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

Friday, November 16, 2018

Time to Skype!

Must pop into my sometimes overlooked blog to share what a fantastic week this has been.

First of all, if you have the opportunity to study with Patricia Lee Gauch, take it. I spent four days at a Highlights workshop and am still processing that fabulous time. 

Then I returned home to two great Skype experiences. Thank you to the fun kids in Jonesboro, Arkansas, for reading MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG and for your excellent questions.

(Aside: While we were Skyping, it started snowing.  It doesn't snow every day in Arkansas! Which reminded me of my very first school librarian job in Atlanta. I had a group of kindergartners in the library when it snowed for the first time and they went crazy with excitement. So thank you for continuing to ask questions, kids!)

The next day, I spoke to a really lively and smart group of sixth graders in Worthington, Ohio. 
They'd read a mix of my books and had some great questions, too.
Example: Why do your characters talk so country?
And then I explained that that's how southerners talk whether they live in a city or in the country. 
That is, if they're natives. 
And especially if it was a "while back."

Books Mentioned
(I always try to tell them about at least one book other than mine. Sometimes time doesn't allow too much other than Q&A though!)

Sunday, November 11, 2018


I didn't make up the term. But I totally get it.

I read it on Janice Hardy's excellent post about whether or not to pull that "trunk manuscript" out of the drawer and revise. Here's just a tiny bit of what she has to say:

Does it fix what went wrong? Before you dive in and spend who knows how long just to wind up in the same spot, try outlining or summarizing the new direction. Does it fix the original problems?
Is the draft salvageable or do you need to start over? Reworking an old draft that didn’t work risks turning it into a Frankendraft (pieces of novel sewed together to form a plot, but it really doesn’t fit), so consider how you want to proceed carefully. Starting over can seem like more work, but not if it takes you three times longer to revise what’s there. 

Thank you, Rosi Hollinbeck, for your excellent blogposts that always give me something to ponder. AND she almost always has a book to give away!

(And, maybe this is actually what I'm doing here...) 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Monday Reading Report

Man, have I read some great books recently.
Lucky for me, it's Monday and I get to share.

Yesterday I finished a book I LOVED. 
Jonathan Auxier's new middle-grade novel, SWEEP: THE STORY OF A GIRL AND HER MONSTER- don't miss it. 
Chimney sweeps, a taste of late 19th century history, interesting tidbits about golems, characters to break your heart. 
I literally couldn't put this one down. 
Last night, dinner had to wait for a chapter ending. 

I know many teachers and librarians like to share authors reading and talking about their own books.
Here's Jonathan booktalking SWEEP (recorded before the book was published).  
Click this link and check out his website for up-to-date info.

Another book I recently reviewed is Meg Medina's newest. Here's a little adaptation from my Christian Science Monitor round-up of new middle-grade novels:

Merci Su├írez Changes Gears 
Mercedes Suarez, Merci for short, lives with her exuberant extended family in south Florida. But she spends school days trying to fit in at the prestigious Seaward Pines Academy. She and her brainy brother are scholarship students and are expected—by their family and the school—to give back, set an example, and never ever cause trouble.

Medina mixes humor with poignancy and affection for her characters with a fast-paced story. The Cuban food and culture, the love tinged with embarrassment typical of many pre-teens make this novel perfect for discussion and for reading together with a friend, a teacher, or a family member.

So many books I want/ need to read! (The part of my bookshelf NOT pictured at the top of this post is my towering TBR shelf. Many of which may not be read, but I'll peruse each of them.)

I'm off to a Highlights Foundation writing weekend and I've loaded my Kindle app. Just in case I have time to read. 

Can't wait to hear what all my #IMWAYR buddies have to share this week.