Merry, happy, lovely Christmas to all!

Otis has been enjoying a much deserved rest after his big appearance at the Southern Festival of Books earlier this fall.  Now, he’s gladly lounging under the Christmas tree, enjoying a few (several) extra tasty holiday treats, and all the loving and cuddling his three favorite children can offer.  It’s Christmas at our house, and we are happily tucked into our little cottage for the remainder of the year.  Writing is paused, book promotion is on hold, and all things *family* are in full swing.  Enjoy those you love, share with those who need, and savor, savor savor.

We look forward to greeting you in 2015 with a calendar of appearances and exciting new announcements to unfold.  Until January, friends and followers…

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you all!

Lots of love, Ashley & Otis, and all the crew

Merry Xmas from Otis 2014

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!