My absolute favorite part of being an author is meeting with readers. I’m available for schoolvisits, book club & writer's group discussions via Skype, library talks, and writing conferences. Download my school visits brochure for information on my speaking fees and a sample of some available programs. Click on the contact page to find out how to reach me! I love making connections and meeting fabulous new friends!
Click on the map to see when I will be in your area! (Green pins indicate an event open to the public. Pink pins indicate private events, such as school visits and assemblies. Blue pins indicate conferences or workshops that require registration.) Don't see an event near you? Feel free to invite me to your school or library!
I'm excited to be a part of the 2019/20 Read Local Challenge!
The Read Local Challenge is a reading incentive program featuring traditionally-published books by authors and illustrators who live in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Schools, classes, book clubs, and even individuals can join the Reading Race and nominate a school or library to win a box of signed books! Individual readers can also earn fun prizes from local booksellers through our Read Local Challenge Passport Program! For more information and a full list of the challenge books, please visit http://mddewv.scbwi.org/read-local/.
Want me to visit your school, youth group, or book club? I have presentations available for large, school-wide assemblies, small classroom visits, and everywhere in between. Contact me to set up the perfect visit for your group!
Rates vary based on the type of program requested (Do you want two assemblies, plus a Lunch with the Author? One assembly and two small-group writing workshops? Add on an evening event for the whole community?...) and the distance I need to travel. Within my local area (1 1/2 hours from Baltimore, MD), rates start at around $800 for a full-day visit. Outside the local area, rates start at $1,000 per day, and travel and lodging costs may apply. -- Mention the Read Local Challenge and get a 10% discount on my speaking fees.
Small group writing workshop: They say you should "write what you know," but that doesn't mean you have to be tied down to the facts! History, family stories, and personal experiences can be a great jumping-off point, but don't be afraid to let go of "what really happened."
Small-group presentation and writing exercise about making characters come to life in creative writing. I'll talk about the editing process, using adjectives effectively, and how these creative-writing skills can enhance all other forms of academic writing. Then, we'll work together to tell a story with the skills we've discussed.
If you compare my finished books to the first drafts of each manuscript, it's likely that you won't even recognize them as the same book. Editing and revision can seem scary -- especially when your deadline is looming and someone just pointed out that you need to cut the entire first third of your manuscript (true story). But true revision (the fearless slashing / re-imagining / rewriting process that occurs when you let yourself dig deep) can bring your words to life in ways you didn't even know were possible. In this hands-on, multi-session workshop, we'll work through the revision process from rough draft to polished story, with units on: How to give (and receive!) critiques; When to make changes suggested by your critique partners and when to stand your ground; and Having the courage to "kill your darlings" (i.e. cut your favorite lines, your favorite dialogue, even your favorite characters) in order to make your story stronger.
**note: This workshop can be condensed into a single presentation if budgets/schedules don't allow for multiple author visits. I'll go over the basics and my tips/tricks for the revision process, and the hands-on revisions can be led by the classroom teacher (or the students themselves!) in the days/weeks to follow.
Informal Q&A session where you can ask me about my books, where I get my inspirations, and any other questions you might have about life as a writer. (I have a limited number of free Skype visits available each year. Please contact me if you need to be considered for a free visit.)
Both of my books involve putting new twists on a familiar story. This presentation for small or large groups will encourage students to imagine new paths for stories they already know. They will discover how paying attention to the details and asking "what if??" can turn even the most boring day into a tale of excitement and adventure or turn a familiar fairy tale into something unexpected. It is a fun way to get their creative juices flowing, and it fits with the 2nd grade core curriculum fairy tale unit..
** note: This presentation has a companion hands-on writing workshop: "How to Fracture a Fairy Tale." We will take one familiar story (fairy tale, myth, legend... even a popular movie or TV show) and pull it apart, twist it around, turn it upside down and backward, and then put it back together again to create something new and exciting.
Presentation plus Q&A for large or small group settings. A look at the failures and bumps along the path to publication that made me a stronger writer. I talk about the ways my biggest successes were only possible because I failed first (we don't succeed in spite of our failures, but because of them!), and why giving up is never an option.
Need help writing a query letter that will catch an agent's attention? An elevator pitch for when you meet your dream agent at a conference? Or a Twitter pitch that will stand out in a crowded hashtag? As a three-time Pitch Wars mentor and a Literary Cupid for the recent #PitMatch Twitter party, I've had a lot of experience with query letters and short pitches that work. I'll share some tips for making your pitch pop and share real-life examples of pitches that work. If desired, participants may submit their pitches prior to the class for critique. I'll go over as many as time will allow.
An online presence is essential for an author. Even if you are not tech-savvy, even if you rarely use the internet for yourself, your readers will look for you online. Your website doesn't have to be elaborate, but you need an online "home address" where you can be found. In this hands-on workshop, we'll walk through the basics of getting started with a simple website, including basic design tips to ensure a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate site.
Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. Tumblr. Pintrest. ... Every day, it seems there is some new social media app to master. Keeping up can feel overwhelming! Do you really need social media anyway? Yes, you do ... but the great news is, you don't have to let social media take over your life! We'll define your goals and compare the pros and cons of the various social media platforms to establish your plan for dipping your toes in the social media pool without fear of drowning in the deep end.
You have your book. You have a great school/library presentation ready to go. You’re all ready for great author visits! … But how do you let schools, libraries, and bookstores know you are available? Who do you contact? What do you say? And what do they mean when they ask you to send a “high resolution” photo for publicity? In this hands-on workshop, we’ll put together a “media kit” with photos, links, bio, etc. that you can have available for all of your upcoming author events. Plus, I’ll share the tips I’ve learned in working with booksellers, school administrators, and librarians on how to present yourself in the best light. We’ll even work on drafting a personalized email that you can send to schools and libraries to let them know you are available for events.