Posted by: nancyisanders | September 29, 2014

Writing Opportunity: Writing Exercise

I want to take several posts to explain important information about Kaeden Books’ page of writer’s guidelines, but before we start that, I thought it would be good to do a writing exercise together.

Step 1: Find a mentor text
When you target a specific publisher, you want to use their very own books as mentor texts. (Unsure about what a mentor text is or what to do with it? CLICK HERE for more info.)

For our writing exercise that we’re doing together, let’s choose their book FLOWERS by Karen Hoenecke as our mentor text.

Step 2: Read the mentor text
Click on the GOOGLE PREVIEW that is given for the book flowers. Read as many pages of the book as you can.

Step 3: Type out the mentor text
Now open up a Word document and type out as many pages as you can see in the preview. (For this writing exercise, let’s just focus on the repeating sentence in large type.) It’s always good to type out your mentor text (or portions if it’s a long book). It trains your brain to think and work in this genre among other benefits.

Here it is:

4: Some flowers are yellow.
5: Some flowers are red.
6: Some flowers are orange.
7: Some flowers are purple.
8: Some flowers are blue.

Now we can’t see the rest of the text, but looking at the table of contents for page 9 and 10 AND looking on the last page of the book for things to do DURING READING, I’m guessing that the rest of the book goes something like this;

9: Some flowers are pink.
10: Some flowers are for Mom.

Step 4: Evaluate your mentor text.
We can see that at this reading level, Kaeden Books uses:
A) Short sentences. 4 words per sentence with 1 sentence having 5 words.
B) Repetitive sentences with just one new word per sentence. Plus, each new word is a word kids learn in kindergarten. Not an upper-grade vocabulary word such as scientific or encyclopedia.
c) A surprise ending with the last sentence having a twist while using the same repeating part of the sentence.

Step 5: The Writing Exercise
A) Use the word “birds” and use color words such as the ones in FLOWERS.
B) Use short sentences of 3 or 4 words.
C) Repeat every sentence except change one word in each one.
D) Write 7 sentences and make the final one be a surprise ending.

Go ahead and post your sentences if you like and share what you’ve done! Don’t worry if yours is the exact same as someone else’s. (Of course, if you hit upon a super duper story that you’ve written, don’t post it here but save it to submit to Kaeden!) There’s only so many ways you can do this.

Then, in the week ahead as I’m taking time to carefully explain what each of the key points is on Kaeden’s writer’s guidelines, you can be working on more of these writing exercises on your own. Just look for different mentor texts at different reading levels and follow the 5 steps above.

Now, if you’re brand new to writing stories at specific reading levels, it might be helpful to read through my book Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Beginning Readers and Chapter Books and familiarize yourself with this market. If you don’t have it, you can read lots of it on Amazon on their look inside the book feature.

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 26, 2014

Writing Opportunity: Let’s Get Organized!


For this new writing adventure we’re embarking on for pursuing our goal of earning income by submitting to Kaeden Books, a publisher who is LOOKING for new authors, I want to show you the step-by-step process I’m going through so you can do it, too.

After I explored their site yesterday and just clicked all over on random buttons and links, I decided it was time to get organized.

I thought I’d take pictures to show you EXACTLY what I’ve done so far. And since I set up our brand new playpen, I thought it would be the perfect place for a photo shoot!

Yes, that’s right! Life is filled with blessings right now in our family. Last Saturday our oldest son got married to our precious new daughter-in-law. It was such a lovely ceremony in a beautiful gazebo overlooking Laguna Beach. And NEXT Saturday we’re hosting a baby shower here at our house for our youngest son and his lovely wife who are expecting our very first grandchild!

As you can see in the photo above, I have a yellow pocket folder to organize. It’s like packing a suitcase for a journey. And this is a journey. So yes, while we’re pursuing this for the goal of income, always remember that the journey itself is very, very important.

We don’t know if we’ll actually land a contract with this publisher or not. God in his great wisdom knows what’s best. But what we DO know is that as we embark on this journey together, we will learn and grow as a writer. And that’s worth every step we take. Plus it’s gonna be lots and lots of fun!

So to get started, I like to get organized.


Here’s what I have inside my yellow pocket folder:

A spiral notebook. This is my current way to take notes and write first drafts. So I tucked an empty notebook in my pocket folder. This will probably not spend very much time inside here because it will be what I carry around with me all the places I go throughout my day in the upcoming weeks as I’m jotting down ideas and rough drafts and other notes.


A file folder labeled PRAYER. For each manuscript project I work on I like to have a prayer folder. I like to write out my prayers when I pray, kind of like writing love letters to God. So I got some pretty, cheerful paper to use and put it in this folder. Plus, I already wrote out a prayer. Not only am I praying for myself as I start out on this journey, but I’m also praying for YOU.


Behind that is a file folder labeled WRITER’S GUIDELINES. I printed out a copy of Kaeden Book’s writer’s guidelines and tucked it in here for easy reference. (We’ll go over that with a magnifying glass next week here on my blog.)

Behind that is a file folder labeled KAEDEN BOOKS. I printed out their home page and tucked it into here. This is because Kaeden Books is a brand new publisher for me. I don’t know anything about them. So I’ll be studying their home page to learn more about them. (We’ll go over this with a magnifying glass in upcoming posts as well.)

Behind that are a lot of empty folders. These are just waiting for me to fill them up with ideas and lists and…we’ll talk about that, too!

So if you haven’t yet done this, go ahead and get organized! Either use your own system that works for you or try out the system I use. There’s no right or wrong. It’s just very very helpful to get organized right up front so that you can find things at your fingertips when you need them.

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 25, 2014

New Writing Adventure Right Here on My Blog

3 swallowtails at fence HPIM8412 - Version 2

Oh, what an adventure I had the other day! I had taken a break from my frantic deadline to give my eyes, wrists, and brain a rest so of course, the first place I go is outside in my garden. There, to my surprise were three of the most beautiful and biggest butterflies ever! I looked them up and discovered they are giant swallowtails, the largest butterfly in North America. I had seen one here and there the last two years, but these ones danced and flitted and floated around our garden like it was their home. (I hope it is!!!!) So of course I snapped a photo…aren’t they gorgeous?

Writing has a lot of unexpected adventures like that. And right now, today, in my little corner of the writing world I’m starting out on another adventure, so I thought I’d invite you along.

For starters, recently here on my blog I’ve been sharing what’s been going on as I’ve been working on a super duper crazy deadline.

Guess what? Yesterday I finished writing that deadline. Wahoo! And about 2 hours after I finished typing the last page, an editor from a different publisher called me on the phone and we discussed the next part of the manuscript I needed to write to send her way for one of my books that is under contract. Talk about perfect timing!

Well, as I mentioned in a previous post, with that big deadline I’ve been crunching on nearing its end (I did one final edit on those 28 pages and submitted it this morning), I’ve been working on my TRIPLE CROWN OF SUCCESS.

As many of you know if you’ve read my how-to-book for writers YES! YOU CAN LEARN HOW TO WRITE CHILDREN’S BOOKS, GET THEM PUBLISHED, AND BUILD A SUCCESSFUL WRITING CAREER, this means I’m always working on 3 manuscripts at a time:

1 for the goal of getting published
1 for the goal of earning income
1 for the goal of personal fulfillment

So here’s where I’m at on this:
Sunday my husband and I were asked to write a really great and fun new project for our church. Bingo. There’s my new project for the goal of “personal fulfillment.”

Last week I got an idea to contact a monthly magazine/newsletter and offer to write them a column for whatever they might pay (I think it will either be no-pay or perhaps a year’s free subscription). Bingo. There’s my hopeful new project for the goal of “getting published.” If that doesn’t work out I’ll try a different publisher.

And today, yes TODAY!!!! I read in an e-mail post from the enews from the Institute of Children’s Literature (ICL) about Kaeden Books, an educational publisher who is LOOKING FOR WRITERS!!!!!!

So guess what? I’m going to pursue this new exciting lead for my goal of hopefully earning income.

So guess what again? Since Jan Fields was so generous and sent this shout out to everyone, I thought I’d send a shout out to everyone here on my blog to invite you to join me in this brand new adventure!

So here on my blog for however longs it takes, I’ll share with you the steps I’m taking to prepare stuff to submit to Kaeden Books to respond to their call out with their PARTICULAR need for children’s writers. We’re talking picture books. We’re talking nonfiction OR fiction. We’re talking early chapter books. We’re talking beginning readers. Does it get any sweeter than that?

So here’s what I did first thing. I clicked on the link to Kaeden Books to see exactly what they were looking for.

Then I printed out this information and put it in a file folder and started a pocket folder for this new adventure. I encourage you to do the same!

And now, I’m just spending time browsing through all the links and looking at the types of books they do. I encourage you to do the same!

So check back in here for my next post. I’ll let you know what the next steps I take on this new adventure to prepare a submission for them.

And if you want to join in the adventure, too, let us know so we can cheer each other on!!!!!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 22, 2014

Do You Like to Review Good Books?

I know a few of you like to post book reviews on your blogs.

Recently I’ve become acquainted with an amazing book review site that offers free Christian books in exchange for posting book reviews on your blog. How cool is that?

It’s BookLook Bloggers and you can find out more information about how it works and also sign up to join if you CLICK HERE.

The reason I found out about this is that all these great people are posting so many encouraging reviews of my newest four books in the Get to Know series of First Biographies for Kids: Jesus, Mary, Apostle Paul, and King David.

You can read some of these reviews on my site for the books, GET TO KNOW BIOGRAPHIES.

Do any of you write and review books for this site? If so, let us know the inside scoop of what it’s like!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 16, 2014

Contest: Free Giveaway of Kids’ Books!

4 covers

Hey friends!

I just found out there’s a super-fast contest going on for a free giveaway of my brand new series from Zonderkidz:



Apostle Paul

King David

These books are the first four books in the Get to Know First Biographies. These exciting nonfiction biographies of Bible heroes are just perfect for second and third graders to use for book reports or to simply learn more about each one.

Great for Sunday School teachers, Christian school teachers, and homeschooling families. Hop on over to THIS BLOG to enter the contest.

And did I mention it’s super-fast? The contest will be over within 24 hours! So CLICK HERE and act now!!!

And have fun.

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 16, 2014

Welcome to My World

I thought I’d share an update of what exactly I’m doing these days.

Yesterday was a deadline for a work-for-hire contract. It was the first half of the manuscript. I finished it last Thursday and submitted it early, but never heard back from the editor. So I e-mailed her yesterday and forwarded the original e-mail to her and said I was just double checking that she got it.

She replied instantly thanking me for double checking because no, she hadn’t received it.

This happens so frequently now with e-mail that I always do two things:
1) I always resend it if I haven’t heard back within a week.
2) I always try to send a little e-mail to respond that I received something when an editor contacts me.

I have another deadline Sept 29 (the final half of the same manuscript) so I’ll be racing to meet that one, too. But after that, my deadlines are done. (Other than getting several book projects ready to go to print.)

So what did I do this morning? I spent about an hour searching for new potential projects to work on. This is something I like to do…when I’m still in the middle of one deadline, I’ll be searching for new contracts to sign so that when this deadline ends I’ve got a new deadline and more income guaranteed to come in.

So I printed out some material I found online that shows me what a potential target publisher is currently publishing. Basically, this was a list of the most recent titles they’ve published in the genre I’m interested in. I’m planning on studying this to see if I think I can write for this genre, and if so, to see if I can find a hole in their product line that I could pitch an idea for to the editor.

What do you do to drum up new contracts? And generate a constant flow of income?

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 11, 2014

The Low-Down of Writing for the Low-Pay Market

The no-pay/low-pay market is the best-kept secret in town.

For one thing, since most people would rather submit to the flashy high-paying publishers, most editors in the no-pay/low-pay market are EAGER to work with you! Talk about a refreshing place to be!

It’s much much easier to get an acceptance letter in this market and your published credits will soar along with your self-confidence as a writer. (Both which will eventually open doors for you in the higher paying markets.)

The key is this…editors in this market still need quality material. They’re just lower in the quantity of material that they get submitted to them. That’s because a lot of writers simply refuse to write something and not get paid for it so they avoid this market altogether.

So the opportunity to get your manuscript accepted in the no-pay/low-pay market is HUGE compared to the percentage rate of getting picked out of the slush pile in the overly flooded markets of high-profile and high-paying publishers.

(Can I tell you a secret? I wrote an article based on one of my books. Did I get a penny for that article? Nope. But that article was published online 2 weeks ago along with a review of that book in another publication. And in these past 2 weeks my book has brought in over $500 worth of extra royalties in sales. I can track the sales on this particular book and I saw this with my own eyes. Nope, I didn’t get a penny from the publisher for my article, but the sales spiked immediately!)

I hear people tell me time and time again that they simply refuse to waste their valuable time writing a manuscript and not getting paid for it or just getting paid $15 for it. And these same people who have told me this, now five years later, still have few if any published credits and a pile of rejection letters a mile high.

So…what have you got to lose? Personally, I feel you’ve got everything to gain. I’ve been writing for this market for years and I still do even though I now earn a nice annual income from writing. (If you haven’t read my previous post about the exciting contract I just signed based on my experience writing for the no-pay/low-pay market, CLICK HERE.)

So go ahead and write and submit a manuscript to the no-pay/low-pay market today!

Here are some places you can start:

The Working Writers Club is an awesome place to join (it’s free) and get valuable experience writing for the “how-to-write” market. They are even eager to have members write your own column. (Add THAT to your resume of published credits. It’s great!)

Ev Christensen maintains a subscription (it’s a free e-zine) for us to receive updates with many children’s magazine publishers in this market (along with the top magazines as well). It’s called Writing for Children’s Magazines. Sign up and get in the know! As an example, here’s a recent posting Ev shared in the no-pay/low-pay market:

Dear Authors,

We very much need stories at present. Please consider writing that story you’ve been thinking about pulling together and zip it our direction! Please note that throughout the month of September, 2014, we are offering a $25 bonus for any story accepted that is 1000 words or above. Please include mention of the bonus when you submit your story.

If you wish to review our Writers Guidelines, you may do so here:

This is truly an urgent need, and the Guide team thanks you for your consideration!

RANDY FISHELL • Editor • Guide and Real Magazines
55 West Oak Ridge Drive • Hagerstown MD 21740
P: 301.393.4030 • F: 301.393.4055 •

I hope you get started (if you have’t yet) or keep on writing and submitting for this very exciting market rich with opportunity and acceptance letters for your manuscripts. If you want more information about writing for this market, look in Chapter 5 Section 3 on page 77 of my how-to book for children’s writers, Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career.

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 8, 2014

Wanna Hear a Story?

I thought you might like to hear a story. Not a make-believe story, but a real story. A story about something that started about ten years ago or so.

You see, at that time I was trying to get published on a regular basis. Most of my stuff was getting rejected. It was the typical fiction for kids that is so hard to sell in this saturated market (not to mention how hard it is to write!).

So I was writing puzzles and crafts and recipes and things like that to send in to the no-pay/low-pay market. I was learning how to improve my writing skills and learning how to submit things and learning how to work in this industry.

And places like Sunday School take-home papers and very small magazines and even well-known kids’ magazines were buying these for $15 a pop or maybe $30 a pop or even sometimes for $50 if I remember correctly. And so I was getting published credits–even Better Homes and Gardens purchased a few of my “ideas” for crafts for kids.

I kept up a steady stream of these submissions to the no-pay/low-pay market while I kept learning how to write picture books and fiction stories and nonfiction for kids.

Gradually, my writing skills improved and I started to sell some of my fiction stories to some of these magazines, too. And of course in the meantime, as many of you know who have read about my “Triple Crown of Success,” I was always trying to land book contracts, both work-for-hire and royalty-based along the way. Since I’d been selling puzzles and crafts and recipes to magazines, I pitched ideas for puzzle books and craft books and recipe books and landed those contracts and was earning a nice income each year from those.

So why am I telling you this little story?

Because I had to smile this last week when one of the contracts arrived at my desk. It was a contract from a publisher who is an imprint of one of the biggest publishing houses in America.

I don’t know if you know this or not, but usually when you sign a contract, right next to your signature is the publisher’s signature.

And there, right next to where I was supposed to sign on the contract, was the place for the Senior Vice President of this big-time publisher to sign.

…And she was one of my editors way back when that I used to submit puzzles and crafts and recipes and eventually fiction stories to.

I smiled when I saw her name right next to mine.

You see, she had climbed the corporate ladder in the publishing world and had made it up to one of the highest spots in the industry.

And she had brought me along with her.

How do I know?

Because when an editor I had never worked with before contacted me a few weeks ago for an offer to write for her, this editor told me that her Senior Vice President had recommended my name to her for the project.

So why am I telling you this? I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to submit on a regular basis to the no-pay/low-pay market so that you are getting published all throughout the year, every year. I still do it! In fact I have a deadline in 10 days to submit an article and I won’t get any money for it.

The benefits are sooooo many…too many to even count! But I’ll list a few:
1) You learn how to submit items and work with editors
2) You get published and build your published credits and build your resume
3) You gain more confidence in yourself as a writer
4) You learn valuable writing skills
5) And because the editors you work with don’t want to stay in the no-pay/low-pay market, they often rise up the corporate ladder…and if you were reliable, dependable, and pleasant to work with, they often will take you with them.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. I’ve had at least a dozen book contracts from times I’ve been called by editors I don’t know and from publishers I’ve never worked with and offered book contracts because their new top editor recommended my name and it was the same editor I’d worked with in little stuff.

What’s that Scripture that comes to mind?

Luke 16:10: Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.

So if you don’t already, start today. Write something that you know how to write whether it’s a devotion or an interview or a recipe or a prayer. Then submit it to any magazine or online website or newspaper that’s open to submissions but doesn’t pay very much.

And do that again next month. And the next. Until you have a steady stream of published credits and several editors who count on you.

Then keep on keeping on and wait and see what’s in store. It’s an exciting journey, each step of the way!

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 5, 2014

New Contracts

As I’m racing to get my current project deadlines and book deadlines done, I wanted to share what’s been happening in my corner of the world.

I had 3 new contracts cross my desk this past week that I signed.

One was for a brand new picture book due out next Spring.

One was for a set of 30 early reader books–the first 10 due out next Spring.

One was for a work-for-hire project for devotions for teens. Not sure when it’s due out.

So here’s why I’m telling you this.

Do you have questions that popped into your head when you read about these? If so, please feel free to ask! I think it’s important that we as writers network together and help each other along our writing journey.

Of course, some stuff is confidential due to publisher’s policies, but I’m happy to share anything that you’d like to know. If something has to stay confidential, I’ll just let you know.

But here’s your chance…go ahead and ask any question you’ve been wanting to ask another writer about stuff like this! I’ll share an answer from my desk.

Posted by: nancyisanders | September 3, 2014

Stuck in the Mud with Your Writing

It was great to hear from so many of you about where you are in your writing. Over the years, I’ve found that there are 3 major factors in what I accomplish as a writer:

Time Management


Chunks of Concrete Tasks

If any one of those areas isn’t working right for me, my writing suffers.

So here are 3 simple tips that I hope will help you if you’re stuck in the mud and not writing as much as you want to write:

1) Time Management: Each night before I go to bed, I sit down and plan the exact hours I will write the next day. I’ve found that when I wake up, I’m much more likely to actually sit down and write if I know that at 11:00 it’s on my calendar. I’m ready for it! What hour(s) can you write tomorrow? Put it on your calendar.

2) Motivation: Every week or month or season I figure out what motivates me and then I work to put that motivation in place. For example, when I was redecorating my kitchen, if I met my writing goals each week I gave myself $20 to go towards purchasing something small for my kitchen. What motivates you to write right now? Dangle it like a carrot in front of a rabbit and go for it!

3) Chunks of Concrete Tasks: If you have motivation and you have time to write but aren’t getting anything done, chances are you don’t know WHAT to do during your writing time. I like to figure that out, once again, each night before I go to bed. I plan to write the next scene, the next manuscript page, the next magazine puzzle, the next chapter, etc. Plus I always make sure I’m working on at least 3 different projects each week for the Triple Crown of Success…one to get published, one to earn income, and one for personal fulfillment. What’s your very next chunk of writing that you plan to accomplish? Put it on your calendar.

And for an inside peek at how one of my newest series of kids’ books came to life, check out this fun interview by my dear writing friend, Tina Cho.

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 28, 2014

Favorite Kid’s Magazine

Dudley CCI28082014

As some of you may know, I love to write for Clubhouse Jr. magazine by Focus on the Family. This is a picture of one of my stories about Dudley the dog (the beagle on the left). Every year for the past few years I get to write a new story about Dudley and the lessons he learns about important stuff like forgiveness, moving to a new home, and his first day of school.

Clubhouse Jr. is a magazine geared to 4-7 year-olds with just the right mix of humor, fun, Bible, and Truth. And did I mention it often has jokes, crafts, and cool kid cooking projects?

And right now (but you gotta hurry!) they’re offering an amazing deal for 50% off their regular subscription price!!!!!

Why the great deal?



Drum roll please!

They’re now going to feature Veggie Tales (Exclusive, I may add) in their October issue!!!!!

So if you want to surprise a special little someone in your family, or donate a subscription to your church, or donate a subscription for your public library (as I’ve done over the years to reach lots of kids in my community!) then hop on over to their site and order a subscription today.

CLICK HERE for the great deal. But you gotta act fast because the promotional sale ends soon.

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 28, 2014

Moving Forward in Our Writing

Thank you, sweet writing friends, for sharing your hearts and a peek into your writing world.

The one emotion I felt as I read each one of your comments was that “We are not alone.”

And for a commitment (writing) that takes so much “alone time” it felt good to know we have fellow writers who struggle with the same issues and find joy in the same places as we do.

So now, I want to ask each one of you (as I ask myself), what is the next step you will take to move forward in your writing?

Let’s all just reevaluate where we said we are:

Option A: How many of you have empty hours of time to write each day?

Option B: How many of you have action packed schedules with homeschooling kids, working at a day (or night) job, or other huge responsibilities and have to be creative about carving out time to write?

Option C: How many of you aren’t really writing at all right now because you have so many other important commitments but you like to keep your “toe in the water” so to speak in the world of writing so if you do find time to write (or the muse strikes you) you can pick up your pen and write?

If you’re right in the place you want to be right now with your writing, do you have a tip you’d like to share for how you manage your time and stay motivated?

And if you’d like to be in a different place, would you like to share one strategy you plan to start implementing this week to get back on track?

For those of you who may be new to my blog or follow my blog but don’t yet have some of my how-to-write books, you can take a peek at them at these links:

Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career: This book is an insider’s look on how I’ve built my writing career. It’s got a great sections on how to get really really motivated to write! (in chapters 1 and 7)

Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Beginning Readers and Chapter Books: This book is more about the nuts and bolts of writing for children in different readability levels

Scribes: Devotions for Christian Writers: This book will help inspire, encourage, and motivate you to give your best to God through your writing

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 26, 2014


I’d like to take a survey today…

Option A: How many of you have empty hours of time to write each day?

Option B: How many of you have action packed schedules with homeschooling kids, working at a day (or night) job, or other huge responsibilities and have to be creative about carving out time to write?

Option C: How many of you aren’t really writing at all right now because you have so many other important commitments but you like to keep your “toe in the water” so to speak in the world of writing so if you do find time to write (or the muse strikes you) you can pick up your pen and write?

The reason I’m asking is because last night was a turning point for me. I went from Option B where my schedule was action packed these last few months. My husband Jeff is a teacher and he was off during the summer so we were super busy visiting family and friends, serving together on various church ministries, and spending just-us together-time (a super priority!!!) But today he’s officially back to work and now I have an almost totally clear calendar with over 8 empty hours each day that I can fill up with writing.

(And I gotta fill them up with writing because of all the crazy hectic deadlines that are in front of me.)

There’s no right or wrong about this…I am just curious about what YOU have to deal with on your plate right now when it comes to finding time to write.

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 22, 2014

Welcome to My World!

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

What’s that sound? It is a mouse nibbling on cheese? Is it a monster eating a cookie? No, it’s me (and maybe you) in a time crunch trying to work as fast as I can to meet editorial deadlines on various writing projects.

This past summer I had some great and fabulous vacations. (I hope you did too!) On one vacation, my husband and I got together with my 5 other sisters and 1 brother and their spouses for a family reunion. (I’m the youngest of 7.)

Here we are, all in order from youngest to oldest, left to right:


(To see more of my fun family reunion photos, CLICK HERE.)

But suddenly it seems, all the editors in the entire world of publishing got back from THEIR vacations and decided to contact me! I’ve got a lo-o-o-ong TO-DO list of TOP PRIORITIES from everyone PLUS an exciting brand-new new unexpected deadline that’s also on a whirlwind time crunch.

So why am I telling you all this?

Because I’ve been mostly silent here on my blog the past month or so as I’ve been rearranging my schedule nearly every day to try to crunch out another editorial deadline (or two or three or four) that arrived in my e-mail inbox that morning.

But I’ve made a decision.

Instead of disappearing for the next two months while I keep crunching out these urgent commitments, I thought I’d invite you to follow along and take an inside peek at what goes on day-by-day…really goes on…as a writer juggles a bunch of different hats to wear.

It’s exciting! It’s scary! And it’s so much fun I thought I’d invite you along.

And if you want to share some of the fun stuff you’re doing in your corner of the writing world, let us know so we can cheer you on!

Posted by: nancyisanders | August 12, 2014

Grammar Jammer: Linking Verbs

Some verbs link the subject with more information about it.
Linking verbs show a state of being.

Carrie Author is as happy as a kid at Christmas.
Yesterday, she was an unpublished author but soon that will be changing.
She has been eager to be published since she was in college.

Have You Heard?
Any form of the verb be is a linking verb:
has been
have been
am being
are being
will be
might have been

More Linking Verbs
Other verbs that show a state of being are also linking verbs.
look, feel, taste, smell, sound, seem, appear, become

Let’s Give Linking Verbs a Try!
Use a pencil to circle the linking verbs.

Carrie Author is a member of an online picture book critique group.
She has been part of that group for three years.

This is her very first book contract. She feels so excited!

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 30, 2014

Grammar Jammer: Let’s Talk Verbs

How’s your grammar? Want to brush up on your grammar skills? Then join me here on my blog from time to time as I post tips and techniques on grammar.

Let’s Talk Verbs

Verbs are words that show action or a state of being.

Most verbs show action.

Carrie Author ripped open the SASE.
She read the editor’s letter.

Have You Heard?
Some sentences have two or more verbs.

The publisher offered her a picture book contract and promised a $40,000 advance!

Carrie screamed and jumped up and down.

Have You Heard?
The tense of a verb shows when an action happens.
Past tense shows an action happening in the past.
Present tense shows an action happening right now.
Future tense shows an action happening in the future.

Let’s Give Action Verbs a Try!
Unscramble these action verbs and fill in the blanks.

Carrie _______________ (ENOPHD) her husband with the news.

She _______________ (EXETTD) her friends and _______________ (DEEWETT) on Twitter.

She _______________ (CANDDE) around for joy.

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 16, 2014

Announcing the Release of WriteShop Book E!

Book E cover-bigger copy

The Writing Curriculum for homeschooling families that I wrote (and amazing publisher Kim Kautzer edited) has recently hit the shelves and is already up and running marathons in the homeschooling community!!!!

I know many of you are homeschooling mamas and papas so I thought you’d be eager to hear the news…there’s still plenty of time to order your copy of WriteShop to teach writing to your young writers in grades K-6 this next year.

You can check out this awesome BOOK E review at DELIGHTFUL LEARNING

And for more info about the WriteShop curriculum I wrote as an incremental writing program to get kids in the know and loving’ writing (just like YOU do), look at these other products available for you to implement in your child’s life:













Check out some of these awesome reviews!






Posted by: nancyisanders | July 8, 2014

Teleclass Writing Workshop

cats on teal couch

Do you need help learning how to “show, don’t tell”?

Then sign up for this tele class that I’ll be teaching, complete with a handout of “50 WAYS TO SHOW, DON’T TELL.”

You can join me live this week on Thursday, 2:00 Pacific Standard Time, or you can pay now and download the audio later when you have time to listen to it.

For years, I struggled with this elusive rule. How does a writer show instead of tell?

But as I’ve worked with various editors on several new books of mine that have been going through the publication process this past year, I saw exactly what editors were doing to my manuscripts to change places I “told” my reader what was happening to be passages that “show” it instead.

So join me for this tele class and learn simple yet effective techniques to take your writing to the next level!

CLICK HERE for the link to register for the tele class.

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 7, 2014

Local Writing Workshop

HPIM7542 - Version 4

About a month ago, I bought a milkweed plant and it had a baby caterpillar on it. It was fun to watch the caterpillar grow and change into a pupa. Yesterday it emerged and we released it in our garden.

As writers, it’s important for us to keep on growing as we improve our writing skills. Along the way, we metamorphosize and turn into successful, published writers. And still we keep on growing!!!!

With this in mind, I want to invite you to come join me at a free local writing workshop I’ll be teaching this week!

For any of you who live near Rancho Cucamonga, come on out and join the fun at the Rancho Writers, a writer’s group that meets each month.

Here’s where you’ll find us:

Date: Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Time: 2:30-5:00
Place: Room One at Northkirk Presbyterian Church
9101 19th St
Alta Loma, CA
Cost: Meeting is free and open to the public

Of course, I’ll be there to answer questions you may have about writing, and I’ll be selling some of my books after the event, but here’s what I’ll specifically be teaching about:

* The Rule of Three and how using it can help you develop stronger characters.

* Exercises to help you develop stronger voices for your characters.

* Tips and techniques on being a Piggyback Writer so you can break into print and get your manuscripts published.

* How to “Show, Don’t Tell.”

I hope to see you there!

Posted by: nancyisanders | July 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, America!

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