Guinea Pig Surprise - The Surprise

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Be sure to see Episode 1 - The Plan and Episode 2 - One week away

Guinea Pig Surprise - One Week Away

Sunday, November 13, 2011
Be sure to see Episode 1 - The Plan

The surprise is planned for November 18th, 2011

Guinea Pig Surprise - The Plan

Saturday, November 12, 2011

See Episode 2 - One week away

Halloween Horror Poster Competition

Saturday, October 29, 2011
I created this image for a Halloween Horror Poster Competition, on the Lyons New Media Centre Facebook page! I'm in need of votes and they have to be in before Oct. 31, 2011.

Click here to see it in full and vote :

JACK-O-LANTERNS - An Acrostic Poem

I've posted this acrostic poem before but I thought I'd post is again since it fits the occasion.

by Madeline Barr

Jagged tooth grin
And nothing to say.
Candy he guards,
Keeping ghouls away.

Orange, cool armor he wears. His

Life, an internal light.
Armed with an eerie glow and the
Natural darkness of night.
Triangular, flashing eyes
Examine the area for miles.
Relentlessly protecting the sweet treats but
Never forgetting to

Dream Soup

Thursday, October 6, 2011
I had the strangest dream last night. I dreamed I received an acceptance letter in the form of soup. Yes, SOUP.

I got it from the mailbox and it was chicken soup with pasta words. As I stirred the soup the pasta words floated around with the chunks of chicken and carrots. The words started to surface so I could actually read them. YOUR was the first word, then SUBMISSION. As I kept stirring the word that had surfaced just bobbled around a bit but didn't move. HAS and BEEN joined the first two words. The next word was long and stared with an A.


I kept stirring thinking it was a joke and waited for the word NOT to pop into place but it never did. I was so happy I stared to cry. 

Then I woke up.
I can come up with a few meanings for this dream but I want to know what you think.

Pumpkin Carvings

Monday, October 3, 2011
Quick post.

I love Halloween. One of my favorite things to do is carve the pumpkin. Usually we get 3 pumpkins; one for each of the kids and one for me. We have to get one for me or else I'm hovering over the kids telling them how to carve theirs and that's not good for them or me. I usually carve a fun cartoon character because I have young kids. As they get older I will move to more scary stuff.

Here are 2 pictures of pumpkins I have carved in previous years. I either make my own template or I don't use one at all.. I have also done Tigger and Dora - I'll have to see if I can find the picture of those.

2010 - Tinkerbell

2009 - Elmo

I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do this year. Maybe OSO? Any other suggestions?

UPDATE: November 2013's pumpkin carving was Dory from Finding Nemo.

UPDATE: November 2011's pumpkin carving was Handy Manny. Sorry about the picture quality.

Back In The Saddle and Accepted

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

For those of you who follow me on twitter (@MadelineBarr) know my family is number one and, for them, I would put my whole life  and everything else I love on hold. When life smooths out I pickup where I left off and keep on chugging.

I'm back into writing, editing and submitting and couldn't be happier.

I have recently received an acceptance email from Scifiakuest on a horrorku I submitted. It will be published August 2012 in their print edition and I'm pleased.

I'm now working on a cover letter and polishing 2 more poems for submission elsewhere. There is also a 
short story I want to beef up and trim down and get it looking polished for submitting.

I the words of James Brown, "I feel good!"

It's Funny Because It's True

Thursday, September 15, 2011
Posted from


Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Those of you who follow me on twitter @MadelineBarr would have noticed there was some excitement for me today. What happened? Allow me to start at the beginning.

I was at my day job at the university, sitting in my office at the computer, when there was a pounding on my door. As I spun my chair around I could hear the beep of a swipe card. The person at the door had access to my office and was coming in, so I didn't bother getting up. It was my coworker who wasn't smiling as she usually does.

She sounded a little out of breath, "We might be getting evacuated. Gather your things and be ready!"

We're being what? "Evacuated! What's going on?" I said.

"I don't know. I was just told to let everyone know." She looked a little worried. Of course now my brain goes into overdrive. Is this a drill? No, she looked too worried. A Fire? The alarm isn't going. A gunman? I didn't have a rationalization for that one.

"Ok, thanks." She closes my door. I stand up, get my purse out of the cabinet, grab my jacket and shutdown my computer. When I step out into the hallway I see a number of my office-mates in the hallway. "Are you guys leaving?"

"Um, ya. I'm not hanging around with that going on." That? What is 'that?' My office donesn't have windows so I realized he's seen something outside.

My adrenaline is running, hands are shaking and I can hear my heart beat in my head like it has replaced my brain. Fight or flight, my body was ready.

Then I see my supervisor. "C'mon everyone out. We're being evacuated! Start heading South to Main Street or to one of the side streets to the East."

"What's going on?" I ask as I sling on my jacket.

"I'm not sure but there are police outside with gas-masks telling us to get out. Go South or East. " She waves people to the stairs.

Gas-masks! Fantastic.

Down the stairs and out the front doors with 2 of my coworkers. We pass 3 officers with gas masks. There is a table setup outside with food from one of the university's 'Welcome Week' events. A police officer's comments are muffled as he talks through his gas-mask telling the coordinating of the event that all the food needs be thrown out. What's going on?

We head to the East to wait for further instructions. I send a couple of tweet but between walking and my hands shaking, I'm having a hard time typing on my BlackBerry. As we walk across the campus we can see all the university entrances are blocked by police cars. We see caution tape roping off parts of buildings and hear the sirens of at least two fire truck in the West. The rumours begin to fly. Nuclear leak from the reactor. Chemical spill from one of the science buildings. Clear, odorous, poisonous gas leak from a broken line. As we pass city bus stops on campus we kindly inform the waiting people no buses are coming on campus and they should walk to the next bus stop on the street. Finally, we are told it's going to be a couple of hours before we get back into our building and to go home.

It's a long walk to my car. I park in the West parking lot and I have to go around the roped off area. As I head to the car I see the police cars blocking the roads and the fire trucks at a one of the buildings. A normally busy street is naked.

Home and safe I watch the 6 o'clock news to learn it was a gas leak scare but everything was fine. A researcher was purging a tank filled nitrogen, as he should, and while doing this an alarm was sounded. The researcher, the university and police and fire services followed the correct procedures. I was please to hear that it was really nothing major and nobody was hurt. I know the ending isn't spectacular, but when the whole event is rolling out and we didn't know what's happening, it was pretty scary.

We fear the unknown.

The New Look

Sunday, September 4, 2011
I'm loving this new look with the tree, fireflies, clouds and comets.
I almost have it all working. Just need to get the social media buttons working.

Hope you like it too.

A New Look

I've decided to give this blog a new look. It's not that I don't like this template because this template is fun and lighthearted, a lot like me. I originally focused on writing for children and this template was perfect. However, there is more to me and my writing now. I'm an adult, a parent, a woman, a musician, a runner, a geek, a lover of sci-fi, a volleyball player and much more. My writing has expanded into these areas and I feel that this template is only representing a small corner of me. (Actually I have curves not corners, but you get the 'point.') Did I also mention I have a weird sense of humour?

My plan is to take this flowery, fun template and apply it to the blog of my alter ego, Auntie Flamingo ( That blog is mainly for my children's writing. In turn, I will give this site a great, new look. I haven't fully decided on what I want here yet so you may see it change many times before a settle on a look, so bear with me. (I was going to type "bare with me" which could be fun, too)

That just about wraps it up for now. Feel free to comment on the site's new look as it happens.

A Free Kindle book for people in the US

Wednesday, August 31, 2011
OK here is a freebie for all my American friends who have Kindle.
Arthur Slade's, Edgar-nominated horror DUST (the Kindle version) is available for free for a short time on Amazon.

Here's the link you need:


Media Barr: It's Here And A Little Dirty!!

Monday, July 18, 2011
Media Barr: It's Here And A Little Dirty!!: "Media Barr is proud to announce the launch of 'This Is The Mud' Spot the differences game. Author Kathryn Apel contacted Media Barr and rec..."

Your Book Cover In A Game

Sunday, June 5, 2011
What if your book cover could be part of a "spot the differences" game....on your site.....for free?

Free interactive media of your cover, logo or anything else you can think of is available at

Help keep people at your site and passing your game on to friends.

Also, thought the scratch card might be a great idea for wishing a friend a happy birthday, we're pregnant or any other special message you might have for that someone special.

Are You Giving Your 'Stick' To The Right 'Person?'

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
How is this dog like some newbie writers?

He didn’t do his research.

Being a writer is not easy.

You come with an idea. Develop characters, plot, and setting. You create a mood and watch your characters grow. You add a twist. You write, rewrite and then write it again. Then you rewrite some more. You flesh out and cut out. You’re meticulous about every word. And then you finally type “The End.”

You can’t take your story and place it at the feet of an agent and expect them to pick it up.

At first glance any agent may look perfect. They’re bright and shiny on the outside, not a hair out of place. But you need to look deeper, on the inside. You need to make sure your story is right for the agent and you need to make sure the agent is right for you. If you send your picture book manuscript to an agent who only handles YA and MG you’re wasting their time and your time. What genre are they looking for? What are the agent’s likes and dislikes? Do they have a soft spot for cowboys, vampires or vampire-cowboys? Are there any blog interviews with the agent online? Are they speaking at a writing conference? What authors do they represent? Have you read any of their client’s books?

There are many great resources on the internet when searching for an agent. Two very good sites are:
         - Agent Query
         - Preditors & Editors

Not doing your research may make you look like a fool while you bark up the wrong tree.

It's Almost Here! Are You Ready?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
NaPiBoWriWee - National Picture Book Writing Week

Along with her new web site design, Paula Yoo has posted information about the 3rd annual National Picture Book Writing Week (a.k.a. NaPiBoWriWee) The goal of NaPiBoWriWee is to try to write 7 picture book manuscripts (rough drafts) in 7 days. Prizes will also be given away by random draws for those who particpate.

I have participated in NaPiBoWriWee since the first one in 2009 and have found it to be the freeing, kick-in-the-pants I need. Try it, you'll see what I mean.

For more information about NaPiBoWriWee visit Paula's site at

If you have any questions about my previous expiences in this challenge feel free to ask.

WICKED PRETTY THINGS is not so pretty right now

Friday, March 25, 2011
While on twitter I saw a number of tweets and retweets about authors pulling their submission from an anthology, WICKED PRETTY THINGS. I decided to check it out and I have gathered some links and information for you.

Basically Jessica Verday, author of THE HOLLOW trilogy, had written a male/male love story and was asked by the editor to change it to a male/female relationship because it would not be acceptable to the publishers. She refused and pulled her submission and support of the anthology. In support, so far, 3 other authors are pulling their submissions from the anthology as well. Below I have posted 2 links from Jessica Verday's blog which include quotes from the editor and the publishers. I have also posted links to the blog entries of the other authors who have posted why they have chosen to pull their stories.

Blog Posts From The Other Authors Who Have Pulled Their Stories

* I will edit this post if more authors pull their stories

Love is love.

POV and Picture Books

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Last week at #pblitchat we talked about point of view (POV) in picture books. I am going to touch on a few points during the chat and add a few of my own. If you want to read a full version of the chat transcript you can see it at the Picture Books Only Blog – Transcript 10/11 March.

Point of view, or POV for short, in books is the perspective in which the story is told. Through whose eyes we see the story. POV can be a difficult concept to wrap your head around.

Basically there are three points of view: First, Second and Third

There are finer details such as third person limited (you are ONLY able to write what one person sees/feels/hears/thinks) and third person omniscient (you can hover above everybody & see everything) but I’m not going to get into that at this time.

I believe third POV is probably the most used in picture books followed by first POV. Second can and has been used however there doesn’t seem to be as many picture books in that POV.

First Person POV
First person point of view is written with the narrator as part of the story. The words “I” and “we” are used. Though this POV brings us close to the narrator and show s/he thinks and feels, it does limit the story to the one person’s perspective. In picture books this shouldn’t pose too much of a problem since telling a story from more than one perspective can confuse a child. The other issue with first person is some younger children may get confused when being read to. When read “I went to the store” a child may think mommy or daddy really did go to the store. As KarenCollum put it in #pblitchat “There’s an element of maturity involved in kids reading a PB in 1st and understanding that ‘me’ and ‘I’ is not them.”

Second Person POV
Second person point of view is written with you being part of the story. The words “you” and “your” are used. This POV pulls the reader right into the story. You often find this POV in choose your own adventure books or self help books. This type of POV is less popular in picture books – though it has been done and done well.

Third Person POV
Probably the most popular POV to write, third person POV tells the story from a person outside the story. The words “he,” “she,” “they” and “it” are used. This POV allows for more freedom in how that story is told.

Examples of Books Written in the Different POVs

Have you ever tried to write one of your works in a different POV. What did you find? Does the story change? Did you find holes in your story?
So, there you have it. Feel free to leave your comments about other books and POVs or anything else you would like.

Picture Book Chat

Monday, March 14, 2011

If you are looking for a place to chat about picture books then you need to join #pblitchat. Aussie writers Kat Apel and Karen Collum run a blog called Picture Books Only which is the home to #pblitchat. The chat is held once a week all about picture books is open to writers, librarian's and all lovers of children's picture books. Even though they state "Sorry – no middle-grade or YA novels allowed" they do tend to enter the conversation every once and a while however the main focus is pictures books.

I have found these sessions very informative and entertaining with a very friendly group. We're all learning so no question is ever to stupid to ask and I feel comfortable asking all my "stupid" questions here. Every week there is a different picture book topic and sometimes a special guest. Kat and Karen listen closely to participants of #pblitchat and some of the topics are based on the feedback they get. Some topics in the past have been so popular more than one session has been devoted it.

Topics include:
POV, technology, submission tracking, goals, myths in picture book publishing, plagiarism and copyright, From idea to polished manuscript: How do you get there? and the list goes on.

Special guests such as:
Aaron Reynolds and Neil Numberman (creators of the ‘Joey Fly’ graphic novels) and other published authors and illustrators, publishing consultant Alex Adsett, agents, poetry writers...

Time and Place
The chat is the same day every week but you need to pay close attention to place and time of the chats. To help accommodate the different time zones the time and place of the chat alternates each week.

Every 1st, 3rd and 5th (if there is one) Thursday of the month the chat is held at 7:00 am Eastern Time on Twitter using the #pblitchat tag.

Every 2nd and 4th Thursday the chat is held at 6:30 pm Eastern Time in a Chatzy chat room.

For a full listing of #pblitchat times in each timezone see the About Picture Books Only page. In order to enter the Chatzy room a password is required but don't let that scare you off. Simply email pblitchat[at]skymesh[dot]com[dot]au or pblitchat[at]bigpond[dot]com and request the password. (This was necessary due to some off-topic gate-crashers.)

Miss a chat or what to know more information about a topic previously covered? Kat and Karen happily post the chat transcript on their blog. You can find the transcripts on the Picture Books Only home page. I'm also hoping to summarize the transcript here on my blog.

Picture Books Only:
Karen Collum:
Kat Apel:

Happy Valentine's Day

Monday, February 14, 2011

Adobe Flash Player is required.

I'm a little scratch crazy this week. :)

Cover Reveal Fun!

Friday, February 11, 2011
Cheryl Rainfield, author of SCARS (WestSide Books, March 24, 2010) has just revealed the cover of her new book. So, I've created a little fun using her new cover.

Adobe Flash Player is required.

Hiking Up My Socks

Thursday, February 10, 2011
I decided to hike up my socks and get to work polishing a picture book manuscript I have been working on-and-off for a long time.

So, last week I pulled it out of the draw and something interesting happened. That same day I had two different volunteer groups come to me and basically say, 'We'd like to use your writing skills. Can you help us? Would you write..." I don't mind helping and of course I said 'yes' but I find it funny that these requests come to me as soon as I decide to put all my focus on one of my bigger personal writing projects. My analytical mind now starts to wonder why this has happened and if there is a bigger meaning?

I think the bigger meaning is, 'you need to' I have finished one of the requests already and the client was very happy. Surprisingly, it wasn't as tough as I thought it was going to be. The other project will not happen for a while.

For now, I am looking to submit some smaller works, mainly poems, to magazines and web sites while I continue to work on my picture book manuscript and get it agent ready. Yay me!

You Don't Know 'Jack'

Saturday, January 8, 2011
Jack and the Bean Stalk. Jack Jumps Over the Candlestick. Jack and Jill went up the Hill. Jack Sprat. Little Jack Horner.

Do you know Jack or at least why Jack seems to be in so many fairy tales?

Though the name 'Jack' has a very complex origin it's meaning is very simple. 'Jack' basically means 'guy.' Some guy jumped over the caldlestick, a guy and a girl (Jill is slang for a young woman) went up a hill.

How many 'Jacks' have you heard of other than in fairy tales? Jack-in-the-box, Jack-of-all-trades...

To read more about the name Jack see the following URL: