Another great year at the WEMTA Authors’ Fair







Members of the Wisconsin Chapter of SCBWI at the Author Fair at WEMTA. Back row: Janet Halfmann, Dori Chaconas, Stephanie Lowden, Jacqueline Houtman, Patricia Pfitsch, E. M. Kokie, and Jesse Klausmeier. Front row: Julie Bowe, JoAnn Early Macken, Ann Angel, W. H. Beck, and Lisa Albert



Hi all — I was hanging out last weekend with authors, librarians and media and technology educators in Madison, WI at the WEMTA (Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association) annual conference. This is such a great group of educators dedicated to providing the strongest literature and media possible to Wisconsin students and our group of writers absolutely loves working with them.

But that wasn’t the only big event this week. On Tuesday morning, I brought Lenard D. Moore, a friend and jazz and haiku poet to Capitol West Academy to perform his spoken word poetry with saxophonist James Dallas. This group of kids was amazed to discover that poetry is the same thing as lyrics to music and if they like music, they like poetry.

That evening Lenard brought his poetry to Mount Mary College where he performed his work with Dennis Klopfer’s jazz trio. People were on their feet! Dancing, Clapping. Loving it! Great week. But I am soooooooo beat!

Happy weekend!

Considering the act of writing in a snowstorm






The view from my front door is pretty enough to remind me of Camelot. But winter in Wisconsin is cold and gray.


I’m not actually writing in a snowstorm. I’m writing in my house which is warm except where I actually sit at my computer; this corner is probably the coldest corner of the house. In fact, it’s so cold I sometimes wear fingerless gloves while I type. So here I am typing and for the third week in a row a storm is brewing outside. We’re being promised 3 to 7 inches, depending upon which weather guy offers the news.

This is the coldest, darkest part of a Wisconsin winter, made even more so because I’m writing and reading constantly but without the sense of joy and light that being totally in a creative zone can bring. So I yearn for warm weather and sun inside my own head and outside.

My writing includes proposals for Mount Mary to bring new offerings to our graduate writing program and it includes emails to students suggesting major revisions. These are all worthwhile pieces of writing. But they’re not the sort of creative writing that leads to all things imagination. There is one small glow — I’m writing a picture book biography of my friend and poet Lenard D Moore.

Lenard will be performing his poetry in a spoken word performance at Mount Mary on April 9. He’ll be accompanied by the Dennis Klopfer trio. Immediately preceding this event, the English graduate program is hosting a wine and dessert pairing/author reception. There is a donation request for this part of the event to help offset the cost of bringing such strong writers to our campus. If you’d like to learn more or make reservations, please go to this link:

But back to this picture book I’m working on. Lenard, who is a master of haiku seems to have always measured his life in seasons and so I’m using that metaphor to write about what it was like for Lenard to grow up in the rural south. Writing this is the glimmer of light that I hope will keep me warm until spring finally comes.