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I just won a scholarship to the Craft and Business of Writing Children's Picture Books class through the Children's Book Academy. I've been happy dancing since I heard the great news! The class is taught by Random House editor Kelly Delaney and Mira Reisberg, and includes 25+ guest experts, worksheets and templates, and critiquing webinars. Plus, there will be Golden Ticket opportunities to submit directly to an agent or editor and bypass the slush pile or closed house submission policy. I can't wait to start this class at the end of the month!

I shared my news on Facebook and loved celebrating with everyone—then realized that it would be great to keep the celebration going by paying my good luck forward and helping someone else. I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and decided to give away a free picture book critique (or up to 5 pages of an MG or YA). When I asked Mira, she loved the idea, and then generously offered to give away a picture book critique. So click on the Rafflecopter widget below and enter for your chance to win a critique with Mira or me.

If you attend Mira’s free webinar on Friday night, June 19, at 8:30 pm EST, you’ll have the chance to win a picture book critique with Random House editor Kelly Delaney. I’m definitely going to be there. It’s called: Finding Your Writer's Voice, Finding Your Characters' Voices. It’ll help you learn what a writer’s voice is and how to develop yours and see how characters' voices are a part of your writer's voice. Plus, you’ll have the chance to connect with a Random House editor who is actively looking to acquire great picture books.

This scholarship came at the perfect time for me. I'm usually a very prolific writer (I actually wrote the first draft of one of my novels in 11 days during NaNoWriMo and wrote the first draft of nine picture books during the seven days of NaPiBoWriWee one year)...but because of health issues with my daughters, I haven't been as productive as usual. I also tend to give my novels more attention and my picture books have been begging me to do something like this for a while. I've had some interest in my picture books, but something always seems to hold them back from getting that magical yes. I'm hopeful that this awesome interactive online class will help me make my picture books sparkle enough to dazzle editors, agents, and future readers.

I've seen so many raves about this class. Some online friends have said that it's 'life-changing, the equivalent of 20 conferences, and better than complete MFA programs'. Thank you so much for giving me a scholarship, Mira! I don't often talk about my disability, but I've had about 70% hearing loss in both ears since I was 35 and have had to wear hearing aids since then. I'd love the chance to make all of my picture books shine, and would especially love to get my PB, Sound Detective, published one day. I’ll never forget what it felt like to realize how bad my hearing had gotten, and that I’d have to wear hearing aids for the rest of my life. I was horrified at first, but quickly changed my mind when I realized all the amazing sounds I had been missing, and how much easier it is to interact with people with my hearing aids in. I was surprised to see that there aren’t many books for children that have a character with hearing loss, and I’d love to use my experience to help children going through something similar—and also help raise more awareness in others.

Good luck to everyone entering for a free critique! I’ll announce the winners on Friday. LiveJournal often doesn't show the Rafflecopter widget, so if you don't see it below, click here to enter!

**Thank you all for entering. Rafflecopter has selected the winners, and they are:


A picture book critique (or 5 pages of an MG/YA) from Mindy Alyse Weiss:
Jill Dana Siegel

A picture book critique from Mira Reisberg:
Jennifer DuBose

Huge congrats to the winners! Mira and I will be in touch with you soon. :)


Don’t forget about the #PBPitch Twitter party on Wednesday, June 24th. It’s a great opportunity to pitch your completed and polished picture books online to agents and editors. Definitely check out their website—in addition to info about the fun pitch contest, they have a list of 100+ agents who rep picture books!

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Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Jun. 17th, 2015 12:04 am (UTC)
Free critique
Thanks for all the helpful info and the giveaway offer. I have a good friend who has just released a very funny and beautifully illustrated book based on a true story about a cow jumping into a swimming pool. I will definitely pass this on to her. Her book is called Too Hot To Moo

I have written a story about a young girl who lost the ability to walk at the age of seven. There is an added emotional level writing about disabilities but they are worth doing.

Congrats on your own wins!

Beth
mindyalyse
Jun. 18th, 2015 04:57 am (UTC)
Re: Free critique
You're welcome, Beth. Wow, your story sounds great and full of emotion. You're right, stories about characters with a disability can be harder to write, but they're definitely worth doing (and very much needed).
Rosie Pova
Jun. 17th, 2015 03:14 am (UTC)
Sounds Great!
Congratulations, Mindy!
What a wonderful way to celebrate and share the joy with us. It's such a bummer that I missed the deadline to apply, but next year I hope to be able to.

Thanks for offering the critique giveaway :)

Rosie
mindyalyse
Jun. 18th, 2015 05:02 am (UTC)
Re: Sounds Great!
Thanks, Rosie! I'm sorry you missed the scholarship deadline. Are you going to take the free webinar on Friday at 8:30 EST?

This is the best way to celebrate good news. :) Good luck with the giveaway!
(Anonymous)
Jun. 17th, 2015 01:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Mindy!
I just love it when joy multiplies, as is happening as a result of your offer and Mira's. What a generous, joy-filled community we have! I can't wait to read SOUND DETECTIVE :) Thanks, too, for the heads-up about the free webinar, and the prompts to follow Mira everywhere, which I'd meant to do a long time ago, lol!

Enjoy!

Jen DuBose
mindyalyse
Jun. 18th, 2015 05:23 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks, Mindy!
I love our generous, joy-filled community!

You're welcome for the heads up and prompts to follow Mira. I signed up for her newsletter a while back, and that's how I knew about the scholarship deadline.

I can't wait to revise Sound Detective during and after the class, and would love to have it 100% ready to submit sometime this year.

deenaml
Jun. 18th, 2015 01:56 am (UTC)
A young girl at my library just asked for books about "kids with hearing aids because she is getting one"...and there was like nothing! Hope your book gets picked up quick after this class!
mindyalyse
Jun. 18th, 2015 05:15 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you. :) I'm so sorry that your library didn't have a book for her.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 18th, 2015 02:14 am (UTC)
Congrats!!
Congratulations on your scholarship, Mindy! That course sounds AMAZING!! If I had the cash I would definitely be doing it! Oh well, maybe next year.

I also wanted to thank you for sharing about your hearing loss. I am actually a teacher who works with young children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. The children I teach wear hearing aids and cochlear implants. I absolutely love my job and feel such joy at seeing the progress these children make in developing their listening and spoken language skills. I also have aspirations to write a pb with my main character as a child with hearing loss and have a few ideas brewing. There is definitely a need for pb books on this issue! Would love to read your Sound Detective story if you would like to share or if you would like the perspective of someone who teaches this population.

I'm on the Blueboards as well (murphy44)😊
mindyalyse
Jun. 18th, 2015 04:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Congrats!!
Thank you so much! I'm sorry that you aren't able to take the class this year. Will you be at the free webinar tomorrow?

You have such a wonderful job. Those kids are lucky to have you! Definitely work on one of your new PB ideas. There really is a huge need for them.

Thanks for the offer to read Sound Detective. I still have some work to do on it, but would love to swap PBs in the future. :)
(Anonymous)
Jun. 18th, 2015 06:54 am (UTC)
YOU
i can't figure out how to turn Anonymous to me-- your friend, your fan, Pamela Ross!
Mazel tov on earning a scholarship to the class. I am thrilled for you.
I will be at the Mira 8:30 pm workshop Friday night. See you there, lovey.

I must add here I had -no- idea about the hearing loss.
Thank you for sharing this story.i
I will ask you more about this in another place and time. I have been informed I am on the borderline of hearing loss. That doctor recommended hearing aids to maintain my levels.
I haven't followed up yet but I'm sure I will someday soon.
My father let it go and he cannot hear a thing.
I don't want to go there.

(())

Congratulations, sweet Mindy. See you Friday night!
mindyalyse
Jun. 18th, 2015 05:00 pm (UTC)
Re: YOU
Thank you so much, Pamela! One of these days, I'll switch to a new blog. There are definitely some issues with LJ, but I want to wait until I can hire someone to help me set up Wordpress like a website and hopefully move over all my old posts or somehow link them. If you sign in using Facebook or Twitter, it pulls you up with a photo (see Rosie's post above).

I usually don't run around talking about my hearing aids, but haven't tried to hide them in a long time. They were in during our late night talk at the Poconos Retreat, when we were surrounded by tons of giant ladybugs. Definitely ask me any questions you have. Knock on wood, using my hearing aids almost all the time for over 10 years seems to have stopped my hearing from getting much worse. They have such great technology for hearing aids now--I love being able to send the sound from my iPhone, TV, and iPad straight to my hearing aids!

Thanks for stopping by my blog, Pamela. I've missed chatting with you! I'll see you at the webinar tomorrow. (((Hugs)))
(Anonymous)
Jun. 18th, 2015 03:40 pm (UTC)
Keep up the great work ;)
Thanks for posting about the new webinar. I will try to attend tomorrow night. I love Mira's classes and webinars...

Thanks for creating a contest for a critique. Will enter.

Congrats on the scholarship!

I hope you continue working on 'Sound Detective'!!! :)

(P.S. I wanted to post via Google, but Live Journal wanted a bunch of info., so I chose Anonymous. But, this is Jill D.S.)
mindyalyse
Jun. 18th, 2015 05:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Keep up the great work ;)
You're welcome, Jill. I hope I'll see you at the webinar tomorrow--and good luck winning one of the PB critiques. :)

I'll definitely continue working on Sound Detective. I hope to have it ready to sub soon after this class ends.

I'm sorry that LJ can be a pain to post on. I wonder if it's easier to post via Facebook or Twitter on here, instead of Google. One of these days I'll switch over to Wordpress, which seems easier for everyone to post on, plus it supports the Rafflecopter widget instead of just giving a link like LJ does.
saputnam
Jun. 18th, 2015 04:37 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on getting the scholarship, Mindy! That's terrific news! I would love to take Mira's course but finances make it iffy at the moment... maybe someday. But I will definitely be there for Mira's workshop on Friday.

I applaud you for sharing about your hearing loss with us... it's never easy to speak about the struggles that you're going through, or have gone through. Someday I may write about mine. I can't wait to read "Sound Detective"... I just know it will be picked up!

Edited at 2015-06-18 04:38 pm (UTC)
mindyalyse
Jun. 18th, 2015 05:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, Sharon! Maybe you can take it next year. If you sign up for her newsletter, you'll get a reminder about applying for a scholarship. I'm glad I'll see you at the webinar on Friday!

And thanks--I talk about it privately (especially if I need someone to speak up during a noisy conference), but it really felt good to share with everyone here.

I hope everything is going great with you and your writing!
(Anonymous)
Jun. 18th, 2015 06:58 pm (UTC)
from Marcia Nass
I'm so happy for you. I signed up for the free one. Wondering I have some PB's but am working on a chapter book. Do you think one of these editors would read the first five of a chapter book geared for second grade? Again, congratulations and I worked with hearing impaired children so it is wonderful to know you have a book. Here's to it finding a home.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 18th, 2015 07:11 pm (UTC)
Mindy, I am so excited to hear of your good fortune! It's always exciting to win anything. Your writing is already fabulous, and I'm sure it will truly sparkle after you finish Kelly and Mira's class! Hugs
Beth Gallagher
Jun. 20th, 2015 12:12 pm (UTC)
Too late.... :(
Unfortunately I was too late to get in on the giveaway, but wanted to say congratulations on the scholarship win! I've been lusting after Mira's class for ages and will hope to get there someday. Have fun! :)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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Mindy's head shot
mindyalyse
Mindy Alyse Weiss
I write humorous middle-grade novels with heart and quirky picture books.

I'm an Administrator on the SCBWI Blueboard, the FL SCBWI Newsletter Editor and Critique Group Coordinator, and a proud member of From The Mixed Up Files...of Middle-Grade Authors

I've been married for twenty years and have two beautiful daughters, an adventurous Bullmasador adopted from The Humane Society, and an adorable Beagle/Pointer mix pup who was rescued from the Everglades.

I've been published in Highlights three times and placed in the 80th Writer's Digest Competition.

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