Tag Archives: Penny Parker Klostermann

Hail? Hell! And One Heck of a Great Time-Not necessarily in any order :-)

What a title, eh? I know! Craziness has ensued! Let me explain.

One Heck of a Great Time

This past weekend was the Children’s Art and Literacy Festival (C.A.L.F.) in my home town of Abilene, Texas. It was one heck of a great time! William Joyce was the guest of honor! Yes! The William Joyce, author of many, many books. Yes! The William Joyce with movies based on his books—Rise of the Guardians and Epic just to name a couple. Yes! The William Joyce who, along with Co-director Brandon Oldenburg, was awarded the Oscar® for Best Animated Short Film in the 84th Academy Awards®. If you haven’t viewed this work of art, you must! Your heart will warm 🙂

So what’s that got to do with Hail? Hell! Well . . .


I had just watched a parade with participants dressed as William Joyce’s characters from his many books! I was sitting in the historic Paramount Theater waiting for William Joyce to begin his talk on his creative process and then PING! PING! DRUM! DRUM! CLUNK! CLUNK! PELT! PELT! BEAT! BEAT! BOOM! BOOM!
“Is that hail?” I asked the two young ladies behind me.
“YES!” They answered.
And it was! (Photos to follow.)

But did I panic? No! What were a few pings on my car compared to hearing William Joyce??? It was too late anyway. What was done was done. Plus, I couldn’t leave and get hammered on the head! And I was already caught up in the whole excitement of children’s literature . . .The almost magic take-me-away-imagination feeling you get when hearing or reading a good story.
William Joyce was wonderful and inspiring. He is definitely a take-me-away-imagination kind of guy! His love for children’s literature was evident. His excitement was contagious as he told of how his fledgling Moonbot Studios was up against what seemed like impossible odds of winning an Oscar®. He talked about hard work and how important it is to keep on trying. If you want to see contagious excitement, watch this acceptance speech!

So in spite of the hail, I was having one heck of a great time!

The smile was still on my face as I headed the 6 or so blocks to where my car was parked. My head still in that take-me-away-imagination mode. But as I walked through the war-zone that our downtown had become, my smile became a nod of my head here and an expression of concern there. Cars were everything from pinged with cracked windshields to completely destroyed. Hailstones from an hour and a half earlier were still laying unmelted on the ground. The ground had holes in it! I wondered about my car. Was it pinged and cracked? Destroyed?


Yep! I said it! I saw my car and I said Hell! Not so much in the cursing kind of way (good thing as it was parked in front of the First Baptist Church), but more in the utter amazement type of way.

I was definitely in the destroyed category.

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photo 1


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But you know what? What’s done IS done! And what good would it be to ruin a perfectly wonderful evening by getting upset. So I called my husband but couldn’t get him due to cell service interruption. Then the nicest young couple offered me a ride home!

We went back to my car, swept glass, and laid down towels so that my husband could drive the car to our garage. And there it sat while I enjoyed two more days of book signings, balloon sculptures, and bright-eyed children.

One of my signed books!

One of my signed books!

So what is my point and what does it have to do with children’s writers? I guess it is just that life happened during our annual Children’s Arts and Literature Festival. And it was kind of hellish! Lots of people were short a car or two. But the whole town was smiling all because of a wonderful man with a wonderful imagination who writes wonderful books. No hailing on our parade. No ruining our heck of a great time! Just a celebration of take-me-away-imagination!

Footnote: One other bonus of the festival is that I met the nicest couple. I estimate they were in their late 70’s to early 80’s. I think I was drawn to her at the parade because her obvious excitement during the parade equaled mine. I just had to meet her! I said, “You must love children’s literature!” And that led to a visit with her and her husband. He had given her a William Joyce book a couple of years ago. They drove all the way from Florida to attend the festival because she is such a fan of William Joyce. They were lovely. By the end of the evening, we had exchanged addresses, emails, and names! I saw them the next day and we hugged like old friends! All because of celebrating children’s literature.

penny3Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon, is coming from Random House Children’s Publishing Fall 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @pklostermann and visit her blog HERE. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence.




Filed under Creativity, Happiness, Uncategorized, Writing and Life

Revision Indecision

Title for post.
Discussing Revision
Revision Process
Have You Ever?
A Visit With Revision
Indecision About Revision
Revision Indecision
OK. I’m going with this title before I decide to change my mind.

And that, folks, is how the past week has been. I’m revising a manuscript for the umpteenth time! Seriously, the umpteenth time. Second guessing myself with every sentence. Rewriting. Oh, who am I fooling? Second guessing myself with every word. Rewriting. Changing my mind. Rewriting. Should I go with this . . . or should I go with that? See? Revision Indecision!

Thing is, I’m so excited about this story! And I think when I get it right that it will be my favorite thing I’ve written—ever. But Revision Indecision (yeah, that title still works) is killing me. I’ve read through all the blog posts, articles, etc. that I’ve accumulated in my Gmail folder labeled “Revision Tricks and Tips”. Note to self-I need to revise that folder title. There are no tricks. Nope. No short cuts. No rabbits-pulled-from-hats. Just hard work.

But, this is what I think. When I do get it right the indecision will stop. I’ll know that I’ve chosen the right sentences and the right words. That’s what happened with my manuscript that sold. I just had this feeling of finished. My heart said it was ready to show my agent. I wasn’t second guessing anymore. I was happy.

So while I don’t like this feeling of Revision Indecision, I know I have to put up with it. It’s just part of the journey to that feeling of finished.

Now, quick! I need to hit “Publish” before I start having Revision Indecision about this post!

penny3Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon, is coming from Random House Children’s Publishing Fall 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @pklostermann and visit her blog HERE. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence.


Filed under Discipline, Editing and Revising, Patience, Picture books, Satisfaction

Off To Grandma’s House

I remember when my husband and I took our son to the airport to fly to his grandma’s house. We had to leave him with those in charge of unaccompanied minors-those who would help him get to his grandparents without a hitch. I felt a bit sad that he was ready for this adventure. He was my little boy and he was growing up. I felt nervous that he was going on his own without me to see to his needs and interpret his moods…because Momma knows best. Momma notices every little nuance and expression. She doesn’t have to guess at their meaning. I also felt excitement that he was “ready” for this adventure. I knew this was part of his maturation and the process of preparing him for the world. I knew that his grandparents loved him. I knew how much they were looking forward to this. I knew the importance of his relationship with them and I knew the importance of their influence in his life. I knew that grandparents add a layer to a his life experiences that is important.

As writers we give our stories life. We are the mommas and daddys of our stories. We know every little nuance. But we have to leave them to those in charge-those who help our stories on their journey. We have to leave them with agents and editors and illustrators. It is very emotional. We are excited about this because how else would our stories get out into the world. But we are also nervous. We are hoping that those in charge of our stories will pay close attention to every word. Every mood. Will they notice that expression on page six? What about the humor I see so clearly on page two?

Right now, my debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon, is at Grandma’s house. It is with Ben Mantle, the illustrator. He will add that extra layer to the story. But before the manuscript arrived, it had to be left with those in charge. First it had to be with Tricia Lawrence, my agent. She got it! She so got it! When she called about my story she mentioned my favorite things. She loves this story and I knew it was in good hands. Then the manuscript spent time with my editor, Maria Modugno. Her excitement was inspiring. She suggested some edits that would make the visit at Grandma’s house more beneficial. She loves my story, too. It’s in good hands. So how am I feeling about the visit with Ben Mantle (Who may not appreciate being called a grandma because . . . well, he’s a man . . . and he’s way younger that me!) I’m feeling especially good! Not because I have a Mommy-cam. I haven’t even seen sketches. But my editor, Maria Modugno, and I talked last week. We talked about changing a few words in manuscript. A few words  . . . but Oh So Important Words. We had this conversation because she had been talking with Ben Mantle about the same few words. He called her to discuss the few . . . but Oh So Important Words. He is paying attention to each expression and mood. Every little nuance! Do you know how good that makes me feel? How confident? He sees the importance of these few words so clearly that he wanted to discuss them. So I know he is adding a layer to the life of my manuscript that I couldn’t add. I know he is taking it very seriously.

I have a feeling I’m going to be very pleased to see my manuscript’s growth and change once it gets back from Grandma’s house. Ben’s influence on the story will make this our story! His and mine. A picture book that is prepared for the world.

penny3Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon, is coming from Random House Children’s Publishing Fall 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @pklostermann and visit her blog HERE. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence.


Filed under craft~writing, Editor, Publishers and Editors, Writing

If the shoe fits…it may end up at the castle

I’m doing revisions on a fractured fairy tale. I want to get it all polished up and out on submission. Revisions are hard for me. I’m slow! It really is like scrubbing floors and sweeping cinders. And at times I hear voices in my head that sound very much like an evil stepmother and two cruel stepsisters telling me I can’t do it.

But, I love this story and I know for it to have a happily-ever-after that it can’t just show up at the ball. There’s going to have to be some magic involved and guess who has to wave the wand?
Not my critique group!
Not my agent!
But, me! Hard or not, I’m going to have to wave the wand and write the magic words.

Don’t get me wrong . . . my critique group and my agent are an important part of this. They may suggest the mice or the pumpkin. They may remind me to add tension…like a clock striking midnight. All of this will help move my story toward the ball. But I’m the one whose words will have to waltz with Prince Editor. I’m the one who will have to have that spit and shine that will make Prince Editor fall so in love with my story that when I leave the hint of a glass slipper, he will see a perfect fit for the castle (publishing house).

So, hard or not, I’ll scrub the floors and I’ll sweep the cinders. I’ll block out the nagging voices. I’ll keep revising until my words waltz. And somewhere between a pumpkin coach and midnight, the glass slipper may be just get my book into the castle and out into the kingdom.

penny3Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon, is coming from Random House Children’s Publishing Fall 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @pklostermann and visit her blog HERE. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence.


Filed under craft~writing, Editing and Revising, Writing

The Call…yes…THE Call!

Please indulge me while I sing a bit and skip down the yellow brick road. I promise I will get to The Call.

Now my rendition.

If I’d Only Get The Call

Why if I’d get The Call I could…

♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪
I could weather a tornado
while cooking shrimp Alfredo
and knitting up a shawl.
Though the house would be whirling,
I’d be polishing my sterling
If I’d only get The Call.
♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪

Well, I did get The Call. The day was clear and sunny. No tornado in sight. Thank goodness because I wouldn’t have time to cook shrimp Alfredo or knit a shawl or polish my sterling while my house was whirling. That’s because this call, although very promising, was all about revisions. I thought I had revised the heck out of that manuscript. But the editor’s notes were genius. I knew my story would be stronger. It was just a couple of lines…but the lines were key to my story. The lines were in rhyme. The lines were repeated.  And I knew The Call of my dreams would melt away like a witch doused with a bucket of water if I didn’t come through.

It was nerve wracking. I wanted to work with this editor so badly that at first I got a case of…
Flying-Monkey Brain. Translation: Rush or it will be too late!
“Hurry, Penny, hurry or the flying monkeys will carry you away to the castle where you’ll never get to email your revisions because there is no way the witch will give you her Wifi password!”

Then I got a case of…
Wicked-Witch Brain. Translation: It’s too scary.
“She’ll reject you, Penny. You and your dragon book, too.”

Then I got a case of…
Lollipop-Guild Brain. Translation: Speak Munchkin, eat a big lollipop, and shake your booty in that Lollipop Guild sort of way.
“Hey! I think I want to go with this one!”

But in the end, I didn’t need anything from Oz. I knew if I was going to get The Call that I would have to use my brain, write with my heart, and have the courage to send off my revisions.

The editor loved them.

Then it happened. Tricia called one evening to tell me we had an offer. Even though I felt The Call was coming due to our positive email communication, it was completely awesome to actually hear the words. I’m still waiting for it to sink in…
…my book…
…MY book!
In bookstores…
at the library…
being read at bedtime!

And the dream that I dared to dream really did come true!

penny3Penny Parker Klostermann’s debut picture book, There Was An Old Dragon, is coming from Random House Children’s Publishing Fall 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @pklostermann and visit her blog HERE. Penny is represented by Tricia Lawrence.


Filed under Introduction, The Call