HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO…

Stories

Girl Code—the latest in the Brianna Justice series. Our sixth-grade heroine has set aside her mixing bowls to pursue a new dream—TV anchorwoman. However, when she winds up working for a print newspaper in Detroit with her new mentor, Brianna soon learns that much like baking, great journalism requires the right balance of ingredients. Is she up to the challenge of staring down prejudicial stereotypes—especially when SHE is part of the group doing the stereotyping? Get ready, ‘cause Brianna Justice is here!

A Writer’s Life…

Stories

The Breakdown Cure

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I’m juggling a couple projects, but on deadline for only one. So, of course, it takes precedence. My brain has jet lag even though it’s been months since I’ve been near a jet. And I’m trying to plan marketing strategies for my two newest books as well as a book giveaway. Too early for vodka. So, comfort food it is. #amwriting

Homemade tomato soup is good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Not to mention creative meltdowns and middle-of-the-night panic attacks. (“Oh, god! Did I remember to rearrange paragraphs three and four? DID I? THE WHOLE MANUSCRIPT IS DOOMED!”)

Quick zesty tomato soup recipe. Eat like a published author or manic insomniac. Either way, the soup tastes good.

1 can tomato sauce (I prefer Contadina, but hey, you do you)

1 cup 2 percent milk (I’ve done it with pure cream or whole milk; richer taste, but can feel greasy)

2 tsp butter

1 tsp basil

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Tomato sauce, basil and pepper in saucepan, bring to boil. Lower heat, add butter, milk, and nutmeg. Bring to slow boil. You can get your bowl and crackers, or toast points or grilled cheese ready while you wait. Takes about six minutes. Watch carefully. You know that milk will rise up like a frothy beast if you’re not careful. Voila! Top with a sprinkling of Parmesan or cheddar. Soup is served.

 

A Bright And Shiny Day

Stories

 

Authoring can be tough. You are the creator, the whimsical-minded engine that brings imaginary worlds to life.

But you are also the businesswoman. The one-woman-shop, who must handle public relations, promote, plan speaking events and marketing strategies. When you are trying to be an up-and-comer in the publishing world and produce a beautiful piece of work, which I shamelessly proclaim The Sweetest Sound to be, you expect the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD will love it as much as you.

The reality, however, is that despite critical accolades, a dedicated marketing team at your publisher and determined efforts on your part, your little book hasn’t yet set the world afire as you’d hope.

Which is why Saturday was so awesome.

I awoke to an email from a dedicated school librarian in Upstate New York. Talk about chicken soup for the soul. Stacey Rattner contacted me to says how much she enjoyed The Sweetest Sound and how much her students loved it. She even sent along copies of letters the children had written to me about what they thought of the book.

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As I was already preparing to go out and visit bookstores to Twitter and Tweeter and all sorts of social media stuff for Sweetest paperback, feeling the love energized me. I wore makeup, put on a dress and even wore heels. Then I met the cutest, sweetest bookseller at Books-A-Million in the Loop Mall, Kissimmee. She was so excited to meet—Me?

At the Barnes & Noble near downtown Orlando, bookseller Cassie was an angel, helping  take pictures as I grinned like a mad woman upon seeing my new paperbacks.

It was one of those days when us little-known yet determined authors can, for just a while, feel like a J.K. Rowling or James Patterson or Jacqueline Woodson. It was a very good day.

32 days until …

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…the release of President of the Whole Sixth Grade (Little, Brown, $17.99) on Nov. 3. President Cover with Bleed_CMYK[1]

Southfield Public Library

Southfield Public Library

The story takes place in a fictitious suburb of Detroit, Mich., called Orchard Park. So while I was in Detroit visiting friends and preparing for the upcoming release of the book, including a fabulous party and book fair being held at the Southfield Public Library in beautiful Southfield, Mich.,  I saw this sign and couldn’t resist:

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Good News REVIEWS!

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Authors love, love, love it when reviewers say awesome things about their work. Check out this review for President of the Whole Sixth Grade courtesy of the American Library Association’s Booklist Magazine:

President of the Whole Sixth Grade
By Sherri Winston
November 2015/ $17/ Ages 8 to 12
ISBN 978-0-316-37723-2
Ebook ISBN 978-0-316-37722-5

When we last saw Brianna Justice she was on top of the world, fresh off the victory of being elected president of her fifth-grade class. But nothing bursts her bubble faster than starting middle school, where no one really cares about things anymore and everyone is trying to be someone else. Worse, two of her longtime BFFs have started blowing her off to hang out with a pair of nasty “popular” girls (the Peas). To top things off, Brianna has to contend with a rival who is determined to see her middle-school political career fail, and she only has a limited amount of time to raise money for the class trip to D.C. But Brianna has never been scared of a challenge, so she gathers up other allies and her trusty clipboard and gets to work. Brianna’s determination and follow-through make her a great role model, but the true value here is the very real depiction of the ebb and flow of middle-school friendships and the difficulties that come with growing up. An important resource for anyone who’s ever been in Brianna’s shoes.

Spooky Writing Contest

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No Magic In SchoolSPOOKY WRITING CONTEST <>SPOOKY WRITING CONTEST <> SPOOKY WRITING CONTEST <> SPOOKY WRITING CONTEST <> SPOOKY <>

SEPT. 2 THROUGH OCT. 17 <> SEPT. 2 THROUGH OCT 17 <> SEPT. 2 THROUGH OCT. 17 <> SEPT 2 THROUGH OCT. 17 <> SEPT. 2 THROUGH OCT.

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Today I am announcing my first-ever spooky writing contest. I am so excited. During my years as a journalist at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, I was privileged to play host to such a contest for young writers. It has been a goal of mine since becoming published to offer a contest on my blog. Thanks to the success of President of the Whole Fifth Grade, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has blessed me with an opportunity to write a sequel — President of the Whole Sixth Grade.

In honor of the recent announcement of the book’s 2015 anticipated publishing date, I would like to encourage little authors to think big. Therefore, I am holding a writing contest that features spooky themes, fun prompts and yes, even candy-filled gift bags.

The contest begins Sept. 2 and ends on Oct. 17. When is the deadline, you ask? Oct. 17, 2014. When does it begin? Well, thanks for asking. It begins Sept. 2. It is open to all third, fourth and fifth grade classes. How much does it cost? Well, though the experience is valued in the gazillions, the fee is $0. Last-minute entries will have to pay double.

Each Monday, on this site, I will include tips for writing that the kids can use not only for the contest but in there daily writing, as well.

I will continue to update, cajole, pester and otherwise make the contest known to as many as possible. Come on media specialists, teachers and reading coaches, don’t leave me hanging. Check out the attached flyer for details. Entries can be either scanned and emailed to sherriberries@gmail.com or sent through traditional mail upon contacting me.

All emails relating to the contact should say SPOOKY in the subject field. Allow me to boost your writing programs and help make the 2014-15 school year an absolute blast!

Contest Instructions

2014 FLYER

Brianna Justice heads to Osceola County Florida!

Writing for children
A stilt walker entertains visitors at the 2012 Miami Book Fair.

A stilt walker entertains visitors at the 2012 Miami Book Fair.

Brianna Justice and her friends have been pretty busy. Since President of the Whole Fifth Grade was named a Sunshine State Young Reader Award winner for 2012013, Brianna and the gang have been very busy. Author Sherri Winston, who happens to know Brianna very well, will head to Osceola County in Florida to visit several schools. The excitement is very HIGH. This is Big news!

Who knows, maybe after Ms. Winston talks to the students about Brianna, Sara, Lauren, Becks and Weasel, not to mention Mrs. Nutmeg and the lovely Miss Delicious, maybe some kid right there in Florida will decide, “Hey, I’m a good person. I want to be rich and famous. Hmm . . .maybe I can start my own business, too! I want to be a leader just like Brianna Justice!”

Author Sherri Winston gets a hug from former her former English teacher during a November 2012 visit to the Muskegon Heights Library in Muskegon Heights, Mich.

Author Sherri Winston gets a hug from former her former English teacher during a November 2012 visit to the Muskegon Heights Library in Muskegon Heights, Mich.

Or at least, maybe a few readers will enjoy being out of regular class for a little while talking about a pretty cool book and a great group of friends!

Want more Justice? Get your copy of President of the Whole Fifth Grade ($6.99, Little, Brown) at your local bookstore, online or through your schools book fair.

To find out how Brianna does in her latest school appearance, stay tuned! (That’s TV talk for please come back and read some more!)