Five Authors Give Back-to-School Advice

As of today, almost every kid in the nation has gone back to school. In honor of this annual event, we thought it’d be fun to highlight some advice from some of the amazing authors we’ve interviewed in the past. We usually ask this question:

If you could give your high school or middle school self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Here are their answers:

amy reevesAmy Carol Reeves:

Don’t worry about so much!  I was very Type A and so much of what I worried about didn’t really matter in the long run.  (Oh, and to my middle school self—puffed bangs were REALLY not cool! What were you thinking?)

katie davis

Katie Davis:

Do not, I repeat, do not get that short haircut and subsequent perm in ninth grade, in the year 197(mumbles something incoherent).



Shannon W

Shannon Wiersbitzky:

Ditch the long hair sooner! (grin)

Actually, I’d sit my younger self down and say, “Never doubt your abilities. EVER.” I’ve spoken to lots of women, of all ages, and it seems we all have this annoying voice in our heads that says, “Maybe you’re not ______ enough.” Just fill in the blank….smart, thin, talented, driven, creative, loud, beautiful. We’ve all heard it, no matter where we are in our life or our career. When we don’t quiet that voice, it can cause us to miss the most wonderful opportunities. I try to remind myself that all the time, and then I remind other women as well. A little bit of encouragement can go a long way.


Barbara Johansen Newman:

I could pretend my seventh grade self would listen if I told her not to worry about what her peers were thinking, but I am sure she would roll her eyes and let me go in one ear and out the other. I certainly could not tell her that none of the people around her would matter much in ten years because I ended up marrying one of those seventh graders in my own section and here we still are almost fifty years later  

Kathryn ErskineKathy Erskine:

Who cares what the other kids say — be yourself and be proud of it.  Hey, that sounds like the advice Kara would give in THE BOY PROJECT!  She is one smart, nerdy chick! (Thanks Kathy!)

I can’t help but notice that this advice falls mostly into two camps. Camp One: Don’t worry. Camp Two: You will live to regret (and even laugh about) that bad hair style. So pass the wisdom of these ladies on to a student you love, and assure them that they are not alone. We’ll highlight more back-to-school advice soon. In the meantime, just click on the author’s name to see their original interviews and to learn about their books. Have a great weekend!

Women’s Equality Day

The object in this image is within the permanent collection of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The object in this image is within the permanent collection of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Today is Women’s Equality Day, a day where we commemorate the anniversary of the certification of the nineteenth Amendment. Ninety three years ago women were given the right to vote!

I didn’t realize this until I saw the Facebook post of Nerdy Chick Christy Agner.  Christy is an advocate for women in government. We interviewed her about a year ago, and you can check out that interview HERE. At the time of her interview, we asked her to share a favorite achievement. She discussed helping NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall win her first statewide election. Christy gave us such a great and thorough answer, that we decided to share it as it’s own separate post at another time. Now is that time.

NCR: What is one of your favorite achievements that you can credit to being a nerdy chick?

Christy Agner: My first ‘paid’ campaign job was for Elaine Marshall who was the first women to be nominated by a North Carolina Political Party as a statewide candidate and who went on to be the first female elected statewide in NC (1996.)  She and her husband ran the statewide campaign with 3-4 of us by her side.  Elaine was just a regular woman who worked hard and had a desire to better her community.  None of the political insiders thought she could win that race.  The team had little money, our opponent was WELL known and funded (Richard Petty, the former NASCAR driver), and folks really didn’t know what a ‘Secretary of State’ did.

On a shoestring, we traveled, connected with local newspapers, raised money $25 at a time and spent hours on the phone. To raise funds I had to look at lots of lists, target folks from professional, community and political circles who might be interested in making a donation.  I had to find phone numbers and addresses in the days when very little was ‘out there on the Internet.’  I remember our first big fundraiser, which was a hometown event and the local ladies really wanted to add the ‘special touch’ of hand-addresses all the invitations versus just running labels.  Problem was an approaching hurricane surprised us all and the invitations were spread across the city at these ladies’ homes.  I spent the last hours of that approaching hurricane gathering as many invitations as possible and packed up my car to drive 45 minutes home before Hurricane Fran hit (and yes that was a really dumb move as the trees were swaying all over the dern road.)  The next day, since we had no power, my roommate and I finished addressing and stamping nearly 500 invitations  and got them to the central post office which was still open.  Our friends were grilling out and having hurricane parties.  I was getting political fundraising invitations in the mail.  Now that’s nerdy!

Polls weren’t as prevalent in those days.  Literally on election night the only thing I knew was that the opponent’s campaign had outraised my efforts 5 to 1.  Boy was I disappointed in myself that I didn’t put my candidate in the best possible opportunity to succeed.  I watched campaign returns for hours trying to understand where the votes were going to go.  At the end of election night, Elaine Marshall made history and did it with a wide margin.  Her presence changed everything once she got ‘to the table.’ I was honored to raise funds and grassroots support for her because I believed she would make a difference in my life and those women who came behind me.  She has made that difference.

What a great story to share on Women’s Equality Day! 

In thinking about Women’s Equality Day, and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we’ll be featuring some of Coretta Scott King’s quotes later this week. But I can’t resist sharing one of those with you now.

If American women would increase their voting turnout

by ten percent, I think we would see an end to all of the

budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children.

I agree. One organization that is working to increase women’s voter turnout is Lillian’s List, NC. They are currently running a special membership deal. You can read more about Lillian’s list in Christy’s original interview, or visit their website HERE.

By the way, there are still a few hours left to enter to win FREE CHOCOLATE. Think Happy!

Community and Candice

A lot of people claimed to stop watching American Idol this season because they didn’t like the judges. Maybe you didn’t like Nicki Minaj’s acerbic observations. Maybe you’ve heard one too many dogs walk out of Randy’s mouth. Maybe Mariah’s dahlings got on your nerves. Maybe you found Keith Urban irritating. Kidding. Keith Urban is perfect.But for whatever reason, a lot of TVs across the nation weren’t tuned in this season. This was not the case where I live, in Beaufort SC, where it seems every household in the county was tuned in to FOX on Wednesday and Thursday nights to watch our hometown girl, Candice Glover, perform. It has been an exciting few weeks for us here in our little town. If you missed Candice’s performances, take a look now. I  get chills every time I hear this one.

Candice, who tried out three times for AI and was reportedly once told by former judge Simon Cowell that she’d never amount to more than a lounge singer, is an inspiration to girls everywhere. Her journey shows us all the importance of believing in yourself, even in the face of discouragement, and fighting for your dreams. We here in Beaufort County love her for it.


Our community has thoroughly embraced Candice, who is from nearby St. Helena, which is part of Beaufort County, and located about  7 miles from downtown Beaufort. I’ve been touched by the far-

This month Beaufort was also voted America's Happiest Seaside Town. Who voted? The people who live here. More proof of what can happen when a community works together.

This month Beaufort was also voted America’s Happiest Seaside Town. Who voted? The people who live here. More proof of what can happen when a community works together.

reaching support shown for her. It makes me proud to live here. A local print shop, Murr’s printing, created signs that were free to the public and distributed widely. There are signs up on every storefront downtown. There are messages of hope and support  in front of schools, on bumper stickers, and on t-shirts. A fund was started by Shannon Erickson, a member of  the SC House of Representatives, to help send Candice’s parents to her performances. So much money was donated, that after the fund was started, Mr. and Mrs. Glover were able to fly out to LA  to make every performance to see their daughter sing.  There was even money left over to help fund the Hometown Concert, which cost the city around fifty thousand dollars.

Go CandiceWaste Management, where Candice’s father works, made special uniforms to show support, an effort which spread across their national company. There were many public viewings of Candice’s performances, offering opportunities for us to celebrate her progress together. The Highway 21 drive-in offered free showings, as did USCB, The Preserve, and other places around the county, including Hilton Head. The mayor sent out emails encouraging us to vote for Candice. The Chamber of Commerce encouraged voting through the newspaper. My Facebook feed was alive with Candice support. The list goes on and on.

I think Candice has an amazing voice, and I don’t think I’m biased in saying she was the best contestant! 😉 !  She could have won on talent alone, and she should have. But if community has anything to do with who wins, Beaufort County gave Candice an edge. A lot of people here know her, and she comes from a large tight-knit and wonderful family. The community loves them. My daughter met Candice’s cousin at the hometown concert. When she found out my daughter wanted an autograph, she arranged for my husband to deliver posters to Candice’s parents, who took them to LA, had them signed, and brought them back to us. We didn’t know Candice’s parents, but they were so gracious, and generous. I think this is how community works.

We are so proud of Candice Glover: The girl who never gave up, and who fought to keep believing!