Twas Just Before Bedtime by Jessie L. Best

As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of ’Twas Just Before Bedtime by Jessie L. Best. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review. This is my honest review.

’Twas Just Before Bedtime is a collection of short stories and poems for children. There are fifteen stories and fourteen poems. Each poem tells a story and has a rhyme scheme. Every story and poem in this collection is short enough to be read to young children and to be read “just before bedtime”.

Every story includes some kind of magical happening or magical creature. There are a few witches, though not scary, and lots of fairies. The poems include characters that are animals. For parents who like reading fun, magical stories that are very rich in make believe, these stories are for you.

I found all of the poems well written and delightful and most of the stories are fun.

A few of the stories may be scary for younger or more sensitive children.

For my readers who prefer stories that include character building or biblical lessons, this is not the kind of book you’re looking for.

I give ’Twas Just Before Bedtime by Jessie L. Best 4 stars.

One-Day Super Saturday Writers’ Conference

A writers’ conference is a great place to learn more about writing techniques and marketing and publishing opportunities and possibilities.  It is also a great place to meet other writers and make connections and form bonds, which is a wonderful thing since writing is a lonely business.  You can make lifelong friends who can help and encourage you and you can do the same for them as you walk your writing journey.  I attended this event last year, and cannot wait to attend this Saturday.  If you are anywhere near Lancaster County, I invite you to come and see what this one-day conference has to offer, and if you like, I can meet you face-to-face if you let me know you are coming so we can connect.


For a bargain of excellence and price, no writer, whether beginning or advanced, within driving radius will want to miss Lancaster Christian Writers’ Super Saturday 2015!! to be held April 11th, 2015, from 8:30am.-4:30pm at Lancaster Bible College, 901 Eden Road, Lancaster, PA 17601.

This one-day writers conference offers a full slate of workshops taught by top industry professionals in both fiction and non-fiction fields. An early registration price of $50 is due by Wednesday, April 8, and includes soup/sandwich buffet lunch (think Panini!) and LCW membership. Registrations after April 9 and walk-ins day of the conference are $60.

A fiction track will be taught by award-winning novelists Dina Sleiman and Kelly Long along with children’s author Brenda Hendricks. Non-fiction faculty include TV/radio speaker, marketing expert, award-winning author of 19 books Karen Whiting, professional memoir and ghostwriter Shawn Smucker, journalist/social media experts Lisa Bartelt and Alison McLennan.

Keynoting the opening session will be linguist, missionary, and author Grace Fabian. Workshops cover such topics as: 

Market Yourself Now! Learn Tools to Develop Press Kit, Bio, Website, and Other PR Products.

Writing Blockbuster Scenes: How To Keep Readers Flipping Pages and Asking For More.

 Transformed Manuscripts: Repackaging Your Ideas (Sold or Rejected) to Expand Marketability.

 The Unfortunate Truth in Fiction: Addressing Hard Issues Without Pulling Down Your Story.

 A Story To Tell: Surefire Do’s and Don’ts to Write a Gripping True Life Story or Memoir.

 Myers-Briggs for Your Protagonist: Applying Personality Types to Create Characters with Distinctive Qualities, Motivations, and Voices.

 Let’s Ride the Seesaw: Recruiting Your Inner Child to Communicate with Young Readers.

 100% Guaranteed (Oh, Yeah?) Secret to Blogging Success Beyond Your Wildest Dreams!

A conference bookstore will offer a wide variety of writer resources and faculty titles. Conference attendees can get personal consultations with faculty on a first-come, first-serve basis. Lancaster Christian Writers welcomes writers of all churches and denominations, all levels and genres. Monthly meetings offer opportunities for manuscript critique, networking with other writers, workshops and guest authors.

Writing Workshop

The first writing workshop that I attended at the writers’ conference was “Bring Out the Child in You:  Writing on the Child’s Level Without Talking Down” by Marsha Hubler.

Marsha stressed that it can be harder to write for children than for adults.  She stressed that we read what we’re going to write, whether it be picture books or chapter books.  She also suggested that we study kids the age we want to write for, as well as studying good authors in what we want to write.

Marsha said that dialogue is very important and that we need to know how kids the age we want to write for are talking.  She also explained the difference between “tags and beats” and explained why beats are better.  “Tags” are things like:  he said, she said, Bruce said, Mom said, etc.  Beats inform the reader who is speaking without using tags and may also inform the reader of something important by using feelings, senses, etc.

She shared a couple of hand-outs with exercises we participated in.  One suggested that one way to avoid talking down to readers is to engage them in exciting narration.  Just because your audience is young doesn’t mean they won’t understand more advanced words if used properly in context.  She suggested that we avoid passive verbs (was, is, seemed, looked, etc.) and be sure to use active verbs.

Marsha also shared a hand-out exercise on point of view.  There were three examples we needed to read and determine whose point of view it was written from, and whose point of view it should be written from.  This exercise made point of view easier to understand.

If you are interested in writing children’s chapter books, Marsha suggested reading books by Joyce Magnin and Nancy Rue for humor.  She also suggested the following specific books:

Here’s Lily by Nancy Rue

Double Trouble by Jenny Dale

The Secret of Wolf Canyon by Marsha Hubler

Dragons in Our Midst (series) by Bryan Davis

You can find out more about Marsha at:

Though my desire is to write adult fiction, I am not confident that I could write good thriller/suspense stories (my favorites) and so I thought I would write mystery/romance stories, but during Marsha Hubler’s workshop, I felt God telling me via the Holy Spirit that He wants me to write children’s books, so I am focusing on that right now, but hope that God allows me to also write for adults later.

My oldest son said he could definitely see me writing children’s books.