BOOK CLUBS & THE THREADS THAT BIND

Something captivating -- very captivating -- happened from the moment Megan Easter of the Kanawha City (KC) Book Club invited me to meet with them to discuss my debut YA-novel, HONEYSUCKLE HOLIDAY . . . and every minute of the gathering became more and more captivating -- more and more engrossing. Nine avid, enthusiastic, and passionate readers greeted me warmly at Panera Bread at Southridge in Charleston, WV: Debra Parker, Linda Johnson, Susan Wright, Danene Hartley, Pat Hose, Sue Riley, Sheila Dale, and Sherry Durst entered Panera Bread not only with HONEYSUCKLE HOLIDAY held close, but genuine smiles that suggested that by the simple, yet powerful thread that joined each of us to one ano

TRAVELING WITH THOREAU

I’m following the new year cliché and working to clean out my spaces, to have a clean start. Last week, I uncovered the metal pencil tray in my desk drawer from beneath a mountain of clutter that had been crammed inside for far too long. Beneath the pile of paperclips and white erasers, underneath stickers that were meant to organize my day planner, a deck of cards shaped like Easter eggs, an old Valentine I hold onto, I found a folded piece of paper. Smoothing the folds, I found my maiden name printed at the top in handwriting that is somewhere between my current rounded scratch and my daughter’s uneven third-grade letters. Below that, I’ve written the year 1996. I can’t say for sure it was

FRIED APPLE PIES

If you've read my YA-novel, Honeysuckle Holiday, you most certainly "tasted" Lila's fried apple pies. She fried "the juiciest apple pies in the universe." Lucy loved them, and so did I in the summer of 1966 when my family and I lived in the hot, humid heat of a Memphis afternoon and even still in the hot, humid heat of an Appalachian day. Like Lila and my family, I think I'll always love juicy, fried apple pies and the memories -- the bittersweet memories -- they conjure. And so, in preparing for a gathering of Honeysuckle Holiday readers later this month, here's a recipe for Fried Apple Pies that I uncovered on allrecipes.com. It's as close to Lila's recipe (although I seriously doubt i

STARVING ARTISTS

Not long after the release of my debut YA-novel, Honeysuckle Holiday, I was invited to present the work to a group of low-income summer campers as a study in diversity and acceptance. I was honored and overwhelmed at the book's reception. The individual had read my novel and had expressed their appreciation for its focus on those topics. I expressed my gratitude to the individual who offered the invitation, and then what happened next was completely unexpected. They asked to contact my publisher to "beg a discussion set of 10-15 copies" of the book. They went on to suggest that a reporter might write a piece on the event, thereby "drawing more interest for people to buy the book." A qu

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