Please contact me if you would like me to autograph copies of my picture book, NAME THAT DOG, at your school's Scholastic Book Fair.

Recent Author Visits


Saturday Writers presentation on writing and marketing a picture book, June 2014, St. Peters MO

Lakeview Elementary School, O'Fallon, MO in April 2014

With Kim Piddington, Missouri SCBWI Regional Advisor, at the Missouri Association of School Librarians convention in St. Louis, April

Indiana SCBWI Spring conference April 2014

Chesterfield, MO children's writers group at Christmas 2013

scholastic Warehouse Book Signing December 7, 2013

At Main Street Books with owner, Vickie Erwin November 30th

B&N with authors Mike Force, Chris DiGiuseppi, and Valerie Battle Kienzle November 22nd

Local Author Open House at MK Library in O'Fallon, November 21st

Carlin Park Elementary School Angola, IN

Sherwood School Scholastic Book Fair in Arnold, MO

ICD Scholastic Book Fair with students--Immaculate Conception Dardenne Prairie, MO


Peggy with children's author Karen Guccione-Englert at the MK Library Local Authors Open House in O'Fallon, MO

Book signing at Indianapolis Fairgrounds, with Mary Igras

Author Visit to Immaculate Conception School (ICD) April 2012

ICD library staff

Edison Elementary School Hammond IN

Lincoln Elementary School Hammond IN

Beta Delta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, Hammond IN

Keynote Speakers
MO SCBWI Fall Conference


Heather Alexander, editor at Dial Books for Young Readers

Quinlan Lee, agent, Adams Literary Agency

Suzanne Morgan Williams, author of BULL RIDER

Author Visits
Spring 2011


Kids Ink Independent Children's Bookstore, downtown Indianapolis

Shirley Mullin, bookstore owner, with children's authors Janna Mathies, Peggy, and Nathan Clement

Thank You cards from Holy Family School in South Bend

Fieler Elementary students

Ms Hanneman's class at Northview Elementary

In the classroom at Northview Elementary School

Talking to students at Northview Elementary

Working together to create a poem in Starke County

Talking with students at Starke County

Author Judy Roth and students at the Starke County Young Artists Day

Indiana SCBWI PAL Luncheon and Bookfair at B&N Bookstore


Booksigning at B&N Bookfair

Anderson's Bookshop Children's Literature Breakfast


Anderson's Children's Literature Breakfast, with author and keynote speaker Tim Green

December Booksigning at The Bookstore in Michigan City


friendly staff at The Bookstore

Holiday Author Fair
Hosted by the Indiana Historical Society


Author Book Signing

Butler University Chorus entertains with Christmas Carols

Bellaboo's Play and Activity Center


Turkey for Thanksgiving?

Stuffee and the author

Stuffe's lunch!

November: Picture Book Idea Month

October Author Events


Author Panel: the Road to Publishing--Kathryn Page Camp moderating

Kate Collins: adult trade publishing, mysteries

Peggy Archer: children's trade publishing, picture books

Katherine Flotz: self-publishing, memoir

Michael Poore: adult trade publishing, fiction

Cynthia Echterling: e-publishing & small press, science fiction

Author visit to Portage Public Library, October 23rd


IN SCBWI presents Esther Hershenhorn:
Getting Your Stories Right
October 9, 2010


Esther Hershenhorn talks about the Reader's story and the Writer's story

Esther shares resources, experience, and opportunities

Trish Batey, Indiana RA

Yellow paper on your back gave a hint of 'What author are you?' for the day

Smiling faces

Peggy Archer gives an overview of the 2010 SCBWI conference in LA

Karen Kulinski gives an update on Indiana's HoosierLinks

Janna Mathies at the piano sings "Why It Matters" by Sara Groves

door prizes

IN SCBWI steering committee with Trish: (L to R) Karen Kulinski, HoosierLinks, Kristi Valiant, Website Coordinator, Alina Klein, Listserv Coordinator, Peggy, ARA (not pictured: Sharon Vargo, Illustrator Coordinator)

New Regional Advisor, Kristi Valiant, talks about plans for 2011

Indiana SCBWI: Outgoing RA Trish Batey, ARA Peggy Archer, Incoming RA Kristi Valiant

Author visits at Citizen's Financial Bank and ROAR's (Reach Out and Read) Evening With the Authors


Visiting with author/illustrator Nathan Clement and son Theo at the ROAR author event

Autographing for a young reader

Story Time at ROAR's (Reach Out and Read) Evening With the Authors Event in Indianapolis

Reading to young bankers at Citizens Financial Bank in Valparaiso

2010 SCBWI Conference for Children's Writers and Illustrators in Los Angeles, CA


Some of the crowd at the SCBWI conference in LA

Ashley Bryan, Golden Kite winner for Nonfiction

with Keynote speaker and Golden Kite winner, Marion Dane Bauer

Illustrator and Keynote speaker, Loren Long

E.B. Lewis, Keynote speaker

with Keynote speaker, Gennifer Choldenke

Keynote speaker, Gordon Korman

Chris Cheng, Australia RA and SCBWI Member of the Year

Kris Vreeland, Independent Bookstore manager, Vroman's Bookstore

Eva Mitnick, LA librarian and reviewer for SLJ

Greg Pinkus and Alice Pope on networking

Bruce Hale--Skyping

with Lin Oliver, co-founder of SCBWI

Steve Mooser, co-founder of SCBWI, with Sally Crock RAE

Indiana SCBWI members Mary Jo, Shannon, and Peggy celebrate in LA with Heart and Soul.

East and Midwest members celebrate at the Golden Kite Luncheon in LA--Peggy, Courtney, Julia and Mary Jo.

Peggy with Alice and Lisa, co-RAs from IL--friends and roommates

Linda V., formerly of Indiana, with her 'dog-in-training,' Dusty.

IWC Writers' Picnic


Anyone for Literary Bingo?

Children's Corner



Knee-high by the 4th of July!


This is the cornfield just down the street from my house on July 13th. That's me with the boot on my foot again!

Springtime Author Visits


Local Authors Day, Valparaiso B&N

Welcome to the Young Artists Fair in Plainfield, IN

Signing books at Van Buren Elementary School in Plainfield, IN

Book Launch Party for NAME THAT DOG!, Valparaiso Public Library


Happy Birthday, Name That Dog!

Little reader loving that dog book!

Celebrating the Book Launch!

Doggy treats at the book launch party

More springtime author visits


With Jocelyn at the Porter County Expo Center for the Be Kind to Animals Celebration

Speaking to readers and writers at the LaPorte County Public Library in April

Our new grandpuppy, Dudley!

Chad & Sara's Wedding Day


The new Mr. and Mrs. Biggs!

Focus on the Novel:
Indiana SCBWI Spring Conference


Trish Batey, Indiana SCBWI RA, Stephen Roxburg, Lisa Graff, Helen Frost, Peggy Archer, Indiana SCBWI ARA

Stephen Roxburg, Publisher of namelos, talked about writing the YA novel, the current state of publishing, and his new company, namelos

Lisa Graff, Middle Grade author, talks about writing the middle grade novel and the Slush Pile

Lisa autographs books with a smile

Introducing Helen Frost, YA author and poet

Question and Answer panel--Lisa, Stephen, and Helen

Registration, getting to know you

Schmoozing with other writers

Trish with author, Valiska Gregory

Books for sale--writers can never have too many!

Taking it all in.

School visits
Chesterton, IN








Mitchell, IN
Library Event


Afternoon Tea with the author in Mitchell

Alexis talks about storytime for the very young

Starke County Young Artists Day
North Judson, IN


My little corner--I love when students come up to talk.

HOW many dogs do you have?!

Authors of the day

Keynote address: Growing an Author with Peggy Archer

Making a book with Katie Mitschelen

Research--detective work, with Peggy Miller

Crafting a poem with Mary Ann Moore

Becoming an artist with Edwin Shelton

Music with the Band

One small hand holding onto another

Sharing the Christmas holiday with writer friends


Name That Dog! Sharing F&G's and write-up in Dial's catalog with group.

Writers Christmas lunch and meeting in Michigan City

Meeting up with Esther and Karen in Chicago

F&G's for Name That Dog!


Name That Dog! ISBN: 978-0-8037-3322-0

Christmas Writing Celebrations


Writing friends from the beginning!

November Author Visits


Drawing a turkey at Hussey-Mayfield Public Library-- Zionsville, IN

Autographs at Hussey-Mayfield Library, Zionsville

"Who likes to eat turkey at Thanksgiving?" --Morton Elementary School, Hammond, IN

Thank you cards from Morton Elementary students

Reading to my grandson's pre-school class at Zion Lutheran School-- Bethalto, IL


Ladies Tea
St. Mary's Church


Family Book Basket


Indiana SCBWI Fall Picture Book Conference


Courtney Bongiolatti, Editor S&S

Laurent Linn, Art Director S&S

Terry Harshman, Editor CBHI

Author-Illustrators, Kristi Valiant and Sharon Vargo

Kristi Valiant, IN-SCBWI logo winner

Our volunteer crew (minus a few)

author Katie Mitschelen and Peggy enjoying the conference

...Pawprints on the heart.


Snickers 2009

Snickers 1998


IWC Dinner Event
The Business of Writing


Janine Harrison, opening remarks

Sharon Palmeri, President IWC and speaker

Kathryn Page Camp speaks on Taxes for Writers

Kate Collins, mystery book author and Keynote speaker

Gordon Stamper, secretary IWC

Peggy, Sally, and Karen--writing friends enjoying the dinner event together

Autographs with a smile :)

Smokies in the morning


Writing the Picture Book
Rensellaer, IN


Smile and say 'author'!

Ready to start!

"Ghostwriting" with Sara Grant, Editor,
Working Partners


Sara Grant, Editor, Working Partners

One on one with Sara

Author and Editor...

Getting to know you...

Sharing thoughts... connecting

Schmoozing...

Smiling faces...

Our Kentucky friends...

Trish, RA, Peggy, ARA, Christi and Alina, steering committee members

Writing the non-fiction picture book


Picture book author, April Pulley Sayre, speaking in South Bend.

Writers and Friends


Surprise!

Esther and Heidi

Esther with Steve and Sally from National SCBWI

Heidi and Peggy, friends and poets

We came from Indiana...

...from California and Iowa

and enjoyed the friendships.

Peggy, Karen & Esther--connecting once again.

Summer Critique Meeting


Critique group gathering at Peggy Miller's house. Karen, Fred, Mary Ann, Katie, Judy, & the two Peggy's in front.

Songwriters in the Family


Our daughter, Sarah & our son, Dan both sang original songs at the Porter County Fair in the Colgate Country Showdown.

Indiana SCBWI Summer Schmooze


From Fort Wayne to Whiting, we gathered to talk & gain some bit of insight into the world of creating children's books.

Enjoying the company of other children's writers & illustrators.

Schmoozing.

Meeting other children's writers.

Sharing thoughts.

Smiles were free.

Peggy Archer talks about trade publishers.

Judy Roth talks about working with a small publisher.

Karen Kulinski talks about working with an agent.

Karen fielding questions.

ALA 2009 Chicago


Peggy with the Cat in the Hat

Katie and the Cat in the Hat

I won a collection of autographed books from the IL SCBWI (Society of Children's Writers & llustrators) booth at ALA for the Valparaiso Public Library. An awesome prize! Thank you IL SCBWI!

Peggy, presenting books won at ALA to Connie Sullivan, Branch Manager and Leslie Cefali, Youth Services Assistant, Valparaiso Public Library.

Find Authors

More Writing Prompts for November!

October 31, 2010

Tags: Darcy Pattison, writing story scenes, writing picture books

The more I see, the more I find!

Well known writing teacher and author, Darcy Pattison, has declared November 30 Days to a Stronger Scene month! Another choice for ways to get those juices flowing, starting tomorrow, November 1st.

Darcy has created a facebook page for a discussion of creating scenes. Here's now it goes.
First, write a scene of a story. Then, think about scenes and how they work. Add to the discussion on her facebook blog, or on Darcy's webpage. Then read other posts and Darcy's fiction notes to stretch your understanding of story scenes.

Find the discussion on Facebook at: http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/blog/fiction_notes_believe_in_your_story?ref=mf
or go to Darcy's website and check out her Fiction Notes at: http://www.darcypattison.com/.

And if you're looking for something more on pictue books, check the link to 31 Days of Writing the Picture Book, from August 2008, at: http://networkedblogs.com/9QD9x.

November is almost here, so get down and write!

National Picture Book Idea Month

October 29, 2010

Tags: PiBoIdMo, NaNoWriMo, children's authors, bloggers, writing for children

Welcome to National Novel Writing Month, and now, to National Picture Book Idea Month, as well!

I'm not a novel writer, so I've never taken an interest in National Novel Writing Month, which is November, but many children's novelists do. Novel writers know this as NaNoWriMo. The idea is to complete a novel in 30 days.

Sound unrealistic? In this contest the only thing that matters is output--quantity vs: quality, enthusiasm and perseverance over craft, permission to make mistakes and not be perfect. Thirty days and night of literary abandon! Who knows? You may end up with something good enough to revise. So if you are a novelist and would like more information about NaNoWriMo, go to http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/whatisnano.

Now for us picture book writers. Tara Lazar has created PiBoIdMo, a 30-day challenge for picture book writers!

From her website: "The concept is to create 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. You don’t have to write a manuscript. You don’t need potential best-seller ideas.

You might think of a clever title. Or a name for a character. Or just a silly thing like “purple polka-dot pony.” The object is to heighten your picture-book-idea-generating senses so by the end of the month, you’ll have a file of ideas to help inspire you throughout the year."

Writers who complete the 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge will be eligible for prizes.

The kick-off will be posted this Sunday, on Halloween. You’ll be asked to officially sign-up in early November. Visit every day during the month of November for a new post on inspiration and creativity from guest bloggers.

For a list of guest bloggers, and for more information, go to Tara's website at http://taralazar.wordpress.com/piboidmo2010/.

So, novelist or picture book writer, have fun being creative in November!



NCTE National Day of Writing

October 20, 2010

Tags: NCTE, writing, student writing, education


“… It has been said that reading can serve as a window to the world; if that is true, then writing is what opens the window. That window must be opened for all.”
-- from The Human Context for the National Day on Writing, Kylene Beers, President, National Council of Teachers of English

I love this quote. I'd like to share the following information about the NCTE National Day on Writing with you.

On September 29, 2010, the Senate passed a resolution declaring October 20, 2010, the National Day on Writing. The following information was taken from the NCTE National Day of Writing website.

Why Writing?
People in every walk of life, in every kind of work, and at every age write more than ever before for personal, professional, and civic purposes.

•They write through text messages and IMs, they use video cameras and cell phones, and, yes, even traditional pen and paper.
•The social nature of writing invites people in every walk of life, in every kind of work, and at every age to make meaning through composing.
•More and more people in all occupations deem writing as essential and influential in their work.

Why a National Day on Writing?
In light of the significance of writing in our national life, to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in, and to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives, October 20, 2010, will be celebrated as The National Day on Writing.

The National Council of Teachers of English invites you to explore and celebrate the integral role writing has in each of our lives by participating in the National Gallery of Writing.

WHO?
Everyone! We encourage everyone to submit a piece of writing: students, teachers, parents, grandparents, service and industrial workers, managers, business owners, legislators, retirees, and many more.
WHAT?
A National Gallery of Writing where you can contribute any type of writing composition that matters to you.
WHEN?
The National Gallery of Writing and Local Partner Galleries are open for submissions.
WHERE?
Online at www.galleryofwriting.org and in small towns and large cities nationwide. Writing is for everyone and is everywhere.
WHY?
Because we, as a nation, are writing like never before—through text messages and IMs, with video cameras and cell phones, and, yes, even with traditional pen and paper. Whether it is done in a notebook or on a blog, writing, in its many forms, has become daily practice for millions of Americans.
GET STARTED TODAY at www.ncte.org/dayonwriting
HOW?
Help us put writing front and center by:
• Starting a Local Gallery: Curators wanted. You can start a local gallery for your classroom, your town, or your civic group. Once your gallery is established, you can solicit writing on any topic or theme you’d like—the possibilities are endless!
• Contributing Your Writing: Writers come from all walks of life, and everyone has something important to share. Upload your writing—whether it’s a story, a video montage, an audio file, or a photo—to the gallery of your choice.
• Celebrating Writing Nationwide: Join us—and thousands of other Americans—as we celebrate writing.

For more information on how you can help celebrate, visit www.ncte.org/dayonwriting. Then follow the links there for more information on writing.

The Rest of the Story...

October 13, 2010

In my last blog I gave a short wrap-up of what Esther Hershenhorn had to tell us about Getting Our Stories Right at the Indiana SCBWI program for children's writers. Writing is a solitary job, self-disciplined, and writing is a one-person job. Events for writers not only help us to become better at what we do, but give us a chance to connect with one another.

The Benton House was a beautiful setting for our program on October 9th. A warm fall day, with leaves of many colors, added to the atmosphere for a day of friendship and inspiration. And just in case there were people there that you hadn't met before, we all became a famous author for the day. With 'your famous author name' on your back, hints from others helped you discover which children's author you were. Pat Wheeler was the first to figure out her new identity.

Trish started out the program with some stretching to help limber us up. Then it was on to the first part of Esther's presentation.

Delicious snacking, book sales and schmoozing came during a break in the program. Then it was back to Esther for the rest of her Rx for Children's Book Creators.

Following the program, we got updates from Karen Kulinski on HoosierLinks, which is moving forward to connect SCBWI members across the state, and from myself with a short wrap-up of the SCBWI National Conference in LA this summer. Updates were followed by door prize give-aways, and a wonderful performance by Janna Mathies who played the piano and inspired us even more as she sang 'Why It Matters' by Sara Groves.

The day ended with a thank you to Trish Batey as she stepped down as Indiana SCBWI Regional Advisor, handing over the reins to Kristi Valiant, who took over as our new Indiana RA. Kristi gave an overview of plans for Indiana members in 2011 and heading into 2012.

Trish was then treated to a surprise, with thankful words and gifts, which included an SCBWI tote bag illustrated by Pat Cummings and signed by the founders of SCBWI, Lin Oliver and Steve Mooser. Tucked inside were SCBWI note cards, the new SCBWI baseball cap, a Writers Block with a Writer's Survival Kit, and a Jar of Inspiration filled with quotes from children's authors. Indiana members contributed to a Memory Book, with notes, illustrations, and memories of the past two years while Trish was at the helm.

Thanks, Trish! For your energy and enthusiasm, and for everything you did for Indiana SCBWI during your time as RA.

Welcome, Kristi! We couldn't have a better person to take over the lead as our new RA in Indiana.

What Are Your Stories?

October 13, 2010

Tags: Esther Hershenhorn, the writer's story, the reader's story, character, setting, plot, Benton House, SCBWI, Indiana SCBWI, children's author events

On Saturday Indiana SCBWI hosted Esther Hershenhorn, who talked to us about ‘Getting Your Stories (plural) Right.’ The Character was Esther herself, former Regional Advisor for Illinois SCBWI and current board member for SCBWI, award-winning author, speaker, and writing coach. The setting was the beautiful Benton House in Indianapolis, IN. The Plot…

Esther talked about the two stories you tell as an author: the story you have to tell your readers, and the story you’re living as a writer. These stories need to intersect meaningfully.

There are 3 elements of story: character, setting and plot. Of these, Character is everything!

I Character—Who?

Get to know your character. Ask yourself ‘What’s on his iPod?’
You need to know two things that about your characters (yourself and your story character): what your character wants (the physical plotline), and why he wants it (the emotional plotline).
Ask yourself: Why do you write for children? What do you want out of it?

II Setting—When and Where?

You live in the character’s book world, but you also need to stay current in the children’s publishing world. Learn from others, through libraries, book sellers, teachers, editors and others. Read children’s literature. Keep a reader’s journal. Write down the books you read.

III Plot—How?

Plot is characters in action, overcoming obstacles, by cunning and craft. Events are linked by causation. Things happen for a reason. Every scene, every character, etc., matters.

Esther’s description of plot, put simply, is:
Oh—Oh, my!—Oh, dear!—Oh, no!—Oh, yes!

In story, there must be action. The character must act against an obstacle. Then he re-acts with accompanying emotion. This is the emotional plot line.

Your plot as a writer asks three questions:
What do you want?
Why do you want it?
How do you get it?

In conclusion: Write from who you are. Write true to yourself.

Finally: Never throw out the beginning pages of your writing—it’s where the heart of your story is.

More on the ‘rest of the day’ later!