Halloweensie: Gilda’s Zombie Fix

Halloweensie: Gilda’s Zombie Fix

It’s the most spooktacular time of year!
The Halloweensie Contest!

Author extraordinaire Susanna Leonard Hill runs this contest and it’s a ton of fun. The rules follow my entry:

Gilda’s Zombie Fix

By Stacy S. Jensen

On Halloween, Gilda always wore a white costume.
She always ate dark chocolate.
And, she always visited an old haunt.
But, this year was different.
Her friends acted a bit alien-ish.
Their moans signaled trouble.
Gilda grabbed her emergency bag.
She passed out water, candy, and encouragement.
“Keep shuffling! Now drag a foot.”
Most zombies perked up, but not Isaac.
Gilda gave him a brussels sprout.
When Isaac tooted, he was normal again.
“Let’s Trick or Treat!” he said.
Gilda took Isaac to Planet #893, where neighbors gave the best treats in the universe — chocolate covered brains.
Word Count: 97
The rules are here.

Basically, you write a children’s story in 100 words or less; include three words — costume, dark, and haunt, and  no illustration notes. Seriously, it’s 100 words period (not including the title). The story can be scary, funny, prose, rhyme … just about anything you want, as long as it is geared toward children.

Stories should be posted on your blog between Oct. 26 and Oct. 30. Be sure to check the rules for the posting deadline and options on how to post a story, if you don’t have a blog. There are wonderful prizes and more importantly there are dozens (if not a 100-plus) of fun stories to read.

To read additional entries, visit Susanna’s blog.

Discovery: Stretching for a contest

Discovery: Stretching for a contest

So, Susanna Leonard Hill is hosting the 2nd Annual Pretty Much World Famous Illustration Contest for Children’s Illustrators This week.
The rules are here.

The contest is to Draw/Paint/Create a children’s picture book illustration (no text required-art only) the topic for which shall be DISCOVERY.
Not sure why this poked at me. As you know, I’m a writer.

I dabble with paper quilling and wanted to try … so here is my entry:

Eye looking at wonders in the grass to show Discovery.

Anyone else stretch when given a challenge vs. just thinking “oh I should try that?”

For this effort, I tried three new-to-me quilling techniques and shredded my own paper. And, since Hubby wondered WHAT I was doing at the kitchen table … I thought I should post it.

To see the entries in Susanna’s contest, visit her site.

A Mom for Umande

A Mom for Umande

I’m multi-tasking today, I’m participating in an event for the picture book A Mom for Umande.

So, I’m repeating my previous Perfect Picture Book Friday post about the book.  

The original PPBF includes the interview with Author Maria Faulconer.
A Mom for Umande
Written by Maria Faulconer
Illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung
Dial Books for Young Readers, April 2, 2014
Suitable for: Ages 4-8
Themes/Topics: Orphans, Zoos, Caregivers, Surrogate Moms

Opening Lines: On a cold winter’s night, the zoo is quiet. The visitors have gone home. In the darkness of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, a baby gorilla is born. His name is Umande, which means “swirling mists” in Swahili. Umande is wet and trembling. He crest, as if to say “Will you hold me?”

Synopsis: From inside book jacket: When Umande was born, his mother didn’t know how to take care of him. So, he was hand-reared by keepers at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. For eight months, the keepers crawled on the ground with him to show him how to walk; coughed in his face to teach him discipline; and gave him happy gorilla grumbles to encourage him. But for Umande, something was still missing. Luckily, a thousand miles away at the Columbus Zoo, a mom was waiting just for him. This touching story about finding a home is a true testament to the powerful bonds we form and the families we make.

Link to Resources:  Umande is mentioned on the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo website. The zoo’s website has fun activities for children including a Zoo Keeper Training game. Umande lives in Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. Maria Faulconer lists several zoos in her author’s note where one can learn more about gorillas, hand-rearing or conservation programs. The Lincoln Park Zoo has several educator resources on its website. The book is a great conversation starter about parenting — the need for a parent/role model — and adoption issues too.

Why I Like this Book:  The book is about a gorilla born at the local zoo we visit. How could I not pick this one up for my son? The story and beautiful illustrations share Umande’s survival with the help of zoo keepers, who act like his mother, and to his finding a gorilla, who would be his mother and take care of him. in the author’s note, she mentions a total of 18 keepers and caregivers spent thousands of hours taking care of him. The book received a Starred-Review on Kirkus Reviews.

Here’s the giveaway info first and then, I’ll share something about my Mother:

Winner will receive a special Mother’s Day gift basket including:

  • Lavender and Vanilla Candle
  • A Book of Simple Pleasures
  • A Lavender Lotion and Hand Soap Set
  • Vanilla Rose Bubble Bath and Body Lotion
  • Lavender Chamomile Shea Butter Soap
  • A White Flower in a Wooden Box
  • Lavender Soap in a Keepsake Box 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Mom
I wanted to participate in this giveaway, because I really love how Maria Faulconer shares the story of Umande and his path to having a mom.

Plus, participants were asked to talk about their own moms.

I love my mom. She’s very humble and often questions her input into her lives. But, I don’t know how I would be where I am today without her (and my Dad). She encouraged all of her children and offered support (even if she didn’t see the point of our endeavors). She trusted us on many levels. For this, I remain grateful.
I am very blessed to have Mom as my mom. Thanks to technology, we are able to talk almost daily, and randomly email and FaceTime. Well, she wants to FaceTime with Enzo. :)

Really, I’m blessed to have many great Moms in my life like my sister Tracy, my sister-in-law DeAnne, my mother-in-law Barb and so many friends and relatives. I appreciate all the moms, who read this blog and interact on Facebook too. Thanks to the Internet — good and bad — no one really has to mother alone now.

Event Participants
There are a number of other posts about Umande as part of the giveaway. Here’s the schedule, if you would like to check out some different blogs.
May 4 – Coffee Books 7 ArtPieces of Whimsy,  21st Century Once Upon a Times
May 7- In Between the PagesBeauty and the ArmageddonDeal Sharing AuntA Book and a Latte
May 8- The Phantom ParagrapherCurling Up With a Good Book,  Stacy S. Jensen
May 9- Ishiee’s Book Blog,  Maureen’s BooksBookworm for Kids
May 10- LuLo FangirlRefreshingly RikiBumbles & Fairytales,  Books Are Love
I hope you all have a wonderful Mother’s Day and enjoy the weekend.
Here’s the official blog tour blurbs on the book and a bio on Maria. She’s a delight and the book is too.

A MOM FOR UMANDE by Maria Faulconer
The heart-tugging true story of how a baby gorilla found love in the arms of a surrogate mom.
When Umande was born, his mother didn’t know how to take care of him. So, he was hand-reared by keepers at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. For eight months, the keepers crawled on the ground with him to show him how to walk; coughed in his face to teach him discipline; and gave him happy gorilla grumbles to encourage him. But for Umande, something was still missing. Luckily, a thousand miles away at the Columbus Zoo, a mom was waiting just for him.
This touching true story about finding a family will resonate with animal lovers and adoptive families alike.
Illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung
A Mom for UmandeGoodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
About Maria Faulconer
Maria Faulconer has published fiction and nonfiction for children and adults. She loves writing stories, especially ones that tug at the heartstrings. A huge animal lover, and an adoptive mom herself, she knew when she saw a photo of a baby gorilla snuggling with his surrogate mom that she had to tell their story – A Mom for Umande. Her first children’s book, Arianna and the Strawberry Tea, was used for a statewide literacy program. She currently writes for Colorado Springs Style magazine and is working on a YA novel. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two children.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Punxsutawney Phyllis #TeamSPRING

Punxsutawney Phyllis #TeamSPRING

In honor of Punxsutawney Phyllis’ 10th birthday, Author Susanna Leonard Hill announced a Phyllicelebration!

Folks were asked to write a poem or create a video to celebrate the occasion. I chose a video and quilled a #TeamWINTER and #TeamSPRING scene. You must forgive my quilling, as I’m still new and have never created a landscape scene before.

Roses are red.

Violets are blue.

Happy 10th Phyllis.

We love you.


To join the celebration in honor of Phyllis, visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog.

How do I fix this?

How do I fix this?

The lovely and talented Susanna Hill’s Fourth Annual Holiday Contest is under way. The rules are to  write a children’s story under 350 words where the wild weather impacts the holiday.

The story idea came to me first and then I tried to work in a weather element … so, I’ll just let you read it while I go revise the peppermint cream recipe I tried yesterday.  While I do that, perhaps I can figure out a way to revise this …

How do I fix this?

By Stacy S. Jensen

Dear Santa,
I just saw my name on the naughty list. How do I fix this?
P.S. I’m dropping this in the mail before the blizzard hits.
Dear Santa,
The mail carrier didn’t stop for two days. It gave me “thinking” time.
I know why I’m on the naughty list.
I hit my brother Jacob when he stole my blocks.
P.S. Why is he on the nice list?
Dear Santa,
I hit Jacob with a snowball.
I told him I was sorry. I meant it too.
P.S. Mom says I have great aim.
Dear Santa,
I practiced for the church play tonight. I followed direction.
I jumbled my line once.
Here’s my line: When they arrived in Bethlehem, all the inns were open.
The inns were full. They were FULL.
P.S. The streets are finally clear after the blizzard. The mail carrier promised she is delivering my letters to the North Pole.
Dear Santa,
A woman at church said I was an angel.
I was a cow.
Mom thanked me for not mooing at the woman.
P.S. I haven’t hit Jacob all week.
Dear Santa,
Christmas is here!
I hope you missed that frosting incident last night.
Jacob ate one of the reindeer’s carrots.
I left you candy cane cookies.
Merry Christmas!
P.S. The TV weather woman said no more blizzards. Easy peasy deliveries tonight!
Dear Ella,
Thank you for the letters.
I saw you being nice to your family and friends.
Keep it up all year long.
Merry Christmas!
P.S. Please eat your vegetables. Your dog Ralph doesn’t like green beans.
Dear Santa,
Thank you. Thank you.
Mom promised to read the “52 Ways to be Nice” book to me.
Jacob thought the baseball glove was his.
Glad you put my name on it.
He liked his coal.
To read more entries, please visit Susanna’s blog. 
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. We celebrate Christmas and will keep our fingers crossed that our calf moos at the right time during the church Christmas program and remembers that the inns were full!
P.S. (from Stacy not Ella) If you want to check out which names made the naughty and nice list, here’s one.

Halloweensie: Behind You!

Halloweensie: Behind You!

Here’s my 2014 entry into Susanna Leonard Hill’s annual Halloweensie contest.
The entries must be 100 words or less and contain the words pumpkin, broomstick and creak (some version of creak). Rules can be found here, if you are interested.

Behind You!

By Stacy S. Jensen

Milo scratched under his pumpkin costume.

An itchy breath tickled his neck.

The step creaked at his neighbor’s door.

“Trick or Treat!” he yelled, but the neighbor stuttered, “B-behind you!”

Milo saw a monster-sized Tag.

The monster chased him as he ran home.

Milo wiggled out of his costume.

He hit the monster with a broomstick.

He tried to rip the monster off with his teeth.

His bare hands couldn’t tame the monster.

Nothing worked, until Milo found his special weapon — blue scissors.

With one snip, the monster Tag vanished.

Word tells me this is 90 words without the title.
Please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog, because there will be dozens if not hundreds of fun and scary short stories for Halloween.