Sunday, August 29, 2010

Launch Party Recap

"Emmett, I'm filming you!" my husband sing-songed, joking around with our four-year-old nephew.

"No you're not!" Emmett giggled ... before promptly flipping backward over the arm of his chair and crashing to the floor.

This was only one of the many exciting events that took place during the LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE launch party!

Taylor Books in Charleston, WV, is a wonderful, cozy bookstore. Yesterday, it was packed with people ready to celebrate the release of my new novel. I was touched by how many people came. High school friends. Writing group members. Family, of course. But the coolest thing was when strangers walked up, wanting to talk about, and buy, and read, the book I wrote!

In addition to reading a chapter of LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE and signing the books that were purchased, I also collected books for Hanover Public Library in southern West Virginia. They lost much of their children's section in a flood in June. It was wonderful to see people buying cherished children's books for kids I used to teach. I hope to collect many more books for this library, and I'm really grateful to everyone who already donated.

Oh, and don't worry. After his fall, Emmett bounced back up, ready to take on the world. His plan?

"When I'm a grown-up guy, I'm gonna be a 'offer' like you! I'm going to write a scary story about scary pirates! It'll be scary!"

I can't wait until THAT launch party!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


It's August! That means LIVVIE OWEN LIVED HERE will be released THIS MONTH!

In honor of August, I have immersed myself in Windows Movie Maker for the weekend and created a book trailer. What fun! I'm going to be setting all the family photos to music now using this program! It's my new favorite hobby and procrastination method!

Anyway, here it is -- the brand new Livvie Owen Lived Here book trailer:



August, and with it, temptation

It's that time again. August has rolled around and teachers everywhere are getting back into their classrooms after the floor-polishing and wall-painting and building maintenance that takes place in July.

The posts are already starting to pop up on Facebook:

Got into my classroom today.


Starting on bulletin boards, ugh.


Anybody know of any good math centers? I'm setting up this week.

Three years in a row, I have quit teaching in June. Two of those years, it only lasted till August. When those "Got-into-my-classroom" posts started cropping up on Facebook, I started opening a new tab. Cruising the local district employment websites. Placing a bid just to see if I'd get it.

Always do.

I'm determined this year not to return to public schooling. Last year, I was off my game. Tired. Negative. I did my best by those kids, but my best wasn't as good last year as it was in school years past. I did not leave with a sense of having done well, of having made lasting changes. I left with the sense that we had, all of us, just barely kept our heads above water.

Bad metaphor, actually, given that the town flooded not two weeks after I left it.

I will teach this year, just not in a public school. I will work with children, but I will not have a classroom. This is both good and bad. It's good because I can focus on the needs of each individual child in the program that's offered me work come fall. It's also good because I won't be staying in public education long enough to completely lose my faith in it. But it's bad because ... because ...

Man, I really like having a classroom.

I'm happy with my choices. This is a good move, mental-health-wise. It's a good move, career-wise. It's a good move, interest-wise. So I'll stay strong as my Facebook friends dangle lesson plans and teacher's desks and literacy centers in front of me. I will pour my creative energy into writing instead of materials creation. I will block the district websites from my computer.

But if anybody needs a bulletin board created? I'm your girl.