Mayra's Secret Bookcase
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Workshops and Services
Walking on a Rainbow, a Fiction Picture Book Workshop
Duration: 10 weeks
Price: $99
1 lesson every week for 10 weeks
Includes one-to-one feedback for each assignment
Questions? Contact Mayra Calvani at
Have you ever dreamed of becoming a children’s picture book author? Perhaps you have lots of ideas sure to delight young readers, yet aren’t quite sure how to get started? Or maybe you’ve already tried your hand at it, but don’t feel confident enough to submit yet? If you’ve answered ‘Yes’ to these questions, then this is the workshop for you!
During this course, you’ll have the chance to write the complete first draft of a fiction picture book manuscript under 700 words. Why under 700 words? Because you want your story to be as marketable as possible, and that is the word count agents and publishers are after the most. You’ll be able to draft your story while learning the key elements that make a fiction picture book a success. Feedback will be provided by the instructor during each step of the workshop.

Topics covered include:

   * What you need to know before you start writing
   * Amateurish mistakes beginners must avoid like the plague
   * How to grab the reader on the first page (setting, character and conflict)
   * Point of view
   * How to plot and develop an effective story arc (conflict, rising action and resolution)
   * Understanding the “Rule of Three”
   * How to add sensory detail
   * How to develop a character arc
   * How to think in pictures
   * How to replace adverbs and adjectives with strong, precise verbs
   * The surprising ending or twist
   * Associations, clubs and newsletters beginners should know about
   * Where to submit your picture book manuscript
   * And much more

Note: This workshop will focus on stories written in prose, NOT in rhyme.

Requirements: Participants must either purchase or borrow from the library a copy of A Visitor for Bear, by Bonny Becker. The book will be used for the duration of the course.


“The workshop ‘Walking on a Rainbow’ was a blast!! I had so much fun, and I learned a wealth of information about writing picture books! The absolute best part was the invaluable feedback Mayra provided after every writing assignment. I highly recommend this workshop to anyone remotely considering writing picture books. In fact, I'd love to take this workshop again.” -Arsoleen Woolcock

“Walking On a Rainbow, the picture book workshop led by Mayra Calvani, was the perfect catalyst I needed to get published.  Mayra broke down the dynamics of a picture book using clear, succinct language.  Her examples and analysis of published books helped further explain each lesson, and her knowledge of the picture book market was evident throughout the course.   I have taken other classes in the past and read other craft books on writing for children but Mayra’s method pulled it all together for me.  Her personal critiques of each participant’s work throughout the lessons were extremely beneficial.   I personally, printed out Mayra’s lessons, and keep my “Walking on a Rainbow textbook” handy.  I would highly recommend Walking on a Rainbow for anyone wanting to write in the picture book genre.” --Suzanne Purvis


The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing Workshop
Duration: 9 weeks
Price: $99
1 lesson every week for 9 weeks
Includes one-to-one feedback for each assignment
Questions? Contact Mayra Calvani at
Is your nose always stuck in a book? Do you enjoy sharing your ideas about books with readers? Become a book reviewer!
Learn the secrets of book reviewing from Mayra Calvani, co-author of the ForeWord Best Book of the Year award-winning title, The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing. From the key elements of a good reviewer, to what makes a good review, to how to write a thoughtful, intelligent review, to the different types of reviews and reviewers, to how to deal with the most common reviewing problems, to how to build an online platform, this workshop will teach you, in a nutshell, all you need to know to get started as a professional book reviewer.
"When you take Mayra Calvani's 'The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing' you'll gain confidence in how you cull the book's purpose, themes, and story for your readers. She breaks down a writing form--the review--that is intimidating for many writers, but can become an art form and a vehicle for greater access into the larger literary world. I also enjoyed learning many practical tips such as posting your book review guidelines on your website and how to tactfully tell someone you won't be able to review their book. As a book reviewer for over five years, I very much appreciate Mayra's guidance since I have found few resources on how to effectively write book reviews."
-- Alice Osborn, M.A., reviewer for Pedestal Magazine
“The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing is a great course for any novice or seasoned veteran. Calvani offers valid tips on writing reviews and addressing issues in this business. A breath of fresh air Calvani delivers this course with diversity and experience.” -Mirta Espinola, PR/Editor,
Picture Book Critique
Price: $45 (for manuscripts up to 1,000 words)
Turn around time: 3 weeks
Picture Book Translations
From English to Spanish and Spanish to English (for texts under 1,000 words)
Price: $150
Turn around time: 4 weeks
Book Publicity Packages
Customized interview of you and your book, as well as profile, spotlights and guest posts, placed on Blogcritics Magazine, Seattle Post Intelligencer, American Chronicle, Open Salon, The Dark Phantom Review, As the Pages Turn, Beyond the Books, Red Room, Gather, Mom Bloggers Club, GoodReads, BookBlogs, The Brand Buzz Network, Book Marketing Network, Twitter and Facebook.
$199. Other promotional packages available. Please contact me for details at
Just a short note to thank you for the excellent promo of my book, Dreams and Nightmares: The Martha Whittaker Story. The interview was concise and fun to do and the exposure has been fabulous. Can’t thank you enough, will definitely recommend your promo and be in touch in the future to promote my other books."
-Shirley A. Roe, author.
"Mayra Calvani went above and beyond with her Promotion Package. From the professional care she took in crafting it to her extensive network of contacts, it was one of the best investments I could have made as a debut author. I am going to use Mayra Calvani's services for all my books."
-Darby Karchut, author of Griffin Rising
"Mayra was easy to work with, responsive, and she got results! Within days, I had over a dozen reviewers interested in my work, interviews, and other fanfare. She got a buzz going!"                                                     -Christine Amsden, author of The Immortality Virus
“The package deal offered by Mayra Calvani is affordable and professional. It was a no- pressure way of promoting my book and spreading the word about it at my own time. I felt more connected to the readers and the many bloggers who kindly hosted my novel than with any other kind of promotional work I had done before.”  --Teresa Dovalpage, Ph. D.,
"Mayra Calvani delivers as promised on her service. She contacted xx (can't remember total) book reviewers/book bloggers and received positive feedback regarding obtaining reviews for my newest book, FireSong. Some were particularly high volume sites who were happy to run contests for me in conjunction with the reviews. Quite a few of these folks have become good friends, as well. Thank you, Mayra, for a great bargain!" --Aaron Lazar, Amazon Kindle bestselling mystery author