Courtney S. Barr

Welcome to My Kingdom!
Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Throat, Promise, Forget, Splendor, Hex and....Pee


6 words, 6 very different words.

But those 6 words made for one of the BEST afternoons among authors, writers, & fans.

Oh yeah, you heard me.

I wasn't sure what an afternoon at the Homewood Public Library would showcase on a Saturday. I can promise you that those 6 words were not what I would have guessed beforehand.

The lovely members of Southern Magic hosted 5 sensational authors:

R.A. Nelson (The 6'3" sweetheart who works at Nasa by the way)
Chandra Sparks Taylor( the ever so lovely mother who is ever so brave with her manuscript revisions)
Jennifer Echols (an engaging blonde with wit that will have you doubled over - sarcasm has met its match!)
Rosemary Clement-Moore (a perky author whose grin is infectious plus! OMG Scooby Doo's team WISHES they had someone like her)
Rachel Hawkins ( the honest, hilarious, friendly, married to a scientist author who enjoys torturing her husband with finger injuries)

The room was simple, almost classroom set up. Around 25 people sat and listened to these lovely authors discuss methods, talk about getting "the phone call" and just chatting about how if you are going to be an author then there are no excuses - WRITE!

Laughter flowed around the room as stories were shared, excitement permeated the air as tidbits of upcoming projects were whispered and the feeling of camaraderie was inescapable.

I found myself enjoying every single minute of the afternoon. At the end of their questions we were all invited up to purchase or bring books to sign. But this was not like an overwhelming, large signing, you weren't ushered up to the table then asked to politely scurry away. No, they were there to "MEET and greet". You could ask questions and find yourself in a lengthy discussion with an author you love, you could shyly hand over a book that you traveled all the way from Carollton, Georgia with your parents and friends to have signed by someone who creates worlds you want to live in.

As time passed and people began to slip out I found myself talking to the lovely Crystal (my cohort in ALL 4 ALABAMA) and her friend Natalie. We were the last 3 in the room - EVERYONE had cleared out. We had been talking books, donations, contributors, writing, bidders, everything when to our surprise bounced in the lovely Rosemary Clement-Moore. Yep. She was waiting on her friend who had accompanied her and saw us still standing around gabbing.

She did not run from the lingering fans - she ran to us. She thanked us for the event. For attending and enjoying it. She then told us why she was still in the building: Nature called. She had to pee and somehow this rolled into how you pee before perfoming on stage and then Natalie chimed in with a pregnancy and pee story...yeah... the things we writers discuss! It isn't a full day until bodily functions enter your discussions and by golly if you can get a celebrated author to join in - well congrats! It was a blast.

So 6 words. 6 very different words.

Combined together make 1 lovely afternoon that I would do over again and again....

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Great Loss for the Writing and Storytelling Communities...

"I think we need to be put back in touch with our be reminded of what's important, like memories about people we loved, or things that happened to us that affected our lives, things we can laugh about and shed a few tears about... I think storytelling is a way of saying 'I love you. I love you enough to tell you something that means a great deal to me.' "
-- Kathryn Tucker Windham

If you don't know who Jeffrey the ghost is, boy did you miss out on childhood ghost stories that could make you shiver and laugh in one sitting. He lived at Windham house and he created quite a stir for many years...

I spent my childhood reading of course, reading anything and everything I could get my hands on. Shakespeare, Faulker, Dickinson, Alcott, Austen, Pike, Stine, Pascal, Keene and so many you can see my genre choices were quite varied. In the mix were two names that are famous not only to many parts of the world but are royalty in my neck of the woods: Lee & Tucker. Harper Lee wrote the famous "To Kill A Mockingbird" - the stirring book that faces problems with race, culture and ignorance from the eyes of children - she lives only 35 minutes down the road (literally) from my childhood home.

Then there is Tucker. Kathryn Tucker Windham - she brought to our attention a little ghost by the name of Jeffrey but she also helped all of us learn the rich ghost stories and heritage of our beloved South. She did not just make up stories for us to imagine, she traveled to the areas that had for many years before her time had been passing down the legends, the horrors, the comedies and the tragedies that encompass any small town. She retold those stories, made towns no bigger than your thumb famous, helped tell visitors why they should jump off the interstate and seek the scenic rather than the quick. She was someone who believed that history could be passed down by word of mouth & written word when told in the vernacular of its beginnings. She began a festival in the historic town of Selma Alabama...a Tale Tellin' Festival that I was blessed to go to as a child. She would be at many festivals as I grew up...she would sign her books, smile at you with a broad brim hat on her head and she would open her mouth to begin telling a tale that would touch you for a lifetime. She was one of those, in my group of beloved authors, who helped me understand that I could be whoever I wanted to be. That I could stand tall on my heritage and could write, could write what I wanted and enjoy it throughout my life. She inspired me by loving what she did so much.

Before her storytelling made her famous she just so happened to become one of the first female reporters to cover a police beat in a major Southern daily in 1939. Men were going to war; she needed a job and she had talent. She already loved photography and at a young age had been a jr reporter for her hometown of Thomasville's paper...her hometown by the around 28 minutes from my own. Such talent so close to home...crazy how small our world is.

Storytelling is an art. Being able to relay information that not only informs but ignites ideas, memories, sorrow, and happiness for the listener is an amazing gift. She did not always write it down like us writers do in order to imprint it on her fans' minds, she could do it with her voice, the intonation, the inflection of syllable by syllable. Her art won many types of recognition, I am sure she was quite thankful. But to be honest having seen her in the flesh, having listened to her and read her stories I know that the accolades were important because they brought attention to something she loved not just that they brought attention to her. She reminded us that our legacies, our past, our heritage is worth passing down. It is important to those yet to come that we give them this gift, this loving wonderful gift of who we are.

Kathryn Tucker Windham died yesterday. She was 93. She lived a long life full of adventures that we are so blessed to even know about. She will be sorely missed and will forever be a part of my own dreams of being a writer. But even more importantly she is truly the reason I enjoy Southern heritage so much. She made it interesting, she made it unique and she made it real.

Go to your local bookstore, see if they carry any of her books. Visit and order a book about a ghost named Jeffrey. He will make you smile, I promise.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


OMG! 23 Days.

It has been TWENTY - THREE DAYS since ALL 4 ALABAMA began & almost 6 weeks since that horrific day!

This particular journey has been like no other...

So far I have found that the people who write things I love are also people I love!

The writing community is one of the most unique, compassionate, heartwarming, crazy, hilarious, fun, exciting, demanding, stubborn, active, reliable and overall awesome!

Can you believe the list of people on our Auction "Who We Are" page?

Have you seen the critiques that have been bid on during days 1-19? Have you seen the critiques still available?

What about the signed books? The Swag? Book Trailers? Jewelry? Art?

GUYS!!! THIS IS AMAZING!!! So many things and so many times has my husband said "That is wonderful! You aren't going to bid though right? I mean you've won enough so far, right?"
*insert my sweet southern smile and puppy dog eyes*

"Why, hubby, but think of all the wonderful things left to be posted? And all those we could help?"

Yeah he just shakes his head and walks away...Bless my husband y'all! ;o)


VISIT the site and win something amazing!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Writing, Posting, Blogging, Auctions, Rebuilding...LIVING! is June 2 and the temperature outside is 100 F...yep.

The air is hot, the days are long, the breeze is nonexistent, sweet tea cools you down, creeks make you smile and mosquitoes seem to find us the tastiest group of people around.

Welcome to the South!

Right now I am sitting at Capitol Park in Tuscaloosa. The air is beyond stifling and the sun's hot rays are already turning my skin a nice pink. I woke up this morning and said "Whew! Its Thursday."

Now normally Thursday just means one day before "Happy Danc'n through the Weekend" but right now in my life it means exactly: WHEW!

ALL 4 ALABAMA Tornado Relief are going strong, we are on DAY 18. There are so many awesome items and I was right there last night bidding for Tahereh Mafi's ARC of Shatter Me! Dang it if Amanda did not whoop me on that one! Sheesh! But what a mixture of "Darn I lost & Yay for the Cause!" swept over me (of course the hubby sits and lets a happy tear roll down as he realizes "Thank goodness she lost - the woman is trying to break me!")

Posting has gotten very sparse over here in the Kingdom because my posts are consumed at the Auctions - but I PROMISE you, my Royal Court, that you are all in my thoughts and I will be back soon.

The rebuilding of Tuscaloosa is an astonishing, whirlwind that just amazes me with every drive into work and every cruise through town. The damage continues to bring heart ache but the spirit of this town is like no other. Yesterday was 5 weeks...5 WEEKS since that horrific afternoon and hundreds of people came to downtown for a candlelight vigil in remembrance. We are all still reeling but thankfully we are all here to catch each other. Our death toll rose by two, we must not forget that there are those still in the hospital from injuries sustained during the storm - our prayers are with their families. Now the radio is back to music and the papers are not only pics of devastating scenes - NOW they talk of rebuilding, of redesigning, of donating, of is a beautiful thing.

While all of this is wonderful our little adopted town of Hackleburg is far from the shining clear surfaces waiting to rebuild a Krispy Kreme or Subway. They are without all the things that we gained back so quickly...please be sure to continue to pray for this town and to swing by our site if you can. Donate, contribute, bid...share a hopeful message - it all counts towards hope.

Remembering my blessings and wishing those around me to continue to be so blessed is the best part of Living. Even in loss we find strength and right now Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri and Massachusetts are finding that strength comes from a hard blow but that the compassion of people ease the pain.

Have a Terrific Thursday...