Tell Me a Story – Free online class

From Demi Smith about free online picture book class for authors. (sign up

“Tell me a story…”

That beautiful child looks up into your eyes and snuggles close, ready for a journey only you can lead. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could pull out your own picture book from the shelf… point to its glossy cover, read the title, and say, “This is the book I wrote for you.
For the last three years I’ve had the joy and privilege to work with hundreds of authors in my live Year of the Book classes. Now I’m thrilled to announce I’ve taken the best of the best of the best of what we’ve learned and turned it into a course you can access online, regardless where you live.

I’d love to help you get started right away with a free class that will help you write and publish your children’s picture book. We’ll go through all the steps you need to get from conception to labor and delivery of your bouncing baby book.

Can you imagine how thrilling it will be to share your professionally printed and bound story with your loved ones?

I’ve seen the joy—over and over through my students’ and clients’ eyes—and experienced it personally through the birth of my own two children’s picture books: Write Away! and Roger, Roger. It’s like disbelief combined with intense personal satisfaction. And it’s waiting for you just a short way up the path.

Or maybe your dream is bigger. Perhaps you’d like to see your work available for sale in stores and online. It’s all within your reach and I can show you how. I help people achieve this dream every day and I’d love for you to be next.

Online seating is limited to just 50 attendees, so reserve your space today. (sign up

Visit Demi at


Article shared by the author of Ken’s WarWhen teen rebellion & culture shock collide.


 ken's war cover

Ken’s War is vibrant with authority … Fowler’s elegantly written novel risks exploring the full range of teenage behavior and emotion.” Nancy Springer, award- winning author of YA books.





Book Review: The First Earth Day – What Difference Did it Make

In “Before and After the First Earth Day, 1970: A History of Environmentalism, its Success, Failures and Errors” David M. Guion sets out to answer why do we observe Earth Day and what difference does it make that we acknowledge April 22 in this way?

Guion provides an overview of the American zeitgeist, as it pertains to environmentalism, from the time of The Great Depression when frugality was a virtue to the present when consumerism is a part of the American psyche too few people question.

This book is neither a bone-dry history lesson nor a guilt-inducing screed on how we’ve irretrievably screwed up our precious planet. The author has deftly woven together personal anecdotes, passages of quotations, summaries of seminal writings about the environment and more to make his point in an approachable, effective style.

A recounting of how we got this way is important to understand. In our hearts, surely we know there’s something whacky about being urged to recycle while we’re exhorted to shop more to prove our patriotism, about having to hop in a car to get a few groceries because there’s nowhere to shop in our own neighborhoods, about the myriad products in our cupboards and closets that didn’t exist a generation ago.

“Even as some people began to count the costs of America’s new prosperity on the environment, comfort with that same prosperity prevented them from thinking through their concern to its logical conclusion,” Guion writes. We’re living with the results of a disconnect “between the ethos of consumerism with the environmental problem.” Not to mention polarizing politicians, biased journalists, anti-corporate zealots and other non-scientists trying to foment fear and culpability with specious data and fright wigs.

Government policy and huge corporations can be blamed for some of the predicament we’re in today. We might just as well throw up our hands. The gov, big corps, et al are too big for us to influence. But then, as Guion sagely reminds us, governments, corporations, and other so-called faceless entities are made up of individuals. Individuals with faces. Individuals with families they love.

The last chapter “What Now? Who Is Responsible” gives readers a Here’s what you can do list. Some suggestions were novel to me, while others were what readers who are prone to read this kind of book in the first place might label as “common sense.” There’s no such thing as common sense. Just good sense. Fans of unconventional thinking will enjoy the section on using a problem to solve another problem.

Reading about how we’ve missed the mark in stewarding the natural resources of our planet can be disheartening. Even so, the overview “First Earth Day” provides is a reality check, an education, a look back that informs how we deal with day-to-day living now and in the days ahead.

Take heart. The choices individuals make do matter. While that sounds like a bromide, Guion’s thesis challenges readers to ask themselves how individual choices could not have a collective impact.

They have to. Don’t they?

(Beth Fowler is the author of the fast-paced YA Novel Ken’s War)

Authors interested in exchanging books for review can contact Beth via this blog.

Ken's War - a fast-paced books for teens and young adults.

Ken’s War – a fast-paced books for teens and young adults.

ATCs become Palm-sized Writing Prompts

ATCs Writing Prompts

ATCs Writing Prompts

I was asked to lead a writing group in a session of creative prompt-inspired writing. I am also an artist……..I created a bunch of Artist Trading Cards (known as ATCs in the art world).

Attendees at the writers’ group will get to choose an ATC (or two or three) – or it will choose them – and write whatever the munchkin-sized, original pieces of art bring to mind. We’ll spend 30 minutes writing, then 30 minutes sharing what we wrote.

Writers may keep the ATCs if they want to.

Neat, huh?

Nicest Non-rejection Rejection and Then Some

Read this “no thanks” I got on my query from FinePrint Literary Management:
Thanks for writing to me about your work.

I’m sorry, this is a pass for me.

Right now my list is very full, and I’m fortunate that business
is very good so I have to pass on projects that are not only
good and publishable but ones I really like. That’s a good
problem for me, but it just stinks from the writer’s
viewpoint, yes indeed it does.

I strongly encourage you to query widely. Other agents have more wiggle room
on their lists and are able to take on more than I can.

Please think of this as redirection to another agent, not rejection.

Very best wishes to you!

Janet Reid
FinePrint Literary Management

help on query letters-

my blog:

my website:

Wasn’t that nice of her to write a gracious rejection and include helpful links?

About my published YA novel Ken’s War: As the conflict in Vietnam escalates, army brat Ken finds himself in Japan when his hot-headed dad, Captain Paderson, is suddenly deployed to a remote post there. Culture clash is one of the many sucker punches that knocks Ken’s world upside down. He struggles as his assumptions about friends and enemies, loyalty and betrayal, and love and manipulation are fractured. An army misfit, a Japanese girl and a martial arts master play unforgettable roles in Ken’s rocky journey in this coming-of-age story.