TTT #297 Margaret Simon on her Young Adult novel, Blessen - 05.15.12

On this special Meet the Authors episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers, Paul Allison, Valerie Burton, and Gail Desler have a conversation with two teachers and recently published authors from New Iberia, Louisiana,+Margaret Simon and +Stephanie Judice/@sagaofthesetti.

Margaret has been a frequent guest on Teachers Teaching Teachers since the BP Oil Spill. Her elementary school school students published memorable poems and multimedia commentary on Voices on the Gulf, and Ms. Simons' students continue to publish on Youth Voices

On this episode of TTT, we celebrate and explore the recent publication of Margaret Simon's Young Adult novel, Blessen

In this highlight from TTT#297, Margaret Simon explains that Blessen was born in a Writing Marathon led by Richard Louth, a director of the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project [ and ]. The character, Blessen grew real in a workshop with Sharon Arms Doucet [ and after meeting a lot of Blessens as a teacher in New Iberia.

It may be a YA novel or a first-chapter book, but I agree with one Amazon reviewer who writes that Blessen is "a book for young readers, but an old reader like me can enjoy it just as well."

In this highlight from the videocast, Margaret reads "Piggly Wiggly," a chapter from her book, Blessen.

Margaret Simon is a teacher-consultant with the National Writing Project of Acadiana, Louisiana. In this podcast we explore Margaret's creative process, her use of a writing group, and her journey in publication. What questions do you have? Please add your comments below.

Margaret's friend and writing partner, Stephanie Judice, joins us as well. She published Rising last year and is working on Book 2. Margaret writes, "She's the one who pushed me to publish."

An interesting review of Blessen

Stephanie Judice's Saga of Setti on Facebook:!/pages/Saga-of-the-Setti/203566846334918

Margaret Simon's Blessen on Facebook:


Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

20:52 Paul Allison: Hi theo
20: 53 Paul Allison: Are you a teacher?
20: 59 Margaret : testing
21: 02 Stephanie: Hi, Paul!
21: 02 Peggy George: Hi everyone :-) Excited to try the new chat features
21: 02 Paul Allison: Hi Peggy.
21: 03 Paul Allison: Do you want to join the Hangout?
21: 03 Peggy George: Is there streamed audio without being in the Hangout?
21: 03 Paul Allison: yes
21: 03 Paul Allison: press play at the top.
21: 04 Peggy George: did that and says live event will begin in a few moments
21: 05 Margaret : May 26th at Maple Street Book Shop at 11:30.
21: 05 Paul Allison: It's cool if you want to watch and give us feed back.
21: 05 Paul Allison: Are we playing?
21: 05 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]: I taught for three years now I work in non-profit and am an author and independent consultant
21: 06 Peggy George: not seeing the live stream yet
21: 07 Paul Allison: Peggy.
21: 07 Peggy George: working GREAT now!! thanks
21: 07 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]: I see you all!!
21: 07 Peggy George: seems so strange to be with you on Tuesday :-)
21: 09 Peggy George: I remember those Gulf conversations!!
21: 10 Peggy George: you need to hold the book up long enough for the camera to focus :-)
21: 11 Paul Allison: k
21: 12 Peggy George: that is a beautiful, unusual name--Blessen
21: 13 Stephanie: Yes, and it suits the character so well! And the story.
21: 17 Peggy George: I'm loving hearing the backstory about the book. :-)
21: 17 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]:Shameless Plug for my own book: "To Be Young, Gifted & D.U.M.B."
21: 17 Marie Steen : I've read Stephanie's book after my daughter read it, and WOW!
21: 18 Peggy George: this is the perfect place for "shameless plugs" Thanks for sharing
21: 19 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]: :-) writing groups and incubators are the best way to write books. I wrote mine in 10 weeks
21: 19 Stephanie: Wow. Thank you, Marie!
21: 19 Peggy George: I'm so glad Rising is available for Kindle. You're made me want to read it and it's now on my Kindle :-)
21: 19 Stephanie: By the way, your name is my husband's grandmother's name. :)
21: 19 Stephanie: Yay, Peggy! :D
21: 20 Peggy George: that was perfect Paul!
21: 20 Stephanie: I teach gifted, Theo. May have to check that out.
21: 20 Peggy George: Had to request Blessen for Kindle :-)
21: 21 Stephanie: I'm working on her, Peggy.
21: 21 Peggy George: terrific!!! :-)
21: 23 Marie Steen : Oh How wonderful!
21: 23 Marie Steen : Great story about the cover!
21: 24 Peggy George: I like the Reader's Guide section. Did you write that for teachers or young readers?
21: 29 Peggy George: Would love to hear Piggly Wiggly read by the author :-)
21: 30 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]: How do you feel the book will translate into other communities that aren't of the same background/region etc.
21: 31 Peggy George: so easy to visualize the characters and the setting through Margaret's writing! This is wonderful!
21: 32 Stephanie: It's very descriptive. Anyone who loves southern fiction will get it.
21: 34 Peggy George: yes continue
21: 37 Peggy George: clap clap clap!!!!
21: 37 Peggy George: that was terrific!
21: 39 Peggy George: Talk about how your students have responded to your book.
21: 41 Peggy George: you ARE a celebrity!
21: 43 Peggy George: you should do an audio book of Blessen Margaret. That was delightful to hear your voice as you read it! Added a great, authentic dimension
21: 44 Peggy George: I'd like to know why you included the Reader's Guide
21: 45 Peggy George: you meant it for teachers then :-)
21: 45 Peggy George: I think it's a great idea!
21: 47 Peggy George: when kids read it out loud do you think they would try to read it with the accent?
21: 49 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]: i also used createspace
21: 49 Peggy George: Can Marie see the chat with the links in the notes?
21: 50 Peggy George:
21: 51 Peggy George: how fun!! book 2!!
21: 52 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]: also make sure that you use the reading widget on linkedin
21: 52 Peggy George: when you do online "book talks" and interviews like tonight it will definitely sell books :-)
21: 53 Stephanie: Good tip, Peggy. I could use more of this. :)
21: 53 Peggy George: I agree!!! and you can also do Skype interviews with classes :-)
21: 54 Peggy George: they have to read your book first and then you'll agree to be interviewed by them over Skype (or Google hangout if it's not blocked in their school)
21: 55 Peggy George: giddy is a great word!!
21: 55 Stephanie: Oh, cool! I need to chat with you more about it.
21: 56 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]: ASK. ASK. ASK.
21: 56 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]: I have a couple of signings coming up and all I had to do was ask
21: 57 Peggy George: check out this site:
21: 57 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]: hey peggy I was about to type that!
21: 57 Stephanie: Where Theo? I'm looking for private book stores in Baton Rouge. Chains won't really give you the time of day it seems.
21: 57 Stephanie: Thank you, Peggy!
21: 57 Stephanie: And Theo!
21: 57 Peggy George: I love going to hear children's authors at book signings
21: 58 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]: I'm in the private stores take a portion of sales but it's author's favor
21: 58 Peggy George: yes!!! come back :-)
22: 00 Stephanie: Oh, yes, it's the same here. It's so commercial around here.
22: 01 Peggy George: do you have a website where you can share videos and host discussions about your books?
22: 02 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]: For my book I have an area on my site where students can answer the questions from the book
22: 02 Peggy George: these stories just bring the book to life!
22: 02 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]: and I'll have a space for hangouts in the next few weeks.
22: 03 Peggy George: that's perfect Theo!!
22: 03 Stephanie:!/pages/Saga-of-the-Setti/203566846334918
22: 04 Margaret :
22: 05 Peggy George: thanks for the links! can't wait to explore them! already "liked" them :-)
22: 05 Peggy George: I agree Paul!
22: 05 Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]
22: 06 Peggy George: thanks :-)
22: 07 Peggy George: thank you all!! What a wonderful conversation!
22: 07 Stephanie: Book trailer for RISING:
22: 07 Stephanie:
22: 08 Stephanie: Thank you, everyone!!!
22: 08 Peggy George: I REALLY like the new chat option with the live stream on the same page! This worked really well!
22: 08 Peggy George: what an honor!
22: 10 Peggy George: Great evening!
22: 10 Peggy George: you're welcome!!!
22: 10Theo Fowles [@dumb_tweets]: Thanks! GN!
22: 10Peggy George: you can export both the chat and the note pad.