Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 24, 2018

Book Giveaway – Rock and Roll Woods by Sherry Howard

Author Sherry Howard has a new book titled, ROCK & ROLL WOODS hit bookshelves today. She has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Sherry!


Kuda is a bit of a grump who doesn’t like change. So when he wakes up to new neighbors and loud, strange noises in his woods, he is not happy. Will his desire to be with his friends overcome his objections to loud sounds? And might Kuda’s courage help him discover that new things and rock and roll music can be pretty great? Featuring helpful backmatter about Sensory Integration and insider jokes for parents with autistic kids.


In the fall of 2016 I brainstormed with my favorite picture book collaborator, Kamora, then eight years old. It was her inspiration to write a story about a bear named Kuda who lived in the woods. We had the whole family thinking about noises that might disturb a grumpy bear in the woods. My entire family is often subjected to brainstorming, critiquing, and beta reading. When I first sent “Kuda’s Band” to a critique partner, I told her it was a granddaughter request and I wasn’t sure “it has any legs.” Her enthusiastic response encouraged me to keep working with it.

Unlike other manuscripts that require blood, sweat, and tears, this one oozed out fully formed, and stayed true to my vision even through revisions. And there were revisions. My close critique partners gave lots of valuable feedback. Heather Ayris Burnell did a thoughtful critique in an exchange on SubItClub. And, Mira Reisberg is a dream editor, and I was blessed to have her edit AND art direct this manuscript for Clear Fork. I’d been in one of her classes and reached out to her when I heard the news of her joining Clear Fork, and was thrilled when she became directly involved!

From the beginning, I wanted two things to happen with this book. I wanted a double layer: a fun fictional story of a grumpy bear AND a subtle nod to the “bear” who is afraid and bothered by new things and change. And, I wanted my poetry to be embedded with lyrical word choices, and onomatopoeia.

I only queried this manuscript a few times. When one agent informed me it was too commercial for his tastes, I chose to be encouraged by that. In the meantime I’d sent a different manuscript to Callie Metler-Smith at Clear Fork in fall of 2016, and she didn’t take that one, but enjoyed my writing. So, I sent ROCK AND ROLL WOODS in late January 2017 when she invited me to send more. By then I’d already grown to love Callie—we bonded over shared experiences with autism. I nudged Callie in February to clarify that she wasn’t interested. Only, it turned out that she was interested if I’d be willing to make the ending more explicit, and by March she’d committed, and we signed the contract.

One of the most exciting moments in the journey was seeing Kuda brought to life by the brilliant illustrator, Anika A. Wolf. In August 2017 I saw her vision of Kuda on the drums! That astonished and delighted me. It has inspired me to keep writing, hanging on my inspiration board ever since. If someone can use my words to bring something that adorable to life, then I’m happy to write.

Callie, Mira, and Anika focused much attention to detail, including a string of over thirty emails, many of which focused on one facial expression. Every single word, every single placement, every single expression was evaluated! From an email in March 2017 with “lol, then you have yourself a publisher,” until September 2018, when I got my electronic ARC, there were bursts of activity and long periods of silence.


This manuscript had a short journey in publishing terms. From birth to holding it in my hands will be less than two years. That doesn’t take into account the many manuscripts where I did hundreds of revisions, learning the process for a successful picture book.


Sherry Howard lives with her children and wild dogs in Middletown, Kentucky, a stone’s throw from the beautiful horse farms Kentucky is always bragging about. Sherry loves to read, write, cook, and sit in the sand watching the waves when she can. She credits her ability to write a complete sentence in English to her training in classical Latin. ROCK AND ROLL WOODS is her debut picture book. Her love of children with special needs inspired her throughout the development of this book. She’s seen her poetry and prose published over the years, and is excited about her journey with picture books. She also writes non-fiction for middle grade and young adults for the educational market, as well as fiction for that age group.

Thank you Sherry for sharing your book and journey with us. I can’t wait to read it. Looks like this will be another big seller. Good luck!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. this looks like a wonderful book that i could share with my kinders and grandies, both )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My daughter is on the autism spectrum, too. I applaud Sherry and Callie and Mira for publishing this book! Good luck to you all!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a pleasure to visit Kathy, and all y’all, here today! I’m excited to put Kuda out in the world! Thanks for hosting us, Kathy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks like an amazing book! Congrats. Looks like great character development.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great looking new boo. It reminds me of some of the rock-&-roll neighbors I’ve had too. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS!!!! Sherry is a fabulous CP, and I’m so proud of her. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations, Sherry! So happy for you and excited about Kuda!!! xox

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations Sherry…! This is so exciting. I’m super happy for you. And I loved reading about your journey to publication. YAY you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Loved the story behind the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congratulations! I enjoyed reading your backstory & I love that you kept to your vision of a multi-layered #PB.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Congrats, Sherry! Your book looks wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I can relate to Kuda – not that I’m a grumpy bear – but change is hard! This is a great theme for a children’s book and the illustrations look lovely. Congratulations, Sherry – you are in excellent company with the ClearFork Publishing group!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This book looks wonderful. I can’t wait to read it. And, the story behind the story wasn’t bad either! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. So happy for you, Sherry! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I have already fallen in love with the main character, Kuda, in ROCK AND ROLL WOODS.

    Thank you for sharing your debut picture book and journey, Sherry, inspired by your granddaughter, Kamora.

    I shared this post on Twitter and Facebook.
    @SuzyK5 FB Suzy Leopold

    Suzy Leopold

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Congratulations to Sherry on her debut PB! This looks so fun and I appreciate the underlying thread, since I have friends with children on the autism spectrum. Good luck!

    Also posted to FB and Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. This is a very special book that is needed out in the world!! ❤️🐻📚 Congratulations Sherry! And thank you Kathy for the giveaway! Here’s the link to my tweet:

    Liked by 1 person

  19. What a great idea and inspiring path to publication! Congrats, Sherry.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thanks for sharing your story about your path to publication! I can so relate to Kuda’s problems with noise! in my case they are not so easily overcome, but i’m fortunate to live in quiet woods!

    Liked by 1 person

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