Mini Maryland Tour Recap

Just got back from marvelous and muggy Maryland-- my homestate! The first stop was Clemente Middle School in Germantown, with awesome librarian Alexis Gerard and fun groups of students and staff...

After that came Dunloggin in Ellicott City, my very own middle school. I was greeted with this colorful poster in the entryway, complete with maps of where each book is set.  Cool!  If you told middle-school-me (back in the mid-eighties, eek) that she'd be coming back over two decades later to talk about her books.... what on earth would she think??  For one, she probably she wouldn't have cared quite so much about how perfectly feathered her hair was and whether her jeans were properly folded and rolled up, hehehe...

With my beloved 6th grade reading teacher, Mrs. Witt! (Oops, I mean Sandi!)

With brilliant teacher friend Dylana!

I spent a couple hours in Historic Ellicott City, my favorite going-out place as a teen and the setting of the first chapters of my book-in-progress. I took notes and weird photos like this one (in this case, to remind myself of the cobbled alley area)-- I like to get these kinds of little setting details right.  

The Baltimore Book Festival was loads of fun, and very inspiring.  Here's Laura Amy Schlitz, talented children's author and Newbery winner.  She gave a powerful, funny, from-the-heart presentation that was exactly what I needed to hear at this point in my book-in-progress.  I came home feeling invigorated and ready to leap back into the labyrinth of my new story.  (I'll write more about her speech later, when I do a post on how it feels to be at the early draft stage of my new book. Stay tuned.)

I loved her props, which included an origami swan and a poster of a maze-- here she's holding a ball of yarn.

YA author Natalie Standiford and children's author Laurel Snyder-- both great writers and witty, smart women-- were on the "Baltimore Bred" panel with me.  Here we're exploring the hidden nooks of the gorgeous author hospitality area. 

I especially love Maryland visits because I get to hang out with my family-- to my right are my Aunt Liz and Uncle Barry. To my left is my dad, and on the ground is my mom.  And I'm sure you can guess who's hiding under the firefighter's helmet...

Here I am with the lovely Oona, who I've corresponded with all year, and finally got to meet in person!  She's one of my all-time favorite readers-- look, she made me that awesome shrinky-dink Jade Notebook amulet!!!  So sweet, and it brought back fun memories of my own shrinky-dink days.

I met new readers too... this is Isaiah and his sister.  He's an avid writer, with an incredibly supportive mom who drove him and his sister a looong way to the book festival!

At the dinner afterward, I got to know my fellow panelists better, including the weird faces they're capable of making.  Here's hilarious children's author C Alexander London on the left, and on the right, the beautiful Sarah, who was instrumental in setting up the Children's Book Stage events.

At the far end of the table, you can get a glimpse of co-panelist Adam Gidwitz, who writes funny, gory fairytale re-tellings.  Check out cool librarian Paula Willey's pink locks.

On my free day, I went out to eat with my grandmom, whom I adore-- she raised four kids and was instrumental in running her family peanut factory (Schindler's Peanuts).

Thanks so much to everyone who came to hear my presentations and panel discussion! It was truly a joy to spend time with you!

Oh, and Denver area teens-- this is for you!:

Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 -- FREE Writing Workshop for Teens! 2:00-3:30 pm, Denver Public Library (Central Library), Level 4 Rockwell Room.  Do you love to write? Do you dream of seeing your stories in print?  Here's your chance to learn more about the writing process. Laura Resau will kick off Teen Read Week by running a writing workshop just for teens (ages 12-18). Laura will teach her Creating Vivid Characters workshop using various activities.

This is free, but you need to register here: .  And please see here for more details. Thank you!!