A Year of Blogging- My Blog’s a year old!

Today my blog, Traveling With T, turned a year old. It’s been a crazy, fun, wild, frustrating, challenging year. But, and here’s the key: It’s been so worth it. Fulfilling. Enjoyable.

When I started Traveling With T, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wanted a blog where I could write about experiences- local restaurants, book signings, events. I wanted some anonymity, I wanted a title that was catchy, but didn’t pigeonhole me- one that I could discuss different things; but still with a focus.

I didn’t start the blog because I had a burning desire to be a writer (although, I have much respect for writers).  I’ve thought over the last few years that someone publishing my thoughts from the pitfalls of guys using emoticons in texts, to the art of the road trip, to why being a nail polish namer has to be an interesting job (plus much, much, much more) would make for an interesting book- but I’ve never really had a burning desire to write for a living.

When I was a kid, I used to read Ann M. Martin books, Francine Pascal and more. Reading these books, I always thought it would be so nice to get to meet the people behind the books I loved. But, a small-town girl, states and hours away from these authors never did get a chance to meet them. As I grew up, I put the idea out of my head- reading was not cool (even though I secretly read in high school). The older I got, the more I realized reading was a part of me- it was something I needed. With social media, I can chat with authors, learn about book signings and more. Going to a book signing is the best kind of fun. Proud to report that I’ve been to several book signings over the past year- and I love each and every one.

Part of the reason I started blogging is that while I don’t have burning desire to be a writer/author- I do have a strong desire to be around the writer types. To hear where they get inspiration, to see their works comes to life. To be able to sit down with them- with total wide eyed innocence and discuss the things I love, dislike, and more about their books. An author has a creative energy that I adore being around- a creative energy that fills a place in my heart and life. An author gives me something to think about, something to ponder deeply and maybe even creatively for days, weeks. When I’m around an author-type person, I feel like I’m the best version of myself- the bright, inquisitive person- the person who is fully validated because she is with people who speak a language that she loves. I feel smarter, brighter, almost Wonder Woman-ish.

There have been times over the past year that I thought of just deleting my blog. It seemed like it wasn’t going anywhere, some days it wasn’t even fun. But, slowly, I began to get followers- and then I became involved with She Reads Blog Network- and that for me was all the validation I needed to continue. While, I don’t think I started the blog with the full on intention to review books completely- being able to review books is something I find pleasure in. It’s back to that whole “books fill a place in me, in my creative part”.

My desire for myself and my blog:

1. Host giveaways. I promote other blog giveaways, but have never had one at Traveling With T. 2013 will be the year that changes.

2. Continue to review books. Fiction, #southernlit, cozies and more.

3. To one day, be more involved in the process of an author’s life. A publicist, perhaps? To be more involved in the work of an author from the beginning of the process to the end would be very fulfilling.


On today, as my blog turns a year old- a heartfelt “Thank You” to my followers, the people who “like”, retweet, and share my blog posts. Without you, my blog would be floating around in the internet. Each time you like something I write- I”m reminded of the Sally Field “You Like me! You Really Like Me!”

To MVBClub- thanks for letting me guest blog, for being an inspiration and a sounding board. xoxo

To Melinda McGuire- thank you for letting me guest blog about Oxford and Faulkner- you’re the best!

To Deep South Magazine- thank you for every RT, every comment and more. My appreciation for you is beyond words.

To authors (Erika Marks, Erika Robuck, Nichole Bernier, Michael Lee West, Meg Donohue, Jenn McKinlay, Cleo Coyle,Lucy Burdette,Robin O’Bryant, Claire Cook, Mia March, Sarah Jio, Michael Morris, Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, Megan Abbott) Thank you for your books. For taking time out of your schedules to tweet with me, to call in for book clubs. Thank you for writing great books and books that I anticipate being great.

To She Reads, She Reads Blog Network, and Kimberly Brock- I’m so overcome with happiness for being able to be part of She Reads. Thank you- Thank You- Thank You. Being able to be a part of this great group just makes me feel all sparkly and happy. Honored to be a part of a such a sparkly wonderful group.

To authors everywhere: Even if I don’t know you- you inspire me. To the dreamers, the people with the imaginations and creativity, to the ones who have the desire, drive and determination to write a book: Never change. Keep writing. Keep inspiring people. Write not just because you can; but because you can’t live in a world that’s without your writing.


Traveling With T


PS: A special thank you to Ann M. Martin, Judy Blume, Francine Pascal and the Nancy Drew books: without your books, I might not be the reader I am today. Beyond grateful for the love of reading the books you’ve written that has instilled a love of reading in me. “Thank you” seems so inadequate- but that’s all I have to say.





Literary Friday ya’ll….

Friday is HERE! A round of all things literary happening for Friday:

1. Karen White will be signing and reading at Lemuria Books today. I will be there. I hear Sea Change is supposed to be great. I’ll be live-tweeting from the book signing using #karenwhite.

2. Deep South Magazine teased us avid readers earlier in the week with a picture of books (most notably Mary Kay Andrews newest book- Spring Fever!) Perhaps that book will be given away to a lucky person today! Deep South Summer Reading List

3. Chick Lit Central is giving away a copy of Stacey Ballis Off the Menu– for the links and how to enter, see previous blog post or Google Chick Lit Central.

4. Judy Blume is on Twitter and since I’m a #booknerd that makes me happy!

5. I’m 6 or  so chapters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice– enjoying it.

6. Melinda Mcquire (@melindamcquire) has an interesting idea for writers, photographers, etc of Southern ways. If you are interested in hearing more about her idea- follow her or use the hashtag #STHRN to get more info.

7. Mia March, Mia March- I may have to add you to my list of writers who are using social media to their advantage- thanks for the follow!

Since it’s been raining all week- it’s been a great week to cozy up with books. Also, I’d missed the 2 previous weeks of Drop Dead Diva- watched the first episode yesterday that I missed- Owen and Jane- engaged- so cute!

Happy Reading!

Best Friend books…

If you read my blog at all, it’s pretty documented that I adore Judy Blume. Simply adore her. While I have many favorite characters, Vix and Caitlin from Summer Sisters are the ones we’ll discuss today.

On the surface, they don’t really have many things in common. Different types of families, different up-bringings- but yet they became summer sisters. And for the most part- the bond remained un-broken.

On the other hand, 2 other characters I like from Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed are interesting characters in the best friend category- Rachel and Darcy.

Rachel and Vix and Caitlin and Darcy have more in common with each other than the best friend pairings. Vix and Rachel basically do what’s expected of them, both are smart, and both let the brighter part of the duo take center stage.

Caitlin and Darcy- both of them are “takers”, center-stage characters, selfish (but still have some loveable qualities).

Best friends are great characters to write about- usually so much history to explore- the book can be taken in a million different ways. I also think these type of books are great for book-club discussions. The allure of “best friends” s that usually you can see yourself in one of the characters- which makes for a more personal experience.

If you’ve read Something Borrowed and Summer Sisters, can you see the correlation between Caitlin and Darcy? Vix and Rachel? Which set of characters would you rather be in real life? Speaking of the betrayals in both books- which would be the one that is more real? If you could pick which betrayal to experience, which one would it be? And lastly, the endings in both books- which one was more satisfying? Believable?

If you haven’t read either of these books, both are highly recommended by me. Great summer reads!


First Literary Loves….

In hindsight, my first literary love was The Monster at the End of the Book. It’s such a cute kid’s book- Grover tries everything he can to keep you from turning the page to get to the end of the book- only to discover that he is the monster (albeit a loveable, furry monster).

I’d love to say that when reading this book- I was having all these thoughts like that the writer was pure genius, how groundbreaking the book was, and more thoughts like that- but the truth is: I was a kid. And no, I just loved the book. And loved having the book read to me. Full disclosure- this book still holds a prized place on my bookshelf- where real-estate is at a premium.

My next literary love is Ann M. Martin. Writing The Babysitter’s Club series- those books really solidified my love of reading. The girls of the BSC felt like best friends, the books were warm and comfortable- like a soft sweatshirt.

Judy Blume outranks Ann M. Martin, though in my total literary love. Her characters- Fudge, Peter, Sheila, Margaret, Vix, Caitlin, Allison, Rachel, and Stephanie (all from different books) were friends at various points in my life. And like old friends, I gladly welcome them back anytime.

Over the years, I’ve found many literary loves, lost some, replaced some. The author may change, but books are a pretty common staple in my life. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So what authors are your literary first loves? Did your tastes change with age? Have you loved an author and then not so much anymore?

Two authors talk about their literary loves- Marybeth Whalen   and Kimberly Brock

Literary loves- an interesting thought. Does the first literary loves shape you as a reader? Or are they just the first brick in a yellow brick road that leads to untold riches as you embrace the love of reading?