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

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Quote for the Day

Stolen from Kirby Larson's blog.

 "Do not go where the path may lead.
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hooray for Connections!

Yesterday I wrote about how important the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators  has been for my book.

Today I'm sharing another really nice connection. My Tampa SCBWI friend Shannon Hitchcock is a transplanted Southerner, but we also have a New Jersey tie. I totally thank her for some excellent interview questions, link below.

Those inviting chairs I'm "borrowing" today are from Shannon's website. 
The quote on her site says  
Front yards are boring. Backyards tell stories
James Stevenson.

(Although I always loved what I could learn observing the neighbors from my front porch, if not my front yards!)

CLICK HERE to read my interview about Glory Be's writing and publishing history.

The interview was published on both Shannon's blog and the NJ/SCBWI newsletter/ blog written by Kathy Temean.

Thanks, Kathy and Shannon!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SCBWI, I love you!

This seems like the perfect day for saying thank you to a terrific organization. The Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has been with me on every step of my writing journey. And now, as I write, a whole bunch of lucky writers are convening in New York for the annual conference.

A couple of years ago, I met my amazing agent at the Maryland/ Delaware/ West Virginia summer conference. They've just announced a March one-day workshop. If you're looking for a truly informational, connected, encouraging group, check it out:

And of course, there's my current family of connected writers, the Florida SCBWI. What a treat to be on my very first writers' panel at the Miami conference this month. Here we are being introduced by Florida RA Linda Bernfeld:

Today I got to relive the weekend when website guru Curtis Sponsler posted a ton of pictures from the event. Click here to view the slideshow and see some articulate and bright writers/ editors/ agents/ illustrators dressed like Kings, Queens and White Rabbits. Thanks, Curtis!

Click here if you missed my earlier post on the event.

What I'm reading now, via my local library:  
Trent Reedy's Into the Dust, as recommended by so many people, especially Cheryl Klein, presenter and dancer ☺, and Sue Laneve, critiquer extraordinaire. More SCBWI connections. It just never ends!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I do love it when a fellow reader/ libarian/ book lover understands what GLORY BE is all about.
I really, totally, completely appreciate this review.

(And I understand the compulsion to get up in the middle of the night and read!)

Click HERE for Sal's Fiction Addition blog.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Today was a big day in the library world. Prizes were awarded! Shiny stickers are being attached to books. Much phoning, emailing and Facebooking in the librarian world. I do love a good award season.

Click here for the complete list of winners, from the American Library Association's announcement this morning.

If you'd like to read my review from the Christian Science Monitor, click here for INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN. 
Loved that book. So happy it was chosen as an Honor Book this year.

And I couldn't have said it better than fellow Florida writer, Donna Gephart did on her blog today, so I'll let you click over there for a great rundown of all the awards. (Way to go, Greg Neri!)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Great Library Quotes

In the non-stop tsunami of global information, librarians provide us the floaties and teach us how to swim. - Linton Weeks, Washington Post

And more:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Did you see

the Google Doodle for Martin Luther King Day?

From picture book / quilt/ phenomenal artist and writer, Faith Ringgold,
whose books are quite amazing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Glory was in good company this weekend.

This time last year, I shared a quote and a story about Dr. Martin Luther King. Here's the quote:

“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”

And here's the link to that post if you care to go back and read it:

Now a book I wrote is appearing on lists suggested for students studying Dr. King, the Civil Rights movement, Freedom Summer. I truly appreciate my book appearing next to the likes of  
One Crazy Summer and  
The Watsons Go to Birmingham in this 

And this newspaper article from the Winston-Salem Journal.

Feeling very proud and very humble this morning!

Monday, January 16, 2012


My first Florida SCBWI event.  Books everywhere. Famous authors. Old friends and new.
So many terrific presenters.

And I got to be one. Except that I don't have a picture of me on the First Books panel Friday night. Four presenters spoke of their publication journey. Each of us had a very different story to share.

I was so excited to be there that all I snapped were pics of my book for sale. (yes, I know, total nerd.)

Like this one, at Friday night's event held at the amazing bookstore in Coral Gables, BOOKS & BOOKS.

GLORY BE was in very good company. And yes, we rearranged a bit for the photo, but we put things back and did not cover up Greg Neri's book, YUMMY.

Books & Books is what all bookstores should look like. A Courtyard wine bar. Music. And tons and tons of books, beautifully arranged.

Books & Books sold our books at the conference hotel, all weekend.

(Close-up of the sticker they put on our books.)

During the breaks, the authors sat at tables with our names in big letters so that anyone who bought our book could have us autograph them. (Big sigh here...)

Here are just a very few of the people sitting at nearby tables:
Christina Diaz Conzalez, Lin Oliver, Greg Neri, Donna Jo Napoli, Cheryl Klein. I could go on and on.

Nancy, one of my Tampa writer friends,  presented me with a little notebook of encouragement and congrats on my first Miami SCBWI conference. (Can you tell she's a teacher/ librarian?)

And on my last morning, sitting in Jill Corcoran's VOICE workshop, another writer slipped me this note. She'd bought my book the day before.
My first "charming note"! Wow!
Thanks, Aimee.

And now I get to sit with my note-filled pages and take it all in. The great advice. New books to add to my reading list. New friends. All the makings of a very good conference.

Congrats to the Florida SCBWI team!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Thank You

This has nothing much to do with writing for publication.
It is not intended to open the Thank-You-Note can of worms.

Though I will relate it to a book I read when I first called myself a writer. (And please click the title for a terrific take on that book,  MAKING A LITERARY LIFE.)

In that book, Carolyn See talked about writing notes to authors you admire. This was pre-Facebook. Pre any kind of social media. Even pre-blogging really.  She meant Old School notes. The kind our mothers and grandmothers encouraged/ forced us to write. After I read her book, I wrote to her.

Lately, I don't care too much about the beautiful stationery (though I did get a laugh when a great Southern friend just emailed me a nice note and attached a picture of her mostly unused, engraved notecards). But I do appreciate an acknowledgment, either verbal or penned or emailed, that a gift I labored over-- maybe even wrongly chose but I tried-- made it through the vagaries of a delivery system and arrived safe and sound.

This one made my day. My first thank you from my Nephew Dog. He liked my holiday chew toy.

(What I've just read: Joan Bauer's Close to Famous)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Thing I Love: Happy birthday, Elvis

In my past life, I adored Elvis Presley. I've mostly grown out of that, but there are moments when it comes back to me.

Like when this Christmas a gift arrived from Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi.
(FYI: I'll actually be there signing books on March 1! Click here for the link!)

I suspected something exciting when I saw the wrapping.

When I was MUCH younger, I had a Plaster-of-Paris Elvis statue. Maybe it's my imagination, but I remember the bust as being almost as large as a basketball. Other than that, it looked exactly like this one. My mother loved to discard unnecessary things. I'm sure she ditched my Elvis statue as soon as I left for college. Yes, it was a dust-catcher. But thank goodness she didn't get her hands on my Elvis scrapbook. Because now I've finally found the perfect spot for my new statue and my old Elvis wallpaper: Glory's Junk Poker box.

So, on Elvis's birthday, I want to share my newest Thing I Love. Thanks to my niece Amy who sent it from Square Books for Christmas.

Elvis on my Christmas Table-

Or maybe you prefer Elvis the King? He has outfits!

Not as large as a basketball, but small enough to fit into a shoebox. Perfect!

Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Absolutely must know more? Click away!

Possibly Related Blog Post:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Whoa! NPR!

Pretty exciting day here in WUSF land (Tampa public radio).
Here's the link to my 7-minute interview on Weekend Edition.

Pinching myself on an hourly basis now.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Launch Party Recap: It was fun!

 Sharing GLORY BE's big day, in pictures.

 My day started off in the best way. Doorbell rings.
Truly beautiful flowers from my amazing agent,
Linda Pratt, wishing me well and wishing she were here.

(Note: autographing pen at the ready)

We drove to the adorable, fabulous INKWOOD BOOKS in Tampa. Lots of unloading to do.

And there she is! Right in the front of the store!

Inkwood Books sold almost all of their books. I signed the leftover ones.

(I'm sure if you'd love your own autographed copy, you can call them and they'll ship.  ☺)

The table: What's a party without food? Nothing!
Red velvet cupcakes, pimento cheese, drinks.
And note the bookmarks in their Elvis mug.

Closeup of the Red Velvet Cupcakes. Remarkably, they survived the drive intact.

(the napkins- HIP HIP Hooray, not just HIP. Though we are certainly that...)

We schmoozed a bit. Celebrated with a toast. Then my writer friend Sue Laneve introduced me. She said a lot of very nice things. 
Thanks, Sue!

As you can see, the room is quite tiny. Seating for 25. Extras sat on the floor, stood in the back, and one special guest sat at the table, offering moral support, guarding the books and the food. 
(Thanks, Evie!)

I read a bit, talked maybe too much, answered questions. 
I think I may have said something funny...

That's my writer friend Greg Neri holding up my book.  And new Scholastic friend Ed Masessa. 
Ed is a really funny guy. Also very nice. 
We're just going to have to do something about his basketball preference. (Duke? Really, Ed?)

Thanks to everyone who came and those of you who were with us in spirit.
A truly great beginning for GLORY BE.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

More Sightings-- This girl gets around!

On GLORY BE's official launch date, folks have emailed photos from everywhere. 
What fun!

Don't mean to go all Flat Stanley on you. But I can't resist sharing more Glory Sightings.
Thanks, people!

Hanging out with the Original Shelf Elf (b. 1950),
currently residing in Lutherville, MD.

                                With her own bookmark, on Christmas Eve. 
                                Somewhere near Atlanta:

Enjoying the beautiful view, while her owners ski in Colorado:

In sunny Florida, relaxing by the pool!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Thanks, Fellow Bloggers

Two truly appreciated blog posts about GLORY BE. Click on these links and check them out.

An interview on  
Caroline Starr Rose's CLASSROOM CONNECTIONS  blog.
Especially for teachers, this is a recurring series Caroline does and I was delighted she invited me along.

Then there's this review by a FIVE MINUTES FOR BOOKS  blogger is pretty much what I hoped for when I wrote the book. Actually, it's exactly what I hoped for.

Thanks, everybody. What an exciting week this is!

And don't forget the giveaway on Carol Baldwin's post from yesterday. You have all week to enter, but hurry on over and comment.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Launch Day!

Or launch week. Or Official Launch Month, or whatever we are calling this exciting time.

To kick things off with a bang, fellow blogger Carol Baldwin is giving away an autographed copy of GLORY BE!

Click on over there. Contest ends January 7th.


Follow the instructions at the bottom of my interview and you, too, could be the proud owner of a hot-off-the-press, autographed copy of GLORY BE.

Thanks, Carol!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012! No Resolutions!

Taking down decorations and thinking of all the exciting things to come in 2012!

Today marks the beginning of a new year, and I'm inspired by writer friends, Kimberley Griffiths Little and Caroline Starr Rose --and probably a ton more of you who make these lists--  to start keeping track of what I'm reading. Their lists are impressive. But I'd have to dig deep to recall The Books I Read in 2011. 
So from now on, I resolve (whoops, I used the R word!) to keep better track of what I read.


What I'm Reading Now: 
1. Review copy, via Kindle, of Elizabeth George's forthcoming mystery: BELIEVING THE LIE

2. A Teen/ YA novel I can't put down, a page-turner,  that is nothing like anything I normally read:
UNLEASHED by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

3. Rereading The Liberation of Gabriel King and also When You Reach Me. Because I love the voices so much.

(These notes will be at the bottom of some blog posts. Feel free to ignore. If I keep up with this task, I will be able to remember what I read come next December. Or at least, that's my goal. And everybody knows goals are way better than resolutions, right?)