Ribbons are great, but money is better, amiright? I’m sending a big THANK YOU to Winnwood Retirement. They’ve agreed to sponsor The Bertie again this year and are  providing $600.00…

Read More The Bertie – We have a sponsor!

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FAQ

I’ve been traveling a lot lately (awesome) and running into a lot of REBELS readers (more awesome) and everyone seems to want to know the same thing – where is…

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Last week I visited an amazing school – Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa. Everything about it was awesome – the school, the teachers, the kids, and even the lunch! It…

Read More Author School Visit

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For several years, I wrote a personal blog. I spent a lot of time writing about my life, family and my writing endeavors. In July of 2009, I went to…

Read More Rejection – 2009

Rejection

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I was  recently asked to give the keynote speech at my high-school graduation ceremony. It was a great honor and not something I ever imagined happening in my life. I’m sure no one was really listening since I was the least important person there, but I thought I’d post a transcript in case anyone wanted to see what I had to say. This is just like being there without having to witness the flop sweat and constant lip licking. Enjoy!

 

Thank you. As a writer, I love this idea that our lives are like a story, so to be with you at such an important chapter in your story, even as a small footnote is exciting for me. I’ll admit it’s also a little surprising to find myself a keynote speaker, considering the type of student I was while at LA.

On the day I graduated I only knew two things about my future. One was that in a few short months I’d be following my friend Gina Coleman to Murfreesboro where we were going to start college at MTSU. And secondly, I knew that immediately following the graduation ceremony, I was going to Dale Hollow Lake because Martha Carmack’s daddy had taken the family camper there for us and a group of girls were going to have a graduation party. And I was super excited and had put a lot of thought into one of those things. The other, not so much. I figured whatever happened, happened. I wasn’t a particularly focused or ambitious student.

Read More For the Graduate

Speaking

A few months ago, I interviewed my awesome agent, Susan Hawk, for The Middle Grade Mafia. In case you missed it, I thought I’d share her thoughts here.  Here are quick Ten Questions with Susan Hawk. Enjoy!

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The number one questions has to be, “What are you looking for?” I found this on your website: In middle-grade and YA, I’m looking for unforgettable characters, rich world-building, and I’m a sucker for bittersweet; bonus points for something that makes me laugh out loud. I’m open to mystery, fantasy, scifi, humor, boy books, historical, contemporary (really any genre). In picture books, I’m looking particularly for author-illustrators, succinct but expressive texts, and indelible characters. I’m interested in non-fiction that relates to kid’s daily lives and their concerns with the world. I’m actively looking for diversity in the stories and authors that I represent. My favorite projects live at the intersection of literary and commercial.    Is this still correct? Anything else you’d like to add?

SH: It is! The books that I love the very most all share a couple things in common: the characters are complicated people whose hearts are big, as big as the mistakes they sometimes make. And in spite of those mistakes, these characters are wrestling with life, engaged in discovering the best parts of themselves and the people around them, all while seeing how people are unexpected, contradictory. I want writers who are interested in complexity, who aren’t afraid to show the good parts, and the bad, of their characters. The richest, most memorable books come directly from characters of the same quality.

Read More Looking for a Literary Agent? Meet mine!

Agents

Contest

I have had a blast reading all of the wonderful entries to The Bertie. The Middle Grade Mafia folks are the official judges, but that didn’t mean they got to…

Read More The Bertie Short List

Contest