Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Priscilla and the Perfect Storm

Hey friends, I wanted to share with you some information about my new book, Priscilla and the Perfect Storm. It is available now for preorder at my website: stephiemccumbee.com Photobucket

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Picture Book Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Garden in My Mind by Stephie McCumbee

The Garden in My Mind

by Stephie McCumbee

Giveaway ends June 16, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Enter my Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win a copy of my book, The Garden in My Mind

Book Overview:
Maci and Trey love to have a good time; but when Mrs. Julian explains the importance of making positive choices - and growing a garden in your mind - Maci begins to see things differently. Join Maci as she learns the importance of ignoring distractions and making positive choices with help from her mom, her teacher and a new friend.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

BookExpo America 2014

This week I was blessed to travel to the 2014 BookExpo America in New York City. I had never been to this expo but had read lots of wonderful things about it. Basically, this event is held every year for book authors, publishers, printers, librarians and other literary agents to network and share resources. When I  arrived at the Javits Convention Center it was breathtaking. The whole building is made of glass! I did not take this picture, but it shows just how beautiful this work of art really is.

I was shocked to see just how many different exhibitors were present. The best part about this conference is that most of the books throughout the convention are available to attendees for FREE. I was shocked! As a teacher, I was like a kid in a candy store. The purpose behind this convention is to put your books in the hands of people who might like it and include it in their inventory. I saw so many talented authors at this expo.

Like the wonderful Jeff Kinney

This is a picture of me and Julia at our Booth

I collected so many books that I was worried about how I was going to get them all home, but no fear... the convention center had already thought of that. Downstairs there was a shipping station so that attendees could ship home all the books they had picked up. I probably collected somewhere near 20 children's books. I arrived at the convention center at 9 a.m. and walked around until my book signing. Then, I walked around again until 3:30. Even though I spend all that time walking around I was still unable to see all the great exhibitors. Since many of you reading this post are bloggers, you are actually able to purchase a pass for the show next year. I encourage you to do so if you live near the area. You will not regret it.

After the event, my husband and I went back to a wonderful bakery shop we had found called Magnolia Bakery. It was amazing! We ordered cheesecake (I normally do not like cheesecake) and it was so delicious. In fact it was so good, we went back each day to buy a few different flavors. This one was pecan carmel. It tasted just like creme brûlée.

The last night we were in NY we attended a Broadway show with the rest of the Boys Town crew. We had such a great time. We saw Kinky Boots and even my husband said he really enjoyed the show. I highly recommend it if you are able in the area.


Saturday, May 31, 2014

Favorite Read Alouds

As the school year winds down I thought it would be great to create a list of some of my favorite read alouds. As a reading major, I could probably spend all day reading books to my students so I have to be careful not to read to them the whole time. A great rule of thumb is to choose books that are two grade levels above or that teach a particular skill you wish to focus on during a mini-lesson. This will help students increase their vocabulary and also help them become acquainted with more complex story structures and problems. Below is a list of my favorites.

Beginning of the Year:

Social Skills:

Picture Books:

Chapter Books:

End of the Year Books

What are some of your favorite read alouds?


Monday, April 7, 2014

My Publishing Journey- Part 2

If you missed part one of this post you can catch up here.  For the rest of you, let's travel back to last May... after emailing Julia, she graciously put me in contact with her wonderful publishing company Boys Town Press and I emailed them my manuscript. Many people have asked me about the format needed for manuscripts and the answer is different depending on the publishing company. I typed mine up just like a typical paper and left breaks where I wanted the pages to be. If you are considering sending in a manuscript I suggest you look at that publishing companies’ guidelines for submission. Typically these are located on their website.

Anyway, after sending in my manuscript I waited patiently. Ha! Who am I kidding? I was a nervous wreck.  I bet I checked my email 20 times every day. Then, a week or two later I checked my email and saw that there was an email from one of the Directors at Boys Town Press. I opened the email so quickly that I didn’t have anytime to think about what it might say. Once I started reading it I saw that it asked if we could set up a time to talk. I was shocked! They wanted to talk to me? At first I stared at the computer smiling in amazement and then I hit print (I think I needed proof that this actually just happened). Of course I danced around my room for a while and then I ran and called my husband who is used to my crazy antics. He was really excited too, but probably just as shocked as I was. 

After I got off the phone with him, the worry set in. What if they didn't like my book? What if they were just going to give me some advice? Either way, it was better than nothing so I allowed myself a few minutes to fret and then I went back to dancing. 

Several weeks later we had our first phone conference and it was clear to me that they liked my book and wanted to publish it. After that initial phone conference we had several more to nail down specifics about content and eventually illustrations. I have to say that seeing your written word interpreted by an illustrator has been the most exciting part of this process. Tune in next week to hear more about the illustration process.

Visit my website @


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Publishing Journey Part 1

Recently, I was asked to blog about how I became a writer and to give insight into the publishing world. Since I am VERY new to the writing industry, I will provide my experience in hopes that it helps others. Please understand that my experiences are probably not typical and may be different than that of other writers.

As I have written in previous posts, I have always wanted to be a writer. I have many journals and write pretty frequently. Most of my journals are more like diaries and just detail what is happening in my life. Other journals are more spiritually driven and include scriptures that I can reference.

In college I minored in English and took several creative writing classes for fun. I have always been interested in poetry and memoirs. During these classes my professor encouraged me to write frequently and so that is what I did.

The turning point for me came last year when I attended the North Carolina Reading conference. I was there presenting with my teamie Monica Schroeder.  The day before our session, I had heard that Julia Cook was doing a presentation and I was super excited to get a seat. In fact, I left the session before hers early to ensure that I would have a seat.  If you are not familiar with Julia Cook she is a children's book author who has written many great books on social skills. Some of her books include:

The RJ series and the Relationship Series both of which are
published by my publishing company- Boys Town Press


Check out these great titles as well!


When I attended her session I was so inspired to write. During the session she gave tips for publishing, read some of her books and talked about her own publishing journey. I remember leaving that session with so much excitement. During lunch that day, I told Monica "I'm going to write a book as soon as I get home." I started taking notes for possible ideas at lunch and as soon as I got home I couldn't wait to start writing.

After I had written a manuscript that I thought was good enough to send in, I emailed Julia and explained that she probably has no clue who I am but that I attended her session and was really inspired. I also asked her for some more advice. I wasn't sure if she would email me back, but I remember praying that she would. To my surprise she did! Not only did she respond, but she gave me amazing advice. Since this initial email, I have found myself calling and emailing Julia many times. I am beyond grateful for what she has done for me. In todays world it can be very hard to find genuine people, and I have found that in her.

Long story short, my advice to anyone who wants to become an author is:

  • Write everyday
  • Stay true to your writing style
  • Join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
  • Research publishing companies in the area that you are writing
  • Know the guidelines for submissions before sending in your manuscript
  • Visit Julia if she is presenting near you (you will be inspired)
  • Write what you know

Next week I will be posting more about what writers do, the illusration process and much more so stay tuned.