I am so excited to share a bit about my latest project with you!
Fans of “Nellie Nova Takes Flight” have been patiently waiting for more adventures with Nellie and Niles. I am happy to say that the wait is almost over! I am currently working with an illustrator and editor to make my book shine. It should be ready by the end of the summer!
I will share more about the book and the Nova kids’ wild summer tomorrow. For now. I’ll just say that they travel in time to meet Sacajawea and reporter Nellie Bly, and spend a lot of time trying escape pesky government agents who won’t give up their quest to steal the time machine.
Check out these illustrations by artist Jo Painter. Nellie and Niles have an amazing adventure ahead of them!
It’s been awhile since I posted last.
Because I have been in recovery, y’all.
My tour to Texas was amazing. I met so many wonderful people, saw old friends, made connections and met sweet young fans. I loved it.
I went alone. With my three kids.
I knew this going into it.
I’ve traveled alone with my kids before. But this was hard. This made me question my sanity.
The first day of travel from NC to TX went fairly well. The kids were excited. They were happy. They joked. They laughed. They happily listened to their audio books. The older two journaled about what they saw. We hit no traffic. We flew from state to state.
They absolutely loved stopping at each state line to pose for a picture.
In all honesty, it was fun. We were all truly enjoying ourselves.
We stopped for dinner that night in Birmingham, Alabama. The kids were chomping down their food when I heard thunder. I wasn’t worried. I spent six years living in Texas. I’ve been through storms. I was sure we’d be back on the road soon. Then the rain came down in sheets. I still didn’t worry. Surely, the storm would pass and we’d get back on the road soon. Then I checked the weather app on my phone. I found out that we were in the center of a severe thunder storm with a tornado watch and it would be moving towards Louisiana along the same path we would be taking. The storm worsened as we ate and when we finished eating, I found a hotel nearby and we called it a night. Slightly defeated, I went to bed vowing to get up early to make up for lost time.
Which of course didn’t happen. The kids were not looking forward to another day on the road and my oldest kind of lost it. He wanted to stay in bed. Then he did not want to eat breakfast. Then he didn’t want to leave the hotel dining area to get in the car. When all the tears and tantrums stopped, we were about an hour behind schedule.
Determined not to let it upset me, I sang silly songs with the kids. I played a new audio book. I pointed out interesting landmarks as we drove. We entered Mississippi early in the day.
Soon we were closing in on the Mississippi River and the Louisiana border. The kids were gleefully trying to spell Mississippi in the back seat. A sign indicated we would be to the border in about 20 minutes.
Then it happened.
My map app chirped at me that my ETA was four hours later than before. Confused, I thought I had missed a turn. Just then, the traffic stopped. Not slowed. Stopped. We were stopped on the freeway. I checked the app and saw that the traffic was stopped for about five miles.
We stopped behind a truck load of livestock. Very stinky livestock.
We waited. The kids started to get fussy. My daughter cried about the smell.
(I wanted to cry about the smell, but I am a grown-up and I am not supposed to cry about such things.)
After about an hour my three year old began to scream,
Over and over again.
He’s well potty trained. I did not bring diapers.
I looked around me, cursing the landscape for not providing trees to poop behind.
More screaming. For another TWO HOURS.
My map app chirped that I could save time if I got off the highway.
The exit was ahead about 1000 feet. Maybe more. I am a terrible at judging distance. I’m a writer, okay? It’s not my thing.
I drove on the freaking shoulder, desperate to get off the highway and to a a toilet.
I don’t do that normally. Usually, I silently curse the people who think they can create their own lane on the road by driving on grass. But I did it. And I am not sorry.
So I get off the highway and realize that there’s not a toilet in sight. There’s nothing in sight. In fact, I start to worry that my map app has tricked me into a slow death in backwoods Mississippi, because this is the road it took me on:
For three miles, I drove down this dirt road, fearfully wondering what I’d gotten myself into.
After what felt like hours, the dirt road intersected with a real road and took me back to the highway. And a gas station. With a toilet.
And you know what happened?
My son refused to poop.
He “didn’t like” the toilet, so he would not go.
After bashing my head into a wall repeatedly,(*not really*), I got gas, got back on the road, and soon found myself in Louisiana.
We didn’t stop for a picture.
We made it to the Texas border before sunset and made it to Dallas before bedtime.
My eye may or may not have been twitching when we got there.
(Yes, we stopped at the TX border. My three year old still had to poop. He didn’t like the toilet in TX either.)
We had a great time in Texas. The tour was wonderful, really. I had so much fun meeting young fans and hearing what they had to say about my book. One sweet little girl came up to me, hugging her copy of my book and told me it was her favorite book ever. It made my
day week year.
I loved the actual tour part of the trip. I can’t express fully how much I love these speaking engagements.
We also saw so many great friends and got to visit some of our favorite parts of Dallas.
The drive back was filled with more storms, but otherwise went okay.
Plus, we got to stop in Bucksnort, TN. Don’t be too jealous.
(In all seriousness, Bucksnort seemed like a nice little town, but what is with that name?!)
We made it safely back home to North Carolina and we were all relieved.
And here’s the part that makes me question my sanity:
I can’t wait to do it again.
I have been doing a lot of book events and it is so much fun. I absolutely love meeting young readers and hearing what they have to say. Today, I did a reading and presentation about writing at St. Michael School in Cary, NC. I met kids in the 3rd and 4th grades and I was really impressed with these kids. They had a lot of great questions!
I have events coming up in NC and TX. Events I have done or have scheduled range from homeschool groups to schools to science centers. These speaking engagements are quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of being an author. Upcoming public events include:
Academy for the Performing Arts, Apex, NC Feb 25th at 6:00pm
Robert Muller Center for Ethical Living, Fairview, TX- March 7th at 2:30 pm
Sci-Tech Discovery Center, Frisco, TX- March 8th at 11:00 am.
I also have several private events coming up in NC and TX at homeschool groups and schools.
It’s great to be with young readers and see them react to my story. I love talking with them before and after these events. At many of these events, I give a quick talk about writing or world-changing women. It is great to be able to connect with kids and hear their thoughts on these subjects. I hear a lot of people complain about “kids today,” but I have met so many bright, engaged kids. I think the young people of this generation are amazing!
If you are interested in hosting a reading at your school, homeschool group, or any other venue, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am local to Raleigh, NC, but I am open to travel.