Some YA Books Dontated! Yippy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of meeting fellow writer Joanne Levy at a local coffee shop. We had meet through twitter and have been corresponding ever since.

When I sent out a tweet about the book drive my work was doing for Habitat for Humanity, Joanne was one of the first people to pipe up. She wanted to donate some books. Fantastic! When we met we talked for a bit and I expected her to hand me a book or two. I was shocked when she hoisted up onto the table a bag FULL of YA books. Ten in all. Yes, TEN.

After picking my jaw up off the floor, we went through the books - some even signed. I cannot believe how generous people can be for people they have never met.

Below is a photo and a list of the books Joanne has donated.

  • Radiance by Alyson Noel (x2)
  • Trance by Linda Gerber (x2 - 1 which is signed)
  • Wake by Lisa McMann (x2 - both signed)
  • Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook
  • Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (signed by Margaret Stohl)
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King (signed)
  • What Would Emma Do? by Eileen Cook

Joanne, thank you so much for the wonderful books. You're so generous. They look like fabulous books and I think I am going to have to go buy some of them for myself. I'm sure the families going into these HFH new homes will love them.

Interested in donating a book to the book drive? Please email me at or visit me on twitter @auntieflamingo for more information.

Your help is needed. We need books for children of all ages.

I'm So Excited And I Just Can't Hide It!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Today, I received a package filled with children's books for our Book Drive for Habitat For Humanity Hamilton Robert Land Project (Phase 1) and the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre library.

And what is more exciting is I'm in Canada and these books were sent to me from Australia! I would like to send a huge, heart felt thanks to writer BELINDA J of Australia for sending me the following books and DVD:

  • And Kangaroo Played His Didgeridoo - by Nigel Gray - illustrated by Glen Singleton
  • When Henery Caught Imaginitis - by Nick Bland
  • Henry and Amy (Right-way-round and upside down) - by Stephen Michael King
  • Mutt Dog - by Stephen Michael King
  • The Pocket Dogs - by Margaret Wild - illustrated by Stephen Michael King
  • Za-za's Baby Brother - by Lucy Cousins
  • Let's Read DVD and posters

Belinda and I only know each other through twitter.

Belinda, I was over joyed when I received the package and overwhelmed by your generosity. One of the conditions to be met for these families to qualify for these homes is they must be prepared to contribute hundreds of hours of Sweat Equity (work on the home.) Children of the families can contribute to these Sweat Equity hours by keeping their grades up. Books, such as these, and reading will help them achieve this goal and more in life.

Interested in donating a book to the book drive? Please email me at or visit me on twitter @auntieflamingo for more information.

Your help is needed. We need books for children of all ages

The Book Drive Is ON!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

There is so much I want to tell you I'm not sure which point to start with first. If you want to jump directly to the book drive information just scroll down to the title BOOK DRIVE.

I'll start with this: I do not like to donate money to charity!

It's true. The reason I don't like donating money is because I don't know where my money is going. Is it going to administration fees? Is it going to someone who is abusing the charity? Is someone else pocketing it before it gets where it needs to go? Is the charity actually a scam?

I know it's a terrible thought but these things happen.

I do want to donate and I like to volunteer so I jumped at the opportunity, through my day job, at a chance to volunteer with Habitat For Humanity on a building project in my community. There are two reasons why I wanted to help with this organization.

1) I'm donating my time and as much or as little as I want. I know exactly where my time is going and I am doing good.

2) The families who require the organization assistance is getting a "hand up" not a "hand out." These families have to put in “sweat equity” into their home - meaning they help build it and are taught how to maintain it.

Ok so what does this have to do with a book drive?

The build I'm participating in a Phase 1 consisting of 4 town home units. So far the families that had have been accepted for these home are single mothers of 3 or more children. I am a married, working mother of 2 children and I know how difficult that is financially, physically and emotionally. These mother's are raising 3 or more children on their own while working 2 or 3 jobs. I can't imagine how they do it.

We have decided to hold a book drive for these families and I need your help. I am looking for children's books from infant to Young Adult. If you are interested in donating you can email me at and I can give you more information and where to send your books.

AUTHORS! I have extra information for you. If you would like to donate a signed copy of your book just email me at and let me know. I will send you information on where to send your book. When I receive your book I will post your donation on both my blogs, & PLUS I have been given permission to post your donation on our HFH blog at

So, a book for us, exposure for you and another child reading. You can't argue the importance of a child reading....can you?

How much exposure will you get? Not sure exactly but let's put it this way:

- Your book posted on 3 blogs
- I'll tweet your donation @auntieflamingo
- There are more than 7,800 staff at my work. More than 2000 are in the union supporting this build.
- The build has barely started and has been in the newspaper 3 times 4 times as of october 5, 2010.
- The populations on my city is roughly 504,559
- You will get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing you were part of something special

I hope to get enough signed book donations to put into a special package (like a large basket or something.) I plan on handing over the signed books separately from the other books.

One more note: I believe in Habitat For Humaity so much (now that I know more about the organization) I plan to participate in future builds after this one with my work.

More information:
Habitat For Humanity Hamilton:
CAW Loca 555 HFH Build Blog:
Habitat For Humanity Canada:

Off ryhmes, Near Rhymes, Imperfect Rhymes...

Monday, September 6, 2010
... half rhymes or oblique rhymes. It doesn't matter what you call it the outcome is the same. It is when two words are close in rhyming but don't quite rhyme. Like cover and other, here and weird

Cover has a V sound in the middle and the word Other has a TH sound. Not the same.

Weird has a D sound at the end where the word Here doesn't.

So what are your thoughts on using near rhymes? Take my poll on the right and let me know.

FREE Audiobook!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Back in January I got the pleasure of meeting Toronto author Lesley Livingston. She is a lovely person. I already had her first book, WONDROUS STRANGE and I was captivated when she read a section of her second book DARKLIGHT (which I also bought and had signed by Lesley.) It was wonderful to hear the story with the voices and inflections from the author's point of view.

Well, you can imagine my excitment when I found out today you can download the audiobook of WONDROUS STRANGE for FREE! Yes FREE! Not only is it free but it is also read by Lesley Livingston. It's only available until August 25th, 2010 so you need to hurry if you want a copy.

You can download it from here:

Happy Listening!

A Quick Update

Monday, August 9, 2010
I have bad news and I have good news.

The bad news I received a rejection letter from my latest submission/inquery. I was so excited about it but hey, that's the way it goes.

The good news is I took that same manuscript and posted it to my new critique group and have received some great suggestions. I'm making changes and I will post it with the group again later. Once I'm happy with all the changes I think I am going to try to get an agent.

So that's where I'm at. I haven't posted much because I've been busy editing my manuscript.

3 Weeks

Friday, July 9, 2010
Today marks 3 weeks since I sent my status inquiry letter to the publisher. I haven't received a response yet and that's ok. I haven't been to the mailbox today though, so there could be a response today.
Follow me on twitter @auntieflamingo where I will tweet #WhatsInTheMailToday.

I didn't expect to have a response by now but I was hoping...dreaming.

The 1st week I didn't expect anything since the post office told me it would take a week for my letter to get to the publisher.

I wasn't really expecting anything the 2nd week since publishing houses are very busy and need time to respond to the mass of mail they get. However, the publisher's website states "Letters clearly marked Status Inquiry will be given immediate attention." - Which I did. I also assume it will take a week for their letter to get back to me in the SASE I provided in my letter (yes, I did include a SASE in my original submission as well) I guess I had a glimmer of hope for a response in week 2 since I'm also available by other means - like email.

Today is the end of week 3. I think expecting something today is a little....ok - overly optimistic. Publishers are very busy and I can understand and appreciate that it takes some time to responding to all the postal mail they receive.

I have been asked by several people - What are you going to do if you don't hear anything back? How long will you wait?

I still believe 'No News Is Good News.' I'm very please the manuscript I sent in January did not get rejected right away. This tells me my writing is getting better and, when scouting out the right home for my manuscripts, I'm not so far off the mark. I'm certain the publisher will get back to me when they're ready to get back to me. If I had a choice of receiving a rejection letter now or a possible acceptance 3-6 months from now, of course, I would choose the acceptance. I'm in love with the story I submitted and I feel the publisher I sent it to is a great fit. There is nothing more I would like to see then to have this story in print. I will re-evaluate the situation at a later day and figure out what to do from there. For now, I'll patiently wait for a reply, work on other manuscripts and keep dreaming.

Status Inquiry Letter

Friday, June 18, 2010
Today, I sent a status inquiry letter to one of the publishers who currently have my picture book manuscript. I only send status inquiry letters if the publisher's website indicates it's okay to do so after a certain amount of time.

At the post office I asked how long it would take for the letter to get to its destination. The answer was "About a week." I don't know if I can wait that long, I'm too excited. I'm guessing I shouldn't expect a response for at least 2 weeks. *sigh*

The last time I sent a status inquiry letter to a publisher my manuscipt had made it to the final round for publishing. Unfortunatly, it was not chosen. I'm hoping this time the results are different.

I'll keep you posted. :)


Wednesday, June 2, 2010


That's how many days I have to wait until I can mail a status query to a publisher regarding my children's book manuscript. Very Exciting! I'm happy about this, not only because it means I have not received a rejection letter yet, but I'm excite about the book and I feel it is a good fit for this particular publisher. I hope they feel the same.

I will periodically update you on my progress of the status query. If you have any tips or helpful links on writing a status query letter please let me know.

I Received A Lovely Email

Monday, May 31, 2010
On Friday I received a lovely email surprise. It was from an Academic Intervention Facilitator in Florida asking permission to reproduce my work so it could be used in the school and possibly in other schools in the district) to help teach the elementary school children to read better. She found 4 of my poems published in Fandangle Online Magazine and wanted reproduce the poems and write questions pertaining to the poems for the students. She also said she appreciated any addition pieces I would be willing to send.

Well, of course I was thrilled my work was being used to promote reading so I said yes and I sent her my acrostic poem, JACK-O-LANTERNS. I'm pleased someone took the time to request permission to copy these pieces. It means a lot to me.

So, to the students of Dundee Elementary School, Florida, I hope you enjoy my poems and please feel free to email me if you have any questions or if you just want to say hi.

Gargoyle-like mystery creature washes up in Ontario lake

Friday, May 21, 2010
Wow! I'm sure someone will get a story idea from this. To me it looks like an otter with no fur on its face. Interesting.

Gargoyle-like mystery creature washes up in Ontario lake

Maybe Today Is The Day?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I have a few little butterflies in my stomach and a smile on my face but deep in my mind there are doubts.

I'm talking about a picture book manuscript I sent to a publishing house in January. On the site it state it usually takes 3-4 months to respond. It also state if you do not hear back from them by 5 months you can send an inquiry.

So that is pretty standard for most publishing houses. So why am I a little excited? Here's a few reasons.

1. Today is exactly 4 months since I sent the manuscript meaning it hasn't been rejected yet. That's something to get excited about, right?

2. I am totally in LOVE with this manuscript and last year, when I sent it to a different publishing house, it was shortlisted for publication but ultimately wasn't chosen. However, I'm really glad it wasn't chosen because I believe it is a better fit where it is currently.

3. I sent a 2nd manuscript to the same publisher in March and received a rejection for it in April. One month! It only took them one month to reject it. Does that mean the other manuscript they have had for 4 months is being considering? I'd like to think so. :)

Now here are the doubts creeping their way in:

1. Maybe my manuscript simply got lost! Maybe, I've been sitting here for 4 months waiting for a situation to resolve that doesn't even exist. I will be heart broken if they don't have my manuscript but I will just have to send it again because it is a good fit.

2. I'm wondering if there is a delay in responses because the publishing house has had some staff changes? This doesn't bother me as much because it is to be expected. Change can sometimes be difficult and I understand that.

So, that's what's on my mind today. I will be twittering my visit to the mail box today so be sure to join me at


Saturday, May 15, 2010
Welcome to my new website. I setup this site on May 15, 2010 to replace my current site
I needed something a little more dynamic to allow me to easily update with recent news. I found the blog format allowed me to do that.

For those who don't know me, I am Madeline Barr and I'm a writer. I've been published in a number on online magazines and also in print. My favorite people to write for is children. I'm currently working on getting my first picture book published.

I will be using this site to update you on my writing career along with personal posts, accomplishments of my writing friends and things I simply find interesting.

If you have a question or comment please feel free to contact me either by email or by leaving a comment below.