New Podcast Interview on “Quote Me”

Recently, I was privileged to chat with Lindsay Schlegel over on her Catholic podcast “Quote Me” about my children’s books, Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server (coming spring 2022), Liturgical Colors, and The Manakor Chronicles.

The show’s format requires that each guest bring a quote to discuss, so we got to discuss one of my favorites, by C.S. Lewis:

Since it is so likely that children will encounter cruel enemies, let them at least have heard about brave knights and heroic courage.

C.S. Lewis

Huge thanks to Lindsay for having me on the show! I had a great time.

Want to listen in? Check out the Quote Me podcast here.

What do you think of Lewis’ quote? Let me know in the comments!


About Theresa Kiser

I’m Theresa Kiser, speaker and award-winning children’s book author of Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server (OSV, Coming Spring 2022), the board book A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors (Holy Heroes, 2019), and the fantasy adventure series The Manakor Chronicles. I love supporting other writers through workshops, writing contests, manuscript critiques, and one-on-one coaching. On a rare moment when I’m not writing or changing diapers, I might indulge in fruity teas, dark chocolate, and a good book.

Let’s nourish hope & love in young hearts…through books!


WINNERS ANNOUNCED! Check out these fabulous entries for the Lenten Catholic Kidlit Writing Contest

Wow! I am so moved by the heart poured into these contest entries. THANK YOU to these writers for participating and pouring themselves into this Lent-themed extravaganza! I’m also touched by the kind comments given to each other throughout the contest. It is a privilege to be able to connect with you all, and it warms my heart to witness such support and thoughtfulness shared with virtual neighbors.

The entries were varied and wonderful, a pleasure to read, as were (again) the supportive and loving comments the writers shared with each other. It has been such a joy to participate in this Lent-focused writing exercise with you all–thank you!

Just to review, here are some of the criteria considered when selecting winners:

Judging criteria considered:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using your Lent-inspired word or photo
  3. Quality of story – basic story elements and a true story arc
  4. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
  5. Originality – I’d love to see something new brought to the table in this Catholic children’s space! ❤
  6. *Bonus* – I’ll choose the pieces that speak to me most, be they sentimental, sweet, meditative, funny, lyrical, scary, inspiring, or something I haven’t thought of. I’m excited to be surprised!

THANK YOU again to Lindsay Schlegel, Brenda Ramirez, and Margot Davidson, who have contributed prizes! Please be sure to thank them for their generosity, and follow them online to hear more from them!


Without further delay: THE WINNERS

“The King” by Rose of Sharon

This poem is impressive for its structure and thoughtful vignettes of Jesus’ life, which give meaning to Lent in a fresh way. Well done, Rose of Sharon! You have won a critique with editor Lindsay Schlegel AND a copy of A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors!

Picture Book manuscript critique from editor Lindsay Schlegel

(Little Lamb Books) – Lindsay Schlegel is a freelance editor with over fifteen years’ experience in a bookstore, literary agency, and a number of publishing houses, including Candlewick Press, Abrams, and Simon & Schuster. She currently serves as editor-at-large for Little Lamb Books, a Christian children’s publisher.

A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors by Theresa Kiser

Introduce babies and toddlers to God’s LOVE through the symbolism of the liturgical colors!

“P is for Purple and Purple is For Lent” by Susan E. Schipper

Susan chose to write a nonfiction piece explaining the meaning of purple in Lent. I love the gentle explanation and comparisons with nature, and hope that this is the type of conversation happening in catechesis classrooms! Susan, congratulations on your beautiful entry! You have won a picture book critique with me as well as a copy of Black Fox of Lorne from Hillside Education!

Picture Book manuscript critique from me, Theresa Kiser

Find out more about my manuscript critiques here.

“Drops of Red” by Tammy Fernando

I love the unique perspective of the robin in this piece! This is the first time I have “seen” the Passion through the eyes of an animal, and it is creative and beautiful. My favorite line is, “As do I.” It breaks up the structure, and instantly sets the tone of the rest of the poem. Good job, Tammy, and thank you for participating! You have won a digital copy of The Firebrand Legacy!

Digital copy of award-winning novel The Firebrand Legacy (Book #1 of The Manakor Chronicles) by T.K. Kiser

for ages 10-14, “Best Juvenile Fiction” Gold Winner

“The Miracle Man” by Lynn Grace Wong

I can feel the emotion in this piece. The narrator’s yearning and prayer really hits home. You’ve packed a lot into this poem with references to the Agony in the Garden and devotion to Mary! I love the line, “Come, my child. Let me take you to my son.” It is such a gentle line that speaks to the way Mary brings us back to God. Congratulations, Lynn Grace! You have won a copy of The Lamb’s Gift by Brenda Ramirez!

The Lamb’s Gift by Brenda Ramirez

Friendships come in all forms, shapes and colors. In this story, it comes in the form of a little girl and a very special lamb that is dyed an array of colors throughout their journey. This story reminds us that sometimes holding on, is holding back.

“Turtledove’s Lenten Prayer” by Doreen McAvoy

What a gentle introduction to the Rosary! Using almost Socratic dialogue, “Turtledove’s Lenten Prayer” explains the Rosary prayer with two beautiful birds. I love their intention with this: “I’d like to grow closer to God.” Beautiful! Congratulations, Doreen! You have won a copy of Merengue by Brenda Ramirez.

Merengue by Brenda Ramirez

Camila is a bright, joyful little girl who loved to dance merengue.  After a devastating accident, she becomes paralyzed from the waist down. However, when she receives her new wheelchair she is in for a big surprise. Discover how Camila learns about herself and what she can do.

The author is generously offering an English version or a Spanish version for the winner of this prize.

“My Sister, the Saint” by Liz Vicente

Coming directly from experience, Liz tackled an extremely tough circumstance in “My Sister, the Saint.” It is a story of a mother’s remarkable love, and connects to Lent in a simple and clever way. Congratulations, Liz! You have won a copy of City of the Golden House by Madeleine Polland from Hillside Education!

“Untitled” by Kristine Neumayer Jenkins

I LOVE the direction of this entry because it is such an unexpected twist on the Lenten theme! Dealing with dragons, adventure, and imagination, Kristine cleverly tied in not one but TWO of our contest keywords. Congratulations, Kristine! You have won a copy of The Tripods Attack from Hillside Education.


Congratulations to the Winners!

THANK YOU to everyone who participated! Writing good literature for children is an incredibly important calling, and I’m so glad we’re doing this together!

If you won a book, I will put you in contact with the donor of your book to arrange shipping details.

Two winners received a manuscript critique from myself or Lindsay Schlegel. If you have won a manuscript critique, it is your responsibility to contact the person with whom you won the critique and schedule your session.

If you did not receive a critique and would like one, both Lindsay Schlegel and myself offer critique services, so feel free to reach out to either of us for that. Keep in contact with your writing peers, and let’s continue to support each other on this writing journey.

If some time has passed and you have not received your prize, please contact me so we can sort it all out. 🙂

Thank you again to all the donors and to those who participated! It has been a pleasure interacting with you all. What a joyful and meditative way to start out this Lenten season! Have a blessed Lent!


About Theresa Kiser

I’m Theresa Kiser, a speaker and award-winning children’s book author of Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server Serves His First Mass (A Book about Serving God), [COMING SPRING 2022 with Our Sunday Visitor!], the board book A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors and the fantasy adventure series The Manakor Chronicles. I love supporting other writers through workshops, writing contests, manuscript critiques, and one-on-one coaching. On a rare moment when I’m not writing or changing diapers, I might indulge in fruity teas, dark chocolate, and a good book.

Let’s nourish hope & love in young hearts…through books!

We’re LIVE! Post your story now to join the Lent-inspired Catholic Kidlit Writing Contest! (Just for Fun!)

Helllloooo, writers! I know your pencils are worn down and the wastebasket is full as you’ve been working to write your Lent-inspired story for kids these last few weeks. (If you haven’t written one, THERE’S STILL TIME, but none to waste–open a new document and WRITE!!)

If you’re new, read a little more about how this came about (here) and introduce yourself in the comments on that original post. (We’ll leave the comments on this page for contest entries.)

You’re also welcome to join my email list and follow the blog to be notified when the next writing contest comes available! 🙂

A few notes before you post:

I’ve included a sample entry in the first comment so you can see an example of how to post an entry. This story will obviously not be included in the running for one of the fabulous prizes that have been donated by the Catholic kidlit community (see below).

Please re-read through all the instructions, and make sure you follow them when you post your entry. Posts which do not follow the rules will not be considered.

When you post your entry, there will be a delay before it appears on the site. Do not worry, as it will show up eventually. If you do not see your entry quite close to the deadline, shoot me a message via my contact page.

Let’s support our fellow writers! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Read through the entries, and comment! Let other writers know what you like or admire about their story.
  • Share the contest with other writers who may not know about the opportunity.
  • Feel free to post your entry to your blog so your readers can read it, and check out the blogs of the other entrants and share their posts!

There’s so much value in encouraging and helping each other along the way. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity, and have fun!

Let’s review the rules!

Goals:

  1. Connect to other Catholic kidlit authors.
  2. Spur creativity!
  3. Get in some fun writing practice.
  4. Learn from other writers who participate.
  5. Encourage the writing of stories told from Catholic tradition/with Catholic values…for kids!
  6. and more!

How it works:

1. Write a 200 word children’s story! Write a poem, a story, a mood piece, whatever comes to mind that relates to Lent in some way. It can be Biblical, contemporary, mainstream, etc. It is welcome to but does not have to reference Catholic theology at all, as long as you follow the Lent-inspired guidelines below. Happy, sad, meditative, whatever you’d like for any kidlit age: board book through young adult. Length: 0-200 words. To summarize, your piece MUST:

  • Include 0-200 words, (not a word more!), AND
  • Relate to one of the photos included in this post (you must indicate which photo) OR include one of the following Lent-inspired words in your text: purple, sacrifice, or cross, AND
  • Be intended for any kidlit age (0-17), AND
  • Not contradict Catholic values or theology.

NOTE: You do NOT have to be Catholic to participate. This contest is open to all. The story simply must correspond with and be respectful of Catholic values/teaching. Can’t wait to read your story!

2. Between February 17 and February 19, 2021 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time, post your response as a comment on the contest blog post (I’ll link it here on Feb 17th). Do NOT post your entry on the page you’re reading now, as it will not be considered.

3. In your comment, please include (see my example post for formatting): 

  • your name
  • the word count of your piece, 
  • the word or image you selected (see instructions),
  • age level of the prize you’d prefer (BB [board book, ages 0-3], PB [picture book, ages 4-8], CB [chapter book], MG [middle grade, ages 8-12], YA [young adult, ages 13-17]),
  • country you’re in, as some prizes are US only, and
  • contact info for if you win a prize (ie. twitter handle, facebook name, or email–sorry I haven’t figured out Instagram yet)

NOTE: One entry per person please.

4. Share, share, share! If you’re reading this far, you’re probably a writer, which means, like me, you probably love reading, especially original work. Let’s share to support and encourage more quality writing in the Catholic kidlit space. Share with your writing groups, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If we get a large response, it may become an annual thing.

5. Comment on this post if you have questions, comments, or just want to say how excited you are!

Judging criteria I’ll be considering:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using your Lent-inspired word or photo
  3. Quality of story – basic story elements and a true story arc
  4. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
  5. Originality – I’d love to see something new brought to the table in this Catholic children’s space! ❤
  6. *Bonus* – I’ll choose the pieces that speak to me most, be they sentimental, sweet, meditative, funny, lyrical, scary, inspiring, or something I haven’t thought of. I’m excited to be surprised!

Prizes:

THANK YOU to the talented professionals who have contributed prizes! This is such an exciting moment, and you are offering your talents and time to make this possible! Your generosity is helping to bring us together and make better Catholic kidlit!

Picture Book manuscript critique from editor Lindsay Schlegel

(Little Lamb Books) – Lindsay Schlegel is a freelance editor with over fifteen years’ experience in a bookstore, literary agency, and a number of publishing houses, including Candlewick Press, Abrams, and Simon & Schuster. She currently serves as editor-at-large for Little Lamb Books, a Christian children’s publisher.

Picture Book manuscript critique from me, Theresa Kiser

Find out more about my manuscript critiques here.

A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors by Theresa Kiser

Introduce babies and toddlers to God’s LOVE through the symbolism of the liturgical colors!

The Lamb’s Gift by Brenda Ramirez

Friendships come in all forms, shapes and colors. In this story, it comes in the form of a little girl and a very special lamb that is dyed an array of colors throughout their journey. This story reminds us that sometimes holding on, is holding back.

The author is generously offering an English version or a Spanish version for the winner of this prize.

Merengue by Brenda Ramirez

Camila is a bright, joyful little girl who loved to dance merengue.  After a devastating accident, she becomes paralyzed from the waist down. However, when she receives her new wheelchair she is in for a big surprise. Discover how Camila learns about herself and what she can do.

The author is generously offering an English version or a Spanish version for the winner of this prize.

Digital copy of award-winning novel The Firebrand Legacy (Book #1 of The Manakor Chronicles) by T.K. Kiser

for ages 10-14, “Best Juvenile Fiction” Gold Winner

These titles from Hillside Education:

  • City of the Golden House by Madeleine Polland
  • Tripods Attack! (Book 1 Young Chesterton Series) by John McNichol
  • The King’s Gambit by John McNichol
  • Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite DeAngeli

A little about Hillside Education, from their website:

https://www.hillsideeducation.com/

“We publish reprints of historical fiction as well as language arts books, and other resources of interest to homeschooling families.”


It’s time! Post your story!

Let’s do this! You’ve written, revised, and edited…it’s time to bring your contest entry into the world! I can’t wait to be inspired and enjoy some Lent-inspired Catholic kidlit!

THANK YOU for doing this good work of writing stories of love for children. I believe it is an incredibly important calling.

All people (including our youngest!) deserve reminders of God’s great love. After all, isn’t that what we’re alive to do? Love and be loved? Bless you for using the talents God gave you to fulfill that call.

Again, please be sure to support the writers, authors, and illustrators by checking out their links, buying their books, reviewing them, requesting a purchase from your library, and sharing about their books on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep an eye on the blog for my posting of the winners! It will be at least a week and I can’t promise a specific date for the announcement, so stay tuned!


About Theresa Kiser

I’m Theresa Kiser, a speaker and award-winning children’s book author of the board book A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors and the fantasy adventure series The Manakor Chronicles. I love supporting other writers through workshops, writing contests, manuscript critiques, and one-on-one coaching. On a rare moment when I’m not writing or changing diapers, I might indulge in fruity teas, dark chocolate, and a good book.Sign up for emails

Let’s nourish hope & love in young hearts…through books!

“Mass Bag Must Have”

My heart leaped when I read the little slice of family life that Magdalena, a reviewer from Wisconsin, wrote about A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors:

My children love to pull this out at the start of every Mass and match it up to what Father is wearing and the older kids will read to the younger ones what the color means and the season we are in.

Magdalena McDonald Trevor, WI United States

Wow! That image makes my heart melt!

Thank you, Magdalena, for sharing such a beautiful vision of your children! ❤ An author never knows what will become of her book when it falls into the hands of its audience… This story that you shared gives me a little insight into how it fares in your family and just makes my heart so full!


About Theresa Kiser

I’m Theresa Kiser, a speaker and award-winning children’s book author of Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server (OSV, Coming Spring 2022), the board book A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors (Holy Heroes, 2019), and the fantasy adventure series The Manakor Chronicles. I love supporting other writers through workshops, writing contests, manuscript critiques, and one-on-one coaching. On a rare moment when I’m not writing or changing diapers, I might indulge in fruity teas, dark chocolate, and a good book.

Let’s nourish hope & love in young hearts…through books!


2 Weeks until the Catholic Kidlit Writing Contest opens! (Join the fun!)

Two weeks from today, on February 17, I’ll open up this year’s Lent-inspired Catholic Kidlit Writing contest! All the rules and instructions are below, so there’s no need to wait to write your entry!

Then, on the 17th (but not before), go ahead and post your entry in the comments section on the contest blog page (which will be posted on the 17th).

So for now, open a new document, get creative, and have fun!!

You can do it!

What exactly is this contest?

Goals:

  1. Connect to other Catholic kidlit authors.
  2. Spur creativity!
  3. Get in some fun writing practice.
  4. Learn from other writers who participate.
  5. Encourage the writing of stories told from Catholic tradition/with Catholic values…for kids!
  6. and more!

How it works:

1. Write a 200 word children’s story! Write a poem, a story, a mood piece, whatever comes to mind that relates to Lent in some way. It can be Biblical, contemporary, mainstream, etc. It is welcome to but does not have to reference Catholic theology at all, as long as you follow the Lent-inspired guidelines below. Happy, sad, meditative, whatever you’d like for any kidlit age: board book through young adult. Maximum length: 200 words. To summarize, your piece MUST:

  • Include 0-200 words, (not a word more!), AND
  • Relate to one of the photos included in this post (you must indicate which photo) OR include one of the following Lent-inspired words in your text: purple, sacrifice, or cross, AND
  • Be intended for any kidlit age (0-17), AND
  • Not contradict Catholic values or theology.

NOTE: You do NOT have to be Catholic to participate. This contest is open to all. The story simply must correspond with and be respectful of Catholic values/teaching. Can’t wait to read your story!

2. Between February 17 and February 19, 2021 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time, post your response as a comment on the contest blog post (I’ll link it here on Feb 17th). Do NOT post your entry on the page you’re reading now, as it will not be considered.

3. In your comment, please include (see my example post for formatting): 

  • your name
  • the word count of your piece, 
  • the word or image you selected (see instructions),
  • age level of the prize you’d prefer (BB [board book, ages 0-3], PB [picture book, ages 4-8], CB [chapter book], MG [middle grade, ages 8-12], YA [young adult, ages 13-17]),
  • country you’re in, as some prizes are US only, and
  • contact info for if you win a prize (ie. twitter handle, facebook name, or email–sorry I haven’t figured out Instagram yet)

NOTE: One entry per person please.

4. Share, share, share! If you’re reading this far, you’re probably a writer, which means, like me, you probably love reading, especially original work. Let’s share to support and encourage more quality writing in the Catholic kidlit space. Share with your writing groups, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If we get a large response, it may become an annual thing.

5. Comment on this post if you have questions, comments, or just want to say how excited you are!

Judging criteria I’ll be considering:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using your Lent-inspired word or photo
  3. Quality of story – basic story elements and a true story arc
  4. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
  5. Originality – I’d love to see something new brought to the table in this Catholic children’s space! ❤
  6. *Bonus* – I’ll choose the pieces that speak to me most, be they sentimental, sweet, meditative, funny, lyrical, scary, inspiring, or something I haven’t thought of. I’m excited to be surprised!

Prizes:

THANK YOU to the talented professionals who have contributed prizes! This is such an exciting moment, and you are offering your talents and time to make this possible! Your generosity is helping to bring us together and make better Catholic kidlit!

Picture Book manuscript critique from editor Lindsay Schlegel

(Little Lamb Books) – Lindsay Schlegel is a freelance editor with over fifteen years’ experience in a bookstore, literary agency, and a number of publishing houses, including Candlewick Press, Abrams, and Simon & Schuster. She currently serves as editor-at-large for Little Lamb Books, a Christian children’s publisher.

Picture Book manuscript critique from me, Theresa Kiser

Find out more about my manuscript critiques here.

A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors by Theresa Kiser

Introduce babies and toddlers to God’s LOVE through the symbolism of the liturgical colors!

The Lamb’s Gift by Brenda Ramirez

Friendships come in all forms, shapes and colors. In this story, it comes in the form of a little girl and a very special lamb that is dyed an array of colors throughout their journey. This story reminds us that sometimes holding on, is holding back.

The author is generously offering an English version or a Spanish version for the winner of this prize.

Merengue by Brenda Ramirez

Camila is a bright, joyful little girl who loved to dance merengue.  After a devastating accident, she becomes paralyzed from the waist down. However, when she receives her new wheelchair she is in for a big surprise. Discover how Camila learns about herself and what she can do.

The author is generously offering an English version or a Spanish version for the winner of this prize.

Digital copy of award-winning novel The Firebrand Legacy (Book #1 of The Manakor Chronicles) by T.K. Kiser

for ages 10-14, “Best Juvenile Fiction” Gold Winner

These titles from Hillside Education:

  • City of the Golden House by Madeleine Polland
  • Tripods Attack! (Book 1 Young Chesterton Series) by John McNichol
  • The King’s Gambit by John McNichol
  • Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite DeAngeli

A little about Hillside Education, from their website:

https://www.hillsideeducation.com/

“We publish reprints of historical fiction as well as language arts books, and other resources of interest to homeschooling families.”


Check back soon for the contest to officially open!

In the meantime, sign up for my email list to get important updates, and check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic Valentiney Writing Contest in the second week of February for more writing challenge and community!


About Theresa Kiser

I’m Theresa Kiser, a speaker and award-winning children’s book author of the board book A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors and the fantasy adventure series The Manakor Chronicles. I love supporting other writers through workshops, writing contests, manuscript critiques, and one-on-one coaching. On a rare moment when I’m not writing or changing diapers, I might indulge in fruity teas, dark chocolate, and a good book.Sign up for emails

Let’s nourish hope & love in young hearts…through books!


How is the writing going so far? Let me know in the comments!

It’s official! I signed a picture book contract…with OSV!

I am thrilled to announce the big news! After years of working on a project beloved to my heart, I can finally share that my new book, tentatively titled Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server Serves His First Mass (A Book about Serving God), is planned to be published in Spring 2022 with Our Sunday Visitor!! 🤩🤩🤩

So much love, work, and time poured in to get to this moment.

The Publisher:

Everything about working with OSV has been AMAZING so far (and if you haven’t checked out their new magazine for kids, OSV Kids, do so! We’re looking forward to getting our family’s first issue in the mail soon.)

I can’t wait for OSV to bring Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server to life with their illustrations and book production. They understand the heart of the story, and I have total confidence in the quality of book they will produce. Be sure to join my email list to get an update when the book comes out!

The Book!!!

Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server Serves His First Mass (A Book about Serving God) is for children ages 4-8, about a would-be altar server named Arthur, who is very clumsy. A book of endearing mishaps and faith, Arthur’s faults and fears lead to a deeper understanding of the Catholic Church and–most importantly–God’s love.


About Theresa Kiser

I’m Theresa Kiser, a speaker and award-winning children’s book author of Arthur the Clumsy Altar Server (OSV, Coming Spring 2022), the board book A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors (Holy Heroes, 2019), and the fantasy adventure series The Manakor Chronicles. I love supporting other writers through workshops, writing contests, manuscript critiques, and one-on-one coaching. On a rare moment when I’m not writing or changing diapers, I might indulge in fruity teas, dark chocolate, and a good book.

Let’s nourish hope & love in young hearts…through books!


You’re Invited: New Writing Contest for Catholic Kidlit! (Just for Fun!)

Hello, readers! I have been in this writing-for-children journey for quite a while now, and picked up a good number of tips and tricks along the way. One of the most fun ways I’ve found is to improve my craft is to engage with the rest of the “kidlit” (children’s book writing) community through critique groups, conferences, and…WRITING CONTESTS!

The general market has LOTS of contests, LOTS of community, LOTS of publishers, and LOTS of opportunity. The Catholic market (and therefore the Catholic kidlit writing community) has…less, which is no surprise given the small size of our segment.

But I have had SO MUCH FUN participating in small-scale writing exercises/contests on other children’s book writers’ blogs (such as those of Susanna Hill and Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez) which happen every so often, especially around holidays.

So this Ash Wednesday, I’m going to bring this fun tradition to our smaller niche! I’m hosting a NEW writing contest for writers! Let’s connect and have some fun writing Catholic kidlit!

GOALS:

  1. Connect to other Catholic kidlit authors.
  2. Spur creativity!
  3. Get in some fun writing practice.
  4. Learn from other writers who participate.
  5. Encourage the writing of stories told from Catholic tradition/with Catholic values…for kids!
  6. and more!
Let’s practice writing stories that share with children what this ^ means!

Here’s how it will work:

1. Write a 200 word children’s story! Write a poem, a story, a mood piece, whatever comes to mind that relates to Lent in some way. It can be Biblical, contemporary, mainstream, etc. It is welcome to but does not have to reference Catholic theology at all, as long as you follow the Lent-inspired guidelines below. Happy, sad, meditative, whatever you’d like for any kidlit age: board book through young adult. Maximum length: 200 words. To summarize, your piece MUST:

  • Include 0-200 words, (not a word more!), AND
  • Relate to one of the photos included in this post (you must indicate which photo) OR include one of the following Lent-inspired words in your text: purple, sacrifice, or cross, AND
  • Be intended for any kidlit age (0-17), AND
  • Not contradict Catholic values or theology.

NOTE: You do NOT have to be Catholic to participate. This contest is open to all. The story simply must correspond with and be respectful of Catholic values/teaching. Can’t wait to read your story!

2. Between February 17 and February 19, 2021 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time, post your response as a comment on the contest blog post (I’ll link it here on Feb 17th). Do NOT post your entry on the page you’re reading now, as it will not be considered.

3. In your comment, please include: 

  • your name
  • the word count of your piece, 
  • the word or image you selected (see instructions),
  • age level of the prize you’d prefer (BB [board book, ages 0-3], PB [picture book, ages 4-8], CB [chapter book], MG [middle grade, ages 8-12], YA [young adult, ages 13-17]),
  • country you’re in, as some prizes are US only, and
  • contact info for if you win a prize (ie. twitter handle, facebook name, or email–sorry I haven’t figured out Instagram yet)

NOTE: One entry per person please.

4. Share, share, share! If you’re reading this far, you’re probably a writer, which means, like me, you probably love reading, especially original work. Let’s share to support and encourage more quality writing in the Catholic kidlit space. Share with your writing groups, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If we get a large response, it may become an annual thing.

5. Comment on this post if you have questions, comments, or just want to say how excited you are!

Judging criteria I’ll be considering:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using your Lent-inspired word or photo
  3. Quality of story – basic story elements and a true story arc
  4. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
  5. Originality – I’d love to see something new brought to the table in this Catholic children’s space! ❤
  6. *Bonus* – I’ll choose the pieces that speak to me most, be they sentimental, sweet, meditative, funny, lyrical, scary, inspiring, or something I haven’t thought of. I’m excited to be surprised!

Prizes:

THANK YOU to the talented professionals who have contributed prizes! This is such an exciting moment, and you are offering your talents and time to make this possible! Your generosity is helping to bring us together and make better Catholic kidlit!

Picture Book manuscript critique from editor Lindsay Schlegel

(Little Lamb Books) – Lindsay Schlegel is a freelance editor with over fifteen years’ experience in a bookstore, literary agency, and a number of publishing houses, including Candlewick Press, Abrams, and Simon & Schuster. She currently serves as editor-at-large for Little Lamb Books, a Christian children’s publisher.

Picture Book manuscript critique from me, Theresa Kiser

Find out more about my manuscript critiques here.

A Little Catholic’s Book of Liturgical Colors by Theresa Kiser

Introduce babies and toddlers to God’s LOVE through the symbolism of the liturgical colors!

The Lamb’s Gift by Brenda Ramirez

Friendships come in all forms, shapes and colors. In this story, it comes in the form of a little girl and a very special lamb that is dyed an array of colors throughout their journey. This story reminds us that sometimes holding on, is holding back.

The author is generously offering an English version or a Spanish version for the winner of this prize.

Merengue by Brenda Ramirez

Camila is a bright, joyful little girl who loved to dance merengue.  After a devastating accident, she becomes paralyzed from the waist down. However, when she receives her new wheelchair she is in for a big surprise. Discover how Camila learns about herself and what she can do.

The author is generously offering an English version or a Spanish version for the winner of this prize.

Digital copy of award-winning novel The Firebrand Legacy (Book #1 of The Manakor Chronicles) by T.K. Kiser

for ages 10-14, “Best Juvenile Fiction” Gold Winner

These titles from Hillside Education:

  • City of the Golden House by Madeleine Polland
  • Tripods Attack! (Book 1 Young Chesterton Series) by John McNichol
  • The King’s Gambit by John McNichol
  • Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite DeAngeli

A little about Hillside Education, from their website:

https://www.hillsideeducation.com/

“We publish reprints of historical fiction as well as language arts books, and other resources of interest to homeschooling families.”


I can’t wait to connect with my fellow Catholic kidlit writers and encourage more practiced craft for this important and fulfilling vocation!

Please be sure to support the writers, authors, and illustrators by checking out their links, buying their books, reviewing them, requesting a purchase from your library, and sharing about their books on Facebook and Twitter.

I’ll be updating the blog with next steps for the contest, so check back before February 17, or sign up here to get an email when the next contest announcement comes out!

Will you be joining the contest? Let me know in the comments!

3 Ways to Deepen Your Faith by Reading the Saints’ Diaries

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

3 Ways to Deepen Your Faith by Reading the Saints’ Diaries

“While struggling to find bright spots of hope and light in a world of uncertainty during the pandemic, I had the happy fortune to stumble upon a treasure trove of spiritual reading: I picked up a copy of Saint Teresa of Avila’s Story of Her Life, and began to read. Before long, I noticed that I felt…” Read more

Join me for a free webinar!

I’ve been asked to join a panel on writing and publishing in 2020 at the Catholic “Festival of Friendship.” 😀 Join me there for the online webinar on Thursday, October 29 at 6PM. It’s FREE!

I’ll be sharing tips on how to navigate the challenges of publishing children’s books during this *different* year, and will answer questions from the audience in the online chat.

You will learn:

  • Tips to get your first (or later!) book deal/writing income during these strange times,
  • Insight as to what is happening differently this year in the publishing world,
  • Ways to turn this year’s challenges into opportunities,
  • Specific insight into the children’s publishing world, and
  • WHY it matters!

This talk will be especially relevant to those who want to write/get published and want to know what to do next.

Join me and two other speakers, publisher Gregory Wolfe and professor Christopher Riley, this Thursday, October 29 at 6PM!

Mid-sentence at the Festival of Friendship writing/publishing webinar

Join for free at this link: https://hopin.to/events/festival-of-friendship-2020-how-many-publishers-does-it-take-to-change-a-lightbulb

Second Printing!

Liturgical Colors is already in its SECOND PRINTING! 🤩🤩🤩 It’s so exciting to see my debut board book go back to the printers to meet demand! Check it out if you haven’t already, and while you’re at it…

Liturgical Colors

…take a look at this NEW board book coming to the same publisher, Holy Heroes. I can’t wait to read it! They rely on pre-orders to get counts right, so order Liturgical Colors and pre-order When Heaven Comes to Earth for Advent and Christmas gifts for little ones. (Can you believe Christmas is already just around the corner?)

When Heaven Comes To Earth