Black, Tony diTerlizzi, Andrew Clements, Malorie Blackman, Hilary Knight, G. Brian Karas, Micol Ostow, Ilsa J. Bick and Michael Grant.

    The members of the Kidlit411 team personally recommend Elizabeth’s top notched consultation services and featured her in an Editor Spotlight in September 2014. Be sure to check out the interview for her excellent submission advice. Her website is, and her blog contains invaluable advice.

    Elizabeth is donating her time and expertise. She will review a PB manuscript or 20 pages of an MG/YA manuscript, provide line notes, and meet with you by phone for 30 minutes to go over your manuscript and answer any questions you may have about the 
    business, including questions about agents, submissions, and more.

*Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

  •  The Craft of Illustration: Will Terry & Jake Parker’s ILLUSTRATING CHILDREN’S BOOKS ($300 value)Author-illustrator Will Terry is known in the kidlit community for his vibrant illustrations and the education he provides on his blog, YouTube videos, and online classes (Folio Academy and The School of Visual Storytelling, or SVS). He was featured in our Author-Illustrator Spotlight in April 2014.
    © Will Terry

    Together with Jake Parker, illustrator, animation designer and comic artist, the SVS is launching a comprehensive illustration course, Illustrating Children’s Books, beginning on January 6 and running through March.

    This professional level online class has two parts. Part 1 (Creating the Artwork) will cover the development of content. It does not focus on mediums, but will teach the decision making process (creating characters, designing the illustration, POV, developing mood, unity of background, thumbnails, roughs, etc.). Part 2 (Business and Marketing) covers the business side of illustration, from submitting to marketing to making dummies to negotiating contracts. A 200 page PDF accompanies this course along with a 20 page assignment workbook.

    Will and Jake have generously donated this course, a $300 value. This is not the live course (which is sold out), but the recorded online version, which will be made available after each live class.

*Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

 Day 3: Agent Spotlight: Lori Kilkelly of Rodeen Literary (Plus Giveaway)

Agent Lori Kilkelly

As the final day of Kidlit 411’s Birthday Bash, we are pleased to feature Lori Kilkelly, agent at Rodeen Literary Management, an agency representing children’s writers and illustrators, in the Agent Spotlight. 

If you have a completed PB or MG, be sure to enter into her giveaway to bypass the slush pile and query her!

Welcome, Lori!

When did you decide to become an agent?

I wish I could sum this up in a short and sweet kind of way but sadly, I’m going to bore the heck out of all your readers right off the bat.

In ’08 I was a Chicago sales rep covering a seven-state territory and I traveled a LOT. The kind of travel where you fly to a place and then drive to 5 cities while there, organizing 10-15 appointments along the way. I adored my clients but I was exhausted of this tedious travel (one flight cancellation and your whole schedule needed to be rebooked!)

I’ve always been a crazy obsessed fan-girl kind of reader so as I began researching other job opportunities, I also began contemplating other careers. In my research I stumbled across information about the Denver Publishing Institute (DPI), founded in the ’70s at University of Denver by publishing legend Elizabeth Geiser. I applied and was accepted. Unlike most attendees I wasn’t 23 and I wasn’t planning to move to NY and be an editor.

The role of agent seemed to perfectly fulfill my love for my clients, my obsession with reading and my background in marketing. As luck would have it, Paul Rodeen was also a Chicago DPI alum and took me under his wing. I’m now in my fifth year with RLM.

Many writers are on a quest to find an agent. If you could have the perfect client, what characteristics would that client have?

I love that all of my clients are very different – even if I could, I wouldn’t have them all be the same. In addition to being unique people, because I take on my clients at a very measured pace, they are each in a different place in their career. I strive to provide each client with attention personalized to their specific needs.

The one characteristic that I’d say all of my clients have is a willingness and desire to continue honing their craft driven by the belief that growing and learning continues throughout a career, whether writing, illustrating or both.

What do you look for when considering a potential client? Does online presence help? Hinder?

I’m interested in representing someone’s career, not in selling a single manuscript. So, after the submission ms intrigues me, I’ll ask to see more work.

I believe online presence is essential in today’s marketplace. All of my clients have an online presence and I prefer a website as well, though writers have to be a bit more creative in concept until they have a book published.

Of course most people realize that in the somewhat anonymous world of social media, it can be easy to over-share. Funny story – one of our long-married clients had his FB status listed as “open-relationship” so I approached him gently and said, look, that’s cool, it’s your life, but maybe, you know, since this is children’s lit, we just leave that blank or else lock down your FB account so it’s not so public. Turns out he had no idea this was selected and received many an enthusiastic congratulations when he corrected the setting to “Married”!

What do you look for in evaluating picture books? What is your taste? What are your favorite PBs?

First and foremost, a story that will interest a child, not a story that an adult wants to tell to a child.

I love humor but I also love heartwarming.

Generally rhyming isn’t for me.

I love when a story that’s been told a million times in a million different ways surprises me.

Too many favorites so I’ll just pick one classic from my youth – CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS by Judi and Ronald Barrett. If you haven’t read it; it’s not the movie.

What genres do you represent, and do you prefer to see one over another?

While Paul represents almost exclusively picture book and graphic novel author/illustrators and illustrators, generally taking on established authors and illustrators, I’m on the lookout for author/illustrators as well as MG and YA authors.

What are some of your personal dos and don’ts for those writers trying to get an agent?

DO: Your research – read submission guidelines for each agency to which you submit – look on FB pages and agency websites.

DON’T: Assume every agency’s guidelines are the same.

DO: Find an agent’s name to put at the top of your email but indicate if you’re willing to have other agents within in the agency review your sub.

DON’T: Submit without knowing what type of work the agency represents (I can’t tell you how many adult submissions we receive!)

DO: Have a friend/spouse/child proof your email and turn on spellcheck! And DO remember to update the agency name if you’ve included it in the body of the email.

DON’T: (This one might upset a few people, but hear me out.) Tell me in your query that your child inspired you to write this ms. I realize Judith Viorst’s son inspired her to write ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY. And it’s awesome (I read it 1 million times, according to my mother and pbs were a LOT longer back then!) And lots of people are inspired to write wonderful books because of their children.

However, you have limited space in a query, and I personally don’t feel that having a child uniquely qualifies a person to write a great ms; so leave it out! Tell me about your qualifications in terms of field(s) of study, occupation, how long you’ve been writing, whether you participate in SCBWI, awards, other books published, etc.

I’m looking first and foremost for someone who has made writing a priority and has usually cranked out lots of crummy mss along with some fairly awesome stuff over a number years of hard work. Later, when we know each other, we’ll happily chat about how your child(ren) inspired you to become a writer.

What are the best and worst parts of being an agent?


  • Only being able to fit a certain amount of reading into each day and wishing I had more time to read and review submissions.
  • Seeing my clients cope with the waiting (oh the patience necessary in this field!) and the “rejection”; although there’s also a satisfaction to knowing a client is growing and accepting that it’s not personal when a project just isn’t right for a particular editor. And of course, having the context of rejection makes a project being acquired that much sweeter – that’s a “BEST.”
  • When an editor who really wants to acquire your client’s ms loses in auction; calling that person to tell them they didn’t get it. Not a fan.


Absolutely everything else:

  • My amazingly awesome clients.
  • Brilliant editors who help make the work the best it can be.
  • The children’s publishing community, which I’ve found to be fantastically tight-knit. There’s so much collaboration and promotion of their colleagues’ work on a daily basis.
  • Seeing a book in print for the first time, when it began as a spark of an idea in your client’s mind.

Can you explain how your author/agent relationship works?

My overarching approach is that my client and I are partners in their publishing career. I believe my role as an agent is to be what my client needs me to be, for them. I tend toward being very hands on, but I represent some clients who have been doing this on their own for years and don’t need me to walk them through each step.

All of my clients run story ideas by me of course, and Paul and I each review every client ms that comes in the door, then we discuss our thoughts and provide feedback.

Beyond that we strive to make all of our clients feel that they are part of the RLM team. Being a writer/illustrator can be lonely – not everyone has a multi-person art studio to go to each day – so, I encourage my clients to “friend” each other on FB, to reach out to their colleagues and ask about watercolors and paper, to join writing groups. And, of course, it’s always nice to get the group together over a glass of wine.

What’s your best piece of advice for writers?

(Just one?!) Write as frequently as possible – every day if you can – and don’t wait for ideal conditions and don’t expect every word to be revolutionary – some days are all about the delete key.

Join a writer’s group with brutally honest, (but constructively so) members.

And read everything you can get your hands on in the genre/age range you want to publish.

Thanks much for your interest and happy creating! 

Thank you so much for the interview, Lori!

Find out more about Rodeen Literary Management by following their Facebook page, Twitter feed (@RodeenLiterary) or website, (where submission guidelines are found).

Giveaway: If you have a completed PB or MG manuscript, you may enter this giveaway. If you win, you will be invited to submit your completed PB or the first 10 pages of your MG manuscript with a pitch summary.

*Click here to enter the Rafflecopter

Good luck!

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award + Nominations

I was recently nominated for my first blog award! A BIG thank you to Andy Mulberry for nominating my blog for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Andy Mulberry is a working mom by day and a writer by night. (Okay, during the weekends she writes during the day too.) Andy loves to write books filled with strange adventures, odd characters and mysterious circumstances. She aims to write books for reluctant readers (boys!) ’cause she likes a challenge. She lives in Southern California with her teenaged son, a chubby blue cat-beast, an imaginary dog (with sunglasses) and one leaky roof. Please hop over to Andy’s fabulous blog Something Smells Fishy Here.


The award rules are:

  • Display the award on your blog
  • Link back to the person who nominated you
  • State 7 things about yourself
  • Nominate 15 bloggers, link to them, and notify them about their nominations

7 facts about me:

Ugly sweater party with my husband.

1. I am a stay-at-home mom.

2. My husband is the head brewer at Payette Brewing Company.

3. My son is a purple belt in taekwondo.

4. I have worked at an advertising agency and a television station.

5. I had a pet rat when I was a little girl.

6. I played fast pitch softball and basketball in high school.

7. I drink pickle juice.

My 15 nominations for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

Please hop over and check out these great blogs!

Happy blogging!

Best wishes,






Christmas shopping · Humor

Holiday Shopping With Humor

My husband gets grumpy at the end of November to the beginning of January every single year. Budgeting for holiday expenses and planning what to purchase for the family stresses him out. Shopping with him is no fun. No fun at all. This year started out the same way. We searched the children’s clothing section and the toy aisle with frowny faces picking up stuff and putting it back. It always takes forever to make decisions.

Toys seem to get more and more bizarre every year.

At least Cabbage Patch dolls haven’t changed that much.


On the other hand, My Little Pony looked very different in 1987.


Half doll/half My Little Pony?


I can’t wait for the vampire craze to be over. Oh wait, I thought that already happened. Guess not.


More creepy.


But what we saw next would completely change our Christmas shopping experience. We laughed to tears. Laughed until our bellies ached. Other shoppers probably thought we were insane, but we didn’t care. We laughed hysterically together in the middle of the toy aisle for a long time. And it felt great.

The mood changer.


“So, should we get Mason that Lego set, and the Minnie Mouse thing for Sophie?” Ian asked.

“Yes,” I said. “And some books.”


Idaho: Rodeo Ropers, Inventors, Astronauts, Authors and So Much More . . .


As a native Idahoan there are two things I get tired of hearing about from outsiders:

  1. Potatoes.
  2. Smurf turf.

Yes, Idaho produces a lot of potatoes. Yes, the Boise State football field is blue. But there are so many things that make Idaho a wonderful place to live besides potatoes and BSU football. We have amazing hot springs, bike trails, camping, fishing, hiking, skiing, hunting, whitewater rafting and kayaking.

Kayakers from all over the world compete in the North Fork Championship.

North Fork of the Payette River near Banks, Idaho.

  Fun facts about Idaho:

  • Idaho is the 13th largest state in the U.S.
  • 63% of Idaho is public land
  • Idaho produces 72 types of precious and semi-precious stones
  • Idaho has 3,100 miles of rivers (more than any other state)
  • Idaho has the longest gondola in North America (Silver Mountain in Kellogg, Idaho).
  • The first alpine chairlift was used in Sun Valley, Idaho
  • At 212 feet, Shoshone Falls are higher than Niagara Falls
  • The deepest river gorge in North America is Hells Canyon (7,900 feet deep)
  • The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area is the largest in the lower 48 states (2.3 million acres of backcountry)

*To learn more fun facts about Idaho visit:


Famous folks who have called the Gem State home:

  • Barbara Morgan: NASA Astronaut
  • Joe Albertson: founder of Albertsons grocery store chain
  • J.R. Simplot: founder of Simplot (one of the largest privately-owned companies in the world)
  • Sacajawea: Shoshone Indian guide and interpreter for explorers Lewis and Clark
  • Gutzom Borglum: sculptor of Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • Philo T. Farnsworth: invented the cathode-ray tube that would later lead to television
  • Gene Harris: jazz pianist
  • Paul Revere & the Raiders: band
  • Built to Spill: band
  • Lana Turner: film and television actress who starred in over 50 films
  • Aaron Paul: actor best known for role in Breaking Bad
  • William Petersen: actor best known for role in CSI Las Vegas
  • Dan O’Brien: Olympic gold medalist and world champion decathlete
  • Kristin Armstrong: Olympic gold medalist bicycle racer
  • Picabo Street: Olympic gold medalist alpine ski racer
  • Jerry Kramer: NFL player
  • Shea McClellin: NFL player
  • Harmon Killebrew: MLB player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame
  • Larry Jackson: MLB pitcher
  • Dee Pickett: Pro Rodeo Champion
  • Ezra Pound: poet and critic in the early modernist movement
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs: author of Tarzan of the Apes
  • Vardis Fisher: author of Children of God, Tale of Valor, and Mountain Man
  • Ernest Hemingway: author of numerous short stories and novels, including Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, and For Whom the Bell Tolls

*To learn about more famous Idahoans check out

One of my favorite things about writing this post was learning about Idaho authors. I had never heard of Edgar Rice Burroughs or Vardis Fisher. So let’s talk more about authors and books! This is a book blog after all. I am pleased to introduce a variety of books written by Idaho authors.


Beginning Watercolor Painting: Learn Easy, Fun, Creative Watercolor Painting by Marilee Donivan


Kandu and the Magic Meadow: A Color Mixing Story by Marilee Donivan


Joshua Tree: 30 Paintings by Mark W. McGinnis


Ponderosa Pines: 24 Paintings by Mark W. McGinnis


Poplar Leaf Study: Version One: 24 Paintings by Mark W. McGinnis


Snake River Basin: 72 Paintings by Mark W. McGinnis



A Conversation with Shakespeare by Diane Bilyeu


An Orange for You: A Child’s Book of Awareness by Mark W. McGinnis


Artie the Sleepy Bat by Michelle Netten


Big Little by Leslie Patricelli


Binky by Leslie Patricelli


Blankie by Leslie Patricelli


Buddhist Animal Wisdom Stories, Volume 1 by Mark W. McGinnis


Fa La La by Leslie Patricelli


Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli


Grandma, Does My Moon Shine Over Your House? by Jane Freund and Mary Hansen Freund


Mama’s Purse by AJ Irving

Mama's Purse

Mooser on the Loose by Jane Freund


Morgan’s Walk by Bonnie Kloster


No No Yes Yes by Leslie Patricelli


P is for Potato: An Idaho Alphabet (Discover America State by State) by Stan Steiner


Potty by Patricelli


Ruby Lee and the Very Big Deal by Nancy Buffington


Simon the Slow Penguin by Michelle Netten


Teddy the Unready Tyrannosaurus Rex by Michelle Netten


The Christmas Tin by Sheila Eismann and Ali F. Putz

christmas tin cover 300 dpi from CMR 08-01-13

The Girl Who Had a Big Adventure: Cancer, Chemo & Cupcakes by: Stacia Mers and Jane Freund


Then the Twins Came by Sharon Rose Anderson

Then the Twins Came

Tubby by Leslie Patricelli


Viku and the Elephant by Debu Majumdar


Viku to the Rescue: A Story from the Forests of India by Debu Majumdar

Viku to the Rescue

Viku and the Ivory Thieves: A Story from the Forests of India by Debu Majumdar

Viku and the Ivory Thieves

Wily Riley The Coyote Conqueror by Jane Freund


Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli


Christian Fiction:

A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher


Beyond the Shadows by Robin Lee Hatcher


Love Without End (A King’s Meadow Romance Book 1) by Robin Lee Hatcher


Whenever You Come Around (A King’s Meadow Romance Book 2) by Robin Lee Hatcher


Shield of faith (Cady Miller series) (Volume 1) by Danney Clark


Shield of Honor (The Cady Miller Series) (Volume 2) by Danney Clark


Shield of Justice (Cady Miller Series Book 3) by Danney Clark


Sovereign Ground (Breaking Bonds Book 1) by Hilarey Johnson


Sunday’s Promise (A New Day book 1) by Janice Hildreth


Monday’s New Beginning (A New Day book 2) by Janice Hildreth


Tuesday’s Child (A New Day Book 3) by Janice Hildreth


The Heart’s Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher


Winds of Freedom by Rebecca Carey Lyles


Winds of Wyoming by Rebecca Carey Lyles



Comfort Food Gets a Vegan Makeover by Jill Skeem



Broken Things: A Dystopian Thriller by G.S. Wright


Cheyenne: A Timeless Series Novel (Book 1) by Lisa L. Wiedmeier


Promises: A Timeless Series Novel (Book 2) by Lisa L. Wiedmeier


Daylight: A Timeless Series Novel (Book 3) by Lisa L. Wiedmeier


Awakening: A Timeless Series Novel (Book 4) by Lisa L. Wiedmeier


Against the Dawn: A Shaede Assassin Novel by Amanda Bonilla


Blood Before Sunrise: A Shaede Assassin Novel by Amanda Bonilla


Crave the Darkness: A Shaede Assassin Novel by Amanda Bonilla


Death Storm: A Dark Fantasy Zombie Apocalypse (Hungry Gods Book 1) by G.S. Wright


Death’s Reach (Hungry Gods Book 2) by G.S. Wright


Echoes of Savanna by Lucinda Moebius


Empire of Shadows by Miriam Forster


Feeder (Chroncles of the Soul Eaters Vol. 1) by Lucinda Moebius


Indigo Traveler by Merri Halma


Raven’s Song: A Haven Novel by :Lucinda Moebius


Shaedes of Gray: A Shaede Assassin Novel by Amanda Bonilla

Shaedes of Gray


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


Down in the River by Ryan Blacketter


Evel Knievel Jumps the Snake River Canyon: And Other Stories Close to Home by Kelly Jones


Faraway Places by Tom Spanbauer


Gilead by Marilynne Robinson


Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson


I Loved You More by Tom Spanbauer


Lila by Marilynne Robinson


Sewing Shut My Eyes by Lance Olsen


The Laughing Monsters by Denis Johnson


The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall


Train Dreams by Denis Johnson


Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson


Volt by Alan Heathcock


Guides/Outdoor Recreation:

Idaho for the Curious: A Guide by Cort Conley


Idaho Off the Beaten Path, 8th: A Guide to Unique Places by Julie Fanselow


The Day Hiker’s Guide to Stanley, Idaho Scott Marchant


The Day Hiker’s Guide to Sun Valley & Ketchum by Scott Marchant


The Hiker’s Guide: Greater Boise by Scott Marchant


The Hiker’s Guide to McCall & Cascade by Scott Marchant


The Middle Fork: A Guide by Cort Conley


Historical Fiction:

Cocos Island Treasure: You Can Still Find Pirate Booty If You Know Where to Look! by Stanley McShane


Desiderata (Karolus Chronicles Book 1) by Judy Ferro


Agnes (Karolus Chronicles Book 2) by Judy Ferro


Flight of the Earls: An Heirs of Ireland Novel by Michael K. Reynolds


Lies: Ann Putnam Jr.’s Recounting of the Salem Witch Trials by Oliver Dahl


Railroad Redemption by Wynette I. Mellen


Soldier of Rome: The Legionary (The Artorian Chronicles Book 1) by James Mace


Soldier of Rome: The Sacrovir Revolt (The Artorian Chronicles Book 2) by James Mace

SoldierofRomeThe Sacrovir Revolt

Soldier of Rome: Heir to Rebellion (The Artorian Chronicles Book 3) by James Mace

SoldierofRomeHeir to RebellionBookThree

Sons of the Sea A Tale of the Old Grimsby Fishermen by Stanley McShane


The Dark Lady by Dawn Chandler


The Last Confederate Battle by John J Cline


The Woman Who Heard Color by Kelly Jones


Historical nonfiction:

American Indian Tribes of Idaho by Robert D. Bolen


Blackfeet Raiders Nomads of the North by Robert Bolen


Smoke Signals & Wagon Tracks by Robert D. Bolen


The Horse Indians by Robert Bolen


The Lakota Sioux Indians by Robert D. Bolen


The Snake People by Robert D. Bolen


Treasure Valley’s Electric Railway by Barbara Perry Bauer & Elizabeth Jacox


War Chief Paulina by Robert D. Bolen



Drinking with Dead Women Writers by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner


Drinking with Dead Drunks by Elaine Ambrose and AK Turner


This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store by AK Turner


Mommy Had a Little Flask by AK Turner


Hair of the Corn Dog by AK Turner


Gold Pans and Iron Skillets by Carol M Green


Midlife Cabernet: Life, Love & Laughter After Fifty by Elaine Ambrose


Milk Cans and Quilt Blocks by Carol M Green


Never Sniff A Gift Fish by Patrick F. McManus


The Grasshopper Trap by Patrick F. McManus


They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They? by Patrick F. McManus



Spilling Blood Bundle (Episodes 1-4 of the Vampire Horror Thriller) (Spilling Blood Season) by G.S. Wright


Spilling Blood (Episode 5) by G.S. Wright



18 Stepping Stones to Transforming Grief: Find the Courage to Transform Any Tragedy by Laurie and Biff Boggs


Best Friend Worst Enemy: Overcoming Self-Sabotage in Your Life by Jane Freund


Codependency: The “Normie” User Guide – How the Non-Addict learns to Love the Addict when Love Hurts by Rochelle Cunningham


Free My Heart of Grief to Love by Sandra Moore Bernsen


Life Transitions by Carl Lovell


Med Free Bipolar by Aspen L Morrow


Menopause Sucks: What to Do When Hot Flashes and Hormones Make You and Everyone Else Miserable by Joanne Kimes & Elaine Abrose


The Secrets Behind the Eyes by JoEllen Claypool


Watson’s Way by Joel Lund



A Realist’s Guide to Being a Pastor’s Wife by JoEllen Claypool


Broke, Hungry & Happy by Rae Ann Norell


Crash Landing Into a Field of Outhouses by Rochelle Cunningham and Kenneth A. Bauer


Crystal Clean: A Mother’s Struggle With Meth Addiction and Recovery by Kimberly Wollenburg


Eggshells and Elephants – My Cancer Journey Thus Far by Jane Freund


Hitting Fear Head On by Laurie and Biff Boggs


Into the Horizon: A Lifelong Obsession with Motorcycles by Lance Gines


Life is a Circus Run By a Platypus by Allison Hawn


On the Dark Side of the Moon: A Journey to Recovery by Mike Medberry


Sherman by Elaine Sturm


Soul Sale: A Rude Awakening by Americus Dotter


Throwing the Bones by Jeannine Antoniou


Traplines: Coming Home to Sawtooth Valley by John Rember


Walked Away 1: From Mormon Truth to Real Grace by R.L. Fogg


Middle Grade:

Mysteries in Our National Parks: Deadly Waters: A Mystery in Everglades National Park by Gloria Skurzynski


Mysteries in Our National Parks: Over the Edge: A Mystery in Grand Canyon National Park by Gloria Skurzynski


Mysteries in Our National Parks: The Hunted: A Mystery in Glacier National Park by Gloria Skurzynski


A Million Ways Home by Dianna Dorisi Winget


A Sliver of Sun by Dianna Dorisi Winget


A Smidgen of Sky by Dianna Dorisi Winget


Prisoner 88 by Leah Pileggi


The Dreamers: A Story of Sam Kullen by Oliver Dahl


The Nightmarers: Another Story of Sam Kullen (The Dreamers) by Oliver Dahl



A Darkly Hidden Truth (The Monastery Murders) by Donna Fletcher Crow


A Very Private Grave (The Monastery Murders) by Donna Fletcher Crow


An Unholy Communion (The Monastery Murders) by Donna Fletcher Crow


BREAKING STEELE: A Sarah Steele Legal Thriller (Sarah Steele series Book 1) by Aaron Patterson


TWISTING STEELE: A Sarah Steele Legal Thriller (Sarah Steele series Book 2) by Aaron Patterson


MELTING STEELE: A Sarah Steele Legal Thriller (Sarah Steele series Book 3) by Aaron Patterson


Confession: Samuel Elijah Johnson Series by Troy Lambert


Death by Autopsy: A Toni Day Mystery by Jane Bennett Munro


Grievous Bodily Harm: A Toni Day Mystery by Jane Bennett Munro


Too Much Blood: A Toni Day Mystery by Jane Bennett Munro


Murder Under the Microscope by Jane Bennett Munro


Dreams, Ghosts and Tractors by Jeanette S. Andersen


If Cooks Could Kill: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence


Two Cooks A-Killing: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence


Red Hot Murder: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence


Courting Disaster: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence


Bell, Cook, and Candle: An Angie Amalfi Mystery by Joanne Pence


Into the Darkness: A Ridge Falls Story by Marlie Harris and Troy Lambert


Lost and Found in Prague by Kelly Jones


Mustard’s Last Stand by Kathy McIntosh


Notorious (The Nate Richards Mystery Series Book 1) by Ray Ellis


Dead List (The Nate Richards Mystery Series Book 2) by Ray Ellis


One O’Clock Hustle: A Rebecca Mayfield Mystery (Rebecca Mayfield Mysteries Book 1) by Joanne Pence


Two O’Clock Heist: A Rebecca Mayfield Mystery (The Rebecca Mayfield Mysteries Book 2)


Redemption by Troy Lambert


Shadow of Reality (An Elizabeth and Richard Mystery Book 1) by Donna Fletcher Crow


A Midsummer Eve’s Nightmare (An Elizabeth and Richard Mystery Book 2) by Donna Fletcher Crow


A Jane Austen Encounter (An Elizabeth and Richard Mystery Book 3) by Donna Fletcher Crow


Stray Ally by Troy Lambert


Temptation by Troy Lambert


The Lost Madonna by Kelly Jones


Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly



100+ Tips for Overcoming Self-Sabotage in YOUR Life! – A Freundship Tips Book by Jane Freund


Ahead of the Flaming Front: A Life on Fire by Jerry Mathes 


 Amor and Exile: True Stories of Love Across America’s Borders by Nathaniel Hoffman


Be Your Own Hero: Senior Living Decisions Simplified by Catherine L. Owens


Bound for the Backcountry by Richard H Holm


Discovery The Common Sense Weight Solution by Jacklyn Shue Brown


Fever and Guts: A Symphony by Jerry Mathes


Fractured: America’s Broken Health Care System and What We Must Do to Heal It by Ted Epperly MD


From the Ganges to the Snake River by Debu Majumdar


Hanged – A History of Idaho’s Executions by Kathy Deinhardt Hill


Idaho Beer: From Grain to Glass in the Gem State (American Palate) by Steven J. Koonce


Idaho Wine Country by Alan Minskoff


Making Livable Places: Transportation, Preservation and the Limits of Growth by Todd Shallat


The Blue Doorknob: The Artistic Life of Cornelia Hart Farrer by Rita Branham Rodriguez


The Crucial Voice of the People, Past and Present: Education’s Missing Ingredient by Victoria M. Young


The Editor’s Eye: A Practical Guide to Transforming Your Book from Good to Great by Stacy Ennis


Spirits of the Salmon River by Kathy Deinhardt Hill


Stalked by a Mountain Lion: Fear, Fact, And The Uncertain Future Of Cougars In America by Jo Deurbrouck


With Our Good Will by Doug Copsey


Write Well Publish Right by Lucinda Moebius



Strange: Unexplained Tales from Idaho and Beyond by Catmarie Wilson



Idaho Impressions by Mark Lisk


Idaho: Portrait of a State by Mark Lisk



A Batch of Pancakes: Poems Prose and Wisdoms by Thomas Logan


American Amnesiac by Diane Raptosh


Anatomy of Melancholy and Other Poems by Robert Wrigley


Earthly Meditations: New and Selected Poems by Robert Wrigley


The Journal West by Jerry Mathes


Stranger in Town: New & Selected Poems by Ron McFarland


Through the Trees: The poetic end to a toxic relationship by Nina C. Palmer


Religious Non-Fiction:

A Woman of Substance by Sheila Eismann


Dear God, He’s Home by Janet Thompson


Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer by Janet Thompson


Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby by Janet Thompson


Freedom Is Your Destiny by Daniel Eismann


It’s a God Thing by Larry Baker with Becky Lyles


Praying For Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help and Encouragement for Hurting Parents by Janet Thompson


The Fine Art of Female Friendships by Jane Freund


The Ultimate Survival Guide For Youth Ministers: Maintaining Boundaries in Youth Ministry by Joel Lund


On a Wing and a Prayer by Becky Lyles


Stirrings of the Spirit by Sheila Eismann



A Place to Land by Mary Vine


Maya’s Gold by Mary Vine



Apocalypse Witch by G.S. Wright


Young Adult:

Boundless (Unearthly) by Cynthia Hand


City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster


Fan Art by Sarah Tregay


Gift of the Phoenix by Donna Cook


Inherit Midnight by Kate Kae Myers


Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay


Of Pirates and Werewolves (Book 1) by Isaiah Silkwood


Temple of Kahrnahrgx by Joel Lund


The Boy Who Returned from the Sea by Clay Morgan


The Boy Who Spoke Dog by Clay Morgan


The Kissing List: Stories by Stephanie Reents


The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand


The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers


Unearthly by Cynthia Hand



Painted trees. Scarves. Hot tea.


My grandmother recently passed away. I wrote this farewell letter a few days before she passed. I read it at her service.

Dear Grandma Jeanne,

I’m walking on a path beneath a tree tunnel of yellow, orange, and red. It’s your favorite season and your story is nearing the end. Tears slide under my sunglasses and skip off my chin. You loved fall the most. Painted trees. Scarves. Hot tea.

I don’t get much time by myself these days, but this is my third walk today. I had to stop and sit on this bench by this golden tree under this blue sky and write . . .

Thank you for teaching me it’s okay to be silly. Thank you for showing me the beauty of books. Thank you for inspiring me to write. Thank you for your life-long example of compassion and joy for life.

I will always remember our trip to Victoria, BC. I will always treasure our bedtime stories. I will always cherish the memories we made each summer in Montana.

This fall I will drink hot tea. This fall I will write and write and write. This fall I will dance under falling leaves. This fall I will act as silly as can be with your two great-grandchildren.

This fall, and every fall for the rest of my days, I will celebrate you—your light, your love, your life.

Love always,

Amanda Jean


Being silly with Grandma Jeanne and Aunt Georgie.
Being silly with Grandma Jeanne and Aunt Georgie.
One of my favorite books that Grandma Jeanne and I read together.
One of my favorite books that Grandma Jeanne and I read together.

The service truly was a celebration of her life. When it was over, we went outside and released balloons into the big blue Montana sky. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.


One of my grandma’s life-long goals was to be a published writer. She accomplished this goal. Grandma Jeanne wrote two books, and was working on her third when she passed. I developed my love for writing because of her passion for the written word. I will keep my promise to drink hot tea and write, write, write.


November is the perfect month for me to start blogging and journaling again. November is Picture Book Month and Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo). This will be my first year participating in PiBoIdMo. I look forward to challenging myself to come up with 30 picture book ideas in 3o days.

I am going to let go and have fun with my writing. I will think of Grandma Jeanne—her silliness, her compassion, her joy. I already have many ideas inspired by her brewing inside of me. Sometimes I think we create the most beautiful word strings when we experience intense emotions such as grief. I will transform my grief into something special. I will celebrate her and honor her each and every time I write.


Book Awards

Top Idaho Author and Book Awards 2013

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It was a full house at Beside Bardenay for the 2013 Top Idaho Author and Book Awards. I chatted with authors I knew, met new authors, and even caught up with one of my junior high English teachers. This elegant evening included delicious food, cocktails, inspirational speeches, and a barrage of flashes from the cameras of proud spouses, family members, and friends.


I shared this magical celebration with my mom and husband. Believe me, they took their fair share of photos. My husband even embarrassed me a bit by repeatedly shouting, “Whoo-hoo!” when I received my award.


I was relieved when the professional photographer took over and started shooting group photos 🙂 Congrats to the 2013 winners of the Top Idaho Author and Book Awards!


Top 10 Idaho Books – Nonfiction
Nathan Barry, Authority
Dale Dixon, Sweating Bullets
Angela Young, Spoiled Milk
Catherine Owens, Be Your Own Hero
Michele de Reus, Daring to Choose
Jill Skeem, Comfort Food Gets a Vegan Makeover
A. K. Turner, This Little Piggy Went to the Liquor Store
Whit Mitchell, Working in Sync
Walt Hampton, Journeys on the Edge
Bob Faw, Energize

Top 10 Idaho Books – Fiction
Judith McConnell Steele, The Angel of Esperança
Joanne Pence, Ancient Echoes
Donna Cook, Gift of the Phoenix
Jack Patterson, Triple Cross
Russell Elkins, Sparks the Matchmaker
Joel Lund, The Temple of Kahrnahrgx
Kathy McIntosh, Mustard’s Last Stand
Kristine McCord, The Santa Society
Angela Ruth Strong, Lighten Up
Rebecca Carey Lyles, Winds of Freedom
Honorable Mention: Oliver Dahl, The Dreamers

Best New Idaho Author – Nonfiction
1st Place: Nathan Barry, Authority
2nd Place: Dale Dixon, Sweating Bullets
3rd Place: Angela Young, Spoiled Milk
Honorable Mentions: Jill Skeem, Comfort Food Gets a Vegan Makeover; Catherine Owens, Be Your Own Hero; Kurt Koontz, One Million Steps

Best New Idaho Author – Fiction
1st Place: Donna Cook, Gift of the Phoenix
2nd Place: B. D. Riehl, The Earth Is Full
3rd Place: Kathy McIntosh, Mustard’s Last Stand

Best Children’s Book:
1st Place: A.J. Irving, Mama’s Purse
2nd Place: Mike Sanders, Jabbers

Best Interior Design – Nonfiction
1st Place: Angela Young, Spoiled Milk, designed by Shiloh Schroeder, Fusion Creative Works
2nd Place: Catherine Owens, Be Your Own Hero, designed by Shiloh Schroeder, Fusion Creative Works
3rd Place: Whit Mitchell, Working in Sync, designed by Nick Zelinger, NZ Graphics
Honorable Mention: Jill Skeem, Comfort Food Gets a Vegan Makeover, designed by Jason Lugo

Best Interior Design – Fiction
1st Place: Judith McConnell Steele, The Angel of Esperança, designed by Sarah Tregay
2nd Place: Joel Lund, The Temple of Kahrnahrgx, designed by Shiloh Schroeder, Fusion Creative Works
3rd Place: B. D. Riehl, The Earth Is Full, designed by Mike Sloane; Russell Elkins, Sparks the Matchmaker, designed by Russell Elkins
Honorable Mention: Donna Cook, Gift of the Phoenix, designed by Donna Cook

Best Cover Design – Nonfiction
1st Place: Angela Young, Spoiled Milk, designed by Cari Campbell Design
2nd Place: Catherine Owens, Be Your Own Hero, designed by Cari Campbell Design
3rd Place: Dale Dixon, Sweating Bullets, designed by Cari Campbell Design
Honorable Mention: Cynthia Fackrell, Gravity’s Embrace, designed by Cari Campbell Design

Best Cover Design – Fiction
1st Place: Judith McConnell Steele, The Angel of Esperança, designed by Sarah Tregay
2nd Place: Elaine Ambrose and A. K. Turner, Drinking with Dead Women Writers, designed by Ward Hooper
3rd Place: B. D. Riehl, The Earth Is Full, designed by Mike Sloane
Honorable Mention: Donna Cook, Gift of the Phoenix, designed by Kevin McCain

Author Visit

Pierce Park Elementary Author Visit


I did my first author visit at an elementary school today. To be honest, I was pretty nervous. I always get anxious when I speak in front of a group of people. But really, what could be so terrifying about addressing a class of kindergarteners? I’ve done countless book signings, so this should be a piece of cake, right? For one thing, I know this age group can catch you off guard with outrageous questions and comments. I know this first hand because my son is five years old and he was actually in the class that I spoke to today.

I was immediately put at ease when I sat down in the kiddo-sized chair and looked at my son, Mason. He was bursting with pride. I looked around the room at the other children and I couldn’t help but notice their expressions of wonder. As I explained what it was like to be a children’s author, I could tell these kids thought I was pretty special. When I started reading my book, 22 pairs of eyes popped wide with excitement and curiosity. As I turned each page, they smiled and laughed, oohed and aahed.

Then came the part I had been dreading: the question period.

They asked me a few questions like:

“How long have you been an author?” and “How long did it take you to write your book?”

But mostly, they wanted to share things with me:

“I love horses. Have you ever been to the horse races?”
“I made my own book with my mom.”
“I really like your book.”
“My name is London. I’m Mason’s best friend.”
“Mrs. Irving, you should write a book about cats!”
“My dad works at a tire store.”
“I want to be an author.”

After this very interesting conversation, the kids colored Mama’s Purse coloring sheets and I gave them each a bookmark. I am so proud of their artwork!


Now that I have one author visit under my belt, I can’t wait to do more! I left the school feeling completely content and inspired about future opportunities to get kiddos excited about books.


Read today and every day to come because reading is so much fun!

Best wishes,


Book Signing

Local Author Signing at Hyde Park Books


THIS SATURDAY! Idaho authors will be signing books at Hyde Park Books from 10-3. There are many subjects and genres to choose from by all sorts of folks! Come meet local authors who will sign their books for you AND you can support the local economy! There will also be light refreshments, including Mediterranean Hummus from Jill Skeem’s book Comfort Food Gets a Vegan Makeover.

Authors who will be present are as follows:

10 AM to Noon

*Cherie Buckner-Webb
*Jane Freund
*Janice Hildreth
*AJ Irving
*Joel Lund
*Jill Skeem
*Jeannine Smith

1 PM to 3 PM

*Americus Dottier
*Merri Halma
*Laurie Kuntz
*L.D. Webb

Books by other local authors will be available. SO COME ON DOWN to meet local authors and enjoy Mediterranean Hummus!

Hyde Park Books

Monster Bash at Hyde Park Books

Hyde Park is my favorite neighborhood in Boise. There’s an old school ice cream shop, an amazing park, great restaurants with patios, and the coolest little book shop: Hyde Park Books. I took my kids to the Monster Bash at Hyde Park Books yesterday and we had a blast! They enjoyed making crafts, eating candy, and reading books.