Sunday, June 14, 2015

CHILDHOOD REGAINED – Stories of Hope for Asian Child Workers


Call to writers anywhere -- here's your chance to make a difference in the world and be published in a high-quality anthology.

Update, Jan. 8, 2016: We now have enough high-quality stories for this anthology, so the call for submissions is now closed. Thanks for your interest!

Please consider joining us to help reduce child labor in Asia.

Could you write a compelling short story with a third-world child as protagonist if you were provided plenty of background information?

Would you be willing to donate your story to be included in an anthology for sale, the proceeds of which would go to help rescue kids enslaved as factory, mine, or industrial workers, working long hours in poor conditions, often without pay?

If so, join us in producing

CHILDHOOD REGAINED – Stories of Hope for Asian Child Workers.
Editor and award-winning author, Jodie Renner, and publisher Cobalt Books are organizing a high-quality anthology of well-written short stories very loosely based on actual stories of young children freed from forced labor in Asia. All the authors and the editor are donating their time, talents, and efforts to the production of this anthology, and 100% of the royalties will go to Save the Children, a highly respected charitable organization dedicated to helping needy children around the world.

For this first anthology in a series to help third-world children regain their childhood, an education, and a future, we'll concentrate on children under 14 employed in factories and mines in South Asia: Nepal, Pakistan, and India. Resource materials will be provided to the writers to read the stories of real South Asian children working in difficult situations, to use for background information.

Future projects will hopefully expand to situations in China, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

*Please scroll down to see the guidelines for stories for this anthology.*

How long should the stories be, and who is the target audience?

At this point, we're aiming for about 14 to 18 short stories total, average length 1,500 to 5,000 words each, so the anthology would be roughly 50,000 to 70,000 words long.

The target readership is young people to adults, aged 11 and up, North Americans, Brits, Australians, and other people in developed countries who can make a difference in the lives of Asian children who have been denied their childhood. School librarians will love it.

Deadline and expectations:

Deadline is January 31, 2016. Promising stories will receive editing assistance, if needed, to bring the story up to the high standards we have set for this anthology. Stories received so far have been excellent, so this will be an anthology to be proud of!

As we expect to receive many stories for possible inclusion in this anthology, some submissions may not be accepted, similar to the process for any other reputable short story anthology. Your story will need to be compelling and written in the point of view of a fictional Asian child.

You will need to go over your story several times to make sure it's of a high quality, with no typos, spelling errors, or grammatical errors (except of course in dialogue!). If the story is strong but just needs minor suggestions or a final polish to clean it up, our editorial committee will do that, and send it back to you, the author, with the changes visible in Track Changes, and comments and suggestions in the margin. You will have lots of input into the final version published. (See down for comments by authors about Jodie's editing of short stories.)

We'll also be including some line drawings, so if you know of any good artists, please ask them to contact Jodie at

See an author CHECKLIST below.

How will the anthology be sold, and how will it benefit the children working in arduous conditions in factories in Asia?
We will sell the anthology in both e-book and trade paperback form, initially through Amazon and expand from there. It is expected that all contributors will promote the anthology on social media and in their communities and also hand-sell some copies locally.

All the writers and editor Jodie Renner (and possibly other editors, if needed) will donate our time and skills for free, so after paying the cover designer, printer, and distributor, 100% of the book royalties will go to a respected charitable organization. Specific details to be shared when you contact me.

For accountability, Jodie will regularly forward to all contributors the book sales stats and the receipts from charities for our donations from book sales.

If you are interested in helping this worthy cause by putting your skills at writing fiction or creative nonfiction to good use, or have further questions or suggestions, please contact Jodie at Use "Anthology for Kids" in your subject line.

How will it work for the writers?

For those interested, please contact Jodie Renner with your idea before starting your story, as she needs to coordinate all stories. At that time, she will send you a package for resource materials. The idea is to read through the background information, then make up your own story, possibly using bits and pieces of info from the various stories.

If your story is accepted for publication in the anthology, you will of course have your name included as author of your story. You will retain all rights to your story.

You'll also have your photo and a short bio with links on our "About the Authors" page. This is a great way to get a story of yours in print to add to your bio.

You will also receive a free print copy of the anthology.

And of course we will all have the satisfaction of making a difference for children in dire, inhumane situations.

Thank you for considering helping with this very worthy cause.

If this project works, we can consider other similar projects to help underprivileged children or to help end human trafficking and slavery. Please contact me with any ideas you may have for other projects like this.

Please share this with writers you know. Also, please leave any comments, questions, or suggestions you may have in the comment boxes below. Thanks!

CHECKLIST for Authors Submitting a Short Story for CHILDREN BEHIND TURNED BACKS - Exposing the Plight of Asian Children

_ Is my story realistic, rather than cartoon-like or with obviously make-believe characters and elements?

_ Is my story written from the point of view of an Asian child living in difficult circumstances?
   Can be in first-person ("I") or third-person ("he" or "she"). Try to capture that child's "voice."

_ Is my protagonist’s life handled in a sensitive manner, respecting the child’s resilience, strength, and determination?

_ Does my story have the potential to expand a North American child’s knowledge, vision, and understanding of conditions for children in underprivileged countries?

_ Will my story engage the interest and emotions of young readers and adults and hopefully encourage them to try to do something to help others who are less fortunate?

_ Will my story interest and appeal to young people aged 11 and up, and hopefully to adults as well? 

_ Does it contain an opening “hook” to incite reader curiosity? 

_ Will it hold readers' attention to the end?

_ Does my story have enough tension and conflict to make readers worry about and care about the young people depicted?

_ Does my story end well for the young protagonist?

_ Do the narration and dialogue reflect the ages and situation of the children in the story?

_ Is my story between 1,500 and 5,000 words long?

_ Have others checked my story to make sure there are no:

  - Overly long sentences

  - Words young people may not be familiar with

  - Unnecessary or meaningless words

  - Spelling and grammatical errors

_ Submission requirements – Please send it in a Microsoft Word document, not a PDF.

   Formatting: Times New Roman font, 12-point, double-spaced, paragraphs indented, no extra space between paragraphs.

*Don't double-space by clicking "enter" or "return" at the ends of the lines! That causes all kinds of problems! Here's how to double-space your story: Ctrl+A, then Ctrl+2.
Or leave it single-spaced and we'll double-space it.

Who is Jodie Renner and how is she qualified to edit and publish this book?

A former middle-school teacher and school librarian with a master's degree, I'm now a respected editor, publisher, and award-winning author, with two websites, a blog, and a strong social media presence, including over 4,500 Facebook friends. As such, I'm in an excellent position to organize and provide editorial guidance for a professional-looking, high-quality anthology of short stories based on the lives of these unfortunate children. I will of course promote it to all my contacts on social media, locally, and in my email newsletter.

I have edited a lot of short stories and judged short stories for many contests and anthologies, including Writer's Digest several times, so I will lead the editorial committee, who will make the final choice on which stories will be accepted.

Since I have published five books to date through my publishing company, Cobalt Books, the plan is to hire a professional cover designer to create a high-quality cover, then edit, format, and publish this anthology through Cobalt Books.

Six of the many reviews/testimonials for Jodie's editing of short stories. For more, see

“Working with Jodie to improve my creative nonfiction piece for the Voices from the Valleys anthology has been a revelation. I have been writing for decades. At no time in the past has anyone seriously edited my work but me. Jodie’s comments, suggestions, and corrections are instructive, incisive, and valuable. She is straightforward and respectful. My exchanges with Jodie have provided me with tips and advice that will improve all my writings.”
~ Seth Raymond, Prince George, Canada

“My first experience with an editor was amazing. Jodie Renner not only edited my short story, Snowbird Melting, for her anthology, Voices from the Valleys, but she threw in lots of coaching that I can apply to future stories along the way. Her comments and recommendations erased the invariable hiccups of a new author and pushed the story to another level. I would be thrilled to work with her in the future.”
  ~ Eileen Hopkins, Osoyoos, Sept. 9, 2015

“I had the honor of working with Jodie Renner on two short stories for her anthology, Childhood Regained - Stories of Hope for Asian Child Workers. Wow! I was amazed at how thoroughly she edited. In repeated passes she helped me fix and polish until, each time, we had a story I was proud of. I'm already asking her to edit my future projects.”
   ~ Steve Hooley, author

“I knew that Jodie Renner was highly respected for her editing of novels, and I was pleased to discover, several years ago, that she also edits short stories. Jodie has assisted me, through  interactive online editing, in getting four of my short stories and numerous poems published. One of my short stories was published in an anthology out of Berkeley, California, while two others were awarded second prize and honourable mention in Canadian Anthologies. Thanks to Jodie’s editing skills, I am now proud to call myself a published author.”
    ~ D.F. Barrett

“Jodie edited my novel Daughter of No One and she also edited the two short stories I submitted for her anthology, Childhood Regained. Jodie is a pleasure to work with and she’s a true professional. Her suggestions, on both choice of word and content, were invariably spot-on and helped to make the stories so much better. I couldn’t ask for anything better and so I highly recommend her.”
    ~ Caroline Sciriha

“My first experience with a professional editor turned out to be a rewarding experience. Jodie Renner edited my short story ‘Firestorm’ for the anthology, Voices from the Valleys. From start to finish it was a positive, learning experience. I figured after editing, the story might not reflect my writing voice, but to my amazement the editing made ‘Firestorm’ a much more powerful story. Thanks, Jodie.”       
  ~ William S. Peckham

Jodie Renner is a freelance fiction editor and the award-winning author of three craft-of-writing guides in her series An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Captivate Your Readers, Fire up Your Fiction, and Writing a Killer Thriller. She has also published two clickable time-saving e-resources to date: Quick Clicks: Spelling List and Quick Clicks: Word Usage. Jodie is a well-known blogger and has been active on two group blogs: Crime Fiction Collective, and after several years, she just stepped down from the award-winning blog, The Kill Zone. You can find Jodie at,, her blog,, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Books by Jodie Renner:

~ Captivate Your Readers – An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction 51 reviews, overall average of 4.8 out of 5 stars

~ Fire up Your Fiction – An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Stories 109 reviews, overall average of 4.8 out of 5 stars

~ Writing a Killer Thriller – An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction 89 reviews, average 4.6/5 stars

~ Quick Clicks: Word Usage – Precise Word Choices at Your Fingertips , , 15 reviews, 4.7/5 stars

~ Quick Clicks: Spelling List – Commonly Misspelled Words at Your Fingertips , , 21 reviews, 4.9/5 stars 


  1. Hi Jodie. I am Terrance L. Austin. I am interested in helping this cause by contribution of story or donations. If by donation, please don't publicity give me any credit. But if by story for anthology, proceed with author bio and "about the author post.
    Bless you and the contribution on your part for these precious gifts(the children) from GOD.

  2. I love to help and donate my books
    Jack Sorenson

  3. I am so excited about this project. What a blessing.