Hi. My name is Ken. I'm a member of SCBWI. I'm your tour guide into Brianwoods, a blog dedicated to my children's writing endeavors. Thanks for stopping by.

Just for a minute, close your eyes and imagine you're walking along a forest trail. Listen to the forest animals, as they call out to greet you. Welcome to Brianwoods!

This blog includes some of my other writing and details on my published materials.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Susanna Leonard Hill's 2017 Halloweensie Contest

Every year I look forward to participating in Susanna's writing contests. I especially enjoy the Halloweensie contest because I'm a big fan of Halloween. This year we were tasked with writing a story with 100 words or less about Halloween, which contains the words, candy-corn, monster, and shadow. I just came up with my story this morning after jotting down some notes last night. Please let me know what you think about my entry for this year's contest. Thanks, Ken


                                                            CANDY-CORN CAPER            Word Count: 99

Here’s the scenario:

Mom couldn’t find the bag of…
It was on the…
On Halloween night…
Dressed as a detective for…
I had to solve this mystery and…
My two-year-old sister was…
My dad was…
I needed clues, then…
A trail of little white, yellow, and orange candies…
From the kitchen,
To the hallway,
I followed these…
Into the basement,
Where a SHADOWY figure appeared.

Friday, February 10, 2017

My Valentiny Story Entry: 2nd Annual Susanna Leonard Hill Contest

Here's my entry into Susanna Leonard Hill's Valentiny Writing Contest. I hope you like it.

                                                                                                            Word Count: 210                                          

My Valentine

My teacher asked each student in my class to pick someone to be their valentine this year, make a card, and write about them. I picked my Grandpa.

When Grandpa was younger, he used to play dollhouse and tea party with me. But he is sick now. He has Alzheimer’s disease, which makes it hard to remember who people are and other important things.

I remember the first time we visited Grandpa at the nursing home and he didn’t know who I was. It hurt my feelings.

“What a pretty little girl,” said Grandpa. He asked the nurse who was pushing him in a wheelchair, “Is that your daughter? Why is she crying now?”

Mommy explained that he couldn’t help it. I understand that now.

Anyway, I think my Grandpa is the best because he still tries to play games with me even though Mommy has to explain to him that I’m his granddaughter every time we visit him. I can’t imagine how scary it must be for him to not remember his family. That’s why I decided to visit him on Valentine’s Day to tell him that he’s my valentine this year.

“Thank you for picking me,” said Grandpa. He gave me a big hug.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Grandpa.” 

Respectfully submitted,

Ken Major

Friday, February 3, 2017

Valentiny Writing Contest Sponsored by Susanna Leonard Hill

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, Susanna is sponsoring the Second Annual Valentiny Writing Contest. Please see the rules below and good luck if you plan to enter.

The Contest: Write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) with a maximum of 214 words in which someone is confused!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone confused (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words or less for Valentines Day.   Your title is not included in the word count.  You can enter more than one entry. No illustration notes please!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Writers for Kids Work and Other Endeavors

Things have been going fairly well for my critique group, Writers for Kids, which I started several years ago. There have been some membership changes, but we are back to full strength with 6 active members. One of our former members just got an agent and has a picture book under contract. It's scheduled to be published in 2018, which is very exciting.

Group members continue to enter contests and participate in writing activities like 12 x12, StoryStorm (formerly PiBoIdMo) and things we read about through our SCBWI contacts. One of our new members just won a free one year scholarship to the Rate Your Story (RYS) Program. She was one of only two writers to be selected to receive this scholarship. The manuscript that won her the scholarship had been critiqued by the group prior to her winning so that was good news too.

Anyway, I continue to work on ideas for new picture book manuscripts and to tweak some of my existing picture book manuscripts, several chapter books and a middle grade novel. I also have been working on a manuscript and some illustrations for a graphic novel with an environmental theme.

That's all for now.


Monday, January 2, 2017

StoryStorm 2017 Formerly Known as PiBoIdMo

It's that time of the year to have some fun with Tara Lazar's annual event meant to motivate children's writers. I believe this is the fourth time I participated in the recently renamed event. As long as you register, follow the instructions and sign the completion acknowledgement form, each participate could win any one of a number of interesting prizes. Check out Tara's website by going to the below link. Happy writing and good luck to all those that register.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Susanna Leonard Hill's Halloweensie Writing Contest

Thanks to one of my critique members, I found out about Susanna's interesting and challenging Halloweensie writing contest. The conditions of this year's contest are: 1) Write a Halloween themed story, 2) keep the word count under 101, and 3) include the words spider, ghost and moon in the story (any form of these three words is okay too). So here is my entry into the contest. I wasn't sure if I was going to have time to revise or even submit a different story so I submitted this one.Unfortunately, once I filed an entry there's no going back. So for your reading pleasure, see my other entry below entitled Halloween Fears.

What Should I Wear For Halloween? (99 words)

It’s Halloween and I don’t have a costume yet!
I could be a scary ghost with rattling chains, but…
We don’t have any white sheets or chains.
Perhaps a creepy spider with webs, but…
Where can I find six more legs?
YES, I’ll dress up like a big old black cat, but …
No one will be able to see me!
OH, NO! I forgot about the full moon tonight.
My costume, “HOOOOWL”, has picked me.
It’s one of the only good things about being
Born into a family of …werewolves.
That’ll do. Don’t run into me tonight!

Halloween Fears (99 words)

You probably think that I’m being silly,
But Halloween nights just gives me the willies.
The ghosts and the goblins look rather scary.
Now don’t get me started. MONSTERS ARE HAIRY!
I really don’t care about eating candy.
But treats, it appears, can be very handy.
The spiders are friendly when you give them snacks
And ghosts really like the moon marshmallow packs.
A witch and a warlock thanked me for the chews.
They used all that candy to brew two new stews.
Now wait just one minute. I’m feeling better.
Next Halloween night, I’ll be a go-getter!

Thanks for reading my stories! 


Thursday, November 12, 2015

PiBoIdMo, Day 12 and Other Events

So far this year's PiBoIdMo has been very interesting. I was lagging behind on several days, but was able to catch up today. The daily posts from the published writers have been very inspirational and filled with an abundance of great ideas and advice. This event is Tara Lazar's brainchild and I have participated three times counting this year. I'm going to try and actually make it to the end this year. I was unable to finish the other years.

I also participated in the #KidPit today on Twitter set up by Heidi Norrod. Writers for kids tweet 140 character tweets about their respective books in an attempt  to get an agent or editor to favor your tweet or "Twitch" as they call it. This can lead to getting one of your manuscripts critiqued by editors or agents. The event lasted six hours.

The week of Halloween, I entered Suzanne Hill's Halloweenie Writing Contest too. The theme was to write a story related to Halloween and include the words costume, dark and haunt (or any form of these words) in it with a word count of no more than 100. It was challenging, especially with such a small word count.

I'm now preparing my entry for the NE-SCBWI's  Peg Davol Picture Book Critique Scholarship Program. Marguerite (Peg) was a long time member of SCBWI and the author of a number of children's books including "The Paper Dragon". The deadline for this event is December 10, 2015. There are two categories,
published and unpublished book writers.

That's all for now.