Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tell a teacher you appreciate what she/he does!

While tending to my book-selling booth at the Autumn Leaves Festival in Mt. Airy, N.C. this weekend, one of my students bounced into the booth with her parents to say hello, and lots more.

I teach public speaking at a community college, and this particular student had been dreading taking the class prior to arriving in my classroom at the beginning of the semester. See, she'd given presentations before to other classes, and felt horrible about her performance and about speaking in general. What a treat it was to hear her mother thank me for making the class (and subject) fun and exciting, so her daughter no longer feared public speaking!

The student isn't afraid anymore! That's music to a teacher's ears. Another plus was that her mother, who teaches high school science, has been enthralled with my games and techniques that her daughter shares with her. The science-teaching mom now uses these games and fun techniques with her students...and I hope she has students who come up afterward and thank her. It means so much to a teacher to hear what she/he does matters. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hospitality still thrives in Greensboro

I had the opportunity to visit with the members of Greensboro's oldest book club last week. I told them about my books, and they in turn shared with me their hospitality. The delicious cake served was nearly as sweet as the women were, as they asked questions about my writing.

One woman in particular knows Oriental, North Carolina, far better than I do (and I know it fairly well, having kept a sailboat there for years). We shared stories of the place and the people -- and she's quite familiar with Lukens, the location of my novel, Leaving Lukens.

My thanks go out to the ladies of Ex Libris Book Club for hosting a delightful afternoon of book talk and true southern hospitality.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Seven Seas Cruising Association Reviews Leaving Lukens

I am so tickled to see this review of Leaving Lukens in Seven Seas Cruising Association's Bulletin -- these folks do what I dream of doing ... on a daily basis. (They sail daily, and yes, I dream daily of sailing.) :-)

From the September, 2012 issue of the SSCA Bulletin
Do you love to read great fiction that takes place in locations where you’re cruising to or that you’ve cruised to before? I know I do and after living aboard in Oriental and New Bern, NC for several years, I really enjoyed reading Leaving Lukens, a nautical adventure/love story that takes place in these locales. This award winning historical novel is set in 1942 as WWII encroaches on a small North Carolina coastal village. 
Weave in some North Carolina sailing and treasure diving adventures, a few Nazis, and characters that soon become old friends and you’ve got yourself a great read. The surprise ending is perfect. This is just the right book to grab as you’re heading down the ICW this fall.

SSCA Member Laura Wharton is also the author of The Pirate’s Bastard, a historical fiction adventure set in colonial North Carolina in and around Wilmington, N.C. Visit her website,
 ~Barbara Theisen, Editor
Seven Seas Cruising Association Bulletin
Thanks to my sailing friends for encouraging me to join this excellent organization. I'm looking forward to taking advantage of some of the many educational opportunities presented this year!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Featured in Front Row Lit

Have you seen Front Row Lit today? It's a cool online magazine/blog all about books, and today, Leaving Lukens is highlighted in a short interview. Pretty neat! Please help me spread the word. Thanks!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Murder in Mayberry ... TV interview of Jane Tesh

One of my friends, novelist Jane Tesh, was interviewed for WRAL TV -- a segment on traveling in North Carolina. It's a great short segment, and it showcases Jane's incredible spirit of joy and, I shall say, hints at her mischievous side.

So do her murder mystery books. She has two series going, and each one is as delightful as the next. They are filled with humor, a sense of silly sometimes, references to music, and, did I mention murder? They have a small-town feel, so if you're looking for fast crime in L.A., this isn't it. If, however, you want personality in your characters, Jane's books are worth investigating.

I invite you to get to know Jane Tesh in this short segment. You won't regret it!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The friendliest town in North Carolina

I've lived in many small and large towns in North Carolina over the past 20-something years. Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Southport, Edenton, and Mt. Airy have all been "my" adopted homes for stints while working on various projects. Each one has it's own unique advantages (and some with some serious disadvantages). I would return to again for work if offered the chance in the bigger spots, and certainly to Edenton or Southport for vacations. 

Living in Mt. Airy for over six years now has been interesting. So imagine my surprise to read in the Winston-Salem Journal that Mt. Airy received state recognition as being the friendliest Main Street community, edging out Southport's Howe Street and Edenton's Broad Street. I'm not sure I agree with that. For one thing, I still count many people in both Southport and Edenton as true friends. For another, I've just returned from a fantastic week in Oriental, North Carolina. Oriental is truly the friendliest town in the state.

The people we met (and there were many) welcomed us like we were old friends. They were genuine. Since many of them are sailors (as I still consider myself), and many of them came through my home state of Maryland and more specifically, my real hometown, Sherwood Forest near Annapolis, I felt like it was one big reunion there.

Shop owners Bill and Camillia Wheeler of Nautical Wheelers made time to meet us at The Bean for ice cream one evening for a lovely visit. Turns out Bill and my husband went to high school together in Winston-Salem. Small world.

Another day, Miss Faye invited us to come to her house to watch her feed the turtles that congregated in her backyard when she called them ("Here, Turtles!") for their evening supper of dog food and watermelon rinds. In fact, she invited us into her lovely home to see about a DVD a news reporter had made of their interview, but the DVD player wasn't working properly. Never mind we were in our still-dripping bathing suits or sandy feet. We'd been across the street at a public beach. I'd never met Miss Faye before that day. I can assure you I'll never forget her.

Our son was in sailing camp all week at Bow to Stern Sailing School. The camp went on despite the death of the owner's father the day before it was to begin. Volunteers and some young employees took over beautifully, and Will had a fantastic time. Local campers rode their bikes to camp just like I used to do in Sherwood Forest -- and they have a certain maturity about them that I don't see in other kids their age in Mt. Airy ... perhaps because many of the Oriental locals are sailboat children/cruisers to begin with, or perhaps because they know everyone in the town of 850 will be looking out for them, forcing them to be on their best behavior.

The Wheelers commented that they did what so many other people do when first coming to Oriental: they kept a sailboat there for years, then found a realtor and bought a house. It's the friendliness of the people (and the certain attraction of water) that keeps this scene playing over and over again. Perhaps one day, we'll be doing the same.

We kayaked around the creeks and the broad waters of the river nearly daily. Nearly daily rituals also included trips into shops, visiting with owners of a gallery, a lovely woman's dress shop, the Inland Waterway Provision Company, and of course, Nautical Wheelers. A sailor who keeps his 39-foot Mirage at the dock where we stayed (Aft Cabin at the BoonDocks is a fantastic cabin in the woods ... and we enjoyed every minute of our stay there!) stopped by to tell us a storm was coming one afternoon. He may have been concerned that we'd left our gear outside to dry after a paddle up the creek. We invited him in for a beer, and ended up making another friend. Like the Wheelers (who are his next-door neighbors), he was gracious from the first hello, and invited us to tour his boat the next day -- even offering the lock combo if we wanted to go see it before he got to the dock in the morning.

My car's back windshield now sports a sticker of a red dragon in honor of my favorite spot in the state. We're going back again soon ... and when we do, I know we'll meet more new friends. It's just that kind of town.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

E-book The Pirate's Bastard now available

I'm pleased to announce the second edition of The Pirate's Bastard is now available in paperback and e-book format ... and the reviews are starting to roll in again. This book was nominated for the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction--quite an honor for a debut novel. The first edition sold out, so ... here we go again!

Besides, for a fast summer read, what's better than a pirate story?

Set in colonial North Carolina near Wilmington and Orton Plantation, The Pirate's Bastard tells of Edward Marshall, illegitimate son of the notorious "gentleman pirate," Stede Bonnet, and how he comes to the new world to recast his life as a shipbuilder. Things are going well: he's building a good ship, he's got a lady love, and the respect of the small community of Brunswicktown. What could possibly go wrong? (Don't you hate it when someone asks that?) For starters, his dead father's first mate (boatswain) approaches Edward with a plan to hunt for treasure and a bit of blackmail in mind.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

On a Roll: Another Work in the Works

Sometimes, my productivity surprises me. So far this year, I've released two children's books AND welcomed the second edition of The Pirate's Bastard with a lovely new cover, layout, and professional edits. Yesterday, I finished a 69,000+ word manuscript's final edits. Today, I sent it off to the publisher to start the review process. Today, I also started hunting around for my next project.

I'm either crazy ... or terribly antsy this summer. August comes with a new beginning - it always does - so I better make the most of "my" time over the next month and write another manuscript before school starts.

I have three projects in mind. The first should take about a week to complete, and it needs to be done. The second is an off-shoot of the first, the Jock Avery Adventures' hero leading the charge on an adventure intended for children who crave the kinds of adventures I had as a kid. (Thank you, Mom and Dad, and all my friends in Sherwood Forest -- you know who you are. You're fortunate you were nice to me--otherwise, you might end up in one of my novels!) Anyway, Jock Avery has been yammering at me all spring. Now, he and the other characters of the other children's book have been uncharacteristically silent so far. Maybe they need a break. Maybe they need to enjoy summer, as children often do.

Instead, there's a new character who is taunting me. She says her name is Julia. She was murdered. There's a garden and a historic home needing restoration. And a secret or two to unravel in this mystery for adults. I love a challenge, don't you?

Then there's the grant application to complete, a website to write content for, and a few other media-promotional things that are on the to-do list. Never mind that the grass needs to be mowed (where is a rent-a-goat when you need it?), the weeds that have won in the garden, or the kitchen that seems to always need a good cleaning.

Roulette, anyone?  (Sunny Harnett, super model of the 1950s, stands ready to take her chances.) I think I'll wait to see what tomorrow brings. How very Scarlet O'Hara of me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

NC Reads Posts Wonderful Review of Book Co-written with Son

Hey, this is getting fun! NC Reads, the blog hosted by UNC-Chapel Hill, offered a nice review of Mystery at the Lake House #1: Monsters Below. I've shared it here!

Laura S. and William L. B. Wharton. Monsters Below. Mount Airy, NC: Broad Creek Press, 2012.

School is finally over, and vacation stretches ahead! Jock Avery has just finished fourth grade, and is looking forward to spending the whole summer at his grandparents’ lake house on Longleaf Lake in Moore County, NC. Jock has spent many happy summers there learning to swim, fish, water ski, and sail, but this summer he is a little sad. His busy parents won’t be able to join him much, and none of his cousins or friends will be able to visit. Jock figures he’ll be spending a lot of time with his favorite intrepid (fictional) adventurer, Sam Justice, when he discovers that a new family has just moved in next door: a single mom with two kids around his age!
Jock is excited to share the lake with his new friends Lyanna and Chip, but Chip is convinced there is a monster in the lake, and won’t have anything to do with it. Jock is sure there isn’t a monster in Longleaf Lake, but he has been hearing some strange screeching noises recently. Could there be a monster? Additionally, the kids have spotted their grumpy neighbor Mr. Harrison doing something mysterious out on the lake at night. If there is a monster…is Mr. Harrison feeding it? The trio decide to investigate, but their curiosity about what lies beneath the lake waters could end up with them in hot water. Or worse, eaten by a monster!
Co-authored by seasoned novelist Laura S. Wharton and her young son William, this first installment in the  Mystery at the Lake House series is a great chapter book for children ages 6-12. It also includes a wealth of information on bird watching for children, as well as recipes for some of the characters’ favorite foods.
Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Front Row Lit features Leaving Lukens

I am so pleased to share this link with you for Front Row Lit. The online magazine featured an excerpt from Leaving Lukens. Please visit their site when you have time.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Cover for The Pirate's Bastard Unveiled!

Isn't it lovely? A BIG thanks goes to Sonia Crouse for her excellent design skills, and to Fusion Creative Works for their interior layout help. I LOVE the new look of this second edition of The Pirate's Bastard! It's just been released, and is available through independent bookstores everywhere as well as through Amazon, me, Barnes and Noble, etc. It will be available for e-readers in a few days.

Sharing Midwest Book Review of Mystery at the Lake House

I was tickled to get this review from Midwest Book Review this week. It's for one of my children's books--the one I wrote with my 10-year-old son!

Mystery at the Lake House #1: Monsters Below is the first book in a series for kids ages 7-12 about super sleuth Jock Avery and a strange scary noise in his lakeside community. Jock enjoys a healthy variety of nature and water activities with his friends, but solving a mystery will always intrigue him. This fun three-dimensional character is destined to get into and out of interesting scrapes as he uses logic and observation skills to help him put together the missing pieces of the mystery of the monsters below. The action is fast moving, the character development is riveting, and the pace is humorous and jolly, plus there are many educational inclusions in the book and story. Kids will love Jock Avery and his pals and will clamor for the next book in the series.

Thank you to the kind folks at The Midwest Book Review! What's more, the review is being sent to the Helen C. White Library's Cooperative Children's Book Center, where it will be available to school and community librarians throughout that state's public school systems and community libraries. It's also being provided to the Cengage learning, Gale interaction CD-ROM series "Book Review Index" which is published four times a year for academic, corporate and public library systems.

This book and my other titles are available through independent booksellers everywhere, Amazon, and for e-readers. Thanks, friends, for spreading the word about my books! If you have contacts in your local public school or library system, please let me know and I'll approach them about carrying my books. Thank you!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Five-Star Review of Leaving Lukens From "Readers Favorite"

I am honored once again with another five-star review. I love reading comments such as these--so gratifying to see my books touch readers in this way. Leaving Lukens  is a story I just had to share, and I'm so glad I did. Just wait to see what I have in store for you next, dear readers!
Book Review
Reviewed by Alice D. for Readers Favorite

Laura S. Wharton has created in "Leaving Lukens" a delightful romantic thriller of the World War II era. Set on the island of Lukens, which is near New Bern on the Carolina mainlands, "Leaving Lukens" is more than a story of the islanders leaving their homes for the mainland where school age children will be educated. It is about how close the horrors of World War II, Nazi submarines and Nazi naval warriors, came to our coastlines, threatening life in small seaside villages like New Bern, Oriental and the island of Lukens. The story's main character is 17 year old Ella Marie Hutchins, who is moving with her mother Louise to the mainland and the home of her mother's fiance. We read about Ella's romance with local Jarrett Migette fizzles, especially when Ella is rescued from invasive Nazis by mysterious stranger Griff who is posing as a local family's nephew. Actually, Griff is a Navy officer working undercover but he shares his love of diving to investigate old ship wrecks with Ella. Will Ella find a lasting future with Griff or will the winds of war separate them?

"Leaving Lukens" is a highly well-written and well-edited story of World War II that brings home to the post-war generations how our country's coastlines were touched by the awfulness of war. Characters such as Ella, Griff, Jessica and Jack, Ella's mother and grandmother are totally believable and in keeping with those long ago times. Ella and Griff's attraction to each other is beautifully portrayed and obeys the social mores of those years of the early 1940s. The plot flows to the ending which will more than satisfy the reader. Laura Wharton is an author to follow. Put "Leaving Lukens" on reading lists everywhere.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Story idea brewing...time to reef the main a bit

I love dilemmas. Well, good ones like the one I'm facing. I'm "behind" schedule on the writing of two children's books (The Mermaid's Tale, the second in the Mystery at the Lake House Series -- I've written the first chapter and outlined a good bit of the book, and know the ending; and Jock Avery's first book ... he's a downgraded version of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider, and features a bit of mystery, action, and a touch of history).

Blame it on summer approaching, wanderlust rearing its fantastic head, or a change of schedules with the end of school.

Or I could just be honest and say I had another fantastic idea for a novel after reading an article. And this idea just won't sit still until I start developing it. The characters are starting to talk to me, too. Do you have any idea what it's like to have characters beg to be developed? If you've ever had that weird buzzing in your ear when dehydrated, that's what it's like. Only much, much louder.

That's what happened with the idea for Leaving Lukens. It was the same for The Pirate's Bastard. Now I'm facing the dilemma of getting through the children's works, or diving in to the adult fiction that is wooing me from the sidelines like some heart-throb lacrosse player does to a cheerleader while she's on the field during halftime. (Just for the record, I was the lacrosse player. It was an all-girls school. And there were no male cheerleaders. The imagery is tantalizing, though.)

True, if I focused, I could finish the two children's stories in record time if I had a challenge. I do so much better with deadlines (self-inflicted or otherwise). So, since it's got to be imposed by me, I'm going to set my deadline for The Mermaid's Tale for the end of June. Of this year. Regardless of what comes up next. The Jock Avery story ... that could be done as early as August, right before school begins. Sure. That's doable. Right?

Before I scratch the deadlines in stone (or fill up the slots on my calendar as I usually do), I do feel compelled to at least jot down my "next" story idea in rough outline form. And it's going to be awesome. It's an adult story, and it's going to be a twisting turning ride just like Leaving Lukens is ... just you wait. I'll keep you posted on the progress, as soon as I know it. Time to batten down the hatches and reef the main sail. It's going to be a stormy summer.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Upcoming book festivals

I'm getting things ready for this weekend's Blue Ridge BookFest! It's going to be held in Hendersonville/Flat Rock area at the Blue Ridge Community College, and if you're in the area, I hope you'll stop by to visit my table at this free event. There are guest speakers on Friday night, and the vendors' part (that's where we set up our tables) will be on Saturday from 8ish to 3ish. 

For those of you in the Triad area of N.C., come on up to Mount Airy on June 16 for the town's first-ever book fair. Lots of regional authors will be there, too. Our booth fees go to support the Friends of the Library. It's for a good cause, and the library is a really cool space. Please tell your friends about these free events. With budget cuts to local libraries, it's truly important for all of us who enjoy reading to help in whatever ways we can. I love libraries -- they are great places for books, of course, but libraries also offer special programs like travel talks and summer camps and reading programs for children, and plays for all ages, and I could go on and on .... please support your local library!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Makeover Artist: The Pirate's Bastard's Amazing Cover Designer, Sonia Crouse

I'm getting excited! Remember I told you my first book was getting a much-needed makeover? Well, it's about ready.

The new cover of The Pirate's Bastard second edition is fabulous! It includes a few of the outstanding five-star reviews the book has received so far, plus a lovely bit of art telling potential readers that the book was nominated for a Sir Walter Raleigh Award for fiction, a pretty big deal for historical fiction writers.

The cover designer, Sonia Crouse, is a wiz when it comes to creating covers (she's done my last three book covers). Her background is mixed media, and she's an incredibly talented artist and crafter. She's also a photographer, and ... I could go on about Sonia. She's from Malta, and I'm so thankful to have met her here in North Carolina (though she's about to head home to her island in a few weeks for an extended vacation. I offered to carry her bags ....). Sonia is also the publisher of a romance-inspired magazine called, Creating Vintage Charm. If you've not heard of it yet, you will soon!

The interior was designed by Shiloh Schroeder of Fusion Creative Works and I can't tell you how much of a difference her skills made in the overall look and readability of the book! It looks fantastic, from cover to cover. (The book also received a serious editing, which it needed.) I can't wait to share the book!

The second edition of The Pirate's Bastard will be out very soon. I'll share the cover and the links then!

Monday, April 30, 2012

New Children's Book Gets Five-Star Review

The following is a review from New York book reviewer, Fran Lewis. I'm so glad she liked the story, Mystery at the Phoenix Festival! It's a departure from my historical novels that I write, but it was still a lot of fun to work on it with my niece and nephew -- both are very talented and creative!


Mystery at the Phoenix Festival by novelist Laura S. Wharton, with Jake and Nicole Spanton
Uprooting an entire family is difficult but not when the reason is to share the love of their family, children with those in hospitals. Jake and Nicole Rivers love having their two sets of grandparents living nearby. Who wouldn’t when they nurture you, bake great cookies, enjoy your company and love having family fun with you while your parents are away or working? Grandparents are special but when Jake and Nicole leave their home to travel across country with their parents and two dogs Dolly and Zena little do they know they would be in for an adventure of a lifetime. As most kids often ask that famous question while traveling: “ARE WE THERE YET? OR HOW LONG BEFORE WE ARRIVE AT OUR DESTINATION?”  Jake and Nicole learn from Cari, their mom about the place they are about to visit, the people they might encounter and the history behind the campsite. Imagine meeting Native American Indians and learning more about their culture and their lives.

Arriving at the campsite Jake and Nicole decide to explore the area, take the dogs for a walk and forget the do not talk to strangers rule when they unleash their dogs and they run free having to chase after them. Meeting two adults named Eddie and Joan they hope to enlist their help to find them before it’s too late. Returning to their campsite they leave out the part of losing the dogs but not about talking to the strangers and receiving a strong lecture from their mother. Taking the dogs to work children with autism and other learning difficulties was rewarding and hoping to take them to the cancer hospitals their primary goal for the trip. But, along the way they would meet many people, learn many lessons and hopefully learn who to trust keeping their faith in God.

Children are special and as they meet the many residents at the cancer hospital Nicole befriends a girl named Anna and a bond forms in more ways than one. Learning about her family’s animal shelter and the lack of funds to maintain it send Nicole on a crusade to not only safe these unwanted animals but prevent them from a terrible fate. Meeting the children at the center was uplifting for the patients and for Jake and Nicole. Reading and telling stories made them forget their illnesses as they bonded with not only the children but the dogs, too. Nicole was determined to find a way to help Anna and her parents by enlisting the help of her friends back home who supported her and wanted to help. The power of technology is great as she listened to the suggestions that her friends made, asked her parents for help and made some great choices and decisions on her own beginning with creating a website for the shelter and putting the information on her blog. Added in let’s not forget that both children are being home schooled and were required to complete a day’s work and homework too. Each day would be a learning experience for both Nicole and Jake plus they would be required to record their day on their blogs. So, just how were they going to save the animal shelter and what role would the Festival in Phoenix play?

The authors teach many important lessons in this book dealing with family values, friendship, loyalty and trust. What is really special and makes this book perfect for children of all ages is that teaching of respect to adults and others, the importance of helping people and giving of yourself for the sake of just making others happy. Jake and Nicole are learning that there is more to life than just money and things.
Nicole and Jake were passionate about helping the shelter and set to work enlisting the help of the kids from the Cancer Center making each one of them feel special, especially a wonderful girl named Samantha. But, something happens to change it all and their world falls about when Jake allows the dogs to go out alone one morning and the dogs do not come right back.

Devastated, shook up and understanding he was totally responsible, Jake fears the worst for Zena and Dolly. But, with the support of his family, prayers and the other campers they search and hope for the best.

With a mission to complete and their focus on helping to keep the animal shelter open they create an amazing fundraiser while still praying for their dogs to be returned. Word spread throughout the campsite that the dogs were missing but one note left on their RV would enlighten everyone and create more fear in their hearts for the missing dogs. With the help of the police and yet moving forward with the fundraiser the fate of the dogs was in the hands of God, their prayers and hopefully the police.

Money can do strange things to people and the lack of it even more. As the Festival started and the activities began two young children and their friends said silent prayers for their dogs.

The power of faith and prayer: Did it work? Did their efforts safe the shelter? Who was responsible for kidnapping the dogs and why? Just what other miracle happened? Why is helping others so important and what impact did they have on the kids and their families at the Cancer Center? Nicole and Jake promised they would not tell what happens to the shelter or the dogs to anyone.  Mystery at the Phoenix Festival can only be solved if you read the book for yourself or along with your children to discuss the many themes and lessons to be learned and how young readers might handle each one. Child authors Jake and Nicole Spanton along with author Laura S. Wharton teach the reader so many lessons in this special book hoping more families and their children will learn and understand the power of prayer and the importance of helping others.

Let’s dedicate this review to all those children who are in Cancer Centers and let’s send them our love and prayers for a speedy recovery. This book gets: FIVE GOLDEN SUNSHINES FILLED WITH PRAYERS FOR FINDING THE CURE!

Fran Lewis: reviewer

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dog Lovers Beware! New Children's Book Out

Mystery at the Phoenix Festival is out now. It's a book for children ages 6-12 I wrote with my niece and nephew, and it's a fun story about a family traveling with their service dogs across country in an RV. The adventure is moving along nicely, until their two dogs are dog-napped, and the children's faith is put to the test.

The two service dogs, Zena and Dolly, are based on real dogs, and the story is based on a mission trip the children and their parents (my brother and sis-in-law) really want to take some day. The funny part is their house wouldn't sell, the RV they nearly purchased turned out not for sale, and the dogs flunked therapy dog training.

Still, we wrote the story the way the children envisioned it would be, and it's a fun read for families.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

50 Shades ... E-book to Sensation

I love to read stories of successful authors. So when I read a piece about the author of 50 Shades of Grey, I had to delve deeper. This book has become a best-selling phenomenon, and the buzz is appearing in uncommon places. Have you read this book? If so, what about this book hooked your interest?

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Pirate's Bastard is getting a facelift

We should all be so lucky. 

I mean about getting facelifts of the non-surgical kind. The Pirate's Bastard, my debut novel, is going to get a new cover and a new look (plus a thorough editing) when it is reprinted in May. Originally released in 2010, the book has garnered award nominations and wonderful reviews; but still, I wasn't entirely pleased with the presentation of a story that took me six years to research and write. It also has international distribution now, something that was unavailable by the first publisher of the book. If you're looking for something fun to read this summer, I invite you to look for the new-and-improved version of The Pirate's Bastard coming out in May. It will still be available for e-readers of every kind as well as in paperback version from my new publisher, Broad Creek Press.

Debut Novel, released October, 2010:The Pirate’s Bastard

Reading lists aren’t complete without one good pirate story. This book fits the bill perfectly. It’s titled The Pirate’s Bastard, and it is the debut novel by North Carolina writer Laura S. Wharton.

Set primarily in coastal North Carolina in the 1700s, this story follows Edward Marshall on his mission to free himself of his past while weaving fact and fiction about the coast’s rich boat-building heritage and social mores of colonial life. When Edward sets sail for the Caribbean islands, a high-stakes battle at sea changes his life’s course, and forces him to confront his heritage – and his dead father’s choices.

Exciting: First Review of Children's Book is Positive

There's a certain nervousness I feel when I hunt for reviews of books -- maybe all authors feel that sense of insecurity.

I was especially nervous, because Mystery at the Lake House was my first children's book. I co-wrote it with my son, making an impression on him at least. He now wants to write one all by himself. (His summer project, he assures me. Good thing, because school, karate, and homework tend to take up most weeknights, and now that it's warmer, I have the anywhere-but-here syndrome on the weekends. I truly need to live at the coast, given the ever increasing cost of gas!)

Fortunately, I shouldn't have worried with this first one that's out now. The review is positive, so I guess that means we're off to a good start with the series. You can read it here, if you like.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

At it again: Another children's book is about to be released

I admit it: I love to tell stories. Not lies, exactly. Fiction isn't quite a lie, is it? In every fiction there's a grain of truth, it's said. And while we're saying, let me tell you that a book I wrote a few years ago with two adorable children (who are now in preteen stage) is about to be released.

It's called, Mystery at the Phoenix Festival, and it's about two children and their parents who are traveling cross-country in an RV with their service dogs. Life is good, they are having fun, and then ... the dogs are dog-napped. The story puts some hard questions in front of the children, to be sure. The sub-plots are unnervingly timely, and I have to say that while it was fun to take their outline and develop the characters and the story, I wondered if the timeliness of the message would be lost by the time the book was actually released.

Well, as fate would have it, some things never change. People remain people, some helpful, some cruel. So the story is just as strong as it was when I wrote it two years ago. It's odd that it's release comes on the heels of my other children's book, Mystery at the Lake House. They are not part of the same series. They are not related in subject matter or even style. I do like the idea of helping children tell their stories, though -- kids are wonderfully imaginative.

If I ever run out of stories to tell, I know exactly who to ask for ideas.   

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Site is up! Jock Avery Adventures

It took a few calls to tech support, but I finally got the site up and running for the new children's book! Take a look and let me know what you think:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Children's Mystery Now Available: Sailors, Grandparents, Parents Searching for Clean, Fun Adventure Book Kids will Enjoy

I'm excited to share that my new children's book is out! What's unique about Mystery at the Lake House#1: Monsters Below is that I wrote it with my 10-year-old son, and he’s so excited at the results, he’s tackling another one by himself! That’s the encouragement I was hoping to give him, and the same kind I hope to pass along to other children (and adults): creativity is a precious gift, after all. 

Mystery at the Lake House #1: Monsters Below (April 2012)
By Laura S. and William L.B. Wharton (age 10)
ISBN: 978-0-9837148-2-8   

Summary: Ten-year-old Jock Avery and his two new friends have a noisy mystery to solve in their lakeside community. An unusual screeching sound has everyone on pins and needles, except a sinister neighbor. Some say it’s a lake monster, but Jock’s not convinced. Can he and his two friends find the answer before trouble finds them?

A summer adventure readers will relish, Monsters Below is filled with fun, sail boating, and quirky characters. Mother and son authors, Laura and Will Wharton, have created a mystery to keep readers turning the pages. It’s the first book in the Mystery at the Lake House series, which is destined to be a favorite of young readers and parents alike. To involve readers, there is kid-friendly project, a birder’s list for young nature detectives, and favorite kid-friendly recipes from the characters’ tables.  

Like my other books, this one is available in paperback and e-book format for all e-readers. If you're interested in reviewing it, let me know and I'll send you a copy. Thank you all for your continued support!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Midwest Book Reviews: Leaving Lukens awarded Reviewer's Choice

I'm humbled to announce my historical novel, Leaving Lukens, has been named the Reviewer's Choice by Midwest Book Reviews! This is such an honor. Thank you for recognizing my book!

Reviewer Sandra Heptinstall said the story set on the North Carolina Coast (including New Bern, Oriental, Lukens, and Ocracoke during 1942) captured her from the start, and the ending blew her away. You may read her full review on my Reviews page of this blog, if you want to. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ahoy, sailors: Children's Mystery about to be released!

In just two weeks, I'll have entered the realm of children's book author. My first book for readers ages 8-12 is Mystery at the Lake House #1: Monsters Below, and I wrote the book with my 10-year-old son to encourage his writing skills. He is a natural at telling stories. I suppose all kids are. Oh, dear. What have I gotten myself into, I wonder?

My goal with this series is to encourage young readers to think about adventures (and mysteries) in a new way. Adventures don't have to be BIG, and mysteries don't have to be SCARY. In each book, the three characters solve a simple mystery without gadgets, but by using their own abilities (the minds of children can be so much more advanced in these matters if we adults let them find the answers). They each grow in little ways through the course of the story, and most of all, they have fun.

The first book involves a sailboat. Hey, I'm a sailor. To me, enjoying childhood is about being OUTSIDE and exploring ... at least it used to be safe to do that. Today, for some children, it may not be so. I learned to sail as a child, and I'm sure there are lots of you sailors will concur that the excitement, joy, and rush of sailing is an adventure all unto itself. For those of you sailors who have a passion for encouraging the sport among children, this might be a good title to try. I'd appreciate feedback, too. As soon as I have a link to Amazon (it's available on all e-readers and in paperback form, and will be available for the asking at any brick-and-mortar store, too), I'll post it and twitter it and release it wide and far.

We have another story, the second in the series titled, The Mermaid's Tail. A professional mermaid is helping me build a background for her character, and we're going to have a lot of fun with the book's play on words (and title). More on that one in another post.

Happy reading, happy sailing.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Getting bolder with blogs

A friend of mine (well, someone with whom I've corresponded for two years now via blogs and emails) has prompted me to think about my own blog. She is working on a book. Two, actually, about her preparations for sailing and then the actual doing. A Plodding To ... and a Plodding IN Paradise. She's in the Paradise phase now, and I'm inspired by her adventures. It reminds me that I had / have that dream, though life has derailed me for a time.

I suppose the few of you who follow my blog know me fairly well. But there are ... things ... experiences, really, that might be interesting to share. When reviewing one of my friend's chapters for her new book, I was reminded of a story. A true story. I think I'll share it. I'm getting bolder. And it's all Tammy Kennon's fault.

I must admit my butt cheeks were clenched when I read about McClellanville only because I grounded there, too. I was motoring solo on my sailboat, and it had been a long day. Just 30 minutes before, I had marveled at a deer swimming across the ICW. And then … beep-beep-damn. My motor quit in the middle of the channel, and I felt that nauseating “bump” all in the same instant. A motor sailor was kind enough to kedge me off, and I limped into the little creek entrance and tied up to the side of a ginormous shrimp boat, tires being used for fenders. The “dockmaster” was filling in for his buddy who was out fishing that night, and he fixed me the greatest shrimp dish I ever ate (“so good it’ll make a minnow hug a whale” – he got his hug, nothing more.) The next day, a very nice Frenchman was having his coffee on his very large and very fine boat. When he learned of my plight the night before, he hopped aboard my boat and looked at my engine. (“Oh, eet es nothing moore than you are low on gasoline.”) That night over dinner, he introduced me to some other French Canadians who had sailed into McClellanville and never left. They ferried me around to get fuel and supplies for the rest of my trip the following morning, and Oliver (the Frenchman) and I stayed in contact for many years. I’ll never forget that trip. Or that place. Thank you for reminding me of how lovely it can all be.

Here’s to your sunsets and marsh grasses (and oh, I have a wool sweater on over my turtleneck!),

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Do you really know where you live?

According to this article, the boundary line of your state may have changed since you last looked at a map. I find it almost humorous that modern technology is making the decision for the states ... historians would tell us that people used to set boundaries, walking days and days though rough country that was literally uncharted until the surveying team marked off states. One of my favorite North Carolina authors, Inglis Fletcher, described the process of surveying the border between N.C. and Virgina in one of her many books in the Carolina series: officials from both states would walk together, side by side, and determine where a boundary should be.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

More Book Events Added to Calendar

Spring is in the air. I can tell, because book signing events are blooming everywhere! I'm going to a few, and if you're in the area, stop by and say hello!

Here's what's on the calendar so far: 
April 18, Pilot Mountain Women's Club, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Pilot Mountain Library, Pilot Mountain, N.C.
April 21, Book Festival, Binding Time Cafe, 10-2, Martinsville, Virginia
May 19, Blue Ridge Book Fest, Blue Ridge Community College, all day, Flat Rock, N.C.
June 16, Book Festival, Mount Airy Library, 10-3, Mount Airy, N.C.

This year's signings will be different for my son. He's attended many of them with me in the last year as my "business manager" and he's had a great time doing that. This year, he'll be accompanying me as an author. That's right, my 10-year-old son co-authored Mystery at the Lake House #1: Monsters Below with me. Will is so excited. "You mean I actually get to sign my name the way you do?"

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

UNC-Greensboro's Literary Map of North Carolina

I'm humbled to have my two novels included in North Carolina's landscape mapped by University of North Carolina-Greensboro. On this website are incredibly talented writers. As I say, I'm humbled for having my work recognized. Thank you, UNC-G!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Literary R&R Reviewed Leaving Lukens - Nice Review!

Wonderful review from Literary R&R! Thank you, Charlene and Mandy!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Whispering Winds Book Reviews gives Leaving Lukens 5 stars!

I have read Ms Wharton's first book, “The Pirate’s Bastard.” I did enjoy it a lot. Yet as I began to read this book, I found she was not just a onetime author. In fact I enjoyed this book even more than the first.

I loved the characters in this book and the way, Ms. Wharton has created them. The flow of the story is excellent and l did not find even one page or paragraph that was boring. You are captured from the start.

The book starts on May 2000 at a reunion and then goes back to WWII. There we find adventure, love and intrigue. The ending blew me away. I had to read it twice and then it hit me. (It was a slap me silly moment for me.) Just one sentence told me what I longed to hear. I did not want this story to end. Nor do I think you will either, and that is why I am giving this book a five star rating.

Friday, February 3, 2012

New Review from "Read North Carolina Novels" (UNC.EDU)

Laura S. Wharton. Leaving Lukens. Mt. Airy, NC: Broad Creek Press, 2011.

In June of 1942, Lukens is a small town on the North Carolina coast, and it’s getting smaller. Residents left first in trickles, but now they’re crossing the Neuse in a torrent to places like Oriental, with its modern conveniences and thriving community. Ella Marie Hutchins, seventeen, is dead set against leaving. Everything she loves is in Lukens: her house, her Grandmother, and her handsome boyfriend, soon-to-be naval officer Jarrett Migette. When Jarrett announces he’s leaving earlier than planned, and her mother decides that they’re moving, Ella is distraught. Leaving Lukens might be the safest idea, however, as the war is closer than anyone thinks. Walking alone near the tideline one evening, Ella is threatened by a vicious Nazi scout, and barely escapes unscathed. Luckily, she’s assisted by a young stranger named Griff, who just happens to be passing by. Griff’s story makes sense–he’s a recreational sailor and treasure-hunter, visiting his uncle in Lukens on his prize sailboat Susanna. Soon he and Ella are fast friends, and as they spend more time together sailing, biking, and picnicking throughout the long, hot, Lukens summer, they begin to feel more for one another. But Griff is more than he seems, and the secret mission he is bound to fulfill will push Ella into danger greater than she’s ever faced before.

Filled with sailing lore, secrecy, Nazis, and romance, Leaving Lukens is an exciting new adventure from the author of The Pirate’s Bastard.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.