I love Cheerios and I love moms. Both are so different, but they share one unique quality...intuitive geniusness.
How would Cheerios know that by unleashing Honey Nut Cheerios serendipitously the year before I was born they would produce a cereal that would bring so much joy to my little heart to this day?
Or, more relevant to this post, how genius was it for the same company to sponsor a children's book writing contest and include children's literature with their product, therefore accomplishing their goal to "nourish everyone by making lives healthier, easier and richer"?
Moms are great too, don't get me wrong. They have a long history of being intuitive geniuses. I know this because I have one and I am one. =) Also, I am sitting here to today, alive, surely not from the intuitive geniusness passed down from father to father, who may have sometimes (historically speaking), unintentionally, overlooked things like sharp scissors and permanent markers in the hands of little ones. =)
The point I am trying to make is that both moms and Cheerios alike, know things. Like who is who in Children's Literature. To prove it, we are graced with today's Banana Peelin' author, Lori Degman who was not only chosen to be the recipient of the Gold Mom's Choice Award for Picture Book Humor, but she also won the 2008 Spoonfuls of Stories Contest. I feel so incredibly lucky to have Lori here today to share her own banana peel slips!
Please welcome, Lori Degman!
Let me start by thanking Elizabeth for allowing me to contribute to Banana Peel Thursday and to apologize for the stress my absentmindedness must have caused her! My most recent banana peel is occurring as we speak (as I type). I had emailed Elizabeth on January 12th, asking if I could do a Banana Peel Thursday post and she very kindly said yes. She scheduled me for February 16th and, on the 13th she emailed asking if I was still planning on posting. I apologized for forgetting about it and she sweetly asked if the second or third week in March would be better. I said either would be fine and she assigned me the 15h. At the end of February, she again emailed and asked me to send my post by March 11th. I apologized again and optimistically said I would get it to her within a week! Then, tonight, she sent me a gentle reminder (sheʼs SO patient) that my post was to appear in three days! I emailed an apology (are you noticing a pattern here?) and swore Iʼd get it to her ASAP. So, here you have it - an unpolished gem of a post! I couldn't have created a better example of the thousands of banana peels Iʼve thrown in front of myself in the past 20 years!
I know, after I send this to Elizabeth, Iʼll think of a bunch (no pun intended) of awesome banana peel stories I could have told - oh well - such is life. I will, however, leave you with the most embarrassing slip I can think of at this moment. After you read it, youʼll be amazed I was brave enough to share it - I know I am!
In March, 2008, I sent out a manuscript to six large publishing houses - on the same day. I was sure at least one - maybe all - would be sending offers within a week - it was that good! When I returned from the post office, I read my story aloud, imagining the editorsʼ delight, when I noticed three typos in the first two stanzas!! When I finally calmed down (several hours later) I came up with a brilliant solution!
CAUTION - BANANA PEEL AHEAD!!
I knew just what to do - Iʼd write a new cover letter and resend the corrected manuscript. It should arrive just a day or two after the first and surely the editor would remember the original version I had sent - it was that good (despite the typos)! But wait . . . an ordinary cover letter would never do - Iʼd need to show them how extremely creative I am! Below is my “clever” cover letter. This takes guts, if I must say so myself! Gulp!
Title: Mia Culpa
Main Character: Me
Problem: I sent you the wrong, imperfect version of my manuscript.
Climax: I panic when I realize my mistake.
Resolution: Very understanding editor reads the attached, updated version and discards the original.
Lesson Learned: ALWAYS have someone proofread your manuscript before sending it out.
Main Characterʼs final line of dialogue: “Iʼm sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused!”
I know youʼre dying to find out how many offers I received - Iʼll let you figure that out for yourselves :-)
Wow, I canʼt believe I just shared that story! I hope it helps you feel better about some of your own banana peel slips!!
Thanks again, Elizabeth for your graciousness and sorry for the added stress! Do I get to put the cool badge on my blog now?!
I knew I'd think of another story - Elizabeth was nice enough to add it to my post after the fact. A few weeks ago, I was at a friend's house, waiting to do a talk at her library's Young Author Award Ceremony. Her 7-year old son brought me a piece of paper and asked me to write my name on it. I thought it was so sweet that he wanted my autograph - what a cutie! Of course, I said I'd be happy to. He handed me a pen and as I began to write, a shock shot all the way up my arm! It was a trick pen!! My friend was so sweet for not letting on that she knew I thought he wanted an autograph. It's a good friend who pretends not to notice when you slip on a banana peel!
Lori Degman is a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing students and lives in Vernon Hills with her husband, John. She has two sons, Sean, 25 and Brian, 22. Her first picture book, 1 Zany Zoo, was the winner of the 2008 Spoonfuls of Stories Contest and was released by Simon & Schuster in July, 2010 . It won the Gold Mom's Choice Award for Picture Book Humor in February, 2012. She is represented by Jamie Weiss Chilton at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Blogosphere, Lori is so generous! (Doesn't she have just the kindest eyes?) She has agreed to not only give away one copy of her book, 1 Zany Zoo, but also a critique for a RHYMING picture manuscript!
If you are interested in receiving either of the following, please leave a comment indicating so below!
Results will be generated through Random.org ( I think I have reached the end of the Smelly Hat Contest Results Generator) and will be announced early next week, so please make sure to leave a comment before Sunday, March 18th!
Also, you should know that Lori has a wonderful blog to follow as well an author website where she offers detailed critiques for rhyming manuscripts so if you don't win, mosey on over to her site to check out all she has to offer!
P.S. Lori...The badge is all yours! Thanks SO, SO much for contributing your stories to the series! =)