There’s little I can add to the conversation everyone’s having right now about COVID-19, other than echoing those who believe that now is a good time to be as kind and patient as we can with each other and check on our friends. For me, checking on my friends includes touching base with the team of Dogwood Press authors, all of whom are fantastic people. I’ve said before that I don’t just go to work; I look forward to every single day of being an author, editor, and publisher.

The timing of the release of John Floyd’s new book of humorous poetry is fascinating and a silver lining of sorts. Lighten Up A Little is a collection of 300 bite-size poems, of which all are clever and quite a number are laugh-out-loud caliber. Well before COVID-19 materialized and impacted our lives the way it has, John came up with what turned out to be a truly fitting last line for the back-of-book copy: The book’s title is also its message: We all need to take the world a little less seriously.

Like you, we’re having to be extremely flexible about working around cancellations and postponements of events, so the original tour schedule we set up for John may look a lot different a few weeks from now. Just know that whenever you’re able to get your hands on a copy of Lighten Up A Little, it will be well worth the time you’ll spend with it. This book will indeed bring smiles to your face and may even make you laugh out loud a few times. We could all use a little of that right now, don’t you think?

That’s John’s artwork on the cover, along with a big assist from our friend Chuck Galey!

I’m still shaking my head at how a pair of much-publicized author events took place as planned in the very final days before the cautions were issued about gathering in groups. Valerie Winn, who grew up in McComb, spoke to a large gathering at the nearby Tylertown Public library and had a wonderful time visiting with old friends and making new ones. Both The Dance Between and Forsaking Mimosa have found a vast audience in her old stomping grounds, thanks in no small part to the fact that that area of Mississippi is where her novels are set.

Valerie and Tylertown Friends of the Library president Alisa Leggett.

Likewise, Molly May had been invited months ago to speak at the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards conference in Florence, Mississippi. RYLA is a tremendous networking opportunity for 50-60 outstanding high school students from central Mississippi each year (they hear wonderful speakers, make new friends, and learn some great life lessons), and Molly’s talk included a book signing for every student, fellow speaker, and conference organizer. Molly had a wonderful time, and I have no doubt she made a long-lasting impression on everyone who heard her powerful presentation.

Molly’s book is truly an education you can’t get in a textbook.

John Floyd and Starkville-based author, artist, and jewelry-maker extraordinaire Laurie Parker were panelists at an author event two weeks ago at Meridian Community College. Once again, it was a great opportunity for a large group of young people to learn from a pair of true professionals, and the sharp contrast of their backgrounds made for a great learning experience for the students.

Laurie, I promise there will be some people here!

That’s all the news that fits. Hopefully, when we chat again, our world will be a little closer to normal than it is at the moment. But we’ll get through it. For me, a big part of getting through it is reading (which I do a whole lot of anyway). Visit the new Dogwood Press website as soon as you can at If we can make your days even a tiny bit easier with a good read, we’re glad to do so. Have a great day, and thanks, as always, for your time.

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