A Writer’s Delight!

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    Serendipity is a beautiful thing!

An unexpected email led to a delightful afternoon.

Hometown grandmother Nancy knew I grew up in Michigan and wondered if I’d autograph a book for her granddaughter visiting from Washington state. Then she realized I now lived in Florida. She expressed how much her daughter loved her new book, President of the Whole Sixth Grade—Girl Code.

Well, just so happened I was in Michigan for the wonderful author-illustrator experience, Nerd Camp, in Parma, Michigan. I reached out to Nancy, set a date, and it was on.

Meeting Nancy and Sarah was a true highlight to my week. Sarah, 10, was adorable and very smart. We sat around chatting like ladies who lunch.

Divine!

And if that wasn’t enough of the serendipity sauce, Nancy brought along a friend—my middle school civics teacher whose habit of teaching us to read newspapers in her classroom directly led to the plot of the third book in the President series—Mrs. Western. Now, I’m sure the woman has a first name but I still feel like raising my hand when I see her so I didn’t ask.

Thanks Sarah and Nancy for renewing my understanding of why I write stories for children. Your kind words motivated me to carry on. And thank you, truly, to Mrs. Western, whose caring yet no-nonsense teaching style helped open my eyes to the world around me, inspiring me to see greater and be greater. Thank you, ladies for a wonderful day.

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!

A Writer’s Life…

Stories

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

Stories

 

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!