Pat McCarthy is the author of a dozen nonfiction books for children and young adults. She has published numerous stories, articles, puzzles and quizzes in magazines for children and adults. She teaches for the Institute of Children's Literature. She has also written encyclopedia articles and school curriculum. Pat is a retired elementary school teacher who subs to remain in touch with kids. Her hobbies are photography, travel, birding and scrapbooking.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chats and Teleclass for the Children's Writers' Coaching Club

Suzanne Lieurance of the Children's Writers' Coaching Club has just started a scheduled chat in the chat room on the club's website. Yesterday afternoon we tried it out. She posted that I would chat about Why Write Nonfiction for Children? She and I were the only ones there, but we worked out the bugs and found out how it works. I am doing another 15-minute chat in the chatroom there on Thursday at 2:00 EST. This one will be on Writing for Children's Magazines.
Today I did my monthly teleclass for Suzanne's Coaching Club. It's set up as a conference call on the phone. Students may call in and listen and ask questions, but it's also recorded, so they may listen to the recording if they weren't able to attend the class live. Also people who are not members of the club can listen to the recordings for $4.99. Today's class was on Creating a Proposal for a Children's Nonfiction Book. One nice thing about nonfiction is that you're often able to sell a nonfiction book on the strength of a proposal.
I'm hard at work on my next book, which is due Dec. 1. I have a call in to my editor, hoping to get an extension, due to the complications with my knee surgery. Well, there weren't really any complications, but I definitely underestimated the recovery time and the tiredness, etc. I can't believe I thought I'd get a lot written at the nursing home! I was flat on my back for eight hours a day with my leg in a machine that bent it back and forth, I spent three hours in therapy each day, plus there were meals and visitors. There was virtually NO time to write. And if I did sit down with the laptop for a few minutes, I usually fell asleep. And now I'm having to elevate my leg for several hours a day due to swelling, which doesn't make it easy to write, either. The new book is tentatively entitled American Environmentalists and has chapters on eleven environmentalists, from James John Audubon up through Philippe Cousteau, who has been active with the latest oil spill. It's interesting, but I know I can't have it done by Dec. 1.
I went to physical therapy today. Friday will be my last day in therapy, since I'm walking well on my own without a walker or cane.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Long-Overdue Update

I can't believe how long it's been since I posted anything. The Author Night at Montage went very well, with about 40 people in attendance and a dozen books sold. Next I did the Author Fair in Piqua, Ohio, in conjunction with their annual Taste of the Arts. It was held in the library, which is a beautifully-restored old building. There were probably 20 local writers there, and it was fun meeting new people and seeing some I hadn't seen for awhile. On Memorial Day weekend, I sold books at the Friends of the Library annual booksale in Greenville.
June was a very busy month, but most of it wasn't concerned with writing. When I left the Library booksale on May 29, I drove to Kay's, near Akron, to scrapbook with her and Becky. Drove back for the Photo Club Banquet in Dayton on June 3, planning to drive right back up to Kay's the next day. Unfortunately, my van overheated as I was driving through downtown Dayton. Pulled into a garage and it was too late for them to look at it that day. My big concern was getting to the Banquet with the newsletters which had all the prizewinners for the year listed. I called the President, and he sent one of the other members to pick me up and take me to the Banquet. Of course, I had no way home afterwards. Lynn has always told me I can spend the night with her and Terry any time I need to, so I took her up on it. I slept on their livingroom floor on a very comfortable blow-up bed. She went to work the next morning, and Terry took me to the garage, where they gave me an estimate of $1100. (and charged $93 for the estimate!) Since I have AAA Plus, I called a tow truck, so that got both me and the van back to Greenville. We took it to Gary Coblentz, my mechanic. Meanwhile, all my scrapbooking stuff was in Kay's livingroom! It was going to take a few days to fix the van, so I rented a car and went back up there. It was an HHR and I'd like to have kept it so I'd have a van and a car! It was big enough to be comfortable for me. Drove it through horrible thunderstorms and tornado watches on the way, but I made it. Stayed there another five days.
On the way home, I stopped at Good Samaritan Hospital and sat in the waiting room while my friend, Jan, had surgery on her elbow. She'd had surgery in May and her elbow got infected and they had to remove the rod. My first meeting with Dr. Klosterman was when he came to the waiting room to tell me she had done well. I've seen him many times since - more on that later.
I got the van back and Gary did everything the Dayton garage had in their estimate, plus new rear brakes, for $662!
Jan ended up spending six or seven weeks in the nursing home for rehab, and I visited her most days, picked up her mail from the post office, wrote her checks, got things for her from the house, etc. Got to know the people in the rehab center at the Brethren's Home, which proved to be good.
In April I had started going to an orthopedic doctor, who ran tests, tried cortisone shots, etc. In July she referred me to none other than Dr. Klosterman to set up knee surgery. The next week, I fell and cut my other leg just below the knee. My nephew, Tim, took me to the emergency room and I ended up with stitches. Then my family doctor wouldn't sign the release for me to have surgery until it was healed, to make sure there was no infection. That put the surgery off till September 16.
I spent much of the weekend of July 23-25 at the fairgrounds in Greenville, selling my book at the Annie Oakley Festival. The next weekend, I went with nine others from my photo club to the Southwest Michigan Council of Camera Clubs Workshop. It was a wonderful four-day event on the campus of Hope College with all kinds of sessions and workshops to attend. I loved it, but it really took a toll on my leg. I hope to go next year, when it's all healed.
I've joined the faculty of Suzanne Lieurance's Children's Writers' Coaching Club. One of my duties is to do a teleclass once a month for an hour. It's like a conference call and people can listen while I'm doing it or listen to the recording later. That's been interesting.
Also in July, I finally signed a contract for another book for Chicago Review Press for their For Kids series, the same series as Heading West: Life with the Pioneers. This one will be on American Environmentalists. My editor and I had been trying to get this approved for well over a year. The recent oil spill seemed to stimulate interest in it with the powers-that-be.
I was pretty careful in August and early September because my knee was so sore. I also believed that the leg had given out on me, causing me to fall and cut the other leg. I did drive to Painted Post, NY the first week of September for a mini-reunion with classmates back there. We had quite a few people come for the luncheon. It's been so much fun to get back in touch with these people since the reunion two years ago. I moved right before my senior year, but had gone there from kindergarten through junior year.
My sister, Kay, decided to come for the surgery and stay till I was home and doing well. I already had plans to spend at least a couple of weeks in rehab at the Brethren Retirement Community here in Greenville. Our scrapbooking buddy, Becky, decided she would come from PA and she and Kay would clean and organize my house for me! Becky is a real organizer and the house really needed both cleaning and organizing after all the knee problems I'd been having.
I had a complete knee replacement at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton on Thursday, Sept. 16. I was only in the hospital two days! Then I only spent two weeks in rehab, before I came home. Becky had to leave the day before I came home, but she and Kay did a SUPER job with the house! It was such a relief to come home to a clean, organized house! Kay stayed for another week till she was sure I could drive, go to the grocery, etc.
I'm still going to the BRC for physical therapy two days a week. I'm off the walker and they said I don't need a cane. I'm walking quite well (except when I get up after sitting for a long time.) The only problem I'm having now is that the foot, ankle and leg are swelling a lot. They've run all kinds of tests and ruled out blood clots and other problems, so I guess I just have to live with it. I have lie on my back with my leg propped several inches above my heart for several hours a day, so that is playing havoc with trying to get the book done by Dec. 1. I had no idea how tired I would be after the surgery and how little I could get done at the nursing home or here. I'm hoping to get an extension.
Suzanne Lieurance is Showcasing my book, Heading West: Life with the Pioneers on her Children's Writers' Coaching Club website this month. In conjunction with that, she interviewed me on her daily Book Bites for Kids radio show this afternoon. That was interesting.

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