Monday, October 28, 2019


Welcome to a new week. And do I have a treat for you. Have you read C Lee McKenzie's latest YA novel, NOT GUILTY? Yes. Great. No? What are you waiting for?  Here are my thoughts to maybe let you see what you're missing. (If you've already read the story, good for you.)

A Great Cover!


By C. Lee McKenzie

Have you ever been accused of something that you didn’t do? How did you prove your innocence? Or did you? C. Lee McKenzie's latest novel, NOT GUILTY, deals with a situation
that tears a family apart and almost destroys a young man's life.

Take a lie, a broken heart, and a mystery and you have a world spinning out of control.  Devon Carlyle has a dream. His chances are looking good to make his dream come true, until the unthinkable happens. Instead of the prospects of a basketball scholarship he ends up in Juvenile Hall, although he’s innocent of the crime he's charged with. Can Devon find a way to prove he’s not guilty? Or will he always be remembered as the boy that almost killed another boy, as well as losing his friends and the scholarship?

Devon’s story touched my heart. He isn’t perfect. Who is? He has a temper that adds to his trouble. Then there’s the girl problem that he doesn’t need at this particular time in his life. Can matters get any worse?

C. Lee McKenzie’s characters seem real, like the kids you might meet in you own town. They make mistakes. They laugh. They fight. They love.  And I so wanted the guilty party to get what he deserved. Does he? You’ll find out when you read NOT GUILTY. I recommend NOT GUILTY for your private library and also for high school and public libraries. So, pick up a copy and  see how Devon's story ends. Happy Reading! 

And here's where you can find NOT GUILTY.

Monday, October 21, 2019


I was reading my SLJ Teen magazine on line when I made an amazing discovery. October is not only the month of Bully Prevention but the month of Dyslexia Awareness. I had no idea, but it's perfect.

Karen Jensen, TLT wrote an interesting article about the research she did to find books about the subject of dyslexia. Here's the link:

In her research for books with dyslexic characters she found a few books but they they were mostly for young readers. She found very few for teens. She lists some of the books and is working to discover more books, especially YA stories, with main characters that have dyslexia to add to her list.  I left a comment about my forth coming novel. Maybe Karen Jensen will be interested in Gabe. 
I hope people will understand about people that have Dyslexia and not laugh at them or bully them.

We still have National Bullying Prevention Month. Here are some suggestions I found for the week of October 21st. From the National Bullying Prevention Month Stomp Out Bullying site.

For students: If you see someone eating alone in the cafeteria, ask them to eat with you.
If someone is just watching a school activity or something after school invite them to join in.
If you're an adult and at work, do the same. Ask them if you can eat lunch with them or invite them to eat with you. Few people enjoy eating alone. Be friends. 

Send a note to a social media friend saying to have a good day, or something to let them know you're thinking about them.
I'm sure you can think of some great ways to show a person they are important and not alone.

Boy! October is a busy month.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019


I am so excited to host  Author Charles Suddeth and his latest novel today.  As a lover of history, this story sounds so intriguing. So, here it is.

This is a gorgeous cover.

Where the story idea for STONE MAN AND THE TRAIL OF TEARS came from

I have known for years that the Trail of Tears was complicated and not everyone traveled west. Escaping from soldiers with winter coming on fascinates me. Many of those who fled died of starvation and exposure in the mountains. Some were caught and executed. But a few were able to evade soldiers, weather, and starvation. Many of the Cherokees living on the North Carolina Cherokee Reservation are descended from those who escaped.

Years ago, I met Mack Pennington, my triple-great uncle. He told me the story of his father, Bill Pennington, my great-great grandfather. Bill lived to be a 100, dying in 1930, passing on the story of his early life. Bill was born around 1830 in a Cherokee village in the mountains, possibly eastern Kentucky. The family moved north about 1838, probably leaving to avoid the Trail of Tears. Most of the village moved with them to a rural area between Charlestown and Henryville, Indiana, about 30 miles north-east of Louisville, Kentucky where a mixture of whites and Meti (French/Shawnee mixed-bloods) lived.

When I decided to write about the Trail of Tears, I chose to write about those who fled into the mountains. Their story has not been told. And I wanted this as tribute to Bill Pennington. Though he never contacted the Cherokee tribe and lost his tribal identity, he never forgot his Cherokee heritage. I also wanted to show that kindness and decency have no racial boundaries. Most of all, I wanted an adventure, something children could thrill to.

I camped 4 nights with my 2 young sons along the Mississippi River at Columbus-Belmont State Park in Columbus, Kentucky. I learned that the John Benge detachment of 1,100 Cherokees stayed here in November 1838 during the Trail of Tears. A ferry took them across the Mississippi to Belmont, Missouri, but it took several days. Cherokees camped all over the area, including my camp site (one photo shows the fortifications where I camped).

Thank you for telling us your story.

Bio and Links:

Charles Suddeth has published poetry, picture books, middle reader’s books, young adult thrillers, and adult mysteries in English, Cherokee, and Turkish. He is active with Green River Writers and leads a monthly SCBWI Social. He lives in Louisville and teaches for the Jefferson County Schools.

Find Stone Man: And the Trail of Tears at:

 Congratulations on a wonderful book.

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 14, 2019


Welcome to October 14. I hope you had a nice weekend. How is your preventing bullying working out?  What do you have planned for this week? 

Here are some suggestions from  the online site:: October is National Bullying Prevention Month. They're calling it "Be brave. Stand up for for someone you see being bullied."
I'd like to add to that. "Be very careful how you do it because you don't want to put yourself in danger." Bullies have been known to back off, though, when others stand up for victims.

They also suggest to make friends with those who might be different, whether African American, Asian, Muslim, disabled, or someone you don't know.

How can students or people at work do that, or when you're shopping or wherever you might be? See suggestions from the Website.

Students or workers can give kind notes to classmates or co-workers. Stay at home moms might call a friend or someone they've just met with kind words of have a good day or do they need  anything..

I bet you can come up with a lot of other fantastic ideas. Make others feel like you care about them. And we really should care about everyone.

I was at the library Saturday at a book signing with lots of authors from the area. And you know what? I never saw any act of bullying. There were children and adults present, but everyone got along. That was neat. And it is possible to be friendly. So be aware if you notice someone picking on another person. Think how you might stop it, and then do so. Kindly, gently, which might be something the bully really needs. We don't know why he/she is the way he/she is. All we can do is try to help them see that they are important and friends are wonderful.

Have  a good week. Oh, and tune in tomorrow for Author Charles Suddeth's visit here on his new novel's tour. He has an interesting story to tell you. Thanks

Happy Reading!

Monday, October 7, 2019


When I was a kid in the dark ages, I never heard the word "Bully." I did hear about boys getting in a fight sometimes or in other sorts of trouble. But today, the term "Bully" is quite common. And it is getting out of hand. So something had to be done. 

In 2006, Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center founded National Bullying Prevention Month, the month of October.

You may ask, "What exactly is bullying?"

It's unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that includes a real or perceived power imbalance.  To learn more about what is considered bullying, check it out here:

You'll find a long list. There is so much involved in bullying. It's not simple. So, next week, we'll discuss what we and the children can do to stop this horrible treatment. If, you're interested in learning more details, you'll find almost anything you want to know by searching for it online.

Gabe says, "Being tripped, your hair cut, and laughed at is not fun. Help stop the bullies."

Thank you!

Have a Good Week!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019


Good morning. I'm running late. Will catch up soon. Have a great day.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time

Ninja Alex J. Cavanaugh is the founder of IWSG

His awesome co-hosts for the October 2 posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Mary Aalgaard, Madeline Mora-Summonte, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. Remember, the question is optional!!!

October 2 question - It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?

I don't think I agree with that. When I read, I learn so much and my mind starts to thinking about the characters and their story and ideas will pop into my head. Not copying the people and stories that I read but going off in a different direction that I think of when I'm reading. I don't know if that makes sense. I don't copy the ideas, but they give me a new outlook on life.

How about you?

Happy Reading!