I spent the latter part of this week presenting with the Wisconsin State Reading Association, an organization that’s all about literacy. Their concerns: how parents and teachers teach kids to read, helping students strengthen their reading skills, and encouraging all of us to make our society well read.
Literacy is a cause dear to my heart. I taught my children to read at an early age, and I feel that literacy skills are absolutely vital to success. I was honored to present at the association, but I decided to do a bit more by donating 100 books to established and/or fledgling school book clubs. I hope the kids who get them enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Below are some pictures of the event. If you like the idea of encouraging literacy, consider supporting your local literacy agency with a financial gift or a donation of your books or time.
At the WSRA gateway
Enjoying the presentation
Slips in the Jar. Five names were drawn to get 20 books for their book club! :)
Hopefuls Awaiting the Draw
Whoo hoo! I won!
Serious Wisconsin talent here. Left to right: Melissa Gorzelanczyk, Liz Czukas, Tricia Clasen, Stephanie Golightly Lowden, me, and JoAnn Early Macken.
Looking back at 2016, I can see that I had a lot to be thankful for. Most importantly, I have good health, a loving family, and dear friends, many of you among them. If we haven’t yet met in person, I hope to someday get the pleasure.
This year saw the release of the second in my God Awful Series of Books. I expect 2017 to bring the final installment of this comedic, mythological adventure. Until then, here are a few pictures of some of the authorial events that have kept me busy these past few months. Thanks to all who invited me / put up with me. Enjoy the pix and I wish you a very happy 2017!
Oct 2016 – Presenting on writing compelling scenes for the Wisconsin Writers Association
Nov 2016 – Presenting on character development @ the Southeast WI Festival of Books
Nov 2016 – Discussing God Awful Thief at Columbus WI’s Books & Beer Book Club
Milwaukee’s Brown Deer Park, the beautiful setting for Novel Lunch 2016
Guests at Novel Lunch 2016
Books Donated by publishers & authors for Novel Lunch 2016
What great fortune I had this week to join National Teen Read Week by being a part of a Young Adult Literature panel at the Oak Creek (WI) Public Library. We talked not only about YA trends but also about some of the tough topics that YA authors take on, such as teens’ body image and self esteem, sexuality/consent, and diversity. It was a great discussion with thoughtful questions from library goers. Enjoy some pix of the event!
Left to right: Authors Sandy Goldsworthy, Silvia Acevedo, Kelly Risser, Librarian Sarah, Author Liza Wiemer, and Panel Moderator Kellie
We had a lot of fun, and I hope you got a chance this week to encourage reading – and maybe even got a few minutes to yourself to read!
The Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival has enjoyed a great reputation as one of the premier book fests in the state. It’s free to the public, organized to the finest detail, and wildly entertaining for the kids who’ve gone since its 2010 start. New this year, the fest launched its TEEN book festival, and what a great event it was!
Turnout was great – and no wonder. The middle schoolers and high schoolers got to investigate books and meet authors who focus on them. Presenting authors talked about everything from depicting teenage life on paper to what inspires their particular bent. Author Valerie Biel and I talked about our love of mythology and how the genre is experiencing a popular renaissance. The teens were engaged and asked such insightful questions! All we authors were deeply impressed – and we made it onto trading cards. We felt like superheroes.
Here are some photos of this fantastic event. If you read Young Adult books or have a teenager in your life who does, seriously consider setting your calendar for next year’s festival. Both the Children’s and Teen’s Book Festivals run annually on the second weekend in October.
Authors and Illustrators of the Sheboygan Children’s & Teen Book Festivals 2016
The inaugural year of Sheboygan’s Teen Book Festival is good news, and so local media let viewers know that their favorite children’s fest now has a teen component. Here’s video of a segment about it on Green Bay WLUK Good Day Wisconsin. Enjoy!
And here are some stills. Thanks to both WKUK-TV and Karin Menzer of the STBF for inviting me. I had fun and even went to Lambeau Field afterward. Go, Pack, go!
Thought I’d share a couple of fun photos from GenCon 2016, the world’s largest gaming convention. I was there in August with my artist husband, whose art is part of the gaming, fantasy, and book world. There were plenty of readers there, and many of them are artists in their own right. I was honored to be among them.
Barnes & Noble put on its first teen book festival this weekend, the largest national teen fest in the nation, and yours truly was truly honored to be a part of it. At Barnes & Noble Southland (Racine, WI), I got to talk with B&N’s great staff, area teens, and fellow authors. And at Barnes & Noble Bayshore (Glendale, WI), I met new friends and found some of the most enthusiastic readers in the area. What a fantastic event! Thanks, B&N!
Book 2 in the God Awful Series of Books is now out in the world! The launch party for God Awful Thief was May 4th at the fantastic Boswell Books in Milwaukee. The launch was a lot of fun and attended by the people who mean the absolute most to me – and even some strangers who are now new friends. If you were there, THANKS so much for coming. If you were there in spirit, thanks for your well wishes.
Wrastling’ up five midwestern chapters of the The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is huge — big enough that the gathering only happens every four years. And I’m proud to say that I got myself wrangled up in it this go-’round and gave a panel talk with three other cowhands.
Indie Panel with (l-r) authors W. Nikola-Lisa, Silvia Acevedo, Andrea Skyberg, and Trina Sotira
Okay, so the Wild, Wild Midwest theme isn’t strongly enforced. No real cowhands, but it’s still a great chance for midwestern writers (and those from lots of other places, too) to meet.
SCBWI has taught me a lot about the craft of writing for children and teens, which is a whole different thing than writing for news. I’ve been to plenty of their conferences, but this weekend I actually got to present and share what I’ve learned, and that’s the way these things are supposed to work. You learn from others. Then you share what you’ve learned. Full circle. Nice.
And we had fun with a Roaring 20s social. I played flapper to the gangster, and she let me live to see another day.
Okay, we know kids are awesome. And presenting to kids is awesome. And hanging out with them to talk casually is even more awesome. Well, let me tell you, the young adults of Carmel (Indiana) High School are extra awesome.
I just got back from their school’s Creative Writing Con, where I joined 20 other authors talking to nearly 1,000 teens. Those young adults were tuned in and really wanting to learn the craft of writing. I had the BEST time being with them and the group pictured above in particular. Shoutout to Ms. Trachtman’s Honors English Class! So glad to have met them.
Following that, I spent the evening at Barnes & Noble Carmel with some truly gifted writers (What a treat!) while I signed copies of God Awful Loser. Such a great time! Thank you, Carmel, IN, Carmel High, and Liza at Barnes & Noble.