SIBA 2009 in Greenville South Carolina

Today I end my blog book tour for Gone From These Woods by stopping by Eddie Suttles’ blog, Georgia Books and Water. Click on the link to visit Eddie’s blog and read an all-new question and answer about writing and publishing my debut children’s middle grade and YA novel. And don’t forget to come back here on Friday, October 2, to read my review of author/illustrator Elizabeth O. Dulemba’s brand new children’s picture book, Soap, Soap, Soap. This will be the last stop on her blog book tour and I’ll be giving away a signed copy of her beautiful new book.
Here’s another date to mark on your calendar. On Sunday, October 4, 2009, Elizabeth and I will be participating in a children’s author and illustrator’s panel at the Athens, Georgia Borders Bookstore. The panel will be held from 1 – 2:30 PM and will include Donna Bowman, Robyn Hood Black, Gene Fehler, and Margo Candelario as well as Elizabeth and myself. This event is part of Borders’ Educator Days but is open to the public.

This weekend I had the pleasure of participating in my first ever Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Trade Show! The location was the huge Carolina First Convention Center in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina. My traveling companion, daughter Jenny, and I had a pleasant car trip up to Greenville, about 100 miles from my home in Winterville, Georgia. When we got there Thursday, we checked into our motel and then headed to the convention center to check everything out. Things were winding down for the day when we arrived, but we got a chance to see the set up and where we’d be the next day.

On Friday morning we headed back to the Carolina First Center and at 11 AM, I participated in an author’s panel called “Writing the South,” along with four other authors. This was the panel line up: Moderator: Karen Zacharias, author of Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide? Cause I need more room for my plasma TV (Zondervan); Batt Humphreys, author of Dead Weight (Joggling Board Press); Karen White, author of The Girl on Legare Street (NAL Trade Paperback); Donny Bailey Seagraves, author of Gone From These Woods (Delacorte Press);  andAmanda Gable, author of The Confederate General Rides North (Scribner). I can’t say enough good things about our moderator, Karen Zacharias. She arrived with our books in her arms and had read them all! Her questions were excellent and tailored to each of our books. Thank you Karen and thanks to Batt, the other Karen on our panel, and Amanda for an enjoyable hour spent talking about the South and our books.

After the panel I enjoyed eating lunch with some of the independent booksellers who were in the audience, including Janet Geddis of Athens, Georgia who is in the planning stages of opening a brand new bookstore. I’m excited about Janet’s plans and enjoyed meeting her and her mother at this author’s lunch. Speaking of authors, our luncheon speakers included bestselling all-star authors: Patricia Reilly Giff, Richard Peck, Silas Read and Rick Yancey. Each in turn told us about their new book and talked about writing and publishing. No children’s author could ask for a better meal! I also enjoyed chatting with Patricia after lunch. Seems we share an editor in common, Michelle Poploff. Later in the afternoon, I enjoyed meeting more booksellers as I autographed and handed out the books my publisher, Random House, so graciously donated for this event.


Today, September 15, 2009, marks the beginning of my GONE FROM THESE WOODS blog book tour. My tour started this morning with a stop at Leandra Nessel’s blog: Madame Queen. Leandra works in the main library at the University of Georgia as a Development Office and moonlights as the Madame Queen on her blog. Check it out. Leave a comment there and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free signed first edition copy of GONE FROM THESE WOODS.
Want to follow the rest of the GFTW Blog Book Tour? Here’s the schedule:

Leandra Nessel – Tue., Sept. 15 – Madame Queen Blog

Lynn Coulter – Wed., Sept. 16 – Seedlings Blog

Elizabeth Dulemba – Fri., Sept. 18 – E’s Blog

Eddie Suttles – Mon., Sept. 21, Georgia Books and Water Blog

Each blogger has a unique group of questions and answers about me, my book, and the writing process. Read them all. And don’t forget to subscribe to each one and/or follow them in your Google Reader, or on your Google Homepage or in your favorite reader. These are all excellent blogs. See you there!

4th Annual AJC Decatur Book Festival

I spent a delightful weekend at the 4th Annual AJC Decatur Book Festival and I must say, IT WAS THE BEST ONE YET! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve attended all four DBFs and they’ve all been outstanding. But there were three things — no make that four things — about this year’s festival that made it great for me.

First, I got to attend the festival for the first time as a featured author, thanks to the publication of my debut novel, GONE FROM THESE WOODS, published August 25, 2009, by Random House under their

Katie Davis, Donny Seagraves, Laurel Snyder at 2009 DBF

Katie Davis, Donny Seagraves, Laurel Snyder at 2009 DBF

Delacorte Press imprint. I had the pleasure of participating in a panel on Sunday afternoon with Katie Davis (check her out here) and Laurel Snyder (visit her

website here), two authors I admire.

Second, it wasn’t as hot this year. Okay, my hair did stick to my head and all my makeup sweated off before the Sunday panel and I couldn’t stop myself from gulping down a lot of water while I was onstage, but considering the average heat-stroking inducing temperatures I’ve encountered at the other three DBFs, this weekend wasn’t so bad.

Kate DiCamillo at 2009 Decatur Book Festival

Kate DiCamillo at 2009 Decatur Book Festival

Third, I got to peek at author Kate DiCamillo through the massive crowd that surrounded her on the Target Stage. If you don’t know who she is, shame on you! Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux and her latest, The Magician’s Elephant are just a few of my DiCamillo favorites. My neighbor down the street, Andy Plemmons, took the photo of this award-winning author. He also got to speak with her and get her autograph afterwards. Andy, I am SO jealous!

Okay, that was three things about this year’s DBF. What’s number four? I got to stay at the beautiful home of my friend, Lynn Whitten, who lives two blocks from the downtown area of Decatur, where most of the festival takes place. And I got to spend time with my other friends, all writers, as is Lynn, Kathleen, Ellen, Debbe, Deborah, Pam – – and my lovely daughter, Jenny. And Southern Breezers Connie, Robyn, Susan, Donna, Peter, Peggy and others.

That’s more than four DBF things, isn’t it? And I could count a lot higher. This festival is now the biggest in the country and it’s only in its fourth year. I’m already counting down to DBF number five. If you haven’t experienced this great literary celebration in Decatur, maybe you should go ahead and mark your calendar for Labor Day weekend, 2010.

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