And that, folks, was some party!

Hi everyone,

My thanks to one and all who came by yesterday. It was some party. Don Barrett arrived shortly before 6:00 a.m. and we never looked back. When I went to bed, Jane Heitman Healy had come back by for a nightcap after putting in a long day and was visiting quietly with Janine Clark-Barry. Matt Forrest Esenwine recited a neat poem he wrote for the occasion and said his goodbyes. Carol Varsalona showed up with a cake still warm from the oven. Tina Hacker got there bleary-eyed from binge watching episodes of a favorite program and I remember Su Hutchens worrying about Sandy having to clean up. I tucked myself into bed with the murmur of friendly voices in the living room lulling me to sleep. Long after I dozed off Joy Acey showed up from Hawaii where, as she reminded anyone who was still up, it was much earlier where she lives now.

From Don’s arrival at 5:46 a.m. the 24th to Joy’s at 2:16 a.m. the 25th our party was visited 547 times by people in 12 countries. Not everyone stayed to chat but 130 guests left 170 comments. Meanwhile over on Facebook 78 people left 58 comments, so even though there were some duplicates we logged a total of 625 visits and 228 comments from party goers. I haven’t checked back to previous parties but I’m sure this was our biggest and best ever.

As we go about the coming weeks managing in our own ways to amuse ourselves in isolation, I hope yesterday’s break from the routine will be a pleasant memory for many. I know it will be for me.

Party time at my house today!

Hi everyone,

Doom and gloom getting to you? Same here. What we need is a party! I haven’t had a virtual party at our house in ages and this feels like a good time to have one.

Please join me today right here and we’ll greet one another as friends and have a few laughs. You can stay six virtual feet away if you want to but I like hugs better and what the heck and why not?

The main rule of the party is to have fun. I know we’re all being effected by the pandemic, and you’ll have sympathetic ears if you feel the need to share your story and concern, but the main idea of getting together today is to celebrate all the good things we have and spend a day sharing fellowship and talking of pleasant news. Come early or late, or come early and stay late.

In the past many guests have brought refreshments. Bring something if you like, but if you don’t have time to prepare anything for heaven’s sake come anyway. I want to know what you’re up to. Are you writing or illustrating something that excites you? Have questions for someone else at the party? New article coming out? Having a special day/event? Any announcements? It’s a party. Tell others. Bring friends. Introduce them. I know the world is a scary place now, but for just a while let’s relax together. Please come. It won’t be the same without you.

You are invited to my house tomorrow

Hi everyone,

You are hereby invited to my house tomorrow for a virtual blog party. It has been far too long since we all got together and I think it’s time. A lot has happened since my first party in December 2015. Who could have predicted then what we’re living through now? It’s not to make light of the current situation but because of it that we need to spend some virtual time in the company of friends and loved ones from around the world.

Please make plans to drop by. Reach out to your own contacts and invite them too. Let’s share some joy. Sing if you want to. Dance. Bring your saxophone. Recite poetry. Share a favorite quote. Come early. Come late. Drop in and out during the day. Nothing is more casual than my parties. To join the chatter all you need to do is click in the balloon in the upper right-hand corner of the page, enter your comment in the “Leave a reply” box at the bottom, and click to post it. Presto, you’re at the party. I’m eager to see you tomorrow!

Wrapping up the week

REMINDER: Don’t forget today is the big day when everyone is headed over to Matt Forrest’s house for a summer virtual blog party! Here’s the link. . See you there!

Hi everyone,

It has been a pleasant week. I didn’t get everything on my list done but progress was made. Mary Jo Fresch and I wrote a 1,500 word essay for Sam Bommarito’s blog. Sam is co-editor of The Missouri Reader, a publication of the Missouri ILA, and he’ll be the next state president. I’ve also committed to doing an article for this fall’s edition of The Missouri Reader.

I wrote 500 words about my work to enter for an opportunity to write a 1,000 word column for the November/December issue of Knowledge Quest, a collaborative effort by AASL and the CBC.

Mary Jo and I got word that our newest book proposal is going out for peer review soon, a necessary next step before a contract can be offered. It shouldn’t be more than a few weeks before we’ll know if it’s going to be a go.

The week also saw the official publication date for CHILDREN’S LITERATURE IN THE READING PROGRAM. That was a huge highlight!

Early in the week I finished the 3rd telling of the desert middle grade novel. Please keep your fingers crossed that I finally got it right!

And I spent parts of the last two days getting back into the third middle grade story. I started it some time ago and had to set it aside so it took a while to settle back into the groove. I already see changes to make, the benefit of putting a story aside for a while and coming back with fresh eyes.

All in all, a super keeper!

I’m headed over to Matt’s blog party. See you there?

Group photo

Hi everyone,

My thanks to everyone who came to my fourth virtual blog party. Many of you traveled long distances so your efforts were especially appreciated. I thought you all might like a souvenir group photo, so here it is. Lots of smiling faces! If I left anyone out, or you were standing behind someone, I apologize.

I realized later that I had posed you in a really tough place so thanks for being patient with me, especially those who had to sit on the retaining wall, kneel between the fountain and tables, and even grin from the pool. You were all good sports.