Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Where Is Spring? by Kathy Halsey

It's time to write on and shine like the sun for some spring fun. Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez and Ciara O'Neal are hosting the Spring Fling Kid Lit Contest to brighten our days. Thank you, ladies. 
The 411 for the contest is as follows: a story for kiddos 12 and under, 150-words or less, based on a spring GIF or image. Find my inspirational image and 148-word story below. Thanks for popping by, and Happy Spring!

Where Is Spring?

by Kathy Halsey

Skyler, do you see Spring? Mom said to look outside.
Lily, I see you, a pretend-tiger in a coat.

And I spy a goofy brother in a weird hat. But where’s Spring?
Maybe it’s hiding. Let’s tromp through the bushes. 

Ouch, scratchy-sticky-bushy things. NOT Spring, Skyler.
Yeah, but see those green buds? Are they Spring?

M-a-y-b-e. And what’s that popping through the dead leaves?
A crocus? A tulip? Hmm, could be a sign . . .

Looky, I found it. Right here, Skyler – the teensiest, tiniest blossom of Spring!
Are you sure we found it all? 

No, I hear it, too. Take off your hat; open your ears. 
Yup! It's cheeping birds and glunking frogs.

Lily, ditch your coat. I feel Spring, too.
Hey, the breeze tickles my neck and whips my hair. 

Spring? We gottcha. No more hide-n-seek!

Ready or not, here we come. WE found Spring.


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

A Tail So True - #50 Precious Words by Kathy Halsey

Time for a new challenge, this one courtesy of prolific author/friend Vivian Kirkfield. This is the 5th year for #50 Precious Words. I thank Vivian, the judges, those who've donated prizes, and readers who leave comments. We writers appreciate these opportunities. 

Guidelines are to write a story for kids 12 and younger, any topic, prose, poetry, any style, BUT 50 words. It's not easy to get a true story in such tight guidelines. However, the challenge is the fun.

My tale highlights my love of animals, dogs especially. This is Iris, our first Corgi, who we lost at 8 to Addison's and kidney failure. She was the inspiration for A TALE SO TRUE, a story with 47 words. Happy reading. As sweet Iris would say, "BAROOOO." 


by Kathy Halsey

If I could call your name,
If I could make you real,
I'd reach across time to fetch you.

You’d bounce and paw,
romp and roll.
You'd snuffle up treats.
We'd sit paw-in-hand.

Nuzzled up close.
wish it was true,
cozy hugs from
a tail so true.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Anti-Resolution Revolution 2019 version - Successes - Big or Small

I've been launching my new year with Julie's positive challenge for writers since its inception. Back again, I'm ready to go into 2020 and make the beginning of a new decade mine.


Children's author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year's resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity - what DIDN'T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. Here is my list for 2019.

 Goals I Met from 2018 Challenge 

1. Revised my mss with a proven method. I did use the Manuscript Magic tools from a class I took in 2018 with my critique group Mojo Sisters, but I refined the process to make it my own. 2019 turn out to be the year revision for me more than a year of new work. Goal met.
2. I did create a comprehensive submission spreadsheet culling all my subs and editor/agent comments. I was spurred on by my #PBChat mentor Lindsay Leslie to create this. Goal met.
3. I continued to connect w/writers, agents, and editors via SM and conferences. Without the exact goal to grow my twitter presence, I now have 1570 followers just by connecting with like-minded kid lit people. Goal met.
4. Continued my accountability check-ins with writer friend Beth Stillborn every Monday. We are now going on our 3rd year to share what we accomplished each week. TY, Beth. Goal met.
5. Kept moving forward to reach my goal of publication by hitting 100 submissions and creating a FB group for this with Beth Gallagher. Goal continues as we started the FB group and have close to 50 members. I didn't get to100 subs, but did sub monthly with good results which I'll share in the next section of this post.
6. Continued honing craft by taking a year's worth classes and intensives via Arree Chung's Storyteller Academy. Whispering Pines Writing Retreats 2 & 3, Storystorm, ReFoReMo, mini-retreat w/5 Ohio writers, and other classes offered via my Central- Southern Ohio SCBWI. Goal met.

2019 Successes

 1. I completed only a few new drafts, but the new ones came faster and I was able to revise with less emotional attachment this year.
2. My submissions yielded more responses and feedback from both editors and agents.
3. I had a near miss with an agent taking me on but she was having "life issues" and couldn't add to her client list. I'd met her at a conference, and we connected via another writer friend, one of her clients.
4. The story she liked became my signature picture book of the year. I had author Jim Averbeck review it, I revised it and it garnered me my #PBChat mentor, Lindsay Leslie. 
5. Out of over 1500+ submissions to the 1st #PBChat mentorship, I found a publish author willing mentor me! This was my 4th time trying to find a mentor. Advice - don't give up even if things didn't go well before.
6. With my mentor, Lindsay Leslie, we pinpointed my 3 most marketable, well-written mss, took one to the Agent Showcase and 1 agent request. Still waiting to hear @ this point.
7. My critique group is getting stronger and better as writers and had their own success: one has an agent, another will be published in 2020, and a third is a Highlights Diversity Fellow. Because their work is of such high quality, it helps me when I get their feedback. 
8. I've received honorable mentions in the writing contests I've entered this year. 
9. The group blog to which I belong, GROG, continues to grow readership and debut authors are now asking us to review their books and get on our schedule.
10. I am writing stories that I am passionate about and feel will help readers. 
11. I've made new friends in the kid lit community, all who make my goals seem possible and make life rewarding and fun.
12. I am blessed by individual writer friends w/whom I can share work outside my critique group when I need fresh eyes on a story.
13. My commitment to Storyteller Academy also led to a new critique group that is dedicated and international. TY, Wonder Women.
14. I am lucky that ideas come easily for me and I have plenty of new stories to complete.
15. I spoke at the Ohio Educational Library Media conference this year and also at Nerd Camp MI.
16. I have several writer friends who will call me weekly to brainstorm ideas or just chat. The friendships I made this year extend beyond just writing. 
17. I enjoy revision much more than last year. 
18. 39/100 submissions. I stopped subbing around August as I spent the last quarter the year revising my work. 
19. My motto for 2019, "Say Yes to Every Opportunity" worked for me. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Spider's Tricky Treat by Kathy Halsey

It's the spookiest time off the year and . . . time for Susanna Leonard Hill's annual Halloweensie contest. Why "weensie?" Kid lit writers can tell a Halloween story with ONLY 100 words ad 3 of them must be potion, cobweb, and trick. Entries can be scary, sweet, funny, poetry, or prose. Stories must be appropriate for children, ages 12 and under.

Hope you enjoy my entry. (Judges, word counts 71/100.) Have even more fun & read other entries with your kiddos and leave some comments. Writers love feedback.  (Click here & scroll to the bottom.) Bwaa-haa-haa-haa.

My inspiration? The spiders I saw spinning webs on  my back deck this summer! Watch out for the trick in this spider's tale

Spider's Tricky Treat

by Kathy Halsey

Spider spun a silky cobweb
and sent out cards with words that said:

“Friends, all invited
Halloween treats, 
fun, fun, fun,
and plenty to eat.

Flies and Earwigs,
buzzed by the bash, 
yet soon entangled, 
the party crashed.

Zap. ZAP. 

Spider bit,
injected a venomous potion,
insects immobilized,
caught in mid-motion

Spider tap-danced ‘round his prey in delight,
Spider’s trick
(now his treat), 
made for a delicious Halloween night.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Kidlit Writing Frenzy Contest

Hi, y'all. It's fall and contest time. This is a new one hosted by Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis. Thank you ladies, and here's to apple cider and crisp cool days. 

The contest rules state: Pick a fall image (they had tons on their post), and write about it. We can write a poem. story, mood piece, whatever suits one's fancy. The audience is any kidlit age and maximum length is 200 words. 

I chose image #9 as it spoke to my years in Arizona where I  learned more about Mexican and Spanish culture. My four years in AZ taught me to better appreciate the plethora of cultures that make our country more diverse, stronger, and more interesting. 

Our first year in Phoenix we took our kids and grands to the Desert Botanical Gardens to experience their version of el Día de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead. Artists had set up a myriad of altares, and we were delighted to learn and enjoy a new tradition. I had just lost my mother to a stroke, and after reading up on Day of the Dead traditions, I created an alter for my mom. It made me feel her spirit. And, so, in that spirit, I wrote this piece.

Kathy Halsey                                                                                                         WC: 198                
@infowoman1 (twitter handle)                                                                         Prize: PB or CB
image #9
United States

Abuela’s Favorite Holiday: el Día de los Muertos

by Kathy Halsey 

            My bones rattle-clack as cool winds blow through them. It’s time.
           Time to settle in for fall. 
           Time to greet la familia again. 
            Oh, how I have missed them – my ninas and ninos. Once, we were together often, now just this special day. I have hovered near them since I passed on to a different world.
             But now, the veil is clear between the spirit world and my family. 
            I sniff, smile, and sneak a peek as Sonia readies my favorites . . . 
sweet breads, 
sugar skulls,
and spiced mole sauce.
            Rafa and Alejandro gather to place special offerings on my altares  . . .
tangerine marigolds,
photos of mi marido at our wedding,
candles that light my way;
water for this journey of mine.
            A tear slides, but I shake away my longing for the past. For now we will dance, feast, and parade. Will Rafa don a fancy suit and paint his face this year? Oh, my Alejandro, how he loves to “raise the dead” as he says, with strings of shells and noisemakers. 
            The breeze stops and I alight. “Mi familia? It’s Abuela. Ready for two glorious days of el Día de los Muertos?” 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Mona's Pease Little Ditty

Hi  all. My writer friend Mona Pease doesn't have a blog so I'm sharing her Storyteller Academy entry for our no-holds-barred #DaffyCrappyRhymingDraftThrowDown. Give Mona a round of applause and a few comments. We writers love feedback. Thanks for participating, Mona.

I’m Finally Old Enough To Rake Blueberries
by Mona Pease

Tons of Maine blueberries creep around 
My back is bent, my head to the ground
And all I see is blue, blue, blue
It’s my first day on the raking crew. 
                        I’m twelve and I’ll earn my own cash.       

I rake between strings that mark my row
Scooping up berries on vines growing low.
I only meant to taste a few.
But eat a lot, oh what do I do?
                        The outhouse is calling to me!

My sneakers feel stiff. They’re stained bright blue.
A kid calls out,  “Your mouth is blue too.”
There’s not one bone that doesn’t ache.
I think my back is about to break.
                        But, I fill another box.

When I’m finally home I’ll flop on my bed
If I take a nap will I wake up dead?
But if by chance I am alive.
I’ll start my day at quarter to five!
                        And do it all over again!

Monday, June 17, 2019


My dear friend and talented MoJo Writer Woman critique partner Pam Courtney came up with a fun writers' challenge for those of us who are "rhyme-impaired." That's me, straight, no chaser! It had to be a first draft and you know what we call those . . . right?

So here are the rules and my "poem" of sorts.

Storyteller Academy's #DaffyCrappyRhymingDraftThrowDown is underway. Everyone is invited to join in on the fun. Newbies to pb rhyming are STRONGLY encouraged to participate .This writing sprint extravaganza goes from June 1st to July 6th. Here's what'cha do:
Choose a writing prompt: All Things Ninja, That's When I Noticed It, Something Wasn't Quite Right, When the Sun Shines, or I Didn't want To . . . 
Post completed 200 word crappy draft on your blog. Link it back here ONLY on this thread for eager SA readers of your masterpiece.

Rhyme Time: The Meta Poem

by Kathy Halsey

I didn’t want to write this poem because . . .
I don’t rhyme naturally so . . .
naturally I knew that

I tried to write it right.
I tried the William Carlos Williams route but . . .
I had no plums or icebox and there was . . . 
delicious or
sweet or
about this poem that I tried to write.

That’s when I noticed a new idea that snuck stealthily
into my mind. It whispered . . .
“All things ninja.”
It wanted to fight me
It was quite e e cummings-like.

When the sun shines or
the clouds shroud 
my words
I carry on with this Herculean task.
I carry them on my back 
with a slant rhyme.

I let them know, I’m doing fine because . . .
I did not decline
 to rhyme; rather
I had to find 
the words that spoke to me 
and maybe now to you.
The prompts prompted me, 
gave me clues to 
share a silly,
drafty draft. 
(I must be daft!)