November 2, 2009


CLICK HERE to view the Carole Marsh Blog

October 31, 2009

Soccer-it To Em!

Great story about a program to give bright yellow "indestructible" footballs (what we call soccer balls) to boy soldiers in countries that have such things, alas. I heard that they give a ball to each boy individually, asking their name, giving their name, and telling the boy that they CAN grow up one day and play ball with their sons and grandsons. They do this while the adult soldiers (I assume oblivious to this message) watch on. What a sad thing to deprive children not only of their childhood but of even the hope of a future. What a great and simple program. I understand you can donate a "ball" so if anyone knows how, let us know. Thanks!

October 30, 2009

Halloween Festivities!

Hi guys! Jennifer here. It is Halloween Time, and there are many things going on around Gallopade. We did a Not So Frightful Storytelling and Halloween Party here in Peachtree City this week. And, of course, we all dress up to celebrate Halloween here at the office. We have a great time picking our favorite costumes and having snack together. Look at our costume winners! Belle(Pam Morris) is our first place winner, Psycho Mime(Linda Metoyer) took second place followed by Roller Derby Girl(Michele Yother) and Beer Girl(Tammy Weeks), I thought she was grown up Strawberry Shortcake. What fun times! We have our 30th birthday party tonight, and I will be sure to get some great pictures from that!

October 29, 2009

Thirty Years and Counting...

Gallopade will be 30 years old on October 31; however, we are celebrating "30 on the 30th"! I am so grateful we have lasted this long, so appreciative of my family—Bob, Michele and Michael—for all their hard work, and so happy that we have "done good things for kids." But how can it be THIRTY YEARS? NONE OF US ARE THAT OLD?!

October 28, 2009

Christina's Birthday

Hi everyone, This is Carole's granddaughter Christina. At my birthday we went to the Avenue and had a scavenger hunt. Some of the clues in the scavenger hunt were things we had to take pictures of and some were things we had to figure out. There were 4 teams and each team had a list of things to do. So once we got our list we went around the Avenue to most of the stores and looked for things on the list, some were easy to get and others were hard like getting two strangers to wave at us while we took their picture. It was a really fun party and all my friends had fun too.

October 27, 2009

Movie Madness

Savannah is awash in movie intrigue. Over here is Clint Eastwood filming a Civil War movie called Conspirator. Robert Redford is out and about! Robin Wright Penn, Kevin Kline, and other actors, as well. Also learned the ice cream master, Leopold Stratton [who is also a world-class movie producer] has a movie on Werewolves in the works. And Nov. 1 starts the Savannah College of Art and Design's 12th annual Film Festival. Miley Cyrus just finished filming her new movie here. So let's just call Georgia Hollywood East and get it over with. Ok, I'm off to search for good-looking actors, and hope I don't meet up with a werewolf instead! On the other hand, hmm, I think I have a mystery brewing, Grant!

October 26, 2009

Dancing Around in the Square!

Calhoun Square, that is! Papa and I attended the annual Gala of the Historic Savannah Foundation on Saturday night. It was a lovely autumn evening made only more beautiful beneath the giant white tent a'glitter with twinkly white lights... beautiful people...yummy food...and great music. Savannah's lovely and historic "squares" are the centerpieces of many a local celebration. Much of Savannah's success with maintaining its historic integrity lies with this energetic and effective group.

October 25, 2009

Masquerading in Savannah

Papa and I went to a cool fundraising event for Union Mission here in Savannah. It was a Masquerade Ball in an art gallery called 2 car garage. Actually, it should be named 2 floors/steep steps/no working elevator gallery! It was fun to dress up a whole week ahead of Halloween! Costumes were fun: from roaring 20s, to pirates, to uh, a guy with a baby strapped to his belly??? NO vampires, Christina, which surprised me! Afterwards, Papa and I sat outside in a cafe and watched the street crowd. They might not have been dressed as fancy, but some certainly were just as weird, no, weirder!, than those at the ball. I think that's why we love Savannah, it's so, it's so, it's soooooooooooo Savannah! PS: Clint Eastwood in town directing a Civil War movie called Conspirator. Every time we hear BOOM! I have to remind myself we are not under attack, at least I hope not!

October 23, 2009

Big Bad Voodoo Papa!

New Orleans in October—ooh-la-la! We flew over swiss cheese swamps, more holes of water than grass and even then a calligraphy of streams wound more liquid through the wetlands. The Mississippi wraps its arm around the still-wounded, but much-healed city. As you'll see from these few photos, you can't kill the music, dampen the art, or mudbug the merriment! We had a short but sweet time: beignets at Cafe Dumond, okra-to-die-for at Cochon, crawfish etouffee at Tujacques, and a tour through the World War II Museum and half-a-dozen fabulous bookstores. We only came home because...well, I can't remember. Why do you come home from New Orleans?

October 22, 2009

What a Hoot?!

I just have to blog-in on the dad who took his 11-year-old son on a sex ed? trip to a Hooters restaurant. In spite of a very long defense of his logic in a recent issue of USA Today, I have to say that, in my opinion, he is totally tuned out to the current prevailing belief that boys from an early age are being desensitized to girls/women. The repercussions of this are well-documented; Bob Elston just had a larger forum to complain his actions were misunderstood. It was sort of humorous to see that he "stepped in it" and could not gracefully back-out. Maybe he could suggest what equivalent venue I could take my granddaughter to visit to get her started down the right sex ed road—a Chippendales show?

October 21, 2009

Puttin' on the Ritz!

At the Ritz Carlton, we just had Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream! It was soooo good! It even included graham cracker crust pieces! When I asked where I could buy it, the waiter said, "We make it here fresh everyday." So, I guess Papa and I will just have to move to the Ritz Carlton since we can't buy this ice cream!

October 20, 2009

Dressin' Up!

I was in a fashion show! Funny they would ask me—who does not own a hand mirror, seldom carries a purse, is not a nail or hair person, but still, for my friends Jane and Bruce...anything! It was for their Edward Jones Investment annual luncheon for women. I had to dress up...go there...get undressed...get dressed...get undressed real fast...get redressed...uh, well, I lost track but it was fun and the ladies seemed to enjoy it; they all looked pretty spiffy themselves!

October 19, 2009

Gooder N Grits!

Papa and I ate at the amazing Table 1280 [their street address number!] at the High Museum of Art on Peachtree Street. Now, if you want to see an incredible woman at work, sit in the kitchen bridge area and watch Chef du Cuisine Tracey Bloom! She is the creator of the wonderful recipes served in this upscale, original dining room. It's fun to watch her preside over her kitchen...from the restaurant side of the counter!...and belt out customer's orders in a tone that means "Now and Perfect!" While cute guys in black and white striped caps (I don't know what you call them) hustle and bustle, Chef Bloom had a moment to tell us that she is from Rochester, New York and how much she loves the food "up there." I know what she means because one cold winter's night we were once directed to a home in a neighborhood. It was surrounded by cars, but did not look like any "restaurant" I had ever seen. However, inside, it smelled like Italian heaven and the pasta we had was so good it brought me to tears. So, indeed, does Chef Bloom's Royal Rock Shrimp Logan Turnpike Grits with Maple Cheddar! I just call them "angel grits." She cooks them in cream, I believe, and the maple cheese is magical. I suspect more "secret ingredients," but I don't care what's in them anymore...I just want more! A chef is a great career for a girl who wants to grow up, work really hard, compete with the best, and, perhaps one day, reign over her own domain restaurant. A great chef deserves to give orders! We were honored to be customers favored with a kind word and a laugh from The Queen of Grits! image via Table 1280

October 17, 2009


Well, that's what Papa calls him! We went to the symphony Saturday night and heard Yo-Yo-Ma play the cello with the Atlanta orchestra. Very WOE! He is an example of passion and professionalism...a good role model for kids who need to learn what that combination of talent and "can do/will matter what it takes" makes...SUCCESS! I heard of something fun: an instrument "petting zoo"...which I assume is when kids get to see, touch, and hear orchestral instruments up close and personal...great idea, hey? The next time you see anyone with any musical instrument, ask if you and your young person can take a closer look. I am sure they will be glad to share all kinds of information. For example, Mr. Ma's [yes, he does go by that name, too] cello was crafted, I believe, in 1712! No wonder it makes such mello music!

High on the High!

Papa and I visited the High Museum in Atlanta this weekend. There is a GIGANTIC horse on the grass just before you go into the pavilion to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit. He is quite enormous and his story as part of the da Vinci story is intriguing! We also toured a gallery of Great Depression-era art and photographs; very interesting. And we bought a book on architect John Portman, so we'd be more knowledgeable when we go to see his exhibit. If you know Atlanta, you know he built the hotel with the blue mushroom dome that once figured so prominently in our cityscape...while today, surrounding super- skyscrapers have turned that amazing blue UFO into a little blue dot! Do yourself, and a kid, a favor and take them to an art museum—ANY art museum. You just never know what you'll discover and memories are surely to be made!

October 16, 2009

The National Gallery of Writing...

Sherry Moss, head of Gallopade's New Product Development department brought the Gallery of Writing website to my attention! What a great idea—to gather American's writing for all to read. (Sounds sort of like Gallopade!) Take a moment and visit this site and participate! Great activity for kids, for the family. I plan to make my contribution. What a "book" this site would make! image via Gallery of Writing

October 15, 2009

Everyday for me...

is a day of writing! But October 20 is the officially-designated "National Day of Writing" my "assignment" for you (he-he-he) is: Write Something! A poem, a letter to the editor, a short story, a note to Mom, or anything else. EVERYTHING WRITTEN has to be written by someone—it might as well be you! Click on image for a larger view.

October 14, 2009


Lots of comments and controversy over President Obama winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. I thought [and then read confirmation] that the NP committee gave the award sort of on a wing and a prayer of hope that this new tact of discussion, diplomacy, extending hands across the waters, and anything else that might help us have paths to peace besides war. I think that effort's worth "rewarding" in advance, so to speak, to encourage the all. Note: Gallopade, in its ongoing dedication to only the best for kids, immediately updated ALL of our Obama books for children and upcoming Black History Month. That's a lot of product—sometimes we amaze me! image via Gallopade International

October 13, 2009

Just Scouting Around...

Yesterday at our amazing Spooktacular Booktacular Mystery Shop, we had a gob of Girl Scouts who did the tour, did a mystery writing activity, visited the shop, talked to me and Papa, and had a great time. They reminded me that Juliette Gordon Low's [founder of the GS] birthday is October 31. Gallopade was founded on October 31, 1979. One Scout had her vest absolutely filled with badges front and back...something I had never seen. They each earned a badge last night. It was fun!

October 12, 2009

Gettin' My Pumpkin' On...

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. (The others are Spring, Summer, and even Winter, especially if we get snow!) When Papa and I lived on the North Carolina beach, October is when the Harvest Moon was sooooo big and bright, when the ocean had this sparkly blue color I've only seen in the eyes of a four year old! However, in Georgia, we have our leaf-turning merits since autumn starts slow, creeps along for a full two months, and so gives us maximum color and crunch for a long time. This weekend, I planted orange pansies with little orange pumpkins amongst them... orange mums in orange pots...and pumpkins of all sizes in every nook and cranny inside and outside. Now, Christina, Grant, Avery, Ella, Evan, and I are just waiting... for that big trick-or-treat night! We can "bearly" stand it!

October 9, 2009

The Face of the Future

It's not often you get to have an up-close look at the face of the future, but I just did. I held one of my Big Pencil Writing Workshops at Gallopade. It was late in the day so that school and homeschool students could attend after their busy day of studies. About 15 bright and smiling faces paraded into our New Product Development's Writing Studio. Our session was called, "Can I write for Disney one day, Ms. Marsh?" It had nothing to do with Disney; it had everything to do with good writing as a lifetime essential skill, and "wow!" writing as the key to a possible career in almost any field they chose. I started by showing them a roll of toilet paper. [You had to be there!] The children, in ages from about 9-14, boys and girls, were so quiet, so polite, so attentive, so focused that I worried: Are they tired? Bored? Intimidated? It was none of those things. THEY WERE BRIGHT! They were interested and interesting, engaged, smart, savvy, talented, charming, mature, and did I say smart?! It was a wonderful thing to see their enthusiasm, their sincerity, their uncanny ability to grasp concepts and nuances in my usual rapid-fire delivery of all things key to good writing. Their questions were remarkable; their input delightful. I felt like a kid! I forgot they were kids! For an hour and a half it was just fellow writers, eager to improve skills, share, learn, and explore the wonder of turning what's in your head and your heart into words on a printed page. Words to share, to achieve goals, to entertain, educate, amuse...change the world. You can sleep well, tonight folks, the future is in good hands. At one point, I said jokingly: "Ok, you're all hired!" And one young man replied, "I'll be here in the morning." He was serious. These "best and brightest" are eager to engage the world. They are gunnin' for serious bear. They may not all grow up to be writers, in the traditional sense, but I guarantee they will be world-changers and will use all their many skills to make it a better place. Oh, yeah, did I say they were smart? And sweet, kind, generous, funny.... I really would like to see some of them in the morning! And kudos to their parents for all they do to keep these future leaders learning at a pace and level suitable to their child's needs. It was a good night! [For more info on future workshops, go to or contact to get on the big pencil email list.

October 6, 2009

Take Advantage of the Spookiest Month of the Year

Hey guys, Jennifer here. Today I stumbled upon the Delaware State Parks website, and read about this great fall event. Fort Delaware is rumored to be haunted, and you can find out for yourself in an investigational tour. Follow a real Ghost Haunting tour guide, bring your own recording equipment and decide… is it haunted?? Read more about the Fort Delaware tours HERE. This leads me to a great idea. Take a haunted tour this October, and get some great ideas for a wonderfully spooky mystery. What better way to get your wheels turning, and have fun at the same time! Check out the top ten voted Haunted Tours HERE. image via Delaware State Parks

October 5, 2009

It’s Fire Prevention Week!

Hey guys, Jennifer here. This week is Fire Prevention Week; so don’t forget to check your smoke detectors. Perhaps you already know that Fire Prevention week was put in place to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire. But did you know that the even though it is the most well known fire, it does not even touch the most devastating fire in the US, which was started on the same day? Read the story behind Fire Prevention week HERE. You can find some great activities, lesson plans, and other kid and family friendly links on Fire Prevention HERE. image via

October 2, 2009

Spooktacular Booktacular!

Wow, take a look at our former boring board room... now all decked-out for our October Spooky Books event! We have lots of kids, teachers, Scout troops and others coming in this month to shop and get autographed books, trick-or-treat candy, and other fun stuff. Join us if you can! Click HERE for the Calendar of Events!

October 1, 2009

Get Along Little Doggie

Well, I've been in Wyoming a few days and ready for it to be my new home! Autumn in the Absoraka is purty dolgarn purty! Bob and I came out for the annual Royale Rendezvous, which is tied to the Buffalo Bill Museum [a Smithsonian museum] and an art festival extraordinaire. We went to a couture Western fashion show, an art auction of Western art that raised more than $1 million dollars for the museum, a Quick Draw, where famous Western artists produced a work in one hour in plain air, then those were auctioned off. We went to a glamorous and glitzy black tie ball (I wore a "feather" dress and purple stone jewelry), and toured several Western furnishing exhibitions that featured creative furniture, lighting, and more all with a serious Western twist...and most outside of my price range! We visited numerous galleries, including a private invitation to a top Wyoming artist's home and studio. We also visited new friends' new home, which they called a "barn," but was a gorgeous home and horse complex... on 2,600 acres—not a man-made thing in sight, just mountainous beauty. Buffalo Bill, of Wild West and international fame, lived in Cody (thus the name of the museum), and the Irma Hotel (the place to be) still looks like them cowboys could saunter any most anytime! And, the truth is—they often do! One funny, thing: a pro photographer making pics of the event wanted to pick a real cowboy for a he skipped right over the real Wyoming ones and chose Papa! who looked dashing in his check shirt, bolo, tan jacket, cowboy boots, and Stetson! The incredible thing is that the new Whitney wing of the museum has been redone, and if you are an art fan, just imagine seeing real, man-size, original N.C. Wyeth's, Thomas Morans, Remmingtons, Russell's, and more, including the wonderful new contemporary Western art, much of which is homegrown right there in Cody, or nearby. I bought a lot of great reference books for my upcoming book, "The Mystery at Yellowstone," which you can pre-order to get autographed copies! These will ship just after Christmas. Hope these pics tell the rest of the story. This cowgal needs a nap! Yeehaaa, ya'll!

September 30, 2009

Carole on NPR!

Hey guys! Jennifer Here. Check out this great interview with Carole on NPR station KJZZ in Arizona that aired on Saturday. Carole speaks about her new Biography FunBook on Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

September 29, 2009

I Need Your Comments!

I NEED YOUR OPINION!  I have posted 7 topic ideas for some possible new books and/or series for kids, teachers, school suppliers, etc.  Please leave me your comments about them – I want to know which ideas interest you!

TOPIC #7: Hip Hop!

HIP-HOP: 60 Hip-Hop Socially Conscious, Positive Activities for the Classroom

Covering writing, social studies, math, science, history, geography, biography, character development, the environment, and more! It's all just too cool for school!

TOPIC #6: Mimi & Papa's Annual School Almanac

Mimi & Papa's Annual School Almanac for Kids!

365 pages, one a day, with headline news, activities, weather or not, quote of the day, and much more—great for homeroom, to start the day easy, fun, with a laugh and a learn!

TOPIC #5: Plant a Story...Grow a Tree!

Plant a Story....Grow a Tree!

A unique series of individual creative stories or poems (tied to the curriculum) that offers an enriching read-a-loud, but also, is printed on seed-implanted paper, so the class can then "plant the story" and, yes, grow a tree! Grow environmental consciousness while you grow young minds!

TOPIC #4: Story Starters


A big book of original stories, poems, songs or other high-interest read-a-louds tied to major curriculum subjects. All kids like a fantastic "blow me away" story to get interested in school subjects. Seems like it would be a great teacher or home school reference.

TOPIC #3: Historic Trails Maps


Six student use maps of America's standards studies historical trails. All they need to know on one clear, easy to understand and use sheet. Sold in packs of 30. Oregon Trail packs, for example.

TOPIC #2: A Job a Week!


A great resource book for teachers to use to introduce a possible future job/career to students. One idea a week covers traditional, future jobs, and entrepreneurial opportunities. Each job page has a component for students to fill in. Great to correlate what we learn in school with why we need to learn it. 40 reproducible A Job a Week pages!

TOPIC #1: First Girl Series


A new series by Carole Marsh!

Mary America: First Girl President of the United States

Columbia Last name: First Girl Colonist on Mars

and YOU suggest the third "First Girl" title!___________________________

I need your opinion!

I NEED YOUR OPINION!  I am posting 7 topic ideas for some possible new books and/or series for kids, teachers, school suppliers, etc.  Please leave me your comments about them – I want to know which ideas interest you!

September 24, 2009

Go Green… Apple

September 26 marks the 235th birthday of one of our first conservationists, American legend Johnny Appleseed. In the early eighteen hundreds John Chapman, known as Johnny Appleseed, spent his days spreading apple seeds across the mid-west. Go green and plant an apple tree in honor of this great legend. Check out this site for some other great ways to celebrate. image via picture

September 22, 2009

Technology Trumps Cursive

Hey all, Jennifer here. There was a scary article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution this Sunday regarding the decline of cursive handwriting in our schools. With the rise of technology, it’s not hard to believe that schools in future years will no longer be teaching this skill to children. We all remember the countless D’Nealian worksheets we did as children. These will be replaced with typing drills and other skill builders required to navigate the world of technology to come. Is cursive necessary or will it become a lost art? image via

September 21, 2009

Fall: Creepy, Crawly, and Coughy…

Hey guys, Jennifer here today. As you know, fall is well on its way. In fact, in some parts of the country it’s already snowed. With all this crazy weather we have been having; it is no surprise that our fall time friends will start showing their faces! Everything from this great big spider I met outside the Gallopade offices today, to those nasty flu viruses lurking around every corner. While meeting the “Gallopade Fall Mascot” was a delightful way to step into fall, getting a cold or flu is no way to start one of the most pleasant times of year. Let’s all do our part to keep germs at bay. Check out this blog I found, Ecosalon, with some great do it yourself antibacterial options. via prairie mod

September 18, 2009

Behave Yourself!

It's sort of old news now, but I am pretty sure we are all appalled by the actions of many high-profile folks recently: Screaming liar at the president, cussing out tennis refs on major TV, and smacking other folks' kids! We often say, "What is the world coming to," but really...this does seem to beyond the "Are we less civil?" issue and more just outright...well, I'm not sure what: selfishness? lack of self control? Uh, no intention to have self control? So my only comment is that I sure want to do a book on responsible behavior, manners, etiquette, etc. for kids. But to kids' credit...maybe I should be writing the book for adults?

September 15, 2009

Something in Common

Most folks know that I had extremely poor vision as a child and did not get eyeglasses until ninth grade...and learned I had freckles! And that I could now read a STOP SIGN! However, I was blown away by this sweet email from a young reader. Is there anything better than to get a letter or note or email and learn that you have made a difference in a child's life? I sure don't think so! From the reader: Why I would be a good character: when I was in PK and K, I had a difficult time learning to read. Four years ago, my speech teacher at school thought that I might have a vision problem. My mom and dad took me to Tallahassee, FL to an optometrist who specializes in focusing and tracking of the eyes. To find out, my eyes were like popcorn on the page I was trying to read. My eyes would not stay focused on any certain letter, or word. After 1 1/2 years of my dad taking me to Tallahassee, FL once a week for eye therapy and working with my speech teacher every morning at 7:15 A.M. - 7:45 A.M., the Carol Marsh mysteries is my first chapter book that I have read by myself. I have purchased many of the mysteries and about to complete my second book. Thanks, Carol Marsh, for writing the mysteries. I LOVE THEM!!!!

September 10, 2009

2010 Year of the Children's Mystery Book

Gallopade has announced that 2010 is the Year of the Children's Mystery Book! This makes you the first to know! We will launch this in November at the Association of American School Librarians conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. Don't know what else will be involved, because, as usual, I am making it up as I go along! However, I do know that I will be writing a major article about the history of children's mystery books and the role they play in helping kids learn to love to read for life! Soooooo, tell me your Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy and other early mystery book stories, you know, under the bedcovers with the flashlight trying to finish the book after Mom or Dad said "Go to bed!" and you were at the exciting part! I still love mysteries! Watch for more on this year-long celebration, which starts up in a couple of months!

September 8, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

Hope you had a nice "unlaboring" day? I made yellow cake with real chocolate buttercream frosting... and chocolate cream pies...secret ingredient is that I used chocolate milk instead of white milk and made all ever so much yummier. Had company, grandson Evan, and my "labor" was to ride him around in his new push rider-thingie! He just turned one!

I need your opinion!

If this blog seems like I’m the “horse’s mouth,” then I really want to hear from your “horse’s mouth” which of the following great ideas you think I should work on for 2010 for kids, teachers, schools, school supply stores, bookstores, etc. If you have time, let me know your top choices. My goal is to give YOU what YOU want! POSSIBLE NEW BOOKS/SERIES: HIP HOP: 60 Hip Hop Socially Conscious, Positive Activities for the Classroom—covering writing, social studies, math, science, history, geography, biography, character development, the environment, and more! It's all just too cool for school! Mimi & Papa's Annual School Almanac for Kids! 365 pages, one a day, with headline news, activities, weather or not, quote of the day, and much more—great for homeroom, to start the day easy, fun, with a laugh and a learn! Plant a Story....Grow a Tree! A unique series of individual creative stories or poems (tied to the curriculum) that offers an enriching read-a-loud, but also, is printed on seed-implanted paper, so the class can then "plant the story" and, yes, grow a tree! Grow environmental consciousness while you grow young minds! STORY STARTERS: A big book of original stories, poems, songs or other high-interest read-a-louds tied to major curriculum subjects. All kids like a fantastic "blow me away" story to get interested in school subjects. Seems like it would be a great teacher or home school reference. HISTORIC TRAILS MAPS! Six student use maps of America's standards studies historical trails. All they need to know on one clear, easy to understand and use sheet. Sold in packs of 30. Oregon Trail packs, for example. A JOB A WEEK! A great resource book for teachers to use to introduce a possible future job/career to students. One idea a week covers traditional, future jobs, and entrepreneurial opportunities. Each job page has a component for students to fill in. Great to correlate what we learn in school with why we need to learn it. 40 reproducible A Job a Week pages! What was that CIVIL WAR thing all about? A rack of books and other educational materials to help teachers help students understand the War Between the States. Includes a variety of high-interest materials with intriguing titles and a variety of formats to draw students effortlessly into this standards-based study of a difficult time in our history. FIRST GIRL A new series by Carole Marsh! Mary America: First Girl President of the United States Columbia Last name: First Girl Colonist on Mars and YOU suggest the third "First Girl" title!___________________________

September 4, 2009

Mystery Month

What does a mystery book writer and publisher do in October? This year we are hosting a Mystery Month at Gallopade with special weeks and days and events...mummies...trick-or-treat candy... special autographings by Mimi, Papa, Christina, and Grant of all the Carole Marsh Mysteries, including the brand new ones! We hope teachers, kids, parents, grandparents, booklovers, friends, business neighbors, and more will pop in sometime during the month... then we plan to do the same thing for a Christmas Month later...never a dull moment around here, but the fun thing is the instant "buy-in" and exuberant enthusiasm of my staff who can turn on a dime and be a witch or an elf and get the job done. It will be fun! Watch for more details and come and see us!

September 3, 2009

Getting a Head Start

I never get a head start on Christmas; don't want to! But this year, I have written a new book and we started selling it September 1! It's A Peachtree City Night Before Christmas, as you can see by the image. Needless to say, it's a holiday spoof and features lots of things in our community... the golf cart trails and the gazillion golf carts, for example, as well as all the basic Santa stuff, only the reindeer are cowdeer! I think the illustrator, Yvonne Ford, did a great job. We had a lot of fun, are now in the Christmas spirit, and hope lots of kids, teachers, grammies, grandpas, aunts, uncles, friends, mailmen, paper deliverers, etc. get a copy for Christmas! I love doing "custom" things but this was especially fun, since I could include all my favorite places. Last year, I did a Peachtree City Coloring and Activity Book. What will next year bring? I guess that will be a Santa surprise. For now, I'm done!

September 1, 2009

First Dibs

For your pleasure and perusal, the opening of The Mystery at Fort Sumter! CHRISTINA yawned. It seemed so very strange. She and her brother Grant usually traveled with their grandparents to Charleston in the spring or summer. Yet here they were barreling down a dark, wet, sleet-slick highway in the dead of winter. They had left Mimi’s and Papa’s Gullah blue-doored home in Savannah’s historic district just awhile ago. Papa’s big gray SUV had sailed over the Talmadge Bridge and across the South Carolina state line. There was no one on the dark and mysterious road. The sleet-laded trees hung low over the highway. It looked like they were driving through a dark lacy tunnel. The full moon only now and then peeked down through the leaves like a big white eyeball spying on them. Papa drove fast, but watched carefully for the big alligators that were known to cross the highway at night. The thought made Christina shiver. She snugged further down into the Clemson afghan Papa had tossed back to her when she complained she was freezing. Across the seat, Grant hunkered over his video game, the greenish light from the monitor creating a skeletal glow in the car. Mimi was asleep. They had stopped at Green Pond to go to the bathroom. In the old store, Christina marveled at the array of enormous cooking pots and ladles large enough to hold a head. She wondered what kind of creatures you could catch in these low country waters that would require such tools. Again, she shivered. As they sped on toward Charleston, Christina read the curious sign names by moonlight: Ashepoo…Combahee…Edisto…Pon Pon Plantation…. Gray beards of Spanish Moss swung from trees and even street signs. Ghostly shadows flickered on the road. It reminded Christina that Charleston was known as the Most Haunted City in America. Usually that would be good news. Usually, they would be headed to Charleston in spring during the garden season when the Spoleto arts festival was going on, or in summer to visit the beaches at Folly or Wild Dunes. Mimi would be working on a new kid’s mystery book and she and Grant would be helping her. But this night they were not headed for sun and fun—they were headed to a funeral. Mimi’s Aunt Lulu had died. To make things worse, it was the Christmas holidays. They’d been visiting with their grandparents when the call came, which is why they happened to be cooped up in this cold car all glum and sad. So what kind of fun could this be? What kind of mystery adventure? What kind of Christmas? Christina didn’t even want to think about it. Of course there was no way she could possibly know that it would turn out to be what she would later describe as “the worst one of all”…what Grant later called “the best one of all!” Papa made a swooping right turn and they faced a city glittering in the foggy cold. “Charleston,” he announced. Christina glanced at the car’s digital clock: MIDNIGHT. “Of course it is,” she groaned and hid beneath the afghan as the car bumped down an ancient cobblestone street into town. Go to to order this sure to tell them who you want it autographed to! It may not come out before Christmas, but will ship January 11 for sure. Did you catch the "haint blue" reference?

August 31, 2009

Carole Marsh In The News!

Hi guys, Jennifer here. The Fayette Daily News recently ran an article about Carole Marsh! It is all about her success story and all that she has gone through in the past 30 years to get to where she is today, what an inspiring story! Check it out HERE.

August 28, 2009

Haint Blue

Some of you ask what color blue my Savannah door is painted. Well, it's "haint blue," a traditional good luck/keep the bad spirits away color from the Geechee/Gullah culture of coastal South Carolina. Inside, my entrance tile, kitchen counter tops, and other things are in variations of this magical, protective, soothing color. I love it when someone comes in and automatically squeals, "Haint blue!" Haint=haunt...and this blue keeps me safe from spirits of the sad and ornery sorts. Haint it a hoot! PS: I hope to write on the Geecheee/Gullah culture for my ongoing Black Jazz, Pizazz & Razzmatazz series [go to] soon. In the meantime, I shall make Frogmore Stew, a wonderful pot of shrimp, sausage, corn, and lots of spices, an old recipe from this culture on St. Helena's Island, South Carolina. Real Prince of Tides country!

August 27, 2009


Canada is easy to visit: they speak English... they also use metric, which means I fear each taxi is going 90 miles an hour... the currency is not in our favor but it sure is pretty... Canadians are friendly... Toronto is 5.5 million folks... very ethnic, more than 100 languages spoken as a first language... however, at nice restaurants or pricey events, I mostly see folks who look like me... every city should be located on water the way Toronto is, with its beautiful bay and archipelago of islands from the ice age just offshore, today a major tourist attraction and sort of a Central Park of Lake Ontario. We can see Rochester (I believe) New York just across the enormous lake; makes you see how refugees must feel to some degree...the hot travel item for local and visitors is a day jaunt to Niagara Falls (the Canadians got the great view, you know!)...loads of unique restaurants with fabulous food; Papa is trying to hit them all...visited the AGO art gallery designed by Frank Ghery, who is from Toronto; it is gorgeous and somehow combines contemporary and First Nations esthetics... First Nations is the Canadian version of Native Americans, only their indigenous peoples seem more vocal and political—I hope to their benefit. We visited the Inuit Museum, which is wonderful, but truly the native art is striking/remarkable/and getting to be quite collectible and investment-worthy; I only wanted to buy about 100 pieces! Today headed for CN Tower (which being from Atlanta I keep calling CNN Tower) which for just a short time longer will be the tallest building in the world until Dubai finishes its new tower which is about 1/3 higher than this 1,000 foot (or meters, or metres?) needle in the sky. I swore we would only do Canadian things, but we got a great deal on Jersey Boy tickets, so see that if you love a rollicking music time (but don't take kids; that Joisey accent is full of four-letter words in this Four Season fiesta!) Ok, signing off from the far north, well really, the near north: Canada goes on and on and on "up there"...wish we had more time!

August 26, 2009

Tata from Toronto!

Bob/Papa and I flew to Toronto for four days. Why? We "won" (as folks say) a trip during a last Christmas fundraiser auction. [To read that hilarity, if you wish, please Click HERE. Mostly edited, it is chapter in a new Christmas book I plan to do for 2010. Also watch for more trip news from this Santa saga!]

August 25, 2009

On Any Given Saturday...

Choices, choices! Bob and I were invited to TWO FAT FARMERS [great name, hey?!] for an artsy event where writers, artists, singers, dancers, and other such types were able to visit, meet and greet, and have "head shots" taken for their portfolios. This was the great idea of Gregg Adams and his wife Wendy. Peachtree City, and indeed, the southern arc of Atlanta is a hotbed of great talent! My good friend, Marilyn Haas (a graphic artist) has a son who has been a "star" since he was born! He did the voice over for an educational CD we did, years ago, has been in TV, movies, and comedy clubs, and is headed now to California to college and the Big Time! The 17-year-old daughter of my piano teacher, Tammy Kimball, has just signed a Nashville recording contract to sing songs that go in a new, unique line of greeting cards! Wendy (mentioned above) is active in the Legacy Theater which is the South side's own little Broadway theater! My friend Andre DeLorenzo has a great email newsletter that keeps us all posted on the artsy goings-on in and around our area. Maybe other places are just like Peachtree City, but I don't think so? Truly, artists, writers, singers, dancers, and more are a dime a dozen around these parts...and all exceedingly talented, capable and worthy of national note. Some, like my friend Mandee Kulaga, is a marvelous singing talent. Why, right here in our own Gallopade publishing offices, we have folks like Denise Morris, a sales representative, can sing like a songbird, and often does!

August 20, 2009

I've Got Mail!

One of the most fun things about being a children's book author is getting letters from young readers. I love what they say, but I also love how they look! If you can show ENTHUSIASM in print, well here is a great example! I save all my letters. I enjoy the emails, but there's nothing like a letter, which often includes photos, drawings, or even hugs and kisses! And this letter was from Turkey and I got an invitation to visit! Some days are just really great mail days! Click on the letter to read it... so sweet!

Every day’s an adventure at Gallopade!

Today, Paige Muh, my assistant and I did the photo shoot for the forthcoming Mystery at Fort Sumter [in Charleston, South Carolina] book. It was a pretty, sunny day, but we were shooting pictures supposedly set in a snowstorm! We had the main book characters (and my grandchildren) Christina and Grant…but also new book characters (and more grandchildren!) Avery, Ella, and Evan. It was, well, it was a zoo! Lots of fun, but hot, a lot of running around, and a bit of complaining about the need to don coats, hats, and mittens! Still, Paige and I double-teamed them with two cameras shooting at once and the job got done. Here are a few advance shots for your perusal. After the shoot, we all were pooped and headed to Chic-fil-a for a “snack.” Uh, a snack to kids these days is a full-blown lunch, including dessert, but a good time was had by all.

August 17, 2009

Last Day in Savannah

We always wait till the last minute to cram in all the things we did not get around to doing when we are in Savannah. Today, it was to Tybee Beach for a couple of hours...we visited the new Bohemian Hotel on River Street, very swank and ate Wassau Sound, our favorite restaurant with a local chef who managed to make sweet potato grits to go with the fresh grouper—yum, yum, yum! Now I have to hit Savannah Candy Kitchen so I can bring Christina, Grant, Avery, Ella, and Evan a treat to eat from the old-fashioned penny candy part of that delightful store where you can see saltwater taffy being made. It seems like I've forgotten something? Oh, yes: to clean up, wash and iron, and pack. Maybe tomorrow?

Georgia Curriculum

Most of you probably know that I also write a lot of curriculum, especially for certain special states like Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, and my home state of Georgia. I have often said that if kids don't learn how things such as history, geography, politics, government, finance, etc. operate out their own back door [in their city, county, and state], it will be much harder for them to make heads or tales of how America and other countries operate in today's unique global world, a world where they are headed to try to make a living and a difference. I hear our new Georgia Experience curriculum is in great demand this back to school season. If you want to see more about this, go to Writing a mystery is a lot easier than writing curriculum, by the way!

Research Trip Windup

I can go home now, I have finished Draft 1 of The Mystery at Fort Sumter! It must be a pretty exciting tale, because I just couldn't quit—once I had the kid characters bounding around Charleston, each in a different direction, in the midst of a rare snowstorm—well, I could hardly go to bed and leave them in such dire straits, could I? No, indeed, and so I had a really late night, since I wanted to know how the story ended myself, and the only way to do that was to write it... and I knew I could not sleep till all the characters were safe and warm. Of course, now the real work begins, the 2nd draft, and revision, and proofreading, etc. It's a writer's life!

August 13, 2009

Day Tripping

Today was the day we went to Charleston for my Fort Sumter mystery research trip. Sounds like fun, hey? Sometimes, I don't know which is more mysterious—my mysteries or my life! It was a beautiful summer day when we headed across the sailboat like bridge between Georgia and South Carolina. A 90 minute trip turned into 2 and 1/2 hours, as we encountered a gazillion orange cones on the incessant road construction on that antique known as Highway 17. At least there were no alligators on the road! It was the proverbial "one hundred and two in the shade" in Charleston and noon by the time we arrived, so all Papa could think about was lunch and finding a parking place. The best way to get a parking place in Charleston is to inherit one! Otherwise, plan on a 30 minute tour of the city to find a free "not free" parking spot. We ate at S.N.O.B. (stands for Slightly North of Broad, which only makes sense if you know that the really cool place to be/live/be born is...South of Broad!). This place is pure Charleston, sort of a serenade and a siesta in a bottle—great food! Hot cornbread in a sweet grass basket, crab salad to die for (well, the crabs did), iced tea like we only make in the South, and sour cream apple tarts with ice cream and caramel...well, it was nice. Then, back to work: We tried to tackle sites I planned to put in the book, check sales opportunities, double-check odd things, like exactly what earthquake bolts look like and how you spell Hyman's seafood. But mostly we went to go to Fort Sumter. As the day wore on things converged to foil our plans: times, parking, steps, heat, a cracker of a storm, and etc., until we literally "missed the boat." Oh, well, the Fort will still be there next time. I did buy some great Civil War books and saw my own Pretty Darn Scary mysteries for sale in the Old Market, which was exciting. A mere 90 minute 3 hour drive, and we were back in Savannah. So goes the day of a writer: time, money, exhaustion, calories, and not a word written. So guess what I'll be all about tomorrow?!
Image via

Encouraging Children

Hi everyone! This is Jennifer, I just wanted to share a great note Carole got from one of the Big Pencil Kids Writing Workshop attendees. It is so great to see how Carole moves children to be GREAT writers!! This is what Lindsey Powell had to say to Carole: Mrs. Marsh, I really enjoyed your workshop last Thursday. Thanks so much for putting it on! I finished my book as soon as we got home from your class. Your books really inspire me, and help me want to excel in writing! Thanks, Lindsey Powell Lindsey also sent us a copy of her book... Check out her awesome cover illustration!

August 10, 2009

Soapbox Time!

So glad to see Learning Magazine featured my new Writing Tree Curriculum! Jennifer gave you an update on our wonderful recent Big Pencil writing workshop for kids. I can tell you that so many parents are very concerned about their children learning to write well…and in my opinion, with good reason. I believe children are natural born writers and we quickly talk them out of it! You can only write what you know, what is in your head and your heart—so that’s a pretty vulnerable thing to do, to put your heart and soul on paper. Seven and eight year olds do so with abandon; nine and up already begin to dread the “red pencil,” the critique (“Why did you say that?”), or worse, the lack of response if they intended to make you laugh or cry or be astounded. They are soon taught there must be some “perfect” way to write, or that it is all about the grammar and punctuation—it isn’t! It’s painful and heartbreaking to see kids shut down their natural gift of communicating with pizzazz and joy to seek to meet some adult (yes, school and test) expectations. Good thing I was stubborn and refused to play by the school rules. More about Writing Tree later, but while school starts back, applaud the efforts of children to write and encourage them. Good writing is truly an essential 21st century skill and we need kids to write with brevity, clarity and impact! I know—I need to hire them someday! Image copyright

Savannah Sundays

Yesterday we attended Trinity United Methodist Church in Savannah, founded by John Wesley, on lovely Telfair Square. This church was established in 1848 and has quite a history. Because of a serious arson fire, during which a Savannah fireman died (and the arsonist was never found)—it is still an official Crime Scene. No, we don't have yellow DO NOT CROSS tape around the sanctuary, but we do have a gigantic organ that can blow the Spanish Moss right off the trees when the doors are open! (Hey, I'm not kidding!) Question: What do people do after church on Sunday in Savannah? Answer: Eat seafood, of course!