HONEYSUCKLE, SWEET HONEYSUCKLE

When I was a young girl growing up in Memphis, a honeysuckle vine grew feverishly outside my bedroom window. I awakened to its sweet, intoxicating fragrance throughout its blooming season. And when the scorching sun of a southern summer seemed exhausting, all I had to do was pluck a colorful green and yellow blossom from the vine and drink its sweet nectar and all was right with the world again. I never tired of its rich elixir. The cover design for my debut YA-novel, Honeysuckle Holiday, beautifully-rendered by Anna Hartman, captures the sweeping invitation from a honeysuckle branch. And the full moon, which Lucy the main character in the novel looks to more than once for reassurance an

BONEYARD, POTTER'S FIELD . . .

So, how cool is the moss hanging from the trees on the grounds of the Circular Congregational Church in Charleston, SC?! When I wrote my MG-novel, MARBLE TOWN, I searched and searched for the perfect title. I came across an article that highlighted various names for a cemetery: burial ground, graveyard, catacomb, potter's field, boneyard, and then, there it was -- MARBLE TOWN! And like Cole, the story's main character's mother, my mother too loved old cemeteries. Whenever we traveled here, there, and everywhere we would stop at historic cemeteries and walk around, careful where we stepped. Some people brake for antiques shops (and we did that, too), but we always made time to open the

AUNT DODO & UNCLE HERMAN

Yes, they were real -- so very real. So many readers of Honeysuckle Holiday have asked, "Were Aunt Dodo and Uncle Herman real?" They were real & awesome & doting & intriguing -- and I wanted to be just like them. I wanted the kind of marriage they had. I wanted to live in their house on Cologne Ave. (divine street name, isn't it?!) in St. Louis, and I wanted that beaded Indian handbag she carried on her arm, too! I love their sweet smiles. And I love Uncle Herman's spectacles. And I love that they made their way into the pages of my debut YA-novel, Honeysuckle Holiday. And I truly love that readers of Honeysuckle Holiday fell in love with them, just like I did!

BOO!

The very first thing I think of whenever I hear the expression Boo! is the character Boo Radley from Harper Lee's classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. And then I hear Scout's sweet voice, "Hey, Boo." And, of course, thoughts then journey to Scout's eventual understanding and acceptance of Boo as a friend and neighbor and not so frightening after all. In keeping with a good, spooky story how about reading one this Halloween as you enjoy your bag full of treats? MARBLE TOWN, my middle-grade novel is, according to 11-year-old reader, James ". . . sometimes creepy. It has a lot of turns, and it's a really good book." And fellow middle-grader, Will, wrote, "Marble Town is great!" MARBLE TOWN is f

ALL ABOARD!

When I was a kid growing up in Memphis, my family would travel by train every summer to visit relatives in St. Louis. Every time I heard the phrase ALL ABOARD! I nearly stumbled getting to the train -- I was that excited! And it was the enthusiasm and the drawing out of each word that fed my excitement. And the relatives we visited included Aunt Dodo and Uncle Herman, who play a vital role in my YA-novel, HONEYSUCKLE HOLIDAY. They were awesome, and I grew up wanting to be just like them. In the novel, Lucy -- the main character -- and her sisters have so much fun on one particular train trip, when they overhear a conversation between a bickering married couple. And as they approach Uni

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