Ready, Set, Launch! (Jan Blazanin)

I love book launch parties, whether the party is celebrating my books or those of my author friends. I enjoy the book readings, the fun props, the wine and snacks, but my favorite thing is swapping stories with my author and illustrator friends. Here authors Sharelle Byars Moranville, Rebecca Janni, Eileen Boggess, and Wendy Delsol check out the illustrations for Becky's latest picture book during the first A & L Do Summer launch party.

The 2011 launch season began in May when my friend and fellow YA Outside the Lines author Wendy Delsol hosted an authors’ party for A & L Do Summer at her gorgeous home. As unlikely as it may seem to outsiders, Iowa is teeming with children’s authors, and several of them were in attendance. Wine and great conversation flowed freely, and I “entertained” the group by reading from A & L after a few glasses of Riesling. Sadly when I packed my tote of author supplies for the evening, poor Cleo the chicken was left behind, but Sammy Stripers and one of the pig triplets gave me moral support. (The Riesling didn't hurt either!)

In June, Rebecca Janni, a member of my writing group in the photo above, held a launch for her second picture book Every Cowgirl Needs Dancing Boots. She put on a barn hoedown straight out of the book with live music, pink lemonade, and popcorn. I brought a bouquet of peacock feathers and handed them out to the kids as party favors, and local writers showed up to cheer her on. The day was hot, but adults and kids had a sweaty good time. Later that week, a local indie book store hosted a wine and cheese party. The SCBWI contingent was there again in full force.

Two weeks later, the Central Library in Des Moines held the “official” launch for A & L Do Summer. My loyal author friends turned out to listen to me talk about my “overnight” writing success and hear me read my first chapter again, and not one of them fell asleep. Afterward, a group of us went out for food, drinks, and more writing talk.

To round out the summer of Central Iowa book launches, Wendy Delsol’s adult novel, The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls, arrives at a bookstore near you on August 2. Among other events, Wendy is having an open house featuring wine, snacks, a book signing, and great conversation. Her author friends, including me, won’t miss a minute of it.

Children’s authors in Iowa are the friendliest, most supportive group of people I know. If you haven’t met the authors in your neck of the woods, fire up your computer search engine and look them up. They’re people worth knowing and supporting.


  1. I think that authors are some of the funniest, friendliest people around, in my experience. How lucky you get to hang with a bunch!!

  2. Thanks for the mention, Jan. It was my honor to host the launch for A & L DO SUMMER. And, yes, we do have a wonderful network of authors (representing a variety of genres) here in the Des Moines area. I would encourage others to cultivate these relationships. Nothing like have a posse in this wild, wild world of publishing.

  3. Author friends are the best! It's so cool that you have such a great group in Iowa. It's not too far from IL, so I hope I can get out and visit you all some time!

  4. Most of our conferences are held in Davenport, which is almost next door to you, Steph. We'd welcome you with open arms!


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