Oct 28, 2013

Come hear The Inside Story! Nov. 3


The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, in conjunction with First Book, is launching its first international "Inside Story" event at select independent bookstores this November.  18 children's book authors and illustrators will be at the Odyssey bookshop on Sunday, November 3rd to share the "Inside Story" about their latest publications. From picture books, middle grade and early readers to young adult this event has something for everyone! Free prizes, a drawing to win a phone call from a famous author and First Book will donate a book to a child in need for every book purchased! Perfect for children, educators and librarians.
18 authors will be present at the Odyssey Bookshop’s event on Sunday, November 3rd.
Picture Book 1pm
Diane deGroat, Corinne Demas, Deborah Freedman, Jannie Ho, Sandra Horning, Jane Kohuth, Jason Lefebvre, Richard Michelson, Hazel Mitchell, J.C. Phillipps

Middle Grade and Young Adult at 3pm
Stacy DeKeyser, Christine Brodien-Jones, Erin Dionne, Natasha Lowe, Jennifer Ann Mann, Rebecca Rupp, Chris Tebbetts, Kathryn Burak

Special prizes to help bring in patrons will include a drawing to win a phone call from a famous author and a grand prize drawing across all bookstores to have a character in a new Almost Identical book by Lin Oliver named after them. In addition, First Book will donate a book to a child in need for every book purchased at an SCBWI Inside Story event.

President Stephen Mooser and Executive Director Lin Oliver say, “We are delighted that the SCBWI is partnering with First Book to call attention to the great books our illustrator and author members have created.  We hope that by next year independent bookstores around the world will be a part of this very special day.”

About First Book

First Book provides access to new books for children in need. To date, First Book has distributed more than 100 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the UnitedStates and Canada. First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education by making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis.  Learn more at www.firstbook.org.

Founded in 1971, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is one of the largest existing writers’ and illustrators’ organizations, with over 22,000 members worldwide. It is the only organization specifically for those working in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. The organization was founded by Stephen Mooser (President) and Lin Oliver (Executive Director), both of whom are well-published children’s book authors and leaders in the world of children’s literature.  Learn more at www.scbwi.org.

9 College St.
South Hadley
United States

Oct 8, 2013

AASL 2013 Schedule

Looking forward to the AASL annual conference in November!

My schedule is shaping up as follows. Please come and say hi. I'll have bookmarks!

Thursday, November 14

5:30 - 6:30pm
Book signing
Exhibit Hall
Llewellyn/Flux booth #815

Saturday, November 16

Panel presentation:

Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground: The Role of Fantasy in the Real World
Eight authors will discuss how fantasy sets out to enchant, but also helps young readers rise to real-life challenges, discover passions for other disciplines, broaden their cultural horizons, and inform their own writing.

11:30 -12:15
Book signing
Author Alley

Author Meet & Greet

See you in November!

Jul 1, 2013

Every author event should have a mom

I drove up to New Hampshire this weekend for an author fair at the wonderful Bayswater Book Company in Center Harbor, on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.

Here I am with author Marcia Strykowski at our table:

My sister's mother-in-law spends her summers at the lake, and so "Auntie Lucy" invited me to stay with her.

Here is the view from Auntie Lucy's front porch:

I offered to pick up a pizza, but she said no. Instead, she made me her world-famous chicken cutlets:

And before I left for the author fair on Saturday morning, she packed me a lunch, complete with homemade biscotti:

Thanks, Auntie Lucy!

Jun 27, 2013

Hey, Barnes and Noble: I have the solution to all your problems!

So Barnes & Noble is in trouble, which is no secret. You can catch up a bit here.

As an author, I'm a bit nervous about the prospect of B&N going under. Which isn't imminent, or even sure. But still, when I see them standing on shaky ground, my own knees get a little jelly in them.

B&N has traditionally been so important in the book industry that they have the power to send publishers back to the drawing board (literally) to redo book jackets. Or so goes the scuttlebutt among authors. It's also understood by authors that if B&N chooses to stock your book, you can breathe a little easier, because chances are you'll at least sell your first printing. And if you're blessed with front-of-store or special table placement, you are gold. (And your publisher likes you, too, because they paid good money to put your book there.)

I don't know how true all of that really is, but it's an example of the power B&N has, and the respect it gets (however grudgingly) from the authors I know.

So to think B&N might some day no longer be around is a big deal. Especially when I consider that I miss Borders lots more than I thought I would.

But! Fear not, Barnes & Noble! Because I have the solution to all your problems, and it's so simple you'll smack yourself on the forehead.

Ready? Here it is:


Stock more. Lots more. Please, please, please get rid of all those toys and games and Legos, and while you're at it, forget the CDs and DVDs too. And put books there instead. Lots and lots of books of all kinds. Best-sellers are OK. But also, obscure titles from small publishers. Backlist titles and old favorites. Maybe (gasp!) even a few self-pubbed gems. Fill your cavernous stores with a jillion different titles, and tempt me. Make me swoon!

A bookstore should be a place of delicious discovery, where you can go and browse, and sit in a comfy chair (remember when B&N had those??), and find new books by authors you hadn't heard of before, and take them home and dive in.

B&N used to be like that. And it can be again. But now the books they sell are the usual, skim-the-surface offerings: best-sellers; familiar names. Boring, boring, boring. There are more than a few dozen authors in the world, B&N, and trust me: more really good books than can ever fit on a dozen bestseller lists. Why not, like, actually stock some of those?

Go ahead, B&N. Find your roots. Do what you're best at. Give us BOOKS.

Jun 26, 2013

Bookish trivia for today

Did you know that the little pointy finger symbol that appears whenever you hover your cursor over a hyperlink is the direct descendant of medieval illuminated books?

It was called a manicule, an index, a digit, and my favorite, a bishop's fist.

So there you go.

Apr 30, 2013

Missing Borders

For a long time I had a love/hate relationship with my neighborhood Borders bookstore.

Love: Books!

Hate: No indie store to balance the corporate-driven selection.

Love: Less than a mile from home!

Hate: They rarely carried the titles I specifically went looking for.

Love: Coupons!

Hate: What a mess that store was. Until a B&N moved in down the street, Borders was the only game in town, and they knew it. They didn't have to try, and so they didn't. Even after B&N opened, things didn't change much at Borders. Except they went out of business. Hm.

The store has been gone for over a year, but it didn't hurt much. There's always the B&N, which is better than nothing, though the lack of competition changed the B&N too. It became messy. The staff is indifferent. They won't (or can't) stock even a few copies of a local author's books, even when asked; even when the author explains she will be doing local school visits and kids WILL come asking for those books, and instead of ordering them from YOU and having to make a second trip back, they'll just go home and order from Amazon. Hm.

But still, I thought I could handle it.

Until last week, when the old Borders space reopened, as a HomeGoods store.

I have nothing against HomeGoods. Not sure any community needs another discount knick-knack store, but who am I to say?

Out of curiosity, I wandered in. And was surprised by a sudden feeling of loss. This huge space that once was filled with books, isn't.

It made me sad. Even though I had a love/hate relationship with Borders, at least that little piece of Earth was occupied by books. And now it's not. And I feel like my community is poorer as a result.

Jan 27, 2013

My first Skype visit!

It was a great discussion with fifth graders from Waunakee Intermediate School in Wisconsin.

A complete summary of the experience is here.

I can't wait to do it again!