Twas' A Busy Year!

YES, yes, I know, it’s been a while—but in my defense, its been such a hectic few months, I just didn’t have a moment to put my thoughts together in a coherent manner!

It has certainly been an exciting year on the kid-lit front. It all started with Vivian Kirkland’s 50 Precious Word Challenge. A challenge you say?  I was so in. I wrote a little diddy and fell into a world or beautiful writers. And that Vivian!  Wowza!  She is not only a marvelous children’s book writer Pippa’s Passover Plate, and Sweet Dreams, Sarah, just to name a few—but she is a lovely human being, who took the time to respond to every single entry!

I also joined Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Challenge, and ended up writing several picture book manuscripts – two of which are out on submission and are being considered by various publishing houses!

Julie’s 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge has encouraged thousands of picture book writers to get their stories out of their heads and onto the page. My personal experience has been outstanding. Through this online forum, I’ve met so many talented writers and illustrators who are generous with their time, suggestions and feedback. The critiques have been spot-on and the webinars informative. The spirit of this creative community cannot be emphasized enough. They are supportive and encouraging and if you are serious about writing picture books I strongly recommend you consider joining this thriving organization.

I should mention, Julie Hedlund is a remarkably talented children’s book author, (My Love For You Is The Sun). She along with Emma Walton Hamilton (NY Times bestselling author of, among other titles with her mother Julie Andrews, The Very Fairy Princess series) also offer the Complete Guide to Picture Book Submissions. These two articulate, award-winning picture book authors developed a cohesive, step by step program to help you not only polish your query letters—but help them stand out in what has become a highly competitive field.

I also received a very special gift from my husband for my birthday-The Craft and Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books presented by the marvelous Dr. Mira Reisberg founder of The Children’s Book Academy. This was such a rewarding 6 week online course filled with weekly assignments, webinars with editors, agents and author/illustrators. Critique groups and feedback are also part of the workshops. Another great community of authors and illustrators I’m proud to be a part of. Dr. Reisberg is warm and engaging, and incredibly passionate. She offers a variety of online courses including: Writing Wonderful Character Driven Picture Books, The Hero’s Journey, Rock Your Writing With Scrivner, and Middle Grade Mastery!!

Speaking of middle grade, I am delighted to finally share that my novel, MISADVENTURES OF A MAGICIAN’S SON is due to be released in Fall 2019 by Blue Whale Press. This project is near and dear to my heart and has been in the works for ten years! I am thrilled to be working with such a dynamic team— and am over the moon that Blue Whale Press has agreed to let me do the illustrations for the book cover and interior. (See below, more on this later…)

So, there you have it. I’m happy to finally have time to report back and share some of these golden nuggets with all of you. I promise to return soon with more workshop tips and online adventures. Until then…be kind, be creative, and follow your passions!

Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday Season!



Vivian Kirkfield

HURRAY for you, Laurie! And thank you for the shout out about #50PreciousWords. Your kind words made my day! And I LOVE the title of your upcoming book…and working with Alayne? She’s a sweetheart and so knowledgeable about what makes a manuscript work. And I agree with every word you said about 12×12…it’s been the foundation of my forward motion, for sure.


Thank you, Vivian! As I wrote this I couldn’t really believe how much has happened in 12 short months. I am so grateful to this community of creative spirits. I feel like I’m home. Thank you for being a huge part of this adventure.

Cathy Barnum

I am so proud of my life long friend. She has been an innovator on so many levels for so many years with so many projects. To see all of the puzzle pieces finding their way together now is a dream come true. So grateful that you have artistic support in your endeavors. So glad that your beautiful illustrations and your wonderful stories will be served up together as it should be. And finally in your inimitable style you are encouraging others here on these pages and sharing what you have learned so someone else can benefit from your experience. You are truly a precious gem my friend. Mwah! Love always, Cathy


Thank you Cathy! Your support and encouragement have meant everything to me.


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