A potpourri

rubberman

REMINDER: The Word of the Month word for April is SPRING. Check the W.O.M. boxes above this post for further informaiton. We’re already seeing some strong efforts from adult poets and also a good one, actually two, from our young poet Taylor. Think about the various meanings of spring and, uh, spring into action.

I’ve asked Sandy Asher to present AMERICA WRITES FOR KIDS and its sister site, AMERICA PLAYS FOR KIDS. I’ll post her article in the next few days. These sites have grown over the years into valuable resources for anyone in search of favorite authors. Hundreds are now represented.

I want to remind everyone that the Writers Hall of Fame Tour of Missouri Children’s Authors and Artists is coming up June 4-7. If you haven’t signed up for it, you need to make your reservations. During the tour you will meet and visit with Cheryl Harness http://www.cherylharness.com/, Dorinda Nicholson http://www.childrenslit.com/bookingservice/nicholson-dorinda.html , Kate Klise http://kateandsarahklise.com/, Vicki Grove http://mowrites4kids.drury.edu/authors/grove/,  June Rae Wood http://usawrites4kids.drury.edu/, J. B. Cheaney http://www.jbcheaney.com/, Lynn Rubright http://www.lynnrubright.com/wordpress/, Constance Levy http://www.squidoo.com/ConstanceLevy, Eileen Bluestone Sherman www.theoddpotato.com , and Leslie Wyatt http://www.lesliejwyatt.com/. For more information, about this unique opportunity contact me at davidlharrison1@att.net .

Have you visited the KIDS page on my website? You must! Kathy Temean is a wonder at presenting fascinating word puzzles and activities each month. If you are a teacher or have children or grandchildren, please check out the page on my website menu and prepare to be impressed and engaged.

I’m also inviting Kathy for an update on the upcoming New Jersey SCBWI conference in Princeton. She’ll use the space below or chime in later when she has time. I was happy to have an article, “Matter of Meter,” in this issue of SPROUTS, the New Jersey SCBWI publication edited by Kathy in her spare time.

Hello, everyone.  Plans for the conference are in full swing.  The hotel is all set up.  I’m picking out the menus for all the meals.  Each year we give out stickers that the attendees can use when submitting to the editors and agents on the faculty.  This is something every loves, because it helps highlight their submissions and helps to keep them out of the slush pile.  I have the design done and tomorrow I will order them.  In another week, I will have all the entries from the Logo Contest and then I will be able to order the bags that you will receive when you check in at registration. 

The last few day I have been matching up the attendees who signed up for one-on-one critiques with an editor or agent.  I have assigned everyone, but I still have to go over the list again and make adjustments.  Right now we have 182 people getting critiques, but registration is not closed.  There are still some additional spots.  Agent Scott Treimel was only supposed to do 6 consultations, but we had some many on the waiting list that I asked him if he would do 3 more and he said, “Yes.”  Simone Kaplan is doing 15 consultations and has a waiting list, but I really can’t push more on her, unless I would add another day – and that’s not happening.

The next thing I have to work on, is rounding up people to donate to our auction.  Each year we ask for donations, so we can raffle them off to help make money for our Scholarship Fund.  It seems like it is even more important this year with so many people out of work.  I use that money to help members who are out of work or having financial difficulties get the support they need to be able to attend events.  It is a good cause.  We have had people donate printers, books, baskets, gift cards, artwork, baseball tickets, facials, messages, dinners, theatre tickets, a get-a-way to a cabin in Maine, and more.  But the exciting part is that I get the editors and agents to donate critiques.  Last year Carolyn Yoder donated a full manuscript critique.  So did Steve Meltzer and Susan O’Keefe.  All the editors donated a critique of some amount.  Even Richard Peck donated a 30 page critique. 

Last year we even got editors and agents who attend the conference to donate and evening at dinner with them.  They were held all summer in NYC and Princeton.  We will be doing something like that again this year.  Critiques are great, but networking is important, too.  Everyone who came out loved them, even the editors and agents.

Anyway, I am excited about this year.  I don’t know how long we can continue improving each year, but somehow we do.  With all the success stories that came out of last years conference, we are really building our reputation.  We have people fly in from all over the country and they are repeat attendees.  I know many of you are not from New Jersey, but you should give some thought to coming out.  Most people say it is the best conference for Children’s writers, bar none.  (Did you just hear me patting myself on my back?)

And David is going to kick off Friday with his keynote speech.  He also is doing a poetry Intensive workshop on Friday morning and a short workshop on Saturday.  He also will be meeting people and doing critiques.  If you haven’t looked at the line-up, here is the link.  http://www.newjerseyscbwi.com/events/100604%20conference.shtml  Kathy

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Missouri Author Tour

Yesterday I mentioned the New Jersey State SCBWI Conference in Princeton, on June 4-5. Today I’d like to tell you about a different kind of opportunity for writers, librarians, teachers, and anyone else who is interested in childrens literature and the people who create it.

The Missouri Author Tour will take you by deluxe motor coach from St. Louis to Kansas City and back in four days (June 4-7). Along the way you will meet ten of Missouri’s most successful creators of children’s literature. Their combined talents include poetry, YA novel, picture book, nonfiction, illustration, playwriting, and storytelling.

The tour is guided by Dr. Linda Benson, professor emeritus at Missouri State University. Linda is enthusiastic and knowledgeable about children’s and young adult literature. Her infectious energy and sense of fun will add to the enjoyment of your trip. Dr. Benson is a longtime member of Writers Hall of Fame, an organization that since 1997 has encouraged an interest in writing by honoring authors and awarding scholarships to high school seniors. All proceeds from the Missouri Author Tour go toward creating additional scholarships. Because of Dr. Benson’s credentials and the caliber of our featured authors, Drury University will make available one hour of credit at the undergraduate or graduate level.

In addition to meeting the authors, the trip includes a Mississippi River sightseeing cruise; guided tour of Booksource, a major book distributor in the midwest (with book buying opportunities); guided costumed docent tour of historic St. Charles, including a visit from chidren’s author Vicki Berger Erwin; and dining on Laclede’s Landing featuring some of the best jazz in St. Louis.

The stars of the tour include Vicki Grove, Cheryl Harness, and June Rae Wood. You’ve met Vicki and Cheryl as guests on my blog and June Rae is coming up on March 5. You’ll meet others on future dates. Here is the entire cast.

J.B. Cheaney (she may or may not tell you what the initials stand for) was born in Dallas and dropped out
of college to get married. In the 36 years since, she and her husband have lived in six different states, moved a total of 23 times, raised two children and home-schooled them for a dozen years. When not writing, or thinking about it, she likes to travel, read, sing, sew, do needlework and sleep—though not necessarily in that order. She lives in Bolivar, Mo. Her works include three Wordsmith books and novels, The Playmaker, The True Prince, My Friend the Enemy and her most recent, The Middle of Somewhere.

Vicki Grove, who lives near Cole Camp, Mo., has been a freelance writer for 29 years, and has published
300 articles and short stores in various magazines. Two of her short stories and three excerpts from her books have been used in junior high and high school textbooks. She was part of a team of writers commissioned to produce Word Publishing’s Youth Study Bible. She has written ten novels, including Destiny and her most recent, Rhiannon, a murder mystery set in medieval England. She recently completed her second historical novel, The Red Dove.

Cheryl Harness, who has written and/or illustrated some 30 titles, lives and works in her historic hometown
of Independence, Mo. Harry Truman once took his daily walks in her leafy neighborhood full of handsome old homes and mansions, which is the setting for her novel, Just For You to Know. She has just completed The Harry Book, a comic book about HST’s life and times. Her picture book subjects range from American women’s history to ancient Egyptians’ daily life along the Nile. Her vocation began with a degree in art education at Central Missouri State University. She loves to spend time with friends, sew, read murder mysteries and go to the movies.

Kate Klise. author of picture books, middle-grade graphic and young adult novels, says her mother, a teacher “gave me a set of luggage, a typewriter and a direct order. She said she’d pay for my college education only if I wrote one letter home every week for all four years of college.” It’s not surprising, then, that many of her books, including the Regarding Series, are epistolary novels. “Everything I know about writing came from writing letters home.” Her collaborator and illustrator is her sister, Sarah, who lives in California. Together, the Klise sisters have netted award nominations in 20 states. Kate lives in rural Missouri and also works as a correspondent for People Magazine and, since 1993, has covered everything from country music to reality TV to rappers, rockers, serial killers, a leper colony in Louisiana and, yes, of course, Brad Pitt.

Constance Levy, a former teacher, college instructor and lecturer, is a children’s poet who evokes essences of the natural world with imagination and playfulness. Her collections of poems appeal to adults and children. “In fi rst grade, I wrote a poem about snow and the teacher praised it so highly, I just kept on writing—even to this day, as a grandmother.” The St. Louis author has been honored for her works, including Splash, A Tree
Place, A Crack in the Clouds
and When Whales Exhale.

Dorinda Makana onalani Nicholson was born in Hawaii to a Hawaiian mother and Scotch-Irish father. The family lived in Pearl Harbor and, standing in their front yard on the morning of December 7, 1941, she clung to her father’s side while enemy torpedo bombers screamed overhead, skimming the treetops, so close Dorinda could see the pilot’s goggles. That early experience informed her mission to bring World War II history alive for young readers. She wrote Pearl Harbor Child and Pearl Harbor Warriors. Her third and newest book, Remember World War II: Kids Who Survived Tell Their Stories, was published by National Geographic. She lives in Independence, Mo., and is a popular speaker at young writers’ conferences because she makes history personal and not just facts and dates.

Lynn Rubright has been a professional storyteller and educator for more than 40 years. Her primary focus
has been performing her original tales for all ages and demonstrating the power of storytelling as a literacy tool in the classroom. Her first chapter book, Mama’s Window, is historical fiction, loosely based on episodes from the childhood of Reverend Owen Whitfi eld, a noted activist, labor and civil rights leader who worked to help Missouri’s sharecroppers during the Great Depression. Currently, she is working on bringing Mama’s Window and other children’s literature to life through drama, storytelling, movement and music with elementary school students in St. Louis area schools.

Eileen Bluestone Sherman, a children’s author, playwright, lyricist and producer, began her career at
Hallmark’s Coterie Theatre in Kansas City in 1982. She won an Emmy for her television adaptation of The Odd Potato, originally written as a picture book. With her collaborator and sister, Gail Bluestone, she adapted the story for the New York theater and produced a charity CD of the musical that starred 20 Tony Award actors. Her drama, Deep, Dark Secrets, about teenage girls and eating disorders debuted last year. She’s also written three young adult novels and loves teaching dramatic literature courses to graduate students. She and her husband, Dr. Neal Sherman, will celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary and their 30th year in Kansas City in June.

June Rae Wood grew up with seven siblings in Versailles, Mo., reading every chance she got. However,
writing never interested her, not even when she went to college. Many years past before the writing “bug” bit her. She honed her skills by studying how-to books and listening to her work on a tape recorder. Her first novel, The Man Who Loved Clowns, was based on the life of her beloved brother. The novel won the 1995 Mark Twain Award in Missouri and the 1995 William Allen White Award in Kansas. She has written four other novels for young adults—A Share of Freedom, When Pigs Fly, Turtle on a Fence Post and About Face. Wood has contributed to two anthologies edited by Sandy Asher: Writing It Right! and On Her Way: Stories and Poems about Growing Up Girl, and her work has appeared in various publications, including Family Circle, Reader’s Digest, School & Community, The Lookout, New Ways and the Sedalia Democrat. Wood remains happily married to William Wood, the man she met on a blind date years ago. They live near Windsor, Mo., and have a daughter and two granddaughters.

Leslie Wyatt, a freelance writer from Clinton, Mo., is a two-time graduate of the Institute of Children’s
Literature, a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and of the Missouri Writer’s Guild. She has had more than 100 articles and stories accepted for publication in various children’s magazines,writing and parenting magazines and anthologies. In addition to her historical middle school novel, Poor Is Just a Starting Place, she has two more books submitted to publishers. Of all the writing she does, Leslie loves concocting historical and contemporary novels the best and is currently working on her first historical fantasy.

Prices for Missouri Author Tour range from $620 each (four in a room) to $858 each (for a single room) and includes round-trip, deluxe motor coach transportation from St. Louis, Mo., three nights’ deluxe lodging with hot breakfasts each morning and manager’s receptions each evening, plus two dinners and one lunch. Admissions and fees for the entertainment listed above and all taxes, service charges and gratuities are included. For reservations, which require a $500 deposit and complete payment by May 8, contact Brian Garrison at Bgarrison@greatsoutherntravel.com. Questions? Contact David Harrison at davidlharrison1@att.net.

David