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March 2009

To all my wonderful readers, friends, and prospective readers:

Haywood Smith HeadshotThanks so much for coming to visit my web site. If this is your first time, check out the links for my books. I hope you’ll like what you see. For repeat visitors, it’s great to stay in touch. Though I’m seriously Internet-challenged, I’ll do my best to keep you up on all my latest books, projects, and personal news.


I am Snoopy-dancing for joy. St. Martins Press has renewed me for two more books, so I have a job for at least the next two years doing what I love best—writing funny, heartwarming stories for my readers— thank the good Lord, my agent Mel Berger, and my wonderful editor and publishers. It’s a good thing, because I’m not to fit to do anything else.


The 12 Sacred Traditions of Magnificent Mothers-in-Law

Mothers-in-law get such bad press, but I had a great one, which prompted me to do a positive take on that usually negative topic and write a mother-in-law book. My husband of 33 years was an only child, and I lived across the street from my wonderful mother-in-law for more than thirty of those years, so I had plenty of fun stories and solid, sensible advice to inspire this book. I even ended up getting my precious mother-in-law in the divorce. She was such a precious woman.

My test readers, without exception, have loved it. Some are sending copies anonymously in plain brown wrappers to their children’s other in-laws, and others are sending anonymous copies to their own in-laws, but the book is written in a spirit of love and fun, so it’s safe to give one to somebody who can learn from its message.

Personally, I think there should be mother-in-law showers for the beleaguered mothers of the bride and groom (as I put in my book, Wedding Belles), and these would make nice favors.

The 12 Sacred Traditions of Magnificent Mothers-in-Law is good news for all of you who’re looking for a happy, inexpensive wedding shower gift. Also for those of you who’d like a better relationship with their married (or out-of-the-nest) children. Order your copies now from Belle Books at by clicking on the link beside this message. It’s also available on request, P.O.D. (fancy jargon for “you have to order it in advance”), from your favorite regular book store.

If you’d like a personalized autographed copy, check out my appearances web page to see if I’ll be in your area, and I’d be happy to sign you one. If I’m not coming to your town, I’m always glad to personally autograph copies sent to me with a note indicating to whom you’d like me to sign them, plus a self-addressed, prepaid return mailer. Just email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for instructions.

Ladies of the Lake

At long last and in its fourth incarnation, Ladies of the Lake, my “sisters” book, will be on bookshelves everywhere this September. It’s the story of four very urban Atlanta sisters who have to spend the entire summer “camping in” at their grandmother’s run-down mountain place so they can inherit and sell the valuable land.

My family spent many of my childhood summers at my great-grandmother’s on Lake Rabun, and we often visited our friends Ed and Wright and Harvey and Helen Johnson at their place on Lake Burton, so I had oodles of fond memories to inspire this book. I still swap e-mails with Wright and Harvey’s sweet wife Vickie.

Honesty compels me to say, though, that my own three sisters are all far too wonderful and well-adjusted to have provided more than the random quirk for my fictional Barrett sisters in Ladies of the Lake. I’m the only real weirdo in the batch, but they love me anyway, a fact for which I’m constantly grateful. As for my brother Jim Pritchett of Asheville, NC, he can rest easy for one more book, because he‘s not in this one.

Ladies of the Lake is a comedy, so the sisters find two dead bodies mummified in the root cellar, sitting in Great Grandpa’s masterpiece hand-carved chairs—one of them in a WWI doughboy’s uniform. The touchy-feely sister says they have to call the police so they can locate any relatives who might be wondering what happened to them. The scientific sister says they have to call the police so they can find out how the men died. The desperate divorcée who’s one step ahead of foreclosure says they have to get rid of the bodies so they can sell the land on time and get the money to save her house. And the precious, angelic little garage-sale queen baby sister says, “Dibs on the chairs.”

Ladies of the Lake is also a story of new beginnings, something that’s become more important to me as I age. Normally, birthdays don’t bother me, but this latest one was a biggie, and I found myself really bothered by it. Frankly, I think it’s just a vicious lie. I can’t possibly be that old!

I’m in denial about my age—like many of the members of my “singular 45” Sunday school class at Blackshear Place Baptist—which was all well and good till our minister, Jeff Crook (yes, he’s a Crook) got to “thou shalt not lie” in his Ten Commandments sermon series, and there we all sat, most of us more than a decade past our “45” designation. But since our age-denial didn’t constitute bearing false witness against a neighbor, we’re all still Singular 45, so there.


Right now, I’m working on another humorous novel tentatively titled Waking Up in Dixie about a woman whose life—and perpetual frown—is turned upside down when her jerk of a husband suddenly wakes up as Mr. Nice guy. God willing, that book will be out in the fall of 2010. (Is it just me, or does that date look totally weird written out?)

I’m also working on The 12 Sacred Traditions of Super Sisters, inspired by all the wild, funny, and wonderful examples of sterling sisterhood I’ve heard and seen. Look for The 12 Sacred Traditions of Super Sisters in the spring of 2010.


I get a huge kick out of hearing from readers who like my work, so if you do, please tell all your friends about my books and write me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . If you don’t like my books or find mistakes in them, please accept my sincere apology, then be merciful and keep it to yourself. I do the best I can, and it’s not easy making a living when you’re a crumbly, Internet-challenged old high-school graduate like me.


I love to speak for women’s group charity fundraisers, Junior League events, Library fundraisers, and Red Hat regional events with presold tickets of 150-200 (all proceeds to the charity), and am happy to do so as long as the groups bring me in and put me up somewhere with no pets or smoking (I’m allergic), and provide books for me to sign afterward, either from a local bookseller on-site, or from the publisher direct. (Again, any funds generated go to the charity.) We always have a good time and laugh a lot.

Photographs are available from my publicist Stephen Lee at St. Martins Press at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For information about speaking availability, or for references or a bio, contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . I usually book pretty far in advance, but occasionally have cancellations, so please feel free to enquire.

For commercial speaking engagements, e-mail me direct at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for rates and availability.


Every time I do an update, I swear to myself that I won’t go so long between next time, and then there it is, six months later. Now that I have my wonderful assistant Ambar, maybe I’ll finally be able to keep that promise, so check back often for news and updates, and new appearances.

Thanks again for visiting my web site.

I remain your fan and friend,