Wednesday, November 29, 2017



It’s hard to believe that Rock Star Santa is celebrating his tenth birthday this year. Children delight in his lyrical beat and Will Terry’s fun illustrations. Just as Santa travels the world, so has my picture book, Rock Star Santa.  

He has a following in the West Indies, England, Australia, and just this year he made did a concert in Asia. He made visits to schools in New York, Pennsylvania even had a ROCK STAR SANTA Christmas tree in a school in Utah.

To celebrate his tenth birthday, I am giving away a signed copy of ROCK STAR SANTA, a rhyming picture book critique and assorted goodies from Santa’s bag.

It’s Christmas Eve. The tree is lit and children await Santa’s arrival, only they’re not tucked snuggly in their beds dreaming of sugarplums. They’re stomping and clapping at a Christmas rock concert where Santa is the “star.” Santa’s snow-white hair is in a ponytail and he’s ready to rock. The rowdy reindeer band includes Donner on electric bass, eerily resembling Keith Richard. Blitzen has a Paul Stanley-like star painted on his eye as he plays the drums, and you can’t help but notice the resemblance of Comet to Slash, as he shoots across the stage.

But Santa is “THE MAN.” ROCK STAR SANTA is an original, modern day retelling of a Christmas classic, but what happens on this night before Christmas is ROCKIN’.

If you'd like ROCK STAR SANTA to perform in your home Christmas Eve, or receive one of the other Christmas treats in Santa’s bag, leave a comment below stating what you love MOST about Christmas! Or you can email me for more information at

I’ll start the Christmas ball rolling. What I love most about Christmas is –

The smells of the season!
·      The balsam tree fragrance when the lights are on.
·      The molasses crinkle cookies baking in the oven.
·      The cinnamon candles burning on the mantle.

Winners will be announced December 26th. Follow the Storyteller’s Scroll to find out if it’s you!

Rock on! Rhyme on! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Friday, November 24, 2017

It's meet Spork Author Julie Pepper.

This week continues the interviews and giveaways from fellow Spork authors. Today, I'd like to welcome Julie Pepper to The Storyteller's Scroll.

Julie writes picture books and her interview gives us a peek at her IT'S TIME series.

Pre-K - 1st

It’s Time welcomes you to share in the preparation for the very first day of school through the eyes of a child. This near-wordless picture book will draw you into a little boy’s perception of his moments at home, that lead him to his new school, teacher, and class. See what he sees as he is awakened by his mom, and goes through the steps of getting ready for his big day. A connection is made that will open a whole new world for this little one. It’s time.

1. Why do you write the kinds 
of books you do?

I began writing the It’s Time 
series because I liked the idea of a picture book where you don’t see the main character and that everything seen is from his/her perspective. It came about as I was imagining what my son was seeing and feeling on his first day of preschool. 

After I completed the story, I thought this idea had series potential, so happy our publisher, Callie Metler-Smith with Spork, Clear Fork Publishing agreed!

A lot of what I write is humorous. I love the funny/weird/quirky side of life, and I share that with my young readers.

2.     Do any of the books you write come from your own childhood?

I have a couple of ideas for books from my childhood experiences, but I haven’t developed any of them yet. My three children and my students have inspired 90% of what I currently write. They're always doing or saying funny things. I’m always remarking, “That could be a picture book idea!”

3.     Do you work on different picture book manuscripts concurrently or do you stick with one until it’s completed?

I wish I could stick to one manuscript until it’s finished, but that’s not the case. I work on many at the same time. I have bursts of creativity and write everything I can in that moment. Sometimes, I 'll continue with that story, but other times, I set it aside, and return to it later with fresh eyes.

4.      Is writing easy for you?
This is a very interesting question. During those creative bursts, I feel that things flow naturally and it seems easy. However, once I put it out there for critiquing it can become more difficult. I begin with such a strong vision for what I want the story to be, that when I get feedback I need to see what works for me and what doesn’t. 

I tend to second guess myself. on if I took the right advice or if I should have taken more or if I should have taken less. Although this part of story writing for me is more difficult, I always end up with a better manuscript after this process!

5.      How many hours a day do you write?
As a teacher and mom of three youngsters, it can be very hard to find time to write. My husband works the opposite schedule of mine, so when I get home from work, I’m in full mommy-mode. I try to write after I put the kids to bed, but sometimes I'm exhausted. However, during school breaks, or some weekend nights, I can write for up to four hours. This may be one of the reasons I have so many manuscripts going on at one time. I can steal a moment to write an idea down and a bit of the story, but to really sit down and focus on writing doesn’t happen as often as I'd like.

6.     When you begin writing a picture book, do you know what the ending will be?

Usually, yes. However, there have been a couple where I came up with what I thought was an interesting concept, but didn’t know exactly where it was going. Those I set aside, then went back to revise them, at a later date. I also have written a few stories where my original ending has changed after the revision process.

7.     How long does it take to complete one of your books?
It doesn’t take very long to complete books for the It’s Time series.  Since it is minimal words, I work closely with Anne Steele, the illustrator.  So, while it doesn’t take very long to set up the story, Anne and I talk a lot about each page and we will revise as we go if needed.

Other stories take a few months, while some have taken a year. I honestly never think they are done. I have a hard time feeling ready for submitting because I always think there must be something else I could change to improve the story. I'm very new to picture book writing, and feel that by attending more SCBWI conferences, participating in online webinars, and talking with other writers, I will get better at knowing when a manuscript is done…at least I hope that will happen!

8.     What’s next for you?
It’s Time to Go to the Doctor will be coming out in 2018. This time the story is from a little girl’s perspective. Anne has shown me some of her sketches and I’m really excited for this one! It’s also fun to be thinking about where to go with this series. There are so many moments to capture from the eyes of a child.

I also have a quirky picture book titled Cannonball coming out with Spork in either 2018 or 2019. 

I hope this is just the beginning for me. I'm enjoying having this creative outlet, and meeting so many wonderful writers along the way.


Julie has agreed to give away a signed copy of her picture book, It's Time. Just follow The Storyteller's Scroll through the email link in the upper right corner and then leave a comment for Julie below. A winner will be selected by and announced next Friday. Please check back next week to see if you have won  It's Time! 

And thanks for stopping by to spend some TIME with Julie!

Julie is a National Board Certified teacher who holds an M.A.Ed. with an emphasis in Arts in Education. She has been teaching 5th grade in Northern California for ten years, and uses picture books to teach reading and writing mini-lessons. Julie currently lives in Davis, California with her husband and their three hilarious children.

Energized to Write for the New Year

 So happy to be attending the SCBWI National Conference this week. My peer critiques went well two nights ago, and energized me to see the p...