A Book! A Book! I’m going to have a Book!!

May 28, 2017


Well, it’s about time I got to share this big news with you! Earlier this month, I finally signed a contract with a publisher  for a book that will be a collection of my best and favorite columns from the newspapers from the past four years! The paperwork has been bouncing back and forth between me, the publisher and lawyers, like a ping-pong-ball and I thought it would NEVER get finished and signed!

In the photo above, taken at my desk, can you see what is framed behind me? It’s the autographed map of Mitford Jan Karon gave me. Nothing like working beneath a little inspiration every day. And let me just say here, meeting Jan and also Mary Kay Andrews have been a treat and a huge inspiration. (and Fannie Flagg too!)They’ve taught me great things and given me wonderful advice. When people are kind enough to help someone just starting out in their field, it lets me know how confident and kind they are and has meant the world to me!


Time for you to worry!


Well, I only have all of my nice readers like you to thank for this. Your dedication to reading my blog, and my newspaper columns have encouraged me and given me the incentive to keep going. My articles appear in the Sunday editions of the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News and The Huntsville Times, but even those of you who live outside of Alabama have also been readers through this blog and on AL.com, and for that, and all your nice comments, I deeply and sincerely thank you!

And I’ll add this too . . . it seems there are several columnists and bloggers who talk about how nasty their readers are — so I feel amazingly blessed to have an audience who is kind and sweet. Every now and then, I’ll get a weird or negative comment, but overall, you are a really nice bunch of readers! 

It’s harder than I thought it would be, but then again, when is anything good easy?



Umm. Yeah, I’m bonafide, because I’m scared to death!!! What if no one buys the book? I’ll have Christmas gifts for the net 20 decades!


Another way I need your help is to let me know what stories you’d like to see included in the book. If you have a favorite you remember, let me know. You can go to the sidebar over on the right-hand side of this page and look for “Topics” and click on “articles” to see most (but not all) of them. You can comment in the comment section or email me at: la@leslieannetarabella.com (and yes, the strapless wedding dress story was one of the first I threw in!).


I thought most of the writing was done, since I am going to use my previous columns, but HA! Fat chance! I’m having to rewrite most of them, because there’s a slightly different tone when you write a story for a newspaper audience vs. a book audience. Also, I’m going to be including some new material, so I’m furiously working on that as well.

If I only had a little writer’s cottage like this in my backyard, I could sit in and write all-day-long!!! But instead, I still have the cooking, mothering, and laundry to do, not to mention, let the dogs out-let the dogs in . . . it never ends. The saddest part of writing the book now is I’m not going to be able to volunteer for my church’s Vacation Bible School. It’s the first time in AGES I haven’t been able to help and it’s killing me! I love those little children and their sweet faces. I’m trying to talk my husband into sending me to the beach for a month or so . . . ha.


I’m also stuck for a name for the book. I kind of like, “stories from the Front Porch,” because these are stories I’d tell you if we sat together on your front porch. (Don’t you love this porch?)Do you like that name, or is it too dull? How do you like, “Fried Okra — and other good things?” “Sweet tea” is also in the running. It always comes back to food!


We’re hoping the book will be out in time for Christmas, so if you know of a bookstore or civic or church group that needs a speaker around October  or December, I’d be happy to visit and meet everyone!


Thank you, my kind, sweet readers. You’ve made me very, very happy! And now you know if blog posts are sparse over the next few weeks, it’s because I’m frantically writing for the book! I’ll keep you posted on developments!



Leave a Reply

  1. Well, it’s about time! I knew a book was in your future and it’s going to do great…
    How would you like to be my special guest at Fall Market 2017? I would love to have you and your fun tales Down in the Delta!
    I’m proud of you, girl!

    1. Hey ! Yes! Your voice rings true … dancing from each sentence ! You are always welcome to have a book signing at the gallery … but wait ! … don ‘t want to jump ahead … but … this is your First book ! No pressure !!!!! Just be you … having fun ! Soooo happy !

  2. I knew last time we had lunch it was in the making with a few little hints! I’m not surprise at all and knew it was just a matter of time. I am so proud for you Leslie Anne and whatever name you decide on I want signed copies:} I can’t wait to read it, I know I will love it!!!! What a delightful tidbit of news, I wish you could see this smile……How fun it will be to tell everyone, I know her.

    1. Thank you Emily! It really took such a long time, but my lawyer told me this isn’t uncommon. So frustrating to have something exciting happening and not be able to share it! Can’t wait to see you again!

  3. I am so happy for you, and not the least bit surprised! You got talent and I love your writing! You will join the ranks of some of Alabama’s best, Rick Bragg, and Fannie Flagg! Tell the hubs to send you to the beach for a month!

  4. I know Don is going to have to have his very own copy and take all the credit for encouraging you to do this! I concur!! Your writing is delightful, and I can’t wait to see it in book form! And, since you asked, I think the okra title is the winner! Hands down. See you in church!

  5. I am over the moon excited for you. I just knew that this was the news!!!!
    Let’s see… I loved the story about your grandmother’s quilt and I remember one about wearing white only between Easter and Labor Day to help us southerners mark out seasons.
    Title — maybe something with hope in it for Fairhope.
    Oh Leslie Anne, I am so excited for you!!!

    1. You have a good memory Sandy! The white shoes rule is already in, and I’ll go back and look for the quilt story. I think it was for Easter, so it may not work, but I’m so happy you remembered it. I like your name ideas.Thanks.

  6. Congratulations, Leslie Anne! That’s so fabulous! I’m so happy for you and a little jealous too. I’m hoping to have my cookbook published one day! For the title, how about a combination of your ideas… Front Porches, Fried Okra and Sweet Tea – a collection of stories from the South (or something like that). Happy writing!

  7. Leslie Anne,
    So excited for you! You are such a talented writer with a southern ❤️. Can’t wait for your book signing at a Page and Palette!

  8. Whew! I can breathe now. I didn’t let the secret out!

    Somehow you have to include “We Don’t Push in Fairhope.”

  9. So very excited for this news AND the supportive comments here from all your devoted readers. I’m with Nancy on “We don’t push” being part of the collection. I personally like the one on charm bracelets but don’t know if fits all your criteria for making the cut. So many from which to choose! Well done on making your dream a reality.

    BTW, I’ll be sure to return the favor and make sure your book is properly displayed every time I walk through P & P!

  10. I am so intrigued by the hunt for your book title. I remember so many great stories you have written that they almost all would make great choices. “A Girls Pearls” and other pearls of wisdom Or “What kind of Mother doesn’t fry okra” just that sentence makes me smile. I know whatever it is , it will be great.

  11. OMG I will buy your book..I have loved your blog for awhile now and I think that it is the “southerness” of it that I find so entertaining (living in the Nevada desert and all). My cousin married a girl from the south when he was going to law school. They divorced, but she was so delightful with all of her southern charm, we kept her instead of him. It will be great and I can not wait..

  12. The is wonderful, exciting news! Congratulations!
    I don’t remember how exactly I stumbled onto your blog several years ago, but as a gal from Florida it resonated with me so much and I’ve so enjoyed reading it.
    As for what to include in the book, I’d vote for any stories about baton twirlers and beauty pageants!

    1. Oh, how nice of you Leigh! So glad you found me, no matter how it came to be! The baton twirler story is definitely “in.” and although my story about Miss America banging the red Solo cups on the floor is one of my personal favorites, it was tied to a specific time, so I don’t know if it will work, but thanks for reminding me!

  13. Leslie Anne, I congratulated you on FB but must do it here too. I was so very excited to read this post, just know it’s the first of many we’ll see from you. I will love reading you in book form. As far as my first choice for inclusion? It has to be Go to Church or the Devil Will Get You! But I especially love any stories about the matriarchs of your part of the South, and their daughters. Guys are great and can’t be left out but it’s the women who are the treasures in your stories.

    A map of Mitford, a big map! I’m rereading the series for the umpteenth time and love studying the maps. Every time we went to Blowing Rock we’d drive the side roads trying to figure out any shared characteristics.

    So maybe you’d better get a mapmaker busy on yours too!

    1. Oh, how wonderful you are rereading the Mitford books! I think her new book will be out in September and I’m crossing my fingers she’ll make another appearance in Fairhope! Thanks for the encouraing words, Dewena. I hadn’t thought about the matriarch element to my stories, but I think you’re right. A good mother makes for a good story!

  14. Sooo happy for you Leslie Anne! This is fabulous news! What about “Fried Okra, Front Porches and Pearls”?

    1. Thanks Jennie. I had a few other people mention that one to me, but since it’s an Easter story, I’ll have to save it for another time. Thanks for the input!

  15. OMG this is fabulous!!! So excited!! I don’t know why I’m not getting your blog emails, I just realized I haven’t read your blog in a while and I don’t know what happened!! Please forgive me while I catch up!!! I’m so sorry I missed the happy hour, I hope you got my emails about that~ Anyway I know your book is going to be WONDERFUL and I CANTWAIT!!!! So happy for you!!!!!

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