When you’re having fun…

The expression is, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” It is one I’ve heard all my life. But where did it come from? That isn’t at all clear. Its all a part of the The Game of Life–played at our house over the holidays. For example, I found this at https://www.dictionary.com/browse/time-flies: Time passes quickly, as in It’s midnight already? Time flies when you’re having fun, or I guess it’s ten years since I last saw you—how time flies.  This idiom was first recorded about 1800 but Shakespeare used a similar phrase, “the swiftest hours, as they flew,” as did AlexanderPope, “swift fly the years.” Others sources trace

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Can’t I Just Write?

This past weekend my daughter, granddaughter and I made what has become an annual fall visit to Weber Cider Mill Farm to buy pumpkins and to enjoy some of the activities. Amelia and I did the maze together. Looking at it now, the picture feels like a metaphor for life as a writer!  I wish I

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The Red Abalone Shell and WWI: The Backstory

The Red Abalone Shell is scheduled for release the first week in September. Here’s what you have to look forward to: James finds himself on the steps of a church with no idea who he is or how he got there. His only clues are a map, a red abalone shell, and a dog, Old

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Going Batty: On Illustrating

Mexican Free-Tailed Bats By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters (Mexican free-tailed batsUploaded by Dolovis) [CC BY 2.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons I made the decision to illustrate my trilogy for very selfish reasons. As a child, I hated it when there were pictures of the people in fiction. The illustrator almost always

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The Mad Artist at Work

The Mad Artist at Work isn’t about being angry, but about how doing chapter illustrations for The Last Crystal helped with the history behind the books. Author, Frances Schoonmaker, talks about her writing, illustrating, and research process. 4 minute read. Kid friendly.

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Chapter Discussion Questions for THE BLACK ALABASTER BOX

Teachers who are using The Black Alabaster Box with reading groups, book clubs, or as part of a study of the Great Westward Migration may find these questions useful. You could have students write their take on a question in a journal after reading the chapter, too. I don’t think it would be appropriate to have students

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Thank You Teachers!

This is National Appreciation Week. May 8, 2018 is National Teacher Day. A day doesn’t quite do it. Nor can a week. We owe teachers so much more, not only for what they have done for us, but for what they do for our children every day. Days in school are only a piece of

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Written by Somebody’s Grandmother?

Who’d want to read a book about some random girl going West written by somebody’s grandmother?” Last year when Katie Schmidt talked with her class about the prospect of piloting The Black Alabaster Box, this was a question one of the children asked. I had to laugh when my granddaughter, a member of the class,

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Can you have a book launch without gingerbread cookies?

Thursday was the book launch for The Black Alabaster Box. I read the SCBWI website  for children’s book authors and illustrators. I talked to authors. I hadn’t done a launch before.  When my academic books were published, I put the title on my vita, and the publisher did the rest. So all this launch and publicity,

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What do cats have to do with it?

This is Butterfly. She is looking at me resentfully. I am spending too much time getting ready for launching THE BLACK ALABASTER BOX and not enough time with her. When she thinks that I have been working too long, she comes and sits, looking at me with this look. If I ignore her, she comes

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