Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Eventful 2015

So it has been over 4 months since I have posted here, For Shame! For Shame! But in my defense there has been a lot going on kitlit wise and life wise. I will start with some happy happy kidlit stuff.

So I am a member of an AMAZING critique group called Trailmix (due to our varying backgrounds, genre preferences, and writing styles) and there has been a huge surge of good luck runny through our little team!

First of all, the sweet and super talented Christi J. Whitney has her debut YA book Grey coming out in just a couple of days, April 30th. It is the first in a series, so please check it out and support an amazing friend and writer!

Secondly, our YA romance author, Tosha L, Sumner, is a 2015 RWA Golden Heart finalist for her book The Colloden Immortals! How amazing! Winners will be announced on July 25th at the RWA annual conference in NY. I know I will be at home with all my fingers and toes crossed for her!

Thirdly, a fellow picture book writer Kim MacPherson has landed an agent! YAY YAY! She is currently represented by Mary Cummings of Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises. Kim has an amazing lyrical quality to her writing and I know with a stellar agent like Mary, she will be published in no time!

Lastly, (but not leastly) our spunky and quirky Colleen Bennett has obtained representation for her MG manuscript! Another YAY YAY! She is represented by Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary. It wont be long and we will be throwing another book release party! I can feel it!

Now for me in the kidlit world. So I have been working on my PB manuscript HOUSE CAT and I have totally revamped it. This book has been on a crazy journey over the last 6 years and I really feel a true peace and happiness with it where it is! Here is my pitch:

Chloe is a jingle collar wearin’ house cat who longs for adventure. So, she makes a tight eye closin’ wish that leads her to a butterfly stalkin’ stray cat life. But, that isn’t a perfect fit either. After looking into being a farm cat, a fashion cat, and a biker cat - she is out of ideas. So, she makes a bigger, whole tail curlin’ wish that leads her to just the kind of adventure she needs, a tight rope walkin’ circus cat life.

HOUSE CAT is a 492 word picture book aimed at children 3 -6 years old. This “Bad Kitty” (Bruel) meets “The Mixed-Up Chameleon” (Carle) story is lyrically written and full of humorous visuals. 
 I have submitted to several agents and I am hopeful that I will get at least positive feedback out of this round of queries. FINGERS CROSSED. 
I have also been doing so reach on where to go from here. I am excited to know that there is another Pitch Party going on in June on Twitter and I will be jumping on that! I have also found a few contests that I want to enter. I also know that the SCBWI conference in Alabama has a writing contest that I have not entered in YEARS, so I have plans to submit to that as well. 
IN THE WORKS: So I have been thinking about HOUSE CAT and at first I wanted there to be adventures for Chloe the cat but I have been pulled in another direction. I think that since she ended up at the circus, a circus animal could be inspired by her journey and make the choice to go out on their own. I have CIRCUS ELEPHANT in a good draft and that will lead me to the next idea of JUNKYARD DOG. I am hoping to be able to offer this as a series if I get lucky enough to land an agent! 
 The hubby - He got laid off back in November which caused a lot of stress for our family. I am happy to report that he has started back to work earlier this month, which has made it so much brighter in our home! Whew. I think that has helped this surge of creativity I am having! 
Rachel - She has made Honor Roll at school and has just started baseball. She is doing well in the new sport and the special education league is amazing! After baseball she will be going on to gymnastics which she has missed so much this year. She broke her arm last August which put a hiatus on tumbling, but now with a clean bill of health (and the bank account we need to afford it) she will be back to her flipping crazy self by the summer. 

Elias - I cannot believe he is 10 months already! We are planning a monkey themed birthday party at a nearby park on the 27th of June. He weighs 20 pounds and is still trying to get teeth. But the no teeth doesn't stop him! He likes pulled pork, chicken, pasta, bread, french fries, cottage cheese, and so much more. He is not crawling yet, but loves to roll, and he gets on all fours and rocks - so I know he is going to take off at any moment! 
 Me - So aside from writing, researching, and submitting I have been studying, applying, and interviewing! I just finished the second class in my Masters program and I am happy to report having As in both classes. I have also been turned on to several really amazing jobs in my area to which I have applied. I have had the pleasure of interviewing for 2 of them over the last week and should know more soon. I have also accepted a part time job working with foreign exchange students at a local school. On April 17th I celebrated my 34th birthday! The hubs and I went to a nice dinner and enjoyed some kid free time, he also gave me (well us) some new sheet for our bed! So all in all, I am keeping myself busy and my heart full of hope for what the future holds for me! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Was Amazing

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. The kids got everything they asked for and there was lots of time with family and friends. It is so good to have such great memories to pull from for stories in the future.

Story ideas from the holidays:

The Christmas Light Farm

Hoot Like and Owl

Karaoke Queen

A Home for Mouse

Now just to sit down and write some stories to go with these potential titles :)

On January 5th I start classes to get my MS degree! Wish me luck!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Results from the Holiday Contest

I jumped on my computer as soon as I got home from dropping my daughter off at school to read Susanna Hill's Blog entry for the finalists for the Holiday Contest and was sad to see I didn't make the cut :(

Oh well, maybe next year! Best of luck to the finalist! Feel free to follow the link to vote! I'll be casting my vote this morning :)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Christmas is a very special time for me. I love the lights and smells and happiness of the holidays. I was raised to always help others in need, and I like to think I do that a good bit all through the year - but at Christmas it warms my heart so much to see the good in people come out. Communities coming together and special events for families to help create life long memories and start new traditions. I am a big supporter of local artists and was turned on to this lovely photographer in our town who does Santa pictures in her home. I booked a spot and I was not disappointed. Needless to say this will be a new tradition for us each year! I hope she continues to offer this service.

I have also really been enjoying reading that other entries to the 4th Annual Holiday Contest! With 99 entries all together and so many of them being so good it has been a wonderful read so far! I hope to read more of them tonight! So fun to see everyone's take on a new holiday story.Voting will being on the 16th so I hope to be one of the top 10!! Wish me luck!!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Reply from the Charlotte Sheedy Agency

During the twitter event #PitMAD back on the 5th of December, I had the pleasure of getting a favorite star for my PB ms HOUSE CAT from Amy Rosenbaum at the Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. I sent the ms to her, and last night I got my reply:

Hi Shannon,

Thank you so much for letting me read HOUSE CAT! Your charming, folksy diction—which originally attracted me to your tweet—worked so well, though the story itself felt a little too familiar to me. This is a hard book to turn down, but since the picture book market is so competitive, both the language and the plot have to feel fresh for me to take a project on. I do appreciate having the chance to consider your manuscript, and I know that with your stellar pitch, you’ll have no problem finding the right agent to help you see it published.

All best,

Amy Rosenbaum

I have to say that is one of the nicest rejection letters I have ever received. So often I have gotten a form rejection which doesn't give me any feedback. But now I know what she liked and what she didn't. Since HOUSE CAT is a story that I wrote over 5 years ago, this response has me thinking of a little reworking on it. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

4th Annual Holiday Contest Entry

I wanted to try to write something for that PB Holiday contest that I posted about the other day and I haven't done anything poetic in quite sometime so I thought I would write a story in rhyme. The rules are that it has to be aimed at children 12 and under, it hast to be about a holiday in December, it has to have something to do with crazy weather, and it has to be under 350 words... so my entry will be THE CHRISTMAS TWISTER and it is 324 words long... Here it is:

The Christmas Twister
By: Shannon Marrs

It was a Christmas to remember
A crazy night in late December
When a twister tried to dismember
The small town of Little Green

The kids were in their PJ’s, sleeping
While Mom was in the kitchen sweeping
When dad went to the window peeping
At the weather through the screen

Inside they all were warm and snuggly
But big clouds in the sky looked ugly
Then from the storm it brewed so smugly
It was huge and oh so mean

The twister touched down with a furry
Which made the bugs and creatures scurry
While all the town folk watched with worry
As it put on quite a scene

It sucked up all the decorations
From the main street to the train stations
It moved with force and quick rotations
Taking all the red and green

The houses stripped of all things merry
The twister took all it could carry
The lights, the wreaths, each holly berry
Even the yard figurines

When in the sky a sleigh was spotted
Through the big clouds the reindeer trotted
As Santa steered, his course was plotted
He had come to Little Green

When Santa saw the twister spinning
He started flying toward it grinning
He reached it right at its beginning
He wrecked the twister’s routine

He found himself a place to enter
And jumped right in the twisters center
And like a magic show presenter
He took over that machine

He shrunk that big twister down to size
And then right before their merry eyes
He gave them the best Christmas surprise
A festive tree so pristine

The big twister was now upside down
And staged like a tree in the down town
With all the lights and fun it found
It’s so bright you’ll need sunscreen

Santa gave a nod and winked his eye
And his sleigh with reindeer hit the sky
The town all waved as they watched it fly
“Merry Christmas Little Green!”

Sunday, December 7, 2014

How Fast Time Flies!

Over a year has gone by since I have used my blog *sad* and a lot has happened in that time. In October of last year I found out I was pregnant and my husband and I were over the moon :) Our little man was born on June 26, 2014 and he is perfect. His name is Elias Matthew Marrs and he was 8lbs and 20" long.

Things have just started settling down again with being a wife and mommy so I can take time to squeeze in my love of writing. YAY! I am working *very slowly* on a  longer piece... I am thinking it is going to be marketable as a MG. This is whole new territory for me but Im excited about it!

I participated in the December 2014 #PitMAD on Twitter and was happily surprised to get a star from the Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency for my PB HOUSE CAT. I have sent off the MS and I got a reply stating that it had been received and she would be back with me soon. HOUSE CAT is one of my long term babies. The first draft was written in 2009 so it has been lingering on my PC for 5 years in different revisions. I will be keeping my fingers crossed about that one!

#PitMAD had lit a fire for me and made me excited to get back out there in the literary world and now that little man is nearly 6 months I can do that!

My latest work is a rhyming story called CHRISTMAS TWISTER that I have written for the 4th Annual Holiday Contest http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2014/11/whistle-happy-tune.html?m=1. I am very excited to post the story here this coming week! The prizes look amazing!

It is nice to write again! Hello writing world - Ive missed you :)