Sunday, May 30, 2010


Well, folks, there aren't enough words. So I offer you a few pics:

The Class of 2k10 at THE VORACIOUS READER

Excellent Editor Stacey Barney with Ludelphia

a few of us after our presentation at NYPL - Mulberry Street Branch with a most beautiful, enthusiastic librarian

the best kind of reader: one who buys LOTS of books!

some of the folks who came out to see us at BOOKS OF WONDER

me and roomie Bonnie Doerr at our BEA shelf

The Class of 2k10 at Carmine's in the Theater District, one of my most favorite NY restaurants

What a great week! Big BIG thanks to all the booksellers and booklovers and authors and readers and random people at the airports and on the streets who helped make this one of my most favorite experiences ever.

Now, off for even MORE adventures with those fellas I love so much! Happy Memorial Day to everyone, and thanks for reading. xo

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Big Apple, here I come!

Some highlights I'm especially looking forward to:

1. Rooming with Bonnie Doerr, author of ISLAND STING. (Bonnie and I are both introverts, and it helps to be with someone who understands the way crowds/events/celebrations can take it all out of a gal. And how quiet time is NECESSARY.)

2. Meeting Excellent Editor Stacey Barney and Awesome Agent Rosemary Stimola in the flesh! And so many cyber writer friends!! Yes, there will be pictures.

3. Snagging some ARCs to read and then give away HERE.

4. Going to Carmine's in the Theater District with Class of 2k10. We have lots of other wonderful events planned, among them Books of Wonder, Tuesday, 6-8 pm; NYPL - Mulberry St. Branch, Wednesday, 10 -12 pm; The Voracious Reader, Wednesday, 4-5 pm... but I'm not sure any of them can top Carmine's. Although we did spring for some very cool tshirts. Shari Maurer, the most amazing, giving, generous New Yorker IN THE WORLD has done so much to facilitate this trip... check out her post here.

5. Broadway, baby! Bonnie and I snagged some tickets to JERSEY BOYS. Think of us, Thursday night, tapping our toes...

Sadly, my computer is on the outs, so I will be without my most favorite gadget. And it is tragic that Paul will not be with me on this trip... I've never been to NYC without him. I mean, who am I gonna kiss in Central Park?? Sigh....

I'll be back with a full report upon my return! Until then, happy last week of school to all you Alabama kids and teachers!! Summer is HERE!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Thanks, back at ya, Mrs, Bramlett's Third Grade Class! Hope y'all have a great summer with lots of Ludelphia-like adventures. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


One of the things I love about my husband is that he is a cat person. He is also a complete sucker for a kitten.

Which is why we now have this little one.

(Paul was out inspecting a house, and the guy next door said, hey, would your wife like a kitten? Little did the guy know that in our house, it's the HUSBAND.)

Paul made his pick: a calico (did you know calico cats are always female?), which we have christened MAGGIE, after my grandmother.

So far she is every bit as sweet as her namesake. And playful. And has a motor box to calm a person even on her worst day.


ETA: Actually, Maggie is not a calico at all! She's a tortoiseshell. That's what they call it when the primary color is black (and not white).

Friday, May 14, 2010


Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I have been blessed with some wonderful women in my life.

One of them was my grandmother. So I was very sad to attend her funeral yesterday, although there is some comfort in the fact that she lived 92 wonderful years and died peacefully in her sleep.

The funny thing about funerals is how you can feel devastated one minute, and joyous the next. This funeral gave our family an excuse to gather: for the first time in at least a dozen years, all five of us kids were in one place WITH both parents also in attendance.

And it was great to catch up with everyone and share stories and memories. Even though all of us hated the fact that Granddaddy was in the hospital and unable to attend his wife's funeral. They were married 69 years!! Can you imagine? Please keep him in your thoughts as he has surgery today to repair a fractured hip and wrist.

I learned more about love from those two than just about anyone. And while my own parents' relationship was a bit chaotic, there was always Grandma and Granddaddy, loving each other in the house they built with their own hands in the small, coastal town of Port St. Joe, Florida.

Grandma was probably my biggest fan. And she was responsible for putting many a book in my hands -- she also took me many times to the Port St. Joe Library. And she read with great enthusiasm and joy pretty much everything I wrote.

Yesterday at the funeral, I read a poem I wrote. And afterwards, a woman came up to me and said, "You looked just like your grandmother when you stood up to read that poem. She was so proud of you."

I hugged her and thanked her for that comment. She is with me now, and always will be.

And now I'd like to share the poem I read. It's fresh, far from complete, but for those of you who have lost someone they love, I offer it to you and hope it brings some comfort.

To the Mourners

Remember: the heart cannot
comprehend endings. You must
walk the path to the ocean,
lift a smooth stone and bend
to examine the shape
left in sand, watch it fill

with water. It isn’t a question
of faith. Things will change.
Walk along the dunes, find
an open caterpillar casing,
a just-born butterfly
fluttering its wings
in this overwhelming world

of light. Then, a spider’s web –
sticky, empty threads a miracle
not to the spider, or the fly,
but to those who grieve.

Every end is a beginning.
A you gather seashells
and sea glass, listen for
that grace-filled moment
after the last bird call
but before the crickets.

Be patient with yourself.
As the sun dips below the waves,
the sky billowing pink and gold
and purple -- rejoice
in what was
and the simple beauty
of what comes after.

- Irene Latham

For other poems, round up is at Alphabet Soup.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Now available at stores near you:

This one has been on my TBR list for quite some time... isn't the cover dreamy? It's historical romance set at Yellowstone National Park, and I am a big fan of romance AND Yellowstone. WIN. Congratulations to Class of 2k10 classmate Janet Fox!!

Haven't read this one, but doesn't it look like FUN??!

And this one... you won't forget Damien! Fun, funny, super-hero-y.... Congratulations, Chelsea!

And for the historical fiction buffs, here's a great story for you. I've already raved about this one, and after having met Christina, I can rave about her too!! Don't miss!

Monday, May 10, 2010


Okay, so now I'm a wee bit glad I wasn't able to complete my quilt in time for the Guild show.

Here's why:

"Happiness is... a day at the Gulf (before the oil slick)." Amazing hand-work. And she cut all those pieces of coral and spent 37 hours on beading alone!

Hand-quilted CIRCLES by Julie over at Green Quilts. Do you have any idea how HARD that is??! (Me neither, because I have never attempted it. But wowzers, can I imagine.)

My favorite title: "Happiness is... Dark Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Cream Sauce." This one got first prize in its category!

A quilt with books on it?? Does life get any better?! I so wanted to take this one home with me.

And finally, the BEST OF SHOW. Great colors... and over 600 buttons! Gorgeous!!!

Yep, I would have been so embarrassed... hats off to all you AWESOME quilters! I am in love with your work AND your stories. Happiness is.... going to a quilt show.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


I remember a bumper sticker from years ago - long before I was a parent - that read, "PARENTING IS SACRED."


You mothers know what I'm talking about. Happy Day to you all!

And most especially, Happy Day to my mother. We don't get to choose our parents, and wow, have I been most fortunate to be so well loved from before I was even born.

And now, the flip side... my boys know their mother pretty well. So my gifts were handmade creations: a funny card from oldest son, complete with illustrations; a box made out of paper from my youngest; and the following verse from the one in the middle (he gave me permission to share):


My mom is so cool
She married no fool
She had three kids
That she did
She wrote a book
And is a wonderful cook
She is a great lady
And her name is not Katie
She is my mom
And she is the bomb!

Sweetness... and I have to thank that "no fool" for his gentle reminders to the guys... these things tend to slip their minds in between track practice and Halo and a gazillion urgent texts and downloading songs to their ipods.

I love all of you so very much!

*art by Pablo Picasso

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Dear Julius Lester,

You don't know me, but I talk about you all the time. That's because you have been an important part of my writing journey. Allow me to explain.

Back in 2003, I saw something that changed my life. It was The Quilts of Gee's Bend art exhibit at the Whitney in New York City. I was captivated by the quilts, fascinated by the quilters and their history. After a couple of years of immersing myself in all things Gee's Bend, I started writing a story.

Eventually that story became LEAVING GEE'S BEND, my debut historical novel for children. It's about a ten year old African American girl in 1932 Gee's Bend, Alabama, who sets out to get medical help for her sick mother and records her ensuing adventures in a quilt she is making.

But I am not African American, and I did not grow up in poverty. So, when I got the offer from Putnam, I was terrified. What if I got it wrong?

Like any good word-loving gal faced with a challenge, I turned to books. Among them, yours: ON WRITING FOR CHILDREN & OTHER PEOPLE. And there I found your voice, your experience, and these priceless words:

"To equate identity with race and culture is to deny the power of the imagination which can be the empathatic bridge between nations, cultures, and indviduals. Instead of placing barriers around a culture and denying others permission to enter, we should be thankful that people from outside our group are interested, curious, want to learn, want to feel a sense of belonging with us. Cultures are not private reserves but humble offerings."

So when people ask me about my experience writing across culture, I tell them this: Julius Lester said I could. So I did.

And I have to tell you, it has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. Thank you for the gift your words have been to my writing career. I will do my best to live up to them.



Readers: Julius Lester has written many stories for adults and children, one of which is the Newbery Honor winning TO BE A SLAVE. He blogs periodically here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


...with SHADE by fellow 2k10 classmate Jeri Smith-Ready. She's awesome, and the critics are loving this one -- I look forward to reading!

...TORTILLA SUN by Jennifer Cervantes. I raved about this one when I read the ARC, and I recently had the pleasure of meeting the author -- both are beautiful!

...PROPHECY OF DAYS by Christy Raedeke. Another cover I love, author I love, premise I love! Congrats, Christy -- so excited to finally get to read!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


They can bring together mothers and daughters in a book club at Homewood Library... (meet the daughters)

They can inspire 3rd graders to make art at Reeltown School...

They can inspire a great home ec pillow project for middle schoolers at Berry Middle School...

...and provide a way for staff members to tell their family stories...

AND they can bring together people of all ages in celebration of history and family and all the ways we are connected to one another. (10 year old Eric is behind the camera!)

Thanks, everyone, for sharing the quilt-love!!