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Tag: Middle Grade fiction

Start a New Tradition

We celebrate Christmas in our family. One of the things we enjoy is decorating the tree together, sometimes it’s team tag, other times we’re around the tree together. Our ornaments are old and every one has special meaning to one of us. For families who have been locked up together working and going to school

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BSP: Forgive the Interruption

BSP is an anacronym used by Sisters in Crime  to stand for Blatant Self Promotion. So forgive the interruption. I promised the next post on character development in The Last Crystal Trilogy. But I want to share this review from Kirkus Reviews: A young girl’s pioneering trek to the American West is interrupted by danger, tragedy,

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THE LAST CRYSTAL: Behind the Scenes

The Last Crystal Trilogy is complete at last. In the next few posts, I will be reflecting on the process of writing the Trilogy, beginning with The Last Crystal because I wrote it first. I had no idea I was going to write a trilogy. It started with an idea that swam around in my head for years before

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“You Can’t Do That!” More about Death of Characters

The Beautiful Hills, Chapter 27 of The Black Alabaster Box is a chapter my granddaughter insisted on. She’d been my junior editor all along, listening to various iterations and offering suggestions. Sometimes I followed her suggestions faithfully. Other times I had to follow my own light. This was especially true when it came to death

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Edible Plants and the Character Mr. Payne

Esther Suh’s guest blog reminds us that there are edible flowers that we can enjoy, provided that we learn about them and make knowledgeable choices.  She points out that as Mr. Payne mentors protagonist, Grace Willis, in The Black Alabaster Box he teaches her to identify edible wild plants.  I like Mr. Payne a lot. When he

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Spice Up Your Diet With Edible Flowers: Guest Blog by Esther Suh

Reading The Black Alabaster Box by Frances Schoonmaker sparked a greater interest in me to learn more specific information about wildflowers. Her book makes specific references to wildflowers, like white anemone, purple phlox, and yellow primroses, blooming untamed along the Santa Fe Trail. Some wildflowers served to supplement the diet of travelers moving west in covered

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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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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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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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