Archive for February, 2009

Feb 27 2009

Let’s Get Ready for some playdough to help this mom/daughter team on their mission work!

Neon Play Dough Fundraiser

Who:    My name is Ruthie Gilmore-Benedict

Contact Info:                


P.O. Box 171132
Boise, Idaho 83717-1132
Email me at: and Please visit: 

Why: Coming This Summer 2009…a special trip to Guatemala City!

The Mission Trip Info:

Sponsored by BRIO Magazine, a youth oriented service trip is being planned for Central America, and I would like to go! I need to raise $3,000.00 so that I can participate in this awesome opportunity.  Will you help me?

What I can do for you:

I am beginning my personal online business in order to raise funds for my Summer ’09 mission trip.  My product is NEON PLAY DOUGH. I have various sets or a pound of play dough for great prices.  It’s all hand-made, and it lasts a long time.  Just ask my four-year old sister…I can also do other projects.  For example: I clean and organize kitchens, bathrooms, friend’s bedrooms and garages really well.  I can paint a room or Baby-sit your kids. Just ask my mom…I can also make a great homemade pizza dinner for you and your family.  FREE DELIVERY in the local area of course! 

Product/web site:

Regular or Neon Color Single Pack = $3.00    

Regular or Neon Color Pack=$10.00 

Both Color Packs=$20.00

*SPECIAL OFFER:   Join my “Recurring Shipment Program” for Neon Play Dough to be shipped to your mailbox on the first of  every month!!!!

91 responses so far

Feb 26 2009

Let’s Get Ready For Wisdom from Dr. Marvin Marshall

I love his newsletter for these types of gems:

A teacher wrote: “I’m impressed with separating the behavior from the kid. I’ve just read about the wise teacher who told a student that he won’t do that when he becomes a man. It worked! That kid sat right up and so did all the others.”

About Dr. Marvin Marshall

Marvin Marshall’s proactive discipline and learning approach was inspired from his experience as a parent; an elementary, middle, and high school teacher; middle and high school counselor; and elementary, middle, and high school principal. More about the author is available at

He has presented in 43 of the United States and in 14 countries on five continents and can be contacted for presenting a keynote or workshop from his website at




DISCIPLINE support links and their descriptions are available at

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT support links and their descriptions are available at

PARENTING tips are available at

Schools can receive free books and free staff development by completing the application process at

114 responses so far

Feb 25 2009

Let’s Get Ready For Writing Query Letters!

Today we have a Q & A with Wendy Burt-Thomas. She is a full-time freelance writer, editor and copywriter with more than 1,000 published pieces. Her third book, “The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters” hit stores in January 2009. To learn more about Wendy or her three books, visit  If you have a writing-related question, you can also post it on


1. Q: Can you tell us about your book?

The book was a great fit for me because I’d been teaching “Breaking Into Freelance Writing” for about eight years. In the workshop, I covered a lot of what is in this book: writing query letters to get articles in magazines, to land an agent, or to get a book deal with a publisher. Since I’m a full-time freelance magazine writer and editor with two previous books, this was incredibly fun to write because it didn’t require tons of research. I was lucky enough to receive lots of great sample query letters from writers and authors that I use as “good” examples in the book. I wrote all the “bad” examples myself because I didn’t dare ask for contributions that I knew I’d be ripping apart!

In addition to the ins and outs of what makes a good query, the book covers things like why (or why not) to get an agent, where to find one and how to choose one; writing a synopsis or proposal; selling different rights to your work; other forms of correspondence; and what editors and agents look for in new writers.

It was really important to me that the book not be a dry, boring reference book, but rather an entertaining read (while still being chock full of information). I was thrilled that Writer’s Digest let me keep all the humor.

2. Q: Why are query letters so important?

Breaking into the publishing world is hard enough right now. Unless you have a serious “in” of some kind, you really need a great query letter to impress an agent or acquisitions editor. Essentially, your query letter is your first impression. If they like your idea (and voice and writing style and background), they’ll either request a proposal, sample chapters, or the entire manuscript. If they don’t like your query letter, you’ve got to pitch it to another agency/publisher. Unlike a manuscript, which can be edited or reworked if an editor thinks it has promise, you only get one shot with your query. Make it count!

I see a lot of authors who spend months (or years) finishing their book, only to rush through the process of crafting a good, solid query letter. What a waste! If agents/editors turn you down based on a bad query letter, you’ve blown your chance of getting them to read your manuscript. It could be the next bestseller, but they’ll never see it. My advice is to put as much effort into your query as you did your book. If it’s not fabulous, don’t send it until it is.

3. Q: You’re also a magazine editor. What is your biggest gripe regarding queries?

Queries that show that the writer obviously hasn’t read our publication. I’ll admit that I did this when I was a new writer too – submitted blindly to any publication whose name sounded even remotely related to my topic. One of the examples I use was when I submitted a parenting article to a magazine for senior citizens. Oops! A well-written query pitching an article that’s not a match for the magazine isn’t going to get you any further than a poorly written query.

4. Q: There’s an entire chapter in the book about agents. Do you think all new writers should get agents?

Probably 99% of new writers should get an agent. There are lots of reasons, but my top three are: 1) Many of the larger publishing houses won’t even look at unagented submissions now; 2) Agents can negotiate better rights and more money on your behalf; 3) Agents know the industry trends, changes and staff better than you ever could. 

5. Q: You’ve been a mentor, coach or editor for many writers. What do you think is the most common reason that good writers don’t get published?

Poor marketing skills. I see so many writers that are either too afraid, too uniformed, or frankly, too lazy, to market their work. They think their job is done when the write “the end” but writing is only half of the process. I’ve always told people who took my class that there are tons of great writers in the world who will never get published. I’d rather be a good writer who eats lobster than a great writer who eats hot dogs. I make a living as a writer because I spend as much time marketing as I do writing.

6. Q: What are some of the biggest misconceptions that writers have about getting a book deal?

That they’ll be rich overnight, that they don’t need to promote their book once it’s published, that publishing houses will send them on world book tours, that people will recognize them at the airport. Still, you can make great money as an author if you’re prepared to put in the effort. If it wasn’t possible, there wouldn’t be so many full-time writers.

7. Q: What must-read books do you recommend to new writers?

Christina Katz (author of “Writer Mama”) has a new book out called “Get Known Before the Book Deal” – which is fabulous. Also, Stephen King’s “On Writing” and David Morrell’s “Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing.” Anything by Anne Lamott or my Dad, Steve Burt.

8. Q: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a full-time writer?

Seize every opportunity – especially when you first start writing. I remember telling someone about a really high-paying writing gig I got and he said, “Wow. You have the best luck!” I thought, “Luck has nothing to do with it! I’ve worked hard to get where I am.” Later that week I read this great quote: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” It’s absolutely true. And writing queries is only about luck in this sense. If you’re prepared with a good query and/or manuscript, when the opportunity comes along you’ll be successful.

9. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Writing the “bad” query letters. I’ve read – and written! – so many horrible ones over the years that it was a little too easy to craft them. But misery loves company and we ALL love to read really bad query letters, right?

10. Q: What do you want readers to learn from your book?

I want them to understand that while writing a good query letter is important, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can break it down into parts, learn from any first-round rejections, and read other good queries to help understand what works. I also want them to remember that writing is fun. Sometimes new writers get so caught up in the procedures that they lose their original voice in a query. Don’t bury your style under formalities and to-the-letter formatting.

103 responses so far

Feb 24 2009

Let’s Get Ready To Be Inspired by Alison Rhodes!

I love Alison she is a dear friend of mine.  I only wish I would have known Alison during her darkest time.  Definitely, get the tissues…I guarantee you will be inspired by her amazing story! 

Alison Rhodes

From pool safety and burn prevention to sports injuries and poison control, The Safety Mom is always on the lookout for dangers facing all children – newborns to teens.

After experiencing the death of her child from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Rhodes became committed to saving children’s lives and is the national voice for child safety.

To read an inteview by Lauri Harrison, of Working Mother, click here.

To find out more about Alison Rhodes and her work as a National Safety Mom expert, click here.

136 responses so far

Feb 23 2009

Let’s Get Ready for Stork Dash!

Stork Dash is SUCH a grand idea, I can’t wait to tell you about it and share it with you!  Stork Dash is a joint business venture with, one of the first and greatest parenting & pregnancy websites EVER; as well as with Quiltalicous, LLC – which is actually owned by my very own (secret weapon) webmaster, Tammy Harrison! 

You see, it’s an Internet treasure hunt, a virtual hide-and-seek game.  Members register for an account, and on scheduled dates, they can search various pregnancy & parenting websites to find an image that’s hidden within – and once they find the image and click on it and it is registered in their member account.  If they make it through all of the shops in the Stork Dash, and complete the game, they are eligible to win a wonderful prize, donated by one of the shops that they visited!

Of course, Cedar Valley Publishing is participating :-) and we are offering one of my Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten books as a prize!  Don’t you hope YOU win?  If so, DASH over to and join as a member – and be ready, on March 1, to play along!

36 responses so far

Feb 19 2009

Let’s Get Ready to Work from Home!

I recently submitted a quote to author Candace Lindemann, a publisher with MOMformation (BabyCenter’s Parenting Blog) about working from home.  This is a fantastic article, a walk-through step on your way to success from home.  Since I’ve worked from home for so long, it’s right up my alley and very close to my heart — because by working from home, my heart, mind and body can be with my girls instead of some corporate office!

Here’s my quote from the article, but please go visit MOMformation to read the entire article and the whole series, if working from home is one of your dreams:

Create a Business Plan

If you are going into business for yourself, take some time to write a business plan.

When searching for your big idea, Stacey Kannenberg of Cedar Valley Publishing suggests asking yourself, “What is missing from your community that you can provide?”

Once you have your idea, conduct market research, identify your revenue stream, and make a budget.  It can be easy to get caught up in your brilliant idea without actually considering how you’ll make a profit.

For the complete article, please visit

428 responses so far

Feb 18 2009

Let’s Get Ready for the SkyGuy!

 Check out ( where the sky is NOT the limit! SkyGuy answers kids’ questions about space. For free. This series of short, fun videos brings the excitement of astronomy to kids of all ages and schools of all levels in an accessible, fun way. Are the kids in your life interested in space? Take them to SkyGuy, click on “ask a question,” and send a text or video question. If SkyGuy doesn’t know the answer, he’ll find a scientist who can! For more information contact


217 responses so far

Feb 17 2009

Let’s Get Ready To Finish Strong!

I received this from my friend, Franci Rogac, a fairytale author from Slovenia and simply had to share it!  

pssst – you may need a tissue

Click Here to See this Amazing Video

169 responses so far

Feb 16 2009

Let’s Get Ready for “Raw” Magazine!

What is Raw ?

It’s Real Authentic Women!

Click on the image to check it out.  WAY COOL!

457 responses so far

Feb 11 2009

Let’s Get Ready For Mom Faves!

My heart has once again been touched by a new website –  How appropriate, that this is the week for Valentine’s Day, and I had tears as I read the words from the MomFaves founders has written to honor his mother:

Each of our own moms have had a profound impact on us and also on the life we’ve created for our little family.

We founded MomFaves to preserve the legacy and honor the memory of Norma Unfried (Josh’s mom), a 3rd grade school teacher, advocate for children’s literacy and mother of two who passed away from melanoma cancer in 2004. She loved sharing her favorite things with other women in her community, this was a source of life and joy for her and also for all of her girlfriends.

Does that not just melt your heart??!!

Please Join Us at!

132 responses so far

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