Happiness (And Hives)

I think an embarrassing confession is always a good way to start an introduction. Here’s mine: I can barely remember getting “the call” about the sale of my debut picture book, BABYMOON. If you saw the dates, you’d think the period between my signing with Ammi-Joan Paquette and the sale of my first book was an easy, breezy stroll. In truth, it was more like zooming past Bigfoot standing by the side of the highway. I know I saw something, but I’m not sure what it was.

It had been a long haul for my little (140 word) manuscript. I had worked on it for ages. My mathematically-minded husband estimated it was something like 30 hours per word, but that’s far too conservative. In the way of all writers, even when I wasn’t working on it, I was working on it. I was deeply attached.

From the moment BABYMOON went out on submission, I was on edge, and by on edge I mean that my entire body busted out in anxiety hives.

Mrs. Puff

After a few emails with a Candlewick editor, I had reason to hope that BABYMOON had found a home. When the sale became official, I expected to be jubilant. Mostly, however, I felt relieved. I had done all I could for my little book-to-be. Now it would have its chance in the big, wide world.

BABYMOON is my “heart book.” Before my children were born, I planned to become a midwife. I care deeply about families. While I can no longer stay up all night to personally welcome a newborn, I hope to encourage the idea that babies should be ushered into the world with gentleness and respect. My hope is that this book will inspire expectant families to spend a secluded day or two with their new little one before the whirlwind of everyday life resumes.

So, that’s my story. The hives are gone, and I’m learning about the process of transforming a manuscript into a book. It’s challenging and exciting and full of anticipation. Just like a real baby, I don’t know what BABYMOON will look like, but I know I’ll love it and will work hard to give it a good start.

This blog post is now at 395 words and, as I’m (mostly) a picture book writer, I’ll stop here. Have a creative day.


Hayley’s debut picture book, BABYMOON, is coming from Candlewick Press. She writes picture books, sometimes in rhyme, and is working on a MG novel. She loves to care for and ride horses and volunteers at Windrush Farm, a therapeutic riding establishment. She has a pet chicken that lives at her friend’s house. Said chicken will someday be the subject of a picture book. Find her (Hayley, not the chicken) on Twitter @hayleybwrites. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette.


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42 responses to “Happiness (And Hives)

  1. katieslivensky

    Oh my gosh, anxiety hives twins! I broke out the first time I sent a batch of queries into the world. Took a while for me to learn how to handle publishing hurdles without becoming a stress-ball.

    Congratulations again on your sale, Hayley! Very deserved. 🙂 Can’t wait to see how your journey continues to unfold!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am SO excited to read BABYMOON when it’s out in the world. Until then, I’ll have to make do with your blog posts. Congratulations, Hayley!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Not only are you a good baker (from what I see on Facebook) but you’re also hilarious, Hayley! Congrats on the sale of your PB!

    I have some midwife homeschool friends; what fun to learn that you had wanted to be one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hayley, hurrah for you and every one of those 140 words.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pam

    Congrats Hayley on your well deserves “heart” book! Not only is your writing genuine, it is eloquent and poignant. A beautiful book coming from the heart of a beautiful person who always knows the right thing to say. Well done! Continued success.


  6. Hooray for Hives! LOL. If you don’t get nervous, you’re doing it wrong!


  7. elainebvickers

    Welcome, Hayley, and what a great post! I remember an overwhelming feeling of relief with the call too. 🙂 So excited for you and BABYMOON!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Amy Benoit

    So happy for you, Hayley.So. Very. Happy. xo


  9. mariagianferrari

    Welcome, Hayley!! I love the title Babymoon, and can’t wait to read it! I wish it were out now, since I have a friend due next month!


  10. Hayley Barrett

    Thanks, Maria. I wish you could give a copy of BABYMOON to your friend too, but you certainly can encourage her to plan some time to bond with her baby!


  11. Congratulations Haley! Your charming post tells a story all of us writers can relate to. Particularly loved your thoughts on welcoming newborns. Looking forward to reading BabyMoon!


  12. Hayley, congratulations on BABYMOON! My mom was a midwife and spent many a sleepless night catching babies. I just know that your book will be close to my heart, too.


    • Hayley Barrett

      Thanks, Andrea! I love that your mom was a midwife. Surely, you were welcomed with love. I’m looking forward to THE NAIN MONSTER!


  13. I enjoyed meeting you in Wisconsin, Hayley, and it’s fun to read a bit more about how you handle anxiety. Most of us just get grumpy. 🙂 I’ve never had hives (but I’ve often been grumpy). Let’s hope they revisit when your NEXT book sells.


  14. EEK!Sorry, Hayley. I meant to say “Let’s hope they (hives) DO NOT revisit you! Yikes. I swear it’s just a lack of proofing before I hit “send.”


  15. Hayley Barrett

    Thanks for a great laugh, Carole! I loved meeting you too.


  16. Hayley,
    BABYMOON is such a great title. And 140 words sounds like you picked just the right words. Sorry about the hives—you took the “buzzing with excitement” thing seriously, didn’t you??? (I know! That was lame but I couldn’t resist!)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Elly Swartz

    I love this Hayley, and can totally relate to the hives. Can’t wait to welcome BABYMOON into the world!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Congratulations! Looking forward to hearing more about your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Cathy Ballou Mealey

    A very special book by a very wonderful writer. So happy for you that BABYMOON is coming into the world after such a long labor!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Yay!! I can’t wait to read Babymoon!!


  21. Congratulations, Hayley! I love how the first ‘related post’ link after yours is under the category “anxiety.” 😉 I hope you can now relax and enjoy this exciting time!


  22. darceyrosenblatt

    lovely post and can’t wait to read this lovely book!


  23. BABYMOON sounds lovely! I’ve always been fascinated by the moon. Can’t wait for it to come out. (pun intended)


  24. I can’t wait for BABYMOON! Thank you for sharing your story! xo

    Liked by 1 person

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