Twice in the same community? Wow!

Hi everyone,

I’m in debt to my wonderful illustrator of A PLACE TO START A FAMILY, Giles Laroche, for the latest piece of excitement in my writing world. Giles is being featured (via ZOOM) as this year’s visiting author/artist to Simonds Elementary School in Warner, New Hampshire — the same community where AFTER DARK is currently featured on one of the Pillsbury Free Library’s story walks. What a lovely coincidence!

Giles keeps a studio in the area, which was also home base for Tomie dePaola and is for Matt Forrest Esenwine.

In this case a copy of A PLACE TO START A FAMILY is being given to each kindergarten and 1st grade student at Simonds. How neat is that? Needless to say, I’m having a fine time this week!

Take an AFTER DARK story walk in New Hampshire

REMINDER: Tune in KSMU this morning at 9:45 to hear the first segment of POETRY PALS, the new show that airs people reading poems for kids. I lead off today so I hope you’ll tune in. In Springfield you’ll find us at 91.1 FM and anywhere in the world you can follow through live-streaming on their website,

Hi everyone,

Yesterday Matt Forrest Esenwine posted about how AFTER DARK is being used at part of a library sponsored nature walk. Many of you saw it but here’s the link to that. Sorry I haven’t mastered the art of shortening these addresses. Kathy Temean gave me a lesson once but I’ve long since forgotten how it worked. Anyway, Matt had told children’s librarian Sue Matott at the Pillsbury Free Library in Warner, NH about my book, she got a copy for her library, and it wound up being put to use in one of her “Story Walk” programs. Many thanks are due, first to Matt of course!, and then to Sue.

Intrigued by the notion of having story walks, I contacted Sue and she responded.

“We have many rail trails here. They are being built and groomed, trying to connect them so bikers and walkers can go many places freely and not be bothered on roads! One such section was finished 2 years ago and it ends (begins) right next to my library. Its a beautiful section about 1/3 of a mile long that has a covered bridge on the other end. So, one of my patrons was wanting to do his eagle scout badge but was “stuck” as to what to do! I was dreaming of a story walk, and poof, the concept was brought to reality!! He (and his troop) did all the work! Alex and I came up with the design together. I am now responsible for the stories, and the rail trail group maintains the trail! I have 21 podiums, each has a page of the book, so as you take the wonderful walk along the river, you read the book. If the story is too long, I double the pages on the podiums, or if too short I usually add poems that are related to the topic of that particular story.”

Sue Matott
Children’s Librarian
Pillsbury Free Library
PO Box 299/ 18 E. Main St.
Warner NH 03278

Welcome to the Library!

Isn’t this a grand idea? With Sue’s permission I posted this today to introduce you to her program and encourage folks in other parts of the country to consider doing something similar.

A few words at a time

Hi everyone,

Thanks to everyone who has offered helpful advice about how to improve the quality of the videos I’m been struggling to make. This project has been dragging on for several weeks and the results have been disappointing. I’ll try what has been suggested and if that doesn’t work I’ll wait until I can either get a new computer or invest in some equipment that will improve my results.

My goal for this week was to tweak my interview for the fall issue of “Pennsylvania Reads,” review the manuscript of my collaboration with Laura Robb, and write the last four poems of a new collaboration with Matt Forrest Esenwine. With one day to go all I’ve managed is to get through the Laura manuscript and finish two Matt poems. Today I need to pull off to prepare my post for next Tuesday when I’m a host on the blog tour for Vikram Madan’s new book, A HATFUL OF DRAGONS. If there’s any time after that I’ll get back to the 3rd poem, which I’ve started but will probably scrap and start again.

All in all not an exciting week, but I rather like the two finished poems so I’m not complaining. Some weeks are measured by a few words arranged in a way that brings satisfaction. I’ll take it.

Blog tour stop #12 and Unbound Book Festival

Hi everyone,

Today it’s my pleasure to be hosted by friend and fellow writer Matt Forrest Esenwine on Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme at Matt has a different approach to the host post and I appreciate the opportunity to discuss more of the writing aspects of the book. So, thank you, Matt, and let’s do it!

On another issue, I have one eye on an upcoming event that will require a lot of preparation. It will be my first time to participate in the Unbound Book Festival, held on the campus of Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, April 24 and 25. Speakers come from all over the country and I’m happy to be one of them this year. Here’s a link to the festival, which includes a very good video of the event in 2018.

Blog tour schedule

Hi everyone,

Here we are in February 2020. How did that happen? Didn’t we just start this year? I only stopped wishing folks a Happy New year a little while ago. Wow!

Three weeks from tomorrow, February 25, is pub day for AFTER DARK, POEMS ABOUT NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, and my blog tour to help introduce the book begins one week from today on February 11. I’m very grateful for all the good people who have agreed to be hosts on the tour and give special thanks to Jena Benton for creating a beautiful graphic so everyone can follow the schedule. And thanks to Kerry McManus at Boyds Mills & Kane for suggesting a helpful hashtag: #AfterDarkBookTour to further boost the cause. I’m excited!

Here’s the graphic with a list of blog names and dates. In many cases I’ve been asked to respond to questions. In total my responses were 17 pages long. No one asked the same question! Renee La Tulippe asked for a video so I made one for the day she hosts.

Here’s the complete list of hosts. I hope you will check their blogs each day to say hi or leave a comment. Hosting an author with a new book takes a lot of work and I can’t thank them enough.

2/11/20 Tuesday
Kathy Temean at Writing & Illustrating

2/13/20 Thursday
Carol Varsalona at Beyond LiteracyLink

2/17/20 Monday
Jane Heitman Healy at Read, Learn, and be Happy

2/18/20 Tuesday
Sylvia Vardell at PoetryForChildren

2/19/20 Wednesday
Linda Baie at Teacher Dance

2/20/20 Thursday
Michelle Kogan atMichelle Kogan–Art, Illustration, & Writing

2/21/20 Friday
Janice Scully at Salt City Verse

2/24/20 Monday
Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche

2/25/20 Tuesday – PUBLICATION DAY!
Jena Benton at Simply 7

2/26/20 Wednesday
Renée LaTulippe at No Water River

2/27/20 Thursday
Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise

2/28/20 Friday
Matt Forest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

3/2/20 Monday
Irene Latham at Live Your Poem

3/3/20 Tuesday
Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core ` `