Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Quinn Norris chose THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL as the favorite book she read this past school year. She designed a JESSIE bookmark for her English class and made an A! Congratulations, Quinn and thanks for sharing your bookmark with me.

Friday, May 24, 2013

An Impromptu Book Tour in Tucson!

Recently, I had the chance to visit one of my oldest friends in Tucson, Arizona. Just look at that sky and the mountains in the background! This trip was in no way related to THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL, but I used the opportunity to talk about JESSIE to the people I met there. I like to think of it as "killing two birds with one stone."

Every week I check my sales numbers on Author Central. I went from having no sales in Arizona to eleven copies sold. Those sales are directly attributable to a trip I took for pleasure. Marketing opportunities are all around me. I simply have to keep my eyes open and squash the urge to be pushy and overanxious. Most people resist a hard sell.

If you're a writer, what impromptu marketing opportunities have fallen into your lap? Combining vacation and marketing can be fun!

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Book Signing, A Book Review, And Why I'm A Rock Star!

Recently I traveled to my hometown, East Bend, North Carolina, for a book signing at the East Bend Public Library.

This is a picture from that event. I'm with Brad Matthews, an old friend from Fall Creek Elementary School, that I hadn't seen in many years.

To coincide with my appearance at the library, Yadkin Valley Living Magazine wrote a review of THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL. You can read it on their website, (page 54), or pick up a copy at local libraries and businesses throughout the Yadkin Valley.

A good friend asked how my signing went and I told her, "It's as close as I'll ever come to being a rock star!" The audience was full of family and old friends, (some of these friends I hadn't seen since our school days). My writing has brought me many special days, but none more special than this one. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Writing from Personal Experience

In 1969, my sister was hit by a car. She was only five-years-old when it happened. I was playing in the sandbox and witnessed the accident, but my memories of it are foggy. What I remember most is seeing a body hit the passenger side door. At first, I thought someone was falling out of the car. My mind didn't connect the dots. I had no idea it was Robin.

Somehow I ran to the scene of the accident, but I don't remember doing so, only that I was there. Recently I asked my mom what she remembered. Her memories are cloudy too, but she told me that Robin took a couple of steps afterward and then collapsed. I experienced the accident emotionally and not logically. It was too horrific for my mind to process the details. All I'm left with is feelings.

The overwhelming emotion that I remember from that time in my life is guilt. Robin had a collapsed lung, a concussion, and a broken femur bone. She spent weeks in the hospital and then came home in a body cast. I felt guilty because I could run and jump and play, while Robin had to lay flat on her back and use a bedpan. She was as helpless as a newborn baby.

I decided to write a middle grade novel about the accident. Though I was actually eight at the time it happened, I made my protagonist twelve. I decided to really give her something to be guilty about. In the fictionalized account, Sarah is supposed to be babysitting and is reading when the accident happens.

Much of the story is true: the injuries, the details about living with someone in a body cast, the fact that my dad actually bought a pony and brought it home in the back of a car, but as with my first novel, most of the plot is made up. What's true are the emotions.

Have you ever tried writing fiction based on a personal experience? If so, what challenges did you encounter?

Friday, May 3, 2013

And the Winner Is: Rosi Hollinbeck!

The winner of the drawing for a copy of BELLA SAVES THE BEACH is Rosi Hollinbeck. Rosi blogs over at THE WRITE STUFF. Congratulations to Rosi and a big thank you to everyone who participated!