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.

Children's Literature Breakfast

February 23, 2011

Tags: Anderson's Bookshop, Children's Literature Breakfast, Mark Teague, Tim Green, Kathryn Lasky, Trent Reedy, Al Yankovic

With Mark Teague, author and keynote speaker
On Saturday I attended the Children’s Literature Breakfast in Glen Ellyn, IL presented by Anderson’s Book Shops. Besides schmoozing with other children’s authors, teachers and librarians, I got to hear from authors Mark Teague, Tim Green, Kathryn Lasky, Trent Reedy and “Weird Al” Yankovic. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get an autographed copy of FIREHOUSE! by Mark Teague (my 4-year old grandsons love fire engines) and FOOTBALL HERO by Tim Green (to share with the football fans in our family).

The morning began with a hot breakfast, then continued with words of wisdom from the Keynote speakers.

Trent Reedy, author of WORDS IN THE DUST, gave a moving talk about ‘writing what you know,’ and how he came to write about an Afghani girl with a disfiguring cleft lip. His book is based on a girl named Zulaikha that he met while serving in Afghanistan.

Mark Teague, whose latest picture book is FIREHOUSE!, talked about how the illustrations for his book evolved, about how he layers the colors, and how curved lines in the pictures show more energy than straight lines.

Tim Green, former pro football player, lawyer and author of suspense novels for adults as well as middle grade students, spoke about wanting to be a football player and a writer, and the importance of education. He talked about how his children helped him to add humor, and keep his books on track for today’s young readers.

Kathryn Lasky, originally from Indiana, is the author of the GUARDIANS OF GA’HOOLE series and many other award-winning books for children. She said that although her recent books feature animals she is not comfortable around them, and gave a humorous account of dealing with her children’s pets, and some other animals.

Al Yankovic, singer, songwriter and architect, also known as “Weird Al,” answered questions submitted by the audience and talked about writing his first picture book, WHEN I GROW UP.

In addition to the great line-up of authors, Jan Dundon and Kathleen March from Anderson’s Bookshop gave us an overview of some favorite new children’s books. Throughout the morning, local authors visited different tables for author chats with those seated there. I was delighted to be one of the guest authors this year, and enjoyed meeting the teachers and librarians, writers and a couple of young readers, who I met as I moved between tables.

Anderson’s is an independent bookstore with locations in Naperville, Downers Grove and Aurora, Illinois. They feature many authors and programs at their bookstores, and this was their 9th annual Children’s Literature Breakfast. You can check out their programs and schedule of author visits at their website, www.andersonsbookshop.com.

Blog Spots for Children's Writers & Illustrators

February 11, 2011

Tags: Kidlitosphere Central, Team Blog, Guide to Literary Agents, Teaching Authors, Wild About Nature, Publishers Weekly, Verla Kay's messageboard

One of my goals this year is to read more blogs by others in the field of children’s writing and children’s books. Here’s just a small start with links to some blog sites that I especially like.

Kidlitosphere Central
A community of reviewers, librarians, teachers, authors, illustrators, publishers, parents, and other book enthusiasts who blog about children’s and young adult literature. Links to blog sites by category.

Team Blog: SCBWI’s Children’s Market Blog
Join Alice Pope, former editor of the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market Book, and read interviews with agents, editors and authors. You’ll find lots of good information about writing and children’s publishing here.

Guide to Literary Agents Blog
Everything you wanted to know about finding an agent. Find agent interviews, and who’s looking for what, as well as practical advice on searching for an agent. Written by the editor of the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market Book 2011.

An award-winning blog by six children’s authors who also teach writing. Join them at their blog site and find writing exercises, teaching tips, author interviews, book reviews and answers to readers’ questions.

Wild About Nature
A Place to go wild about books and their creators, Wild About Nature is written by three authors and teachers of non-fiction for children. Features book reviews and interviews of authors of children’s books about nature.

Publisher’s Weekly
Keep up with books and what‘s going on in the world of publishing at the Publisher’s Weekly website. Sign up for newsletters of your choice, including those related to children’s books and publishing, and have them delivered to your e-mailbox.

Verla Kay’s Message Board for Children’s Writers & Illustrators
Register to become a member of the message board community. Browse through the site to find comments and information on topics related to writing, illustrating, publishers, contests, and much more.

I hope you enjoy these sites as much as I do.

Contest & Grants: Tips and Rewards

February 3, 2011

Tags: grants for children's writers, contsts for children's writers, SCBWI grants, Children's Writer

One way to get yourself pumped up about writing, as well as opening up some opportunities, is to enter contests or to apply for a grant. Besides the possibility of having the award-winning entry and receiving some financial award, there are some other rewards and opportunities as well.

For everyone there is the discipline of writing something well, and meeting a deadline. Some contests consider non-winning entries for publication. Some give exposure to runners-up as well as the top winner. I received a Letter of Merit from SCBWI for a non-winning manuscript. It validated my writing ability and gave me a vote of confidence. I included a reference to that letter in my cover letter when I submitted my manuscript, and FROM DAWN TO DREAMS was later published by Candlewick.

Then you never know who the judges might be. I submitted a manuscript for an SCBWI Work-in-Progress grant, and one of the judges was an editor for a major publishing company. She took an interest in my story and asked to see the complete manuscript. She rejected it, but then I submitted it to Dial, and TURKEY SURPRISE was published.

A few tips:

Submit your best work. Never send a manuscript that isn’t ready to be seen by an editor. Be professional—proof read your manuscript for correct spelling and grammar.

Read the rules carefully, and pay attention to details. Follow the rules to the letter. Stay within the guidelines regarding word count. One word too many can automatically disqualify your submission. Make sure your manuscript is written for the correct genre and age level, and follows the theme of the contest.

Read winning entries from past contests, or back issues of magazines sponsoring the contest, to get a feel for what they are looking for.

Be careful of contests that charge a fee. Read the fine print. Are you required to make a purchase if you win to see your work in print? Do research to find out if the contest is legitimate.

Here are a few opportunities for children’s writers with deadlines coming up soon.

Children’s Writer—Kindergarten Story Writing Contest
A fictional story or nonfiction about family life or school for ages 5-6, up to 150 words. Deadline February 28, 2011. This contest charges a $15 fee to non-subscribers, but includes an 8-month subscription, which is worth the fee.

Indiana Arts Commission, Individual Artists Program
Accepting applications for grants in literature and others. Deadline is February 14, 2011. For residents of Indiana. Check for similar available grants offered by the state in which you live.

SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant and others
Open to members only. Deadline is March 15, 2011.