A Fun and Informative Writing Conference in Montana!

You're invited to come to Montana for our Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators "Writing Forward Progress" Conference on October 13 - 15 in Billings, Montana! It's a beautiful time of year here in the mountains - October is my favorite month. Billings is a short drive away from Yellowstone Park, and the airport has great connections from everywhere. You won't want to miss this … [Read more...]

How To Aid Hurricane Harvey Folks

The amazing Kate Messner has once again launched KidLitCares, in order to benefit those who have suffered through Hurricane Harvey along the Gulf Coast. A huge number of authors and illustrators and their agents and editors  - almost 200 total! - have offered services to those who make a tax-deductible donation to the American Red Cross. [Edited to add - you can choose to donate to the … [Read more...]

Exposing My Heart

After publishing five books with varying but largely good success I'm under contract for my sixth, my fifth novel. This is an enviable position to be in, but for the first time I'm struggling through the edits, trying to get it right. This is a book that began life several years back (and actually the seeds were planted when I was in my MFA program, back in 2009). Every attack I've made on the … [Read more...]

A New GET ORGANIZED Edition!

My very first published book, GET ORGANIZED WITHOUT LOSING IT, came out from Free Spirit Publishing in 2006. Happily, this little study skills and organization tool for middle graders has done extremely well, with more than 60,000 copies in print and editions in seven languages. Free Spirit felt it was time to update the book with some new material and new illustrations. So - ta-da! - here … [Read more...]

The Importance of Author School Visits

This excellent post from Nerdy Book Club reminds me once again of the importance of author school visits. The post is written by a teacher, describing the enormous impact an author can have on a school - teachers discussing the presentation, students lining up to read, and students determined to write and illustrate their own work. As a children's author, I see this from the other side. I can … [Read more...]

Oh, Frabjous Day!

Some really wonderful (frabjous!) news..................... First, I've signed the contract for THE LAST TRUE KNIGHT. I'm very proud of this story. A girl who has visions, her brother who has been kidnapped, a mysterious knight, witchcraft, belief, a country in jeopardy, magic, dragons, the stars.................... Second, I signed another contract that I can't reveal just yet but … [Read more...]

Beckoning All Good Things

Some days are like that. You swing from one emotion to the next. And then you stop and take stock and realize there are lessons to be learned. Last Saturday was one of those. It was Indie Bookstore Day, and I was fortunate to be a guest bookseller for a few hours at my favorite indie, Country Bookshelf in Bozeman. It's a job I love - picking out the right book and putting it into the hands … [Read more...]

Sometimes, Silence Is Required

I'm in the midst of a difficult revision. Difficult, because like many of you, I'm very distracted by the world's goings-on. And difficult also because I've been challenged to amp up the work with this next draft. To go deeper, exploring characters and theme more fully, and adding tension to that dreaded middle. I'm not complaining about the challenges, mind you. I want to write the best … [Read more...]

A Teacher/Librarian Lesson Plan Tool Kit

As a former middle school and high school teacher, I know how valuable simple tool kits are - especially tool kits that provide a lesson plan that's fun, engaging, and informative. That's one huge reason why I partnered with Curious City to create a website for THE CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE that includes an event kit for librarians to help teach library search skills. Curious City … [Read more...]

“How Can I Get Published?”

The number one question would-be and new-be children's book authors ask authors like me is (no surprise) "How do I get my work published?" I understand, because I asked the same question when I was just starting out. Here's the thing: the publishing industry is a bit of a different animal than most. There's no "shark tank", no product application, no routine "I've got this idea" pitch forum. … [Read more...]