By Pamela Burba

Every author dreams of writing the next cherished treasure like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. But where do you start?

“It’s always best to start at the beginning. And all you do is follow the Yellow Brick Road.”

– Glinda the Good Witch of Oz 


Is there something keeping you from getting started? Did Dorothy let the Wicked Witch of Oz stop her from taking that first step?

Glinda the Good Witch of Oz was the first of many to encourage her to get on her path and stay on it no matter what. I’d love to encourage you to take that first step! So grab those ruby slippers and join me as I take you on my fairy special journey.

My sister Cheryl and I loved when our Mother read us fairy tales as children. We always dreamed of creating a fairy tale that not only teaches children in a fun way but also lets the story continue from book to book. All we needed was…an idea for a fairy tale.

Sometimes your story may be right under your nose.

As it turns out, our idea was sitting there right in front of us all our lives. We just didn’t realize it until our cherished mother Dottie passed away at the age of ninety five.

Our mother told us sweet story she over and over our entire lives. It involved me as a four-year-old trying to buy an ice cream cone with a penny I’d found.

We were sitting around reminiscing about this story, and suddenly we realized THAT was our book idea. From a sweet simple story came the perfect idea for our fairy tale! Hooray, our feet were finally on that yellow brick road!

Ice Cream and Sprinkles and Fairies! Oh my!
            –Pamela Burba

If I could give one piece of advice it would be to have fun while you are creating your story. Just take your time and enjoy the journey! Much like Dorothy, our journey is full of wonderful stories that happened along the way that we will treasure forever.

Once the Dottie Sprinkles character was created, the story began to fall into place Children would visit Dottie’s Fairy Special Ice Cream Shop and soon learn it was run by ice cream fairies. Dottie would teach gentle lessons to the children of Ferry Harbor. The love for our Mother just poured into the story.

And so Dottie Sprinkles Fairy Special Ice Cream Shop was born.


“In all this world there is nothing so beautiful as a happy child.”
– L.
Frank Baum 

It helps to know your goal. Ours was to bring happiness to children by creating a magical way for them to learn gentle lessons. And just by reminiscing—brainstorming—we were able to find our idea, and the stories just poured out of us.

Just like Dorothy kept her goal of getting home in front of her it helped us to never give up!

“Oh, look! There’s the Emerald City! Oh, we’re almost there at last!”
– Dorothy Gale

How exciting to reach the final step on the yellow brick road and reflect on what you hoped to accomplish when you started.

For us it is our hope that children will cherish Dottie Sprinkles long after The Fairy Grandmothers have clicked the heels of their ruby shoes and headed home.



Follow Your Yellow Brick Road From Beginning to End

Author Feature

Tammy Brown on her Children’s Book and Self-Marketing

The following are the words of Tammy (Seebecker) Brown, Archway Publishing author. Tammy’s book Herman the Mouse is dedicated to her first grandchild, Charlie. She is expecting a second grandson in March and a sequel is already in the works; “I’m Glad It’s Just Me!” – “Herman Gets a Baby Brother.” Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

Deciding to Write a Children’s Book

IMG_7013I have always loved the “magic” of books. The stories that create whole new worlds, stories so descriptive whole scenes unfold before your eyes, if only in my mind. My love for children’s books never left me. My favorite books are the ones with plenty of detail in the pictures. I fell in love with the thought of writing and illustrating my own book someday from a very young age. My dream was to see a book in the library, in the children’s section of course, with my name on the side and a card in the back to check it out. I was probably one of the only kids who played “library” when I was a little girl instead of “house!”

Self -Marketing

Recently I have been traveling to schools and libraries to promote my book. Once, I read it eighteen times in three days! I hand out bookmarks and have drawings for free books and e-books. One of my favorite things to observe at readings are the children’s faces. Some of the younger ones start out restless but then grow quiet as church mice (pun intended); by page two or three they start to watch intently, pointing out the hidden spider on each page. When I reach the climax of the story, when Herman hears a loud “SNAP,” I see their mouths drop open wide. Their faces worried, they wait anxiously for the page to turn so they can see what Herman will do.

The end of the book is always met with cheers, a round of applause, and “will there be another story about Herman?” “Will you come read that one to us too?” If only I could get all the ideas and images down on paper as fast as they are swirling around in my head! Once, there was even a young preteen boy at a reading. He obviously would rather have been anywhere else but at the library with his little brother. Yet after I was finished, he responded with surprise; “That was actually pretty good. You’re a really good artist too!”

A Book that TeachesTammy Brown

My book is one that can be read at home or in an academic setting. Teachers may develop lesson plans from my story that apply to multiple disciplines. As an art lesson they could draw a detailed picture of what they think a mouse house would look like. In English they could write their own story to speculate why Lloyd has only one ear. For science they could draw up their own plans for getting the cheese out of the giant mousetrap; several of Herman’s ideas look like Roux Goldberg machines. The story teaches not to judge by appearances, and suggests that help can come from some of the most unlikely places. Most importantly, it reveals that anyone can be a friend.

After reading to an Elementary school, the principal told me the next day a student brought in a book she made out of construction paper, stapled together. It was a story she wrote and illustrated. The girl said she wanted to be an Author/Illustrator just like me when she grew up. Her whole class gave her undivided attention while she sat in front of them and shared her story. I can’t think of a better compliment than that.


Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub or send us a message at the Archway Publishing Facebook page.

Author Feature

Who Are We Writing For? by Larissa Juliano

The following are the words of Larissa Juliano, author of Gracie Lou. Larissa is an elementary and library teacher in upstate New York. Besides teaching, her passion in life is writing books in hopes of inspiring children to use their imagination, especially through literature. She currently has two more books in production with her trusted Archway team. You can follow Larissa on Twitter @larissasjulianoDownload the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services.  Continue reading

Author Feature

Pam Saxelby on Writing “Max and Bear”

From time to time, Archway Publishing turns over its blog to its authors, giving them the opportunity to share stories and perspectives about their individual self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Pam Saxelby, author of “Max and Bear,” who shares her self-publishing journey from idea to publication. For more about Pam and her book, visit her website at  or on Facebook. Download the Archway Publishing free publishing guide for more information on our supported self-publishing services. 

On Becoming Max and Bear

When I was asked to write this guest blog, I thought, “What do I want to say?” I mulled over a few ideas… threw some out, and tried some on for size. Why did I write a book? What did I write about? Why did I write about that? I am writing this, as I sit on a plane bound for Phoenix, to see a family member who is quite ill. Maybe that seems like a weird addition to this blog post, but it is a huge definer in why I chose to write a book, and do it my way. Life’s just too short not to.IMG_0871

I spent my professional life reading lots and lots of great kids books. Books for all the ages I taught, middle school, elementary school, and most recently, preschool. When I went back to preschool, I fell in love with children’s picture books! They are smart, engaging, and fun. As each school year approached, I was giddy with excitement. What new books would I find? What author would I discover and fall in love with?

As I read my new finds, and delighted in the kids’ reactions to these stories, I began to think… Hey! I want to write my own story, my own book, and see if I can get kids to delight in the story I choose to tell. So, I did. I tried figuring out what to write about for five or so years. I would start a story, work on it, and realize I didn’t know where it was going.

I read some books on how to write, thinking that would help. I got some good ideas, but the bottom line is, you just have to keep at it. About two years ago, I got the cSKU-000913858hance to go on a trip with my daughter, and her son, Max. This was the catalyst… On our trip, I witnessed how Max interacted with his special Angel Dear Blankie… fondly referred to as “Da-Da Bear.” I don’t think Max could have survived the trip without Bear… and VOILA! A story idea was hatched.

Max and Bear; the age-old idea of kids and what they love. I had it! I took the idea, planted myself at my local Starbucks, kept buying coffee so they wouldn’t kick me out, and did it. I wrote the first draft in a day. I kept working on the story, and began to research self-publishers. Why? I wanted my book printed.

With the help of Archway, who assisted me every step of the way, from design through the finished product, I did it!  Max and Bear is a reality. Recently I read Max and Bear to a group of 30 young children. As I finished the story and closed the book, the kids looked up at me and said, “We like that story!” There you have it. Mission accomplished…

Archway Publishing is always looking for content for its blog. If you’re an Archway Publishing author and would like to share an idea for a guest blog post, please tweet the Archway Publishing Twitter account @ArchwayPub and Like the Archway Publishing Facebook page.