Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 27, 2019

Book Giveaway: CAN U SAVE THE DAY by Shannon Stocker

Shannon Stocker has a new picture book titled, CAN U SAVE THE DAY. Tom Disbury created the fun illustrations. It is being published by Sleeping Bear Press.

Shannon has agreed to share a copy 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 Shannon and Tom!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

B is an awfully boastful bloke and when he and the rest of the alphabet get together, he can’t help but tease the vowels about their small numbers. So the vowels begin to take off, one by one. The consonants–and the rest of the farm–see just how important vowels really are. With disaster looming and B seeing the error of his ways, can U save the day and set the alphabet right again?

BOOK JOURNEY:

One chilly night, late 2015, I tucked under the covers after an exhausting day. Christmas loomed and I felt utterly unprepared, despite the fact that I’d recently quit my job to focus on being a mother and a writer. Evenings overflowed with decorating, cleaning, cooking, and wrapping, while days permitted me to pursue my dream of writing. But for weeks, I’d been reworking a picture book that simply didn’t want to cooperate. I felt defeated.

I kissed my husband goodnight and turned off the light. As I finally drifted toward sleep, words filled my head.

Instead of bark, the dog said BRK.

I rolled over and tugged the covers higher.

Instead of bark, the dog said BRK, the words screamed.

I’ll remember in the morning, I thought-screamed back.

NO YOU WON’T, my subconscious shouted. INSTEAD OF BARK, THE DOG SAID BRK!

I sighed. Fine, I thought. I snagged my phone and typed the words into my NOTES section, then rolled over and closed my eyes again.

And the duck…couldn’t quack…she could only…

Quck, I thought. Wait a minute… Bark. Brk. Quack. Quck. Croak. Crok.

I grinned.

My eyes snapped open and I reached for my phone again. As I typed the lines, my brain became overwhelmed by an onslaught of vowel-less farm animals. I kicked the covers off, the mattress creaking as I stood.

“Where are you going?” my husband mumbled.

“Sorry—go to sleep. I’m gonna be a while,” I said. “I think I’ve got a good idea.”

The first half of the story rolled out of me, in rhyme, within an hour. Once my thinking slowed, I allowed myself to get some rest. The next day, I finished the first draft of what was then called, THE DAY ‘A’ RAN AWAY. In that version, B bullied A, who became sad and ran away. E, I, and O followed suit, leaving behind a mess of stuttering, stammering farm animals. Realizing that the vowels are crucial, U convinces her gang to return and B sees that even though there are only five vowels, they are all equally important. The book rolled out perfectly the first time, sold quickly, and landed me my dream agent. Right?

Ha.

I queried a few of my top agent choices with the story, including Rosemary Stimola. Many were kind enough to respond that they loved the idea, but something was missing. It was always a “no.”

I reworked the story with two critique partners I’d met at my first SCBWI conference the prior fall. I joined a local critique group and reworked it with them. I took an online class and reworked it again. In the fall of 2016, I attended my second SCBWI conference, submitted the story for a paid critique, and reworked it again. Late fall 2016, I paid for an online critique by an editor who loved the idea, but suggested I rewrite the story without rhyme. My heart sank. The story first came to me in rhyme. As a songwriter, I believed in my ability to write with strong meter, rhythm, and rhyme. But I’d been around long enough at this point to know that if an editor wanted you to try something, you should try it. So I did.

I hated it.

And that’s when I got my first bite from a publishing house I’d queried through the slush pile. In late 2016, an editor suggested that not only should vowels disappear from the animal sounds, perhaps they should disappear from everywhere. What if the vowels left the farm, and road signs lost the vowels, too? It was a suggestion I could embrace wholeheartedly.

As the rewrite unfolded, I injected a scene where a truck nearly flattens the consonants. It became clear that U was the heroine of my story, so a new title emerged: CAN U SAVE THE DAY. This editor and I went back and forth for a few revisions, then BOOM! My story went to editorial.

Just as quickly as my dream ignited, it died. The editorial director felt the idea was too abstract for young readers. But the momentum had given me hope.

Early 2017, I signed up for another online editorial critique. This one was with Sarah Rockett of Sleeping Bear Press. In some ways, her suggestions mirrored those of the first editor. She wanted me to clean up my logistics—it would be much funnier, she thought, if the vowels left all the dialogue as they abandoned the farm. But in other ways, she disagreed with the other editor. Sarah suggested I bring the vowels back to the farm for the whole book. And instead of a truck, how about a tractor? And tension, she said. Add more tension.

So I did. Sarah and I emailed revisions back and forth until finally, she sent my fifty-sixth draft to her editorial team.

They loved it.

About two months later, in May 2017, I learned that CAN U SAVE THE DAY had passed through Acquisitions as well, and Sarah offered me a contract. Champagne flowed!

Almost one full year after the contract was signed, I learned that my illustrator would be Tom Disbury. I looked him up and felt thrilled by his humorous, modern style. I knew his artwork would pair perfectly with the manuscript…and it does!

Now, over two years following the sale of my first picture book, I can look back and appreciate the lessons I learned during this period of time. Patience. Persistence. Gratitude. Every step served a purpose. I’m grateful to my early critique partners who guided me on this book, and I’m grateful to my new critique partners and agent, Allison Remcheck, who forge ahead with me on this crazy road. It is because of all of them that I’m now celebrating my next book, X!

Stick to it, y’all. It can happen!

SHANNON’S BIO:

Shannon Stocker is an award-winning author and proud word nerd who loves all letters equally. She lives with her husband, Greg, and her children, Cassidy and Tye, in Louisville, KY, where she molds the alphabet into picture books and songs all day. X, Shannon’s picture book biography about Y (Z), is due to be released in X, and several of her stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul. Shannon currently serves as SCBWI social co-director for Louisville, a judge for Rate Your Story, and she created the blog series, Pivotal Moments: inHERview, highlighting transitional life stories of female picture book authors.  Cool facts: Currently writing her memoir, Shannon is a medical school graduate, a coma survivor, and an RSD/CRPS patient and advocate. She’s also a singer/songwriter who once performed two songs, including one original, as part of an opening act for Blake Shelton. To subscribe to her blog, visit her website, http://www.shannonstocker.com/blog/. She can also be found tweeting positive quotes, mantras, and adorable animal pics @iwriteforkidz. Shannon is represented by Allison Remcheck of Stimola Literary Studio.

Thank you Shannon for sharing your book and it’s journey with us. It looks like a really fun book. Parents and kids should love it. Good luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing your journey! You got it right!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. what a charming book!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This looks like a wonderful addition to Alphabet Picture Book collections.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I so can’t wait to read this book! Perfect with humor and alphabet sense and fun! Congratulations! I follow this blog by email. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so happy this book is out in the world! A masterpiece, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So happy for your success – fifty six drafts -wow! Glad you hung in there. I can’t wait to read it – so full of humor and wit!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What an amazing book journey. Thanks for sharing Shannon! Best of luck! I’m looking forward to reading Can U Save the Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Writer-Reader-Teacher and commented:
    What an awesome book journey! I had to share it. It’s an amazing story of perseverance and resilient creativity. I hope you find it as inspiring as I did.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What an original concept!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh my goodness! I love this interview of persistence and passion winning out! The children’s book biz is definitely NOT for the faint of heart! Great job on never giving up and the fabulous outcome!!!! Very inspiring! Congratulations!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a clever concept! Thanks, Shannon, for sharing the inspiration for the story. This definitely sounds like a winner. I am tweeting and sharing on FB.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Such a clever and original idea! I can’t wait to own this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This sounds kinda brilliant and the letter characterizations are excellent. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/1166410909956239360, and pinned an image on Pinterest with a link as well: https://www.pinterest.com.mx/pin/336573772151878692/.
    I also follow your blog daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day everyone!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am so jealous. What a wonderful idea. I shared on pinterest, fb, and Twitter. and yes, I receive your great posts every day!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Such a great story of perseverance. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great interview and love your idea here. Can’t wait to read it!! I do receive your emails and will share on Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Fun interview. I love when ideas just pop in my head, too. The real work comes in getting them to the point of a finished manuscript! This book looks wonderful. I can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I also shared on twitter

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I love when storybook magic happens. Thank you for sharing the back story and your happy ending, 56 revisions later. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Can’t wait to read this!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Congratulations, Shannon, on this really cute book!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Congrats on your story. It looks amazing. Tweeting and Facebook ing your article!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. This is such a fun and original story idea! I love it! I follow this blog by email.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Shannon great job putting a first silly spin on learning the alphabet and vowels. Good luck in your writing life. Posting on FB for a second chance to win.

    Like


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