Greene County Library Book Signing

The book signing event yesterday at the Greene County Library was awesome. I was blown away by the number of people who took time out of their day to stop in for a copy of The Legend of Sassafras House. I enjoyed seeing old friends and making new friends. Thanks to the library staff for their work in promoting and hosting the event, and thanks to the many readers who stopped by my table.




September Events

Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018        
                 Book signing
                 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
                 and 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

                Greene County Library
                120 N. 12th Street
                Paragould, AR

Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018             

                Literacy night
                6:00 p.m.      

               Oak Grove Middle School      
               5097 Hwy. 135 North
               Paragould, AR



The Legend of Sassafras House Released

The Legend of Sassafras House, a middle-grade novel, has been released by Dreaming Big Publications. Children from 8 to 12 years who enjoy mystery and adventure will want this book. Ask for it at your favorite bookstore, or find it online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Twelve-year-old Kale Flores knows life is not fair. He needs a friend, but more than that, he needs money. When he learns there could be a fortune hidden in the Sassafras house, he thinks his luck may have changed. Never mind the house is supposed to be haunted.

When Jasmine Palmer revealed the legend of Sassafras house to Kale, she never thought it could lead to so much trouble. She says it's a place someone could go into and never come out. Is she right?

The only thing Kale is sure of is that his problems will be solved if he finds the money. He doesn't know the deserted house holds secrets from the past, secrets that are waiting to tangle him in a dangerous web.




One good memory I have of teaching in the elementary school is Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.). There was not an assigned time during the day, instead, we were encouraged to choose random times for the D.E.A.R. activity. Students loved the surprise of being released from their other schoolwork. They also loved getting comfortable with a book for some uninterrupted reading time. This allowed the students to choose their reading material and, I hope, instilled the habit of reading for pleasure every day.

I no longer teach, but I haven't given up my own D.E.A.R. time. In fact, dropping everything to read is what I do best. Sometimes I'll pick up a book, thinking I'll read a couple of chapters, but I don't look up again until the book is finished. I believe I could serve as the poster child for D.E.A.R.

Here are some of my recent D.E.A.R. reads:

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
This is the story of a young black man falsely accused of a crime. He's educated, successful, and a newlywed. But a woman says he's guilty of rape, and the jury accepts her testimony without further evidence. His belief is that his race convicted him. He is sentenced to prison, and the aftermath is well-told with several twists and surprises. 

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
This is an upper middle-grade novel about friendship and time travel. Not all the characters are who they appear to be. Can something bad be good? It's hard to tell until the ending.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Dicamillo
This middle-grade book is my new favorite. Every child knows that some toys are more than toys. The story is as touching as The Velveteen Rabbit, but with more adventure. This book evokes emotion and would be a good classroom read aloud.



Latest Reads

Each of my recent book selections was the kind that begs to be finished in a sitting, once started. Books like these often keep me up past my bedtime. If you like fiction with a dose of family relationship issues, any one of these books will be a winner.

1. The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve
An intriguing fictional story of a young family woven around the factual 1947 fires that ravaged nine towns in Maine. A young mother must rely on her own wits to save her children from the fire, but she can't save her house or belongings. Grace finds strength she didn't know she possessed, only to be crushed by a husband more devastating than the fire.

2. Effie Mae's Sweet Chariot Ride by Caroline Mims
This book is fiction, but when Effie Mae passes, the story rings true because of the greed family members exhibit over the meager possessions when they assemble to lay her to rest. The pious, the scoundrels, the in-laws and the out-laws all show up, and no one trusts anyone else. No one can imagine why Effie Mae, a woman of limited means, would have hired a lawyer, let alone made a will. This author is a natural storyteller and is also a member of my book club.

3. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Another work of fiction, but truth about the complex lives of people was portrayed in the relationships. A couple of thoughts I came away with from this book: A perfect looking life may only be an illusion, and your sins will find you out. This book has a bit of everything, including crime, betrayal, romance, and family.

4. In Search of Shiloh by Patricia Clark Blake
The Shiloh series is historical fiction and is authored by a member of my writers' group. Knowing Pat, I expected a good book, but I didn't expect to be mesmerized by the story. The saga begins with a marriage of convenience in Northwest Arkansas in the mid 1800's. A father is on his deathbed, and he wants his only daughter, Laurel, to be taken care of when he's gone. The new bride begins her marriage with this stranger, Mac, by traveling with him across the state to land he owns. Their adventures and encounters make for an entertaining read.

5. The Dream of Shiloh by Patricia Clark Blake
The story continues with the arrival of the couple in Northeast Arkansas. Laurel is accepted as the teacher for the community school. The couple works to build a house and a life, however, with no common background, misunderstanding and disagreements arise. Mac is not sure he can keep his promise to Laurel's father. One thing I enjoyed about both Volume I and Volume II of the Shiloh series was the accuracy of the historical research. With a factual base, the story and the characters come alive. The saga continues, and Pat will soon release the third book in this series.