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Welcome to my website

Big News!

 

North Carolina Humanities has chosen Bountiful Red Acres: Two Farms, Two Families, and a Year on the Land, my book about Piedmont farm life, as its 2024 Great Read for children. Along with the adult title Those We Thought We Knew by David Joy, Bountiful (illustrated by the amazing Dare Coulter) will represent North Carolina at the Library of Congress National Book Festival this August in D.C.

 

I'll be at the Festival to meet visitors and talk about my book. If you're in the area, stop by and say hello. The event is Saturday, Aug. 24, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (doors open at 8:30 a.m.), at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. It's free and open to the public.

 

North Carolina's Department of Natural and Cultural Resources published my book, in association with the N.C. African American Heritage Commission. The story follows the Hauser and Sawyers families through the year 1900, as they farm their patch of earth in Surry County, a site now known as Horne Creek Living Historical FarmYou can order Bountiful Red Acres from UNC Press, your local independent bookstore (mine is Quail Ridge Books), or Amazon. It's written for third- to eighth-graders, or for anyone who's interested in what it was like growing up on a farm at the turn of the 20th century.

 

I am thrilled and incredibly grateful to have my work chosen for this honor. Thank you, N.C. Humanities

 

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And otherwise, life goes on. Still humming along: My new nonfiction project is in its final revision process, and illustrations are in progress; more on that as it develops. I'm extremely superstitious about saying too much too soon, as you've probably guessed. The YA novel I started some years ago is updated and looking for its place in the world. I've finished a couple of manuscripts for very young readers. So many ambitions, so little time. 

Among my other time-gobbling ambitions is an unending quest to create an ideal garden. I've been learning more about native plants and, as a result, I've become more tolerant of little green volunteers I used to think of as weeds. I'm planning to include more natives in the garden. But that doesn't mean non-natives will be banished. (Except English ivy, of course. Out, out, invasive vine!) Caring for the garden has become a passion of mine. There is something soothing about having my hands in the dirt, something heart-lifting about watching my plants bloom and grow anew every year. My favorites are the ones gifted to me by friends -- shared bounty to be treasured. In challenging times, it's great to have a high-maintenance garden.


Not long ago, I had the privilege of teaching Writing for Children through Duke University's OLLI program. It was my first time teaching adults, an entirely different challenge from teaching schoolkids. Like their young counterparts, though, the grown-up students were a joy to work with.


Anyway, please check in here now and then, look around, see what's new.

Read excerpts from three of my books. You can reach them with the links at left.

Get to know me through my bio. Hint: Books and literacy are big parts of who I am and what I do.

Comb through my archive of bite-size Writing Tips. You'll find practical advice on punctuation, word use, story structure, character development, time management, and more. The Tips are organized by category, so you can easily find what you're looking for.

Contact me. Ask me questions about writing, publishing, or anything else.

 

Let me know if you're looking for a conference presentation. I love to visit schools, libraries, and community groups, in person or virtually. I had the opportunity a few years ago, during grad school at N.C. State University, to present at several academic conferences, a whole other world. All of which is to say, I am back in circulation, experienced at speaking to a range of audiences, and available for engagements.

 

The same goes for my editing services. I offer several levels of editing: Developmental, to work out big-picture issues in your story; Line Editing, to make the most effective use of your words; Copy Editing, to get the details right; and Proofreading, when you're self-publishing and ready to go to press. If you're looking for a freelance editor, contact me any time and I will be happy to answer your questions so you can decide if I'm the right editor for your project.

This is probably so obvious I don’t even need to say it, but … everything on this site is under copyright. Feel free to link to my site — new guests are always welcome. But before you copy or distribute any part of this material, ask me for permission.

Again, thanks for stopping by. Show yourself around. I want this to be a place where we can meet, communicate, and continue to share the joys of books and reading.