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Month: May 2017

WWTS Update: Debbie Day

Today, we have another update from one of the Writing With the Stars mentees. Debbie Day was the recipient of a mentorship with Paul Czajak and she wrote a bit about the experience. 


Working with Paul Czajak has been great! I’ve gained a lot from the experience and feel infinitely more prepared to tackle my goals going forward than I ever have before.

First of all, it was so nice to have a mentor who has successfully published a rhyming series. Before this mentorship, I thought I had rhyming down pat. How grateful I am to have been shown the light of rhyming meter! After understanding the importance of consistency and how meter actually works (rather than relying on how good it sounds in my own head), I’ve been able to improve my rhyming manuscripts in ways I didn’t realize it needed. I’ve also been able to write new rhyming stories with the proper form from the get-go. Last February, I even submitted one of them to a writing contest and won a prize, woohoo!

Paul also just explained some basic information about proper form, the publishing process in general, and other do’s and don’ts that I’ve always wondered about. It was so helpful to be able to ask him questions face to face via skype and discuss the answers together.

His critiques on my picture book manuscripts were really insightful as well. I truly appreciated how honest he was, and he gave me some creative ideas on how to improve my stories – ideas I never would have thought of on my own.

I also appreciate that being a part of this mentorship has given me a greater level of motivation to complete new projects and up my writing game. I don’t think I’ve ever written more picture book manuscripts or researched more writing articles in a shorter period of time than I have in the last few months. I needed that motivation!

Because of this mentorship, I was able to send out my manuscripts to 17 different publishers, something I knew I just wasn’t ready for previously. This experience took me to the next level and gave me the confidence I needed to move forward.

I just want to say thank you so much for this generous opportunity Tara! I feel so lucky to have been able to participate. And thank you so much to Paul for sharing his tips, tricks, and especially his valuable time!

WWTS Update: AJ Irving

After providing 22 Writing With the Stars mentorships, I thought it would be nice to follow up with the recipients, and ask them to share a bit about the experience.  First up is AJ Irving, who won a mentorship with Laura Gehl.

AJ’s kids reading a book by Laura

From AJ:

First, I would like to say thank you to Tara for the opportunity to participate in the Writing with the Stars mentorship program. Laura Gehl is an absolute gem!

This mentorship has helped me more than I could have ever imagined. I came to Laura with zero submission-ready manuscripts. I now have three ready to go, three that are close, and several much stronger query letters.

Laura helped me put together a stellar submission for the PB Party contest, and my manuscript was selected for the agent/editor round.

I have also never had so many manuscripts out at one time. I’m waiting to hear back from six agents/editors!

I was amazed at how quickly Laura responded to my questions and offered feedback on my work. Everything in the publishing world takes so long. It was refreshing to hear back from an expert the SAME day!

Most of all it was a pleasure to get to know Laura. I am proud to call her my friend. She is an incredibly talented PB writer, but she’s also an incredibly wonderful person. She will be the first person I call when (being positive ?) I am offered a contract.

My kiddos are huge fans of Laura as well.

Dream big! Never give up!