Thursday, September 28, 2006

Updates & Tidbits

• The time has changed for my book signing at the Lawrence, Kansas, Borders store. It will still take place on Saturday, October 14, but I’ve been invited to participate in the store’s Storytime and read from Airball, so the time has been changed to 11:30 am. This sounds like fun, and I’m really looking forward to it.

• A big THANK YOU to my friend, writer Suzanne Lieurance, who invited me to be a guest for her University of Masters teleclass, Freelance Writing: How to Jumpstart Your Career, last Tuesday. I had a great time chatting about writing for children. The hour flew by. We ran out of time before I knew it (which says a lot about how hard it is to shut me up once I start talking about writing).

• Today I’m getting ready for my trip to the Kansas Book Festival. I’ll be signing books tomorrow, Friday, September 29, in Vendor Tent 2 from 2 to 3 p.m.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Calendar of Events

I’ve added a calendar page to my website so that I can list events I’ll be participating in, such as book signings, book fairs and festivals, school visits, and conferences. My sister says, “Great idea. Makes it a lot more convenient for stalkers to keep track of you.” I prefer to think it’ll make it easier for interested readers to keep track of me and get a book signed if they choose.

What’s probably closer to the truth is that it will make it easier for me to keep track of myself. I’ll have all my upcoming events listed in one place, so I’ll know at a glance where I have to be when.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Thorpe Menn Awards Luncheon

Thorpe Menn nominees Felicia Hardison Londré, Joel Goldman (winner), and me.

Last Saturday, September 16, my husband and I attended the Thorpe Menn Awards Luncheon at the main branch of the Kansas City, Missouri, Public Library (more about this library in an upcoming blog post) and had a wonderful time. I’m always a frazzled nerve before events like this, convinced I won’t be able to think of a single intelligent thing to say to anyone and that I’ll stumble through these nonconversations with broccoli stuck between my front teeth.

I shouldn’t have worried. The Kansas City, Missouri Branch of the American Association of University Women is a fabulous group of women who know how to throw an awards luncheon. From Stefanie Hatfield, who coordinated the reading committee and chaired the luncheon hostesses (and first called me with news that Airball had been nominated), to Gloria Bandstra, who introduced the nominees during the presentations (and could easily take her stand-up comedy routine on the road, she’s that hilarious), to KC AAUW President Linda Berube and all the other members, each person there made us feel welcomed and appreciated. It’s hard not to have a good time with such a warm and gracious bunch.

Rainy Day Books was there with copies of the three nominated books, and I signed many copies of Airball for AAUW members.

Here I am signing
Airball for AAUW member Myla Gentry.

I want to thank the AAUW again for nominating my book and for making me feel so welcome at the awards luncheon. Thanks also to my husband, Larry, for his moral support and for being on duty to ensure that my teeth remained clean and broccoli-free.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Writing Teleclass

Friend and fellow writer Suzanne Lieurance teaches a telephone writing class, Freelance Writing: How to Jumpstart Your Career, at the University of Masters. This Tuesday, September 26, at 7 p.m. Central Time, I’ll be her guest, talking to students about writing for children.

The teleclasses are recorded so that students can listen at their own convenience. Suzanne has more information at her Working Writer’s Coach blog.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

School Visit

I’ve been invited to do an author visit at Piper (Kansas) Middle School on Thursday, November 2. I’m looking forward to talking with the Piper 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. If you’re a student there, I’ll see you soon!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Book Signing

The Borders in Lawrence, Kansas, has invited me to sign books from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 14, as part of Educator Appreciation Week. If you live in the area, stop by and say hi. I’d love to see you.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


I finally read D.L. Garfinkle’s Storky: How I Lost My Nickname and Won the Girl, and I love, love, love this book. It’s the kind of book you can’t put down, even though you don’t want to get to the end and have to leave the main character and his world. It’s the kind of book that, once you do get to the end, you first close the book and hold it tight to your chest for a moment because you can’t let it go, then you run and out tell everyone you know that they must read it.

Storky is the hilarious and heartfelt story of Michael Pomerantz, nicknamed Storky, a smart, funny, but dorky kid who is trying to survive his first year of high school and convince his long-time buddy (and secret crush) Gina to see him as more than a friend. And if that’s not enough, he must also deal with his hugely popular older sister, his divorced parents—law-student Mom and ladies’-man Dad—and their respective dating partners. Garfinkle totally nails the pain and heartache of high school, but shows it with humor and and lot of spunk. Michael is the kind of kid I would’ve wanted to hang out with in high school. Heck, he’s the kind of kid I did hang out with in high school. I love this character.

And did I mention I love this book?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Library Workshop

This Saturday, September 9, I’ll be speaking at the Kansas Association of School Librarians District I Workshop in Tonganoxie. It should be a great day because it involves three of my favorite pasttimes: hanging out with librarians, talking about books, and eating Chinese buffet for lunch.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Labor Day Escape

Just as on Memorial Day, I celebrated Labor Day by running away from home. Actually, I spent Labor Day doing some actual labor—sitting-in-a-chair kind of labor. Once again I took my laptop and settled into one of the cushy chairs in the middle of the mall to work on my novel. And once again I was able to focus for hours and get an amazing amount of writing done as the retail world swirled around me.

If the mall weren’t a 45-minute drive away and I didn’t have to figure out what to do about the kids, I’d go there every day to write.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Library Thoughts

When I was a kid, I’d ride my bike downtown to our public library, an ancient building with an equally ancient collection of books, stuffed in shelves from floor to ceiling. Usually it was just me and Mrs. Turner, the book-loving, kid-loving librarian (who must’ve been at least a hundred years old at the time, and still seemed the same age when she retired a few years ago) roaming the creaky-floored aisles, digging for books I hadn’t yet read. I’d make my choices (difficult, since I was limited to three checkouts at a time, although sometimes Mrs. Turner would make an exception), she’d stamp the due dates, and I’d head off on my bike, so eager to plunge into new vicarious adventures that I often couldn’t wait till I got home, instead careening recklessly down the sidewalk as I balanced an open book between my handlebars. (NOTE: Reading while riding a bicycle is possible, but rarely successful.)

Fast forward thirty years, and I’m still roaming the aisles of the public library. Same town, many of the same books, shiny new building—which is dedicated to Mrs. Turner, and rightly so. But now I’m hardly the only patron. The place is fairly rocking every time I go in. And these days, besides the head librarian, there are at least three or four other library employees checking out or reshelving books at any given time. The floors are even and the shelves easier to reach (which is progress and probably a good thing, although I miss the creaks, squeaks, and rickety library ladder; I also kinda miss the musty smell, although if I crack open one of the older books, I can still get a good whiff of it). My heart swells when I see so many people making use of one of my very favorite places.

Still, I can’t help noticing the crowd is mostly concentrated around the computers rather than the books.