This year, my local SCBWI chapter (SCBWI Central-Coastal CA) is doing a special event for its reading community and “published and listed” members (PALS). I’m proud to be a part of this event and love the idea of supporting local charities, encouraging reading and helping booksellers and authors promote their books. From their website:

This holiday season you can share the joy of reading while supporting local authors, independent booksellers, and charities alike when you purchase titles from the list below as gifts or as a donation to a worthy cause.

Our goal for the month of November is to support local bookstores in the Central Coastal region
as well as our booksellers’ favorite charities,
and share books by our Published And Listed authors’ and illustrators’.
​Purchase one or more for gift or charity!!

​You may order books using the PALS for the Holiday’s Order Form posted on their website.



Attend a Special Event!Help support our local PAL’s by stopping by any of the stores belowSaturday, November 26!

Save That Date!

The Ridgecrest branch of the Kern County Library System is hosting an author panel, showcasing local authors. I’m happy to say I’ll be one of the panelists! If you’re in the area on Saturday, October 17, please stop by–I’d love to see you!

Interested in Learning about Writing Easy Readers?

Registration is now open for my upcoming online course, Introduction to Writing Easy Readers, offered through UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.

I am SO excited to teach this course. As some of you know from my workshops on this subject, I believe the Easy Reader genre is THE most important genre of children’s books because it is the one that sets a child onto the path of independent reading. In other words folks, this is where we either hook kids as readers or let them get away.

If you’re interested in enrollment and registration, please click here.

Hope to see ya’ll in my virtual classroom!


Upcoming Event: KRA Young Author Fair

Next week, I’ll be in Bakersfield, CA for the Kern Reading Association’s Young Author Fair. I’ll be speaking at the following sites:

May 10: Almondale School
May 11: Casa Loma School
May 12: Wayside SchoolMay 13: McKinley School
May 14: Owens Primary
May 14: YAF Author Dinner, Doubletree Hotel, 6:30 (open to public)
May 15: YAF Fair at University Square (corner of 20th and K Streets, Bakersfield, CA). 8:30-12:30. Free to public.

For the whole scoop, click here.

This is said to be one of the top author events in the nation, so I’m deeply honored to be a part of it. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hi!

Back from Ventura and Easy Reader Workshop

I had a great time giving my workshop on The ABCs of Writing EZ Readers. We had a nice turnout and everyone was eager to learn about this often overlooked, but oh-so-important genre. I always welcome the opportunity to share my views on easy readers with folks.

I can’t say enough about how important it is to write beginning readers that kids can actually READ with MINIMAL FRUSTRATION. It’s so important to challenge young readers but not so much that it turns them off to reading.

So, a big thanks to the Ventura/Santa Barbara SCBWI for inviting me to present the workshop. And an especially big thanks to Kathryn Hunley, Joan Bransfield Graham, and Jody Fickes Shapiro for making it a fabulous day (oh–and Yuki Yoshino for helping out with book sales!).

Off to Ventura for Some "Easy" Living!

I’m packing up to head down to Ventura for my SCBWI workshop on Saturday, “The ABCs of Writing EZ Readers.” We’ve got a good number of folks signed up so it should be a fabulous afternoon on learning, interacting and reveling in our craft!

And yes, this desert girl will definitely breathe in some of that moist ocean air!


Just a quick bit of shameless self-promotion here…

I’ll be presenting an SCBWI workshop on Easy Readers on Saturday, May 30 from 1:00-4:30 PM in Ventura, CA. For anyone interested in attending, or learning more details, please click HERE. It should be a fun (and informative!) afternoon. My goal is for attendees to leave feeling like their heads are overflowing with information. And the packets I’ll provide…ah, the packets!

I hope to see you there!

It’s National Humor Month!

It’s that time again–National Humor Month–where we focus on the joy and therapeutic value of laughter. Not only is laughter the best medicine, it also reduces stress, creates endorphines (those “feel-good” hormones in our bodies) and is a great tool for classroom teachers.

This month, I’ll be posting some humor-related activities for teachers (so stay tuned), but to start off, I’d like to announce a Joke/Riddle Writing Contest for Kids that I’m running on my website. I welcome students, teachers and parents to visit my site and join in the fun! Please click HERE for details.

In the meantime, here’s a funny story that I shared in response to an interview I did for Stories for Children Magazine.

SFC: What was the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you in your writing career?

Okay, this one is a funny sort of writing-related story. One day I decided to go to my local coffee house and do some writing. I threw on some clothes and headed out. I hung out there for a couple of hours, even meeting my husband for coffee on his lunch break.

When I got home, I walked past a mirror and noticed something. Hanging out of the back of my pants was a strip of leopard print faux-fur. Apparently, in my rush to get dressed, I had grabbed a pair of pants that had been lying on my bed, where apparently, one of my cats’ toys had also been laying. I grabbed the pants along with the toy and threw them on, not realizing that I had a cat toy hanging out the back of my pants! I supposed that if anyone would have said anything, I could have just said that I was writing a story about a cat and was getting into my character. ;-}

Upcoming Interview: BlogTalkRadio Book Bites for Kids

I wanted to announce that that I’m going to be interviewed on BlogTalkRadio’s Book Bites for Kids this Thursday, at 12:00 PM (Pacific Time). Host Suzanne Lieurance will do a live 30-minute interview with me. You can even call in and ask questions! If you don’t already listen to Book Bites for Kids, you should! It’s easy to register (and it’s free). And if you can’t listen to it live, they have all their interviews available to download on your computer or as a podcast. So please, join us on Thursday for chat about writing for kids!

Writers’ Day!

Tomorrow I head off to Thousand Oaks, CA for the Ventura/Santa Barbara SCBWI annual Writers’ Day (my local SCBWI chapter). I love Writers’ Day! It’s a one-day event but we pack it with great speakers, such as editor Meredith Mundy Wasinger (Sterling Publishing), agent Jamie Weiss Chilton (Andrea Brown Literary Agency), and creative director Patrick Collins (Henry Holt). Additionally, we feature a handful of newly published regional authors, our “Spotlight Speakers” who give a ten-minute talk on some aspect of how they became published (wow–what a great way to hear how others maneuvered on the road to publication). And, if that’s not enough, there are manuscript and portfolio critiques, plus a “first pages” panel where anonymous first pages (submitted by attendees) are read to our speakers followed by their reactions and comments.

C’mon, how cool does this day sound??? This is WHY you should join the SCBWI, if you haven’t already. Each regional chapter offers fantastic events, such as the one I described above. It’s a great way to hear real, live editors and other professionals in the children’s lit business, and network with other writers in your area.

I hope to see some of you there! More later…