Happy 150th, Jo March! (and a giveaway)

September 23rd, 2018

Ladies and gentlemen, today’s word is “sesquicentennial.” Isn’t that a terrific word? It really rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Next Sunday, September 30, 2018, marks the 150th anniversary — the sesquicentennial — of the publication of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

I doubt she could have foreseen her book’s enduring popularity, or have guessed that her story of four young women coming of age in the aftermath of the Civil War would one day be considered a classic — reprinted countless times with countless covers, adapted for film somewhere around a dozen times already, with not one but two more movies heading to the screen shortly.

Nor could she possibly have known the impact that her book, and in particular the character of Jo March, would have on generations of aspiring young writers.

I was one of them.

I spent seven formative years of my childhood and young adulthood in Concord, Massachusetts, the small New England town where Louisa lived when she wrote Little Women.

I used to save my babysitting money (I earned a whopping 25 cents an hour back then!) and ride my bike the mile to her home — which is called Orchard House — and treat myself to the tour. The ladies who led the tours were always so nice to me, and if they thought it was weird that I was there all by myself, they didn’t say so.

Orchard House

It’s a wonderful old historic house, filled with treasures from the Alcott family, which is easy to mix up with the March family, her fictional characters, because so much of the book was inspired by her own life, and her own family. Anyway, I remember just standing there staring at the little half-moon desk that her father had made her, and thinking, “Wow, that’s where she sat when she was writing Little Women,” and thinking that maybe I would have a writing desk of my own one day.

I desperately wanted to be a writer just like Jo March, Louisa’s headstrong fictional alter-ego, even back then.

And now, here I am, lo these many years later, and I do have a writing desk of my own, just like Louisa did, and my dream of being a writer did come true, and there are books with my name on them sitting on shelves in bookstores and libraries and actual readers’ homes across the country and beyond! And I have Louisa to thank for it.

I did thank her, in the only way I knew how — by honoring her in a book. The Mother-Daughter Book Club is my homage to Louisa and her Jo. It’s the tale of a group of middle-school girls in Concord, Massachusetts, whose mothers force them to join a book club and read Little Women. They soon discover how timeless the book’s themes are, and are surprised to find so many echoes of the March sisters and their trials and triumphs in their own lives.

So happy sesquicentennial, Little Women! I fully expect you to be around for at least another 150 years!

To celebrate this remarkable milestone, I think we need to have a giveaway, don’t you? I have a complete boxed set of all seven books in the Mother-Daughter Book Club series that I’ll be happy to autograph and send to one of you! Just leave a comment below, letting us know your connection to Little Women, and the impact it’s made on your life. If you haven’t read it yet, that’s OK, you can just leave a post telling us that you plan to (we’ll hold you to it!).

The winner will be chosen at random at midnight on the September 30, 2018, the 150th anniversary of the publication of Little Women! Share this giveaway on your blog or Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or other social media for additional entries. (If you share on social media, please leave a link in the comments so that I can assign you an extra entry.)  U.S. and Canada only, please. Have fun!

 

 

MDBC #7 cover reveal & giveaway!

August 31st, 2015

Let’s start the week off with something fun, shall we?

How about a publication date for MDBC #7 — aka MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CAMP!

Yes, my friends, we have lift-off! Coming soon(ish) to a bookstore or library near you! Mark your calendars for May 2, 2016.

As if that’s not enough cause for celebration, how about a sneak peek at the cover?

MDBC 7 front cover

Ta da! That’s the front, of course. And in case you’re wondering (which I know you are), that’s Emma under the canoe. Here’s the back cover …

MDBC 7 back cover

… which features Jess.

I love love LOVE this cover! It totally captures the breezy spirit of the book. Once again, Lucy Ruth Cummins, the MDBC’s fabulous art director at Simon & Schuster, has knocked it out of the park!

(Lucy, by the way, has two new publications of her own to celebrate, first and foremost an adorable new BABY BOY, and second, A HUNGRY LION …

A HUNGRY LION

… her picture book which will be released in March, and which is available for pre-order now. I can’t wait to read it!)

What’s that you say? What’s MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CAMP about? So glad you asked. Here’s the answer:

MDBC 7 jacket flap

 

Click on the picture to enlarge it. Otherwise you’ll be squinting, which isn’t very attractive plus your face could get stuck that way.

Ha!

Can you tell I’m in high spirits? Oh yes I am.

 

Hang on, where are you going? We’re not done celebrating yet!

:: balloons! ::     :: confetti! ::     :: fireworks! ::

Plus, I think we need a giveaway, don’t you? Three of you are going to be very happy campers (sorry, couldn’t resist) because I have three autographed MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CAMP covers to give away, along with an autographed copy of the paperback MDBC of your choice. That’s right — any one of the first six titles in the series that you want. Maybe you need one to round out your collection or maybe you want to give one to a friend. It’s up to you!

All you need to do is leave a comment below, telling us about a favorite summer camp memory. If you’ve never been to camp, tell us the one thing you’d most want to do if you did go, OK? 

Winners will be chosen at random at midnight on September 15th, 2015. US and Canada only, please. Share this giveaway on your blog or Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or other social media for additional entries. (If you share on social media, please leave a link in the comments below so I can assign you an extra entry.) 

 

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