Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happy Announcement

I'm pleased to announce that I'll be presenting at the upcoming National Convention of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in Las Vegas with Young Adult Authors Angela Morrison and Nancy Bo Flood.

Our presentation, "AN AUTHOR'S TOOLKIT: TECHNIQUES FROM THE PROS," will be held on Friday, November 16, 2012 from 12:30 pm-1:45 pm. We will be demonstrating professional techniques adapted for the classroom (K-12) to motivate students to write what they know, fear, believe, love, and dream. 

Anderson's Bookshops will host a signing at their booth in the Exhibition Hall immediately following the session. 

For more information about my young adult novel, SHATTERED, please visit

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Featuring Julia Buckley's New Young Adult Mystery: GINEVRA BOND

Please welcome my friend and critique-mate, Author Julia Buckley!

She (and Simon) are here to help me launch my "Year of Young Adult Literature." In my last post, I mentioned that although I'm not currently in school, I'm creating a kind of new school year for myself. I'm adventuring into the young adult genre and I'm excited to learn more about what's going on in the world of young adult books. AND Julia just published Ginevra Bond, a new young adult suspense novel, so I interviewed her about her intriguing new book:

Kathi: Ginevra Bond is your first mystery for young adults. What was it like to switch from writing mysteries for adults to this genre?

Julia: It was actually very fun. It was nice taking a perspective that put me back in touch with my youth--although Ginevra is a very special young adult, and therefore has qualities that I never had as a teenager.

Kathi: Yes, Ginevra, your protagonist, is such an unusual girl! She knows things about people whom she's never met before and is wise beyond her 16 years, and yet--she has the same worries and insecurities as her teen classmates. What inspired the creation of Ginevra?

Julia: I was watching a documentary about people with inexplicable brains--they knew or understood things that the average person does not, and all because, for one reason or another, parts of their brains were being stimulated that gave them these abilities--areas of the brain that "normal" people are not able to tap into. 

Kathi: So what is something Ginevra knows about you?

Julia: HaHa. What a great question. It's true, Ginevra can see people's "barriers" and help them to overcome their problems. So Ginevra would know that I'm a very anxious person, and that I tend to worry a lot. She'd tell me I had to stop fretting and concentrate on all that is good in my life. She'd advise me to take deep breaths.  :)

Kathi: I've read lots of your work and your character names are always interesting. Where did the name "Ginevra Bond" come from?

Julia: I've always loved the name Ginevra (which has the same roots as names like Guinevere) ever since I heard that F. Scott Fitzgerald, long before he met Zelda, was briefly infatuated with a girl named Ginevra King. I liked the musicality of the name, so I chose a one-syllable last name for Ginevra. 

Kathi: What is the best writing advice you've ever received?

Julia: Oh, I've received all sorts of practical advice over the years, but I guess the one that stands out for me now is that you have to tell your story before you worry over revising it. I try to power through a story first, and THEN I go back to tweak and change things. It makes it much more likely that I'll finish a novel if I just keep going and follow that. 

Kathi: Where can readers find you online?

Julia: Thank you for asking! My website is and they can see the Amazon link to Ginevra Bond here:

Kathi: Thank you, Julia, for the wonderful "behind the scenes" look at Ginevra Bond!

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Year of Young Adult Literature

The school supply aisles are mobbed and Labor Day is almost here. I'm not returning to school this fall, but I love pretending I'm starting a new year. It's always refreshing to take these last few days of August to dream about having a new life. 

This summer, I read a lot of young adult literature. Between 2002 and 2004, I studied writing for children and young adults at Vermont College; and focused on writing a young adult novel for my master's degree. It's where SHATTERED came to life. While there, I read a lot of children's and young adult books and have continued to do so. Every so often, though, I go through periods where I only read books from the adult shelves.

But this summer, I got really curious about the beginning of literature for young adults. The only way to define this genre is to say that the books are much less baby-ish, with more sophisticated themes, but not as adult as well, adult books. 

I've been feeling this yearning to know more about the did it start? Looking back from now, 2012, what novels  are considered "classic?" Which one's should I re-read to grow my skills? Who's doing something new? Who's doing something to fall in love with? What work will change me by the last page?

So while all the children and young adults head back to school, I'm launching my new "school year" too. I'm calling it "my year of young adult literature." Join me for learning, new insights, a new world. Isn't that what school is all about anyway? And yes, new friends. I almost forgot the most important thing about school! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hats off and a Standing O to Author Chad Harbach

It's been a long time since I've read a book like "The Art of Fielding," by Chad Harbach. He's doing so many things right in this novel, and so many right things all at once, I'm in awe. In fact, I can't keep quiet about it! 

It's sort of a baseball story, but even if I wasn't such a crazy fan of the game, I would love this book. Because the sentences are glorious, making it such a smooth read. But also, it's like being back in MFA's got so many incredible examples of how to show emotion; how to develop character; how to do make a plot; how to create tension; and the setting, the setting is so incredibly alive, I feel like I live in this college town with all of the characters. 

What's striking is how thoughtful Harbach is about each character. That's just so really hard to do! Right now, I'm on page 428 and I don't want it to end. I want to keep going on and on in this lovely existence of beautiful writing. 

Thank you, Chad Harbach for the inspiration, for this beautiful work of art, and especially for giving me that sense of being lost in summer, reading, that pleasure I used to get when I was a kid. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I'll be signing copies of SHATTERED! 
Printers Row Lit Fest 
Sunday, June 10th, 2012 
noon-2 PM
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Tent S 
(Dearborn, just north of Polk Street)

Also featuring Local Authors:
Barbara Binns
Lori Degman
Eileen Favorite
Patricia Murphy
Terri Murphy
Laura Ripes
Sara Shacter
Karen Schreck
Kristina Springer

Stop by!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kids' Writing "Camp-us"

I received a nice mention in a Chicago Tribune article today on a writing workshop I did last summer at Kids' College at Elgin Community College.

Check it out!


On April 20, 2012, Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, turns 100 years old.

In my dreams, one of the skyboxes at the park is my studio apartment. I live there year round, writing, reading, doing my life. My husband lives with me and our 2 cats. Our son comes to visit often. In the summers, my backyard is a ball field, filled up with baseball. The players, the plays, the smell of hot dogs and the sound of peanut shells cracking open and bats cracking homers. The "bang" of the ball against the tinny wall that is the Green Monster. The silence of the wind carrying a homer over the wall, landing in Yawkey Way.

In my memories, I remember walking with my husband and son and all kinds of people dressed in Red Sox ball caps from the hotel to the ballpark. That feeling of being with "my people." The excitement building with each step. Seeing the signs: "Yawkey Way," getting closer and then, "Fenway Park: home of the Boston Red Sox." Walking Yalkey Way, under the banners for all the years they've won championships. The rush of being close, handing over my ticket, going through the gate, getting hit with a blast of hot dogs and burgers and pizza smells. That special gift of a ticket to my friend's skybox, along the 3rd base line. Walking in, through, and out to the seats to so much green.

Sitting with my family. Comfy. Happy. Well. Watching Jon Lester pitch and Jonathan Papelbon close. Thinking, really, does it get any better than this?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Where I'm At


Check out the lovely review of SHATTERED by Alexa on February 1, 2012.

Also, read my interview by young adult author, Cheryl Rainfield, posted February 7, 2012. While you're there, check out her books: SCARS and HUNTED.


March 6, 2012 ~~ Dominican University ~~ with Oak Park River Forest High School, Fenwick High School and Trinity High School Students ~~ I'll be facilitating conversations with the students at their Youth Conference during break-out sessions.

March 14, 2012 ~~ Oak Park River Forest High School Psychology Club ~~ Presentation on my young adult novel, SHATTERED, focusing on some of the psychological issues in the book: trauma and transformation, support, and empowerment; and on the inspiration for this story and how I went about writing a psychological story. I will be signing afterward.

March 16, 2012 ~~ Illinois Reading Council ~~ Illinois Author/Illustrator Luncheon/Signing. Here's a list of Authors/Illustrators who will be participating:

Krista August
George Bailey
Blue Balliett
Kathi Baron
Raymond Bial
Barbara Binns
Debbi Chocolate
Laura Crawford
Carolyn Crimi
Kat Falls
Beth Finke
Scott Gustafson
Kimberly M. Hutmacher
Sara Latta
Laurie Lawlor
Steven L. Layne
Marianne Malone
Alice B. McGinty
Gary Moore
W. Nikola-Lisa
Janet Nolan
Nnedi Okorafor
Barb Rosenstock
Barbara Santucci
Karen Halvorsen Schreck
Suzanne Slade
Kristina Springer
Nancy Stewart
Sally M. Walker
Jeff Weigel

Stop by and say Hi!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Year Old Attitude

It's a new year--2012. Time for a fresh start. I'm seeing things in a new way. I've set a goal to write a new novel and have been making notes and lists of books to read to support this endeavor. But I also want to bring something along from the past years into this one. I want to continue to cultivate a daily "attitude of gratitude." Being grateful focuses my mind to see the small things that bring light to the day.

Last summer, a lightning storm struck a tree in front of a house on Des Plaines River Road, the road I use to get to my occupational therapy job. I didn't notice it on the way to work. But on the way home, a man was out there with a chainsaw, buzzing away. He wasn't taking down the trunk. No he was actually carving. Interesting. I made a note to check the spot on my return to work the next day. To my surprise, instead of just a pitiful stump, there is now a magnificent bear carved from the trunk of a 100-year-old elm tree. My bear, which is what I've come to think of him as, is 14 feet tall and he's standing in a way so that he's angling, looking back at his family's house. But what I see when I drive by is his smile. And he makes my day.

It's not just the beauty of his smile. But the idea that art is smiling at me.

Making art is not only a gift an artist offers to all of us, but it is a gift to the one who makes it. Doing art is a beautiful experience. Being playful, creative, getting new insights and seeing the human spirit in a new way--is quite a wonderful way to live.

I'm grateful for those chances when I get to do my writing. When I get to be artful.

Seeing the small details in this world, in my life--they all make my life rich. My bear makes my life rich.

Thank you.

P.S.--If you want to see my bear, go to: