Monthly Archives: January 2012

SCBWI’s Who’s Who of Children’s Book Writing

Barbara Vey -- January 30th, 2012
Chris Crutcher and Mary Buckham

Chris Crutcher and Mary Buckham

Here today as cub reporters are NYT best seller Dianna Love of the Belador urban fantasy series and award winning Romantic Suspense author Mary Buckham.  Mary and Dianna originally teamed up to produce Break Into Fiction™, the book that has helped thousands of writers around the world.  Now they’re entering the young adult market, which is why they were at the Hyatt next to Grand Central Station in New York City to attend the 2012 International SCBWI Conference. 


Steven Mooser and Dianna Love

Stephen Mooser and Dianna Love



SCBWI stands for Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  Key figures in the children’s book writing industry gathered this weekend to share insights on one of the largest divisions in publishing – children’s books, from picture books to middle grade literature to the massive young adult novel industry.  The conference sold out weeks ago, boasting 1,148 attendees from 19 countries.





Lin Oliver and Stephen Mooser founded this Los Angeles based organization in 1971.  Stephen and Lin set the tone for the conference with their fun chiding and warm welcome then got down to business quickly with an opening panel that reads like the who’s who in children’s publishing – Jean Feiwel, Senior VP and publishing director of MacMillan, Barbara Marcus, Strategic Innovating Advisor with Penguin, Nancy Paulsen, President & Publisher of Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin) and agent Rubin Pfeffer with the East West Literary Agency.  They all have extensive experience in the industry and represent a gold list of children’s book authors.   The general consensus of this panel was that children’s publishing is robust and looking up.


Justin Jones and Dennis Jolley

Justin Jones and Dennis Jolley

Author Chris Crutcher stepped up on the stage next to talk about how you have to write the story in the correct language for the reader to believe the words. He wasn’t talking about a native tongue, but how words are what has made him the most banned author in the country, even as those same words touch teens in a way that watered down text never will.  As someone who has counseled children and families about abuse and neglect for 25 years, it’s immediately obvious that he knows what he’s talking about.  He explained how you can take a painful subject to its emotional peak if you balance it with humor, and Chris is one funny guy.  He shared a true story about a five-year-old patient that broke your heart one minute, had you laughing in the next, then ended with message of hope.  No wonder his books resonate with kids and adults, too.


Panels and keynote addresses were given to the entire conference in the ballroom all weekend. Additionally, attendees could choose three of fourteen outstanding one-hour workshops.  Each of the fourteen programs was presented three times on Saturday so you didn’t have to choose between two favorites in the same time slot.  This was not a conference for learning how to craft a query letter or synopsis that you can learn on your own.  This was a conference for professionals wanting information on a specific area of the publishing industry, which meant every minute was packed with information you can’t get anywhere else.


Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

SURPRISE!  Lin Oliver took the stage again before we were released from the ballroom to head for our Saturday workshops.  She had teased us earlier that a special “surprise” guest was stopping by.  Not a soul moved from their seat as Lin introduced her co-writer on a new middle-school series – Henry Winkler. The room went wild as he strolled up to the stage, beaming a big grin that we all know and love so well.  Henry told us how he came to write with Lin.  Many remember him as the amazing Fonzi from Happy Days and even later as a producer, but that doesn’t tell you about the genuine and gracious man who is now a children’s book writer.   More than a celebrity author, Henry Winkler has a deep appreciation for what it takes to be a writer and a great affection for his collaborative partner, Lin Oliver, on their Hank Zipzer series.


The sessions that followed were presented by the top in the publishing field.  Executive editor, Cheryl Klein of Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic) spoke on revising for the children’s market. Agent Sara Davies of Greenhouse Literary Agency addressed writing for the children’s thriller market. Executive Art Director Martha Rago of Harper Collins explaining how to make your picture book stand out. Agent Ken Wright of Writer’s House shared insights on publishing nonfiction children’s literature.  Executive editor Tara Weikum of Harper Collins walked everyone through the extensive world of young adult publishing.  The distinguished list of speakers didn’t stop there.  Details of this conference are still available at


Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare

After lunch NYT best seller Cassandra Clare of the Mortal Instruments series gave a ballroom packed presentation on the “love triangle” and what works – or does not  – in young adult fiction.


Saturday wrapped up with cocktail party with wonderful food stations where attendees could mingle and meet up with others from their regional chapters.  When you join the national organization, you’re automatically registered with your regional chapter.  Justin Jones and Dennis Jolley are two English teachers from Georgia and pre-published authors of children fiction, attending the conference for the first time.   Christopher Cheng hails from Australia and is on the board for SCBWI, which shows you just how international this organization is.


Sunday was just as busy with an award ceremony.  The Tomie dePaola Award is given to the illustrator who shows the most promise and the recipient is chose by Tomie himself.  This year’s winner is Yvette Piette HerreraMike Curato won the prestigious Portfolio Showcase competition.  


We had more great panels on Sunday then wrapped up with a book signing where attendees could spend extra time some of the stars in this business.   This is one of the most inspirational and informative conferences in the publishing business.  They manage to put on an event that is warm and welcoming with a high level of professionalism.  Definitely worth every penny to attend.


Bottom Line:  “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” ~ Emilie Buchwald





Julie Anne Long & Laura Lee Guhrke Stop By

Barbara Vey -- January 27th, 2012
Oak Creek Library Director Jill, Laura Lee Gurhke, Julie Anne Long

Oak Creek Library Director Jill, Laura Lee Gurhke, Julie Anne Long

In the past couple of weeks, several authors have passed through Milwaukee on their book tours.  This week I had the pleasure of lunching with historical writers Julie Anne Long and Laura Lee Guhrke.


BV:  You started young with your writing.

JAL:  The moment I could write I began writing stories.

BV:  Laura, when did the writing bug hit you?

LLG:  My mother says I wrote my first book at age 4.  I don’t remember this.

BV: Why Romance?

JAL:  Because I love putting a hero and heroine through their paces and leading them to a happy ending.  I love taking an emotional journey with them.  I get to like a new love story with every book.

LLG:  Happy endings are the best!

BV:  How has the e-book revolution affected you and your books?

LLG:  Tremendous!  Where to start?  Places like Goodreads now does what brick and mortar stores used to do.  By word of mouth I’ve seen a huge growth, especially last year.

JAL:  Work of mouth moves the books more quickly.  It converts interest into sales immediately.  Before readers had to go to the store who may or may not carry the book.  Passionate readers who Tweet also help.

BV:  Have you received any feedback from readers regarding e-books vs paper books?

JAL:  I think a lot of avid romance readers are embracing 3-book vs paper, even steadfast traditionalists because of the instant gratification factor.  I know many readers buy books they love in both digital and paper formats.

LLG:  I find mrmore and more readers going e-book, but paper has a strong, very loyal folling.  I’d say 60% paper, 40% e-book is how mine breaks down.  It also depends on if the reader wants the ability to trade books – that might keep paper fans sticking with paper books so they can trade them  And paper books don’t have the problem of having the same reader.  With paper, you can just loan the book by handing it over, but if you like instant gratification, there’s nothing better than e-books.

BV:  What’s up next?

JAL:  The next book in my Pennyroyal Green Series, A Notorious Countess Confesses will be out in November.

LLG:  I”m starting a new Edwardian series (thing Downton Abbey).  Since I’m still in the beginning stages, so I can’t tell you much, but the heroine has a secret that when revealed will rock the hero’s whole world.













Bottom Line:  “Free books are the best calling card.”  ~  Laura Lee Guhrke



Save the Date

Barbara Vey -- January 23rd, 2012

March 5-10th I will be celebrating my 5 year anniversary writing my Beyond Her Book blog.  The time has just flown by, but the week long “virtual” anniversary bash will certainly remind us all of the community we’ve built here.


Last year we gave away 21 e-readers and hundreds of prizes.   This year looks to be bigger and better than ever.  Already we have 2 Kindle Fires and 3 Kindles and Nooks offered along with Amazon gift cards and lots and lots of books. Definitely a readers dream come true.


Here’s a link to last year’s event if you missed it:

Monday: Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror,Urban Fantasy

Tuesday:  Thriller/Suspense/Mystery/Adventure

Wednesday:  Publishers, Editors, Bloggers

Thursday:  Inspirational, YA, Graphic Novels, Nonfiction

Friday:  Contemporary, Historical,Erotica, E-books, Audio 

Saturday:  Romance Blowout!


If you’d like to be a contributor, send me an email ( and I’ll send you a form to fill out.  If you just want to come to the party, consider this your invite.  Everyone is welcome!  We’re looking to beat the 22,600 comments we received last year.  Readers Rock!


Bottom Line:  Everyone is a winner when they belong to a community.



Matt Hilton Brings Joe Hunter to the US

Barbara Vey -- January 20th, 2012
Matt Hilton

Matt Hilton

Author Matt Hilton visited Milwaukee this week all the way from the UK.  Being a BBC fan, listening to historicals on audio and wanting to visit Scotland (on my bucket list), I was thrilled to just listen to him talk.  Yes, I’m a goner when it comes to accents (and no we don’t have accents in Wisconsin).  But Matt Hilton proved he was more than a pretty voice.

BV:  Matt, did you come to the US just for the book tour of  Crash and Burn?

MH:  Yes.

BV:  What has been your favorite part of the tour?

MH: Meeting old friends and new readers.

BV:  And your least favorite part?

MH:  The flights.  I’m a nervous flyer and it was 8 hours in the plane.

BV:  Is your family with you?

MH:  My wife is with me, but my son, Jordan had to stay home and work at the bookstore.

BV:  You’re a former police office, so did you model your main character, Joe Hunter, on yourself?

MH:  How I wished to be, but I’m too nice.  Although, we do share some traits such as martial arts.

BV: The cover quote compares Joe Hunter to Jack Reacher, how do you feel about that?

MH:  I’m pleased as punch.  I didn’t set out to write a Jack Reacher.  I was reinventing the 1970s, more like Robert Crais.

BV:  Who would win in a fight…Joe Hunter or Jack Reacher?

Max Martini as Joe Hunter?

Max Martini as Joe Hunter?

MH:  Joe Hunter, although I’d rather Joe just asked him to sit down for a cigarette and coffee.

BV:  Where is Joe Hunter more popular…here or in the UK?

MH:  Right now in the UK because I’m on book 7 in the series.  There have only been 3 books published here.

BV:  Have the books become harder to write?

MH:  Easier because I feel I know what the readers want.

BV:  Are the UK and US versions different?

MH:  Yes, for the US the books were Americanized to make the voice more mid-Atlantic I  added a prolog.

BV:  What made you become a writer?

MH:  I was a boxer, did martial arts and worked as a police officer.  I had a family to support and bills to pay.  My daughter, who was 17, was my first reader loved my book and encouraged me to keep writing.  When she passed away 5 years ago, I reassessed my life concentrated on the writing.

Here’s the Drive By Video I did with Matt at the Comet Cafe.


Bottom Line:  I’ve invited Matt back to the US for my Reader’s Appreciation Luncheon next year…keep your fingers crossed.





Where in the World is Barbara Vey?

Barbara Vey -- January 19th, 2012

It’s the time of year I love, conference season.  Sure, I love summer, but there’s just something thrilling and adventurous about traveling to conferences around the country.  In addition, I’ll also be doing workshops for writers groups.  These intimate gatherings really let me meet the authors up close and personal.

Then there’s my very first Reader’s Appreciate Luncheon here in the Milwaukee area where I’ll host 38 authors and 250 readers.  The big surprise is that I’ve been invited to The Morning Blend, to talk about it on their TV show in February.  My television debut.

I almost forgot to remind everyone about the big 5th Anniversary Bash on the blog March 5-10th.  You won’t want to miss it this year.

Here’s where I’ll be in 2012:

January 28th
Spacecoast Authors of Romance
Orlando, FL (Workshop)

March 5-10
5th Anniversary Bash
Beyond Her Book Blog
Everyone is invited!

March 16-18
Silken Sands Writer’s Conference
Pensacola, FL

April 10th
Barbara Vey Reader’s Appreciations Luncheon
Oak  Creek, WI

April 11-15
RT Convention
Chicago, IL

April 27-28
Spring Fling Writers’ Conference
Chicago, IL

June 4-7
Book Expo America
New York, NY

June 15-16

SE Wisconsin Festival of Books

Waukesha, WI

June 22-24
Denver, CO

July 12-15
Comic Con
San Diego, CA

July 25-28
Romance Writers of America
Anahiem, CA

September 20-23
American Fiction Christian Writers
Dallas, TX


Murder and Mayhem in Muskego

Muskego, WI

Also, Joysann will be reporting from Lori Foster’s Reader/Author Get-Together and Ellora’s Cave RomantiCon.


Remember, if you attend an event I can’t make, let me know that you’d like to be a Cub Reporter and blog it for Beyond Her Book. Just email me at


Now it’s your turn to let us know what conferences you’ll be attending this year.  I know there’s quite a few that are on my wish list.

Bottom Line:  Is there a conference in Hawaii I haven’t heard about?


Internet Blackout Day

Barbara Vey -- January 18th, 2012

Since today is Internet Blackout Day, I’ll join Wikipedia, Google, Reddit, WordPress, TwitPic, Cheezburger, BoingBoing, and Mozilla, source of the Firefox web browser in going dark against SOPA/PIPA.


I just wanted to announce the winner (as promised) of Sherrill Bodine’s new book from Monday’s blog…Marilyn Baron.  Marilyn, please email me at with your snail mail address.  Congratulations.


Bottom Line:

Sherrill Bodine Talks Elizabeth Taylor

Barbara Vey -- January 16th, 2012
Sherrill, Tiffany and Molly

Sherrill, Tiffany and Molly

I caught up with author Sherrill Bodine while she was in town appearing on The Morning Blend, a local talk show featuring Molly Fay  and Tiffany Ogle.  Sherrill is here promoting her new book, All I Want is You.


BV:  What was your favorite part about being on television?

SB:  I love the energy.  Molly and Tiffany did their homework and knew all about me and my love for travel.

BV:  You recently had a book launch party in Chicago, that I sadly had to miss.

SB:  It was at the iconic Drake Hotel.  There was champagne, an orchestra and people danced.  It was co-sponsored by Michigan One Magazine.

BV:  I hear your latest book is about jewelry.  How did that come about?

SB:  A friend at Lulu’s at the Belle Kay (vintage store) introduced me to vintage costume and couture jewelry.  I’m now a student and avid collector, so the heroine is one too.  She finds old pieces and recreates them into new pieces to give them new life.

BV:  How would you describe All I Want is You?

SB:  It’s a contemporary romance with a dash of mystery and suspense.

BV:  What tagline would you give this book?

SB:  How far would you go to prove someone you love is innocent of a crime?

BV:  What’s up next for you?

SB:  A comic book called, Whispers From the Void.  I also am writing a memoir and a sexy, sassy contemporary with Chicago as the backdrop.

BV:  Thanks for stopping by and having hazelnut coffee with me.

SB:  Love talking to you…it’s been too long.



Sherrill Bodine is offering a signed copy of her book to one lucky commenter.  The winner will be posted Wednesday.


Bottom Line:  Liz and Dick…talk about a romantic couple.


Monday Giveaways


From Romance University: Monday, January 16 - New York Times bestselling author Teresa Medeiros puts your opening scene to the test. If you can answer “yes!” to Teresa’s three questions, you might have the next best seller. One lucky commenter will win a copy of Teresa’s new release THE PLEASURE OF YOUR KISS. Comment on the blog.


From Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe hosts mystery author Lois Winston at  on her blog Jan 16th. Leave a comment for a chance to win Lois’ DEATH BY KILLER MOP DOLL!

The blog tour for SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER by Mia Marlowe and Connie Mason offers 2 chances to win a copy of the book on every stop! Join Mia at the following blogs:

Bookstore Comes Alive

Barbara Vey -- January 13th, 2012

The most mesmerizing, adorable video has popped up on YouTube for all of us book lovers.  The idea of books coming to life after the bookstore closes is right up there with Toy Story.  It’s addicting and I’m sure you won’t be able to watch it just once.


According to the explanation:

“After organizing our bookshelf almost a year ago, my wife and I (Sean Ohlenkamp) decided to take it to the next level. We spent many sleepless nights moving, stacking, and animating books at Type bookstore in Toronto.”


We all thank you for your diligence.  And a special thanks to all my Facebook buds who posted this for me to discover.




Bottom Line:  “Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. It’s alive… It’s alive, it’s moving, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, IT’S ALIVE!” ~ Dr. Henry Frankenstein

WW Ladies Book Club

Barbara Vey -- January 11th, 2012

It’s been a lovely winter, more like spring actually.  But tomorrow they are predicting snow storms and the perfect excuse to cuddle up with your tbr pile, a throw and a hot drink (preferably with whipped cream).  Time to get some serious reading done and the WW Ladies are here with their reads of the week.




Harvest Hunting by Yasmine Galenorn

Listened to by joysann

Some werewolves have gone missing, including the pregnant sister of one of their friends, so Delilah puts her skills as a private detective to work to find the woman before it is too late. She uncovers a cruelly evil, deadly magic worked by sorcerers to be used in the upcoming demon war. It is no surprise to learn that she, her sisters, and family and friends are all targeted by the agent of the demon general.

The D’Artigo sisters’ lives are complicated, but very magical and intriguing. Each book in the Otherworld series is narrated by one of the three half-human, half-fey women, bringing different perspectives and personal revelations to the ongoing story, keeping it fresh and interesting. Harvest Hunting kept me enthralled for many hours of pleasurable listening. There are a couple of newer books in the series out, so I have some serious catching up to do, and I’m looking forward to it.




Baby It’s Cold Outside by Addison Fox

Read by Heidi

Sloan McKinley wants to escape New York and her stifling, overbearing mother that only wants her married to be more popular in their “circles”. Sloan’s best friend Grier, is in Indigo, Alaska after the death of her estranged father, and needs Sloan’s support. Sloan finds herself in the tiny town, that is preparing for the Great Bachelor Competition. That is the last thing she wants. But Walker Montgomery, town lawyer and confirmed bachelor, is turning her head and possibly her heart.

Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!! The first of the Alaskan Nights Series has everything a long, cold winter night could ask for: Adventure, Self-discovery, Love, Friendship, and of course a small town full of RUGGED HOT MEN!! Imagine yourself curled up under a comfy blanket and reading this cozy love story and you will be completely satisfied. I am really looking forward to the next installment of this series!!




The Wild Ways by Tanya Huff

Read by joysann

An indication of her Wild Power, Charlotte “Charlie” Gale has a different kind of magic than the rest of her family, one that allows her to slip through time and space with music and a walk in the Wood. While playing with a Celtic band in Nova Scotia, she sides with the environmentalists against the building of an oil platform that would endanger a seal colony and the selkies that live among them. Wiith her teen-aged cousin Jack, with draconian magic in his own right, she sets about finding a sealskin thief who is using the fae to further the industrialist’s goals.

Tanya Huff introduced the fascinating Gale family in The Enchantment Emporium, and their convoluted relationships, unusual family dynamics and their magic are marvels of imagination. This second book is an exciting continuation, and the likable characters make me want to know more about them, and where they are going. There is much mystery in the Gale family history, and in their magic, and I hope this unfailingly entertaining author is planning to give us more.





The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Read by Michelle

David is a young boy whose mother has died of cancer.  While he and his father are learning to move on, his father brings a new woman home and they then have a child together.  David retreats into a world of fantasy by pouring through his beloved books.  His affinity is for myths and fairy tales.  In their new home David is surrounded by a mystery of a lost great uncle, the whisperings of the characters in his books and the haunting notion that his mother is trapped and needs his help.  David finds himself lost in an unknown world, faced by fears and not knowing who to trust.  His goal is to find the king who may be the only one able to send him back home.

This was an enchanting tale of adventure, imagination and faith.  Mr. Connolly takes the reader on a fast paced journey to the underworld of unimaginable beasts.  The only way out is to let go and face your fears.






Wicked Lies by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

Read by Loretta

Laura Adderly has just received her final divorce papers, but to her dismay has also discovered that she is pregnant.  To add to her problems she has begun receiving searing messages in her brain from her brother, Justice Turnbull.  He is incarcerated at a Security Psychiatric Hospital, and is able to communicate with her mentally.  This crazed killer has escaped from his cell  and is vowing to destroy her and her unborn child.

Lisa Jackson and her sister, Nancy Bush are co-authors of Wicked Lies – an out of this world novel -  you might say!  The suspense had my heart pounding and my breath coming in gasps as I devoured page after page os this astounding story.  Although it is only 529 pages long, I thought it was not long enough.  A thriller throughout!


The winner of Marjorie M. Liu’s 2 signed new releases from Monday’s blog is Denise McGee.  Denise please email me your address.  I’ll pass it on to Marjorie and congratulations!


Bottom Line:  I’m off to Wautoma to visit a pal and my hardest decision is what audio book to listen to in the car…decisions, decisions.