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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Revision Techniques, anyone?

Now this is interesting. In a scary kind of way.
Via Cheryl Klein's very thorough book: SECOND SIGHT.
(p. 295, if you're looking it up)

Paste your entire manuscript into this word counter and see how often you've used a word. Cheryl recommends it as potentially revealing a hidden theme or image to expand on during revision.

I, of course, used it to show how many times I've OVER-used a word.

The Phrase Counter tab was particularly revealing...

74 uses of THE FRONT

60 of NEXT TO

I've got a lot of fronts going on. Steps, porches, sidewalks.
And those were just 2-word phrases.
When I changed it to 3?
I mean, really? Sixteen IN FRONT OFs?

Yikes. Off to revise. Thanks, Cheryl...

Possibly related posts:  
With Help From a Pro

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Launch Party: A friendly reminder


                             One week from tomorrow
                             Thursday, January 5, 6:00. 
                           INKWOOD BOOKS, Tampa
                                 Hope to see you there!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Chick Palace Has Arrived!

For all you Nook people. And for those of you with iPad Nook apps, too.
I am about to offer you the best present you will receive during the holidays. Well, certainly the best book present.

Go immediately to the Barnes and Noble store and  

You will love it as much as I do.
Terrific story.
Great characters.
Writing that will make you go Oh Wow.
Over and over again.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas

Just when I thought there were no surprises under the tree, for reasons unbeknownst to me, Amazon decided to ship GLORY BE  before Christmas. A week EARLY!

What a joy to hear from friends, family and even strangers, near and far.
Merry Christmas, everybody!

GLORY BE- From your UPS delivery trucks, all the way to...

Atlanta, sipping a glass of chardonnay with Christopher.

Being watched over by a very busy Shelf Elf.

In a stocking- or two!

Under the Tree in New Jersey!

And being "re-read" by some Very Important People...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Glory Be is out there!

Look what turned up early this morning.

Besides saying really nice things that will be forever engraved on the back of my book, now I get front and center on Barbara O'Connor's blog. 

Since she writes some of the most amazing books, well-loved by kids, this is high praise:

Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood is Southern through and through.   But so much more:
an important story about race, friendships, small town life, and sisterly love.

Plus a great big picture of the book for all her loyal followers to see. Eternal gratitude!

Monday, December 19, 2011

More holiday humor from a napkin

As we head into a week of celebration, here's one last glimpse at my gift-giving humor. And a possible life lesson.

What often starts out as good intentions:

Might just turn around and surprise you:

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Quote for the Day

"...writing from a place of fear and concern guarantees only one result: mediocrity.”

Alex Gansa, the creator (with Howard Gordon) of “Homeland”

from the New York Times article on the show's season finale

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Shopping for Writers

 Sharing my favorite Gifts for Writers today.
 (Keep in mind that this blog is not written by a shopper, a crafter or even much of a cook these days.)

 If that last person on your shopping list falls into a category considered Creative--  Friend or Family-- check this out. 

Starting with one of my favorite things. Previously blogged about as Things I Love So Much.

This wristlet can be made in the image of almost anything. (Maybe not in time for Christmas, but think ahead!)

My friend Leslie also has one for her forthcoming book:

Both are from this website:

Neat, no?

 Or if you are really feeling generous and have something to celebrate, how about a CAKE made from the cover image of your/ your friend's book. Wow, will this ever impress!

(Yes, that's a cake. A delicious cake. Thanks again, Kate.)

How about this tee-shirt? All sorts of neat things in the Signals catalog. Click here for Writerly stuff.

And here I am, wearing mine, after a long morning of critiquing with some of my Writing Buddies at Panera. It was chilly in there. We worked hard. We deserve gifts. (Thanks, Henry and Celia!)

And last, if you really want to get creative. Here's my niece's take on the little red towels I tucked into her Christmas box:

Which is about how I was feeling when I sent off my last box of goodies into Santaland yesterday.

But of course, here's what I really and truly meant:

Happy reading/writing/shopping/ celebrating to all!

(Any other book or writer-related gift ideas? Leave me a message and I'll expand this post.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

True Confessions

I'm feeling more Bah Humbuggish than HoHoHoing.
Still waiting for the Christmas music to kick in.
More interested in reading and writing than shopping and wrapping.

But hats off to the Pottery Barn catalog that arrived in my mail this week.
Page 15, right there with all the ads for picture frames and the Free Shipping note.
Love this:

"A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away."
 Eudora Welty, author

Friday, December 9, 2011

Book Food: Pimento Cheese in particular...

Thinking this morning about Food. Especially food in books.
Specifically, my book: GLORY BE.

Since Glory's caretaker, Emma, is a fabulous cook and the two spend a lot of time talking over the kitchen table, food appears frequently in my book. Maybe not as often as it did pre-edits, but it's there. Red Velvet Cake, bacon frying, ditto chicken. So when I think Wine and Cheese for Glory Be's launch party, I'm thinking Wine and (Pimento!) Cheese.

Then I have to worry if I'm spelling it right. A few years ago, a good portion of one of my New Jersey critique group meetings focused on pimento v. pimiento. Two Southerners and one writing about college in the South fought it out. With no satisfactory conclusion.

Now I have it on Good Authority that either is correct.

I'm going with PIMENTO.
My favorite professional foodie told me so. Well, actually he gave me a GREAT book called The New Food Lover's Companion. And did you know that much of the pimento crop is used for Paprika? Or that Pimento is the name of the tree from which ALLSPICE comes.

Chris, my foodie kissing cousin, knew I'd love this book, and I do. His mother, my sister's mother-in-law (are you still with me? I just did that thing we Southerners do: mention three relatives in one sentence) was an all-time great cook. I have longed a jar of Mrs. Carlson's Jerusalem Artichokes for all the years since she stopped making them (picking them from her garden, scrubbing and pickling those little things).

Back to Pimento Cheese. I think I'll make it the way I've always done it. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal calls it Classic Pimento Cheese. They suggest crudite. Not sure about this. White bread was always on my menu. And I doubt I'll roast and seed my own peppers. They do still sell them in the little jars, you know.

(From the Wall Street Journal:)

The Classic
For 25 years, chef Frank Stitt's Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Ala., has served a platter of pimento cheese and crudité to regulars who know to ask for it (it's not the menu).

The recipe: Shred 1 pound sharp yellow cheddar, then blend it with ¼ pound cream cheese, 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, 3 large red bell peppers (roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped), ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon sugar, a splash of hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Cholula), several splashes of Worcestershire and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional). Serve chilled.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mark Your Calendars! Glory Be is having a PARTY!

         Please join me for my Launch Party.

             Thursday, January 5 
             at INKWOOD BOOKS
        216 South Armenia, Tampa.
                      6:00 PM

Wine and (Pimento) Cheese! Cake, Lemonade, Door Prizes!

And hot off the press, Glory Be, the book.

I'll read, talk about writing, and of course autograph as many copies as you need.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Every day's my birthday!

Or at least it seems so. In a good way, like when you were a kid and the packages kept coming. 

This is the latest doorstep treat my friend the UPS guy just left.

Gorgeous bookmarks, designed by my artist friend Eileen Harrell!

And here's the back, with a quote from GLORY BE and a mimosa bloom. Mimosas kept cropping up on my pages. Maybe it was the big mimosa tree we climbed in my childhood side yard. 

I couldn't resist putting Glory and her friend Frankie under that tree a few times.

Thank you, Eileen! 
And if anybody needs some amazingly designed bookmarks, I know just who to ask.

(Not actual size, and photography by moi does not do these justice. I will be happy to send a few to any of you. Just send your mailing address to me via facebook message, or scroll down to the "contact me" button on this blog, found on the right side.)