Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books

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Good Times at WonderCon 2017

My sons and I had a great time attending WonderCon yesterday.

We had beautiful SoCal weather.

Comic conventions always boast entertaining food trucks.

A well-designed Gen. Grievous costume from Star Wars.

With author/illustrator Will Terry at his booth.

With NY Times bestseller and Caldecott honoree, John Rocco.

I moderated a rock star KidLit author/illustrator panel with Joe Cepeda, Stacia Deutsch, Eliza Wheeler, John Rocco and Marla Frazee.

Signing books after the panel, next to Caldecott honorees John Rocco and Marla Frazee (looking like the cat that ate the canary)



Photo diary from the 2016 Los Angeles National SCBWI Conference

I had a great time attending the annual Los Angeles convention of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (#LA16SCBWI). Met writing friends, made new friends, heard inspiring speakers, and learned a lot about writing (and that I need a better phone camera). Here’s a photo journal of some of the many KidLit folks in attendance.


Pura Belpre honor and Golden Kite winning author/illustrator John Parra. Check out the fancy lobby of the Biltmore Hotel.


Martha Brockenbrough, author of THE GAME OF LOVE AND DEATH. Anyone who can write Young Adult and Picture Books is hogging all the talent!


BLEED LIKE ME Young Adult author Christa Desir, one of the first authors I ever interviewed on my KidLit blog.


The kind and charming Simon & Schuster publisher, Justin Chanda.


Ezra Jack Keats Award-winning author/illustrator of HOPE’S GIFT, Don Tate. You will note that his hairline is the inverse of mine. You complete me, Don.


The multitalented author/illustrator/musician and creator of the TOUCH AND FEEEL KISSES series, with over a million copies in print! He’s not this blurry in real life.


The shy and retiring SUPER HERO GIRLS author, Lisa Yee. Flat Dan Santat wasn’t in attendance, but the real one showed up eventually.


The anything but abominable NO YETI YET picture book author/illustrator, Mary Ann Fraser.


New York Times bestselling novelist Neal Shusterman and SCBWI co-founder Lin Oliver.


Last in the alphabet, but not in our hearts, the dapper Caldecott Medalist illustrator of RAPUNZEL, Paul Zelinsky.


The animated Bruce Coville, master author of DIARY OF A MAD BROWNIE, gave an immensely useful presentation on writing.


The ebullient picture book author of BITTY BOT, Tim McCanna.


My literary agency sister, the kind and funny New York Times bestselling picture book author/illustrator, my frint, Antoinette Portis.


These look great. I’m thinking of adding some balconies to my living room.


The sweet but mischievous “ghost gossiper” author/illustrator Pat Cummings.


Editor panel with (l to r): Stacey Barney (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), Kat Brzozowski (Feiwel & Friends), Alvina Ling (Little, Brown), Melissa Manlove (Chronicle), Neal Porter, Matt Ringler (Scholastic), Sara Sargent (HarperCollins), Reka Simonsen (Atheneum) and Kate Sullivan (Delacorte).


The good-natured Caldecott-winning author/illustrator of THIS IS NOT MY HAT, Jon Klassen.


Founder of SCBWI Blueboard, Verla Kay, and effervescent literary agency sister, GOLDIE LOCKS HAS CHICKENPOX author, Erin Dealey.


Jon Klassen recommended the place, so a friend and I had a nutritious lunch at Bottega Louis.


Packing way too much writing talent and charisma in a small package was New York Times bestselling LEGEND series author, Marie Lu.


After a few years of Facebook interaction, it was a thrill to finally meet the author/illustrator of FREDDIE & GINGERSNAP, Vincent Kirsch, even though his dog Ogbert was not present.


Author panel with (l to r): Jessixa Bagley, John Parra, Susan Rich (editor), Barney Saltzberg & Don Tate, moderated by Laurent Linn (not shown).


Why, yes, that is CREEPY CARROTS Caldecott Honoree author/illustrator Peter Brown. Smooth pate? Check. Beard? Check. Write and draw like a boss? Still working on it.


Agent panel with (l to r): Victoria Wells Arms, Ginger Clark (Curtis Brown), Kirsten Hall (Catbird), Brooks Sherman (The Bent Agency), Erica Rand Silverman (Stimola Literary) and Tina Wexler (ICM Partners).


Caldecott Medalist, New York Times bestseller, funny, and unjustifiably humble picture book author/illustrator, Sophie Blackall.


Beach Lane Books publisher Allyn Johnston dishes about what she likes and dislikes in the picture book market. She’s NOT a big fan of art notes from authors.


My favorite photo of the conference because #TeamYeti. From l to r: Mary Ann Fraser, author/illustrator of NO YETI YET, me (hopefully future author of NEVER FEED A YETI SPAGHETTI), and adorably alliterative Ashlyn Anstee, author/illustrator of ARE WE THERE. YETI?


Chronicle editor Melissa Manlove talks about effective narrative non-fiction.


Freelance editor Deborah Halverson briefs us on the state of the KidLit marketplace.


A photo of what Newbery-winning author Richard Peck looks like from outer space. This is a terrible photo of the least terrible author I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. He is a maestro!


And yes, that is MR. TIGER GOES WILD author/illustrator Peter Brown photobombing fellow Caldecott honoree and THE BOSS BABY author/illustrator Marla Frazee.


How star-studded was the attendee list? New York Times author/illustrator of MISS MAPLE SEEDS, Eliza Wheeler, was there.


San Diego SCBWI chapter attended in force. These glamorous gals won the costume contest wearing red carpet dresses. The chapter also won the Chronicle scavenger hunt, and our Susie Ghahremani was selected as one of the illustrator mentees. Not manatees. Not Mentos.


As Ferris Bueller said, “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go.” It was also great seeing San Diego Chapter members and my other talented friends who I failed to photograph: Drew Daywalt, David Diaz, Bruce Hale, Jenni Holm, Dan Santat, Kelly Sonnack, and Harold Underdown.

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Fun at the 2016 LA Times Festival of Books

Pelican Publishing asked me to sign my books at their booth at this year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Below are some fun photos of my day.


I did not expect to encounter an inappropriately named food truck…


What this truck lacked in rhyme, it made up for in better nutrition.


The USC Trojan marching band was in attendance.


The charming picture book author/illustrator Eliza Wheeler


She was on a panel with Caldecott-winning author/illustrator Dan Santat, among others.


I was in the audience with the Dan Santat cheering section. His and Leah’s boys aren’t cute at all…


Jonathan and Drew Scott – The Property Brothers from HGTV.


With children’s musician, Emily Arrow. I carried her ukulele as she helpfully introduced me to…


Caldecott Honor-winning author/illustrator, Lauren Castillo. Not pictured here, I also got to briefly say hi to the talented Jon Klassen and Jenni Holm earlier in the day.


Signing at the Mysterious Galaxy Books booth with fellow San Diegan, middle-grade author Margaret Dilloway.


Authors should walk softly, but carry a big pencil…


Now, here is a food truck with nutrition for the mind!