Patti is a contributor to the Southern Authors blog A Good Blog is Hard To Find.

Monday, May 5, 2014
Ten Years/Ten Books
LOSING THE MOON's Tenth Birthday

Life moves so fast lately. I remember when, as a kid, a birthday or holiday seemed a million miles away. It was if time was made of different stuff when we were young; time was elongated or stretchy. Now it’s a runaway train and I’m on for the ride.
            I don’t want to go through these days without pausing and taking notice. I don’t want to rush past the significant and ignore the milestones. I’ve done that, a thousand times I’ve done that, and I’ve regretted it later. Whey didn’t I enjoy it then? Why did I rush forward?
This week marks the ten-year anniversary of my first novel, LOSING THE MOON. I remember everything about that week, the launch party at the Margaret Mitchell House, my kids wondering why their mom was dressed up and the nervous jitters that my story was out there in the real world as a real thing.
            I walked into my neighborhood Barnes and Noble and saw the book on the front table. There was a pile of these books, with my name on them. My son, Thomas was 9 years old and he said, “Look, there it is.” Instead of answering him, I did the weirdest thing, and I still don’t know why, but I circled the table. I didn’t touch the book or make a big deal of it. I didn’t buy it or sign it or even tell anyone at the store that I was there. It was almost like I couldn’t believe it. Sometimes I still can’t.
            That night I was honored to be the first Emerging Author at the Margaret Mitchell House. I worked on my speech for hours; I went shopping for the perfect outfit, and ordered flowers, sent out invitations. It was a dreamy night; I wore a pink boucle suit and stood at a podium and spoke about writing. Me? It was incomprehensible; soon everyone would discover I was faking it. I now know all artists feel—at some point—as if they are faking it.
            So here I am, working on my eleventh novel, feeling the urge to get back to work, but pausing to look back, to be in awe of the seen and the unseen, the wonder of this world where story and myth can change a life, and a heart.

            I still have this pink suit hanging in the closet, although I haven’t worn it again (someday it will be vintage chic, I’m sure). That little girl is twenty-one years old. And I still have the original manuscript pages, and notebooks of research and ideas that led to this book.  I don’t know why I keep these things, maybe to remind me of how it started or how far I’ve come or maybe because when I do finally pause to remember I like to have something tangible, a thing to touch or see. Ten years ago, my kids were eleven, nine and five years old, which of course they aren’t now because time moves on, and everything changes, but some things stay and a book is one of those things.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Welcome to my part of the Blog Hop Tour. Our giveaway is a signed copy of AND THEN I FOUND YOU, which was released today!  You will also be ALSO be eligible for the GRAND PRIZE - a Kindle Fire or Nook (winner's choice) and a $25 gift card for the same.

Please leave comments and we will pick a winner on April 19th, 2013 (US and Canada only)

My new novel AND THEN I FOUND YOU was inspired by a family story. You use, three years ago, this week, in the middle of an ordinary day, the extraordinary happened, and my family will never be the same.

Some twenty-one years ago my little sister placed her baby for adoption. It was the most heart-rending, courageous and difficult decision she had ever made, and we all wept with her when she handed her baby girl to an anonymous, yet hand-chosen family. Then . . . two years ago, I received a Facebook friend request from a young girl with the same birthday as my adopted niece. It was too much to hope for, almost too miraculous to believe. But it was true: my sister’s daughter, my niece, found us on Facebook.

Our family had often talked about my niece, using the name my sister had given her. We remembered her whenever we saw a girl who would be her age at that time. Every time my parents moved into a new house, they planted a tree for her and we all prayed for her happiness and safety. We knew nothing about her – all those years we didn’t know where she lived or with whom.  Although we knew that legally she could find us when she turned twenty-one, there was no way for us to find her. And then finally, all those years of unknowing and all those years of wondering culminated in a reunion that most dream about.

My sister’s story was the inspiration for this novel, AND THEN I FOUND YOU.  It is my way of exploring the way we live with unknowing. We want certainty, We want solid ground under our feet. We want to be sure of our place in the world, and yet we rarely, if ever, have that certainty.  So then, how do we live? And what happens when the lost become found?

Although the personal facts are left for my sister to tell, the fictional story in AND THEN I FOUND YOU explores the emotions and extraordinary change that reunions bring to a life and to a family.

I hope this story touches your heart.

For a gardening tip: I have a porch that looks bland and awful without flowering plants, I’ve discovered that planting mixed flowers, tall grasses and flowing ivy in the pots makes my porch a welcoming place!

Thursday, April 26, 2012
When Birmingham Magazine approached me and asked me to write a column on "My Birmingham", I hesitated. Birmingham wasn't mine at all; I was new to the city. Brand new. But here is what I have to say about My Birmingham. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011


The Little Girl in this picture had best friends -- books. She imagined a million worlds, but the one world she could not have imagined was a world where she couldn't read, a world where stories books and words were just letters. (Yes, that is the very young and very naive Patti)

Literacy Council: those are two words I wish we didn't need to put next to one another. But we do need a Literacy Council. Desperately we need a Literacy Council.

A few months ago I moved to Birmingham, Alabama. After eighteen years of raising my own children in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, my idea of a "Literacy Council" was me reading to my kids and teaching them to decipher the letters that turned into words, which turned into sentences, which in their best form, turned into stories. Literacy was expected. Literacy was a road map to all the stories in the world, to all the information they would ever need.

Last week, I went out to lunch with two brilliant women -- Beth Wilder and Missy Burchart -- who help run the Birmingham Literacy Council. I heard statistics that not only stunned me, but also broke my heart. I won't quote those statistics here - but you can read them at

One of their fundraisers is a beautiful event called the SIGNATURE SERIES and I am humbled to have been asked to be their speaker for the December event.

So, although it sounds like this is all about me and a party (you do know I love a good party), it's really not about me at all -- it's about the 92,00 adults in Central Alabama who can't read.

Really, if you are anywhere near Birmingham on December 7th -- please join us for this gorgeous party. The Oberman Family on Southwood Drive in Mountain Brook have generously and wonderfully donated their home for this intimate party on a Wednesday night.

For more information, call Missy Buchart 205-326-1925, or email her at [email protected]

Tickets go on sale November 25th, but you can call earlier to reserve those tickets. There are only 150 tickets and almost half of those go to season ticket holders, so jump on it!

So two sentences I am thrilled go together.
Literacy Council PLUS Intimate Party = Wonderful.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Rivers Are My Roads

Rivers are my roads. When others talk about their “road of life” or “the narrow road” or any other “road” metaphor, I see a river in my mind’s eye. Right now I live along the Chattahoochee River, but we’re moving. I’ve lived here for sixteen years and I walk along the red-mud pathways while I untangle plot lines and my own life story. When I am near this flowing water, near any river at all, something warm and happy opens inside me.

I am today mourning the loss of this river and how I will no longer walk its jagged edge, watching the seasons change and the water turn from muddy to clear after a storm. I am sad that I might lose the lessons it teaches me about impermanence and change and the beauty and necessity of silence in a noisy world. Then I have a brilliant plan: I will take part of this river with me when I leave. I’ll get a vial or even a large bottle and fill the container with this muddy water and place it on my new desk in my new home in Alabama.

Yes, what a fantastic plan. I’ll look at that river and remember and keep it with me. Thrilled with my brilliant plan, I stand too long watching a grey heron (if one can ever stand too long watching a grey heron) perched on a rock, still and silent as everything flows by and it is only now I realize this stunning fact: the water isn’t the river. Nope. The water flows through the river, going wherever it is that rivers go. But the water is not the river itself. Like energy or emotions passing through me, but going wherever it is that energy or emotions go when they pass.

And then that beloved river offers me another lesson – I do this possessing thing too much. I love thoroughly and then I try to take a piece of whatever or whoever I love and carry it with me, own it, make it completely mine because it or they make me completely happy. If I love something or someone, I want to keep it or them; who doesn’t?

So what is this thing about loving without having? Is it about taking the joy and the peace or whatever is offered and leaving the thing itself alone? Is it about walking away and allowing myself to love without keeping or having or owning? No! Everything in me screams “No”. I want to scoop up that river and put it in my new backyard and walk its shores and listen to its whispers.
Absurd, I know.
But seriously, I would if I could.

It’s not lost on me that this feeling of possession is also about the fact that my daughter is graduating and leaving for college at the same time that we are moving.

Standing on that riverbank, I learn again and again and again what I know but forget: Sometimes I have to love without having, possessing or owning.

I’ll still probably take a vial of that river water to my new home, but only as a reminder of joy, not as an owner of joy. I can take the memories and the love with me, but I can’t take the river.

Monday, April 4, 2011

We Have A Winner

We Have A Winner!
I have always been fascinated with the art of songwriting, which is part of the reason I wrote the Christmas novella -- THE PERFECT LOVE SONG. Oh, the magic of being able to say in a single stanza what I say in three hundred pages.
I see that so many of you share the same fascination, but you actually have the talent to write a song.
Thank you so much for taking the time to compose these lyrics and share your creativity. Dallas chose a song with the below lyrics.
Patti Callahan Henry

And the lyrics:

I cannot find or define the moment you entered my heart When you entered you turned a light on in the deepest part In my wildest dreams I could never have possibly understood The way your love gives me peace to feel so whole and so good Chorus So wild, so free like the wind by the sea I look up at the stars that are now within reach Never before did I know all that could be Till I opened my heart to all you have to teach I leave brokenness behind, step towards a path filled with light My life now holds purpose, possibility, so much is in sight The gift of your pure love has cracked open the ice of my heart You believed in me, encouraged me right from the start Chorus Now, I’m so wild, so free like the wind by the sea I look up to the stars that are now within reach Never before did I know all that could be Till I opened my heart to all you have to teach The song of our rich life rings out so true and so clear Together we’ll create magical memories our hearts will hold dear We’ll do everything we’ve ever dreamed and then we’ll dream some more The excitement like a holiday to celebrate all that the future has in store Chorus We’ll be so wild, so free like the wind by the sea We’ll look up at the stars that are now within reach Never before did we know all that could be Till we opened our hearts to all the world has to teach Repeat chorus

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ch Ch Ch Changes....

There was this song I hated, not because it was a bad song, but because it got stuck in my head in that awful “can’t get that out of my head” way. This was back in the day (whatever that day was). David Bowie sang it and it went like this “ch ch ch changes…” and in the way we do when we think we know the words to something, but we don’t, I’d sing along “time can change me, but I can’t change time.”

Well, years later I found out (in a most embarrassing way) that David was singing “Time can change me, but I can’t trace time.” Big difference.

Change. We can’t get away from it. Good. Bad. Lovely. Awful. Everything changes. Impermanence is a universal law. Sometimes this fact is a balm and yet other times it is a comfort. “Oh,” I’ve told my kids over something awful. “This too shall pass.” Yet, when times are good, we don’t want to know that the time will pass. It does.

Time can change me. Yep, Bowie, it can. I’m thinking more about this than usual because my new novel just received a gorgeous cover and when I was with friends last night I said, “Yes, this is my eighth book”. I was instantly stunned by time’s passage and how there were only broken moments I could trace backward to the moment I told myself “I am finally going to write a book.”

I made a vow to write that one book and then time did pass. And time did change me. Good passed; Bad passed; Lovely came and went; Sadness overwhelmed and departed.

But for this moment, I am glad of this sublime cover and the people who helped form and create this novel, the team that cares about the story. So I’m grabbing it – the gladness – because that is all I can do: jump into that joy because there will be ch ch ch changes…

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