Southern Festival of Books… check!

We have not yet come down from our experience with the Southern Festival of Books, 2014. What an incredible honor to have been included in such a wonderfully planned, celebrated, and well-attended event. Rain? Yes, there was plenty of that, but my take-away lesson as a rookie SFB2014 author is that true book fans aren’t afraid of a little cloud water.

Otis and I at War Memorial Plaza (left), and the beautiful 2014 poster, signed by all the authors (right)! Check out the name in the lower, middle, right area... so cool!

Otis and I at War Memorial Plaza (left), and the beautiful 2014 poster, signed by all the authors (right)! Check out the name in the lower, middle, right area… so cool!

Parnassus Books was the on site book retailer for featured Festival books, and we felt a swell of pride when a stack of Otis books was placed in the middle of them all.  And of course, Parnassus played their part with all the professionalism, elegance and class for which they are known and loved.

Otis Goes to School at SFB2014

Otis Goes to School at SFB2014

Saturday morning, October 11, my little tight-knit family boarded the Bramlett-mobile, hung out the windows with paddles, and rowed together into Nashville’s downtown.  War Memorial Plaza was a marble and granite-floored sea of bustling excitement and umbrella polka dots, sailing from one book-loving tent to another. I had already discussed with my supportive family the possibility of low attendance, by reason of the weather and the busy weekend.  Delightfully, I could not have been more wrong!

At 1pm, my scheduled time to present Otis Goes to School, the children’s tent was packed (standing-room-only-PACKED) with little eyes of wonderment and hearts a-flutter with sightings of a real, live, fluffy black dog, making his SFB2014 debut.  We shared the story of Otis and how his book came to be.  We read a few chapters for all my new whippersnapper friends, talked about descriptive words and story-telling, handed out bookmarks, and then Otis did his thing with his new stage-induced howl and his charming willingness to sit and be petted and loved on and oooohed and ahhhhhed over. Tough job he has!

We went on to sign books, meet new fans, take pictures, and just flat out enjoyed our day.  Landmark Booksellers, the first bookstore to host a book signing for me (eternally grateful!), was there with treasured antique books and a wealth of knowledge.  And we made a great connection with the super cool book experts from McKay’s Bookstore, including plans for an upcoming Otis event!

I also had the high honor of signing books right next to Southern writer, Rick Bragg, author of Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story (Harper Collins Publishers)… and wouldn’t you know, he loved Otis and took his picture with him too!

Rick Bragg, petting Otis! He reminded him of a dog he had once. Way to go, Otis!

As if we had not yet reached enough stars for the day, we then crossed paths with Pete the Cat (also Harper Collins)!  Children’s literature brings folks and animals of all kinds together.  That was one awesome feline.

Hey Harper Collins: I’m seeing a pattern… maybe we should chat!

SFB2014.2

My biggest fans, who will go with me anywhere, are my husband and three children.

Rain or shine, sun or snow, they share their love wherever we go.

I am so thankful to have their inspiration, for their heart-generated support, and for their encouragement to keep reaching, keep writing, keep going.  This is a family adventure, this call to write, because it affects each one of us.  I appreciate and love all of you–my Robert, my Paul Kent, my Ella, and my little Preston–beyond any string of words I could ever hope to weave.

My bearded, bowtied husband brings his contagious smile to every event we attend... and he often holds the leash.  And, our three little ones--well, they are golden. Bottom right: Robert and I enjoyed the fantastic Author Party, held at the Waller Lansden law firm and catered deliciously by the Greenhouse.  We met and fellowshipped with some fascinating folks!

My handsome, bearded, bowtied husband brings his contagious smile to every event we attend… and he often holds the leash. And, our three little ones–well, they are golden.
Bottom right: Robert and I enjoyed the fantastic Author Party, held at the Waller Lansden law firm and catered deliciously by the Greenhouse. We met and fellowshipped with some fascinating folks!

Thank you to the Southern Festival of Books, Humanities Tennessee, Parnassus Books, and all the many generous sponsors and donors, for a truly amazing event.  The hospitality was top-notch, the swag was perfect, the organization was flawless, and the fans were devoted!  For me, it will forever be one of those career moments that shines with a special brightness… and I hope it’s the first in a long line of moments together.  SFB2015?  I definitely want to be there.

And for those of you who know us well, and noticed that our schipperke, Oxford, was not in the photos… he’s the only one who stayed home for SFB2014.  What was he doing?  Conjuring up ideas for the sequel.  After all, The Oxford Files, is in the works.  Maybe SFB2015 will be his year…

Oxford... scheming.

Oxford… scheming.

OTIS wants YOU…

…to come see him this weekend!  I invite you to share this invitation with everyone you know: repost, retweet, email, whatever social media platform you choose.  Come to the Youth Stage at the Southern Festival of Books on Saturday, at 1pm, and let me thank you in person!  Blessings to all of you who have cheered us on to this milestone.  See you soon!

Ad for Southern Festival of Books time slot

Southern Festival of Books

Otis fans!  Make your plans to join us at the 26th Annual Southern Festival of Books on War Memorial Plaza in downtown Nashville.  The Festival runs all weekend on October 10-12, and there is something for everyone.  Otis and I will be on the Youth Stage on Saturday, October 11, from 1-2pm (click here for a complete schedule), and in the Signing Colonnade immediately after.  Parnassus Books is the onsite bookseller, and they will have Otis Goes to School available for you.  I would love to meet you, sign your books, give you a bookmark from Otis, and thank you personally for joining us on this awesome literary adventure.  And Otis would love some special petting!

All my appreciation and thanks go to Humanities Tennessee and the Festival Committees for including us in this years list of authors.  We are humbled, deeply honored, and so extremely excited to be a part of such a acclaimed tradition and respected event in celebration of the written word.  We want to see you there!

Southern Festival of Books poster image 2014

OGTS new cover pic

Otis goes to the Southern Festival of Books!

That’s right, folks!  That is the great news we received just last week.  Otis, Yours Truly, and this book that was born out of the true story that is our family life (Otis Goes to School)–we have been blessed with an invitation to attend, present and sign at the acclaimed and celebrated Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee, October 10-12, 2014.  We are filled with joy and thankfulness, and we hope to see you there.

Spread the word… it’s a fabulous event for all ages.  Otis will be there graciously accepting all the petting you can share.  Otis Goes to School will be available for purchase (by the official retailer of the Festival, Parnassus Books), and I would dearly love to meet you, sign your books and give you the latest bookmark featuring our star, Otis.

Thank you, again and always, for joining us on this never-fails-to-be-interesting journey!

Southern Festival of Books announcement

*Isn’t the poster for the Book Festival just wonderful?!  This year’s Festival art was created by Cage-Free Visual.  Here’s an up close look…

Southern Festival of Books poster image 2014

Please do stay tuned for more specific details about the Festival, our popular words of the day, our school appearances coming up very soon, sneak-peeks of the latest Otis bookmark, and all things literarily-Otis-related.

As the caption of the Festival encourages: celebrate the written word!

 

Book signing at the Castle–YOU are invited!

Otis is so excited about his first big book signing!  Please join us at Hundred Oaks Castle in Winchester, TN, on December 14, 2013, at 2pm.  Christmas is in full bloom, we will have readings by the warm fire in the ballroom, Otis bookmarks and stickers, and you can meet and love on Otis in person.  Otis Goes to School will be on sale, too!  Please share with your friends and family, and come enjoy the season together!

We are also very proud and honored to say that Parnassus Books has invited us back for future readings!  They said it was their best Saturday Story Time yet, and as soon as we receive our upcoming dates, we will pass them on to you.  What a wonderful bookstore!

Otis Book Signing at Castle

On sale at Fox’s Donut Den!

True words from the now-posted Chapter 5 excerpt of Otis Goes to School:

“As patience usually does procure perfect timing, so did Otis await the proper opportunity.”

Saturday was a great day, as Otis Goes to School was part of Saturday Morning Storytime at Parnassus Books in Green Hills.  And the blessings, as usual, were even beyond our expectations, as Ella and the Little Red Wagon was also included!  A post with information on this four-part series is coming soon.

For now, please enjoy some pictures from our debut… and for those of you asking where to buy a copy of Otis, it is now on sale at Fox’s Donut Den!  That’s the delicious, Nashville, Tennessee, landmark just around the corner from Parnassus.  So while you are out shopping, be sure to stop by, grab the yummiest apple fritter you’ll ever taste, a cup of hot coffee, and a copy of Otis!  THANK YOU Donut Den, for your amazing support!

This first photograph collage is truly special, as it was put together and shared with us by our oldest son’s wonderful third grade teacher, Mrs. Sanders.  She was one of many who came to show their support and excitement over Otis, and I am just eternally grateful for everyone who could make it out on such a cold morning, and to those as well who could not attend, but sent their loving thoughts and words our way.  Otis is glad to know he has such loyal fans!

We are so grateful to Mrs. Sanders, our oldest son's third grade teacher, for putting together this beautiful reflection of our morning at the bookstore.  Thank you!

We are so grateful to Mrs. Sanders, our oldest son’s third grade teacher, for putting together this beautiful reflection of our morning at the bookstore. Thank you!

The children's area was full!  Ella and the Little Red Wagon was a hit, and it was such a joy to introduce Otis to the youngest of Nashville readers.

The children’s area was full! Ella and the Little Red Wagon was a hit, and it was such a joy to introduce Otis to the youngest of Nashville readers.

Be sure to stop by Fox's Donut Den in Green Hills and pick up a copy of Otis Goes to School!  Thank you, Mr. Fox!!

Be sure to stop by Fox’s Donut Den in Green Hills and pick up a copy of Otis Goes to School! Thank you, Mr. Fox!!

We are excited about plans in the works to bring Otis Goes to School to other bookstores nearby, and to schools as well!  Third Graders at Lipscomb Academy will be enjoying the adventures of this lovable pup very soon, and we will be sharing details of a book signing coming up next month.  Thank you so much for following along with us on this journey.  Be sure to check out the excerpt from Chapter 5, and don’t forget the Glossary for critical readers!