Tuesday, November 24, 2015

School Visits, OWL, Little Rock Library, and Holiday Fun

Now that the book tour for "At the Corner of Magnetic and Main" is done, I can post some updates from this month.

November 8th, we drove down to Little Rock to attend a library event for self-published and small press authors. As with most library events, there were not many book sales, but I met some wonderful authors and did have a couple of kids walk away with copies of my books. The event is part of the Arkansas Literary Festival, so we were interested in getting my books in front of them, regardless of sales. My table-mate was new author Lori McFarlane, and I went home with a copy of her book "Last Petal Falling." It is definitely high up on my TBR list.
We got there early, so Scott and I enjoyed a nice stroll through the River Market District. It was Sunday morning, so everything was closed, but we were quite impressed with how lovely and family friendly the area was. 

We only got to bring three titles, but we still enjoyed ourselves.
Scott spent his time in the library, reading a massive comic book.
November 17th-19th, I had the chance to spend three days at Eureka Springs Elementary School doing author visits with small groups of library classes. This is my local school, and I substitute teach there during the off season, so it was fun to put on that other hat with kids who already know me. It was a bit nuts doing the presentation and Q&A thirteen times, but having the smaller classroom groups gave everyone a chance to really get involved.

I never knew quite what direction any one group was going to take things. A group of kindergartners may have been the best behaved of the whole bunch, and they asked wonderful questions. A group of fourth graders was fascinated with the realities of publishing and how long it takes and how little control the author actually has once the ball gets rolling. That traditionally published authors don't have a say in their book covers (or very little say) was horrifying to them. I just tried to roll with what each class was interested in, and it all went really well.

Some second grade friends with my Cats in the Mirror book series

Handing out "Kimba" bookmarks so students could find it for free download when they got home.
The next day, I ran into the high school art teacher (also my daughter's favorite teacher), and she said her daughter was in one of the groups I spoke to. When she got home that day, she immediately downloaded "Why Kimba Saved The World" and spent two hours reading it. Yay! I had made "Kimba" free to download on kindle for four days that week so as many kids as possible might have a chance to get a copy. Our district is something like 70% on free and reduced lunch, so this was not about selling lots of books. Without any other ads for the free days, I had forty-one downloads, so I hope there are some happy kids in my town.

One takeaway from that event was that, across age levels, groups I met with in their classrooms went much more smoothly than the ones I did in the library. The atmosphere in the library is just generally more open and free, and that fed into my talks. Groups in their rooms were much more engaged and well-behaved and serious with their questions. Something I will definitely remember for next time.

On November 21st, I attended the quarterly meeting of the Ozark Writers League (OWL), of which I am a member. The group is going through some growing pains and reanalyzing what the future of the group will be. After over thirty years, I'm sure they will get it all sorted out.

There were two highlights to my day. One was to chat with a brand-spankin'-new writer who isn't even telling her friends about her aspirations yet. I hope I left her encouraged and that she will come back and share her journey along the way. Go get 'em, Anne.

The second highlight was sharing the company of Jemma for the day. Miss Jemma is a guide dog for my sight-impaired friend Ronda, and she is the best behaved dog I have ever spent time with--though we all got the giggles in the afternoon when she started to quietly bark in her sleep. Ronda says that Jemma never barks. She is trained not to. But what she does in her sleep is something else entirely. So sweet!! You can follow Jemma's adventures at this link. 

Jemma, hanging out under our table and not making a peep all morning. 

Ronda stepped away without her, but she didn't budge. Such a good dog.
Back here on our mountain, we celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday so my older daughter could join us from Fayetteville. She works in a doggie day care, and having the holidays off is not an option. I have never been one to freak out about what day celebrations take place, so we just shifted to Monday.
Seriously large turkey (23.5 lbs) so there was plenty to share and send home for my daughter and her roommate.

Pumpkin and cherry pies. I like the Harry Potterish lightning blot. 

A holiday tradition at our house that started back when Scott worked for the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan. We love latkes (I use a recipe from Mandy Patinkin), but they are not supposed to be served with bacon. That would not be kosher at all.
Now I have the rest of the week to work and relax and not have to worry about the holiday. Scott and my younger daughter are just thrilled that this now means Christmas decorating can begin early. I have strict rules about no tree until after Thanksgiving, but since it is done, they can knock themselves out.

I hope each of you has a blessed holiday time filled with friends and family and far too much food in whatever way you love to celebrate. Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. What a week! You set the bar way high. Sounds like it was all very gratifying too, or you're just a grateful kinda gal. Happy Thanks Day!