Get out the Vote: On the Halloweensie Finalists!


The results are in and the top 12 finalists have been picked.  Though I’m  a little sad I did not make it to the finale this year, I am more than happy for all those great story writers who did.  If you want to vote for the best Halloweensie story of 2016, head over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s website and get out the vote!



Happy Halloweensie

x354-q80The air is getting cooler, colorful leaves are blanketing my driveway, and pumpkin spiced stuff is everywhere, which means it must be that time of the year…time for children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill’s 6th annual Halloweensie contest.

I absolutely, positively, love this contest.  It is so much fun trying to come up with my own Halloweensie story, and equally as fun reading everybody else’s.

If you want to submit a story of your own or read all the fabulous entries, head on over here, and prepare to be delighted by a cauldron of creativity. Continue reading


St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

photo-jpg Whether you’re a parent, an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, or a friend, we all watch those St. Jude T.V. commercials showing sick children undergoing treatments we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies.  I cry during each and every one of those commercials.  In my 28 year nursing career I have focused my time mostly on adult critical care.  I have come into contact with a few sick children, but none with cancer.  I have three healthy children, and I thank God every day that they are healthy.  Like any parent, sometimes I think, what if that were my child in that commercial, what would I do, how would I cope?  I answer myself in denial, but the reality is that 1 in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20.  Some of those children will be treated in their home state, and may be covered by their parents insurance, but there are many that do not have access to top medical care, and who cannot afford it. This is where St. Jude Children’s hospital comes in.

Named after the St. of lost causes, and founded by actor Danny Thomas, St. Jude Children’s hospital fulfilled a promise that Danny made to St. Jude in return for providing him guidance in his life.  Through tireless fundraising events, and the help of the Arab-American community (ALSAC), monies were raised, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened their doors on February 4, 1962.  The cost of treatment is free for those who otherwise could not afford it.

At the time of the opening of St. Jude Children’s Hospital the survival rate for childhood cancer was 20%.  With the sophisticated research capabilities of St. Jude, that survival rate has climbed to 80%, and diseases that were considered a death sentence, now have a survival rate of 94%.


St. Jude has always been a charity close to my heart, and this November 5th I will be running the Savannah 1/2 Rock-n-Roll Marathon under the banner of St. Jude.  I have volunteered to collect $500.00 for this run to donate to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.  If possible, I would ask anyone reading this to donate what you can.  Any amount is helpful.  I have collected $385.00 so far which is 77% of my goal.  And if you cannot donate at this time in your life, please consider donating to St. Jude at some time in the future.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this post, and donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The link to my page can be found below.

God Bless!




#RhyPiBoMo Friday Favorite Rhyming Picture Book

l6e5a0242-m0xd-w640_h480_q80When my oldest son was nine months old we moved into our first house. It was, at the time, the house of my dreams; a small 3-bedroom ski chalet nestled in the woods, on a great piece of property. It even came with a pool that was quite a bit more than a stones throw from the house, but lay adjacent to the woods, surrounded by a natural grassy border.  It even had a little stick built pool house with brown cedar siding, and barn red Dutch doors; a miniature twin of the main house. We moved in in July and I could not have been happier. When winter came, so did the big snows that buried us down our little hill, and made getting out of the driveway a new kind of winter sport. My son had a room right down the short narrow bridge overlooking the kitchen, from my room. His room was large with high ceilings and a huge picture window that looked out into the woods. Throughout the seasons, and after the sun had set, I would sit and rock with him in my green, glider chair I’d received at my baby shower. These were the quiet moments that I relished, and it was my time to share with him the beautiful pile of picture books adorning his bookshelf.

My participation in #RhyPiBoMo has reminded me of that little house in the woods, and all the wonderful children’s books whose words past over my lips in the quiet dark on those snowy nights. One of the books that came to mind in particular was a book that when I first read it I absolutely hated it. I couldn’t believe anyone ever agreed to publish it. I had such a visceral reaction to this book it was almost comical. I even went to the Internet to research its history, author, publisher, and date of publication. You could say I was a little obsessed. I just had to figure out what made this book tick, and why I wasn’t getting it. Perhaps it was I. My long commutes back and forth to the city, 12-hour night shifts, and new induction into motherhood might have been altering my perception. And face it, I hadn’t read a children’s book since I was a child. Maybe I was out of practice, or out of touch with what was hip and new, or maybe I was coming at this book all-wrong and needed an attitude adjustment.

After completing my extensive research, I discovered the book was older than me, so hip and new was out, I might have read it as it kid, but didn’t remember, so yes I might have been out of practice. I decided to read the book again. Then I found myself reading it more and more every night. I slowly began to fall in love with this book. It got to the point where I could recite all the words verbatim in the dark, while gently rocking my son off to sleep. Indeed it was an attitude adjustment that I needed. This book was brilliant, beautiful, and simple. Its rhythm matched the gliding of my chair, and the slow drooping of my son’s sleepy eyes and his slowing breath.

That big beautiful room welcomed two more children, and countless more nights gliding my children to sleep with the simple ebb and flow of Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon, illustrated by Clement Hurd.


            Though I have long moved away from my little chalet in the woods, my tattered copy of Goodnight Moon remains a staple in my house, and a reminder of the beauty of simplicity and grace that we mothers share rocking our babies in the night while saying our goodbye’s to the day.


#50 Precious Words Contest

Snoopy writing

     What I love so much about the kid-lit community is their enduring love of books, and the endless generosity of their writers.  Whether it is sharing information, offering advice or support, or just lending an ear, the kid-lit community is like a close-knit family.

I am always impressed when a writer offers to host a writing contest on their blog, spend many, many hours reading all the submissions, and positively commenting on each and every entry.  This week Vivian Kirkfield is challenging us to write a children’s story in 50 words or less…CRAZY…right?  Wow what a challenge!  I thought Susanna Leonard Hill’s writing challenges were hard at 100 words or less.

This month, we all know, is the birth month of the lovable and prolific Dr. Seuss, March 2nd to be exact.  Dr. Seuss was not immune to writing challenges either, and was dared by Bennett Cerf, his editor at Random House, to write a story using no more than 50 unique words (not the word count).   Enter: Green Eggs and Ham.  


Our challenge will be to stay within a 50 word count.  You can find my submission below.


Cat’s Revenge?

Cat’s finally done it!

Squirrels in his teeth.

A hostage to revenge the dog.

Payback to bequeath.

Cat purrs with satisfaction

Dog barks with delight

Angered squirrels protest

hurling acorn pegmatite’s.

Meow and Yelp cry cat and dog

distracted from their prey

ducking flying acorn shells

as squirrel gets away!

I also wrote this next one in honor of the wonderful, silly relationship between my son and his Grandma Silly (Yes they actually call her Grandma Silly!)

Fox Breaking News:

After being sentenced to a life of spinning for crimes committed against the animal kingdom, The Evil Dr. Gerbil managed to escape from his prison wheel today. The notorious Pack Rat Gang is believed to be involved. Police Chief Wallaby has summoned Wonder Weasel.

Story at 11…

Wonder Weasel

Wonder Weasel

and The Evil Dr. Gerbil

and The Evil Dr. Gerbil


RhyPiBoMo 2016 Blogger Calendar

If you’re not sure what RhyPiBoMo is then you’re not alone.  Head on over to Angie Karcher’s site to learn all about RhyPiBoMo and why you might want to give it a try.  Hope to see you there!

Angie Karcher

RhyPiBoMo 2016 Calendar

Thank you to all our fabulous authors, agents and editors who support what we do and have graciously agreed to share their knowledge with us! We are grateful!

This is the 3rd year for Rhyming Picture Book Month and I am humbled to see the support this event continues to receive. This idea of celebrating RPBs in 2013 started out small and now has blossomed into an annual event, a Best in Rhyme Award, a RPB Revolution Conference, the sale of our 2015 Conference Recording and a thriving Facebook Group of over 500 people!

  Rhyme Award Best In Rhyme      RPB Reg Open Logo

   Writing in Rhyme to WOW! class logo       Critique badge

I stay busy teaching my monthly Writing in Rhyme Class as well as doing Rhyming Manuscript Critiques. Last year was an exceptionally exciting and CRAZY year of firsts! This year, I vow to write more RPBs as my planning hat took over and stomped on my writing…

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It’s National Tell a Fairy Tale Day


     I’m not one for keeping up with the National___fill in the blank__Day, so I was caught off guard when I found out today was National Tell a Fairy Tale Day.  I was also a bit remiss to find out Sunday was National Sticky Bun Day, but that’s another story.  I’m a big fan of fairy tales, in fact my blog, The Nightingale Tales, was partly inspired by The Nightingale by Hans Christian Anderson.


     I grew up having the classics read to me by my mother, and in turn have passed them onto my own three children.  Today we celebrate the authors and interpreters of our past including: Charles Perrault, Hans Christian Anderson, The Brothers Grimm, Joseph Jacobs, Aesop, and the anonymous author of 1001 Nights translated by Richard Burton to name a few.

     Because the classics are well..classic, it’s hard to think they can be improved upon, and obviously we’re not going to try and rewrite the original versions, but reimagine them, well that’s how the fractured fairy tale was born, and I’m a big fan.  Fractured fairy tales give modern day authors a chance to make their own mark on their favorite childhood stories, and with so many talented writers each story has the potential to be fresh and the options for storytelling are endless.


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     I had a little fun writing one of my own fractured fairy tales (The Full Worm Moon) based on the craziness of the full moon and how it affected my fairy tale hospital.

     I hope you all have a very Happy Tell a Fair Tale Day, and get out there and share some of your favorites with the people you care about.  Or perhaps just sit quietly with a nice cup of coffee and some left over Sticky Buns and read some to yourself!

Here are a few links I found to some interesting fairy tale websites: