Quick-Read Crafty Tips: Pickles, Pie, AND (Drumroll Please…) HOME FOR A WHILE Trailer Reveal

Well, somehow 2020 just keeps rolling on. As we approach the holidays, I have a few thoughts for you about our creative work this holiday season. I also wanted to share the trailer for HOME FOR A WHILE (Magination Press/Illustrated by Natalia Moore) that my amazing younger daughter helped me create.

But first, let’s talk about pickles and pie.

Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving in our house without pickles, pie, dairy-free mashed potatoes, and vegetarian stuffing. Those staples render smiles on everyone’s faces and happiness in our tummies.

Although the holidays are going to look different this year (well, everything looks different this year), we can still hold onto things that are important—like pickles and pie. Maintaining small pieces of important traditions is a way to bring some joy to catawampus holidays. It offers a way to manage conflicting and complicated emotions.

In HOME FOR A WHILE, Maggie helps Calvin learn strategies to manage his emotions by finding activities that bring him joy—like shooting baskets. We can always find joy, even in tough times.

You can also find joy when you create. Instead of putting pressure on yourself, engage in creative activities that make you happy. Perhaps that means playing with words or silly puns. Perhaps that means creating a scene with visual language that transports you to another place. Perhaps that means drawing a picture of a brand-new creature.

Throw away the pressure.

Find the joy.

And identify your strengths…

Our strengths provide a foundation for success—a life raft in rough waters. Take a moment to identify three of your strengths. Then be sure to nurture those strengths as much as possible. For example: I have a particular affection for and strength in making dairy-free mashed potatoes. I hold onto that each year with everything I’ve got!

Maggie helps Calvin see strengths in himself that he never saw before. Nurturing our strengths is critical to emotion regulation, opening our hearts, and finding joy.

So, as you approach the holidays, allow yourself to grieve the traditions you’ll miss, and make time to celebrate the traditions you can still include—like pickles and pie. Hone in on your strengths and use them to propel you forward in life and in your creative pursuits.

Happy Thanksgiving!

HOME FOR A WHILE is moving into bookshelves on February 2, 2021, and is available for preorder wherever books are sold. I hope you enjoy the trailer:

Feel. Write. Risk.


Lauren’s Quick-Read Crafty Tips: Build Your World Five Senses Style

So you want to create a world that’s specially designed for your character. You have a lovely vision in your mind, but translating it to paper isn’t flowing as easily as you’d hoped. Well, I have a Quick-Read Crafty Tip for you!

First, think about your main character. Who is your MC? Be as specific as possible.

Then, think about the world you’d like to create, and put those five senses into action!

Jef Caine illustration eye lips reading GIF
(Okay, that’s a little bit creepy!)

Now, answer the following questions:

In your character’s world, what would you…






Create word banks for each of your senses. Here’s a sample.

You can download the whole template here: https://laurenkerstein.net/critiques%2Ftemplates

Remember: specificity is your friend. (But not specificity in a way that takes away your illustrator’s say. For example, don’t add colors to your manuscript, but do add the specific food (kumquats) that your main character loves!)

Let’s look at an example: Perhaps your world is Rosie and Charlie’s worlda world in which you can adopt a dragon and it isn’t all that odd. Here’s a sample of the world-building word bank I might create for Rosie and Charlie.

I hope this strategy will help you create an intriguing, enticing, and larger-than-life world for your character.

Feel. Write. Risk.


#ReVISIONweek 2020 Prize Winners

Thank you all for participating in #ReVISIONweek 2020! We hope the week was as wonderful for you as it was for us!

We loved revising manuscripts as a community, interacting with you on social media, and chatting on the posts.

We are thrilled to announce this year’s #ReVISIONweek 2020 prize winners!

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CONGRATULATIONS! I will be emailing the winners next week with details about how to claim your prize.

And congratulations to EVERYONE who tweaked, chopped, and contemplated new revision tips. We hope you feel proud of everything you accomplished in the midst of these uncertain times.

To all who celebrate, L’Shana Tova. May your new year be sweet and far more peaceful than the last.

Rosh Hashanah GIF by Hallmark eCards

Feel. Write. Risk.

Lauren, Joana, Katie, Lynne, Michal, and Shannon

P.S. Don’t forget, Lauren is offering 20% off critique services for #ReVISIONweek participants. Please visit her website for more information: https://laurenkerstein.net/critiques%2Ftemplates.

Take the #ReVISIONWeek Pledge for a Prize + 2021 Dates

We made it!

We hope your week was enriching, inspirational, and productive.

Although #ReVISIONweek has come to an end for the year, please know your KidLit Writing Community is always here!

We hope you’ll carry the following quote with you as you continue your writing and revision journey:

And now, it’s time for prizes! If you’d like to take the #ReVISIONweek Pledge, and enter the Rafflecopter to win, please visit: https://laurenkerstein.net/%23revisionweek.

You have until Thursday, September 17th at midnight (MST) to enter.

So don’t delay!

Winners will be announced the afternoon of Friday, September 18th.


We’re thrilled to announce our 2021 #ReVISIONweek dates!

Writing is not a solo journey. Remember: you have an entire community cheering you on every step of the way!

In the words of Charlie: “You’ve got this!”

Feel. Write. Risk.

Lauren, Joana, Katie, Lynne, Michal, and Shannon

***EXCITING NEWS: Lauren is offering 20% off ALL critiques for #ReVISIONweek participants until November 15th! Visit https://laurenkerstein.net/critiques%2Ftemplates for more information.***

#ReVISIONweek Day #7: Plotting Your Next Steps and Giveaway Opportunities


You made it to Day #7 of our Bite-Sized #ReVISIONweek!


Now, where do we go from here?

It’s rather challenging to keep up with writing and revising right now. If bite-sized pieces worked for you this week, keep going. Break down your goals into small, manageable steps. Think of each step like squares on a bingo card. Select a square or two each day/ each week to tackle.

Here are some ideas for bite-sized next steps.

myfreebingocards.com - bingo card generator

You can also make your own bingo card of bite-sized writing and revision steps.

myfreebingocards.com - bingo card generator

Speaking of next steps:

I’ll be sending out a blog post with a Prize Rafflecopter TOMORROW. You’ll have until midnight (MST) on Thursday, September 17th to enter.


Winners will be announced on Friday afternoon, September 18th!

Check out our fabulous prizes!

myfreebingocards.com - bingo card generator

See you tomorrow!

Feel. Write. Risk.

Lauren, Joana, Katie, Lynne, Michal, and Shannon

#ReVISIONweek Day #5: Bite-Sized Revision Wisdom from Debut Groups

There are so many wonderful debut groups in our midst just bursting with talented creators! Follow them on social media to keep your finger on the pulse of their incredible books.

Check out these fabulous bite-sized revision tips from the visionaries in 2020 Book Look, 20/20 Vision Picture Books, 2021 Picture Book Scribblers, Picture Book Playground, Picture Book Buzz, 2021 Book Blast, and Seen in ’19. I just know these tips will help you on your revision journey!

Let’s support our debut groups by marking their books as “want to read” on Goodreads, writing reviews, and celebrating their launches with them! One of the things I love most about our KidLit community is that…

“We are family…”

Cue dancing!

And singing!

And a day filled with revision magic!

In the words of Charlie, “You’ve got this!”

Feel. Write. Risk.