Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Signings and Crinolines, Oh My!

Saturday, Sept. 29, I had a signing at the Wichita Falls Public Library. The Friends of the Library sponser authors' signings. I was a hit with the kids. They kept coming back for more. No, not books. My books are for teens not wee ones. No, they weren't impressed by my crinolines. What the kids liked were the freebies. Okay, I'm enthusiastic about free stuff too. Never pass up something that's free, even if I don't need it. You never know.

So the kids swooped in for the stuffed puppies, horse head finger puppets, pencils, tattoos and football key chains.

The adults ... well, some gave me curious looks, even a smile or two, as they rushed to the check out desk, their arms laden with books, not mine. For the record, I sold two books, but had some nice conversations with a few people. I keep wondering: do I have halitosis? I advertised the signing quite a bit, even put 10 second ads on the local TV station. Hey, that's cool seeing your book cover on TV. Of course, if you blinked you missed them.

Oh, well. Some signings are good, others not so much. But I enjoy them all. The president of Friends of the Library wants me to come back in the spring. If you've been dying to see my crinolines (you know you have) here they are. Now you can tell your friends what crinolines look like.

Me and Jim, President of Friends of the Library

                                          Me, enjoying a good book.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Golden Pathway

I am delighed to host Donna McDine on her Virtual Book Tour for her debut book, The Golden Pathway. Donna is a dear friend that I met on the Internet. Our relationship, though long distance, is everything a friendship should be. She is a talented author and she's always there to help other writers achieve their goals. Here's a short bio of my cyber daughter. (We have nicknames for each other. I'm Donna's cyber mother.)

Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions. Donna’s stories and features have been published in many print and online publications and her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna has two more books under contract with Guardian Angel Publishing, The Hockey Agony and Powder Monkey or Boy. She writes, moms and is the Publicist Intern for The National Writing for Children Center and Children’s Writers’ Coaching Club from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Musing Our Children.

Learn more about Donna at: Sign the guestbook, you’ll receive a FREE e-Book Write What Inspires You: Author Interviews, , and
Now I'd like to share with you my review of Donna's book.
Title:  The Golden Pathway
Author:  Donna M. McDine
Illus.: K. C. Snider
ISBN: 1616330813 (Paperback)
ISBN: 978-1616330811 (Paperback)
ISBN: 1616330880 (Hardback)
ISBN: 978-1616330880 (Hardback)
Copyright 2010
26 pages
Ages 8-12

Donna M. McDine

Illustrator K. C. Snider

The Golden Pathway, Donna M. McDine’s debut book, is an historical fiction story that takes young readers back in time to the era when the Underground Railroad was active in America. Children will discover a most unlikely hero when they meet David, the boy whose father calls him a sissy, but who proves how brave he really is.

David listens to the screams coming from the barn as his pa beats a slave. After the screams stop, he sneaks to the barn to tend Jenkins’ wounds. David has treated the welts on his back before, and he knows his pa is wrong. David promises Jenkins he’ll help him escape. And he has a plan.

Using vivid language and descriptions, the author gives readers a glimpse of life during the days of slavery, placing the reader in the setting of the story, feeling the pain and fear the slave feels, and the sadness mixed with determination that David feels. K. C. Snider’s illustrations further bring the story to life, portraying David’s emotions and the landscape perfectly.

Once children have read about David and the part he played in the Underground Railroad, they’ll be eager to find other stories to enhance what they’ve learned in The Golden Pathway. I know Ms. McDine’s story has aroused my interest in this time period. A bibliography of the author’s research is provided for additional reading, and an author’s note explains how “codes” were used to help the slaves to freedom. This short book would make a nice addition to elementary school classrooms to supplement history lessons. I also recommend it not only for young readers, but their parents and grandparents as well, who might learn some surprising facts themselves the way I did. A very nice debut book.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Autumn and Book Signing

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I love autumn: cooler weather, colorful leaves, football, baseball playoffs, band, school, holidays to look forward to, and so much more.
Also, I'm having a book signing this Saturday. I know most of you live far, far away, but I'd like you to be with me in spirit. Here's the information:
Imagine living in a cave, the earth quivering with each cannon shot, dust sifting down in your hair and your eyes, the walls threatening to collapse and bury you alive.
Travel back in time and witness one family's struggles to survive a changing way of life during the American Civil War. Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines is a story of fear, courage, and understanding that people, no matter where they live, have the same needs: love, peace and security. Come to our book signing and meet Elizabeth Stamford and her family.
600 11th Street
Wichita Falls, TX
Saturday, September 25, 2010
12 Noon to 2:00 PM
I'll also be signing copies of my other novels, as well. Prizes for the kiddies, too.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Latest Reads

Quote of the Week: Courage is the resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear." Mark Twain

The past few weeks I've read some great books. Every time I find a book I think is my favorite, I read another one and think, "Oh, I like this one even better." What about you? Do you have a favorite book, or, like me, do you have lots of favorites? Anyway, here are the latest books I've enjoyed.

The Golden Pathway, by Donna M. McDine. I will be posting her review later in the month as part of her Virtual Book Tour. But don't you just love the cover?

Another fun book I just read is The Bug That Plagued the Entire Third Grade by Lori Calabrese. You'll get to read this review during Lori's Tour, as well. (I love to do blog tours because I have the opportunity to read such wonderful books.)

And of course I read Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay. I was not disappointed. It lived up  to my expectations, though a couple of things I wish had turned out differently. I won't say for those of you still planning to read the book. 

Also, I finished House Rules by Jodi Picoult. A touching story about a boy with Aspergers, a subject very dear to my heart. I'm not sure about all parts of it, but the story did hold my attention.

And, I finished third round edits of my forthcoming Young Adult contemporary, Life on Hold. I have no idea where all the words like but, and, just, so came from. Too many. I cut, cut, cut. This, of course, meant changing complete sentences, even paragraphs at times. Ready for the next round, if the poor editor can figure out what I've already done.

Have a super week, all.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Forthcoming Events

Banned Books Week 2010 runs from September 25 through October 2. Sign up for the reading challenge at Steph Su's Blog. Support these books.

Have a super weekend.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


The dictionary gives many definitions of a reflection. The two I'm thinking about are: 1."A thought, idea, or opinion formed or a remark made as a result of meditation." 2. A transformation of a figure in which each point is replaced by a point symmetric with respect to a line or plane."

When I look through family albums, I see pictures that reflect on my life. I pause at the photo of the girl sitting in front of the mirror and reflect or meditate, trying to recall this particular time and event.

Bits and pieces of it come back. A wedding. Everyone wore white. My mother made my dress with her skillful hands and old sewing machine, a Singer, I believe. I was flower girl and carried a basket of white flowers that I scattered on the floor as I walked down the aisle before the bride.

Mirrors are good reflectors. They don't lie. We can't hide ourselves from a mirrir. They show us the way we are. Looking in a mirror reflects a happy face, a sad face or a puzzled face.

Another great reflector is a body of clear water on a calm day. Notice the trees in my photo then look at the water. You see the trees, point for point. You can see your own face, too, or your dog's or cat's reflection.

Reflections are all around us: in a windowpane, eyeglasses, a shiny dish or pan, even in ourselves. Yes, our lives, the way we live, the things we say and do are reflections to those around us. I ask myself, "What do other people see in me?" I also ask myself, "What does the reader see in the characters in my novels?" They are reflections of the world I build for them, whether it's contemporary or fantasy or another world from my imagination. Everything my characters say and do reflects on his or her life. Her past influences her present and her future. I meditate when developing characters so they'll be like real people, with a history, someone the reader can relate to, and perhaps even see themselves in the character. So I talk to my heroes and heroines and they tell me their stories and they reveal the point that transformed their lives.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Quote for the week: And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years. Abraham Lincoln

September is one of my favorite months. The weather begins to cool off. We have birthdays to celebrate. Football season starts, as well as volleyball. School is in full swing, with eager students and teachers ready to face a new challenge. The birds and butterflies prepare for their long flights south to spend the winter in a warmer climate. The long, lazy summer winds down.

Activities resume. For me, it's my retired teacher's meetings where we get together and talk about our aches and pains. (Just kidding.) We really have some great get-togethers with fabulous guest speakers who keep us up to date with what's happening, especially in our state politics.

My Sunday school class resumes our monthly meetings. We eat a lot, yummy dishes prepared by super cooks. Mine? Well, Betty Crocker and I throw together a yumalicious (I know, I made that word up) cake. Or we have those meals in boxes where you just add a few ingredients. Sometimes I'm brave and open a can of green beans. We discuss projects for the church and have inspirational speakers. Sometimes we play games, usually those from a 4th grade game book. Have you ever noticed how though those questions can be? It's sort of like the TV show "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" Well, I taught 5th grade students for 10 years, and I dare say they're smart kids.

Writing wise, so many books have been released in the past few weeks, with more coming soon. I've been visiting tours and having a great time. Reading lots of good books too. I'll be posting reviews soon for some of them, so stop by often.

Have a wonderful week. Read, write, and enjoy life. You only get one chance.

Remember the Blog Talk Radio Show this afternoon at 3 PM Central. Red River Blog Talk Radio.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blog Talk Radio Monday

Have you ever listened in on a Blog Talk Radio show? If you haven't, you're missing a lot of fun. I listen to them as often as my schedule permits. I've also participated in several and have another talk coming up this Monday. On September 13, starting at 3 PM Central, 4 PM Eastern Time, I'll be visiting with Dellani Oakes' Tea Time program. So bring along a cup of tea, or root beer, or your favorite drink and visit with us. Here's a little about what we'll be doing.

Dellani has three guests Monday afternoon: Elaine Littau, author of Nan's Journey, Elk's Resolve and Luke's Legacy. Also Melissa Williams, author of Iggy the Iguana chapter book series. And of course, yours truly. Dellani will be asking us questions. We'll read from our books. We'll answer your questions and comments. Please stop by if your have a chance. We look forward to seeing you.

The call in number is 646-595-4478
Or you can hear us Online at Red River Blog Talk Radio. We'd love for you to leave messages or questions.

Thanks for your support.

Happy Reading and Writing

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

So You'd Like to Start a Book Club

How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event, by Mayra Calvani, speaks directly to kids who love to read and who want to share their favorite books with friends. Ms. Calvani divides the book into two parts to make the information easy for young readers to follow. The book also contains a table of contents for quick reference.

Part one explains the steps in starting a book club. First, decide what kind of books you want to read. One way is to choose a favorite author and read his or her books. Another way is to pick the type of book you enjoy best: fantasy, mystery, historical, or other. Then think about the size of the club. Should you have only a few close friends in the club, or would a larger group be more interesting? The book covers many other ideas, such as where to hold the meetings and how long should they last, to consider when forming a club. The author offers tips on how to run the meetings and questions to consider as you discuss a book.

Another neat thing about How to Turn Your Book Club into a Spectacular Event is the lined pages the author provides for jotting down ideas, like a name for the club and deciding who to invite to join.

Part two explains the different book categories and genres, with examples of each. It also introduces popular children’s authors with links to their sites. What a great way to find the perfect books to read for a meeting.

As a former teacher, I can see this book being a hit with elementary and middle school children and also older teens in high school. It might even encourage reluctant readers to pick up a good book their friends are reading, where, to their surprise, they’ll discover that reading is fun. I wish someone had written a book like this when I was a child. Maybe my attitude about books would have been different. Kids might even form a book club at school, with teachers’ approval of course, and set aside a special time to read. This is a book school librarians should want on their shelves. The cover art by Kurt Ozinga is exactly right to appeal to young readers.

Paperback: 50 pages

Publisher: Paladin Timeless (August 15, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1606192299

ISBN-13: 978-1606192290

You can purchase this book at Amazon or at the publisher Twilight Times Books.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm Here

You know, when your manuscript is accepted for publication, you think that's the end of it. Soon you'll be holding your book in your anxious little hands. Oh, but wait. First, there are the edits. Of course, we want our books to be perfect. What? They aren't? Did I use just, and, but, so, and etc. that often? Yes, I did. So now I'm finding alternatives to make the writing stronger. One change calls for another. Then another. And on and on. So I'm busy making my manuscript perfect, correcting things my nice editor has pointed out. She is really good, and so patient.

But anyway, I'm trying to get back into a schedule. See you Friday.