Saturday, August 30, 2008


The older I get, the smaller the world becomes. Several months after I heard the recording of Piper Reed Navy Brat, I received a card from a librarian acquaintance, Janice Card, who told me the delightful voice of the recording belonged to her niece, Emily Janice Card. We really are seven degrees or less from each other!

Emily also recorded Piper Reed the Great Gypsy and is scheduled for the forthcoming Piper book. Except as a listener, the world of audiobooks is foreign to me so I asked Emily if she would give us some insights. I also wanted to know a little about the talented person behind the voice of Piper and the other characters. Come along with me, as we learn together.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina.

My family moved there when I was two years old, and I lived there until I was twenty two. It's not flashy, but it was a nice place to just be a kid, riding bikes and playing in the woods.

Piper is the middle child. Where are you in the birth order?

I am the second child, but for years there were only three kids in the family (my younger sister was born when I was 13), so I still feel like I'm the middle child! I could be a little bratty, too, especially to my older brother, but like Piper, I secretly thought my family was pretty cool.

How did you start your career as a reader for recorded books?

When I moved to Los Angeles, my father introduced me to Stefan Rudnicki, president & executive producer of Skyboat Road Company, which produces the audiobooks of my dad's work. (My dad is Orson Scott Card.) I had moved to L.A. to act, and so I jumped at the chance to audition for Stefan as a reader. He gave me my first opportunities narrating short stories, and then full books, and I continue to learn a lot from him, when he directs me, and when I get to direct him, being the award-winning narrator he is!

I'm delighted with the different voices you use. How do you prepare for a reading?

Thank you! My preparation is pretty simple. I read through the book once (not aloud!), to get the overall sense of the plot, and the tone, as well as noting all the characters that appear. I also look up words I don't know how to pronounce, especially the names of real people and places. Then, I work out the voices, and more importantly, the attitudes of the characters in the book, to make sure I capture how the author described them, and differentiate them enough from each other that the listener will always be clear who is who. But I don't like to pore over the book too hard after that, because I like to let the story "happen" to me as I read it!

Could you walk us through what happens when you record?
How long does it usually take to record a Piper book?

Piper Reed is so much fun to read, and your writing flows so easily, that it is that rare book that takes almost the same amount of time to record as it does to listen to! By that I mean, I don't trip over my tongue very often when reading it, so we don't have too many instances of doing another take, or "pick-ups" on a sentence. The director and I will start in the studio at around 10 am, and in both cases we've been done no later than 2 pm. What a fun way to spend the day! Most people don't realize audiobooks have directors, and some don't, but for me recording is so much better as a collaborative process! Directors are the first listeners, and notice things that you just can't when you're performing. They can also encourage you to try something different, or redirect your energy so that your reading has dimensions and colors you might not have thought could come out of you. I was really lucky to work with directors Kelly Gildea and Jessica Kaye on the first two Piper Reed books.

What do you like most about your job?

It is a combination of two things I love: reading and acting. Most people have to find time after work to read good books, but I get to do it on the job!

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

You know, there is still so much I want to study, to improve, to see and experience in this lifetime, I really can't say! Hmm, my mother might read this answer and send me a Franklin Planner. But I do know I'll always be happiest telling stories in some form, whether that means recording audiobooks, acting, singing, or even writing a book of my own one day.

Thanks, Emily, for sharing a bit of your process and background with us. And thank you for your wonderful interpretation of Piper, her family, and friends.

*****August Giveaway Winners********

Thank you for participating in the August Giveaways. I had fun. (I think there's a little game show host inside me. I loved Let's Make a Deal as a kid.) Since this was a summer drawing, I didn't know what to expect, but I was thrilled with the response. There were entries from four countries and sixteen states.

The winners of the Piper Reed The Great Gypsy audiobook: Asma Faizal from Malaysia, Larry Hert from Midland, Michigan, and Kelley Hobson from Shreveport, Louisiana.

Drumroll, please.

Now for the winners of the classroom sets of Piper Reed Navy Brat:

Pamela Wilson from John H. Glenn Jr. Elementary in San Antonio, Texas


Judi Stoyanov from Oaklawn Magnet School in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Congratulations to all the winners!

Friday, August 29, 2008


I usually awake early naturally, but once a week I set my alarm, just in case. That's the morning, I write with Charlotte.

Writing is a lonely sort of job and most days I like it that way. But I know that so much time with my solitary craft is what draws me to coffee shops, and what makes me look forward to my weekly early morning writing session with Charlotte. We are little mice, meeting at 6:45 in the basement of a building where Charlotte works. Sometimes she brings doughnuts. Sometimes I bring bagels. We always bring coffee.

Charlotte is a talented writer who loves words and books. Yes, we talk before we write. We talk about our daughters, our husbands, our dogs. But many times our conversations turn to books or writing, too.

During last week's session, I wrote the beginning of the fourth Piper. Yesterday morning we threw out four words and wrote, using them, for about ten minutes. Some folks might think we're not very productive. But I disagree. By the time we part at 8:00 in the morning, I've had a conversation with one of my best friends, and put some words on the page. And to quote a mutual friend, "I just love Charlotte. She makes me laugh."

And that's a very nice way to start a day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Although my school visits are booked for the current year, I'm now booking for 2009/2010.

Some schools can't afford author visits, but there is another alternative. If your class or book club reads one of my books, I'm available for thirty minute phone interviews. Except for the phone call expense, this doesn't cost your school anything. You'll need to have a conference phone available though. I do a couple a month and they're a lot of fun.

To arrange a day and time, just email me at

Also if you are considering using one of my books in your classroom, please take a look at the teachers' guides on my website. All of the books except the Piper books have them.(And the Piper books will soon.)

I've saved the best news for last: When SQUARE FISH learned that I would be giving away a classroom set of Piper Reed Navy Brat to an educator, they generously offered to provide a set, too. So now two different educators will win. Thank you, SQUARE FISH!

Tomorrow I will introduce you to someone who makes my life easier--my assistant, Shaunna Reynolds.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Today the audio edition of Piper Reed the Great Gypsy becomes available. I haven't received my copies yet, but I'm certain it will be great because Emily Janice Card is the reader. Emily recorded the first Piper and will do the third as well. Her charming voice is perfect for Piper and the other characters.

And lucky us, she's agreed to let me interview her about the process. That interview will appear on my blog later this week. So stay tuned.

Meanwhile if you haven't entered the August drawings it's not too late. You have until Saturday, August 30, noon central time to enter. At that time, I'll draw three names for the Piper Reed The Great Gypsy CD. Also I'll draw for the classroom set of Piper Reed Navy Brat. For more details:

August Giveaways

Monday, August 25, 2008


I suppose every town has their rich eccentric. Stanley Marsh 3 is ours. (It's been said that he prefers the 3 because III sounds pretentious.) If you're not from these parts, you might be familiar with one of Stanley's creations--The Cadillac Ranch.

Stanley is also behind another art project that can been seen all around Amarillo. I forget about it until someone visiting us inquires, as my sister did some years back.

"What's with all the signs?" she asked.

Stanley created the signs and offered them to any homeowner who wanted one posted in their yard. They are about the size of a yield sign, but portray a variety of subjects-- Marilyn Monroe in her Seven Year Itch dress on Monroe Street, a mermaid, the Bride of Frankenstein. Just about any image is a possibility.

Some have statements that cause you to scratch your forehead or chuckle aloud--My Grandmother Can Beat Your Grandmother, When Everyone Goes To Different Planets I Will Stay in the Abandoned City, or the one that seems most fitting, Sometimes I think I'm Going Crazy But It's a Happy Kind of Craziness.

I understand he's not making the signs anymore, but most neighborhoods still have a few yards proudly displaying them. These are a couple found around my block.

Note: My Around the Block Monday was inspired by Travis Erwin's My Town Monday. Each Monday Travis blogs about Amarillo.

Travis Erwin's Blog

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Many times I leave the movie theater a bit disappointed. But yesterday afternoon was a sweet surprise. Swing Vote is everything I want from a movie--good acting, smart writing, entertainment, and heartfelt moments.

The story also makes me think about what many of you are probably thinking about these days--who to vote for. Swing Vote examines that important power and makes you believe one vote truly does count.

I grew up in a family of voters so I never considered not voting. Even when we lived overseas, I remember my parents voting by absentee ballots. Sometimes my parents didn't agree on the candidates. That fascinated me and made the election more interesting. Would Mom win or Dad? One year, neither did. But in a way, I won that year. Their polarized decisions taught me that when I was old enough to vote, the choice belonged to me.

I've never known who my maternal grandfather voted for. He's a quiet man who considers political matters personal. However, I always knew who my paternal grandfather supported because he told everyone, and as a bonus, he'd add in a story to back up his choice. Good or bad, I have to admit my grandfather's stories and my family's humble background influence how I vote today.

Once I heard my uncle Tucom say, "I don't like either candidate, but I got to have my griping rights."

This year, my daughter will vote for the president for the first time. She is taking this privilege so seriously, trying to be fair as she makes her decision. The election is causing her to examine who she is. And maybe that's why it's such a difficult decision for most of us. In some huge way, our choice represents who we are. But, of course, no candidate can completely do that. So we step up to the ballot and cast our votes, knowing we are surrendering on some issues in order to give strength to others. At the very least, we walk away having earned our griping rights.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008


Growing up, my sister, the middle child, bought most gifts for our family from Spencers. Spencers is that novelty shop where they sell anything from a whoopee cushion to wild wigs. Once I received a book of jokes with the inscription: Now you can be funny like me. Love, Alicia. I didn't feel too bad after I saw my dad's gift that year. He received cocktail glasses with pictures of women on them. They were fully dressed until the moisture from the drinks caused their clothes to disappear.

But one year she gave me her own copy of The New Cookbook for Poor Poets and Others by Ann Rogers. I had borrowed it several times. Back then, I guess I would have qualified for one of the latter mentioned. I've never been a poet and, at that time, aside from letters and journals, I was not writing. But I loved that book. How could I not love a book that contained recipes within chapters titled The Nickel Dinner and How Its Changed or Hot Soups for Cold Days or Some Not So Virtuous Desserts?

Here's a tiny excerpt from the introduction: "So this is the first rule: Always have fresh bread. The second is always use butter."

Though I wasn't a writer, I was poor at the time. This book offered me an exciting alternative. I could live rich on meager wages. All I simply had to do was have fresh bread and butter at every meal.

The best gifts, we are told, are gifts from the heart. My sister, who I had thought knew me less than anyone, it turns out knew me very well. It was the perfect gift.

A few years back, my daughter, discovered the book in our kitchen. And as I had years before, she became enchanted by its charms.

Yesterday Jerry and I took Shannon to the airport to begin her senior year of college. Before we left, I gave her the cookbook, tied with a red bow. It was the perfect gift for a poor poet who really does write poetry.

Note: Sadly, this book is out-of-print, but if you are quick and wise, you will snap them up from the online booksellers who offer used copies for purchase.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


that I love about Christine Davenier illustrating the Piper books is the way she picks up on special moments in the stories--the sisters sharing a bed as Tori tells a story,

the grandmother visiting and giving each girl a hug.

Christine's work has warmth and movement. Bravo, Christine!

***It's not too late to enter the August Giveaways. Next week is the last weekly drawing and I'll also be drawing for the classroom set of Piper Reed Navy Brat. For more information:
August Give-Aways

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Today is Piper Reed the Great Gypsy's publication day. If you've read the first one, you know that Piper's dad, Chief, is about to leave for ship duty. In the second book, readers get to understand what it is like to be away from a parent for six months. Each chapter represents a month and for most of the book, Chief is at sea.

Although my dad was a dry-dock sailor(he never had ship duty), we spent several periods away from him that would last for months. These days, military kids have dads and moms that are serving in the military. When I researched for the Piper books, I visited The Blue Angels Elementary School in Pensacola. I met in small groups with some of the students who told me what it was like living without one of their parents. That fact alone connected us.

Yesterday my dad called to tell me they'd received their copy and to thank me for the dedication. We talked for a while about his cows, my cousin, and the rain. Then before he hung up, he said, "You know what is special about receiving this book today?"

"What?" I asked.

"Thirty years ago today was the day I was discharged from the Navy."


***Congratulations to this weeks's winners: Shay Thatcher from Warrenville, South Carolina, Michele Sanders from Amarillo, Texas, and Carey Weeks from Shreveport, Louisiana. You each won a copy of Piper Reed The Great Gypsy.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Through a recent blog search, I stumbled on a great weekly ritual some bloggers participate in--My Town Monday. Bloggers all over the world are starting to blog on Mondays about the town where they live. I kept digging and found out that the person behind this brilliant idea lives in Amarillo. If you would like to learn a little more about our city, visit:

Travis Erwin's Blog

Since Travis does such a great job covering the Amarillo sites, I thought I'd try a different take: reports from my neighborhood called AROUND THE BLOCK MONDAYS. This being my first week, I started across the street.

A few months ago I noticed that my neighbors across the street had their flag out. Memorial Day had just passed and at first I thought they might be out of town and had forgotten to take it down. But the next morning on the way to the kitchen to make coffee, I noticed Bill positioning the flag pole in the ground. Most mornings I get up before dawn and it became my habit to look out the front window as the sun started to rise. And most mornings I saw Bill dutifully walking out of his house with the flag. His pace had such purpose, that even if I hadn't known him, I would have realized that he was putting that flag up with such conviction. This simple act meant something to him.

Last week, he caught me as I was watering the side yard. "Do you like zucchini?" he asked. I told him, yes. Before he headed to his garden, I asked about his son, Shawn.

Shawn was fourteen years old when we moved here fifteen years ago. He joined the military a few years back and, as one might expect, he was stationed to Iraq. He was injured over there, but thankfully recovered. He'd since been stationed to Alaska.

When I asked about him, Bill said, "He's coming home before he goes back."


"Iraq," Bill said.

I didn't ask him about the flag. I didn't need to.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I have a new hero. Triple silver Olympian Dara Torres proves dreams have no age limit. At forty one, she competed this week against young women less than half her age.

After ranking second at one competition, a reporter asked her what she thought her weaknesses were.

Without hesitation, Torres answered, "Starts and finishes."

The reporter then asked, "What have you been training the hardest at?"

Torres answered, "Starts and finishes."

Writers can learn a lot from Torres's comments. As a professional, she constantly assesses her performances. She knows her weaknesses and invests time trying to improve them. If we used that same approach in our work, imagine how we could grow as writers.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Most people don't realize writers are only given a certain amount of their own books. For me that number is twenty. With some exceptions, I buy the rest. Those twenty books are sent to family members and a few close friends.

My Piper Reed the Great Gypsy copies arrived last week while I was trying to get the historical finished. But with that done(at least for this round), I could concentrate on sending the books to my loved ones.

I got up early and had a private signing. I signed books for my sisters and their families, my grandfather, aunts and uncles. But I began the signing with Jerry and Shannon. Because that's where it always begins...always.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Since the second Piper book comes out next week, my super-talented web designer, Danielle, created the Piper Reed The Great Gypsy page for the web site. Take a look:

Piper Reed The Great Gypsy

Thursday, August 14, 2008


What does a writer do the day after she sends in a manuscript? Well spend a day doing frivolous things, of course.

Yesterday morning, Shannon returned from meeting a friend for breakfast. She greeted me with five lovely Gerber daisies. "Happy Day After Sending in Your Manuscript Day," she said.

I love Gerber daisies. I love my daughter.

Later we went to lunch at Bakers Brothers and shared a chopped salad. When I dropped her off at her job, I stayed at the book store and spent two hours reading magazines and books. I read a few chapters from a book about Tasha Tudor, but ended up purchasing a couple of others.

So many of the recipes in Katie Brown's Weekends looked scrumptious, but I admit I bought the book for the White Chocolate & Berry Jam S'mores.
(Isn't Katie cute?)

I was also excited to find Larry McMurtry's memoir, Books. Although I have yet to finish the long list of McMurtry's books, I count myself as a fan. Over the years, I've heard quite a few comments from people referring to his crankiness, but I don't believe it for one minute. This is the same man who wrote Lonesome Dove and Terms of Endearment. If you have read either one of those stories, you know this man has a heart.

After book buying, I treated myself to a red velvet cupcake at Village Bakery. Then I wandered into a nearby store. It was the kind of store I don't visit much because they carry items that are expensive and that I really don't need. Twenty minutes later, I walked out with something expensive that I really don't need. At home, I discovered that the knob was not centered, but to me, it adds to its charm. I'm a bit that way myself.

And since I don't want to seem totally frivolous and selfish, Here's Katie Brown's yummy White Chocolate & Berry S'mores:

4 marshmallows
1 8 ounce bar of white chocolate
8 gingersnap cookies
4 tablespoons of berry jam, any kind

1. Toast marshmallows. Place a piece of white chocolate and a marshmallow on one of the gingersnaps.

2. Spoon jam over marshmallows and sandwich with gingersnap.

3. Eat!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Yesterday I ran off three copies of my manuscript--one for my editor, one for my agent, one for me. Before slipping them in the envelopes, I tied each with a bow. When I've worked so hard on something, a rubber band just doesn't seem enough. I should have known the story wasn't ready the first time I sent it in because I left off the bow.

Although I've worked on this story for years, the last few weeks have received my most dedicated focus. On the way to the Fed-X office, I told Shannon, "I wish I could keep that level of intensity for my work every day. Think of what I'd accomplish?"

"I think you might burn yourself out," she said.

Still, I couldn't help but fantasize. Was it Thomas Edison that had duplicates of the same clothes so he didn't have to waste any brain power trying to select what to wear? I thought about what my uniform might be--I could buy seven pairs of blue jeans, seven white shirts or green or should I pick a paisley print? Although knit wide-leg pants are more comfortable than jeans, aren't they? And I do enjoy my pajama day. I'd have to work that in. I think I would fail the Edison uniform part.

But after I dressed, I could establish a routine that revolved exclusively around my current work--When I ate breakfast I could imagine my main character eating breakfast. What would he eat? How would he eat? Every conversation would lead back to my story. For a moment I heard my husband's voice, "How does your plot fit in with what I just said about buying paint for the laundry room?" Yes, that might be exhausting to my friends and family.(Not to say I haven't been guilty of that).

When I returned from Fed-X, I found my house in shambles. My plants had wilted from weeks of neglect, my office floor and desk hid under mounds of paper and coffee cups, a mountain of laundry was piled near the washing machine. It was a glimpse of what constant intensity could lead to.

"I'm taking the rest of the week off," I told Jerry.

"You should take more than that," he said. "You've been working seven days a week the last few months. Haven't you heard of a vacation?"

As a writer, it's hard to not think of my work 24/7. Because quite honestly, it doesn't feel like work most days. It feels like something I'm called to do, something I want to do well. It's in my genes. When I was a girl, my mom sewed constantly. Now the garden is her passion. My 94 year old grandfather is the same way. He gets up early and works in the yard.

Believe me, I know living a balanced life is beautiful. I've struggled with it for years. But I'm going to start right now by giving my plants a drink of water and putting a load of whites in the laundry. And I might even wear a dress today.

***Congratulations to: Kristel Sexton of Amarillo, Tricia Hock of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and Jenny Manning of Bryant, Arkansas. You each have won a CD of Piper Reed Navy Brat.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I finished! At least for this round. This is the second time my story will go to Christy.

I could not have done it without my proofreaders, Jerry and Shannon, and a sausage and pepperoni pizza. It was like dominoes. I proofed a few chapters, handed them to Jerry, and he passed them on to Shannon. Do other writers bribe their family members with pizza?

All summer I've relied on Shannon's advice. She's read a few chapters at a time and I've listen to her suggestions. Today she said she was glad to finally read from the first page to the last. It helped her see how all the threads came together and how the story unfolded.

There have been times this story has parallelled my life. It is a story of gifts and how we use them. This summer I started to doubt mine. I started to think I'd forgotten how to write a book. I'd lost my confidence. But just as my characters learned, I too learned, our gifts never leave us.

Friday, August 8, 2008


There are a lot of things that get neglected when I'm at the finish line of a manuscript. The other night I had to eat a nasty frozen meal(there are good frozen meals, but this was not one of them). My cupboards were empty and the fridge contained nothing but a bit of cottage cheese and an old nectarine. The only items that I had plenty of were bags of Community Between Roast and Starbucks Decaf House Blend that I mix together to create my morning drink of choice.

So I took a break and Shannon and I went grocery shopping to restock. When we returned, the U.P.S. man met us at the door with the nicest surprise of the day--the Japanese edition of My Louisiana Sky. The cover is lovely and appears to have been done in watercolors. I thought you might want to see, too.

***Don't forget to enter the August drawings. Every week in August I'll be drawing three winners for a Piper book or CD. If you are an educator, you can also enter the drawing for a classroom set of Piper Reed Navy Brat. Just send your name and snail mail address to


Thursday, August 7, 2008


Word traveled down to me this morning that my dear friend, Coleen Salley, isn't doing so well. If you ever meet Coleen, you will not forget her. I met Coleen back in 1998 when my first book came out. She was having a party(as she often does) in her French Quarter apartment for the Mid-South Booksellers Conference attendees. Someone had sent her a copy of My Louisiana Sky.

When we were introduced, she said, "Oh, honey, I just love that little girl."

We've been friends ever since.

Coleen is an extraordinary storyteller and children's author. One time when I was staying with her, she showed me another author's book that she was excited about. I don't recall the title, but it was about animal poo. We sat in her living room as she read the story to me with a plastic pile of poo on her head.

Open one of Coleen's books, and you will get to know a special part of her, too.

Happy birthday, Coleen. We love you!

If you would like to send Coleen a card, here's the address:

St James Retirement
ATTN Coleen Salley
HCE 503
333 Lee Dr.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Before taking Jerry to the airport yesterday morning, we drove to the garbage dumpster in the alley behind our house. Two doors down, I noticed our neighbors' new fence. Unlike our worn-out fence, their pickets stood straight and not a hole could be found. It was perfect.

"We need a new fence," I told Jerry.

"But how would the rabbits get in?"

I laughed. This spring and summer an abundant crop of cottontails have hopped freely around our backyard. They eat our English ivy and feast on my flowers, but we don't make a fuss. The trade off is the zen state of mind they provide us just by watching them.

Occasionally our next door neighbor's cat slides through the hole on the north side and torments our dog, Bronte. Recently Bronte escaped and did a romp around the neighborhood, courtesy of a broken picket. Imagine, if we replaced the fence. We'd miss all that fun.

The trumpet vine on the south side grows thicker each year, causing the fence to lean in a charming way. We'd have to chop it down, to make way for a new fence. The roses would take a beating, too, if we pulled their thorns from the old wood. They've been married for so long, they might not attach well to a new partner.

"We owe it to the flora and fauna to keep this fence," Jerry said.

He was right. Although it would be nice to have a fence that didn't threaten to fall every time we had a tornado watch, there are benefits to having an aged one. It makes our yard more interesting.

That's the way it is with characters, isn't it? We want to see their attributes, but it is their flaws that make them interesting. Their flaws endear us to them and keep us turning the page because we care. We're invested in them. It's what I try to do as a writer each time I write a story. I want my readers to believe those people exist even if they're confined to their imagination. My hopes are that when they finish the book they are thinking about those characters, wondering what happened to them.

If only creating flawed captivating characters was as easy as enjoying the backyard gifts provided by a worn-out fence.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


"I start with a line of dialogue. I have no idea half the time who's speaking or what they're saying. I'll start with that line, and the more dialogue I write, the better I get to know the characters." --August Wilson, American Playwright

Monday, August 4, 2008


Yesterday afternoon Shannon and I went to the coffee shop to revise. (Did I really need a Breve and an Orange Dreamcicle drink?)We settled side by side on the leather sofa. I dreaded the scene that I was approaching. It was an important scene. The scene on the page was merely a skeleton of what it needed to be. The scene needed flesh and muscle. It was an action scene.

Many times, I want to write simply "and then they fought," or some such spare statement of what happened. But readers like to be shown. As writers we have to pull them into the story and let them experience what is happening. So I took a big breath and geared up to slow down.

Then as if by reading my thoughts, Shannon said, "I hate writing action scenes."

I laughed. "So do I."

"I just want to hurry up and get it over with."

There are some genes I hoped not to pass down to my daughter.

***Congratulations to the first three August winners: Pamela Wilson from San Antonio, Texas, Elizabeth Nelson from Shreveport, LA 71115, and Linda Hoiseth from Lima, Peru. You each won a signed hardback copy of Piper Reed Navy Brat. Stay tuned for next week's drawing.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


When I first saw the paperback version of Piper Reed Navy Brat online, the cover appeared as a flat blue. I love blue, but I missed the cheerful purple of the hardcover. I was delighted to discover that the cover is actually(my five year old niece's new favorite word) purple.

The back is the same bright blue as Piper Reed the Great Gypsy's cover. Which is fine with me. Did I mention that I love blue?

**Tomorrow, I'll announce the first three winners for the August drawings. It's not too late to enter.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


As promised here are the pics of Shannon dressed in her Bella prom dress. Hastings Entertainment held the prom to celebrate the midnight release of Breaking Dawn. The salespeople and many of the customers got into the spirit of the event, dressing in prom wear. Shannon's updo(store picture) is the creation of the assistant manager, Kaurie's talented son.

If you like Meyer's books, make sure to check out Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith.

Friday, August 1, 2008


When I was an unpublished writer, sending out My Louisiana Sky, something in my gut told me the story wasn't ready. I got some interest early on, but it was not because of my writing. The editors liked the premise. That hurt. I wanted them to like my writing.

Some of the editors told me what they thought that I needed to work on. Some invited me to send it, again, after a rewrite. Imagine their surprise, when it came back in a couple of weeks. In other words, I foolishly hurried through the revision.

When I sent When Zachary Beaver Came to Town to my editor, I told her it wasn't ready, but I'd been on top of it so long. I needed her perspective. Like the gem of an editor that she is, she took that into consideration. And when we first spoke, she said, "Kimberly, Zachary is amazing." Those words motivated me. After I received her editorial letter, I was ready to roll up my sleeves and revise more.

With a few books under my belt, you'd think I'd learned the lesson about sending out a story too soon. Back in September, something in my gut told me my historical novel wasn't ready. But it was late, oh so late. I sent it anyway. Christy's letter arrived in January. I still had a lot of work to do. Years ago, she told me that "rewriting could be beautiful." Again and again, I'm reminded of that. And once this story and I found its purpose, the joy of revision returned.

In an earlier post, I mentioned the board hanging in my office with the characters names and my deadline. Since undergoing this story, that date has changed several times. But now I know I'm only days away from finishing this round. I know this in my gut.

***Congratulations, July winners: Jo Moore from Lubbock, Texas and Kimberly Celentino from Ashton, PA.