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I'll be at the 2015 NESCBWI Conference

I'll be at the 2015 NESCBWI conference in Springfield, Massachusetts this weekend, April 24-26. Besides attending a whole bunch of workshops, I'll be presenting one on Meta Books with Deborah Freedman, author/illustrator extraordinaire!

If you're there, be sure to say hello!

I will be at Boskone 52

I'm excited to announce that I will appearing be at this year’s Boskone, Friday, Feb. 13 through Sunday, Feb. 15, at the Westin Waterfront Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. Boskone is New England's longest running science fiction and fantasy convention. This will be my first time there.

I will be doing a reading, signing books, and participating in five panels. I'll get to meet fans -- so many wonderful fans! -- and some incredible talent in the world of children’s books, science fiction, and fantasy. I’m really looking forward to it.

I'm scheduled to appear as follows (although there is a chance of last minute changes):

Friday 6:00 pm - 6:25 pm
I’ll be doing a reading.

Friday 7:00 pm - 7:50 pm
It's Complicated: Kids and the Culture They Consume
A panel with Veronica Koven-Matasy, Bruce Coville, Lauren Roy, and Stacey Friedberg

Saturday 10:00 am - 10:50 am
KidLit: Great Spec Fic for Young Readers
A panel with Bruce Coville, Jordan Hamessley, Veronica Koven-Matasy, and Hillary Monahan

Saturday 12:00 pm - 12:50 pm
The Wonderful Worlds within Middle Grade Fiction
A panel with Ken Altabef, Stacey Friedberg, Jane Yolen, and Matthew London

Saturday 3:00 pm - 3:50 pm
Writing Great Openings
A panel with Paul Di Filippo, ML Brennan, Alexander Jablokov, and Michael Swanwick

Sunday 10:00 am - 10:50 am
I’ll be signing books with Leigh Perry, Darlene Marshall, and Karl Schroeder

Sunday 1:00 pm - 1:50 pm
YA Then and Now
A panel with Ken Altabef, Bruce Coville, Stacey Friedberg, and Veronica Koven-Matasy

General programming for the convention begins at 2:00 pm on Friday, February 13th and is free to the public from 2:00-6:00 pm. Memberships are required after 6:00 pm on Friday and throughout the duration of the convention. For more information visit www.boskone.org.

It's okay to write terrible stories

Though this is about picture books, this holds true for all writing: It's Okay to Write Terrible Stories. (If you write, or wish to: go, read.)

I'll be presenting at a Tassy Workshop

This Wednesday, November 12, from 6 to 7:30pm at the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street, Hartford, I will be giving a writers' workshop along w/ writer and educator Doe Boyle and Donita Aruny from the Shoreline Arts Alliance. We will discuss writing for children as well as submitting to this year's Tassy Walden Awards: New Voices in Children's Literature.

The workshop is free and open to the public, although the Shoreline Arts Alliance does ask folks to preregister to ensure that there are enough handouts.

Here on Earth

Not too far from us is a pizza parlor that makes fabulous New Haven style pizza—thin crust, fresh ingredients, excellent sauce, cooked to perfection. My husband’s favorite is their Italian combo: bacon, sausage, pepperoni, onion, garlic, mushrooms, peppers. A carnivore’s dream.

A few weeks ago I ordered one and left my name for pick up. When my husband and I arrived, it had just come out of the oven smelling delicious. The owner looked at the ticket.

“Alice,” he said.

“That’s me,” I said.

He grinned.

“To the moon!”

I’ve always hated that joke.

It comes from The Honeymooners, of course, the 1950s sitcom starring Jackie Gleason. Alice was his wife, leveled headed but sharp-tongued, who invariably warned him that his latest scheme wouldn’t work. “BANG, ZOOM! Straight to the moon!” he’d tell her, brandishing his fist.

Each time, the audience roared. And each time, I cringed.

Why was threatened violence funny?

“Ahh, shut up!” Alice’d reply.

Was that the joke? That Gleason was inept, after all?

Yet it’s the line “To the moon” that makes people laugh.

Witness the small crowd who did, at the pizzeria—mostly men in their late 50s, the owner’s pals, in on his humor. They all broke up when he threw out the line.

I felt very uncomfortable. But a lifetime of practiced politeness kicked in, and I smiled.

“You know the joke?” the owner asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Always loved it,” he said.

I paid for the pie and, as we exited, I told my husband, “That was really offensive.”

“Yeah,” he said. “It was.”

Today was a busy day. My husband was under a deadline, and I was working on several chapters for a new novel.

“Take out?” I suggested for dinner.

“How about pizza,” he said. “Italian combo.”

“Sure,” I said. “I’ll order it. Can you pick it up?”

He looked at the pile of work on his desk, hesitating. I understood. He didn’t really have the time. On the other hand, I did.

“I’ll order pulled pork,” I said, “from the BBQ place. I’ll pick it up.”

“Not pizza?”

“I don’t want to be told that I’m going to be punched to the moon.”

He nodded.

“Get their baked beans, too. And a baked potato.”

Dinner was delicious.

2014 NESCBWI Conference

art by Denise Ortakales

I'll be at the 2014 New England Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators regional conference in Springfield, MA this Friday May 2 through Sunday May 4.

In addition to a host of panels I plan on attending, I should be at Friday evening's Meet and Greet, the Volunteer Pizza Party on Saturday, and the Self-Portrait Party for Illustrators Saturday evening (no, I'm not an illustrator, but this sounded too fun to miss).

If you happen to run into me, be sure to say hello!


School Library Month

AASL School Library Month April 2014

April is School Library Month, when, every year, the American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) celebrates school librarians and their programs. This year's theme is Lives change @ your library®, and as part of this celebration, I was honored to be asked to contribute to their Gallery of Authors.

I'm featured in their Tip of the Day calendar (April 29), along with a host of very talented authors.You can sign up for all their tips, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Thank you to all the school librarians who do so much for kids everywhere. And thank you to the AASL for asking me to participate.

I'll be at the ALA Midwinter Meeting

ALA Midwinter logo

I will be attending this year's American Library Association Midwinter Meeting being held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia over the long weekend of January 24 through 28.

You will be able to catch me on Sunday January 27 at the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America booth (#409) in the Exhibit Hall, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

If you happen to be around, please drop by and say hello!

For young writers everywhere

The Alpha Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Workshop for Young Writers (ages 14 – 19) will be held at the University of Pittsburgh’s Greensburg Campus on July 25 – August 3, 2014. Students from all over the world will get to spend ten days working with professional authors, Tobias S. Buckell, Bruce Coville, Tamora Pierce, and Rachel Swirsky.

From their website:

Learn about writing and publishing. Meet other teens who share your interest in writing speculative fiction. Talk about short stories, novels, and films. Have your submission story critiqued. Brainstorm new story ideas, write a first draft, receive feedback, and rewrite. Attend readings by the authors. Do a public reading. Learn about submitting for publication, and send off your story at our manuscript mailing party.
. . .
2014 will be Alpha’s thirteenth year. Previous attendees have placed in the Dell Magazines Award and Writers of the Future contests, and have sold stories to Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Cicada, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Nature Futures, Pseudopod and more.

The tuition is $1100 and includes all workshop-related costs, but does not include transportation to and from Pittsburgh. Limited scholarships are available for students in need of financial aid.

To get more information and to apply, go to their website: http://alpha.spellcaster.org/ (Deadline is March 2, 2014.)

Arthur and Neil Gaiman

When my kids were small, they were big Arthur fans--one of their must-see shows on PBS. As they grew, they discovered Neil Gaiman's work in picture books, children books, comic books, and eventually adult novels--and became big Gaiman fans. It tickled me to learn that Neil Gaiman was recently featured in an Arthur episode, which discusses writing graphic novels and falafel philosophy. Yes, it does work.

(The link currently has the video imbedded in it--I'm not sure how long that will remain.)

In the ad-copy-not-to-use dept.

The headline: "She'll create ski lodge envy."

The copy: "After a day on the slopes, she's ready for that first steaming sip of Irish coffee. What she's not prepared for are the other gals, bundled in bulky fleece, wishing they looked like her." [Insert glowing product description.]

Because you know, every woman's wish is to be both prettier than and disliked by other women. And being pretty means being disliked, right?*

The catalog's safely in the recycling bin.

* Leaving aside here the bulky = ugly problem...

For those who talk about "reverse racism"

Thank you to Mary Robinette Kowal and Yes, You're A Racist who led me to the video.

I'll be at the AASL Conference


I'll be attending this year's American Association of School Librarians conference in Hartford, Connecticut, which takes place this weekend, November 14-17.

You can catch me Friday evening at 9 p.m. at the Author & Librarian Tweet Up, an informal get-together at the Marriott Hotel Crush Bar/Starbucks. On Saturday at 10:15 a.m., I'll be a panelist for Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground: The Role of Fantasy in the Real World with other fabulous middle grade and YA authors. After the panel, I'll be signing books at AASL's Authors Alley from 11:30 a.m. until 12:15 p.m.

If you're around, stop by and say hello!

I'll be at the Carle

This Saturday October 19 I'll be attending the New Media Day conference at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, hosted by New England SCBWI. If you happen to be around, come say hello.


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April 2015


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