Friday, November 13, 2015

Audacity Jones to the Rescue


I love this one so much.

Why, you might ask?

Well, first of all, it's KIRBY LARSON, y'all.

I started circling sentences I loved and before long the whole dang book was circled.

For instance, "Miss Maisie's barley-water breath traveled the length of the scarred mahogany table arriving well before her reprimand."

"Miss Maisie's smile wobbled in her pasty face."

"He felt the wings of freedom sprouting at his shoulders."

And it's funny.

"I don't like danger," said Bimmy. "It's too dangerous."

"Her sit-upon especially ached."

The descriptive details are luscious.

"...the scent of the desert about him."

"...the gray flannel afternoon sky.."
The word choices are perfection.
Olfactory conundrum
It's adventurous
and mysterious
and a darn good yarn. 
There's a character named Mrs. O'Connor who was named after me! (But that in no way influenced my opinion of this lovely book -  but might have made me love Kirby Larson a SQUINCH more than I did before, if that's possible.)
So run,
Don't walk,
To your nearest indie bookstore
For this one.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Shout-Out to Lamar County Elementary School

Just had the BEST school visit I've had in a long time.

Thank you, Lamar County Elementary School in Barnesville, Georgia,  for making my visit so special.

(And thank you, Mrs. James, for making it possible.)

They gave me the BEST gift basket.

With principal, Dr. Scandrett

Being interviewed. Great job, guys!

With the BEST library media specialists, Claudia Bryan and Betty Smith.

Thank you, Lamar County Elementary School!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Greetings from Nowhere in Paperback!

Kids always ask me what my favorite book is (that I've written).

I used to say I don't have a favorite.

But that's a lie.

I do.

So now I tell kids the truth.

My favorite book is GREETINGS FROM NOWHERE.

And guess what?

It's out in paperback officially on August 25!


And here's the new cover

Art by Tad Carpenter

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Things I Love Thursday

I love my critique group!

How lucky I am that I've been a part of this amazing group for....

.....TWENTY-FIVE years!!!

We've been through life's ups and downs...

...publishing/writing/illustrating ups and downs...

We've laughed and cried and offered sage advice and warm hugs and honest words and kind looks and finger wags and encouraging words and all those things one needs in life.

We've been serious and silly and sad together.

They let me bring my timer (tick tick tick) and loved me, the gentle dictator, anyway.

Yesterday was my last (sniff, sniff) meeting with them before my move.

They gave me a gift certificate to White Flower Farm, so I can "enjoy these new blossoms as a token of our love and appreciation." (Waaaaah)

They gave me these great garden ornaments:

And this adorable dog:

And this amazing framed photo that I will cherish forever (On the background is printed all of the books we have critiqued together. So cool!) 

 I feel so blessed.

Thank you, friends.

Tick Tick Tick

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Things I Love Thursday

So, I've been pretty absent from this blog lately.

But there's been a lot going on.

Because, well.....this....

After 26 years in New England, my husband and I are heading back to my beloved South....right there at the edge of the Smoky Mountains, my heart's home.

Specifically, to Asheville, North of the most beautiful and coolest places ever.

So happy.



So hard to say goodbye to things and places and PEOPLE I love dearly.

Starting with my house.

My son grew up here.

We have 26 years worth of amazing memories.

My husband's hippie carpenter friend came out from Arizona to help us build our screened porch:

Where we spent so many magical summer nights:

We built a swimming pool:

My son on the right

Which brought us lots of happy times:

With my dearest pal, Gucci, who shared almost daily walks and talks with me. (And sewed for me and picked me up when I wrecked my cars and was always there for me and on and on and on. BFFs forever.)


In the cement beside the pool

There is still chewed woodwork in our house caused by puppies who grew into gray-faced old dogs.

Murphy, the first puppy we brought to this house. (She lived to be 14) Son on the left.

There are guinea pigs buried in the backyard, where neighborhood children held somber-faced funerals and left wilted clover flowers.

My son brought a chestnut home from the cemetery beside our church when he was very small. It was in a paper cup. We said he could plant it anywhere he wanted to, never dreaming it would become this beauty:

This is the gate between my yard and my neighbor's, who is also the dearest of friends one could ever want. That friend who GETS me. On countless summer nights, she came through that gate to dance to disco music with me under the moonlight or listen to owls in the Adirondack chairs in the yard (snuggled together under a quilt like little girls instead of grown women), or laugh and cry and gossip on the porch. (Because that's what you do with your besties.) Pool Girl, you know I love you.

A gift she gave me. Perfect

So, yeah, lots of memories in that house

 I'll miss my gardens.

I'll miss my summer writing office:

So on this Things I Love Thursday, I'm loving my house.

And loving my dear, dear friends here, including:

Janet Zade (left), so wise and honest and punctual (three of the greatest traits of a friend, I think.) How lucky am I? Thank you, Janet.

My writers' group (There is no greater treasure for a writer than a group like this. We've been up, down, and all around together.)


I'm looking forward to making new friends

and building memories in a new house

in a new place.

Turning the page.

New chapter.

So, by the way, school teachers and librarians of the Carolinas, I'll be ready to come to YOUR school this fall. (I know, buzz kill, right?)

And, now, I'll close with a song that makes me cry

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Things I Love Thursday

I love my son's "writing" when he was 3 or 4 years old.

I used to write at the kitchen table. 

He would sit at the table and "write," too!

Friday, May 8, 2015

How Lucky Am I?

I'm so lucky to have readers who write wonderful reviews like this!!!

My favorite parts:

"I'm begging you to read it."

"It's addictive. Pick it up, never put it down."

Thanks so much for this wonderful review!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

And the winner is...

And the winner of the classroom set (25) of

The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis

(chosen via


Tanya Hudson


Chase Street Elementary School

in Athens, Georgia.

Congratulations, Tanya! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quote of the Day

I absolutely love this quote:

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.

 —Elmore Leonard

Friday, April 17, 2015

Student Interview Video

Here's a short video of students from Gibson-Neill Memorial Elementary School in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Quote of the Day

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. 

--Stephen King

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Want books? Classroom set giveaway

Because I'm so happy that spring is finally here....

....and the snow is finally gone....

.... I'm going to celebrate.


I'm giving away books.


Just givin' 'em away.

To whom?

Teachers and school librarians, that's who.

How many?




That's right.

I'm giving away a classroom set - 25 hardcover copies - of


All you have to do is leave the following in the comments section of this blog:

1. Your name
2. Your school name
3. Your email address

That's it!

The giveaway starts:

Now! (April 15)

The giveaway ends:

April 22 (midnight)

(Please note: I'll ship the books anywhere in the U.S. No international shipments. Sorry.)


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Thank you, Canada!!

I recently spent three days visiting schools in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

To get there, I had to fly on an itty bitty little plane like this, that kind of freaked me out.

But I survived. Phew!


My first stop was Gibson-Neill Memorial Elementary, where they know that it's the little things that count.  A reserved parking spot! (I love all those different-colored letters.)

I was greeted by Alex and Quinn. A nice welcome!

The students had decorated the gym. Love this greeting sign.

Students had made book trailers and illustrated booklets.

Such great pictures of dogs!

More dogs

More drawings and trailers

More drawings! The school was so festive.

And more drawings....

I loved seeing these booklets the students made for How to Steal a Dog.

Some students had made these cool scenes from clay, on display in the library.

More decorations in the gym

Speaking to Gibson-Neill Memorial students

Reading to the students

This is a spring-time recess in Canada! Brrrrr

Students being interviewed by the local radio station (Canadian Broadcast). She asked them great questions about my books (and they gave great answers).

Liam, Boyd, Aiden and Conor had lunch with me and asked some great questions.

Next stop was Barker's Point Elementary, where I was greeted by this great sign.

Hannah and Amelia greeted me with this great sign.

Students had done some terrific drawings for me.

More drawings! Thank you, Barker's Point.

(l to r) The amazing Sherry Norton-Graham, who made this trip possible and treated me like a queen (Thanks for everything, Sherry!), me, and Barker's Point principal Jeanne Wood)

Next stop was Park Street Elementary, where I had the pleasure of having lunch with these super nice students. We practiced saying our names in Pig Latin.

And more Park Street students.

Thank you, Sherry (who has the same birthday as me!!)