Carole Marsh is a highly-entrepreneurial writer, CEO of Gallopade International, creator of Carole Marsh Mysteries and hundreds of other series, and author of thousands of books, winner of numerous awards, and a Georgia Author of the Year. "These days, I'm most interested in writing for what I call "Twixt, Tween, and YA," which to me, like "gifted kids," are ALL kids! I love to write for them and hear from them. I am also writing adult fiction and non-fiction, short stories, and poetry." For more than 30 years, Marsh has written almost 100 educational and fun adventure mysteries for boys and girls 7-14. "My readers are growing up and I am growing up with them—though we all intend to be fun-loving, energetic, creative, out-of-the box 'fourth-graders' forever!"
Who IS Carole Marsh...
Questions Asked and Answered, Short and Sweet*
*Hey, Carole Marsh is short... and sweet!
1. Home base?
My new home on the South Carolina coast!
Writing as many books as I can!
3. Working on?
A book about my 34 years of school visits!
4. New Year's Resolution?
Finish the book!
Papa, a son, daughter and 6 grandchildren, 18 months-18 years!
6. Favorite thing?
Sitting on my porch reading a book and eating something chocolaty!
7. I'll never get tired of...
8. I secretly want to be...
9. Least favorite thing?
Kids who don't say yes sir and no ma'am!
So, where were you?
That's the big question going around.
I was in class. It was announced over the PA system.
We could not believe it. Our president—ASSASSINATED?!
This was not in the history books we grouched about...this WAS history, being made, alas, before our eyes. It was a whole new world.
A LOT of kids today would read the above paragraph and have no idea what I was talking about.
Think about it: A LOT of kids today were not even born when 9/11 happened.
So for kids or teens, or even adults who can't see why we bother to study history—get a life, as they say: your life...because this IS your history, my history, our history. While it helps if we all speak the same language when we are trying to communicate, it really helps if we all understand the history of where we came from...what happened...why...
As it has been said, "History isn't the past...it isn't even history."
If you don't agree, tune in to all the media coverage of the 50th anniversary of JFK.
We don't forget, because we don't want to forget, nor should we ever forget.
It's easier to learn history when you are in school, and then never let up, but continue the story, the saga—if you think it's dull or boring or unnecessary, well...
The next time a kid grouses "Why do I have to study history?" sit down and give them a really good answer.
If JFK doesn't do it for you, then try WWI, WWII, MLK, 9/11...all the things we care about so much we eventually distill it into a snippet of letters or numbers. But behind those snippets is history worth learning.
You can be an adult without learning history, but you really can't be a valid part of the national conversation, a part of common ground, a part of the curiosity that creates, cures, and cares.
Light the fire of the eternal flame of history under some kid you know.
Because BISO (Because I Said So) is not nearly a good enough answer.
People love zombies. I did not know that. I just wrote a book—MY LIFE AS A THIRD GRADE ZOMBIE. I didn’t even know that I love zombies, nor why, but after signing books at the annual Savannah Children’s Book Festival, I have some new insights into zombie love.
First off, to my surprise, it seems to have nothing to do with The Walking Dead; out of 100 people, I only heard one reference to this popular TV show, and it was,“I don’t watch it; it scares me.” [This was from a 20-something year old man.]
I sat right by the display for My Life as a Third Grade Zombie. As you can see, it’s a small book for kids. It has the title on the cover and Joe, the main character. Joe looks, well, like a kid who’s a zombie. He’s “thumbs-up,” as you can see, and not particularly gory or scary, but he is a zombie.
For six hours, I watched people from age 3-4 to age 73-74 approach our table and this book, as in making a beeline for it. What fascinated me was the look on their faces. It took awhile for it to register with me, but whether kid, mom, or man, they all looked at Joe, not with disgust, horror, curiosity, etc., but with the exact same look that they would have given…AN ADORABLE TEDDY BEAR!
I did not understand. People puckered their lips in tenderness; they grinned like Joe was a long, lost friend. Kids picked up the book and held Joe close to their eyes. Adults grabbed the book and said to their kid, “You want this one, don’t you?!”
I did not understand. However, later in the day, a small boy approached our dwindling supply of My Life as a Third Grade Zombie books and said (with a tilt of his head and a goofy sad smile) “He broke.” Then he handed the book to his dad to buy for him.
It was my zombie eureka moment. I slept on it and came to these possible reasons why we love zombies, love them so:
I still don’t understand. But I do want a Joe Save Haiti t-shirt and a Joe coffee mug, and maybe a Joe sock-puppet to sleep with. At least I know Joe’s ok; I wrote the book, so naturally, I had the inside scoop to help him. I had to help him, and Maria, his zombie girl friend in the story. I love him. He reminds me of a certain very young boy who used to live in my house a long time ago (Hi, Michael!), as Maria reminds me of a very young girl who also lived in my house once upon a time (Hi, Michele!), who went through those awkward, uncomfortable ages and stages—I’m sure you parents have all seen The Walking Dead come downstairs to your breakfast table on occasion?
Joe and Maria found a lot of good homes this weekend. I know. I saw their new families wear their hearts on their sleeves and in their smiles. It was surprising, it was touching.
Zombie love—who knew?
Ok, you're not gonna want to miss this!
Just now strung and hung and waiting for your eyeballs! No it’s not just one, but TWO, exciting, rare, unheard of in the South, art exhibitions that are just a gallop away!
The High Museum of Art (you know, the big white Guggenheimy-looking building on Peachtree Street) is hosting GO WEST! ART OF THE AMERICAN FRONTIER FROM THE BUFFALO BILL CENTER OF THE WEST, now through April 13, 2014. Aw, don't moan and groan...you DO love Western art, you just don't know it yet!
And this, pard'ners, is the creme de la creme of Western art. As some of you know, Bob and I go to Cody each year to the "Buffalo Bill" (a swank, Smithsonian-affiliated museum of five wings of some of the most beautiful art, artifacts, sculpture, and more than you've ever seen!) for their annual soiree—a black tie ball right there in the museum, no less! This year the guest of honor was Prince Albert of Monaco! You will want to bring children, especially middle-schoolers and teens, who can SEE the things they've only read about in school. We are blessed that the Center of the West is sharing.
Now, I know they can't bring every last Remington, Russell, N.C. Wyeth, and other world-class art that they have, but they have shipped more than 120 pieces—none of which you will want to miss. We know the Southern culture like the back of our blue-veined hands, but, hey, get up off your chaps and come, see, and feel the authenticity, the sheer outrageous talent, the dust, the "Dang-its!" and more in this exhibition.
The lovely Native American pieces are worth making a visit, and your kids will love "Buffalo Bill" Cody, a master showman and world ambassador of his day! Not to mention Annie Oakley, whom I believe said, "Well if you want to be a legend, then just go on and be one." My sentiments, exactly!
I know where you live. I'll know if you go! I'll kick ya if you don't!
What? You've got five months! You'll probably spy Bob and I wandering around the exhibits, revisiting our friends from the walls of yesteryear. It will be magical. Hey, and then, you can mosey on down to Ted's Montana Grill and have some bison burgers and other cowboy grub. Yeah, it's ok to wear your jeans and boots—but it will be the Thomas Moran's...or something...that will make you shed a tear.
The passion of the West and for the West is what you'll find, and you don't find that in the South every day, do you? Get your calendar; mark it; send me an email how you liked it...loved it!
AND….ALSO AT THE VERY SAME TIME, MIRACULOUSLY...
The Booth Western Art Museum, just 45 minutes more or less, up the road also has – from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West – CONTEMPORARY WESTERN ART!
Now, we're talking! This absolutely gorgeous 120,000 square foot museum in Cartersville is another "must see/must do!" Again, bring a kid—they will love this more modern view of all things West, and so will you! For the little types, there's a Sagebrush Ranch on the lower level. The permanent exhibitions will make you swoon, so all this added extra wild and wooly and even wacky and colorfully wonderful Western art will really get your...your...your...well, I don't know, but don't be surprised if you run out and buy some spurs or something! This truly is our favorite local museum, bar none; you will be stunned!
There's also a fabulous gallery of Presidential Letters and Portraits (again, be sure and bring those Common Core kids...maybe they can get some extra credit!), and a magnificent Civil War gallery. I go and I drool, honestly.
If you have a little more time, head to the quaint downtown of Cartersville, Georgia and do some holiday shopping or scoot over to the nearby Tellus Science Museum. If you have not seen a contemporary science museum in awhile, well get ready to get your mind blown!
Truly, we are fortunate to have such great art from such a distinguished source right here down South. Go Sunday and have Sunday brunch at Table 1280. Museum stores are my fave places to buy Christmas gifts.
Now that I've opened my big mouth, I guess I will have to rent a sleigh or a van to cart all our grandkids to these worth exhibitions.
There is NOTHING more thrilling (or worthwhile) than to see a kid go gape-mouthed over a piece of art. Sometimes, they just mutter, "I didn't know..." and you know what they mean.
Ok, I had Papa proof this and now he insists we go out for chili and cornbread for lunch.
What did I say?
Remember we have autographed copies of The Cowboy's Christmas Ball,
The Crybaby Cowboy, and more, for gift giving; visit gallopade.com to learn more.
PS: One last comment, ladies: Buffalo Bill didn't wear those tight pants for nothing!
Go and see!
Space, or Bust!
That's how I always felt as a kid!
If you did, or know a kid today who's space crazy, or needs to be, take them to one of the many Challenger Learning Centers around the country! I just visited a great one in Columbus, Georgia. As soon as you launch yourself through the door, you are immersed in all things astronauty and space-agey, both historical, and, as cutting edge as it comes. (They had a new 3D printer working away!)
Of course, the Big Deal at a Challenger Center is participating in one of their mission programs. On this day, a class of sixth graders divided into two groups—one as the base crew and the other aboard a shuttle. (They swapped roles mid-way thru the mission.) Each child manned a workstation and was responsible for a role in getting the folks on Mars safely lifted-off for return to Earth.
But, oops! Suddenly there was one of those "Houston, we have a problem!" moments that the kids, I, uh, mean crew, had to take care of. It felt real and fun. It reeked of science, math, engineering, and technology. I am sure it is something that each child will remember forever, and some will be inspired to make space their career.
If a picture says it all, below is my granddaughter Avery, who came along for the ride.
God bless June Scobee Rodgers and all the other astronaut spouses and others who came up with this great idea in honor of the Challenger crew. It's an awesome experience expertly rendered.
Yes, we need gravity (or so I hear), but we also need the freedom to explore – unhindered – the possibilities that may lurk in our future. Kids are the future and they are up to the challenge!
There are many, many book festivals held around America each year.Some of them go wayyyy back, and are still popular as ever. Bob and I have been to many; but many we have never gotten around to attending.
Each book festival has its own personality. We love the Chicago book fair, which is held on one of the old streets, has a tunnel of white tents, and a gazillion books...just a rip-roarin' literary fest, with warm chili, cold beer, and more!
This past Saturday, our very own Fayette County hosted its first annual book festival: Books Down South. Joyce Beverly, owner and editor of The Fayette Woman, and her husband, Cal, owner and editor of The Citizen, did a great job organizing, hosting, and covering the event in various media. Gallopade was a sponsor and we had a lovely booth and room for children's readings.
My job was the best: sign books and talk to parents, kids, old friends, and fellow authors… plus, eat a donut now and then! It's so much fun to be around book-lovers and to see parents and children stew over "this book or that one or both?"
I believe BOOKS DOWN SOUTH will be an annual success.
Why is a Grammy so enamored of zombies?
I've always been a big fan of the unusual, strange, and especially "possible?" impossible!
My life as an author just seems to lead me to weird subjects, places, people, and events... hence my new book: My Life As A Third Grade Zombie!
My grandmother really did have a voodoo doll pincushion. I have read many scientific things about how there really can be "zombies." Along the same lines: (and especially since I plan sequels) My Life as a Third Grade...Werewolf and My Life as a Third Grade Vampire, and perhaps, My Life as a Third Grade Mummy, it's because I just know a lot about—
a. how, scientifically, someone can be a werewolf, for example
b. and how it feels to be the geeky, shy kid, which is what these books are all about—how to be yourself, love yourself, accept yourself, and not worry so much about what other people think about you. I know that's hard when you're a kid, but really, we need to help kids get a self-determined mind-set to help them take the initiative and cope with the stupid stuff that comes their way, from peer pressure, to bullying, to just plain hatefulness.
But back to the fun stuff! I really do have info on a man who was diagnosed with porphyria; he was a young adult, in treatment, but left the sanitarium (in western NC) before being cured; I always wondered if I ever, uh, dated this guy?
I love going to Anne Rice country in New Orleans and checking out all the vampire lore; learned a lot when I wrote The Mystery at Dracula's Castle, set in Transylvania, Romania. Truth is truly stranger than fiction!
As for mummies, well, it's been confirmed: they really did get the brain out with a hook put up the nose!
Made your day yet?
I love to help kids learn by learning that life is flabbergasting and that facts are a lot more interesting than they think!
In this new series, I also enjoyed mentoring Savannah College of Art and Design grad, Dexter Blanding, who did the lovely (uh, did I say lovely? maybe, more like zombie-lovely) color illustrations.
You can see us at the Books Down South Festival next Saturday or at the Savannah Children's Book Festival in November.
Oh...yeah, you'll know me when you see me!
Well, mostly, we only hear crime that is grim, horrible, and just hurts our hearts and strains our brain as to "Why?"
However, while camped out at West Yellowstone, I actually enjoyed the Local Police Report. A few highlights:
•Excessive noise on Madison Avenue.
*A person was driving without a license.
•A wallet was found in the middle of the highway.
•A suspicious phone call was reported.
•Report of an abandoned boat (hey, summer's over!)
•A brown wallet was found...and returned.
•Possible illegal campers at the LDS church.
•A vagrant was found sleeping on the porch of the National Smokejumper Center.
•A black and pink bike was found.
•People were skateboarding on the sidewalk. (I'M AGHAST!)
•A man was yelling on Geyser Street.
•Possible illegal campers at the shooting range. (Illegal, but not too smart?)
•A vehicle owner requested a locksmith. (Oops!)
•A credit card was found and turned in.
•A burglar alarm went off in the street. (?)
•An illegal bonfire at Duck Creek. (Duck S'mores, anyone?)
•A sow grizzly was spotted.
I think I will sleep soundly here tonight...as long as the mama sow finds her cub.
Life is good in the woods, and the sun's even coming out.
A few months ago I wrote a blog about trafficking, and I didn't mean cars. The issue of the trafficking of women, girls, and even children, was brought to my attention by Kristin Hauch Melton, Gallopade's marketing manager. Of course, I'd been aware of the situation, but she expressed concerned about how prevalent it was in our nearby city of Atlanta.
I attended a Methodist Women's meeting Sunday...and the subject was this very same thing. A lovely young woman passionate about the subject came to speak to us. The very next day, I saw (as I'm sure you did) the news that a nationwide operation had rescued 105 children and netted 150 arrests.
The big news seems to be that there is just a more determination by law enforcement, and others, to put an end to such illegal and awful activities. The other big deal is that such victims are now treated as that—victims, and not criminals; makes sense to me.
I won't recount all the details, but the operation freed children ranging from 13! to 17 years old. The youngest victim was being offered up, so to speak, by her own father. Many of the children had been "recruited" from foster care or group homes. They were being "sold" over the Internet, at truck stops, casinos, motels/hotels, and on street corners. Victims came from all across America, including cities such as Jackson, Mississippi and Springfield, Illinois. The most arrests were in larger cities; Denver, Milwaukee, and Knoxville, Tennessee having some of the larger numbers of arrests.
Our speaker emphasized how the "perpetrators" know how to find these vulnerable children...in malls, in neighborhoods, in schools...as well as in the places noted above: in other words, out our own backdoors! I also won't go into how these children are coerced, and why they are certain that they can never speak up, nor escape.
Our speaker also gave us some tips:
• This may be happening to people you see all the time—friends of your children, domestic workers, people you see around your town, no matter how small.
• Signals may be a child who is alone, avoids people, will not answer questions you may ask (because they fear to), or who say, "I can't go home" or other such "absolutely can't" sounding statements—they may be trying to tell you something. Once a woman kept insisting to me that she could NOT leave her "job." I think she was trying to tell me something, but I did not really know her and I did not suspect anything.
• Speak up! Ask questions. If you feel or sense something about a child, investigate.
• There are many resources you can report to and this is how law enforcement is putting together information to make such arrests, and more importantly, the "freeing" of such children.
I'm no expert, but I am now more aware. You be so, too. Thanks.
This is a short blog but a severe one.
Please come visit me at my "summer home," a.k.a. my summer blog, at http://carolemarshblog.typepad.com/onesummerwriting/