Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lansing, Here I Come!

I’m busy making preparations for next Tuesday’s author visit at Lansing Middle School in Lansing, Kansas. I’ll give large assembly talks to the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and conduct a workshop for students who are especially interested in writing.

I’m especially looking forward to visiting LMS because this is where my daughter attended middle school, and I know many of the teachers and staff. If you’re a Lansing student or faculty member, I’ll see you soon!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Speaking of Conferences. . .

. . . information about this year’s Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave is up at their website. It’s scheduled for September 28–30, 2007, and it looks to be another great conference. The keynote speaker is Diane Mott Davidson, and since her books are culinary mysteries, the Conclave’s Saturday night banquet will be “Dining with Diane,” featuring recipes from her books.

This is a terrific conference—for writers, readers, and anybody who loves a good mystery. It’s a warm, friendly, fun weekend, and I can’t wait for it to roll around again.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Kansas SCBWI Conference

The Kansas chapter of the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) will host its annual conference on June 22 & 23, 2007 at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. This year’s theme is Get Your DUCKS in a Row (Dialogue & description; Unique voice, plot/ideas, illustrations; Characters & conflict; Keep at it attitude; Submission readiness). Speakers include editors Rachel Orr of HarperCollins and Tanya Dean of Darby Creek, agent Michelle Andelman of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, authors Elaine Marie Alphin, Sue Alexander, Dan Schwabauer, and Richard W. Jennings, and illustrator Laura Huliska-Beith.

Kansas SCBWI always puts together informative, fun, well-run conferences. If you write for children or want to write for children, this is the place for you!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Kansas Authors Dinner

I had a great time Thursday at the Kansas Authors Dinner in Topeka. I met some fabulous librarians, signed a bunch of books, caught up with Kansas writers I already know and love, and met new (to me) Kansas writers, including Alice Bertels (author of a picture book biography of John Steuart Curry). Alice, it turns out, grew up in the same (very) small town my dad grew up in, and she knows many of my aunts and uncles. What are the odds? I also got a chance to talk with Stephen Johnson, an incredibly talented and successful artist and picture book illustrator I went to college with. I hadn’t seen Stephen since we graduated (umbledy-ump years ago).

Truly, an evening with librarians and writers is an evening well spent.

Programming Note: Sadly, the Conference with Authors I was scheduled to speak at next Wednesday, April 18, has been canceled. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Finally. . .

. . . I’ve updated the calendar page of my website. And man, do I have some things going on. I had no idea how busy I was. First off, as I already mentioned, I’ll be attending the Kansas Authors Dinner at the library Tri-Conference tomorrow night, Thursday, April 12, in Topeka. Then next Wednesday, April 18, I’ll be speaking on a panel and in smaller groups with fellow children’s writers Randi Hacker, Debra McArthur, and Vicki Grove at the Conference with Authors in the Kansas Union at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.

I have several events scheduled for May and June, and have already begun planning some things for the fall. And it occurs to me that I am a very lucky person. I always dreamed that becoming a published writer would change my life, and it has, but in ways I never expected. Since Airball: My Life in Briefs was published, I’ve been invited to schools, bookstores, libraries, book fairs and festivals, radio programs, awards banquets, a ball (yes, really—with long glittery dresses, dancing, and everything), conferences, and the governor’s inaugural celebration, and I’ve met readers, librarians, teachers, booksellers, and the governor—all of whom I probably would never have encountered if not for my book. I am very lucky.