Family Collage

Family Collage
Lots of Love in this Bunch!
*The compositions herein are not to be copied, reproduced, printed, published, posted, displayed, incorporated, stored in or scanned into a retrieval system or database, transmitted, broadcast, bartered or sold, in whole or in part without the prior express written permissions of the sole author Tory Williams. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited and is an infringement of National and International Copyright Laws.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Short and Sweet!

Given that it's a holiday weekend and two of my four spunky monkeys are sick with sinus infections/sore throats, there will be no fancy shmancy post for tonight. Sorry!

Instead, I leave you with a quote from one of my favorite authors:

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. - Louisa May Alcott

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Tory

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Important Terms For Newbie Writers

Recently while observing a thread at one of my favorite writers' forums, I came across an arrogant commenter who insulted a "newbie" writer. Said arrogant commenter accused "newbie" writer of being stupid and lazy for not understanding a few of the literary terms mentioned in the thread. Ugh! The hairs on my arms lifted and my eyes began to twitch. I felt pithy toward the "newbie" writer because I, too, have been in similar situations where I didn't understand the terminology used. And I'd be willing to bet my signing advance check (gotta have dreams, right?) that YOU have, too!

For a brief moment, I stared at the computer screen and contemplated jumping in on the thread. I mean really? Why would anyone reply with such a harsh comment? Argh!!! But as I counted to ten..then twenty...then thirty, I knew exactly how to handle this situation. Instead of sticking my nose in where it didn't belong, I decided to use my children's SACRED naptime to compile a glossary-type-post as a resource for other "newbie" writers. Why? Because I love helping people (especially underdogs in the writing community) and I believe that it is WRONG to insult "newbies" simply because we are unfamiliar with terminology. Yes, I do believe that wisdom is earned, but you can't gain wisdom w/out asking Who? What? Where? or Why?

Well, enough ranting and raging for one day, right? Plus, I really want to get started with chapter four of new WIP.

In closing, the following website is fabulous for researching literary terms. I encourage you to bookmark it under favorites: http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms.html

Thanks for stopping by Head In The Clouds. Have a wonderful Tuesday, everyone! Tory


*Acquisition Editors- The person at a publishing company in charge of reviewing and rating incoming manuscripts for possible publication and then supervise the publication process.

*Advance- A sum paid to the author in anticipation of royalty earnings.

Agent- A person or company which acts as a liaison between the author and the publishing house for a fee based on sales of the book. Money is NOT paid to the agent until money is received FROM the publisher. Never use an agent who requests up-front money from the author. (KathyC - www.absolutewrite.com)

*American Booksellers Association (ABA)- American Booksellers Association is a not-for-profit trade organization devoted to meeting the needs of its core members - independently owned bookstores with store front locations - through advocacy, education, research, and information dissemination

Antagonist-The principal character in opposition to the protagonist or hero in a drama or other literary work.

*Appendix- Supplementary materials printed at the end of the general text.

ARC- An acronym for "Advance Reading Copy" or "Advance Review Copy." This is a book that has been through editing, and occasionally copy editing, but may contain some errors and isn’t yet available for sale to the public. They are usually printed from first pass galleys several months in advance of publication to send to magazine and on-line reviewers so the book can be read and the review prepared in time for the release date. (KathyC - www.absolutewrite.com)

Auction- When a book is sent out to various publishers and more than one is interested, the agent will start the publishers bidding against each other for the privilege of publishing the book. (KathyC)

*Back Matter- The section after the body of the text and may include the endnotes, index, bibliography, author biography, etc.

*Bar Code- A system of stripes and bars printed on the back cover of a book. Used universally in the book industry for automated ordering and inventory systems.

Beta Reader- Checks the manuscript to make certain that the draft is correct and verified before submitting to a literary agent.

*Binding- The process if affixing pages together in a single bound book.

*Blueline- The proof sheet(s) of a books revealed in bluish ink that shows exactly how the pages or cover of a book will look when it is printed.

*Blurb- Abbreviated, positive review of the book or the author often appearing on the back cover or in front matter.

*Book- A bound publication of 49 or more pages that is not a magazine or periodical.

*BookExpo America (BEA)- formerly known as the American Booksellers Association Convention & Trade Exhibit, is an education forum, a center of rights activity and the meeting place for the entire publishing industry.

*Books in Print- A database managed by R. R. Bowker of books in or about to print based on the ISBN numbers issued by them to the publishers.

*Camera-ready- Final artwork, including typesetting and graphics ready for reproduction in the final book production process.

*CIP- Cataloging in Publication. The bibliographic information supplied by the Library of Congress and printed on the copyright page

*Clip Art- Generic graphics that can be "clipped out" and used for illustrations. Available on the Internet and software programs for not charge.

*Content Edit- An edit of a book that checks the flow of the text, its organization, continuity and content.

*Copy Edit- An edit that checks for grammar, spelling, punctuation and other "typos."

*Copyright- Legal protection given to intellectual rights such written and published works in a variety of forms such as books, audio and software.

*Cover Art- the design of the book jacket, Design- Artistic process placing images and/or words into camera ready copy.

Crutch Words- They’re ordinary, innocuous words that reappear in your writing, unconsciously repeated out of habit.(www.writerslikeme.com)

*Desktop Publishing- Book design, layout, and production completed on a personal computer by specific software.

*Distributor- A company that buys books from a publisher or other distributors and resells them to retail accounts.

*E-book- Electronic Book- A book published in electronic form that can be downloaded to computers or handheld devices.

*Editing- Changing or correcting the contents of a book in order to improve the final results or to fit a format.

*EIN- Employer Identification Number. Issued by the Federal Government to business for tax purposes. A Social Security Number may be used as an EIN in some businesses.

*Epilogue- Additional text at the end of the book, that provides readers with additional information on the subject.

*Final draft- The final proof after all other proofing and editing steps have been completed.

*Focus Group- A small cross section of people brought together to provide feedback on marketing ideas and products.

*Font- The typeset used in page design.

*Foreign Rights- Rights granted or sold that allows books to be printed and sold in other countries.

*Four Color Process- Using the major colors magenta, cyan, yellow and black to produce pictures in a range of colors.

*Freelance - An independent contractor hired to work on a book, design or marketing plan.

*Front Matter- The series of pages that appear before the body of text.

*Galley- The pre-publication copies sent to the author for final proofreading or to reviewers for pre-publication reviews.

*Genre- A specific category of literature, marked by a distinctive style form or content.

*Graphics- The non-type parts of a book such as drawings, illustrations, photographs, charts, etc. that are used to enhance the content of a book.

*Hard Copy- A print out of the manuscript. Imprint- The name of the publishing company on the title page.

*ISBN- International Standard Book Number- An identification number code uniquely assigned to every book and obtained from the R. R. Bowker company.

*Jobber- A type of distributor who provides books to that works on a smaller scale than wholesalers and provides mass market titles to airports, grocery stores, drug stores, etc.

*Library of Congress- The national library of the United States located in Washington D.C.

*List Price- The sales price printed on your book or the retail sales price.

*Logo- Identification mark used by an individual, business or organization as a representation symbol.

*Manuscript- The book in typewritten or word processing form.

*Marketing Plan- A book selling plan that includes a budget, synopsis of book, target audience, distribution, promotion, timeline and how you will create demand.

*Mass Market- A small format paperback edition usually sold in airports, grocery stores and drug stores.

*Mid-list- a title or author that does not become a bestseller

*Out of Print- a title no longer maintained in the publisher's catalogue or inventory

*Preface- The introductory portion of the book that usually explains why the book was written, what it is about or how to use it.

*Press Kit- Provides reporters, reviewers, bookstore managers and others information on the book. It includes a press release, author biography, book cover, testimonials, etc.

*Proofreader- Checks the manuscript to make certain that the copy is correct and verified before final printing.

Protagonist- The main character in a drama or other literary work.

*Publication Date- The date set, usually after actual printing of the book, that is announced to let the target audience know when the book will be available.

*Publicity- A marketing technique using free advertising outlets such as press releases.

*Publisher- The person or company responsible for the entire process of producing books. This includes overseeing the writing, editing, design, production, printing and marketing of the book.

Purple Prose- When you use lots of sparkly words to describe something. (Alyia Kallen @www.absolutewrite.com) Any writing that is undermined by its over-stylized and formulaic nature. (Wikipedia)

Query- A letter that SELLS a book idea to a publisher or agent. The letter is generally no more than one page, contains contact information, a short summary of the plot, and requests permission to send either a synopsis or a full manuscript of the book. (KathyC)

*Review- A critical evaluation of a book.

*Review Copy- A free copy given away to be reviewed.

*Royalties- percentage of the sales price earned by the author on sold copies. These are generally charged against the advance until it is earned out.

Social Networking- Communicating online through media outlets, such as www.blogger.com, Twitter, Facebook, etc... in hopes of building a platform and self-promoting your project.

*Spine- The binding on the side of a book.

*Subsidiary Rights- Additional rights, such as foreign, audio, serial to publish a book in a different form. The American Library Association provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarians.

Synopsis- A summary of a book, often 2-5 pages long, which describes the plot, the characters and the resolution of the book. (KathyC)

*Trim- The final dimension of a book after the printer or bindery has cut it to size.

*Typesetting- A term that originally referred to the setting of lead type for printing presses or phototypesetting. With advancing technology nearly all "typesetting" is now done on the computer.

*Vanity Press- A waning term as the name implies a "Vanity Press" is a publisher that produces books with the author paying all costs and maintaining all ownership. Vanity Presses most commonly do not allow author input other than paper color and binding style.

*Wholesaler- A central order location that allows bookstores and libraries to order multiple titles from multiple publishers.

*Word of Mouth- Advertising generated by satisfied or interested readers who tell others about the book.

Work In Progress (WIP)-A piece of work (story) that is not yet finished.

Glossary of Publishing Terms, Noted *, Furnished by Kwame Alexander Author of:
Do The Write Thing: Seven Steps to Publishing Success

Monday, May 24, 2010

I Choose To Smile!

Most of you reading this post are aware that I'm a cheerful, optimistic person who refuses to let disappointing defeats get me down. Well, given that it's Monday morning (optimal time that agents send out rejections) I decided to begin the week by watching one of my favorite episodes from Whose Line Is It Anyway. I assure you, after seeing Drew Carey's reaction at the end of this clip, I completely forgot about checking my email inbox.



And other things that make me smile...

Conner & Carlie during their pre-school graduation.

Carlie was thrilled about saying her part in the ceremony (it was about flowers, her favorite thing).

Conner was so proud of his medal and diploma!

At the ballpark, Catie did an excellent job playing shortstop! (Are those not the cutest socks you've ever seen?)

YEAH...Conner got a homerun!

And little caboose, Courtney Erin, enjoyed swinging at the playground.


Each day is full of ups and downs, including rejection letters from prospective literary agents. It's how we handle these situations that moves us forward, one step closer to reaching our goals. In other words, finding moments to smile is indeed a better option than getting in a tizzy over something completely out of our hands.

Laughter is a very powerful thing! I'd love to know what makes you smile! Tory

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Grateful For The Smaller Things In Life!


Recently my family (including my parents, siblings, brother-in-law, and nieces & nephews) decided to plant a huge vegetable garden at the edge of my dad's property in Millry, Alabama. This beautiful acre of land runs parallel to our backyard, so it's basically a hop, skip, and a jump for my children to visit the countless rows of cucumbers, onions, squash and tomato plants.

On this particular evening, after delivering thermoses of chilled water to my dad and kiddo #1, I was taken aback by Dad's appreciation for the smaller things in life. In his subtle, yet gentle voice, he reminded Catie and me of the importance of spending time outdoors and enjoying the beauty of our natural world. "Our lives are full of distractions," he said while pulling clumps of weeds from a row of tomato plants. "Once upon a time, I remember when there were no cell phones and computers." With sweat dripping from the tip of his nose, he shot Catie a wink and a smile. My nine-year-old grinned sweetly and continued hoeing around the okra plants.



You see, when Dad gets in one of these melancholy moods, we can't help but listen. His words are rich in wisdom and his forethought defies the norm for the average sixty-four-year-old man. But on this sweltering evening, what surprised me the most was his remarkable ability to sense where Catie and me were in life. Somehow, he knew exactly what we needed to hear. Not only did he strike a nerve in me (Yikes! What would I do without my word processor?), my dad also taught Catie one of the greatest lessons in life: To be grateful for the little things that God has given us!

How about you? When is the last time you stopped and enjoyed the smaller things in life?

If nothing more, I hope this post inspires you to head outdoors and enjoy our natural world. It truly is a beautiful place! Have a great Thursday, everyone! Tory

Monday, May 17, 2010

Where Are We Headed With Young Adult Literature?



This morning, when contemplating the topic for my post, I quickly found myself in a dilemma. Did I want to share about our weekend in Gainsville, Alabama (Sarah and Roarke's wedding was FABULOUS!), or did I want to venture off into some literary rambling about narrative voice, setting, theme, etc...? Finally, after opening the mail and seeing my twins' pre-school graduation pictures, I knew exactly what I wanted to share.

You see, these adorable twinkies (misfits at times) inspired me beyond measures during the creation of book #1. In fact, their adventurous behavior helped shape the main characters' traits - yes, they are fraternal boy and girl twins (or at least what I imagine Conner and Carlie's personalities to be like in roughly eleven years). So I kept in mind that one day, when my children surpass the barriers of middle grade chapter books and venture off into young adult literature, I may have very well contributed something of merit for them to select from the bookstore shelf.

My question for you: Where are we (authors of YA fiction) headed with the stories we create? I'd love to know what you think! Tory

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Humpday Reads and Blogger Mamma Award!

Good evening, everyone! Just a quick FYI before I mention books or awards...my kids were super great today, my house is clean, and somehow I managed to jot down three-hundred words for WIP. So, in other words, there's no sugar coated version of Mommy Dearest post for you tonight. Awe, shucks! Nope, not even a single timeout, although kiddo #4 (a.k.a. "Little Boss") treaded on thin ice for a solid hour. She's adorable all right, but sneakier than a fox.

Now, moving right along to this week's recommended book for Humpday Reads, I suggest the following:

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - "You'll have no choice but to tear through this book!"—Jay Asher, author of the New York Times bestseller Thirteen Reasons Why What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last. Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death-and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.(Publishers Weekly)


And thanks to my friend and fellow blogger, Julie Musil, I was given this lovely award on Mother's Day and want to pass it along to the following women:
Charmaine Clancy @ www.clancytales.blogspot.com
Kelly Polark @ www.kpolark.blogspot.com
Nicole Ducleroir @ www.nicoleducleroir.blogspot.com
Roxy Hanie @ www.roxyhanie.blogspot.com


On a final note, our family is going out of town for a wedding this weekend, so it may be Sunday before I post again on Head in the Clouds. I hope you all have a fantabulous weekend! Tory

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pre-School Story Time...and Much, Much More!


Hi, everyone!

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is what I've wanted to scream for the past several hours, but given that I've been down this road before, I've managed to choke back the tears in order to entertain YOU.

Okay, now let's begin.

Am I alone, or has anyone else suffered through this lovely day with grumpy children in tow? If not, please use your imagination or better yet, think back to one of those movies (Mommy Dearest, maybe?) where the mother runs around the house chasing her child with a wooden spoon (Don't even go there DHR, I didn't do this...I said for YOU - the reader - to imagine this, so it's your interpretation, not an actual account of my actions for the day). And to think, Mother's Day was just few days ago. Wow! Time flies, doesn't it?

In hopes you'll find amusement from this post (WARNING! You may want to empty your bladder before reading any further), I'm going to hash back a few hours to the moment when all of the excitement began.

7:45 A.M. Sweet, running-late husband dropped off kiddo #1 at school, leaving me home alone with our younger three.

8:10 A.M. - Me, opening children's bedroom doors: Good morning! I've got a surprise for you guys today.

Kiddo's #2,3,& 4 - Ugh! We don't want to go anywhere today. We want to stay home and play.

Me: (Thinking to myself - 20% chance of rain...too long to be couped up inside) Oh, this will be fun, I promise. It's Tuesday, you know, story time at the library.

Kiddos #2,3,&4 - Yeah! Can we spend the night?

Me: (Still shocked they went for it!) Um, NO! Now get up! We've got a lot to do to make it there on time.

***This is when everything went sour!
Kiddo #4 didn't want to brush her teeth (She actually refused to brush them, breaking our toilet paper holder in the process.) This was one of those moments when bribery worked! Not only did she pick out the movie for our ride to the library, she also got a big piece of bubble gum.

Meanwhile, Kiddo #2 & 3 (The Twins) fought over Nintendo games and argued who was going to sit next to kiddo #4 in her carseat. Eventually, Kiddo #2 gave up her Mario Brothers game in order to ride next to kiddo #4. Kiddo #3 smiled! He's one smart fellow.

10:05 A.M. - Darn it...five minutes late for Pre-School Story time! Thankfully, the library director (super cool, Jess Ross) met us at the door with a refreshing smile across her face and a hug for each of my kids. For the next thirty minutes, Kiddo #2,3, & 4 sat with Jess and made the prettiest Spring flowers.

11:15 A.M. - Kiddo #2,3, & 4 bashed each other over the heads with their pretty Spring flowers as I drove back home to Millry. Oh well, there goes hanging them in our kitchen window seal.

12:15 P.M. - Sweet, hardworking husband calls from work...he's spending the night in Gainsville! OMG!

12:30 P.M. - Quick, thrown together lunch(hot pockets, applesauce, goldfish crackers, and fruit roll-ups). Me: Envisioning the quietness of nap time and finishing chapter 2 of WIP (work in progress).

1:15 P.M. - Kiddo #2,3, & 4 are down for their afternoon nap.

Me: Thank God for toddler exhaustion.

In closing, those of you who know me best, know my kids are my world...so no phone calls to DHR, okay! Sometimes, my posts are meant for entertainment only, nothing more.

Have a great day, everyone! Tory

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Tribute to My Mother!




This post is a tribute to my mother who, for the past three decades, has cared for me, my two siblings, my dad, and now two son-in-laws and nine grandchildren. My mother is the most loving, thoughtful person I know, and I am reminded daily of her devotion to our family and God.

And to all the mothers reading this, I hope your day is filled with happiness, peace, and an abundance of joy! Happy Mother's Day! Tory

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Humpday Reads!




This week's Humpday Reads is cut a bit short because I've got a lot of ideas to jot down for Book #2 before they vanish into thin air. So, my recommended reads are as follows:

1.) Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins If Meyer’s Twilight series embodies the romantic supernatural, Hawkins’ debut novel exemplifies the supernatural spoof. Sixteen-year-old Sophie Mercer, whose absentee father is a warlock, discovered both her heritage and her powers at age 13. While at her school prom, Sophie happens upon a miserable girl sobbing in the bathroom and tries to perform a love spell to help her out. It misfires, and Sophie finds herself at Hecate (aka Hex) Hall, a boarding school for delinquent Prodigium (witches, warlocks, faeries, shape-shifters, and the occasional vampire). What makes this fast-paced romp work is Hawkins’ wry humor and sharp eye for teen dynamics, especially between the popular and the misfit crowds. Sophie is a multidimensional character, both likable and believably flawed. Secondary characters lack her depth, but their more broadly drawn portraits are in keeping with narrator Sophie’s impressions of her teachers and classmates. Many clever touches (vampire Lord Byron teaches literature), spot-on depictions of classic teen situations (crushing on the queen bee’s boyfriend), and an ending that leaves you hanging will have readers grabbing for the sequel. Grades 8-11. --Debbie Carton (Booklist Review)

2.) The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips A tight-knit miner's family struggles against poverty and racism in Phillips's evocative first novel, set in Depression-era Alabama. Throughout, she moves skillfully between the points of view of miner father Albert, hard-working mother Leta, young daughter Tess and teenage daughter Virgie, and small son Jack. They see men who are frequently incapacitated or killed by accidents in the local mines; neighbors live off what they can grow on their patch of land; and blacks like Albert's fellow miner and friend Jonah are segregated in another part of Carbon Hill—and often hauled off to jail arbitrarily. When Tess witnesses a woman throwing a baby into their well, no one believes her until the dead child is found, and few are shocked. Tess, hounded by nightmares, and Virgie, on the cusp of womanhood and resistant to the thought of an early marriage to the local boys who court her, begin making inquiries of their own, visiting wives who've recently had babies and learning way more than they imagined. With a wisp of suspense, Phillips fully enters the lives of her honorable characters and brings them vibrantly to the page. (Publishers Weekly Review)

3.) Graceling by Kristin Cashore In many respects Graceling is a study of mysterious angers: it offers a perfect parable of adolescence, as its characters struggle with turbulent emotions they must learn to control. The consequences are more tangible than they usually are in more mundane settings—if Katsa loses control, she breaks someone's jaw by accident—but the principle is the same. The teenage characters in this novel, like some we may know in life, grow into their graces. They realize that their monstrous individuality is not so monstrous after all. (New York Times Review)

*Take advantage of the wonderful libraries and bookstores in your neighborhood by stopping by and checking out something intriguing to READ! Have a great Humpday, everyone! Tory

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Is "It" Really Worth It?

Now that I'm working on a new project, I find myself reflecting on the previous months as I birthed book #1, and must admit, the second time around seems a whole lot easier. Just as in raising children, perhaps it's because I know what's around the corner.

The advantage I have with book #2 is that I'm aware of the highs and lows where the ideas come and go quickly. As a result, I've placed a writing tablet and pencil in every room of my home. And then there's the inevitable cycle of self-doubt. For some odd reason, I'd be willing to bet my signing advance check that good ole Mr. Self-Doubt will do his best to whisper over my left shoulder, in hopes of convincing me to throw in the towel.

Some may ask, "Is it worth it?" I suppose the "it" in this question refers to the amount of time and energy a writer puts into each project.

My response to this question is, "Do I have a choice?" Those of you who write understand exactly what I'm talking about. There is no choice! Either you allow your imagination to roam freely, or chain it down and suffer through the consequences. I choose to go where my thoughts allow me and brace myself for the ride!

You see, this newfound gift/talent/curse (take your pick), is something I have not forced upon myself. I believe it's always been inside, but I've never gone out on a limb and tapped into it. Now that I have, I hope to never let go. And I assure you, when you're a stay-at-home mom to four children under the age of ten, you reach out and grab hold to anything that keeps you emotionally and physically charged.

So, YES! Writing YA fiction is totally, most undeniably worth it! Even when I'm old and gray, I hope to have a writing tablet and pencil hidden in every room of my home.

Have a great Tuesday, everyone! Tory

Saturday, May 1, 2010

13th Annual Alabama Writers Symposium


What could be a better way to wind down a hectic week of shuttling four children to and from school and baseball games, than to rub shoulders with the very best amongst Southern writers, including Carolyn Haines, the 2010 Harper Lee Award winner?

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to go, relax, and pose questions with some of the state's most elite authors at the 13th Annual Alabama Writers Symposium in Monroeville, Alabama. The picture above is myself posing cheerfully next to Phillip Shirley, author of Sweet Spot: 125 Years of Baseball and the Louisville Slugger. Mr. Shirley was kind enough to answer some of my questions about the publishing industry and sign a book for my nephew's upcoming birthday.

After listening to nonfiction author, Eddie Curran (gentleman at the bottom left in the photo above), deliver a highly entertaining powerpoint about his first book, The Governor of Goat Hill: Don Siegelman, the Reporter Who Exposed His Crimes, and the Hoax that Suckered Some of the Top Names in Journalism, Jessica Ross (my wonderfully talented, super cool library director friend at the top right) and myself felt under no circumstances could we return to Washington County without a signed copy of his book. Wasting no time at all, Jess and I dashed to the bookstore, purchased a ton of books, and stalked Mr. Curran in order to steal a few minutes of his time. His personality is a mixture of comical charm and clever sarcasm, but by far, Mr. Curran is the funniest author we encountered during the day.

The distinguished gentleman at the bottom right, Mr. Ted Dunagan, is the author of The Yellow Watermelon, an Accelerated Reader book, which fits the bill for any avid young book lover. Mr. Dunagan was extremely approachable and very encouraging of my writing endeavor. I came home with a signed copy of his fascinating novel as well.

After a splendid hour of booksigning and refreshments, Jess and I headed over to the Monroeville Community House for the Harper Lee & Eugene Current Garcia Award Presentation/Luncheon. Elegance is not the word to describe the lovely decorations, floral arrangements, and stylish table settings placed inside the dining hall of the community house. For the next hour, we ate like queens and enjoyed listening to Carolyn Haines and Ralph Voss deliver such eloquent speeches after accepting the Harper Lee & Eugene Current Garcia Awards.

The afternoon in historic Monroeville could not be complete without paying tribute to the critically acclaimed author, Harper Lee. With the 5oth anniversary of To Kill A Mockingbird, it only felt natural to end the day by driving past the old courthouse located in the downtown square and paying homage to the woman who's writing inspired me the most. This experience was one like no other, and I will forever remember where I was when To Kill A Mockingbird turned the BIG 50! Happy Anniversay, Harper Lee!