Books and Bears!

I visited The Fountainhead Bookstore in Hendersonville, NC recently – a cool bookstore in a great town – for the bookstore’s Bookapalooza event. I got distracted by books and fun stuff inside the store and forgot to take pictures, but I got nice shot out front the next day.


Then I had to go get pictures of many of the Hendersonville Bears. For instance, there was the ice cream bear in front of the Kilwin’s chocolate shop:


And there was the baseball bear in front of the bar/grill. I didn’t eat there this time, but there is always next time.


I used instagram to combine some photos of the main street. Like many thing, I’m still figuring instagram out. But look at the shops and the bears! My mom and I are in a few of these too. Mainly posing beside artsy bears.


All and all, I great visit to a great town!

Hi panda

And Goodbye for now!

Flash Fiction for Fun on Sunday

After a great time instructing the Write-On Camp at the Weymouth Center in Southern Pines earlier in the week, I’ll be doing a condensed version for kids in Asheville at Spellbound Children’s Bookshop this Sunday, August 9th, at 2pm. Come and join us for storytelling and story writing. To celebrate, I wrote the following.

Stories short and often sweet,

some no longer than a tweet,

in a flash write them down, 

tomorrow, 2pm, at Spellbound

NOTE: Don’t worry. That’s the only almost poem I’ll write today.

flash again

NOTE #2: Flash!

The Fountainhead Bookstore Author Event

On Wednesday, July 15th, I’m going to be at The Fountainhead Bookstore in Hendersonville, NC, at 11am to talk about my book and about writing! Then, in the afternoon, I’ll be at the Hendersonville Library to do the same. It should be a fun day with sword play, magic, and mischief. There won’t be any reading Pokemon tomorrow – at least, not that I know of – but here is a reading Pokemon to hold everyone over until Wednesday’s excitement. More to come later…

pokemon reading

Malaprops vist – June 14th at 3pm

Asheville is a great town with great indie bookshops. I’m so excited to visit Malaprops on June 14th at 3pm. It’s on the schedule here and everything. I have some fun and games I plan to bring. Asheville inspired my series. One of my characters is a metal artist. Whenever I write about her, I think of this sculpture in front of Malaprops!

'Shopping Daze' sculpture in downtown Asheville in front of Malaprops bookstore on Haywood ... have a picture opp

And there will be books, too!


Children’s Book Week – Scuppernong Books.

On May 7th at 6pm I’m going to visit Scuppanong Books in Greensboro, NC for Children’s Book Week. There will be other events this week and tomorrow night – including a picture book author and a poetry group. Also Scuppanong has wine, coffee, and sweets so it’s a great place to come for books and revelry!


If anyone doesn’t know, Scuppernongs are tasty sweet grapes that grow in NC and South. Wild vines of them used to grow out in the backyard of the house where I grew up.

Two Great School Visits in one day!

Yesterday, I had a wonderful time visiting students.  I stopped by Southern Middle School first. Their mascot is a DRAGON!  As I like dragons, and have them in my book, I took this as a good sign. In the author presentation I put together, I talk some about writing (and, of course, my book) and also how much the editing/revision process improved it. There’s a part where I read a short sentence or passage and then have the kids guess what type of editorial comment was attached to it.

I think it works well because it’s got a positive underlying message about criticism and edits (and editors) and it also gives them a taste of the story. MCSSMS posted a short video and you can see we had a good time and they were a great group.

I was lucky enough to visit Sandhills Classical Christian that afternoon. The students and I chatted books and talked about writing. They also knew how to fix the projector when my presentation turned green. To top it off, I saw a friend of mine, Ashley, who I hadn’t seen since I graduated high school. What a wonderful surprise and a great day!

My First Author Visit (with pics and special added cat and dog gifs).

My first school visit was to the Crain’s Creek Middle School through The Country Bookshop. (The Country Bookshop is a wonderful sixty-plus-year-old independent bookstore. I wrote a little about them here at author Shannon Roat’s blog for her ‘Bookstore love’ series.) Of course, I was nervous. I’d never presented to students about my book before.

My first group was around a hundred – maybe more – sixth graders. When I saw the crowd, I felt a bit like this:


But it’s not that I’ve never spoken in front of students. I taught high school and college biology for ten years. I usually do pretty good in front of a crowd. Usually.

One thing I’ve learned teaching, however, is I can never predict how well a presentation, workshop, or lesson will go. Even when everything should go right, I can have a bad day, the class can be grumpy, the great techno gods can smite the computer game I worked for hours to make. All I can do is prepare, take a deep breath, and not take myself too seriously.

It can be a bit tricky. (This sentence is here just so I can add a cat in a box.)

giphy (1)

Actually, I have three basic rules for presenting things:

1. Have a good detailed plan but not a script. It’s easier to tweak a plan halfway through than change a script if things go wonky. And wonky happens.

2. Entertain myself. That way, at least one person in the room is having a good time. Me. Besides, if I’m bored, I can’t expect everyone else to be interested.

3. And of course, I make sure they the students learn something. Hmm. Maybe this should be number one?

I always hope for this type of audience:

Kittens paying attention

As opposed to this falling-over, can’t stay awake, need some excitement version:

Sleepy Cat

I tried to apply those same teaching skills to my author visit. I guess once a teacher, always a teacher. Although, I also talked about my book. It’s an author visit so that seemed necessary. And I made a game with a horse and dragon, and a ‘can you spot the differences’ cover activity thing. I thought there was like a 60% chance it would work well.

Here I am, foam sword in hand, starting my visit:


The question, of course, is how did it go?

It went great! I was lucky enough to have a good day and a wonderful crowd of students. Seriously, I was so impressed with the students at Crain’s Creek. I spoke to sixth graders first, then seventh and eighth graders next.


Afterwards, I met with the Battle of the Books group.


They really made my day. (<–My type keeps turning blue here. This is not planned.)

It never hurts to wave your foam swords, either.


I just hope all my school visits are as great as the first.