Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wednesday's special is...Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning

A kick-ass title, a killer cover, and a sweetheart author. How could you go wrong?

Danette's website is here. To visit her blog, click here. Amazon is selling her book somewhere vicinity here.

And I'll tell you all about it here:

Spunky, headstrong Violet Raines is happy with things just the way they are in her sleepy backwoods Florida town. She loves going to the fish fry with her best friend, Lottie, and collecting BrainFreeze cups with her good friend Eddie. She loves squeezing into the open trunk of the old cypress tree, looking for alligators in the river, and witnessing lighting storms on a warm summer day.

But Violet’s world is turned upside down when Melissa moves to town from big city Detroit. All of a sudden Violet’s supposed to want to wear makeup, and watch soap operas, and play Truth or Dare! It’ll take the help of Violet’s friends, her Momma, a few run-ins with lightning, and
maybe even Melissa, for Violet to realize that growing up doesn’t have to mean changing who you are.

A former travel writer, technical writer, and even comic book writer (self-published at the tender age of six), Danette Haworth is Walker & Company's newest middle grade author. I met her while wandering around Blogtopia and was instantly won over by her casual, friendly style. Listen in as she shares a sample of Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning:

When Eddie B. dared me to walk the net bridge over the Elijah Hatchett River where we’d seen an alligator and another kid got bit by a coral snake, I wasn’t scared—I just didn’t feel like doing it right then. So that’s how come I know just what he’s saying when I see him in church, flapping his elbows like someone in here is chicken. When Momma’s not looking, I make my evil face at him, but he just laughs and turns the right way in his pew.

I fold the bulletin and fan myself. Lord, it’s hot in here. The windows are open but all that breezes in are a couple of love bugs, landing in front of me on a lady’s hair. I elbow my best friend, Lottie T., and point at the bugs. They crawl around and slip under a web of hair-sprayed strands. I start giggling and Lottie does, too. Only we press the giggles down so instead of coming out of our mouths, the giggles shake our shoulders.

Taking a deep breath, I lean forward and then, “AH-CHOO!” The lady’s hair blows over in one piece like a typhoon hit it and two black specks fly out. Lottie laughs out loud. When the lady turns around, I see she has devil eyebrows, the kind that go up in a point. I smile innocently. “’Scuse me, ma’am.” She nods and turns around. I look at Lottie and laughter starts bubbling up from somewhere deep until Momma puts her hand on my arm, pulling me back in the seat. I look forward and try to pay attention.

The preacher’s talking about how too much honey can make you sick and I know it’s true because I have put too much honey on my peanut butter sandwich before and I just about puked. But I get that he’s talking about too much sweetness is sickening. He doesn’t have to worry about me. I am never too sweet to anybody.


1. What besides honey has made Danette sick when she ate too much of it?

2. The name "Violet Raines" was inspired by:

a. A rainbow.
b. The apocalypse.
c. The artist formerly known as Prince.
d. Other (fill in the blank): __________

3. Danette's blog is called "Summer Friend." What should she call it now that summer is over?


ChrisEldin said...

I have read this book, and it is AWESOME, AWESOME!!

This is a real treat!!

Danette Haworth said...

Hi Chris! Thank you for the double awesome! I'll be back tomorrow. Looking forward to it!

Charles Gramlich said...

I have the book but haven't had a chance to read it yet. Looking forward to it. Here are my answers:

1. What besides honey has made Danette sick when she ate too much of it?

Answer: knowing what a good person Danette is I'm sure it was something like spinach or turnips, which she ate because her parents told her to clean her plate. It's just the thing she'd do.

2. The name "Violet Raines" was inspired by:

Answer: d. Other (fill in the blank): _Danette once watching it rain through big violet colored sunglasses. Even though she's sweet, Danette is a bit of geek if the truth be known.

3. Danette's blog is called "Summer Friend." What should she call it now that summer is over?

Answer: Autumn Associate.

Shona Snowden said...

Love the extract, that's just beautiful!

Danette Haworth said...

OMG, Charles! You're so on the money! For years, my mother thought I actually liked eating liver. I only told her that because my sister put up a big fuss one day. The end result was my mom coked it often for me and I had to go with the lie.

Geek, proud of it.

I love Autumn Associate--it sounds so official!

Danette Haworth said...

Thank you, Shona!

Danette Haworth said...

Just a note: my mom didn't "coke" anything! She cooked it. I hate not being able to edit!

ChrisEldin said...

Good Morning, Danette!
Well, just when we thought you had an exciting childhood...

Just kidding!

And just noticing the reference to Prince and Purple Rain--that's pretty funny!

strugglingwriter said...

1. Well, she says she doesn't like tomatoes or mushrooms. Hmm. I'm going to go with strawberries.

2. d) Violet Raines is actually named after speedy outfielder Tim Raines of Montreal Expos fame. Or, maybe his sister?

3. I think it should be called StrugglingWriter Wins This Contest, Because He Wants To Read This Book. What? That title is too long for a blog? How about SWTCBJWTRTB. Catchy if you ask me.

Brian Jay Jones said...

'Morning all!

Here we go . . .

1. What besides honey has made Danette sick when she ate too much of it?

Green grapes. From trying to cram just one more in her mouth. Total yack fest.

2. The name "Violet Raines" was inspired by:

d. Roald Dahl

3. Danette's blog is called "Summer Friend." What should she call it now that summer is over?

Summer Over The Rainbow. Because no pun is too awful.

Danette Haworth said...

Struggling Writer,
I am impressed by the acronym and am trying to pronounce it.

Summer Over the Rainbow
I love it! I want to go there!

peggy said...

Good morning world! What a fun read so far! This'll have to go on my to read list. okay, not enough coffee but here goes :)
1. What besides honey has made Danette sick when she ate too much of it?
Persimmons! Talk about a case of cotton mouth!

2. The name "Violet Raines" was inspired by: A real scarey rainstorm on a far distant planet..after she was abducted you know!

3. Danette's blog is called "Summer Friend." What should she call it now that summer is over?
My friend is falling for Fall!

Ywah, need more caffine in the blood stream!
This looks like its gonna be a fun roasting day!

Precie said...

1) Chocolate. Chocolate chocolate chocolate.

2) Her great-great-great-great-great grandmother, whose escapades the family still talks about today.

3) A Summer Wind Came?
Blowing in the Wind?
Flashes of Summer?
Autumnal Acquaintance

inherwritemind1 said...

Dannette, I love the voice of your narrator. So original. A fun read! Bravo!

I wish you much luck and enormous sales.


Danette Haworth said...

It was fun meeting you at the alien abduction support group. I believe you.

Good answers! Especially number two--there's always a monkey somewhere in the family tree!

Danette Haworth said...

Thank you so much for your comment.

peggy said...

Yeah, the AASG is a fun group, plenty of pizza and beer to go around.

All the answers are so fun this morning.

Danette Haworth said...

But what were those luminescent purple mini-orbs in the pizza? Someone said black olives, but as I floated through the room reading minds and such, I said I don't think so. Plus, haha, Peggy, I heard what you were thinking! Hee hee!

peggy said...

Drats! I was afraid of that. Don't tell anyone;)
I like taking those intergalactic trips you know!

sylvia said...

my mom didn't "coke" anything! She cooked it.

That's such great imagery if you think of coke as the coal stuff you get for burning in household fires in the UK. I know people who cook like that. ;)

Danette Haworth said...

My grandma cooked in a wood burning stove in her basement--bread, cake, meat, plotsik, guwumki--you name it. I always wondered how she could gauge that fire the way I easily did on knobs (low, medium, high). Oh, man, she made the best pierogies.

She had a brand new, unused gas stove on the main floor.

peggy said...

Gwumkies! I love them, Mygramma cooked those too! Gotta love how Grammas could do anything :)

Donna said...

Wow, I occasionally think of cooks of the past who used wood burning stoves and admired their skill in retrospect. Imagine the intuition and attention needed to get things right--and if my grandmother's pies were any example, things were very right!

Violet sounds like a feisty heroine--just the sort of girl we all want to be!

Donna said...

Okay, I'm going to go for some feisty answers here--no sweet girl stuff for me!

1. Violet once ate too much alligator burger--the one they caught in the Elijah Hatchett River

2. The name Violet Raines was inspired by a terrible dyeing accident. Danette once tried to dye a set of sheets purple with one of those laundry dye kits, but the washing machine broke and beautiful violet water sprayed all over the laundry room.

3. I've always liked October in Paris--Summer Friend to Autumn Amie?

Phoenix said...

Let's see:

Summer Friend
Falling Out
Winter Kill

What was that? You write children's books, not thrillers? Never mind then.

Great voice, Danette! And it really must be, um, pretty awesome if Chris is giving it the Double A.

About that voice -- is it natural, or did you have to work at it to keep it authentic throughout?

Stephen Parrish said...

1. What besides honey has made Danette sick when she ate too much of it? Peanut butter. When Danette was a twerp she ate whole jars of peanut butter.

2. The name "Violet Raines" was inspired by: The First Book of Revelations ("Violet Raines" anagrams to "Revelations I").

3. Danette's blog is called "Summer Friend." What should she call it now that summer is over? Autumn Blogging Buddy, of course.

Danette Haworth said...

Oh, Donna, I have eaten gator and survived! But you are right--I don't think I could do it again! I like Autumn Amie.

Danette Haworth said...

Ha! Phoenix, love the names? Thanks for the compliments!

Violet's voice--Violet just came to me as a whole person, her voice intact. When things happened in the story, I knew what she would do or say, and just how she would do or say it. Somehow, it was easy; I think it felt that way because she has a strong voice and a strong sense of herself.

Danette Haworth said...

That was my sister who ate all the peanut butter. She still tries to take the biggest brownie. I discovered long ago that my fork is more than a utensil; it is a food-defending device.

Merry Monteleone said...

Stephen twisted my arm and made me come by to visit - and I'm really glad I did! Danette, the voice is fantastic - I can't wait to read it.

Okay, let's try my luck at the answers:

1. Marshmellows - at the tender age of ten, she was the grammar school champ of the game where you try to cram the most marshmellows into your mouth, but on the last round, she crammed in one too many... sending melty marshmellow down her throat and... well, it was unavoidable really.

2. The name came in a eureka moment after a storm had knocked out Danette's electricity, melting all of her grape popcicles, which dripped down the side of her refridgerator in violet rain (okay, streams and puddles, but she improvised)

3. Summer Better Than Others

Dave F. said...

I like that excerpt. It's got a good tone to it. It does sound like a kid just at that innocent age before they "gotta grow up" ... And it sounds like fun for a young girl to read.

1. What besides honey has made Danette sick...?
Corn at he harvest festival when she ate too much corn.

2. The name "Violet Raines" ...:
a. A rainbow.

3. Danette's blog is called "Summer Friend." ...
Spring Meetings
Summer Friend
Fall Lover
Winter Breakup
Sorry, that's just so obvious for a blog name.

jason evans said...

Danette, welcome!! Great to have you.

I so want the answer to the second questions to be the Artist (formerly known as Prince). I don't know why. Maybe I should be disturbed by my passionate response.

Ah, those were the days. Years before 1999....

*wanders off humming Purple Rain*

strugglingwriter said...

Danette - "fork: it is a food-defending device"

He he he!

Danette Haworth said...

You are on par with Brian with your punny Summer suggestion. Good work! As for those marshmallows, what can I say except sticky sneakers.

Thanks for the compliments! Violet Raines does sound like a sun shower with a rainbow.

Thank you, Jason! Yes, Purple Rain is a wonderful answer, and the Artist Formerly and Once Again Known as Prince would be pleased with your remembrance.

peggy said...

Danette, I love it your fork was food self defence..cracked me up. All the fun answers today. I'm loving it..inbetween painting all these shelves :)

Stephanie said...

The book sounds great! My answers:

1. What besides honey has made Danette sick when she ate too much of it?
Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia

2. The name Violet Raines has to have something to do with Prince. It has to. I saw Purple Rain eleven times when I was in college.

3. Given the winter we had last year, I say Summer Friend should be changed to "Frostbite Buddy"...

Shona Snowden said...

OK, needing to show my iggorance.

What is a guwunki?!

My husband often cokes food on the barbecue.

jason evans said...

Danette, can I ask you a motivation question? I'm curious about middle grade. What's your vision when you approach it? What impact are you most hoping your books with have with your readers?

(I'm always interested in hearing why we write. What our hopes are.)

ChrisEldin said...

Jason, that's a wonderful question!!

I can't wait to see Danette's answer...

Danette Haworth said...

I wonder if Prince knows how many fans he has here. Stephanie, who sang the better version of Nothing Compares to U: Prince or Sinead O'Connor?

Gwumpki is a Polish dish, basically stuffed cabbage. I hated it! I love Plotsik, though. And real pierogies.

Yes, good question. I'm going to eat some supper and come back!

Stephanie said...

Oh man, gotta go with Sinead on that one...

peggy said...

When I was a kid..I too hated stuffed cabbage but one day..when my youngest was 5 I made Guwunkis (sps) and my boys loved it and I grew to love it for the memories as much as the taste. Guess what they ask me for when they visit..one 33 one 37..yeah.. That one dish makes me remember Gramma, and the white pigeon she gave me and my very first cat, named March..
Foods can make us remember life, that can make us remember a story. sight, smells touch. Such is a writers portfolio of life...

Danette Haworth said...


Mainly, I want my writing to lift people up.

I hope to deliver excitement with innocence, and I want to give readers characters they want to follow. I want to put them in all the outdoor places I love so they can love them too. I want to show them that other people, even fictional people feel the same way they do--they aren't alone.

With Violet, I really got such a strong sense of her character that it was just a matter of finding out what would happen to her. Her neighborhood is based on the Econlockhatchee River, not far from here. I made up the neighborhood, of course, but it's based on plenty of Old Florida, which I love.

I really had fun writing Violet Raines.

Danette Haworth said...

Definitely Sinead!

You say gwumki and I say gwumpki. I still don't know how to properly spell Plotsik. Do you know it? It's a polish bread kneaded for a round pan, baked, and slit. You butter the inside and put bacon in--mmm, mmm!

Danette Haworth said...

I just saw that your husband cokes food like my mom does.

peggy said...

Your spelling is right I bet, there is a p in it Gwumpki?
And yeah..The smell of bacon in the bread! that itelf is another memory. We all memorize moments in time...
My grandpa was the cook for baked goods. Angelfood cake and some cool wierd noodle dish that was teeney tiney pieces of egg yok I think...Too bad that in your youth we forget to ask how, why?
Another favorite is Latkas..a kind of potato pancake thing at Christmas..maybe we have some DNA left over from out meetings :o)...

ChrisEldin said...

Hi Everybody,

I'd like to thank EVERYONE for stopping by, chatting, and getting to know Danette and her book!

Danette, thank you for taking time out of your busy writing schedule!!! It's been a lot of fun!!!

The contest is now officially closed, but you can always pop in and say hi!

Danette, whenever you're ready to announce the winner....

Many thanks!

Danette Haworth said...

I loved all the responses, and it was a fun day! I have to call two winners; email me your address and Violet is on her way!

danette at danettehaworth dot com

Charles, I just loved your answers and they were so true. I'd love to send you a book.

Peggy, I must send you a book before the next alien abduction support group. The Terilians have asked for gwumpki; I hate it, so you have to make it. Also, I lost my aluminum foil hat, so can you bring some extra?

ChrisEldin said...

Congratulations Charles and Peggy!!!

Thanks again to everyone!

peggy said...

Oh this is so cool. My grand daughter will love this book, it will be our end of day book...i always read her just part of a book..kep her wanting more! And at the next mmeting of the AASP, we shall read excerpts to bide our time between ports. I am quite sure they will all enjoy it too!
Your a wonderful writer and I am very glad to have met you today!..I mean again, after all, after the meetings we are sppose to forget...

Forget Hell!

oops :o)

Shona Snowden said...

Finished already? I was just getting going!


Once upon a time, one of my friends had tickets for a Sinead O'Connor concert. She was planning on going with her boyfriend. He broke up with her not long before in fact on the day of the concert it would have been approximately...seven hours and fifteen days... She couldn't bring herself to go, because she knew she'd fall apart when she heard that song!

Kim Kasch said...

1) What makes her sick, seeing fished cleaned. Oh, wait. . .that was another character.

2) Violet rains: inspired by my aunt's name, or a rainbow

3)Seasons of Friendship - touches on the story, the summer, and friends throughout the year and life.


Stephen Parrish said...

You mean I didn't win? Again?

Thanks, Danette. I wonder how many times that young lady had to do cartwheels before the cameraman said "Got it!" but some mysteries are best left for the ages.

laughingwolf said...

sorry danette, forgot all about the roasts this week :(

grats, charles and peggy!