What I've Been Up To This Month

The month isn’t even over yet, but so much has been packed into the last few weeks it feels more like two months already! That’s not exactly an excuse for neglecting the blog, but, you know, life happens. Anyway…

Beachside Nonfiction Workshop

I started out the month at the Beachside Nonfiction Workshop with Candace Fleming & Jennifer Swanson. It was amazing! The faculty were all stellar, the location was gorgeous, and the attendees were lovely. It was fun hanging out with other nonfiction geeks for an entire weekend. We all struggled to answer the “So, what do you write?” question, however, since we can usually just get away with “Nonfiction,” and have that be the end of it! I didn’t take nearly enough photos, but here’s the view from my hotel balcony…

Yes, it was hard work. There were a lot of sessions, and they were mostly master level, plus networking and critiques. I came away with so much useful information and new ideas to apply to my works in progress. There were obviously some other perks, too!

Seattle Reading Council Appearance

In the middle of the month, some of the members of my critique group (and all agency-mates at Erin Murphy Literary, as it turns out!), did an appearance at the Seattle Reading Council. It was a billed as a “Books and Chocolate” event… what could be better?! We each talked about our books and process and then took questions. The crowd was mostly teachers and librarians, so it made for a wonderful evening of sharing book love (and chocolate!) among likeminded new friends.

School visits

I had an elementary school visit where I got to talk to several third-grade classes about my writing journey, grit, and writing with emotion, as well as several fifth-grade classes about evaluating sources and spotting fake news. It was an awesome visit with super-engaged audiences, but alas, no photos. You’ll have to take my word for it!

I have another visit coming up early in June (the last one of the school year!), so I’ve been making sure everything is ready for that one, too.

SCBWI-WWA Spring Conference

Finally, I attended and helped with the SCBWI Western Washington‘s spring conference, Imagine That! It was a great weekend: hearing from inspiring speakers, getting feedback on one of my works in progress from a powerhouse editor, and catching up with author and illustrator friends in the industry. I’m still soaking it all up and processing what was said! Good stuff.

Book Releases!

Along with all of that I’ve been getting ready for the Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries paperback release on May 21 AND preparing for the upcoming new release of Two Truths and a Lie: Forces of Nature on June 25th! I’ve designed and ordered postcards and swag, scheduled social media announcements, and made other plans to get the word out.

TTL: Histories and Mysteries cover
TTL: Forces of Nature cover
 

Works in Progress…

And, of course, there are those works in progress, too! Earlier this month I submitted both a nonfiction picture book revision and a graphic novel proposal to my agent. I’m currently revising a nonfiction picture book, a fiction picture book, and a middle-grade nonfiction manuscript. I’m also working on a brand-new nonfiction picture book draft and a young-adult nonfiction proposal. Busy, busy!

Yes, I do love my job. More so every day, in fact! =D

Upcoming appearance: Nonfiction Writing Workshop for Tweens

I’m busy doing lots of private talks and appearances at schools and conferences this spring, but here’s one that is open to the public (especially tweens)!

On April 20, I’ll be presenting a workshop on nonfiction writing for tweens (ages 8-12) in Bothell, WA. Here’s the description:

Where do you find ideas and how do you decide what to write about? How do you get from there to the finished product? This workshop, presented by award-winning nonfiction author Laurie Ann Thompson, will answer those questions and more! Thompson will explain the process of writing compelling nonfiction, including research, planning, drafting, revising and editing. The presentation will be interactive and all participants will have a chance to craft an engaging nonfiction piece of their own.

For more information and to register, please visit the King County Library System’s event page. I hope I’ll see you there!

Summer 2015 roundup

The days are (finally) getting cooler and damper here in the Pacific Northwest and most of the kids are back in school, so it seems like a good time to reflect on the summer.
I typically don’t get to do much writing-related work over the summer, since the kids are home from school and the sun is shining, but this summer was filled with fun and exciting author events!

2015-07-11 Andersons Bookshop kids books extravaganza 2First, I got to participate in a huge author panel at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, IL. The kids’ books extravaganza on July 11th included some of my best friends in the industry, including Christine Hayes, Ruth Barshaw, Lynda Hunt, Keyan Atteberry, Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, Tara Dairman, Janet Fox, and Amy Finnegan. It was even more wonderful because I got to meet the very special someone who wrote one of my all-time favorite reviews Emmanuel’s Dream, Keegan Knott, and it was her birthday, too! I got a hug. It’s a day I won’t soon forget, let me tell you. Thank you Anderson’s and Keegan for the wonderful memories! =D

EMLA costume partyNext I headed to the Erin Murphy Literary Agency client retreat at The Abbey Resort at Lake Geneva. I can’t even begin to explain what a powerful, amazing this annual event is for me, and this year was no different. We do lots of fun, silly things like the costume party, but we also do a lot of learning, networking, sharing, connecting, growing, and more. I feel so blessed to be a part of this community!
2015-07-12 Mustard Museum2015-07-12 St LouisIMG_2675From there I continued on down to St. Louis to sign books at ILA and conduct a research trip. Our first stop was the National Mustard Museum.

What am I researching there, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see! St. Louis was beautiful, ILA was a lot of fun, and I even got to go to
Cynthia Levinson’s book launch party for Watch Out for Flying Kids while I was there. Plus, the research trip was a huge success. I can’t wait to get back to work on that manuscript!

I had the opportunity to appear at several summer camps, including one on being a changemaker and another on early literacy, which I loved, and I did interviews on two different live radio programs.

IMG_2956Last but certainly not least, I also spoke at the Pacific Northwest Library Association (PNLA) annual conference in Portland with two of my favorite nonfiction authors, Mary Cronk Farrell and Elizabeth Rusch, and I did my first storytime for My Dog Is the Best at University Bookstore in Bellevue.
It was a busy, fulfilling summer, and now I’m looking forward to some quiet writing time!
 

Texas Book Festival 2015 authors announced!

A record 300 authors will be appearing at the 2015 Texas Book Festival, Oct. 17 and 18, and I’ll be one of them!
This is exciting for many reasons:
1) I get to talk about EMMANUEL’S DREAM!
2) I get to meet the illustrator of Emmanuel’s Dream, Sean Qualls, for the first time ever!
3) Many of my favorite authors and author friends will be there.
4) I love Austin.
5) I love readers.
I can’t wait!
Many thanks to the folks at Blue Slip Media and Schwartz & Wade/Penguin Random House for making it happen. 🙂

Indies First 2014, this Saturday!

Indie's first logo
 
For the holiday 2014 season, bestselling author Neil Gaiman and musician-author Amanda Palmer called upon their fellow authors to get behind Indies First and “volunteer” at bookstores on Small Business Saturday (Nov. 29).
I couldn’t choose just one independent bookstore to hang out in (we’re lucky to have so many to choose from where I live!), so I’ll be doing two shifts:

I’ll be signing copies of BE A CHANGEMAKER and recommending a few of my other favorites, and I’ll be in great company with many other local authors and illustrators. So, if you’re in the area, please stop by and say, “Hi!”
If you’re not in the area, be sure to check out the interactive Indies First map to find a participating store near you!
 

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