And one more time . . .

Hi everyone,

This week I’m revisiting the manuscript for AFTER DARK, a nature-based book of poems with informative back matter scheduled for spring 2020. The cover is complete and some of the interior work is finished as well. Stephanie Laberis is the illustrator and she’s doing a beautiful job.

I submitted the proposal for this book more than three years ago. During the process of getting this one ready to publish, I’ve dealt with three editors and three or four science specialists. I hope this time around is the final, but I won’t assume anything until this baby is in my hands a year and a half from now.

Challenging the poetry challenge

Hi everyone,

As months and years have slipped by since I established the Word of the Month Poetry Challenge, we’ve enjoyed hundreds of poems by dozens of poets. Some of you rarely miss a month. Others pop up less often but generally leave comments of encouragement for poets who have posted.

So here’s a question for anyone who cares to reply. Do you think that participating in the challenge to write a poem now and then inspired by a single word and commented on by fellow poets has been of any benefit to your writing? I’m not asking because I contemplate dropping this feature of my blog. I just wonder how you feel about it. Thanks.

Off and running

Hi everyone,

What began in a rough patch turned out to be a good week. I found the groove I needed for the new book proposal and by the end of today I’ll have five good poems ready to go. A decent poem per day makes for a successful week. Three are in verse and two are free verse. Sandy, my hawk-eyed first reader, suggested two spots to reconsider, which is what I’ll do this morning. After that I’ll send them along to my writing partner, Laura Robb, and we’ll get back to our editor.

On another front, Mary Jo Fresch and I finished the proposal on another book and sent it on its way. Our editor was just leaving for a conference so we’ll be waiting a while to hear back on that one.

Reference list of speakers, authors, and illustrators

Hi everyone,

Times change. A growing number of authors and illustrators who have supported the annual Children’s Literature Festival in Warrensburg, Missouri are no longer participating in the event. More than two dozen of us have joined to make a list of who we are and provide contact information for those who would like a handy, quick reference. I’m posting the information for the first time today. I hope you will share the list with others who might be in a position of searching for good books and/or talented speakers for conferences and school visits. (I have no idea why, when I copied and pasted, some of these addresses didn’t come through the process live. I assure they are all real and will all work when you copy and paste them into your e-mail to them.)


Hello to all our friends who have met us at past Warrensburg’s Children’s Literature Festivals. We’ve loved being with the kids, teachers, and parents who attend that wonderful event. As we move on to make room for other authors and artists, we don’t want to lose touch with you! Here’s who we are and how you can continue to follow us and our work or get in touch for conference appearances and school visits.

Collectively, we’ve written or illustrated hundreds of your favorite books and visited with young people all over the United States and beyond. Although some of our out of print books are hard to find these days, they are worth the effort! The list of honors our work has received would fill pages, but our purpose here is to make it easier for you to find us. You are an important part of our lives. We look forward to staying in touch.

Alexandria LaFaye
a link to my school visit video:
On Facebook
On Instagram and Twitter
Brenda Seabrooke:
Cheryl Harness
Claudia Mills:
Carole Adler:
David L Harrison:
Dean Hughes:
Dean Hughes, Author, Facebook Page
Gloria Skurzynski
Jane Kurtz
Janie (J.B.) Cheaney
P.O. Box 634, Bolivar MO 65613
Facebook: J.B. Cheaney
Jan Greenberg
Joan Carris
1318 Pendleton Ct., Charlottesville, VA 22901
Judy Fradin
Kristi Holl
Lois Ruby
8223 Grape View Ct. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87122
505-293-5478 (home)
505-288-2194 (cell)
Marsha Diane Arnold
Facebook –
Twitter –
Website (currently being updated) –
Mary Downing Hahn
Mary Jane Auch
Michael Spradlin
Naomi Williamson:
Naomi Williamson, Professor Emeritus, Library Services
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Telephone: 660-238-8784
Sandy Asher:
Sneed B. Collard III
Stephanie Tolan
Teri Sloat
Website for books:
Website for art:
Phone: 707-823-4256
Veda Boyd Jones
Vicki Grove
Vivian Vande Velde:
William Anderson
Phone: 810 667 2012
Fb: William Anderson Author

Looking for a trail

Hi everyone,

I’ve been working on a new proposal for the education market. We haven’t been accepted yet but if we are I’ll need to write fifty nonfiction poems in a number of fields for students in grades 4-8. For the last two days I’ve been working on a prototype poem for the collection in case we move forward. Researching it involved a lot of reading, even from an old textbook of mine from days at Emory.

The more I read the more I realized my idea wasn’t going anywhere useful. In the end I tossed the four-stanza draft and returned my textbook (in Protozoology) to the shelf. For me, approaching a new project requires breaking a new trail, creating a new comfort zone that I can relocate and drop into at will over the course of the months it will take to complete the work. In this case the first effort failed. I’ll look elsewhere for a way to get into this challenge. It may take a while, but I’ll get there.