Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tortoise and Hare

I get exhausted by the frenzy of writing advice swirling about the internet on how to write more, faster, and get it out there by building a platform (whatever the heck that is), creating a brand (ditto), and sell-sell-selling. The little voice in my head keeps jumping up and down and squeaking, “But what about the writing? Doesn’t anybody care about what they’re trying to sell?”

How refreshing, then, to read “In Praise of the Tortoise, With All Due Respect to the Hare,” on Gar Anthony Haywood’s blog, Wisdom Mistaken for Lunacy, this morning. Gar, a Shamus and Anthony Award-winning crime novelist, explains the seven things he believes good writers do to get even better.

Now my little voice is jumping up and down, squeaking, “Yes! Yes! That’s what I needed to hear.”

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dr. Naismith’s Original Rules

Hooray! Dr. James Naismith’s original 13 rules of basketball (or basket ball, as he named it), typed by his secretary and tacked up in the gym at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he invented the game, are coming back to the University of Kansas where they belong:

The Naismith International Basketball Foundation, led by Dr. Naismith’s grandson, Ian Naismith, will use proceeds from the sale to help underprivileged kids around the world.

This Kansas history website lists the original 13 rules.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Guest Blogger

Today I have a guest blog post on creating plots that spring from character on Lynne Marie Pisano’s fabuloso writing blog, My Word Playground. Thanks for inviting me, Lynne!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Interview With. . . Moi

My friend Warren Bull has interviewed me about writing middle grade and young adult fiction. The interview is now up at the Writers Who Kill blog.

Thanks, Warren!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Those Briarwood Kids!

I visited Briarwood Elementary in Prairie Village, Kansas, earlier this week and talked to the fourth and fifth graders. They were such great kids—polite, attentive, and smart. They asked great questions and had the answers to any question I managed to throw at them. It was a fun visit.

Thank you, Mrs. Berenson, for inviting me.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Dinner With Authors

I owe a big thank you to Barb Bahm, my local School Librarian Goddess, for inviting me to the Dinner With Authors at the Kansas library, educator, and reading conference in Junction City last night. I had such a great time catching up with Stormy Lee Kennedy, owner of Claflin Books in Manhattan, Kansas, one of my favorite booksellers and all-around people, as well as fellow Kansas writers Bev Buller (I don’t see enough of Bev), Jane Kurtz, and Roderick Townley. I finally got to meet Lois Ruby. Plus I got a free meal—some kind of chicken thing, veggies, and cake.

Not a bad way to spend a Thursday night.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Book Events

Tonight, October 7, 2010, I’ll attend the Dinner With Authors with other Kansas writers and illustrators, including Jane Kurtz, Lois Ruby, Stephen Gilpin, Roderick Townley, Bev Buller, and Cheryl Harness at Partners in Excellence (the annual conference of the Kansas Association of School Librarians, the Kansas State Department of Education, and the Kansas Reading Association) in Junction City and will have a chance to chat with librarians, teachers, and other book people from all over the state. This is always a fun event.

Next Wednesday, October 13, 2010, I’ll visit Briarwood Elementary in Prairie Village, Kansas. A big thank you to Sheila Berenson, language arts teacher at Briarwood, for inviting me and arranging all the details of the visit.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Blog Tour

On Saturday, October 9, 2011, I’ll kick off a six-day blog tour. (Sort of like a three-hour tour, but I won't end up on a deserted island with Gilligan. I don’t think.) I’ll post six different blog entries on six different blogs on six different days. Here are the blogs and bloggers who have generously invited me to be their guest:

Saturday, October 9—Terri Forehand’s blog, Writing to the Heart of the Matter

Sunday, October 10—Kristi Bernard’s blog, The Neophyte Writer

Monday, October 11Irene Roth's Writing Blog

Tuesday, October 12—Donna McDine’s blog, The Golden Pathway

Wednesday, October 13—blog of Suzanne Lieurance, Children’s Author

Thursday, October 14—Kathy Stemke’s blog, Educationtipster

For more information about blog tours by writers in this month’s Author Spotlight, as well as a chance to win a prize, go to The Writing For Children Center.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hemingway Cat

When you live out in the sticks like I do, stray cats come and go. We feed them and they usually stick around awhile.

Recently, a sweet little black and white male has been hanging around. I think he divides his time between our house and our neighbor’s horse barn, and he seems to like our other cat—and us. If we’re not outside, he sits on the back porch and whines at the door.

The other night my husband hollered at me to come out and look at something.

“Look at this cat!” he said, holding the little black and white. “His paws looked huge, so I picked him up. He’s got six toes on each of his front paws.”

I squealed with delight. “He’s a Hemingway cat!” I said. And then I explained to him about the cat a sea captain gave to Ernest Hemingway. It was a polydactyl cat, and many of the sixty or so cats who still live at the Hemingway Museum in Key West are his descendants. About half of them have extra toes. And I see now why they’re sometimes called “mitten cats.” The extra toe does make our little black and white guy look like he’s wearing mittens.

I’ve been calling the cat Ernie, after Ernest Hemingway (my sister thinks Hemingway would be a more dignified name). If I can get a picture of him, I’ll post it. I keep hoping that having Ernest Hemingway running around my yard will bestow some writerly superpowers on me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I’ll be signing books with dozens of other authors at:

4th Annual Author Extravaganza
June 26, 2010
Town Crier Bookstore
Emporia, KS

This is a fun event, with authors packed into the store and spilling out onto the street, at a bookstore that supports authors, schools, and literacy programs like a wild machine. Emporia’s a great town, a bastion of literacy on the prairie, with one of those wonderful small city downtowns you usually find only in movies from the fifties, with wide streets, tall old buildings, and local businesses (including a chocolate shop).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Upcoming Events

On Tuesday, April 27, I’ll be speaking to the Lawrence Area Reading Council at Signs of Life Bookstore in Lawrence.

On Saturday, May 1, I’ll be leading a Kansas SCBWI writing workshop, Four-Alarm Novels, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Mardel Bookstore, 119th and Metcalf, Overland Park.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jenn Bailey!

Yesterday, in my zeal to update my blog, I forgot to mention that the Kansas SCBWI workshop—Catching Fire 2010: Branding Yourself—was taught by the amazing Jenn Bailey, writer, photographer, and social media coach. (She blogs! She tweets! She—in the words of fellow Kansas SCBWIer Lisha Cauthen—wrestles Facebook to the ground and shows it who’s boss!)

It was a terrific workshop, packed with more information than my brain could sort through. One really great tidbit I picked up and want to learn more about is MobileMe, a service of Apple that “keeps everything in sync!” I’m not entirely sure what that means (probably because I’m never entirely in sync), but the cool thing is, if you join ($99 a year), you can create a website using iWeb (which came with my Macs—who knew?), an easy-sneezy (everything Apple is easy-sneezy) site creation software, and your site can be hosted at MobileMe. You can also back up your hard drive online at iDisk, and have the contents of your Mac available to you no matter where you are. Oh, and apparently if you lose your iPhone, it will find it for you. (Wow. If it would just take my dogs potty and get the kids ready for school, life would be perfect.)

(I’m possibly the last Mac user on the planet to hear about MobileMe, but there’s a lot of stuff that came on my Macs that I don’t know about. But oh, hey, look! I just clicked MobileMe in my system preferences and signed up for a free 60-day account. Macs really are easy-sneezy.)

The workshop was great. Thank you, Jenn.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kansas SCBWI Workshop

At this very moment, I’m sitting in a social media workshop given by Kansas SCBWI (the Kansas chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), and feeling very guilty that I haven’t updated my one sorry attempt at social media—my blog—since August. I’m a little surprised I still remembered my password. (I think it’s pretty clear why I need a workshop.)

Anyway, I have all this stuff I want to write on my blog. I just haven’t written it yet. (And one of them is about my cool new attitude toward New Year’s Resolutions. Yes, I do realize the first month of the new year is over half over. Don’t rub it in. I already feel guilty.) So the one thing I’ve taken away from the workshop is that I need to start by updating my blog.

Which I promise to do.