Nearly July 4 -- what???

I can hardly believe that June is nearly over; summer is whizzing by.  Last weekend, I went to Iowa City -- not for the writer's festival -- but to hang out with friends who were taking classes.  I'm going again in July for two classes:  Dialogue "You Talkin' to Me?" with Kate Aspengren and "Stinky Magic" the middle grade novel with Kelly Dwyer.  

Back to my weekend -- because of my lame hand, I shipped via UPS my "luggage," which was really a sturdy Scholastic Book Fair box, and I took the Amtrak from Holland, MI to Chicago, then walked a block from Union Station and caught the Megabus to Iowa City.  The Megabus stop in Iowa City is right behind the Sheraton where I stay.  Slick!  I liked it so much, I'm taking the same transportation when I go back even though the pins come out of my finger on July 3 and I will hopefully not be so incapable.  I may actually take a suitcase!!!

So, I caught up with friends from prior years:  Jane T, Rosemarie B., Stephanie Z., Jim C., and had a chance reacquaintance with Margaret, a pioneering documentary filmmaker who, in retirement, is writing her memoir. I was included in friend Kate Aspengren's class dinner on Thursday evening and as usual, met some very talented and interesting people.  On Friday, we went to a theater production, and on Saturday, ate out with some new friends from Argentina and Chile.  Laughed in excess: good for the soul.  

Dinner with Kate and Jane before the theaterTapas with new friends from Argentina and Chile

Kate and I visited her "statue" on the Iowa City Literary Walk.  Did you know that Iowa City is one of 5 Unesco World Heritage Sites for Literature?  Kate is a playwright and a humorist and a good friend.  Now she is famous.  So happy for her!

Kate Aspengren. The book on the top has her name on the spine.On the way back home, I sat with a very nice woman on the Amtrak.  Sherrie and her husband are creatives with a business in Grand Rapids.  Their newest venture can be seen at www.posypops.com.  We had a nice time sharing stories about the creative process.  I hope to see their booth at the Sunday Fulton Street Art Market soon.

My children's early reader chapter book is nearly ready for publication.  I am self-publishing through lulu.com. It's a bit of a learning curve and somewhat challenging, but I am super excited to see Lucky Lottie in print. Excerpt coming soon.  Stay tuned....