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.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

     I've been invited to autograph my two latest books at the Buckeye Book Fair in Wooster, Ohio on Saturday, November 2. It will be held at Fisher Auditorium on the OARDC Campus in Wooster.
     I participated in this book fair three years ago when my pioneer book came out. This year they contacted me through my publisher to invite me. One hundred Ohio authors and illustrators are invited to participate.
I'll be signing copies of Friends of the Earth: A History of American Environmentalists and Heading West: Life with the Pioneers.  Both books were published by Chicago Review Press and each has 21 activities for kids to do.

     The information on my business cards was out of
date, so I printed up some to use this weekend, then I'll get some nicer ones printed when I have time. I'll need to leave home about 6:00 am in order to be there half an hour before the fair begins.

     Would love it if anyone could come to the book fair, so if you live in that area, you might want to drop by and see all the authors from Ohio!

     The Buckeye Book Fair e-mailed my local newspaper, The Daily Advocate. Linda Moody, one of their writers, contacted me and will interview me tomorrow and run a story about me and my books this weekend.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Comments on my Blog

     I'd be happy to receive and publish comments on the blog, but I want them signed. I just want to say that I won't publish any comments that are Anonymous. I've been getting a rash of those. Some seem legitimate and others are spam. So feel free to comment, but if you want me to publish your comments, you'll need to sign your name to them.

      In May, I spent three weeks working on a Work for Hire book for a book publisher. It will be part of a series about the history of the United States for fourth-sixth graders. The book I did was on the Colonization and Settlement of the New World. Unfortunately, I was supposed to pack all that information into 4000 words, and I had to include 9 sidebars of 50-100 words each, which had to be included in the word count. That gave me about 250 words per colony! The hard part wasn't writing 4000 words - that was a piece of cake. It was getting it down to that word count. It was like writing 13 books with the word count of one! I did get it finished and turned in on time. Now waiting to see if I need to do revisions.

     When I got this contract, I had already planned to be away seven days of those three weeks. I had the three day SCBWI conference in Ft. Wayne May 3-5, then I spent four days camping at Lake Erie over International Migratory Bird Day weekend. Got some nice bird photos, as well as photos of a baby fox. Will post some.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Wild, Wild Midwest Children's Writers' Conference

     Okay, I know I haven't posted in forever, but now I'm inspired to post after attending the Wild, Wild Midwest Children's Writers' Conference this weekend in Ft. Wayne, IN. It was put on by the Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan chapters of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.) Besides people from those four states, I met people who live in Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee and Wisconsin. And, of course, the speakers were from all over the country.
      I was thrilled to meet and talk to the great and prolific children's author Jane Yolen. Also loved meeting some people I've "known" online for a long time, like Ruth McNally Barshaw and Doris Holick Kelly,. And I saw people I've met before but haven't seen for awhile, including Diana Jenkins, Trudy Krishner, Joan Arbogast, Nancy Pimm and Mary Ryan.
     I roomed with Annette Pimentel from Ada, Ohio. We met on the Childern's Writers' List and got along fine. We're trying to start a children's writers' critique group with Carrie Dalrymple from Dayton and Michelle Houts from Celina. More after I get a nap!

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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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Author Night at Montage

I'm finally getting back in the groove after a month away from writing and writing activities. I spent two weeks in Florida and two days after I got home, I got company for two weeks. My sister, Kay, and our friend, Becky, came to scrapbook. Becky stayed a week and Kay stayed on to be here for Easter with her great-grandchildren. More on the trip, their visit, and Easter later.

This Friday night, April 9, I'll be the guest speaker for the Friends of the Library Author Night at Montage in downtown Greenville. Doors open at 6:45 and the program starts at 7:30. Bill Westfall and J.R. Price will provide music and I'll talk about writing for children and my latest book, Heading West: Life with the Pioneers. The 38,000-word book is packed with information on the pioneer movement in the United States, especially during the second half of the 1800s. There are over 100 photos, many if which I took at our own Garst Museum and Shawnee Prairie. Also included are many old photos from the Library of Congress. The book has 21 activities for children to do that will help them learn more about what it was like to be a pioneer. The book is supposed to be for ages 8-12, but many adults have bought copies because they are interested in that era and it contains so much information. I'll talk about the book, from idea to publication, including research and the actual writing. Copies of the book will be for sale and I'll be happy to autograph them for anyone who wants me to.

While in Florida I spent an afternoon speaking to third, fourth and fifth-graders at Bayshore Elementary in Port St. Lucie. The Media Center Specialist, Jennifer Aldridge Bozone, was one of my third grade students here in Greenville and invited me to visit her. We had a great time and I enjoyed talking to the kids about how a book comes to fruition.

Coming up in May, I'll be part of the Author Fair for the Piqua Public Library on May 21 and 22. More about that later.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Early Bird Article

Madison Is Four!

Peeling Paint 3rd Place

Cedar Falls Textures HM

Hand-Knit Socks HM

One of Kay's Pages

My Eye Injury


Chicago Public LIbrary Best of the Best, Scrapbooking, Birthdays, and Snow

It CAN'T be two months since I wrote anything! But it has been. Wow! Everybody is busy the last half of December, with Christmas, but that's been awhile! I guess I should spend more time on here and less on Facebook!
The year got off to a great start when I learned on New Year's Day that my book, Heading West: Life with the Pioneers, has been named to the Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best List for 2009, along with books by friends Kerrie Hollihan, Dori Chaconas, Brandon Marie Miller and Tanya Lee Stone! That led to an article and photo on the front page of our weekly newspaper, the Early Bird.
Our first snowstorm of the year came in on January 7, causing postponement of our Focus Photo Club meeting for a week. The theme was texture, and I did manage to get ribbons on all three photos, but it was a 3rd place and two Honorable Mentions.
On January 16, I picked up my sister, Kay, this side of Akron and we went to Utica, PA to spend time scrapbooking with our friend, Becky. We stayed there a week and had lots of fun scrapping and eating the great food that her husband, John, cooks for us. I got 49 pages done in 12 x 12 scrapbook. A week later we went back to Kay's and spent the night, then she came home with me.
Madison's fourth birthday party was that afternoon. Can't believe how those kids are growing! It was fun.
That Tuesday morning I got up early to use the bathroom and managed to bang my forehead on the corner of the vanity and cut it wide open. I was glad Kay was there, because there was a lot of blood and I couldn't tell if it needed stitches. It was a small cut, about an inch long, in my left eyebrow. We decided it didn't need stitches, and I didn't get as much of a black eye as I expected! It's still a little sore.

Our big snowstorms have been in February. I was subbing on Friday, the 5th. It began snowing about 9:30. It came thick and fast, and we ended up having a two-hour early dismissal. It was our night to eat out, but the weather was getting worse all the time, so just Regina and I went to Longfellow's. It's only four blocks from my house, and she lives two blocks from me, so it wasn't too bad, but I wouldn't have driven across town. We went early, like 3:00, and by the time we got home, we were under a Level 3 Emergency, which means only emergency vehicles are allowed on the roads.We ended up with 15 inches. Some wonderful man with a snowblower cleared out my driveway, which I really appreciated. We had additional storms on Feb. 10 (8 inches) and on Feb. 15 (5 inches). It's all still on the ground, and there's supposed to be another storm coming Sunday. I'm hoping that 12-14 inch estimate is wrong. It is attracting a lot of birds to my feeders and I enjoy watching those. I can see the feeders from the computer.
On Wednesday, February 10, I did a teleclass for my friend Suzanne Lieurance's Children's Writers' Coaching Club. I talked about creating puzzles, quizzes and other short items for children's magazines. That went well.
I decided to use part of my income tax refund to replace my kitchen linoleum with wood laminate flooring. I loved the linoleum when I got it, because it was white with blue flowers and went great with my blue and white cupboards. However, it soon started to get gouges and holes in it, so the old floor showed through. And instead of being smooth, it was full of little pits, which get filled in with dirt. The only way to get it clean, is to scrub it on your hands and knees, and unfortunately, I can't kneel at all. I think I'll LOVE the new flooring. It's like I have in my family room. Maybe next year I can get it in my office. My nephew, Tim, and his friend, Troy, are putting it down for me and it's almost done.
I have a couple of author-related appearances coming up. On Friday, April 9, I'll be the featured author at the Friends of the Library Author Night at Montage Cafe in Greenville. I'll speak for an hour or so, with an intermission so people can get drinks and desserts. I'll also be able to sell my books. On the weekend of May 21 and 22, I'm doing an Author Fair at the Piqua, Ohio Public Library. It's on Friday evening and Saturday 10-2. I'll have a table and sell books.
I just finished my fourth revision of an outline and activities for another book for Chicago Review Press. I'm just hoping it's approved so I can start researching and writing another book.

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