What Would Willy S. Sayeth About RhyPiBoMo?

What Would Willy S. Sayeth About RhyPiBoMo?              Saturday April 26, 2014




I must confess…I am on my 25th hour, no…26th hour without sleep right now and I promise It couldn’t be helped! I’m heading to bed right now so don’t yell at me Kathy Halsey! LOL But I wanted to share my good news with you…

My 2nd book, The Legendary R. A. Cowboy Jones goes to print on Monday!

                    The  Legendary Cowboy Jones              Coming Soon!

Legendary Cowboy Jones
Coming Soon!

It is a MG Biography about a 70 year old horse jockey who still races in Henderson, Kentucky. And yes, his name is Cowboy. He is a character and this book was so much fun to write. You can pre-order it from this link if you are interested…thanks for letting me share my good news! It is due out mid June.


I was up all day, remember, I am nocturnal so I usually sleep during the day and write at night…anyway I was up all day doing the final proofing for the book so my editor could give the printer the thumbs up by 5:00 today to put it on the printing schedule.

See, it was for a good reason! But with that being said, I am pooped and I’m sure this is full of typos as I’m edited out. I did sit and read my entire manuscript from cover to cover out loud today. It was unbelievably helpful!

One last thing…today’s lesson is a re-blog from one of the first blog posts I did in advance of RhyPiBoMo. I remember thinking how maybe I could use it again somehow during the event. Perfect timing for this tired writer! So, I hope you enjoy it and let’s celebrate Willy S.!

*I’ll see you at the Facebook Rhyming Party tomorrow

at 8:00 p.m. Central Time!


Today’s guest blogger is someone I’ve admired for years. I never thought I’d be swapping emails and introducing her anywhere but today, she is here and I’m going to gush about her and my favorite rhyming picture book …Bear Snores On.


Of course, you say…It’s wonderful. Yes it is but it changed my world as a mom, a teacher and a writer. And I had read lots and lots of picture books before I found this one.

Bear Snores On

The first time I read Bear Snores On, I was reading it to my own children in our family room. They were all sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor. (if you are a kindergarten teacher you know what that means) There were four little faces staring up at me and I will never forget that moment…it changed the way I looked at rhyming picture books. You have to read it to understand, but Bear Snores On is magical in content, precious in sentiment and delicious in word desserts. And the rhythm…just read it! LOL  I could read it all day!


It really did make me stop and take notice at what a great rhyming picture book looks like, sounds like when read out loud and what it looks like on the faces of my kids, who were laughing, swaying to the musical verse and totally engaged in the story. We all feel so bad for bear, that he is missing the party in his very own lair! All I know is that for weeks after reading that story, all I wanted to do was to sip tea and munch popcorn while my husband was snoring!


Is that enough gushing? No.


Today’s guest has been busy for many years writing books for kids and I’m thrilled to share her latest book with you. Outside the Box is a collection of humorous poetry and it is brilliantly sitting on my book shelf next to my other faves!

Karma Wilson 2

It was just released in March! Congratulations Karma and thank you

for continuing to do what you do best!



So, without further ado, I’m honored to present today’s

Golden Quill Guest Blogger

Karma Wilson!

   Rhypibomo Guest Blogger Badge     Karma Wilson 1


Picture books matter. As picture book writers we can buy the line that our work is less “important” than say, a classic YA novel. When I tell people I write picture books I’m sometimes asked when I’ll write a “real” book (translate: novel, Harry Potter length or above.)


I don’t get mad. I would love to write a novel someday. But I do write real books. Picture books, rhyming picture books in particular, are a time-tested tool in fighting illiteracy. They are the building blocks we use to create minds that appreciate language, and know how to communicate using it.


When you write a book in verse you are weaving language, word play, cadence, meter, and characters into a marvelous tapestry of story. You are an architect of language building a bridge to those “life-changing” young adult novels your young listeners will one day read. Your words can establish a child’s love of words for a lifetime.


So now you know that it’s important to do well, HOW do you write an excellent rhyming picture book? I’m told I write good rhyming books. I’m also told I make good lasagna. I’m sorry to say I don’t have a recipe for either. Every time I make lasagna it’s different, and it’s the same writing books.


The first step in making good lasagna was eating a whole lot of different lasagna, which taught me what good (and bad) lasagna tasted like. It’s the same with writing books. I read poems, picture books, song lyrics, and classic poetry. I studied obsessively and asked what made me love one story, and find another boring or trite.


Good cheese is a crucial step to good lasagna, and a real story is the “cheese” in a rhyming book. If there is no real story, it’s a cheeseless lasagna, and nobody wants to go there, right? Ask yourself: Do you have a real story to tell, with a beginning/middle/end? Or are you just trying to make a story out of some cute end rhymes? If you realize you don’t have a story, DON’T DESPAIR. Put those lines aside and come back to them when you have the other ingredients for the lasagna. 😉


Herb and spices make delicious lasagna stand out. So how do you spice up a picture book? Strong words are the garlic and oregano of a story. In rhyme it’s easy to use weak words to make end rhymes easier.


I once wrote for a children’s magazine that banned the word “fun”. As they put it, the word “fun” is so overused it’s not fun anymore. I used it because it was a perfect end rhyme, but fun is a boring word.

For example:

We stood in line in the blazing sun,
but it was worth it, the ride was fun!


YUCK. I told everything and showed nothing. There is no sense of real fun. Spice it up! Show/tell


In the blazing sun, I stand in line,
inching forward one step at a time.
The line moves slowly, my heart beats faster.
My very first time on the Space Race Blaster!
I’m all strapped in, and up we go,
Clickety, clackety….

roller coaster

O H…


…S O


S L O W….

There I sit in the very first row,
Just for a second I peek below.
And then I’m screaming out,





Upside down, around, around,
more blazing fast than the speed of sound!
My hands are up! Can I keep lunch down?


Slowing, slowing, the rides at an end.
I gasp and turn to my very best friend,
“You wanna get in line again?!”


It’s a fast example, but it gives you a sense of showing.
“Fun” really says nothing. You must show the thrill of that first time memory of riding a roller coaster.


I’m over my 600 word limit, but I hope I imparted something helpful in these few tips. There’s more to tell, more to share, but I’ll save it for another day.


This is an amazing quote from Karma…

My Life in 8 Words

“Family, country, reading,

writing, seeking,

finding, laughing, learning”


What are your 8 Words?


Karma Wilson is the New York Times best selling author of more than 40 picture books for children, most written in rhyme. When Karma isn’t writing she enjoys brewing delicious coffee, writing rap with her kids (3, ages 17-21), being an assistant photographer, and spending time with talking animals.

– See more at:


Product DetailsMore Karma Wilson books:


Karma Wilson 2

Outside the Box  March 2014


Karma Wilson 3

If you have not read this book, go read it! NOW!


Thank you Karma Wilson!



RhyPiBoMo Daily Lesson: Saturday, April 26th
By Angie Karcher © 2014
Lesson 28



Who is Willy S.?



When I think about William Shakespeare I fondly remember attending a rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream when I was in high school. I remember dreading the performance but left the theater with a surprising respect for the famous playwright.  Honestly, I can say that I didn’t understand everything that was said, as the language was so foreign to me, but I do remember the humor and it was very funny.


There were four Athenians: Hermia, Lysander, Helena and Demetrius. It was quite a love fest that left Hermia with two suitors and Helena with none. What a hook! It involved magic potions, fairies, lies and deceit. The play was quite the makings of a modern day “Housewives” show.


I’m fortunate to live in Evansville, Indiana, a college town with two Universities who support the arts in education and community. The University of Southern Indiana and the University of Evansville are both known and respected for their drama departments.


The University of Evansville’s English Department hosts the annual The Richard Wilbur Award, a well respected poetry contest. Here is the link for more information.



USI is affiliated with several theaters in New Harmony, Indiana where I later saw Romeo and Juliet with my husband.  New Harmony is a quaint, little, “artsy” town on the Wabash River and must be visited if you are ever in the Southern Indiana area! (http://www.newharmony-in.gov/about_new_harmony.php)


There are a number of well respected poetry workshops and festivals held there every year. Poets come from all over the world to attend.





I remember as an adult, when watching Romeo and Juliet, I was invested in the underlying meanings of the language, the humor and the tragedy.  It was equally as entertaining but much more meaningful.  I was so excited that I got it!


That being said, there are many things about Shakespeare that I don’t get.


Blog 2 quote



The poetry is remarkably complicated. It makes me feel somewhat inferior as I try to keep up. The English language of his day was so luscious and tenaciously relevant to that time period, it doesn’t translate well today.


Possibly another problem with the language in his works is that he created thousands of his own words. Only Shakespeare and Dr. Seuss can get away with that! For example, he is the creator of arch-villain, birthplace, bloodsucking, courtship, dewdrop, downstairs, fanged, hunchbacked, leapfrog, misquote, pageantry, radiance, schoolboy, stillborn, watchdog, and zany, just to name a few.


Most of his sonnets involve the decaying of time, fleeting beauty and love.  This can be dark and dreary yet also alluring.  I suppose he drew from his past but was fairly young when he became a successful author and playwright. He was only 25 when he wrote his first play and was a successful actor by the age of thirty. There is much controversy about the details of his life as the records are sketchy but he was definitely brilliant in writing, entertaining and a successful business man.


Unlike many of his contemporaries, he died a wealthy man. He was a hopeless romantic even in death…in his will he left his devoted wife their “second best” bed. This sounds odd and seems like a hurtful thing to do…but actually, the second best bed is the marital bed, which is considered the most precious and adored possession a married couple has. It was a sign of how much he adored and loved her.


William Shakespeare is definitely an intriguing writer that managed to find his niche without any formal education or literary background.  So…does that give you hope as an inexperienced writer? If I were you, I wouldn’t quit your day job! Remember, he was well-respected in his day but the true glory and fame came hundreds of years after his death.


Blog 2 book*

I challenge you to pull out an old copy of Macbeth or one of the many other cherished works of Willy Shakespeare and start reading. There is much to learn from this brilliant poet. The playfulness of his words, his humor, hyperbole, symbolism and his darkness…all useful things for writers to have in their pockets.


Here is a list of a few favorites: Henry VI, The Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Cymbeline, A Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest.


See more at: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/122#sthash.jKuUeocd.dpuf


 20 Interesting Facts about Willy S.

Born on April 23, 1564

(My Husband’s Birthday…a coincidence? I thinketh not!)

Made over 600 references to birds

Died on April 23, 1616

In 1582 he married Anne Hathaway

He was 18 when married and Anne was 26

Had eight children (One son died at age 11)

He was a successful entrepreneu

rWrote 37 plays ( this number varies from article to article)

He was good friends with Elizabeth I, queen during his life

Was affiliated with a theatre group known as the Lord Chamberlains Men

Used the word dog or dogs over 200 times in his works

Was rumored to have created over 1,700 words for the English language

Invented the word assassination

Never attended a University

Did not die in poverty, unlike many of his fellow authors of the time

Had an earring in his left ear

He was known as “honey-tongued.”

Performed in many of his own plays

First job was holding horses outside the theatres

Rumored to copy many of his famous plays from other writers


blog 2 image

You may say that his style and content is too deep for children’s authors. I will agree that we shouldn’t use his style or content for a picture book, but we must study the greats to have a deeper understanding of what it is that we do. I have dedicated 2014 to learning the craft of writing poetry and rhyming picture books.  Along the way, I hope to find courage and inspiration.

Please join me!


“The rhyme’s the thing wherein I’ll speak

the words and let them sing.”



Bluebook Style William Shakespeare

http://www.biography.com/people/william-shakespeare-9480323 (last visited Feb 02, 2014).


Absolute Shakespeare 







Reading Prompt: Read one of Shakespeare’s poems.



Okay, now do everything else on the pledge for today and don’t forget to comment on today’s blog post!

RhyPiBoMo Pledge

RhyPiBoMo PledgeRhyPiBoMo Pledge Please comment ONLY ONE TIME below for a chance to win today’s prize! Prizes will be drawn by Random.com next Sunday for the previous week. To be eligible for a prize you must be a registered participant and comment after each days lessons.


66 thoughts on “What Would Willy S. Sayeth About RhyPiBoMo?

  1. Woohoooo, Angie! Yeah man! Sounds fantastical. BTW, catch some Zzzzz’s. Bear Snores On is so much fun. “They tweet and they titter. They chat and they chitter. But the bear snores on.” Thank you, Karma and Angie for a wonderful post. Loving, living, family,writing, reading, riding, playing, praying.

  2. Congrats on your 2nd book! Since I know you’ve been sick recently, I hope you’ll try not to stay up for 25 hours again any time soon! Pamper yourself! You’re doing so much for all of us! Thanks for all the counsel, Karma! Thanks for all the Shakespeare trivia, Angie!

  3. What a perfectly perspicacious present, to be reading the bard for breakfast, Angie you are my guru of rhyme, direct me to Shakespeare anytime. ❤

    Congratulations on going to print with your cowboy Angie and thanks you to Karma Wilsonfor her 'fun' post.

  4. Angie, congratulations on your book… The Legendary R.A Cowboy Jones.. Hope you are having sweet dreams right now. And Karma…. I am now hungry for some good lasagna!

  5. Congrats Angie!!!!
    Karma motivated me to cook up some lasagna and and put a little more oregano in my book;)

    Dreamer, believer, encourager, sensitive, family, friend, country girl, silly

  6. If Shskespeare can rhyme without years of formal training, then there is hope for the rest of us.
    Congrats on Your book! 🙂

  7. Congratulations on the release of your book Angie! I will read it on vacation over the next few weeks.I downloaded the complete works of Shakespeare from Amazon a while ago for free…check it out.

  8. Congrats on the release of your second book. I really enjoyed the post today by Karma Wilson. Her example of showing versus telling was a real eye-opener. Thanks for having such informative guests!

  9. Congratulations on your book release, Angie! Sounds like a fascinating subject to research.

    Thank you, Karma, for your amusement park poem and the reminder to show, not tell. My four-year-old daughter loves BEAR SNORES ON and also BEAR FEELS SCARED. Last night, she picked BEAR FEELS SCARED for one of her bedtime books and came running over to us saying, “It’s scary” and shivering and shaking with the anticipation of reading it again!

  10. A HUGE congrats, Angie! So very exciting! Love the bear books too – thanks, Karma – and a great reminder to study the masters from the (hopefully sleeping!) Angie Karcher! Thanks so much!

  11. Karma Wilson writes amazing exemplar texts (rhyming picture books for us to study)! She is a master in this time and genre, as Shakespeare is in his. Congrats on the upcoming book Angie. Hope you are fast asleep!

  12. What a great post, Karma. (For some reason, I’m really craving lasagna!) Your poem was such a vivid way of showing, not telling!
    Angie, congratulations on your book!

  13. I didn’t know that William Shakespeare created so many words. That is such an interesting piece of information.

    Also, I am a fan of Karma Wilson. I remember when I first decided to begin working toward publishing in this market, I read “Bear Snores On” and was (and still am) captivated by it. So i looked up Karma Wilson and I remember reading in her biography that she was rejected over and over and over again, until she wasn’t. I remember letting that sink in because with this business comes so much rejection, and if a writer like Karma Wilson is someone who constantly heard the word “No”, then there’s no way I’m going to let that word stop me.

    Thanks Angie, and congrats on your book!

  14. Congratulations on the second book that is so exciting. It was a great treat to read the sample from Karma there is so much potential in a rhyming story – rework it until it shows!

  15. Congratulations on the new book, Angie! And thanks for the reminder of showing, and not telling. It seems to be easy to forget that when writing in rhyme!

  16. Congrats Angie! I’m so excited for you. Great lesson today. I’m always amazing that I can sit through a Willy S. play and still understand what is going on even though the sentence structure is from another century.

  17. Yay Angie! So happy and excited for the release of your second book! I hope you enjoyed your celebratory sleep!
    Thank you Karma, for a wonderful post. It’s funny, when my (twin) girls were in first grade they were forbidden (by their teacher) from using the word fun in their writing.

  18. Congratulations, Angie! What a wonderful bit of news. Your book sounds fascinating. As for Karma’s post, she made me hungry. Time to grab some dinner and recall fond memories of reading Shakespeare as a teen. I may have been the only one in my class who enjoyed it.

  19. Thanks Karma for the lasagna analogy. You have inspired me to find the perfect recipe for my lasagna… I mean picture book! Angie, as always, thanks for the inspiration! Take some time to catch up on your sleep today but don’t completely miss the Indiana sunshine. It is truly a sunshine and feeling fine kind of Saturday 🙂

    • LOLOL Thanks Kathy! I did girl…I slept from 8:00 last night until 11:00 this morning…all good now! And thanks for your friendship and support this month! I feel the same way and can’t wait to meet you in person in LA! Hugs!

  20. Congrats, Angie, on the publication of your second book! I have mine on order and look forward to reading about Cowboy Jones 🙂

    Karma, thank you for the advice on how to use my words to establish a child’s love for words. Loved the lasagna recipe comparison.

    Angie, it was nice to have Willy in the house today and in this evening’s Facebook Rhyming Party-such fun 🙂 Thank you for a great lesson and resources.

  21. Congratulations, Angie, on a wonderful accomplishment. I absolutely love Bear Snores On. What a clever, funny book! One of the best days of my life was when I saw Ian McKellen in King Lear, my favorite Shakespeare play, at RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon. It doesn’t get much better than that!

  22. Angie – Thanks so much for doing all of this! Take care of yourself and get some sleep! And I agree– Bear Snores On is EPIC! 🙂

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