Random school visit question

Like many authors, I visited schools for years to talk about my books and the writing process. I have spoken to around half a million high school students and maybe half as many elementary school students.

Yeah, that’s a lot of kids.

I loved visiting schools, loved meeting the teachers and librarians, and really learned a lot from the students. I did not love how much energy the visits drained from me, and how much time it took away from writing. I also found that every day spent visiting a school generally took two days of preparation, not to mention travel time and time away from my family. So I decided to take a very long sabbatical (at least two years) from visiting schools.

But many of my friends are still out there. And several of them have written this week about a strange new requirement. Suddenly, school districts are requiring them to show proof of insurance… an insurance that would kick into effect if anyone decides that the author’s presence at the school somehow harmed them. In addition, one author has been asked to sign an 8-page Hold Harmless agreement, in which the author states the 50 million ways she will not pursue the district in any kind of lawsuit.

Several of these friends have consulted with lawyers and brokers and are preparing to pay close to $500/year in the required insurance.

Does anyone else have experience with this?

I have to say, it makes the decision to stay home and write even more attractive.

Odds & Ends Day

This morning I have chained myself to my desk in order to respond to ALL the fanmail that has piled up. I made a dent in it last week, and hope to finish today. If you have been waiting to hear from me, I am sorry. Check your mailbox later this week.

By the way, I still have teacher’s guides for TWISTED that I am happy to send out. Put your address in the Comments section, or email me at laurie AT writerlady DOT com and I will send you one ASAP.

There are many more pictures of the Whispering Pines SCBWI retreat on the blog of Liz Goulet Dubois. Liz was the featured artist at the retreat. She is a stellar example of a working artist; someone who day in and and day out uses her artistic talents on a million different projects and somehow manages to pay the bills. I salute thee, Liz, with this mug of Earl Grey! (Be sure to noodle around her site, too.)

A hale and hearty happy 200th birthday to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Maybe we should call him Oldfellow. I had to memorize lines from “The Village Blacksmith” in third grade. Despite that, I still like him.

Except when it comes to how he mucked up history.

Longfellow did not let the messy facts of Revere’s ride get in the way of a good story (or poem). The always wonderful J.L. Bell points out the differences between Paul’s ride and Longfellow’s poem. Historian Brian Leigh Dunnigan does the same thing for the Poetry Foundation.

How do I get this gig? Seriously, folks. I really mean it. I think I would do a remarkably good job. And it wouldn’t even have to be in London. New York has some lovely hotels. I hear Boston has a couple, too, as does San Francisco. Please put in a good word for me.

A Central New York Shout-out to 1979 Liverpool grad Julia Spencer-Fleming who just had her mystery novel All Mortal Flesh, nominated for a posh Agatha Award. I graduated in 1979, too. Must have been something in the water. (Thanks, Shelf Life for the tip.)

The book tour starts in exactly three weeks.

It is snowing again.

TWISTED Book Tour!

Fire up the engines, honey, it’s time to take this book on the road!

In about a month, I am the very lucky author who gets to visit 20 cities in 12 days, and (fingers crossed, toes crossed, jumping up and down) meet hundreds and hundreds of you guys in the process.

I am not sure exactly how the cities were chosen, except that I do know that an effort was made to get me to a couple of places I had not visited before.

There are three kinds of events on this tour. Because I write for teenagers, my smart publishers went to a lot of trouble to get me in front of them. I will be visiting 7 high schools in the course of this visit. (It was supposed to be 8, but administrators at one school apparently got spooked because of the nature of my books.) These SCHOOL EVENTS are not open to the public. Sorry. I wish they were.

A STOCK SIGNING is kind of a drive-by signing. It is not a formal book signing, but booksellers don’t seem to mind if people show up. Generally, the author sprints from the car to the store, signs a lot of books, gets to hang out with the booksellers (who tend to be very interesting people), then sprints back to the car.

A PUBLIC EVENT, is, well, open to the public. That means you and everybody you know are invited to hang out. Bring the dog, too. I like dogs.

If you see a gap of a couple of hours between events, I am sad to report it does not mean I can get together with you for coffee. Every minute of this tour is spoken for between traveling, speaking, lunches and dinners with librarians and booksellers, and – occasionally – sleep.

Enough babbling, let’s get to it!

TWISTED TOUR, Mar. 20 – April 1, 2007

Tuesday, March 20 – fly half-way across the country. Try not to bore people sitting next to me with details of the new book. However, if stuck on tarmac for more than an hour, volunteer to hold plane spellbound by reading the first 15 chapters out loud.

Wednesday, March 21 – Arkansas & Mississippi

8am – SCHOOL EVENT – Blytheville, AK
Sponsored by: That Bookstore

11am – STOCK SIGNING: That Bookstore
316 W. Main
Blytheville, AR 72315

7:00pm – PUBLIC EVENT!: Books-A-Million
135 Towne Square Boulevard
Southaven, MS 38671 (suburb of Memphis, TN)

Thursday, March 22 – Mississippi

10:30 am – SCHOOL EVENT, kinda sorta
Young Authors Fair – Oxford Conference for the Book
Gertrude Castellow Ford Center for the Performing Arts
100 University Ave.
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677-1848
Phone: 662-915-2787

Midday – super-special treat for me which I will be raving about endlessly, I swear. Man, oh, man. It is going to be faulking amazing. (Yes, that was a hint, duh.)

3:30 pm – PUBLIC EVENT: Square Books, Jr.
160 Courthouse Square
Oxford, MS 38655

Friday, March 23 – Florida

12:30 pm – SCHOOL EVENT – Miami, FL
Sponsored by: Barnes & Noble West Kendall
Kendall Village West
12405 N Kendall Drive
Miami, FL 33186

7:00 pm – AMAZING PUBLIC EVENT, including a Battle of the Bands as well as a booksigning! 20% of the money from my book sales that evening will be donated to The Children’s Home Society of Florida Please bring a new or gently used book to donate to the Society. If you do, you’ll get a raffle ticket. The store is going to raffle off some Miami Heat tickets, a gift certificate to American Apparel, and other stuff. (Isn’t this great?)

Where will this awesome thing happen?
Books & Books
265 Aragon Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Ph: 305-442-4408

Saturday, March 24 – Kentucky & Ohio

12:00pm PUBLIC EVENT: Blue Marble Bookstore
1356 S. Ft. Thomas Avenue
Ft. Thomas, KY 41075

3:00pm PUBLIC EVENT: Joseph-Beth Booksellers
2692 Madison Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45208

5:30 pm STOCK SIGNING: Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore
3054 Madison Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45209

Sunday, March 25 – Ohio

2:00 pm PUBLIC EVENT Books & Co.
The Greene Town Center
4453 Walnut Street
Dayton, Ohio 45440

6:00 pm PUBLIC EVENT: Signing at Upper Arlington High School (open to public)
(event location) 1650 Ridgeview Rd.
Upper Arlington, OH 43221

This will be sponsored by: Cover to Cover
3560 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43214-4041

Monday, March 26 – Michigan

12:00pm – SCHOOL EVENT – Lapeer, MI
Sponsored by: Halfway Down the Stairs
114 E. 4th St.
Rochester, MI 48307

7:00pm – PUBLIC EVENT! Signing at Southfield Public Library
26300 Evergreen Rd.
Southfield, MI 48076

Sponsored by: The Book Beat
26010 Greenfield
Oak Park, MI 48237

Tuesday, March 27 – Michigan

3:30 pm – PUBLIC EVENT: Borders/Birmingham
34300 Woodward
Birmingham, MI 48009
Phone: 248.203.0005

7:00 pm – PUBLIC EVENT: Nicola’s Books
Westgate Shopping Center
2513 Jackson Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Wednesday, March 28 – Illinois & Missouri

4:30pm PUBLIC EVENT: Piece of Mind Books
1530 Troy Rd.
Edwardsville, IL 62025

7:00 pm PUBLIC EVENT: Signing at St. Louis Public Library – Buder Branch
4401 Hampton Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63109

Sponsored by: Left Bank Books
399 N. Euclid
St. Louis, MO 63108

Thursday, March 29 – TEXAS!

10:30am – SCHOOL EVENT – Houston, TX

Sponsored by: Blue Willow Bookshop
14532 Memorial Dr.
Houston, TX 77079

1:30pm – ANOTHER SCHOOL EVENT – Houston, TX

Sponsored by: Brazos Bookstore

4:00pm – PUBLIC EVENT: Brazos Bookstore
2421 Bissonnet
Houston, TX 77005

Friday, March 30 – Texas

2:00pm – SCHOOL EVENT – Austin, TX
Sponsored by: Book People

4pm STOCK SIGNING – Book People
603 North Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78703

Saturday, March 31 – California

4:00 pm PUBLIC EVENT: Kepler’s Books
1010 El Camino Real
Menlo Park CA, 94025

7:30 pm: PUBLIC EVENT: Books Inc. notyourmothers
601 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Sunday, April 1
Fly home.
Sleep on plane.
Drool all over self.
Sign cocktail napkins in a daze.
Sign walls of airplane bathroom in stupor. Sign face of appalled flight attendant.
Get arrested.
Sleep in squad car.
Read TWISTED out loud to cell mates.
Have husband bail me out.
Start writing new book.

Signings after the Official Tour

Saturday, April 28 – New York

6:00pm – River’s End Bookstore
19 W Bridge St
Oswego, NY 13126

Friday, May 11 – Pennsylvania

6:00pm PUBLIC EVENT: The Moravian Book Shop
428 Main St.
Bethlehem, PA 18018

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