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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: author events, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 179
1. 3 Ways for Authors to Connect at Comic Cons…

Getting to know Dr. Evil
Ever been to a Comic Con? I attended and worked at my first one recently, and I have to say it’s not what I expected. Diehard fans swim through the aisles, wearing costumes of their favorite super hero or from their favorite video game or movie. And it’s scary. These fans are true-blue, focused, and know what they’re looking for when they come to spend their hard-earned money. While I was working the aisle with my boss, Justine from Mirror World Publishing, I made some mental notes and came up with three ideal ways that may help authors connect better when showing their wares at a Comic Con.

Make your name (brand) known.This is part of your author brand, so have a banner along the table or a poster looming behind you that explains who you are, what you’re selling, and what you’re all about. Signage is so important at Comic Cons and any event you attend as an author. So show’em what you got!

Sharing my wares!
Work the floor. I bought a costume specifically for this! I dressed up as Robin Hood (one of the characters in Book #1 of The Last Timekeepers series) and handed out chocolate gold coins or wrapped red licorice to people passing by. When working the floor at any Comic Con or event, you should use the three ‘Ses’. Stand. Smile. Small talk. Be approachable (hence the costume) and for goodness sake, create a connection so that people will remember you!

Give away promotional material.This is a no-brainer. People LOVE freebies! That’s why I like giving candy away at author events. Stock up on postcards with your book covers on the front and info about the book and you on the back. Don’t forget to sign them either! Bookmarks are also a favorite among giveaways for authors, and my publisher had plenty on hand that offered 15% off if you buy directly from their website. What a deal! Be creative with your giveaways, you never know when you’ve made a fan for life!

Boss lady ready for business!
One last thing. It helps if you’re an active member of your graphic novel/comic community. Your networking is solid and your foot is already in the door. People buy from authors they know and trust. The fan base is the meat and potatoes of a Comic Con. Create your own fan base by connecting with people at events such as Comic Cons, continuing to build your author brand, and being authentic in the way you treat and help others. Trust me, this goes a long way with people, and may just get you noticed!

Have you attended any Comic Cons in the past? If so, which ones? Did you attend as a fan or vendor? Would love to read your comments! Cheers and thank you for reading my blog!

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2. 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair

The 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair is, far and away, the world’s largest book fair. In fact, it’s the world’s largest _____ fair, period. Tallying in at just over “7,000 exhibitors from about 100 countries, more than 9,000 accredited journalists, and [including] 4,000 events, the 67th Frankfurt Book Fair is ‘the largest trading place for content worldwide.'”

With that scope in mind, here are a few candids snapped by the University of Chicago Press crew, distributed via social media, on the heels of today’s opening press conference:







To read more about the goings-on in Frankfurt, click here.


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3. Things I have done in the past few days

Louisa by Isabelle, grade 5

Louisa by Isabelle, grade 5

• Melted at the artwork and poems created by the three classes of fifth- and sixth-graders who welcomed me to the Greater San Diego Reading Association’s annual Authors Fair.

• Read aloud the last chapter of The Prairie Thief to a roomful of eager fifth-graders. Such a delight. I so seldom get to read the end of the book to a school group—I don’t want to give anything away! Exceedingly fun to discover the teacher had been reading the book to the class and saved the finale for my visit. :)

• Had a marvelous time swapping book suggestions with the kids during the Q&A after my readings. Hot tip: they are loving The Unicorn Chronicles at the moment.

• Tried out a new voice for Fox in my Storytime at Carmel Valley Public Library on Saturday. Gotta keep it fresh, you know.

• Wrote my tail off all day yesterday.

• Rejoiced with the gang as our monarch butterfly emerged from its chrysalis this morning. We missed the big entrance but not by much. Later, when it was ready to fly, we took it out to the milkweed patch in the backyard, and it rested there long enough for Rilla and me to sketch it. I had just finished adding watercolor when it soared away to the cape honeysuckle, and from there out into the blue. Bon voyage, little dear.


Yes, aphids galore


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4. Celebrate Literacy Award from GSDRA


Photo by Lori Mitchell and used with gratitude!

Yesterday I had the fun of attending an awards breakfast hosted by the Greater San Diego Reading Association, a branch of the International Literacy Association (formerly the International Reading Association).  Along with fellow children’s authors Suzanne Santillan, Lori Mitchell, Virginia Loh Hagen, and Joy Raab, I received a Celebrate Literacy Award for my contributions to literacy in San Diego. Such an honor!

Greater San Diego Reading Association Authors Fair

From left to right: Suzanne Santillan, me, Edith Hope Fine, Joy Raab, Virginia Loh Hagen, and Lori Mitchell at Pacific Beach Elementary, March 2014

The GSRDA are the folks who host the annual Authors Fair I have participated in these past two years—hands-down some of the best events I’ve ever attended. These were the schools (Pacific Beach Elementary in 2014 and Kimball Elementary in National City this year) where the teachers had spent weeks preparing their students for my visit—reading The Prairie Thief aloud (and saving the last chapter for me!) and doing some amazing writing and art projects. There is nothing, nothing like seeing kids’ art and poetry inspired by your books, let me tell you. :)

Student art and writing at Kimball Elementary



Prairie Thief project by 5th-grader Isabella D.


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5. So going around the town(s)

What Stevie Wonder really meant to sing was “no book launch Saturday within the month of June,” and with that in mind, here are some recent images from those book-related fêtes staged a smidge sooner, during the long green march of spring.


Snapshots from the official book launch for The Big Jones Cookbook: Recipes for Savoring the Heritage of Regional Southern Cookingfeaturing Chef (and author) Paul Fehribach, some of his clientele, and a band of University of Chicago Press culinary enthusiasts:






A photograph from the Dublin launch of Gillian O’Brien’s Blood Runs Green: The Murder that Transfixed Gilded Age Chicago (these young readers are actually O’Brien’s nieces and nephew):

img_20150513_0803071 (2)

And, finally, this photograph from Andrew Hartman’s talk about A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars at the In These Times HQ:

FullSizeRender (2)

To read more about books from Chicago’s most recent list, click here.

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6. Smorgasbord of Children’s Authors & Illustrators at the San Diego County Fair

Check out this fabulous lineup! I’ll be there June 18—look for me in the Children’s Garden at 1:30 and the Creative Youth tent at 4:30 for stories and fun.


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7. Wrigley Centennial Trivia Showdown

Topps Stamps 1974 Hooton

Who is Burt Hooton? Your guess is as good as mine, or more likely, it’s better than mine. My answer is he’s no Mickey Lolich, but that’s because I grew up in Detroit—though, as Susan Sontag would say, Under the Sign of Jack Morris. But back to your guess—if you’re schooled in Cubs lore, come to the Wrigley Centennial Trivia Showdown on Wednesday, May 28th, at the Harold Washington Library,  in celebration of the year that brought you the births of Sun Ra, Julio Cortázar, and a certain stadium. Your hosts are Stuart Shea, doyen of Cubs history, and the Chicago Tribune’s Rick Kogan, and you can win t-shirts, plates, commemorative posters, and gift certificates to Birrieria Zaragoza, Clark Street Sports, Girl and the Goat, The People’s Garment Company, & Tales, Taverns, and Towns.

From the Chicago Reader: 

Stuart Shea, author of Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines, and the Tribune‘s Rick Kogan host the Wrigley Centennial Trivia Showdown. Test your knowledge of the legendary ballpark alongside other Cubs enthusiasts and maybe win a Wrigley Field prize pack, or bragging rights that might earn you a free drink or two around Clark and Addison.

From the press release:

First inning: easy to medium multiple-choice trivia

The three contestants with the most correct answers will move on to the second inning.

 Second inning: medium to hard multiple-choice trivia

The two contestants with the most correct answers will move on to the third inning.

 Third inning: photo trivia

The contestant with the most correct answers is the champion!

Free advice:

You can RSVP online. Also, there is a dog park in Chicago named Wiggly Field.

Books, baseball, trivia, bragging rights. That’s a good mix for a weeknight. See you there!

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8. Rachel Sussman and The Oldest Living Things in the World



This past week, Rachel Sussman’s colossal photography project—and its associated book—The Oldest Living Things in the World, which documents her attempts to photograph continuously living organisms that are 2,000 years old and older, was profiled by the New Yorker:

To find the oldest living thing in New York City, set out from Staten Island’s West Shore Plaza mall (Chuck E. Cheese’s, Burlington Coat Factory, D.M.V.). Take a right, pass Industry Road, go left. The urban bleakness will fade into a litter-strewn route that bisects a nature preserve called Saw Mill Creek Marsh. Check the tides, and wear rubber boots; trudging through the muddy wetlands is necessary.

The other day, directions in hand, Rachel Sussman, a photographer from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, went looking for the city’s most antiquated resident: a colony of Spartina alterniflora or Spartina patens cordgrass which, she suspects, has been cloning and re-cloning itself for millennia.

Not simply the story of a cordgrass selfie, Sussman’s pursuit becomes contextualized by the lives—and deaths—of our fragile ecological forbearers, and her desire to document their existence while they are still of the earth. In support of the project, Sussman has a series of upcoming events surrounding The Oldest Living Things in the World. You can read more at her website, or see a listing of public events below:


Imagining Deep Time (a cultural program of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC), on view from August 28, 2014 to January 15, 2015

Another Green World, an eco-themed group exhibition at NYU’s Gallatin Galleries, featuring Nina KatchadourianMitchell JoaquimWilliam LamsonMary MattinglyMelanie Baker and Joseph Heidecker, on view from September 12, 2014 to October 15, 2014

The Oldest Living Things in the World, a solo exhibition at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NY, from September 15, 2014 to November 2, 2014, including a closing program


Sept 18th: a discussion in conjunction with the National Academy of Sciences exhibition Imagining Deep Time for DASER (DC Art Science Evening Rendezvous), Washington, DC (free and open to the public)

Nov 20th: an artist’s talk at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago

To read more about The Oldest Living Things in the World, click here.



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9. Photos from my SCBWI talk on middle-grade and chapter books

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

The talented Roxyanne Young took these photos of my talk on Middle-Grade and Chapter Books at SCBWI-San Diego last weekend and kindly gave me permission to use them. My school visit/speaker page needs a massive updating and I’m so grateful to have some recent images to include.

Apparently I talk with my hands a lot? What’s funniest to me is that this Boston Bay slide was onscreen for barely a minute. That’s an awful lot of glasses-waving going on there.

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

Photo by Roxyanne Young, used with permission

The rest of my slides were all about other people’s books—my favorite things to talk about, as you know. Here’s a taste:

Melissa Wiley SCBWI presentation slide 09 Melissa Wiley SCBWI presentation slide 10

Melissa Wiley SCBWI presentation slide 12

Melissa Wiley SCBWI presentation slide 15

(Just a sampling from the Chapter Books part of the talk.)


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10. Where I’ll Be in June: Deep Valley Homecoming

Deep Valley Homecoming badge

Attention Betsy-Tacy fans!

2015 Deep Valley Homecoming

A Celebration of Maud Hart Lovelace & the Betsy-Tacy books!

June 26 – 30, 2015

Make plans to attend this event. Fun for the entire family!

Activities include: Betsy & Tacy House Tours, Betsy-Tacy Neighborhood Tour, Narrated Horse-drawn Trolley Rides, Discover Deep Valley Bus Tours, Deep Valley Victorian Tea, Book Festival, Fashion Show, Play, Living History Actors, Programs, Speakers & Re-enactments, Gift Shop & Exhibits & Music, Vintage Car Show, food & crafts and more!

Registration form and schedule is in progress and will be posted very SOON!



We are excited to announce that Melissa Wiley will be the feature speaker at the Deep Valley Homecoming (DVH) this summer. Melissa Wiley is the author of The Prairie Thief, Fox and Crow Are Not Friends, and the Inch and Roly series, as well as Little House in the Highlands and seven other novels about the ancestors of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Melissa wrote the forward to the HarperPerennial ModernClassics 2010 edition of Carney’s House Party and Winona’s Pony Cart by Maud Hart Lovelace.

Joining Melissa Wiley as featured speaker will be Nancy McCabe, author of From Little Houses to Little Women. Her book is a memoir about her return to the beloved books of her childhood and travel to places related to her favorite authors, including Laura Ingalls Wilder, Maud Hart Lovelace, Lucy Maud Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott.

Melissa and Nancy will participate in the Deep Valley Book Festival on Sunday, June 28 and will each speak during the DVH programs on Monday, June 29. We’ll have more details about what you can look forward to from these authors and all of our other speakers and presenters in the coming days.

For more information, visit the Betsy-Tacy Society website. Hope to see you there!

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11. Problems of Presentation - Joan Lennon

A while back I tackled the ticklish problem of how we present ourselves at readings, festivals, author visits - any time we are obliged to get out of our pjs and face the public.  That post focused on women writers and their clothes dilemmas.  With men writers, there are fewer versions of shirt/trousers, sweater/trousers, jacket/trousers to get wrong.  But there is one thing - one vital decision - that I would like to address today - and that is ...

Nobody said being a writer was going to be easy - here's wishing you luck in your decision.

P.S. Apropos of nothing writerly, I'm a big fan of this video too - Yo Mama.

Joan Lennon's website.
Joan Lennon's blog.

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12. Creating the best events - for authors AND organisers! - Nicola Morgan

This isn't a new topic for me but there is something special about this post: I am cross-posting with fabulous school librarian (former School Librarian of the Year, no less!) Duncan Wright, both of us writing from our own point of view but aimed at informing the other. So, I'm writing about what authors (writers or illustrators) would usually like from event organisers and Duncan has written here about what organisers need from authors. Both are in the spirit of positivity and mutual respect. We think it's good when each "side" can see it from the other's pov - though, of course, in almost every way we are both on the same side!

I have a document (on my events page) to send to organisers before my events but that is just my needs. What follows below aims to apply to all or most authors and to act as a general guide.

Your visiting author wants the event to be brilliant and whatever you hoped when you booked that author. We aim to give our best performance every time. That's our job and our desire but there are things you can do that will make that easier - or harder...

All authors are different. Some find events exhausting, because of the energy involved in talking to new audiences all the time; others find them relatively easy. We have different needs, but the following are pretty common.


  1. Choose one you really want, and know why. Explain why when you send the invitation. Read any event details on their website so you know they're right for you.
  2. If you absolutely have to ask for a reduced fee, please do this with a) respect and tact and only if you genuinely have to and b) fully understanding what you're asking: a working person to give up part/all their wages for the day (or more). We have to account for preparation, discussion, admin, travelling, and an event fee is not an hourly fee. Most of us earn very little and then only when someone pays us. There are ways of asking for freebies but if you don't get that quite right it's incredibly undermining. We bruise very easily! (To understand more, see here.)
  3. Be as clear as you can about what you want, though we realise that may not be possible. Ideally, know your budget, so discussions can start from there.
  1. Agree exactly what you're paying for. Agree expenses, too. If an overnight stay is required, most (but not all) authors value the privacy of a hotel or B&B rather than staying with a host. I know many authors who are too embarrassed to say no to accommodation with a lovely librarian in case they seem rude: it's just that privacy is really important to many and affects sleep and energy. 
  2. Agree time-table details. And inform about changes well in advance, as it affects preparation.
  3. Try not to send eleventy million emails. Although getting all the info is crucial (on both sides), try to do it smoothly, so that neither of you spend tooo much time on it and it's easy to find later.
  4. Discuss whether and how bookselling can be part of the event. 
  5. Be really clear about what you need from the day - we want to provide what you want but we're not psychic. 

  1. Ensure pupils know who the author is and what he or she has written. It’s good if they prepare questions – it helps make the event their own. Most authors have websites: get pupils to use them!
  2. Make sure relevant staff know about the visiting author, too. That increases value as staff can follow up.  
  3. Check what tech and other equipment is needed. And make sure it works!
  4. If you've agreed bookselling, do ensure that pupils are told (often!) that they need money. Pupils often discover they want to buy a book but very often don’t bring money. The letter that you carefully wrote may not reach them or they may have forgotten. If bookselling goes wrong, it’s upsetting and embarrassing – and costly when the author paid for the books. (By the way, we don't earn much per book.) Sometimes, you’ll do everything right and the message still won’t get through, of course, so don't worry that we're going to think badly of you. We just need to know you tried your best.
  5. Make sure no one will be filming or recording. Check with the author how they feel about photos. Personally, I’m happy to have photos taken (well, not happy exactly…) after/between events but not during. 
  6. Discuss refreshment needs and make sure there is water and whatever else you feel is going to help the author perform well. 
  7. Tell the author as soon as possible if a pupil might be upset at certain themes because of a recent personal tragedy or difficult situation. (I was once told, while walking towards the hall for a talk about Fleshmarket, that I couldn't talk about the first chapter because a pupil had recently been bereaved. If you know about Fleshmarket, you'll understand my problem...)
  1. Plan your introduction to the audience. A lively introduction makes a huge difference to everyone's mood and excitement – and flattery helps, bringing energy to both the pupils and author! (NB Illustrators are authors, too - never undermine an illustrator's part in an illustrated book by saying anything to suggest that one is more important than the other.) 
  2. Provide water and a table to put things on. (And anything else you've agreed.)
  3. I recommend you give the author a few minutes' headspace before each talk. Don't hassle with chat about the weather at this stage: we may not look nervous but will probably welcome the need mentally to go over what we're about to say. On the other hand, if the author seems very chatty, go with that! I sometimes am and sometimes am not - please don't take it personally.
  4. Bookselling (if you have agreed this): supply a table and chair for the author to sign at. Ensure that pupils don’t crowd round (I’ve been knocked off my chair like that!) You need someone to handle the actual selling while the author signs. Decide what, if anything, can be done to accommodate those who haven't brought money but want a book.
  5. Remind or tell the audience what you've agreed about photographs and that they may not film or record (unless the author has agreed otherwise.) Make sure phones are off and out of sight.
  6. Refreshment and breaks: make sure whatever you've agreed with the author is in place. 
A note about refreshments and breaks
Here's where I start to sound a bit nutty, but I've learnt that without the refreshments and breaks that I need, my brain starts to seize up. Most especially, I need breaks: little pockets of peace between talks. (For clarity, "peace" means not having to chat...) Lots of authors feel the same about the need for peace and may not tell you but I’ve decided it’s so crucial to my wellbeing and performance that I need to make a big point of it! I do like chatting and I am friendly but it's tiring.☺

So, here's what I tell event organisers. (As I say, not everyone's the same. But you'll find many are.)
"My talks are energy-intense and afterwards my blood sugar will dive. I have very basic requirements but I do need time to myself at some point. I am delighted to be sent out to get a sandwich at lunch, or for you to give me a plate of food in the staff-room and time to gather my thoughts for the next event. Please do not feel that you need to entertain me. I’m an introvert (which does NOT mean I’m shy; far from it – just that conversation and social interaction tax my brain more) and I need recovery time between events. Of course, it’s lovely when other members of staff and management want to meet me and chat – and I can happily chat for Britain – but please make sure I get chill-out time as well, especially immediately before an event, otherwise the talk won’t be as good. In short, my only needs are: a sandwich (eg), something to drink and a bit of time on my own. And the time on my own is the more important bit because I'll have brought my emergency fruit and nut supply anyway. I told you: nutty!
"I have no food allergies or special requirements but was once given a raw onion sandwich at a school event and now feel the bizarre need to request NO raw onion. Thank you!"
  1. Suddenly ask the author to “pop into this class and talk to them” if we haven’t agreed this in advance. 
  2. Feel that you have to entertain us, unless we've specifically asked for a song and dance routine. 
  3. Introduce us with the phrase, "X needs no introduction."
  4. Leave us alone with pupils – this is a condition of our Public Liability insurance and not because we are scared!
  5. Send (or escort) us along convoluted corridors (or even, in my case, one straight corridor) to the toilets and expect us to find our way back. Authors have disappeared like that.
  6. Allow teachers to sit and mark books - please ask them to be involved in the talk; I know they are very busy but everyone will gain much more if they are properly engaged and it's very off-putting when someone is sitting there not listening. (Actually, it doesn't bother me hugely but it bothers some people a LOT. And it's rude.)
  7. Tell us (as you're walking us towards the first talk, especially) how utterly GREAT so-and-so was and how he as the best speaker evah.
  8. Worry about anything. If you’ve done all the above, it’s going to be a great day.
Remember that we want exactly what you want: a great event that people will talk about for all the right reasons. Almost none of us are prima donnas (or whatever the male equivalent of that is) and anything that sounds like a pompous "demand" is really really really only so that we can give you our best event. But most of us are fragile: this whole authory thing is very exposing and our career, reputation and emotional wellbeing are on the line. And so, if you want to earn our undying gratitude, just do one more thing, if you possibly can: say "Well done - that was great." And gosh, I hope it was, because I worked hard to make it so.

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13. Upcoming Events

March 4 is World Read-Aloud Day

Inch and RolyI’ll be celebrating with several special events in the San Diego area this month.

March 7, 2pm
Storytime at The New Children’s Museum to celebrate Reading Week. Join me for a read-aloud of Fox and Crow Are Not Friends!

March 13, all day
Greater San Diego Reading Association Author’s Fair, Kimball Elementary School, National City

March 14, 4pm
Learn2Earn Readathon Event at Carmel Valley Library

March 19, 5:30pm
Toler Literacy Night • featured speaker


Join me in Mankato, Minnesota this June for the
Deep Valley Homecoming

June 26-30, 2015
I will be a featured speaker at this very special Betsy-Tacy event. Hope to see you there!

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14. Saturday Event: Storytime at Carmel Library


Join Fox and Crow and me for Storytime at Carmel Library in North County Saturday, March 14 at 4pm!

Authors Virginia Loh and Sid Shapira will also be reading from their books tomorrow afternoon (check with the library for their event times).

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15. Back-to-school means more time for... procrastinating?

Back-to-school means more time for writing. Sort of. My 6 1/2 month old who is currently napping as I sit tapping doesn't exactly conform to a set writing schedule, but at least I have these stolen moments to stew in my creative juices, to brainstorm, to ponder to... to... procrastinate.

Yes, the more time I have, the more creative ways I can find for procrastination - a common hazard of the self-employed.

Here's something fun to mention while procrastinating... I have added a few autumnal book signings to my website. Click HERE for the schedule.

Ooooh, and I've also at last created a facebook page for my books HERE.  Please stop by and click the like button if you want another way to know what I'm up to, as I'll be making event and book announcements there too.

Now, back to those creative juices. That reminds me, I'm thirsty. And hungry. I think it's time for a snack break.  ;-)

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16. Stages on Pages at Books of Wonder (Cue the Squeee!)

Stages on Pages

On Thursday, November 10th, Books of Wonder is delighted to present 7 authors who have written new books for teens that feature young people involved in one way or another with the performing arts. Joining us will be debut author SHELLA CHARI to share Vanished, the story of 11-year-old Neela, who's determined to protect an antique Indian stringed instrument that's a family heirloom which she dreams of playing for delighted crowds someday; author BARBRA DEE will present her new novelTrauma Queen, about Marigold, a teen girl who's constantly embarrassed by her infamous stage actor mom; debut author SOPHIE FLACK will take us into the exclusive world of the Manhattan Ballet Company as we follow one aspiring dancer persuing her dreams in BunheadsSARA LEWIS HOLMES will present Operation Yes, about a sixth grade class on an army base with a new teacher who uses improvisational theater to teach and inspire them and how they come together to help their teacher when her brother goes missing while se

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17. An Evening of Thrills: Brookline Booksmith

Catch Me by Lisa Gardner

Catch Me by Lisa Gardner

Father and son Michael and Daniel Palmer, along with bestselling author Lisa Gardner return to Brookline Booksmith with their own particular brand of mayhem. Michael Palmer is the best-selling author of 16 novels, including The Patient and A Heartbeat Away. His newest thriller, Oath of Office, deals with the fallout when a well-respected doctor goes on a murderous rampage.

Daniel Palmer is a former e-commerce pioneer, singer-songwriter, and the author of the critically-acclaimed thrillerDelirious. In his new book, Helpless, former Navy Seal Tom Hawkins returns to his hometown after his ex-wife is murdered so that he can raise his daughter. But when he becomes the prime suspect in his ex-wife’s death and other shocking false allegations are leveled against him, he has to fight for his freedom.

Lisa Gardner is the author of fifteen crime novels, including the best-selling D.D. Warren mysteries. In her newest, Catch Me, Warren is approached by a woman claiming she will be murdered in four days, creating the inspector’s toughest case yet – to solve a murder before it happens.

The event starts tonight at 7pm at the Brookline Booksmith.


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18. Hints for authors from Waterstones' Martin Latham

by Teri Terry   Martin Latham is the longest serving Waterstones Manager, having been appointed by legendary entrepreneur and founder, Tim Waterstone. He has authored 130 entries in the Oxford Guide to English Literature, and regularly features in the Bookseller. If that isn't enough, he somehow found the time to start a highly successful writing group at his Canterbury Branch, and author a few

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19. What a night!

Group photo with the 2012 LAL State Winners!
Last night, I had the pleasure to present award certificates and deliver the keynote speech at the Rhode Island Center for the Book's 2012 Letters About Literature Awards.

Letters About Literature is a national reading and writing program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, presented in partnership with Target and supported locally by RICB.

60,000 young readers from across the country participated, including nearly 800 Rhode Islanders. Students were asked to submit letters describing how an author's work -- novel, non-fiction, poetry -- changed their view of the world or helped them realize something they didn't know about themselves.

With a focus on reader response and reflective writing, one winner and several honorable mentions were chosen in three competition levels, ranging from grades 4 through 12.

I had the chance to read the winning letters beforehand, and heard them read-aloud by the winners at the event.  All of the letters had a powerful narrative voice and displayed a talent and wisdom beyond the young writers' years.

It was honor to present the students with their awards, and an inspiration to hear their words.  All in all, it was evening I won't soon forget.

Click here to learn more about Letters About Literature and Rhode Island Center for the Book.

Below is a transcript the address I gave to the students, their families, and members of RICB.

Keynote Address
by Anika Denise
Rhode Island Center for the Book Annual Meeting and Letters About Literature Awards
Williams Hall Library, Cranston, Rhode Island
June 4, 2012

Good evening, everyone.  First, I want to say thank you to the Rhode Island Center for the Book for inviting me here to speak to you tonight.  It’s an honor and a privilege.  Not to mention, great fun to be spend an evening celebrating reading, writing, and the books that inspire us!  So thank you, for including me in the festivities. There's even balloons... it's a party!

Second, I’d like to CONGRATULATE all the winners, honorable mentions in the Letters About Literature Competition.

It takes courage to submit your words, to participate… to put something of yourself out there into the world to be judged.  Writers must do this all the time.  And it’s never easy.  

But, you did.  You wrote something compelling and meaningful, and tonight, you’re being recognized and celebrate

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20. Booksigning on Sept 29 in San Diego

Coming up fast! Please join me on Saturday, Sept 29, at The Yellow Book Road bookstore in San Diego’s Liberty Station (2750 Historic Decatur Road) to celebrate the launch of Inch and Roly Make a Wish, Fox and Crow Are Not Friends, and The Prairie Thief.

Hope to see you there!

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21. Thursday Things

First up: Into the Thicklebit | Overheard.

Next thing: We’re talking books in the comments of this postKristin Lavransdatter and Papa’s Wife. Got other Scandinavian favorites?

Next thing, for San Diego locals: My signing’s on Saturday! Yellow Book Road @ beautiful Liberty Station in Point Loma, 3pm. Come! Say hi! Eat cookies! Listen to me attempt a Scottish accent! (Serves me right for writing characters in dialect.)

Book reviews & interviews.

Other shareworthy links in my sidebar.


We have an excursion to City Farmers Nursery planned for this afternoon. Rilla is planting her own butterfly garden. (The one that spans the width of our backyard isn’t enough for her, evidently.) ;) She’s making a list. Excuse me, I mean a LEIST. So far, she’s got:


2. HOT PENK DRANEYOM (hot pink geranium)

I can’t wait to see what’s next. :)

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22. Jack Gantos

While I don't often put press releases on this blog, every now and again I make exceptions.  The incomparable Jack Gantos will be speaking at the 92nd Street Y on Saturday, May 11th.  I suggest you run, not walk to get yourself to this event.  I was lucky enough to witness Jack's Newbery speech for Dead End In Norvelt, and I have to say, he is unparalleled in the public speaking arena.  Follow the link for tickets!

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23. I Met One of My Favorite People EVER This Weekend


She passed by the SCBWI booth at the San Diego Central Library grand opening celebration where I was signing books, and I dashed down the street after her, hollering “Miss Rumphius! Miss Rumphius!” like a loon. Because I was Just That Excited to see her, lupines and all! She’s my role model, after all.

(Instead of lupines, I plant milkweed.)

The library celebration was marvelous. I never actually made it into the new building for the sneak peek! The line was four blocks long when I arrived for booth duty at noon. But I had a wonderful time visiting with Edith Hope Fine, Cynthia Jensen Elliott, and my other fellow local children’s authors at the SCBWI booth and chatting with our friends at Yellow Book Road on one side of our table and the very nice Mysterious Galaxy folks on the other—along with author Mary Pearson, whom it’s about time I met in person after all this time being Facebook friends, and YA author Kiersten White, whom I know from Twitter, and whose new book sounds very much up Rose’s alley. (Human daughter of ancient Egyptian gods: you have her at hello.)

Kiersten White at San Diego Central Library grand opening celebration

(Isn’t that the most gorgeous cover?)

The street fair covered many blocks and was one of the best I’ve ever been to. San Diego Mini Maker Faire was there—I’m counting the days to the December event (December 7th, Del Mar Fairgrounds; spread the word!)—and lots of other interesting artisans and entertainers.

Not Miss Rumphius

Not Miss Rumphius.


The Maker Faire booth. I finally got to see a 3D printer in action! It made that orange comb right before onlookers’ eyes. At least, I think it did. I wasn’t there for that part.

Happy to say I signed many copies of The Prairie Thief! And perhaps my favorite sight of all (after Miss Rumphius, of course) was this mother and son who sat down to read Fox and Crow on the spot. :)

mom and boy read fox and crow

I’ll have to make another pilgrimage downtown soon (with the kids, this time) to see the inside of the beautiful new library that was thirty years in the making.

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24. Greater San Diego Reading Association Authors Fair, part 2

Greater San Diego Reading Association Authors Fair

From left to right: Suzanne Santillan, me, Edith Hope Fine, Joy Raab, Virginia Loh Hagen, and Lori Mitchell at last week’s Greater San Diego Reading Association Authors’ Fair, held at Pacific Beach Elementary School. Photo shared by Lori Mitchell on Facebook. (Thanks, Lori!)

It was a pretty incredible day. I had sessions with two classes and then a booksigning. Both classes have been reading The Prairie Thief aloud, and it just so happened that the 5th-grade class was up to the Big Reveal chapter near the end of the book. I’ve never gotten to read this to a group of kids before! I usually read a section near the beginning, so as not to give away any of the book’s surprises, and when the class told me where they were in the book and asked me to read the next chapter, I was over the moon. Their reactions at the moment of the reveal were delightful and immensely gratifying. They jumped and and cried out in surprise. It was exactly the sort of reaction I hoped for when I wrote the book. What a treat for me to get to experience that moment with them! And then we had a nice long Q&A and they asked fantastic questions, really thoughtful stuff. Love love love.

The second class, a 4/5, blew me away with the papers they had written about Prairie Thief! And what timing, coming right after our conversation last week about how authors feel about critical approaches to their work. These kids did some serious analysis and I was very impressed by the quality of their writing. They, too, had a million questions for me about craft (seriously—they are studying it) and reading and lots of things.

Huge thanks to all the folks who helped put the fair together. A splendid day all around.

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25. Upcoming events for Outside the Box


Hillary L. Chute spent a significant portion of the past decade studying, hanging out with, and interviewing many of the artists whose iconic images have helped define contemporary graphic arts. In Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary CartoonistsChute collects these interviews in book form for the first time, delivering in-depth discussions with twelve of the most prominent and accomplished artists and writers in comics today, and revealing a creative community that is richly interconnected yet fiercely independent. The interviewees include Lynda Barry and Alison Bechdel, Charles Burns and Joe Sacco, and even a never-before published conversation between Art Spiegelman and Chris Ware.

In addition to unparalleled access into the cartooning world, Outside the Box also puts narrative power into the hands of this cast of masters—without whom our eyes (and ears) would not take in such gripping stories.

For Chicagoans, Chute will talk about the book and her experiences as documentarian and scholar of the cartooning community at two upcoming events:

A discussion at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5751 S. Woodlawn, Thursday, April 10th, 6 PM

A talk and signing at Quimby’s, 1854 W. North Ave., Saturday, April 19th, 7 PM

To read more about Outside the Box, click here.

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