We had a wonderful turn-out at our inaugural KidLit Drink Night last night – thanks so much to all the readers, writers, teachers and just plain delightful Tallahasseans who joined us for drinks, tasty treats and lots of book-alicious conversation. We’ll be doing it again in March, so stay tuned for all the details on when and where right here.

How else can you keep up to date on the latest KidLit Drink Night scoop?

  • Email  KidLitTallyFL@gmail.com to join our email list
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Thanks again to our KidLit Drink Night pioneers, and we hope to see even more of you next month!

Much love and many good reads,

The Red Eye Writers (aka Heather, Laura and Angele)

Okay, admit it – you’re totally jealous of all those super cool New Yorkers who get together for monthly YA-licious book chat + tasty adult beverages. The one time I was able to join them (lucky me being in town for the SCBWI Winter Conference), I spent the entire evening in blissful, awestruck rapture. I may not even have finished my drink, being as buzzed on the bookly camaraderie as I was.

That was a few years ago, though, and since our fellow writers around the country have been busy setting up local KidLit Drink Nights of their own (we’re looking at you, Atlanta, Nashville, Boston, D.C., et al.), Heather, Laura and I hereby declare it’s time for one right here in Tallahassee! All we need now are some peeps to swing by our shindig.

Not sure you qualify? No prob – just peruse this handy dandy self-assessment to see if you might be one of our long-lost literary soulmates.

Are you an adult reader, writer, illustrator, librarian, bookseller or just plain fan of any kind of children’s lit from picture books to YA, non-fiction to graphic novels?

Do you consider Katniss, Clementine, Coraline, Wilbur the Pig or even Snape practically part of the family? Continue Reading »

Set in the future, The Adoration of Jenna Fox is about 17 year-old Jenna who is recovering from a serious car accident. Watched over by a protective mother and a cold, distant grandmother, she struggles to piece together bits of her past, pieces of which are missing and which her adoring parents are determined to keep her from learning. But Jenna, who is quickly learning the skill of disobedience, is determined to learn the truth. And it is only after she has that she realizes her real struggle has just begun.

The narration, interspersed by poems, is lyrical and introspective yet remains focused; the setting and premise are provocative; and the plot is wholly engaging. My one reservation is that I found the epilogue to be a bit anti-climatic and unnecessary.

This haunting story stayed with me for some days afterward. Not just because of the story, but because of the questions it raised within me about what lines should and should not be crossed in the attempts to save human life as our medical technology becomes more and more advanced. I read it two months ago and I still haven’t decided. Now that’s a book that stays with you.

Thanks to several folks at the Southern Breeze wik 2010 workshop who recommended this book to me back in October.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. The highs were hyperbolic, the lows were plumb deep. But I survived. Here are the lessons I lived to tell:

Tryptophan is the writer’s silent assassin. I still haven’t recovered. (Who’s idea was it to make November the national writing month anyway?)

I made two really good friends, my characters. I hope to spend more time with them, though I’m not sure this project is the right one. And that’s okay. (really, it is)

The daily posts were fun, but I did feel compelled to polish those bits, which goes against the NaNoWriMo fast and furious philosophy. I learned that as a writer, I prefer long baths to quick showers. And I think I missed behind my ears.

Next time I think I’ll do a little more preparation in the form of plotting, because the wandering plot was my demise on this one.

I fell shy of the 50,000 word goal, but I did get to 30,000 and that’s 30,000 more than 0.

I did not ignore my family nearly as much as I anticipated, though I did drink copious amounts of coffee to battle the post turkey haze. Many brain cells were lost.

Will I do it again next year? Of course I will. I’m doing it again next month! Because that’s what writers do. We write! Ah, the insanity of it all.

Goodbye November. Hello December. I need a nap.

Image from www.pandart.org

Day 18

Inside Nana’s spacious Buick Regal–now Bo’s–I consider a new tactic for the subject of his pills when he tosses me a folded-up piece of paper.

“I wrote you a song.”

I unfold it and stare at the elegant loops of his cursive as the words slowly come into focus.

Come with me into the woods

                  so lovely, dark and deep

I’ll lay you down upon the ground

                  this promise I will keep

Don’t fear the end, for day’s small death

                 is lovely, dark and deep

I’ll be right here to hold your hand

                  this promise I will keep

Now close your eyes and sing a song–

                   my lovely–dark and deep

I’ll follow you into the night

                  this promise I will keep

This song must be anout Nana, about laying her to rest. I remember how I sang to her in the end, church songs she loved best. It seemed to give her peace and it was all I could do by then to comfort her and me.

“Sing it for us, Tabby Cat,” he says. “Any melody will do.”

Days 15, 16 and 17

But standing in the church on Sunday morning, singing the hymns side by side, I see a flicker of belief in his eyes. Hope for better times. Maybe he’s thinking of Nana, who always told us we were all God’s children, loved and precious. She believed enough for the both of us. And every Sunday, standing by her side, singing His praise, I felt the light and hope fill me up and I held onto it for as long as I could.

After church we stand outside and catch up with Nana’s friends–there are so many. Everyone in the congregation, it seems, was touched by her. Several ladies invite us out to lunch, but Bo declines for the both of us. We have plans to pay someone important a visit. Afterward we drive to _________, where Nana was laid to rest in the Sorrell family plot, next to her husband, Buford I, who according to Nana, was an alcoholic and when Nana’s three living sons were old enough, they scattered like buckshots across the south. Nana said they all had a touch of their father’s darkness, which is what she called depression. “He’s got the darkness just like his father,” Nana once said about Bo. “But we’ll show him the light of Jesus, won’t we, honey?”

On Nana’s other side is the baby girl, her only daughter, who was stillborn. Helen was her name. Nana always told me I was sent to her to heal the hole in her heart that her daughter’s passing left behind.

Bo runs one hand over the arch of granite that is Nana’s headstone, larger than the rest. Bo got the most expensive rock Chandler Funeral Home had to offer, because he said when we went to visit her grave, he didn’t want it to look cheap.

“We aren’t so close in life as we are in death,” he says. “The Sorrells, cozied up like bedbugs, for all of eternity.”

Days 13 and 14

“Where have you been?” I ask Holly with the movie on mute.

“None of your business.” She continues on to her room without glancing my way. Soon enough I hear her music,  louder than it needs to be, making me invisible to her in every way possible.


I study Bo’s face, perfectly calm and composed, but his eyes are distant, plotting. “I think we should set his car on fire,” he says without regret or hesitation. “With him in it.”


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