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Walk, Walk, Walk

Have a grand time taking a morning walk around a lake. It’s an adventure filled with fun and sounds as Blaze the Border Collie encounters frogs, swans, ducks, bicycles, bees.

Artistic Note:

I am considering writing several additional stories that feature a dog talking a walk, each with the unique voice of that particular breed:

  • Labrador (or Golden) Retriever
  • Beagle
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Poodle
  • Rottweiler

Please use my contact page to request a manuscript or to let me know if you would like to see a story written from the point-of-view of one of these breeds.

The Case of the Missing Cherries

The letters in the alphabet decide to do more than just make words when they start the ABC Detective Agency and get “Complete answers from A to Z,” for their clients. Awesome.

Their first adventure starts when mom returns home with lots of food, but Mom can’t find the cherries she needs for the special dessert she needs for dinner guests.  The letters of the alphabet collaborate to solve The Case of the Missing Cherries.

About this Revision

My initial goal was to list all of the letters of the alphabet and use alliteration.  The first draft was ho-hum. I put it on hold.  I’m rewriting, filling the book with the type of action that I love so much in Josh Funk’s Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast.  The race is on to find the missing cherries, and it’s every letter for him or herself.  (Not really.  There’s some teamwork, too.)

I’m no longer featuring each letter of the alphabet equally, and I’m using high-vocabulary-level words like “Loquacious.” (The character of “L” doesn’t stop talking unless forced to do so.

A Collaborative Opportunity for Students

I’m particularly interested in using virtual classroom visits to workshop this manuscript. Teachers, tell your kids that they can be part of the success of a book that’s that will, as “C” would put it,  “catapult to the top” of best-seller lists.

Please use my contact page to request a plain text or “rich text” manuscript.

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Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast

Josh Funk's Lady Pancake and French Toast has challenged author Alan H. Jordan to write a book where all of the letters of the alphabet race to solve the case of the missing cherries and other books in the forthcoming ABC Detective series.

Excitement abounds from the moment the refrigerator door is open.

In my opinion, Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk is the most entertaining book ever written about an adventure within a refrigerator. It is also in my top ten most entertaining picture books written in the last five years.

Crafted in rhyme and filled with fantasy-packed action this book will take you on an adventure as Lady Pancake and a slice of French Toast vie to get the last drop of syrup.

The action is hot, heavy, humorous and non-stop, with perhaps the most rapid pacing that I’ve ever read in a picture book. Although all of the action is outrageous, it is totally believable to the child’s mind, as well as to teens and adults who read the story to children.

To be honest, this book is not perfect bedtime reading for some children–its frantic pace may make them hyper. If you feel that your child is easily excitable at bedtime, read it to them when they get up, or in the middle of the afternoon, or anytime.  I guarantee you one thing: You’ve have a great experience.

Brendan Kearney, the illustrator of Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast by Josh Funk has the wild and wolly creativity to illustrate Alan Jordan's forthcoming series of children's books, The ABC Detectives.

Perhaps one day Brendan Kearney, who focuses on children’s books instead of his former career in architecture will illustrate some of my books.

Brendan Kearney’s superb illustrations complete and perfect the wonderfully lyrical text.

As an accomplished writer, I wouldn’t even try to write a competitive book.

But, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast stimulates and challenges my creativity, so I’ve decided to write a series of books where the letters of the alphabet race to solve crimes.  The first book in this series has the working title of The Case of the Missing Cherries.

In a separate forthcoming post I’ll fill you in on some of the trials and tribulations that I’m conquering while writing a story whose energy was inspired by Josh Funk’s Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast.

Here’s a link to the book at Barnes & Noble. Grab your copy now.

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My Little Polar Bear

Serenity is well established after reading this beautiful book at bedtime.

My Little Polar Bear by Colombian picture book author/illustrator Claudia Rueda is one of those rare fiction books that’s quiet, calming and filled with interesting facts. As a mama polar bear and her cub journey through the Arctic readers develop an affinity and appreciation for polar bears.

The beautiful, minimal artwork is captivating. Best yet, when story time is over, readers (children and adults alike) are usually serene. Children are ready to go to drift off to sweet dreams.

Twenty percent of the way through reading this book I asked myself, “What unique work can I write to provide this same sort of serenity for children at bedtime? I also visualized my book helping them feel closer to nature.  “Ask, and you shall receive.” I’m currently polishing the text of my forthcoming book. I visualize it helping children worldwide learn more about panda bears

Have you ever heard the expression “Ask and you shall receive?” Inspiration flowed, and six months later I’m polishing the text of my forthcoming book, My Sweet Panda Bear.  

Authors rarely get an opportunity to select their illustrator, but I hope that one day Claudia Rueda will accept an offer to illustrate my book.  Click this link to travel to Amazon.com, and look inside the My Little Polar Bear.

 

 

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All Through My Town

A delightful book for pre-schoolers.

Joy effervesces as readers discover treasures when touring a fictional small town in All Through My Town by Jean Reidy

A combination of vibrant, dynamic artwork by Leo Timmers and superb writing makes each page jump out.

It’s hard to create a rhyming rhythm that makes a book easy to read and remember. It’s difficult to cram action that children enjoy into each line. All Through My Town makes it look easy. Here’s the book beginning:

 

 

Rising, waking
Bread is baking

School bus honks its horn

This book is available in a variety of different formats, including an affordably priced Kindle edition. ($5.99.)  https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00DM5KF00

I’d recommend buying both a paperback or hardback edition plus the Kindle edition. You can read this on a smartphone.  It’s likely that your children or grandchildren will quickly come to love the story.  Then, while you are out and about town, you can always whip out your phone and relate the place your visiting to a similar place in the book.  Also, if you kids happen to be in a noisy mood, let them read this story.

Alan

Blaze loves playing with balls as much as she loves going for walks.

P.S. This book inspired my forthcoming book Walk, Walk, Walk, I began this book after asking myself, “What could I do that is unique but imparts the zest of Jean Reidy’s All Through My Town?”  The answer came to me when I was taking a walk with my daughter, granddaughter and their Border Collie, Blaze.  My goal was to capture the spirit of Blaze taking a walk as well as Jean Reidy captures the spirit of a walk around a town.

Authors rarely get to select the illustrator for one of their manuscripts, but wouldn’t it be interesting if the publisher commissioned Leo Timmers to do the artwork for Walk, Walk, Walk by Blaze the Border Collie (as told to Alan H. Jordan.)

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Tap the Magic Tree

When I finished my first reading of Tap the Magic Tree by author-illustrator Christie Matheson, I knew that I wanted to write a book about the cycles of life. But, I didn’t want to duplicate Tap the Magic Tree. It’s perfect. I love the multiple ways that it gets and maintains children’s interest.

Tap the Magic Tree begins to weave its literary spell with the first three sentences:

There’s magic in this bare brown tree.

Tap it once.

Turn the page to see.

Each page draws me more deeply into the story.

It’s more than just a great story. It also helps children build counting skills, and absorb knowledge about nature.

Every page captivates me, including the ending which features a drawing of a barren tree. It presents a challenge with the words “Close your eyes and count to ten.”

Next, we see a drawing of a tree with a nest and egg in it and these words:

Magic!

It begins again.

I also want to convey this message, but in an entirely different way.

For years, I have told my daughter something like, “It takes courage to be the first leaf to open. I wonder if leaves are afraid of a killer frost? I can’t see why they wouldn’t be.”

I decided to create my book called Brave New Leafthen I realized that one book was not enough for me to communicate the concept of, “Magic! It begins again.”  I’ve planned four books, one for each season

  • Spring – Brave New Leaf
  • Summer – Pumping it Out – Explores how Buddy the Leaf feels as he contributes to the well-being of his tree and the forest it is in, by “pumping out” energy.
  • Fall – Feeling Brown – Buddy the Leaf’s is afraid of dying until he realizes a fact of nature.
  • Winter – Full Cycle – Buddy the leaf transcends death as he becomes part of the soil, and shares the secrets that he’s learned with tree buds through haiku.

Tap the Magic Tree is one book that you have to see, to feel, to touch to get the full benefit. There’s no way that I can give you the full sensory experience in this blog post, but I can encourage you to peek inside by providing this link so you can use Amazon’s Look Inside feature to see some of the artwork.  Check it out, and if you like what you see, buy the book. You’ll be delighted that you did.

 

Useful web sites for authors

These are websites that I have found helpful. I will add more from time-to-time.

Craft

Adding Fun & Interest

The Onomatopoeia Dictionary at WrittenSound.com – Great for finding how to express a sound in written American English.

Power Thesaurus – This is my favorite site for finding just the right word.  Recently, I used to find “yearned.”

Behind the Name.com – Provides meanings of names plus lots of other useful tools for writing, such as anagrams.

Nameberry.com – Provides meanings of names plus forums for discussion.  When you click the Search Name or Phrase, the search box includes a field that allows search by the meaning of a name.

www.ourbabynamer.com – Interesting insights into names including numerology.  For example follow this link to learn about the name Cactus and the name Jade.

 

Point of View (POV)

http://jamigold.com/2011/02/what-makes-omniscient-pov-different-from-head-hopping/

http://www.ereadingworksheets.com/point-of-view/point-of-view-worksheets/

 

Utilities

OneLook.com – An aggregator of dictionaries that I use to locate the exact definition I’m seeking.

Grammar Notes and Games – An interesting site, with many helpful graphics.

FollowThatPage.com –  https://followthatpage.com/ – A superb (and mostly free) resource for alerting you when a web page has changed. Use it follow the pages of an editor or agent. When they say they are open or closed for queries, you’ll be advised.  Also, you may use it to follow pages on this website.

Zamzar.com – Allows you to upload a file and produce a high-quality .pdf that will not reduce the resolution of images like Microsoft Word does when you use Word 2016’s “Save As .pdf” feature. (The site also has many other conversion options.) This site may be helpful to you if you’re not concerned that placing the file on another server will result in plagiarism.

Rhyming

Rhymezone.com – A useful resource for finding rhyming words.

Rhymes.net – Another useful resource for finding rhyming words.

HowManySyllables.com – If you’re not sure how many syllables are in a word, or which syllable is stressed, check your dictionary or this site.  Here you can enter a sentence or phrase too.

 

Proofreading

Grammarly.com – I use this regularly. It unintrusively helps me to find mistakes, including those that I habitually make such as misspellings, forgetting to add a comma, and passive writing.

Paperrater.com – This is a free service.  I’m still working on how to use it, but my first impressions are excellent. If you use it extensively, I suggest donating to them.

Ginger.com – This is a useful, affordable, somewhat limited tool.  I have a problem using it with systems that have Outlook.com implemented in Windows 7.  The add-in sometimes causes an attachment to be deleted. I also find it tedious to use as it makes me wait as it scans a document. On subsequent scans, it may not remember to ignore items that I have told it to ignore.  Sometimes, particularly with poetry, it suggests changes that I do not want.

The Business of Writing

Marketing

If you’re interested in selling more books to libraries, check out these sites:

 

Query writing

Picture Books

I have come to the conclusion that query for a children’s picture book should be the equivalent what I would say to an agent or publisher at a cocktail party or a pitch session. Short, and interesting enough to make the editor or agent feel compelled to read it. If my current strategy works well, I will write out a checklist and link to it here.

 

Novels

Query Letter Check List – Per Janet Reid.  This is a useful checklist for a novel.

Query Shark – This collection of critiqued queries by Literary Agent Janet Reid lends quite a bit of insight into how to construct a query for a novel. I like this resource so much, I’d love to submit to Janet. Unfortunately, at this point in my career, I’m not interested in writing the material she is excited about representing.

Other ways to make a digital dummy

One reason for making a dummy is to determine if you have a viable concept.  Creating a dummy can help you to visualize when you have too many or two few pages. It can help you to communicate your concept to a publisher. It can help you to decide if you want to self publish.

Depending upon your experience with software like Word, InDesign and Microsoft Publisher and the amount of control that you want to have, one of these options may be the best say to create a dummy.

Create a booklet in Word.

Create a booklet in Microsoft Publisher.

Create a booklet in InDesign – From the 12×12 forum – this option assumes that you have already created all of your artwork.