Posted by: jeannineatkins | April 18, 2015


Yesterday I got back from yoga, where my teacher wasn’t laughing when she invited me to try some paddleboard yoga this summer (okay, you can laugh) and found my smiling husband carrying in a small carton. The UPS guy had left advance reader copies of Little Women in Blue, which will go to selected booksellers and reviewers. I brought a copy to my graduate class last night. One student stroked the cover, admiring its softness. Another said she liked the mystery of the path before the woman on the cover and “It looks historical but not Historical, if you know what I mean.”


I’m thankful to She Writes Press, who produced such a gorgeous feeling and looking book. And for my husband, who when I said, “If my book does well, I will…” broke in to say, “You mean when your book does well.” Then when I mentioned that now that I have these ARCs I should see about getting some book signing dates, Peter said, “It seems like a rainy Friday morning would be a good time to go to a bookstore.”

Maybe no one can match an author’s own enthusiasm for a book, but if anyone can, it’s Hannah Moushabeck, bookseller extraordinaire at the Odyssey Bookshop. She makes you feel like a princess or J.K. Rowling. She said she’ll send me a few dates to choose for a reading/signing in September or October when the book will be released, and promised fun.

I also carry with me the generosity of writers who read my book in manuscript and provided kind words for the cover. George Howe Colt, author of The Big House and Brothers, which deftly combines memoir and research, Harriet Scott Chessman, whose novel Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper was inspirational to me, and Gabrielle Donnelly, who in The Little Women Letters imagines the contemporary lives of Jo March’s descendants, took the time to read my book in manuscript and compose words that I hope will draw others to the book when it comes out in early fall.

I’ve got lots to do before then. A website to update, postcards to get made, articles and talks to write. I’ve got review copies to send and then freak out about. I’ll have fresh rejections and disappointments, but more thanks to give, too, and will be calmed remembering the friends and family who’ve encouraged me along the way. Sometimes with handmade postcards: the one in the picture behind my book was made with words from my picture book, Mary Anning and the Sea Dragon, by my brother-in-law, artist Bruce Laird. And just maybe I’ll try that paddleboard, though not with any fancy poses. The worst that can happen is that I get wet, right?



  1. Wow, wow, what a gorgeous cover, Jeannine! And I know even more gorgeous are the words inside. I’m so looking forward to reading this as soon as it’s out. I love that your student stroked the cover–reverence for the words of her teacher and for the treasure it promises. Congratulations for all that you’ve done to bring this creation to the world. And I’ve heard that paddleboards are great fun! Much love, Lorraine ❤

    • Lorraine, so good of you to stop in and comment. What a sweet interpretation of the book stroking student. Maybe. I know her also as someone deeply involved in the book business, so she cares about texture and such; once she admitted she might have had a hard time with some poetry we read because she disliked the font.

      Oh, paddleboards do look fun. But does that mean for me, is the question. Sending you cheer which we have here in plenty now that the crocuses are blooming and daffodils just about to burst out. xo

  2. It’s so beautiful and I can feel the texture through your words. Congratulations for so many things: for the courage to write it and then to self publish it.

    • Thanks, Susan. I look forward to the day when this book you’ve been patiently cheering on reaches your Alcott-knowledge hands. Technically the book isn’t self published, but partnership or hybrid publishing, which is a less lonely path; but you’re right, not the traditional model. Thank you for having my back in so many ways! It makes courage easier.

  3. Oh, glory!! Your excitement is palpable. Go, Jeannine!!

    • It was a good day after plenty of rocky ones, always made easier by people like you. I appreciate every single one of your cheers!

  4. I want to pet that book, too, to luxuriate in the story between its covers.

    We took a picnic dinner to Dana Point last night, and watched the paddle boarders glide through the harbor while we ate. Not for me, as I’m not a water baby in the slightest, but I’d like to see how paddle board yoga is done. (The Westernization of “traditional” forms of yoga is a fascinating topic, all on its own.)

    One last thing: Planning any book signings in SoCal? 🙂

    • Thanks for the kind wishes. I do love the water, so that element appeals. However, balance: working on that. A book signing in SoCal would be cool. I can start dreaming/working.

  5. Want to read! Want to read! (and interview you for blog.)
    And that cover is PERFECT.

    • I look forward to your reading, and promise to answer all your good questions! (you know, as best I can.)

  6. I know one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when you know that the author writes exquisitely, and when you know you can count on the soul of the book because of the person who wrote it…then such judging just may be allowed. And this is simply gorgeous! So many congratulations to you, Jeannine. I can’t wait to hold it. It is beautiful. Big hug.

    • Oh, cover-judging. I guess we’re good as long as we don’t stop there, but let ourselves in and maybe surprised. You said that all so sweetly. I miss you and finger-tapping tapping, meter-loving hands. And the Amy’s of the world are all special.

  7. Congrats on a great cover!

    • It’s very fun to get a cover I love to look at! Thank you!

  8. One step closer … So excited for you and your book!

    • Thank you for all your great support, Kelly!

  9. I can’t wait to read it.

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