Fiery Beauty

Winter in Florida brings sunsets that are overwhelmingly beautiful. This is the scene in my backyard tonight.

A Visit From Scholastic!

A crew from Scholastic came to my house and filmed me for their author DVD! My editor mentioned the request to me a few weeks ago and I was like Tell them yes! I am ready for my close-up!

A few emails and phone calls later, these guys showed up:Scott Bennett, Larry Decker, Juan Cruz, and me!

We filmed in my house, my gazebo (which my husband built with his own hands!), and at the Econlockhatchee River. Altogether, there must be about four or five hours of tape; I sure hope they get two excellent minutes out of it--that's about my slot on the CD.

Larry, Scott, and Juan were all nice guys and very professional. Larry liked the banana bread I made (all right, Larry!). Speaking to a camera was a little challenging, but Scott and Larry provided good prompts for me to cover on film.

My mom served as my personal photographer that day, except when I snatched the camera from her and snapped one of her. Here's how the day went:

Lots of good things have been happening for Violet Raines recently: chosen as a Children's Book of the Month Club Selection; good reviews in Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Orlando Magazine, and TeensReadToo; picked up by Scholastic Book Clubs and Scholastic Book Fairs; and I'm lined up for appearances at Stone Lakes Elementary, Lake Highland Preparatory School Book Fair, Urban Think! Bookstore book signing (my first!), First Books Panel at SCBWI Miami, and Trout Books book signing.

I bought one of those plasma balls to sit on my book table, the kind that emit electricity and little lightning bolts. I think students will love it! Also, I searched the world over and found these alligator trinkets to give away at my book signings.

All of this is a first for me--wish me luck!

Thank You

First off, thank you to everyone for your kind emails and posts regarding my brother Chris. Your words of encouragement and hope mean a lot to me; I hold onto them as things are not quite settled around here. Because my brother was single, my sister, my mom, and I are settling his house, going through his things, and deciding what to do with his furniture. This is very hard.

I know a lot of you have lost somebody and it was hard on you, too. I am sorry for your loss. I wonder how it is for a husband or wife to live in the same house after their spouse died. I can only think it was hard at first but comforting later.

A long time ago, I bought this cheap little picture in a green frame for my brother. It showed a cartoon man in a bathtub, and the caption at the bottom read Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. Chris hung that stupid picture in every apartment he ever lived in, and he last hung it in a prominent corner of the kitchen in his new house.

It makes me smile just to think of it.