Monday, May 21, 2012


Lucky me: the past two weeks I have gotten to hang out with traveling authors!

First, Vicky Alvear Schecter, author of CLEOPATRA'S MOON.

Pat Weaver, Vicky & me, on my back deck

Vicky with Drag Queen Cleo at Little Professor Books

Everyone listening to Vicky talk about her book

Book Club: Lori, Jaime, Phyllis, Vicky, Martha & Carol
Two things especially stand out to me from Vicky's talk:

1. Characters need agency. What the heck is agency? It has to do with action, forward motion. It's the character doing something to move the story, not something happening to the character. (Right, Vicky?) Vicky learned this from working with her editor, Cheryl Klein.

2. If you have a manuscript ready to go and you're looking for an agent, consider asking your published SCBWI friends to provide for you an email introduction to their agent. (This is NOT a referral or recommendation. Simply an introduction.) This is how Vicky "met" her agent.

Next up, Sarah Frances Hardy, author of PUZZLED BY PINK:

Sarah Frances with a young reader at Little Professor Books. In the background Lori Nichols, whose first picture book will be published next year!

me, Pat Weaver, Sarah Frances & all the way from California, Tina Coury, author of newly-released HANGING OFF JEFFERSON'S NOSE. Yep, that's how popular Sarah Frances is. :)

Pat & Sarah Frances on the overlook at Vulcan, Birmingham's monument to the god of forge

Sarah Frances is so cool, she presented her talk on her ipad. My favorite part was when she talked about an encounter with one of Maurice Sendak's people, who looked at her work, and said it was TERRIBLE. But Sarah Frances kept on going, kept working, kept getting better. And now here she is!

Also, Sarah Frances sings the praises of Doni Kay, southeastern sales rep for Penguin -- a sentiment I share! Doni was great to work with when scheduling book signings for LEAVING GEE'S BEND. And it's a great reminder to all you authors out there: get to know your regional sales rep. These people are passionate, hard-working and know this industry.

And now we are just days away from summer vacation here at Casa Latham. I am super-excited about the abundant white space on my calendar. Perhaps I can use the inspiration generated by these schmoozes to address, improve, complete some of my works-in-progress ??

And it's a longgggg summer... thanks to a new Alabama state law, kids won't go back until August 20!

What does your summer look like?


  1. It all sounds like a good time Irene! I like seeing about the authors & advice is always appreciated. I'll have to think about "agency"! Although I'm looking forward to vacation, we have about 3 more weeks of school, so still doing all those final goodbyes, finishing paperwork, etc. I hope my summer is easy, but will take it a day at a time. Thanks for telling about your recent days!

  2. So great to be with you!!!!! Getting that "author fix" is so great--love my writer friends!


  3. Summer... same thing I do winter, spring and fall... just differ, work, got two quilts in the works and now Missy has sent her patio cushions to be recovered... which nobody knew I sewed... and I really don't do clothes well... or cushions but has that stopped my spoiled daughter... nope.

  4. I have the same long summer looming ahead. Kids are done this Thursday and they don't start until the 15th!

    Great post, btw! :-)

  5. You are such a great hostess! I felt so honored to participate in your awesome book club too!

  6. I'm jealous - these events look like they were way too much fun. And, Go Vicky! Go, Sarah! Sure love our Breezers. :0) Thanks for sharing the wrap-ups and pix.


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