Okay, it’s been a while!

This past month has just flown by.  It’s been a blur of school trips and homework and Halloween costumes and way too much candy and runny noses and strep throat and birthdays.  My twins just turned 6!  Hard to believe.  Yesterday they were tiny babies; today they are highly opinionated kindergartners.

I have also been trying to finish a novel in between the everyday stuff.  Not an easy feat.  But I am glad to say that I am down to the finish line, and hope to have something to show for my efforts by Thanksgiving. (Yipeeee!)

In the meantime I will be at the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort on Saturday, November 13.  This is one of the oldest book fairs in the country, and I’ve been going for about 6 years now.  I’ll give more info about the fair and the folks who run it in my next post, which will be in the next coupla days, I promise, not in the next century!

Before then…this is where I’ll be tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow….until my novel is done….:)

This is where I sit everyday....

Just back from San Antonio

Arrived in San Antonio last Tuesday (October 12), and was met by Virginia Walsh, librarian of Wilshire Elementary, and my hostess for this trip.  Was treated to a spicy Tex Mex dinner by Virginia and other district librarians, Susan Staffier, Sherry Phillipus, and Marisa Crippen.  What a great group of gals!  On Wednesday I began my round of school visits.  Went to Oak Grove Elementary and Northwood Elementary.  Then on to Wilshire Elementary and East Terrell Hills.  What a terrific group of kids.  Most of them are from the city, so I think they were fascinated by some of “old timey country ways” I talk about in That Book Woman. The district I visited always tries to get an author of a Texas Bluebonnet Book Award nominee to come talk to their kids, and so it was truly an honor to be a part of this tradition.  I got to see the poster of the Bluebonnet nominees, with my very own Book Woman included.  It just gave me such a thrill!

Virginia Walsh welcomes me to Wilshire Elementary

It was a long day of flying back to Kentucky, since I had to go through Detroit.  But there were no delays, and I was thrilled to get back home since I hadn’t seen the kids or husband in 4 days.  It’s been kind of a whirlwind few weeks, what with WEG and Books by the Banks, and the San Antonio trip.  Lucky for me, I’m home for a while.  So I’ll have some time to spend with my family, and I’ll also reflect a little on the whole WEG experience and do some posts on that.  The next big event will be the Kentucky Book Fair on November 13, in Frankfort, KY.  Will write more on that later as well.

Books, books, books!

Crazy day last Friday, trying to get to my son’s school for an awards ceremony, and then leave on time to get to Cinci for the author’s reception for Books by the Banks.  Had just enough time — if there hadn’t been a Reds game going on downtown, and the traffic was sluggish, and it was impossible to find the entrance to my hotel, and once I did find the entrance, I had to circle downwards through several levels of the earth to finally find a parking space.  BUT the reception (when I finally made it) was wonderful.  I’d never been in the Mercantile Library before.  A gorgeous old room with old books so that I felt like I was in a movie set back in time.  Had dinner with my writer friend Linda Sanders after the reception.  Her book Maggie’s Monkeys is on the Bluegrass Awards masterlist this year — congrats!

Next day — Saturday — headed over to the Duke Energy Center to find out where I’d be sitting.  Lucky for me, they put me next to the one-and-only Sharon Draper, who is kind of like a rock star in the kids book world.  Sharon and I share the same editor, and while we’ve met and talked briefly over the past couple of years, we’d never spent all day together.  And it was just so much fun.  I basked in her rock star glow all day, and we traded stories over the tortures our (beloved) editor puts us both through.  It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one dearest C tortures! 🙂

Seriously, it was awe-inspiring to get to know Sharon a little better, and to be able to talk to her about her most recent book, Out of My Mind, which is stupendous, and which is sure to be on many a Newbery prediction list.

After Cinci, I rushed back home to see my kiddos, and then it was back to the KY Horse Park for a couple of WEG signings.  I will report on that in my next post.  But for now, here’s a pic of me and Sharon together at Books by the Banks.

Oh, and one more thing — thanks to all the folks at BBTB, Cinci 2010, for being such terrific hosts.  And many thanks to Janice for being my gopher for the day!

Me & Sharon at BBTB, Cinci 2010

Cincinnati, Here I Come!

Yesterday was WEG, tomorrow is Books by the Banks.  I’m headed up to Cinci (one of my fav little cities) for the Books by the Banks book festival, sponsored by one of my fav bookstores, Joseph-Beth.  This is my second year attending, and I’m really excited.  Love getting a chance to spend some time in Cinci.  Love getting the chance to hang out with other writers and be surrounded by books, books, books.  If you live anywhere near Cinci, come on down to the Duke Energy Center on Saturday from 10-4.  Check out their website:  www.booksbythebanks.org for a schedule of events and authors.

Yesterday signing books at the TRF booth at WEG was lots of fun.  The proceeds of sales from Dream of Night went directly to the horses at TRF’s Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center, to feeding them, keeping them groomed and healthy.  It was a GORGEOUS day in Lexington, perfect for strolling around the lovely fair grounds, observing lovely horses.  WEG goes for one more week, and I will be back at the TRF booth on Tuesday, October 5 from 11-1 to sign more copies of my book.

Here are a coupla pictures my friend, Fe, snapped at WEG:

I’m a celebrity!

Me and copies of Dream of Night

I’ve been asked to be a “guest celebrity” at the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation/Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center Booth at the Altech/FEI World Equestrian Games next week.  Yippeeee!

While being a celebrity is not really one of my goals in life (writing good books is!), I’m extra excited to have the chance to promote my book Dream of Night at this international horse event.  People from all over the world will be there.  I’m hoping that signing books at the TRF booth will not only help promote Dream of Night, but will also help raise awareness about Thoroughbred adoption cause.

Each year thousands of Thoroughbreds end up in abusive situations, mainly because it costs so much and takes so much time to care for these gorgeous but sometimes temperamental creatures.  The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is a national, non-profit organization that helps rescue ex-racehorses and give them a second chance at a wonderful life.   The Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center (see my last post) is the flagship facility of the TRF located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

The people at TRF/MMSC work soooooo hard to give Thoroughbreds a chance at a new life.  I’m thrilled to help in whatever way I can — right now, by being a “guest celebrity” and signing books.  Thanks to Susanna Thomas, Director of MMSC, for inviting me to WEG.

My book signing schedule at the TRF/MMMSC booth in the Main Pavilion at WEG:

Tuesday, September 28, 11-1

Thursday, September 30, 1-3

Keep checking back for more about WEG, as well as details about my upcoming trip to San Antonio for school visits!

WEG anyone?

For those of you who don’t live in Kentucky and haven’t been aware of all the hoopla over WEG, here’s the deal:  the World Equestrian Games, or WEG for short, is kind of like the Olympics of the horse eventing world.  The Games have never before been held in Kentucky, or anywhere in the US, for that matter, and so everybody around here is pretty excited.

WEG starts at the end of September and runs through mid-October at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.  During the many events there will be hundreds of booths with all things Kentucky and horsey.  I am excited to say that I will be at the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation booth signing my latest book, DREAM OF NIGHT.  Proceeds will go to the local chapter of the TRF, the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center, in order to help raise awareness for their cause:  taking care of Thoroughbreds after their racing career is over.

Here’s a picture of Susanna Thomas, Director of the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center, the woman who has taught me so much about horses, the woman I thank at the end of DREAM OF NIGHT.  Susanna and all the folks at MMSC/TRF work so very hard to give ex-racehorses a second chance at a wonderful life.

Susanna Thomas in her office at the Maker's Mark Sectretariat Center
TRF/MMSC assistant, Melissa DeCarlo, and the Thoroughbred she adopted and helped reschool

My book signing will be at the TRF/MMSC booth at the Kentucky Horse Park on Tuesday, September 28 from 11-1, and Thursday, September 30, from 1-3.  Check back for more details as they develop!


Wow, Nebraska is gorgeous!  I had no idea it would be so green and rolling.  I flew into Omaha and was met at the airport by the lovely Karen Drevo of the Norfolk Public Library.  From there we drove north and east, criss-crossing the wide Missouri, dipping into Iowa and South Dakota, eventually wending our way to Norfolk, home town of Johnny Carson.

I was not the only author invited to the Norfolk Literary Festival.  My partners in crime were Deborah Hopkinson and Tony Varrato.  It was fun sharing a car and a weekend with these two wonderful writers.  Deborah’s Apples to Oregon is one of my all-time favorite picture books.  Her new book, Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek is a new favorite.

Deborah and I share the back seat

Tony Varrato (who kindly provided all the photos for this post) is the author of the young adult novel, Fakie, a gritty story, boldly told.  He’s the kind of energetic, funny, inspirational English teacher I wish I’d had in high school.  Not only is he a good writer, he can juggle!

My amazing writer gals

One of the reasons for our visit to Norfolk was to give a writing workshop for kids.  I was thrilled to have three unique and talented young women in my class:  Krista, Aeriel, and Mattie.  We did some writing, some giggling, some sharing, some reading, some more writing, some more giggling.  I was really impressed with the love of books, the interest in writing, the observations, the immediate connection these three girls had.  Thanks, girls, for helping to make my day so special!  And remember what I said:  keep writing, keep writing, keep writing!  And also:  keep being you, keep asking questions, keep dreaming!  I know you all will go far!

Talking to folks at the Norfolk Literary Festival

After the workshop I talked to a great group of folks about how I came to write That Book Woman, which celebrates the work of the Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky.  Many in the crowd were librarians themselves, and I always love talking to librarians about librarians, sharing the stories and photos of those early book women.

Norfolk Literary Festival attendees plus myself, Deborah, and Tony (on the end)

People came from far and wide for this annual festival (above are some of the attendees along with me, Deborah, and Tony on the end).  The librarians of Norfolk are great organizers and motivators.

The staff of the Norfolk Public Library (pictured above) are real book lovers and troopers.  (I hope you get some air conditioning soon!!!!)

Alas, at the end of the day, it was time to bid Nebraska adieu.  I really enjoyed my visit.  Thanks to everyone, including the Norfolk librarians and especially Karen Drevo (I’m so sorry I don’t have a pic of you by yourself because you, lady, are one stylish librarian!).  Thanks to Deborah and Tony too for making it such a memorable trip.

Please check back soon because I’m going to add Deborah’s and Tony’s website to my list of fav websites  (but first I have to ask my helpful husband and web monkey, Tim, how to do it 🙂

Waiting in Chicago

So I’m on my way to the Norfolk Literary Festival in Norfolk, Nebraska.  The flight here from Chicago was nice and easy.  Now I’m waiting for the plane to Omaha.

My brother in law drove me to the Louisville airport and told me that I should check out Autohenge in Omaha.  Apparently somebody recreated Stonehenge, um, made out of old cars.  It sounds like something I would definitely love to see, but probably won’t have time.

Tomorrow I’ll be doing a writing workshop with kids and then talking with librarians and teachers about my book That Book Woman.

Speaking of Book Woman, I just received the latest foreign edition in Japanese!  It is so incredibly cool to see an Appalachian story translated into Japanese.  (Not that I can read it, but it looks terrific.)  Actually since David Small was inspired by Japanese drawing for his work on That Book Woman, it actually looks pretty natural.  My mom even asked me if they had redrawn the pictures because it looks like a totally different book in a way, like an original  Japanese publication.

Here’s the cover:

Back to the trip.  I unfortunately do not own a small digital camera.  (The one we own is massive, looks like a 35 mm camera from yesteryear.)  And I don’t have something as up to date as an Iphone.  So I’m hoping some of the folks in Norfolk will take pix and email to me so I can post.   In any case, I will keep ya’ll posted on my travels.  I’m sure it’ll be fun, even if I don’t get to see Autohenge. 🙂

Heading to Nebraska!

I have been asked to speak on Saturday, July 31 at the Norfolk Public Library’s 16th Annual Literature Festival in Norfolk, Nebraska.   I will be giving a writing workshop for kids in the morning and will be speaking to teachers and librarians about books and writing in the afternoon.

I have never been to Nebraska, and am excited to fly into Omaha next week.  My picture book That Book Woman is a 2011 Golden Sower Award nominee (which is the state Nebraska award).  Other award nominees will be at the festival too, including Deborah Hopkinson and Tony Varrato.

If any of you live in Nebraska, or are interesting in attending the festival, please email Karen Drevo at kdrevo@ci.norfolk.ne.us or call her at 402-844-2108.

The Norfolk Public Library is located at 308 W. Prospect Avenue in Norfolk, Nebraska.  Hope to see you there!