Storystorm 2020

The New Year and new decade has arrived and is moving along!

It’s time for STORYSTORM with Tara Lazar.

Read all about this annual writing event on Tara’s WordPress blog at Writing for Kids (While Raising Them).

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A New Decade

Happy New Year! It’s a new year–a new decade.

It’s time for a new beginning. Many folks consider setting resolutions and/or goals at the start of each year. Resolutions are made by analyzing and resolving to do better. They are promises be a better individual.

I prefer to develop an action plan that motivates and guides me toward a desired outcome by setting SMART goals.


Life is a Beautiful Ride.

When setting goals, it is wise to begin with SMART goals. Setting goals for your personal life or professional career are what many do at the beginning of a new year. Thoughtful goals ensure the end product one desires. As a writer, I find setting goal setting important and valuable along my journey to publication.

What are SMART goals? They are:


The purpose of being specific is to set the path you will take. How will you arrive at the end product? “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” Consider and imagine what you your days of writing look like. Write down your thoughts.


To know if you chose the right path, you need to know if the specific goals you wrote down are working. How will you measure your success as you move forward? Concrete numbers help you to focus on the goals and provides feedback along the journey.


Goal setting must be reasonable, practical, and attainable. How will you ensure that you can reach and achieve the goals you wrote down?


Each day is filled with 24 hours. How much time can you spend on your writing journey? Your goals should be relevant to what works best for you, your time, your energy, and all that you need to balance every day. Consider writing a Mission Statement to support your SMART goals.


Deadlines help us to set priorities for each step and keep writers moving forward. An essential part of setting goals is including a timetable to keep you timebound. Schedules can change. If necessary reevaluate and adjust as need be.

To learn more about setting SMART goals and how to do so, read about a GROG Blog post I wrote a few years ago.

Setting SMART goals ensures the best result while writing.


My 2020 SMART goals for this new decade are:

  1. Read at least 20 currently published picture books [fiction and nonfiction] once a month as mentor texts to support my writing.
  2. Write for at least 30 minutes five out of seven days.
  3. Read aloud 2 picture books, once a month, during story time, to better understand the interests and likes of my audience.
  4. Exchange [give and receive] manuscripts for critique at least 2 times every month.
  5. Continue to research literary agents and publishers open to submission by reading WRITER’S MARKET, 2020: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published and GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS, 2020: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published and by submitting 3 manuscripts once month.
  6. Continue to participate in at least 10 writing events and SCBWI webinars during 2020.

My Mission Statement

My desire to write picture books for children is to celebrate literacy, honor young readers, and to plant a seed of creativity and knowledge in their minds, as the listeners request to hear and read the book again and again.

Consider writing SMART goals for 2020. Wishing you the best with your writing journey to publication.

Suzy reading to her grandchildren.

Reading with Oma Sue.


Read every day.

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Book Giveaway: CRUSHING THE RED FLOWERS by Jennifer Voigt Kaplan

via Book Giveaway: CRUSHING THE RED FLOWERS by Jennifer Voigt Kaplan

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by Sue Leopold                                                                                   Word count: 200

Kidlit Fall Frenzy Contest

Fall foliage

Good bye, summer. Hello, fall.

Warm days are over. The days are getting shorter.

Seasons are changing. Fall is on the way.

A blue, gray sky with a chill in the air.      

Let’s go outside and investigate.

Grab a jacket, scarf, and hat.     

Trees are swishing. Trees are swaying.         

Leaves turning colors—dropping to the ground.

Brilliant colors painting the landscape.

Crimson red and rusty brown, too.

Even leaves of orange and golden yellow.

Swirling. Twirling. And spinning round.

Not all the same. Each one from its own type of tree.

Look at them carefully and you will see.

Some leaves are simply one round leaf. Just as the jagged edges of an Aspen Tree.

A White Oak Tree has compound leaves. These leaves are broad with lobes.

An Oak Tree’s leaves are symmetrical. Yet, a Gingko leaf isn’t.

Look for a leaf from a Maple Tree. It looks like five fingers of a hand.

So many leaves covering the ground with a colorful blanket.

Run and skip. Kick and swish.

Make a big pile that’s taller than me.

Jump and leap. Plop and roll.

Fall leaves are dropping and falling down.

Time to shout, “Hip, hip, hooray for fall!”

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Book Giveaway: LEMON LAVENDER IS NOT FINE by Elle Pallmore

Lemon.jpgvia Book Giveaway: LEMON LAVENDER IS NOT FINE by Elle Pallmore

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Book Giveaway: MARIA THE MATADOR by Anne Lambelet

via Book Giveaway: MARIA THE MATADOR by Anne Lambelet

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4th Week of a #100 Day Challenge

Today is Day 24! I’m almost to the quarter mark of this #💯 Day Creative Challenge.

Every day I work with a 4 X 6 postcard size cold pressed water colour pad. I’m creating with various mediums: acrylic paints, snipped painted paper, even book pages.

Yes, I love books. Yes, I promote the love of literacy. The book is a vintage book. I carefully consider the title before repurposing the pages into my art work.

Read. Write. Create. Every day.

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All About Elaine Kiely Kearns


Elaine Keily Kearns

I interviewed KidLit 411 founder Elaine Keily Kearns on the GROG Blog today.

Come follow me to the GROG Blog to learn all about Elaine’s debut book. Check out the link here.

NOAH NOASAURUS is written by Elaine Kiely Kearns and illustrated by Colin Jack.

Image result for noah noasaurus


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2nd Week of a #100 Day Challenge



Day 9/100. 4 x 6 postcard size on cold pressed 140 pounds water color pad. And the #100 Day Challenge continues.


I’ve used the following mediums: acrylics, painted snipped paper, book pages, and colored pencils.

You can find more creations on my Instagram account.

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100 Day Creative Challenge

On April 1st I challenged myself to create every day.

I enjoy following Tracey English, Artist, from London, United Kingdom on Instagram. She creates lessons lovely snip paper designs on hand coloured paper.

Look for Tracey’s creations at her Etsy Shop.

Let’s see if I can do this! I’m up to the challenge.

Look for my daily posts on my Instagram account.

The plan is to create a variety of of designs and mixed-media on 4 X 6 inch postcards. I’ll use numerous art mediums and tools and will create many styles.


Day 1
A Robin Nest
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