Thursday, August 27, 2009


Today I did an hour-long teleclass on how to study the publishing markets—both magazines and book publishers—for my friend Suzanne Lieurance for her Children’s Writers’ Coaching Club. (You can find a description of the class here.)

It was fun! I didn’t think I could talk for a whole hour, but I forget how long-winded I become once I get going. The hour was up before I knew it, and at the end I had to scramble to squeeze the last bits of information in.

Suzanne recorded the class and will soon be offering it on CD through the National Writing for Children Center.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Franklin County Literature Festival

I’m packing my car at this very moment to drive down to Ottawa, Kansas, for the Franklin County Literature Festival. Tonight I’ve been invited to a dinner for the authors, and tomorrow I’ll be speaking to kids in four different sessions throughout the day.

Fifteen hundred kids + twelve authors (including Jane Kurtz, Brad Sneed, Stephen Johnson, Cheryl Harness) + book-loving librarians and teachers = a great day of books and fun.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Speaking of Nancy. . .

. . . my friend Nancy Pistorius and I met for a writing date yesterday at Bistro Bella in Lawrence (Kansas). We took our laptops and spent three hours just writing, side by side. Nancy and I both have the problem of too many distractions at home, and a this was the perfect solution, especially with Nancy glancing up whenever she heard my keyboard clicks slow down and saying, “You are writing, aren’t you? I know you aren’t surfing the web.” She’s a taskmaster, but that’s what I need. (And in my defense, okay, yes, I did surf the web a couple of times. But it was for research, I tell you—research. I mean, if my characters start talking about the power of invisibility, I really need to have a grasp of which superheroes possess this power. Surprisingly, not that many.)

And speaking of Bistro Bella, WOW. Nancy knows all the good coffee shops. I’d never been to this one before—a sort of cafĂ©, coffee house, bakery combo—but it’s now one of my new favorites. It’s charming and comfy and hip (but not so hip that it makes you panic and slide back out the door when you realize your own hip factor doesn’t measure up), with tables and couches and plenty of plug-ins for laptop power cords. If you live anywhere near Lawrence, check it out. It’s at Kasold and Clinton Parkway, in the little strip mall just down from Hy-Vee.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Congrats, Nancy!

My friend and fellow children’s writer Nancy Pistorius is a fiction winner in the 2009 Langston Hughes Creative Writing Contest. She submitted the first pages of her novel, Peking Duck.

Nancy was honored on February 1 at the awards ceremony and Langston Hughes birthday celebration in Lawrence, Kansas. Hughes lived in Lawrence with his grandmother for most of his childhood.

Go, Nancy! I’m so proud of you.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Book Basket

The chili supper and auction (see below) was a huge success. We raised over three times as much money as we were hoping.

And the basket of children’s books turned out great. Here are the books that were included, donated by the authors:

Logan West: Printer’s Devil
by Christie Merriman Breault

The Middle of Somewhere
by J.B. Cheaney
• Kansas Notable Book

Airball: My Life in Briefs
by L.D. Harkrader
• Kansas Notable Book
• William Allen White Award

Ferret Island
by Richard W. Jennings

by Suzanne Lieurance

plus a book for adults:
101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life
with an essay on writing by Suzanne Lieurance

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Christy, J.B. (Janie), Richard, and Suzanne, for helping us out.