I hope you’ll “bear” with me, as I send out one last reminder about my book launch for Blackberry Banquet, this Saturday at 11:00 AM at Red Rock Books in Ridgecrest. I hope to see many of my friends and professional colleagues there! We’ll have refreshments, activities for the kids, I’ll chat a bit and do a reading (not to worry about time–the book is under 500 words!).

If you can’t make it, please remember that you can still purchase a book to be donated to the High Desert Women’s Center, where the books will be given to children who come into the center with their mothers as they embark upon on a new start in life. That’s like getting a bear hug with pages!

All you have to do is call Red Rock Books at (760) 375-3454 and request to buy a $10.00 gift certificate for the Terry Pierce signing for The Women’s Center. This will allow children at the center to get their own autographed copy of the book. It’s as easy as pie (blackberry pie, of course! ;-).

If you have any questions, you can email me but all donation orders must go through the bookstore.

Here are the bear necessities:

What: Blackberry Banquet Book Launch
Where: Red Rock Books, 206 W. Ridgecrest Blvd., Ridgecrest, CA 93555
When: Saturday, Aug. 30 at 11:00 AM.

I hope to see you there!

Blackberry Banquet to Help Women/Children Charity

One of the things I love about being a writer is seeing my books used for good causes, and I recently read about an idea that just about knocked my socks off because I loved it so much (thank you, Mary Hershey!). Mary had the terrific idea to use her latest book launch as a means to donate books to Girls, Inc., a local girls’ organization in Santa Barbara, CA.

When I read about this, I called my local bookseller and shared Mary’s idea. She loved the idea too, so together Red Rock Books (in Ridgecrest, CA) and I are going to be donating books to The High Desert Women’s Center, as part of my book launch. The Women’s Center is a non-profit organization that helps women and their children who have left abusive home environments, and helps them get started on a fresh, new life. Because that kind of a situation can be so uncertain and a bit scary for young children, we thought that having each child receive a new book of their own would perhaps offer them a little comfort (and on a separate note, a quilting local club donates homemade quilts, so this way each child will receive a new quilt and a new book).

Red Rock Books is making available to the public a chance to purchase a gift certificate in the amount of $10.00. The certificate will be designated to buy one copy of Blackberry Banquet and that copy will be donated to the Women’s Center. You can call Red Rock Books at (760) 375-3454 and request to buy a $10.00 gift certificate for the Terry Pierce signing for The Women’s Center. This will allow children at the center to get their own autographed copy of the book. How easy is that?

And of course, if anyone wants to join in the festivities of the launch, the date is Saturday, Aug. 30 at 11:00 AM. I’d love to see you there (and of course, if anyone wants to buy copies for themselves, that’s okay too :-).



SCBWI Summer Conference Tips

More Tips for Sailing Through the SCBWI Summer Conference

It’s almost that time again—the SCBWI Summer Conference is rapidly approaching. Unfortunately, I have to miss it this year, but since I’ve been a few times, I thought I’d offer up some tips from my own past experiences.

1. Take a sweater or jacket. While the hotel is lovely, the meeting rooms and ballroom can be freezing! Of course, they can be stiflingly warm too. Take a cue from the Boy Scouts. Be prepared.

2. Map out your sessions. I like to determine my breakout sessions in advance, highlighting which ones pique my interest, but I also keep my ear out for other people who might have heard the speakers in other sessions. That way, if I get a sense that the speaker doesn’t offer what I’m looking for I can change plans. I usually have a first and second choice highlighted on my conference flier. I’ve also found that it helps to read the books of the speakers you know you’ll be hearing.

3. Wear comfortable shoes. Even though we’re in the same hotel all day, there are three levels for conferencing, plus the treks to our rooms and dining opportunities. No one wants his or her piggies to be crying at the end of the day.

4. Food: IMHO, there are slim options for eating at the hotel: one nice restaurant—overpriced in my opinion, a poolside café, and the lounge/bar. For lunch, usually there’s a sandwich cart in the hotel lobby (sandwich, chips, soda/water), except on Sunday, due to the Golden Kite Luncheon. Last year, both my roommate and I found the sandwiches dry and overpriced ($7.50 for a sandwich, $3.00 for an apple, $4.50 for a small bottle of water). Oh, and speaking of the Golden Kite Luncheon (or as it’s affectionately called, “the parade of chicken breasts”), the dessert is always to die for! I’ve never been disappointedJ.

For dinners, my pals and I hoof it down the street to the mall (less than ten-minutes) where there is a variety of eateries at the food court. Saturday night we nosh at the poolside gala (a fun munch and mingle kind of thing—live music and a costume contest).
The only eating issue I’ve had is on Sunday night, but what I’ve found to work is that room service, while a bit spendy, offers large enough portions to share with my roommate. Plus, I usually take some snacks with me (fruit, granola bars), so there’s enough to tide me over.

I honestly don’t know much about the breakfasts, other than the muffins, etc. that I’ve seen sold at the lounge/bar. I usually bring some homemade muffins/scones so I don’t have to waste my morning time standing in a line. Last year, the coffeemakers were removed from the rooms (this in new since Hilton took over) but there’s free coffee in the lobby until around 11:00 or so.

5. Bring a book bag and money. Of course, there will be books sold and after hearing all of the fabulous authors, you’ll want to buy their books. Here’s a hot tip: the “cash” line is always shorter than the “credit card” line, so if you’re comfortable with it, bring some spare cash with you (hotel rooms do have safes for locking up your valuables).
Additionally, there are usually freebies (catalogs, posters, writing guidelines from various publishers, promotional materials from authors/illustrators).
Now, I have to say that “freebies” doesn’t mean taking an author’s book from the display table. Eh-hem…yes, one year I took a copy of my new joke book to proudly display and by the end of the first day, someone had stolen it. Yep, stolen it! Can you believe that? And I’ve known other authors who had the same thing happen to them. I’d like to imagine a child somewhere is enjoying that book, and doesn’t know that how it came to land in his hands.

6. Take care of yourself. This is a personal one, because we’re all different, but I’ve learned to allow some “down time” for myself because four days of listening, learning, schmoozing and just plain hanging out with my writer and illustrator pals is fantastically exhausting. I bring a swimsuit for the Jacuzzi. Some folks participate in the yoga class. If you read my post on getting a good night’s sleep while traveling, you know that I bring a headset with quiet music. In essence, take care of yourself! It’s so very easy to overdo it.

7. Step out of your shell (if you have one). I know this is tough for a lot of people. The second conference I attended I didn’t know a single person. It was quite intimidating. I roomed with complete strangers who also didn’t know another soul in attendance. But I immediately discovered that children’s writers are some of the friendliest people on the planet. One way to break the ice with people is to notice where they’re from (it’s on the nametags they give us) and strike up a conversation about that. If you’re waiting for a session to begin, chat with the person next to you. Ask them what kind of writing they do, if they’re published. Heck, you could even ask if they’ve read any good books lately! Remember, we all have a common bond of writing/illustrating for children, so there are a many interesting things to talk about.

8. Parking: If you carpool with a friend, drop the friend and all the luggage off at the hotel front then park the car. It’s a bit of a haul to lug all your bags from the hotel to the parking structure in the back. Or you can use the valet parking (for an extra fee).

9. Etiquette: Please don’t shove your manuscript under a restroom stall at an editor. It makes us all look bad. Manners, manners, manners! And I’m serious.

10. Expectations. Don’t expect to come home with a book contract in hand. That just doesn’t happen. What you will come home with is 1) newfound knowledge and insight, 2) new friends/colleagues, 3) editorial hope. By this, I mean that you will have heard editors speak and have the hope that because you better understand what their needs are, your work might find a place with them. This takes time—time for you to go home and re-evaluate your work (now that you have this newfound knowledge), time to further polish it, time to compose a well-thought out cover letter, and time for the editor to read it. That’s your hope.

Notes from last year:

11. Coffee-aholics: Request a coffeemaker for your room, or bring you own (I have a small single-cup coffeemaker I got from Brookstone that I love). Last year, there was a Starbucks in the hotel lobby, but if you don’t want to leave your room for your morning cup o’ joe, then you should plan in advance.

12. Manuscript Critique. If you’re doing a paid ms critique, bring an extra copy for you to make marks on as your reviewer is making comments. And write down in advance any questions you have. It’s easy to forget questions when nerves get a stranglehold on you.

Enjoy and happy conferencing!



I’m kicking-off my summer-long promotion of Blackberry Banquet by having a free drawing here on my blog. It will be as easy as pie; blackberry pie, of course! If you want a chance to win a signed copy of Blackberry Banquet, just email me at with your name, and the words “Blackberry Drawing” in the subject line. I’ll collect all of the names sent to me and let an impartial person pick the winning entry.

The contest is open to any U.S. resident (my apologies to my readers outside of the US, but shipping costs prohibit me from outside shipping). I’ll announce the winner on June 16.

Note: You must type “Blackberry Drawing” in the Subject Line of your email to qualify (I get a lot of spam/junk mail so all entries must have this–otherwise, I might miss your entry!).

Good luck!

Back from BEA

I’m back from Book Expo America. Wow–what an experience! I had the pleasure of meeting some of the Sylvan Dell Publishing team and hanging out with them at their booth. It was fabulous to be able to chat with them and really get to discuss some aspects of the publishing business that I’ve always wondered about.

My plan was to walk the floor of the smaller hall on Friday (which I did) and take on the larger hall on Saturday (which I didn’t–a migraine started setting in on Sat. morning so I was forced to cut my day short). But you know, it really didn’t bother me all that much. It would have been nice to see the huge hall and schmooze with other people, but I felt so fortunate to have spent the time with the Sylvan Dell team, seen so many NEW books coming out, and met up with my SCBWI buddies, that I couldn’t complain! My signing went well–my books were gone within just a few minutes and I had a chance to connect with fellow book (and berry) lovers.
Other highlights: Dinner in Chinatown at Yang Chow Restaurant with four other authors; Caroline Hatton (The Night Olympic Team), Catherine Ipcizade (‘Twas the Day Before Zoo Day), Debbi Florence (China: A Kaleidoscope Kids Book), and Anastasia Suen (author of over 90 books!). The food and company were both fabulous!

Now I’m really psyched to go to the American Library Association Conference in Anaheim at the end of June!

Off to BEA!

I’ll soon be heading down to Los Angeles for Book Expo America. This is my first trip to BEA, so I’m pretty excited. I’ll be signing Blackberry Banquet at the Sylvan Dell booth on Friday from 3:00-4:00, and Saturday from 10:00-11:00 (West Hall, Exhibit Hall A, Booth #5154). If you’re at the convention, please stop by and say hi!



I have a few good things to post. The first, my Snoopy Dance news is that I found out yesterday from my publisher at Sylvan Dell that I will be participating at Book Expo America this year at the LA Convention Center! They weren’t sure if Blackberry Banquet (click here for a sneak preview) would be available by then, but despite its July 10 release date, it will. They’ll have advanced copies available for me to sign, so mark your calendars for the last weekend in May.

I’ve never attended BEA and I’m very excited. It’s such a huge event with so many publishers and authors—and to be a signing author is a thrill. My already overactive imagination is running amuck with thoughts of whom I’ll be seated near. I mean, isn’t it every children’s writers dream to get to rub elbows with Jane Yolen or Richard Peck (even if it’s from a distance and a line of people separates our elbows).

The other good news is that I recently heard from Roxyanne Young of She has decided to run the WIN competition (Write It Now) again this year. It will be open for entries beginning in August 2008, so mark your calendars and watch the SmartWriters website for updates.

One last bit of cool information. Author Bruce Hale, of Chet Gecko and Underwhere fame, is offering a 39% discount on the first four CDs in his Teleseminar series on writing and publishing (targeted toward beginning and lower-intermediate writers). Each recording addresses a different aspect of the process. You’ll find insider tips from editors and agents, plus time-tested information on how to write, edit, and sell your story. Click here for more info.

Happy Writing to All!

Pet Book Signing: One Step Closer

Yesterday was my fundraiser book signing for D & S Loving Animal Rescue. I’d like to thank the folks who came out to support D & S, and those of you who couldn’t make it but called in to order books. It was great meeting fellow animal-lovers (like Dawn Watchus, the manager of the center featured in the photo with me).

The signing went very well, as we raised approximately $150 in profits for the center, but as you can see from the photo (unfinished floors and no doors, not to mention the unfinished ceiling), funds are still needed to complete the facility (doors alone cost $100 each!).

If you’d still like to help homeless animals by purchasing a copy of PET JOKES THAT WILL MAKE YOU HOWL! or would like to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact Pet Integrity Pet Supplies:

(760) 375-3217
925 East Ridgecrest Blvd.
Ridgecrest, CA 93555



Pet Jokes Fundraiser: Time Is Running Out!

Hey All You Fellow Writerly Folks,

I just wanted to remind you that this Saturday, December 8 is when I’ll be signing copies of PET JOKES THAT WILL MAKE YOU HOWL! as a fundraiser for D & S Loving Animal Rescue, a non-profit, no-kill rescue center. I’m sure you’re more stressed out than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs over whether it’s too late to order books. Well, guess what? It isn’t!

You can still call Pet Integrity Pet Supplies at (760) 375-0140 to order your copies ($4.95 each plus $2.00 for shipping). Order now while supplies last. Pet Jokes would make a great holiday gift for anyone who loves animals plus you’ll be helping hundreds of homeless cats and dogs.

Can’t wait ’til you get your paws on a copy of PET JOKES THAT WILL MAKE YOU HOWL!, then check out this videoclip.



Why can’t dogs dance?
Because they have two left feet!

What do you get when you cross a feline and a metal detector?
A cat scan!

On Saturday, December 8, from 12:00-3:00, I’ll be signing my joke and riddle book, PET JOKES THAT WILL MAKE YOU HOWL! (co-authored with Ruth Musgrave) at a fundraiser benefit for D & S LOVING ANIMAL RESCUE (an honest-to-goodness no-kill animal shelter). One hundred percent of all proceeds are going to this wonderful non-profit organization.

Can’t make it? No need to get howlin’ mad! If you still want to purchase a book just call the number below to place your order. I’ll happily sign your copy/copies and the store will ship it to you. Your cost would be $4.95 + shipping (paperback edition) or $14.95 + shipping (hardback). PET JOKES THAT WILL MAKE YOU HOWL! would make a doggone great holiday gift for that pet-loving child or adult in your life and you’d be helping care for homeless cats and dogs.

My goal is to sell 100 books. The city of Ridgecrest has donated property for D & S to build a new full-service adoption facility, but funds are still needed for construction. This organization is the same one that brought my “furry children” into my life and I’d love to give something back to them and help them with their cause.

Here’s the kitty scoop:
Saturday, December 8, 12:00-3:00
Pet Integrity Pet Supplies
128 North China Lake Blvd.
Ridgecrest, CA 93555
INFO & BOOK ORDERING : (760) 375-0140