Upcoming Author Sightings

September 28-29, 2018
ICD Book Fair
School Visit and Book signing
Immaculate Conception Catholic School

2089 Hanley Road
Dardenne Prairie, MO 63368

Saturday, October 6, 2018
Storytime and Book signing
Barnes & Noble Mid Rivers

10:00 am to 1:00 pm

320 Mid Rivers Center Drive
St Peters, MO 63376

Saturday, October 13, 2018
Local Authors Day
Spencer Road Branch Library

10:00 am to 1:00 pm

427 Spencer Rd
St Peters, MO 63376


Recent Author Visits

Book Launch at Main Street Books in St. Charles, with some hippy, hoppy readers! March 24, 2018

With Kim Vernon (R) and Rhonda Roberts (L), wonderful coordinators of the White County Creative Writers' conference in Searcy, AR! 9.2.17

White County Creative Writers conference in Searcy, AR on 9.2.17

Reading from NAME THAT DOG at the St. Charles Arts & Literary Festival on 8.26.17--with help from Author, Stephanie Bearce.

Even Batman and Superman stopped to read at the Arts and Literary Festival in St. Charles! 8.26.17

Making paper-cup puppies at the St. Charles Arts & Literary Festival on 8.26.17

Providence Classical Christian Academy May 2017

Guest author at Nancy Polette's children's writing class April 2017

South Central Elementary School, Kinmundy, IL April 14, 2016

ICD School visit March 1, 2016

With Nancy Polette, Writing for Children instructor, October 1, 2015

Picture Book Intensive, SCBWI conference September 2015, Soaring to New Heights

Author visit, with Author and Instructor (Writing for Children), Nancy Polette May 2015

Author visit at Troy Buchannan HS March 2015

Scholastic Book Fair, St. Charles, Missouri December 2014

Scholastic Book Fair, Fenton, Missouri December 2014

Scholastic Book Fair, Columbia, Missouri December 2014

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


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


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.


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.

Family Book Basket

December 30, 2010

Tags: Nathan Clement, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Esther Hershenhorn, Mary Harris Russell, Kristi Valiant, B&N Booksellers Valparaiso IN

I believe the Christmas season brings out the best in people, and there are always those who stand out among the rest for their generosity. The Belles of St. Mary's Church in Kouts, Indiana raffled off themed gift baskets once again this year in early December as a fund raiser. One of the baskets was a Family Book Basket. The books included in the basket would be a prize by themselves, but what made this one so special were the books that were donated and autographed by the authors and illustrators. A heartfelt thank you goes out to the following authors and illustrators, as well as a children's book reviewer and a bookseller, who very kindly donated books for the basket.

Nathan Clement, author and illustrator, for his picture book, DRIVE published by Front Street/Boyds Mills Press. Find out more about Nathan, including his up-coming book, at his website, http://stickman-studio.com/.

Rebecca Kai Dotlich, author, for her picture book, GRANDPA LOVES, published by HarperCollins. Visit Rebecca and her books on her website at http://www.rebeccakaidotlich.com/.

Esther Hershenhorn, author, for her picture book, THERE GOES LOWELL’S PARTY!, published by Holiday House. You can find Esther and view her books on her website at http://www.estherhershenhorn.com/lucky.html.

Kristi Valiant, author and illustrator, for the following chapter books which she illustrated and that accompany the Our Generation dolls: THE MYSTERY OF THE VANISHING COIN and THE ADVENTURES AT SHELBY STABLES. Find Kristi and more about her books at http://www.kristivaliant.com/.

Mary Harris Russell, children's book reviewer, who donated several picture books which she recently reviewed for the Chicago Tribune. See http://articles.dailypress.com/2002-12-24/news/0212240020_1_eric-carle-sloth-jack-prelutsky.

And finally, Darlene McDonald of Barnes & Noble in Valparaiso, who donated several books for different ages to the book basket. Find out what's happening at B&N in Valpo at http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/store/2138.

One of the un-anticipated pleasures of writing for children has been meeting the many wonderful people in the world of children's books. And that alone is its own reward.

Favorite Christmas Books

December 17, 2010

Christmas stories offer many things. They make you smile or laugh or cry. They offer hope to those who need it. They help us to see kindness and love in a world where life is in the fast lane. Curling up with a good book warms your heart as well as your soul. Here are some of my favorites, from board books through middle grade and even a few for adults.

SILENT NIGHT, a board book, comes complete with music and lights, published by Ideals Interactive, 2006. No author/illustrator listed. In this rhyming book for young children each page tells about the different people or animals at the manger and something about them, until on the last page they are gathered together around the Baby Jesus. The book ends with the words to the song, Silent Night. Colorful illustrations show happy faces, and the detail is simple and engaging.

SNOWMEN AT CHRISTMAS, by Caralyn Buehner and illustrated by Mark Buehner, Dial 2005, board book 2010. From decorating the tree with snowballs, and snowman mothers preparing ice cream and snow cones, to a visit from Kris Kringle and singing songs about snow and the birth of a king, we find snowmen celebrating Christmas when everyone else is asleep, in much the same way as we do. The colorful, ‘warm,’ illustrations add cozy detail and complete the book making it a great read.

DRUMMER BOY, written and illustrated by Loren Long, Philomel Books 2008. When a small wooden drummer boy is left on the doorstep of a young boy, he declares that it is just what he has always wanted. His words warm the drummer boy’s heart, as he plays his drum for the boy. Then one day the drummer boy is accidentally brushed into the trash can, beginning a cold and lonely journey. Along the way he plays his drum for a grumpy rat, three screeching owls, a lonely city, a starry sky, a snowman with charcoal eyes, and a field covered with statues and stones, and his music brings peace to all. When he is finally discovered in the field, he plays for the boy once again, and in the final scene he is placed on the mantel where he plays for the baby in the stable. Rich illustrations are from the viewpoint of the little drummer boy, and put the reader in the middle of each scene.

FIRST DOG’S WHITE HOUSE CHRISTMAS, by J. Patrick Lewis and Beth Zappitello, illustrated by Tim Bowers, Sleeping Bear Press 2010. Readers get a tour of the White House through the eyes of a dog—not just any dog, but the ‘First Dog,’ who lives there with his family. As he welcomes dogs who have come from other countries with their owners for a Christmas celebration, First Dog invites them to tell about their own Christmas traditions. Facts about Christmas in the white house as well as in other countries are briefly woven into the story. More, including the breeds of the dogs pictured, are incorporated into the inside covers of the book. Illustrations that are warm and whimsical complement the story. A book that is interesting and fun, it’s easy to see that readers will want to re-visit the story over again.

THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE OF JANONTHAN TOOMEY, by Susan Wojciechowski, illustrated by P.J. Lynch, Candlewick Press 1995. Jonathan Toomey is a sad and lonely woodcarver, the best woodcarver in the whole valley. One day he receives a request for a new carving of a special crèche which has been lost during a move, and the quiet friendship of a small boy and that of his mother help bring about a healing change in the woodcarver’s heart. The reader can almost see the wood carvings through the illustrations, and feel the change of heart in the warm browns and glowing colors.

THE WEE CHRISTMAS CABIN, retold by Margaret Hodges, illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root, Holiday House 2009. This Irish folk tale tells the story of a tinker’s child whose life is spent helping others. As she grows old, she is finally rewarded by the fairies with a cabin of her own. And for eternity, if it’s a white Christmas, you will find her waiting in her warm cabin, with the griddle hot, the kettle full, and her arms open wide to children in need. This is a heartwarming story of the kindness of one person, beautifully illustrated with detailed paintings in earth colors.

THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER, by Barbara Robinson, HarpCollins, 1972. This is my all-time favorite Christmas book for middle grade readers. The opening of the story immediately draws the reader in, starting with “The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.” How the Herdmans become part of the Christmas pageant, and their simple interpretation of the meaning of the first Christmas, will give more meaning to the holiday for everyone.

A STRANGER FOR CHRISTMAS, by Carol Lynn Pearson, St. Martin’s Press 1984, is my favorite Christmas book for adults. The story begins with two older ladies who meet in a nursing home. Their conversation about families who take an orphan home for Christmas day leads to the question of whether anyone would take an old lady home for the holiday. A bet leads to a challenge, as one of the two is convinced that at least one of her five grown children would be willing to take an old lady home for Christmas.

Some other favorites from the past:
THE LITTLEST ANGEL, Charles Tazewell, 1946; board book edition 2002 (picture book)
BEST CHRISTMAS BOOK EVER!, Richard Scarry, Random House 1981 (picture book)
SANTA CLAUS DOESN’T MOP FLOORS, Debbie Dadey & Marcia Thornton Jones, Scholastic 1991 (an early chapter book)
WHAT CHILD IS THIS? By Caroline B. cooney, Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers 1997 (young adults)
THE CHRISTMAS WISH, Richard Siddoway, Harmony Books 1998 (adults)
DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW (and any of the Christmas books by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark), Simon & Schuster / Scribner 2008 (adults)

I would love to hear about any of your favorite Christmas books, as well as any favorite books about Hanukah, Kwanza or however you celebrate the holidays.

I wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday reading!

Holiday Author Visits

December 10, 2010

Tags: Bellaboo's, Indiana Historical Society, Holiday Author Fair, Indiana History Center

From Thanksgiving at Bellaboo's Child Play and Activity Center, to a Holiday Author Fair at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in Indianapolis, the holidays are celebrating authors!

Bellaboo's in Lake Station, IN has room after room of great stuff for kids to do. Within the various rooms they enjoy such things as water play, block play, a train room, an art room, a pretend room, and of course a reading room! It made me want to be a kid again. Visiting artists and planned activities are a part of the game plan, too. A friendly and engaging staff rounded out the experience. My visit there was a plesure. While I was there, the cast from Annie, which was performing in Merrillville, came in to perform several songs for visitors. One little girl who was visiting the center was so taken by it all that she decided to go up and join the cast-- a future Annie for sure!

The Indiana Historical Society certainly know how to throw a Holiday Author Fair! I was in good company with 75 Indiana authors, all enjoying the afternoon meeting readers and other authors, and signing copies of their recently published books.

I enjoy hearing what names other people give to their dogs, and my picture book, NAME THAT DOG, was a good conversation starter. So many people seem to name their dogs after a favorite person. The pick of the day was the person who named their two dogs after German beer names. I would love to hear how you named your dogs as well!

My book of poems for toddlers and young children, FROM DAWN TO DREAMS, also had a good audience of parents and grandparents who were there.

In our corner of children's authors, I was seated between two familiar faces. Barbara Morrow, poet and non-fiction author whose latest book is NATURE'S STORYTELLER: THE LIFE OF GENE STRATTON-PORTER, and Peter Welling, author and illustrator, whose latest picture book is one that he illustrated, THE KVETCH WHO STOLE HANUKKAH. It was nice to see other familiar faces there as well.

My husband, who bravely drove through the snow to get us from Valparaiso to Indianapolis, joined me from time to time during the afternoon. The rest of the day he enjoyed the presentations and exhibits at the Center. After hearing his account, we both decided that we need to go back to see what was missed and re-visit others.

While there I met Molly Head, producer and development director of Hoosier History Live!, which is an e-project featuring the nation's only live radio show about history. And it's home is here in Indiana! To find out more about this program, go to www.hoosierhistorylive.org. Live shows are on Saturdays at 11:30 am on WICR 88.7 fm.

If you are in Michigan City, IN on Saturday, come out and support your independent bookstore in the Lighthouse Mall, at the far northeast corner. I'll be signing copies of my books from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, so stop by and say hello!

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays as much as I am! More coming on Christmas books for children!