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?"