I’m so excited to be one of the authors on the newest project from Little Lamb Books, ALL GOD’S CREATURES! 60 DAYS OF DEVOTIONS FOR ANIMAL-LOVING KIDS! Little Lamb Books has put together an amazing Kickstarter program to help fund the printing of the companion journal for this beautiful book. If you do your pre-orders through Kickstarter, you’ll be eligible for some amazing prizes. Click here for more information:
One of my favorite things about writing for children is welcoming other amazing authors to my blog to celebrate book releases. Today I’m happy to host my friend and fellow author, Janet L. Christensen and her new book, CAIRO’s CHRISTMAS JOURNEY (Little Lamb Books, October 2020)! Janet is an award-winning writer, speaker and encourager that loves to captivate audiences with inspiring stories. She is a pastor’s wife, a children’s and women’s ministry leader, and the proud mother of two teenage sons and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Sully.
Welcome, Janet and Cairo!
Janet: Patti, thanks so much for letting me join you today to tell you a little bit more about my new Christian children’s book, Cairo’s Christmas Journey. I hope you don’t mind, but I have brought the main character of the story along to help tell you about his story. Everybody, I would like to introduce you to my friend, Cairo the Cricket.
Cairo: Why, hello everybody!
Janet: So, Cairo, your story is about the night that Jesus was born. Can you tell us about it?
Cairo: Oh, my. I will never forget it. You see, my job is to play soothing music to calm down the sheep at night. Have you ever been around sheep?
Janet: You know, I can’t say as I have.
Cairo: Well, sometimes they just don’t like to go to sleep at night.
Janet: Oh, well, I do know a bit about that. When my boys were little, sometimes they didn’t like to go to sleep.
Cairo: So, you know all about it. That is where I come in. The shepherds say that my lullabies are the best they have heard. I can put the sheep to sleep in no time. Anyway, on that night, we got quite the surprise.
Janet: You did?
Cairo: Yes. I had just finished the sheep’s favorite lullaby and they were all settled down for the night. All of a sudden, we were visited by a bunch of angels. They told the shepherds all about the Messiah being born. And then one of the angels came to talk to me.
Janet: And what did the angel say to you?
Cairo: The angel told me that God wanted me to go to Bethlehem to play my sweet lullabies for the newborn King. I was shocked.
Janet: I can imagine. That sounds like a big job.
Cairo: It was a very important job. But it seemed impossible. You see, I am just a regular cricket with regular sized cricket legs. I didn’t think I would ever make all the way to Bethlehem that night.
Janet: Oh, wow. So what did you do?
Cairo: The angel told me that God would help me on my journey, so I only had one thing I could do. I got to hoppin’.
Janet: Well, that sounds pretty easy.
Cairo: Oh, no! It was anything but easy. You wouldn’t believe the tight spots I ended up in. It was quite the wild night.
Janet: How did you ever make it?
Cairo: Well, Janet. The angel was right. God sent me the help I needed right when I needed it. And I got to meet some excellent helpers along the way.
Janet: So, you finally made it to Bethlehem. How did the Messiah like your songs?
Cairo: Well, it is hard to tell. He fell asleep before I was done.
Janet: It sounds like he liked your music very well. Good job of listening to God, even when things got hard.
Cairo: I will never forget that night. I learned a very important lesson.
Janet: And what was that?
Cairo: That God is there to help us on our toughest journeys. I have remembered that ever since that night.
Janet: That is indeed an important lesson. Thank you, Cairo, for sharing your story with everyone and I bet everyone is excited to read your story when it releases on October 27 from Little Lamb Books. You can find Cairo’s Christmas Journey at many of your favorite booksellers. You can check out all of the latest on this book on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/janetlchristensen or at janetlchristensen.com.
Thanks for joining me today, Janet! CAIRO’S CHRISTMAS JOURNEY releases tomorrow (Oct. 27) and is available through Little Lamb Books or anywhere books are sold.
Sensibility- Seeing well-loved stories in new ways helps keep those stories fresh for future generations.
Sense- Think about an old story you love. As an exercise, reimagine the story from the perspective of a different character or object and write a short scene from your new point of view.
I’m so excited to announce that I have signed a contract with Blue Whale Press an imprint of Clear Fork Publishing for my picture book, O POSSUM’S PREDICAMENT! I want to thank Alayne Kay Christian and Callie Metler-Smith for believing in this possum’s tail and for believing in me, and to my amazing critique partners for all of your help!
During these challenging times, good news seems extra good! It makes my heart happy to know that stories are still going out to brighten and inform the lives of children no matter where they are learning, whether virtually or in person.
I can’t wait to see O POSSUM out in the world. Bless you all for your continued support! Happy dancing!
Sensibility- Often the most creative moments come during the most challenging times.
Sense- During this time of quarantine, where days seem to melt into each other, it’s still important to carve out time for creativity. Whether it’s writing in a journal, knitting, baking bread, or writing for children, stretching your mind with new projects is good for your emotional well-being.
I want to wish you and your family and friends a blessed and Happy New Year! I’m so grateful you’re part of my journey and appreciate so much when you stop by and read my musings about writing or celebrate with me when I have good news. You truly are one of my best gifts. . .
And guess what?! In just a few weeks I’m going to have some big news to share, and I cannot wait! So please keep visiting and reading so you can be part of the celebration!
Happy New Year!
Sensibility- The writer journey, full of its twists and turn, highs and lows, is one I’m grateful to be on!
Sense- When it comes time for New Year’s resolutions and goal setting, be kind to yourself. Set measurable, reachable benchmarks so you can look back on 2020 and be happy with what you’ve accomplished. Remember, life is a one-day-at-a-time journey. Look for the joy!
Music runs deep in my family’s veins. I’m not sure how it all got started, but I know my great-grandparents on my mother’s side loved music and fiddle playing and clogging. It didn’t take much of a tune to have my grandmother and her sisters up and dancing that’s for sure. I learned how to clog in Granny Grace’s kitchen (my great aunt), and every now and then, when my Mama Glad was working in the kitchen she’d start to “cut a rug” and we’d all join in. She had a music room in every house she ever lived in, fully decked out with a piano, organ, banjo, several guitars (including a beautiful Gibson), a drum kit (sometimes), harmonica and even an accordion. When my sister and I were old enough, she’d play the organ while one of us played the piano, and we’d sing and laugh and sing some more. What a gift!
So when I saw my youngest on stage for her autumn college orchestra concert this weekend step to the microphone, welcome guests, lead in prayer and take her seat in the cello section, I thought about how all this love for music has trickled down to children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren over many years. I thought, what if my great grandmother, who died when Mama Glad was only 11, hadn’t passed the gift on to her daughters? What if Mama Glad hadn’t sat down at the piano for the first time or picked up a guitar or banjo, what would our lives be like now? My mom and dad both have beautiful voices, my sister sings, plays and the piano and organ and teaches elementary music, I play the piano, a little organ, and my husband and I sing. My son, Wes, played the piano and trumpet and now pours his love of music into sound engineering, and his wife, Katie, loves music and sings! Both of my daughters play the piano, and Julia is also a violinist and Olivia a cellist. Julia graduated with a degree in Music Education last year and is now teaching, and Olivia will graduate in another year with a double major in music and marketing. Her dream is to start a nonprofit where low-income children can come and take lessons and record their musical creations for free in a recording studio so they can share their gifts with the world. I pour my love of music into every story I write for children; in the way the words appear on the page and how they feel in the mouth and sound to the ear. Music is everywhere in our lives.
Children need heritage. It connects them with the past, guides them in the present and offers hope for the future. As they grow, heritage can help children feel part of something so much bigger than themselves. Music for Mama Glad and her sisters looked very different from how it has been woven into my life and the lives of my children. But it’s all the same thread holding us together creating the patchwork quilt that is our story.
During this month of Thanksgiving, I hope you can look at your own family’s history and find the chords, notes or threads that create your unique song. Celebrate those with the ones you love and pass on the gifts to your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I promise you, they’ll be grateful.
Sensibility- There’s more to your stories than what you see on the page. Your history and personal journey find their way into everything you write.
Sense- Make a list of things your family loves to do. If you don’t know where the traditions began, try and find out how those things became part of your lives and share them with your family during this season of gratitude!
What are some of your family traditions? How did they get started?
I just signed up for STORYSTORM 2018, and I’m looking forward to 30 brand-spanking-new story ideas by the end of January! Thanks for hosting again this year, Tara Lazar, and happy 10th Storystorm Anniversary!
I love the holiday season! And what better way for a writer to celebrate than by entering a holiday writing contest! This is children’s author, Susanna Leonard Hill‘s 8th year of sponsoring this fun event, and the rules are as follows:
Theme: Holiday Heroes
Ages: 12 and under
Words: 250 or less
And here’s my submission. . .hope you enjoy!
MAZY’S CHRISTMAS MIRACLE
By Patti Richards
The stable was damp.
There was leftover hay.
No one would help
On that December day.
Snoring sheep snuggled
All warm in their stalls.
Mice dreamed sweet dreams,
In their nests in the walls.
But one mouse woke up
When it heard the soft cry
Of a baby just placed
In a manger close by.
“That little one’s cold,”
Tiny Mazy could see.
She grabbed knitting needles
And called out to Bea,
Her very best friend
Of all the barn beasts.
“We need to act fast,
Give me some of your fleece!”
Mazy carded and spun
As quick as she could.
Her fingers were flying,
While Bea calmly stood
As her wool became yarn.
Then row after row,
Mazy knit swaddling clothes
For the small one below.
Now, when Mary gets
Credit for wrapping her babe,
Mice and sheep the world ‘round
Know it’s what Mazy made.
Sensibility-Use the holiday season to spark new ideas for writing projects in the coming year.
Sense- Pace yourself and your writing based on the demands of the holiday season. Don’t fret if you’re not as productive as usual. Embrace this time and be present in each moment with family and friends.
I just wanted to take a moment and thank you all for being part of my publishing journey this year. It’s had its ups and downs, but I love what I do and am glad I get to keep on doing it! I hope your Thanksgiving is full of every good thing. Life is a gift, and I’m glad for this season where we can pause for a while with family and friends and be grateful! Have a lovely Thanksgiving week:)
Back in October, I received the news that my picture book manuscript, CUPINE’S PERFECT DANCE PARTNER, had been awarded an Honorable Mention in the 86th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. There were over 5100 entries across several categories, and I was over-the-moon excited that my porcupine story had been selected! Today, they sent me a little swag as a reminder:
I post this today as an encouragement to each of you to keep on keeping on. You never know when that next submission is going to bring you some happy publishing news!
Happy New Year, and Happy Writing!
Sensibility-Persistence always pays off, even if it seems like it’s taking forever!
Sense- Find new places to submit your writing this month. Contests, magazines, newsletters and publishing journals provide important credits and the motivation you need to keep going!
What are some contests or places outside of publishing houses or agents where you’ve submitted your work?