Monday, May 19, 2014

My Debut Year In Review!

THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL recently won the Crystal Kite Award for the Southeast Region. That was the perfect way to end my debut year. Looking back, here are some of the highlights:

Pre-publication: My cover art was revealed on September 15, 2012. Shortly thereafter, I worked with my publisher on flap copy. With the help of Linda Kaufman, my website designer, I overhauled my blog and website. Wendy Hostetter Davis designed my book trailer. You can watch it here:

Publishers Weekly gave The Ballad of Jessie Pearl its first professional review. Kirkus, Booklist, SLJ, and several others soon followed. My publisher collected all my reviews and posted them on the namelos website.

The Ballad of Jessie Pearl's official book birthday was February 1, 2013. JESSIE and I were featured on the front page of my hometown newspaper, The Yadkin Ripple. My friend Regine Gordon threw a launch party for all my Tampa friends. I had a book signing at my hometown library in East Bend, North Carolina. This picture is at the library with Brad Matthews, one of my friends from elementary school.

Since the initial launch, I have spoken at the 2013 ALAN Conference on a panel of Southern writers, cheered when Booklist Online named JESSIE'S cover art as one of the year's best, led a workshop at the North Carolina Reading Association Conference, and been interviewed in the ALAN Review.

My debut author journey has been a satisfying experience and winning a Crystal Kite Award was like getting an extra cherry on my nut sundae. The only thing more exciting is that I get to do it all again! My second novel, Carolina Girls will be edited by Andrea Pinkney and published by Scholastic. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 8, 2014


I am thrilled and amazed that my book won the Crystal Kite for the southeast region, (Florida, Georgia, SC, NC, and Alabama). That means my book earned a sticker. And though I'm much too old for kindergarten, I am still excited about that!

I was in the bathtub when I got "the call" from Linda Bernfeld, my Regional Advisor. Luckily, I had the phone close by. Who am I kidding? I'm a mom...the phone is always close by. Linda asked if I'd looked at my email. And then I knew. I just knew deep down that JESSIE had won! Forget relaxing in the bathtub. I had enough adrenaline pumping to launch a rocket ship!

It will be a week tomorrow since Linda called, and all I can say is thank you. JESSIE and I feel truly blessed.