Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Naming Names!

I think long and hard about a character's name. I've even changed a name or two when it wasn't working and suddenly the true nature of that character emerged.

In MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG, I had fun naming the characters. Maybe more fun than with any of the folks who peopled my first two books.

Azalea, for example. A line from something- who knows what at this point- stuck in my brain from way back. A baby named Azalea by her daddy when he saw the pink flowers from her mama's hospital window. Azalea it was! From the beginning.

How about Sergeant Steele for a policeman? That came to me when I remembered my high school classmate, Donna Steele. But I have NO idea how the name Miss Jane Partridge appeared, attached to a goody-goody social worker. Not my friend Joan Partridge. Not my sister Jane. Just a name that had the right ring to it. 

I have a huge collection of saved names. If I created a zillion more characters, I could never use them all. 

Maybe it's a southern thing? I adore this piece by Julia Reed (who grew up down the road a piece from me in the Mississippi Delta) in GARDEN AND GUN magazine, about choosing names.

Here's an excerpt:

It didn’t end up mattering much because both boys were almost always referred to as Brother or Bubba, and to this day no one in my immediate family or its orbit has ever called me anything but Sister. Which leads us to another Southern phenomenon. There’s Tennessee Williams’s Sister Woman, of course, and a character in a Lee Smith short story is named Uncle Baby Brother.  

When I first started writing THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY, I called my tap-dancing, fun-loving character "Miss Sister" just plain Sister. She was a tribute to two much-loved dance teachers in our town, Sister Cockersole and Ruth Hart. At a first-pages critique session early on, a young editor remarked that she liked the story, but she didn't understand why a former nun would be wearing red tap shoes...

Since I knew actual people who added the "Miss" in front of names all the time, changing her to Miss Sister was easy.

If you're still reading, here are the previous posts I've written about character names:
This, with a link to Dorian Cirrone's excellent post

And this, with lots of naming names links

(my rejected names notebook)

How do you decide what to name a character? Have you ever (mistakenly perhaps?) named a villain for someone you actually know? What are some of your favorite book characters' names?

Monday, May 7, 2018

Monday Reading

It's about a month till the Orlando-- Disney World!-- SCBWI weekend.

(If you hurry, you can still register with the early bird special price. CLICK HERE FOR the LINK.)

I'm signing up for Erin Entrada Kelly's Saturday workshop. All day to write. Yay.
Now that I've read two of her books, I'm beyond excited!

Check out all the stickie notes in my library copy of  

I tried to read this book like a writer. I wanted to learn some of the tricks, some of the tips, some of the fabulous ways Erin tells her stories.

But had I reviewed it as a reader, as a librarian, as someone recommending books to young readers, I couldn't have done better than this SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL starred review:
"VERDICT Heartfelt and hopeful, this novel will encourage young readers to offer their hand in friendship to kids who, just like them, might be struggling."

Both of the books I read by Erin are truly heartfelt. BUT, they're also funny as everything. One of my writing goals is to be funnier. It's not so easy to write humor and also create a story that tugs at kids' hearts. 

A few observations:
I adore the Rabbit Hole thoughts at the beginning of Charlotte's chapters. Rabbit Hole because that's what happens when you start researching one thing and end up elsewhere.
We've all been there, but did anybody else see it as a way to develop a character? 
And they're not just random. They're connected, they have flow, they sometimes lead to very funny observations. 

The way she writes about how two friends pull apart- ingenious! At one point, Charlotte hides in the library and eavesdrops on her former friend who's now gone over to the other side, the popular kids. But does Erin write long boring passages of exposition to let the reader know what Charlotte's feeling? Nope.
How about this:
"Charlotte wanted to sweep all the stupid nonfiction books off the shelf and scream."  (p. 141) 

And then Charlotte goes on to muse about her rock collection. Yes, introspection. Yes, often longer than one of those writing rules that say a young reader won't  sit still for this. Ha. In Erin's hands, the passages are beautifully written and, again, often funny.

Funny, nervous, filled with guilt. All the emotions, in a lovable narrator.
I just love that about Charlotte. 

The book is a lesson in crafting perfect characters and their arcs.

Ben is so wonderfully flawed. And does he really know it? Perhaps my favorite line of his-
"Ben carried his shirt to the boys' bathroom knowing the medium would be too big. But it's not often that you're given a choice of what you want to be, and Ben decided he didn't want to be small." (p. 152)

This might be the most perfectly-written book about friendship I've read in a very long time. 

Here's my copy of HELLO, UNIVERSE. I bought it after it won the Newbery and have now read it a couple of times. 
True confessions, if a book is mine and I don't plan to send it elsewhere, I write in it. Don't judge! Hey, I love finding notes in books. 
(Aside: One of the coolest recent things to happen in the book world is the various journeys teachers send new ARCs on, sharing and leaving notes in them, then returning them to the author. We love reading your notes!)

By now, everybody in the universe has probably read HELLO, UNIVERSE. So I'll just say that if you haven't, what are you waiting for?  

Your turn. What are you reading on this lovely Monday in May?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Long-term Careers

Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog is a treasure, a gift for writers, readers, and especially aspiring writers.

Have you read this excellent series of posts from authors with long and productive careers?

You can find them all HERE. 

This morning, I caught up with a few.

HERE IS SOME of what K.L. Going says about changes she's seen. 

The last line of this passage is worth contemplating (the "bold" for emphasis is mine):

When I first started out, it was a big deal that I simply had a website. I had certain fun features I’d update periodically, but there was not any expectation that there would be new material every week or every few days. There was no Twitter or Instagram. It took very little of my mental energy.

(Beach Lane, 2017)
But over the years, social media venues have bred like rabbits and it’s hard not to get caught up in each new trail, not knowing which ones will pan out in the long run.

It’s too easy to spend all of your creative energy on coming up with clever or prolific posts instead of writing new books.

These days, there’s a much higher demand to do marketing well.

Also, feedback on your books comes instantly from many sources and it’s detailed. It feels personal.

In the past, there was a general sense of a book’s reception, but there wasn’t that kind of instant reaction from Joe Smith in Washington, D.C. who gave your book a certain number of stars.

General feedback is wonderful because it can help improve your writing skills for future books, but specific feedback can feel disproportionately important even when it shouldn’t really have any impact at all.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Laura Lippman's newest

I love her novels. And not just because she sets a lot of them in Baltimore, a place I spent a few fun years. (Yes, that Baltimore...)

I don't listen to as many books as I'd like. I really prefer holding the book in my hands. 
But this audio is amazing. 
Great reader -and such a compelling story.

I downloaded a PODCAST, via the NY Times, of the author talking about her book.
Tomorrow's walk will be very interesting!  

 You can read the post HERE that I wrote about meeting Lippman at the Writers in Paradise conference.

And a review that I'll wait to read till I finish! (I have one disc left. Then I may just have to borrow the actual book from the library.)
Writers can learn a lot from this book. Tightly plotted, great characters and their backstories, authentic setting. Super book!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Monday's Reading

This is the book I've been reading all week.
I want to encourage my teacher and librarian friends everywhere to rush right out and get your own copy. I can practically hear the discussions, the projects, the thoughtful poetry it will inspire!

There are so many memorable moments in the exchanges between these two poets that it's hard to single out one line, one verse, even one poem. But there was something about Charles's words in DINNER CONVERSATION, that really made me smile. Perhaps it was that wink from Grandma. 

Irene's poem, APOLOGY, tugged at my heart. 

I swallow.
I want to say
but those words are so small for something so big.

If you haven't listened to the podcast, you must!  Here's a link to Travis Jonker's excellent interview via his School Library Journal podcast. (You can also find the Teachers' Guide on this site.)

And the Kirkus review= a star!

A word on the paint, pencil and collage illustrations by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Thank you, Martha.

I was on GOODREADS just now to post a review or two. I usually forget to review books, but I know how important it can be to an author so if I love a book, I'm giving it 5 stars and raving.

While there, true confessions, I clicked over to see if anybody had raved about my books. 

Martha, whoever you are, thank you for this lovely comment:

Told in alternating chapters between Azalea's powerful prose and Billy Wong's spare yet insightful poems makes it a gripping read. This friendship story will resonate with tweens, for its honesty and the exciting storytelling of a civil rights struggle. A must read for its relevance today.

It doesn't get much better than that.  Thank you to all the readers who take time to write about our books so thoughtfully.

Also: there's an excellent piece in the New York Times about the Mississippi Chinese community. Frieda Quon, one of my two resources for writing Billy's point of view and a friend and fellow librarian, is quoted and pictured. 

Check out the article and the wonderful photographs, HERE.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


That got your attention, didn't it?

I'm reading SUCH a good book. A book for grownups!  I usually read a lot of middle-grade novels, a handful of Young Adult, and even a smidgen of picture books.  My adult fiction reading has suffered. I'm trying to remedy that.

This was under my Christmas tree (Okay, I bought it for myself, but still...).  

 It's a short novel. It's hard to describe. But it's so very good.
If you don't believe me, check out this great piece via NPR.

On a side, non-book note:
I used to bake sourdough bread. Three loaves a week. Fed that starter every few days! They were delicious loaves, but once there were just two of us left at home to eat it, I stopped before I turned into a loaf. I miss that bread. Especially after reading this book.

Another non-book-related note: if you do love bread, you must have my new favorite thing. My friend Patty brought it to me as a gift and I immediately ordered a few, as gifts for my best foodie friends.

This is the bee's knees. Best thing since sliced bread.
Okay, you knew I was going to say that, didn't you.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Reading and Thinking...

A little while ago, the children's writing community joined forces to raise money for hurricane victims via a KidLit Cares auction. Over 200 authors, agents, editors, and illustrators donated great prizes. Kate Messner rallied the troops and off we went.

My Skype visit was won by Jennifer Orr, a third grade teacher in Virginia. I sent her my books and we planned our Skype. 
We had so much fun. 
Here they are!

(Also, her kids love to share via Twitter, so I got a few updates along the way! Such as Why is Uncle Raymond so Mean???

Ms. Orr also kept me posted:

"We're so enjoying Theo and Miss Sister in The Way to Stay in Destiny. We just read a part that has them rethinking their feelings about Uncle Raymond. It's beautiful to watch."

Teachers and librarians, these are the kinds of messages that warm an author's heart! 
Sometimes you toil away for a very long time with a story and wonder if anybody will ever notice a character's arc, his transformation. If a young reader will understand plot threads or "voice" or symbolism or any of those crafty things we sneak into our books.

Yes, sometimes we want them to read the story just for the fun of it. For the love of a book and its characters. And not to think too hard. But adults sharing a book can also help readers see details they may miss. They encourage them to look for connections to their own lives. They find ways to enhance the reading experience.

While Ms. Orr read THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY, her listeners had little notebooks "to draw or write or doodle or whatever helped them as they listened." 

 (I worried about a lot making Uncle Raymond too mean. But I think I redeemed him by the end of the book.)

Don't tell the other doodlers, but this might be my favorite.
I didn't want to make a big thing out of Theo's crush on Anabel, so I tried to be subtle.
But one of the ExplorerOrrs figured that out!

Here I am, smiling to beat the band, at the fabulous questions on Skype day.

Thanks to all who contributed to the KidLit Auction. And thanks, teachers, for all the hard work and sharing you do of our books. We so appreciate you.

Also, I love following their tweets. This is a book loving class!
For example:
Today we're reading a Martin Luther King, Jr. book by and . It felt like Ms. Orr was about to cry on one page. -AGP 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Happy Birthday, Blog

Tomorrow marks TEN YEARS that I've been writing this blog. How'd that happen?

Here's a post from four years ago, followed by my very first post.

And those links at the bottom of my most viewed posts? This is still near the top:

You can't say enough about using SAID as a dialog tag. (Though apparently, I tried.)

And if you're still with me...


I'm sorry. I can't resist. Remembering I was inspired to blog by a Media Bistro workshop, I kinda sorta remembered it as being in February. So I just checked.

Yep. 2/22/ 2008. 
Whoa, I've been doing this for all those years? And a few of you are still listening? This is my 927th post and you're still here?

There must be thousands of bloggers who focus on writing and books and The South and food and-- well, you name it, there's a blog for it. 
So, if you're reading mine, a huge THANK YOU.

Here's that very first post, just for fun.

So how hard can this be. Write a little about what I read. Discuss the pros and cons of (mostly free) book reviewing I do. Pull my hair out online about how hard it is to write, how under appreciated writing is as a job choice. Post pictures of me with new very short haircut, my dog going for a run (ha, ok an amble) on the beach, my latest failure in the kitchen. Let the games begin!

For starters, I'm reading The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood. I just heard her read a chapter at the Writers in Paradise conference and bought the book on the spot. I'm a big fan. My knitting experience ended with the blanket my grandmother taught me to knit when I was nine years old, but the way Hood tells the stories of the women who gather to share and knit and care for each other is remarkable. I'd saved the book to read on my flight from Tampa to Newark yesterday but I can't stop reading it and worry that there will be no book to read on the trip back to Florida. I can't face a plane trip without a book.

OK, blogging is fun. Just like writing the long emails to my friends and family that they pretend to read but really skim and often ignore. Except for Leslie and Kate, who always read and always answer quickly. Thanks, guys!


If anybody's still reading, here are a few of my most viewed posts, over the years.
(about using dialog tags other than said. Hoo Boy did that raise a ruckus!)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Hooray for Billy and Azalea!

 So proud to have my newest book on the Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards list.

This is an excellent, eclectic, wonderful array of books. I've read and loved quite a few.

CLICK HERE to see them all.

PS to my writer, teacher, and librarian friends: There's helpful information about all the state lists, generously hosted by Cynthia Leitich Smith on her website, HERE.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Blog Two-fer: WRAD and IMWAYR

World Read Aloud Day, 2018 (#WRAD18) is in the books. I had a blast. One of my favorite parts about the day is reading a tiny bit of my own novel, then sharing what else I'm reading/ loving with the classes via super fun SKYPE visits.

So, here's what I shared, and because it's Monday, here are my IT'S MONDAY WHAT ARE YOU READING books.

Did you know there's a new "Al Capone" book coming this spring? I'm a huge fan. It was such an honor to meet Gennifer Choldenko last year at our Miami SCBWI event.

I'm rereading this book (which she signed!) in anticipation of the newest one, AL CAPONE THROWS ME A CURVE. (Click here for the cover reveal- fun!)

I recommended the "Al Capone" books to a group of kids on World Read Aloud Day, and some already knew and loved them. But I think I drummed up some new fans, too. 

 "Don't let the gangsters do your homework."

I also told one of the classes about Barbara O'Connor's book, WISH, a personal favorite. An audible gasp came over the airwaves. One of the literature groups was in the middle of reading this absolute best story of Girl Meets Dog. I had no idea! I promise, it wasn't planned!

But- and hold on to your seats, readers- Barbara has a new book, coming soon: 

Nope, I haven't read it. But I have had a few sneak peeks at the subject matter, and we're in for another terrific story.

Put this one on your order list for this spring.

 (Barbara's box of ARCs, recently delivered and prepped for a giveaway closer to pub date.)

What else am I reading today?
THE TRUTH AS TOLD BY MASON BUTTLE, and oh how I love Leslie Connor's newest middle-grade novel.  A cast of funny, complicated, endearing characters (even the bully has a few redeeming characteristics- so far!), writing that sparkles, a plot that makes you keep turning the pages.  I'm only a little more than halfway through, but I highly recommend this one.

Just for fun, here are some of the super readers from my WORLD READ ALOUD DAY.
(If you missed inviting an author this year, watch Kate Messner's blog in 2019 for the list.)

Razorback fans in Pearland, Texas!

I was excited to tell them about MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG, which has both a Texas and an Arkansas connection.

See that reflection in the picture? That's the palm tree outside my window. Most of the classes I read to on World Read Aloud Day live in really cold places- Saskatchewan!  I read THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY, hoping to warm them up.

Look at this- Imagination Glasses!
This teacher in Downers Grove, Illinois, was the very first to invite me to read to her very enthusiastic readers.

(Authors love it when you hold up our books for a photo!)

That's what I've been reading/ doing. How about you?

Monday, February 5, 2018

Happy Birthday, Hank Aaron!

When I first considered a baseball player to add to my story, one my readers could emulate and admire, Henry Louis Aaron didn't immediately come to mind. 

There was a reason for this.
Mickey Mantle is known for his presence in the part of Florida where the book would be set. Books have been written about his escapades here. There are postcards of Mantle, waving from convertibles to legends of adoring fans, back in the day.

I began THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY with Mickey as Theo's hero.
Then a wise editor who asked to read an early draft mentioned I might look into a different baseball player. (Thanks, Joy. You probably don't even remember the workshop and the manuscript, but I well remember your editorial comments.)

Hammerin' Hank entered the story after that and he was perfect. I'd lived in Atlanta when he played for the Braves and admired him. He would be a role model for the kids who'd eventually read THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY.

So Happy Birthday, today, to HANK AARON, a great man and a perfect fellow to add his story to my book.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Writing Lesson: Talking to Yourself

This morning I thought I would organize old emails. 
But you can't read and delete something that piques your interest, can you?
Instead, I ended up on Janice Hardy's "Fiction University" website.

See what she says about INTERNALIZATION.
Or talking to yourself. 
Which I find my characters do a lot...

Check your internal monologue and see if it fits your character. Read it aloud, of course. Delete the unnecessary. Delete the stilted language. Delete the overthinking.

The "Bob" examples (in blue, below) really crack me up.

(From Janice Hardy)
Writing Internalization
Internalization takes the general and makes it personal. As you study your own work, look for opportunities to show how your characters feel about their worlds and situations. Show their opinions and beliefs, let them think about what it means on a variety of levels. Are there places to show world building? A moral belief? An aspect of the character growth?

Sometimes a few words is all you need, especially if they're judgment words.  There's a difference between "It was Bob" and "It was just Bob" and "Crap, it was Bob." A little attitude can go a long way.
While not every detail needs to be internalized, they are opportunities to deepen your story and connect your reader to your character.

In case you're wondering, this is kind of what I'm saying to myself right now.

(Shout-out to my friend Eileen Harrell whose Facebook posts are full of these gems.)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

World Read Aloud Day, Feb. 1, 2018

I really love WRAD. 
(You can read more about it right HERE.)

Each year author Kate Messner's blog lists children's authors willing and able and excited to read to classes via Skype, and teachers begin sending requests.

What's really fun (for me) besides the read-aloud part is sharing books I'm currently reading or books I've loved or books that might appeal to young readers and their teachers and librarians who appreciated my own books.

Here's my stack, ready for tomorrow.  First I'll talk about my books. Then I'll read for a few minutes. Then I get to rave about books I love.

What could be more fun? Nothing I can think of right now.

(from the bottom up: Leslie Connor's THE TRUTH AS TOLD BY MASON BUTTLE, Barbara O'Connor's WISH, Shannon Hitchcock's RUBY LEE & ME, Linda Jackson's MIDNIGHT WITHOUT A MOON. And my three books.)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Writerly Tips

One of my favorite, recently-read novels is THE ONE IN A MILLION BOY by Monica Wood.
(I've blogged about her fun writing book, THE POCKET MUSE here.)

 Her website is chock-full of good stuff.

This morning, while looking for something totally unrelated, I found this excellent advice there.

The new novel I have coming out shortly, The One in a Million Boy, is a big fat lesson in writerly persistence. I spent four years writing it, from 2004-2008, at which time I delivered it with great confidence only to have it rejected by my longtime publisher. Sparing you the details of devastation, I will say only that I put it aside for five years -- during which time I wrote a memoir and a play -- then resurrected it, spent about eight more months on it, and sold it almost literally overnight. Ergo, I have a big sign in my workspace, just one comforting word: 


And, while you are waiting, write something else.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Super Site!

You know what they say about southerners and their stories? If there are three connections to describe a person, you know that's a southerner telling the story.

Kind of like what I said the other day about my best friend's husband's sister's child. Get it?

That's how I feel sometimes about the GREAT links on my buddy Rosi Hollinbeck's blogposts.
When I go there, I may have to click through several posts- all good- but I find connections.

Like this one, TIME TRAVELER.
Words! A big help for anybody who writes HISTORICAL FICTION.

Here's an example:

Words from 1967

1967 was the first year you could do “aerobics,” ponder “biotech,” go to “B-school” or go on an “ego trip,” take “estrogen replacement therapy,” and live in a “fantasyland.” 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Things We Save

Notes from an exhibit, circa 2007, at the Morgan Library.

I'm not sure what the topic was, perhaps letters from writers?

"I miss the companionship of the character in a degree that is really laughable. 
Take warning. It's a great mistake to get in too deep with your heroine."

Willa Cather, 1915

For more quotes, CLICK HERE.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Monday Again!

I love Mondays.
Hey, I bet that got your attention.

I should say I love Mondays when I have books to share because it's such fun jumping from #IMWAYR blog to blog and seeing what everybody's reading.
Plus, it gives me an excuse to blab on about fun books.

by Caroline Starr Rose.

Caroline and I "met" when our first books debuted. Similar titles: May B. and Glory Be meant some confusion, but we began to think of them as "our girls" and enjoyed their being on lists together.

Caroline's other novels were written in verse.
JASPER is her first straight narrative, historical fiction, middle-grade novel and I strongly recommend it.

One thing I loved about this book and its writing was how authentic it sounded. I had to smile and roll an eye or two (because I've been on the author side of this particular criticism) when I posted my own Goodreads review just now. One reviewer criticized the "bad grammar."

Bad grammar? Please! It was perfect.  I wasn't around in the 1800s and I've never been to the Klondike or even read that many books set there, and then. But when an old prospector says things like "Well, ain't that curious...he could smell Buck a mile off, on account of the fact he never bathed."

Okay, the Grammar Police might take a whack at that sentence, but I adore the sound of it.
We call it authentic dialog. People don't always speak perfect English, especially prospectors and boys racing from the bad guys.

One of my favorite quotes from Jasper, when he's pondering the clues he's finding (and I think this may have to go on my bulletin board of quotes):

"...stories can get knotted up like thread, but if you're patient, you can pick them apart, unravel them until you find the truth inside."

AND- Pre-order alert!
Here's a quick note about another book you won't want to miss. 

I finished the ARC this weekend. 
Coming in early February.
So good!

I've read a bunch of books over the holidays, including
a Christmas gift, SOURDOUGH (for grownups) 
which I love. But these are two of my favorites.

I'm looking forward to hearing what 
everybody's reading on Monday. Share here or on
social media. Use the tag #IMWAYR and join in the fun!


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Writing Tip Tuesday

Okay, it's not Tuesday.
And I'm most decidedly not Barbara O'Connor (but I do love her writing).

When I was first beginning to explore how to write a middle-grade novel, Barbara was well into her career. She was generous about passing down craft tips she'd learned the hard way (and from her fabulous editor, Frances Foster). 

This morning I happened to be researching something totally unrelated to this post. And yet it appeared (How does that happen, Mr. Google?): A tip about writing endings. So hard, yet so important: 
"...if you blow the ending....well, then, it's like serving brussel sprouts for dessert after the gourmet dinner."  Barbara O'Connor

I'm passing along this fabulous writing tip about ENDINGS. There are many more tips on Barbara's blog.  I've shared a few HERE and THERE over the life of my own blog. 
Thanks, pal, for cluing me in.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

12 Days of Books

Why not? There are lists for everything. 
As we wind down the year and march toward the holidays, let's talk about some of our favorite books, with potential for gifting.

But first-
Kate Messner reminds us of the impact our books have on their intended readers, the kids and the librarians and teachers, parents and grandparents who share them. But especially the young readers. 
If you haven't read her poem, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR BOOK TODAY, or haven't read it in a while, HERE IT IS.
Good reading at this time of year. Or anytime.

Before I join this fun countdown suggested by book people whose ideas I can't wait to hear, may I say a few words about lists?  If you didn't have a book out this year. If your book kind of dropped through the very large cracks. If it came out in January to a big hoopla and in December is barely chugging along. All those things can make writers nuts if we let them. 

Instead of going nuts, I'm planning to think about the books I loved this year.  And share a few.

They may not be brand new. They don't have to be serious or funny or the latest thing or the oldest thing. Just books I want others to know about. 

(True confessions: Even though I treasure each good review of my own books, I'm terrible at postisng on Amazon and Goodreads. There's something about rating books that reeks of comparison, and I have a very hard time doing this. If they didn't ask me to give those confounded comparative stars, I'd put a lot more books on those sites. So this is my little way of adding my opinions to the universe, with no comparisons and no fancy stars. Just twelve days of book love.)

Feel free to share your own favorites! Use the hashtag #12daysofbooks, and join in the fun!
Everybody's welcome!