Beth Stilborn is a Pro at Fixing Your Flubs!

Many of you may have participated in Shannon Abercrombie’s wonderful Start the Year Off Write challenge this past January. Badge_StartTheYearOffWriteEach day a talented author or illustrator shared insights into their writing practices and provided a writing prompt/exercise to challenge-ees to complete. It was a great way to start the year. I thoroughly enjoyed the blog posts and really was inspired by the writing prompts and exercises. I want to thank Shannon for that wonderful month of writing.

Not only was the month inspiring, I won a prize! I won a copy editing package from Beth Stilborn’s copy editing services, FLUBS 2 FIXES. The package included: A copy edit of a 1-page query letter AND copy edits of 2 picture book drafts! Beth is one of the first people I became acquainted with when I started writing a few years back. She is supportive and gracious. And now I’ve learned what an excellent copy editor she is. I have already taken advantage of her services by having her copy edit one of my picture book drafts. I’m happy to report that not long after she did the copy editing, I sent the perfectly formatted, perfectly edited, grammatically correct manuscript to my agent. My agent loved it and it is going out on submission.

When I submit a manuscript, I want it to shine. I don’t want my agent or an editor to be distracted from my story by errors I may have missed. Remember that first impressions are important when it comes to our writing. Formatting, grammar, and punctuation play a big part in that first impression. This is Beth’s area of expertise. She did an amazing job. She was thorough and professional. She returned my copy edited manuscript in a timely manner. The bottom line is-Beth fixed my flubs. 🙂

If you don’t follow Beth’s blog, now is the perfect time to start. A few months ago, she started a new monthly Question and Answer series on grammar and word usage, “A Word With Beth.” In this series, she promises to do her best to answer questions sent to her by her blog readers. This is your chance to draw on her expertise.

I would highly recommend Beth’s services. If you have a manuscript that needs that extra polish before you submit it, head on over and check out FLUBS 2 FIXES. Beth can help. I promise!


Beth Stilborn worked as a proofreader one summer while she was in college. She used to say that experience had spoiled her for life, because she was always seeing typos and grammatical errors in things — now she knows it prepared her for life as a copy editor and proofreader! Besides taking manuscripts from flubs to fixes, Beth writes fiction for kids and adults.

Beth is currently a member of SCBWI, Julie Hedlund’s 12×12, and Emma Walton Hamilton’s Children’s Book Hub. She co-hosts the Children’s Book Hub Facebook Group with Emma, and is associate editor of the Children’s Book Hub Newsletter.



Bad Bye, Good Bye-Perfect Picture Book Friday

I just read another huggable book today! I’m so excited to add it to the Perfect Picture Book Friday list.


Bad Bye, Good Bye

Written by Deborah Underwood

Illustrated by Jonathan Bean

Ages 4 – 8 years

HMH Books for Young Readers April 2014

Themes: Moving

Synopsis: A boy and his family are packing up their old home, and the morning feels scary and sad. But when he arrives at his new home, an evening of good byes awaits: bye to new friends, bye to glowing fireflies, bye to climbing trees.

Bad day
Bad box
Bad mop
Bad blocks

Resources: I found articles on the Internet about preparing a child to move, but most were advice to parents instead of activities to do with the child. I thought of making a scrapbook.
Create in spreads. On the left side have reminders and memories of the current house, yard, park, school, town, etc. On the right side write the title New and leave it blank. Talk with the child about how you will fill it up with new memories when you get to your new home. Hopefully this will create some excitement about the new home as well as acknowledge the importance of the home the child is leaving. Include all members of the family, including pets. You could also add a “planning” part to the scrapbook and let the child create a new house from magazine clippings or drawings instead of leaving it blank. Or do some of both and leave space to add to the book when you get to the new house.

Why I Like This Book: The text is rhyming which is always a bonus for me. And the book tells so much in so few perfectly selected words. I believe the word count is 80! Can you believe that? And those 80 words complete a beautiful story. When I closed the cover on my first read-through, I literally said, “This is magical!” The illustrations add to the magic. As the story took me on a journey with the boy moving to his new home, I felt every emotion. I felt it in the words and I felt it in the art.!

And if you have friends who are moving across town or across the country, give them this book to share with their children.

To find more perfect picture books, head on over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and check out all the fantastic selections! Each book is reviewed by a picture book-lovin’ reviewer, AND includes activities to go along with the book. You will find a handy list right HERE.

Perfect Picture Book Friday-The Gruffalo

It’s National Poetry Month AND Perfect Picture Book Friday! What could be better than that, I ask? How about one of my favorite rhyming picture books? Gruffalo

The Gruffalo Written by Julia Donaldson

Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

Penguin Group 1999

Ages: 5-8

Themes: Language Fun, Humor

Synopsis: This rhythmic read-aloud follows a clever mouse on a walk through the deep dark wood, where he encounters several hungry inhabitants who want to make him their main course. Lacking size or strength as defenses, quick-witted Mouse instead taps the powers of his imagination to create the gruffalo, a “terrible creature with terrible claws, and terrible tusks in his terrible jaws.” But will Mouse’s frightful description be enough to ruin the appetites of his determined foes? After all, there’s no such thing as a gruffalo. Oh, no??

A clever mouse uses the threat of a terrifying creature to keep from being eaten by a fox, an owl, and a snake–only to have to outwit that creature as well.

Opening: A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood. A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good. “Where are you going to, little brown mouse? Come and have lunch in my underground house.” “It’s terribly kind of you, Fox, but no— I’m going to have lunch with a gruffalo.” Resources: HERE are online games, printouts and activities aplenty. HERE is a Pinterest page with Gruffalo crafts and activities.

Why I Like This Book: Julia Donaldson is an absolute genius! I just love her books and this is one of my faves. It’s effortless to read her rhyme and she doesn’t let it dictate her story. As far as the mouse . . . he’s quick on his little brown feet and so clever as over and over again, he evades being “lunch”. And the spread where he meets the Gruffalo . . . “Oh!” . . . his expression is priceless! But he handles it! If you haven’t read this one, it’s a must! If you’re interested, I reviewed a couple of her other books. HERE is my review for What the Ladybug Heard. And HERE is my review for The Snail and the Whale.

To find more perfect picture books, head on over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and check out all the fantastic selections! Each book is reviewed by a picture book-lovin’ reviewer, AND includes activities to go along with the book. You will find a handy list right HERE.