HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

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Sherri (Berries) Winston enjoying a delightful gift of Shari’s Berries for Mother’s Day.

To all the mama’s who have read bedtime stories until they thought they’d go insane, and then teared up when your little one’s staggered through their first read aloud attempts, you are my heroes—take a bow.

My mommy put books in my hand when I was still in the crib. I haven’t stopped reading since. Please enjoy a blessed day of pampering and smiling and loving and sharing. From me and my girls, I hope you all have THE BEST DAY EVER!

Kisses to you all!

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Only four more days! Get it while it’s hot. Brianna Justice is determined. She is going to be president of the fifth grade, or else! Will business success cost her friendships? She’s either headed for entrepreneurial success or she’s creating one HUGE recipe for disaster!

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO…

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Girl Code—the latest in the Brianna Justice series. Our sixth-grade heroine has set aside her mixing bowls to pursue a new dream—TV anchorwoman. However, when she winds up working for a print newspaper in Detroit with her new mentor, Brianna soon learns that much like baking, great journalism requires the right balance of ingredients. Is she up to the challenge of staring down prejudicial stereotypes—especially when SHE is part of the group doing the stereotyping? Get ready, ‘cause Brianna Justice is here!

History Is Made

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On Tuesday, Feb. 6, my nephew and I watched history being made when SpaceX launched into outer space.

Daelyn, my nephew, is a 17-year-old high school junior. I’ve been telling that boy he was a natural-born engineer since he was seven or eight. Did he listen to me? Noooo! Then along comes Elon Musk. Now the kid is monitoring the NASA website and reading about astrophysics, astronomy and, you guessed it—engineering.43B4868C-CF19-4D87-ABDC-6A7EE532CEEC

We waited from 11:30 am until 3:45 pm. A community of history-seeking sky gazers shared our experience on a rocky lip of land that overlooked a slip of Intracoastal water separating us from the Space Center. People of all ages and ethnicities strolled, chatted, sunbathed, snacked, read and prepped their cameras. All in anticipation of the launch.

Daelyn and I sat in canvas chairs. His youthful energy was a stark contrast to my need for a nap. Still, he looked over, face gleaming in the sunlight, and said, “This is it. We did pretty good, huh?”

Right now I am officially his BAE—Best Aunt Ever.

 

A Writer’s Life…

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The Breakdown Cure

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I’m juggling a couple projects, but on deadline for only one. So, of course, it takes precedence. My brain has jet lag even though it’s been months since I’ve been near a jet. And I’m trying to plan marketing strategies for my two newest books as well as a book giveaway. Too early for vodka. So, comfort food it is. #amwriting

Homemade tomato soup is good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Not to mention creative meltdowns and middle-of-the-night panic attacks. (“Oh, god! Did I remember to rearrange paragraphs three and four? DID I? THE WHOLE MANUSCRIPT IS DOOMED!”)

Quick zesty tomato soup recipe. Eat like a published author or manic insomniac. Either way, the soup tastes good.

1 can tomato sauce (I prefer Contadina, but hey, you do you)

1 cup 2 percent milk (I’ve done it with pure cream or whole milk; richer taste, but can feel greasy)

2 tsp butter

1 tsp basil

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Tomato sauce, basil and pepper in saucepan, bring to boil. Lower heat, add butter, milk, and nutmeg. Bring to slow boil. You can get your bowl and crackers, or toast points or grilled cheese ready while you wait. Takes about six minutes. Watch carefully. You know that milk will rise up like a frothy beast if you’re not careful. Voila! Top with a sprinkling of Parmesan or cheddar. Soup is served.

 

A Bright And Shiny Day

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Authoring can be tough. You are the creator, the whimsical-minded engine that brings imaginary worlds to life.

But you are also the businesswoman. The one-woman-shop, who must handle public relations, promote, plan speaking events and marketing strategies. When you are trying to be an up-and-comer in the publishing world and produce a beautiful piece of work, which I shamelessly proclaim The Sweetest Sound to be, you expect the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD will love it as much as you.

The reality, however, is that despite critical accolades, a dedicated marketing team at your publisher and determined efforts on your part, your little book hasn’t yet set the world afire as you’d hope.

Which is why Saturday was so awesome.

I awoke to an email from a dedicated school librarian in Upstate New York. Talk about chicken soup for the soul. Stacey Rattner contacted me to says how much she enjoyed The Sweetest Sound and how much her students loved it. She even sent along copies of letters the children had written to me about what they thought of the book.

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As I was already preparing to go out and visit bookstores to Twitter and Tweeter and all sorts of social media stuff for Sweetest paperback, feeling the love energized me. I wore makeup, put on a dress and even wore heels. Then I met the cutest, sweetest bookseller at Books-A-Million in the Loop Mall, Kissimmee. She was so excited to meet—Me?

At the Barnes & Noble near downtown Orlando, bookseller Cassie was an angel, helping  take pictures as I grinned like a mad woman upon seeing my new paperbacks.

It was one of those days when us little-known yet determined authors can, for just a while, feel like a J.K. Rowling or James Patterson or Jacqueline Woodson. It was a very good day.

BIG BOOK NEWS: THE SWEETEST SOUND PAPERBACK

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It may be rainy today throughout Florida, but there is sunshine in my heart. My sweet, sweet little book about a 10-year-old girl who has the voice of an angel—Mariah Carey is her hero—but is afraid to be heard. I wrote the book so that each chapter would feel like a song. I love this book and now that she’s a brand new paperback, I hope you get to know Cadence Mariah Jolly and fall in love with her story, too. Kisses!