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Or maybe it was last week and I missed it. But, I wanted to participate because it’s a nice thing to do.

Firstly, Michigan author, Shutta Crum is holding a contest over on her blog for her newly released book, Thomas and the Dragon Queen, from Knopf. I’ve the pleasure of chatting with Shutta at SCBWI conferences, and she’s not only a talented writer, but a generous and kind giver of advice. Simply click the link to her blog, then click the link on her blog, and you could win an autographed copy of her book.

Secondly, while I’m talking about SCBWI, allow me to publicize the benefits of this organization. Without them, I would not have found an agent the way I did. SCBWI conferences offer chances to connect with people in the children’s writing and publishing world. If you want to be a writer of books for children, proceed to join this organization. Run, don’t walk. Besides meeting business contacts, you will connect with other struggling writers and illustrators at all levels of their careers, and improve your craft. If you join at the national level, you’re automatically a member of your local chapter. If you don’t like the face-to-face stuff, there are email listservs and forums to join, which offer connections to others in the field, as well. There are also grants available through this organization for the published and hope-to-be-published.

Author and fellow Upstart Crow, Sydney Salter, is holding a contest on her blog. Her recently released book, Swoon at Your Own Risk, involves a girl tangled up in the world relationship advice. In the spirit of her book, Sydney invited author Lucienne Diver to give out some relationship advice and an opportunity to win Lucienne’s book ReVamped, from Flux, which will thrill teen vampire-loving readers.

And if you’re not into the teen and children’s book scene, here’s an adult book recommendation for you: fellow Hoosier and Pike graduate Matt Dellilnger is having a book signing this weekend for his non-fiction book, Interstate 69, from Scribner, which chronicles the “unfinished history of the last great American highway.” Here are the details for Indianapolis signings (I hope to see you there. And so does Matt):

Friday, September 17 – 12:00 pm
Indianapolis, IN Downtown
Where: Borders Bookstore, Downtown Indianapolis

Saturday, September 18 – 2:00 pm
Indianapolis, IN North Side
Where: Barnes & Noble Clearwater Crossing