Friday, February 22, 2013

Welcome Guest Author Beverly Stowe McClure

Tween Ghost Story

Please welcome children's author, Beverly Stowe McClure, to the Girls Succeed blog. Beverly is a wonderful storyteller. Today she tells us the story behind her career as an author. 

by Beverly Stowe McClure

If anyone had told me I’d be a writer someday, I’d have thought they were crazy. When I was young, I hated to write. Even though my eighth-grade teacher sent my poem “Stars” to a high school anthology and it was published in Young America Sings I had no desire to write more poetry or anything else. It was a class assignment. Nothing more.

Fast forward a few years. In spite of my rocky relationship with books, I managed to graduate from high school, got married, and had a family. I also had a boring job. (Not the kids; they’re never boring.) So, this non-reader, non-writer decided to go to the university and take courses to help me find the perfect job, which meant more reading and writing. Yeah, what was I thinking? Anyhow, four years later I graduated Cum Laude (who would have thought it?) with a Bachelor of Science in Education. This was one of the best decisions I’d ever made in my life. Soon I was teaching in elementary school and loving it.

Reading great Newbery books with my students, hearing their reports on these books and how enthusiastic they were about the stories, sometimes even dressing like the characters to give their reports, opened my eyes to what I’d been missing: Reading was fun. I also read to my sons because I wanted them to do well in school and to discover new worlds,  travel to new countries, and meet new people.

Somewhere along the way, I started wondering if I could write a book for children. I’d never know if I didn’t try. The problem was I had no idea how to begin. Sure, I’d written tons of papers in college, but books were different. So, I signed up for a course with The Institute of Children’s Literature to learn the secrets of writing. My first attempts were magazine articles, most of them based on art projects or science activities we did in my fifth-grade classes. And, surprise, surprise, some of them actually sold. A TV guide magazine called Happiness bought my article on fire safety in the home. Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Ladybug, Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr., and other magazines published my work. I was on my way. But I still had not written a book, my original goal.

So, I took a second course at The Institute of Children’s Literature and with the help of a great instructor wrote my first novel for young adults. It still sits in a box, unsold, but I’ve improved (I hope) and now have nine books, including a picture book, early reader, two tween novels, and five novels for young adults published. If I’d never taken the first step by deciding to try something new, to make a change in my life and write the magazine articles, I’d likely still be working at a boring job. But I did, and I‘m thankful.

Why do I write for young people? I love children and teens. I love their innocence and their quirkiness. I love their honesty. I hope my work might make a difference in some young life. We don’t know the path our lives will follow. I never dreamed of being a teacher or a writer. But I’ve been both. Listen to your heart. Listen to those little voices in your head, telling you their stories. Write their words. Send them off to a magazine or book publisher. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results. I’m so glad I listened.



When Beverly Stowe McClure was a child she hated to read. Even though her eighth grade teacher sent her poem “Stars” to the National High School Poetry Association, and it was published in Young America Sings, an anthology of Texas high school poetry, she hated to write. Nevertheless, she managed to squeak through high school, where she played the clarinet in the band and was a majorette, and graduated.

Then she got married, had three sons (one an angel in heaven), and attended Midwestern State University, where she read more books than she had ever imagined. What was she thinking? Finally, she graduated cum laude with a teaching certificate and had a fourth son. She taught children in elementary school for twenty-two years. And along the way she discovered that reading was fun and writing was even more exciting. Forty years after her poem was published, she sent an article on fire safety in the home to Happiness magazine, and it was published. She was on her way.

Beverly and Jack have five granddaughters (one also an angel in heaven), two grandsons, two great-grandsons, and one great-granddaughter. They live in the country, with two cats that adopted them and a variety of wild critters that stop by for a visit. To relax Beverly plays the piano, enjoys discovering ancestors in her genealogy research, and takes pictures of wildlife and clouds and sometimes people. She teaches a woman’s Sunday school class. And she writes most every day.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Trailblazer: Race Car Driver Danica Patrick

Amazing trailblazer Danica Patrick is the first woman in history to take the pole position for the NASCAR race at Daytona, Florida this weekend. This means she is the fastest car during the qualifying laps. Her speed? 196.4 miles per hour! Congratulations to you Ms. Patrick!

Although this doesn't guarantee a win in the race, it does give her an advantage in the field of 45 race cars. Danica started racing cars at ten years old. She is living her dream!!

Watch her interview given two months ago at the Huffington Post.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day 2013! Here's my Valentine Gift to You

Happy Valentine's Day 2013

Dear Readers,

My valentine gift to you this year will be books you will love to read. I am lining up guest authors for interviews about their books, excerpts from their books, and prizes. I also will be reading tween and YA books to review here at the Girls Succeed blog.

  • Do you have a favorite author you would like to learn about and/or the story behind your favorite book? 

  • Do you want to write a review of your favorite book so you can tell the world about the story and why you like it?

Please leave a comment below to tell me or send an email to

girlssucced (at) blogspot (dot) com

or to jqrose02 (at) gmail (dot) com

To get the discussion going, please vote in the poll in the you prefer to read e-books or print books? Thanks for participating!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Black History Month: Honoring Trailblazer Aviator Bessie Coleman

Elizabeth (Bessie) Coleman-January 26, 1892 – April 30, 1926

Bessie Coleman was a pioneer in aviation and a trailblazer who broke down barriers of racial prejudice and discrimination of women of all colors. 

Bessie grew up poor on a farm in Texas. She was the tenth of thirteen children who helped her parents work the farm. Looking for a better life, she joined her brothers in Chicago and supported herself as a manicurist in a barber shop. The idea to become a pilot was sparked when she listened to her customers talk about flying military planes. It was her dream to become a flyer, but at that time no flying schools accepted black men OR any women. She had to find a way to learn to fly even if she was a woman and she was brown-skinned.

She worked hard and raised money to go to France to attend flying school there. She learned her lessons and practiced her flying skills to return to the USA with an International Pilots License becoming the first American to ever receive one.

Being the daredevil she was, Bessie took up barnstorming. She performed stunts in the air flying her bi-plane, a plane with two wings, in air shows becoming part of the aerobatics high above the ground. She looped through the sky, performed figure eights, and dived from high above pulling up just in time not to crash into the ground. She was a hit with the crowds, but performed only in locations which allowed black folks to attend. She became so popular she earned the nickname, Queen Bess.

Bessie's career was cut short when the plane she was practicing in for a performance crashed and claimed her life. The world mourned her passing, but celebrated her accomplishments as a courageous woman and an inspiration for African-Americans and all women in the aviation industry.