Saturday, August 3, 2013

6 Hours Left on 3 Questions and a Freebie


Put your right foot forward
Put your left foot out
Do the Blog Hop
Hop, hop, hop!

Hop, hop, hop! This is how I write – one step at a timeJ

Hey, writing peeps! Imagine my excitement, when I was invited to Blog-Hop. I was ecstatic! I loved the idea of rubbing elbows with several of my super fun and prolific writing buds! A big shout-out to Christine Irvin! Thank so much for inviing me!

After the excitement subsided, things got a little hectic. I begin putting this post together and  thought I would croak! Imagine my relief when Gus jumped in! He is the main character in my picture book, Bad Dragonflies. And he was just the frog I needed to make my words leap off the page! Don't be confused about the authors name on the book cover, Cali Davidson is my pen name. 

I had nine questions to choose from, so I allowed Gus to pick three of them for me to answer, which was easy, because he always jumps at any chance to help out. Here are the three questions he chose:

·        What are you working on?

This year has been a very productive time for my writing, thanks to several writing groups that I joined. Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo gave me the challenge I needed to whip-out over thirty picture book ideas in a month. Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 challenge made the resources available to perfect and edit my books. Mira Reisberg’s Picture Book Academy showed me how to my characters to life. And Kristen Fulton’s group WOW introduced me to the world of non-fiction which I’ve learned to love! Since I joined WOW, I’ve written seven new picture books, and I have others in the works. Check-out the websites of the fabulous authors I mentioned above and consider joining a group. It’s a wonderful way to meet new people and improve your writing. Thanks everyone!

I’m currently working on four picture books: two fiction and two historical non-fictions, a chapter book and an historical middle grade. Writing non-fiction seems odd considering up until now, I’ve written mostly fantasy and poetry. Speaking of picture books, Gus just reminded me, I forgot to mention my first picture book, Bad Dragonflies which was published by Swimming Kangaroo Books.

·        How does your writing progress work?

Some writers call themselves pantsters – stories come easy for them, almost magically. Other people use maps, lists and graphs to get their story on paper and make sure the structure, plot and main characters are perfect. Me, I’m a little of both.

I get story ideas from names, titles, pictures and music. I’ve learned over time that if I want to make my writing sparkle, it’s best that I make use of maps, lists, graphs and whatever else is available. After all, as a writer I never stop learning. I never think my work is perfect. But, if put my heart into my writing, I can relax knowing I’ve tried my best. And I think all that’s all that matters – that we do our best.

After I get my story on paper, I run my manuscript through a text editor, and I revise. Then I get the opinions of my critique partners, and I revise. Ditto, ditto, ditto, a few more critiques, and I revise each time. I do at least five revisions, and then I submit. By this time, if I’m lucky, I’ve already gotten a new idea for another book. This new book is very important – it’s going to keep me from going whack-o! This is the book I’ll work on waiting to hear back from my submission.

·        Who are the authors you most admire?

I grew up fascinated by the tales of Hans Christian Andersen, and now, I admire too many authors to list, but I won’t let that stop me!

I’ve read Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland several times, and it still intrigues me. Mo Willem’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus knocks my socks off – oh to write with so few words!

Jane Yolen has written over 300 phenomenal books including Owl Moon and Briar Rose, her lyrical style flows as smooth as a mountain stream.

I adore Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. I love the characters and the world, this book will never be forgotten.

Honorable mention: C.S. Lewis rocks! The Chronicles of Narnia speak to children and adults. Or, I’m just a kid at heart after all.

·        Tag, Your It:  

So this is where three more writers which I have gratefully tagged, jump into the Blog Hopping frenzy. These writers are awesome! But don’t take my word for it – check them out, and if you agree with me, leave them a friendly comment!


Meg Miller>

Jacque Duffy>

Danielle Heistmuller??>


·        A few awesome links below of recommended writer’s resources. You’ll love these websites because these authors and illustrators rock!


Susanna Hill>

Alayne Kay Christian>

Jean Reidy> A Totally Random Romp


·        And now as I promised – the Freebie: 

As a reward for everyone who reads this post and leaves a comment with their email addy saying they would like to be included in the drawing, follows me, I’ll throw your name into Gus’s pond a week from today, which will be Sunday August 10th. This is the part of the contest that Gus loves. He will dive into his pond and snag two lucky hoppers! He so enjoys searching for items in his pond!

So??? What’s that to me? you ask. Well, since this is my very first contest EVER, Gus has talked me into giving away one of his books, Bad Dragonflies, which he’s very fond of. And . . . I will critique a picture book manuscript for the other winner, just to make Gus happy. Geesh! What I won’t do for that little green frog!

I will post the two winners the night of the drawing or the following morning whichever is easier. The following week, the critique and the copy of Bad Dragonflies, each will be sent to the person who won them.  So get to croaking and hop in!


·        Here is how the whole shebang will work:

·        Sign up by entering a comment in the comment section of this blog anytime between August 4th and August 10th.

·        Comments submitted before or after August 4-10th will not be considered. Only two people will each win one of the two prizes; a copy of Bad Dragonflies or a free critique of a picture book manuscript. The first winner to reply has the choice of prizes.

Official Contest Rules:


  • Follow Me


·        Manuscripts must be fiction only and less than a 1000 words.

·        Since I'm not an editor, I will not provide line-editing. My critique will be my personal suggestions for refining your manuscript.

·        The critique winner must e-mail me his/her manuscript as a Word attachment within 48 hours of the announcement. Your manuscript will remain completely confidential. And it will be returned within a week.

·        Likes and dislikes are entirely subjective. Please understand that my critique is only one writer's opinion. It's always wise to seek feedback from a few different readers. If my ideas resonate with you, they're yours to use. But in the end, it's your book. So do stay true to your vision.

Thanks so much for participating in my part of the blog hop! Please check out the websites of the other bloggers for more writing information and don’t forget to leave each one of them a comment. Writers helping writers is what this is all about.
             P.S. Please stop by for giveaways and writing news updates and don't forget to check out Bad Dragonflies at

I’m always happy to answer any questions in the comment section below. And please don't forget follow me:)

Goodluck! Sue


  1. Heloo Sue! Looks like you've been very busy with the classes, challenges and all the mss! Good for you! I'm a fan of Yolen's too - but I think you've got a typo - she wrote Owl Moon.

    1. Julie, Yes, I love the challenges of staying busy! It keeps my mind fresh, and I'm constantly getting knew ideas! You are a doll for letting me know about the typo! And for commenting:)

  2. Great blog, Sue, and thanks for the "shout out" for me! It was kinda fun, wasn't it? Sounds like you are very, very busy. Good for you! A busy writer should be a happy writer, don't ya think!?!

  3. Lol, Christine! You are so welcome! And yes, I do think that staying involved with the things you love makes a very happy writer! Thanks so much for dropping by:)

  4. Cute post Sue! So nice you have the helpful Gus to assist you. I love it. :)

    1. Thanks, Meg! I'm so glad you like Gus, he's one of a kind! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Hi Sue, great post and thanks for the mention. Nice blog too! Your picture book looks great!

    1. Oh thank you, Sylvia! You are so welcome. That's so nice of you to say!

  6. Great to have a little frog as a helper; I've got an adorable pig on my desk that nudges me on. "Bad Dragonflies" looks wonderful. I'd love to win either!-Donna Sadd

    1. Hi Donna, Thanks for commenting! Yes, it is nice to have a friendly helper since writing can be a lonely life.

  7. Hi Sue, Great post and I "hopped" over to your blog - looks nice too!

  8. Thanks for taking the time to say so, Pat! I happy you liked it!

  9. Well, you have been one busy woman. It is fun to learn more about you and your book. BAD DRAGONFLIES looks like a cute story. Gus sounds like quite the character. It sounds like he has become one of your best friends ;-). I love frogs. The artwork is cute and beautiful. I know, a strange combination to describe illustrations, but that is the feeling I get when I look at them. Thanks for sharing. Oh, and thank you for linking to my blog!

  10. I'm always happy to help out a writing peep! And, Alayne, thanks so much for such a sweet commnent!

  11. For some reason I like picture books about bugs, though in real life I'm not a big fan of bugs- except dragonflies and ladybugs and fireflies. Everything else- stay away! =)

    1. Oh, and I forgot my email address! leandrawallace at gmail dot com


    2. Leandra, Same here! And I love to hear frogs croaking in the spring or on a summer night. Thanks for stopping by!