News

Been Invited!

June
20, 14

I’ve been invited to present at University Academy in Kansas City this coming November! I had such a great time there with about 150 adorable kindergartners. Right up my alley as a former kindergarten teacher. Gonna wear some glittery jewelry. Last fall,  a child there told me that I sparkled. I aim to do that again.

written on Friday at 8am, filed in News

Darling Children All Around…

March
21, 14

…at University Academy, that is.

And they had all kind of darling comments, too, like:
“You’ve got glittery eyes.”
“You’ve got glittery earrings, too!”

I cannot wait to go to that school again!

If you’ve got some darling children at your school, let me know. I’d love to stop by, talk about books, reading and writing.

Gotta Share This! Rebecca Emberley!

March
20, 14

The cover art for DO-SI-DO-BOTS!Thanks to Rebecca Emberley, the robots come alive!!

They dance and crash and mishmash and begin again in the most entertaining way.

Do-si-do-bots jacket icon

written on Thursday at 9am, filed in News

Author Blog Hop

December
12, 13

Hop! Hop! Hop!

I’ve been invited by my good friend and fellow author, Debra McArthur, to answer a couple of questions about my writing. These are the questions she asked:

What are you working on now?

I am really happy to say that I’m setting up school visits to promote ICE CREAM SOUP, an emergent reader released by Penguin Books for Young Readers this past May. So far the response has been really good. I’ve been to some great schools and met some darling children who are enthusiastic about the topic and the book.

I hope to do some school visits on a book I wrote for Child’s World–BIRTHDAY TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD. I plan to celebrate all teachers and students birthdays at assemblies. I promise there will be no “pinches to grow inches”.

I’m also looking taking care of unfinished business. I’ve got several picture book manuscripts in various stages of completion. With some dedicated time in the chair and the help of my critique partners, I’m apt to finish those.

How does it differ from other books in the genre?

This past year I sold DO-SI-DO-BOTS to Little Bahalia who will publish that square-dancing robot story as an app and to Two Little Birds, who will publish it in book form. Stacey Williams-Ng, is the creative genius at Little Bahalia. She contacted Rebecca Emberley, an artistic genius, who will illustrate the text for both formats. I must say that Stacey is an incredible artist too. Check our the Nine Muses at the Milwaukee Ballet. My words are in good hands with these two talented women. I am so delighted about this.

Why do you write what you do?

I write because I have to! I am driven to do so. Spinning words into stories occupies my thoughts throughout the day and night. I dream them and then I place my fingers on the keyboard and see what I can do with them. It’s a lot of work but feeds my soul like granola feeds my body.

What is the hardest part about writing?

Waiting. My son says that publication happens at the same speed as erosion. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. I just heard back yesterday on a manuscript I sent out 9 months ago. It was a no, but a nice no. Still, that’s an awfully long time. It’s discouraging. Sill, I keep at it and hope others will as well.

 

 

 

To play our little hop, I need to answer the same questions, so here goes:

What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished the first draft of a new novel! It has some of the same characters from A Voice for Kanzas, but it is the story of a different main character. It’s a story with a lot of action, and I’ve enjoyed working on it. But even though I’ve finished the draft, I know it isn’t really done. Right now, I’ve sent the draft to several writer friends for their comments. Soon, I’ll begin revising it. And revising is my favorite part!

How does it differ from other works in the genre?

I’ve used a narrative style for this book that is very different from what I’ve done in the past. It’s written in first-person point of view, in present tense, and told in the voice of a boy. All those are new for me, although they are not entirely unusual for the genre. One thing that is different from most books is the very short chapters. I’ve made each scene its own chapter, and I think it keeps the reader turning pages faster.

Why do you write what you do?

I’m fascinated by history, and I like imagining what it would be like to live in the historical eras I write about. Sometimes, a character steps out and begins whispering a story to me, and I just can’t resist it. What often emerges is a story that, even though it takes place in 1856 in my novel, could just as easily be a story of a person today. The inner struggles of that character, his hopes, dreams, fears, doubts, are the same as those of any other person. And even though the story takes place in 1856, it has themes that are relevant to readers today: family, loss, violence, peer pressure, etc. I love exploring characters and telling their stories.  And I love helping readers experience history through my books.

What is the hardest part about writing?

Writing the first draft is always the hardest part for me. I struggle with plotting the events of the story. It’s hard for me to write without at least an outline of the story, but sometimes a chapter will take a really unexpected turn and then I have to throw the outline away and make a new plan. Once in a while I take a wrong turn in the story and wind up on a dead end. Then I have to back up and figure out where it went wrong. No matter what I think the story may be, my characters seem to have their own ideas about it. They are usually right, and so I have to go along with them for the ride.

So now it’s my turn to tag some writers!  I’ve asked a couple of my writer-friends to share their answers to our questions.

- See more at: http://debramcarthur.com/?p=575#sthash.WfsR6heQ.dpuf

No, it’s not Easter, but I’m hopping anyway. My fellow writer and good friend

Michelle Houts

has invited me to join in for a Blog Hop! Michelle lives in Ohio, and we have been friends through a wonderful group of writers who meet every summer in Maine. Michelle writes fiction and nonfiction for kids. You can learn more about Michelle, her books, and see her answers to our Blog Hop questions on her blog http://michellehouts.com/wordpress/

To play our little hop, I need to answer the same questions, so here goes:

What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished the first draft of a new novel! It has some of the same characters from A Voice for Kanzas, but it is the story of a different main character. It’s a story with a lot of action, and I’ve enjoyed working on it. But even though I’ve finished the draft, I know it isn’t really done. Right now, I’ve sent the draft to several writer friends for their comments. Soon, I’ll begin revising it. And revising is my favorite part!

How does it differ from other works in the genre?

I’ve used a narrative style for this book that is very different from what I’ve done in the past. It’s written in first-person point of view, in present tense, and told in the voice of a boy. All those are new for me, although they are not entirely unusual for the genre. One thing that is different from most books is the very short chapters. I’ve made each scene its own chapter, and I think it keeps the reader turning pages faster.

Why do you write what you do?

I’m fascinated by history, and I like imagining what it would be like to live in the historical eras I write about. Sometimes, a character steps out and begins whispering a story to me, and I just can’t resist it. What often emerges is a story that, even though it takes place in 1856 in my novel, could just as easily be a story of a person today. The inner struggles of that character, his hopes, dreams, fears, doubts, are the same as those of any other person. And even though the story takes place in 1856, it has themes that are relevant to readers today: family, loss, violence, peer pressure, etc. I love exploring characters and telling their stories.  And I love helping readers experience history through my books.

What is the hardest part about writing?

Writing the first draft is always the hardest part for me. I struggle with plotting the events of the story. It’s hard for me to write without at least an outline of the story, but sometimes a chapter will take a really unexpected turn and then I have to throw the outline away and make a new plan. Once in a while I take a wrong turn in the story and wind up on a dead end. Then I have to back up and figure out where it went wrong. No matter what I think the story may be, my characters seem to have their own ideas about it. They are usually right, and so I have to go along with them for the ride.

So now it’s my turn to tag some writers!  I’ve asked a couple of my writer-friends to share their answers to our questions.

Hop on over to http://www.sherrylclark.blogspot.com/  To learn more about Australian writer

- See more at: http://debramcarthur.com/?p=575#sthash.oeDPzkWn.dpuf

Hop! Hop!

No, it’s not Easter, but I’m hopping anyway. My fellow writer and good friend

Michelle Houts

has invited me to join in for a Blog Hop! Michelle lives in Ohio, and we have been friends through a wonderful group of writers who meet every summer in Maine. Michelle writes fiction and nonfiction for kids. You can learn more about Michelle, her books, and see her answers to our Blog Hop questions on her blog http://michellehouts.com/wordpress/

To play our little hop, I need to answer the same questions, so here goes:

What are you working on now?

I’ve just finished the first draft of a new novel! It has some of the same characters from A Voice for Kanzas, but it is the story of a different main character. It’s a story with a lot of action, and I’ve enjoyed working on it. But even though I’ve finished the draft, I know it isn’t really done. Right now, I’ve sent the draft to several writer friends for their comments. Soon, I’ll begin revising it. And revising is my favorite part!

How does it differ from other works in the genre?

I’ve used a narrative style for this book that is very different from what I’ve done in the past. It’s written in first-person point of view, in present tense, and told in the voice of a boy. All those are new for me, although they are not entirely unusual for the genre. One thing that is different from most books is the very short chapters. I’ve made each scene its own chapter, and I think it keeps the reader turning pages faster.

Why do you write what you do?

I’m fascinated by history, and I like imagining what it would be like to live in the historical eras I write about. Sometimes, a character steps out and begins whispering a story to me, and I just can’t resist it. What often emerges is a story that, even though it takes place in 1856 in my novel, could just as easily be a story of a person today. The inner struggles of that character, his hopes, dreams, fears, doubts, are the same as those of any other person. And even though the story takes place in 1856, it has themes that are relevant to readers today: family, loss, violence, peer pressure, etc. I love exploring characters and telling their stories.  And I love helping readers experience history through my books.

What is the hardest part about writing?

Writing the first draft is always the hardest part for me. I struggle with plotting the events of the story. It’s hard for me to write without at least an outline of the story, but sometimes a chapter will take a really unexpected turn and then I have to throw the outline away and make a new plan. Once in a while I take a wrong turn in the story and wind up on a dead end. Then I have to back up and figure out where it went wrong. No matter what I think the story may be, my characters seem to have their own ideas about it. They are usually right, and so I have to go along with them for the ride.

So now it’s my turn to tag some writers!  I’ve asked a couple of my writer-friends to share their answers to our questions.

Hop on over to http://www.sherrylclark.blogspot.com/  To learn more about Australian writer

Sherryl Clark

I met Sherryl at Hamline University, where we were students. Sherryl has written lots of books for kids of all ages, and she also teaches writing. You’ll enjoy exploring her blog and her website.

And one more hop will land you at  http://anningallswrites.com/blog/ to visit

Ann Ingall

Ann and I have been friends for many years. She’s a poet and has numerous books and magazine publications to her credit. She’s one of the most p

- See more at: http://debramcarthur.com/?p=575#sthash.oeDPzkWn.dpuf

written on Thursday at 9am, filed in News

J is for Jazz

October
19, 13

Hot socks!! Couldn’t be happier! Just found out that Maria Corte Maidagan will illustrate J IS FOR JAZZ (World Book, September 2014). Maria’s illustration is sure to at zip and zing to my text.

written on Saturday at 9am, filed in News

Teens are Kids Too

July
20, 13

This past week I had the pleasure of traveling to Rolla, Missouri to give three presentations at the Rolla Public Library. Of course, my first stop was at Slice of the Pie. This was to fortify me for what would come next. Just a half slice of the apple with warm cinnamon sauce on top did the trick.

For the last month or so before the presentations, I’d been sweating buckets about my presentation to the teen group. I’d done a powerpoint, I’d worked with the meme generator, I’d inteviewed every kid that age I knew and still my presentation was a total dud–I bored myself silly so what would that do to the kids. They deserved so much more.

So…I thought back over what I do for other groups. I always bring props. I walked through my house and placed every odd item I could find into a bag, hoping that one or more might spark the interest of a kid or two…and it worked!!

I brought a Viet Nam era gas mask, a goo tube, and a couple of other bizarro items. Then we talked about descriptors, words that could be used in text to engage the senses, word they might use in their writing or at the least, words that they thought would engage their senses.

I don’t know about the kids, but I know that I enjoyed myself so much that now, I’m chomping at the bit to find another group of teens. Help me out on this, will you?

written on Saturday at 12pm, filed in News

School Visits

May
17, 13

Not saying I’m any kind of expert, but lately I’ve done quite a few of these. Here’s what I’ve learned.

For the kind of presentations I give, groups of about 100 children work best. I aim to look each child in the eye at least once during a presentation. Can’t really do that with groups larger than 100.

Tailor the length of the presentation to the age of the child. Shorter kids, shorter presentations. 30 minutes is ideal for kindergartners. 45 for 1st through 5th. Older kids can hang in there with me for an hour.  I can hang in there with older kids for an hour too.

Three presentations in one day is all my brain will allow. One day a week allows me to keep my writing schedule so that’s what I’m going to stick with.

I do hope to hear from teachers, librarians, bookstore owners and the like. You know how to reach me. Oh, and one last thing…teachers can you hang in there with your classes for the presentations? No one knows your kids quite like you do. I value your expertise.

 

 

 

 

 

written on Friday at 3pm, filed in News | tagged: ,

Christmas and Birthday Traditions Around the World

March
12, 13

Child’s World released two new books of mine–CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD and BIRTHDAY TRADITIONS AROUND THE WORLD. I shared these with a couple of teachers and librarians and got thumbs up. Take a look and see what you think.

 

PA09352_C01PA09351_C01

written on Tuesday at 8am, filed in News

A Poem a Day

March
12, 13

A poem a day keeps the blues away. Something silly or sentimental will do. It can be my poem or someone else’s. Somehow the rhythm and rhyme satisfies a need in this word nerd. Here’s one for your reading pleasure.

 

Trade Your Skin

 

Who knew you’d trade your red-brown skin

For something finer, something thin?

An iridescent new blue suit,

To wear when sipping sour fruit.

Who knew you’d transform, Butterfly,

From caterpillar by and by?

With eyes that hide beneath your wings

To watch for other flying things.

Who knew you’d be an insect fair,

And waft away on misty air?

Then pause and warm your wings in sun.

You knew, Blue Morpho. You’re the one.

written on Tuesday at 7am, filed in News

J is for Jive

February
21, 13

Did it again!! Yippee! I sold a book–one I love.

World Book picked up J IS FOR JIVE. Don’t know when it will hit the shelves but I do know that they are looking hard for just the right illustrator. Lord have mercy and Halleluiah!

written on Thursday at 9am, filed in News | tagged:
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