“See” you at the grill

Don’t anyone dare leave! People and refreshments keep arriving. I’m looking for Steven Withrow, Lester Laminack, Kate Messner, Sarah Holbrook, Michael Salinger, and many others at any minute.

Hi everyone,

The other day when I asked for ideas to talk about, Matt Forrest and Joy Acey both liked the idea of hanging out at the grill. Joy went a step farther, as you see here.
Matt ForrestJoy Acey
You asked for topics or you were going to be away grilling… What if you plan a garden party on your blog. Everyone needs to bring a dish to share and we could all hang around and chat. For instance, if I knew Sandy Asher was going to be there, I’d want to ask her how one gets into writing plays and what is she currently working on. I’d want to know from all of the guests what they’re reading and what is their favorite book on craft . Get out the ice cream freezer, I’m bringing the ingredients.”
20150620_164255So there you have it. You are hereby invited to join us at my first ever blog party around the grill at Goose Lake. You know what it looks like so imagine you’re here in my back yard. The party is now in its third day but there are plenty of good seats left. Look around and get comfortable.20150620_164445
Check in on the comments so we’ll know you’re here and tell us what dish you decided to bring. I hope it will be something you like to prepare and that you’ll share the recipe. Once we know you’ve checked in, please look for messages from time to time.20150620_164345
Everyone is busy but I hope we’ll have a nice turnout and enjoy the chance to chat as we stroll around or sit to enjoy the view. It’s going to be rainy today but tomorrow will be in the low to mid 90s so shorts would be a good idea.20150620_164502

As soon as I post this I’m going to send out some special invitations but you should feel free to invite friends and neighbors too. After all, what’s a garden party without a lot of people?20150620_164537

Thanks, Joy. See you and Matt around the grill.


232 comments on ““See” you at the grill

  1. Oh! I’d love to come! I think I’ll bring the sweet, cold ice tea! And empty jars…because at some point we’ll all need to get up and stretch, and then we can catch lightning bugs together and set them on the tables while we talk into the night! Of course, we’ll let the fireflies go at the end of the evening!

  2. I’m here! What a fun idea! Thank you for thinking of me, Joy — and David, of course. Since you’ve already asked a question, Joy, I’ll hop right in and answer it. How did I get into writing plays? Well, I was on stage before I started school because I began dance classes at age 4 and we had recitals. Then I had a second grade teacher who had a beautiful set of rod puppets and encouraged us to create stories with them. She also acted out scenes from “Arsenic and Old Lace” — yes, for second graders! — and encouraged my early efforts to create plays with my friends by sending us on tour around the school. My fate was sealed, and reinforced by other teachers. As for breaking in professionally, I began with three scripts in PLAYS magazine, entered contests, and — most influentially — attended the biennial Bonderman Playwriting Symposium in Indianapolis (now called “Write Now” and alternating between Indy and Tempe) and the annual American Alliance for Theatre and Education conference (in Milwaukee this year). Learned a lot and made lifelong connections. Networking is crucial in theater. It’s a communal art form. So that’s it in a nutshell. I’ll be happy to answer follow-up questions. Oh! I left the brownies in the car. Hang on . . . here ya go. Recipe: Open a box of Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix, add water, oil, egg, and a cup of chopped walnuts. Bake as directed. Fabulous! And should be perfect with your ice cream, Joy!

    • Sandy, I’ve heard some of that before when we’ve talked but always love hearing stories about how successful people got started. Thanks! Oh, and thank you for the brownies. You had me at chocolate!

    • Sandy, did you see who just arrived from Los Angeles? Herman! He brought salmon. I’m getting it ready now. Introduce Joy. He might answer some of her questions too. Herman? Over here!

  3. I’m going to love this party. I’ll bring a salad. Start with baby spinach, layer in three boiled and sliced eggs, three strips of crisp bacon, slice one tomato, one avocado, and three or four mushrooms, chop up two generous slices of onion, season to taste, and top with Zesty Italian dressing. Stir the bowl and serve.

  4. I’m bringing an old standby, comfort food. Sour cream and onion dip and Ruffles potato chips. Too busy a day to cook, but I’m here. Ånd I’m thinking that a blog party is fine, but with my trusty smart phone, I’ll bet I can locate Goose Lake, David. This party ought to be in person!

      • I’m working on my thesis for the MFA degree. It’s for adults. Connected stories about Jim’s time in Vietnam and the girl he left behind (that would be me, although we weren’t married at the time). It is fiction. Interviewed other vets and have fit those stories in as they fit the narrative. I’ve been reading Jim’s letters (I kept them all) and am falling in love with him all over again. It’s been a good project for both of us, as I interview him before I write a story. I’m on page 182.

      • Veda, what a work of love as you bring us reminders of those terrible times. I want to read it when it’s finished. And congratulations on the MFA status. I’m proud to know you.

    • Veda, I lose track of all you do. How many novels have you published now? And I know there are dozens of articles. You never stop!

    • Renee, you happen to be talking to one of the foremost steak grillers in the, uh, the, uh, on my bl…, in my yard. And I do love strawberries. Glad you came over! So how is No Water doing these days? Where are you spending most of your time? Your legion of fans want to know!

      • If you never added another thing to No Water River, you’ve already created a world class collection that will provide entertainment and information for years to come. Thank you again for that. And now I’m eager to see that poetry book when it comes out. Please pass the tea.

      • Renee isn’t mentioning here that she is a nurturing poetry pal to many & that she spends time offering potent & lyrical comments to posts on her website & fb pages in addition to her big projects.

  5. Well, what a fun idea! Since salad is covered, I’ll bring another dessert: cake batter dip with both fruit and graham crackers to dip in it.

    I’m going to go share that writers are hanging out here–let’s get this party started!

  6. Well, here’s an editor! Hi, everyone. David and I have been working on a poetry collection together and it’s almost ready to go to the printer. It’s about animals that use camouflage to hunt or avoid becoming dinner. In celebration of that, I’m going to bring those little pig-in-a-blanket thingies to the party–mini hot dogs wrapped in pieces of biscuit. Those little pigs think they’re hiding but . . . This is a fun idea, David! I won’t be able to hang out too much today, but I’ll pop in now and again if I can.

    • See? I TOLD you I did. Hey, Karen, thanks for coming. I’ll just have a couple of those little pigs. I adore these things. I beg Sandy for them and now and then she makes them. And what fun we’re had with this book of poems. You are one fine editor and a joy to work with. Thanks!

      • Hey David, Did you know that Western diamondback rattlers are camouflaged to look line the desert gravel they crawl over? That snake finally left, I hope he doesn’t come back.

      • That’s one difference between my old home state of Arizona and Missouri, Joy. Around here when a bird turns up missing, chances are there’s a feral cat in the neighborhood. Out there, if something hisses, step lively!

  7. Shh. Pretty sure I just saw one standing behind that hackberry. Someone take her a hotdog — and a manuscript.

  8. Well now, being in the thick of writing a biography (of one complicated lighting rod of a lady who stands a decent chance of being elected the Republic’s very FIRST girl-born POTUS), it’d be beyond dandy to get away for a backyard beano. I’ll bring along my homemade cool, custardy bread pudding along w/ some fresh blueberries + a can o’ the good stuff, i.e. Reddi Whip. Yum Yum!

    • You know, Cheryl, if I don’t slow down I’ll OD on this good stuff you brought. Thanks! And my hat is off to anyone who can follow the Clinton trail and explain it to the rest of us. What a fascinating subject. I’m delighted that you’re about to pull it off!

    • Cheryl, you always amaze me with your comfortable familiarity with history. I get the feeling that you exist on some sort of magic conveyer belt that moves in both directions and you stroll along either way greeting friends and celebrating birthdays and special events along the way. How do you DO that?

  9. You always have the best ideas, David. It looks like rain is headed our way up here in Rochester, NY, so I like the thought of virtualizing myself to Goose Lake. I’ll bring along my deviled eggs. The secret ingredient is a bit of anchovy paste. (Yeah, you can get that ooo-how-can-I-keep-the-Yick!-expression-off-my-face?–expression off your face! Nobody ever guesses the secret ingredient because the eggs don’t taste at all fishy (*I* wouldn’t eat them if they did!) It just adds a little bit of zing–and saltiness, so I don’t put in any salt.)

    • Hey, everybody, look who made it! Vivian Vande Velde! Thanks for coming, Vivian. And I would trust anything you make. The eggs sound terrific. In case there’s anyone here who hasn’t discovered your wonderful books, I hope they’ll get started this summer. What’s the latest from your pen?

      • Well, how did I end up with just my initials rather than my name? Oops! I think I see now. I am so un-tech-savvy! Right before ducking in here for some of those wonderful sounding desserts,I had a note from my editor informing me that I had no attachment with the e-mail I’d just sent saying “Here’s the copyedited ms. back.” (The editor I embarrassed myself in front of is Mary Colgan–and, David, you and I talked once before about how she’s your Boyds Mills editor, too. She gave lots of good nudges in the direction of making the story better.)

        The story in question is called 23 Minutes, and it’s about a girl with a very limited ability to play back time. She’s using that talent to try to stop people from getting hurt in a bank robbery she just happened to witness. But she only has up to 10 tries (fewer if she gets killed, of course), and things keep going from bad to worse…

        Janie, I’d need some of that wine if I was going to be helping with those dramatic readings. Maybe I’ll just find a comfortable lounge chair and watch & listen to the rest of you.

      • Your new story sounds fascinating, Vivian. We do indeed share Mary Colgan at Boyds Mills. I invited her today. Mary? You there? I just finished a manuscript with her too. You’re right, Vivian. Mary is a fine nudger!

  10. Thanks for the invite! Hi, Missouri buddies (and Pennsylvania and Rochester buddies)! If my garden wasn’t drowned, I’d bring some red, red strawberries. As it is, I’ll swing by the vineyard owned by one of the elders at my church and pick up a bottle of his private-label Norton. I want to be first to try the deviled eggs with anchovy paste. Can we do some dramatic readings? On my blog, I just posted the first couple of pages of my out-in-October novel:

      • I got to read Janie’s very swell book – lucky ME – AND got to hear a bit of your far out, adventurous project, dear Veda, but I was hoping you’d bring some of that great guacamole you make to David’s backyard extravaganza…

    • Heck yeah. A new book from Janie Cheaney is always a reason to celebrate! I’ll have just a touch of that Norton.

      • Cheryl Harness…the lady I have a pic of wearing a coon skin hat! Love her work! It is fun she is here and has read Janie’s book! I LOVED it and can’t wait for others to devour it, too! By the way, I’m happy to stop by the grill, but as usual, I have very little time to linger, and no time to cook, so I simply grabbed a prepared fruit tray from Walmart for you all, and I’ll be zipping through the drive through on my way to my son’s DARE graduation!

    • Love dramatic readings! Count me in. We once had a troupe — the Not Ready for Anything Players — as you may recall, that did readings at the MO children’s literature festivals. David and I, plus Gary Blackwood, Michael Spradlin, and the late, great Barbara Robinson. Fun times!

      • Ha! Yes. That’s from “Somebody Catch My Homework,” a play I wrote based on a variety of David’s poems. The kids in the play are required to write essays about the Animal Kingdom, which they do through (David’s) poems, and the irrepressible Sidney writes his on birds. The reference is to chickens, but I’ll leave it to David to quote the rest of the poem, should he wish to do so. Thanks for remembering, Janie!

      • Here’s the poem you’re thinking of. It’s in THE MOUSE WAS OUT AT RECESS.

        by David L. Harrison

        The ostrich has a graceful neck,
        The eagle has fierce eyes,
        The heron has amazing legs,
        The condor has great size,
        But the humble chicken beats them all,
        It has delicious thighs.

      • Oh what lovely memories, Sandy! We all miss our friend Barbara. I can still see that smile.

    • Thanks for sharing your work with us. This is one of thew best parties I’ve been to in a long time, and the weather here in MO is so much nicer than Tucson today.

  11. Hello, everyone! I’m here and delighted to see you all! David, may I have a little room in your freezer, as I’ve prepared some homemade strawberry ice cream. We’ll enjoy it a little later, shall we? Perhaps when I return–as I need to pop out to finish my Jimmy Carter biography (for second graders–such fun!), and I’m a wee past deadline. Oh, and when I return, I’d be delighted to talk with anyone about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which–can you believe it?–I just read for the first time. In keeping with that strange, twisted, and charming little book, I am delighted to say I know where I’m headed for lunch today. It’s good to have the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and the meaning of everything. Oh, and I’ll take a little of that sweet tea before I go. Back soon!

    • Hooray! Dona, so glad you stopped by for a bit and bite and look forward to your return. (Psssst, everybody. She’s another editor!) Plus an author. Plus a director of plays. Plus a lot of other plusses. More later, Dona.

    • Dona, I’d love to hear more about your work lately with youth theater. Sandy Asher would be interested but we all would. When you’re not looking for new ideas for Shell/Teacher Created Materials, you have an intriguing “other” life.

  12. Thanks for the invitation, David! What fun! My granddaughter, Charlotte Rose, is here this weekend. We’ll try to pop in from time to time to see what’s cooking. Charlotte inspired our new TINY TALES series of early chapter books that will be released this fall and we’re sitting here looking at the F&Gs right now! Her favorite of the series is the book with the stories about LUCY GOOSE. She was the one who named her! 😉 Charlotte and Lucy are so excited to visit your Goose Lake. Me too!

    • Hi Charles! So glad to see you here today too. We’re having a good turnout! Say hello to Charlotte Rose for us. Sounds like we have a lot of goose people among us. Congratulations on your upcoming titles.

  13. Oh, my: WHAT a PARTY! Thanks for the invitation, David. I’ve been eager to visit Goose Lake ever since I read your ebook about it. Show me where those turtles are, those “summer tourists sunning at the beach”!

    • Greetings my friend. Everybody wave at Janet Wong. She’s a triple threat counting her writing, speaking, and co-publishing of Pomelo Books (with Sylvia Vardell). I left out being a former lawyer and a wonderful advocate for children’s literature in general and poetry in particular. Glad to see you, Janet. Go try some of that wine.

      The dang turtles won’t sit still long enough for a picture since we build the sea wall. They can hear me coming and leap into the water before I can catch them.

      • Good to see you, Joy! Yes, there are so many creatures to write about here at Goose Lake, including David’s shy turtles. I think we should each write a poem on a napkin and do poem swaps for a party game!

      • Janet, what a good idea to write napkin poems about turtles and pass them around. I’m sorry I was busy helping Cheryl with limes and ice and didn’t hear what you said in time for this party. Let’s try to remember it for next year. Joy thinks we should do this again. What do you think?

    • Janet, how many books have you and Sylvia published now? You’ve become a force in the world of children’s poetry so we owe you two a huge thank-you! What got you started on such an ambitious path?

      • How many books? Eight! The NCTE tribute book for Lee Bennett Hopkins (DEAR ONE) started our collaboration six years ago; then we did the three PoetryTagTime ebook anthologies; and after that, the four books in The Poetry Friday Anthology series that so many of us here have been involved with. A toast to the community of poets!

      • Janet Wong, the last anthology POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS,is a dual language book with poems presented in English and Spanish. Have any other languages been used for translations of the books?

      • Janet, am I right in thinking that Spanish is the only other language used so far? Any other plans?

  14. You can’t have too many desserts–I’m baking some blueberry buckle. You also can’t have too many books, so I’ll stick my copy of All the Light We Cannot See in the bottom of my picnic basket. It’s a great read (I’ll be sad when I finish the final hundred pages) and maybe we can talk about that and other favorite books while we hang around the grill.

    • Buffy, I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for the blueberry buckle! I haven’t read that book yet but appreciate the reminder. It’s now on my list (again). What’s new with you?

  15. Thanks to all my guests so far. I’m off to run errands but look forward to seeing who shows up while I’m gone. Back soon!

  16. Nothing better than a garden party, and I’m glad shorts are the order of the day. That’s all I wear nine months of the year. I’ll bring my special guacamole, chips, and veggies. I’ll also regale you with stories from my current read: Lay Bare the Heart: An Autobiography of the Civil Rights Movement by James Farmer.

    • Hi, Larry. Thanks for coming! And thanks again for having me participate via Skype during your recent workshop in Honesdale. I sure heard lots of compliments about your work there. Heads up, anyone looking for a good summer read. This sounds like one to add to the list.

  17. Wow, what a party and the food sounds great, but no backyard party is complete with my famous “Duck rollups”, start with a plump chunk of mallard breast, marinated in a bit of olive oil, red wine vinegar, soy, put it on a tooth pick with a chunk of pineapple on one side and a chunk of jalepeno on the other side, wrap the whole thing with a half a piece of bacon and grill until crispy… my mouth is watering. I am working on my first book for an independent author/publisher (Indy??) sort of scary in the beginning… its a beautifully written collection of scriptural allegories, I finished another of the paintings yesterday, I wish I could attach one so you all could see. anyway, enjoy the rollups and the view at Goose lake, wish I were there but alas someone has to fish on this beautiful day in Idaho…

    • Hey Dan! It’s great to see you here. The fish may not be as big in Goose Lake as what you’re accustomed to, but we have enough to make wetting a hook worthwhile. Everyone, Dan illustrated PIRATES and COWBOYS. I still tell the story about when Dan needed a live model for a scene where a pirate is tied to the mast and flogged. He talked his daughter into getting her boyfriend to be the model. How’d that turn out, Dan?

      • He asked her to marry him and she said no… she later married her high school sweet heart, who by the way is a terrific young man a good model… I win on both counts.

      • Dan,
        Your duck roll ups have my mouth watering. I first pronounced it like wallop. I didn’t know what you were talking about until I got to the end of the description.
        Loved your art for Pirates and Cowboys. they are beautiful books. You and David must do another one together.

  18. Rain, rain, rain in Ohio. Good day to stay in the kitchen and make baklava. Then, I can bring it to the party – always enough for big crowds. David – how about some sunshine around that grill?

    • As a matter of fact, dear Mary Jo, the sun just popped out an hour ago. Right now you could steam broccoli in my back yard. But maybe that’s because so many guests are here too. Folks, Mary Jo Fresch retires in a few days as a professor at Ohio State. She and I have presented many times at conferences and co-authored five professional books with another in the works. Pass the baklava!

      • We DO have fun. Can’t wait to present again with you at ILA and to have you and Hank come home with us for a visit. Counting down the days!

    • Donna, that sounds fantastic. Sandy and I both love chicken recipes. I’ll make sure she sees this on. Thanks for coming today. Tell us what you’re up to. Have something to drink. We have plenty.

      • I am waiting and hoping for good news from my agent on a pb submission, working on my freeverse YA and tweaking some chapter books. Also, enjoying our summer, even though we are homeschooling all year. Also, working on getting my blood pressure down through exercise, healthy eating and weight loss!

      • Joy, someone really did an author/artist cookbook a few years ago. I never saw a copy but I was in it.

      • Joy, I’ll send a note to the woman who put the cookbook together, if I can still reach her. Her name is Sharon Sellens. She lived in Alaska at that time but I believe she has a different address these days. I’ll let you know if I have any luck.

      • Sharon says I have the wrong person in mind, Joy. Hmm. It’s a cold trail but I’ll try one other person.

    • Great to see you, Tim. And thanks for the mustard, too. I’ve never been to a ball game in Cleveland but now I see what I’ve been missing. Say hello to Tim, everyone. He teaches at Kent State and has written and/or co-authored an enormous number of books. I’m glad to say that one of them was with me and we have another one coming out this fall. Make some space for Tim’s mustard.

  19. I am bringing some nice bourbon to spike the sweet iced tea. Hi everyone! I’ll be checking back one or twice over the day.

    • Melissa! Wonderful to see you here. I’m not saying that because of the bottle you’re packing, but it doesn’t hurt anything if you know what I mean. Melissa Manlove, everyone. My editor at Chronicle. Got some good stuff in the works to tell us about? On the prowl for anything in particular?

      • I’m excited about Swan, and Marvelous Cornelius, and Tree of Wonder, and Ninja Baby … but no, I never know what I’ll acquire next until I see it.

    • Hey, everybody! Crashing the party with beer. Hope there’s room in the fridge. I’m usually a wallflower at things like this, so bear with me. I’m Tim Bradley, author/illustrator of nonfiction and science fiction for kids. My pals Heidi Fiedler and Dona Rice told me about this get-together, which is pretty awesome. Melissa actually rescued my second book, PALEO SHARKS, from the slush pile, for which I am extremely grateful.

      Melissa, still cranking away on “The Robots Grimm”–hoping to have something out to you soon to look over.

      Hope everyone’s doing great–happy Friday!

      • Beer man. Beer man coming through! Hi, Tim. So glad that Heidi and Dona got in touch with you. Not only are you welcome but you are the first person all day to bring any beer. If the fridge is full, I’ll toss the milk. Fear not.

        Paleo Sharks sounds like a great subject. I’ll want to get a copy.

      • Tim you would not believe what was involved. My M.O.W. was NOT on board for all the landscaping and she occasionally mentions it just a teeny weeny bit. So I appreciate your comment.

    • Hi Melissa! I took your picture book class at SCBWI a year or two ago and just wanted to mention that I still go back to my notes from that class. Thank you for all the expert analysis you offered that day. Plus I love the tone you set in that workshop and try to channel it when I work with my students!

  20. Hi guys! I’m here with some champagne granitas, which I love by can’t really justify making for myself. Which makes it perfect party food! I just wrapped up two macro photography books for kids and I’m catching my breath before the next list starts. Good to see you all here! Thanks for the invite, Dona!

    • Welcome, Heidi. Glad you heard about the blog party and came. I’m sure you’ll make plenty of friends who will want a sample of your champagne granitas. Thanks for bringing such a treat! Congratulations on the new photography books. So make yourself at home. Like the lake?

      • Yeah, I know–we really enjoyed that. You guys are OK in Ry’s book–the fact that he spent the whole time with us uncool oldsters was a huge seal of approval. Hopefully we’ll get another opportunity before too long.

      • So glad you liked the assessments. They came out really well. I just finished a mondo writing project for TCM, and have another nonfiction series in the works for them. Mostly PM and editing, but also some writing. I’ve also been working with Walter Foster, one of my old companies, to write and edit some books for them. Up Close: Sea Life and Up Close: Bugs & Butterflies are coming out at the end of the year, and we’ve got some other kooky titles on the list too. Plus consulting with a few other clients and working on the personal projects I am vowing to carve out more time for! Still getting used to be totally freelance, but I love it. Not sure I can ever go back! (But I try to look politely ho hum about it if anyone from the office asks 🙂

      • I can’t quite figure out how to reply to a reply. Hope you find this, Heidi. Great to hear what you’ve got going on. Freelancing is tough–I’ve done it for a lot of years. But now I’m, as they say, “unemployable.” :>) Couldn’t go to an office job unless I had to for benefits.

  21. I see that Vivian Vande Velde, over there by the deviled eggs, won this year’s Empire State Award for excellence in Literature for Young People–let’s have a round of applause! She joins a distinguished company including Maurice Sendak, Bruce Coville, Linda Sue Park, Jerry Pinkney, Jacqueline Woodson . . . Whoo-hoo!

  22. I’m on a plane leaving hot Miami for perfect Portland, so I’ll have the pilot drop on by. Expect an extra 300 or so. I’ll bring pretzels…since that’s the best I can offer. But, they will be in small, personalized bags, so how bad can they be? Warm up the pool—I can’t wait to dive in, literally.

    • Ha ha! Ruth is like one of those over-the-road drivers who basically live on wheels, except the wheels she rides pull up on takeoff. Ruth is the Traits Lady whose recent title, THE WRITING THIEF, is going bananas. I’m proud to be in it and look forward to introducing Ruth, Lester Laminack, and Kate Messner at ILA in St. Louis next month. Ruth, you’ve actually sat in my back yard so you don’t need to work very hard to “see” it. Welcome back. A while back we had the pleasure of hosting Ruth, Lester, Mary Jo, and Laura Robb around the pool. What a treat that was.

      • Laura, They stopped with the peanuts when too many parents complained of allergies and health hazards for their kids. the only place to get nuts on an airplane now is first class.

  23. Sorry I’m late–computer on the fritz and a brand new printer here in Scotland kept me off much of the day. But I have a loaf of warm challah, huge tub of fresh butter, three of my favorite cheeses (Stilton with apricot, St Andre, and brie hot out of the oven baked with garlic) and a bottle of bubbly though by the size of this crowd, I should have brought five!

    • Jane, any one of those treats would get you past the gate keeper. Thanks for fighting the odds to get here, and from Scotland yet. This is getting to be quite an international gathering. It’s wonderful to have you join us.

    • Hi Jane!
      You’re just in time (US east coast time) for dinner. I HAVE been eating desserts ever since arriving, but I can’t resist your offerings.
      The anticipated rain never came–I’m guessing it’s because of all the virtual sunshine I brought back with me.

    • Ok, Jane put the cheese down and let’s talk. What are you working on and what was the recent picture book you and Heidi did about? what are you currently reading. Sorry I didn’t mean to monopolize the conversation.

    • So glad to see you here, Jane! I was hoping to see your name on the list of speakers for the Simmon’s Children’s Institute (very much looking forward to it). I would love to finally introduce myself in person if we’re ever at the same conference–and share some good cheese!

  24. Thanks for the invitation, David – I’m fashionably late because I’ve been spending the whole day prepping for our sojourn up to Maine for the week. (It’s not Scotland, but it’ll do!)

    I’ve saved a burger, brat, barbecued chicken leg, marinated flank steak, AND some corn on the cob for each of you, along with a few Coronas, root beer, some Blue Paw Dog (blueberry ale!) and my favorite beverage of all time – the elixir of the gods – Moxie (it’s a New England thing). For the vegans, I also have roasted vegetables, barbecued eggplant, and grilled tempeh sandwiches. I hope that’s enough; if anyone’s still hungry, I can make more!

    Oh, and for dessert, I brought Strawberries Romanoff, a chocolate-raspberry trifle, and plenty of marshmallows dipped in Kahlua and Grand Marnier for toasting. 😉

    • Well helloooooo, Matt!!! Hey everyone, if we run out of food here, I say we head for Matt’s back yard. He’s got stuff! Thanks, Matt, for urging me to meet folks around the grill. You and Joy have certainly prompted a fun party, and we still have a lot of time left.

  25. Hey there! I’m here, too, with a bowl of homemade pesto (my basil’s going nutso with all this rain), crackers, and a bottle of Cabernet. Happy Friday, everyone!

    • Kate!! It’s a good thing you’re tall, kid. I almost didn’t see you in the crowd. You look great as always. And thanks for the wine and pesto. It’s so close to 5:00 that I expect more than one guest to suddenly discover some booze tucked away somewhere.

      Make yourself at home. Hey everybody! If you haven’t met Kate Klise, here’s your chance. She writes super books that sell tons and get written up and she teams with her artist sister to make magic together. Kate, Vivian’s deviled eggs are fantastic.

  26. Looks like I’m fashionably late, don’t know anyone, and standing awkwardly by the bushes (because there is no wall to be a wallflower on). I brought pecan tassies because they are delicious in that old-fashioned way…better than pecan pie.

    • Teresa, you can tell by now that this is a friendly crowd. If you want to meet someone, just stick out your hand and ask a question or comment. This is a party! Besides that, if you think anybody would even consider being rude to someone who brought pecan tassies, that’s just wrong!

  27. Hi Everybody! Sorry I’m late. My GPS gave me faulty directions and sent me through a forest, across a cow pasture and into a hedge maze for a few hours. But I brought this plate of chocolate-dipped, almond-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates to share. I hope there’s enough for everyone.

    • Well for heaven’s sake. Now we have our reining U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate joining us and he’s bearing something that has just GOT to be good. Sorry you had trouble getting here, Kenn, but happy you made it. By the way, you’re standing next to Teresa Robeson. Play your cards right, she might trade you a pecan tassie for one of those bacon-wrapped dates. Kenn with all you have going on these days, it’s a wonder you could get here at all. Anything you want to talk about?

  28. Yum! I’m pedaling as fast as I can! I’m very excited about seeing Goose Lake and especially your Old Friend, the tree. I didn’t comment yesterday, but I opened my email immediately to check on her!
    Since you grill a good steak, I’m bringing ribeyes. And I make some awesomely tasty baked beans. And how about a freezer of homemade butterfinger ice cream?
    I can’t wait to meet and mingle with all these Kidlit folks! This will be sooo much fun!

  29. Everyone? May I have your attention for a minute? Can you hear me? I just want to say that Brenda Seabrooke says hello. She has been trying all day to get her computer to cooperate and has met with nothing but resistance. She’s here in spirit, but then I guess we all are. Point is she wants us to know she really, really tried. Hey Brenda. I’m raising a glass to you. Thanks for trying.

  30. Gosh, this is exciting. May I stop in for a minute? I’ll bring vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries. I am so nervous I’ll stand behind a tree or two and listen to the chatter. I love your lake, and hopefully there will be a firefly display after the sunset reflects across the water.

  31. Sorry I’m so late arriving at the party. This is amazing. Can I sneak into the kitchen and tell Sandy HI?
    I’ve been away from my computer all day and I’m off to Phoenix tomorrow. So I’ll see if I can get back tomorrow evening. Are you having a sleep over?
    And I want Matt to get out the marshmallows, his s’mores are amazing.

    • Joy! I thought you’d forgotten my address! As you can see, we’ve had a great turnout and I’ve loved mingling and chatting with friends old and new. Sandy says Hi back. I guess we must have had a sleepover because we’re still here this morning and going strong. Glad you made it!

  32. joyacey: Why thanks for asking. This morning I finished a new dino board book, and yesterday I sent off a book of adult poems to my editor hoping he will like it.) It’s called “Conversations With. . .” and are all poems that begin with a quote from someone I either agree with, disagree with, or want to rephrase! Heidi’s and my new book out (and reprinted within a month f publication!) is YOU NEST HERE WITH ME with illos by the remarkable Melissa Sweet. We have just sold a new picture book, KITE FOR MOON. Have several more on the boil. Whatever chez I am currently inhabiting is always full of books and manuscripts. Lifting that glass of bubbly now. Yesterday was a difficult electronic day.

  33. Hello David –lovely party–sounds like everyone has been enjoying great food and great company. Yesterday I worked all day in my backyard so missed out:( Although I did rack up 17,664 steps on my fitbit! First thing this morning I made a pie to share from fresh marionberries still covered with morning dew. Marionberries are only grown in Oregon and have a perfect blend of sweet/tart flavor for pie making–hope I brought enough!

    • Hey! Marie! Over here by the tables! I’m so glad you could make it! And oh boy, Marionberry pie! Jeff Harrison? Jennifer? Are you guys here somewhere? You won’t believe this. Marie, our son and daughter-in-law live in Portland so we always pig out on Marionberries when we’re out there. Yum!

      So what’s up with you and your hubby? More good books on the way?

      • I can’t believe I can finally meet your family from Portland! Roland is right behind me someplace. We love being home on the farm more than anything except a trip to your gorgeous home on the lake:) Many familiar faces here–off to catch up!

      • Hey, Marie. I haven’t spotted them yet but I’m looking for them too. I’ll send them over when I find them. Is this a swell party or what!

      • You know, when you lose someone in a crowd and finally just e-mail them? That’s what I just did to Jeff and Jennifer. I’m bound to hear from them soon. Don’t go away!

      • Yep, we’re here! Sorry, I had to make a beer run! But once I saw that somebody was bringing Marionberry pie, I hustled on back!! And didn’t I see some salmon somewhere?? 🙂

      • At last! Marie, Jeff and Jennifer. Jeff and Jennifer, Marie. Glad you guys finally hooked up! Roland is around here someplace.

  34. Heads up everyone. Brenda Seabrooke is still trying to persuade her computer (or mine) to gain access to the party, but in the meantime she sent this gorgeous Georgia Coca Cola cake! Way to go, Brenda! I don’t know how you pulled this off, but I’m really glad you did!

    • Hello to Brenda! When I have troubles with my computer, I find that swearing helps–or at least makes me feel better–but never when I’m in such polite company. And especially not with my mouth full of your Coca Cola cake! I hope you’re doing well. Can you (or David) give an update about your projects?

  35. The sun’s out. We’re headed for the low 90s. Did I lie to you about having good weather? I think not.

    I have a couple of questions. In an earlier note, Joy wondered what books on craft you especially like. It’s okay if you all talk at once. It’s a party! Tell us what you recommend.

    And if I have failed to introduce all you guests properly, it’s because I always seem to have a mouthful of food. Please tell us anything you want us to know about yourself and what you do. Some of you have given us updates but I’m not sure that everyone has. Belatedly, let’s take care of that right now! Go!

    • What a lovely, lively get-together! So many terrific writers, poets, illustrators, and editors. Whee! But 90s is way too hot (which is why I moved from FL to MN).

      I’m a children’s writer and poet, and a few of my favorite craft/writing books are:

      TAKE JOY (Yolen) (Hi, Jane!)
      POETRY MATTERS (Fletcher)
      RULES OF THE DANCE (Oliver)
      ZEN IN THE ART OF WRITING (Bradbury)
      A POETRY HANDBOOK (Oliver)
      POEMCRAZY (Wooldridge)
      POEM-MAKING (Livingston)

      I used to read a lot more craft books. Looking forward to everyone’s suggestions! Especially anything related to poetry and picture books.


  36. David, I can’t believe I’m late. Thanks for inviting me. I brought you a can of propane for the grill. Is there any food left? More importantly is there anymore wine. And where is that Marion berry pie that Marie made?

    • Oh heck, Roland. I just ate the last bite. Mmmm! So sorry! But I’m tickled that you got here and eager tell everyone you made it. Food’s over on the tables by the grill. Fill a plate and gaze out at the most special little like in Missouri: Goose Lake!

      Roland, when you’re not traveling to wow some audience somewhere, what are you working on currently? Sorry if I caught you with food in your mouth.

      • Right now I’m at your party thinking about throwing a line into Goose Lake and seeing what bites. When I get back to the farm I will be working on the edits for Above, sequel to Beneath, and a new novel, which I hope to have first drafted by the end of summer.

      • Figures you wouldn’t be doing anything. Same old same old. I’ll go look in the garage for some tackle. The line’s probably old but if my son is roaming around here somewhere he’s probably packing a rod and reel. I’ve been trying to identify some large fish that often feed on the surface. They have scales, an enormous tail fin, a dorsal fin that also rises up from the water, and a tapered head that’s always submerged. They’re close to three feet long and I counted eight of them the other evening. My grandson Kris thinks they’re a Japanese form and I think he might be right. Someone must have emptied their tank a few years ago. Are you going to finish that wine?

  37. Better late than never! Didn’t make it through all of the food items (reading food porn is difficult when one is hungry already): is anyone bringing salmon filets for the grill?

    • My gosh, it’s the renowned actor, director, and playwright Herman Johansen! Hey, look who just showed up, everybody! Glad to have the salmon too. Roland brought an extra tank of gas so we can fire up these babies right now!

      Herman, I hope you’re going to tell us about your upcoming play in New York. I’ve had the pleasure of reading the script so I know it’s wonderful. Give us the details.

      • Well, this is strange. I received and replied to a message from David that Herman was here, but neither of those messages has appeared on the blog. Herman, are you messing up already? Oh, well, never mind. Welcome! And the salmon more than makes up for it. And, yes, we are awaiting details as to when exactly your play will be done in New York City!

      • Sandy, your message is right here where it ought to be. I hope you didn’t go back for seconds on the wine. (:>

      • David, we both know Sandy is a great writer but really can’t hold her liquor, so no surprise that she’s losing stuff.
        Happy to report that I flew to NYC for auditions this past week and have now cast the play and it’s a great cast. Details to follow soon. I also rented rehearsal space just today (which is why I intend to drink heavily at your party; thank goodness you let me crash in the spare bedroom from time to time!).
        You’re much too kind about the script, David. That first draft you graciously read now seems rather barbaric. I think each rewrite has improved it tremendously. Oh gosh, apparently the excessive drinking has started…the way I’m rambling on and on…what have you been up to, Sandy? And I hope we can get together in Aug in NYC.

      • Hey, Herman, I can hold my liquor all right. As is my wont, I’ve been holding the same half-empty (half-full?) glass since this party began. I would love to see your play in NYC in August, but I would need to know the date. Apparently, you shared that with your newly acquired cast? It is customary to do so. (And don’t even get me started about your being in NYC and not visiting Lancaster. David will not want to hear my feelings on that either.) As for me, I just shipped off to my agent the latest revision of a manuscript that David and I have been working on together for about 10 years. When I left Springfield, I promised him we’d still work on stuff together — but I didn’t think it would be the same project the whole time! Kind of like this half-full (half-empty?) glass I’m holding. Do I sense a motif here?

  38. I would love to share my upcoming book release for November 3, 2015 – Beneath the Waves: Submarine Stories of the Twentieth Century, published by Skyhorse Publishing. My biggest dream is to get it into schools. I love writing children’s stories and poems that I hope to find a market for. I am going to try to work my photographs in as illustrations. I hope you all don’t mind I shared.

  39. Wow, what a party!! And clean up is going to be really easy. Think I’ll have another beer! It’s so hot, sorry the ice cream melted.

  40. Yes, lots of straws and I just added Bailey’s to the milkshake. Doesn’t get much better than that.

  41. Wow… I thought I would be too late to add to this stream! Nevertheless, hello to all and thanks for such a lovely party. It’s rhubarb season here, so I’m bringing my rhubarb cake with whipped cream as a topper. It’s always a favorite. I’ve recently spent 4 days at a writing seminar in Princeton. Lots of good inspiration and learning there. And now… to work!

    • Congratulations! Everyone listen up! Cheryl has been slaving away over this book for quite some time and she’s just reached that magical point when you sit back and let out your breath. Cheryl, way to go! The ice and limes are no problem, girl. Here’s to you!

  42. Happy Father’s Day, David. I hope it is a great one for you. Sorry to be such a party pooper, sitting in the corner. My internet went down yesterday and I didn’t get it back up until late Sunday. Maybe we should make this an annual event.

    • Thank you, Joy. And thanks again for suggesting the party. I think everyone had a good time. It was nice to see so many old friends and greet new ones. Have a safe trip today.

      And yes, maybe this should become an annual event. Certainly worth considering!

  43. The photos of the lakeshore partee site are enticing me up there from Florida with fresh off the boat Apalachicola shrimp my hubby & I snagged on a recent visit to that lovely village. It’s for my famous cold shrimp pasta salad, which quickly empties out of the bowl, so dig in fast.

    I will enjoy returning here to follow the links, especially for the peek at the novel to be released in October. It’s fun to feel like an insider & know forthcoming titles/projects/travels.

    Hope the weather clears for all, we didn’t get the hurricane rain that landed at
    Texas but we are still early into the season. What we do have is 99 degee days with heat index higher than that so we are fortunate to keep cool in our backyard pool every day. Eggplants & figs & lemons appreciate our drinks of water we sprinkle.

    The books list from Laura is appreciated muc. My creativity/craft is boosted by most of the book titles Laura shared & I will look now for the ones new to me. I especially have shared thru the years TOUCH MAGIC. I also like to offer folks THE CREATIVE HABIT by Twyla Tharpe, who wrote in it that she counted among her circle of go-to folks for eyedear bouncing, Maurice Sendak.

    My projects include writing my MG novel set along the FL coast (no surprise there) but in the early 1970s, also my 1st poetry collection I’m revising after a recent workshop, SALTY UNDERWEAR, short verses from the shore – hope you like the title? My daughter didn’t but it’s not what she thought, in the title poem the little boy runs back up to the blanket with seaweed pasted in the underwear spot… I also wrote a new picture book & it’s about my 4th with a garden theme so I think this one may be worth digging into more. Our eggplants, figs & lemons appreciate the drinks of water we give them in these 99 degree days (with heat index making it higher.) Jump in the water with us if you get down this way.

    • Hi, Jan, and welcome to the gathering in my back yard. Your shrimp dish sounds fantastic and I can’t wait to dig in. Thanks for bringing it and for telling us about yourself. We’ll add your suggestions to the list that Laura started. Thanks. Introduce yourself to anyone you don’t know. This is a friendly bunch! And good luck with your writing!

      • Appreciations David,
        I’d like to humbly beg for a leftover to-go plate with a piece of Karen Eastlund’s rhubarb cake on it – for my hubby, Paolo, who, being a different kind of writer (public interest law stuff) couldn’t attend.

        And I meant to give this craft title of possible interest to the partygoers
        poemcrazy Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge

        Still reading over picnic table full of responses! You do throw a tastee partee.

      • Jan, by all means take a plate to Paolo. We still have food to spare. I can’t believe how many have shown up. I’ve lost count, but it has been a real humdinger. Glad you’re here!

  44. 4 comments on “What a party!”


    June 22, 2015 @ 8:40 am Edit

    Well, darn, I missed the party and now I’m stuck with a big old bowl of Frog-Eye Salad! Glad you had such a great turnout.



    June 22, 2015 @ 8:44 am Edit

    Now just hold on there, Deborah! I’m glad to have reinforcements and your salad looks delicious. Fear not, this party isn’t over as long as good folks keep showing up and/or coming back to check for messages. I promise that your salad was not made in vain!


  45. Claudia Mills

    June 22, 2015 @ 10:10 am Edit

    I’m late to the party, too. But, Deborah, I’m more than happy to take some of the Frog-Eye Salad off your hands!



    June 22, 2015 @ 10:15 am Edit

    Hi Claudia! I’m so glad you made it. So many busy people somehow managing to drop by is a genuine pleasure. I know you’ve been traveling. What’s new with you these days? New books? New plans?

  46. Pingback: BLOG PARTY! BLOG PARTY! BLOG PARTY! | Children's Author David L. Harrison's Blog

  47. I’m glad you said this lasts days and days because I simply MUST come back! This party has SOOOO many of my very most favorite people! Besides my family, these authors are the ones I spend much of my time with each and every day! I soak up their words, I become friends with their characters, I walk through adventures with them, and at the end, I respect their time, their work, and their willingness to share!!!!

    David, this was a brilliant idea! I must enter grades and get over to the school to cheer for my son, but I will try to swing back by to check and see the rest of the guests! Thank you for inviting me! Party on!

    • You are more than welcome, Julie. I’m delighted to have you join the fun. I hope you won’t mind reposting this one too so everyone at today’s party can see your comments too. Thanks so much!

    • I won’t tell you unless you go back to today’s blog. You must have clicked on the reference to last June. You’re not the only one though so I’m afraid I wasn’t very good with instructions. On today’s post, click on the balloon in the upper right corner and scroll down. See you there!

  48. Oh golly–see what happens when you are working on a novel. Times flies. (I can’t they fly too fast!)

    Here’s my contribution–the largest dark dark chocolate bar in the world. Enough for everyone here. That’s cause I am a MAJOR chocoloholic and I expect everyone else is, too.

    S I am setting up the bar (of chocolate) and spinning some tall tales about Harrison. Even Sandy won’t recognize him when I am through.


  49. Would love to be there but Leawood, KS, is just a little bit too far away. If anyone is in KC, I’ll be part of a poetry reading in the Rose Garden at Loose Park. It’s going to be inside the building on the grounds so it doesn’t become “The Great Poetry Sweat-Out of 2016!”

  50. Pingback: Summer blog party this Friday! | Children's Author David L. Harrison's Blog

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