Sunday, August 31, 2008

It's Official: Blackberry is Launched!

I had a nice book launch on Saturday. Not a huge turnout, but lots of fun with the wee folks and their parents who did attend (next time, will someone please remind me when Labor Day is!). The kids (and grown-ups) all seemed to enjoy squeaking, tweeting, slurping, yipping, and chomping along with me as I read the story. Blackberry cookies and candy abound, and there were bear bracelets created and works of art in progress.

And of course, the highlight was the actual "launching" of a stuffed bear into the crowd (didn't want to take any eyes out with a real book), with the catcher of the bear receiving a free book in addition to getting to keep the bear. (thank you, Dan Hanna, for the launching inspiration).

And then, to keep the magic of my launch weekend going, this morning I opened my email to find that Blackberry Banquet received a lovely review on Stories for Children Magazine. If you haven't seen it before, please check it out! It's a great online magazine for kids that has editors with impeccable taste in books ;-).

Thanks again to those who could attend the launch and a HUGE BEAR HUG to those who contributed to the Women's Center book donation drive. I think there will be a few berry happy kids thanks to the generosity of others.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


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!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sylvan Dell Publishing's "Book Beat"

Sylvan Dell Publishing (publisher of Blackberry Banquet) puts out a bi-monthly newsletter called Book Beat that's filled with all kinds of interesting things about reading, their company, books, authors and illustrators. This month I'm proud to say that they have included the winning recipe of my recent contest, "On Top of the Stove Blackberry Cobbler." You can see the current issue of Book Beat by clicking here.

This was such a great and easy recipe that I wanted to share a little bit more about the recipe and the winner, Jean Ann Williams. The recipe has been passed down for three generations. At age twelve, she began making "On-Top-of-the-Stove Blackberry Cobbler" from berries her siblings picked by the pond, enjoying the dish hot or cold at every meal. She now serves the dessert with vanilla ice cream to her family. Jean Ann has published many healthy eating articles for the teen audience and has a blog at

And guess what? I've been experimenting, and you can make it with other fruit as well. Yummmmy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

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 :-).


Monday, August 18, 2008


Pint-sized interviews that leave you smiling.

CAROLINE HATTON is a scientist and a children’s writer. She has accumulated knowledge of drugs in sports and expertise in anti-doping science since the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles when she went to work for Don Catlin, a preeminent champion of drug-free sports. Her idea of a fun 100-meter race is barefeet on the beach without prize money or recorded times. In 1996, she began pursuing her life-long dream of writing for children. The Night Olympic Team is her fifth children’s book. Her first novel, VĂ©ro and Philippe, made the Los Angeles Times children’s bestsellers list. You can read the beginning of all her books by clicking HERE.

With the Olympic Games in full swing this week, I thought this would be the perfect time for us to get to know Caroline a little better. I’m very grateful that this very busy author was able to do a Mini-View for us!

Could you please tell us about The Night Olympic Team. When did you get the idea to write a children's book about doping in the Olympics?
It was at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, after we found a prohibited drug in athletes’ samples. During a discussion with other scientists in the lab, bright ideas were flying around like sparks. A rush of excitement made me jump up from my chair and pace all over the room, feeling ready to burst. That’s when I thought, “Some day, I will write this story for children.”

How did you come up with the idea to make it a "science sleuth" theme?
I didn’t. Life did! The book simply shows how the drama unfolded and reflects my emotions.

Do you have a favorite tip for someone interested in writing children's nonfiction?
Look for story. Like fiction, nonfiction can take readers on the emotional ride of their lives. Look for engaging elements: likeable, real-life characters; conflict; high stakes; the clock ticking; suspense; and surprises. Then spin a good yarn.

What is your favorite children's joke?
Q: What do you get if you cross a chicken and a T. rex?

A: A Tyrannosaurus pecks.

Thank you, Caroline!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Recommended Books on Writing

Okay folks, here is the list of favorite books on writing. I was happy to see that many writers (thank you, fellow V/SB SCBWI listservers!) shared books that I already have on my bookshelf along with some others that I haven't read yet. I hope you'll add some to your book list. Happy reading!

Writing in General:
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King.
The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman.
The Plot Thickens by Noah LukemanSave the Cat! by Blake Snyder.
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
“Winter Room” prologue called "Tuning" by Gary Paulsen
On Writing by Stephen King
The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri The Art of Fiction by Ayn Rand
The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand
Aristotle's Poetics
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas
Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom by Leonard Marcus

Children’s Writing:
How to Write a Children's Book and Get It Published by Barbara Seuling.
Picture Writing by Anastasia Suen.
The Art of Writing for Children by Connie Epstein.
You Can Write Children's Books by Tracey E Dils
The Complete Idoit's Guide to Publishing Chidren's Books by Harold D Underdown and Lynne Rominger
Creating Characters Kids Will Love by Elaine Marie Alphin
Poem Making by Myra Cohn Livingston

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What's Your Favorite Book on Writing?

Happy summer, everyone!

Summer is a great time to catch up on reading, and while I always have a stack of children's books nearby to read, I also use this time to read books on the craft of writing. I know I have my personal favorites that I've read and re-read, and I wondered if any of you would like to share your favorites too. So how about it? What's your favorite craft book on writing (or writing and illustrating) for children (not marketing--just craft).

I'll start with my three most favorite (and I'm not counting The Elements of Writing by Wm. Strunk and E.B. White since it's a given that we all own a copy). Oh wait, I just checked my bookshelf and realized it's impossible for me to narrow it down to three! I'll try five.

Hmm...okay, this won't work either. Too tough! I'll break it down into two categories; Writing for children and Writing in General, and I'll keep it at three titles. Here they are:

Writing in General:
1. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King.
2. The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman.
3. Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder.

Writing for Children:
1. How to Write a Children's Book and Get It Published by Barbara Seuling.
2. Picture Writing by Anastasia Suen.
3. The Art of Writing for Children by Connie Epstein.

Some of these are the books on which I cut my writer's teeth and have much special meaning to me. Some are a bit more recent, but they all provide wonderful information for how to get started and how to fine-tune your work.

Oh, I could go on and on, and after I receive some of your suggestions, I will! I'll post a full list of everyone's suggestions after a few days.

Thanks for leaving a comment with your favorite writing books. I'm looking forward to seeing your recommendations!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Back from Vacation

I'm back from vacation and boy, am I ready to get back to work! Don't get me wrong, I loved visiting my son and daughter-in-law, seeing New Hampshire and Maine for the first time, and getting to spend time with my grandcats. I saw so many cool new places--both historical and natural--and I fell in love with Pemaquid Peninsula in Maine, where at the lighthouse are some outstanding gneiss formations (for you geology geeks like me). But you know how it is--us writers get a wee bit grumpy when we can't write for a few days, so I'm eager to get back to real life.

Now I can focus on my novel revisions plus a brand new project, and I have three book signings for Blackberry Banquet this month, the first being at the Barnes & Nobel in Palmdale, CA on Saturday, Aug. 16. Yikes! I'd better get to work!

Happy writing!