pexels-photo-189349All I can say is “Whew.”

Well, that’s not all I can say or we wouldn’t have much of a blog post here, would we? So I’ll expound a bit on that “Whew.”

Remember a week or so ago when Hurricane Matthew blew through the southeastern seaboard? That was just about the same time I was scheduled to attend an SCBWI conference in Alabama. And not just attend–I was in the program as a presenter. So I pretty much had to show up and present something.

Meanwhile, half of my extended family was fleeing the coast, leaving both Savannah and Tybee Island. Yep, we have a house on Tybee Island–I have a house on Tybee Island–and there wasn’t a lot that we could do except pray for the safety of the people in the hurricane’s path and hope the homes were still standing after the winds and water blew through.

Meanwhile, it kind of felt like a hurricane was whirling around my insides, thinking about that conference session I had to deliver. Not so much the talking part; honestly, I can talk all day about writing (um…that might be a problem when you’re on a very tight schedule) but more that I wanted the people who’d signed up for my session to feel like it was worth their time and money.

So my home made it through Hurricane Matthew with very little damage, and all my family members fared as well. Whew! And I made it through the conference session, too.

Though if I’m being honest, the session was a wee bit more nerve-wracking. Read for yourself over at the Muffin, “Observations From a First-time Presenter (Or What I’ll Do Better Next Time)” and you’ll see what I mean.


Yep, It’s ANOTHER Book!

You know those people who release a book and then you turn around, and they’re releasing ANOTHER book, and you just want to yell, “HOLD ON A TIC! Didn’t you JUST release a book?” But then you remember that “Comparison is the thief of joy” so you smile and say, “Good on you.”

Get ready to smile, friends, ’cause here is book two:


I’m not sure why that poor little girl seems to be frightened out of her wits by the Russian nesting doll…and the boy on the far end looks as if the little girl has just released the Bell Witch into the classroom.

Anyway, there is nothing at all scary about this book. It’s lots of fun and full of information about five different countries. I hope the Korean children will like reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

(And I really hope I don’t find that Korea decides to ban Matryoshka dolls because of Cathy C. Hall’s latest release, Around the World in a Single Day!)


Just Saying No

no-1532789_1920Gosh, it’s hard to say no, isn’t it?

I don’t mean when your three kids are little and you’ve dragged them all to the grocery store and you’re only in the first aisle and already, each of them have asked at least ten times for Gooey Candy Bars or Krispy Chocolate Cereal or Saturated-with-Sugar Soda. It’s pretty easy to say no then…well, until you get to the last aisle and your head’s about to explode from the 5,769th question and you scream, “Fine. Get the candy! Get the cereal! Get the Coke! I don’t care as long as you don’t ask me ANY MORE QUESTIONS!”

Or maybe that’s just me. Anyway, for writers, saying no is a whole ‘nother story. We take jobs we really don’t want to do, or we get involved in jobs that are so demanding that we’re losing money with all the rewrites, or we commit to a project that we know we don’t have time for. And then we’re miserable and wishing and wondering why we didn’t just say no.

I don’t have all the answers, but I had a couple of ideas that might help you the next time you want to say no–when you should say no. Take a look over at The Muffin at “Just Say No: When It’s Time To Give Up A Writing Gig.”

I mean, if you have time to take a look. Or you want to take a look. You can always say no and I won’t mind a bit!

New Release Time!

You know what’s fun? I mean, besides a barrel full of monkeys? A BOOK WITH YOUR NAME ON IT!


Makes all the hard work worth it. All the research, all the rewrites, all the edits, and did I mention the rewriting? Because when you take on psychology, you’ve got to know what you’re writing about.

And that’s why I’m very lucky to have a writer friend who also happens to be a psychology professor. Dr. Nicole Harsch checked all those facts and all the real-world examples and read and re-read the manuscript so that all those lovely kids in Korea would get the facts along with the fun. And learn English, too!

Now, honestly, does it get any more fun than that?


chalkboard-944042_1280September–or more specifically, that day after Labor Day when school started–has always given me a little bit of a fresh start spark. The beginning of a new school year was so full of promise and suspense. I mean, that was exciting stuff, back in the day.

Oh, wait. You have to be a person of a certain age to remember when school started after Labor Day, when the summer break was three months long and going back to school was…well, it was a big deal.

See, we didn’t have tons of summer activities to fill up the days; we did have camp, if you were lucky enough to have parents who’d send you. We had a lot of long, hot days of playing outside with the kids who were in your immediate neighborhood. So when school started, even the most hardened-against-school kid was ready to go back and hang out with friends again.

Until we got to high school and could drive. Then nobody wanted to go back to school. But that’s another story. The story we have here is one about September and the new school year and fresh starts. And there’s a connection to writing here but you’ll have to hop over to the Muffin for “The September Feeling” if you want to know what I’ve been up to in my September new year. And then you can tell me all about what you’ve been up to!

Hey! It’ll be just like that first day back at school when everyone talked at once, catching up with each other, and life was good until Sister Mary Whatever wrote out a homework assignment that took up half the board.