Friday, March 28, 2014

Skip a Starbucks Day Adoption Fundraiser

I am happy to participate in Skip a Starbucks Day to help my friend, C.J. Redwine, bring her adopted daughter home from China. The idea is to skip an indulgence and donate the money to help bring Isabella from the orphanage to her forever home.

Everyone who donates goes into an amazing prize giveaway drawing. To learn more about Isabella and the Redwine’s adoption story, see a list of the fabulous prizes, and donate, go here

Monday, November 11, 2013

Southern Festival of Books 2013

It was great fun attending the Southern Festival of Books again this year and a real treat to participate as an author. Here are a few pics from the festival. For a full report by Paige Crutcher of Publishers Weekly, click here.

I volunteered in the SCBWI Midsouth booth with these ladies: Susan Eaddy, Shellie Braeuner, & Genetta Adair

Reading from The Devil's Backbone (photo by John A. Parker)

With Beck McDowell (YA author of This is Not A Drill) 
after our presentation on YA Protagonists Who Take A Stand. I think I'm still talking in the photo.
(photo by John A. Parker)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Making an Indie Book Cover – the Parker way

Making the book cover for my self-published middle grade novel, The Devil’s Backbone, was a family project. I asked my photographer husband if he would shoot an original photo for the cover. He said yes; he takes lots of photos. Then I asked if he would also design the cover. After a slight hesitation, he said yes, on the condition if I wasn’t pleased, I could hire someone else to turn the photo into a cover.

Stage 1:
Look at ALL the book covers in the children’s section of the bookstore. Yes, all of them. I knew I wanted the cover to be a photo of a scene from the book. I shared comparison covers with my cover artist.

Stage 2:
Convince my son (who portrays the ghost, Kit) and his friend (who portrays the main character, David) to be on my book cover. They both said yes right away, even before I told them there would be pizza after.
Select costumes and props (the ghost’s hat and mailbag). This took WAY longer than expected.
Choose a location for the photo shoot.

Stage 3:
White board drawings by the cover artist

-Wait for weather to cooperate.-

Stage 4:
The Photo Shoot at Gordon House on the Natchez Trace, an important place in the book. What a fun day! And my daughter (also a photographer) documented the day with more photos. Here are a few shots from the day. (photos by John A. Parker)

Acting out the scene to get into character. The boy on the right is an actor.

Here I'm saying something like: you see the ghost is desperate for David to take this mailbag.

And somewhere in the middle of all the photos, the Money Shot! This is the photo that turned into the book cover.

After the photo shoot, I went through the over 500 photos taken that day. Right away, I knew one was my favorite. Hubby looked through the photos and chose his favorite photo. We compared and we had picked the SAME ONE! No joke. (you see, that’s why we’re married).

Stage 5:
More discussion about fonts and other stuff. Finally the photo turns into a book cover. Here it is:

 I think Mr. Parker did a great job on his first book cover design. I love it! And not just because my name is on the cover. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rhymes Memorial Library Booksigning

A booksigning for The Devil’s Backbone was hosted in my hometown, Rayville, Louisiana, by the Rhymes Memorial Library board. The parish library is in a newer, larger building and the Rhymes Memorial Library is now used for special events. The library was Louisiana’s first parish library. Here are a few photos from the event on June 4th. (photos by Audrey N. Parker)

The library is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Signing books & giving away David's road trip snacks from the book.

Talking and catching up.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Devil’s Backbone Launch Party

The launch party for my debut middle grade novel, The Devil’s Backbone, was last Friday evening at Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee. The event was part of the store’s Children’s Book Week celebration. What a great evening! Here are a few photos from the event. (photos by John A. Parker)

beautiful front window display

talking about The Devil's Backbone

signing books

with my critique group - me, Courtney Stevens, Hannah Dills & Kristin O'Donnell Tubb

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Launch Party for The Devil's Backbone

The book launch for The Devil's Backbone will be part of the Children's Book Week Celebration at Parnassus Books. If you are in the area, I hope you can join me. I am asking everyone to RSVP so there will be enough books and snacks for the event. 
Here are the details:

Book Launch Party for The Devil’s Backbone

Parnassus Books 3900 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN

Friday, May 17th @ 6:30 p.m.

Please RSVP here

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cover Reveal for The Devil’s Backbone

I am thrilled to reveal the cover for my debut novel, The Devil’s Backbone.

The cover is an original photo taken by my cover artist, John A. Parker. The photo was shot on the Natchez Trace Parkway, where the book takes place. The boy on the left portrays Kit, the 200-year-old postal rider ghost and the boy in the blue hoodie portrays David, the main character.

Blurb for The Devil’s Backbone (for readers ages 9 & up):

David Baxter takes the blame for the graffiti on the school gym doors to keep his friend out of trouble and earns a three-day suspension. His dad, the juvenile judge, forces him to go on a roadtrip to redemption on the Natchez Trace Parkway. What his dad doesn’t know is that David meets a ghost carrying the last letter of Meriwether Lewis - the piece of evidence that may solve the 200-year-old mystery of Lewis’s death. Thanks to the ghost, David just might figure out how to relate to his dad and forgive his wayward mom.

I love the cover and I hope you do, too. The book will be available next month. Stay tuned for more info.