2019 Resolution: To (Try to) Catch an Agent

Rosey with Pages 2018

My book! MY book. My BOOK!

My manuscript is winding up. I am sooo excited that I made such enormous progress in 2018. It’s alive!

That was one of last year’s resolutions that I actually made happen (and I lost some weight, too!). As a full-time elementary school teacher who also tutors (chess and piano) several hours a week, it is not easy to tackle another huge task during the course of a BUSY (2018 was PARTICULARLY hectic!) school year. I get tired, you know?

But there is only so much that can be done from summer to summer (not enough!), and I was NOT going to let another year go by with next to no progress.

Thank you to all those who supported me in so many ways, both practically and emotionally, chapter after chapter, revision after revision.

Thanks to SCBWI Midsouth for their wonderful conferences, resources, and friendships made.

Thank you to my occasional insomnia that allowed me an extra few hours a week.

Thanks to my cat Rosey (pictured) for hanging out with me in my office at all hours.

Hey, I know I didn’t get one accolade yet or win any awards. But I’m already thankful anyway! No matter what happens, I’m grateful for even getting to this point.

My resolution for 2019 is, after the manuscript is decidedly polished, to seek agent representation, and I already have my list of candidates and am drafting my first few query letters for the months ahead.

Yes, yes, yes. I’m well aware there are new challenges ahead, surely numerous disappointments included. I know. But those are signs of life.

I’ll be okay no matter what happens (I tell myself πŸ˜‰ ).

And then, there’s always HOPE. I BELIEVE!

Here’s to 2019!

I’ll share much more about MY BOOK πŸ˜‰ then.




I’m in! Which means, I pledge to generate at least 30 story ideas (not publicly ☺️) by the end of January. Inspiration will be based on reading the great blog over at taralazar.com on a daily basis. I’m also going to join the Facebook group (and buy the teeshirt if they have one 😜). And joining makes me eligible for kewl prizes! πŸ˜ƒ Let’s get 2019 started! 😻

Book Review: Penguinaut!

Who couldn’t love a little penguin with a big dream? Orville does not disappoint. This is a unique, sweet, and lively story that encourages individuality and at the same time demonstrates the importance of community. The illustrations are so entertaining and support the story well for young readers. All this and a penguin who strives to be an astronaut…what are you waiting for? Congratulations to the author and to Orville on a smash hit!


Book Review: Writers Read Better!

December 23, 2018

I had the privilege of working with Colleen Cruz in New York City for ten years. During this time, she served as a staff developer for Teachers College/Columbia University, supporting the teaching of writing and reading in the school where I taught. I moved out of state and continued to implement what I had learned in my new teaching position, and my students’ scores went up two grade levels after the first year! I credit the focus on writing that Ms. Cruz helped me develop in my practice. This book is a treasure and is put together with the greatest of care. There is a script for each lesson for your guidance and inspiration. There is also a link in the book to extremely helpful videos that demonstrate the method in action. The writing lessons are matched with reading lessons that would naturally follow. Part of the key is that the students LOVE learning this way. If you have to choose one book to jumpstart or strengthen your teaching of literacy, this is the one. Thank you, Colleen!

I’m back (in case anyone noticed I was missing)! And, I turned down a book deal.

Well, it’s been a while! That’s what happens when you are a full-time elementary school teacher.

I had a personal trainer (don’t be impressed, it only lasted a season!) who talked about her friend Nancy, and said this friend really was two different people: “Teacher Nancy” and “Summer Nancy”. The same holds true here. Only when the school year ends (as mine just did) does my head clear enough to be able to write even one post! Sad but true, at least for this past year (which was a very trying one for other personal reasons). Perhaps I’ll “disappear” again by the fall, but only time will tell.

Okay, so last month I turned down a book contract!!!

It was not an easy decision at the time.

The offer came about in an unexpected way and very quickly. It was a small publishing house, and I did my research and actually found out many good things about it. And no, it was not a vanity press. The offer included a fair percentage of royalties and did not require any money up front.

However, it just was not a fit. Once I got in deeper, I learned their other publications in my genre were limited, and they had a very small pool of people I would need to work with in ways that would enormously affect the style of the final product. They would not guarantee what I asked for in writing, as they refused to make any changes to their contract. There were some other concerns, but that was the final deal-breaker for me.

So I politely turned it down.

I feel good about it. It was not the right time or place, just not a match.

I wish them well!

I am now preparing a manuscript for the 2018 SCBWI Conference in Nashville this fall where I will receive another professional critique. The deadline for submission is next week, so once that’s done I can shop it around in its current incarnation.

Happy (almost) June!

All the best,

“Summer Victoria Winifred”

SCBWI Midsouth Conference 2017

The Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators
Midsouth Conference 2017
Nashville, TN

Attending my first ever writer’s conference earlier this month was a rich and fascinating experience! What a treat to make new writer/illustrator friends, to have a face-to-face critique with the senior Scholastic editor, and to hear my first page receive such a positive reaction at the First Pages event.

The faculty shared their wealth of experience with us during numerous workshops, and I learned so much that I now can put into action.

Current life events here and my full-time work as a teacher do offer quite the challenge to a writing schedule, but whenever I am inspired and find those magic moments, I now have a clear direction.

If you have never attended a writers conference, I encourage you to do so! It does not matter where you are on your journey. You will become more inspired and better equipped to seriously pursue your dream. Find the next group and meeting that matches your genre, and register today!