Tuesday, July 9, 2019


Dear Friends,

K.L. Going and I are really excited about our Highlights Foundation workshop this August, and we think you’ll be really excited about Novel Beginnings, too! We have a lot of “firsts” lined up for you that we can’t wait to share:

--You can submit up to the First 50 pages of your novel to be edited before the workshop, and Kelly and I will meet with each attendee one on one to go over your pages with you.

--Our guest editor this year is Liz Kossnar and in addition to her presentation, Using the Market to Your Benefit: Looking at how elevator pitches and comp titles help build the picture of your project, attendees will have an opportunity to sign up to meet with Liz for a one on one, on the spot, review of a First chapter.

--Jennie Dunham, our literary agent will do a Q & A, and when we meet for our final wrap-up session, she’ll do an on the spot critique of First pages! 

That’s a lot of Firsts and a lot of great feedback for writers attending Novel Beginnings! Plus Great food, charming accommodations, and stimulating workshops. Plus, K.L. has exciting updates to share about her new MG novel, The Next Great Jane, coming Summer of 2020 from PenguinRandom House Publishers.

Sign up soon. August is just around the corner.

Read more about what we have planned for you by clicking on the link:
Novel Beginnings: Building Strong Foundations for Your Novel & Your Career
August 8-11, 2019



K.L. Going is the award winning author of numerous books for children and teens. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the…
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Clara Gillow Clark is a critically acclaimed author of six novels of historical fiction for middle grade readers. In addition…
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Special Guest Liz Kossnar enthusiastically joined the Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers editorial team in November 2013. She…
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Special Guest Jennie Dunham has been a literary agent in New York, New York since May 1992. In August 2000…
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So what are you waiting for? Register today! 

August 8-11, 2019

Saturday, June 8, 2019


Dear Friends,

Thank you, each and everyone, who stopped by for the Book Birthday, and thank you everyone who offered topics for Claudia’s series or left a comment. Enjoy this little bit more about **Nixie Ness** and then discover if YOU were the winner!

Perfect for fans of Judy Moody, Ivy and Bean, and Clementine, this new chapter book series features recurring characters, and each book will highlight one activity they do at their after-school program. The books are illustrated in black and white and include a bonus activity that corresponds to the book's plot. 

Nixie Ness: Cooking Star features a recipe for morning glory muffins. The next book in the After-School Superstars series, Vera Vance: Comics Star, is scheduled for release in Spring 2020.


Claudia Mills is the author of almost 60 books for young readers, including most recently the Franklin School Friends series from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and her new After-School Superstars series from Holiday House. In addition to writing books, she has been a college professor in the philosophy department at the University of Colorado at Boulder and in the graduate programs in children’s literature at Hollins University in Roanoke. 

Visit Claudia at www.claudiamillsauthor.com.

The lucky winner of **NIXIE NESS** COOKING STAR is: Becky Scharnhorst (selected by random.org, because I always want everyone to win!) Becky, please send an email with your address and to whom you’d like the book personalized by Claudia.

Thanks again, everyone, for your support of authors and good books! Next up in August and again in September with her new picture books is our friend, Tracey Kyle! Jamie Michalak and her new early reader series, Frank and Bean will be joining us the beginning of October, and I have a very special guest for Halloween whose books will send ghostly shivers down your spine!

Happy summertime reading!


Tuesday, June 4, 2019


Dear Friends,

It’s been awhile since we met here, but I just had to share AFTER-SCHOOL SUPERSTARS with all of you! My dear sweet friend, Claudia Mills,  is launching this new chapter book series today published by Holiday House. The first starring character in the series is: Nixie Ness, Cooking Star. It’s a perfect pick for summertime reading about cooking and friendship and sure to be served with a large dollop of humor! And YES there is a comment contest, that's so super easy to enter! All you have to do is leave a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of **NIXIE NESS** COOKING STAR. Spread the word on twitter and FB and you’ll get more chances to win. Now enjoy the rest of the post brought to you by NIXIE and Claudia!

"Likable Nixie creates a terrific recipe for winning back old friends and making lots of new ones.” – Kirkus 

Junior Library Guild Selection


I love school.

I’ve always loved school. Even as a child, I loved school so much that instead of crossing off the days left of school until summer vacation, I’d cross off the days left of summer vacation until school started again.

So when I became an author, I specialized in writing school stories. I drew inspiration from my own school memories, but especially from school activities and projects at Mesa Elementary, which my two sons attended in Boulder, Colorado. Their fifth grade biography tea was the seed for my chapter book Being Teddy Roosevelt. An assignment to write a diary in the persona of someone who lived through the Civil War became The Totally Made-Up Civil War Diary of Amanda MacLeish. The third-grade space sleepover provided the culminating scene for How Oliver Olson Changed the World. My recent chapter-book series, Franklin School Friends, features a school reading contest, spelling bee, and track-and-field day. Yay for school as an endless source of material for authors like me!

But after writing literally dozens of school stories, I found myself yearning to branch out a bit. And so I decided to write about . . . . after-school! Millions of kids in America attend after-school programs that offer their own rich array of activities that could provide fodder for fiction. Like school itself, after-school programs bring a disparate group of kids together and provide great opportunities for kids to learn and grow – the two things I loved best about writing school stories. But after-school programs can offer learning possibilities that go beyond the test-driven school curriculum. If I set a series in an after-school program, what fun it would be! 

Thus was born my new chapter-book series, After-School Superstars, with each book featuring a different month-long after-school “camp,” with the same diverse group of kids, with each book starring a different protagonist. I did a lot of brainstorming to come up with camp topics that would provide material for entertaining scenes that would be different from what kids would be doing during a typical school day. First up: cooking camp! Next up: comic-book camp! Third in the lineup: coding camp! I haven’t yet settled on the topic for the fourth camp: ideas welcome!

This month I’m introducing the first book to the world: Nixie Ness, Cooking Star. In the course of a month jam-packed with cooking activities, Nixie and her comrades – Vera, Nolan, and Boogie – make a wide array of yummy lunchbox offerings, pet treats, pumpkin recipes, baked goods for a huge bake sale, and international cuisine for the camp’s concluding around-the-world banquet. But it’s also a friendship story. Nixie’s mother’s new job means that Nixie will no longer spend afternoons at home with her best friend, Grace – and that Grace will now be spending afternoons instead with “best-friend stealer” Elyse. So as Nixie chops up carrots for pita-pocket fillings, bakes Morning Glory Muffins, and learns how to make saag aloo, she’s also trying to figure out how to keep her best friend – and even how to expand her ideas about friendship.     

Claudia Mills is the author of almost 60 books for young readers, including most recently the Franklin School Friends series from Farrar, Straus & Giroux, and her new After-School Superstars series from Holiday House.  In addition to writing books, she has been a college professor in the philosophy department at the University of Colorado at Boulder and in the graduate programs in children’s literature at Hollins University in Roanoke. 

Visit Claudia at www.claudiamillsauthor.com.

Thank you, dear readers, for stopping by the BOOK BIRTHDAY celebration for **NIXIE NESS** Cooking Star. Thank you, dear Claudia, for sharing with us and for donating an autographed copy of your new book! I’ll be back on Saturday to announce the winner!