WRITERS AT WORK: Loving Libraries, Part 5

Hi everyone,

As Sandy Asher and I have discussed, there being five Tuesdays this month gives us a chance to add a 5th post to the November WRITERS AT WORK series, “Loving Libraries.” We’ve invited blog visitors to pitch in some of their own experiences and we’re delighted to feature them today. With thanks to our contributors, here we go.
Although my first real job (not counting babysitting) as a teen was working Saturdays at the county library, my big library experience started when I was a mother and took my boys to story hour on Wednesday mornings. Of course, the other mothers were readers or they wouldn’t have corralled their kids and hauled them to story hour. Through three moves to three different towns, I took the boys to story hour. In each library, I met women who became lifelong friends.

Veda Boyd Jones
New ebooks:
The Ranger’s Christmas Treasure
That Sunday Afternoon
Hey, David and Sandy — here’s my library story:

Back in my days as a children’s librarian, a girl about 12 asked me if the library had a copy of The Jellyfish Season. As I led her to the shelf, I wondered if I should tell her I wrote it. I handed it to her, took a deep breath, and asked her if she knew it was my book. Looking me in the eye, she said, “I thought it was the library’s book.” Already sensing I’d made a mistake, I told her I meant I’d written it. She stared at my library name tag and said, “Your name is Mary Jacob. The writer’s name is Mary Downing Hahn.” She held up the book and pointed to my name on the cover. “Well, yes,” I said, “but I remarried and my last name changed to Jacob.” Giving me a look that clearly said she wasn’t born yesterday, the girl walked away, leaving me to wonder why I felt compelled to tell a 12 year old stranger my marital history. After that, I never told any kids I was the writer of a book they’d chosen. This turned out to be good decision the day a boy asked about Wait Till Helen Comes. When I started to tell him the plot, he said, “Oh, yeah, I read this book, but you’ve got it all wrong.” As I stood there listening to him tell me about my own book, I was very glad my name tag said Mary Jacob.
Mary Downing Hahn

I have been involved with the Baxter County Library (1999-2016), then continued when the new Donald W. Reynolds Library was built in Mountain Home, Arkansas. I was a member of the Friends of the Library (FOL), hostess, and served as a board member. I have helped for several years with the FOL yearly auction, book sales, as a volunteer elsewhere when needed, helped bring authors and illustrators in the children’s library, and sometimes performed as photographer. The library supported my different writers groups and the yearly “Holiday Authors Book Sale.” I have spent a lot of time at this library and if I had my way I would live at it and be one happy camper.

Mary Nida Smith

I was visiting a school in Evansville, IN and a little boy was crying outside the library. When I asked the librarian what was wrong she told me he was upset because Eddie, Melody, Liza, and Howie were not visiting. He had been expecting the characters from the Bailey School Kids series-not one of the authors. It really brought home to me how beloved story characters can be and how important our stories can be to children.

Debbie Dadey
Debbie Dadey is the author and co-author of 162 books, including The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series and Mermaid Tales

Our thanks again to today’s contributors to WRITERS AT WORK. Sandy will add your post to our ongoing and growing portfolio so be sure to look for this series and all the previous Writers at Work conversations at http://usawrites4kids.blogpost.com.

All the best,


Veda Boyd Jones speaking at Writers Workshop

Hi everyone,

I mentioned the other day that Writers Hall of Fame is hosting its second annual writers workshop in Springfield on October 12. It’s an all day event that will feature a number of veteran writers speaking on various aspects of their craft. One of the highlights for me will be to hear Veda Boyd Jones talk about “Important Elements of Writing a Novel: Which Comes First When Plotting a Novel? Setting, Characters, or Conflict?”

It will be my privilege to introduce Veda before her address.
Veda Boyd Jones
It won’t be hard to think of something to say about this multitalented author. Here are a few quick facts. Veda Boyd Jones is the author of 47 books with traditional publishers, some for adult markets, most for children. Publishers include Scholastic, Barbour, McGraw-Hill, Lerner, Lucent, Chelsea House, Wendy Pye, Avalon, and Seedling. In addition,she’s had over 500 short stories or articles published in magazines (Woman’s World, The Writer, Harris’ Farmer’s Almanac, Highlights, Cricket, Humpty Dumpty and many others). Now she’s ventured into the e-world with Joe’s Ghost, An Ozark Christmas Angel and other books on Kindle.

See what I mean? It’s going to be a good day. To learn from Veda and a full lineup of other professionals, those who attend will only pay $50, which also includes a morning snack, refreshments, and box lunch. Anyone who would like to take advantage of this opportunity can register online at http://www.writershalloffame.org  or by mail to Kim Flores, 2256 S. Dollison, Ave., Springfield, MO 65807. For information call Kathleen O’Dell, 417-616-0564.

Over at Institute of Children’s Literature

Hi everyone,

My friend Veda Boyd Jones mentioned the other day that Susan Tierney at the Institute of Children’s Literature is interested in writing tips to post on their Facebook page. I sent a tip, which was posted this past week. Here’s the link. https://www.facebook.com/InstituteofChildrensLiterature
I sent her a second one so maybe it will go up too before long. If you haven’t visited that page, I think you’ll like it. Susan is working hard to make it a good resource.