Monday, April 29, 2013

Discover Author Penny Lockwood

Boo sneaks out of the house and discovers that freedom by himself can be scary.
It is my distinct pleasure to feature a brand new picture book by Penny Lockwood today. Penny has an information-packed article on Crafting a Picture Book for you AND a giveaway! Thanks so much, Penny!

Janet, thanks for hosting me. I’m thrilled we are able to do a blog exchange and that your fans can find you today on my blog at Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz Blog

At the end of my blog tour, I will pick out one commenter’s name and send an autographed copy of Boo’s Bad Day to a United States address only. If the name I pick is someone who lives outside the U.S., I will send a PDF copy of the book. So remember, readers, be sure to leave contact information when you comment!

If your readers missed my post yesterday, they can check it out at C.K. Volnek's Blog
Tomorrow, I’ll be visiting at Hazel Nutt's blog
There is a review of Boo’s Bad Day posted at Sue's Book Reviews 


Have you considered venturing into the world of picture book writing. Writing a couple hundred words is not as easy as it may appear. According to Lee Wyndham in Writing For Children and Teenagers, Dr. Seuss guessed he wrote and drew more than 1,000 pages for each 64-page book he finished! Picture books require a plot, strong characters, a beginning, a middle and an end. Putting all of those pieces into a book of less than a few hundred words can be a daunting task.

There are several types of picture books. This subject is covered in depth by Laura Backes in her article, “Understanding Children’s Writing Genres.” (Writing World, Once you choose the type of book you wish to write, you’ll know how many words you have in which to create your story. Third person voice is typical for most writers. It allows for a broader look at the story and characters. If your story isn’t working in the third person POV, try rewriting in the first person, second person, or as a letter, journal or diary. Most publishers don't want rhyming stories as they are the most difficult to properly craft.

You need a strong plot to keep the reader’s attention. What your character wants and how she gets it moves your story forward. Solving that conflict should take at least three tries, with each attempt becoming harder to accomplish. There are several conflict scenarios: conflict with oneself, with others, with the larger world, and with nature. Most often plot material consists of everyday situations such as play, family, pets, toys, friendship, and fears.

Moving the story forward can sometimes be the most difficult, but if you have your ending in mind, you'll know where you're going. There are several successful endings to your book:
1. Your main character solves the problem;
2. Everything leads to it;
3. Your main character changes;
4. No lucky coincidences or adults to save the day; and 5. Give the reader hope.

When you're writing your story, focus on telling it and don't talk down to the kids. You need to write clearly, so your illustrator will be able to see the story in his or her head. The words in a picture book are only half the story. The illustrations will bring the story to life, especially for the very young.

Read other books written for the same age group, both the ones which are good and those which are not. Take note of what makes one a winner, while the other mediocre. Have a firm grip on grammar and punctuation. Listen to the children around you. See what makes them laugh, cry, or be afraid. Learn to connect with your readersno matter what age they are. Read your finished manuscript out loud, give it to a trusted critique partner to read, read it to children (other than your own), then let it sit for a week or more. Study the picture book markets as carefully as you would any other market.

Some writers choose to self-publish their books, while others publish with traditional publishers. Explore your options to find what is the best fit for your book. Most traditional publishers use their own illustrators, so if you want to do both the illustrations and the writing, you may be better off going the self-published route. If you choose to submit your picture book to a traditional publisher, is there a market for it? Yes, but the number of people who believe they can write a good picture book is greater than the number of small presses that will take children's picture books. If you’re willing to work to sell your book once it’s published, approach the small independent publishers. It isn't always the writer who is best who succeeds, but the one who is ready to work at being the best.

By Penny Lockwood
Picture book for children aged 18 months to 7 years
Back of the Cover--Boo is a very bored kitten. When Timmy and his mom return home, Boo sneaks out of the house. Boo is frightened by the noises of the big world outside of the safety of his warm home. When Timmy coaxes Boo back into the house,
Boo realizes some places are safe and some are not.
Published by 4RV Publishing
Look inside at Amazon 


Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz has published more than 100 articles, 75 stories, a chapbook, and her stories have been included in two anthologies. She writes for both adults and children. Her fiction has appeared in numerous genre and children’s publications, and non- fiction work has appeared in a variety of writing, parenting, and young adult print magazines and on line publications. She edits for MuseItUp Publishing.
Connect online with Penny:

She has recently released Boo’s Bad Day with 4RV Publishing and has three other children’s books under contract with them: Ghost for Rent, Ghost for Lunch, and Many Colored Coats. She has three romances published by MuseItUp Publishing: Love Delivery, Lady in Waiting, and Mirror, Mirror. Her short story collection, A Past and A Future, is available through Sam’s Dot Publishing and Smashwords.


J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Penny, thanks for swapping blogs today. I'm looking forward to a fun visit. Your picture book is a cute one. I think kids will enjoy the pictures and the story.

Penny's Tales said...

As always Penny - great post with lots of good information. Your story looks so cute. Wishing you tons of success with it. What a book for the grandkiddies!!!


Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz said...

Janet, thank you for hosting me today and for your kind words about Boo. Penny, I'm glad you were able to stop and found useful information in the post.

Vivian Zabel said...

No, writing a children's book is not as easy as some people believe. I get to see that often. However, with work, many manuscripts can become great books.

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

Penny, your article is very informative. One thing you didn't mention is the amount of pages or the word count. These days publishers look for a word count that is about 500 words or less. As a Reading Specialist, I can tell you that picture books are very important to young children. They use the pictures to get the meaning from the story. Teachers use them to give kids an idea of how stories work for writing lessons. Good job on showing us how writing a picture book is just as demanding as writing a full size book.

J.Q. Rose said...

Penny Lockwood. I wish everyone could read this informative article on crafting picture books.

Penny E--Thanks so much for stopping in. I can't wait to read it to my grandkiddies too!!

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Vivian. Thanks for stopping in. I know you "shepherd" a lot of picture books for authors. Best wishes.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank you, Barbara, for your input. There is just something special about snuggling up with a child in your lap and opening up a beloved picture book.

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz said...

Barbara, thanks for adding the information about the length of the picture book. You're correct in your comments and I appreciate you stopping by.

Vivian, thank you, too, for following along. As a sometimes submissions editor for 4RV Publishing, I learned quite a lot about what makes a good children's book.

Unknown said...

The book sounds cute, and the cover is adorable! :)

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Erin. I agree. That cover really catches your eye. Thanks for stopping by.

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz said...

Hi Erin, thanks for stopping to comment. I'm quite pleased with the illustrations by Deborah C. Johnson. She knows how to capture a cat's expressions and does a lovely job throughout the book.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Penny,
Thanks for sharing your great steps for creating a picture book.

Celebrate your gift of writing.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz said...

Hi Joan, thanks for stopping to comment. Glad you appreciated the post.

J.Q. Rose said...

Joan, thanks for stopping by. I like your "Never give up" in your signature! So true for writers.

Susan York Meyers said...

Good advice:-)

God bless,

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I know Penny! What a thrill to be associated with a legend in blogosphere! Another book for my grandchildren!

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Joylene and Susan. Thanks so much for visiting. I'm sure Penny wiill appreciate being a "legend in blogosphere."

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz said...

Susan, nice to see you following along during the tour.
Waving hello to Joylene. My grandchildren love Boo, hopefully yours will, too!

gail roughton branan said...

HEY! Sorry I was late getting here, the internet did NOT cooperate yesterday when I was trying! Penny, one thing I never underestimate is the power of a child's mind and imagination. Hubby keeps asking me why I don't write a children's book. I tell him I don't have that much imagination! Hats off, girl! Boo sounds ADORABLE!!

J.Q. Rose said...

Gail, you're not too late. Glad you popped in. I had to snicker at you saying you don't have that much imagination--you are overflowing with it witnessed by the great stories you've written. I do agree it is a gift to be able to craft a picture book story for kids.

J.Q. Rose said...

Shoot-Janet Glaser is me, J.Q. Rose.

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz said...

Hi Gail, never too late to visit with Boo. I agree with Janet, you have tons of imagination. Not to mention Ariel has a lovely relationship going with Micah. Shouldn't Micah have his own story?

Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz said...

Congratulations to Susan York Meyers! She's the winner of an autographed copy of Boo's Bad Day.

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