Monday, March 16, 2009

Changing Call Signs

For several years now, I've been able to refer to myself as WRITER. Recently, I upgraded to calling myself AUTHOR. Sometimes, if I'm feeling complicated, I call myself AUTHOR/WRITER. Now that the book is out, and I'm doing school visits, I've amended even that to read AUTHOR/WRITER/SPEAKER. Now, I'm excited to announce that I can also call myself EDITOR.

I have recently been named co-editor of the YA and Children's literature section of Hunger Mountain, the arts journal of Vermont College of Fine Arts. My fellow co-editor is author Bethany Hegedus, already a close friend and colleague of mine. Thus far, Hunger Mountain has been a print publication with adult-market material only. Now, we're launching an online component to the journal, which will include children's and YA. Very cool.

We'll be getting this ball rolling over the next few months, and I'll keep folks updated about any information related to Hunger Mountain. Exciting!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A DIfferent Speaking Gig

So, I've gotten into the mode of speaking to groups of kids and teens about The Rock and the River, and that is totally fun. But every once in a while, I get the chance to talk to grown-ups, as well. This is hit or miss, as far as actual "fun" is concerned. I find most formal adult gatherings to be boring or downright stuffy. Yawn.

So imagine my surprise when I was invited to speak to a chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution about one of my non-fiction books, The Salem Witch Trials. The DAR is soooo not my target demographic. But I agreed to do the speech. I went, and lo and behold - it was fun! The ladies were cool and very interested in my books. I made my presentation and they were very into it. It just goes to show that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, so to speak. Here I am with some of the DAR ladies.

Perhaps what surprised me most about this occasion was that I was totally confident and comfortable going into it. I had done my research and written my book, so I knew what I was talking about. I wasn't even nervous.

Why is this a big deal? Well. I think of myself a quiet person; a listener, not much of a talker. I guess was a chatty little kid, but I had turned fairly shy by the time I was a teenager. Now it seems to be spinning back the other way. Turns out, I like to talk. A lot. Who knew?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Between Us Baxters Release Party!!

Last night I attended the release party for Between Us Baxters, by my friend and fellow YA author Bethany Hegedus. Yay!!

I'm one of the lucky ones who got to read the book for the first time a few years ago, long before it was published. So it's especially exciting to see it in real book form for all the world to see.

Here we are together with Bethany's book!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

School Visits: Boston, Massachusetts

I spent this weekend at Newton Country Day School in Massachusetts, doing school visit with my friend and fellow YA author Bethany Hegedus. We gave a joint presentation on The Rock and the River and Bethany's novel, Between Us Baxters. Both novels are set in the Civil Rights Movement, hers at the beginning of the era and mine at the end - so they are great books to present and discuss together. Here we are talking to the middle school girls of Newton Country Day!

The next day, Bethany and I spoke at the Associated Independent Schools of New England's annual Middle School Students of Color Conference. We each did small-group writing workshops, and also were the afternoon keynote speakers for the whole conference! Here we are, doing our readers' theatre presentation with all 300 conference attendees!