A fine festival

Hi everyone,

It was a pleasure to participate in The Santa Fe Trail Literature Festival in Sterling, Kansas on the beautiful campus of Sterling College. None other than Cheryl Harness was the other speaker and my dear M.O.W. went with me. Cheryl signed books on Wednesday afternoon. We went to eat with our great friend Merrillyn Kloefkorn that evening, and on Thursday Cheryl and I each gave three presentations of an hour per session. There were 1,500 students there, grades 1-8, so we each saw a lot of young people.

I was impressed by how smoothly the conference was run by Terri Gaeddert, Professor and Chair of Education and Associate Dean of Sterling College, and her very able team of faculty and students. It all ran on time and the way it was supposed to go. Bravo all around!

I think I’m going to receive some pictures of the event so maybe I can post one or two when they arrive.

Next week it’s New York, but more about that later.


Oomphing right along

Hi everyone,

My thanks to Jeanne Poland for providing such a fun word for August. So far we’ve had seven takers. Jane Yolen, Cheryl Harness, and Teresa Robeson posted their poems on the daily posts and Jeanne, Bryn Strudwick, Linda Boyden, and Karen Eastlund posted theirs on the Word of the Month page.

For anyone not familiar with the Word of the Month page, click on the “Adult W.O.M. Poems” box in the bar above the daily post. You can post your poem there anytime all month, see what others have done with the monthly word challenge, and leave a comment if you want to.

We also have a page for student poets that you reach by clicking on the “Young Poets W.O.M. Poems” box on the same bar. We don’t get as many student poems as we used to but now and then we’re blessed with a few and we always love to see the kids join us.

Thanks, everyone. Keep them coming!

The waiting game

Hi everyone,

Sometimes people who are not in the business ask how it’s possible to be at work on so many books at once. Here’s part of the answer. As of now:

1) Last Friday I completed the third draft of the long story I’ve been mentioning. I promptly sent it out. I’ll continue to fact check a bit but basically I’m in a waiting period on that one for now.
2) A story in verse that I co-wrote with Sandy Asher is with an editor who says she likes it but wants to make some suggestions. The play that grew from it (JESSE AND GRACE) was published some time ago and has been produced. The current interest in publishing the story as a book might or might not lead to a contract but of course we’re eager to see what she has to say. We expect to receive her notes later this week. For now, I wait.IMAG1194
3) I’m working on a 200+ page professional book with Mary Jo Fresch. We wrote a 9,000 word prospectus, waited for readers to respond, and now need to get back together to plan how to finish the book. But for unrelated reasons, my writing partner is involved in something else for a while so for now, I wait.
4) Early last week I completed a new book of poems, a work that began years ago. I don’t want to know how many times I rewrote that manuscript or how many of the original poems I eventually replaced. Now it’s done and that feels good. It has no artist yet and no pub date. Next step will be when I hear from the copyeditor with a list of questions. For now, of course, I wait.IMAG1200
5) I’ve proposed to write an expanded version of a professional book co-authored with Laurie Edmondson. Tentative interest has been expressed by a publisher but further discussion probably won’t happen until July or perhaps September. For now? Wait.
6) I wrote poems for three books for the classroom: grades 4, 5, and 6, all supporting specific core curriculum subjects. My co-author for content is Tim Rasinski. After completing my work, the publisher elected to roll all three books into one. Some work remains to be done but the combined title is on track for publication this fall. For now I have nothing to do but wait.

There are several other manuscripts out for review, a typical situation for a writer. At the moment I have nine, including a couple I wrote with Jane Yolen and a collaboration with Cheryl Harness.
So as of today I am officially out of work on all fifteen projects. Something new could drop in my lap any time, and usually does, but for now I can do one of two things. Write or wait. I’m not good at waiting.


Hi everyone,

I have so many reasons to be thankful that I hardly know where to start. My lovely M.O.W. Sandy for sure! And Robin and son-in-law Tim and grandsons Kris and Tyler and son Jeff and daughter-in-law Jennifer . And my sister Jule and nephew Jon and niece-in-law Sarah and their love of a daughter Alexis.

And my friends and colleagues. Whoever you are, wherever you live, I wish you a day of love, thankfulness, and peace. As for me, I know that I’m one lucky guy!

Or dude as Cheryl Harness might put it. Couple of days ago Cheryl and I were batting notes back and forth, talking about how writers dream big, shoot for perfection, often fail, skin our knees, and start again. When she shared her 16-step approach to the creative process, I begged her permission to quote her. Gracious lady that she is, she agreed. Cheryl HarnessThe list speaks for itself.

1. staring off in space, consumed w/ the gift of a fizzy idea
3. all is well
4. can’t see where this is going
5. this is crap
6. I am crap & now I’ll be poor
7. go do something else
8. return to crap job
9. maybe I can fix it.
10. light at end of tunnel
11. this is so cool!
12. I am so cool
13. everyone ignores finished project
14. I am crap
15. staring off in space, consumed w/ the gift of a fizzy idea
16. rinse & repeat

If you have any questions, here’s Cheryl. https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=cheryl%20harness%20books

Cheryl Harness’s newest title

Cheryl Harness, 2

Hi everyone,

Another good chum, none other than Cheryl Harness, is introducing her latest title with a September 1 release date. Did you see on Facebook her smiling face above the cover of Flags Over America: A Star-Spangled Story? Well hie thee thither. If you aren’t friends with Cheryl, it’s high time you were.

Here’an Amazon link to her latest marvel. Hie thee there too.