South Carolina Interlude...

Note the *alligators* on the banks...

Hello, dear readers!

I will briefly interrupt my series of Amazon posts to give you a little update on the trip to South Carolina that I took with my co-author, Maria Virginia Farinango, to talk about our book, The Queen of Water, with middle and high schools.  This was our first time in SC, and we loved it!


 We scheduled the visits for Friday and Monday so that we could get to know Charleston over the weekend. Gorgeous city!

A friend of Mrs. Crawford's gave us a fascinating walking tour... did you know there were *pirates* in Charleston?  I had no idea.... and I do watch lots of pirate-related movies thanks to Lil Dude.

We had the most amazing weather-- 60s and 70s and sunny much of the time.

I wish there were more pink houses in the US.

Prettiness everywhere...

These gas lights were so atmospheric at twilight...

I love water, and there was water *everywhere*! Charleston is on a narrow peninsula, with islands around it, and we visited a couple of them.

I've done a number of school visits around the country for The Queen of Water.... but these were the first schools that invited Maria along, too.(Lugoff-Elgin High and nearby Middle School, Charleston School of the Arts, and Charleston Academic Magnet School.)  Maria came all the way from Ecuador!  It was really special for both of us... and this was a great way for her to learn more of U.S. history.  The Charleston area was a big Revolutionary War and Civil War site.

Ancient graves.  Apparently, these winged skulls were precursors to cherubs.

Mrs. Crawford took us to the Middleton Plantation in Charleston, and it was stunning.

Camellias and Spanish moss everywhere.

I love trees-- these old live oaks and magnolias made me very happy.

Maria was enchanted by all the animals we saw on this plantation-- goats, hens, roosters, peacocks, cows, egrets, swans, horses.... we took a carriage ride, pulled by these enormous horses. It was interesting, but sad and disturbing, for her to learn about the history of slavery in the U.S. (She herself was a child slave from ages 7-15 in Ecuador.)

Our trip was organized by the incredible twin teacher sisters, Mrs. Howard and Mrs. Crawford.  They were loads of fun to spend time with!  We were completely immersed in sweet, warm Southern hospitality.


Here we are on Sullivan's Island. I had major cravings to rent a beach house here and lounge around reading novels and drinking sweet tea.

On Friday, we were at Lugoff-Elgin High School, and the nearby middle school came to join us, too.

Awesome bunch of students...

Maria performed a beautiful dance to the music of her husband, Tino Picuasi, an Andean flute musician and singer-songwriter.

These were the lovely girls at my lunch table-- I could've talked to them for hours-- three super-creative writers and readers. Our lunch, by the way, was shrimp and grits and fried chicken and sweet tea and all kinds of Southern yumminess!  We were very well-fed on this trip...

Here we are with our host, Mrs. Howard, Spanish teacher extraordinaire, and Anne Lemieux, extremely wonderful, imaginative, and energetic librarian.

Mrs. Howard and Mrs. Crawford made us feel like family.... and we did get to know their entire extended family-- *four* generations, from their dear mother to charming grandson.

As I said, we ate very well.... plenty of items from the bacon and butter and grits and biscuit food groups. Yummmm.

Here we are at Old McCaskill's Farm-- a welcoming bed and breakfast in Camden, SC, run by friendly owners Kathy and Lee.

Look at the fun basket that the students of the School of the Arts in Charleston put together for us... so thoughtful. Chock full of treats.  Monday with these students was wonderful, too, but such a whirlwind, I didn't get a chance to take many photos there.

Incredible trips like this are unexpected author perks that I never even dreamed of when I started writing my first book.  And another wondrous part of being an author: meeting readers like Katie, who came all the way from Decatur, Georgia to chat with me and Maria at our Books on Broad event in Camden, SC.  What a HUGE honor for us!  (Thank you, Katie-- our hearts are full!)

Thanks for coming by! (Y'all come back soon now... ;-)