Sunday, May 16, 2010

South Carolina and Books

Hey, y'all.

This is how Hubby and I were greeted at a few restaurants on a trip to South Carolina last week. So hard not to giggle with each warm southern welcome. We dug the accents, friendliness, and all that wonderful charm and hospitality.

It was difficult to find time to write during our trip, but I did squeeze out a few paragraphs one afternoon.

We drove past lanes of lush oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. Countless Magnolia trees dotted the landscape. I imagined what life was like during the Civil War era. And without air conditioning. The air was a sticky breeze. Good thing mosquito season was a few months away. We cranked up the music on Sirius radio as beautiful houses with wrap around porches whizzed by on the way to Kiawah Island where we spent a few days.

Then onto Charleston where we found super cool Blue Bicycle Books located on King Street. There you'll find used, rare, and local books. You'll want to check this place out if you visit Charleston.

I bought a used copy of The ABCs of Writing for Children for only $4.95! And Girls in Trucks a debut novel by author, Katie Crouch who grew up in South Carolina. I wanted to load up on purchases, but I had to hold myself back. I have a teetering tower of unread books at home, and I couldn’t fit anything else in my carry on.

We strolled along the Battery overlooking the historic Charleston harbor. Across the street amazing homes built in the 1800s lined the waterfront. We wished we could go inside each glorious one for a tour then sit on a porch to sip some sweet iced tea or a frosty mint julep.

Then we headed to the Battery Carriage House Inn that was built in 1843. It's supposed to be haunted. Guests report seeing a headless soldier hovering over their beds and other eerie occurrences. We may just have to stay there sometime...if I get really brave. I'm the type who would see a ghost.

The smell of jasmine and honeysuckle tickled our noses. The Historic District smelled better than Honolulu. I kid you not. I plucked some jasmine from a bush in front of a home with a for sale sign.

Then off to downtown Charleston where it didn’t smell so nice with the horse-drawn carriages and all…

After that to lunch for some of the best gulf shrimp we’ve ever tasted. Oh. My. Gosh. Yum. We should have had the steamed clams, too. Those suckers were HUGE. Also, had the she-crab bisque, but it was better on Kiawah Island.

I devoured half of Girls in Trucks on the plane ride home. A few times, I laughed a little loudly. People looked at me funny. Read the rest of the book over the next few days. It's sassy, scandalous, and heartbreaking. Not at all what I envisioned from reading the back cover. The ending was something I never saw coming, y'all.

We loved South Carolina and our awesome bookstore visit. I'd love to hear about your vacation bookstore finds or the ones in your city. What local bookstores do you recommend?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Writer's Rap

You may have seen this video by children's writer, Erin Dealy. If you haven't, it's worth watching. Love it!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Author in the Spotlight: Susan A. Meyers - The Princess and the Pee

The Princess and the Pee by Susan A. Myers is illustrated by Manelle Oliphant and is published by Blooming Tree/Tire Swing Books (February 16, 2010).

Book Synopsis:

Princess Pia Scarlett wants to see fireflies at night. Her older sister, the Darling Millicent, won't let Pia sleep on the top bunk until she stops wetting the bed. Can she stop? A bet is made...
Which sister will win?

What was your first book?

Callie and the Stepmother. It's about a girl who believes fairy tales are real. This causes a lot of problems when she gets a stepmother of her very own.

What was your inspiration for writing The Princess and the Pee?

There were two. 1. Almost every family I know has a child in it who has problems with bed wetting. The Princess and the Pee takes a humorous look at how Princess Pia Scarlett (or Princess Pees-a-lot as her older sister calls her) solves her problem. I hope this book can encourage others. But it's not just about bed wetting. It's also about problem solving and sisterly conflict. 2. I just couldn't pass up that title!

What were you like as a child?

I loved to read. And since I was also a tomboy, my favorite place to read was in a huge oak tree that grew next to our house. I'd climb to the top, get comfortable and read while eating apples.

Describe your journey to publication? What struggles did you have?

My first story was published in 2000. I went on to publish several short stories in magazines and anthologies, but didn't get my first book published until 2005. I used to start a lot of projects, but never finish them. I'd read a great book and think, "that's the type of story I want to write." So, I'd put down whatever I was currently writing and start another story. I didn't start getting published until I made myself stop writing beginnings and start finishing my manuscripts. Sending them out is also key. I love email submissions because I don't have to look for stamps, address envelopes and go to the post office!

How did you learn the craft of writing?

Classes, conferences, and critique groups. I urge anyone who wants to write for children to check out the SCBWI. Find out if they have a local chapter in your area and join. It's well worth your time and money.

Why did you decide to become a writer?

I've been writing since I was a kid. I used to love writing scenes set in exotic places like Hawaii. When I became a mother, I started telling my son bedtime stories that I made up. I started writing the stories down. It wasn't until several years later that I thought about actually getting them published.

When you were a kid, what was your favorite book?

Little Black - the first book I could ever read by myself, Little Women, Nancy Drew Mysteries, Cherry Ames mysteries (these were actually before my time, lol, but my grandmother shared them with me. That, of course, made them extra special). Gosh, there are so many.

What advice can you give to aspiring writers?

See above about the SCBWI. LEARN YOUR CRAFT. I think one of the saddest comments I've ever heard was from an unpublished writer is, "I don't need to get my work critiqued, I know I'm a good writer." Good writers know how important it is to get your work critiqued!

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Thanks, Kim, for this interview. Everyone, check out my blog and The Princess and the Pee at