Now Offering Critiquing Services and a Limited-time Special

Since 2012, my professional writing focus has been on picture books – learning the craft, understanding the industry, and reading what’s currently being published. Sometimes I needed blinders to keep my attention from wandering into other things, like running for a seat on the town council or starting a chocolate truffle business or taking up spelunking.

Focus, Carol. Focus on your goals.

I, indeed, stayed focused. And my devotion to my dreams recently paid off when I signed with agent Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. What does this mean to me? Soooo much, but I won’t go into that right now because there’s something else I’m here to announce.

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© 2016 Photo by Carol Munro

Having an agent gives me extra hours in every day. I no longer need to research agents, editors, and publishers, write query letters, submit manuscripts, and track responses. So before I fill that time by, say, trying to break the Guinness world record for the largest yarn ball, I’ve decided to do something more meaningful while maintaining focus on my craft.

I’m now offering manuscript and query letter critique services primarily for serious picture book writers, but also for writers of other kidlit genres and novels for adults. Click here or on the Writing Services tab above for all the details.

I’m so excited! But to ratchet up the thrill just a bit more – and because May is my birthday month – I’m offering you a gift.

Request a picture book manuscript critique
now through May 31 and save $10!

So if you’re in the market for a professional critique, I hope you’ll use my services, especially if your focus is beginning to wander away from your dreams.

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Photo Challenge / Writing Prompt #31 (the finale)

August was a month of unlocking, of learning.

  • I learned how quickly weeds could grow in the area of our yard where we’re landscaping and how exhausting it is to shovel, haul, and dump all those pretty little stones we’re spreading.
  • I learned I could ignore the sweat dripping down my face as we worked in the two rooms we’re renovating upstairs in our home and how to peel off sweat-soaked tee shirts without stretching them completely and permanently out of shape.
  • I learned to trust my writing instincts and write the stories I want to write even if they don’t fit the current demands for the genre.

Through this photo challenge, I learned to see what I was looking at, to see from new perspectives, to see that a subject not centered could be the center of attention in a photo. I thank Melodye Shore for introducing me to this challenge, Susannah Conway for making it possible, and all my fellow challenge photographers for sharing their beautiful work from their spots in this world we call our home.

And now, the final photo challenge writing prompt.

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

Photo prompt: August was…

Writing prompt: …unlocked. Your character is ignorant, unaware, oblivious, or confused until something – a word, a thought, an image, a person, a place – something makes his mind suddenly kick into gear. He gets it. Things fall into place. Everything is perfectly clear. He knows exactly what he should do now. Go. Write. Have fun.

Photo and writing prompt © Carol Munro, 2015

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Photo Challenge / Writing Prompt #30

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

Photo prompt: Smile

Writing prompt: Ooga. Ooga. I love the wildlife in my yard. They bring me lots of smiles. But what if I lived in a cave? Would I linger at its mouth to observe this guy with the cute smile? Uh, no. I’d be holed up the the back room. Oo…oo…ooga!

Write about the days of the troglodyte. Write about a liberated, feminist cave woman. Or a cave boy who befriends a Protoceratops. Or a cave man who’s afraid to bring home the bacon. Or write about inventing fire. Or what your troglodyte smile might get you if you use it to your best advantage. Go. Write. Have fun.

For more info about the photo challenge, go here: http://www.susannahconway.com/the-august-break-2015/

Photo and writing prompt © Carol Munro, 2015

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Photo Challenge / Writing Prompt #29

The chirping from this chipmunk was so loud I’m sure his paws were cupped to his mouth to amplify his story to the far edges of the yard. Look. His paws are poised to do it again. What was his story? I suspect he was telling all the other creatures about the mugging, which I witnessed a few days earlier.

Squirrel had been a few yards away, peering at Chippy from behind the peony. He then darted around a bush and rushed the unsuspecting little guy. Without a please or thank you, he grabbed Chippy’s piece of pizza crust, turned tail, and ran.

(This photo was shot through a screen door.)

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

Photo prompt: Listening

Writing prompt: Sit outside or by a window and listen to the animals in your world. They all have stories to tell. Tell it. Make it a story for kids. Somewhere a child is waiting to hear it. Go. Write. Have fun.

For more info about the photo challenge, go here: http://www.susannahconway.com/the-august-break-2015/

Photo and writing prompt © Carol Munro, 2015

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Photo Challenge / Writing Prompt #28

I love this tiny shoulder bag, but as I said, and as you can see by the eyeglasses, it is TINY, so I rarely use it. It’s been in a drawer for years. I wonder. If I unzip it, might I find a long-forgotten twenty dollar bill from my last time out with this cutie? Yeah, I know. Wishful thinking.

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

Photo prompt: In My Bag

Writing prompt: You find this little shoulder bag in a drawer. (The drawer might be in your home, someone else’s home, a hotel room or B&B, in a dresser you just bought at auction, whatever. It might be a drawer in something other than a dresser, such as a hidden drawer in a desk or hope chest. You decide.) When you unzip it and look inside, you find…what? A key? A love letter? The combination to a safe? A ring? A spell? A phone number or email address? An ancient coin? A coded message? A small vial of chartreuse-colored powder? Driving directions ending with “Look under the fourth rock to the left of the oak tree for further instructions” followed by a deadline date that’s four days from today? A crystal marble when rubbed shows you a vision? A photo of a man crying? A photo of four-year-old you with a woman you don’t know? A photo of four-year-old you with a monkey on your lap? Go. Write. Have fun.

Oh! And happy birthday to Paula B.D. Have an adventurous birthday weekend!

For more info about the photo challenge, go here: http://www.susannahconway.com/the-august-break-2015/

Photo and writing prompt © Carol Munro, 2015

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Photo Challenge / Writing Prompt #27

I don’t cook. Much. I have my specialties – the go-to dishes I know how to make and can suffer through creating.

  • Lasagna from a recipe a friend shared with me when I was 19, which I’ve altered since.
  • Chicken cordon bleu, which I haven’t made in 27 years, come to think of it. Being a vegetarian now, this treat is a bit tough for me to make — with the pounding of flesh and all. But oh! My CCB always got rave reviews.
  • Mac and cheese taught to me by my husband, taught to him by his mom. It’s not for the faint of heart. Truly. All that cheese and butter. The aroma alone would have you salivating so much you’d have to change your shirt before dinner.
  • Apple pie. There’s something about rolling out the crust and building the pie that’s soul satisfying. Then there’s the aroma of cinnamon and allspice and nutmeg and fall-fresh apples. And the baking to the perfect golden hue. And the devouring of the pie – crust tender and flaky, filling juicy with a nice blend of mushy and firm.

But my favorite recipe? Not something I make myself. It’s my husband’s homemade pizza. He makes a brioche dough and tops it with black olives, roasted red peppers, and artichokes. Or mushrooms and Vidalia onions. Or pears, Gorgonzola, caramelized onions, and arugula with a drizzle of balsamic reduction. And always fresh mozz. His pizzas are good to the last bite. The. Very. Last. Bite.

So what’s this squirrel eating? Crusts from take-out pizza from a local restaurant. They make great pizza. But it’s pizza I don’t mind sharing.

(Please excuse the poor quality of the photo, but I couldn’t resist posting this cuteness.)

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

Photo prompt: Favorite Recipe

Writing prompt: Write about preparing a meal. Is it a special occasion or an ordinary supper? Does an unexpected guest show up? Yes! Let’s say yes, that happens in your story. But is the guest friend or foe, human or animal? Go. Write. Have fun.

For more info about the photo challenge, go here: http://www.susannahconway.com/the-august-break-2015/

Photo and writing prompt © Carol Munro, 2015

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Photo Challenge / Writing Prompt #26

I grew up in South Windsor,  a suburb of Hartford, CT. When we first moved there, our street was the beginning of a larger neighborhood of new houses. Back then, it was only one dead-end street. We lived on the cul-de-sac at the top of the hill.

In winters, our street was last to be plowed, if plowed at all. That meant hours of sledding until the dads came home from work to attempt the slipping, skidding drive up the hill to their homes, spoiling the sledding trails we had worked all day to perfect.

In summers, we explored hills and fields and woods and ponds. If we were adventurous (read: our moms would not find out), we’d cross the field across the street, follow trails through the strip of woods, and find our way to the BIG pond where the old Podunk Mill once operated. If we dared to sneak to the front of the pond (actually a puddling of the Podunk River caused by a man-made dam), we’d spend time at the waterfall that splashed under the covered walkway that connected a parking lot with the mill.

At some point, the mill property had been renovated as a restaurant, and the bridge was named the Kissing Bridge. Over the years, the restaurant has changed hands and names many times, but the Kissing Bridge always remains.

If you’d like to explore the significant history of this place a bit more, here’s the link to the current restaurant that calls the Mill Pond home.

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

©2015 Photo by Carol Munro

Photo prompt: Door

Writing prompt: The Kissing Bridge. Imagine the goings-on here. No. Really. Go ahead and imagine. What are the stories this bridge could tell if it could speak? Listen and write one down. Go. Write. Have fun.

For more info about the photo challenge, go here: http://www.susannahconway.com/the-august-break-2015/

Photo and writing prompt © Carol Munro, 2015

 

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