Friday, October 29, 2010


Hello, and welcome to Poetry Friday! Round up is at The Writer's Armchair.

My contribution is this poem from Ellen Dore Watson's collection DOGGED HEARTS.

I LOVE THIS BOOK. It's from Tupelo Press, and it's all persona poems that illuminate small ordinary moments with inspired thought and vocabulary. It's no wonder Ellen was hailed by Library journal as one of "24 Poets for the 21st Century." I wish I'd known when I met her at Colrain how much I would later enjoy her work. Alas.

Give this one a gander:

were cool and simple, jade against skin.
As if early gifts could negate late inattention.
The way she just stands there, tippety
with counterweights, hands jammed in pockets.
As if even my seeing them would be a thanks
I don't deserve. As if her wrists, bare as the day
I pinned them to the table, and oh her mouth,
never-ready, like the elbow she used to offer me,
to steer her smiling into the sea of smiles.
As if trust didn't sail in both directions.

- Ellen Dore Watson

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I've been hearing lots of buzz about this book:

Can't wait to read, especially after my recent trip to Vicksburg, where I had a lovely time with all sorts of wonderful librarians, but most especially the crew from Oxford: Dorothy Fitts, Nancy Opalko, Judy Card, Laura Beth and Corey. Thanks so much for the invitation AND for the good time. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I love Mississippi!

Now for something that made me laugh: What's wrong with this picture?

Ummm, yeah. That lovely bespectacled woman ain't me! In fact, none of us could figure out who she was at all. So, Lovely Bespectacled Woman, if you're reading, please do speak up. Would love to meet you.

My luncheon talk with the librarians couldn't have gone better -- except for my hair. Lordy, did that Yazoo River do a number on my badly-in-need-of-a-trim locks! (Adding to the to-do list: Get A Haircut)

Another highlight for me was watching Sarah C. Campbell receive the Book Award for WOLFSNAIL. I snagged this pic from her post with the details.

I also waved when I passed the exit for Chunky, MS (at least one reader knows why), then stopped in Meridian on my way home, to visit writer friend Richelle Putnam who is always ALWAYS doing something creative and exciting. This time she showed me her offices at Blue South Publishing, where she is the managing editor of a soon-to-debut arts and culture mag called LEGENDS. SO exciting! And great, as always to share time and space with such a generous, visionary spirit.

What's next, you ask? Well. I've decided to do NANOWRIMO for (get this!) an ADULT project. Yep, it's happening.... happy last week of October, y'all!

Monday, October 18, 2010


(l-r: Mary Ann Taylor, Irene Latham, Pat Weaver, Stacey Barney and Jana Hutcheson)

Vulcan: it's #14 in the book 101 THINGS YOU MUST DO IN ALABAMA. And it was so much more fun than #54 (or whatever number it was), which was something about getting eaten up by chiggers.

Ummm, NO. Not gonna be the one responsible for introducing Excellent Editor to chiggers. Makes me itchy just thinking about it....

Thursday, October 14, 2010


So. Got a lovely email yesterday from a friend who very gently asked, "Where the heck have you been?!"

Sadly, not much on the interwebs. Or, NOT so sadly. Depends on how you look at it.

My book event schedule is jam-packed the entire month of October... tomorrow I will welcome Excellent Editor Stacey Barney to Birmingham, where we are having a Southern-Breeze conference. I've got big plans for Ms. Barney tomorrow, and I'm thrilled some of my best writing compatriots (hey Pat and Jana!!) will be joining us. Then on Saturday I'm giving a little session on Book Trailer Basics, and Stacey and I are jointly presenting a session called "The Author-Editor Relationship: What to Expect After the Contract." Fun, right??


On Sunday I travel back to Auburn (location of probably the Best Writing Conference I Have Attended Maybe Ever-- Auburn Writers Conference) for a YA Panel at the Auburn Public Library with the fabulous youth librarian Eve and other Awesome Alabama Authors R.A. Nelson, Ginger Rue and Rachel Hawkins.


On Wednesday I travel to Vicksburg, MS, for Mississippi Library Association, where I am the luncheon speaker. I am so very excited about this, because I LOVE Mississippi librarians! I had such a great time with them at Fay B. Kaigler this past April that I nearly decided I should up and MOVE to Mississippi.


Will have to settle for visiting often. Looking forward to it! Also looking forward to watching Sarah C. Campbell accept the inaugaral Mississippi Book Award for her amazing book WOLFSNAIL. Sarah always inspires me, so I can't wait to chat, clap, hug, etc.

Also, I have been invited to a Halloween party by author-friend Gin Phillips (THE WELL AND THE MINE and forthcoming GHOSTS UNDERGROUND, which sounds every bit as amazing as her debut!) in which I am supposed to "come as a cliche." How brilliant is that?? Still deciding which cliche to go with... so many, so little time! Suggestions welcome.

So that's me. I hope all your worlds, both real and imaginary, are filled with joy and beauty. xo

Monday, October 4, 2010


I can't believe it's October. I mean, I love October. I just can't believe it's here already. But wow, is it ever. We've had some wonderfully cool evenings and delightfully sunshiney days, which are fantastic for taking a book out on the porch and reading for a spell.

To start with, there's DAYS OF LITTLE TEXAS by fellow Alabamian and amazing writer R.A. Nelson -- it's just out in paperback with an eye-catching new cover. And yes, it's about faith. It also has a ghost in it. Russ is cool like that.

And you don't want to miss LOSING FAITH by Tenner and 2k10 classmate Denise Jaden. This one is tightly written and mysterious and sad and hopeful... and I learned about church home groups and other stuff I knew nothing of. I was fascinated by the tension created by a girl of little faith growing up in a home bursting with faith... congratulations, Denise! May you write many more!!!

Finally, check out this collaboration from Elizabeth Dulemba and Susan Rossen Spain:

Elizabeth said, "be a peach," and I was like, well, sure because I already am! A Georgia peach, that is... yep, I was born there. Which makes me especially excited about this Christmas offering. I still remember my father reading The Cajun Night Before Christmas when we lived in Louisiana... love me some regional Christmas fun! Even in October. For me, anytime is a good time for Christmas cheer.

If you need me, I'll be outside, soaking up the season... hope you are too!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


My Russian readers know what I'm talking about, don't you?

And come March 2011, all the rest of my readers will know as well... because that's when Ruta Sepetys' debut historical novel BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY will be released by Penguin/Philomel.

The book is based on the author's family and the real-life WWII events you may not have heard of: 15 year old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her familiy and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. (taken from inside jacket of ARC)

The facts are just as horrific as you can possibly imagine. But the story is written so beautifully, and with such love, that you come away from the experience partly slaughtered by man's inhumanity to man. More than that, though, you will leave this book inspired, humbled and in awe of the courage and tenacity of the human spirit.

So don't let the tough subject matter scare you away. This book will change you. And having just met Ruta at SCBWI Midsouth conference, I can tell you that her own indomitable spirit is every bit as powerful as what exists on these pages.

Congratulations, Ruta!! Thank you SO MUCH for writing this story. I look forward to watching its journey in the world! And for those of you who want to know more before March... there is a wonderful video found here.