Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Gratitudes" November Theme by Jen Cervantes


Every morning when I wake up and right before I open my eyes, I take a moment to say thank you. Thank you for my health, my family and friends, my daughters’ well-being. The list goes on. These are the “gratitudes” I carry with me every day. But there are small, delicate threads of gratitude that are always present if we only open our eyes to see them. Sometimes, like in New Mexico, the beauty is so often, so common, that we take it for granted as seen in this photo my husband took. Yes, I am blessed with this scene and more every day when the sun sets over the desert. These threads are present everywhere--present when the snow shivers from the sky, coating the desert in a blanket of white. Present in the smoky scent of chile roasting in the valley. Or when I see a random act of kindness and my heart is full and renewed with hope for a thoughtful world. My prayer today was that I recognize these simple moments and take the time to be grateful for them too. Eisntein once said, “There are two ways to live your life - one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.” I hope I always live the latter.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Thanksgiving Post by Michael Townsend

 A few months ago my newest book called ‘Where Do Presidents Come From? And Other Presidential Stuff of Super Great Importance’ came out. It was one of the most difficult projects I have ever undertaken. As a guy who loves American History I was super excited when I landed the deal with Dial but I was also very scared. There were two major reasons for this:
1. I am not a trained historian.
2. I had very little time to finish the project. The time frame was about 12 months or so to  finish a 160-page comic book for middle grade readers.
There were several times I believed the project was going to die (a rejected chapter submission, my constant realization of how much work was left to do, self doubt, etc.) I was working 12-14 hours a day, every day. In the past, I’ve had the luxury of putting a project down for a few days or even a few weeks when I got stuck. For this project that was not the case. I was stressed, stressed, stressed. I was constantly whining and complaining to my family and close friends. Whining about the stress and my doubts that I could make a clear and silly book about such an important topic in the time frame I had.
I did actually finish the book but the whining didn’t end there. I had another project with a fast approaching deadline. So, for several more months proceeding the President Book, I was working on the final draft and final art of another project, a picture book with Knopf (A book called ‘Cute and Cuter’ due out this Spring!) When I finally finished that book I was Super Exhausted and so ready for a chance to rest!
Lucky for me, this current moment of rest (that I really needed) coincided with a certain holiday that forces one to be reflective on all the things they have to be thankful for! So, here goes a rested artist/writers list of things I am thankful for this year!
1. I am thankful for my friends and family for putting up with all my whining and complaining that I produced while working on the last few projects. They were not only exceedingly patient and understanding but they were also very encouraging!
2. I am thankful for my editors and my agent who also put up with me while still encouraging me and professing an abundance of confidence in my abilities!
3. I am thankful that my ‘President Book’ was well received by readers and reviewers!!!!!
4. I am thankful that I now have a little down time.
5. I am thankful that after a very difficult year and a half of hard working and a very nomadic lifestyle that I’ve been blessed to be able to buy a wonderful crappy house in Philadelphia in a wonderful neighborhood full of friends!
6. I am thankful that I have some new paying gigs to start working on!
7. I am thankful that (even with some new gigs) I finally have some spare time to work on some personal comic projects!
8. I am thankful for the funny letters and e-mails I get from little fans! (Seriously, the letters and e-mails I get are hilarious!)
9. I am thankful that I get to make what I get to make for a living!           
10. I am thankful that I get to be thankful for rest!
11. I am thankful that I have so much to be thankful for....
The End.
Michael Townsend

Saturday, November 24, 2012

November Theme: Blurbs with Friends

by Stephanie J. Blake

With the countdown to Christmas looming, there's also another important countdown in my life. My debut novel, The Marble Queen, is (finally) set to launch December 18, 2012. I'd like to thank three wonderful ladies who've come into my life. Each of them blurbed my book, and I'm forever grateful.

Lisa Graff, author of Double Dog Dare and other hilarious books. She said this about my book: "The Marble Queen is enchanting from beginning to end. Whether she’s force-feeding her little brother worms, or showing the boys a thing or two about shooting marbles, Freedom Jane McKenzie is feisty, funny, fearless, and entirely irresistible. A dazzling debut." Lisa was the first reader many years ago. She gave me some invaluable revision advice and I've never forgotten it.

Nan Marino, author of Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me. I'm a huge fan of Nan's book--in awe of the perfectness of the story, actually. She was so generous in her blurb. "Rich with historical details, The Marble Queen will pull you back to 1959 but Freedom Jane McKenzie is a protagonist for all time. Whether she’s knee deep in family struggles or proving to the world she has what it takes to play marbles with the boys, Freedom’s voice rings out with determination, humor and warmth."

And Barbara O'Connor, author of many lovely books, including her recent one, On the Road to Mr. Mineo's. Her witty Facebook posts and awesome writing tips have brightened many of my days. I want to be Barbara when I grow up. She said, "I didn't want The Marble Queen to end. I wanted to stay with Freedom and her oh-so-real family forever. I wanted to keep watching her play marbles with the boys. And I wanted just one more visit with the kind but eccentric next door neighbor. Blake has combined the fascinating world of childhood marble-playing with the ups and downs of perfectly realistic characters. A winner!"

Friday, November 23, 2012

STAND UP FOR WRITING! by Dia Calhoun


An unexpected benefit of my three week trip last summer to Italy, was a reduction in muscle pains and stiffness that had plagued me for years. When I mention this, everyone says, “of course, you were on vacation—no stress.”

Wrong. I largely traveled alone in a foreign country—lots of stress, though much of it good stress. No, I felt better because  for the first time in decades, I had three weeks off from sitting eight hours a day in front of a computer.  As fate would have it, lots of information came out last summer about the health perils of spending your life sitting. Check out these statistics from an article on The New York Times blog:

"Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes."

"By comparison, smoking a single cigarette reduces life expectancy by about 11 minutes, the authors said."

"Looking more broadly, they concluded that an adult who spends an average of six hours a day watching TV over the course of a lifetime can expect to live 4.8 years fewer than a person who does not watch TV."

"Those results hold true, the authors point out, even for people who exercise regularly."

"...those people with the “highest sedentary behavior,” meaning those who sat the most, had a 112 percent increase in their relative risk of developing diabetes; a 147 percent increase in their risk for cardiovascular disease; and a 49 percent greater risk of dying prematurely — even if they regularly exercised."

So I researched what are called sit-stand work stations. Though they are becoming more common, you will not yet find them at your local office depot. Before buying anything, I decided to give writing on my feet a test. I simply piled boxes on a table and put my laptop on top. After two weeks, I decided I loved writing on my feet.

So, after more research, I bought the Annua Work Table from Dania. Solidly built, it is big enough for my laptop, a cup of tea, and a book.



With the touch of a button, I can adjust the height from sitting to standing—anywhere from 28 to 41 inches. And the work table is well designed--the table top comes forward in the lower positions so it is easy to work in a chair. I can roll it on casters anywhere—I move from window to window, depending on time of day and season.  Next summer, I plan to roll it out under my umbrella on the patio. I use the work table’s sturdy base for a footrest—it is important to have one foot on a foot rest some of the time to alleviate pressure on the low back.  After more research, I invested in an anti-fatigue mat to stand on. Get a good one—it really does make a difference.

Although I alternate between standing—an hour or so—and sitting—30 minutes or so, I find I now prefer to work standing up. There is something about the looseness of it. Not only  I do have fewer muscle pains, I also have more energy at the end of the day. I am now setting up a larger sit-stand work table, for the graphic design work I do. You don’t have to spend a lot of money…check out the ideas on this pinterest site.

So, writers out there, for your health, for your work—stand up for writing. You will feel better and live longer.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

HAPPY THANKS (NOVEMBER THEME BY HOLLY SCHINDLER)

Gratitude comes both in bright, vibrant shades (the gratitude I have for my family, my home, love, my readers, being a published author, my editors, my agent, good health, passion for my work) and in more subtle shades (a good night's rest, fresh coffee, laughter, warm socks, flowers on the kitchen table, the beauty of my much-loved Ozarks). 

Speaking of subtle shades, our leaves this autumn are more on the subtle side.  But as I was out filming these clips, I was struck by just how beautiful subtlety can be...

I'm grateful this Thanksgiving for more reasons than I could ever put all in a single blog post.  And I hope your lives are all brimming with similar gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our lovely bloggers and readers here at Smack Dab!

 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

November Theme: Giving Thanks in November (Sarah Dooley)

It's November. What that means is that it's time for National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org), during which I have the best-laid plans of writing 1,667 words per day in order to finish a 50,000-word novel by November 30.

Two and a half weeks in, I've had two 1,667-word days, some three or four thousand word days ... and a whole lot of big-fat-zero-word days. I've also got two apartments full of moving boxes.  I'm ten thousand words behind, I'm tired, I'm crabby,  and I'm lucky to remember to put on socks and shoes before leaving the apartment.

So I'm walking -- quickly -- home from the library when I hear a voice nearby:

"Where's your coat, girl?"

I snap out of my plot-gap-induced depression long enough to register that there is a man standing next to me, wearing a worn-looking jacket, ripped jeans, and a scuffed-up pair of shoes.

Plenty of answers flash through my mind:

"At home, because I'm a crazy writer who can't think about word counts and weather at the same time."

"Lost, along with my momentum and possibly my talent."

"See? I can't even make myself behave sensibly, let alone my characters."

I go with, "I left it at home."

And then this man starts to unzip his own jacket, which is already too light for the dropping temperature. "Here, darlin', take mine."

I refuse, with thanks, and reassure him that I'm not far from home. Then I walk away, feeling very different than I did just a moment ago.

I am thankful, every day, for my crazy job writing stuff down. I'm thankful for the opportunity to get paid for playing with words. I'm also thankful for my warm coat, even if sometimes I forget to wear it, and the cozy, safe apartments I'm moving out of and into.

Today, mostly I'm thankful for that man, and for people like him. Sometimes I forget how wonderful human beings can be, and I'm so grateful to be reminded.

Friday, November 16, 2012

November theme: Thanksgiving for Writers (Stephanie Burgis)

Earlier this week, I spent some time explaining the concept of Thanksgiving to my son. We live in Wales, not America, but since he has dual US/UK citizenship (as do I), I really want to keep him in touch with the American holidays that are still important to me as well as the ones that he celebrates with his classmates.

Of course, since I'm vegetarian, my husband's vegan, and none of us watch football, some people wouldn't recognize my version of Thanksgiving at all! But it was always my favorite holiday when I was younger, because it's a holiday all about gathering family together with no commercial motives - it's just about taking a moment to appreciate each other and really be thankful for everything we have.

After I explained this to my son, we spent some time talking about what we're thankful for...

...and then I started thinking about how important the concept of Thanksgiving really is to me - and how desperately I need it, as a writer.

Being a writer means having a set of goalposts that are constantly changing. First, all you want is to finish something, and be happy with what you've written. Then you want to get published. Then you want to get a good deal. Then it's time to worry about sales numbers, popularity, future deals...

...And if you aren't careful, it's way too easy to forget all the good things that happened along the way.

This year on Thanksgiving, I won't be having a big feast with family and friends, because it's a school day (and school night) here in Wales, and all of MrD's cousins are out of town, while my parents and brothers are all far away in America. I'll be celebrating Thanksgiving with my husband and my son and our dog, though, taking a moment to be truly thankful for my family (all of it, including the relatives spread around the world), my friends...and, yes, everything that's happened with my writing, too.

Maybe it's normal to focus on what's coming next, on what we're hoping to someday achieve...but it's great to have at least one day a year that's all about stopping and just appreciating where we already are.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Very Thankful! by Bob Krech


In 1962 when I was six years old my father was a New Jersey State Trooper assigned to the Division of Civil Defense/Disaster Control. I remember him going away for a week because of the great Nor'Easter that hit the New Jersey coast in May that year. When he returned home he showed me some 8x10 black and white glossy photos of the devastation, where Long Beach Island was literally cut in half by the ocean, houses were flattened, and cars and boats were piled like toys in scattered heaps. It seemed to me at the time like something out of a movie. Fifty years later it happened again, this time courtesy of Hurricane Sandy.

I'm incredibly thankful that the effects we encountered in my town were limited to downed trees and fences and a power outage that lasted only four days. As I'm sure you've seen on the news or maybe encountered yourself, parts of New Jersey and New York suffered far, far worse and many are still without power and housing and are reeling from the devastation.

From Day One New Jersey began bouncing back with many groups and communities organizing to raise money, supply food, and offer various forms of help and comfort. One response you might be interested in has been put together by fellow author and Rutgers alumni (Go RU!) Kieran Viola. Kieran has organized YA For NJ. This will consist of an auction of autographed books by about 160 YA authors from across the country. All money raised will go to The Food Bank of New Jersey (four star charity as rated by Charity Navigator). The auction will take place on Ebay on November 30, 2012. For more information check out the facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/YaForNj

If you are interested or know librarians or other book lovers that would like to grab some cool autographed books and other author goodies for their collections and at the same time contribute to a worthy cause, please pass them the word about this great event. Here's the link. Thanks for letting me share this with you. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

PATH TO PUBLICATION: GUEST POST BY F.T. BRADLEY


 


About Double Vision:

One's a Secret Agent, One's Not.
 
Twelve-year-old Linc is a trouble-maker with a dilemma. His antics on a recent school field trip went way overboard, landing his already poor family with a serious lawsuit. So when two secret agents show up at his house, Linc is eager to take them up on their offer to make the lawsuit disappear. They just need one tiny favor.

Turns out Linc looks exactly like one of their top kid agents—an agent who's vanished during a vitally important mission. But no debriefing can prepare Linc for how dangerous the mission really is. It's too bad he isn't a black belt, a math genius, or a distance runner like his agent double. He'll need all those skills and more if he hopes to make it out of this mission alive. . .

 
 

 

About F.T. Bradley
 
F.T. Bradley is originally from the Netherlands and still likes to travel, like Linc, whenever she gets a chance.  Her husband's Air Force career has F. T. and their two daughters moving all around the world, but for the moment the family lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Double Vision is the first book in her new series about Lincoln Baker and Ben Green. 
You can find F.T. on the web at www.ftbradley.com, find Linc at www.doublevisionbooks.com, and follow F.T. on Twitter @FTBradleyAuthor.




 
The Story:

If you told me a few years ago that I’d be published in middle-grade fiction, I would’ve told you that you’re nuts. It just never occurred to me to write for the eight-to-twelve year-old audience. Not until someone told me I should.

            I got my start about ten years ago, writing short crime fiction. And that’s pretty much all I did for several years—I cut my teeth as a writer in short fiction. But after some time, I wanted to try my hand at novel-length fiction. You know, because that was where the money was being made (or at least more money than in short fiction).

            I won’t go into my journey to publication too much, only that it took about four YA manuscripts, and a few hundred rejection letters until I turned to writing middle-grade. Looking back, I think I must’ve been crazy not to give up sooner.

            But then I talked to my current agent (Stephen Barbara with Foundry Literary & Media), and he suggested based on my writing that I try writing middle-grade. Which I then had to learn to do—it’s a lot harder than it seems, writing for tweens. They’re smart, and see right through any plot holes or nonsense.

            Luckily, I almost instantly came up with Linc, the main character in Double Vision. He’s that kid with a twinkle in his eye, always getting in trouble despite his good intentions. Linc is the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type, but with a great heart. As you can tell, he’s very real to me. Even though I know he’s not.

            So long story short: my agent and I worked on the concept (where Linc takes the place of a junior secret agent who looks just like him), the manuscript pages, and how the rest of the series should play out (I’m contracted to write three books). Once the series sold to Harper Children’s, a lot of that changed, but Linc stayed the same. He’s a blast to write. Did I mention that I think he’s a real kid?

            Double Vision sold on proposal, which is very unusual for fiction. So whenever I tell the story to fellow writers, I add: this will probably not happen to you. You should really write the whole thing first.

But this is my strange story… I just finished the second book, and am now plotting book three in the Double Vision series. And Linc is as vivid as ever.
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Release news—and a giveaway!

The paperback of my most recent novel, Dark of the Moon, has just been released! Isn't it gorgeous?
Dark of the Moon is a retelling of the myth of the Minotaur, maybe more YA than MG (although most of my books straddle the boundary), in which high-priestess-in-training Ariadne, the Minotaur's sister, struggles with the fact that her ancient moon-goddess religion is dying. Her belief system and traditions are further threatened by the arrival of the Athenian Prince Theseus. He arrives on Crete with a whole new set of beliefs and traditions, and worsehe has come to kill Ariadne's beloved brother.

When the book arrived, I'm afraid I held up the cover and had Ariadne smooch the cover of King of Ithaka.
Seriously, wouldn't they have beautiful children?

And now for the giveaway! Leave a comment here sometime in the next week (by midnight, November 20) and I'll choose someone at random to receive a signed—or not, as you prefer—copy of the paperback of Dark of the Moon.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Choice Is Ours (November Theme from Jody Feldman)



If you think beyond the turkey and the football, November is often about choice, though choice goes for turkey and football, too. Choose the drumstick or wing. Root for Dallas or Detroit, both or neither. Vote Republican, Democrat, or Independent. Shiver in the light jacket or be weighed down by the heavy coat.

Some such choices have few lingering effects. Most, in fact, are forgotten by week’s end. But as authors, when we make even the most insignificant choices for our characters (sweet potatoes or mashed, maybe), it can change their literary lives. It can change the whole story.

Case in point ...
When my next book, The Gollywhopper Games 2 opens, Cameron is wedged between his two brothers in the back seat of the family car. My decision to put him there, to begin the book at that moment with that detail was, in reality, a whim. It was time to get this book started, and that seemed as good a starting point as any. With that one choice, though, I suddenly understood Cameron, his personality and the pathway he would take through his journey. I could have stopped after chapter one. I could have started again with a different detail and a different character, but I didn’t. That singular choice had major implications for the rest of the story, much more than his later decision to choose a hotdog with mustard. The fact is, not all literary decisions are equal.

I wish I could say I made many character decisions last November. That would make this entry very circular and satisfying, wouldn’t it? But I don’t usually get to make character choices on my schedule. After a while, the characters seem to make choices for me. For myself, however, I still can choose a thick piece of white meat, and I’ll take both sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes, please. Oh, and pass the pumpkin pie.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November Theme: GIVING THANKS by John Claude Bemis


With Thanksgiving just two weeks away, I’d like to share my gratitude…

I’m grateful I get to be a professional nerd.  There was once a time in my life when my thoughts would drift to things like how to fight a monstrous mechanical hound or how a robot might look and function if it had been designed by Leonardo Da Vinci, and I’d keep these those flamboyantly geeky thoughts to myself.  Now, not only do I think about complete nerdiness as part of my job, I publish it for all the world to see.

I’m grateful my wife earns a regular paycheck.  While I've been happy about my book sales, they certainly aren't making us rich.  I appreciate how she helps support our family financially and allows me to focus on my writing career.  She’s the best!

I’m grateful how my writing career gives me flexibility.  Not having to go to a day job means I get to volunteer in my daughter’s kindergarten class, I get be active on various boards, I’m available to help my parents as they wrestle with health concerns, I get to do school visits, present at conferences, and teach writing workshops.  But mostly I get to write adventure stories, and that’s pretty sweet.

I’m grateful I found an inspiring critique group with fellow children’s book authors Stephen Messer, J.J. Johnson, and Jennifer Harrod.  What a talent power house we are!

I’m grateful to have an agent who cares about my career and about me as a person.

I’m grateful to get to meet writers such as R.L. Stine, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Tom Angleberger and talk shop with them.  That’s the best part of going to literary festivals.

I’m grateful to be part of a talented network of children’sbook writers in my home state of North Carolina.  We cross paths often and support one another. 

Likewise, I’m grateful to be a part of this creative community of writers of middle-grade books here at Smack Dab In the Middle.  Thanks in particular to Holly Schindler who works tirelessly to pull this all off.

I’m grateful to readers who have picked up my books.  Nothing is more gratifying than getting an email or meeting a kid who has gotten engrossed and obsessed with my books.  I wouldn’t be able to do any of this if it weren’t for my readers both young and young-at-heart.  Thank you all!

So no matter where my writing career goes next, I often remind myself how lucky I am and how fortunate I’ve been to have so many talented and caring people in my life.  So a big thanks for this Thanksgiving.  I should say it every month. 





Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Making Magic by Naomi Kinsman (November Theme)

Ever since I was a little girl, the start of November always marks an internal shift for me. I wake up each morning with this fizzy excitement inside--I feel surprises looming on the horizon.

Of course, the beginning of November meant that Christmas was just around the corner. In my family, Christmas wasn't about wrapped gifts under the tree. Sometimes I sat with a catalog and circled items with hope sparking in my heart. But more importantly, Christmas was the day dreams came true. Magic always happened. Every year, this magic looked different. One year, I dreamed of being an actress all year, but ran into dead end after dead end. That Christmas, my parents gave me everything I needed to create plays with friends at home, a box of costumes, set pieces, and props. The impossible would come true on Christmas, and after a while, I came to expect miracles.

On the flip side, I took to heart my own responsibility for making magic. I would find the one thing that I could give my parents that would show them, truly, how much I loved them. For instance, a book filled with pictures and memories of our year, or a poem penned for them, or a fairy tale starring them as the main character, written and illustrated by yours truly.

As you can imagine, making magic required a huge investment of time in the months leading up to Christmas. But I loved every part of it, the planning, the creation, the final product, and of course, the look of astonishment and joy on my parents' faces when they opened their gifts. As for the magic they made for me... well, I guess that was about hope. I believed, and I still do, that during this one season, when we all take time to think about one another more than we think of ourselves, situations shift. Roadblocks melt away, and new possibilities abound.

My dreams are bigger now and they feel like a further reach. But even so, I have already felt the sparks of magic popping up around me. It comes in an email from a friend who writes, "I found this small business counseling program that I think might help make your program for young writers thrive." It comes in an unexpectedly free day on which I can sit and work on that novel that's percolating around in my heart. It comes in the thrilling idea for a gift for a friend which catches my fancy and sends me into a creative frenzy.

Look around... you might be astonished where magic pops up for you. And take some time to make some magic for someone else, too. A very little goes an awfully long way.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November Theme: WONDERFUL NOVEMBER by Trudi Trueit


November brings to mind so many things that are good for the soul: colorful leaves swirling in the wind, warm pumpkin pie fresh from the oven, and gathering with friends and family to give thanks. 

For me, November also means love. 

When I was a freshman in college, I planned to major in journalism so I thought it would be a good idea to join the student-run TV station. At the first meeting, I, being new and shy, sat in the back of a packed room. The male and female students running the meeting were doing fine, though I noticed that whenever anyone had a question that required anything beyond the most basic information, the leaders would look to another student sitting in the front row and say, “Bill, how does that work?” and “Bill, could you take that one?” I could only see the back of Bill’s head and his gray, wool jacket but I thought, “This is the guy in the know. This is the guy I want to teach me how to use the camera gear.” At the end of the meeting, when everyone stood up and I, finally, got to see Bill’s face, my heart skipped a beat. Bill was a hottie! A few weeks down the line and a few meetings later, I gathered up all of my 18 years of courage to ask Bill (who was a senior, though I didn’t know it at the time) if he would show me how to use the camera gear so I could start reporting for the student TV station. Bill agreed. 

My Bill
To this day, I have only a vague recollection of our teaching session. I only know he was there and I was there and I wanted him to like me so very much. I do remember that at one point, he startled me with a mini quiz. Bill asked me, “What three colors does the camera capture?” I had no clue, because I hadn’t really been paying attention, however, looking down I noticed that the JVC camera had three dots next to its logo so I spit out their colors, “Red, blue, and green?” Bill smiled. I was right. As we were about to part that day, Bill asked me if I wanted to have lunch that next week! I floated three feet off the ground for the next seven days. 

Our first date was November 25th, the day before Thanksgiving. I was a commuter student and Bill took me off campus (very chic!) to have lunch at Skipper’s Fish & Chips. I was so nervous I could barely eat, but once we began to talk I relaxed. We spent the next three hours sharing details about our families, our schoolwork, our hopes, our dreams—I’d never spent that much time talking about myself with anyone. As I discovered more about this smart, talented, funny, kind man, I started to fall in love. Whenever I think of Bill and that first date, I think of what Steve Martin so eloquently said in L.A. Story: “Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful and most wonderful. And yet again, wonderful.” 

Bill and me at our college dance
That afternoon, when my dad came to pick me up from school, I introduced the two most important men in my life to one another. They were, and are, so much alike. Both are bright, witty, caring, soft-spoken men (My dad, who is shy and not the easiest person to get to know, and Bill became great friends. Even now, Bill is the only person I can leave in a room with my dad and know that when I return they will still be deep in conversation). 

I guess it comes as no surprise that I married Bill. Each year, we celebrate our wedding anniversary on September 7th. We celebrate our first date anniversary on November 25th. Somewhere along the line it became tradition for Bill to bring me flowers on the 25th of every month. He says it’s to always keep that first date fresh in my mind. Not that he needs to. I have never forgotten one minute of that enchanted day. But don’t tell him that. I like the flowers. And the romance. And taking time out of our busy lives to remember the day our most wonderful journey together began.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November Theme: CELEBRATE FAMILY STORIES MONTH!

One of the reasons I love to write middle grade novels is because they're family stories. Which means they aren't good just for ages 8 - 12; most of the time they're good for all ages.

And since November is National Family Stories Month, what better time to throw down a quilt, pop some corn and cozy up the whole household with a book?

Try any of the amazing titles listed here on the sidebar. Or some classics like CHARLOTTE'S WEB, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, THE BLACK STALLION, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE...

or perhaps some other 2012 releases like these:

MAY B. by Caroline Starr Rose

WONDER by R.J. Palacio

CHAINED by Lynne Kelly

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate

ON THE ROAD TO MR. MINEO'S by Barbara  O'Connor

  THE LIONS OF LITTLE ROCK by Kristin Levine

KEEPING SAFE THE STARS by Sheila O'Connor

SEE YOU AT HARRY'S by Jo Knowles

GLORY BE by Augusta Stattergood



Happy reading!