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Here's an exciting bit of news - my book was reviewed in the Washington Post last week!   I couldn't be more thrilled - it even uses the word "expertly" to describe my writing - woohoo!!!  (I raided our local Starbucks the day it came out so I'd have "enough" copies, which are now strewn all over the floor of my office awaiting their places of honor in my scrapbook!)

Here's a link to the article:  


If you click the arrow where the "Barbarians" cover is, you'll reach my cover in a couple of clicks.  The headline calls it a "Creeping Thriller" in the online version, which is an enticing description.  (The print version did not have this same headline, interestingly enough).  So what do you think?  A "Creeping Thriller?!!"

If I'm brave enough, I might post on the whole idea of reviews in the next week or two.  It's a touchy subject for authors, and so I think probably bears some discussion!

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If you are a teacher or librarian who would like a chance to win 30 advance copies of When the Whistle Blows for your classroom or library, then sign up to receive my monthly Children's Book News Email here.  The winner will be chosen from a list of subscribers in December, 2009.

If you are not a teacher or librarian, you can still sign up to receive my Children's Book News Email - just sign up here.

Meanwhile, I hope you'll check out my latest Children's Book News Email at http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/272224/e0a6efbb65/TEST/TEST/

It's a one page summary of links to news articles related to children's books, children's literacy, book marketing, author interviews, conference information and more!  I hope you enjoy it!  Let me know what you think!

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My radio interview on kmsu.org airs this morning at 11:30 EST. If you want to listen, you can go to kmsu.org and click "listen live" ! (If you do listen, please leave a comment here and tell me what you think!!)

I hope to post more pictures from my summer book tour soon!


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 I'm now on my three week long book tour across the midwest, and it's been a great time so far! My first stop was on June 29th at the Kanawha County Public Library in Charleston, WV. I spoke to a crowd of about 20 people, including a number of librarians and Mary Kay Bond, the head of Read Aloud West Virginia. My dear Uncle Gene surprised me by driving an hour to come see me, too!! Many thanks to Amy Arey of the Kanawha County Library for inviting me! In Charleston I also had the great opportunity to have lunch with Susanna Holstein, aka Granny Sue, who is a librarian and storyteller. If you are interested in Appalachian history and lore and don't know Granny Sue's blog, you really should. It's a treasure. And so is Granny Sue! Here's her blog (be sure to click over to her "other" blog, which she updates daily): http://grannysue.blogspot.com/ Stop #2 was in Columbus, OH at Cover to Cover Bookstore. Owner Sally Oddi and her staff welcomed me with open arms. There were 10-15 people in the audience, including Penguin's wonderful regional rep, John Dennany! Here's a picture of the FANTASTIC display in Cover to Cover's window, including a train to hold my books!! I also had the great chance to meet Barbara Kiefer who is the Charlotte Huck Professor of Children's Literature at Ohio State, as well as several teachers and librarians from the Columbus area. Above on the right is a picture of me and Barbara, holding Huck's Children's Literature, which is a staple text used in University programs across the country and which Barbara edits. The new edition mentions When the Whistle Blows!!! Talk about exciting!!

Here I am with Sally Oddi (owner of Cover to Cover) after signing her wall! (Can you see my signature at the top, above my head?!!)

On July 1st I had a signing at The Blue Marble Bookstore in Ft. Thomas, KY. What a treasure of a book store! It's located very close to the Ohio border very near Cincinnati. In fact, here was the view of the Cincinnati skyline from my hotel room across the river in Covington, KY:

The Blue Marble has a fantastic room for signing - right in "The Great Green Room" from Goodnight Moon! Here I am with a fellow "Cannon," who also has the B&O railroad in her family history. We're trying to figure out if we might be related, especially since many of her family members share the same names as the characters in When the Whistle Blows! Do you see a family resemblance?

Mucho thanks to Dave Richardson for inviting me to The Blue Marble (and for a fantastic lunch!)

Yesterday I had the privilege of signing at Kids Ink with fellow author Saundra Mitchell, author of Shadowed Summer which was just released in February of this year and is a Junior Library Guild selection! Saundra and I had a fantastic time with Shirley Mullin, who is the owner of Kids Ink, and her staff. What a great time we had! Here I am with one little girl who said it was her very first book signing!!! Exciting!

Kids Ink has the fun tradition of having authors sign in the bathroom! You can read what I signed above!

Saundra's step father took a lot of pictures that I'll share in my next post, as soon as I have a chance to download them. Many thanks to Shirley Mullin for a great visit!

Meanwhile, I'm heading to Chicago and Milwaukee for the next leg of my tour! I should be updating with more pictures round about Tuesday of next week - see you then!

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Hi Everyone!

To celebrate my book launch week, I'm having a contest over at the Class of 2k9 blog.  Please head on over and check it out for a chance to win one of two advance copies!


Fran Cannon Slayton

When the Whistle Blows

“An unassuming masterpiece.”  - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Nostalgia done right.”  - School Library Journal, starred review







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 Well, yesterday was the release day for my book!  Book release days can be tricky, actually.  They are the day that the book becomes available at bookstores, so it's exciting.  But sometimes the books are not actually available on that day, depending on a number of different factors, so release days can often be anticlimactic for authors.

But yesterday was great!  I went into New Dominion, my local indie and found a big stack of my books near the front of the store!  

My family took me out to lunch and then out again at dinner - to the C&O Restaurant, and as we arrived a diesel engine went by!  

Many of my 2k9 pals emailed to congratulate me, an article came out in a local paper called The Hook, and I received an email from a friend whose 11 year old son had already read the book and loved it, saying it was "like Tom Sawyer, only better!"  What could possibly be better than that?!!!

In addition, I found out that my book is mentioned on the Penguin website.  And just this month a wonderful interview came out in School Library Journal, which was absolutely thrilling!  

Tomorrow is the big launch party at New Dominion Bookshop on the downtown mall in Charlottesville, from 2-4:30.  If you're in the area, come on by, because it's a day I've been waiting for for a very long time.  It will be great to share it with friends and family!  

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A big welcome to L. Diane Wolfe, an author who is a wiz at all things involving book marketing!

Hi Diane, I'm glad you could stop by today!  I first heard you speak about book marketing at the Book ‘Em literacy event in Waynesboro, VA.  I remember learning an incredible number of things from your talk about online marketing.  Could you tell us a little about your background and how you came to know so much about book marketing?


I had to learn marketing quickly when I self-published several years ago. I devoured every book on the subject, researched the Internet, and signed up for every marketing tips newsletter I could locate. I began getting a lot of questions from other authors and writers, so when another author suggested I put together a seminar, I compiled the basics into one three-hour presentation. I’ve taught that seminar for over two years now and continue to add and refine it every few months. I probably should write a book on the subject…


You should!  I know a lot of authors who would be interested in reading it.  What are your top five online book marketing “must do’s” for authors?


You must know where your target audience hangs out.

You must have a website and/or blog.

You must be involved in 1-3 social sites.

You must be willing to contribute several articles a month to other sites, newsletters and online magazines.

You must search for new opportunities for exposure every single day – and network, network, network!


These all seem fairly simple, but it amazes me how many authors fail to do any of those things. And online efforts must be matched with physical promotions as well.


What is your best advice for authors who are interested in setting up their own virtual book tour?


Setting it up yourself is best! You need to be very active with blogging and on a couple social sites as well. Seek out other blogs and websites that cater to your specific audience and ask if they will post an interview or guest article. Reviews and book giveaways are fun, too! This needs to be done several months in advance, and a good tour will have around 15-20 stops over the course of a month.


You have a jam packed speaking schedule!  How did you manage to land so many events, and what is your advice for authors who would like to do the same?


I once heard that authors really make their money through speaking engagements – and guess what? it’s true!


Start small, such as speaking to a local book club or writer’s group. Speak at libraries, to civic groups – anyplace someone will have you! Develop a specific topic(s) on which you speak and start building a platform for yourself. That is what will take you beyond “I’m an author and here’s my book.” A non-fiction book on that subject will really add to your credibility, because it establishes you as an expert. In the beginning, speak for free – paid speaking engagements come once you’ve established yourself.


I’ve been speaking for many years now and enjoy it even more that being an author. The opportunity to inspire crowd to believe in themselves is so fulfilling! A separate website now showcases me as a speaker – www.spunkonastick.net - and I am a member of the National Speakers Association. It’s just amazing the opportunities that arise now. In May, I am speaking at a health event outside of DC with keynote speaker, Michelle Obama!


Michelle Obama - that is incredible!  But with so many events on your calendar, how do you manage to find time to write?


I like to say that I balance the chaos! I have always been a sporadic writer – I write every day, but not at a specific time or place. So, it’s been fairly simple to integrate that into my schedule, although I still wish I had more time to do so!


You have a newsletter on your website.  How important are newsletters for authors?


Newsletters are vital in that they keep your fans updated on events and releases. They can’t be all promotion though, or you’ll lose people. I’m still tweaking my newsletter, but from day one I featured another author in every issue. I am going to add another section soon with uplifting quotes & articles, which ties in with the spirit of my YA series. Just as with a blog, readers are seeking either information or entertainment, and as authors we must give them one or the other. (Both if you can pull it off!) 


There are many ways to set up a newsletter.  I use Vertical Response for my own Children’s Book News Email.  How is yours set up?  How do you attract subscribers?


I am probably moving to Constant Contact here soon, as mine’s just through my own email system. (And that gets fun trying to send out over 1000 newsletters over the course of a day!)


My subscribers come from two places – those that sign up on my website and those that sign up at my events. That’s why a newsletter sign-up sheet is so important! 


I understand you have a new book coming out. Would you tell us a little bit about it?


Book II of The Circle of Friends comes out May 5th– Cinco de Mayo!  Described as “encouragement personified”, my five-book, Southern-based series portrays love and friendship overcoming all obstacles. Aimed at YA, Book II follows Sarah:


The Circle of Friends, Book II…Sarah

May 5, 2009, ISBN 9780981621012

from Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.

No awards for second best…

A student at Georgia Tech, Sarah Martin is bold, intelligent, and appears destined for a career in biochemistry. But her poor self-image has been masked by behavior unbecoming to a young lady brought up in an affluent Southern family. Estranged from her father, envious of her best friend’s perfect life, Sarah feels inadequate and unable to measure up to expectations.

When a friendship suddenly turns romantic, Sarah questions herself even more. A future NFL receiver, Matt’s joyful spirit and social status appear beyond her reach. Yet beneath his eager smile and playboy antics lies a young man hiding in shadows and desperate to trust again.

Faced with challenges, they must help each other come to terms with past disappointments before insecurities and doubt threaten to sabotage their future.


Of the five books, this one is definitely the most personal, because I was very much a Sarah! In reading her story, I hope that young people will realize they possess value and worth and do not have to suffer from a low self-image. We are all special!


To find out more about this series, visitwww.thecircleoffriends.net


Thanks for all the great tips today, Diane!  Best wishes for Book II of The Circle of Friends! To learn more about L. Diane Wolfe (aka "Spunk on a Stick"), check out Diane's websites:



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Welcome to the party!  Thanks for coming.  I hope you enjoy the show! 

Please leave a comment between April 7th and April 20th (my birthday!) and tell me what you think.  When you do, you'll automatically be entered to win an advance copy of When the Whistle Blows!  

Now pass the popcorn!

(Sorry, I've been having some problems getting the video to stay put here.  Here is the link instead!  Please come back to comment!)









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Win 4 Class of 2k9 ARCS!


You could win 4 Class of 2k9 ARCS by heading over to the Class of 2k9's Blog.  All you have to do is leave a comment telling 2k9 what kind of info you'd like to read about on its blog!  It is that easy.  Plus, one of the books is mine!!
Good luck!

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When the Whistle Blows is Available for Pre-Order at Amazon!

"An unassuming masterpiece." --Kirkus, starred review

"This is nostalgia done right." -- School Library Journal, starred review

“When the Whistle Blows is reminiscent of classic tales by Jack London, William Golding and Robert Louis Stevenson, yet carries the remarkable, fresh voice of its author. Fran Cannon Slayton should be extremely proud of this, her debut novel.”
—Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank and Identical and National Book Award finalist

"[When the Whistle Blows] is a growing up novel that includes scenes reminiscent of Richard Peck's Long Way from Chicago and has a classical mannerism that will steam its way on to state award lists all over the country. . . This novel is fresh, smart, witty, warm, well-written, funny. . . an amazing novel."
—Diane Chen, American Library Association board member and School Library Journal blogger

“With wit and warmth Fran Cannon Slayton recounts a steam-driven coming of age story in the last of the real railroad days.”
—Richard Peck, author of A Year Down Yonder




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