ArtistaDonna Nata

ArtistaDonna Nata

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ho! Ho! Ho! The 3rd Annual Holiday Writing Contest!

WOO-HOO!  Let the joyous news be spread!  It's time for

The 3rd Annual Holiday Contest!!!

The Contest:  Write a children's story about a Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster (a la Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer :)).  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 350 words not counting the title (aren't I being generous?! :)  It can be as short as you like, but no more than 350!)  Did the dog knock over the Christmas Tree?  Did little Johnny's costume get grape juice all over it moments before the holiday pageant?  Did the menorah go missing?  Did travel arrangements get snarled or miscommunicated?  Did Santa's sleigh have to make an emergency landing?  The field is wide open!  Have fun!  (And because so many people have mentioned this, the story does not have to be funny!  You can have a holiday mishap that is serious or sweet or mysterious...  Please don't feel that you have to go the humor route!  Also, because a number of people have mentioned it this time, no art notes please.)
Post:  Your entry should be posted on your blog between now and Friday December 13 at 11:59 PM EST and your post-specific link should be added to the link list below which will remain up through Sunday December 15.  (There will be no WYRI or PPBF this week.)  If you don't have a blog but would like to enter, please copy and paste your entry into the comments below.  (If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email me and I'll post your entry for you!)
The Judging:  My lovely assistant(s) and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-12 finalists (depending on the number of entries) which will be posted here on Monday December 16 for you to vote on for a winner.  The vote will be closed on Wednesday December 18 at 5 PM EST and the winners will be announced on Thursday December 19.  Whoever gets the most votes will be first and so on down to sixth place.  Remember, judging criteria will be kid appeal/friendliness, originality/suitability of mishap, quality of story, and quality of writing.
The Prizes!:  Well, I hope these prizes are going to knock your socks off!!!  In the spirit of the holidays, winners will be named for 1st - 6th place.  In addition to the incredible fame of being able to say you won or placed in the Pretty Much World Famous 3rd Annual Holiday Contest, the following AMAZING prizes will be awarded:

 - A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Written Critique by Karen Boss, Editor at Charlesbridge!!! (Priceless!)  Karen Boss is the editorial assistant at Charlesbridge Publishing in Watertown, MA. She has a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College and is currently editing projects that range from picture books for younger readers to picture books for older readers to middle-grade novels, both fiction and nonfiction. (But let's face it, folks!  You're getting YOUR picture book manuscript in front of an actual editor at a highly regarded publishing house!  Who knows where that could lead?)

 - A Gold Membership to Julie Hedlund's 12x12 in 2014 (a $150 value)
    Little GOLDen Book Membership includes:
  • Full access (view and post) to the Main 12 x 12 Forum and Critique Connect (where you can find critique partners)
  • Access to the members-only 12 x 12 Facebook Group
  • Ability to view the Events, Member Books, Videos/Trailers and Help An Author Out (HAAO) sections of the 12 x 12 Forum
  • Opportunity to win craft-related prizes from the monthly featured authors
  • Full (view and post) access to the Events, Member Books, Video/Trailers and HAAO sections of the 12 x 12 Forum
  • FULL (view and post) access to these additional sections of the 12 x 12 Forum: Query Corner (get feedback on your query letters), Pitch Perfect (get feedback on loglines and pitches), and Manuscript Makeover (get feedback on the first 250 words of your ms)
  • Access to the Submission Station section of the 12 x 12 Forum, which will provide information about that month's agent or editor and instructions on how to submit to him or her.
 - 2 signed Picture Books by Linda Ashman - RAIN! and PEACE, BABY! (Keep for yourself or give as a holiday gift to a little person in your life :)) PLUS
    a $25 Amazon Gift Card

 - A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by Erin Molta Erin is an experienced senior editor of picture book, early readers, chapter, middle grade, and YA books, as well as novelty and licensed titles. She has been in childrens publishing for more than twenty years and has a keen understanding of early reader through YA audiences. She has an excellent reputation with established authors, illustrators, and agents.

 - Enrollment in the Online Writing course Making Picture Book Magic in the month of your choice (a $99 value)

 - A signed copy of TUGBOAT by Michael Garland (not even released yet!) AND
    a signed copy of A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS by Julie Hedlund (Keep for yourself or give as a holiday gift to a little person in your life :))  PLUS
    a $25 Amazon Gift Card

 - A Picture Book Manuscript Critique from author/illustrator Sarah Frances Hardy, author and illustrator of PUZZLED BY PINK (Viking Juvenile, April 2012) and the forthcoming PAINT ME!. A great choice for someone who is both an author and an illustrator - and I know we have quite a few of those here :)

 - 2014 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market by Chuck Sambuchino (your choice of paperback or Kindle edition)

 - The Crock Of Charms Anthology - a three volume collection of stories for readers of all ages from writers all over the world including some you probably know :)  Robyn Campbell, Cheryl Secomb, Clarike Bowman-Jahn, Theresa Milstein, Lenny Lee, and me, to name a few :)

(Run your mouse over the prizes, books, authors, etc... most of them are links)
The Contest Winner will have first choice of the prizes.  2nd place will have next choice of what's left and so on.  (I'm doing it this way in the hopes that no one will get something they already have - for example, if you've already signed on for Julie's 12x12 or taken Making Picture Book Magic or own RAIN! and PEACE, BABY! etc.  - and also because I think all the prizes are fabulous and I wouldn't want to make anyone feel less valued by giving them as 6th place as opposed to 1st.)
Wow!  Let's get the Holiday Party started! :)

Here is my sample... to prove that in can in fact be done... and because I wouldn't ask you to do anything I won't do myself...  (But seriously, whose idea was 350 words?  It's cramping my style! :))

The Trouble With Santa's Suit (350 words)

On Christmas Eve the sleigh was packed.
The reindeer waited, snug in red velvet blankets.
Santa struggled into the tuxedo he always wore and turned pale.
“Elton!” he hollered.
Chief Elf Elton came running.
“Oh, dear!” he gasped.  "Dry-cleaning disaster!"
The sleeves barely reached Santa’s elbows.  The pants fell short of his knees.  He looked like an underdressed penguin.
“You’ll have to wear something else,” said Mrs. Claus.
But Santa was stuck in his shrunken suit.
“I can’t get it off!” he said.
“Go on a diet,” suggested Elton.
“I don’t think that will work in ten minutes!” said Santa, “I’ve got to go!”
“Call the fire department,” suggested Elton.
“I’m not on fire!” said Santa.
“Everyone calls the fire department for emergencies!” said Elton.
The fire department arrived in a jiffy.  Chief Bumpkin took charge.  “Grab the hose, men!” he ordered.  “We’ll blow that suit off the Big Guy!”
“The hose?” asked Santa.  “I don’t think…”
Icy water blasted Santa off his feet.
“STOP!” spluttered Santa.
“Plan B!” ordered Chief Bumpkin.
The firemen picked up their axes to cut the suit off.
“No axes!” said Santa.
“Well,” said the Chief, “there’s always Plan C…”
The firemen divided into four groups, one by each arm, one by each leg.  On the count of three they pulled the suit to shreds.
“Great job!” said Chief Bumpkin.  The firemen shook hands, gathered up their hose, and left.
Santa sat glumly in a puddle.  “Now I have nothing to wear.”
“How about this?” suggested Mrs. Claus holding up Santa’s Bermuda shirt and shorts.
“It’s TWENTY BELOW ZERO!” said Santa.
“Good point.  Overalls?  Your bunny costume from Halloween?”
“I don’t like to mix my holidays,” said Santa.
“You’d better agree to something or you’re going to miss Christmas!”
Just then Elton returned breathlessly with a red velvet suit.
“How about this?” he asked.
It fit perfectly.
“I love it!” Santa exclaimed.  Then he sniffed.  “Does anyone else smell reindeer?”
“Not me,” said Elton.
Santa climbed aboard the sleigh.  “Merry Christmas!” he called.
And away he flew in the red velvet suit he's worn ever since.

So now!  Everyone filled with confidence about their entries?  I certainly hope so after that display!  Never let it be said that I'm not willing to be a fool for my art :)

I can't wait to read all of your (much better!) stories!  I hope there will be a lot - the more the merrier!  And there are still 4+ days to write, so you have time if you haven't written yet and want to join the fun.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

#1 Rated Hot Yoga Towel Review


#1 Rated Hot Yoga Towel

 Mat-Sized, Microfiber, Super Absorbent, 

Anti-slip, Injury Free, 24" x 72" - 

Best Microfiber Accessory for Hot Yoga

 Simply Improve Your Yoga Practice With The Shandali GOSWEAT Yoga Towel
The GoSweat towel soaks up your sweat.
Other towels may get wet and bunch up on your yoga mat. Our uniquely designed yoga towels focus on soaking up more sweat so that your mat stays dry and you stay safe on your mat. 

Why Practicing With a Mediocre Towel Is Risky
* You know that doing hot yoga without a towel can get slippery and dangerous
* Using a mediocre towel can be just as bad, poorly absorbs sweat and becomes slippery
* Mediocre towels bleed when they wash and can ruin your wash
* Replacing poorly made towels often, costing you twice as much money
* Having your towel bunch up is distracting and slows down your yoga practice

Shandali GOSWEAT towel is better by design
* Automatically soaks up your sweat
* Keeps you dry and firmly on your mat
* Instantly improve your yoga practice with our injury-free design
* No more drenched towel
* Lightweight, carry it easily to and from your yoga studio
* Survives countless washings and last for years (cost-savings)
* Quick-drying in minutes
* Extends the life of your mat (saving you money)
* Mat-size towel-26.5″ x 72″ inches


I received a Shandali GOSWEAT Yoga Towel in return for a review.
I am truly impressed with this product being a lightweight and easy to transport from one location to another.
I do agree it keeps you dry and firmly on your mat, and it doesn't bunch up. The fabric is soft against the skin.
Also, it instantly improves your yoga practice with our injury-free design.
The fabric washes nicely and dries quickly. I like that it is long Mat-size towel-26.5″ x 72″ inches.
The color gray is perfect for me but hope to see other colors for everyone's preference.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, November 8, 2013


I won 1st Place!  Hooray for Drusella, The Black Spooky Cat!

Check out Susanna Hill's Blog! 
Huge CONGRATULATIONS to ALL who won prizes and to ALL who entered their fabulous entries!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Drusella, The Spooky Black Cat

Drusella, the Spooky Black Cat waited all year for this day…HALLOWEEN!
 “BOO!” she screamed.
“Cute nose!” the goblin said.
“I’m SCARY not CUTE!” Drusella cried.
“BOOO!” Drusella yelled.
“Beautiful eyes!” the dragon said.
“I’m SCARY not BEAUTIFUL!” Drusella hollered.
“BOOOO!” Drusella screamed.
 “Pretty nails!” the Witch said.
“BOOOOO!” Drusella shouted.
 “Perfect ears,” the Witch cackled.
“I give up!” Drusella sighed, “next year I’m gonna be a Princess!”

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Virtual Book Tours by Jo Linsdell

Hello Everyone!
Let's give a  great big Hello-Ciao to Jo Linsdell!
Jo Linsdell Provides 10 Tips for Virtual Book Tour Success

Author Bio:

Jo Linsdell is  a best selling author and illustrator and internationally recognized marketing expert. She is also the founder and organizer of the annual online event "Promo Day" ( and the Writers and Authors blog ( To find out more about Jo and her projects visit her website

About the book:

Virtual Book Tours are a great way to create a buzz for a new release or to put life back into an older publication. In this book I'll take you through everything you need to know to be able to set up and carry out a successful virtual book tour. 

The book is divided into 4 main sections for easy navigation:

1) What is a Virtual Book Tour?
2) How to organise your own tour
3) Promoting a tour
4) Useful resources

You'll find it packed with links, tips, and advice to help make your tour a hit.

Click to tweets:

Press release:


Best selling author shares secrets of successful virtual book tours
Author Jo Linsdell shares everything you need to know in order to be able to organise and carry out your own virtual book tour in her latest release 'Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home'.

Worldwide – August 2013 – Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home is the latest release from best selling author Jo Linsdell. The book will be officially launched on 1st September 2013 via and the author will be doing a virtual book tour over September and October to celebrate its release.

In this book, Jo Linsdell, shows authors how to successfully market their books online and build their author brand by utilizing virtual book tours. When asked why virtual book tours are good news for authors, Jo had this to say " A large percentage of the world's population (currently around 40%) now uses the internet and with the rapidly increasing use of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices the number of people on the web will continue to grow. It's therefore clear that authors need to be marketing online. Our target audience is now online and just a click away. Through virtual book tours, we can now reach our readers from the comfort of our own home and successfully promote our books to a global audience at little or no cost. That's big news for authors."

The virtual book tour will start on 1st September 2013 and will end on 31st October 2013.  Among other events, the tour will offer interviews and a chance to communicate with the author, Jo Linsdell. There will also be chances for readers to win bonus materials and other prizes, and the book will be available at a special reduced price for the duration of the tour.

Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home is available in Kindle format and can be found at Amazon.

About Jo Linsdell

Jo Linsdell is a best selling author and internationally recognised book marketing expert. She is the founder and CEO of the Writers and Authors blog and the annual online event Promo Day. Learn more about Jo at

For more information about Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion from the Comfort of our own Home, please visit or contact

Product Details:


File Size: 384 KB
Print Length: 83 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
Text-to-Speech: Enabled

Purchasing links:

Author website:

Social Media Links: