Friday, April 24, 2009

Bad Poetry Friday--May Challenge--Rhyme Badly with May

Hello Imaginary Readers,
On this last Friday in April I'm bravely posting my own bad poem and a silly challenge for you for the 31 days (and 5 Fridays) in May.

First, the Bad Poetry Friday Challenge for all brave bad (and so-bad-you're-good) poets--

For May, please compose your poems to include at least one rhyming couplet with words that rhyme with May. A quick peek at your rhyming dictionary or at's selection of May rhyming words will give you a clue of how silly and fun this will be. Bad poetry writing opportunities abound!

Rhyme Zone has organized hundreds of May-rhyming-words from one syllable to ten syllables just for you and your Bad Poetry Friday Muse. How could you not be inspired with such words and phrases in English and French as:
dog sleigh
rate of pay
yap away
exponential decay
alphanumeric display
and of course--
jean baptiste pierre antoine de monet...
plus hundreds more--take a look!

So send your Rhyming-with-May Poem ( 8 lines or less, related to writing, publishing or reading children's books in some way) without delay--today (or any day of the week) to

I'll post the best or worst every Friday on The Imaginary Blog. Don't forget the amazing imaginary prize opportunites! Here is how to play.

And now--
To celebrate the arrival of a boxful of my new books (my author copies of The Amazing Trail of Seymour Snail just arrived!!) and for today's Bad Poetry Friday I am posting my own poem.

Be Like Seymour

Lynn E. Hazen

Be like Seymour
And Monet
Be creative
And wear a beret!

For Imaginary Readers in the San Francisco Bay Area, please come to Seymour (and Harriet's) Double-the-Fun Book Launch Party on May 16th 10:00-noon at Cover to Cover. For more fun, please wear your beret!

Misplaced your beret?
Here is a good place to find all kinds of berets--every possible color, all styles imaginable, wool or cotton, with sequins perhaps(!!!) and of course the Che beret (complete with red star and fake hair). Take a look!

Forecast: More bad poetry fun, of course. Plus creative artists, writers and poets all wearing berets! I wonder who will show up at Seymour's launch party sporting a sequinned beret?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Interview with Bethany Hegedus & Kekla Magoon, New Co-Editors of Hunger Mountain's Children's & YA Section

Hello Imaginary Readers!
We are in for a treat. Today we are interviewing Bethany Hegedus & Kekla Magoon, YA novelists
and co-editors of the literary magazine Hunger Mountain's Children and YA section.

(Bethany left, Kekla right)

Lynn: Hi Bethany and Kekla. Please tell me a little about Hunger Mountain and how you got involved.

Hunger Mountain is the well-established and respected literary journal that is affiliated with Vermont College of the Fine Arts. Recently, the decision was made to bring Hunger Mountain online and with it to add a Children’s and YA section to the journal. Miciah Bay Gault, Managing Editor of HM invited alumni to send in a resume or CV for the editor position. I responded quickly but knew the job would be large and that if I took it on I would want to partner with someone. Kekla and I have been doing joint school visit presentations and we have a good working relationship balancing each other’s strengths and weaknesses (in this case two minds and four eyes are better than one!). We each sent in our materials, expressing a desire to work together and the HM board met and went over all the applicants and surprise, surprise selected us! We were thrilled and excited and are now glassy-eyed. Or at least I am!

I’m excited, too! Like Bethany I was intrigued by the position announcement, but worried about the volume of work it would be for just one person. Our partnership enables us to share tasks, problem-solve jointly, and generate more and better ideas. I knew I wanted to be involved in the new children’s and YA section because I realized it could be a fresh and unique resource for the children’s writing community. Writing and editing are such solitary activities, and it’s easy to become isolated, so another part of the appeal of working on HM is the opportunity for me to engage with a larger community of writers. So far it has been a neat process.

Lynn: As editors, what kinds of content are you looking for?

Content! The meat of the magazine! What we are doing is something new in literary journals and for our field, and we are excited about this. The intended audience for the Children’s and YA portion of Hunger Mountain is adults and not children. It is lovers of our craft, industry professionals, working authors and illustrators as well as teachers, librarians, and anyone who admires the work that those in the children’s field produce.

Since our content is aimed at adults and not children, children’s writers are encouraged to be experimental; find a place for their “odder” and “edgier” work. However, it isn’t all about being “odd” or “edgy.” Those in the kid lit community know and respect craftsmanship both inside and outside the box.

Basically, for me, I want to publish work by up-and-comers, as well as established writers who take creative risks, create and demonstrate the range of adolescent emotion from PB age to YA. Also we will be publishing a number of craft-related essays and industry interviews and we see HM as adding to the content and scholarship that is published by Horn Book, SLJ and other journals that cover children’s literature. However, the fact that we publish fiction and creative-non fiction, not reviews, sets us apart.

Our vision for HM is to be a point of information and connection for YA and children’s writers online. As editors, we hope to create a space where writers can experiment, share ideas, and be inspired. We will publish short fiction, including novel excerpts, poetry, and short non-fiction pieces. Even though the journal’s audience is adults, the fiction that we publish will still be of a style and quality that would appeal to children and teens. Like Bethany said, this places us in a rather unique position, where authors can test out their material on a knowledgeable adult audience. As a writer, the opportunity to submit short fiction to HM would appeal to me because, as it stands, there are a limited number of places where short fiction for children and teens can be submitted. We are open to an unlimited variety of material and subject matter for new fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction, as long as it represents your best work. In addition to highly-polished new pieces, we’d love to see deleted scenes from published books, the short story that launched a novel, or samples from a picture book artist’s sketchbook.

On the article side of our publication, we’re also launching something unique. We’ll seek personal essays, objective/journalistic articles and opinion articles. We’ll include pieces on basic craft issues, the writing life, and children’s publishing, but we’ll also explore opposing points-of-view on industry trends and even controversial topics related to writing. As a reader, the journal would appeal to me because it fills a need for a public space in which to explore these craft and industry issues. Many writing advice and craft books exist that deal with these issues, but it can be hard to engage other people in conversation about hard-copy writings. There are also many blogs and websites out there for YA and children’s writers that promote discussion, but blogs are a more informal medium than what we are trying to create. HM will offer published articles and fiction PLUS the opportunity for reader feedback and discussion, which will enable us to spark dynamic conversations about hot-button issues and trends in our field.

Lynn: What's the payment for selected work? And what rights are you buying?

HM believes in paying authors and illustrators for their work. Our payment range varies between $25-75 and often well-known contributors volunteer their pieces. The major payment is in contributing to the literary community and being affiliated with such a quality journal. We buy first time world wide serial rights only; and upon publication rights revert back to the author.

Soon the submissions will be open to all. HM will be using an online submission manager, so fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction can be sent in online.

Lynn: I hear Hunger Mountain is also launching the Katherine Paterson Writing contest. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Newbery winner Katherine Paterson has long been affiliated with VCFA and sits on the board of the institution but in her own words she is not a teacher. Which may be true; she isn’t on faculty but teach and inspire she does with her novels and characters from Gilly Hopkins to Rosa, from Bread and Roses.

As a local Vermonter, when HM was looking to create the contest and give it a name, the Bridge to Terabithia author was the first that came to mind. Katherine Paterson kindly agreed and now we have The Katherine Paterson Prize. Ask me, it has as nice a ring to it as Pulitzer!

Here is the official announcement and contest rules.

Lynn: I know you both have new novels. Please tell us about your books.

In my debut novel, Between Us Baxters (WestSide Books/09) Polly Baxter has always been friends with Timbre Ann Biggs. It may matter to everyone else that their skins are different colors, but they don’t mind being the only “salt and pepper” friends in town. Or at least Polly doesn’t. Raised firmly with her mother’s belief that “you can’t pick your family but you can pick your friends” Polly clings to her friendship with Timbre Ann. After all, it is Timbre Ann who quizzes her on her vocabulary words and whose hand-me-downs she wears. It is also Timbre Ann who Polly begins to keep secrets from, including her daddy’s drinking. However, Timbre Ann has a way of knowing things about the Baxter’s, even when it isn’t Polly who shares them with her. When black-owned businesses begin to burn to the ground, Polly struggles to cope with the implications that her family may be involved and to understand the true meaning of friendship.

My novel, The Rock and the River, is set in 1968 Chicago. The civil rights movement is in full swing. Sam Childs (age 13) has been raised in the movement, as his father is a well known civil rights activist in their community. But Sam’s older brother, Stick, grows frustrated with the slow pace of change, as many young people did at that time. When Dr. King is killed, Stick leaves home and joins the Black Panther Party. Sam finds himself torn between the ideals of his father and his brother. He wants to believe in his father, to believe that non-violent protest will lead to the change he desires – but it gets harder for Sam to stand by as his community is being ravaged by police brutality and poverty. He begins to explore the Panthers with Stick, though he still struggles to decide what is right. Will Sam follow his father or his brother? His mind or his heart? The rock or the river?

Lynn: How do you juggle your time creating new work, promoting your published work and now editing your section of Hunger Mountain?

I just try to focus on the work at hand: whether that may be an upcoming school visit, a novel deadline, a check-in call with my agent, work with Kekla on Hunger Mountain, a revision of a picture book or working on my website or other promotional materials. I tend to rely on instinct in terms of my daily priorities. Somehow, some way it all gets done! (My laundry, now that’s another thing!) And, my writer’s group keeps me honest and keeps me producing new work weekly. That is key!

It’s a very big struggle for me to prioritize. Lately I’ve been using a series of to-do lists to help me organize my activities. I write the tasks right into my calendar each week. My writers’ group sits down every January to outline goals for the year, which I find really useful in targeting my long-term goals. On my own, I then break down the goals by month, and each month I break them down by week. This is not to say it that it all gets done! But it has helped me understand my work pace and process better, when I can look back and compare my intentions vs. my accomplishments. It has helped me understand what I can realistically accomplish in a day/week/month, which in turn has helped me stop putting pressure on myself to accomplish too much in too short a time. I’ve become better at saying NO to outside activities that will draw me away from my writing and professional goals. The hardest thing for me lately is to focus on producing new writing, since book promotion and editing are new and exciting adventures for me. But my writers’ groups definitely help me keep on task with my latest draft!

Lynn: Do you do school visits, too?

Yes! We each do school visits on our own book, but we also developed a joint presentation. It’s another area of our partnership that works really well. Since our books are set in 1959 and 1968, we are uniquely positioned to provide students with an in-depth presentation about the beginning and end of the civil rights era.

Our presentation is called “The Movement: Civil Rights in America 1959-1968.” It’s subtitled: “Two Books. Two Authors. One Powerful Presentation.” We lay out a timeline of civil rights movement, beginning with Bethany’s Between Us Baxters, which occurs at a time when segregation was still in effect in the South. She discusses Jim Crow laws, Brown vs. Board of Education, the Klan and the Citizen’s Councils, and the kinds of events that occurred that ultimately drove the black community to organize and launch the civil rights movement. Using a photo montage, we fast-forward through the parts of the movement that students more typically study in school, until we reach 1968 and the assassination of Dr. King. I talk about the effect that Dr. King’s death had on black communities around the country, and the new militancy and community organizing efforts that rose up in the wake of his murder. It’s a topic students don’t normally get to study, but is an area that needs more attention if we ever hope to understand the civil rights era as it truly happened.

Our presentation is fun and interactive, using audience participation and readers’ theater to engage students in the material. There’s a lot about our books that make them complement each other. Together, we cover the gamut of civil rights issues: Polly’s a white working class girl in a Southern rural setting, early in the movement. Sam’s a black middle class boy in a Northern, urban setting, late in the movement. The divergent perspectives and settings give us a means to examine the civil rights era from two fresh angles. We provide teachers’ guides and classroom material as a follow-up to our presentation.

We also both do interactive writing workshops for smaller groups.

It is wonderful to partner with Kekla on the school visits, as well. We brainstorm, work on promotional materials, rehearse with one another and keep each other laughing throughout the process of whatever is thrown our way.

Lynn: Do you have any tips for authors in the time management juggle?

Give up television! I am serious! I no longer have a TV! But I do catch episodes of my faves online (gotta see Lost and Damages!) but truly cutting back on the television has given me a lot more time than I once did. Now instead of watching American Idol I just hop over to facebook and follow editor Elizabeth Law’s witty banter and takes on the performances. I am caught up in five minutes.

Ha. Bethany’s quite right. But I love my TV, so that solution doesn’t entirely work for me. (Though, I will say that having DVR makes a big difference…) My suggestion is to include your writing activities in your calendar or schedule in advance, as if they are fixed events, with a date and time attached. Lately I have been managing my time this way, especially since I work from home full-time, which to the outside world often reads as if I’m not working. People have no qualms about calling me to do things in the middle of the day, as if I don’t have anything better to do. I find it easier to say no when I can open my calendar, see my writing plans, and decide if the other activity is actually more important to me.

Lynn: Since this is an imaginary blog, can you please tell us in what ways your writing and now editing career is different than you originally imagined?

Hmmm…I originally imagined writing someday would cease to be work, and I mean work with a capital W. It continues to be and though I wish the process was easier some days; and that the brick walls didn’t always appear when I least expect them (or even when I do expect them); but I have come to like the brick walls. I do my best to breathe deep and craft-wise dismantle the walls knowing it will take time, energy and careful thought (and emptying the mind, too!) In my own emotional life, my brick walls didn’t get as high as they were overnight and they didn’t come down overnight either. And I know this is the same for my characters. I have to show their emotional brick walls being built brick-by-brick and then see how they break through them or live inside them. Either way it takes time and plenty of patience.

Enough with the bricks before you throw them at me! Editing, on the other hand, is new to me although critiquing is not. Studying for my MFA at VCFA we were trained in providing valuable feedback to fellow authors. I rely heavily on that training and also the work I have done in my writer’s group over the last ten years. And, I trust Kekla! We think differently; and have different opinions and the discourse between us is invaluable.

Well, depending on how far I look back, the fact that I’m a writer/editor at all is something different from what I imagined my life would be like. As a child/teen I imagined myself as a doctor or teacher – all my varying career interests were much more “traditional” than the creative life I’ve patched together for myself in reality. Even looking back just to the time I started writing seriously, which was about eight years ago, I couldn’t have imagined myself making a full-time living this way. My previous professional jobs were very disappointing to me, and I quickly came to believe that any job I ever had would be messy and stressful and painful. As my writing life has evolved, I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be that way. Although writing bears its own messes and stresses and pains, that energy now feeds my work instead of detracting from it. I feel lucky these days to be doing something I love.

Lynn: Thank you Bethany and Kekla. Congratulations on your novels and best of luck on your new venture as co-editors of Hunger Mountain's children's and YA section.

Imaginary Readers, you can find out more about Bethany Hegedus and Kekla Magoon by visiting their websites:

Review of SHIFTY--"...jazz/street cadence...intriguing first page...redemptive ending...poignant story..."

Here's a new review of SHIFTY--this time in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

The reviewer, Christine Zilius Mason, says in part:

"...Hazen's prose has a jazz/street cadence that engages the reader from the intriguing first page to the redemptive ending. She brings the characters to life through perfect dialogue and deft description.


"...Through the subtle use of language in this poignant story, the reader is led to identify with the spunky characters and to care deeply about whether or not they will make it in their new home."

To read the whole review, please go here:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Aggie Authors at U. C. Davis Picnic Day 2009

Join Aggie Alumni Authors Lynn E. Hazen, Erin Dealey and Carol Peterson at U.C. Davis Picnic Day on Saturday April 18th!

Free, of course!

First we'll be at the MultiCultural Children’s Faire at U.C. Davis
Meet Aggie children’s book authors, Lynn E.Hazen, Erin Dealey & Carol Peterson.

Then from 12:30-1:30 we'll be at the U.C. Davis Bookstore giving a presentation on: How to Become a Children’s Book Author

Three successful UCD Aggie alumni children’s authors will share tips and how to’s of writing for children & young adults from 12:30-1:30 pm at the UCD bookstore on Picnic Day, Saturday, April 18th. Q & A, autographs, and book sales. (Meet all 3 authors, Erin Dealey, Lynn E. Hazen & Carol Peterson for story time at the Multicultural Children’s Fair 11-12:15 (Hart Stage) just prior to the bookstore presentation. Aggies and non-Aggies of all ages are welcome to both events!

For more information, maps and schedules of everything that's happening at Picnic Day got to:

Forecast: Sunshine and a whole lot of Picnic Day Fun!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bad Poetry Friday Awards Announced!

It's time to announce the winners of last Friday's Bad Poetry Friday contest.

We had 2 votes for Karen
1 vote for Betsy
and 1 vote for Kate (with hands and feet thrown in).

However, as Erin commented,
" this case NOT winning might be a good thing?"

I think you are right Erin. So...
Our Booo-bery winner is Erin Dealey because:
1. She says she wants to be a Booo-bery author.
2. She mostly followed the rules re: brevity and being related to children's books.

The Mal-decott goes to Karen Ehrhardt as she got the most votes (2), her poem was related to writing (and it was brief!)

The Poo-litzer is awarded to Stacy Dillon. I really liked her mention of the Dewey Decimal numbers, didn't you? How many of you researched what books were shelved at 612.6? How many already knew?

I say Julie Larios and Kate Coombs tie for the No-Bell Prize.

Which leaves the Michael J. Wince Award for Betsy Bird and her 1492 poem with rotting gum and a moldy smelling bus!

As you can see, pretty much everyone is a winner here at Bad Poetry Friday, which is why YOU should send your original bad poem (any day of the week) after reading these rules/guidelines.

Here's how to play:
Just make up really bad original rhymes poking good-natured fun at the frequent craziness of the children’s book world. Then send in your bad rhyme (any day of the week) in the body of your message (no attachments, please) to

Everyone’s invited--writers, editors, marketing folks, librarians, agents, reviewers, booksellers, and readers—cast your meter to the wind and send us your BAD POETRY please.

We’ll post the best (or the worst) depending on our mood every Friday (or every other Friday).
Let us know if you want to be credited or anon.

8 short lines max
6 or 4 lines even better.
2 lines might be best of all.
We’re going for short here, folks--
Because if it’s gonna be bad, it better be brief!

Forecast: See you next week once again for Bad Poetry Friday.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Double Book Launch Party for Seymour & Harriet!

Everyone is invited to a Double Book Launch Party!!

Elissa Haden Guest's , HARRIET'S HAD ENOUGH!

Please join us in the celebration!

Saturday May 16th

10 a.m. to noon
at Cover to Cover in San Francisco

1307 Castro St
(between 24th St & Jersey St)
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 282-8080

Here is what Kirkus has to say about my favorite snail...

"Seymour Snail is an endearing artist..."

"Cushman’s anthropomorphized bugs from the art gallery are a hoot..."

"Creative wordplay abounds..."

"Engaging characters and winning art create a solid addition to the field of transitional literature."
KIRKUS REVIEWS, April 1, 2009

(Paul Meisel’s) "… rosy pinks and golden tans convey the warmth of the family home.”
School Library Journal

"Young readers will be reassured by the tale's comforting message that a family's love is constant…”

"This amusing peek at a common childhood scenario will satisfy parents and children alike."
Kirkus Reviews

Katherine Paterson Prize for YA and Children’s Writing

Katherine Paterson Prize for YA and Children’s Writing

This is so cool! It just arrived in my mailbox from Vermont College of Fine Arts. I love Vermont College. I got my MFA there in Writing for Children & Young Adults. Who doesn't love Vermont College? Who doesn't love Katherine Paterson? Not to mention $1000 prize money for this contest! Who doesn't want or need $1000 plus did I mention Katherine Paterson???? Wow!

Take a look:

Hunger Mountain presents the Katherine Paterson Prize for YA and Children’s Writing

Calling all YA and children’s writers! We are thrilled to present the inaugural Katherine Paterson Prize for YA and Children’s Writing in Hunger Mountain.

Hunger Mountain, the arts journal of Vermont College of Fine Arts, will launch our new online arts journal early this summer. Our new site will include YA and Children’s Literature; we’ll feature articles on hot topics and trends in YA and children’s literature, interviews with publishing industry insiders, and fiction selections by well-known and up-and-coming YA and children’s authors. Upcoming issues will feature pieces by Katherine Paterson, Carrie Jones, Cynthia Leitich Smith, K.A. Nuzum, Rita Williams-Garcia, Sara Zarr and many others!

Writers of Young Adult Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, and Picture Books are encouraged to enter the Katherine Paterson Prize for YA and Children’s Writing. Newbery Award winning author Katherine Paterson will judge. We’re looking for unpublished YA and children’s writing. One winner will receive $1000.00 and publication in Hunger Mountain online, and two honorable mentions will receive $100.00 each.

Entries may include:
• Young Adult Fiction (novel excerpt or short story)
• Middle Grade Fiction (novel excerpt or short story)
• Picture Book (text only)

Submission Fee: $20 per entry

Deadline: Entries must be postmarked by June 30th, 2009

Contest Guidelines:
Your packet should include four items:
• A one-page cover sheet that includes:
o Your name, address, email and phone number
o The title of your manuscript
o The category of your manuscript (YA, MG, PB)
o A brief (one to two paragraph/200 word) bio of yourself
o A brief (one to two paragraph/250 word) synopsis of your manuscript

• Your manuscript (original, unpublished work please):
o Up to 5,000 words of middle grade/young adult fiction, or one picture book manuscript (text only)
o Entries must be double-spaced, with margins of at least 1”
o Please number the pages of your entry, and label each page with the title
o Please DO NOT label the manuscript with your name (entries will be judged anonymously)
o Please paperclip (do not staple) your entry
• Entry Fee:
o Check or money order for $20, payable to Hunger Mountain
• Self-addressed, stamped envelope for notification of award winners
• A self-addressed, stamped postcard for us to acknowledge receipt of your entry (optional)

Packets should be mailed to:
Katherine Paterson Prize for YA and Children’s Writing
Hunger Mountain
Vermont College of Fine Arts
36 College Street
Montpelier, VT 05602

Forecast: A whole lot of good writing in Hunger Mountain!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Draw a Bunny!

Just in case you (or your children) are a bit bouncy from too many jelly beans, malted eggs, marshmallow peeps or chocolate bunnies, this fun How to Draw a Bunny page (an 8 1/2 x 11 free downloadable pdf) might be the perfect activity. Enjoy.

The How to Draw a Bunny page was created by Elyse Pastel,
illustrator of my young chapter book, Cinder Rabbit.
Download your free 8 1/2 by 11 pdf here.
Read an interview with Elyse Pastel at:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Let the Competition Begin for Bad Poetry Friday!

We promised a Bad Poetry Contest so here it is. We have imaginary prizes to award, too. But Imaginary Readers, first I need your help and your comments to help judge the contest.

Last Friday we saw 17-year-old Betsy Bird's untitled entry for our Bad Poetry Friday Contest. We now have 5 more brave contestants competing with Betsy for this round of Bad Poetry Friday! So for your Bad Poetry reading pleasure, here they come. After reading them all, please use the comments to tell me which you think is "the best of the worst" and why. Prizes for the best bad poems include The Mal-decott, The Booooo-bery, The Poo-litzer, The No-Bell, and the Michael J. Wince Awards. Oh yes, I know those are cringingly bad. It is Bad Poetry Friday after all.

Please comment on your favorites and help me choose the Best of the Worst.

Let the competition begin:

Entry # 1: Untitled and apparently unfinished poem by Betsy Bird of SLJ Fuse # 8, written when she was 17 years old.

Back in 1492
Columbus sailed the ocean blue
And 92 was once for us
The year we rode that great old bus

Of dusty metal, brown and old
That smelt of rotting gum with mold

Entry # 2:
ee ehrhardt, oops--I mean Karen Ehrhardt sends us this one:
bad poet...
u wanna hear
how i come to know it?
my rejection collection show it!
'that's all she wrote.'
'nuff said.
the end.

Entry # 3:
Julie Larios of The Drift Record says:
Hiya, Lynn -
I salute Betsy Bird's poem written with heart at age 17 - nothing beats sincere poetry written by a teenager, unless it's poetry by Leonard Nimoy, which beats ALL other comers. But here is my contribution for the week, shaped by your suggestion, Lynn, that if it's going to be bad, it should be brief:

Stellar Thoughts

Every time
a star twinkles
it means
an angel tinkles.

Julie also states, "I love Bad Poetry Fridays. Like sherbet - it clears the palate."

Entry # 4:
Stacy Dillon (a school librarian) of Welcome to my Tweendom sends her fun poem which had me running to find out what a particular number of the Dewey Decimal system was all about.

I was working in a school library.
3 students of mine were named Harry.
They never knew,
what Dewey would do,
So shelved 612.6 under "scary"!

Entry # 5:
From author Erin Dealey:

Which came first--the writer or the egg?
Dear Editor, my manuscript--? (I'm trying not to beg.)
Has any bunny read it yet?
There, ok, I asked it.
All I want for Easter is a contract in my basket.

And Entry # 6: (which coincidentally has a Dear Editor and Bunny theme, too)
from Kate Coombs at Book Aunt. Kate says, "Hey, sorry I forgot about your line length rules. I blame it on the example of the coffee theft people! But I'll send this just the same..." (I think she's talking about Jules & Eisha's previous poem!)

Dear Editor (or, Why the Publisher's Mailbox Is Full)
I wrote about a dear sweet little bunny,
A story both cute and nice and adorable and funny.
My grandchildren love it.
They say it's not one bit
Yucky. No, they say, "Granny,
Whose first name isn't actually Franny,
Someone should make a book
Out of your bunny story, oh look look!
And we will even draw the pictures for you
Because the best grandma of all is most definitely you."
The bunny's name is Billy--
Isn't that perfectly quaint, not in the least silly?
So, dear editor, I beg,
Please buy my story, it's like a darling Easter egg!
The title is Billy Bunny Makes a Friend.
You have to read it all the way to The End.
--Kate Coombs (Book Aunt at

Imaginary Readers, please cast your votes and your opinions in the comments function right below there. Which do you think is the best of the bad?

Then don't be aftraid to cast your meter to the wind and send YOUR bad poetry any day of the week to:

Here's how to play.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Seymour Snail and Cinder Rabbit Book Widgets--What Will They Think of Next?

As my sweet grandma Dessie used to say, "Would you look at that! What will they think of next?"

Something new, nifty, easy and fun perhaps? I was poking around the Henry Holt website this morning. Look what I found--nifty book widgets for free--for folks to add to their sites or blogs.
I will give it a try right here.

If you'd like to add a Seymour or Cinder Book Widget to your blog or review site, just zip on over to Holt's web site here for the Seymour Book Widget, and here for the Cinder Rabbit Book Widget and pick yourself up some free and easy html code to simply copy and paste into your review. **

I'd be thrilled if you decide to add one of these fun widgets to your blog so we can perform a little Social Media Experiment to see how quickly our slow snail can slime his way across the wide wonderful world of the Kidlitosphere. Seymour thanks you for giving it a try.

Cinder would be hoppy if you tried her widget, too.

If you need a review copy of Seymour or Cinder, please let me know and I'll ask Holt if they still have review copies available. (Of course it'll help if you are a reviewer of books for younger children so please tell me where you review books).

** helpful hint: if you end up with a big white space (as I did at first) where you posted some of the html, just delete all the code prior to the "embed source ..." and keep all the "embed source ..." including the <> enclosures at each end.

And if you do add one of the widgets to your blog or review site, please let me know how it worked and where you posted it. Thanks!

Forecast: Seymour's Book Widget slowly (or quickly) oozing along at a his own pace. What do you think, Imaginary Readers? What will they think of next?

Hands-On Social Media Intensive Sat. June 6 at Fort Mason in San Francisco

Wow! We got great responses on our first class so we're teaching it again--this time in San Francisco. Thanks to SCBWI for hosting us again.

SCBWI San Francisco/South presents:
Hands-On Social Media Intensive for Children's Book Writers & Illustrators:
Sat. June 6, 10:00-3:30 at Fort Mason in San Francisco

A Bring-Your-Own-Laptop Adventure into the Land of Social Media for Children's & YA Authors & Illustrators. Join Lynn E. Hazen and Susan Taylor Brown as we explore Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn, You Tube, Red Room and so much more. We'll have internet access, so bring your laptop (optional) and we'll have time for you to click along, ask questions and participate in Web. 2.0. As publishers expect more and more from authors and illustrators (before during and after you've published), come learn how to juggle your promotion efforts, social websites & online personalities and STILL HAVE TIME TO WRITE !

$50, SCBWI members (without in-class internet access)

$55. SCBWI members (with internet access--bring your own laptop & surge supressor/power cord)

$70. non-SCBWI members (without internet access)

$75. non-SCBWI members (with in-class internet access--bring your own laptop & surge supressor/power cord)

Pre-registration required. We expect this workshop to sell out quickly.

Lynn E. Hazen, M.A., M.F.A., writes books filled with humor, heart and hope. Kirkus praised her young adult novel, SHIFTY, as "a realistic story that resonates.” SHIFTY was chosen as VOYA’s Top Shelf Fiction, a CCBC Choice, and a Smithsonian Notable. Lynn’s younger books include: MERMAID MARY MARGARET (a middle grade novel), CINDER RABBIT, THE AMAZING TRAIL OF SEYMOUR SNAIL, and BUZZ BUMBLE. Lynn gives writing workshops and author talks at schools, libraries and conferences, and teaches writing classes at Stanford Continuing Studies.

Susan Taylor Brown is the author of the middle grade verse novel Hugging the Rock, which was named an ALA Notable Children's Book, an NCTE Notable Children's Book, VOYA's Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers, and a Bank Street College Best Children's Books of the Year Selection. Susan's other books include picture books Oliver’s Must-Do List and Can I Pray With My Eyes Open? and the non-fiction book Robert Smalls Sails to Freedom. Susan leads writing and creativity workshops for writers and readers of all ages and conducts online workshops on the use of social media for authors. More info at and

Download pdf registration form here.
Download word doc registration form here.

This June 6th class will be an in-person class in San Francisco.
If you live far away (or can't attend that day) please view Susan's online classes here.

See what previous workshop attendees said about Lynn & Susan's shorter version of an earlier Social Media class.

"I've been a web developer for 14 years and I learned so much!"
Marik Bergits

"Great information on the various tech sites told in a user friendly fashion."
Marya Ashworth

"Susan Taylor Brown and Lynn E. Hazen paint realistic website and blogging panoramas. Practically focused, their energetic presenting made a believer out of me."
Lyndsey Davis

Chad Cameron

"Lynn and Susan took the mystery out of Twitter for me."
Carma Dutra

"A great introduction to Web 2.0 for Kidlit mavens. Lynn and Susan make the world of social networking seem accessible no matter how busy you are."
Dashka Slater

Forecast: Laptops a-humming with hands-on Web 2.0 Exploration!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Maria van Lieshout's PEEP Launch Party!!

Just posting photos here so you can see what fun Maria van Lieshout's launch party was for her wonderful new book, PEEP! It was held at Cover to Cover Booksellers in San Francisco.

If you need a signed copy of Maria's PEEP, BLOOM, or SPLASH, just give the folks at Cover to Cover a call at 415-282-8080. They also have signed copies of SHIFTY, CINDER RABBIT, THE AMAZING TRAIL OF SEYMOUR TRAIL, MERMAID MARY MARGARET, and BUZZ BUMBLE.

Forecast: Another book launch party May 16th at Cover to Cover for: THE AMAZING TRAIL OF SEYMOUR SNAIL!! Mark you calendars. 10:00 a.m. to noon. I hope you can come.

© 2009 by Lynn E. Hazen of Lynn E. Hazen's Imaginary Blog. All rights reserved.

Lynn Teaches Writing Workshops to 4th-8th Graders at Young Writers Festival

Last week I drove up to Willows, CA where I met 180 students at the Glen County Young Writers Festival. The early morning drive was beautiful with 180 degrees of sky, farmland, blooming lupine and roadside wildflowers, various sheep, horses and cows silhouetted in the early morning light. It was such a beautiful sunrise I had to stop and take some pics.

The festival was organized by the wonderful Anna Lane.

The students had all sent in writing samples in various categories, then chose 3 workshops to attend. My workshops were on writing fiction, especially on how to add humor and emotion to your writing. The students were great, inspiring, enthusiastic, and asked wonderful questions.

After lunch (and some great story-telling by Michael Katz), many awards were given to the student writers!

The drive back was great too, with fields and hills in all shades of green.

Again, the 180 degrees of sky was amazing. I had to stop to take some pics of the clouds.

I saw many many cool trucks zooming by and I couldn't help thinking that my truck-loving character, Charlie in Cinder Rabbit, would have enjoyed that particular truck-filled stretch of I-5.

To read more about the Young Writers Festival, check out The Willows Journal and the Chico Enterprise Record.

Forecast: More writing!

© 2009 by Lynn E. Hazen of Lynn E. Hazen's Imaginary Blog. All rights reserved.

More Bad Poetry Friday Coming Soon! Next Friday in Fact!

Dear Imaginary Readers,
We are in luck.
The Bad Poetry Friday bug has caught on (thanks to a little nudge from Betsy Bird) and we've received some more BPF submissions that will be posted (you guessed it!) next Friday! So come back and check it out.

We'll have some truly great bad poems by ee ehrhardt, oops--I mean Karen Ehrhardt, Julie Larios of The Drift Record, Book Aunt's Kate Coombs, and Welcome to my Tweendom's Stacy Dillon. Stacy is a school librarian and her fun poem had me running to find out what a particular number of the Dewey Decimal system was all about.

So please come back next Friday to see all of these and maybe your bad poem too. That is, if you send me one (any day of the week) at

In the meantime, Julie Larios sends this comment:

"Hiya, Lynn -
I salute Betsy Bird's poem written with heart at age 17 - nothing beats sincere poetry written by a teenager, unless it's poetry by Leonard Nimoy, which beats ALL other comers...
I love Bad Poetry Fridays. Like sherbet - it clears the palate."

Forecast: Clear your palate next Friday at the Imaginary Blog

© 2009 by Lynn E. Hazen of Lynn E. Hazen's Imaginary Blog. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bad Poetry Friday: Untitled & Apparently Unfinished by 17-year-old Betsy Bird

Whoo hoo! Bad Poetry Friday is Back!!

Here in San Francisco it is not quite Friday, but in NY it is...
So here we go! Just in time for National Poetry Month--it's an untitled and apparently unfinished poem by Betsy Bird of SLJ Fuse # 8, written when she was 17 years old.

Back in 1492
Columbus sailed the ocean blue
And 92 was once for us
The year we rode that great old bus

Of dusty metal, brown and old
That smelt of rotting gum with mold

Betsy comments on her contribution to Bad Poetry Friday:
" is a bad poem I just found from my big black high school notebook. A lot of the poems were the usual existential ennui, but there's at least one truly terrible one in here that has nothing to do with boys, body image, or self-pity...Can't imagine why I didn't cap off that bit of 17-year-old brilliance with further lines."

It's not too late Betsy. You can still add more. Personally, I do not think you have captured enough forced rhymes yet!

We'll check in with the Poetry Police shortly and see what they have to say about Betsy's 1492 poem. In the meantime, thanks Betsy for joining in the fun.
And Imaginary Readers, feel free to send in your own bad poetry any day of the week to (no attachments, please)

Everyone’s invited--writers, editors, marketing folks, librarians, agents, reviewers, booksellers, and readers—cast your meter to the wind and send us your BAD POETRY please.
I’ll post the best (or the worst) every Friday.

Look here for the official rules on how to play Bad Poetry Friday!

The Rhymes, They Are A Changing
(sung to the tune of Bob Dylan’s Times They Are A Changing)

Come gather ‘round Bad Poets wherever you roam
And admit that the oddities in publishing have grown
No need to like blogging—you’ve found your new home
If your bad poem to you is worth saving…
We’d better start laughing, or we’ll feel all alone
For the rhymes, they are a changing…

Forecast: Still looking for a talented volunteer to create an inspiring logo for Bad Poetry Friday. I'm sure there is a brilliant one out there. Imaginary Logo?

© 2009 by Lynn E. Hazen of Lynn E. Hazen's Imaginary Blog. All rights reserved.

Lynn Interviewed at ForeWord Magazine

Dear Imaginary Readers,

ForeWord Magazine has an interview of me by Whitney Hallberg in their March/April 2009 edition.

I think the formatting is best here.

In part I talk about the dual imagination process between author and reader. Take a look:

The question no one asks, the one you’re itching to answer is…

"What intrigues me most about writing fiction?"

The creative imagination process—the magic that allows us to create characters and events that didn’t previously exist and capture them on the page for others to experience.

As a writer how do I make my imaginary characters, places and stories real and believable? What exactly happens when we travel the elusive ink-on-paper-bridge between the blank page beginnings of the author’s creativity and the readers’ imagination process on the other side? When readers decode bits of ink on paper, what makes characters, emotions, stories and books come alive? What makes a lasting connection between author and reader even as we are separated in time and space? Though we may never meet in real life, how does this dual creative imagination process between author and reader change us?

Read the rest of the interview here.

And click to see more of ForeWord Magazine.

Forecast: More questions and fewer answers?

© 2009 by Lynn E. Hazen of Lynn E. Hazen's Imaginary Blog. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bad Poetry Friday Returns (with the Best of Bad--Betsy Bird) just in time for National Poetry Month!

We're baaaaaaaaaack and we're baaaaaaaaaad !

That's Betsy Bird of Fuse # 8 with her rhyming hat on!

And bad bad Betsy Bird will be joining us--daring YOU to write a worse poem than her poem. Betsy has even promised to dive into her high school journals for bad inspiration!

Oh sure, there are much loftier blogs celebrating National Poetry Month with stanzas of worthwhile poems. This isn't one of them.

Bad poets need a place to gather and have fun, too, right? So please join us for Bad Poetry Friday!

The Rhymes, They Are A Changing
(sung to the tune of Bob Dylan’s Times They Are A Changing)

Come gather ‘round Bad Poets wherever you roam
And admit that the oddities in publishing have grown
No need to like blogging—you’ve found your new home
If your bad poem to you is worth saving…
We’d better start laughing, or we’ll feel all alone
For the rhymes, they are a changing…

Yes indeedy folks.
It's time once again for
Bad Poetry Friday right here on the Imaginary Blog.
Here’s how to play…

Just make up really bad rhymes poking good-natured fun at the craziness of the children’s book world. Then send in your bad rhyme (any day of the week) to (no attachments, please)

Everyone’s invited--writers, editors, marketing folks, librarians, agents, reviewers, booksellers, and readers—cast your meter to the wind and send us your BAD POETRY please.

I’ll post the best (or the worst) every Friday.
Let me know if you want to be credited or anon.

8 short lines max
6 or 4 lines even better.
2 lines might be best of all.
We’re going for short here, folks--
Because if it’s gonna be bad, it better be brief!

Come creative people, please heed the call
Send us BAD POETRY, or no poetry at all…

Forecast: Bad Poems with a Chance of Laughter.

Oh, and we're cooking up some really bad poetry prizes, too. Wouldn't you love to win The Mal-de-cott?

Send your bad poems soon to see if you can beat Betsy Bird at bad.
And come back Friday to see who wins.

For a few of our previous bad poets, take a look here at Jim Averbeck, here at Marsha Morrow, here at M.T. Anderson, and here at 7 Imps' Jules and Eisha! We're sure you could do worse. That's the spirit!

Of course if you want to read some good poetry this month, go here, here, or here!

And if you are artistically inclined, I'd love to have a nifty Bad Poetry Friday logo. Any volunteers?

© 2009 by Lynn E. Hazen of Lynn E. Hazen's Imaginary Blog. All rights reserved.