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

Friday, May 31, 2013

Shameless Self-Promotion

It's come to my attention that GLORY BE seems scarce as hens' teeth (what does that mean anyhow) in all the usual places. Scholastic assures me that will be remedied soon. I think this is a good problem for me to have, but not so good for those readers and gifters who'd love to buy a book. (Perfect for 5th grade graduation, so I'm told!)

If you'd like an autographed book, please check out LEMURIA BOOKS in Jackson, where I signed quite a few. Here's the link:

Here's the contact info:
Lemuria Books
202 Banner Hall
4465 I-55 North
Jackson, MS 39206
Phone: 601.366.7619
Toll-free: 800.366.7619

Emily, the children's book buyer, assures me they have enough to last till the next shipment.
Give them a call. Happy gifting!

Thursday, May 30, 2013


This is SO easy to do. I bet some of you have already donated to the Red Cross. And now, you could also win an autographed book.

Here's the link:

Deadline is June 7th, which will be here in a flash. So click on over, send your donation receipt to the email link, and voila! You could be a winner.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Happy Summer to All!

A HUGE thanks to all the teachers and librarians who've invited me in to share GLORY BE this year.

As you eat ice cream, race in your Field Games, plan your summer reading, I'm remembering what fun it was to hear your questions, your suggestions, your brilliant ideas for sequels.

Here are a few of my own memories from my final spring school visits. Thanks for having me!

A morning with the fifth graders at Kent Place School, Summit NJ, where I was a librarian for ten years. 

I shared my inspiration, Ruby Bridge's speech to faculty and students there. And I signed a lot of books!

While in New Jersey, I also visited the awesome After School Book Group at the Christa McAuliffe Middle School in Jackson Township. What great kids! 
Here's the table. Decorated for the occasion. 

 They presented me with my own little Junk Poker box! Filled with all sorts of treasures, including a piece of "Elvis's wallpaper" that's very close to the real thing. Those kids are careful readers. Wow.

 A closeup of the table. 
(He plays Robbie in the book trailer, below!)

Here they all are!

 My last school visit was with the terrific readers at the Nightingale Bamford School in New York. I didn't get a lot of pictures, but I couldn't resist this. She was in a big crowd of adorable finger puppets. Kind of reminded me of Glory in her bathing suit!

 As I was leaving, I received a handful of great thank you notes. I love this one. I wonder if she was channeling Elvis.

And now for the crowning glory (no pun intended). The kids at Christa McAuliffe, all on their own, created this book trailer for Glory Be. Thank you, thank you very much!


Kids and teachers- Click on over to fellow Florida writer  Donna Gephart's blog and scroll all the way through to the end for her excellent suggestions of Things to Do This Summer!

And check out the BANK STREET BEST BOOKS of 2013. Some perfect selections, by age and genre, for summer and winter reading!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What a Beauty!

Driving home from the library just now. I had to stop the car. Gorgeous.
The leaves look like my childhood mimosa tree.

A little sign tacked to the tree trunk says Royal Poinciana.
Underneath, it shows the pronunciation.

Poin- cee- anna

Love it!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Celebrating, Southern Style

I love my amazing friends in the Tampa Bay writing community. Thanks to the Florida SCBWI for all these connections.

My critique group(s) -- I've slipped into more than one since moving to St. Petersburg-- have been with me every step of the way. 
(Thanks, Sue Laneve. Thanks, Sylvia Salsbury for your original hostings!)

Last night my current group and the writers who've supported the journey, organized by our fearless leader Rob Sanders, gathered for a southern supper. Where else but Cracker Barrel!

Here we are, rocking the evening!

 (Missing, Sue Laneve and Greg Neri who were off doing exciting things. But definitely part of this book's journey.)

Writers are so creative.
Check out a few of their fun mementos of the book. They are very careful readers of GLORY BE.

Evening in Paris perfume. (I will have to visit THIS shop!

Candy, lots of vintage candy.
A note, folded into a tight triangle.
A quarter, from 1963, which would surely have been in Glory's Junk Poker box.

The perfect candle: CLOUD 9
A shell, beautifully decorated
A poem, a picture frame
Southern-themed napkins
A tiny worry doll
Very special Elvis memorabilia. Wow.

Floating body parts... eyeball. Teeth. (enough said)

(Not pictured: the cupcake, which I ate. Yum. 
Thank you, Nancy Cavanaugh! But that's the box, decorated with kites and a Way to Go sticker, pictured.)

It was a very special evening, filled with fried okra, turnip greens and lots of laughs. The Southern Theme was carried out in full. You writers totally rock. Not just the chairs.

                                                             (Rob's napkins. Sigh.)

I'm eternally grateful to these creative people. 
Thanks for celebrating GLORY BE's Crystal Kite. 

Wow. Cloud 9, indeed.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

True confessions: Google Alerts

Everybody has one. Or that's what I was told before my first book hit the stores.
Mine's kind of lame. Maybe Google's tired of me, but I rarely get a hit reported.

So when I saw something from HERALD De PARIS. Well, you can believe I clicked on that one. Glory Be international!

Turns out, they'd picked up this delightful review on the National Geographic Kids Blog:

But still, how cool is this for a person whose almost favorite city is Paris?
Well, okay, my favorite city.
Pretty cool.

Glory Be
AUTHOR: Augusta Scattergood
Glory’s lazy summer had been slowing strolling along until a big event happened that didn’t just change her summer, but her whole life! Set in 1960s Mississippi, Glory Be introduces you to Glory, a regular eleven year old girl who bothers her older sister, causes trouble, and looks forward to the swimming pool during the blazing summers. She’s had every birthday celebration there since she could swim, but now there are rumors the pool might close. In fact, nothing in town has been the same since a Yankee girl named Laura and her mother have come from Ohio to stir things up. Apparently those folks in the north don’t care much for segregation. In fact, Laura evens goes so far as to help an African American girl drink out of the white’s only fountain!
Glory doesn’t know any different way of life because she has grown up with segregation. But now there’s all kinds of talk about change such as her best friend leaving her school if it becomes desegregated. All these different opinions are making Glory’s head spin as she witnesses first-hand the civil rights movement starting into motion. She is now faced with some difficult choices as she stands up for what she believes is right.
This book was truly amazing and readers will love it just because it is a good read, and they won’t realize they are learning at the same time. The southern spin on the book also makes it all the more enjoyable, opening up a new window to the world for me as a northerner. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn about an interesting topic in our nation’s history or just wants a book to brighten up dark days.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Thanks, Jaimie!

While I was blabbing nonstop about my book to the most enthusiastic kids in the world (more later on my two weeks in NY/NJ), a fellow Florida SCBWI member posted this interview with me.

Thanks, Jaimie! 

If you're so inclined, please pop over and read all of the interesting posts she's shared.  
Especially that fascinating piece about how many rejections is Just Enough.

 Feel free to comment!  
(Jaimie loves comments.)


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Elvis is in the building...

I have so many great stories (and maybe half-great pictures) from this week in NY/NJ. 
School visits, Book Group chats, walks in my winter coat. Okay, maybe that's not so great.

But for now, in the interest of time (mine) and quality, I'll share two that made me smile.

Often kids give me things to add to my Junk Poker box. This trip, I added grass and surprisingly-close-to-Elvis's wallpaper from the fabulous group at Christa McAuliffe Middle School's amazing after school book club party. 
Those kids had totally read my book's tiniest details.

(They also made the little Junk Poker boxes for everybody. And gave me that book they'd created. Great readers!)

And yesterday, as I was leaving the Nightingale Bamford School in NYC where I'd spoken to the 3rd and 4th grade classes, the teacher handed me thank you notes. 

This one takes the cake, big time. Not sure if she's a big Elvis fan or whether the reference was purely accidental. 
I'm going with the Fan option. 

And thank ya, Thank YOU very much, kids!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Learning from the Best: POV

Here is a post by Linda Urban that I come back to often. 
With each re-reading, I pick up another, finer point.

My favorite book by Linda Urban is HOUND DOG TRUE. I've also read that middle-grade novel more than once. I sped through it the first time and if you'd asked me what "person" she'd written in, I would have answered, without a beat, First Person. Mattie's voice is so strong, it had to be. Right?


But it's very close Third Person. And it works.

Now that I'm noodling around a new story idea, the first thing that needs struggling with:  
Who the heck is telling this story anyhow? 
At first, I had two POV characters. Struggle, struggle! Hard work!
Not succeeding too well.

So I switched to the young girl, whose voice I heard clearly.
But now I'm vacillating. Maybe that other character needs to be heard. 
He sure is trying to tell me something.

So, what did I do? I reread Linda's fantastic post. And I'm going to really think about what she says about THEMES and narrator's voice influencing POV.

Her most recent novel is told by more than one character. I've only read it once. I didn't love it like I loved HOUND DOG TRUE, but it intrigued me. (And truthfully, there aren't a lot of books I loved as much as that one.)
Having read her writing process, I have the book out to reread. Because I'm interested in thinking more about how those characters tell the same story, from different perspectives. 

Here's a bit of Linda's post on POV, about this multi-POV book, THE CENTER OF EVERYTHING:

In the next chapter, we experience that same moment through Ruby’s eyes.  We see her draw conclusions about the banker’s actions that are completely different from the motivations we have been privy to pages earlier.  I could not have made this work in a first person novel, or even one told in close third, but these overlapping moments were useful in the exploration of another of the book’s themes: the question of whether or not things happen as they are “supposed to” or whether there is a “supposed to” at all (and if so, can we ever know what that “supposed to” is?).

Check out the blog post by Linda.
Here's the link, again, in case you forgot to click on it up there.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Emotional Intensity

In writing, that is.

It's hard not to constantly have your characters' hearts pounding, their breath catching.Even in middle-grade fiction.

But since sitting in on Becca Puglisi's workshop at our Florida SCBWI Miami conference in January, I've tried harder. I have her Crutch Words right over my computer. Those overused words we should try to replace.

A few of mine?


Oh, and the was +ing verb thing-
(Sorry, Becca. That's the way Southerners talk! I tried to rid myself of a few "I was eating" and "He was hoping" beats. Not easy.)

Check out Becca's most helpful BLOG, HERE.  
And this link to her book: EMOTION THESAURUS

One thing I loved most about this year's Miami Conference? Seeing friends I made last year and meeting writers for the first time, like Becca Puglisi and Donna Gephart.

(One of my favorite middle-grade novels, with the absolute most kid-appeal, is Donna's

Florida's a hotbed of kids' writers.  
Maybe it's because of Joyce Sweeney, Mentor Extraordinaire? 

(PS She's now teaching online workshops. Check them out HERE.)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Still Floating on Air!

In case you've missed me and wondered if I'd disappeared. Yes, I have.

I've been FLOATING.

On air, that is.

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators-- my fellow writers-- just named
GLORY BE as my Southeast region's CRYSTAL KITE winner. I'm beyond excited.

Before the ink had dried on the page, the amazing Vicki Palmquest at Winding Oak and the Children's Literature Network had updated their website, HERE.

And mine, HERE.

Thanks so much to everybody who voted and congratulations to the other winners.
I am over the moon!